Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Survivors have long claimed that European countries treat them far better than Israel, where many elderly survivors live in poverty. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement of the new allowance did nothing to change that impression. One survivor called the offer "absurd and insulting."
Monday, July 30, 2007
• Stop One. Ismail Haniyeh's house.
"It's not a luxurious house," Hamas tour guide Ahmad Asmar said before the buses pulled up to the home of Haniyeh, whom Hamas still considers prime minister even though he was fired by Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah-affiliated president, after Hamas' takeover. Haniyeh lives among the people in the Shati refugee camp on the Gaza City beach. Dressed in a suit and tie on a hot summer day, Haniyeh suddenly appeared on his balcony and waved to the reporters.
• Stop Two. Yasser Arafat's house.
"It is our job to keep this house secure," said senior Haniyeh aide Ghazi Hamad, disputing Fatah and media claims that the home of the late Palestinian leader had been looted and vandalized. Hamas officials stressed that they respected Arafat and the Fatah movement he founded. Arafat's picture remains posted on the walls of many buildings controlled by Hamas.
• Stop Three. Presidential guest house.
The guest house, where Abbas used to entertain foreign dignitaries, remains just as it was when Fatah abandoned it in defeat. A photograph of Arafat and Nelson Madela adorns the wall of one room, and in the bedroom, a photo of Arafat and Bill Clinton. Even the ashtrays and water glasses have been left untouched. Hamad said it's Hamas' duty to preserve such places "until we reach a political compromise" with Fatah. At the moment, that's looks unlikely. Fatah, whose defeat in Gaza has left it in charge of the West Bank and eligible for fresh diplomacy with Israel and the West, says it has no interest in talking to Hamas.
• Stop Four. The Palestinian parliament.
Acting parliamentary speaker Ahmad Bahar offered journalists a long explanation of how the Hamas-controlled legislature favors human rights, Palestinian unity, press freedom and a swift end to Israeli occupation. The rub: Since Hamas' takeover, the Palestinian parliament has not been functioning, and no resumption is likely any time soon.
• Stop Five. National Security Headquarters.
The head of the Executive Force, Hamas' main security force in Gaza, was flanked by black-clad gunmen as he told the reporters that its job is "sacred" and that it has an obligation to tell the world the truth about Hamas. Abu Obeida said Hamas respects human rights and holds no political prisoners — denying claims by human rights workers that at least nine Fatah loyalists have been killed and more than 20 others arrested since Hamas' takeover.
"We are working according to the law," Abu Obeida said before taking journalists to a jail in the same compound. Prisoners prayed and cooked and answered journalists' questions, with many saying their conditions had improved since Hamas took power. "I can open the refrigerator" to show how nice the food is, said 46-year-old inmate Menahed Ehlayel. No one on the tour, in the jail or anywhere else, said anything negative about Hamas, which much of the world has branded a terrorist organization.
• Stop Six. A Roman Catholic church.
A Hamas minder tried to stop a reporter from asking Father Manuel Musallam, Gaza's only Catholic priest, about who was behind the ransacking of a Catholic convent and nearby school during June's Hamas-Fatah fighting. Musallam answered anyway, saying Haniyeh had offered his support in finding the perpetrators. "We suffer with them, but we haven't suffered from them," the priest said of Hamas and Gaza's other Muslim inhabitants. Still, a number of Gaza's 3,000 Christians have privately expressed concern about Hamas' intentions.
• Stop Seven. The Rafah border crossing.
Hamas gunmen guard the perimeter of Gaza's main gateway to the outside world, its border crossing with Egypt. Like all other Gaza crossings, the Rafah border has been shut since Hamas' takeover, leaving thousands of Gazans stranded on the other side. The reporters were taken within a few yards of the Egyptian side. Three truckloads of wheat flour passed by from another nearby crossing — part of the daily humanitarian aid flow that sustains the vast majority of Gaza's 1.4 million people. Hamad said Hamas would like to see Abbas' forces regain control of border crossings such as Rafah, aware that Israel would never permit Hamas to conduct security checks there. Fatah has ruled this out.
