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GAZA DEATH ZONE: Israelis and Egyptians are Killing Palestinian Youth Who Challenge the Siege of Gaza
By Ann Wright
The Palestinians in the Death Zone called Gaza are being slaughtered again as Israel and now Egypt kill and wound more innocent civilians who challenge their illegal siege, blockade and quarantine.
In the past four days, one young Palestinian man has been killed and two young women and a young man have been wounded by Israeli snipers as they protested the Israeli bulldozing of 300 meters of Palestinian land into an Israeli “buffer zone.” Four young Palestinian tunnel workers have been killed by suffocation and 6 injured as Egypt sprayed a crowd disbursal gas into a tunnel.
Death in the Tunnels from Egyptian Gas and from Israeli Bombs
To the ASUC Senate,
We the undersigned Nobel Women Peace Laureates support your courage and call on you to reaffirm the ASUC Bill in Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes. We stand united in our belief that divesting from companies that provide significant support for the Israeli military provides moral and strategic stewardship of tuition and taxpayer-funded public education money. We are all peace makers, and we believe that no amount of dialogue without economic pressure can motivate Israel to change its policy of using overwhelming force against Palestinian civilians. Last year’s nearly 400 women and children casualties in Gaza, and thousands more injured and killed, were all victims of a well armed military machine allowed to operate unchecked. A delegation of us went to Gaza and saw firsthand the evidence of wholesale killing and destruction. Our hearts grieve for Gaza and we demand that there be no more Gazas. We urge the UC system to take the lead in this direction as has been its tradition, and commend the students who are working to achieve this goal. We reject the portrayals of this action as anti-Semitic, and maintain that it does not make a choice between Palestinians and Israelis, but between universal freedom and oppression.
Shirin Ebadi, Iran, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
Mairead Maguire (Corrigan), Ireland, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemala, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate
Jody Williams, USA, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate
Israeli bulldozers today destroyed a garden and children’s playground in Beit Jala, and 100 fruit and olive trees in Al Walaja, both in the Bethlehem district, to make way for the continued construction of their illegal apartheid wall. Soldiers present used violent force to remove Palestinian, Israeli and international activists who attempted to prevent the destruction. Two Israelis were arrested immediately, and six internationals were later arrested.
In Beit Jala, this is the second time, that this particular garden and playground has been bulldozed. A legal injunction preventing further destruction expired this week. Following the previous demolition, in early March, local Palestinian residents and international supporters rebuilt the playground and planted new olive trees in the garden. All these were today destroyed.
Twelve people, representing six different nationalities, sat in front of the Caterpillar bulldozer as it moved up to the garden. Soldiers forcefully removed all twelve, several of whom sustained minor injuries, and one of whom was hospitalized with suspected broken ribs after his stomach was repeatedly stamped upon by one of the soldiers.
After soldiers forced everyone but the owners of the garden up to the road above, they joined approximately 50 other internationals and local residents to hold a demonstration which lasted into the evening. Overlooking the wreckage of the morning’s destruction, the protesters chanted and sang, asking only to be allowed back down to the house, where bulldozing had finished, to speak with the family there. Late in the afternoon, six activists, from the USA, Italy, Spain, Germany and France, managed to access the house via a back route, bringing food in to the family, before being arrested by Israeli Border Police, accused of illegally entering a Closed Military Zone. Read more.
TomDispatch: A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (But Won’t), In Washington-Speak, ‘Palestinian State’ Means ‘Fried Chicken
From TomDispatch, today: Noam Chomsky’s powerful exploration of why a genuine settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could be reached, if it weren’t for the intransigence of the Israelis -- and Washington. It’s an excerpt, adapted and newly introduced by the author, from his upcoming book, Hopes and Prospects -- Noam Chomsky, “A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (But Won’t), In Washington-Speak, ‘Palestinian State’ Means ‘Fried Chicken.’”
“The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange,” begins Noam Chomsky in his latest post for TomDispatch.com. “For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized (pre-June1967) borders -- with ‘minor and mutual modifications,’ to adopt official U.S. terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.”
What follows is a vivid, powerfully argued explanation of just how -- and why -- both Israel and Washington, have been “acting in tandem to extend and deepen the occupation” of Palestinian lands and increase Israel’s stranglehold on a desperate Gaza, a place it had “no credible pretext” to attack in 2008–9, even though it did “with full U.S. support and illegally using U.S. weapons.”
