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Israeli criminal navy attacks humanitarian ships in international waters. Reports of 10-16 humanitarian activists killed and 50-60 injured. Ships taken to Haifa to avoid press at Ashdod. By now you have probably heard of this atrocity. CodePink, WIAMEP, DCMetroBDS, ANSWER and others are asking all who can to assemble at the Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Drive NW (VAN NESS METRO STOP) at 3pm TODAY, moving to the White House at 5pm.
If you can join either of both of these protests, please assemble with us. (On board were Ambassador Edward Peck from Chevy Chase, Huwaida from DC, Col. Ann Wright, and an elderly Holocaust survivor). We have a communication blackout on how they are doing. One of the ships was an American flagship.)
Use Memorial Day to memorialize all the brave activists, show our outrage, and let the world know we are not sleeping! PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AS WIDELY AS YOU CAN. Call Joan to add your organization's support for these actions.
Joan Stallard ------------ Nora Bawa
202-248-2093 home ----------- 202 244-5357
Call From Gaza For Global Response To Killings On The Freedom Flotilla | Press Release
By Sarah Irving | Gaza, Palestine | May 31, 2010
We, Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and International activists, call on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.
We salute the courage of all those who have organized this aid intervention and demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. We offer our sincerest condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones in the attack.
By sailing directly to Gaza, outside of Israeli waters, with cargo banned illegally by Israel, such as the 10,000 tonnes of badly needed concrete, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies, the flotilla is exercising international law and upholding article 33 of the Geneva Convention which clearly states that collective punishment is a crime against humanity.
By Linda Milazzo
For eight hellish years, Bush and Cheney ruled America by fear. Images of Osama Bin Laden were drawn on us like weapons. Terror. Terrorism. Terrorists. War. Fear. Warfare. This was the Bush/Cheney mantra that kept Americans in despair.
Today, because of their tactics, our nation is in tatters, with wars not jobs, bombs not books, and warfare not health care. America lacks the resources to confront immediate dangers that have nothing to do with bin Laden: hurricanes, oil spills, floods, tornadoes, unfunded education, decaying infrastructure, exorbitant health costs, corporate greed, and more. Because of partisan politics and hawks like California Congresswoman Harman, more dollars are spent on unending wars than are spent on education. Perhaps you've seen this expenditure chart based on our 2009 taxes:
- Contact the White House
- Leave a comment on White House Facebook Page!
- Leave a comment on Barack Obama's Facebook Page!
- Leave a comment on Joe Biden's Facebook Page!
- US State Dept: (202) 647-4000
- Secretary of State Clinton: (202) 647-5291
- Israeli Embassy, Washington, DC: (202) 364-5500
- International listing of other Israeli embassies
MONDAY 31 MAY 2.00PM
Calling such a group "Israeli Defense Forces" makes as much sense as calling the occupiers of Iraq and Afghanistan the "Department of Defense". What the hell are any of these people DEFENDING?
Pacific Free Press has a report of possibly three dead. Gaza Freedom March says three dead and 30 wounded. Haaretz has this headline: "Report: Several casualties in clash between Gaza aid flotilla, Israel Navy" but if it related to anything in the article, that part of the article has been censored.
Witness Gaza has Tweets that include:
Report from IHH boat..two killed, 31 wounded. No verification but medical emergency can be seen from ship
Israeli soldiers shooting at people, all over the Turkish boat. Watch IHH streaming video
Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed civilians.
Live images from the IHH ship, wounded civilians: http://www.livestream.com/insaniyardim
Several casualties in clash between Gaza aid #flotilla, Israel Navy: http://bit.ly/9ArSa0
Strenger than Fiction / In order to change its image, Israel must change its policy
Saying Israel is progressive and creative doesn't work when its politicians focus on victimhood and aggression.
By Carlo Strenger | Haaretz
One of the Foreign Ministry's most important projects over the last years has been to research how Israel can rebrand and reposition itself in the world. The project has involved first class researchers in Israel and abroad, and I have been very impressed by the quality of the data and the analysis.
