You are hereIsrael
By Helena Cobban
If Israel launches a military attack (= act of war) against Iran, what would the main goal of this attack be?
There is good reason to believe that the goal would be not the direct physical destruction/incapacitation of Iran's nuclear programs but rather, to trigger an all-out US-Iran war in the course of which, Israel's planners hope, the US would do the dirty work in Iran that it is unable to do itself.
Human Rights Situation in Occupied Palestine
By Stephen Lendman
On March 15, 2006, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly 170 to 4 (with only the US, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau against) "to establish the Human Rights Council (HRC), based in Geneva, in replacement of the Commission on Human Rights, as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly....responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner."
HRC "is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 states responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe."
Three Palestinians have been rescued after spending five days under the rubble of a tunnel in Rafah which was targeted by Israeli aircraft.
The tunnel which links the Gaza Strip to Egypt was hit by Israeli warplanes on Tuesday, and the three had to struggle to survive until Saturday when they were saved by Egyptian rescue workers.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade for almost two years, use the tunnels -- also known as Gaza feeding tubes -- to import food, medical and vital supplies into the enclave.
In addition to the blockade, Israel launched a three-week war against the Gaza population in late 2008 and early 2009, killing 1,330 Palestinians and inflicting at least USD 1.6b in damages to the infrastructure and facilities along with residential buildings.
Cheney: Support for Israel Feeds Terrorism
By Ray McGovern
If we hear in the coming days that former Vice President Dick Cheney has fired one of his speechwriters — or perhaps grounded Lynne or Liz — it will be clear why.
Oozing out of the sleazy speech he gave Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute was an inadvertent truth regarding the Israeli albatross hanging around the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
I watched the speech, but had missed the gaffe until I went carefully through the written text before a radio interview Thursday evening. It amounts to a major faux pas, though I’ll give you odds that the usual-suspect pundits of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) will not touch it, because it raises troubling questions about the close U.S. relationship with Israel.
A former United States Army Lieutenant Colonel who worked for military intelligence is calling for the military to attack and kill “partisan media.” In a report penned for the rabid pro-Israel group JINSA (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), Ralph Peters writes that the media have determined the outcomes of conflicts and as such should be considered targets.
“Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media,” he writes. “Perceiving themselves as superior beings, journalists have positioned themselves as protected-species combatants. But freedom of the press stops when its abuse kills our soldiers and strengthens our enemies. Such a view arouses disdain today, but a media establishment that has forgotten any sense of sober patriotism may find that it has become tomorrow’s conventional wisdom.”
US Colonel Advocates US 'Military Attacks' on 'Partisan Media' in Essay for Neocon, Pro-Israel Group JINSA
In the era of embedded media, independent journalists have become the eyes and ears of the world. Without those un-embedded journalists willing to risk their lives to place themselves on the other side of the barrel of the tank or the gun or under the airstrikes, history would be written almost entirely from the vantage point of powerful militaries, or—at the very least—it would be told from the perspective of the troops doing the shooting, rather than the civilians who always pay the highest price.
In the case of the Iraq invasion and occupation, the journalists who have placed themselves in danger most often are local Iraqi journalists. Some 116 Iraqi journalists and media workers have been killed in the line of duty since March 2003. In all, 189 journalists have been killed in Iraq. At least 16 of these journalists were killed by the US military, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The network that has most often found itself under US attack is Al Jazeera. As I wrote a few years ago in The Nation:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he told U.S. President Barack Obama that Israel is willing to immediately open peace talks with Syria and the Palestinians.
But Mr. Netanyahu says he also made it clear to Mr. Obama that any peace deal must address Israel's security needs.
The Israeli prime minister frustrated President Clinton's peace efforts; the new president must do better.
By Mustafa Barghouthi, LA Times
Icannot recall a more important meeting between an American president and an Israeli prime minister than today's meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Will the Obama administration have the courage to challenge Netanyahu, or will all the talk of change dissolve in the face of a concerted one-two punch from Netanyahu and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee?
I am increasingly convinced that if Obama fails to speak out now, it will doom the two-state solution forever. Further fiddling in Washington -- after eight years of it -- will consign Jerusalem, the West Bank and the two-state solution to an Israeli expansionism that will overwhelm the ability of cartographers to concoct a viable Palestinian state.