This post also lays out just why the Obama administration’s policy on Israeli settlement building is anything but new and, even if successful, would evade the most crucial settlement issues. This is Chomsky at his most powerful. Don’t miss it. Read it now.
Protesting Elliott Abrams in Baltimore
On Sunday, April 25, 2010, Human Rights activists, in Baltimore, MD, protested Elliott Abrams. He was a speaker at a Zionist-sponsored symposium on the Middle East, held at the plush Suburban Country Club. Abrams was involved, as an official with the Ronald Reagan Administration, in the Iran-Contra scandal. He was convicted of “withholding information” from the Congress. While Abrams was also working for Reagan, a Far Right regime was in charge in El Salvador. When a massacre occurred in and around the village of El Mozote, in El Salvador, in Dec., 1981, Abrams insisted the claims of a massacre were “propaganda.” Later, events established that “more than 500” people were slaughtered by an army battalion. Mr. Abrams has consistently denied any wrongdoing on his part during his public career. Many others sharply disagree with that view. For some background, check out: The Truth of El Mozote and Elliot Abrams. It's Back! and Elliott Abrams: The Neocon’s Neocon.
U.S. Nuclear Option on Iran Linked to Israeli Attack Threat
By Gareth Porter | IPS
The Barack Obama administration's declaration in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it is reserving the right to use nuclear weapons against Iran represents a new element in a strategy of persuading Tehran that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites is a serious possibility if Iran does not bow to the demand that it cease uranium enrichment.
Although administration officials have carefully refrained from drawing any direct connection between the new nuclear option and the Israeli threat, the NPR broadens the range of contingencies in which nuclear weapons might play a role so as to include an Iranian military response to an Israeli attack.
A war involving Iran that begins with an Israeli attack is the only plausible scenario that would fit the category of contingencies in the document.
The NPR describes the role of U.S. nuclear weapons in those contingencies as a "deterrent". A strategy of exploiting the Israeli threat to attack Iran would seek to deter an Iranian response to such an attack and thus make it more plausible. Read more.
For many years, Israel's open secret is that it's one of eight known nuclear powers, including America and Russia with about 97% of the world's arsenal according to Helen Caldicott in her book "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer." The others are Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel - North Korea a declared but unverified one.
In her January 20, 2009 Canadian Medical Association Journal article titled, "Obama and the opportunity to eliminate nuclear weapons" Caldicott wrote:
"The Cold War is over, but the threat of nuclear war is not. Little progress has been made since 1989 when the Berlin Wall collapsed. In fact, the threat of nuclear annihilation has escalated. In 1972, when 5 nuclear nations....signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, they agreed to rapidly disarm. They have done the opposite," resulting in a greater than ever threat, the Pentagon's new Nuclear Posture Review and US-Russia deal doing nothing to reverse it.
By Stephanie Westbrook
On April 22, as part of the global Earth Day celebrations, homes, offices and public buildings in 14 Israeli cities turned out the lights for one hour in an effort to "increase awareness of the vital need to reduce energy consumption." The Earth Day celebrations included scenes of green fields, wind generators and rainbows projected on the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem, the Green Globes Award ceremony recognizing "outstanding contributions to promote the environment" and a concert in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv powered by generators running on vegetable oil as well as volunteers on 48 bikes pedaling away to produce electricity.
The United Nations refugee agency in Gaza Strip has not built any schools in the past three years because the Israeli blockade prevented the importation of construction materials, a UN official said Thursday.
As a consequence, tens of thousands of Palestinian children have had no opportunity to attend school, said John Ging, the director of the UN refugee work agency operation in the territory. He said there are about 50,000 new born Palestinians a year in the Gaza's 1.5- million population.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza, which began in 2006, tightened during and after the Hamas-Israel conflict in the winter of 2009. In response to repeated UN demands, Israel relaxed the blockade last year with some crossings into Gaza opened for trucks carrying mostly humanitarian and medical supplies.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called the limited number of trucks entering Gaza a 'drop in a bucket.' Ging said the description was correct because of the constant huge scale of needs by the Palestinian population, whose living conditions remained dire. Read more.
With great interest I read the beautiful open letter you penned to the U.S. president that appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and International Herald Tribune on Friday, and which will appear in the New York Times today. From it I learned that you know much about heavenly Jerusalem, but less so about its counterpart here on earth.