The first conclusion of the 'Branding Israel' project has been that Israel needs to focus on the young global elites, because these are today's opinion shapers, and tomorrow's political leaders. These elites, as research by economist Richard Florida has shown, and my own research confirms, possess liberal and progressive world views. They are repelled by bigotry, violence and intolerance, and they utterly reject political and military repression.
So far, the Israeli narrative has been governed by themes like victimhood and the struggle for survival. Accordingly, Israel’s image has been built primarily around the army and has always centered on the conflict with the Arab world – as a result, Israel is perceived as aggressive, withdrawn, without joie de vivre, and therefore negative. Read more.
Professor Jeremy Salt teaches political science at Ankara, Turkey's Bilkent University. He's also the author of "The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands." On January 9, 2009, during Israel's war on Gaza, he wrote "A Message to the brave Israeli Airmen," asking:
- "What's it like, firing missiles at people you can't see?
- Does that help, that you cannot see who you are killing?
- does it ease your conscience that you are not deliberately targeting civilians," when, in fact, you are under Israel's Dahiya Doctrine to use enough "disproportionate force (to inflict) damage and met(e) out punishment" against civilian infrastructure, "economic interests and the centers of civilian power," willfully slaughtering noncombatant men, women and children;
- "How does this sit on your conscience?
- Do you sleep well at night or do you have nightmares of the women and children you killed in their homes, in their beds, in their kitchens and living rooms, in their schools and mosques?"
Do you really believe they threaten your security - farmers in their fields, mothers with their children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled?
Do you ever question what you've done and why? Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong? Will you follow orders blindly and do it again and again, mindless about crimes of war and against humanity you, your superiors, and government officials are accountable for under fundamental international law?
"Brave" Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel have acted lawlessly for decades, including committing appalling human rights crimes - a snapshot of some victims follows.
Retired diplomat Ann Wright and 85 year old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein are onboard the flotilla along with 800 other activists. See press release below:
Gaza Freedom March Prepares Emergency Response for Freedom Flotilla | May 28, 2010 | Livestream
As the remaining boats of the Freedom Flotilla left for Gaza yesterday, Israel continues to conduct training exercises to stop the convoy "at any cost." The Freedom Flotilla is expected to arrive at its destination within 48 hours. A violent response from Israel will breathe new life into the Palestine solidarity movement, drawing attention to the blockade. Already in response to Israel's publicized military threats, the Gaza Freedom March, a coalition focused on breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza, prepares to launch a worldwide emergency campaign consisting of protests, hunger strikes, public relations, and government pressure in the event the peaceful flotilla is attacked or high-jacked by Israel.
Following the technical failure experienced by one of ships from Greece, its passengers have been successfully transferred to the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara. Eight ships are now en route to Gaza with over 10,000 tons of medical, construction, and school supplies. The flotilla includes some 800 passengers, including 35 MP's from 15 countries, 20 newscasters, 11 Gaza Freedom Marchers, and various artists and human rights activists.
Israel has threatened to stop the peaceful flotilla from reaching the shores of Gaza in violation of international law. Hedy Epstein, an 85 year old Holocaust survivor is on board along with retired US diplomat Ann Wright, Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and peace activists from more than 20 countries.
The Freedom Flotilla has issued a rebuttal to Israel's propaganda, which I send you below:
Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza. | Press Release
For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. Earlier this month, John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel’s illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out ‘half’ of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.
Latest news indicate Israel WILL stop the Free Gaza flotilla carrying 10 000 tones of urgent humanitarian supplies Israel has been banning from Gaza, unless we STOP them from doing so.
We need to act URGENTLY:
1 - Schedule protests in your local area. There are already protests scheduled in US and Canada.
