Saturday, 20 September 2008

Economic Meltdown: Don’t Say We Weren’t Forewarned

Posted on Sep 19, 2008
By Robert Scheer

Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint of Robert Scheer’s column, “Bush Overplays the Terror Card,” that originally ran in the Los Angeles Times on June 25, 2002.
Has the war on terrorism become the modern equivalent of the Roman Circus, drawing the people’s attention away from the failures of those who rule them? Corporate America is a shambles because deregulation, the mantra of our president and his party, has proved to be a license to steal. Yet to question our leaders’ stewardship of the economy has been made to seem unpatriotic.

Although combating terrorism is of compelling importance—and should have been before Sept. 11—one is likely to be branded a nut for daring to suggest that the administration might be using current security threats as a smoke screen to obscure our floundering economy.

Yet, after the miserable performance of the stock market these past five weeks, the forced resignations and indictments of corporate titans (not to mention the conviction of a top accounting firm), the humbling of the dollar and a rise in the trade gap, isn’t it time to ask whether the war on terrorism isn’t being milked as a convenient distraction?

The question seems particularly relevant when our man in the White House has had close personal and financial ties to the company—Enron—whose demise is the most glaring symbol of the broad moral disarray of the nation’s corporate culture.

Is there any doubt that the chicanery of Enron executives and that of a growing Who’s Who of top CEOs has done more long-term damage to the U.S. economy than the efforts of anti-American terrorists? And while sending in the Marines to clean up the boardrooms is not feasible, we ought to wake up to the reality that business greed is subverting the American way of life—and hurting the image of American capitalism and democracy—more effectively than the ploys of any foreign enemy.

When even Martha Stewart is ethically suspect and her company’s stock has plummeted—though not quite to the depths of Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, Dynergy, Wal-Mart and Rite Aid—it is time to return to the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Depression-era president who saved capitalism from itself.

Wealthy from birth, FDR had a healthy awareness of the tendency of the upper classes to destabilize society and even destroy themselves with their greed and hubris. Unlike Karl Marx, however, he believed the unraveling of capitalism was not inevitable if these excesses could somehow be corralled. Thus was born the idea of government regulation as the vital support structure for the powerful, fertile but unstable free market.
Unfortunately, greedy people and institutions don’t like being monitored, and they have the means to corrupt governments and skirt laws.

Since the so-called Reagan Revolution, powerful corporate interests have succeeded in profoundly damaging the foundation of a properly regulated economy. Company auditors, for example, have become accomplices to deceptions of the public that should be considered criminal but that often do not violate statutes written by corporate lobbyists.
Enron provides a startling illustration of a company jumping through loopholes that its D.C. lobbyists have created. In fact, the Enron scams made possible by deregulation in the first Bush administration are still being revealed, such as last week’s reports that the company hid billions in income during the California energy crisis while publicly denying it was profiting excessively.
Yet former Enron officials continue to play an important role under Bush the younger. The Bush family, in fact, has never been seriously confronted by the media or Congress as to its questionable ties to former Enron Chief Executive Kenneth Lay, a close family friend and top contributor to Bush family presidential campaigns.

To be fair, the corporate corruption of our political system has long been bipartisan. The Clinton White House, for example, sponsored major deregulation acts, including the Financial Services Modernization Act, which reversed consumer protections enacted under Roosevelt, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which effectively ended all public accountability for the communications industry and has permitted a few media giants to gobble up vast markets.
Clearly, the problem is bipartisan when a Democrat-controlled Senate moves so hesitantly to confront the myriad examples of sickness in our economy and corporate culture.
The politicians hesitate to act because candidates of both parties are lavishly financed by the very people who are conning a gullible public.


U.S. Launches All-Out Attack on Credit Crisis
Readers Number : 10


The United States surged into action on Friday to launch an all-out attack against the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, readying a plan to tap hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to buy up toxic mortgage-related debt. Capping a week that has reshaped Wall Street, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urged Congress to quickly agree on a program for huge purchases of bad debts held by banks and other financial institutions.
Lawmakers promised fast action on the plan, which two banking industry sources put in the $500 billion to $800 billion range. Losses on mortgage-related debts have choked the financial system, forced lenders into bankruptcy and led the economy to what President George W. Bush called a "pivotal" moment. "America's economy is facing unprecedented challenges, and we are responding with unprecedented action," Bush told reporters in the White House Rose Garden.
After having taken a series of other emergency steps that failed to erect a firewall against the spreading credit turmoil, U.S. authorities turned their attention to the underlying problem - the rising tide of bad mortgage debt. Paulson offered few details on Treasury's proposal but said he would work through the weekend and next week with Congress to get a program put in place. The proposal being sent to lawmakers would run only a few pages, a source said.

A congressional aide said staff on Capitol Hill would be briefed on the plan on Saturday morning. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, said the chamber would likely take up a bill to implement the program early next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers would stay in town past their hoped-for adjournment next Friday if needed to pass it. U.S. stocks, which chalked up their best day in six years on Thursday as talk of the more aggressive approach spread, soared again on Friday.

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average closed up 368 points, or about 3.4 percent. The news also caused waves in the U.S. presidential campaign. Republican hopeful Sen. John McCain knocked the Treasury for taking a haphazard approach to the crisis, while rival Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama, supported the latest moves. Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have already put close to $1 trillion of taxpayer money on the line to try to keep credit flowing.

At a meeting with congressional leaders on Thursday night, Paulson and Bernanke made the case for aggressive action to get ahead of events that could devastate an already weak economy. Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith declined to comment directly on the accuracy of the chairman's reported remark, but confirmed that he painted "a dark scenario". The White House said it was too soon to say how the plan would impact the nation's debt, and said it was possible many of the funds could be recovered as markets stabilize and currently bad assets are sold off. An industry source said there would be no limit on how long the government could hold the debt, which would have had to have been on selling institutions' books as of September 15.

The emergency effort marked the latest dramatic government bid to prevent credit markets from freezing up over huge losses on subprime and other mortgage debt. These have forced U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc into bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch into a hasty marriage with Bank of America, the Fed to bail out troubled insurer American International Group, and the government to seize control of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This long-safe corner of financial markets, home to some $3.5 trillion of deposits, has increasingly appeared at risk of falling victim to the year-old credit crunch. Money market fund assets dropped by a record $169.03 billion in the week ended September 17 as jittery investors pulled money out.

The Treasury said it would back money market funds whose asset values fall below $1 a share. Separately, the Fed said it would lend money to banks to finance purchases of certain assets from money market funds. Paulson also said the administration would step up a program announced this month to directly buy mortgage-backed securities in the market, and said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would also increase their buying to try to get credit flowing.

The Making of Recent U.S. Middle East Policies

A New and Revealing Study of the Influence of the Neocons


Stephen J. Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, Enigma Editions, Norfolk, Virginia, 2008

Not a few honest political analysts have long recognized the tight relationship between the Israel-U.S. partnership and the disastrous Bush administration adventures throughout the Middle East, including its backing for Israel’s systematic oppression of the Palestinians. Stephen Sniegoski has had the persistence to ferret out mountains of impossible-to-challenge evidence that this Israel-U.S. connection is the driving force behind virtually all Middle East decisionmaking over the last eight years, as well as the political courage to write a book about it.

Sniegoski’s new book demonstrates clearly how U.S. and Israeli policies and actions with respect to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the other Gulf states, and even most recently Georgia are all tied together in a bundle of interrelated linkages, each of which affects all the others. The right wing of Israeli politics, the neoconservatives in the U.S. who strongly support Israel, and the aging Israel lobby in the United States all have worked together, and are still doing so, to bring about more wars, regime changes, and instability, specifically the fragmentation of any Middle Eastern states that might ever conceivably threaten Israel.

In addition, one purpose of such wars and other changes is explicitly to intensify the discouragement of Palestinians as the latter’s potential allies are knocked off one by one, making it easier for Israel, over time, to finish off the Palestinians. That’s the theory. Those who believe it is vital to improve the human rights situation and the political outlook for the Palestinians must not only work to reverse present Israeli policies, but it is probably more important that we in the United States work even harder to reverse U.S. policies.

This is a long but quite splendid book. After a foreword by ex-Congressman Paul Findley and an introduction by Professor of Humanities Paul Gottfried, Ph.D., the text itself has 382 pages covering the entire history of the neoconservatives from the 1960s to 2008. The author has clearly spent untold hours reading all the writings he could find by not only the top few neocons but also numerous others who are far less well known but still important figures in the movement.

