Thursday, 31 December 2009

Batesh: Steel wall an Egyptian mistake


[ 31/12/2009 - 09:52 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Khaled Al-Batesh, one of the senior leaders of the Islamic Jihad Movement, has rejected Egypt's construction of an underground steel wall along its borders with Gaza Strip as a "racist wall".

He said in a statement on Wednesday that there was no justification whatsoever for the building of that wall, adding that it was a mistake on the part of the Egyptian leadership.

The Jihad leader charged that the wall was meant as an additional pressure tool on the Palestinians, who have been under siege in Gaza for three consecutive years.

The Palestinians have never posed threats to the Egyptian national security, Batesh said, demanding an immediate halt to the construction of that wall.

He said that Egypt should have rather eased the siege on Gaza rather than build that wall, and championed uniting Palestinian ranks and rallying behind resistance in a bid to confront this new crisis.

For his part, Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council's (PLC) speaker, asked Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak not to bow to Zio-American pressures and to stop building that wall.

He told a rally for medical teams on Wednesday at the PLC courtyard that Egypt should open the Rafah crossing at least for the patients.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

OBAMATOON ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Desertpeace

December 31, 2009 at 6:38 am (Afghanistan, Associate Post, Barack Obama, Cartoons)
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

click on image to enlarge
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

“US Pressing Israel Not to Free Barghouti and Saadat”

Flashback

I am not so optimistic, because Shlit Deal could be a turning point, a great success for Hamas, especially, if Marwan Barhouti and Ahmad Saadat are freed.
Barghouti: Shalit's Capture Achieved What No Dialogue Could

It would Isolate the Traitors of Ramalla, and provide a way for putting both Fath and PFLP on the right track, and would pave the way for Palestinian reconciliation.


Therefore, The Deal is a nightmare for Usrael, Pharoah, PA, and Hamas "Lovers"
UP



31/12/2009 Palestinian sources have told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper that the United States has pressured Israel not to release Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmad Saadat and former Fatah leader in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti.

There was also pressure not to release detainees from occupied east Jerusalem and Arab citizens of Israel, the report said.

The sources told the newspaper that Israel has gone back on agreements reached earlier regarding the deal aimed at securing the release of captured Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit.

They said that in its last offer, relayed to Hamas leaders via the German mediator, Israel refused to release 22 Palestinian detainees: Fifteen from the occupied West Bank, including Saadat and Barghouti, and seven from the Gaza Strip.

The newspaper also reported that Israel was adamantly refusing to release these detainees, whose identity has not been published, in addition to 44 others from occupied east Jerusalem and 22 Arab citizens of the State who were arrested before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

The same sources noted that Hamas rejected the last offer in which Israel went back on previous agreements, but is not ruling out further negotiations.

The sources asserted that Israel's backtracking is linked to pressure applied by the US and western states to the Israeli government, insisting that Israel refrains from making concessions to Hamas which will increase the movement's popularity.

They also expressed their belief that Israel will agree to release Saadat and Barghouti after a deal has been reached, but only as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in order to strengthen his standing among Palestinians.

Releasing them in the framework of the Shalit deal would only reduce Abbas' popularity, they said, while increasing that of Hamas – something that the US and other western states wish to avoid.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

With Pharaoh's underground wall of shame and closure of the Rafah crossing-- Egypt's complicity shines more than ever.


Photostory: Egypt further encaging Gaza

The Electronic Intifada,

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 30 December 2009

As the one year anniversary of the 23-day Israeli massacre in Gaza passes, media attention is rightfully focused on the atrocities and war crimes committed by the Israeli military on the imprisoned population in Gaza.

With two separate delegations intending to enter the Gaza Strip via its southern, Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing, Egypt now finds itself in the spotlight for have banned entry to one convoy, Viva Palestina's humanitarian aid convoy traveling from Jordan, and having threatened to arrest and deport international activists with another delegation, the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo.

But further reasons bring Egypt to the spotlight: what many observers say is Egypt's complicity in the siege on Gaza, imposed since shortly after Hamas was elected in early 2006; Egypt's deafening silence as the Israeli assault on Gaza raged one year ago; and the new steel wall Egypt is having constructed along its border with Gaza.

While the cranes, drills and machinery being used range from Norwegian, Japanese and Egyptian companies, it is widely believed that the plans and financing for the wall come from the US.

Recently, the US consular in Egypt confirmed that the US is supporting the Egyptian government's building of the underground wall -- both technologically and monetarily. Egypt is second only to Israel in receiving the greatest amount of US foreign aid, not considering funds related to the US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ostensibly, Egyptian authorities say the steel wall is meant to curb all transfers via the subterranean network. Realistically, however, tunnel workers say they can dig deeper and avoid the wall. Practically, it is in Egypt's interest to allow the tunnels to work -- Egypt itself profits, taking a cut from the foods, clothes, animals, appliances and even vehicles smuggled into Gaza.

The tunnels are the only reason Gaza has not tumbled into a full-blown humanitarian disaster. That they enable foods and medicines to enter Gaza has meant the severity of Israel's continued closures of all other borders has not had reached its maximum impact.

The other crossing points into Gaza are Israeli-controlled. All but one, Erez in Gaza's north, are either closed or used for extremely limited transfers of a scarce amount of basic goods and fuel. The Erez crossing is notoriously impossible for Palestinians to use as an exit point, even for those holding doctors' referrals for medical care outside of Gaza.

With and the Egyptian government's new underground wall and the closure of the Rafah crossing -- Gaza's sole exit to the outside world -- Egypt's complicity shines more than ever.

In January 2008, Palestinians broke through the former iron fence encaging Gaza, and for five days streamed into Egypt to buy provisions and breathe freedom.