2 - Write to your elected officials
3 - Contact the media - translate the Free Gaza press releases and distribute them widely in your lists
4 - Write to EU Foreign Affairs head Catherine Ashton - firstname.lastname@example.org
These two websites contain all the information you need to know - SAVE them in your favorites:
Palestinians in Gaza count on us to break the siege, if we could not join the brave activists on the boat the very least we can do is to urge politicians to uphold international law and stop the Israeli pirates!
This writer's September 21, 2009 article titled "Goldstone Commission Gaza Conflict Findings and Reactions" explained the following:
On April 3, 2009, a UN press release stated:
"The Human Rights Council (HRC) today announced the appointment of Richard J. Goldstone....to lead an independent (four-person) fact-finding mission to investigate international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip....The team will be supported by staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights....Today's appointment comes following the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council....to address 'the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip."
Established by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, the HRC's 47 member states are "responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe."
As a former South African Constitutional Court justice, Goldstone is a respected jurist. He also served as chief prosecutor for the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals and is a Hebrew University board member. As a Jew, he promised to be fair and even-handed, and "hope(s) that the findings....will make a meaningful contribution to the peace process....and will provide justice for the victims."
At the time, Israel refused to cooperate, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Yigal Palmor, saying: "This committee is instructed not to seek out the truth but to single out Israel for alleged crimes." He then accused the Council of having "practically (no) credibility at all."
On September 15, the HRC released the Commission's 575 page report, titled Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.
It covered Operation Cast Lead, the Gaza siege, the impact of Israel's West Bank military occupation, and much more including:
I am honored to be a part of the latest international citizen effort to break the Israeli and Egyptian governments’ siege of Gaza. This week, hundreds of persons from 20 countries will challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in an eight ship flotilla.
An international coalition composed of Free Gaza Movement, European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, and the Turkish non-governmental organization Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) is sending three cargo ships and five passenger vessels to Gaza from Ireland, Greece and Turkey.
While the citizens mobilize, their governments are receiving intense diplomatic pressure from the Israeli government. On Monday, May 17, 2010, Naor Gilon, the Israeli Foreign Ministry deputy director general, told the ambassadors of Greece, Ireland, Turkey, and Sweden that the attempt to break Israel’s blockage Gaza " is a provocation and a breach of Israeli law," and that "Israel has no intention of allowing the flotilla to enter Gaza," according to a ministry statement.
Arabic-language news station Al-Hurra reported that “about half of the Israeli naval forces will participate in an operation that was approved by the cabinet” and that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will supervise the operation. Israel will prevent the boats from reaching Gaza "at any price," an Israeli security source told the Ma'an news agency.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) provides weekly snapshots of Israeli killings, targeted assassinations, arrests, home demolitions, destroyed farmland, assaults on peaceful protesters, community incursions, home invasions, and more besides full-scale attacks at its discretion - a decades-long onslaught against 1.5 million Gazans and over 2.5 million West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians.
On May 11, a recent assault occurred in the West Bank's Lubban Al-Sharqiya village when settlers attacked a local mosque, set it ablaze and gutted it. Israeli fire-fighters blamed it on an electrical short-circuit, later investigations showing arson was responsible, what Palestinians knew all along.
A village spokesperson said the mosque was undergoing renovations, its electricity turned off in the section where the fire broke out. Other villagers heard cars arrive around 3AM and saw settlers entering the mosque. They tore down curtains to start the blaze, stacked Qurans next to a bathroom, and arranged shoes on the pile in the shape of a Star of David to desecrate them and the mosque.
Besides security force assaults, attacks like this happen often against Palestinian homes, businesses, vehicles, farmland, and livestock - even children on their way to school. Rarely are charges ever brought, giving settlers license to commit crimes with impunity, including cold blooded murder.
Last Thursday, May 20th, the House voted 410 - 4 to pass HR 5327, giving Israel an additional $205 million in military aid so that they could purchase an "Iron Dome" missile defense system. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c111:2:./temp/~c11180CEBa::
This is on top of the $3 billion that we will be giving them this year as part of a 10-year package.