The neocons, by the way, are by and large not conspiratorial. They prefer to write voluminously and act openly with respect to their philosophies and actions. The word “transparent” in the title of the book emphasizes this very point. On the other hand, the neocons are also very skilled propagandists and are more than willing to spin “facts” in many situations in ways that often do not leave readers with an honest, unvarnished version of “truth.”Sniegoski states his own main argument as follows:

“This book has maintained that the origins of the American war on Iraq revolve around the United States’ adoption of a war agenda whose basic format was conceived in Israel to advance Israeli interests and was ardently pushed by the influential pro-Israeli American neoconservatives, both inside and outside the Bush administration. Voluminous evidence, much of it derived from a lengthy neoconservative paper trail, has been marshaled to substantiate these contentions.” [Page 351]

The author then points out that

what was an unnecessary, deleterious war from the standpoint of [“realists” in] the United States, did advance many Israeli interests, as those interests were envisioned by the Israeli right. America came to identify more closely with the position of Israel toward the Palestinians as it began to equate resistance to Israeli occupation with ‘terrorism.’ … Israel took advantage of the new American ‘anti-terrorist’ position. The ‘security wall’ built by the Sharon government on Palestinian land isolated the Palestinians and made their existence on the West Bank less viable than ever. For the first time, an American president put the United States on record as supporting Israel’s eventual annexation of parts of the West Bank. Obviously, Israel benefited for the very reason that the United States had become the belligerent enemy of Israel’s enemies. As such, America seriously weakened Israel’s foes at no cost to Israel. The war and occupation basically eliminated Iraq as a potential power. Instead of having a unified democratic government, as the Bush administration had predicted, Iraq was fragmenting into warring sectarian groups, in line with the original Likudnik goal.” [Pages 356-357]

And yet one more quote is in order here:

“Since one is dealing with a topic of utmost sensitivity, it should be reiterated that the reference to Israel and the neoconservatives doesn’t imply that all or even most American Jews supported the war on Iraq and the overall neocon war agenda. … A Gallup poll conducted in February 2007 found that 77 percent of [American] Jews believed that the war on Iraq had been a mistake, while only 21 percent held otherwise. This contrasted with the overall American population in which the war was viewed as a mistake by a 52 percent to 46 percent margin. … [Nevertheless,] evidence for the neoconservative and Israeli connection to the United States war is overwhelming and publicly available. There was no dark, hidden ‘conspiracy,’ a term of derision often used by detractors of the idea of a neocon connection to the war. … It should be hoped that … Americans should not fear to honestly discuss the background and motivation for the war in Iraq and the overall United States policy in the Middle East. Only by understanding the truth can the United States possibly take the proper corrective action in the Middle East; without such an understanding, catastrophe looms.” [Pages 371-372]

The reader will note that the above excerpts all come from near the end of Sniegoski’s book. Before reaching this point in the book, you will be treated to informative and well-written chapters on the origins of the neoconservative movement, the Israeli origins of the United States’ Middle East war agenda, and neocon planning against Iran, as well as chapters entitled “World War IV” (a very important chapter), and “Democracy for the Middle East.” A particularly important chapter on “Oil and Other Arguments for the War” argues that oil was not as important a reason for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as was Israel.

This book is a veritable bible on the neocons -- and a frightening one. Anyone who thought that neocon thinking and policymaking had become passé with the political eclipse of the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith will be disquieted to find that these individuals were only the tip of the iceberg and that on all issues having to do with Israel neocon thinking lives on in policymaking councils and is about to be passed on to the next administration, whether it be Democratic or Republican.

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence officer and as director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis.

Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession. They can be reached at

The Birds Shall Return

Beauty is truth, truth Beauty,
That's all ye know on Earth,
And all ye need to know. John Keats"

A land without a people for a people without a land," the usurpers dissembled.

And Fadwa Toqan retorted:

Never! Not with our red streams flowing forever,
not while the wine of our thorn limbs
fed the thirsty roots,
Arab roots alive tunneling deep,
deep, into the land!

And Mahmoud Darwish joined in;

I come from there and remember,
I was born like everyone is borne, I have a mother
and a house with many windows.

As Golda Meir bellowed:

"There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist."

And Fadi Abu Sada was scared because seqestered in his Bethlehem house he thought that the noise from the firecrackers of the settlers celebrating their independence were bombs destined for his house, and the metaphor is apt...they dance on our graves.

Do these settlers care about the effect of their revelry on the indigenous population?
Do they feel remorse for actions of the past and present Zionists?

When the hurricane swirled and spread its deluge of dark evil
othe good green land
'they' gloated.

They would be wise to heed the words of Dr. Salmon Abu Sitta:

In the years to come, I think the history of the Jews will probably not be marked by their historical role in the fate of Jesus Christ. That was a matter of religious interpretation of an event which took place 2000 years ago.

The history of the Jews will also likely not be marked by the Nazi atrocities in the Second World War. That was a black chapter in European history in which millions of many nationalities died in the heat of the war. It all stopped after the war.

Any reckoning of Jewish history will be indelibly marked by what they have done to the Palestinians. Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, seized their homes and property and obliterated the landscape -- both historical and physical -- that they had inhabited. For more than half a century this has been done during both war and peace, not by individual criminals but systematically by the state. It is still being done. There is no remorse, no atonement. On the contrary, there is more and more of the same. The tragic history of the Jews seems to have contained no lessons. It is as if their own suffering was in vain.

The old will die, and the young will forget, speculated David Ben Gurion.

But Laila Halaby and Rashid Hussein answered,"

Teach the night to forget to bringdreams showing me my village."
And teach the wind to forget to carry to me
the aroma of apricots in my fields
And teach the sky, too, to forget to rain."
My father closed his eyes."
Only then, may I forget my country."

And Abdelnasser Rashid echos his elders:

Palestine is my land, and I won’t let you take it – and while you put the world to sleep, I try to wake it.

And Fadwa Toqan elegantly concurs:

When the Tree rises up, the branches
Shall flourish green and fresh in the sun
the laughter of the Tree shall leaf
beneath the sun
and birds shall return Undoubtedly, the birds shall return.
The birds shall return.

# posted by umkahlil @ 9:31


From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948
by Walid Khalidi 1971, with a second printing in 1987

1947 UN Partition Plan
Anti-Semitism and Zionism
British Mandate period in Palestine
Historiography of the Israel/Palestine conflict
League of Nations and Palestine
Nakbah/Naqba (Arabic, "the catastrophe") -- expulsion of Palestinians in 1948
Palestinian refugees
Ethnic cleansing (euphemistically called "transfer")
United Nations and Israel/Palestine
Brith Habirionim or Brit HaBiryonim (Hebrew "the Covenant of Thugs")

Timeline event(s) mentioned in this item:
31 Aug 1945:
Truman asks Attlee to admit 100,000 Jews into Palestine
29 Nov 1947:
United Nations General Assembly approves UNSCOP partition plan for Palestine

Commentary: Book published by Institute for Palestine Studies; ISBN: 0887281559; (Second printing, October 1987). This is an anthology edited by Walid Khalidi. Authors of the articles included in the anthology are: Ilene Beatty, Alfred Guillaume, Burhan Ad-Din al Fazari, Miguel Asin, Cecil Roth, Stanley Lane-Poole, Elmer Berger, Zia Al-Khalidi, Oskar K. Rabinowicz, L. M. C. van der Hoeven Leonhard, Herbert Sidebotham, Edwin Montagu, Leonard Stein, Frank E. Manuel, J. M. N. Jeffries, Chaim Weizmann, Arthur Balfour, Louis D. Brandeis, Eustace Percy, Felix Frankfurter, W. F. Stirling, C. R. Ashbee, Chaim Arlosoroff, Michael Ionides, Vincent Sheean, Sir John Hope Simpson, Kingsley Martin, Alan Bullock, Ernest Main, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Nevill Barbour, Michael F. J. McDonnell, R. J. Manning, Sir Alec Seath Kirkbride, Frances E. Newton, Mahatma K. Gandhi, David Ben-Gurion, Leonard Mosley, A. Granott, Thomas Reid, Jon Kinche, David Kimche, Robert Briscoe, Stephen Wise, Morris L. Ernst, William Ernest Hocking, William A. Eddy, Kermit Roosevelt, Lieut.-General Sir Frederick Morgan, Francis Williams, Robert A. Divine, James V. Forrestal, Walter T. Stace, Abba Eban, Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, General Carlos P. Romulo, Arnold Krammer, Lieut.-General Netanel Lorch, Jacques de Reynier, Harry Levin, Major R. D. Wilson, Lieut.-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, General aage Lundstrom, Erskine B. Childers, Hans Kohn.Abstract: From the Book Description: Now a classic in its field, From Haven to Conquest is a unique compendium of difficult-to-obtain or out-of-print material on Zionism and the history of Palestine to 1948. Eighty documents and first-hand accounts are supplemented by an introduction by Professor Khalidi, 22 maps and 30 pages of appendices providing detailed demographic and military statistics.

