Wednesday, January 30, 2008

From: A Fellow Quaker
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 22:29:33 +0000
Subject: [langleyhill] FW: Letter to the president

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago Najwa told me in an e-mail that she really appreciated the freedom of the press to be found in Abu Dhabi. I am forwarding on a letter that demonstrates the sort of gloves off reporting (or in this case editorializing) that she was referring to. To me it raises the very important question of how bought and paid for our papers really are. I certainly couldn't imagine finding this sort of letter on the front page of the Washington Post.

A Friend

Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 14:49:20 +0400From: najladrooby@ gmail.comSubject: Letter to the president

I thought you might be interested in this article which was in the front page of the Gulf News www.gulfnews. com , a leading newspaper in the area. It appeared a day before the President landed in Abu Dhabi

Dear Mr. President;
On the occasion of your first official trip to this vital region, it is only appropriate to raise a few points which might also be raised by the leaders you meet. Unfortunately, you landed here with prejudice and pre-formed opinions. By describing Israel, moments after you arrived, as 'the land of freedom' and 'justice', you have shown total ignorance of the political situation in the Middle East and the issue you claim to want to solve in the remaining 12 months of your presidency. Israel, Mr.President, continues to defy every UN resolution, exercise unprecedented oppression on the occupied Palestinian people and persecute its Muslim and Christian population. We realize that containing Iran, selling more weapons and securing cheap oil supplies are the main issues on your mind as you tour the region. But you need to look beyond the neocon rhetoric and speak directly to the people who have been unjustly thrown out of their land, victimized for decades by your "strong ally" Israel. As for other matters, such as the promise of democracy and human rights, which you are expected to raise in your official talks in the region, we really don't take them seriously. Your dreadful record on both gives you no moral right to lecture others.
Lest you forget. Invasion of Iraq. Thousands of dead. Looting the National Museum. Disbanding the Iraqi army. Donald Rumsfeld. Shock and Awe. Jay Garner. Paul Bremer. Inciting sectarianism. Abu Ghraib. Thousands of detainees without charges. Torture. Oil. Ghost WMDs. The Niger connection. Halliburton. Blackwater. Deadly security contractors. Mercenaries. Fallujah. Haditha massacre. Blind support of Israel. Instigating the suffering of Gaza. Ignoring the expansion of illegal colonies. Defying United Nations resolutions. Securing "a Jewish State". Allowing Israelis to extend the destruction of Lebanon in the 2oo6 war. Providing Israel with new Bunker Buster bombs to attack Lebanese towns. The War on Terror. "The Crusade". Clash of civilisations. Where is Osama Bin Laden? Afghanistan. Bagram massacre. Bombing media offices. Guantanamo Bay. Kangaroo courts. Indefinite detention. Presidential orders to ignore Geneva Conventions. "Unlawful enemy combatants". Illegal National Security Agency wiretapping. Fingerprinting visitors. Black prisons. Kidnapping foreign citizens on foreign lands. Khalid Al Masri. Abu Omar. Maher Arar. Central Intelligence Agency. "Aggressive interrogation techniques". Destroying the torture tapes. Iran tension. Isolating Syria. Embracing Syrian opposition Iraq style. The Chavez coup. Denial of global warming. Rejecting Kyoto Protocol. Marginalisation of the United Nations. John Bolton. Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank. Carl Rove. Alberto Gonzales. Firing attorneys. Nepotism. False democracy promises. Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney and Dick Cheney.
Mr President;
The list goes on. You might not be able to recall some of it. But the people around you, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice especially, would. And they realise that on the subject of human rights, your administration has had the worst record of all, surpassing most Third World countries. The tension and the misery in parts of this region can very well testify to this.
Mr President;
In a famous speech in 2003 you announced an "historic" shift in US foreign policy. You pledged to support democracy and liberty while declaring "victory" in Iraq. More than four years later, Iraq is in chaos. It has virtually disintegrated and "the surge" did little to stop the killing or ease the sectarian tension. At the same time, you gave up on your freedom-for- all prophecy. We are all back to the old ways of doing business - arms and oil. The agenda of your current tour is evident.
Mr President;
This is your first official trip to a land you long claimed has a very special place in your heart. The land of the Prophets. However, you started out wrong. By maintaining your support of an Israeli "Jewish State", you are flouting your own ideals upon which your great country was founded more than two centuries ago. So much for the promise of democracy. What you advocate in fact is the creation of states on religious and racial lines, thereby justifying the atrocious actions of terrorists who hate and seek to eliminate the followers of other religions: The same terrorists you like to blame for every ill on earth and every failure of yours.
Mr President;
It has been reported that you are here to "lecture" us on democracy and human rights. But with a record like yours, you will not be very convincing. The people you are addressing have greater respect for human rights and dignity.
You also said that your current tour aims to realise the long neglected peace in the Middle East. Regional peace, Mr President, will not be achieved by escalating tension and threatening to change regimes. And most importantly, it will not be achieved by supporting Israel, which continues to defy international law, occupy Arab lands, oppress the Palestinians and rebuff peace initiatives.
Mr President;
We hope you have enjoyed the trip so far. The scenery is great. The food is exotic. As for the more "serious" things, it is unlikely you will make any difference.

____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

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Subject: Clinton receives new endorsements
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 22:32:40 +0000
THE DERSHOWITZ/BERMAN PRIMARY...Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of Ted Kennedy today. Hillary Clinton got Alan Dershowitz and Paul Berman in the pages of The New Republic.
Need I say more?
Dershowitz has devoted his life in recent years to discrediting the careers and reputations of critics of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, slavishly defending Israel against any and all comers, no matter the validity of their point.
Berman (no relation) was the intellectual architect behind the liberal hawks case for war in Iraq, which he described as a 'Lincolnian war, a war for the liberation of others.' TNR asked fourteen authors/intellectual to endorse candidates. Dershowitz and Berman, given their hawkish worldviews, were the ones who immediately jumped out. Their words aren't likely to boost Clinton's standing in progressive political circles.
'I favor the nomination of a centrist Democrat, one who is capable of attracting independents, moderates, and the growing number of anti-Bush Republicans,' Dershowitz writes. 'Hillary Clinton understands this and has not pandered to the extreme left of her party.'
Berman also likes the idea of Clinton in the war room. 'A candidate like Hillary, who participated in the decisions that toppled Slobodan Milosevic, is nicely situated to argue that, on the topic of military stand-offs and far-away dictators, she possesses a superior understanding.'
Berman also offers Clinton a rather counterproductive piece of advice: 'I think it wouldn't do her any harm to acknowledge that, now and then, John McCain has been right.'
These are the types of endorsements one wishes the candidate would decline. Unless, of course, she agrees with them.