Palestinian security along the Gaza side of the border say that work near the Rafah crossing has finished and that Egypt is now working westwards on the central stretch of the wall. In total, the new wall will be up to 11 kilometers long and 18 meters deep.

The following images taken for The Electronic Intifada show Egyptian authorities building the new underground wall on the border with Gaza (the wall in the foreground is a separate wall that was built shortly after Palestinians broke the siege in January 2008).







Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel's ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel's recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Read also:
Viva Palestina and Gaza Freedom March should apologize to Egypt in a public press conference. THUS "SAID" HAITHAM SABBAH
Galloway: I refuse any kind of coordination with Israel
Ignoring 1.5 Million Besieged Gazans, Egypt Authorities’ Main Concern Is Shalit!
Galloway: I refuse any kind of coordination with Israel
Italian organizations: The steel wall makes Egypt equal to Israel

Internal Gaza security foils attempt to locate Shalit


[ 31/12/2009 - 11:18 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The internal security apparatus in the Gaza Strip has revealed that an attempt by the Israeli Shabak security to locate the whereabouts of Israeli captured soldier Gilad Shalit was foiled.

The apparatus said that the scheme planned the abduction of one of the commanders of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in order to extract information leading to the location where Shalit is being held in the Gaza Strip.

It charged a number of former security men, loyal to the Fatah faction, of helping the Shabak in gathering information on Shalit's whereabouts and holding contacts with the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) through security coordination over this matter.

Abu Abdullah, the head of the apparatus, said in a statement published on the interior ministry's website on Thursday that one of the targets of the latest war on Gaza was locating Shalit.

He explained that the plan was designed by a number of agents who rented a house in south of the Strip and prepared a careful ambush to kidnap the Qassam commander then hand him to the IOA, however, the scheme was foiled.

Meanwhile, the prisoners' center for studies said that relatives of prisoners were concerned over their sons in IOA jails with the advent of the winter season and the shortage in clothes, covers and shoes in addition to banning relatives of Gaza prisoners from visiting them.

It said that the relatives were also worried over the reported spread of flu among those prisoners amidst Israeli medical neglect and crowded cells.

Ra'fat Hamduna, the head of the center, asked all human rights groups and the Red Cross to pressure the IOA into allowing visits and entry of clothes, shoes and covers in addition to following up the case of sick detainees.

He accused the Israeli prisons authority of discrimination, explaining that it provides lesser crammed cells for its homicide convicts and allows regular visits and medical treatment for them while the contrary is provided for Palestinian detainees.


Press TV   

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 10:25:38 GMT

Hamas says it has foiled an attempt by Israeli agents who were trying to collect information on where Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is being held.

The head of Hamas' internal security service, Abu Abdullah, said the Shin Bet security service tried to gather intelligence through a cell of agents from the rival Fatah party, who once operated in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Abdullah said that the Fatah operatives had rented a house and cars in eastern Gaza City and planned to kidnap a senior member of Hamas' military wing, the Izz a-Din a-Qassam Brigade, in order to transfer him to Israel.

"The cell's scheme was foiled at the last minute. They had a ready plan of action and it was very similar to the kidnapping of Muhawesh al-Kadi," Abu Abdullah added, recalling a senior Hamas official who was reportedly kidnapped by Israeli forces near his home in Rafah.

The report comes amid efforts by the Islamic movement to free four senior resistance figures held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit. The German-mediated prisoner exchange negotiations have been at loggerheads over Tel Aviv's refusal to free the "heavyweight" Palestinian prisoners.

Israel has recently offered to release the men "Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa'adat, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti," on condition that the four be deported to the Gaza Strip or a third country.

Hamas on Tuesday dismissed media reports that it had turned down the Israeli proposal, stressing that the Palestinian resistance movement is still debating the issue.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Italian organizations: The steel wall makes Egypt equal to Israel


[ 31/12/2009 - 11:27 AM ]

ROME, (PIC)-- A galaxy of Italian human rights organizations and dignitaries warned that the steel of wall being built on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders would equalize Egypt with Israel in its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

In a letter to be handed Thursday to the Egyptian ambassador in Rome, the Italian organizations and figures said that Egypt has the right to take measure to protect its borders, but the blockade and starvation of Gaza people would not lead to stability in the region or give Egypt prestige and dignity.

The letter warned that Egypt’s wall would spread hatred between nations and would serve Israel alone, adding that it would cause a deep pain to the free peoples of the world.

In the same context, Al-Azhar scholars in Egypt strongly denounced their government for building the steel wall in Rafah border area, asserting that the construction of this wall is religiously forbidden and violates humanitarian law.

In a statement, the scholars urged the Arab and Muslim leaders to call for an urgent conference to take a position against the building of the steel wall and develop a comprehensive plan to lift the siege on Gaza.

The statement called for necessarily support the Palestinian resistance and its steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation.

The statement stressed that the protection of Gaza people safeguards the Egyptian national security and sovereignty and a sign of the interdependence and coherence of the Arab nation.

Related Links:

Viva Palestina and Gaza Freedom March should apologize to Egypt in a public press conference. THUS "SAID" HAITHAM SABBAH
So your job is smearing Haitham and his sites and work? Thus Said Mary Rizzo

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

So your job is smearing Haitham and his sites and work? Thus Said Mary Rizzo


Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. Editor and co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, co-founder of Tlaxcala translations collective. Her personal blog is Peacepalestine.

mary said...

So your job is smearing Haitham and his sites and work? It is easy to do from anonymity in California, is it not? Haitham may have ideas or thoughts that are mistaken, and all who disagree with him can and should express that, and they should not be put on trial - but his good faith, his total devotion to his people and their total liberation is beyond doubt and your seeking to foment wars between activists and Palestinians who are against Jewish Occupation of Palestine and against all client regimes of the USA/Israel, including Egypt's I find negative. But, you can't argue with UP, he will turn it into a public smear war to discredit other activists. At any rate, his work, which you seem to want to in one fell swoop berate, has allowed the Palestinian voice to go viral over the web, and that includes yours. I think you are the only person I know who has doubted his integrity and his commitment to his people. It does not look nice on you, however much Haitham may write things that could be wrong on some counts, Haitham is not doing Pharaoh's work, and shame on you.