Extracts available online include:
On the Anti-Semitism of the Present Government, by Edwin Montagu, August 1917

To refer someone else to this item, use this URL:

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Right Of Return


Over 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered all over the earth demand the right to return to their homes in Palestine! Existing international law is solidly on their side.

Please read: The Palestinian Refugee's Right Of Return Under International Law
Let us return home, let us return home!!!!

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(10 December 1948)
Article 13.2

- Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948

Article 11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;
Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations. See full Resolution HERE

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966
Article 12.4 - No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.


Our strength is in the camps & No peace without an end to exile

Article: The expulsion of the Palestinians re-examined
Palestinian Refugees Right to Return and Repatriation
Open letter from Dr. Salman Abu Sitta to Yasser Arafat Regarding Dr. Sari Nusseibeh's Challenging The Palestinian Right Of Return
Debate Between Salman Abu Sitta and Michael Lerner of Tikkun on The Right of Return
Holding on to hopePalestinians keep dream of return aliveLaila El-Haddad
ON-LINE BOOK: "Palestinian Refugees and their Right of Return"
Al Awda Colorado - Palestinian Right of Return Coalition

At each other's throats

Sep 4th 2008 From The Economist print edition

The Secret War with Iran
The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World's Most Dangerous Terrorist Power

By Ronen BergmanFree Press; 432 pages, $27.95.

Published in Britain as “The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Covert Struggle for Control of a ’Rogue’ State”; £16.99
Buy it at

IF THIS murky tale of spies and their doings can be reduced to a single proposition it is this: Iran and Israel are locked in mortal clandestine combat and for the most part the Iranians, together with their allies in Lebanon's Hizbullah, are running circles around their flatfooted Israeli adversaries. That in itself lifts Ronen Bergman's book above the ordinary. Too many accounts of spying in the Middle East dwell on the high reputation of Israel's Mossad, a reputation which may just conceivably be out of date.

Mr Bergman is a respected investigative journalist working for Israel's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. His provenance matters because there are few other ways to know whether the tales he unfolds might be true. He claims they are based on thousands of documents, mostly classified, and over 300 interviews, a third of them with people who insisted on anonymity. So a lot of Mr Bergman's revelations need to be taken on trust.

What is undoubtedly true is that since the revolution of 1979 turned Iran into an implacable foe of Israel, the intelligence services of the Islamic Republic and the Jewish state have been at each other's throats. This has not prevented occasional collaboration. In the early 1980s (even before the infamous Iran-contra scandal), says Mr Bergman, Israel sold arms to revolutionary Iran as an operation known as "Seashell", in part to ensure that the war between Iran and Iraq would continue to weaken two enemies but also in a forlorn effort to win back some of the influence Israel had enjoyed in Tehran before the fall of the shah. For the most part, however, the two countries have been in conflict.

Since Iran is far from Israel, the deadliest arena has been Lebanon, where Iran has emerged the clear victor. The Israeli occupation of a "security zone" in southern Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 embittered the local Shia population, making it easier for their Iranian co-religionists to build Hizbullah into a potent political and military force. During that period, in Mr Bergman's telling, Israel failed miserably to penetrate the Shia organisation. Time and again, long before the war of 2006, Hizbullah surprised Israel with its feats of espionage, novel tactics and new weapons. By contrast, he says, Israel's efforts against Hizbullah looked more like those of a bumbling Inspector Clouseau than a James Bond.

To buttress these claims, the author gives plenty of chapter and verse, describing numerous specific Israeli operations, mostly failures, and naming and quoting some of their former commanders. He also offers a detailed account of the violent career of Imad Mughniyeh, the man he says was responsible for some of Hizbullah's most spectacular attacks, including the bombing of the American marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. A year later, this book claims, it was Mughniyeh who kidnapped William Buckley, the CIA's station chief in Beirut, and who oversaw his torture and death. David Barkai, an Israeli intelligence officer who spent years in vain pursuit of the Hizbullah man, recalls his quarry with respect: more than charisma as a leader, Mughniyeh was able to bring "artistry" to the "technology of terror".

Accounts of intelligence are fascinating when they allow recent hard-to-explain events to be re-interpreted in a new light. One example is the strange affair of Elchanan Tennenbaum, a colonel in Israel's reserves who was taken hostage by Hizbullah in 2000 and for whom Israel later traded a surprisingly large number of prisoners. The reason, says Mr Bergman, is that the colonel was privy to details of "the project", an advanced weapons system with many American components that was supposed to be decisive in a future war.

If Lebanon has been the main arena of conflict between Iran and Israel, the main issue between them has long been Iran's presumed quest for nuclear weapons. Here too Mr Bergman argues that the Iranians have consistently deceived and outwitted Israel and its Western allies. But this story is not yet over" and for those who want it there is reason to wonder whether Iran's defeat of Israeli intelligence has been quite as comprehensive as Mr Bergman claims. One example is the assassination" by Israel, according to Hizbullah" of Mughniyeh in Damascus in February, just as Mr Bergman's book was about to go to press. Another was Israel's discovery, and destruction in September 2007, of what appears to have been a secret Syrian nuclear reactor, which Mr Bergman claims Iran was helping to pay for.

But was Iran really involved? One of this reviewer's own intelligence sources says that Iran was not complicit in and seemed to know nothing about the Syrian venture. Another, who has reason to know about such things, doubts Mr Bergman's claim that a crucial tip-off came from Ali Reza Askari, an Iranian general who disappeared and is thought to have defected to the CIA. Still, spying is a rum business. Sometimes, as Winston Churchill said, the truth is so precious it must be protected by a bodyguard of lies. Not every juicy detail in this book is necessarily correct, and few can be easily verified. Mr Bergman's portrayal of Israel's confrontation with Iran will also strike some non-Israeli readers as excessively Manichaean. But it makes nonetheless for an enthralling read.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Some Iraqis want the UN to take over

Time to listen

After five years of devastating US occupation, some Iraqis now want the UN to take over, writes Salah Hemeid

As the world marks the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq this week, mostly with protests and indignation, a group of Iraqi politicians, intellectuals and tribal leaders have appealed to the United Nations to take control of the war-torn country and save Iraqis from "looming catastrophe".

Last week the group delivered a three-page petition addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to the UN's Cairo office demanding that the world organisation "shoulder its full responsibility" in rebuilding their devastated nation. "We believe that the only opportunity left for Iraq to be saved from a dark, but not inevitable, future is to engage the international community represented by the United Nations," said the group. Its members described themselves as "patriotic Iraqis deeply tormented by the tragic situation in our country". "We believe Iraq should be placed under UN supervision for a limited period of time so that it can move the political process back on its natural and correct track in order to start rebuilding Iraq," said the memo. It went on to argue that the first step should be a UN- supervised security and political plan aimed at achieving stability and national reconciliation, "the two cornerstones of rebuilding the state and nation in Iraq".

A neutral government of national unity should replace Nuri Al-Maliki's, charged with setting a timetable for elections and the drafting of a new constitution, a necessary step to "allow American troops to leave and the occupation to be brought to an end". Ahmed Al-Haboubi, a former minister and one of three coordinators of the petition, said it had been signed by scores of Iraqi dignitaries inside and outside Iraq. A campaign is underway to collect as many signatures as possible before the petition is presented to the New York headquarters of the world organisation. "This is just a beginning of a wide-ranging campaign that will also reach out to Iraqis in the diaspora," Al-Haboubi told Al-Ahram Weekly. "Five years of occupation has been a disaster and it must be brought to an end before Iraq disintegrates into chaos." Security Council resolutions already provide the UN with a mandate to play a leading role in helping Iraqis rebuild their country and reorganise national and local institutions. The UN, though, has opted to keep its distance from the activities of the occupation and the Iraqi government except in humanitarian affairs.

