Saturday, 27 June 2009

Na Australia: uma politica pro-israelita e uma opiniao publica pro-palestiniana


Australia's pro-Israel policies, pro-Palestine public
Peter Manning, The Electronic Intifada, 26 June 2009

Australians in Melbourne protest Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, January 2009. (Takver)

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard have made no secret of their love for Israel.

Rudd, who leads the Labor Party, formally congratulated Israel in the Parliament on reaching 60 years of statehood in 2008. He forgot to mention the fact that Palestinians lost 78 percent of their land in 1948, millions have been refugees for the 60 years since and the rest live under Israel's military occupation.

Gillard excused Israel's massive attack on the Gaza Strip last January by pointing to the rockets Hamas had fired into Israel, killing fewer than 10 Israelis. She forgot to mention the fact that Israel, the US, the EU and the UN had decided to respond to Hamas' democratic election victory as the Palestinians' government by imposing a siege on the whole population, depriving them of fuel for cars, hospitals and heating and cutting back on food supplies. And she ignored the fact, Australia unlike even the British government, watched without complaint as Israel went on to slaughter 1,400 Palestinian civilians, including 400 children.

And now Gillard is in Israel leading a bevy of Australian business, media, political and cultural leaders to Israel in an official "cultural exchange!" I thought she ran the twin, heavyweight portfolios of industrial relations and education, not arts?

What's happening, and why?

Well, Australia is sucking up to Israel once again, just like former prime ministers John Howard (Liberal) and Bob Hawke (Labor) did.

Certainly, this one-sided policy is not represented in Labor platform policy which is much more even-handed, committing the party to a two-state solution. Although, it's interesting that in the last four years of the Rudd ascendancy all reference to the original UN resolutions that defined Labor policy since 1948 -- guaranteeing an end to the 1967 occupation and right of return of the 1948 refugees or compensation -- have been quietly deleted.

But the last prime minister to ever have an even-handed policy on this issue was Gough Whitlam (1972-75), a fact that annoyed the local Israeli lobby to no end when the 1973 Arab-Israeli war occurred.

So why the one-sidedness, ignoring the platform and the Gough legacy?

To find out one possible answer, the little Sydney-based pro-Palestine lobby group which I chair called Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine decided we would commission a high class, well-known, opinion poll company to test whether the Labor machine or politicians knew something we didn't -- for example, that their one-sidedness reflected "the will of the people."

Were Palestine and Palestinians so on the nose -- as Muslims, as Arabs, as "terrorists," pick your nightmare -- that showing government sympathy towards them would hurt you electorally?

We chose the Roy Morgan Research company and they agreed to do an arm's length national, representative survey asking five crucial questions about awareness and knowledge, about overall sympathies, about the Gaza military action in January and about perceptions of the Rudd government's attitudes.

The results were a big surprise. They are the epitome of even-handedness, with a bit of a tilt in overall sympathies toward the Palestinians. And on Gaza, many more Australians found the Israeli military action in Gaza unjustified (42 percent) than justified (29 percent).

So Labor's cuddle-up to Israel does not fit with Australians' views.

Interestingly, the survey also found that many Australians don't in fact see the Rudd government as one-sided (42 percent) though of the 20 percent who do, 19 percent think it is tilted towards Israel.

There are two other points to make.

First, if you break the national figures down in to Sydney figures, a bias towards the Palestinians comes through clearer. This could be a result of the big Australian Arab and Muslim populations in Sydney. But, in any case, the sympathy towards Palestine is stronger and the condemnation of the Gaza war much stronger (49 percent thought it was unjustified, only 24 percent justified).

So Sydney is a pro-Palestine bastion.

Second, Morgan asked respondents whether they felt they knew "a lot," "a fair amount," "not very much," "nothing at all" or "can't say" about what happened in Gaza. If you group "a lot" and "fair amount" -- in other words, those who felt they knew at least a fair amount or more about what happened -- and break them down into their sympathies for the Israelis or the Palestinians, the bias towards the Palestinians is quite marked (29.7 percent for Israelis, 44.5 for Palestinians).

I take from that, that the more you know about the Israel-Palestine situation, the more your sympathies lie with the Palestinians.

Where does this leave the Labor Party? Or the opposition Liberals for that matter?

It means they have to re-align themselves with their electorates. It means the National Australian Labor Party Conference next month should ignore Kevin Rudd's obsequious attitude to everything Israeli -- did he really say "Israel is in my DNA!" at a Jewish community function? -- and get on with strengthening its adherence to peace and justice in the region.

Julia Gillard should also cancel her tour of Israel -- how many days is she spending in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with Palestinian guides? -- and plead "pressure of work." Or a more believable reason would be: do as Obama says and end settlement-building and I'll come and see you.

That's the kind of relationship the United States is forging right now with Israel. Maybe Rudd and Gillard, who seem to have trouble listening to what their own electorate thinks of Israel, need to pick up the phone to Obama for instructions.

Peter Manning is Convenor of Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Adjunct Professor of Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney.

'Armchair' Killing: uma marca americana-israelita

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

'Armchair' Killing: A US-Israeli Trade-mark

Has anything changed since the massacre in My Lai?

By Stuart Littlewood – London

Reports of prisoner abuse at the US prison at Bagram air force base in Afghanistan come as no surprise. They are just the latest example of the world’s biggest bully behaving badly as usual.

As if that weren't enough, I'm reading how some 83 people, mostly civilians, were killed and over 50 injured in three drone attacks within 12 hours in Lataka, South Waziristan.

The first strike killed several suspected Taliban. Later, a second drone fired three missiles into a crowd of funeral mourners.

One of the wounded commented: "If the Taliban are bombing the mosques and America is bombing the funerals, what is the difference between them? We are stuck between Taliban and US attacks and when we are killed, not only no one cries for us, but also we are dubbed militants."

Since August 2008, over 40 US drone strikes have killed at least 410 people. US troops in neighboring Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy unmanned drones in the region.

The use of armed drones is a particularly cowardly form of warfare. These lethal "assets" are computer-controlled from the comfort and safety of an armchair a hundred miles away and guided by dodgy “intelligence”. Or, if the truth be known, no intelligence at all. The Israelis use them extensively in Gaza to unleash death and destruction on civilian targets by remote control. Engines for Israeli drones are believed to be supplied by a British manufacturer, although the government here pretends not to know the truth of the matter.

This trend in 'sofa slaughter' has many variations. For example, during the 40-day siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 the Israeli Occupation Force set up huge cranes on which were mounted robotic machine guns under video control. Eight defenders, including the bell-ringer, were murdered, some by the robotic guns and some by snipers.

The US and its allies are just as callous in their treatment of civilian prisoners. The British authorities deal with their casual killings by offering £4,500 in compensation, showing how cheaply we value the life of ‘Johnny Foreigner’. And when it comes to prisoner abuse the Israelis, whose every cruel excess the West defends, don’t even spare children, according to various reports.

Something very chilling can take hold of uniformed thugs – I won’t call them soldiers because what many of them do is not proper soldiering - in a war zone; and in the days before high-tech weaponry like drones and robotic machine guns they happily indulged their blood-lust by murdering civilians at close quarters. If you haven’t heard of the My Lai massacre, brace yourself.

In 1968, 150 men of Charlie Company, a US infantry unit, were sent on a ‘search and destroy’ mission into the South Vietnamese village of My Lai. Four hours later more than 500 civilians – unarmed women, children and old men – were dead. Charlie Company hadn’t encountered a single Viet Cong. Nevertheless the unit, led by Lt William Calley, rounded up villagers and machine-gunned them until the dead lay five-deep.

When Calley spotted a baby crawling away, he grabbed her, threw her back into the ditch, and opened fire again.

Helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson, flying over the area, was so sickened by what he saw that he landed his machine to shield villagers from the troops and began rescuing survivors. He ordered his gunner to open up on any American soldiers who continued to shoot civilians.

Some of the dead were mutilated by having “C Company” carved into their chests; some were disembowelled.