As you may have not noted, Stuart Littlewood, after reading Haitham's report, amended his own report, and he is in agreement with Haitham's questioning. You can see it all on Redress: http://www.redress.cc/palestine/slittlewood20091229
and now you can attack Redress and Littlewood, for the sake of consistency.

Littlewood takes direct suggestions from Haitham, that no one should ever have had been put in a condition to be begging or bargaining with Egypt. If you do it, then be prepared to do it. If you don't want to do it, say so and don't pretend, and if you want to break the siege, you break the siege, as Free Gaza was able to do, without genuflecting to anyone.

Awaiting your attack of Redress or Littlewood, for consistency's sake.



Reaching the Gates of Hell is not so easy



Egyptian ruler Mubarak torpedoes international voluntary aid to Gaza

By Stuart Littlewood
29 December 2009

Stuart Littlewood considers the predicament of the Viva Palestina international humanitarian convoy – the culmination of voluntary work by thousands of supporters, fund-raisers and donors in the UK, Europe and internationally – whose journey to besieged Gaza was thwarted by Egypt’s ruler, Husni Mubarak, just four hours before it reached its destination.

The Viva Palestina convoy is being given the run-around by Egypt’s President Husni Mubarak and his “Awkward Squad”.

My heart goes out to the 500 or so dedicated people from 17 different countries who brought their convoy of 200 vehicles almost to the gates of Gaza, only to be stranded at Aqaba just four hours short of their destination.

And not only the 500 driving with the Viva Palestina convoy but the thousands of supporters, fund-raisers and donors back home who have worked for months to provide the medical supplies, the food, the transport and the countless other humanitarian items.

These 500 “salt of the earth” were kicking their heels in Aqaba, and threatening a hunger strike while their precious cargoes spoiled in the heat, because the Egyptian authorities wouldn’t allow them to enter Egypt through the port of Nuweiba. The reason appeared to be that the road across the Sinai from Nuweiba to Rafah ran close to the Israeli border and the 250 trucks and ambulances of the convoy might have caused “a big infiltration problem”.

Why the Egyptian army couldn’t have provided an escort to ensure that no trucks left the column, wasn't explained. The convoy had already taken great trouble and gone many hundreds of extra miles to avoid Israel.

To have come so far and given so much – in time, effort, money and other resources – and to be thwarted at the last minute, was very hard to take.


However, Egypt is perfectly entitled to lay down rules and its Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: "The Egyptian government welcomes the passage of the convoy into the Gaza Strip on 27 December, on condition that it abides by the mechanisms in place for humanitarian aid convoys to the Palestinian people, including most importantly the entry of convoys through the port of El-Arish."


In February 2006 the British MP George Galloway, who leads today's convoy, was refused entry into Egypt. The last Viva Palestina convoy was pelted with stones and vandalised at El-Arish, which is about 28 miles from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza, after Galloway reportedly called President Mubarak uncomplimentary names and urged the country's armed forces to overthrow him.

We all know what Mubarak is, but how sensible was it for Galloway to broadcast his opinion to the world when he wanted easy passage for his convoy through the guy’s territory?
There’s clearly no love lost here, and I heard the Egyptians had imposed three conditions if the convoy wished to reach Gaza through Egypt:
  1. It must hand all its vehicles and aid over to UNWRA.
  2. It must drive 500 miles back to Syria, then take ship from Latakia to the port of El-Arish.
  3. It must ask Israel’s permission to cross from Egypt to Gaza.
This information came from members of the convoy, not the organizers. Conditions number 1 and 3 are unthinkable, surely. But this evening the organizers announced that the convoy, after mediation by Turkey, would indeed turn around and head back to Syria and embark from Latakia to El-Arish. Nothing has been said about complying with the other two conditions.

The voyage should take them under the noses of the trigger-happy and piratical Israeli gunboats who think nothing of opening fire on Gazan fishermen. Will the Royal Navy be dispatched to provide an armed escort?

The question remains: did the organizers know all this beforehand – especially the El-Arish stipulation – or was it suddenly sprung on them? Was clearance given for the southern route via Aqaba, then rescinded, or was it left to chance?

The convoy’s organizers are not answering basic questions and the full picture has still not emerged.

“This is a very determined convoy and we're not going anywhere except to Gaza," says George Galloway.

God speed you to the Gates of Hell then, George. But next time you should maybe consider going by sea, sailing 200 boats though international waters and demanding that the Western powers guarantee the freedom of the high seas. That way you don’t need to bow to the likes of Mubarak.

And you could become an admiral.



Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.

Comment:

Mary
I was expecting your visit earlier, to vent. You could have done it there at your site. 
A look at the majority of comments of your reader tells why you prefered to do it here, and explains your accusation. Moreover, you are angry fore something else and you found a chance to vent your anger.
Your are welcome, and free. Therefore I moved you comment up here.

"Haitham is not doing Pharaoh's work,"

With full respect to his history and good intentions, he didn't just called Viva Palalestinia to apologize to Pharaoh, he called viva palestina to put pressure on Pharaoh and to "put the blame and the pressure on US, Western Power and the occupation, Israel. Then they will allow PA (Dahlan) to run Rafah border, which in turn will make Egyptians opens it." Period.


As for attacking Redress and Littlewood, for the sake of consistency. Why should I attack him, at least he is not a Palestinian, and you said he "af'ter reading Haitham's report, amended his own report, and he is in agreement with Haitham's questioning.' I shall disapoint you by saying Littlewood spoiled his own report. Thanks to Admeral Haitham.