Neither Baghdad nor Washington has reacted to the petition and it is unlikely they will welcome the group's demands. The Bush administration has been pushing for an expanded UN presence in Iraq but it does not include a supervisory role and the Shia-Kurdish-led coalition is not expected to agree to anything that will weaken its control of the government. Indeed, the US is now looking towards a long-term relationship with Al-Maliki's government. US and Iraqi officials last week began preparatory talks in Baghdad aimed at securing two deals. The first, a strategic framework agreement, seeks to provide a blueprint for diplomatic, economic and security relations based on mutual sovereignty while the second, a status of forces agreement, will provide a legal basis for the presence of US troops after the UN mandate expires on 31 December. An Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement described the meeting as the start of formal talks during which "Iraq hopes to establish a framework for long-term cooperation and friendship, including an agreement on the temporary presence of US forces on the basis of mutual interests and respect for the sovereignty of both countries."

The two sides have released few details about what they hope to achieve through the deals and negotiations which are being conducted behind closed doors. But whatever the eventual terms of the agreement it has already served notice to Iraqis that the US and the government it backs in Baghdad are bent on keeping American troops in Iraq for a long time. Iraqis such as Al-Haboubi and the other signatories of the petition fear that the agreement will provide cover for the indefinite presence of US troops. "This will serve to institutionalise occupation," says Al-Haboubi, a leader of the Independence Party.

The group has no illusions about the uphill task they face in persuading the UN to take charge of the rebuilding of Iraq. They realise that most Iraqis have little faith in the world body after the Security Council formally sanctioned the US-British coalition as the "occupying power" in Iraq under Resolution 1483. Some even regard the UN as actively colluding with the occupation. They also know that increasing chaos and mounting casualties will deter the UN from assuming responsibility and that countries are likely to be reluctant to send troops to maintain order in Iraq if US soldiers withdraw.
Yet they are determined to press ahead with their demands, arguing that UN supervision of any transitional period is the best hope of preventing Iraq from slipping into an anarchic civil war. "The world is duty-bound to extend a helping hand to Iraqis as they seek to avert a looming calamity and save not just Iraq but the whole world from the dangers of division and fragmentation sparked by sectarian wars," says the petition. After five years of occupation Iraq is immersed in violence and fear. And if the country's recent history has shown how a war of liberation can turn into a fiasco, it has also exposed how the world failed to summon the moral strength and the political will needed to save Iraqis from the scourge of war and the Americans from the arrogance of power.

A refugee's open letter to Abbas

Abdelfattah Abusrour,
The Electronic Intifada
September 19, 2008

Dear Mr. President:

My name is Abdelfattah Abdelkarim Hasan Ibrahim Mohamad Ahmed Mostafa Ibrahim Srour Abusrour. I was born in the Aida Refugee camp, on rented land from Palestinian owners from Bethlehem. My two eldest brothers as well as my father and his father and all those who were born before them, originate form Beit Nateef village destroyed on 21 October 1948. My mother was born in Zakareya village, also destroyed in 1948 by the Zionist bandits. I grew up in the Aida refugee camp. When I was four years old, I remember most of the people in the camp hiding in a cave behind our house. I remember the old people talking about the war. I remember the sky full of planes, and all of the young children covered by black blankets, and cherished by their mothers. I remember the first curfew after the Israeli occupation in Aida camp in 1968. I remember the first Israeli soldier, who was an old Iraqi Jew of about 60 years old. I remember the day my second brother was invited for an interview by the military occupation administration in 1972, and never returning back to the house.

I remember that he was exiled six months later, without any confession, without any judgment or court sentence. I remember that we were fed the love of this occupied country, because it is ours. I remember the rusty keys of our houses in Beit Nateef, keys for doors that exist no more, but keys that have their doors in our hearts and our imaginations, keys for doors that were real and are now gone, for real houses that were built and are now gone, in which real people lived in and brought up children. These rusty keys are still with me. I remember that we were brought up with the eternal belief that the right of return is the right, and nothing can justify abandoning it.

I remember that our right of return to our original villages and homes is eternal, and nothing can change it, neither realities on the ground nor political agreements, because it is not only a collective right, but an individual right. It is my right, Mr. President, and the right of my children and grandchildren, and all those who come after, wherever they are born.

Dear Mr. President:

I remember the death of my mother, on 9 September 2003. She was 75 years old. I remember the death of my father on 26 December 2006. He was 96 years old. My mother and my father were hoping to be buried in their village, where they got married, where they brought up their children, where they irrigated their land with their sweat, blood and tears, where they filled their land with joy, happiness, laughs and whispers. My parents are buried in the cemetery of Aida camp. My mother's tomb is next to a military tower, and surrounded by Israeli barbed wire. My mother's tomb is not accessible, I can't visit it on a day of feast to recite on her tomb al-Fatiha or a surah from the Holy Quran.

Dear Mr. President:

I was full of hope that after 60 years of occupation, after 60 years of armed and non-armed resistance we could achieve something other than shallow promises. I was full of hope that we will never give up our rights, these rights that are recognized by the whole world, even if the whole world remains complicit with injustice. I was full of hope that nothing can justify giving up such rights, with all the realities on the ground that say otherwise, what heritage are we leaving to our children and the generations to come? Should we say to them: Go to where the wind takes you, never stand up and resist oppression? That it is more important to stay alive even if it is a life of humiliation and non-recognition of belonging to a human race?

Where are you taking us, Mr. President? To what desert are you leading us? To what catastrophe?

How dare you decide how many refugees can or cannot return? Who gave you permission to speak in my name, and in my children's name? Who asked you to barter our rights? What is the price for the sale of an entire people's rights and their sacrifices for 60 years?

Where UN resolutions talk about the right of return and compensation for the suffering in exile as refugees, for all this exploitation of lands and properties, for all this humiliation and torture that worsens every day, you dare to say that not everybody wants to return? Even if this is the case, they have their right to their homes and lands, whether they want to return or not. They can sell it to others if they want, but it is not up to you to decide.

It is not your right or anyone's to say "those who don't want to return should be compensated."

Every single refugee must be compensated for these 60 years of Nakba [catastrophe]: those who left or were forced to leave, those who are owners of lands, those who had their fields and oranges and fruit trees. Yes, the oranges of Jaffa were before Israel and they will remain after Israel, if they are not destroyed like the thousand-year-old olive trees were. You were not elected to give away our rights, to give away the hopes and dreams and rights of a people who are still in refugee camps, living on rented lands and have waited and struggled to return to their original homes and lands for the past 60 years. Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, we are living on lies and broken promises of change. Well change comes, but for the worse and not the better. Nothing improves with all these negotiations, Mr. President. Should we undress ourselves and show our nudity so that Ehud Olmert, and the Israeli occupation forces are satisfied that we have nothing to hide?

Yesterday, Israel distributed papers in East Jerusalem using the Holy Quran and the Bible to say that they are fulfilling the promise of God to populate Israel and chase away every non-Jewish person. And we should understand that and help them, by leaving the country because we have so many other countries for us to go to? And then we can live in peace and our children will be happy with their children and things will be great?

Is this the next step, Mr. President? Is it because colonies on the ground are expanding, and we can't force our presence on Israel, that we should be nice so that the whole world will be sympathetic to us, that we must do whatever Israel wants us to do? And then we talk about painful compromises and difficult solutions, we should be the nice ones who make the compromise, who forgive, who forget, who give up, who leave or die because that would solve it all? Mr. President: I am not ready to leave. I will never leave, even if it is the only way to earn a living. I will never give up my right to return to my village, even if I have a castle in the UK, and a chateau in France, and chalet at the Red Sea, and property in the Bahamas. My right is mine, and neither you nor anybody else has the right to erase it and exchange it or play with it. I do hope that you will leave your tower of ignorance to the needs of your people and descend for a moment on the ground and look in the eyes of those who still have a passion for this country, despite the disasters that we have sank into with such futile and fruitless negotiations, while Palestinian blood is shed daily by those with whom you negotiate.

Have we no shame to stop such a circus? I would have loved, Mr. President, that such energy in negotiations be invested among Palestinians who are still in dispute, and because of such stubbornness from you political advisers, it is not you who suffer, but your people. Are we so worthless that we do not deserve your time and energy to stop this circus and unite your people? Is it not enough that we are only considered a humanitarian problem that is worth no more than a sack of flour or a bottle of oil or expired medication?

Is it not enough that a whole population has been transformed into beggars, living in poverty and dependent on charity rather than helping them to be productive and maintain their dignity? Isn't the humiliation of the occupation enough? Must we only wait for greater humiliations to come? I am full believer in peace and nonviolence. I am a full believer in hope and right and justice. I am a full believer in the values that make humanity what it is. I never learned to hate. I never hated anyone. My parents were full of love and peace. They never taught me or my brothers anything other than respect for others and endless love to give and help others. They taught us that when you practice violence you lose part of your humanity. But at the same time, they taught us to defend what is right and to stand against what is unjust and wrong.