Official reports said the My Lai operation was a stunning combat victory, and General Westmoreland congratulated the men on their bravery.

The American people didn’t learn the truth until 18 months later ... and then only because a Vietnam veteran, after hearing about the incident from friends who had served in Charlie Company, wrote a letter to his congressman and other prominent officials, including President Nixon.

An army photographer produced pictures of the carnage. Then freelance reporter Seymour Hersh managed to interview Calley and splashed the story over the front pages of American newspapers.

26 members of C Company were charged with criminal behavior but not convicted. Calley himself was eventually court-martialed and sentenced to life imprisonment. After serving just three days he was moved to a comfortable apartment under house arrest, on Nixon’s orders. He was paroled 3 years later.

Hersh said that many in Charlie Company “had given in to an easy pattern of violence” and were totally blind to the humanity of the Vietnamese people. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

My Lai was one of many atrocities committed in Korea and Vietnam. Military training in those days set out to de-humanize not only the enemy but the local civilian population as well. Army culture encouraged its so-called soldiers to think they could treat them like garbage.

Has anything changed? The conduct of the Americans and their close buddies the Israelis is remarkably similar. They are the pace-setters (though not the only practitioners) in savagery and the casual art of killing Johnny Foreigner. It is now done at arm’s length – by remote video control or at the end of a sniper’s scope-sight or by DU tank shell, or from 35,000 feet. No need to personally check the situation on the ground, or look your unarmed victim in the eye, or get your hands dirty. No need to count the bodies afterwards or clear up the shredded and vaporized remains.

Apparently these high-tech killers, their commanders and their political masters have convinced themselves that everyone they don’t like is sub-human.

I'm reminded of a blistering attack by a church minister in Oklahoma after the shock-and-awe onslaught on Iraq, the point at which he discovered that his faith had been hi-jacked by fundamentalists who claimed to speak for Jesus but whose actions were anything but Christian.

“When you live in a country that has established international rules for waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of the world, you are doing something immoral,” he said.

”When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them on their head, you are doing something immoral.

”When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing something immoral.

”When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral.

"We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us."

- Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to Visit:

um jovem judeu acusado de assassinar um palestiniano, diz no tribunal que ele matou o homem "só porque ele era árabe"


Jewish youth indicted for murdering a Palestinian; says he killed the man "just because he was Arab"

A Jewish youth from Upper Nazareth was indicted Thursday by the Nazareth District Court for killing Samah Karuwani three weeks ago just because of the latter's Arab identity.

The Jewish youth, Vitaly Sayenko, 18, made a decision to kill Karuwani for no other reason than that Karuwani was an Arab, the prosecution said.

The youth claimed that Karuwani was attempting to break into his apartment as he heard him walking in the stairwell.

Karuwani told Sayenko that he was on his way to visit close relatives, but Sayenko chased him and he managed to escape.

The Jewish youth went back to his apartment to grab a knife, he took the elevator to the entrance of the building where he took the knife out of his pants and struck Karuwani in the head and face.

The prosecution stated that Sayenko chased Karuwani with the intent to find and kill him.

After Sayenko managed to catch up with Karuwani, the latter tried to stop a passing car in an attempt to escape but the car just drove away.

Sayenko claimed that he asked the Arab youth why he was afraid, and that he handed him a cigarette before pulling the knife out of his pants and he started hitting him with its handle on the face and head.

The prosecution said that Karuwani was in shock, bleeding and badly beaten, and that he ran towards the building, and entered the elevator but Sayenko ran after him, pressed a button to stop the elevator and brought it back to the ground floor, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

When the elevator door opened, the Arab youth was pleading for his life but Sayenko stabbed him in the heart and killed him.

He then threw the knife in the elevator shaft, and went to his apartment to wash his bloody clothes and hands.

a imaturidade politica do Hamas


Hamas' political immaturity
Haidar Eid, The Electronic Intifada, 25 June 2009

Hamas leaders like Ismail Haniyeh, seen here with former US President Jimmy Carter in Gaza, have adopted the two-state solution against the resistance party constituents' interests. (Muhammad Al-Ostaz/MaanImages)

When Hamas, unexpectedly, won the 2006 parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the message from the one-third of the Palestinian people living in those territories was clear: no more of the "peace process" facade -- with its untiring "two-state solution" slogan that never materialized, and no more of the bread crumbs offered to the new inauthentic NGOized, Osloized leadership classes. (In the years since the 1993 Oslo accords, funding NGOs -- nongovernmental organizations -- has been a major means for foreign governments to influence, co-opt and neutralize Palestinian politics. This process of "Osloization" made some Palestinian organizations more loyal to their funders than to their principles.)

Many of those who voted Hamas into power were not, in fact, supporters of the organization, but rather disgruntled Palestinians looking for change and reform after 13 years of futile, meaningless negotiations that did huge damage to the Palestinian cause and transformed it from a liberation struggle supported by millions all over the world into a dispute between "two equal parties," two countries fighting for border arrangements.

Undoubtedly, Hamas' electoral victory turned the whole equation upside down and was considered a blow to the Bush doctrine in the Middle East. The price paid by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been extremely heavy. Not because of their support for Hamas, but rather because of their choice to put an end to the "peace process" charade. Had there been another Palestinian political force that could be trusted to fight the outcome of the Oslo accords in a principled manner, it might have had a chance. But by 2006, the left had already gone through a process of NGOization and Osloization that put it to the right of Hamas, dovetailing with the right wing that was already in control of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Hamas, then, won the elections because it was expected, whether rightly or wrongly, to rectify historic mistakes made by the official leadership -- most importantly defending the right of return of refugees, and putting an end to the unattained two-state solution. A deadly, hermetic siege was imposed on the Palestinians of Gaza as soon as the election results came out, followed by numerous attempts to destabilize the situation through a US-backed coup attempt, culminating in Israel's 22-day genocidal war on Gaza.

The latest war was a political tsunami aimed at creating a sense of defeat amongst the Palestinians, and a sense that they are confronted with a metaphysical power that can never be defeated. The message was that their choice of an anti-Oslo political power was not only a political mistake, but an existential one as well, a mistake that would change their future altogether; hence, the calculated targeting of children and families. More than 90 percent of the victims of the massacre were civilians, according to leading human rights organizations. None of the declared objectives of the massacre, however, were achieved: Hamas is still in power and the resilience of the Palestinians of Gaza is stronger than ever. Israel has failed to make them feel that they are a defeated people.

Hamas rallied tens of thousands of its supporters in celebrations of the "historic victory over the Zionist entity." Its spokespersons reiterated again and again that based on this historic victory, there would be no return to the pre-massacre siege and that reality on the ground now "necessitated" new steps. The Palestinian people, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Diaspora and in 1948 Palestine (the part of Palestine on which Israel was declared in 1948), also had high expectations. Gaza 2009 was, rightly, expected to be the Sharpeville of Palestine, a turning point in the history of the Palestinian struggle against Israel's policy of occupation, colonization and apartheid.

This historic victory against Israel's aggression required a visionary leadership, one with a clear-cut strategy of liberation that divorces itself completely from the Oslo accords and the deceptive two-prison solution. Instead of building on this victory and on the outpouring of international support in the streets of Istanbul, London, Amman, Caracas, Johannesburg and even Muscat -- to mention but a few cities -- the leadership of the Palestinian resistance movement, including Hamas, rushed to Cairo for what turned out to be endless, futile rounds of national unity dialogue. One is not, of course, against any serious attempt for national unity, but one also takes it for granted that the ABC of leadership, especially elected ones, is to be with the masses. The siege, which so far has led to the death of more than 400 seriously ill persons (from lack of medicine or ability to travel abroad for treatment), should have been exposed as the obstacle that prevents the leaders of the resistance from having national dialogue because they, as leaders, cannot and should not leave their besieged, traumatized people and move freely outside Gaza. This should have become a condition. If any Arab dignitary wanted to have a discussion with the victorious leadership, he or she should have been invited to Gaza. One would have expected the Gaza leadership to act as a victorious one; to wait in Gaza for at least one month after the end of the massacre and make it clear that they would welcome any sign of real support and solidarity while they were staying with their people in Gaza. That, alas, did not happen.