Littlewood claimed that the viva palestina organizers said "'Nothing has been said about complying with the other two conditions." - the unthinkable Conditions number 1 and 3.


HERE, MARY.
TAKE IT FORM THE MOUTH OF Galloway: I refuse any kind of coordination with Israel

Viva Palestina may fail to deliver the Aid, even so, it did a great work in exposing the TRAITORS, and your guy is paving the way to blaim Viva Palestina for that failure. 

Hopfully, Littlewood, haven't read Haitham's "Truth" about the food smuggling used as a "cover to many other businesses", and a "passage for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaedaa and their likes which Gaza are full with these days." and party doing "the trading and were the money goes. Definitely not to buy food for the Palestinians in Gaza"I am not working to smear your Guy, his Sites and History. He is doing that to himselve and his sites. I am trying to stop his attempt to smear both missions of the International Freedom Fighters, and speading Abu Alghaitth propaganda about the wall of shame??

Yes we all do mistakes, and non of us holds the ultimate truth. We have to learn the vitue of admitting our mistakes, instaed of storming our minds to justfy it. Finally, why the mistakes of your guys can be forgiven, and the "mistake" of Galloway is not tolerable??


River to Sea
  Uprooted Palestinian

Jewish Settlers: We’ll Burn You All!


Link

Posted on December 29, 2009 by Antievil
While Jewish settlers were burning the mosque of the village of Yasuf near the city of Nablus in the West Bank and writing on the walls of the village “We’ll burn you all”, which is the phrase German Nazis used to write on Jewish homes in the 1930s, EU member states backed down from a resolution proposed by Sweden to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state after the interference – as a result of Israeli pressure – of France and Germany, two countries involved in building the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
Despite the fact that the draft resolution was better than the resolution taken, they both fell short of meeting the requirements of international legitimacy. The draft resolution stated that the EU Council “urges” Israel to stop all settlement activity immediately, including those in East Jerusalem, and dismantling those built since “March 2001”. It stresses that the settlements, the segregation wall built on the occupied territories, and house demolition were all “illegal practices” according to international law and constitute a barrier to peace.” When the Council expressed “extreme concern” for the situation in East Jerusalem, it “called on all parties”, i.e. nuclear-armed Israel and the unarmed Palestinians to refrain from “provocative practices.” In this way, the settlers who burned the mosque of the village of Yasuf and the unarmed Palestinian civilians besieged in Gaza are considered the same.
The Council also called on “those detaining the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him immediately, while it completely ignored the fate of tens of thousands of Palestinian prisoners [held by Israel] kidnapped years ago, including women, children and elected members of the Palestinian parliament. This timid language does not condemn Israeli crimes like expelling the native people of the land and burning their homes. It considers the whole policy of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment mere “illegal practices” which do not (according to the draft resolution) require deterrent punishments for the Israeli rulers committing them in the same way Hamas should be punished and Iran should be punished for its nuclear policies.

In order to avoid showing the ugliness of Israeli crimes, it calls “all parties to refrain from provocative practices.” Thus the EU considers the Palestinian toddler whose home was demolished by Israel in the Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, and who is sleeping in a tent with his family like hundreds of other Palestinian families in Gaza, as “a party” that should not provoke Israel!
All this European generous tolerance to Israeli crimes and all this timidity in standing up to them, even verbally, was faced by a ferocious Israeli campaign which was able to prevent the draft of a mere modest statement like this to be published. It succeeded in replacing the shy language which “urges,” “applauds” and “encourages” in an abstract, vague and unbinding language that does not have any force to stop the crimes or deter those who commit them.
Such a complacent European stance will not have a lasting political influence in favour of the cause of freedom and democracy in Palestine. That is why, and since the Zionist government realizes that blackmailing Europeans is an effective policy, prevented a European parliamentary delegation from visiting Gaza without fearing any firm European reaction. The Europeans found it sufficient to say “it was strange for the visit to be cancelled a few hours after the EU Council statement which is supported by a strong European position in relation to the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, and stopping settlement in the West Bank, including “East Jerusalem.’”
But the fact is that the EU did not express a “strong position” in relation to Jerusalem and the two-state solution. It rather bowed to Israeli blackmail and turned a blind eye to Israeli crimes against humanity. That is why it had to accept more Israeli blackmail when its MEPs were prevented from entering Gaza, and had their permission cancelled three hours after it was given. This official humiliation of the MEPs would not have been accepted by the smallest country in the world. So, how could it be accepted by the largest parliament Europe has ever known?

