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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.
Did any Arabs save Jews during the Holocaust? That's the question author Robert Satloff had in mind when he set out to discover the lost, true stories of survival, courage and betrayal in Arab lands during World War II. The history of the Holocaust in Europe is well-documented, but the history of what happened to the Jewish people of North Africa has been mostly forgotten, even in the very towns and cities where it occurred. The truth is remarkable: not only did Jews in Arab lands suffer many of same elements of persecution as Jews in Europe -- arrests, deportations, confiscations and forced labor -- but there were also hopeful stories of "righteous" Arabs reaching out to protect them. Visit the website.
Israeli planes and helicopters mounted at least seven missile attacks on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday, destroying what a military spokesman described as Palestinian munitions sites.
Four air strikes blew up two caravans near the town of Khan Younis, witnesses and Hamas officials said. There were no casualties.
A fifth missile hit a cheese factory in Gaza City, setting it on fire, witnesses and Hamas officials said. Hospital officials said two children were slightly wounded by flying debris.
Helicopters struck twice in the central refugee camp of Nusseirat, destroying a metal foundry. There were no casualties.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the attacks, saying they had targeted two weapons-manufacturing plants and two arms caches. Read more.
End Israel’s U.S. Allowance So Both Can Gain: Celestine Bohlen
Commentary by Celestine Bohlen | Business Week
The crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations isn’t going away. If anything, it keeps getting worse, precisely because it has exposed and crystallized a gap between the goals, expectations and even the national interests of these old allies.
The basic relationship may still be “rock solid,” as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it recently, but it is being tugged in opposite directions. Maybe now is the time to take money out of the equation.
Israel will get $2.7 billion in military aid from the U.S. this year -- or 18 percent of Israel’s military budget. By 2013, that will lock into an annual level of $3.15 billion for five years. It also has almost $4 billion outstanding in available U.S. loan guarantees, left over from $9 billion extended at former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s request in 2003.
That makes Israel the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world, if you don’t count Iraq and Afghanistan. It also benefits from some of the easiest terms: Unlike other recipients, which must buy 100 percent American, Israel can spend about one quarter of its U.S. military aid at home, which amounts to a significant boost to its defense industry.
The problem with this kind of largess is that it muddies the picture, both for Israel and the U.S. The best thing for the relationship would be for the U.S. to cut Israel’s allowance. Read more.
Discharged soldiers sue for millions over Anthrax experiment
By Vered Luvitch | Ynetnews
Dozens of soldiers who took part in experiment in early 1990s aimed at determining efficacy of Anthrax vaccine demand $80,000 each in damages. 'Physical harm was passed down to our children,' plaintiff says
Sixty-four former IDF soldiers are suing the Defense Ministry for NIS 18 million ($4.8 million) over what they claim is damage caused to them during Anthrax vaccine experiments in the early 1990s.
The experiments, which were meant to determine the efficacy of an Anthrax vaccine, were carried out in light of what was then defined at the time as the "strategic threat of a surprise biological attack facing Israel."
Nicknamed "Omer 2," the experiments included 716 IDF soldiers picked out of a pool of 4,000.
The lawsuit, filed with the Petah Tikva District Court, is based on the principle according to which anyone who decides to take part in an experiment must do so willingly and after considering the risks involved.
As part of the lawsuit the soldiers are demanding that the state reveal the ingredients of the serum that was given to them, in addition to NIS 300,000 (about $80,000) in damages to each plaintiff for mental anguish and emotional distress resulting from the involuntary use of one's body and medical negligence.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs cited an Israel Medical Association (IMA) report according to which the experiments were unjustifiable. Read more.
CASE AGAINST GAZA PROTESTORS UNRAVELLING
The attempt to criminalise scores of people who demonstrated last January against the occupation of Gaza is running into trouble. Last week, the police effectively dropped charges against Jake Smith, one of many charged with violent disorder, admitting that the evidence was faulty.
Jake's defence lawyers had found film of him being assaulted by police before the incident for which he was falsely charged (watch video).
So far, all the protestors who have pleaded not guilty have been found innocent. Another defendant had her sentence reduced significantly on appeal.
A picture of police violence and intimidation is now developing and Stop the War is part of the campaign to have all charges dropped against the protestors. Click here for background and updates.