Posted by Ari Berman at 01/28/2008 @ 4:15pm |

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Subject: Obama's Letter
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 13:43:10 +0000

• Israel is allowing only 41% of Gaza's food requirements
• Israel grants only 1 in 7 patients access to urgent treatment outside Gaza
• Israel denies medication and hospital supplies to Gaza

• Israel is not allowing enough fuel to treat and pump clean water in Gaza
• Israel's cruelty has caused more than 70 deaths of untreated Gaza patients since June


• 'We have to understand why Israel is forced (sic) to do this'


(866) 675-2008


• Denying food to 1.5 million civilians is a crime! It is irresponsible for Obama to encourage it.
• Denying medicine to sick and dying people is a crime. It is NOT self defense.
• Israel's actions are collective punishment. Why does Obama not condemn it?
• Denying food, medicine and other essential supplies does nothing to harm fighters or the Hamas government in Gaza. It only harms civilians, one half of whom are children. Does Obama consider them disposable?

Obama's callous defense of Israel's cruelty deserves your action.
Presidential candidates are sensitive to criticism. Your calls have the potential
to make Palestinian rights an issue. Now is the time.

Following is the text of Obama's letter to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad. A photocopy of the signed letter is at


Dear Ambassador Khalilzad,

I understand that today the U.N. Security Council met regarding the situation in Gaza, and that a resolution or statement could be forthcoming from the Council in short order.

I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in Southern Israel for over two years.

All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel's destruction, and Israeli civilians are being bombarded by rockets on an almost daily basis. That is unacceptable and Israel has a right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.

The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks against Israel, and should make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.


Barack Obama
United States Senator __

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Monday, January 28, 2008

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 10:56:50 -0500
From: "Nabil Mohamad"
Subject: Ending the stranglehold on Gaza by Eyad Sarraj and Sara Roy

Thought members of this list would be interested in reading this excellent op-ed by Eyad Sarraj and Sara Roy in the Boston Globe.

Ending the stranglehold on Gaza

By Eyad al-Sarraj and Sara Roy | January 26, 2008

AN ISRAELI convoy of goods and peace activists will go today to Erez,
Israel's border with Gaza, and many Palestinians will be on the other
side waiting. They will not see one another, but Palestinians will
know there are Jews who condemn the siege inflicted on the tiny
territory by Israel's military establishment and want to see an end to
the 40-year-old occupation.

Israel's minister of justice, Haim Ramon, had pushed for cutting off
Gaza's "infrastructural oxygen" - water, electricity, and fuel - as a
response to the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel. Last Sunday,
Ramon's wish came true: Israel's blockade forced Gaza's only power
plant to shut down, plunging 800,000 people into darkness. Food and
humanitarian aid were also denied entry. Although international
pressure forced Israel to let in some supplies two days later, and the
situation further eased when Palestinians breached the border wall
with Egypt, the worst may be yet to come.

The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, agrees with Ramon's
strategy, saying that it is "inconceivable that life in Gaza continues
to be normal." The rapid and deepening desperation of Gaza's sick and
hungry is of no moral concern to her. For Livni, like Ramon, the siege
is a tactical measure, a human experiment to stop the rockets and
bring down a duly elected government.

The siege on Gaza and the West Bank began after Hamas's 2006 electoral
victory with an international diplomatic and financial boycott of the
new Hamas-led government. Development assistance was severely reduced
with the improbable aim of bringing about a popular uprising against
the very government just elected to power. Instead, this collective
punishment resulted in a steady deterioration of Palestinian life, in
growing lawlessness, and a violent confrontation between Fatah and
Hamas, which escalated into a Hamas military takeover of Gaza in June

Since then, the siege has been tightened to an unprecedented level.
Over 80 percent of the population of 1.5 million (compared to 63
percent in 2006) is dependent on international food assistance, which
itself has been dramatically reduced.

In 2007, 87 percent of Gazans lived below the poverty line, more than
a tripling of the percentage in 2000. In a November 2007 report, the
Red Cross stated about the food allowed into Gaza that people are
getting "enough to survive, not enough to live."

Why is this acceptable?

The reduction in fuel supplies that the Israeli government first
approved in October not only threatens the provision of health and
medical services but the stock of medicines, which is rapidly being
depleted. This has forced the critically ill to seek treatment outside
the Gaza Strip.

However, according to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, many
patients are being denied permission to leave, because of new
bureaucratic restrictions imposed on top of an already inefficient and
arbitrary system. The organization has also accused the Israeli
intelligence service of forcing some patients to inform on others in
order to be granted passage.

Since June, Israel has limited its exports to Gaza to nine basic
materials. Out of 9,000 commodities (including foodstuffs) that were
entering Gaza before the siege began two years ago, only 20
commodities have been permitted entry since. Although Gaza daily
requires 680,000 tons of flour to feed its population, Israel had cut
this to 90 tons per day by November 2007, a reduction of 99 percent.
Not surprisingly, there has been a sharp increase in the prices of

Gaza also suffers from the ongoing destruction of its agriculture and
physical infrastructure. Between June and November 2006, $74.7 million
in damage was inflicted by the Israeli military on top of the nearly
$2 billion already incurred by Palestinians between 2002 and 2005.
Over half the damage was to agricultural land flattened by bulldozers,
with the remainder to homes, public buildings, roads, water and sewage
pipes, electricity infrastructure, and phone lines.

The psychological damage of living in a war zone may surpass the
physical. According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem,
between Sept. 1, 2005, and July 25, 2007, 668 Palestinians were killed
in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli security forces. Over half were
noncombatants and 126 were children. During the same period, Qassam
rockets and mortar shells killed eight Israelis, half of them civilians.

Gaza is no longer approaching economic collapse. It has collapsed.
Given the intensity of repression Gaza is facing, can the collapse of
its society - family, neighborhood, and community structure - be far
behind? If that happens, we shall all suffer the consequences for
generations to come.

Eyad al-Sarraj is founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program.
Sara Roy is senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.


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SAVE THE DATE: 2008 ADC Annual National Convention - Washington, DC June 12 to 15.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Organizing Department
1732 Wisconsin Ave NW.
Washington, DC. 20007, U.S.A.
Tel: (202) 244-2990
Web :

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Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 16:04:37 -0500
From: "Nabil Mohamad"
Subject: Washington Post Editorial Distorts the Facts About Gaza; Washington DC Prayer and Vigil
ADC Action Alert:

Washington Post Editorial Distorts the Facts About Gaza

Washington, DC | January 25, 2008 | | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is deeply disturbed by the Jan 24 Editorial
by the Washington Post about the situation in Gaza. ADC encourages you to write to the Washington Post about their distorted editorial. Below you will find a
letter sent to the Post by ADC, you can send your letters to


The author(s) of Jan 24 editorial by the Washington Post claim that "no one is starving in Gaza." Apparently, the Post did not consult the latest reports by
the World Food Programme and the UN Relief and Works Agency which call for immediate aid to be sent to the impoverished Gaza Strip to "urgently prevent a
humanitarian crisis."