If the EU Council continues to succumb to Israeli pressures made by an extremist government, Israeli crimes against civilians will continue. International statistics show that between last year’s anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration and this year’s, Israel killed 1,460 Palestinians with Europe watching. Nevertheless, the EU Council equates “the parties”, the Israeli killer and the Palestinian victim.
Nevertheless, some people believe that for Sweden, which holds the current EU presidency, merely to dare propose a draft resolution considering Jerusalem the capital of two states, this means a positive shift and an act of breaking the barrier of fear which haunted Europe for decades as a result of the Holocaust-related guilt complex. I do not understand why the past continues to haunt those who were born after the Holocaust: the current generation of Europeans is not responsible for the Holocaust committed by the Nazis against German Jews. And the Israeli Jews of today are not victims of German anti-Semitism. They are those who kill Palestinian people and deprive them of freedom, democracy and human rights.
The only thing Western papers were interested in, as far as this important issue is concerned, is that Europe finally gave in to Israeli pressure which succeeded in curbing this European move. Articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and the CNN report were all based on an Israeli source saying that Europe backed down from its call for considering East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine, and that this backing down was in the interest of Israel which is planning to Judaize Jerusalem, i.e. ethnically cleansing it by demolishing Palestinian homes and expelling Palestinians. What they are doing is actually leaving future European generations with a guilt complex greater than the one felt by the current generation’s guilt as a result of the Holocaust.
Their children and grandchildren will find it difficult to understand how their ancestors chose not to see facts because they feared Israeli blackmail, because of their greed for Jewish money or in order to get a political position.
In the wake of this shameful European submission to Israeli blackmail, events have shown that this has only boosted Israeli arrogance. There is no difference in this regard between the government and the settlers: while the Israeli government decided to prevent MEPs from entering Gaza so that they do not see the atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinian people, Israeli settlers, as usual, attacked the villages of Nablus this time where they burned a new big mosque in the village of Yasuf in the northern part of the West Bank, including its furniture and library, destroyed the electricity network and left Hebrew graffiti saying: “we’ll burn you all”, “prepare to pay the price.” With all this happening, the EU and others are merely asking for clarifications for the cancellation, clarifications for demolition, clarifications for killing, clarifications for expulsion, clarifications for humiliation. The only reasonable and logical clarification is that the Zionist entity is a racist entity based on the destruction of the native people, destroying their culture and institutions, depriving them of a free and dignified life and accusing them of threatening Israel’s security. But the racist Israeli entity is no longer a danger to the Palestinian people alone; it is endangering the relationship between Muslims and the West and peace and security in our region and the world. It is not the Palestinians alone who should confront this horrendous racism. Europe and the West should shoulder their responsibility in this regard. Hence, Israeli promotion in the West of ideas like banning minarets and veils and putting more restraints on Muslims all lead to aggravating conflicts between peoples.
Fortunately, however, the cowardice of western governments is countered by the courage of conscientious people and opinion leaders of the Western world. This is a transitional phase before the civilized world realizes the danger of the Zionist model not to the Arabs alone, but to international peace and security. Hence, taking a firm European decision against ethnic cleansing, settlement and killing is the Europeans’ duty not only towards Palestinians but towards Europeans themselves.
Ref: asharq-e.


River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Happy New Year Palestine, Happy new year humanity!


Link

December 30th, 2009 10:39 AM   

Salim Nazzal

When Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine great poet was asked in one of the most difficult period in Palestine history, what Palestinians can do now, his immediate answer was to grow up hope. For more than 70 years, Palestinians move from war to war, from occupation to occupation, from exile to exile, from siege to siege yet they continue to hope. Hope and resistance are interacted, one resists because one hopes, and because one hopes one resists.

I asked a Palestinian who lost almost all his family by Israeli air raid how he manages life alone, he said hope. I asked Palestinian lost his arms due to Israeli raids and insisted to go one in life, I won’t let Israel murder our hopes, he said.
Hope jumps even in the most difficult times to whisper to the oppressed to stand firm. During the occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s, I saw a proud young Palestinian woman walking opposite Israeli soldiers bearing in her neck a cross and the Palestinian map, she told me she wants to convey a message of challenge and hope, the crusification of Palestine is a temporary thing, and Palestine will rise again.


View how things in Gaza to realize the strength of hope among Palestinians. One and half Millions impoverished Palestinians are besieged, starved and deprived of almost everything and yet the will is not broken. The NATO boats are “guarding” the Gaza shores to ensure that no arms is smuggled to Gaza freedom fighters , the Israeli boats is patrolling the Palestinian shores of Gaza, to shoot, and to torture Palestinian fisher men who have no other source of living except fishing.

The French employs a surveillance satellite over Gaza, and the American made Israeli planes, of all sorts, are 24 hours flying over the skies of Gaza. As this is not enough, the puppet regime of Egypt is constructing an iron wall made by American and Zionist and engineered by Americans and the French to strangle Gaza. That in addition to the inhuman way the Egyptian intelligence and soldiers deals with Palestinians on the Rafah crossings.

Despite all this, there is hope coming from Palestine.

In the first anniversary of the Israeli genocide Palestinian actors and singers sang and performed plays and sketches.

Palestinian artists drawing on the walls of Gaza messages of hope that Gaza and Palestine will live no matter what the Zionist do. The Palestinian young girl who lost her limps has joined the club of the young journalist to realize her dream to become a journalist.

Solidarity friends are arriving from the four corners of earth to Palestine to show their solidarity, all this show that the culture of love is still strong among humans. And shows that the Zionist wall of misleading and falsification is falling. And indeed it is great to see all those people guided by their conscious showing love and affection to Palestine. All these are signs of hope.

Very soon the dawn of the 2010 will be rising in Palestine. The tears of three generation of Palestinian mothers and sisters, is the Jordan River which will heal the wounds of the Palestinian souls suffered seventy years of Zionist cruelty and brutality. And hope is the fuel which makes Palestinians strong to face the Zionist culture of death. Happy New year Palestine, Happy new year humanity!

-###-
Dr. Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian-Norwegian historian in the Middle East, who has written extensively on social and political issues in the region. who has written extensively on social and political issues in the region.


River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

OBAMA’S NEW YEAR’S EVE TOON

Desertpeace

December 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm (Afghanistan, Associate Post, Cartoons)
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

click on image to enlarge
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

They Came on a Cold December Day: Gaza in Crisis


Silver Lining

Posted on December 29, 2009 by realistic bird

{Gaza holocaust remembrance} by Ali Khalil-Al Khaleej newspaper-UAE


By SONJA KARKAR, counter punch

They came one cold December day. Not fearless warriors but fearsome hoardes hell-bent on destruction of the genocidal kind that leaves no room for regeneration. That was one year ago in Gaza.

