Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Quiet revolution that is freezing Palestinians out of Jerusalem

March 7, 2010

Evictions and planning decisions on the ground are jeopardising prospects for a two-state Middle East peace deal

Rory McCarthy, Jerusalem

The Observer/UK, arch 7, 2010

In the brochure handed out by the mayor’s office in Jerusalem last week, there were pretty sketches illustrating a development that would turn a poor, crowded area into a park, with streams, restaurants and hotels. It talked of reviving the area’s “ancient glory” and returning the site to “an island of green” just outside the walls of the Old City. True, some houses would have to be demolished but they had been built illegally and anyway the plan was a “win-win” for both the residents and the city, said the mayor, Nir Barkat.

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Mossad’s Murderous Reach: The Larger Political Issues

February 23, 2010

by James Petras, Dissident Voice, February 22nd, 2010

On January 19 Israel’s international secret police, the Mossad, sent an eighteen member death squad to Dubai using European passports, supposedly ‘stolen’ from Israeli dual citizens and altered with fake photos and signatures, in order to assassinate the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud al Mabhouh.

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Slandering Muslims is increasingly acceptable in Western media

February 22, 2010

Foreign Policy Journal, February 22, 2010

by Barnabe Geisweiller

In July of last year, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group, organized a mass wedding celebration for hundreds of couples in the Gaza Strip. The happy adult grooms, immaculately dressed in black suits and colourful ties, received $500 each from Hamas, no small sum in the besieged territory.

It might have been a joyous event if not for the fact that the brides were “pre-pubescent girls, dressed in white gowns and adorned with garish make-up,” according to the article written by author and journalist Paul L. Williams, and republished by rightwing pundit David Horowitz’s Frontpage Magazine, who regularly appears on mainstream news networks such as Fox and CNN.

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That Which Cannot Be Spoken

February 13, 2010

Willian Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, Feb 7, 2010

“The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction,” writes Fareed Zakaria, a leading American foreign-policy pundit, editor of Newsweek magazine’s international edition, and Washington Post columnist, referring to the “underwear bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and his failed attempt to blow up a US airliner on Christmas day. “Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn’t work. Alas, this one worked very well.”[1]

Is that not odd? That an individual would try to take the lives of hundreds of people, including his own, primarily to “provoke an overreaction”, or to “sow fear”? Was there not any kind of deep-seated grievance or resentment with anything or anyone American being expressed? No perceived wrong he wished to make right? Nothing he sought to obtain revenge for? Why is the United States the most common target of terrorists? Such questions were not even hinted at in Zakaria’s article.

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Israel abducts more than 150 Palestinians in 2 days

February 13, 2010
The Palestinian Telegraph, Saturday, 13 February 2010
by PT Editor Mohammed Said El-Nadi
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West Bank, 13 February, 2010 (Pal Telegraph)- The Palestinian Ministry of Detainee Affairs said that the occupation authorities have stepped up recently abductions of Palestinians from various parts of the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, where more than 150 residents were abducted during the past two days.

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Jewish Anti-Occupation Activists Send Forceful Message to Israel

February 2, 2010

By Alex Kane, The Indypendent, Feb 1, 2010

For some Upper West Side residents, their usual stroll down Broadway this evening had a surprise:  a group of 20 New York Jews denouncing Israel’s occupation of Palestine were standing with thought-provoking signs while a few passed out flyers.

Challenging the assumption that all Jews support Israel no matter what, the action, organized by Jews Say No, called on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza and to end the longest running military occupation in recent history.  The group was founded last year during Israel’s war on Gaza.

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U.S. policy in Gaza remains unchanged

January 22, 2010

by Charles Fromm and Ellen Massey, Inter Press Service News

WASHINGTON, Jan 22, 2010 (IPS) – One year ago Thursday, the last Israeli tanks were lumbering out of the Gaza Strip, ending the 22-day Gaza War and leaving in their wake a decimated landscape and population.

A year later, the humanitarian and security situation in the devastated coastal enclave remains dire, yet the Barack Obama administration continues to overlook the crisis in Gaza, an approach which some experts say is an extension of the previous administration’s policy.