This was a step in what I call the "abortion of victory." Instead of coming up with an alternative program to that of the Palestinian Authority, and all the organizations belonging to it, and instead of building on the unprecedented, growing solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza, the leadership of Hamas, in statements made by its leaders and -- more importantly -- letters sent to the US president, have started reinventing the wheel! I will limit myself to a couple of important examples: Hamas' flirtation with the Barack Obama administration and their endorsement of the two-prison solution.

After US President Barack Obama's much-talked-about speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, in which he had nothing of substance to say about the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, Dr. Ahmed Yousef, a senior advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, in an interview on Al-Jazeera International, was extremely happy with the speech which was, according to him, like Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech! Two nights later, and on Hamas' Al-Aqsa television, the ex-spokesperson of the first Hamas government argued, and I would say with conviction, that Obama's (in)famous speech was a clear indication of the change taking place in the US administration and that "we" need to make use of the "diversity" within the American establishment! This, of course, came after Hamas sent a letter to Obama which Senator John Kerry, who visited Gaza a few months ago, refused to carry.

Failing to understand that Obama's election does not represent a radical change in American Middle East policy is a sign of, to say the least, political immaturity. The "diversity" within the US establishment is like the difference between the Likud and Labor parties in Israel. Obama still represents the Democratic Party, which is a part of the mainstream American establishment. Obama's victory in the presidential elections, therefore, has not produced a change in the nature of American imperialism. Obviously, Hamas has bought the fiction brought about by the election of Obama and his "seriousness" in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas fails to see that in essence, what Obama is offering is not different from what George W. Bush and, before him, Bill Clinton offered. In his speech, Obama made it crystal clear that the US-Israel ties are "unbreakable;" prior to that he was more than clear in announcing that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of the Jewish state." For the Obama administration, Israel's security remains the issue, which, ultimately, marginalizes the whole issue of Palestine.

The Israeli-American siege imposed on Gaza would be lifted immediately, if Obama decided it should be so. In fact, the US is not merely complicit, but rather a participant in the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinians of Gaza. Any freshman student of political science, not to say a child on the streets of Gaza, would tell you this.

The second, more important example, of Hamas' political immaturity, is its acceptance of the already dead two-state solution. In a joint a press conference with former US President Jimmy Carter, Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyeh said that Hamas accepts a state limited only to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the areas occupied by Israel in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital. This is ironic, not to say bizarre, since every politician in Palestine knows that a two-state solution has been rendered impossible by Israeli colonization of the West Bank, by the looting and pillaging of Gaza, by the construction of the apartheid wall, and by the expansion of so-called "Greater Jerusalem." Since 1967, the US has supported and is still supporting Israel in creating conditions that have made the two-state solution impossible, impractical and unjust.

For a senior Hamas leader to reiterate what has already been said by the head of its political bureau, Khaled Meshal, one can conclude that this is the beginning of a process of deterioration -- even Osloization -- not only in rhetoric, but also in action. The Palestinian people are not only those living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There are six million refugees, the overwhelming majority of whom are waiting to return to their villages and towns in accordance with UN Resolution 194, and 1.4 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who have third-class status. The Palestinian struggle is not for an independent state on the 1967 borders, but rather for liberation -- liberation for all the inhabitants of the historic land of Palestine. Accepting the illusion called an independent state on the 1967 borders is, in actual fact, an acceptance of a racist solution par excellence.

By launching its genocidal war against Gaza, Israel has shot the two-state-prison solution in the head, which consequently means a dire need for an alternative program that addresses the Palestinian question as one of democracy, equality, human rights and, ultimately, liberation from occupation, colonization and apartheid. Hamas, alas, has fallen within the trap of Oslo and its fetishization of statehood at the expense of Palestinian fundamental rights. Of course, one tends to agree that the current serious crisis in Palestine emanates from the nature of the deformed political system created by the Oslo accords and their claim of laying the foundation for a two-state solution. By participating in the January 2006 elections, most political organizations in Palestine, including Hamas, showed an implicit acceptance of the new political reality created by the Oslo accords and hence the two-state solution. But, ironically, Hamas claimed otherwise, that its objective was to bring Oslo to an end.

In the late 1980s, the Palestinian national movement accepted the two-state solution and at a later stage, recognized Israel. This is the same resistance movement that in the 1960s emerged to liberate Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Behind-the-scenes negotiations, ultimately, led to the signing of the notorious Oslo accords, which paved the way for the transformation of the Palestinian cause into one of charity. Now, Hamas is reinventing the wheel. No wonder, one has a sense of déjà vu.

Mohamed Hasanein Heikal and Azmi Bishara, two leading intellectuals in the Arab world, have repeatedly criticized Hamas for its lack of exposure to the external world. This world does not only include the US, Iran and the official Arab regimes. It is a world that also includes the same civil society organizations that pressured their governments in the late 1980s to boycott the apartheid regime of South Africa; it has the university students who have occupied their campuses in an attempt to pressure their administrators to divest from companies having ties with apartheid Israel; it has the students of Hampshire College, the University and College Union of the UK, the Scottish Trade Union Council, the South African trade union federation Cosatu, and others in Venezuela, Bolivia and further afield. It has the Palestinian BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) National Committee. The struggle is not only an armed one, but it includes other pillars as well, pillars that emphasize the importance of international solidarity and mass mobilization, rather than placing all hope and faith in Barack Obama and his administration.

Gaza 2009 -- the political steadfastness the people have shown in reaction to Israel's genocidal war -- has proven that the Palestinian people are way ahead of their leaderships!

Haidar Eid is an independent political commentator.

PCHR Weekly Report: 5 civis palestinianos feridos por soldados israelitas esta semana


PCHR Weekly Report: 5 Palestinian civilians, 1 international wounded by Israeli forces this week

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 18 - 24 June 2009, five Palestinian civilians, including a journalist, and an international human rights defender were wounded. Israeli forces conducted 19 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and abducted 22 Palestinian civilians, including two children.

Al Masara villagers stopped by soldiers from reaching their land (PCHR photo)
Al Masara villagers stopped by soldiers from reaching their land (PCHR photo)

Israeli forces forced two Palestinian civilians to demolish their homes, and issued demolition orders against several homes. Israeli forces have continued to impose a total siege and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

Israeli forces positioned at military checkpoints have continued to harass Palestinian civilians. In addition, Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian farmers tents, injuring three of them.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

During the reporting period, five Palestinian civilians, including a journalist, and an international human rights defender were wounded when Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 19 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 22 Palestinian civilians, including two children.

In one of these invasions, on Thursday, 18 June 2009, at approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses. During these house raids, Israeli forces detonated sound bombs inside and around a house belonging to the family of Yahia Nidal al-Aghbar, in which six people live, including a blind father and two children. As a result, a fire broke out and the house was burnt. Israeli forces abducted al-Aghbar. They also abducted Sa'ed Sami Hamdan, 19, from the south of the city.

In another example of the week's invasions, on Monday, 22 June 2009, at approximately 00:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Bireh town. They raided and searched a house belonging to Dr. Miriam Saleh, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council form the Change and Reform Bloc affiliated to Hamas. They abducted her son, 21-year-old Salah Mosleh, and confiscated Saleh's mobile phone and some documents.

Israeli forces have established checkpoints in and around Jerusalem, severely restricting Palestinian access to the city. Civilians are frequently prevented from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

There are approximately permanent 630 roadblocks, and manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. In addition, there are some 60-80 ‘flying’ or temporary checkpoints erected across the West Bank by Israeli forces every week.

Israeli Annexation Wall:

When complete, the illegal Annexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometers around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kilometers of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.

At least 65% of the main roads that leads to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by Israeli forces (47 out of 72 roads).