Therefore, Mr. President, I dare to say that you have no right, even as President to give up our rights, the rights of two-thirds of your people to return in dignity to their destroyed lands and properties and to be compensated for their suffering and exile, and the seizure of their lands and fields and the stealing of their funds in British banks or other banks by the Zionists.

Mr. President: I don't know if you will read these words or not, or if I will be alive if you do. But I do hope that these words, which come from the heart, reach your heart, Mr. President, and that you can find the hope and strength that our people -- your people -- still have. We do not give up our rights. We will never give up our rights. Peace can be built with justice. Real peace can be built with real justice, anything else is just a joke in the face of history.

My name is Abdelfattah Abdelkarim Hasan Ibrahim Mohamad Ahmed Mostafa Ibrahim Srour Abusrour. I am still a refugee in my own country with two rusty keys to his house.

Abdelfattah Abusrour, PhD is the Director of the Al-Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center, an independent center for artistic, cultural, and theatre training for Palestinian children in the Aida Refugee Camp. The Center provides a "safe" and healthy environment to help Palestinian children creatively discharge stress in the war-time conditions in which they live.

The Myth of Jewish Refugees from Arab Land

The Myth Of Jewish Refugees From Arab Land April 23, 2007 By Dr. Elias Akleh

Victimizing the Jews has been the successful old political trick Zionists have been using to gain international political sympathy for the Israeli cause, and to justify all aggression and terror the Israeli army perpetrates on Palestinians and on the neighboring Arab countries. Whenever the international views turn against Israel, due to its aggression, a new Jewish victimizing story pops up. One such late story I happened to come across on page 106 of March 19th. 2007 issue of U.S. News Magazine, was titled “You deserve a factual look at… The Forgotten Refugees. Why does nobody care about the Jewish refugees from Arab lands?” The article was published as an advertisement by FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East), who claims to “publish the truth about Israel and the Middle East conflict in advertisements and letters to editors nationwide.” The advertisement claims that there exist what it called Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and makes some comparison between these Jewish refugees and Arab refugees in an attempt to point to alleged international injustice when the UN spends “... many billions of dollars” on the Arab refugees while forgetting the Jewish refugees. The advertisement tries to avoid calling the Arab refugees by their true name: Palestinian refugees, in an attempt to deny any moral and legal responsibility of Zionist Israel in violating Palestinians’ human rights and creating Palestinian refugee problem. The advertisement attempts to refute “A myth that Jews had an easy life in Muslim/Arab countries”. It claims that Jews under Islam were treated worse than second class citizens “governed by a system of discrimination intended to reduce Jews … to conditions of humiliation, segregation and violence”. The truth is that Jews were treated, under Islam in the Arab World, better than any other place they had lived in the whole world at the time. They were treated like any other ethnic groups, e.g. Christians, with full citizenship that included freedom and rights like the rest of the citizens. They were allowed to live and worship freely in Jerusalem, where they were barred entrance by ancient Romans and European Christian Crusaders. When European Jews faced persecution since the start of Crusaders campaigns, they did not find any safe haven for themselves except in Islamic and Arab countries in North Africa and in the Middle East.

Many of those Jews fought along side Muslim and Christian Arabs against the Crusaders, who called for the slaughter of every Jew for crucifying Jesus. In his book “Bitter Harvest” Palestinian scholar Sami Hadawi described this Jewish haven as follows: “During the Middle Ages, North Africa and the Arab Middle East became places of refuge and a haven for the persecuted Jews of Spain and elsewhere… In the Holy Land they lived together in harmony, a harmony only disrupted when the Zionists began to claim that Palestine was the ‘rightful’ possession of the ‘Jewish people’ to the exclusion of its Moslem and Christian inhabitants”

The Jewish writer Dan Peretz described this situation in his book “The Arab Israeli Dispute” as follows: “Most Jews in Palestine belonged to old Yishuv, or community, that had settled there more for religious than for political reasons. There was little of any conflict between them and the Arab population. Tension began after first Zionist settlers arrived in the 1880’s” Although given freedom like any other citizens a group of the Jews, believing themselves to be the elite God’s chosen people, who should not mix and mingle with the others, “Goyims”, as been taught by their prophets, had isolated themselves into ghettos the same way they had lived throughout Europe. Those, who had the courage to venture out of the ghettos, had flourished and reached high employment positions in Arabic governments and societies. Many had become the financial and trade centers of the Arab World.

This fact contradicts the advertisement claims that Jews “… were excluded from society, from government, and from most professions ... They were barely tolerated and often… were victimized by vicious violence” Some extremist fundamentalist Jews, who had their noses up in the sky believing themselves to be the chosen people and better than all other nations, had invited rejection and intolerance from all nations, not just from Arabs, to such snobby racist attitudes. The advertisement goes on further to claim that Jews in the Arab World were subjected to systematic violence and persecution after the establishment of Israel in 1948 and after Six Days War in 1967.

“When Israel declared its statehood in 1948, programs broke out across the entire Arab/Muslim world. Thousands died in this violence… The vast majority of those Jews fled from where they had lived for centuries. They had to leave everything behind. Most of those who were able to escape found their way to the just-created state of Israel” The programs, the advertisement does not clarify, were terrorist acts perpetrated by Zionists against Jewish communities in the Arab World, as well as throughout European countries to coerce the Jews to immigrate to Palestine to establish the alleged safe haven; Israel, on usurped Palestinian land. Zionist zealots and some mercenaries had fire-bombed Jewish synagogues and shops, damaged Jewish cemeteries, and painted hate graffiti to create anti-Jewish climate. Zionist offer of free transportation, free housing, and free salaries had encouraged a lot of Jews to surrender their fate to the Zionist plan.

Those, who immigrated, had plenty of time to sell their properties before leaving. The Arabs, contrary to the claims, did not subject their long-time neighboring Jews to violence since they distinguished between a Jew and a Zionist. Yet those Jews, who were disillusioned by Zionism and became “enemy combatants” and spies within the Arab World, had to be dealt with as such. The advertisement brags about “Israel received every one of those Jewish refugees from Arab countries with brotherly open arms; it housed, fed and quickly integrated them into Israeli society”.

It is true that Zionist Israel had received immigrant Jews, paid all expenses including transportation, rent, and monthly salaries until they were integrated in Israeli society. Yet this reception was not out of brotherly love. Those immigrant Jews were, deliberately, drowned into financial debt so that they could not leave Israel, after discovering the trap set for them, without repaying all the expenses plus interests. Young Jewish immigrants, and every new generation of their offsprings, have been conscripted into the Israeli terrorist army to kill and to be killed for the interests of rich pro-Zionist corporations of the West.

The advertisement repeats the old myth, that had been told and refuted so many times, that Palestinians had fled from Palestine after the Israeli occupation “... following the strident invocations of their leaders …so as to make room for invading Arab armies”, who according the advertisement will kill all the Jews so that Palestinians “could return to reclaim their properties and that of the Jews, all of whom would have been killed ...” by Arab armies. Palestinians, like any other people, would never leave their homes voluntarily, and Arab leaders had never invoked them to leave. Sami Hadawi refuted this claim in his book “Bitter Harvest” stating the fact that “British Broadcasting Corporation monitored all Middle Eastern broadcasts throughout 1948. The records, and companion ones by a US monitoring unit, can be seen at the British Museum. There was not a single order or appeal, or suggestion about evacuation from Palestine from any Arab radio station, inside or outside Palestine in 1948.

There is a repeated monitored record of Arab appeals, even flat orders, to the civilians of Palestine to stay put”. This myth aims to erase guilt and moral responsibilities off Jewish shoulders for perpetrating the cruelest and ugliest massacres against mostly unarmed Palestinian villagers, and parading their women and children in the streets of Jerusalem to terrorize the rest of the Palestinians into fleeing out of their villages for their lives and for their honor when Zionist terror organizations, such as Irgun and Hagana, spread the rumors of their plans to attack Palestinian villages.

Jewish historian Ilan Pappe, in his book “The Link”, mentions this fact: “The Israeli forces expelled the Palestinians from every village and town they occupied. In some cases, this expulsion was accompanied by massacres of civilians as was the case in Lydda, Ramleh, Dawimiyya, Sa’sa, Ein Zietun and other places. Expulsion also accompanied by rape, looting and confiscation”. During wars people panic and flee their homes searching for safety. Yet they have always been able to return to their homes when danger subsides.