Basic research by the Washington Post would have also found that 79 percent of the 1.5 million Gazans live in poverty and approximately 70 percent of the
Gazans live on less than 250 dollars a month and food purchases account for 60 percent of household expenditures (World Food Programme, Jan 11, 2008).

The Post also fails to mention that despite Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel continues to have complete control over Gaza's
land, sea, and air borders; utilities; tax revenue; and internal economy, making it an occupying power.

The editorial goes on to call for Egypt to close the border and to turn back the Gazans. Under humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, Gazans must be
allowed access to humanitarian aid and supplies. Gazans should not be forced to go without food or medicine nor be forced to live under constant collective
punishment. An end to the misery inflicted by the ongoing Israeli occupation should be the goal for all, however, the Washington Post seems to favor halting
the peace process instead. Shame on the Post.



Breach in Gaza
As thousands stream across the border to Egypt, Hamas blockades the peace process.

Thursday, January 24, 2008; A18

THE HAMAS movement provided a dramatic illustration yesterday of its ability to disrupt any movement toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians. As tens of
thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip surged across the border into Egypt, Hamas security forces directed traffic; earlier, they stood by as organized
groups of militants blew up the fence along the previously sealed border. As Hamas no doubt expected, the government of Egypt greeted this illegal invasion
with a quick surrender: President Hosni Mubarak announced that Gazans would be allowed to shop in Egypt because they "are starving due to the Israeli siege."

In fact, as Mr. Mubarak well knows, no one is starving in Gaza -- though food, fuel and cigarettes are much cheaper across the border. Israel closed its border
with the territory and disrupted power supplies over the weekend in response to a massive escalation of Palestinian rocket launches from Gaza at nearby Israeli
towns -- between Tuesday and Saturday last week, some 225 rockets were aimed at the town of Sderot, where more than 20,000 Israelis have been relentlessly
terrorized. Hamas took advantage of the blockade first by arranging for sympathetic Arab media to document the "humanitarian crisis," then by daring
Egypt to use force against Palestinian civilians portrayed as Israel's victims. Its ultimate goal, stated publicly yesterday by Damascus-based leader Khaled Meshal, is to force Egypt to permanently reopen the border in cooperation with Hamas; that would greatly diminish Israel's ability to respond to rocket attacks with economic sanctions, and it would undermine the rival Palestinian leadership
of Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert committed themselves to reaching a peace accord in 2008 during President Bush's visit this month. Yet
since then, political attention in the region has been focused on the rocket attacks, Israel's retaliatory strikes against militants in Gaza and the
subsequent blockade, and yesterday's dramatic breach of the border. Naturally it is impossible for the peace negotiations to make progress in these conditions.
So those who say their priority is an Israeli-Palestinian settlement ought to be trying to stop Hamas's disruptions.

That obligation doesn't just fall on Mr. Abbas and Mr. Olmert -- though Israel may have a lesson to learn from the way Hamas exploited its temporary shutdown
of fuel supplies. Mr. Mubarak and other Arab leaders have to resist the urge to roll over every time they are challenged by Hamas and al-Jazeera television.
Would Mr. Mubarak allow tens of thousands of Darfur refugees to illegally enter Egypt from Sudan, where a real humanitarian crisis is underway? Surely not.
Egypt's obligation as a law-abiding state is to restore order on the border and prevent the ongoing and massive smuggling of armaments into Gaza. That would go
a long way toward stopping the rockets.

The Bush administration and European governments should act to stop the ongoing farce at the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. Human Rights Council, which have
ignored months of daily rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians but now rush to condemn a partial, three-day disruption of Gaza's power supplies. Hamas, and
the people of Gaza, should get a consistent message that relief lies not in blowing up international borders but in ending attacks on Israel and allowing a
peace process to go forward.




Event on January 27, 2008

Contact: Paul Verduin (301) 495-7891 -
or Nabil Mohamad (202) 244-2990 -

Jan 27 Interfaith Prayer Service and Vigil for Palestinians

Washington, DC | January 24, 2008 | | Deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, people of all faiths in the Washington area will gather Sunday afternoon at a church on Wisconsin Avenue to pray--and later, outside the Israeli Embassy, to hold vigil--in gestures of solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians rallying this weekend on the Israel-Gaza border to demand an end to the Israeli blockade.

The paired Jan. 27 interfaith events, sponsored by the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, Sharing Jerusalem, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), will begin at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave., NW, at 2 p.m. The church is located just north of Massachusetts Avenue, immediately adjacent to the National Cathedral.

Led by a Christian minister, a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim imam, the 2 PM prayer service at St. Alban's will provide an opportunity for people of all faiths to give voice to their distress for the safety and well-being of the 1.5 million people of Gaza suffering since Thursday from a cut-off by Israel of such basic human necessities as food, medicine, and the fuel required to operate the territory's sole operating power plant. Following the prayer service, those attending are invited to drive or otherwise make their way to the Israeli Embassy for an outdoor vigil at the embassy entrance demanding an end to the blockade. The Israeli Embassy is located at 3514 International Drive, N.W, near Van Ness Street a block west of Connecticut Avenue.

The prayer service at the church and the vigil at the embassy will give expression to demands for a termination of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and an end to violence committed by both sides of the struggle. According to news reports, water supplies in Gaza are polluted due to the shutdown of sewage treatment facilities stemming from disruptions in the electrical power grid caused by the blockade. Safe drinking water is reported to be in short supply, according to the media accounts. On Wednesday, Gazans destroyed and breached the seven-mile-long barrier along the border with Egypt, streaming over the barricade to buy food, fuel and other provisions.

For more information on the ongoing crisis see:

For more information on the sponsoring organizations see:





NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide with chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include: research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.

To Unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to ORGANIZING@ADC.ORG

SAVE THE DATE: 2008 ADC Annual National Convention - Washington, DC June 12 to 15.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Organizing Department
1732 Wisconsin Ave NW.
Washington, DC. 20007, U.S.A.
Tel: (202) 244-2990
Web :

SAVE THE DATE: 2008 ADC Annual National Convention - Washington, DC June 12 to 15.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Organizing Department
1732 Wisconsin Ave NW.
Washington, DC. 20007, U.S.A.
Tel: (202) 244-2990
Web :

