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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.
Ban Ki-moon did his usual whistle stop tour of Gaza and flexed his muscles by referring to the Israeli blockade of Gaza as “unacceptable suffering of human beings” "not sustainable" and "counter-productive." Ban visited the occupied territories where he called on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to engage in direct talks, and reiterated the Quartet's calls to reach a settlement within two years. "We are committed to work together with the Palestinian people and help your cause to complete negotiations on a settlement of all core issues within 24 months,"
Ban ki-moon had previously attended a meeting with the US, Russia and EU in Moscow and issued a joint statement condemning the 1,600 housing development approved by the Israeli Government in East Jerusalem…..one might ask the question of the above “So what”?........you all have been pussyfooting around for decades on this issue……you know what they say “Action speaks louder than words”
In my opinion it is time for the UN to impose sanctions on Israel to bring them to their knees. The following would be a good starter:
1. Stop all aspects of aid. This must include Financial & Military.
2. Embargo on all trade with Israel. Read more.
On March 22, 2010, a protest demonstration against AIPAC was held outside the Convention Center, where it was meeting in Washington, D.C. The mega-Israel Lobby convenes annually in this city. One of those speaking out at the anti-AIPAC rally was Orthodox Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss. He is associated with "Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism,” and he is a member of "Neturei Karta International."
Rabbi Weiss was sharply critical in his remarks of AIPAC, Zionist Israel and the ideology of Zionism. Watch as Zionists confront Rabbi Weiss.
Watch more videos from the event below the fold; click "Read more" below.
There are "compelling reasons" to believe the Israeli government was responsible for forging British passports used in a plot to kill a Hamas leader in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tuesday.
"Such misuse of British passports is intolerable," Miliband said, adding that the fact that Israel was an ally of the United Kingdom "only adds insult to injury."
The passports were "copied from genuine British passports" in a "highly sophisticated operation," indicating a government was behind it, Miliband told the House of Commons. Read more.
Clinton holds line on Israeli settlements in addressing AIPAC
By Bridget Johnson | The Hill
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continued the administration's denouncement of construction in East Jerusalem while likening the peace process to Jews following Moses out of Egypt in addressing the AIPAC conference on Monday.
Clinton was the White House's representative to American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. Vice President Joe Biden was sent last year, receiving a warm reception from the crowd, but Clinton's address came after a serious diplomatic clash between Israel and the U.S. after new settlement construction was approved during Biden's visit to the region.
The secretary of state said that the move "exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit.
"We objected to this announcement beecause we are committed to Israel and its security," she said. "...Because we do not want to see the progress that has been made in any way in danger." Read more.
Under U.S. law, military sales to Israel cannot be used for offensive purposes, only for “legitimate self-defense.” Nonetheless, there have been numerous violations of the Arms Export Control Act by Israel. Even the indifferent State Department has found, from time to time, that munitions such as cluster bombs were “likely violations.”...
This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu visits President Barack Obama after the recent Israeli announcement of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem made while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting that country.
On July 10, 1996, at a Joint Session of the United States Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation for these words: “With America’s help, Israel has grown to be a powerful, modern state. …But I believe there can be no greater tribute to America’s long-standing economic aid to Israel than for us to be able to say: we are going to achieve economic independence. We are going to do it. In the next four years, we will begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic assistance to Israel.”
Since 1996, the American taxpayers are still sending Israel $3 billion a year and providing assorted loan guarantees, waivers, rich technology transfers and other indirect assistance. Before George W. Bush left office a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Israel stipulated an assistance package of $30 billion over the next ten years to be transferred in a lump sum at the beginning of every fiscal year. Israel’s wars and colonies still receive U.S. taxpayer monies.
What happened to Mr. Netanyahu’s solemn pledge to the Congress? The short answer is that Congress never called in the pledge.
In the intervening years, Israel has become an economic, technological and military juggernaut. Its GDP is larger than Egypt’s even though Israel’s population is less than one tenth that of the Arab world’s most populous nation. The second largest number of listings on America’s NASDAQ Exchange after U.S. companies are from Israel, exceeding listings of Japan, Korea, China and India combined. Its venture capital investments exceed those in the U.S., Europe and China on a per capita basis.