Military conquest does not abolish private rights to property, nor does it entitle the victor to confiscate properties of civilian population. Even if the claims were true that Palestinians left their homes on the commands of their leaders, they still have the right to return to their homes and properties that had been stolen by Zionist immigrants. This right is protected by international law as noted by the noted Jewish writer and thinker Professor Erich Fromm “In international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his right of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than the Jews”.

Israel’s rejection of Palestinians’ right of return has been on the top of their political agenda, which led them to break all UN resolutions regarding this matter, break all international laws, violate Palestinians’ human rights, and reject all Arab peace initiatives. The advertisement continues with its allegations “… the Arab countries resolutely refused to accept Arab refugees into their societies. They confined them into so-called refugee camps …to keep them as a festering sore and to make solution of the Arab/Israel conflict impossible. These refugees, whose number has by now miraculously increased from their original 650 thousands to 5 millions, are seething with hatred toward Israel, and provide the cadres for terrorists and suicide bombers” The Arab countries, mainly Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon, had received the majority of Palestinian refugees, who became a burden on the already impoverished economy of these countries, who, unlike Israel, were not receiving three billions of Dollars annually from the US.

The majority of these refugees (now numbers about 7.5 million and not only 5 million) want to go back to their own homeland and their homes that were illegally occupied by terrorist Israelis. They fight to regain what is rightfully theirs, unlike the terrorist Israeli army, who fight to usurp lands of other people. As for the solution of the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Arabs had offered Israel many peaceful solutions, yet Israelis categorically rejected them because without the conflict they could not keep usurping more lands to build “Greater Israel”. The latest Arab peace initiative of last month, March 2007, offered Israel to keep 78% of Palestine for permanent peace and normalization of diplomatic relationships with all Arab countries. Yet Israel, as usual, rejected this offer.

The advertisement acknowledges that “since 1947 there have been over 100 UN resolutions concerning Palestinian refugees, but there has not been one single resolution addressing the horrible injustice done to the nearly one million Jewish refugees from the Arab states” This paragraph refutes the advertisement’s claim by showing that the international community has recognized and acknowledged the existence of a genuine Palestinian refugee problem, and the non existence of the false called-for Jewish refugees from Arab countries. That is why “a special branch of the United Nation (UNRWA) exists for the maintenance of those refugees” (created by Israelis) as the article notices.

Israel, backed by successive American administrations, had ignored those UN resolutions that aimed to solve the Palestinian refugees’ problem, rather than spending billion of Dollars “contributed by the US” as the advertisement objects. It, also, totally ignores the attention the world had focused on the issue of the Holocaust, the compensation in hundreds of billions of Dollars to Israeli Jews, making even the study of the Holocaust an international crime, and sentencing, fining and imprisoning all the renowned historians, who questioned some of its details. The advertisement criticizes the Arab’s justifiable right to ask for compensations, and the Palestinian refugees’ legitimate right to return to their homeland, “what has been Israel for almost 60 years”, where Palestinian tribes had lived for over than three thousand years. It concludes by stating “But if there is to be any compensation, those forgotten Jewish refugees are certainly entitled to such compensation as much as the Arab refugees. Anything else would be an outrage and a great injustice”

The advertisement neglected to mention the most important point in this refugee issue, namely that the Palestinian refugees were forcefully ejected from their homes according to the Zionist ideology that is based on the idea of “people substitution”; the expulsion ‘transfer’ of Palestinians out of Palestine, and the implanting of Jews in their place. The idiom of “Jewish state is unthinkable without compulsory transfer of the Arabs to the Arab states” had been adopted since the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, and had been repeated by notorious Zionist leaders such as British Zionist Israel Zangwill, Haim Weisman, Theodor Herzl, Nahman Syrkin (founder of Social Zionism), Selig Soskin (director of Jewish National Fund), and many others. On the other hand the so-called Jewish refugees (Zionist Jews) from Arab countries had plenty of time to plan their leave and to liquidate all their properties, and to be fed, resettled and compensated directly by American tax money, where the annual three billion Dollars financial aid pays almost $3,000.00 monthly for every Israeli, not mentioning all the economic aid and tons and tons of military equipment that are given freely to the terrorist Israeli army to inflict terror on Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and Iranians.

Finally the advertisement gives a comparison between bogus numbers of the Jews in some Arab countries before and after 1948; countries where Zionists had successfully transferred their Jewish population to occupied Palestine (Israel). It ignores to mention the large number of Jews, who are still living, flourishingly, in Northern African Muslim Arab countries, in Turkey, and even in Iran (the so-called extremist Islamic and terrorist supporting country), that houses the largest Jewish population, 25,000 of them, in the Middle East outside Israel, and are represented by a Jewish MP, Maurice Mohtamed. The publishing organization (FLAME) of this so-called “factual look”, whose claimed purpose is the research, publication of facts, and exposing false propaganda about the Middle East, seems to do the exact opposite; it distorts the facts and spreads false propaganda instead. The simple truth of the Arab/Israeli conflict had been reflected by Indian leader and peace teacher Mahatma Ghandi when he stated: “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English and France belongs to the French”

The tale of two Talmuds

The tale of two Talmuds
"Running two sets of books" is a term generally used in regards to false accounting, something perhaps a company would do to avoid paying tax or something you would associate with US Treasury Accounting Department in regards to inflation, money supply or the cost of wars to control ME oil. But no in this case my title was prompted by something a Zionist wrote in a forum which I'm not even a member of, he wrote "Here is an accusation that the Talmud has been hid and changed. Though I am not going to waste my time verifying, I believe their are early versions of the Talmud that are older than the oldest version of the Koran, that have only been changed by translation."Now whether that's a deliberate lie or simply a case of ignorance I'm not sure. Consider this website , it's not a site that is motivated by politics, simply a site where someone is trying to sell old copies of the Talmud. It states "Old Talmud editions, the first uncensored Amsterdam edition; I quote "The first Amsterdam edition of the Babylonian Talmud in the printing house of Emmanuel Benbenisti 1645/48 was the first Talmud edition without the Christian censorship after the three classical Venice editions of the 16th century that were almost completely burnt. All the missing parts on Jesus, his disciples and early Christianity are restored in this edition, and also the dismission of words as goim, nokri, kuti and alike. After this edition all Talmud editions are again censored till the 20th century, including the following Amsterdam editions of Proops and the classic Wilna edition more than 200 years later. "In other words parts of the Talmud regarding the Jews natural hatred of Christianity, in fact any religion apart from their own, were censored out for 300 hundred years or so but now have been re-introduced into this book of hate. The Jews are in fact running two separate books, two versions of the Talmud, one which has been sanitised for goy eyes, without the Judaism Uber Alles and the superiority of Jews over lesser creatures and the version which is actually used by Rabbis all over the word in corrupting the minds of Zionist Youth. So next time when you quote back to a Zionist some of the extremely offensive and anti-Christ sections of the Talmud, only to be told that that doesn't even appear in the book, just ask them which version do they mean.

Give students in Gaza a chance to study!

Give students in Gaza a chance to study!

Azhar, Samer, Zeinab, Wael and Izideen are just five out of hundreds of students trapped in the Gaza Strip, prevented from reaching the universities around the world to which they have been accepted. Since June 2007, Israel has imposed a nearly total closure on the Gaza Strip, violating the right to freedom of movement for 1.5 million Palestinian residents - including hundreds of students in danger of losing their chance to access study programs not available in Gaza.Faced with pressure from world leaders outraged over the ban, Israeli officials declared that they would allow exit for just a few dozen students in Gaza holding "recognized scholarships" and seeking to access "friendly countries" but will continue to prevent hundreds of other students from reaching their studies.

With each passing day, Gaza's most talented young people risk losing their places in universities abroad – and losing their chance to pursue their dreams of building a better future in the region.

This is the time to send a clear message to Israeli leaders:The right to access education is universal!Give students in Gaza a chance to study!Greetings, I write to ask you to join us in helping hundreds of Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip reach their universities abroad. Since June 2007, Gaza's borders have been closed, trapping 1.5 million people – including hundreds of talented young people accepted to universities abroad but prevented from reaching their studies.

Last year, Israel permitted approximately 500 students and dependents to reach their studies abroad via "shuttle" services, but this year, Israel says that students will not be permitted to leave Gaza – except for a few dozen with prestigious scholarships to Western countries. Hundreds remain trapped, in danger of losing hard-won places at universities all over the world. Today we are launching an online campaign aimed at recruiting international support for the right of Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip to reach their studies abroad.

Please visit the campaign's mini-site:

The campaign is accessible in three languages - English, Arabic and Hebrew - and we hope to communicate it via e-mail, social networks, blogs and other websites.

How can you help?