An outsider reading your letter would probably have concluded that peace has already taken root in the City of Peace. He would learn that in Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims worship their gods unimpeded, that "all are allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city."
Someone has deceived you, my dear friend. Not only may an Arab not build "anywhere," but he may thank his god if he is not evicted from his home and thrown out onto the street with his family and property. Perhaps you've heard about Arab residents in Sheikh Jarrah, having lived there since 1948, who are again being uprooted and made refugees because certain Jews are chafing from Jerusalem's space constraints.
Those same zealous Jews insist on inserting themselves like so many bones in the throats of Arab neighborhoods, purifying and Judaizing them with the help of rich American benefactors, several of whom you may know personally. Behind the scenes our prime minister and Jerusalem's mayor are pulling the strings of this puppet show while in public deflecting responsibility for this lawlessness and greed. That is the real reason for the "new and old tensions surfacing at a disturbing pace" of which your warn in your letter. Read more.
Obama’s Pressure on Israel Spurs a Jewish Group for Sarah Palin
By Special to the Sun | NY Sun | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
President Obama’s recent demarche designed to increase pressure on Israel is having one immediate impact in the Jewish community — it is hastening the formation of an organization called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.
Plans for the new group are set to be announced on Sunday by a Philadelphia-based journalist and activist named Binyamin Korn, a former executive director of the Zionist Organization of America. The announcement is unlikely to make big news, as the group is embryonic, with an advisory committee of several journalists and academics.
Its aim, however, is to take advantage of the growing alarm within the Jewish community at what Mr. Korn, in an interview this week with the New York Sun, called an “escalation of rhetoric” criticizing the Jewish state. The group also hopes to counter suggestions — by, among others, such opposite figures as the widely read Atlantic magazine blogger Jeffrey Goldberg and the left-of-center, anti-Israel publication Counterpunch — that Mrs. Palin’s support for Israel is animated by “end of days” theology that believes an in-gathering in Israel will precede the apocalypse and the destruction of the Jews. Read more.
On Wednesday afternoon, April 14, six Iowans, Frankie Hughes, Renee Espeland, Mona Shaw, Christine Gaunt, Elton Davis and Brian Terrell visited the Des Moines office of Senator Charles Grassley. The offices of both Senator Grassley and Senator Tom Harkin, located in the Des Moines Federal Building, have been visited at least once a week by activists in concert with the Peaceable Assembly Campaign.
As with previous visits, we came to the senator’s office with a plea that the senators stop all funding of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and convert that spending to meeting human needs at home and abroad.
On this occasion, a letter was delivered to the senator via his office staff, noting that that day was the eve of “tax day” and that President Obama had sent the senate the largest military budget in history. The senator was asked to rise to this historic occasion.
At 4 pm, after much friendly and hopefully fruitful discussion with Grassley’s staff, Chris began a “die-in” and lay quiet and still on the office floor. Shortly after this Inspector Mike Goldberg of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Police (ICE provides “security” for federal buildings) ordered us to leave. Chris, Mona and Brian elected not to obey. Frankie (who at 12 years old had been charged in Juvenile Court for her part in a similar protest in Senator Harkin’s office the week before) and Renee (Frankie’s mom who had been charged with “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” for her daughter’s part in that protest in Senator Harkin’s office) and Elton left. Chris, Mona and Brian remained and were issued citations for federal charges of failure to obey an order to disperse and were escorted out of the building, Chris in a wheelchair as she declined to leave federal property on her own will. Read more.
Working pro bono for Israeli government agencies, the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute (RI) provides "real-time strategic decision-making" support in areas of national security and socioeconomic policy.
Saying global peace and justice groups threaten Israel's legitimacy, its recent series of articles, policy papers, and presentations counterattacked - a combination of damage control and rethink despite legitimate criticism showing Israel delegitimizes itself, and no amount of policy paper makeover will change it. Only Israel can do that, but in its 62 year existence never tried.
In a January 28 brief, RI said Israel:
"face(s) a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. While the ideological framework for this delegitimacy was solidified after the first Durban" World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, "the trend (got) a boost by the perceived lack of (political) progress, coupled with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza," followed by the damning Goldstone Report.