There are around 500 kilometers of restricted roads across the West Bank. In addition, approximately one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without a permit issued by the Israeli forces. These permits are extremely difficult to obtain.

At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 18 June 2009, Israeli forces, accompanied by a jeep of the so-called Civil Administration, moved into 'Azzoun 'Atma village, which is isolated by the Wall, southeast of Qalqilya. They handed noticed to 'Abdul Mon'em Sa'id Saleh and Ghareeb Ibrahim 'Ali that a shed used for raising animals, an old house and a water tank belonging to them would be demolished. It is worth noting that Israeli forces impose severe restrictions on daily activities of Palestinians who live in areas isolated by the Wall.

Israeli forces continue to harass, and assault demonstrators who hold peaceful protests against the construction of the Annexation Wall. Following the Friday Prayer on 19 June 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to the construction of the Wall in al-Ma'sara village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli forces positioned at the main entrance of the village near "Efrat" settlement fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, and then chased and violently beat a number of demonstrators. As a result, two demonstrators sustained bruises: Yousef Yahia Zawahra, 31; and 'Ali Mousa Berjiya, 25.

At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 20 June 2009, dozens of Palestinian farmers and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered near areas of lands threatened to be confiscated by Israeli forces in Wad Abu al-Reesh area in the north of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstrators and violently beat a number of them. A number of Israeli settlers also threw stones at the demonstrators and journalists. As a result, a Palestinian farmer, a journalist and an international human rights defender were injured.

Israeli settlement activity:

Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank in violation of international humanitarian law, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

On Saturday morning, 20 June 2009, Palestinian farmers were shocked to have dozens of trees cut on their lands located near "Beit Ain" settlement, north of Hebron. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, Israeli settlers living in the aforementioned settlement uprooted at least 150 trees on lands belonging to Fahed 'Abdullah al-Slaibi and Hammad Jaber al-Slaibi. Such action came following threats vowed by Israeli settlers a week earlier to prevent Palestinian farmers from farming their lands.

At approximately 04:00 on Sunday morning, 21 June 2009, Israeli settlers set fire to a tent, in which three Palestinian farmers were sleeping, in Kherbat Sousia area to the east of Yatta village, south of Hebron. The farmers woke up suffering from the inhalation of smoke. When they got out, they saw a number of Israeli settlers running away towards a nearby settlement. The farmers were evacuated to the hospital due to the inhalation of smoke. They were identified as: 'Abdul Rahman Mohammed Nawaj'a, 22; Yahia Khaled Nawaj'a, 21; and Ibrahim Mohammed Nawaj'a, 22.

Judaization of Jerusalem:

On Thursday, 18 June 2009, Israeli forces forced Khaled Sorour Sorour, 45, and his brother Tariq, 43, to demolish a structure added to their house in al-Mukabber village, south of Jerusalem. The family had added this structure to the house in 2003. Three months ago, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem handed a notice to the family ordering the demolition of the house no later than 24 June 2009; otherwise, the municipality would demolish it and force the family to pay the costs and a heavy fine. The area of the added structure was less than 50 square meters distributed into two floors. The family's loss is estimated at more than 35,000 NIS (approximately US$ 8,700).

On the same day, Israeli forces forced Basehir Mahmoud Bashir, 37, from Jabal al-Mukabber village, south of Jerusalem, to demolish a 35-square-meter structure added to his house. The Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem had ordered the family to demolish the added structure no later than 21 June 2009; otherwise, the municipality would demolish it and force the family to pay the costs and a heavy fine. The family's loss is estimated at more than 20,000 NIS (approximately US$ 5,000).

At approximately 08:30 on the same day, Israeli forces, accompanied by officials of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem, stormed al-Bustan quarter in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem. They handed ordered of demolition to owners of eight Palestinian houses. According to these orders, the families themselves must demolish their houses or refer to the municipality to appeal against the orders. The orders did not include the owners' names, rather they listed ambiguous numbers. It is worth noting that Israeli forces declared earlier this year that they would demolish 88 Palestinian houses in the quarter to establish what they call "David Town".

On Sunday evening, 21 June 2009, Israeli forces, accompanied by officials of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem, stormed Beit Hanina and Shu'fat villages, north of Jerusalem, and al-'Abbasiya quarter in Silwan village, east of the city. They stuck demolition orders on the walls of several houses in these areas. According to these orders, the families themselves must demolish their houses; otherwise, the municipality would do it and the families must then pay the costs and additional fines.

At approximately 08:00 on Tuesday, 23 June 2009, Israeli forces raids Ras Tamim and al-Maisha quarters in the south of al-'Eissawiya village, east of Jerusalem. They razed at least 500 donums of Palestinian land, claiming that they seek to preserve "the natural beauty of the city." According the owners of these lands, these measures aim at expanding settlement areas near the Hebrew University. Although the owners appealed against orders to raze their lands, Israeli forces razed the land without presenting any written official orders.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces naval troops continued to chase and fire at Palestinian fishers. During the reporting period, they detained two fishers for several hours.

Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli siege of Gaza, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

The main concern of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip is to obtain their basic needs of food, medicines, water and electricity supplies.

Israeli forces have continued to prevent the entry of raw construction materials into the Gaza Strip for more than two years.

Israeli forces have not allowed fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip, excluding limited amounts of cooking gas, since 10 December 2008.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these are a recommendation that the international community recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented in September 2005, for what it is - not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. In recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Friday, 26 June 2009

empresas israelitas acusadas de tirar proveito do Holocausto

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Israeli Firms Accused of Profiting from Holocaust

> The allegations against Bank Leumi surfaced more than a decade ago. By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth

Israel's second largest bank will be forced to defend itself in court in the coming weeks over claims it is withholding tens of millions of dollars in 'lost' accounts belonging to Jews who died in the Nazi death camps.

Bank Leumi has denied it holds any such funds despite a parliamentary committee revealing in 2004 that the bank owes at least $75 million to the families of several thousand Holocaust victims.

Analysts said the bank’s role is only the tip of an iceberg in which Israeli companies and state bodies could be found to have withheld billions of dollars invested by Holocaust victims in the country -- dwarfing the high-profile reparations payouts from such European countries as Switzerland.

“All I want is justice,” said David Hillinger, 73, whose grandfather, Aaron, died in Auschwitz, a Nazi camp in Poland. Lawyers are demanding reparations of $100,000 for Bank Leumi accounts held by his father and grandfather.

The allegations against Bank Leumi surfaced more than a decade ago following research by Yossi Katz, an Israeli historian.

He uncovered bank correspondence in the immediate wake of the Second World War in which it cited “commercial secrecy” as grounds for refusing to divulge the names of account holders who had been killed in the Holocaust.

“I was shocked,” said Dr Katz, from Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv. “My first reaction was: ‘My God, this isn’t Switzerland!’ ”

In 1998, following widespread censure, Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion in reparations after they there were accused of having profited from the dormant accounts of Holocaust victims.

Dr Katz’s revelations led to the establishment of a parliamentary committee in 2000 to investigate the behaviour of Israel’s banks. Its report came to light belatedly in 2004 after Bank Leumi put pressure on the government to prevent publication.

Investigators found thousands of dormant accounts belonging to Holocaust victims in several banks, though the lion’s share were located at Bank Leumi. Obstructions from Leumi meant many other account holders had probably not been identified, the investigators warned.

The parliamentary committee originally estimated the accounts it had located to be worth more than $160m, using the valuation formula applied to the Swiss banks. But under pressure from Leumi and the government, it later reduced the figure by more than half.

A restitution company was created in 2006 to search for account holders and return the assets to their families.

Meital Noy, a spokeswoman for the company, said it had been forced to begin legal proceedings this week after Bank Leumi had continued to claim that its findings were “baseless”.

The bank paid $5m two years ago in what it says was a “goodwill gesture”. Ms Noy called the payment “a joke”. She said 3,500 families, most of them in Israel, were seeking reparations from Bank Leumi.