1. Join the campaign by logging on to the mini-site and asking Israel's leaders to let students in Gaza access education;

2. Spread word of the campaign by forwarding this message to others;

3. Feature the banner on your website or blog. You may choose a banner to download at the Gisha website:

4. Click on the mini-site for further action.Please join us in helping Gaza's young people exercise their right to freedom of movement and to access education – and to build a better future in the region.

Best Regards,
Sari Bashi, Executive DirectorGisha -
Legal Center for Freedom of MovementDo more:

* Forward this campaign link to your friends.
* Feature the campaign banner on your blog or web site.
* Write your country's leaders and ask them to raise the issue with their Israeli counterparts.
* Join our campaign on Facebook.
* If you are a member of an academic or student association, an activist group or another kind of organization - initiate a call, a letter, or an op-ed on behalf of your organization. Please contact us to receive information or for further ideas!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Tzipi Livni: From Mossad agent to Israel's next prime minister

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem

Thursday September 18 2008 00:01 BST
Article history

Tzipi Livni when she was Israel's foreign minister. Photograph: Gali Tibbon/AFP

It was only a decade ago that Tzipi Livni decided to become a politician. She had served as a young agent in Israel's foreign secret service, the Mossad, and then gave up an agency career to become a commercial lawyer until one autumn holiday, not long after the signing of the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians, she decided to step into politics. Now she is just weeks away from becoming Israel's next prime minister after winning a striking victory in her Kadima party's leadership election yesterday.

Livni, who is 50 and married with two sons, has been long tipped as a future leader and in recent months emerged as more dovish than many in her party. On the Palestinian front she advocates a two-state, negotiated settlement, though she adamantly resists any prospect of a return for Palestinian refugees into what is now Israel. On Iran and its nuclear ambitions she favours a tightening of sanctions, but seems less eager than other leading politicians for an outright military confrontation.

Yet her background is more firmly embedded in Israel's right-wing. She was born into a "fighting family" and one that is much respected in Israel. Her father, Eitan Livni, was a senior figure in the Irgun, the underground militant Zionist movement that fought the British before the creation of the state. When she turned to politics, she turned naturally to the Likud, the leading rightist party.

But three years ago she followed the then prime minister and Likud leader, Ariel Sharon, when he left the party, created his own movement, Kadima, or Forward. He argued that the dream of a Greater Israel from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan was unachievable and that the land should be shared with a Palestinian state. The creation of that Palestinian state is still a distant prospect, but many argue Livni is committed to a two-state solution to the seemingly intractable Middle East conflict.

Avraham Diskin, a political scientist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said Livni was more dovish than her challengers for the party leadership. "Ideologically everybody is now in the centre, people realise the risk and want to have peace and pay the price but the difference is in the nuances," he said. "But she is emotionally involved, not just ideologically, she is very interested and she is a believer."

Livni has been Israel's lead negotiator in the current talks with the Palestinians which began in Annapolis, in the United States, in November last year. With Livni as prime minister those talks could be expected to continue, perhaps even with a successful result. "With her there is a chance of a conclusion, of having a piece of paper. What happens after that is difficult. But she is very highly motivated," Diskin said.

However, the prospect of a peace agreement will depend just as heavily on the outcome of the US presidential elections. Even following a year of talks there are precious few signs of progress on the ground on the core issues and much evidence that the situation is slowly worsening.
Livni herself made it clear just last month that she would not be rushed into a deal. "I think that any attempt to bridge gaps that maybe it's premature to bridge, or to reach something that is not the comprehensive agreement that we want to reach can lead to doing it wrong just because of the pressure," she said.

But before there can be negotiations, Livni must first form a coalition government. She will meet with Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, this week and he will give her 42 days to bring onside enough allied parties to form a majority in the Knesset, or parliament. Kadima has 29 seats in the 120-seat Knesset and will need Labour's 19 seats as well as other smaller parties, whose support will be more difficult to secure. There is likely to be a long period of back-room negotiating that will test Livni's skill before a deal is done and which may demand compromises that later limit her ability to strike a deal with the Palestinians.

She will also be operating in an intensely male environment, where military experience is often as highly regarded as political acumen. She has already had to fight off suggestions she might be too weak for the job. "The fact that I'm a woman doesn't make me a weak leader," she told the Jerusalem Post last week. "It's not that generals pull the trigger and women don't. I have no problem pulling the trigger when necessary."

One of her greatest challenges will be to restore some integrity to the tainted Israeli political system. She has a rare, corruption-free, "Mrs Clean" reputation, but will have an uphill battle to restore the public's faith in her colleagues. After all, her rise to the most powerful job in Israel only comes because of the fall of the current prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who has faced five separate corruption investigations in the past two years.

Palestinians never sold their Land, Others did it

All Lebanese (at least) should read this: Saqr Abu Fakhr teaches `Awn Minister, Jubran Basil, a thing or two about the Palestinian cause.


لم يبع الفلسطينيون أراضيهم، غيرهم فعلها

صقر ابو فخر

سمعنا وشاهدنا الوزير جبران باسيل في ١٠/٩/٢٠٠٨ يقول في مؤتمر صحافي: ان الفلسطينيين »خسروا وطنهم عندما باعوا أراضيهم«. ثم عدنا فقرأنا الكلام نفسه في صحف اليوم التالي (»السفير« و»النهار«، ١١/٩/٢٠٠٨) من غير أي تعديل، الأمر الذي يشير الى أن أحدا لم ينبّه الوزير على معلوماته المغلوطة من ألفها إلى يائها. ولو كان بين المحيطين بالوزير نبيه واحد في هذا الميدان، لربما كان في الإمكان تدارك الأمر، وتعديل كلامه كي لا تُؤخذ عليه قلة المعرفة بهذا الشأن الحساس. وكان على الوزير، قبل أن يُقدم على نثر هذه الأقاويل، أن يتأكد من مواقع قدميه حتى لا يتعثر في دهاليز التجارة الانتخابية الهاذية المنتعشة الآن في لبنان، والتي لم تنجح إلا في اختيار العناوين المثيرة للدعاية، وما هو بائس ومكرور مثل خرافة »التوطين« ورهاب »تملك الأجانب« وعودة »الفارين الى اسرائيل«، وبين هؤلاء عدد لا يستهان به من العملاء والقتلة والأوباش. ويبدو أن فن استجلاب الأصوات بدغدغة غرائز الدهماء ليس ابتكارا لبنانيا بلديا بالتأكيد، لكن المثل البلدي اللبناني ينطبق عليه تماما، وهذا المثل يقول: »البلد يللي بيعبد العجل حِش وارميلو«. وهنا بالذات تنمو وتنتعش عناصر »الفهلوة« المحلية و»الزعبرة« السياسية الفاشية في هذا البلد منذ أمد طويل، والتي أتمنى ألا يكون الوزير قد انزلق اليها بوعي أو من دون وعي، وألا يُدخل الفلسطينيين في هذا المنزلق، فيكفيهم الكلام العنصري الذي ما برح يغير عليهم من الجهات كلها، والقوانين الجائرة التي تمنع عليهم تملك حتى منزل العائلة، وتمنح العنصريين ذرائع لرفض تشغيل الطلبة الجامعيين في بعض مقاهي الحمراء ولو بالساعة، وفي فصل الصيف فقط، هذه المقاهي التي نستعد لفضحها والدعوة الى مقاطعتها جراء عنصريتها المنحطة.