Groups "making the fundamental delegitimacy" claim want to internationally isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state by:
- demonizing it in public protests, the media, on campuses, and through events like the annual Israel Apartheid Week and World Social Forum, asking its affiliates to excommunicate Israel;
- promoting the Global BDS Movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) in areas of the economy, academia, culture, sport, and security; at risk is it achieving equivalency between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa, yet legitimate critics, including Jimmy Carter, accuse Israel of being worse than apartheid; and
- targeting the state and its officials legally, including through the International Criminal Court (ICJ) and universal jurisdiction (UJ) to charge Israeli generals and politicians with war crimes.
Richard Goldstone, a former South African judge, has been effectively banned from attending his grandson's bar mitzvah which is to be held in Johannesburg next month.
Goldstone, who authored a UN report on the war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip, has been barred by the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) from attending the event, South African and Israeli newspapers reported on Thursday.
"A very ugly feature of the response to the Goldstone report has been personal attacks like this on him and his family over a sustained period," Doron Isaacs, a Jewish South African, told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
"This should not be seen as an isolated incident." Read more.
Occupied Palestinians and Israeli Arabs never had rights in a state affording them solely to Jews. Now even they're at risk as democratic freedoms fast erode on their way to extinction; to wit, free expression, a right without which all others are endangered. It includes free speech, a free press, freedom of thought, culture, intellectual inquiry, and the right to challenge government authority peacefully, especially in times of war and cases of injustice, lawlessness, incompetence, and abuses of power.
Israel has no constitution or specific laws guaranteeing equality or free expression. Yet its Basic Laws protect human dignity and liberty as fundamental democratic values, more rhetoric than fact given its persecution of journalist Anat Kam and Haaretz's national security reporter Uri Blau.
Kam (held under house arrest since December) will be tried in mid-April for passing confidential documents she removed while stationed in IDF General Yair Naveh's office during her mandatory military service. Blau, fearing assassination or a judicial lynching, is now hiding in London.
Two (internal security) Shin Bet gag orders (code name "Double-Take") were judicially implemented to silence press discussion, on October 8, 2009 and on January 1, 2010 for 90 days, now partially lifted.
They're on grounds of harming national security, damaging the investigative process, and the ability of prosecutors to prove criminal liability. Part of it is cited in an undated April richardsilverstein.com Tikun Olam article headlined, "Anat Kam Gag Order Published for the First Time," stating:
"....publication about the investigation or that it even exists (is prohibited), and on the judicial discussion of the matter and legal decision rendered by the court which has been and will be conducted....
We seek that the gag prohibits publication even about the application for a gag order, its content, and even the existence of a gag order in this case; and any other publication likely to identify the respondent, witnesses, suspects or others engaged in the investigation, including publications of their images, addresses, or other identifying details."
Israel's population is facing a dire threat: a drastic depopulation, from the use of weapons that leave behind Depleted Uranium (DU). Depleted Uranium leads to the word Omnicidal, as DU kills everything in the food chain, everywhere the wind blows. Experts say the dramatic drop in Israel's sperm count could eliminate their ability to reproduce.
Research by an Israeli doctor shows a significant drop in sperm count level and sperm motility among young Israeli soldiers in recent years. Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move properly toward an egg.
It is attributed to the inhalation of DU aerosolized nano-particles; the dirty results of extra powerful weapons used by Israel and the U.S.
All of that military might as it turns out, could set the stage for a massive Israeli act of population suicide.
A study by Dr. Ronit Haimov-Kokhman released in November, showed a 40-percent decline in the concentration of sperm cells in Israeli sperm donors from 2004 to 2008, compared to samples taken between 1995 and 1999.
Sperm banks in Israel are now reportedly turning away as many as two-thirds of potential donors, due to the low-quality sperm. In the past, around one-third of the potential donors were turned away. Read more.
As with previous discussions of the possibility, Israeli officials today reacted negatively to yesterday’s comment by President Obama in support of seeing Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“There is no room to pressure Israel to join,” insisted Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who added that it was unreasonable to ask Israel to join so long as Iran, a signatory to the NPT remains a “threat.” Read more.
International law protects refugees and asylum seekers, Article I of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees calling them:
"A person who owning to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country."
Post-WW II, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established to help them.
To gain legal protection, they must:
- be outside their country of origin;
- fear persecution;
- be harmed or fear harm by their government or others;
- fear persecution for at least one of the above cited reasons; and
- pose no danger to others.