The bank was further embarrassed by revelations in 2007 that one per cent of its shares -- worth about $80 million -- belonged to tens of thousands of Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Mr Hillinger, who was born in Belgium in 1936 and spent the Second Wold War hiding in southern France, today lives in Petah Tikva in central Israel.

He said before the outbreak of war his father and grandfather had invested money in the Anglo-Palestine Bank, the forerunner of Leumi, in the hope it would gain them a visa to what was then British-ruled Palestine.

Although his parents escaped the death camps, his grandparents were sent to Auschwitz and died in the gas chambers shortly after arrival.

Mr Hillinger said he had only learnt of the outstanding debt from Bank Leumi after his father, Moses, died in 1996. Papers showed the bank had paid his father “a pittance” in 1952 when he closed his account and that it had never returned his grandfather’s money.

When he wrote to Bank Leumi in 1998, it denied his grandfather had ever opened an account.

“My grandfather died because he was a Jew, and it is shameful that other Jews are exploiting his death,” he said. “We need to wake people up about this.”

A quarter of a million Holocaust survivors are reported to be in Israel, with one-third of them living in poverty, according to welfare organisations.

Shraga Elam, an Israeli investigative financial journalist based in Zurich, said after the war many Israelis showed little sympathy for the European Jewish refugees who arrived in Israel.

“David Ben Gurion [Israel’s first prime minister] notoriously called them ‘human dust’, and I remember as children we referred to them as sabonim, the Hebrew word for soap,” he said, in reference to the rumoured Nazi practice of making soap from Jewish corpses.

“In fact, I can’t think of any place in the world where [Holocaust] survivors are as badly treated as they are in Israel,” Mr Elam said.

He said Bank Leumi’s “lost” accounts were only a small fraction of Holocaust assets held by Israeli companies and the Israeli state that should have been returned. The total could be as much as $20bn.

He said European Jews had invested heavily in Palestine in the pre-war years, buying land, shares and insurance policies and opening bank accounts. During the Second World War Britain seized most of these assets as enemy property because the owners were living in Nazi-occupied lands.

In 1950 Britain repaid some $1.4 million to the new state of Israel, which was supposed to make reparations to the original owners.

However, little effort was made to trace them or, in the case of those who died in the Holocaust, their heirs. Instead the Israeli government is believed to have used the funds to settle new immigrants in Israel.

“These are huge assets, including real estate in some of the most desirable parts of Israel,” Mr Elam said.

Last year the Israeli media reported an investigation showing that the finance ministry destroyed its real estate files in the 1950s, apparently to conceal the extent of the state’s holding of Holocaust assets.

The case against Bank Leumi may end the generally muted criticism inside Israel of the banks’ role. Officials and even the families themselves have been concerned about the damage the case might do to Israel’s image as the guardian of Jewish interests.

In 2003 Ram Caspi, Bank Leumi’s lawyer, used such an argument before the parliamentary committee, warning its members that the US media “will say the Israeli banks also hide money, not just the Swiss”.

Organisations that led the campaign for reparations from European banks, such as the Jewish Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organisation, have also downplayed the role of the Israeli banks.

- Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). He contributed this article to Visit: A version of this article originally appeared in The National - - published in Abu Dhabi.

a França humilhada pelo exército israelita


La France humiliée par Tsahal

Excréments. Mais l’incident le plus choquant est l’occupation du domicile de l’agent consulaire français, Majdi Chakkoura, à Gaza pendant l’attaque israélienne de janvier. En son absence, les soldats israéliens ont complètement ravagé les lieux - pourtant signalés à l’armée israélienne -, volé une grosse somme d’argent, les bijoux de son épouse, son ordinateur et détruit la thèse sur laquelle il travaillait. Et ils ont souillé d’excréments le drapeau français. Le Quai d’Orsay n’a là encore élevé aucune protestation. Une occupation semblable s’est produite au domicile d’une professeure palestinienne du centre culturel français. Avec ce tag écrit en français sur la bibliothèque dévastée : «Sale arabe, ont va revenir te tuer». C’est, dit-on à Gaza, la faute de français - le «t» en trop - qui a choqué l’enseignante.

os soldados israelitas atacaram o protesto semanal de Bil'in


The Israeli military attack Bil'in weekly protest

Dozens suffered from gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest in Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.

Youth taking cover form the tear gas at Today's protest in Bil'in � Photo by Hamde Abu Rahma
Youth taking cover form the tear gas at Today's protest in Bil'in � Photo by Hamde Abu Rahma

International and Israeli supporters joined the villagers of Bil'in and marched from the village center after the Friday midday prayers. Joining the protest on Friday was the the Canadian writer and Journalist Naomi Klein.

The protesters demanded the halt of the Israeli illegal settlements and the construction of the wall. As the protesters arrived at the wall, Israeli troops at the gate nearby fired a barrage of sound bombs, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

Dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. This week the Israeli military attacked the village on a number of occasions and kidnapped six people among them two children.

A necessidade de um boicote cultural


por Ilan Pappe

Se há alguma coisa de novo na história interminável da Palestina é a clara mudança da opinião pública do Reino Unido. Quando vim para estas ilhas em 1980, recordo que o apoio à causa Palestiniana estava confinado aos sectores da esquerda e a uma secção muito particular da corrente ideológica. O trauma pós-Holocausto e o complexo de culpa, os interesses económicos e militares e charada de Israel como única democracia no Médio Oriente tiveram o seu papel na concessão de imunidade ao Estado de Israel. Parecia que poucos se comoviam com o facto de um Estado ter expulso metade da população nativa da Palestina, de ter demolido metade das suas aldeias e cidades, de ter discriminado a minoria que vivia entre eles, dentro das suas fronteiras através de sistema de apartheid e de ter dividido 2.5 milhões de pessoas em enclaves através de uma ocupação militar dura e opressiva.

Quase 30 anos depois, parece que todos estes filtros e personagens foram removidos. A magnitude da limpeza étnica de 1948 é bem conhecida, o sofrimento das populações nos territórios ocupados foi recordado e descrito até pelo presidente dos EUA como insuportável e desumano. De forma semelhante, a destruição e desertificação da grande área de Jerusalém é verificada diariamente e natureza racista das políticas dirigidas aos Palestinianos em Israel é frequentemente censurada e condenada.

Hoje, em 2009, a realidade é descrita pela ONU como “uma catástrofe humana.” Os sectores conscientes e conhecedores da sociedade britânica sabem muito bem quem causou e quem produziu estas catéstrofe. Isto já não está ligado a circunstâncias indefinidas ou ao “conflito” – é claramente visto como o resultado das políticas israelitas ao longo dos anos. Quando o Arcebispo Desmond Tutu foi questionado acerca do que viu nos territórios ocupados, ele respondeu tristemente que era pior que o apartheid. Ele deve saber.

Tal como no caso da África do Sul, estas pessoas decentes, como indivíduos ou como membros de organizações, denunciam a sua indignação contra a opressão, a colonização, a limpeza étnica e fome contínuas na Palestina. Estão à procura de formas de mostrar o seu protesto e alguns até esperam convencer o governo a mudar a sua velha política de indiferença e inacção perante a contínua destruição da Palestina e dos palestinianos. Muito de entre eles são judeus enquanto que, segundo a ideologia sionista, estas atrocidades são feitas em seu nome. Bastantes são veteranos de lutas civis prévias travadas neste país por causas similares por todo o mundo. Já não estão confinados a um único partido político e vêm de todos os quadrantes da vida.