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

From: Rashid
Subject: Deborah Orr: The tragic truth about collective punishment
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 17:06:22 +0000
Deborah Orr: The tragic truth about collective punishment
Those Palestinians unfortunate enough to live in camps in Lebanon, for example, are not utterly deprived of rights, and dependent on UN aid, because of Israeli policy alone. Pan-Arab policy also dictates that the Palestinians should live in absolute hardship, lest they decide to play into the hands of Israel, by abandoning the struggle and quietly assimilating and getting on with their lives.
It is easy to condemn Israel when it minimises the plain fact of a humanitarian crisis, and claims that in Gaza, the Islamists of Hamas are "making things appear worse". But it is more sensible simply to concede that Israel may, on this occasion, have a case, because it is clearly in the interests of Hamas to do so.
It is the policy of Hamas to highlight and to emphasise the oppression wrought on Palestinians by Israel. It would be far more mystifying if Hamas, as the eyes of the world treat Gaza to one of their sporadic glances, sought to understate matters as much as possible, rather than overplaying them. Hamas, in common with most other Islamist groups, thrives on promulgating the idea of Muslim victimhood, after all.
Hamas embraces this victimhood, engineers it and promotes it. Hamas does not condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel that forms the official and wearily accepted justification for every Israeli incursion into Gaza and every blockade on the Strip. On the contrary, Hamas insists that the firing of the rockets is "symbolic", a feeble and almost metaphysical expression of the Palestinian right to express its hostility to the humiliation and degradation that has been visited on its people.
In this respect, Hamas too colludes in the unleashing of collective punishment. It sees the suffering of Gazans as a tool in the fight for international attention, and a necessary component of the only war it can really afford to wage – the propaganda war. This war, it fights on two fronts – against Israel, of course, but also against Fatah, the secularist group that has become, by default, for now, the acceptable representative of the Palestinian struggle for nationhood.
In an unusual break-out of multilateral agreement, Israel, Fatah, the European Union and the United States all share a desire to isolate Hamas within Gaza, even though all consider themselves to be champions of the democratic cause, and even though Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary election. Never mind that Fatah was until recently the most evil embodiment imaginable of Arab anti-Zionism. Fatah, for all its many faults, was not an Islamist group.
Now, under the ancient rule whereby one's enemy's enemy is one's friend, Israel emphasises whenever it can how much it is itching to get back over to the West Bank and cut a peace deal with Fatah, and how only the agitations of Hamas are stopping this – suddenly easily attainable – situation from coming about.
Yet Fatah is still active in Gaza, even though its attempts to regain power by force have failed. Like Hamas, Fatah has never been above deploying a little sneaky collective punishment against the Palestinians in pursuit of its aims. Fatah, too, has long fetishised Palestinian victimhood, again because it was the only instrument of warfare available. It does not hesitate in augmenting that victimhood, or even question its moral justification for doing so, in the cause of its own political gain.
European funding for the Palestinian Authority, for example, suspended when Hamas won the election, has for a while been back on stream, with Fatah, not Hamas, controlling the portion of it that goes directly into Palestinian hands. Fatah pays the wages of public servants in Gaza, including doctors and nurses. But it has been accused of operating an unofficial policy whereby it requests that all those workers who support Fatah should stay at home if they wish to be paid. It does this in pursuit of the same policy that Israel accuses Hamas of, that of "making things appear worse", this time to the detriment of Hamas.
The saddest, most ironic, thing is that it was just this sort of Fatah realpolitik that allowed Hamas to usurp its political leadership in the first place. Hamas appealed to ordinary Palestinians not by proselytising Islam, but by offering the social support that the Palestinian Authority could have prioritised itself, had it not considered such basic governmental duties to have been strategically counter-productive. The extent to which ordinary Palestinians have been used as political capital in the Palestine-Israeli region is vast and horrible. But it is by no means correct to claim that the Israelis are alone in stooping to this.
The consequences of such manipulation are plain. It is far from outlandish to suggest that the promotion of suicide bombers is merely the most basic expression of the idea that individual Palestinian lives are nothing more or less than weapons of war. Yet there are many other ways in which such attitudes make matters worse for the Palestinians, politically as well as personally.
For many of those who sympathise with the Palestinian cause, it is difficult to understand how Israel can maintain its own collective inability to see the Palestinians as people who are stateless and suffering, just as the Jewish people itself so recently was. Yet the eagerness of the rest of the Arab world, and of the home-grown factions who claim to represent the Palestinians, to treat ordinary people as a malleable, expendable, collective mass, bolsters this attitude rather than challenging it.
At root, in order to maintain its own creation myth, Israel needs to believe that prior to the establishment of Israel there was no Palestine, and that even if there was a Palestine, it was a poor sort of place, let down by its own leaders, rather than obliterated by charter.
The continued Arab belief that it is politically wise to persist in portraying the Palestinians as passive recipients of aid, unable to help themselves or sustain themselves, hugely assists Israel in its ravenous desire to maintain this myth. It helps, in fact, just a little, in the ongoing project of making it an unchallengeable reality.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

GazSubject: The Forward: Reckless in Gaza Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 17:24:24 +0000
Reckless in Gaza