The attack shocked a complacent world into finally seeing Israel’s merciless ferocity against the Palestinians already hounded, herded and imprisoned in compounds throughout their land, if not actually driven out.
More than sixty years of Western devotion to Israel’s security was blown wide open as truth shattered spin in three weeks of carnage and devastation.

Dead bodies do not lie and neither do the maimed and the disfigured. Thousands have been left to make sense of the horrors they saw and the hollow aftermath to which they have been abandoned. Landscapes of rubble as far as the eye can see are still testament to the homes once standing in villages and towns, the homeless now huddled in tents while they wait one year on for materials to re-build. Little food, contaminated water, rationed fuel and electricity and the barest of medical supplies are just more of many cruel and wanton deprivations pushing Palestinian society to the limits of endurance.

This is Gaza: a population of 1.5 million people kept in formaldehyde by Israel’s crippling siege. It is a human catastrophe that has many enablers. World leaders have shut their eyes to the crimes witnessed and documented countless times over by human rights groups. World media continuously sidesteps the truth and deliberately ignores international efforts to highlight the humanitarian crisis. Together they are complicit in Israel’s dehumanisation of a people.

We are also complicit if we remain silent and do nothing. It is not enough to know and empathise. Change can only come from people being engaged – learning, thinking, communicating, and being prepared to act.
Almost 2000 internationals have taken action. Some 200 are in Jordan after a three-week trek through Europe in the Viva Palestina convoy of trucks filled with humanitarian aid while another 300 joined them from Greece, Turkey and Jordan; and then, there are the 1400 who have landed in Egypt from all over the world for the scheduled Gaza Freedom March on 31 December. Neither group has been given clearance to enter Gaza. This is where the rest of us who were unable to join these brave souls can bring some power to bear.
There simply is no time to waste. Letters, faxes, emails must be written to governments, embassies and media outlets. Not one letter, not one time, but a constant stream. We have to urge friends and families to write as well.
We have to urge governments to put pressure on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing and pressure on Israel to lift the siege. We have to hound the media like they hound us when they sniff a story. And Gaza is a story that needs to be told. The marchers and the convoy bringing aid to a besieged Gaza are only a part of that story. The real story is Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their homeland.

Israel must be held to account because it is the instigator of all this misery. Israel has acted with impunity for far too long. It is a bully in world affairs and our leaders and media are all shamefully intimidated. Only people coming together collectively can change that dynamic – and we must come together, before we too become craven hostages to Israel’s criminal enterprise.

Standing up for Palestinian human rights is not anti-Semitic because the Palestinians are also a Semitic people. Nor is it anti-Israel, but rather a protest against Israel’s Zionist policies and practices designed to permanently fragment and dissipate Palestinian society. So brutal is its Zionist agenda and so contrary to Judaic teachings that many Jews are already speaking out in shame at what is being done in their name.

As decent and honourable citizens of the world, we too need to speak out in shame at what we have allowed to occur for far too long. Terrible crimes have been committed and some predict that even more terrible ones are to come. The reality is that all along we have been witnessing a slow genocide and we have allowed guilt, pragmatism and self-interest to stand in the way of our common humanity. The world needs to say “enough” and refuse to indulge Israel’s Zionist leaders and advocates whose free ride has taken them to the heady heights of arrogance. That universal effort needs to begin before the bitter winter freezes any kind of hope in Gaza and it needs to be sustained for as long as it takes to free all of Palestine. Anything less, will hasten a 21st century genocide.

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River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Galloway: I refuse any kind of coordination with Israel



[ 30/12/2009 - 07:05 PM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- British lawmaker and pro-Palestine activist George Galloway stated Tuesday that he had received two weeks ago an Egyptian letter demanding that he obtains an Israeli approval before allowing the Lifeline 3 convoy to pass into the Gaza Strip, but he refused any kind of coordination with Israel.

"Egypt may be at the beck, call and command of Israel, but Viva Palestina is not," said Galloway in a news conference.

"We refuse to co-operate with a country which continues to illegally hold Palestinian lands, builds even more settlements in the teeth of world opinion and which, just a year ago, slaughtered 1400 people in the Gaza Strip and devastated the infrastructure. Israel refuses to let through one brick, pane of glass or nail to help rebuild the carnage its warplanes caused."

Galloway added that the land convoy to Gaza was symbolic because its arrival was due to coincide with the first anniversary of the war on Gaza, "which the Egyptian authorities have done all they can to thwart".

The Egyptian letter read, according to the Viva Palestina convoy, that “the organizers of the third Viva Palestina convoy should assume the responsibility of coordination with the Israeli authorities on the passage of all the vehicles to the Gaza Strip.”

For his part, head of the humanitarian charitable committee in Turkey Bulent Yildirim said that the convoy is aimed to attract the attention of the world to the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza and to provide humanitarian aid to its people.

Yildirim added that the negotiations between Turkey and the Egyptian authorities paid off and the convoy would enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing without Israel’s approval.

On a late hour on Tuesday, the third Lifeline convoy arrived in Damascus where thousands of Syrians and Palestinians received it carrying flags, flowers and banners hailing the humanitarian role of the convoy and condemning the Egyptian government for putting a spoke in the convoy’s wheel.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

NO CONJUGAL VISITS ALLOWED FOR FORMER PRISONER VANUNU


Desertpeace

December 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm (From The Media, Israel)
Image by Bendib

If this wasn’t for real it would be the funniest sitcom Israel ever produced…. but… it’s a good excuse for the Israeli media to ignore the situation of the Viva Palestina Convoy that is attempting to enter Gaza.

His lawyer said he was detained over a romance with a Norwegian woman rather than for revealing nuclear secrets.
“Vanunu was arrested (for) a relationship between a man and a woman, with a Norwegian citizen,” attorney Avigdor Feldman told reporters.
“He is not being accused of giving any secrets. She is not interested in nuclear business — she’s interested in Mordechai Vanunu (and he) is probably interested in her,” Feldman said.