Até agora o governo britânico não se comoveu. Também foi passivo quando o movimento anti-apartheid do seu país exigiu que impusesse sanções à África do Sul. Foram necessárias décadas para que esse activismo de base chegasse ao topo político. É necessário mais tempo no caso da Palestina: a culpa sobre o Holocausto, as narrativas históricas distorcidas e a actual representação errada de Israel como democracia à procura da paz e dos palestinianos como eternos terroristas islâmicos, bloqueiam o impulso popular. Apesar das contínuas acusações de anti-semitismo e da demonização do Islão e dos árabes, está a começar a encontrar o seu caminho e a sua presença. O terceiro sector, importante para fazer a ligação entre os civis e as instituições governamentais, mostrou-nos o caminho. Um sindicato atrás do outro, uma classe profissional atrás da outra, enviaram uma mensagem clara: basta! É feito em nome da decência, da moral humana e dos mais básicos compromissos civis, não permancer inactivo perante as atrocidades do tipo que Israel cometeu e continua a cometer contra o povo palestiniano.

Nos últimos 8 anos, a política criminosa israelita aumentou e os activistas palestinianos procuram novos meios de confrontá-la. Tentaram tudo, luta armada, luta de guerrilha, terrorismo e diplomacia: nada resultou. Contudo, não desistiram e agora propõem uma nova estratégia não violenta – boicote, sanções e desinvestimento. Através destes meios querem convencer os governos ocidentais, não apenas a salvarem-nos, mas ironicamente a salvarem também os judeus em Israel de uma catástrofe iminente. Esta estratégia fez nascer o apelo ao boicote cultural a Israel. Todas as comunidades da existência palestiniana dão voz a esta exigência: a sociedade civil que vive sob a ocupação e os palestinianos que vivem em Israel. É apoiado pelos refugiados e é liderado por membros das comunidades palestinianas exiladas. Chegou no momento certo e deu às pessoas e às organizações do Reino Unido uma forma de expressarem o descontentamento relativamente às políticas israelitas e ao mesmo tempo é uma forma de participação na pressão sobre o governo para que mude a sua política de conceder imunidade à impunidade no terreno.

É impressionante o facto desta mudança na opinião pública ainda não ter tido influencia na política. No entanto, devemos lembrar-nos do caminho tortuoso que a campanha contra o apartheid teve de percorrer antes de se tornar numa política. Vale ainda a pena recordar as duas mulheres corajosas em Dublin, trabalhadoras numa caixa de supermercado, e que começaram um enorme movimento ao recusarem-se a vender produtos provenientes da África do Sul. Vinte e nove anos depois, a Grã-Bretanha juntou-se a outros países ao impor sanções contra aquele país. Portanto, enquanto os governos hesitam hipocritamente, com medo de serem acusados de anti-semitismo ou ainda devido à inibições islamofobicas, os cidadãos e activistas fazem o seu melhor, simbólica e fisicamente, para informar, protestar e exigir. Têm uma campanha do boicote cultural mais organizada ou podem juntar-se aos sindicatos para coordenar uma política de pressão. Podem ainda usar o seu nome e fama para nos dizer que as pessoas correctas neste mundo não podem apoiar o que Israel faz e defende. Não sabem se as suas acções vão ter efeito imediato ou se terão a sorte de ver as coisas mudarem durante o seu tempo de vida. No entanto, perante aquilo que são e o que fazem e perante a visão da história, serão contados entre aqueles que não se tornaram indiferentes face à desumanidade disfarçada de democracia nos seus países ou em qualquer outro sítio.

Por outro lado, os cidadãos deste país, especialmente aqueles famosos que continuam a transmitir, frequentemente com ignorância ou por outras razões mais sinistras, a fábula de Israel como sociedade culturalmente ocidental ou como “a única democracia no Médio Oriente”, estão simplesmente errados! Concedem imunidade a uma das maiores atrocidades do nosso tempo. Alguns deles afirmam que devemos deixar a cultura fora dos actos políticos. Esta abordagem da cultura e academia israelitas como entidade separadas do exército israelita e a ocupação e destruição são moralmente corruptos e logicamente defuntas. Eventualmente, a indignação vinda das bases, incluindo as bases israelitas, originará uma nova política – a nova administração norte-americana já está a dar alguns sinais disso. A História não viu com bons olhos aqueles cineastas que colaboraram com o Senador Joseph McCarthy nos anos 50 ou aqueles que apoiaram o apartheid. A atitude para com aqueles que agora são silenciosos sobre a Palestina será semelhante.

Um bom caso desenrolou-se no mês passado em Edimburgo. O cineasta Ken Loach liderou uma campanha contra as ligações financeiros do festival de cinema da cidade com a Embaixada Israelita. Esta posição tinha como objective enviar uma mensagem de que esta embaixada representa não apenas os cineastas de Israel mas também os seus generais que massacraram as populações de Gaza; os seus perseguidores que torturam os palestinianos nas prisões; os seus juízes que enviaram 10 000 palestinianos – metade deles crianças – para a prisão sem julgamento; os seus munícipes racistas que querem expulsar os árabes das suas cidades; os seus arquitectos que constroem muros e redes para isolar as pessoas e impedi-las de chegar aos seus campos, escolas, cinemas e empregos; e os seus políticos que continuam a elaborar estratégias para completar a limpeza étnica da Palestina que começou em 1948. Ken Loach sentiu que apenas um apelo ao boicote do festival como um todo poderia trazer uma perspective moral aos seus directores. Estava certo. Resultou por o caso está delineado e os actos são puros e simples.

Não é surpreendente que uma voz contrária tenha sido ouvida. Esta é uma luta contínua e não será ganha facilmente. À medida que escrevo estas palavras, comemora-se o quadragésimo segundo aniversário da ocupação israelita – a mais longa e mais cruel dos tempos modernos. Mas o tempo também produziu a lucidez necessária para estas decisões. É por isto que a acção de Ken foi tão rapidamente efectiva. Da próxima vez, isto já não será necessário. Um dos críticos tentou demonstrar que o povo de Israel gosta dos filmes de Ken, portanto, isto era uma espécie de ingratidão. Posso assegurar a este crítico que as pessoas que apreciam os filmes de Ken também o saúdam pela sua coragem e, pelo contrário, não pensamos que isto é uma forma de apelar à destruição de Israel mas sim uma forma de salvar os judeus e árabes que ali vivem. De qualquer forma é difícil levar a sério este tipo de críticas quando são acompanhadas pela descrição dos palestinianos como uma entidade terrorista e Israel uma democracia como a Grã-Bretanha. Aqui no Reino Unido, a maioria de nós já se distanciou desta propaganda ridícula e estamos prontos para a mudança. Esperamos agora que o governos destas ilha nos siga.

Ilan Pappe é o director do Departamento de História da Universidade de Exeter. Este ensaio foi originalmente publicado por e foi republicado com a autorização do autor.

Traducao: Ana Sophia Gomes (Vila Real)

Quem é considerado um terrorista do nivel baixo?

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Who's A Low Level Terrorist? Are You?

Nobel Peace Award winner Mairead Corrigan (L) in Gaza. (Getty/file)

By Emily Spence

Recently, an American Civil Liberties Union report pointed out, "Anti-terrorism training materials currently being used by the Department of Defense (DoD) teach its personnel that free expression in the form of public protests should be regarded as ‘low level terrorism’.” [1]

Despite that DoD officials removed the offensive section from their educational resources at the urging of ACLU members, the DoD stance is still troubling since a longstanding practice to designate peaceful, law abiding activists as dangerous and treasonable still exists in many government departments and agencies. Indeed the participants of the first antiwar protest against the Vietnam incursion, put together in the mid-1960's by peaceable Quakers and FOR members after having discussed Gandhi's Salt March as a model for a nonviolent demonstration, faced government operatives filming them face by face from rooftops as they moved en masse down Broadway to the UN Plaza. (My mother, a pacifist married to a World War II Conscientious Objector, and I, a child at the time of the march, both were in attendance. When the film crew focused on us, she stood tall, faced the agents with their telephoto lens, glared in disdainful defiance and, simultaneously, throw the corner of her coat over my face. Afterwards, she muttered, "How dare they try to intimidate us!")

This sort of happening in mind, the treatment of Nobel Peace Award winner Aung San Sui Kyi in Myanmar is not necessarily all that different than the response that she'd receive in the USA and, while it's commendable that American spokespersons publicly object to her most recent arrest, they, certainly, might seem to be a bunch of hypocrites. This is due to the fact that a number of Nobel Peace Award recipients, such as American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), have had difficulties of their own on American soil.