• Stop Eight. Haniyeh speaks.
The tour ended with a speech by Haniyeh at an upscale Gaza City hotel. To get there, the buses drove along the beach, where thousands of Gazans have been flocking since Hamas' takeover improved the internal security situation in Gaza. Veiled women sat waist-deep in the ocean with their children as Hamas security forces guarded the beach. Haniyeh described how Hamas' takeover had ended factional fighting and the murderous chaos that had taken over Gaza's streets. Father Musallam sat next to Haniyeh, who began his speech by saying Christians were "a very important part of our people."
"We do not want to establish an Islamic state in the Gaza Strip," Haniyeh said.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Now, what kind of a government would prevent humanitarian assistance to its own people?
Obviously, the Palestinian Authority is not working in favor of the Palestinian people, but rather in favor of the forces who are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Friday, July 27, 2007
All the 45 MEPs stood up symbolically in the plenary, right before thebeginning of the debate with Mr. Solana on the situation on the MiddleEast, representing the 45 Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council detained in the Israeli jails in a clear violation of the international legality.
"Each of us, MEPs, is deeply concerned about the imprisonment of thePresident and of 1/3 of the Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, democratically and legitimately elected by the Palestinian people", MEPs said in their declaration.
Through this initiative, MEPs want to strongly condemn these arrests by the Israeli Army, but also remind the anniversary of the beginningof the Israeli military occupation in the Palestinian territories, which is during 40 years exactly today.
"We are deeply worried not only for the plight of the 45 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council but also for the near 11000 Palestinian political prisoners currently imprisoned by the Israeli Army, without a true process and often brutally abducted by the Israeli soldiers."
"40 years of military occupation are enough: now it's urgent to implement a political solution of the conflict, based on "two Peopleand two States" and it's necessary that the Palestinian Legislative Council could continue its activity, instead of preventing its work because of the check points, the arrests, the summary killings kept on by the current Israeli policy of military occupation", concluded LuisaMorgantini.
MEPs participating to the initiative:
Adamou Adamos, Andria Alfonso, Aubert Marie-Hélène, Auken Margarete,Beer Angelika, Brepoels Frieda, Bourzai Bernadette, Bowis John,Carnero Gonzàlez Carlos, Cohn-Bendit Daniel, Davies Chris, De BrúnBairbre, De Keyser Véronique, Demetriou Panayiotis, De RossaProinsias, Evans Jill, Flautre Hélène, Gottardi Donata, GuerreiroPedro, Hammerstein Mintz David, Isler-Béguin Marie-Anne, KasoulidesIoannis , Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou Rodi, Locatelli Pia Elda, LucasCaroline, Madeira Jamila, Matsakis Marios, McMillan-Scott Edward,Menendez Del Valle Emilio, Meyer Pleite Willy, Morgantini Luisa,Napoletano Pasqualina, Patrie Béatrice, Portas Miguel, Purvis John,Resetarits Karin, Romeva i Rueda Raül, Roure Martine, Saïfi Tokia,Savi Toomas, Sudre Margie, Svensson Eva-Britt, Toussas Georgios,Triantaphyllides Kyriacos, Wurtz Francis.
It's vital that we keep this seemingly obvious reality at the forefront of any political discussion dealing with the conflict: the occupied Palestinian territories represent a mere 22 per cent of historic Palestine. Currently, Israel is on a quest to reduce this even further by officially conquering the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. Gaza is only relevant to this issue insofar as it represents a golden opportunity to divide Palestinians further, to confuse their national project and to present a grim picture of them as an unruly people who cannot be trusted as peace partners to the far more civilised and democratic Israelis.
By prolonging Gazan strife, thus the Palestinian split, Israel will acquire the time required to consolidate its colonial project, and to further rationalise its unilateral policies vis-à-vis matters that should, naturally, be negotiated with the Palestinians.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
16-year-old Assem Lufti Abdel Lattif Khalil recounts his experience of torture at the hands of Israeli soldiers. He was beaten and put in a stress position outdoors in the rain. He spent 40 days in an interrogation centre.