This policy has also done little to alleviate what human rights groups warn is a growing humanitarian crisis, plunging the Gaza Strip further into poverty and insecurity.

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Israel’s Gaza blockade continues to suffocate daily life

January 19, 2010

Amnesty international, 18 January 2010

Palestinian girls try to cross a flooded street, Shati refugee camp, Gaza City

Palestinian girls try to cross a flooded street, Shati refugee camp, Gaza City

© Associated Press

Israel must end its suffocating blockade of the Gaza Strip, which leaves more than 1.4 million Palestinians cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty, Amnesty International said one year on from the end of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Amnesty International’s briefing paper Suffocating: The Gaza Strip under Israeli blockade gathers testimony from people still struggling to rebuild their lives following Operation “Cast Lead”, which killed around 1,400 Palestinians and injured thousands more.

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Hosni Mubarak joins Israel in blockade of Gaza

January 18, 2010

Jean Shaoul, wsws.org, January 18, 2010

Egypt has intervened forcibly to prevent international aid reaching Gaza, and has implemented new measures aimed at further tightening Israel’s illegal and inhumane blockade.

Israel stopped all but the most essential food and medicine entering Gaza in June 2007. Hamas, the Islamist party which won the parliamentary elections against Fatah in January 2006, took control of Gaza in order to pre-empt a Fatah coup backed by Israel, the US, Jordan and Egypt. Israel has also banned virtually all exports from Gaza.

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Mubarak’s Iron Wall

January 17, 2010
Jeremy Salt, The Palestine Chronicle, Jan. 17, 2010
Mubarak is a rented president for the US and Israel, not for his own people.

Early in the 20th century the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote of the ‘iron wall’ that would have to be built between the settlers and the indigenous people of Palestine, whom he knew would resist the attempt to take their land to the end. What he meant by an ‘iron wall’ was the force the Zionists would have to use to subdue the Palestinians if they were to take their land. He did not actually mean a wall according to the dictionary definition of such a structure but that is what has now been built across the West Bank to pen the Palestinians up like the wild animals the Israeli historian Benny Morris says they are.

Indeed, the Palestinians have been ghettoised by a variety of walls and ‘fences’. There is the monstrous ‘separation ‘ wall weaving in and out of the rapidly disappearing ‘green line’ separating Palestinian land which had been occupied before the 1967 war from that which was occupied during it. The Gazans live in what has been described as the world’s largest open air prison. It could also be likened to a game reserve. Every season is open season and no weapon is banned. The Gazans are enclosed by the sea on one side, patrolled by the Israeli navy so that that fishing boats cannot get out and relief boats cannot get in. They face an Israeli fence on two other sides and a  concrete barrier on the border with Egypt. This is now being reinforced  by Husni Mubarak’s ‘iron wall’ of steel plates driven deep underground, destroying the tunnels through which Gazans have been supplied with desperately needed  food, fuel and medicine.

Choked since the beginning of the blockade in 2006, the Gazans are now to be throttled by international decree. This is the crime being committed by Israel, the US and Egypt, with the ‘international community’ lining up behind them with expressions of understanding of the need for the Gazans to be punished. Their torment is one of the great scandals of our age. They have been locked up in the strip for the past sixty years. They have been massacred and bombarded from the beginning.

People forget if they ever knew that the majority of Gazans are not native to this part of Palestine. They were driven there by Zionist militias in 1948. The attacks on civilians ordered by David Ben-Gurion in the 1950s and the massacres organised by Ariel Sharon in the 1970s lie buried under the weight of more murderous attacks. In the last two decades the Gazans (and Palestinians elsewhere) have been subjected to ‘targeted assassinations’ (i.e. premeditated murder by a state) and the destruction by land, sea and air of schools, apartment blocks and government buildings. The killing of children reached its apogee (or should we assume worse is yet to come?) during the onslaught of December 2009-January 2010 when more than 400 were killed, blown to bits in artillery and air assaults and shot dead by snipers.  These children had to die so Ehud Olmert could prove he was a tough guy. They had to die because the blockade imposed in 2006 after the election of the Hamas government had not brought the Palestinians to their knees.