Take Action: DC! Tomorrow, March 30th - International Day of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel
When: March 30, 5 PM
Where: Lord & Taylor, 5255 Western Ave., Northwest Washington DC 20015; next to Friendship Heights metro
Tuesday, March 30th, 5pm, join us in marking the international day of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We will be protesting against the Israeli cosmetic company AHAVA at the Lord and Taylor’s store in Washington DC. AHAVA is made in a settlement using Palestinian resources taken from the Dead Sea. The address of Lord and Taylors is 5255 Western Ave Northwest Washington DC 20015. It is next to the Friendship Heights metro. Spa attire (bathrobes and towels) are recommended but not required. We will provide signs and fliers, but if you would like to make your own sign, messages could include: AHAVA: Made by Israeli Profiteers in Occupied Palestine; Have a Heart--Don't Sell AHAVA Cosmetics; Don't buy AHAVA Cosmetics; Settlement Products Kill Hope for Peace; There is no love in Occupation.
We’ll meet in the underground parking lot of the store. If you are planning to come, please call Medea Benjamin at 415 235 6517. Thank you and hope to see you there.
This YouTube video is from a conference at Hebrew University sponsored by the Truman Institute at which Ambassador Ryan Crocker made extensive remarks on the present situation in Iraq. It took place when preliminary results of the election had been issued but the final results were not known. Crocker's remarks take place about 20 minutes into the recording.
Its web site (thelawfareproject.org) calls Lawfare:
"The use of the law as a weapon of war."
Provided they contradict no others, laws are sacrosanct, especially fundamental international ones like the UN Charter, Four Geneva Conventions, their Common Article 3, the Rome Statute, Nuremberg Tribunal and judgment, Genocide Convention, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many others - ones Israel and America are sworn to uphold but consistently violate with impunity.
Lawfare Project (LP) claim: "The abuse of the law and legal systems (is used) for strategic or military ends."
International law is clear and unequivocal. The UN Charter explains under what conditions violence and coercion by one state against another are justified. Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use, and Article 51 allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."
In other words, justifiable self-defense is permitted, and Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33(1) absolutely prohibit all unilateral threats or use of force not allowed under Article 51 or authorized by the Security Council. Even then, under Fourth Geneva, civilians are "protected persons" off-limits to attack. Doing it is a war crime.
Claim: Law is used to "thwart free speech about issues of national security and public concern."
Several residents living east of Khan Younis in Gaza were seen leaving their homes Saturday, witnesses said, following clashes a day earlier that left two Israeli soldiers and three Palestinians dead.
Meanwhile, four Israeli tanks and a bulldozer rolled in to Gaza, east of Khan Younis, early Saturday, witnesses told CNN. The military vehicles left soon after they arrived, the witnesses added.
The IDF said that "after yesterday's events, IDF continued to operate in the area and removed infrastructure used by the terrorists to carry out the attack yesterday."
The Israeli military would not confirm the report that tanks had entered and then withdrew from Gaza.
Later, Israel Defense Forces helicopters and drones were seen and heard around 7:10 p.m. (12:10 p.m. ET) Saturday above northern Gaza, Khan Younis, and off the Gazan coast, the witnesses said. The IDF would not comment when asked if the Israel's air force was carrying out an operation in the area. Read more.
By Stephanie Westbrook
The theme of this year's annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was 'Israel: Tell the Story.' And it was quite a story that AIPAC wanted to tell.
The conference aimed at imparting to the over 7000 attendees 'an intimate understanding of the many ways that Israel is making the world a better place,' with a focus on peacemaking and innovation. According to the AIPAC web site, conference goers will also 'meet Israelis who rush to the scene of natural disasters in far away lands because they believe that to save one life is to save the whole world.' No mention was made of the 1400 people killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza.
Against a backdrop of creative blends of US and Israeli flags and icons, the three-day conference in Washington DC included plenary speeches by former Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom, according to journalist MJ Rosenberg, delegates were warned in advance not to boo or hiss. Workshops varied from self-serving questions such as 'Are Settlements An Obstacle to Peace?' and 'Is Israel Treated Unfairly in the Press?' to 'The Gaza Dilemma' and 'Inside Iran.'
Large numbers of young people attended the conference. With more than 900 university students from 370 campuses as well as 397 high school students, many benefiting from scholarships, students made up nearly 17% of the total number of participants.
Standing outside the conference it was clear that AIPAC is reaching out well beyond the Jewish community for support.
The constant flow of buses, with taxpayer-funded police escort, dropped off conference attendees including many African-American delegations. In fact, workshop sessions centered on the emerging alliance with the African American community and how this alliance can be 'ignited around the pro-Israel cause.'
The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.
The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus" the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.
The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948. During the War of Independence, the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.
The National Infrastructure Ministry has recently conducted research indicating that construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline between Kirkuk and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer. The old Mosul-Haifa pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter.