One 15-year-old said that he was sexually abused and beaten repeatedly in sensitive areas of his body."
Friday, July 20, 2007
It seems more like a publicity stunt on the part of the apartheid state as most of the released prisoners already served a majority of their sentences and were supposed to be released relatively soon anyway.
Also, the daily incursions into Palestinian villages, where many Palestinians are illegally abducted, have not stopped. So, it should not be long before the released prisoners' jail cells are restocked.
Freed Palestinians welcomed home
Abbas welcomes freed Palestinians
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Below is a letter Fatah warlord Mohammad Dahlan wrote to the "Israeli" defense minister back in 2003.
"Be certain that Yasser Arafat's final days are numbered, but allow us to finish him off our way, not yours. And be sure as well that ... the promises I made in front of President Bush, I will give my life to keep.
Dahlan closes his letter to Mofaz saying, "it remains only for me to convey my gratitude to you and the prime minister [Ariel Sharon] for your continued confidence in us, and to you all respect."
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
One of the myths created by the Israeli lobby is that Jews around the world are unanimous in their support of Israel, regardless of what it does. That's not true and never has been true.
Modern political Zionism, whose ideology demands a Jewish state with a Jewish majority, was invented by an Austrian journalist and for decades struggled desperately. It wasn't God who created the modern state of Israel. It was British colonialism, the U.S., the Soviet Union, and Zionists.
Only about a third of the world's Jews choose to live in Israel, despite nearly a century of efforts to persuade Jews to immigrate. There were many early Jewish critics of Zionism, and there still are, despite modern Zionists adopting fascist tactics to silence debate.
Avigail Abarbanel, a native-born Israeli Jew who lived there 27 years before emigrating, has even harsher words:
"Palestinian citizens of Israel live under an arbitrary and brutal police state. Their dealings with Israeli bureaucracy are not just frustrating but can be outright dangerous.
"The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live under a Pinochet-like regime. They can and do disappear in the middle of the night. They are blindfolded, cuffed, beaten, humiliated, taken to unknown locations with no information given to them or their families, tortured physically and psychologically and incarcerated indefinitely, often without charges and regardless of whether they are guilty of anything.
"Israel is not a nice country. It is a powerful police state founded on pathological paranoia with only a veneer of civility, carefully crafted and maintained for the consumption of those who still believe in the myth of Israeli democracy."
Israeli Textbooks and Children's Literature Promote Racism and Hatred Toward Palestinians and Arabs
By Maureen MeehanIsraeli school textbooks as well as children's storybooks, according to recent academic studies and surveys, portray Palestinians and Arabs as "murderers," "rioters," "suspicious," and generally backward and unproductive. Direct delegitimization and negative stereotyping of Palestinians and Arabs are the rule rather than the exception in Israeli schoolbooks.
Monday, July 16, 2007
The first shell was fired at around 5 AM, then 14 followed. A technical failure??
Must see video, especially the eighth minute.
Anti-Zionism by 'progressive' Jews
Sunday, July 15, 2007
She looked right and then left before crossing the intersection leading to the university. The traffic was being directed by four members of the special forces affiliated with the Interior Ministry, all from Hamas. Gawaher Ghadir, 21, is one of very few female students who doesn't wear a head scarf at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza. Nobody, either from Hamas or the security services belonging to the Hamas administration has ever asked her to do so. And she doesn't think that anyone is going to.
Ahmed Ghannash, who sells music tapes and CDs from a stand on Al-Mukhtar Street, the thoroughfare that divides Gaza city into two, said that he resumed business after Hamas gained power. In the past, unknown gunmen threatened to burn his stand unless he stopped selling music recordings.
Islam Shahwan, police spokesman at the Foreign Ministry, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the attacks on music merchants and Internet cafés are now close to zero, down from about 35 attacks per month in the past. In the six months before Gaza fell into Hamas's hands, an Islamic extremist group calling itself the Islamic Swords of Justice -- a group believed to embrace some of Al-Qaeda's ideas -- was particularly active in Gaza. That group called for the closure of Internet cafés and music shops. It attacked some of the parties organised at various wedding halls in Gaza and torched some of the educational institutions run by Christians. The group once threatened to harm female presenters working for Palestine Television unless they covered their heads.