Two cheers for President Obama.
President Obama, at the press conference yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu:
Now, Israel is going to have to take some difficult steps as well, and I shared with the Prime Minister the fact that under the roadmap and under Annapolis that there's a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements. Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine
By Stephen Lendman
After two years of "underground" work, it was launched with a "successful press conference" and announcement that:
"The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Its work will focus on "the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its opinion on the (Separation Wall in Occupied Palestine, addressed relevant) "International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, as well as dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine."
This Tribunal will "address the failure of application of law even though it has been so clearly identified." It begins where the ICJ "stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which cannot continue to shirk its obligations."
Israel yields to UN and Lebanese demands that it hand over data on the cluster bomb operations it conducted in Lebanon in 2006.
The United Nations peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, known as the UNIFIL, revealed Tuesday that Israel has handed over technical strike data and maps that detail its use of cluster munitions in its most recent war on Lebanon.
Israeli warplanes had dropped most of the cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the 33-day war when Tel Aviv had lost all hopes of winning the war and the Hezbollah movement rendered Israel unable to take control of the country.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general says Israel would be making a 'completely insane' move, should it stage a war on Iran.
Head of the UN nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei advised officials in Tel Aviv to exercise restraint and allow the diplomatic approach of the Obama White House on the Iranian nuclear issue to proceed.
ElBaradei's comments, made in an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, came as Israel is increasingly preparing the ground for a military strike on the Islamic Republic.
Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama has the chance to make good on real change in U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is coming to Washington on May 18, for his first official visit with President Obama. If President Obama is serious about achieving a two-state solution in his first term, and therefore serious about bringing real pressure to bear on Israel, there will be no better time to do so. *
Obama, who has strongly supported the idea of a two-state solution since his campaign, has yet to articulate whether or not he is actually prepared to spend some of his massive political capital to exert serious pressure on Israel towards that end – for example by conditioning (even some) of the currently committed $30 billion in U.S. military aid to Israel, on a complete Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank. If he means it, this could be the moment. Netanyahu’s campaign rejection of the two-state solution, his rejection of continuing the current Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and instead limiting negotiations to economic issues, and his extreme racist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman all serve to make a serious U.S. effort towards Israeli accountability not only timely, but less politically costly than ever.
Host: Basima Farhat
Anna Baltzer is a 28-year-old Jewish American Columbia graduate, Fulbright scholar, and the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. She is a three-time volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service, where she documented human rights abuses in the West Bank and supported the nonviolent movement against the Occupation. She has spent most of the past few years in Palestine or on tour with her book, Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories. Anna Baltzer presents: LIFE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE: EYEWITNESS STORIES & PHOTOS
Anna Baltzer is touring the United States with a presentation and book describing her experiences documenting human rights abuses in Palestine and supporting nonviolent resistance to the Occupation.
Providing photographic documentation and critical information often misrepresented or ignored in the Western media, Baltzer’s presentation covers checkpoints, settlements, demonstrations, Israeli activism, the 1948 war & refugees, censorship, the Separation Wall, and more.
For further information about Baltzer’s work and tour, please visit
Since Israel's closure of the Gaza Strip in 2007, only severely sick Palestinians have been allowed to seek medical attention elsewhere provided they receive authorisation and security clearances from the Israeli authorities.
However, getting the special permit that allows patients to leave Gaza for medical treatment is a bureaucratic hassle and, many Gazans say, comes with strings attached.
It’s Springtime for AIPAC! The mega-Israel Lobby convenes annually in Washington, D.C. at the convention center. AIPAC sucks out over $3 billion a year from our fast fading treasury for Israel with little or no dissent from the fakers in the U.S. Congress. (See links in "Read more" below).
In pursuit of the case of Israeli war crimes, the United Nations moves to report to the Security Council that UN facilities in Gaza had been targeted willfully.
After the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) compound became the target of GPS-guided Israeli mortars on January 15, the UN set up a commission to bring Israeli human rights violations in Gaza out into the open.
The commission -- led by the former British secretary-general of human rights group Amnesty International, Ian Martin -- assembled a report on Israeli actions in Gaza for submission to the Security Council.
"Israel deliberately fired at UN institutions even though it knew it was forbidden", read the report.