Here's just one of the "findings" in the bill:
"(4) Regional stability and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires that Israel can ensure the safety of its population against rocket, missile, and other threats."
Oh, I get it now! So really by giving Israel $3,205,000,000 in military aid, we're really helping the Palestinians be safer and more secure. Right.
Dirty Linen Gets Intel Chief Fired
By Ray McGovern
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of how 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab soiled his underpants with a makeshift bomb over Detroit last Christmas hung out so much dirty linen on the crowded clothes line of the U.S. intelligence community that it was an easy call to get rid of Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair.
The Senate committee’s findings released on Tuesday showed the community in all-too-familiar disarray — adrift with no helmsman strong, savvy and courageous enough to bang heads together to get the far-flung intelligence bureaucracies to cooperate. The report is a damning catalogue of misfeasance and mistakes.
Two Italian Supermarket Chain Suspend Sales of Products From Settlements In the Occupied Palestinian Territories
TWO ITALIAN SUPERMARKET CHAINS SUSPEND SALES OF PRODUCTS FROM SETTLEMENTS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES | Press Release
An important success for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid
Ethnic Cleansing & Genocide Defined In Less Then 100 Words
By Jeff Prager | Facebook
Of Gaza’s 640 schools, 18 were completely destroyed and 280 damaged in Israeli attacks. Two-hundred-and-fifty students and 15 teachers were killed.
Of 122 health facilities assessed by the World Health Organization, 48 per cent were damaged or destroyed.
Ninety per cent of households in Gaza still experience power cuts for 4 to 8 hours per day due to Israeli attacks on the power grid and degradation caused by the blockade.
Forty-six per cent of Gaza’s once productive agricultural land is out of use due to Israeli damage to farms and Israeli-declared free fire zones. Gaza’s exports of more than 130,000 tonnes per year of tomatoes, flowers, strawberries and other fruit have fallen to zero.
That "much of Gaza still lies in ruins," a coalition of international aid agencies stated recently, "is not an accident; it is a matter of policy". This policy has been clear all along and it has nothing to do with Israeli "security".
It's called Ethnic Cleansing & Genocide and just like Israel, I lied, there's more than 100 words.
Charles M. Young
In the spring of 1994, I went to the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York where I encountered a large red-faced man with white hair. He had the look and manner of Santa Claus, minus the beard, and he was standing behind a table from which he was selling audio and video cassettes of lectures by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and other prominent anarchists, socialists, communists and even some vaguely progressive Democrats. He was also selling photocopies of an interview I had done with Noam for Rolling Stone.
“Hey,” I said, “that’s my interview with Noam Chomsky!”
“Cool,” said the large, red-faced man. “Would you mind if I crash on your couch tonight? I came all the way from Maine and I don’t have a place to stay.”
The University of San Francisco School of Law Center for Law and Global Justice and the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic, in association with the Berkeley-based Human Rights Advocates, work for global abolition of juvenile life without parole (LWOP) sentencing, calling it inappropriate for children and illegal.
In November 2007, they published a report titled, "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison," making their case, saying:
- children given LWOP are "condemned to die in prison;"
- dispensed in adult courts, they ignore the "less(er) culpability of juvenile offenders; their ineptness at navigating the criminal justice system; their potential for rehabilitation, reintegration into society," and known child development principles "established through national standards and international human rights law;"
- only two countries impose LWOP sentences - the United States and Israel, America having 99.9% of all cases; however, nine others permit them, but no known cases exist in - Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Brunei, Cuba, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, and Sri Lanka; two other countries, South Africa and Tanzania, abandoned the practice;
- Black children are ten times more likely to get LWOP than while ones, and in California it's 20 - 1; in other words, the darker one's skin, the greater the risk for harsh sentencing, and if rich, the chance is practically nil;
- LWOP "violates international human rights standards of juvenile justice;" Article 37 of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) prohibits sentencing children under 18 to LWOP or death; imprisoning them should be a last resort for "the shortest appropriate period of time;" all countries ratified it except Somalia and America;
- Article 24 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) requires children to be protected by their status as minors, and under the UN Convention Against Torture, LWOP amounts to cruel, unusual or degrading treatment.