The Forward

Fri. Jan 18, 2008

Ehud Olmert, Israel ’s perpetually embattled prime minister, probably thought he was performing a daring display of political balancing this week. First he saw off the visiting President Bush with grand words of peace. Then he announced that he opposed any major ground incursion into lawless Gaza . The next day, his troops opened up the bloodiest day of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in more than a year.
It was a classic Olmert juggling act: playing to every side in turn, hoping to give all involved just enough to keep them on board, but managing instead to leave everyone fuming. His advocacy of a negotiated deal with the Palestinians, blunter than any Israeli prime minister before him, has thoroughly alienated his traditional allies on the right. But his clumsy military forays, ostensibly meant to quell rocket fire from Gaza , probably sabotaged the very negotiations on which he has spent so much political capital.
As for the rocket fire, it only grew in intensity.
Israel certainly has a right to act to defend itself against the steady bombardment of its civilian towns near Gaza . The rockets disrupt ordinary life in Sderot and nearby villages, terrify the residents and cause real damage. Three people have been killed by rockets in the past year. This week’s barrage, unleashed in the wake of the Israeli incursion, was one of the most intense yet. It left nine people injured — five with cuts, four treated for shock, including two small children. Along with the rockets, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Israeli farmers near the border fence, killing an Ecuadorian kibbutz volunteer.
On the Palestinian side, the day’s fighting left 19 dead, of whom 15 or 16 were rocketeers, terrorists and combatants. The rest were civilians. It was the highest Palestinian civilian toll in weeks.
Israel does not deliberately target civilians. The same cannot be said of the Palestinians. If Palestinian civilian deaths are the inevitable price of Israel ’s self-defense, there can be little argument.
But Israel ’s actions provide it no defense. It strikes again and again, killing Palestinian fighters and not a few civilians, yet more gunmen spring up and attacks on Israel continue.
In the past two years, Israeli forces killed 810 Palestinians in Gaza , as the director of the Shin Bet security service, Yuval Diskin, told a Cabinet meeting last week. Of the total, about 200 were not clearly linked to terrorist organizations — that is, bystanders. A separate study by the Ha’aretz newspaper found that the civilian toll was actually higher, totaling about 360, of whom 152 were under age 18, including 48 children under age 14.
Israel ’s death toll from terrorism in 2007, reported this month by the human rights group B’Tselem and confirmed by the military, totaled 13, including seven civilians. That was the lowest toll since 1999. The toll that year, the last full year that the Oslo accords were in effect, was zero.
For all that, the Palestinian war against Israel “is not being checked, but is actually intensifying,” the internal security minister, Avi Dichter, reported at the same Cabinet meeting. Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief, estimated that there are some 20,000 Palestinian fighters in Gaza , of whom Israel has killed about 5%. He said the army should shift gears and step up its efforts. It wasn’t clear how much killing he thought would suffice.
Israeli political and military leaders argue that by targeting Palestinian gunmen and their handlers, they will eventually force Hamas to knuckle under, recognize Israel and swear off terrorism — or collapse and be replaced by the more moderate Fatah. Israel has vowed repeatedly that it will not discuss anything with Hamas, directly or indirectly, until Hamas agrees to those terms.
But Israel has been doing exactly that: negotiating indirectly with Hamas about a prisoner exchange and an open-ended cease-fire, including a halt to all attacks on Israelis. The talks’ lynchpin, from the Israeli viewpoint, is the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas gunmen in June 2006. Hamas has been pushing for months for the multi-part deal, especially the cease-fire. Israel won’t admit it’s interested, but Palestinian officials have been saying that the deal is almost done.
Now, however, the whole deal may be off, including Shalit’s freedom. Among the dead in the Gaza incursion was the 24-year-old son of Muhammad Zahar, a leader of the hawkish wing (yes, there is one) of Hamas. Zahar is now gaining stature along with sympathy, strengthening Hamas opponents of cease-fire and accommodation.
The Gaza killings have also raised the ire of Fatah leaders in the West Bank , including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is supposed to be Olmert’s partner in broader peace talks. President Bush has a great deal riding on those talks, presumably his last chance to leave a legacy. Olmert, too, wants the talks to work. Whoever replaces Bush in the White House in a year will be much less likely to tilt the scales in Israel ’s favor.
Whatever Bush and Olmert were hoping, the chances of those talks going anywhere were slim already. Now they’re much worse.
But that’s not the only thing Olmert has done of late to undermine his — and Bush’s — dream of peace. Just before Christmas, Olmert’s government announced 300 new apartments going up for sale in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood, annexed by Israel in 1967. Olmert’s aides indicated that he had been sandbagged by bureaucrats in his own housing ministry, and the prime minister promised Abbas in a meeting days later not to do anything “that will hurt our ability to arrive at final status negotiations with the Palestinians.” Immediately afterward, however, spokesmen indicated that Olmert would not block the new construction. His government also put $50 million in next year’s budget to subsidize the flats.
The news brought sharp protests from the Bush administration. Two weeks later, on the very eve of Bush’s Israel visit, Jerusalem city hall approved construction on 60 new apartments in an even more controversial East Jerusalem development, Ras al-Amud.
Palestinians claim the two developments, Har Homa and Ras al-Amud, effectively shut off the last potential corridors between the West Bank and their future capital in East Jerusalem . Olmert doesn’t want to negotiate the topic, and seems to hope the buildings will end the discussion without hurting his “ability to reach final status negotiations.”
It is, by any standard, a risky game of chicken. The stakes are nothing less than the peace negotiations that Olmert repeatedly says are crucial to Israel ’s survival. If he believes what he says, his actions are inexplicable. It may be that Olmert simply can’t control the actions — military forays, construction permits — of his own government. He may actually be helpless. Or he may simply be reckless.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Barghouthi: Rate of killing doubled since Annapolis
Maan News

Jan 10, 2008

The rate of Israeli attacks on, and killings of, Palestinians has
doubled since the US-sponsored Annapolis peace summit, former
Palestinian information minister and head of the Palestinian
National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouthi, announced on Wednesday.

As US President George W. Bush's visited the Palestinian Territories,
Dr Barghouthi exposed the extent of Israel's aggression against the
Palestinian people in 2007, a year characterised by the highest ever
ratio of Palestinian to Israeli killings, and unabated settlement

Dr Barghouthi presented data showing that Israeli military
killings of, and attacks against, Palestinians have soared by 100%
since Annapolis, confirming an intensification of Israeli military
violence against the Palestinian people even after the meeting on
27 November 2007.

He highlighted that the ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed in
2007 had risen to 40:1, up from 30:1 in 2006 and 4:1 from 2000-2005.

"We do not want anyone to die, Israeli or Palestinian, but this ratio
is alarming. It is unacceptable to justify such large-scale killings
under the pretext of security," Barghouthi said, adding that five of
the Israelis killed in 2007 were soldiers who died whilst carrying out
attacks inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

"Israel uses security as a pretext to step up its aggression against
Palestinians and to evade any commitments to peace," he went on.

"The question here is about security for everyone, not only Israelis,
and about equality and the equal rights of all peoples to life. The
facts on the ground show very clearly that the Israeli government and
Palestinians," he added.

Barghouthi also focused on Israeli settlement expansion and their
refusal to dismantle any existing settlements, saying that this was
a further indication of Israel's sense of absolute impunity with
regard to international law and United Nations resolutions. He
described the lack of international censure at such Israeli
practices as "alarming."

He warned that while there is much talk about Israel's 105 illegal
outposts, with a combined population of 3,000 settlers, it also
maintains 133 settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)
which have population of 447,500, and which are equally illegal
under international law. Moreover, Israel continues to build in
88 of these

Barghouthi stressed that settlement expansion is being facilitated
by Israel's 'Roads and Tunnels' Plan. Israel is also constructing
a separate highway network to link settlements on both sides of the
Apartheid Wall with
Israel and to each other.

"Tell me of any other case in the world where roads are segregated
on the basis of ethnicity? This is a practical manifestation of
Apartheid to an extent never before witnessed, not even at the
height of the Apartheid regime in South Africa" he said.

He concluded that only a peace process based on adherence to
international law, and which respected Palestinian national
rights, the rights of refugees and the right to freedom from
Apartheid could yield a just and lasting peace.

:: Article nr. 40008 sent on 11-jan-2008 08:08 ECT

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Sibel Edmonds case: Front page of the (UK) papers (finally) IMPORTANT UPDATE
by lukery
Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 08:24:13 AM PST
There's a remarkable article For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets on the front page of the British Times today.
A WHISTLEBLOWER (Sibel Edmonds) has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.
Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.
IMPORTANT UPDATE- see bottom of post

lukery's diary :: ::
(Please note that the Times article is long, and I've tried to stay within the parameters of Fair Use. Please go read the whole thing)

From the article:

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.
The article doesn't name the official, but he is Marc Grossman, former #3 at the State Department, former ambassador to Turkey, and current Vice President at The Cohen Group, the lobbying company run by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

(Sibel) claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

"If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials," she said.
Those household names include Richard Perle and Douglas Feith and possibly Paul Wolfowitz. Less familiar names include Eric Edelman, Feith's replacement at the Pentagon, and former Democratic Congressman Stephen Solarz.