The Israel lobby has been running into a few problems lately, but it’s nothing they don’t think they can handle: a charge of treason, a strong suspicion of obstructing justice, and a gathering storm of criticism from a few dissident intellectuals and policy types. Nothing to get too exercised about. Having felled Charles "Chas" Freeman, smitten Gen. Zinni, and sidelined those in the Obama administration who question the nature and utility of America’s "special relationship" with Israel, the Lobby’s flagship organization, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is primed to hold their national conference in Washington next week, with Jane "This Conversation Doesn’t Exist" Harman slated to address the gathering.
The focus of the conference, and the legislative centerpiece of the event, will be passage of the Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act, which would ban US companies from providing Iran with refined petroleum products, and seeks to punish European companies — particularly the Swiss, who come in for two specific mentions in the text of the bill — for doing so.
To begin with, the name affixed to this piece of legislative legerdemain is a prime example of congressional doublethink: will it really enhance diplomatic relations with Iran to impose draconian sanctions, the equivalent of an economic chokehold and a prelude to a military blockade? Hardly, and that is very far from its clear intent.
This bill is all about provoking the Iranians, effectively sabotaging efforts to engage in a mutual dialogue with Tehran. Why the egregious packaging? Well, it seems the American people are sick and tired of war, and preparations for war, and so it is far less incriminating if a member of Congress can say he (or she) voted for "the Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act" than it is to admit they supported isolating Iran economically.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to be the third pontiff to visit the Holy Land from 8-15 May, following in the footsteps of Paul VI in 1964 and John Paul II in 2000, on a mission officially described as a “pilgrimage” and one of “peace and reconciliation.”
However, the Pope will be stepping into “a diplomatic minefield,” where the Catholic highest spiritual authority will be unmercifully scrutinized by the protagonists of the one hundred year old Arab-Israeli conflict for the Holy Father’s every step, word and handshake, which would force him into the defensive in an impossible balancing act that will rule out any hope his presence is supposed to inspire, especially among the down-trodden Arabs of Palestine, whether those who are “Israelis” living as second class citizens since 1948 or those Palestinians living under the Israeli military occupation since 1967.
Even the pontiff’s own Catholic diminishing flock in the Holy Land seems in controversy over the timing and the itinerary of his pilgrimage. "We will ask him why he came, what he intends on saying … and why he isn't coming to Gaza," Father Manuel Mussalam, the pastor of the only Catholic church of about 300 believers in Gaza, out of 3000 Christians in the Israeli besieged Mediterranean strip, was quoted by AFP as asking. "We'll tell him that this is not the right moment to come and visit the holy places, while Jerusalem is occupied," Mussalam added.
In a small anonymous home in the West Bank, a Palestinian academic has set up a project which is almost unheard of in the Occupied Territories.
Hassan Musa is the curator of a museum exhibition dedicated to the Jewish Holocaust in Europe.
The cracked white walls of this makeshift museum in the village of Ni'lin are covered from floor to ceiling with images of people forced out of their homes, tortured, imprisoned, starved and murdered.
In addition to the pictures depicting the Nazi brutality against Jews in Europe, there are also images of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the violence in Palestine since.
On one wall, there is a picture of a scared Jewish boy holding up his hands as Nazi soldiers look on; the caption reads: "Make your final account with Hitler and the Nazi Germans, not with the Palestinians."
An American academic is to be prosecuted for drawing parallels between the plight of Gazans and that of the Jews who suffered under Nazi rule.
Jewish Sociology and Global Studies Professor William Robinson of the University of Santa Barbara in California sent the electronic post entitled 'Parallel photos of Nazis and Israelis' to 80 students in his class, Ynet reported on Thursday.
There have been hints in the press that the Obama Administration has been considering conditioning U.S. aid to Israel on a real freeze of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. There's a conventional wisdom that suggests that doing this would touch a "third rail of politics." But the conventional wisdom might not have been accurate; if it once was accurate, it might not be accurate any more.
WorldPublicOpinion.org has just released a poll showing that three-quarters of Americans oppose Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. This number is up 23 points from 2002.
Even among respondents who say they sympathize with Israel more than the Palestinians, 64% say Israel should not build settlements in the West Bank.