Israel is arguably the fifth most powerful military force in the world, and Israel’s claims on the U.S.’s latest weapon systems and research/development breakthroughs are unsurpassed. This combination has helped to make Israel a major arms exporter. Read more.
CodePink apparently put out a fake AIPAC news release in favor of a settlement freeze -- apparently CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera and Jake Tapper got taken in. READ IT HERE. (Why does Jake Tapper ALWAYS fall for things?)
A December 2009 Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network "Monitoring Report on Freedom of Association in the Euro-Mediterranean Region" assessed it in EU and Middle East countries, including Israel and Occupied Palestine, the topic of this article.
Freedom of Association in Israel
Instead of improving in 2009, it deteriorated even though Israel's Supreme Court recognizes it as a fundamental human right. However, three statutory law types restrict it, the first includes the 1980 Law of Associations that regulates the formation and operation of NGOs, corporations, and cooperative associations, and the 1999 Companies Law.
by Linda Milazzo
(This article is based on one that will appear in the upcoming May/June 2010 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: http://www.wrmea.com)
Sunday, March 14, 2010, ushered in two welcome events to Southern California: the inauguration of the headquarters of the bustling Winograd For Congress primary campaign, and an extra hour of daylight to help Marcy Winograd’s swarm of supporters evict Jane Harman, the wealthiest Democrat in Congress, from her eight-term seat in the House.
Photo by Linda Milazzo
In the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s ill-fated trip to Israel last week, many people would agree with the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s remark that ‘Israel’s ties with the United States are in their worst crisis since 1975… a crisis of historic proportions.’ Like all crises, this one will eventually go away. However, this bitter fight has disturbing implications for Israelis and their American supporters.
First, the events of the past week make it clear in ways that we have not seen in the past that Israel is a strategic liability for the United States, not the strategic asset that the Israel lobby has long claimed it was. Specifically, the Obama administration has unambiguously declared that Israel’s expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, are doing serious damage to US interests in the region. Indeed, Biden reportedly told the Israeli prime minister, Binyahim Netanyahu, in private:
This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace.
If that message begins to resonate with the American public, unconditional support for the Jewish state is likely to evaporate. Read more.
Notes From DC
By Missy Comley Beattie
Spirits were soaring on Monday morning, despite the cold rain that fell as a large tent for CAMP OUT NOW, the prelude to Peace of the Action, was erected on the grounds of the Washington Monument. People are here from California, Louisiana, New York and many other places, plus more are arriving daily. The elderly, middle aged, and young are represented, all sharing common goals of bringing our troops home, no more contractors, ending US Empire, closing foreign military bases, fully funding the VA system, saying no to robotic warfare, closing torture and detention facilities as well as paying reparations to those who live in war-torn regions.
Additionally, we hope to bring awareness to Americans about the cost of US Empire. The wars devastate those who live in the lands we invade and they impact us morally and financially here at home.
On Monday evening, renowned peace and social justice leader Cindy Sheehan took the microphone on a stage under the tent and introduced Kevin Zeese, co-founder of Voters for Peace. Zeese spoke about the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the grotesquely obese US military budget. The statistics he presented were staggering.
Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces across east Jerusalem on Tuesday in the worst rioting in years, as a senior Hamas leader called for a new "intifada" or uprising.
As the unrest rocked Jerusalem, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell delayed a visit to the region amid the worst diplomatic spat in decades between Israel and key ally the United States, which was struggling to revive peace talks.
Police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian protesters who hurled stones and set up barricades of dumpsters and burning tyres in several neighbourhoods.
Twenty-one injured Palestinians were hospitalised and dozens more were treated on the spot, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said. Read more.
The US has affirmed its "unshakeable" and "unbreakable" bond with Israel amid the allies' most public spat in years over Israel's announcement that it would build 1,600 new settler homes.
"We have an absolute commitment to Israel's security. We have a close, unshakeable bond between the United States and Israel," Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said in Washington on Tuesday.
Her comments appeared to be much softer in tone following days of tough rhetoric after Israel announced last week that it would approve construction of a Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem, infuriating the Palestinians and jeopardising newly agreed indirect talks.
Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, echoed Clinton's conciliatory tone, saying "mature bilateral relationships can have disagreements and this is one of those disagreements - it does not break the unbreakable bond we have" with Israel. Read more.
"Jeopardizing U.S. Standing" – the Petraeus Controversy
By Michael Collins | Election Fraud News
How about a new doctrine to improve U.S. standing everywhere? The United States will engage all foreign governments constructively to assure benefits to our citizens and the citizens of the foreign country. The U.S. will not initiate invasions or efforts to destabilize foreign countries. The U.S. military will protect the citizens of this country but never use its military force to further the financial or other special interests of any individual or group.
Leaks from a recent top level briefing by General David Petraeus are causing quite a controversy. The general pointed out that, "Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region." Mark Perry reported this on March 13 in Foreign Policy. Perry said, "No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue... "
When I read a statement like that, it's like hearing the opening music for The Twilight Zone. What on earth is Perry talking about? Every CENTCOM commander, from General Tommy Franks, through Petraeus, has endorsed the continuation of the Iraq war and occupation. That's as essentially political as you can get.
There was no basis for invading Iraq: no weapons of mass destruction and no terrorist threat. Even the flawed October 2, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) admitted that the primary threat of an Iraqi terrorist attack on the United States would come if, "an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge."
The 1,000 Day Siege of Gaza
By Ann Wright
This week marked 1,000 days of an Israeli and international siege on Gaza—1,000 days of an open air prison where “inmates”, the civilian Palestinian population of 1.5 million, cannot leave or enter at will -by land, sea or air, the tiny area known as the Gaza Strip.
60 years after the World War II Nazi military siege of Leningrad that lasted for 900 days and caused the greatest destruction and largest loss of life ever known in a modern city, the Israeli military has imprisoned Gaza for 1,000 days. The blockade has caused incredible physical and emotional suffering those crowded into an incredibly small space-25 miles long and 5 miles wide—one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
The siege means that the Israeli government controls the entry of food, medicines, and gasoline and construction materials for the Palestinians. The purpose of the blockade is to force by blatantly violating international law, a change in the government represented by Hamas, the political organization the people elected. The siege began in June, 2007, following Hamas' takeover of governmental functions in Gaza.
Hamas is named by the Israeli and American governments a “terrorist” organization because its militant wing and other militant groups in Gaza, have fired homemade unguided rockets at border villages of Israel which have killed 30 Israelis over the years.
Compounding the siege, a year ago, in a disproportionate use of force that violated international law, the Israeli military, the largest and most powerful in the region, attacked the people of Gaza with U.S. provided F-16 jet fighters, Apache attack helicopters, rocket firing unmanned drones, white phosphorus and dense inert metal explosive bombs. The attack killed 1,440 persons, wounded 5,000, left 50,000 homeless and destroyed schools, hospitals, and civil infrastructure including the water facility and the sewage plant for the entire area.
As one could predict, the siege and the attack have caused the people of Gaza to suffer from long term low levels of nutrition and lack of appropriate medical treatment and care. Most children and many adults have the symptoms of post traumatic stress from the indiscriminate violence waged on them by the Israeli military.
Journalist Henry Siegman titled his August 2007 London Review of Books article, "The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam," calling it likely "the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history."
This writer omits most likely calling it the no-peace peace process, stillborn from inception, while Haaretz writer Gideon Levy, on March 7, 2010, wrote "There has never been an Israeli peace camp," saying "let's call the child by its real name: The Israeli peace camp is still an unborn baby," the mother yet to become pregnant given decades of Israeli-Washington obstructionism.
In September 2009, former IDF chief of staff and current Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, Moshe Ya'alon, said Jews have an "unassailable right (to) settle anywhere, particularly here, (in) the land of the Bible," and earlier called the peace process a useful fiction "to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people."
In 1968, former IDF chief of staff and then defense minister, Moshe Dayan, called the West Bank occupation "permanent," and a decade later reiterated his commitment to the status quo, the same position held by all Israeli officials to the present.
Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (1983 - 1984 and 1986 - 1992) once said he wanted to drag out peace talks for a decade while vastly expanding settlements.