A Jerusalem court ordered Vanunu, who was taken into police custody on Monday, put under house arrest for three days pending an indictment, police said.


On the news last night, Vanunu had the following to say…
“BULL SHIT CHARGE…. BULL SHIT STATE!”
That just about sums up the ridiculousness of the whole situation.


A Reuters report can be read HERE.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Ignoring 1.5 Million Besieged Gazans, Egypt Authorities’ Main Concern Is Shalit!

Hanan Awarekeh 

30/12/2009 Forgetting or pretending to forget that there are over 11,000 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons without mentioning that there are more than 1.5 million Gazans living in a big jail, Egyptian authorities seem to be concerned about one Israeli occupation soldier captured by the Palestinian resistance fighters!

Egyptian newspaper Al Masry al Youm quoted a source as saying that the emerging deal for Gilad Shalit’s release between Israel and Hamas is indeed a comprehensive one that would not only bring the captured Israeli occupation soldier home, but would also grant a normal life to Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants.

Perhaps this was one of the things Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discussed at their meeting Tuesday.

An Israeli government source insisted that "there is no connection between the issues," adding that he does not understand "on what basis the Egyptian Foreign Ministry says such things."

However, this is the first time Egypt has presented its two conditions for opening the border crossings and has linked the Shalit deal to the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. Though Israel has not publicly committed itself to lifting the blockade if Shalit is released, it appears that international pressure will not let it continue the closure. And practically speaking, there would no longer be any point to doing so: If Egypt decides to open its border with the Gaza Strip following the Shalit deal, Israel might not be able to prevent it.

Meanwhile, Egypt is suffering severe Arab criticism for having decided to put up a steel fence along its border with Gaza in order to prevent smuggling through the cross-border tunnels. Citizens in both parts of Rafah complain that fuel prices have already risen significantly and that without the tunnels, Gaza will suffer a serious shortage of fuel for heating during the winter.

The steel fence, or what Palestinians call "fence of death", was a reference to the huge steel wall currently under construction by Egyptian workers and supervised by US and French officials in order to enforce a more efficient isolation of the Gaza Strip population. The Palestinian Information Centre reported on details obtained from sources in Cairo saying that the death wall is conceived to function as a water-leaking system, by which existing tunnels will be flooded and anyone trying to build new tunnels would be drowned.

According to the report, on the Palestinian side of the steel wall holes will be dug, into which 20 to 30 meters long pipes would be inserted vertically and at a distance of 30 to 40 meters one from another; these pipes would be connected through a 10 km-long horizontal main pipeline, from which sea water would be poured into them. The pipes, equipped with holes, would then release the sea water into the soil causing existing tunnels to collapse and preventing new ones to be dug.

The comb-shaped pipe system would also destroy the soil on the Palestinian side of the steel wall, which would contemporaneously prevent the salty water from soaking Egyptian territory.

Some of the critics equate Egypt with Israel and accuse it of collaborating with "the Zionist state" against Gaza.

Last week, Egypt gave its critics additional cause for complaint by not allowing an aid convoy led by British MP George Galloway to enter Egypt through the Nuweiba port on the Gulf of Aqaba. The convoy, initially comprising about 70 trucks, went through Europe to Turkey, where it picked up several dozen more trucks, and thence to Syria and Jordan. From Jordan, the organizers wanted to cross into Sinai and continue to Gaza. But Egypt said the convoy could come in only through the Mediterranean port of Al Arish.

Galloway saw this as further Egyptian harassment of Gaza's residents and expressed his opinion of it in a letter to the Egyptian president. But Egypt was unmoved. Aid or no aid, "no convoy is going to dictate Egypt's decision on this matter," a Foreign Ministry spokesman asserted.

Turkey then stepped in and offered to mediate. The outcome is that while the convoy will indeed not enter via Nuweiba, it will be able to go back through Syria and from there to Al Arish, where Egypt has undertaken to allow it in without difficulties.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Massive Pro-Government Rallies Protesting Iran Unrest



Almanar

30/12/2009 Tens of thousands of protesters gathered across Iran for a series of state-sponsored rallies designed as a show of strength following days of pro-opposition demonstrations. Wednesday's demonstrations in Tehran and several other cities, come as Iran's police chief vowed to "crush" opposition gatherings.

"In dealing with previous [opposition] protests, police showed leniency," General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, Iran's police chief, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying. "But given that these currents are seeking to topple [the ruling system], there will be no mercy. "We will take severe action. The era of tolerance is over. Anyone attending such rallies will be crushed."

Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran, said: "The main thing that we all expect is a huge rally in support of the government, especially in support of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."Those who are going to be in the demonstration today are annoyed at the fact that some [opposition] demonstrators on Sunday have insulted the supreme leader and chanted slogans against his position."

Eight people were killed in Sunday's anti-government protests which coincided with the marking of Ashoura. Police arrested hundreds of protesters during anti-government rallies and many more opposition aides and supporters in the days that followed. Police chief Maghaddam said that 300 of the 500 "rioters" arrested over the weekend were still in detention and that more were likely to have been detained by other security agencies.

Iran's government has condemned the opposition protests and has blamed the unrest on foreign interferences including Britain, the US and Israel.

A statement from the government said: "The offensive slogans have made the pious Iranian nation sad and the Zionist world happy and in practice they, as pawns of the enemies, have furnished a red carpet for the foreigners who are aiming at the nation's security."The knowledgeable people of Islamic Iran will once again put the lackeys of global oppression in their place and will blind the eyes of sedition."