The construction of sections of a controversial segregated road network in the West Bank planned by Israel for Palestinians – leaving the main roads for exclusive use by settlers – is being financed by a US government aid agency, a map prepared by Palestinian researchers has revealed.
USAid, which funds development projects in Palestinian areas, is reported to have helped to build 114km of Israeli-proposed roads, despite a pledge from Washington six years ago that it would not assist in implementing what has been widely described by human rights groups and the Israeli media as Israel’s “apartheid road” plan.
To date the agency has paid for the construction of nearly a quarter of the segregated road network put forward by Israel in 2004, said the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ).
The roads are designed to provide alternative routes to connect Palestinian communities, often by upgrading circuitious dirt tracks or by building tunnels under existing routes. Read more.
Ameer Makhoul is an Israeli citizen, human rights activist, and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah NGO, engaged in "strengthen(ing) and empower(ing) the Palestinian people within the Green Line (1.5 million Israeli citizens by) promoting the development of Palestinian civil society and advocating for political change, economic and social development."
He's also chair of the Public Committee for the Defence of Political Freedom within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel.
On May 10, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury, Amos Harel and Asshel Pfeffer headlined, "Two Israeli Arabs arrested on suspicion of spying, contact with Hezbollah," saying:
"Reports of the arrests circulated widely on unofficial websites and blogs, but government censors had banned the Israeli press from reporting them until the gag order was lifted late Sunday night," May 9.
Makhoul's brother, Assam, a former Hadash MK, "said the family had no details of the investigation but they suspected authorities had singled out the activist because of his campaigns against the government's 'racist and discriminatory policies' against Israeli Arabs."
He's well known as a regular participant in conferences on the topic and for actively criticizing government policies.
Hussein Abu Hasin, a lawyer familiar with these type cases, told Haaretz that Israeli espionage charges are so vague and wide-ranging that incidental Internet chats or phone conversations with anyone about anything might be used as a pretext to prosecute for communicating with someone in an "enemy state." Hasin called these laws "draconian," and in the case of Makhoul:
"sparked outrage among Arab organizations and rights groups, who claim that (he and other activists are) disappeared from their homes in the middle of the night. (The) courts (are also) at the beck and call of security services, who often bar suspects from visits with lawyers or from obtaining legal counsel."
Israel's naval forces are allegedly in training to prepare to seize eight boats scheduled to dock in the Gaza Strip on 24 May from Europe, Arabic-language media reported on Wednesday.
"About half of the Israeli naval forces will participate in an operation that was approved by the cabinet. [Israeli] Defense Minister Ehud Barak will supervise the operation," an Israeli official told the Arabic-language satellite TV station Al-Hurra.
An Israeli security source told Ma'an that authorities will prevent the arrival of the boats "at any price."
The Freedom Fleet is scheduled to set sail from the UK, Greece and Turkey. The European Free Gaza campaign said Israeli authorities informed them that the flotillas would be prevented from docking in Gaza.
The boats will be loaded with prefabricated homes, cement, and medicine and will be accompanied by 600 individuals in a bid to break the siege on Gaza. Read more.
General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie'
Israeli war hero accused of suppressing testimony that could reveal what really happened to Gaza activist
By Ben Lynfield | General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie' | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
But according to a military police investigator's report which has now emerged, the "commander" of the D-9 bulldozer was giving testimony when an army colonel dispatched by Major-General Almog interrupted proceedings and cut short his evidence. The military police investigator wrote: "At 18:12 reserve Colonel Baruch Kirhatu entered the room and informed the witness that he should not convey anything and should not write anything and this at the order of the general of southern command."