For example, "AFSC’s work, always open and resolutely nonviolent, has been under government surveillance for decades. The Service Committee secured nearly 1,700 pages of files from the FBI under a Freedom of Information request in 1976. These files show that the FBI kept files on AFSC that dated back to 1921. Ten other federal agencies kept files on AFSC, including the CIA, Air Force, Navy, Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service, and the State Department. The CIA has intercepted overseas mail and cables in the 1950s, and some AFSC offices (and even its staff's homes) have been infiltrated and burglarized in the late 1960s into the 1970s." [2]

In relation, AFSC associate general secretary for justice and human rights, Joyce Miller, asked, “How can we speak of spreading democracy in Iraq while dismantling it here at home?” She further remarked, “Political dissent is fundamental to a free and democratic society. It should not be equated with crime.”

Add to the AFSC problems, those pertaining to Nobel Peace Award recipient Nelson Mandela, who only a year ago had the designation "terrorist" removed from his name, under protest by the State Department, so that he no longer suffered travel restrictions from the US government. Yet his travel curtailment was not nearly as awful as was Ramzy Baroud's blockage. He, the editor of Palestine Chronicle, had his US passport seized by a consular officer at an overseas American Embassy [3]. Similarly, Senator Edward Kennedy was, also, flagged by the U.S. no-fly list.

Then again, Ted Kennedy received much less harassment than did Nobel Peace Award winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire after her flight from Guatemala had been directed to Ireland through Houston:

"She was probably tired and ready to get back to Belfast, where her attempts to bring about an end to The Troubles in 1976 made her at 32 the youngest Nobel Peace Prize-winner ever. Since then, she's been given the Pacem in Terris Award by Pope John Paul II, and the United Nations selected her (along with the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Jordan's Queen Noor and a dozen or so other fellow Nobel Laureates) as an honorary board member of the International Coalition for the Decade.

"Unfortunately for Maguire, her flight back home to Northern Ireland was routed through Houston, where none of that meant diddly. Federal Customs officials were far less interested in any of that than they were in a box on the back of the transit form she filled out on her flight.

"'They questioned me about my nonviolent protests in USA against the Afghanistan invasion and Iraqi war,' Maguire said later in a statement. 'They insisted I must tick the box in the Immigration form admitting to criminal activities.'

"Maguire was detained for two hours -- grilled once, fingerprinted, photographed, and grilled again. She missed her flight home. She was only released after an organization she helped found -- the Nobel Women's Initiative -- started kicking up a fuss." [4]

On can add to her troubles countless other ones wherein human rights and environmental supporters have been repeatedly hassled for no other reason than that they're holding views that don't jive with positions at any number of U.S. government institutions. One needn't return in time to the McCarthy Era to find many individuals who have been investigated and persecuted for holding vilified opinions. For example, Stephen Lendman, a peace advocate and writer in his seventies with a permanent knee injury that delimits travel, has been repeatedly investigated by the FBI.

At the same time, he is joined by myriad others such as assorted activists in Maryland whose names were put on federal terrorist lists by state police who infiltrated their groups. [5] As such, their perfectly legal activities, freedom of speech and right to unhindered assembly have been criminalized.

Simultaneously, there's a certain inescapable irony and disingenuous quality presented by the Western government heads who are harshly critical of the Iran crackdown on dissenting citizens while they, themselves, condone similar ironfisted policies in their own lands. Their two-faced position is barely hidden beneath the surface of their mock concern for the well-being of Iranian protesters as they urge their own and allied troops into battle, show little (if any) sincere remorse over the slaughter of masses of civilians that happen in the process and make sure that demonstrators at home are disregarded, denigrated or preemptively rounded up as happened at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Then again, one might find himself in pretty good company if he were singled out as unpatriotic and treacherous for holding viewpoints or undertaking actions that go contrary to the perspectives that a certain hawkish and totalitarian segment of society holds. All the same, every method conceivable might be used to hunt down the offenders and, when taken to the extreme, render their seemingly provocative positions ineffectual by any means possible, including imprisonment and murder.

Anyone who doubts this to be the case needs only to remember about what happened to people like Howard Fast; the slain Freedom Riders Andy Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner; the thirteen shot students at Kent State University at which Ohio National Guardsman fired sixty-seven rounds over a thirteen second period, and scores of others who have stood against mainstream policies.

Meanwhile, stigmatizing dissidents is a fairly common practice. As such, “There are 1.1 million people on the [U.S.] Terrorist Watch List and there is a 35 per cent error rate, minimum, for that list,” according to ACLU's Michael German. [6] Furthermore, the overzealous and aggressive surveillance tactics used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to check the public's e-mails, telephone calls and other communications are the same ones as were in use during George W. Bush's administration. Likewise, the amount of spying on personal exchanges is as high as it ever was.

In relation to recent claims by Justice Department and national security officials that the overcollection was unintentional, House representative, Rush Holt, a Democrat from New Jersey and Chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, commented “Some actions are so flagrant that they can't be accidental.” Additionally, the act of tracking e-mailed transmissions and other interactions has seemed in violation of federal law according to lawyers at the Justice Department. Regardless, the practice continues.

At the same time, the decision to designate social activists as troublemakers, while singling them out for intimidation, threats and investigations, carries serious legal and political implications in democratic societies. The further measure of subjecting them to the sorts of difficulties that Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Ramzy Baroud, AFSC members and innumerable others have endured is clearly based in xenophobic, paranoid and despotic thinking. It embodies the kind of authoritarian mentality and oppressive activities that one finds in the worst types of tyrannical regimes.

As Harry S. Truman suggested, "Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear." Due to this fear, are we, then, to all conform with lock-step in perverse obedience to the State's dictates, outlooks and agendas in an increasingly Orwellian milieu? If not, then we must constantly remind ourselves and each other of US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas's vision: "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

- Emily Spence is an author living in Massachusetts. She has spent many years involved in human rights, environmental and social services efforts. She contributed this article to


[1] Pentagon Rebrands Protest as "Low-Level Terrorism".

[2] American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

[3] "Punishing activists or pursuing terrorists?" by Maggie Mitchell Salem in Asia Times.

[4] Nobel Prize Winner Gets Hassled At Bush Intercontinental.

[5] Police Spied on Activists In Md. -

[6] One third of FBI Terror Watch List are innocent people.

Israel invadiu uma nova aldeia palestiniana na Cisjordania e rapto 7 palestinianos


Israeli army kidnaps at least 7 Palestinian civilians during invasions of the West Bank

Israeli forces detained between 7 and 9 Palestinians during pre-dawn invasions in the West Bank on Thursday.

Israeli army vehicles invading Nablus
Israeli army vehicles invading Nablus

Four of the Palestinians were taken from their homes in Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The army invaded and toured the camp around 2 am.

Other arrests were made in the village of Bil'in, in the central West Bank, close to Ramallah. The army frequently invades Bil'in to conduct arrests, as Bil'in is one of the villages where weekly demonstrations are organized against the building of the wall on Palestinian land. It is said that the army arrests youth that take part in the demonstrations, to deter their participation.

a lógica falsida da esquerda israelense

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Israeli Left Fails at Logic

Sheleg blames the Hamas example for the fact that Jewish settlers turned to terror.

By Belen Fernandez

In a June 24 article on the Haaretz website entitled 'Leave the settlers there,' opinion writer Yair Sheleg condemns the Israeli left for comparing Jewish settlers to Hamas.

According to Sheleg, the comparison is “based on the following logic: The Israeli majority is the equivalent of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which recognized Israel and is willing to make peace with it, while the settlers are equivalent to Hamas in their refusal.”

Sheleg’s review of the defects of this analogy does not include the most obvious one—that Hamas is more likely to recognize a Jewish state within the 1967 borders than are the settlers.