National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month. Paritzky added that the plan depends on Jordan's consent and that Jordan would receive a transit fee for allowing the oil to piped through its territory. The minister noted, however, that "due to pan-Arab concerns, it will be hard for the Jordanians to agree to the flow of Iraqi oil via Jordan and Israel." Read more.
Britons Queued At Ben Gurion Airport As Israeli Officials Cloned Passports
Soca report into forgeries used in Dubai killing says personal data was stolen in border checks
By Sandra Laville, Julian Borger and Richard Norton-Taylor | Guardian.co.UK | Submitted by MichaelMunk.com | www.MichaelMunk.com
Passing through Israel's Ben Gurion airport, a few miles east of Tel Aviv, is a unique experience no first-time visitor is likely to forget.
It represents the pinnacle of modern aviation security. Baggage is passed through giant, state-of-the-art machines, and travellers – both arriving and leaving – are frequently subjected to lengthy, personal and repetitive questioning by officials, on their ethnic background and that of any local acquaintances they may have made.
It is not at all uncommon for the mostly youthful immigration officers to wander off, passports and tickets in hand, ostensibly to consult with their seniors. Surrendering documents at check-in or at immigration has hitherto been considered a necessary evil for all those travelling in and out of Ben Gurion.
But the evidence that the Israeli state has been taking the information gleaned from these inspections to create cloned identities for its spies introduces a new level of risk to the experience. Read more.
A recent Rasmussen Poll found that 49% of Americans believe Israel should be "required" to stop building settlements, with only 22% disagreeing.  A recent YouGovPolimetrix poll found that 52% of Americans support, while only 31% oppose, the Obama administration's demand that Israel stop all settlement-building.  By a 71-29 margin, American Jews support the US "exerting pressure" on both sides; 55% say the US was right to strongly criticize Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem. 
But AIPAC issued a statement voicing "serious concern" with the administration's statements in opposition to Israeli settlement expansion, and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said he was "shocked and stunned" by the Obama Administration's "gross overreaction" to Israeli settlement expansion.  The top priorities for AIPAC lobbyists in Washington this week include getting Congress to pressure the Obama Administration to avoid airing disagreements with Israel publicly and getting Congress to pass $3 billion in U.S. aid to Israel without conditions, Time Magazine reports. 
With AIPAC "storming" Congress this week, it's urgent for the pro-peace majority of Americans to speak up. Will you write to your representatives in Congress now? We've provided a sample letter to make it convenient.
From Tom of TomDispatch today: Why even the angriest of words from the Obama administration will have no effect on Israeli settlement building without the threat of actual consequences -- Tony Karon, "Israel Won't Change Unless the Status Quo Has a Downside, Obama's Peace Effort Is Doomed Because Israel Loses Nothing If It Fails."
From the first insult to Vice President Biden a week ago -- the announcement of a new building project in occupied East Jerusalem -- the recent Israeli/U.S. imbroglio has been dramatic indeed, filled with angry words, frank thoughts, and statements by Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus that surprised many. As Tony Karon, TomDispatch regular and senior editor at TIME.com, who also runs the Rootless Cosmopolitan website, puts it: "Last week's showdown between Washington and the Netanyahu government may be counted as one of those feuds in which truths are uttered in the heat of the moment that call into question the fundamental terms of the relationship. Such truths are never easily swept under the rug once the dispute is settled."
In his latest TomDispatch post, Karon offers a big-picture view of what's likely to happen as the Obama administration and Prime Minister Netanyahu's government duke it out over a recumbent "peace process" and explains why all the words in Washington won't matter, if the administration doesn't decide to produce a "tough-love solution" to Israeli intransigence. "In public," he writes, "Biden offered familiar pablum... 'From my experience, the one precondition for progress [in the Middle East] is that the rest of the world knows this -- there is no space between the US and Israel when it comes to security, none. That's the only time that progress has been made.' In fact, the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict suggests that the reverse is true."
In this piece, Karon brilliantly explains just why "the reverse is true" and concludes: "Hence, the necessity of correcting Vice President Biden: progress in the Middle East will not come until the U.S. changes Israel's cost-benefit analysis for maintaining the status quo. The only Israeli leader capable of accepting the parameters of a two-state peace with the Palestinians, which are already widely known, is one who can convincingly demonstrate to his electorate that the alternatives are worse. Right now, without real pressure, without real cost, with nothing but words, there is simply no downside to the status quo for Israel. Until there is, things are unlikely to change, no matter the peril to U.S. troops throughout the Middle East." Read more.