(Sibel's) story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.
I'd quibble with this a little, Sibel has repeatedly said that her case involves criminal infiltration, not state-based espionage. As I wrote back in 2006:

"Sibel's case is about the systematic, long-term, for-profit, looting of US nuclear secrets (and who knows what else) by criminal organizations who then sell the nuclear technology to the highest bidder(s) - including terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

To make matters worse, this has been taking place with the full knowledge of the US government."
Back to The Times:

The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britain’s Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations.
Again, I'd quibble with the purported reason for why the investigations were shut down. It may be true that diplomatic relations were at stake, but it's also true that the people at the Pentagon and the State Dept who repeatedly shut down the investigations were also personally profiting from the whole enterprise, which may have (ahem) coloured their decision making process.

Here Sibel describes how investigations were shut down, despite the protestations of FBI agents (she also names Grossman here)

It's also important to note that they haven't specified which 'diplomatic relations' are at stake here. It's not just Pakistan. As Sibel said:

We don’t know what diplomatic relations they are referring to. They must be ashamed of it! They don’t want to mention it. So we have certain diplomatic relations that prevent criminals being prosecuted here. And I am talking about criminals in the United States of America.
The Times article then describes an FBI investigation into "links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets":

The Turks and Israelis had planted "moles" in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. "The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States," she said.

They were helped, she says, by (Marc Grossman) who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.
The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion...
The article goes on to describe how the head of the ISI, General Mahmoud Ahmad, is a supporter of al-Qaeda, including partly financing the 911 terrorist attacks, and is also good friends with AQ Khan. Obviously the nuclear secrets stolen from the US fed directly into Pakistan's nuclear program, and also into Khan's proliferation network. The so-called 'AQ Khan network' provided the nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea, Libya, and possibly up to a dozen other countries. Not only that, immediately prior to 911, Osama Bin Laden met with people in Khan's network with the aim of al-Qaeda acquiring nukes.

The article also describes how the ISI 'penetrated' the FBI translation unit in DC where Sibel worked, in much the same way that the Turkish network had placed moles there - enabling them to block important translations, steal incriminating documents, and recruit others to conduct espionage within the translation unit. Remarkably, this 'penetration' was not the result of remarkable sneakiness and superior spy-craft by the ISI and the Turkish networks - all evidence in both cases indicates that the penetration was condoned & enabled by senior people within the US government. Former FBI counterintelligence veteran John Cole (and others, including Sibel) describes the placement, despite his objections, of ISI operatives in the translation unit here.

The Times article then notes something that I reported 18 months ago. Immediately after 911, the FBI arrested a bunch of people suspected of being involved with the attacks - including four associates of key targets of FBI's counterintelligence operations. Sibel heard the targets tell Marc Grossman: "We need to get them out of the US because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans." Grossman duly facilitated their release from jail and the suspects immediately left the country without further investigation or interrogation.

Let me repeat that for emphasis: The #3 guy at the State Dept facilitated the immediate release of 911 suspects at the request of targets of the FBI's investigation.

Back to The Times:

Edmonds also claims that a number of senior officials in the Pentagon had helped Israeli and Turkish agents.

"The people provided lists of potential moles from Pentagon-related institutions who had access to databases concerning this information," she said.

"The handlers, who were part of the diplomatic community, would then try to recruit those people to become moles for the network. The lists contained all their ‘hooking points’, which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to."
The article notes that Larry Franklin was one of those implicated in the scheme. However, Sibel has previously noted that Franklin was essentially a pawn in the system. More significant is the fact that high-level Pentagon officials were maintaining 'dossiers' on the sexual and financial proclivities of their underlings in order to be able to blackmail them.

I know that many of you have been (rightly) concerned about FISA, and many of you have (rightly) been confused by the inexplicable behaviour of Democrats in Congress, and wonder why they behave as though they are being blackmailed.

Now you know.

If any American journalists/media wants to step up, please remember that the nuclear black market story covered by The Times is just one element of Sibel's case.

Bradblog has more

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Sibel has publishedon her site, without comment, photos of 18 people. This is clearly her way of getting around the gag orders and 'naming names' - the guilty parties - without naming them! I've posted the names and photos at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

I'll try to have more tomorrow when I can post a new diary.

Cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

(Email meif you want to be added to my Sibel email list. Subject: 'Sibel email list')

Tags: Sibel Edmonds, AQ Khan, Nuclear Proliferation, Marc Grossman, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Pakistan, Recommended (all tags) :: Previous Tag Versions

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Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

by lukery on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 08:24:33 AM PST

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by statesecrets on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 08:32:51 AM PST

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You say:

"Sibel's case is about the systematic, long-term, for-profit, looting of US nuclear secrets (and who knows what else) by criminal organizations who then sell the nuclear technology to the highest bidder(s) - including terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

To make matters worse, this has been taking place with the full knowledge of the US government."

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 18:29:32 -0800 (PST)
From: "WRITE! Action Alert"
Subject: Action Alert for articles in LA Times and Washington Post To:
WRITE! For Justice, Human Rights and International Law
in Palestine.

Greetings Everyone:

This action alert includes two articles to respond to
- a positive one from the LA Times, and an inadequate
article from the Washington Post. Of course you have
a choice to respond to both or one of them.

We need to send support to the Los Angeles Times for
publishing the following op-ed by John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt because we know that the Zionists are
blasting the Times for their attempts to allow all the
different views to express themselves. Mearsheimer
and Walt are the authors of a recent very powerful
book about the disproportionate and often corrupt
influence of the Israel lobby in American politics.

The most important thing about this article is that it
expresses the importance of overcoming the stigma
against criticizing Israel, and whether you are for a
one or a two state solution, supporting the open right
to criticize Israel in the American press is a goal we
can all join together in support of, and is a
necessary first step in the struggle to get the US to
stop its unconditional support of Israel, and to begin
to use its power to force Israel to change its illegal
and immoral policies toward the Palestinian people.

Please send your letter of support to Please include your full name,
mailing address and daytime phone number (your number
will not be published), but not attachments.

Israel's false friends
U.S. presidential candidates aren't doing the Jewish
state any favors by offering unconditional support.
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt
Los Angeles Times Op-Ed
January 6, 2008
Once again, as the presidential campaign season gets
underway, the leading candidates are going to enormous
lengths to demonstrate their devotion to the state of
Israel and their steadfast commitment to its "special
relationship" with the United States.

Each of the main contenders emphatically favors giving
Israel extraordinary material and diplomatic support
-- continuing the more than $3 billion in foreign aid
each year to a country whose per capita income is now
29th in the world. They also believe that this aid
should be given unconditionally. None of them
criticizes Israel's conduct, even when its actions
threaten U.S. interests, are at odds with American
values or even when they are harmful to Israel itself.
In short, the candidates believe that the U.S. should
support Israel no matter what it does.