The commander was a reservist named Edward Valermov. He was in the bulldozer with its driver. In his testimony before he was ordered to stop, he told military police investigators that he had not seen Ms Corrie before she was wounded. Alice Coy, a former ISM volunteer activist who was near Ms Corrie during the incident said in an affidavit to the court that "to the best of my knowledge the bulldozer driver could see Rachel while pushing earth over her body."
Seven years after the American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, evidence has emerged which appears to implicate Israel's Gaza commander at the time, in an attempt to obstruct the official investigation into her death.
The alleged intervention of Major-General Doron Almog, then head of Israel's southern command, is documented in testimony taken by Israeli military police a day after Ms Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003. The hand written affidavit, seen by The Independent, was submitted as evidence during a civil law suit being pursued by the Corrie family against the state of Israel.
Ms Corrie, who was 23 when she died, was critically wounded when a bulldozer buried her with sandy soil near the border between Gaza and Egypt. The American, wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and carrying a megaphone, was among a group of volunteers from the anti-occupation International Solidarity Movement who over a period of three hours on that day had sought to block the demolition by Israel of Palestinian homes.
The Israeli military has maintained that its troops were not to blame for the killing of Ms Corrie and that the driver of the bulldozer had not seen her. It accused Ms Corrie and the ISM of behaviour that was "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous". Three days after Ms Corrie's death, the US state department announced that the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had promised the US President George Bush that the Israeli government would undertake a "thorough, credible and transparent investigation". Read more.
Israeli Hypocrisy: Talking Peace While Preparing for War and Institutionalizing Dire Conditions in Gaza
On May 8, Haaretz Service and Reuters headlined, "PLO executive committee approves new peace talks with Israel," saying:
"The Palestinian Authority on Saturday got the green light to restart peace talks with Israel after the PLO's executive voted to approve indirect negotiations," excluding Hamas - the legitimate government after Palestinians overwhelmingly elected them in January 2006. Instead, coup d'etat leader (whose presidential term expired in January 2009) Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will participate, PLO spokesperson Yasser Abed Rabbo saying that "negotiations will take one form: shuttling between President Abu Mazen (Abbas) and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu." Talks have now begun.
Obama's Middle East special envoy, former Senator and Walt Disney chairman, George Mitchell will do the honors, trying to force Palestinian negotiators to accede to Israeli demands and declare success, until inevitable new violence forces a restart of the whole process at some future time. The charade continues.
Recurrent negotiations have gone on for decades, always with the same result. Rita Mae Brown (in her book "Sudden Death"), and some say Albert Einstein, called it insanity, or the practice of "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." In this case, results are what Israel predetermines, Palestinians having no say whatever about a process designed to fail.
...The report reveals why the 2010 Non-Proliferation Review Conference at the UN – like the GAO – isn’t really capable of challenging the true drivers of Middle East nuclear proliferation. “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” is a report so unique and noble in intent that there will probably never be another like it. While it leaves unexplored the ongoing presence, influence, and effect of Israel’s lobbyists working at the center of U.S. presidential administrations, for concerned Americans the GAO provides a snapshot of a moment in time before their Congress, aspiring politicians, and mid-level management of government agencies all “got the memo.”
In 2010 that unwritten memo reads something like this: Crimes committed in the name of Israel – no matter how audacious – will never be properly investigated, let alone prosecuted… so don’t waste your time.
...But the 11-year gap “obviously hampered” the effort. The GAO revealed that the DOE’s nuclear materials safeguards, which before 1967 tracked the monetary value rather than the precise mass of the uranium, were seriously flawed. NUMEC claimed key records covering a period of heavy uranium loss were destroyed during a “labor dispute” in 1964. NUMEC paid a $1.1 million fine for 206 pounds of missing uranium in 1966, which closed the DOE case. NUMEC also hired away one of the DOE’s chief on-site investigators to enhance the appearance of serious materials control and accountability. The GAO found that even by 1978 the FBI had not contacted key individuals in the affair. An FBI agent-in-charge told the GAO it did not investigate the source of funds to pay NUMEC’s DOE fine anticipating “legal difficulties.” So the GAO investigated the matter, placing its own telephone calls to Mellon Bank.