Father Manuel Musallam, head of the Latin community to which many Gaza Christians belong, said that his congregation feels more secure under Hamas control. He added that relations between his community and Hamas are very strong. Musallam goes regularly to visit Ismail Haniyeh, who briefs him on current developments.
It is noteworthy that the Hamas parliamentary group includes one Christian deputy, Hossam Al-Tawil. Hamas appointed one Christian minister in its new cabinet, formed one week after the movement took control of Gaza. Haniyeh made it absolutely clear that his government wouldn't hesitate to confront all forms of religious "coercion" and would punish anyone "depriving the people of their right to act freely as long as they did not break the law."
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
By Mousa Abu Marzook
It was done as part of our effort to secure Gaza from the lawlessness of militias and violence, no matter what the source. Gaza will be calm and under the rule of law — a place where all journalists, foreigners and guests of the Palestinian people will be treated with dignity. Hamas has never supported attacks on Westerners, as even our harshest critics will concede; our struggle has always been focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it — a right of occupied people that is explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Yet our movement is continually linked by President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to ideologies that they know full well we do not follow, such as the agenda of Al Qaeda and its adherents. But we are not part of a broader war. Our resistance struggle is no one's proxy, although we welcome the support of people everywhere for justice in Palestine.
The American efforts to negate the will of the Palestinian electorate by destroying our fledgling government have not succeeded — rather, the U.S.-assisted Fatah coup has only multiplied the problems of Washington's "two-state solution."
Continue to Article
Monday, July 9, 2007
By Gideon Levy
What do you do for 21 hours, trapped in one room - 28 people, including children and babies? How do you pass the time? How do you calm down crying and frightened children? How do you care for an ailing grandmother? You can't turn on the light, or the television, or talk. Armed soldiers guard the doorway and they've confiscated all the cellular phones. You can go out to the bathroom, but only after receiving permission. Used diapers have to be tossed in a corner of the room. After protracted negotiations, two women are permitted to go cook something.
Why was it necessary to imprison six innocent families this way? If the Israel Defense Forces needed their apartment building, why not let them move into the neighbors' homes? And why choose this building, when right next to it another building of similar size stands empty? Were these people being used as a kind of human shield for the soldiers? And what sort of trauma was inflicted on the little ones who were put through this ordeal?
On the radio I heard the explanation: "We have to 'mow the grass.'" This was the picturesque description offered by military sources for the IDF's activity in Nablus. This is why the army enters the city almost every night, carrying out broad-scale operations every few weeks, like the one last week. Two IDF officers were seriously injured, two were moderately injured, one passerby was killed - and members of the extended Adalay family were imprisoned together for no good reason.
Continue to Article
Saturday, July 7, 2007
"More than five hundred Sudanese refugees have fled to Israel in the last two months to escape 'genocide' in Darfur.
Now Israel is threatening to deport them."
Friday, July 6, 2007
By STEVEN ERLANGER
According to the report, based on official data released by the Israeli government after a court order, 90 percent of the settlements sprawl beyond their official boundaries despite the large amount of unused land already allocated to them.
More than 10 percent of the land included within the official jurisdiction of the settlements is owned privately by Palestinians, as is 70 percent of the land the settlements control outside of their official boundaries, said the report, whose findings were published in Haaretz newspaper on Friday. Peace Now opposes the settlements and tracks them.
Dror Etkes, who prepared the report with Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, said that in his view the official data showed that the government had taken West Bank land beyond the needs of the settlements, possibly to prevent Palestinian construction there and to add a zone of separation between the settlers and the Palestinians.
But once an area is closed to Palestinians, settlers have seized adjacent Palestinian lands, often privately owned, without being stopped by the Israeli Army, which is the legal sovereign in the occupied territories.