Jordan's King Says Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon War "Imminent"
By Steve Clemons | Huffington Post
Congressman Adam Schiff hosted a "Members Only" meeting of the 'Congressional Friends of Jordan Caucus' in the US House of Representatives this morning in the CVC Congressional Meeting Room with Jordan's King Abdullah II.
According to one attendee in the session, "the King's message was sobering."
King Abdullah seemed significantly concerned that conflict was about to break out again between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
One congressional source told me that the word the King used was 'imminent' with regard to the potential outbreak of war.
On many levels, this is extremely worrisome. Hezbollah is now integrated into Lebanon's parliament and interacting with countries like France at all levels of government. An Israeli-Lebanon War could preempt the normalization track the United States is pursuing with Syria. Read more.
On October 21, 2008, for the first time in school history, the University of Ottawa (U of O) Faculty of Science, without cause, deregistered undergraduate Marc Kelly, an exemplary student, expelling him for the semester and preventing him from completing the final three courses he needed to graduate. The official email sent him read:
"The Faculty of Science has been asked to deregister you. (This) message is to notify you that you are no longer registered...."
The official reason was the Department of Physics' displeasure over the nature and methods of his valid, legitimate research, twice secretly rejecting it, then informing him through pro forma letters saying, "It is common sense that (your research) has to use physics tools and physics knowledge."
Kelly was never contacted or questioned. When he tried approaching Physics Chair Bela Joos for an explanation, he refused to see him, suggesting this action wasn't over academic performance, but for publicly supporting tenured Professor Denis Rancourt, unfairly fired as explained below and in detail in an early April article titled, "Targeting Academic and Speech Freedoms: The Case of Canadian Professor Denis Rancourt."
In March 2009, it was for his political activism - specifically, courageously supporting oppressed Palestinians, criticizing the university's refusal to academically boycott Israel, and gallantly backing what U of O officials and President Allan Rock opposed - a former Canadian politician, UN ambassador, and staunch Israeli supporter.
Why Are American Jewish Groups So Intent on Defending Illegal Israeli Settlements and Other Human Rights Violations?
Why Are American Jewish Groups So Intent on Defending Illegal Israeli Settlements and Other Human Rights Violations?
by Sydney Levy and Yaman Salahi | MR Magazine | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
A coalition of nearly 20 Jewish groups, ranging from the right-wing David Project and the Jewish National Fund to the liberal J Street, is distributing a misleading statement condemning a Student Senate bill at UC Berkeley. The ground-breaking bill calls for divestment from companies that profit from the perpetuation of the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza. They refer to the bill as "dishonest" and "misleading" and "based on contested allegations."
Yet it is their letter that is both dishonest and misleading. The bill, available here, is based on extensive, footnoted research. Yet this coalition of Jewish groups does not contest any of the facts. Without offering any evidence, they dismiss findings by reputable organizations like the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. Instead of condemning these human rights violations, they prefer to misinform the public by suggesting that it is somehow wrong to "take sides" against universally recognized injustice. In so doing, they effectively defend illegal Israeli settlements and the Israeli military occupation that continues to disrupt everyday features of Palestinian life: education, health care, economic life, and art and culture.
Further, they claim that the Berkeley bill calls on the University "to divest exclusively from Israel." They imply that the bill calls for divestment "from any company doing business with Israel." Read more.
Alarming Racism in Israel
By Stephen Lendman
Mossawa means equality, the Mossawa Advocacy Center promoting it for Israel's Arab citizens - about 1.5 million, comprising 20% of the population. Established in 1997, it "strives to improve the social, economic and political status of (Israeli Arabs), while preserving their national and cultural rights as Palestinians." It also promotes gender equality "in all spheres of society."
Its September 29, 2009 press release headlined the "High Follow-up Committee for Arab citizens (an organization representing Israeli Arabs) call for a general" October 1 one-day work stoppage to protest deteriorating conditions they face, and Israel's failure "to bring justice to the families of the 13 Arab victims that were killed by security forces during the events of October 2000," the start of the second Intifada.
The Committee asked all Arab institutions, organizations and businesses to honor it in opposition to Triangle and Negev area home demolitions; Galilee and Triangle area settlement building; discrimination in allocating resources; police violence, intimidation, racial, and political incitement; and the right of Arab citizens "to exist and live in dignity in their historic homeland."