The GAO report is highly critical of the CIA: “From interviews with a former CIA official and with former and current officials and staff of DOE and the FBI we concluded that the CIA did not fully cooperate with DOE or the FBI in attempting to resolve the NUMEC matter.” The report is inconclusive about exactly what happened at NUMEC, but not about the agencies involved in the investigation through 1978. “We believe a timely, concerted effort on the part of these three agencies would have greatly aided and possibly solved the NUMEC diversion questions, if they desired to do so.” Read more.
From TomDispatch this afternoon: Signs are everywhere that change is in the wind when it comes to Obama administration policy towards Israel and the Palestinians -- but behind the rumors of change lies a deeper choice for Washington -- Ira Chernus, "Blood or Treasure? Obama's Crucial Choice in the Middle East."
"Writing about U.S. Middle East policy used to be a boring job," begins TomDispatch regular and professor of religious studies Ira Chernus in his latest post. "You’d start out with 'The U.S. supports Israel’s stand on . . .' and then just fill in the details. No longer. Many pundits claim to smell the winds of policy change blowing from the White House. Every word about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the president or his advisors is now parsed by journalists like so many soothsayers studying oracle bones."
For the first time in a long while, change does seem to be in the wind (and the rumor mills) of Washington, when it comes to American policy toward Israel. There are hints that President Obama is threatening to move toward trying to impose, or at least press, a peace plan on both the Israelis and the Palestinians; the previously unacknowledged Israeli nuclear arsenal is now a topic of conversation here; and the Israelis are increasingly anxious.
Always a canny observer, Chernus lays out the sorts of actions Washington would have to take to involve both the Israelis and the Palestinians in a genuine peace process -- and then he digs deeper, behind the rumors and anxieties of the moment, to explore a choice that Washington will have to make, which he sums up in a phrase President Obama used recently: Blood or treasure?
Will Washington try to organize a peace process around its own imperial interests (and its campaign against Iran) or will it do so around the issue of saving human lives -- American, Israeli, and Palestinian? As he carefully explains, it's an either/or situation. Both are not an option. He concludes: "The brewing debate about U.S. Middle East policy could, and should, spawn a larger debate here on the question: Is empire the path to national security or the greatest threat to national security? Which do we value more: blood or treasure?" This is a stirring look at a changing situation. Don't miss it. Read it now.
We're almost ready. Our vessels are being loaded with construction materials, specialized medical equipment, generators, pre-fab homes, water filtration units, and school supplies for the children. Israel allows only 81 items into Gaza, forcing the people to use tunnels to bring in supplies, barely keeping their economy at subsistence level.
When asked why they refuse to allow supplies into Gaza, Israeli authorities stated, “If we disclose what is allowed in and why...it would damage our national security and harm foreign relations.” BBC, May 3, 2010
Therefore, we intend to open a sea route that will belong to the Palestinians. Gaza is the only territory on the Mediterranean that has no right to its sea, no right to fish more than a mile off its coast, no right to send out its flowers, vegetables and fruit for trade to other nations. Israel’s cruel blockade has shut 1.5 million Palestinians into an open-air prison, allowing only a trickle of aid through.
We cannot stand by and watch the people slowly starve and lose hope. Since our governments appear to be impotent, we civilians from around the world are stepping up instead.
We carry the hopes and dreams and prayers of thousands who have supported us over these past ten months, and we take those well wishes with us to the people of Gaza.
So for the next few weeks as we finish loading supplies and passengers, we will upload messages and well wishes like this one. Watch for them and send your own wish to us. Become a part of this citizen’s initiative by joining our Newslist, TWITTER account, Facebook page and YouTube list, all on the front page of our website.
Write to your representatives demanding they put Israel on notice for our safety and the safety of our cargo.
Then watch our journey from the live feed on our website at www.freegaza.org beginning soon.