“There is a pattern of a failure to enforce the law on the settlers,” Mr. Etkes said. “But the lack of enforcement isn’t an accident. It became another tool to achieve the military goals of the occupation, which is to allocate the land and hold it.”Continue to Article
Just a reminder that "Israeli" settlements are illegal under international law, but since when did the apartheid state respect international law anyway?
Thursday, July 5, 2007
A new Israeli push into Gaza has left at least seven Palestinians murdered and seen a journalist shot as he tried to cover the story.
In this video, a cameraman while laying on the ground was repeatedly shot when it was obvious he was unarmed. Viewer Discretion is advised.
Also, during the illegal military incursions, many Palestinian ambulance workers were arrested and used as human shields.
"Abu Dalal said soldiers used them as 'human shields' to exit the area. Israeli law bans soldiers from using civilians for protecition."
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tonight, “cowards” and “terrorists,” as they have been called by the President of the United States and by his Zionist overlords, are fighting with every ounce of their beings to liberate their respective countries from the foreigners who have invaded their lands and who are slaughtering their women and children in the tens and hundreds of thousands.
Adults, not having the sophisticated weaponry that is used against them by their oppressors will strap themselves with explosives and blow themselves up in order to take out the assassins within the Israeli military machine and their hired mercenaries from America who murder women and children on a daily basis.
Children, in what is but a modern day repeat of the battle fought between David vs. Goliath will bravely go up against tanks and machine guns, often armed with nothing more than rocks and sticks and will fight this enemy with every ounce of their beings, knowing beforehand that they stand a good chance of losing arms and legs and even their lives."
"Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist. The country came perilously close to extinction during the October 1973 war when Egypt, trained and backed by the Soviet Union, crossed the Suez and the Syrians poured in over the Golan Heights. Huge American military transport planes came to the rescue. They began landing every half-hour to refit the battered Israeli army, which had lost most of its heavy armor. By the time the war was over, the United States had given Israel $2.2 billion in emergency military aid."
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
PART 1: Winning the intelligence war (excerpts)
From the onset of the conflict to its last operations, Hezbollah commanders successfully penetrated Israel's strategic and tactical decision-making cycle across a spectrum of intelligence, military and political operations, with the result that Hezbollah scored a decisive and complete victory in its war with Israel.
In fact, over a period of two years, Hezbollah intelligence officials had built a significant signals-counterintelligence capability. Throughout the war, Hezbollah commanders were able to predict when and where Israeli fighters and bombers would strike. Moreover, Hezbollah had identified key Israeli human-intelligence assets in Lebanon. One month prior to the abduction of the IDF border patrol and the subsequent Israeli attack, Lebanese intelligence officials had broken up an Israeli spy ring operating inside the country.
Lebanese (and Hezbollah) intelligence officials arrested at least 16 Israeli spies in Lebanon, though they failed to find or arrest the leader of the ring. Moreover, during two years from 2004 until the eve of the war, Hezbollah had successfully "turned" a number of Lebanese civilian assets reporting on the location of major Hezbollah military caches in southern Lebanon to Israeli intelligence officers. In some small number of crucially important cases, Hezbollah senior intelligence officials were able to "feed back" false information on their militia's most important emplacements to Israel - with the result that Israel target folders identified key emplacements that did not, in fact, exist.
Finally, Hezbollah's ability to intercept and "read" Israeli actions had a decisive impact on the coming ground war. Hezbollah intelligence officials had perfected their signals-intelligence capability to such an extent that they could intercept Israeli ground communications between Israeli military commanders. Israel, which depended on a highly sophisticated set of "frequency hopping" techniques that would allow their commanders to communicate with one another, underestimated Hezbollah's ability to master counter-signals technology. The result would have a crucial impact on Israel's calculation that surprise alone would provide the margin of victory for its soldiers.