The ‘international community’ does not mean you or me. It means Gordon Brown, Nicholas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Silvio Berlusconi, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and numerous other politicians lining up to defend Israel no matter what it does. They could understand why Israel had to attack Gaza in 2008. It was all those tunnels and all those rocket attacks that were the source of the problem and not 60 years of occupation. They could understand why Israel had to attack Lebanon in 2006, killing about the same number of people as they killed in Gaza three years later, although one or two of the fainthearted may have murmured ‘disproportionate’ as the newspapers published photographs of the bodies of children being lifted out of destroyed buildings. They are so understanding of Israel that Gordon Brown is promising to protect Israeli government ministers and military commanders from war crimes prosecution by changing the law. They are so understanding of Israel that the US Congress is going to close down Arab media outlets Israel does not like. They are so understanding of Israel that they can perfectly understand why it might have to launch air attacks on active nuclear installations in Iran. They are so understanding of Israel that they think the Goldstone report on Israeli war crimes (including the bombing of UN buildings and Gaza’s main hospital) and crimes against humanity in Gaza is unbalanced and unfair.

They don’t understand why the Gazans are firing home-made missiles into Israel in response to massacres, targeted assassination and the destruction of infrastructure including sewage and water works. They are appalled. ‘Violence is not the way’. They say it all the time. The phrase rolls off Tony Blair’s tongue like softened honey. Violence is not the way unless it is Israeli violence, or their own violence, delivered daily in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Yemen coming up as a new target in their ‘war on terrorism’. This violence does not appeal them all.  Of course they are shocked by the war dead, but the war dead are their soldiers who have been killed and not the vast number of civilians killed by the war machine of which these soldiers are part. The ‘deaths’ of hundreds of thousands of civilians in these countries in the last two decades is merely tragic or unfortunate. The torture of others, or their removal to third world countries so they can be tortured there is something they simply don’t talk about.

Now we have Mubarak’s steel wall. The ‘international community’ understands why it has to be built. Israel is facing an existential threat from these tunnels.  If the Gazans behave, if they hand back their captured Israeli soldier, if they accept Israel’s ‘right’ to exist on their stolen land,  if they accept that they have no right to go back to it, if they accept whatever demand Israeli makes,  if they accept that Israel has the right to attack and they have no right to defend themselves, with the paltry weapons they have, then of course the blockade will be lifted and they can have a bit more food and medicine depending on how they behave themselves.  Along with the steel wall shutting off the Palestinians is another wall Israel is going to build with Egypt’s consent along the Auja pocket, formerly a demilitarized zone seized by Israel decades ago.

Mubarak is not Egypt. The will of the country is not represented in his parliament and his government. He is a rented president, a president for the US and Israel, not for his own people. He is as much an extension of the US government as the company known as Blackwater until the murder of civilians by its contractors in Iraq caused such a scandal that it had to change its name. Mubarak is a contractor. He helps to run the Middle East for the US.  Egypt is his responsibility and those who would get in his way, Muslim activist or secular liberal, he crushes.

Were fair elections to be held in Egypt, Mubarak and his National Democratic Party would be finished. On the question of Palestine, whatever their other differences, there is no difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and the secular opposition parties and movements. Outside the ranks of Mubarak’s party there is no support for the actions he has taken, including his recent prevention of the Viva  Palestina convoy from delivering aid to Gaza.  The Egyptian people are with the Palestinians and amongst them there is a deep sense of shame at what Mubarak is doing. This is the country of the revolution of 1952, the staunch defender of the Palestinians, of the Third World struggle against imperialism and colonialism, turned into a humiliating dish rag by the west’s satrap in the presidential palace in Cairo.

– Jeremy Salt is associate professor in Middle Eastern History and Politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Previously, he taught at Bosporus University in Istanbul and the University of Melbourne in the Departments of Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science. Professor Salt has written many articles on Middle East issues, particularly Palestine, and was a journalist for The Age newspaper when he lived in Melbourne. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.


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