Such pandering is hardly surprising, because
contenders for high office routinely court special
interest groups, and Israel's staunchest supporters --
the Israel lobby, as we have termed it -- expect it.
Politicians do not want to offend Jewish Americans or
"Christian Zionists," two groups that are deeply
engaged in the political process. Candidates fear,
with some justification, that even well-intentioned
criticism of Israel's policies may lead these groups
to turn against them and back their opponents instead.

If this happened, trouble would arise on many fronts.
Israel's friends in the media would take aim at the
candidate, and campaign contributions from pro-Israel
individuals and political action committees would go
elsewhere. Moreover, most Jewish voters live in states
with many electoral votes, which increases their
weight in close elections (remember Florida in 2000?),
and a candidate seen as insufficiently committed to
Israel would lose some of their support. And no
Republican would want to alienate the pro-Israel
subset of the Christian evangelical movement, which is
a significant part of the GOP base.

Indeed, even suggesting that the U.S. adopt a more
impartial stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict can get a candidate into serious trouble.
When Howard Dean proposed during the 2004 campaign
that the United States take a more "evenhanded" role
in the peace process, he was severely criticized by
prominent Democrats, and a rival for the nomination,
Sen. Joe Lieberman, accused him of "selling Israel
down the river" and said Dean's comments were

Word quickly spread in the American Jewish community
that Dean was hostile to Israel, even though his
campaign co-chair was a former president of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Dean had
been strongly pro-Israel throughout his career. The
candidates in the 2008 election surely want to avoid
Dean's fate, so they are all trying to prove that they
are Israel's best friend.

These candidates, however, are no friends of Israel.
They are facilitating its pursuit of self-destructive
policies that no true friend would favor.

The key issue here is the future of Gaza and the West
Bank, which Israel conquered in 1967 and still
controls. Israel faces a stark choice regarding these
territories, which are home to roughly 3.8 million
Palestinians. It can opt for a two-state solution,
turning over almost all of the West Bank and Gaza to
the Palestinians and allowing them to create a viable
state on those lands in return for a comprehensive
peace agreement designed to allow Israel to live
securely within its pre-1967 borders (with some minor
modifications). Or it can retain control of the
territories it occupies or surrounds, building more
settlements and bypass roads and confining the
Palestinians to a handful of impoverished enclaves in
Gaza and the West Bank. Israel would control the
borders around those enclaves and the air above them,
thus severely restricting the Palestinians' freedom of

But if Israel chooses this second option, it will lead
to an apartheid state. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said
as much when he recently proclaimed that if "the
two-state solution collapses," Israel will "face a
South African-style struggle." He went so far as to
argue that "as soon as that happens, the state of
Israel is finished." Similarly, Israel's deputy prime
minister, Haim Ramon, said earlier this month that
"the occupation is a threat to the existence of the
state of Israel." Other Israelis, as well as Jimmy
Carter and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have
warned that continuing the occupation will turn Israel
into an apartheid state. Nevertheless, Israel
continues to expand its settlements on the West Bank
while the plight of the Palestinians worsens.

Given this grim situation, one would expect the
presidential candidates, who claim to care deeply
about Israel, to be sounding the alarm and
energetically championing a two-state solution. One
would expect them to have encouraged President Bush to
put significant pressure on both the Israelis and the
Palestinians at the recent Annapolis conference and to
keep the pressure on when he visits the region this
week. As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently
observed, settling this conflict is also in America's
interest, not to mention the Palestinians'.

One would certainly expect Hillary Clinton to be
leading the charge here. After all, she wisely and
bravely called for establishing a Palestinian state
"that is on the same footing as other states" in 1998,
when it was still politically incorrect to use the
words "Palestinian state" openly. Moreover, her
husband not only championed a two-state solution as
president but he laid out the famous "Clinton
parameters" in December 2000, which outline the only
realistic deal for ending the conflict.

But what is Clinton saying now that she is a
candidate? She said hardly anything about pushing the
peace process forward at Annapolis, and remained
silent when Rice criticized Israel's subsequent
announcement that it planned to build more than 300
new housing units in East Jerusalem. More important,
both she and GOP aspirant Rudy Giuliani recently
proclaimed that Jerusalem must remain undivided, a
position that is at odds with the Clinton parameters
and virtually guarantees that there will be no
Palestinian state.

Sen. Clinton's behavior is hardly unusual among the
candidates for president. Barack Obama, who expressed
some sympathy for the Palestinians before he set his
sights on the White House, now has little to say about
their plight, and he too said little about what should
have been done at Annapolis to facilitate peace. The
other major contenders are ardent in their
declarations of support for Israel, and none of them
apparently sees a two-state solution as so urgent that
they should press both sides to reach an agreement. As
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. national security
advisor and now a senior advisor to Obama, noted, "The
presidential candidates don't see any payoff in
addressing the Israel-Palestinian issue." But they do
see a significant political payoff in backing Israel
to the hilt, even when it is pursuing a policy --
colonizing the West Bank -- that is morally and
strategically bankrupt.

In short, the presidential candidates are no friends
of Israel. They are like most U.S. politicians, who
reflexively mouth pro-Israel platitudes while
continuing to endorse and subsidize policies that are
in fact harmful to the Jewish state. A genuine friend
would tell Israel that it was acting foolishly, and
would do whatever he or she could to get Israel to
change its misguided behavior. And that will require
challenging the special interest groups whose
hard-line views have been obstacles to peace for many

As former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami
argued in 2006, the American presidents who have made
the greatest contribution to peace -- Carter and
George H.W. Bush -- succeeded because they were "ready
to confront Israel head-on and overlook the
sensibilities of her friends in America." If the
Democratic and Republican contenders were true friends
of Israel, they would be warning it about the danger
of becoming an apartheid state, just as Carter did.

Moreover, they would be calling for an end to the
occupation and the creation of a viable Palestinian
state. And they would be calling for the United States
to act as an honest broker between Israel and the
Palestinians so that Washington could pressure both
sides to accept a solution based on the Clinton
parameters. Implementing a final-status agreement will
be difficult and take a number of years, but it is
imperative that the two sides formally agree on the
solution and then implement it in ways that protect
each side.

But Israel's false friends cannot say any of these
things, or even discuss the issue honestly. Why?
Because they fear that speaking the truth would incur
the wrath of the hard-liners who dominate the main
organizations in the Israel lobby. So Israel will end
up controlling Gaza and the West Bank for the
foreseeable future, turning itself into an apartheid
state in the process. And all of this will be done
with the backing of its so-called friends, including
the current presidential candidates. With friends like
them, who needs enemies?

John J. Mearsheimer is a professor of political
science at the University of Chicago. Stephen M. Walt
is a professor of international affairs at Harvard's
Kennedy School of Government. They are the authors of
"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," published
last year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


The article copied below from the Washington Post by
Steve Gutkin appears to try to be balanced, but misses
major points on the Palestinian side.