هؤلاء مَن باعوا الأرض نقترح على الوزير جبران باسيل أن يحفظ بقوة المعلومات التي سنعرضها هنا باختصار شديد. وقد أوجزنا هذه المعلومات، العلمية والدقيقة والتاريخية، كي لا نثقل على ذاكرته قط. إن ٩٤٪ من الأراضي التي امتلكتها الوكالة اليهودية والصندوق القومي اليهودي (الكيرين كاييميت) في فلسطين حتى سنة ١٩٤٧ باعها لبنانيون بالدرجة الأولى من عائلات سرسق وسلام وتيان وتويني والأسعد وقباني وبيهم وغيرهم. فالسيد ميشال سرسق ومحمد بيهم باعا أراضي الحولة من اليهود، وهذه الأراضي كانت تستوعب ١٥٠٠ أسرة فلسطينية شُردت كلها. وآل سرسق باعوا أيضا مرج ابن عامر، وكانت مساحته ٤٠٠ ألف دونم، وفيه نحو ٢٠ قرية تقطنها ٢٥٤٦ أسرة أو ما يساوي ٢٦ ألف فلسطيني تقريبا. وهؤلاء جميعا طردوا من مرج ابن عامر الذي عاشوا فيه مئات السنين. وباع آل تيان (ميشال وأنطون) حصتهم من وادي الحوارث في سنة ١٩٢٢ (٣٠٨٢ دونما يقطن عليها ٢٤٠٠ فلسطيني)، ثم أقدم أنطون تيان على رهن ٥٣٥٠ دونما ثم عاد وباعها مع حصة ميشال تيان من الصندوق القومي اليهودي في ٢٧/٥/.١٩٢٩ وباع آل تويني وآل صباغ ما كانوا يملكونه في السهل الساحلي. علاوة على ذلك، باع أفراد من آل سلام أراضي الحولة التي حازوا من الدولة العثمانية امتياز استصلاحها وزراعتها فقط، لكنهم باعوها من اليهود، الأمر الذي أدى الى تشريد ١٥ ألف فلسطيني. وباع آل قباني ٤ آلاف دونم مما كان يُعرف بـ»وادي القباني«. وفي سنة ١٩٣٧ أسس خير الدين الأحدب وصفي الدين قدورة وجوزف خديج وميشال سارجي ومراد دانا (يهودي) والياس الحاج شركة عقارية. وتمكنت هذه الشركة من شراء ١٠٠ ألف دونم في قضاءي صور وصيدا، ثم باعتها من شركات يهودية. لعلم الوزير، وغيره استطرادا، أن اليهود لم يمتلكوا عند صدور قرار التقسيم في ٢٩/١١/١٩٤٧ إلا ٥,٧٪ من مساحة فلسطين، ومع ذلك منحتهم الأمم المتحدة ٥٦٪ منها بما في ذلك منطقة النقب الممتدة بين بئر السبع والعقبة، والتي لم يكن فيها يهودي واحد. لكن، حتى هذه المساحة، لم يستطع اليهود شراء أكثر من ٣٠٠ ألف دونم من الفلسطينيين بين ١٩١٧ و،١٩٤٧ أي طوال ٣٠ سنة تحت سلطة الانتداب البريطاني.

وهذه المساحة التي تعادل ٦٪ من الأراضي التي اشتراها اليهود انتقلت اليهم بالاحتيال، ومن خلال سماسرة كانوا يشترون الأرض من العرب ثم يعودون فيبيعونها من اليهود. وقد قُتل الكثير من هؤلاء السماسرة إبان ثورة .١٩٣٦ قصارى القول ان الفلسطينيين لم يبيعوا أراضيهم، بل ان أفرادا من عائلات لبنانية معروفة، وأشخاصا من عائلات سورية مثل آل الجزائرلي والشمعة والقوتلي ومارديني واليوسف، هم من تسبب بتشريد الآلاف من الفلسطينيين جراء تلك البيوع الوضيعة، ثم طرد معظم الشعب الفلسطيني من بلاده جراء خطة استعمارية بعيدة المدى.

وهؤلاء البائعون الأرذال الانذال، الذين لا يستحقون اليوم إلا اللعنات، إنما كانوا يلعبون دور المسهّل لتلك الخطة الاستعمارية، والمتعاون معها بوعي كامل، والتي يمكن تأريخ نشوء قضية اللاجئين بها، أي منذ ذلك التاريخ الأسود فصاعداً. »تاني يا أستاذ؟« في أيلول ١٩٩٥ وصف الوزير نقولا فتوش الفلسطينيين بـ»النفايات البشرية«. وقد دفعنا الكلام »الملووق« للوزير فتوش آنذاك إلى أن نعدد له عداً وأن نكيل له كيلا، وقد كدّر كلامنا أيامه طويلا بحسب علمنا.

وبعد ثلاثة عشر عاما، ها هو الوزير باسيل يطل علينا بكلام عجب وبيان من خشب و»معلومات« تثير الغضب. إنها سنون منحوسة وأيامها معكوسة تلك التي ما انفك الحديث عن الفلسطينيين في لبنان يدور في الشرنقة ذاتها. كأن لا شيء يتغير في ميدان المعرفة في هذا البلد، فالكلام دائما غث، والخطاب رث، والأقوال معادة البث.

قبل ستين سنة أو أقل، كان أطفال المخيمات حينما يتعاركون مع أطفال الأحياء اللبنانية المجاورة، يعيّرون بأنهم باعوا أراضيهم ولجأوا الى لبنان. كان ذلك كلام فتية الشوارع. ويلوح لي، بعد نحو ستين سنة، ان الأمر لم يتغير حتى مع هذا الوزير من هنا أو ذاك الوزير من هناك. ويبدو لي أيضا ان بعض الزعامات وأصحاب المواقع والمناصب والرتب لا يختلفون كثيرا عن حمالي القِرَب. انه »داء بلا دوا وعماء على عمى«. وقد رغبت، في هذه المعلومات التي عرضتها هنا، بأن أضع بين يدي السياسيين، ومنهم الوزير باسيل، ذخيرة معرفية بسيطة وأولية كي لا يعود الى مثل هذه الأقوال ثانية. لكن ما أخشاه هو أن أصبح مثل أعمى يلقي محاضرة في جمهور من الصم. ومع ذلك، فأنا أكيد من أن الحقائق العلمية والتاريخية لا بد أن يكون لها صدى، مثلما أنا متأكد من أن الفلسطينيين مثل كيس الملاكمة: كلما وجهت إليه اللكمات ارتد عليك بالقوة نفسها.

The Killing of Count Folke Bernadotte

60 Years Later


"....This year September 17th is the 60th anniversary of the anniversary of the assassination of Swedish Count Folk Bernadotte. He was the Vice-President of the Swedish Red Cross during World War II.....

Wikipedia states: “Following the 1947 UN Partition Plan, on 20 May 1948, Folke Bernadotte was appointed the United Nations' mediator in Palestine, the first official mediator in the UN's history. In this capacity, he succeeded in achieving a truce in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and laid the groundwork for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.”....

Enter the Stern Gang (or the Fighters for Freedom of Israel as they called themselves). They were one group of what were called “Revisionist” Zionists. They were opposed to the Ben-Gurion Labour Party types. They were so fanatical in their demand for a Jewish state (from the Nile to the Euphrates) that in the 1940’s they came up with a novel idea about foes of the Jews. Hitler was a “persecutor” of Jews, but the “enemy” of Jews was the power that occupied Palestine, the British. There would always be persecutors until Jews vanquished “the enemy” and took over their rightful turf. So logically the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel had to ally itself against the British and with Hitler!

Unfortunately I’m not making this up......"

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Because Bashar Have Big Balls Israel Postpones Indirect Peace Talks with Syria

Israel Postpones Indirect Peace Talks with Syria

Comment: I am using Toni's Language, I always believed and said Both are not serious and the Indirect Peace Talks shall lead to no where, Bashar screwed Israel (without using a condom). He used the Indirect Peace Talks to break the Isolation. Still "Syria Lovers" at the Palestinian Pundit shall read it the other way, a humiliation to Syria

17/09/2008 Syria said Wednesday that a fifth round of indirect peace talks with Israel scheduled for Thursday had been postponed at the request of the Zionist entity.

"The Israeli side asked for it to be postponed," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem told reporters in Damascus.

"When Israel is ready to resume the talks, we will be ready as well," said Moualem, who was speaking after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart.

An official at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Israel had asked to postpone the fifth round of indirect peace talks with Syria by a limited amount of time.

The reason for the request is the delay in the examination of the conflict of interests on the part of Israeli negotiator Yoram Turbowicz, who announced his resignation as Ehud Olmert's chief of staff in July, shortly after the Israeli prime minister said he would leave office because of corruption charges.

The official stressed that the fifth round of talks would be rescheduled as soon as the bureaucratic issue is solved. "A message has been relayed to the Syrians, and the meeting will take place," the source said.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel hoped the indirect negotiations would go on. "Israel remains committed to the Turkish initiative and to the indirect talks with the Syrians. We are hopeful that the next round of talks will be able to begin shortly," he said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said on September 4 the fifth round of Turkish-mediated indirect talks, originally scheduled for earlier this month, had been postponed at Israel's request because of the resignation of an Israeli negotiator. Assad had described the fifth round of talks as "crucial".

The talks are focused on the fate of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. Damascus wants the whole territory returned.

Israel wants Syria to scale back ties with its main foes – Iran and the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah resistace groups. Syria has so far refused to do so.

COMMENT: (TODAY AL-MOALIM DENIED THE NEWS THAT SYRIA ASKED HAMAS AND OTHER TO CALM DOWN IN SYRIA, However, Syria lovers still shall deal with the denial as confirmation)