...What is the reality of democracy in practice? Political systems in all Western societies are tightly controlled by the elites. People with money manipulate the system to their advantage. The masses are simply used as a vote bank to endorse whatever policies are put forward by competing elites belonging to the same class. In the past, feudal elites controlled the system and used it to advance their landed interests; with industrialization and development of the banking sector, a new class of people emerged. Now multinational corporations manipulate the system so that their interests are protected and advanced. People are asked to choose between the same set of elites that represent elite interests, not those of the masses. This has been compared to mice being asked to choose between different colors of cats to rule them: black, white, brown or other....
...An entire industry of lobbyists has also emerged. Lobbying is an expensive undertaking. A small group of people with money is able to manipulate the political system to their advantage. In the US, the Zionist lobby, the armaments industry and more recently the banking industry have all shown how the system is controlled and manipulated. No US leader has the courage to oppose the demands of the Zionist lobby. While millions of Americans are deprived of the right to a decent job, housing and healthcare, billions of dollars are funnelled to the Zionist State of Israel each year. America’s global wars are waged on the backs of ordinary Americans whose sons and daughters die in distant lands so that the armaments industry barons can make tidy profits. The gnomes of banking lost billions of dollars in Ponzi schemes but then demanded that the government bail them out otherwise the entire system would collapse. Nearly $1 trillion were handed to them while millions of people lost their jobs and homes. How were people’s interests safeguarded? The banking executives should have been put on trial for fraud and handed long prison sentences. Instead, in America’s democratic utopia, they gave themselves billions of dollars in bonuses while ordinary people were thrown out of their homes and forced to live in tents.
This is how democracy works. One must express sympathy with ordinary people but this does not put bread on their plates. Read more.
Israel’s Netanyahu Blows Off Obama’s Nuclear Summit
By Juan Cole | Informed Comment | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
The audience at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference is said to have gone wild with applause when Liz Cheney announced the decision of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to attend next week’s nuclear summit, called by President Barack Obama....
Netanyahu’s government recently humiliated Vice President Joe Biden when he was on a state visit to that country recently by announcing the building of 1600 new household units on Palestinian West Bank territory that Israel had unilaterally annexed to its district of Jerusalem. The announcement scuttled the talks with the Palestine Authority, the beginning of which Biden had come to celebrate. The Palestinians, have sensibly decided that they will refuse to negotiate with people who are actively stealing from them the very territory that is at stake in the negotiations. The Israeli slap in the face to Biden caused a subsequent Netanyahu visit to Washington to turn into a fiasco, with President Obama making forceful demands on the wily Netanyahu, and then leaving him on his own devices for dinner....
But there is another possible explanation for Netanyahu staying away from a summit on nuclear security issues in Washington. It is that the Israeli prime minister is protesting a new White House policy of refusing visas to Israeli scientists, engineers and technicians who work at the Dimona Reactor/ nuclear bomb factory. Up until recently they had been free to attend technical and scientific conferences and pursue advanced classes at US universities. The visa denials were reported in the Israeli newspaper Maariv by Uri Binder on Wednesday April 7: “Nuclear Reactor Workers Not Wanted in United States.” It was translated by the USG Open Source Center. The article reports that Israeli workers at the Nuclear Research Center Negev (NRCN) in Dimona are complaining bitterly at the humiliation of being excluded from the US, saying the turn-downs are an “offense” against them “and their families.” (???) Moreover, the Dimona bomb plant is suddenly finding it difficult to import technical components and equipment from the United States. The restrictions, they say, are unprecedented. They also claim a double standard, alleging that the Obama administration is being “lenient” toward Iran. Read more.
Imprisoning Palestinian Children
By Stephen Lendman
In June 2009, Defence for Children International (DCI)/Palestine Section published a report titled, "Palestine Child Prisoners: The systematic and institutionalized ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities."
DCI/Palestine "is a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation and movement (dedicated) to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children," according to international law principles.
Each year, about 700 West Bank children, under 18, are arrested, detained, interrogated, and prosecuted in Israeli military courts, in total about 6,500 since 2000. DCI lawyers represent 30 - 40% of them. The report focuses on their torture and abuse in custody.
Since the 1967 occupation, an estimated 700,000 Palestinian men, women, and children passed through Israel's judicial system, over 150,000 tried in military courts from 1990 - 2006, the remainder handled through plea bargains for lighter sentences. On average, over 9,000 Palestinians a year are affected, including 700 children treated the same as adults.