Obama's Decision Shields Bush Administration Officials From Prosecution
By Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
Commenting on the NYTimes article, "U.S. to Drop Spy Case Against Pro-Israel Lobbyists," Michael Munk wrote:
There was more to this story.
The indictment alleged that in early 2002 David Satterfield, (former deputy chief of the United States Mission in Baghdad and lead US negotiator on the phoney US-Iraq security treaty that Bush - and now Obama - hope would legitimate permanent US bases in Iraq) discussed secret national security matters in two meetings with the two AIPAC lobbyists.
The meetings, on January 18, 2002, and March 12, 2002, were confirmed by classified documents. The Times reported on August 18, 2005 that "Their meetings are listed as overt acts in a conspiracy to illegally communicate national defense secrets to a foreign government. After Mr. Rosen's first meeting with USGO-2 [Satterfield] on Jan. 18, 2002, the indictment said, a memorandum containing the information that Mr. Rosen had obtained was sent to other AIPAC employees.
The indictment did not indicate who wrote the memorandum, but said that it "contained classified information provided by [Satterfield]."The two men met again on March 12, the indictment said. At their second meeting, they talked about Al Qaeda, the indictment said, without saying what aspect of the terror network was discussed. On March 14, Mr. Rosen disclosed to an unidentified foreign official, [an Israeli diplomat] "FO-2," the information that he had heard from USGO-2, the indictment said.
Obama's decision protects Bush's secretary of state and national secuirty advisor from testifying in the case.
U.S. to Drop Spy Case Against Pro-Israel Lobbyists
By Neil A. Lewis and David Johnston | NY Times
A case that began four years ago with the tantalizing and volatile premise that officials of a major pro-Israel lobbying organization were illegally trafficking in sensitive national security information collapsed on Friday as prosecutors asked that all charges be withdrawn.
Stand up for Peace in the Middle East and Against the Pro-War Policies of AIPAC!
On May 3-5, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will hold its annual convention in Washington DC to rally its supporters to
push the U.S. government to support the Israeli government without conditions. AIPAC is advocating an aggressive approach to Iran;
supporting Israel's continuing to siege on Gaza and its refusal to cooperate with a UN investigation into violations of international law;
and backing the Israeli government’s refusal to engage in substantive peace negotiations with the elected Palestinian leaders.
It's time to expose AIPAC’s pro-war stance and take a stand in favor of human rights and international law. Join CODEPINK and other groups in DC May 2-5 in a variety of activities planned throughout the convention. E-mail for more information.
Schedule of Events:
Like a modern-day Cain, Mordechai Vanunu walks the streets of East Jerusalem in search of a place to spend the night. He has no permanent address, and because of a cash shortage he moves from one cheap hostel to the next. He is forbidden to talk with foreigners. With Israelis he does not wish to speak. The Arabs in East Jerusalem do not try to befriend him, fearing trouble. He is a difficult and complicated man. His belief in his principles is stern and dogmatic, but is also cause for bewilderment. Even his family and most of his few supporters abroad have cut off contact.
His financial situation as well as his physical and mental health is deteriorating. But Israel, to paraphrase Gene Pitney, is "a state without mercy." The security authorities and the courts, which back them almost automatically, are time and again after him. This is a vindictive, closed system that intends to apply the law as severely as possible. This week Home Front Command, one of the authorities dealing with Vanunu's case, called in his attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard to tell them that the warrants restricting Vanunu's freedom of movement and speech will remain unchanged. A similar announcement will be made by the Interior Ministry. Moreover, Vanunu still faces a four-month prison term for violating the restrictions - because he tried to enter Bethlehem on Christmas and spoke with foreign reporters. He has appealed to the Supreme Court.
Thus Vanunu, who was released from prison in 2004, entered his sixth year as a "Prisoner of Zion." During that time we have had three prime ministers, four justice ministers and three defense ministers; Israel exchanged prisoners with Hezbollah; spies were released from prison and murderers' sentences were shortened. But the state is adamant that Vanunu be punished repeatedly for his original sin.
The authorities consider him a traitor, even though he did not betray secrets to enemy countries, a terrorist organization or foreign security organizations. He exposed Israel's nuclear secrets to the British Sunday Times. Even if we accept the state's stance that this makes him a spy and a traitor, he was neither the worst nor the most dangerous. There have been and there are worse traitors than Vanunu.