Complete Part 1
PART 2: Winning the ground war (excerpts)
The call-up of Israel's reserves was meant to buttress forces already fighting in southern Lebanon, and to add weight to the ground assault. On July 22, Hezbollah units of the Nasr Brigade fought the IDF street-to-street in Maroun al-Ras. While the IDF claimed at the end of the day that it had taken the town, it had not. The fighting had been bloody, but Hezbollah fighters had not been dislodged. Many of the Nasr Brigade's soldiers had spent countless days waiting for the Israeli assault and, because of Hezbollah's ability to intercept IDF military communications, Israeli soldiers bumped up against units that were well entrenched.
IDF detachments continually failed to flank the defenders, meeting counterpunches toward the west of the city. Special three-man hunter-killer teams from the Nasr Brigade destroyed several Israeli armored vehicles during the fight with light man-made anti-tank missiles. "We knew they were going to do this," Ilay Talmor, an exhausted Israeli second lieutenant, said at the time. "This is territory they say is theirs. We would do the same thing if someone came into our country
After-battle reports of Hezbollah commanders now confirm that IDF troops never fully secured the border area and Maroun al-Ras was never fully taken. Nor did Hezbollah ever feel the need to call up its reserves, as Israel had done. "The entire war was fought by one Hezbollah brigade of 3,000 troops, and no more," one military expert in the region said. "The Nasr Brigade fought the entire war. Hezbollah never felt the need to reinforce it."
IDF commanders were also disturbed by the performance of their troops, noting a signal lack of discipline even among its best-trained regular soldiers. The reserves were worse, and IDF commanders hesitated to put them into battle.
Complete Part 2
PART 3: The political war (excerpts)
First, the Hezbollah victory has shown that Israel - and any modern and technologically sophisticated Western military force - can be defeated in open battle, if the proper military tactics are employed and if they are sustained over a prolonged period. Hezbollah has provided the model for the defeat of a modern army. The tactics are simple: ride out the first wave of a Western air campaign, then deploy rocket forces targeting key military and economic assets of the enemy, then ride out a second and more critical air campaign, and then prolong the conflict for an extended period. At some point, as in the case of Israel's attack on Hezbollah, the enemy will be forced to commit ground troops to accomplish what its air forces could not. It is in this last, and critical, phase that a dedicated, well-trained and well-led force can exact enormous pain on a modern military establishment and defeat it.
Second, the Hezbollah victory has shown the people of the Muslim world that the strategy employed by Western-allied Arab and Muslim governments - a policy of appeasing US interests in the hopes of gaining substantive political rewards (a recognition of Palestinian rights, fair pricing for Middle Eastern resources, non-interference in the region's political structures, and free, fair and open elections) - cannot and will not work. The Hezbollah victory provides another and different model, of shattering US hegemony and destroying its stature in the region. Of the two most recent events in the Middle East, the invasion of Iraq and the Hezbollah victory over Israel, the latter is by far the most important. Even otherwise anti-Hezbollah groups, including those associated with revolutionary Sunni resistance movements who look on Shi'ites as apostates, have been humbled.
Third, the Hezbollah victory has had a shattering impact on America's allies in the region. Israeli intelligence officials calculated that Hezbollah could carry on its war for upwards of three months after its end in the middle of August. Hezbollah's calculations reflected Israel's findings, with the caveat that neither the Hezbollah nor Iranian leadership could predict what course to follow after a Hezbollah victory. While Jordan's intelligence services locked down any pro-Hezbollah demonstrations, Egypt's intelligence services were struggling to monitor the growing public dismay over the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon.
Fourth, the Hezbollah victory has dangerously weakened the Israeli government. In the wake of Israel's last lost war, in 1973, prime minister Menachem Begin decided to accept a peace proposal from Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. The breakthrough was, in fact, rather modest - as both parties were allies of the United States. No such breakthrough will take place in the wake of the Israel-Hezbollah war.
The victory of Hezbollah in its recent conflict with Israel is far more significant than many analysts in the United States and Europe realize. The Hezbollah victory reverses the tide of 1967 - a shattering defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan that shifted the region's political plates, putting in place regimes that were bent on recasting their own foreign policy to reflect Israeli and US power. That power now has been sullied and reversed, and a new leadership is emerging in the region.
Complete Part 3
Monday, July 2, 2007
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