For nearly 43 years, Israeli military justice operated "almost completely devoid of international scrutiny," giving authorities license to violate human rights and humanitarian law with impunity. As a result, due process and judicial fairness don't apply under a system denying them.
The modern roots go back to Zionism's founding at the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in 1897, its program being:
"Establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Eretz Yisrael."
Five decades later, it was accomplished by dispossessing indigenous Palestinians, denying them the right to their land, creating a new Jewish identity, legitimizing Jews as rightful owners, and using superior military force to assure it against defenseless civilians, no match against their powerful adversary.
Leading up to and after its War of Independence, Israel stayed politically and militarily hard line, negotiating from strength, choosing confrontation over diplomacy, naked aggression as a form of self-defense, and occupation to seize as much of historic Palestine as possible to secure an ethnically pure Jewish state - policies called "Israelification (and) De-Arabization" to preserve a "Jewish character."
In his book, "The Making of Israeli Militarism, Uri Ben- Eliezer says writing about Israeli militarism involves "ventur(ing) into an intellectual minefield," given Jewish history under the Nazis and the perception of Israel as a safe haven. Yet decades of Arab-Israeli conflict produced seven full-scale wars, two Intifadas, and many hundreds of violent incidents.
Ben-Eliezer believes that, beginning in the 1930s, militarism "was gradually legitimized within the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, then within the new state (was) crystallized into a value, a formula, and an ideology." Over time, it acquired a dynamic of its own, then during the 1948 war, it "acquired full legitimacy" and became decisive in setting policy.
Politics and militarism were wedded to create a militaristic view of reality. Thereafter, it was institutionalized to where "the idea of implementing a military solution to (political problems) was not only enshrined as a value in its own right but was also considered legitimate, desirable, and indeed the best option."
Today, militarism is a "cardinal aspect of Israeli society," its quintessential element under the 1986 National Defence Service Law, requiring all Jewish Israeli citizens and permanent residents to serve - men and women, with exemptions only for Orthodox Jews, educational inadequacy, health, family considerations, married or pregnant women or those with children, criminals, and other considerations at the Defense Ministry's discretion. In addition, most Israeli leaders are former high-ranking IDF officers, politics and the military being inextricably connected.
Many have recently questioned just how objective The New York Times' correspondent in Israel and Palestine, Ethan Bronner, can be when he has a son serving in the Israel Defense Forces - the Israeli army. In an article published March 28, Bronner showed readers there was cause for concern.
Bronner refers to illegal settlement expansion in East Jerusalem simply as "Jerusalem housing." He quotes Americans and Israelis, many speaking about Palestinians, but not one Palestinian. He includes a quote from Moshe Yaalon, a senior Israeli politician, stating that "the belief of land for peace has failed. We got land in return for terror." Bronner could have asked a senior Palestinian government minister what he thinks the Palestinians got after over forty years of occupation, in return for recognizing Israel's right to exist, and after nearly twenty years of negotiations. Bur he did not.
The New York Times sees nothing wrong with its coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict being shaped by journalists such as Bronner and their stridently pro-Israel columnist, Thomas L. Friedman. Nor does the paper see a conflict of interest in Bronner having a son in the Israeli army; the Times believes this will not affect his coverage of its actions in the occupied territories. Read more.
Israeli youth spread message of peace with Portland peers
By Larry Bingham | The Oregonian | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
The teens and tweens joking and laughing in the dining room at the YMCA's Camp Collins Saturday afternoon looked like any other damp-haired Oregon kids in their faded jeans, scruffy hoodies and muddy shoes.
Unless you knew half of them were visiting from Israel, you wouldn't think something unusual was taking place over turkey-and-cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. At nearly every table, Israeli Arabs sat beside Jewish schoolmates -- pairings that would be unusual in their highly segregated home country.
Which is why 21 youths -- 15 girls and six boys primarily in middle-school grades -- are spending roughly two weeks in the Portland area spreading a message of peace. They come from a school in Jerusalem that aims to integrate two groups violently opposed.
The Camp Collins visitors, who spent the morning and afternoon on a challenge course in rainy woods unlike any in Israel, attend a school operated by the Hand in Hand Center, a program started 13 years ago by Portland native Lee Gordon. Read more.