It fails to mention the following points which are
important to remind the Washington Post about so that
they print the whole truth about the Israel/Palestine

1. The article says Israel should give up some of the
settlements, but in fact all the Israeli settlements
are illegal, occupy stolen Palestinian lands and now
cut the West Bank in half making a Palestinian State
realistically impossible - why should Israel have the
right to keep any of them;

2. The article mentions that Palestinian refugees
should only be able to return to the areas of the
Palestinian State, but in fact it is a basic right by
international law and morality that the refugees of
1948 have complete right to return to their homes
within what is now Israel as per many UN resolutions -
that without this basic justice being fulfilled
realistically can there ever be true peace in the
region? Also, excluding the Palestinians is a way for
the Israelis to keep the true native majority out of
the country and thus from having a say in how to
govern their own homeland - that qualifies as a form
of ethnic cleansing, and is not the sign of a true
democracy. And how can the Israelis claim a right of
return after 1800 years and then deny it to another
people after only 60 years;

3. The article points out that the Palestinians will
soon be a majority in historic Palestine, when in fact
they have always been the majority in the region (as
per census counts by the British Mandate prior to
statehood), and are still today if you include the
Palestinian refugees stuck in refugee camps throughout
the region waiting to return to their homes (as per UN
counts afterwards), and thus the Israeli democracy has
always been dependent on keeping out the native

4. That the idea of a Jewish State is a formula for
discrimination by religion which has manifested as
law-based discrimination in Israel today that fulfills
the 6-part legal definition of apartheid as per
international law, and is dependent on exclusion of
the true native majority in the region.

A true democracy involves a non-secular government
that is responsive to all its citizens equally, led by
the majority, while maintaining minority protections
and rights, including the right to assemble and
organize, and Israel violates this ideal practically
at every point.

The international community has struggled to defeat
colonialism and racism and secularism, and promote and
protect human rights and equality through first the
League of Nations and then the United Nations for over
one-hundred years, and the question for the Washington
Post is why does it support this intentional and
well-organized long-term violation of that effort
which polarizes the world, spreads anti-Semitism and
anti-Western feelings, stimulates terrorism, and
undermines international law and order and cooperation
with its biased reporting?

Justice and our democracy and we the public are
dependent on our press reporting all the facts in an
unbiased way if we are to make informed decisions, and
the Washington Post is failing us in this
responsibility, and this hurts us all.

Please write to Letters should
be 200 words or less and include your name, address,
and a day and evening telephone number (for
identification purposes only).

And please don't send email attachments because they
don't read them.

Thanks again.

Israel, Palestinians Seek Elusive Peace


Washington Post
The Associated Press
Sunday, December 30, 2007; 8:04 AM

JERUSALEM -- In the afterglow of a high-profile peace
conference, Israeli and Palestinian leaders will try
in the coming year to resolve issues that have defied
solutions for decades.

For peace to work, Israel will have to give up most of
the West Bank, Palestinians must agree to resettle
refugees inside their own state and the two sides must
share the holy city of Jerusalem. None of that will
come easily _ and prospects for peace are hurt by the
growing power of extremists and the weakness of
leaders on both sides.

Weighing heavily on the Middle East is fear about the
influence of Iran and the ascendancy of Hamas
militants in the Gaza Strip. After Hamas violently
routed the more moderate Fatah movement in Gaza in
June, the big question now is whether the West Bank
will go the same way.

Israel fretted through a year of angst about Iran's
nuclear program only to be told in a new U.S.
intelligence report that Iran stopped it four years
ago. Israel isn't buying the claim, and is scrambling
to convince its allies that Iran remains a major
threat to the West.

Hamas' takeover of Gaza paradoxically opened the door
to peace talks between Israel and the moderate
Palestinian leadership now in charge of the West Bank.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders both say they hope to
sign a peace deal by the end of 2008.

On Nov. 27, the two sides got together in Annapolis,
Md., in the presence of some 45 nations _ including
leading Arab states _ to relaunch peace talks that had
been stalled during the past seven years of
Israeli-Palestinian violence.

All the main players have good reason to go for a
deal: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants to undo
the damage done by his inconclusive 2006 war in
Lebanon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas needs a
boost in his showdown with Hamas, President Bush would
like to offset his difficulties in Iraq, and moderate
Arab states need to counter Iranian-supported

Working against this new hope is weakness at the top:
a Palestinian president who only controls half his
territory and struggles to impose order in the part he
does control, and an Israeli leader who has done
little to confront domestic hawks intent on expanding
West Bank settlements and torpedoing any progress
toward peace.

While the contours of a peace deal have largely been
worked out in past talks _ a Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Gaza, shared control of Jerusalem and a
recognition the need to settle the Palestinian
refugees _ every issue calls for excruciating

Negotiators will have to figure out how to share
Jerusalem, a task that must address key Israeli
security concerns and religious sensitivities on both
sides; and find a just solution for the Palestinian
refugees displaced in Israel's 1948 war of
independence without destroying the Jewish character
of Israel.

Both Israelis and Palestinians have a growing sense
that time is running out.

There will soon be more Muslims than Jews in the lands
comprising historic Palestine, and Israel will have to
make a deal if it hopes to remain both Jewish and
democratic. And without peace, moderate Palestinians
will likely lose their life-or-death struggle against
the extremists.

"If things don't work out it means that the voices
that are not in favor of ... a peaceful resolution of
the conflict will feel vindicated and they will be
strengthened and empowered," said independent West
Bank lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Ami Ayalon went further,
saying that if peace talks fail "we shall see Hamas
controlling the West Bank and the right wing will
control Israel."

Israel might sign some sort of a peace treaty in the
coming year. But it's highly unlikely the deal would
be implemented unless Israel is assured that the lands
it evacuates won't be used as launching grounds for
attacks _ as happened after Israel withdrew from the
Gaza Strip in 2005.

In hopes of bolstering Abbas' forces in the West Bank,
the international community is expected to pledge
almost $2 billion a year in aid for the next three
years to help rebuild the Palestinian economy and
security forces.

There are no clear plans for Hamas-ruled Gaza, which
is internationally boycotted and can expect to remain
almost completely isolated and slide deeper into
poverty as long as the Islamic militants remain in

If the U.S. change of assessment on Iran was one
year-end surprise, Syria is another.

The country has long been under U.S. pressure over its
role in Lebanon and Iraq, and in September Israeli
warplanes struck a site in Syria that some believe was
a nascent secret nuclear site, an accusation denied by

But Syria improved ties with the U.S. by attending the
Annapolis conference, a thaw that U.S. officials hope
will dilute Iran's influence in the region. Damascus,
in turn, is hoping the next year will see a resumption
of stalled negotiations with Israel over the disputed
Golan Heights.


Steven Gutkin is The Associated Press' bureau chief
for Israel and the Palestinian territories.

© 2007 The Associated Press
Thank you,

The WRITE! Team


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