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Hearing is Not Like Seeing


Silver Lining

Posted on December 29, 2009 by realistic bird

by Ben Heine
 
By BOUTHAINA SHAABAN, counter punch

There has been a story in the press recently about how Prince William, son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, spent a night on the streets when temperature was minus four (Celcius) in order to draw the world’s attention to the suffering of the homeless in the UK. The Prince’s companions spoke about how he slept, like the homeless, on cardboard, and how they were shocked by the suffering of the homeless in the cold. When movement slowed down in the city, drug dealers start moving around among the homeless who live in constant fear of being attacked. William’s friends were frightened when a rubbish collection vehicle almost ran over the Prince who was wrapped in a blanket.

What struck me about this story, besides the warm human feelings of Prince William towards the homeless, is that one should actually live a certain case of human suffering in order to know exactly what it means and how it feels. All the words in the world cannot convey the suffering people live, unless one goes through the experience itself, particularly when it has to do with hunger, homelessness, humiliation, torture, war or racist subjugation by a hateful occupation.

That is how I explain the inability of the “civilized” Western world to understand the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of occupation, oppression, killing home demolition and deprivation of freedom. Israel holds a strict blockade over three million Palestinians, prevents the world from seeing them or giving them food and medicine, surrounds them with concrete and steel walls. When it releases a few prisoners, it make it conditional on exiling them from their land and families, while forcing millions of them for the past six decades to live in far away refugee camps.

Can one stop and think for a moment of what it means to become a “refugee” in a country not your own, or “displaced and homeless” in your own; what it means to be blockaded like the people of Gaza, to live surrounded by concrete and steel walls?

When I read a headline in The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 12, 2009) which reads The Forgotten Palestinian Refugees,” I felt that there are people in the West – which has inflicted all this suffering on the Palestinians a hundred years ago – who have started to remember their suffering. I read the article only to find it a fabricated story about a young Palestinian in the West Bank called Yussuf Khoury. The author, one Daniel Schwammenthal, claims that this young man has experienced oppression at the hands of “Muslims” in Gaza because he is Christian. Imagine that this Schwammenthal felt no compunction for the suffering, oppression, massacres and wars the Palestinians have been subjected to for a hundred years by the Jews. Instead, he took advantage of Christmas to provoke the Christians in his country against “Muslims” in Gaza and provide the Israeli war criminals with a pretext for their crimes against the Muslims and Christians of Gaza.

Jesus Christ was a Palestinian who suffered oppression, suppression and pain; and the homes of his followers are still being demolished in Jerusalem. The number of Christians in Jerusalem and Palestine in general has never dropped except after the creation of Israel. They lived in Palestine for thousands of years until the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the American occupation of Iraq. Only then they started to be forced out of the East, the homeland of religions and prophets. The Wall Street Journal knows that most of the homes destroyed daily in al-Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem are owned by Christian families and that the number of Christians in Jerusalem was over fifty thousands, several years ago, while now they are no more than ten thousands as a result of the Israeli policies of displacement and Judaization towards which people like Schwammenthal are blind.

These days, the world’s celebration of the birth of the prophet of peace, coincides with the first anniversary of the barbaric Israeli war on Gaza, when Israel shelled the same civilian Palestinians – who are not only Muslims, but also Christians about whom Schwammenthal writes – with phosphoric bombs and killed and injured thousands of children. This Christmas, Israel killed six young Palestinians in their homes in Nablus, in front of their children and wives: Raed al-Sarkaji, Ghassan Abu Sharkh and Adnan Subh, and three of them near the Beit Hanoun checkpoint in Gaza.

What does the world say of these Israeli cold blooded crimes committed on Christmas day against innocent unarmed young people? After observing the inhuman conditions the Palestinians live under, former Dutch Prime Minister, Andreas van Agt, decided to speak out about their suffering. In an experience similar to that of Prince William, van Agt says:”The scales fell from my eyes on a visit to the Holy Land in the 1990s, when I found myself in occupied Palestinian territory. I was stunned by what I heard and saw. For a long time I had been blinded and speechless about the fate of the Jewish people in World War II. For a long time I thought that Israel could not put a foot wrong and transgress international law. That was my failure. The truth is quite different: for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians the founding of the state of Israel has turned into a disaster.” Hence he started Rights Forum which highlights Israeli violations of international law.

On the first anniversary of the brutal war on Gaza, Israel is still meting out collective punishment against one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza, still kills and arrests at will; nevertheless, all that concerns people like Schwammenthal is covering up the acts of Israeli war criminals and justifying their crimes through a fabricated story of an asylum seeker.

Chris Patten wrote an article titled “We are failing Gaza” in The Daily Telegraph (Dec. 23, 2209) calling on the world to take a position and lift the blockade off Gaza. Nick Clegg wrote an article titled “Lift the Gaza blockade” in The Guardian (Dec. 23, 2209) saying “The suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza is shocking”. A group consisting of 16 western NGOs said “the international community has betrayed Gaza and has not made a move to lift the blockade a year after operation Cast Lead”. These organizations called on European foreign ministers and the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, to visit Gaza to see for themselves the impact of the blockade on the population one year after over 1,400 people were killed during the air, land and sea attack launched by the rulers of Israel, Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak in the period December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 on Gaza Strip.

Other protests have been voiced by Richard Falk, the UN special coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories, who repeatedly stressed that honorable people, the governments of the world and the United Nations should award sufficient attention to the inhuman conditions under which Palestinians in Gaza live. He added that the suffering of more than one and a half million Palestinians, half of whom children, is caused by the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

How long can this disgrace go on? It is the holocaust of the 21st century; and all those who stay silent are accomplices in this crime. The international silence is a conspiracy against humanity; and Western leaders should follow in the footsteps of Prince William and try to spend a night in the open in Gaza like the homeless of operation Cast Lead in the hope that it would awaken their sleeping silent consciences which ignore a horrible and disgraceful reality that flies in the face of human values, religious values and international conventions.

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