He instead focuses on such issues as how “even the most moderate Palestinians have yet to voice consent to the ideas that most moderate Israelis have been promoting for many years – see, for instance, their demand for the refugees’ ‘return’ to Israel.”

The argument is thus transformed into one in which not even Palestinians willing to embrace Israeli existence are moderates, and that the only moderate view—espoused by most moderate Israelis, who have been nobly espousing it for many years—is that there is no right of return.

The writer goes on to expose other fatal flaws in the comparison by the Israeli left, such as that “most of those who equate the settlers with Hamas also generally argue that Hamas must be treated as a significant player in the negotiations. But the settlers, they say, should be ignored.”

This political snubbing may have something to do with the fact that Hamas constitutes a legitimate government while the settlers do not; Sheleg meanwhile blames the Hamas example for the fact that the Jewish settlers have turned to terror—a line of reasoning which becomes more complex when we try to determine the cause of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, where there are no settlers.

We are reminded that Sheleg does “not intend this as a justification of settler terror” but that, if we insist on abiding by the equations of the Israeli left, “we need to remember the wise statement often made about Palestinian terror: It is not enough to fight terror; it is also necessary to dry up the swamp in which it breeds.”

Whether the Israeli left has made parallel references to settler swamps is not discussed, nor is the fact that it is easier to dry up swamps when area water supplies are being diverted to Israeli swimming pools.

One advantage to Sheleg’s proposal that the settlers “be given the right to remain in their settlements, with Israeli citizenship, even after Israel has vacated these areas to make way for Palestinian sovereignty” is that this is the “morally preferable” solution. Evidence in support of this judgment is that Charles de Gaulle, “who very much wanted to get out of Algeria, refused to sign an agreement until the Algerians agreed to allow the French settlers to remain, because he understood that he could not violate the principle of natural justice, which holds that a person should not be forced out of his home unless it is absolutely necessary.”

The principle of natural justice becomes all the more intriguing when “his home” does not actually belong to “him.” Sheleg nips such protests in the bud, however, by asserting that, “[a]fter all, no one would suggest evacuating residents of the United States just because their forebears conquered the land via horrendous massacres.” If 17th-century events constitute a precedent for modern-day behavior, perhaps Italian astronomers should continue to be tried for alleging that the earth revolves around the sun.

- Belen Fernandez is completing a book entitled Coffee with Hezbollah. She is a regular contributor to She contributed this article to

Thursday, 25 June 2009

um detido palestinano entra no seu 32 ano de detenção


Palestinian detainee enters his 32nd year in detention

The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees reported that detainee Fakhri Al Barghouthi, 56, from the Central West Bank city of Ramallah, entered his 32nd year in Israeli prisons, and became the second oldest detainees after Na'el Al Barghouthi.

Image by Ramattan
Image by Ramattan

Riyadh Al Ashqar, head of the Media Department at the Ministry stated that Fakhri was kidnapped on June 23, 1978, and was sentenced to a life term after being convicted of killing an Israeli officer.

In 2007, Al Barghouthi managed to hug his children for the first time since his arrest after 29 years in prison. He met them not because he was release, but because they were also detained by the army, and he met them in prison.

Al Ashqar stated that the detainees are hoping to be release under a prisoner-swap deal.

He also said that there are 327 detainees who spent a minimum of 15 years behind bars, including 20 who were detained more than 20 years ago, 12 detained more than 25 years ago, and two who were detained more than 30 years ago.

The two oldest detainees are Na'el Barghouthi, detained on April 4, 1978, and detainee Fakhri Barghouthi, detained June 23, 1978.

The ministry called on the fighters holding the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, captive since June 2006 to remain steadfast on their demands on the release of detainees who spent many years in prison, beside the release of sick detainees, and the detained women and children.

Atraso da União Europeia em relação a Israel

Fonte:Le Monde Diplomatique

jeudi 25 juin 2009

Atermoiements de l’Union européenne face à Israël

Fin avril, à Luxembourg, le conseil des affaires générales et relations extérieures de l’Union européenne (UE) a préféré attendre avant de renforcer les relations de l’Europe avec Israël. Décidée durant la présidence française de l’Union européenne le 8 décembre 2008, la mise en chantier de ce « rehaussement » a été de facto interrompue à l’issue de l’offensive meurtrière israélienne contre la bande de Gaza de décembre et janvier derniers. De nouveau, le 15 juin 2009, le conseil – en marge duquel se tenait la neuvième session du conseil d’association entre l’UE et Israël- a réaffirmé cette orientation. Ce choix marque-t-il seulement une pause conjoncturelle dans l’approfondissement des relations entre Bruxelles et Tel-Aviv, ou esquisse-t-il un réel tournant de la politique européenne au Proche-Orient ?

Déjà, dans une communication au Parlement européen et au Conseil le 23 avril 2009, trois mois après la fin de l’assaut israélien et quelques semaines après l’investiture du gouvernement de M. Benyamin Netanyahou, l’un des plus marqués à l’extrême droite de l’histoire d’Israël, la Commission européenne, pourtant activement engagée dans le rapprochement euro-israélien, notait : « Tout réexamen des relations bilatérales UE-Israël, notamment dans le cadre du plan d’action de la PEV [politique européenne de voisinage], doit tenir compte de la persistance du conflit israélo-arabe et de l’ensemble des développements politiques au Proche-Orient. La poursuite, voire l’extension accélérée des colonies de peuplement en 2008 ont eu une incidence négative tant sur le processus de paix que sur la liberté de circulation des Palestiniens et l’économie palestinienne. Cette situation a encore été aggravée par l’absence de progrès sur plusieurs engagements souscrits dans le cadre du plan d’action, comme la facilitation des échanges commerciaux palestiniens (1). » Et le rapport de citer également l’aggravation de la situation de la population palestinienne, « déjà en situation de paupérisation avant l’offensive militaire en raison du blocus complet de la bande de Gaza », et un contexte politique envenimé du fait de l’opération « Plomb durci (2) ».

Cette position d’attente suscite cependant des réticences. La République tchèque, qui a exercé la présidence tournante de l’Union européenne jusqu’au 30 juin, ne faisait guère mystère de sa volonté d’accroître les relations et les échanges des Vingt-Sept avec Israël. Le premier ministre tchèque (démissionnaire) Mirek Topolánek affirmait, dans un entretien accordé le 26 avril au quotidien israélien Haaretz, que « le processus de paix ne doit pas être lié aux relations entre l’UE et Israël (3) ».

Il réagissait aux propos de la commissaire européenne aux relations extérieures, Mme Benita Ferrero-Waldner, qui avait déclaré : « Nous pensons que de bonnes relations avec Israël sont essentielles (...) mais nous ne pensons cependant pas que le moment soit venu pour aller au-delà du niveau actuel des relations. (...) Nous attendons un engagement clair de la part du nouveau gouvernement israélien sur la poursuite des négociations avec les Palestiniens. (...) Nous attendons un arrêt de toutes les actions qui sapent notre objectif d’une solution à deux Etats (4). »

Toutefois, les ministres européens des affaires étrangères, réunis le 27 avril, n’ont pas suivi la présidence tchèque. Alors que Stockholm s’apprêtait à assurer la présidence de l’Union, le chef de la diplomatie suédoise, M. Carl Bildt, précisait que l’approfondissement des relations avec Tel-Aviv n’était qu’une « option ». Quant à M. Bruno Le Maire, alors secrétaire d’Etat français aux affaires européennes, il considère qu’il est « dans l’intérêt de l’UE de développer ses relations avec Israël », mais admettait que le « bon sens » oblige l’Europe à « attendre la fin de l’examen politique [israélien] et les grandes lignes politiques qui sortiront de cet examen avant de prendre une quelconque décision nouvelle (5) ».

uma outra aldeia invadida na Cisjordânia


Israeli army damages three houses during pre-dawn invasion in the West Bank

The Israeli army invaded the village of Awarta, close to the northern West Bank city of Nablus, during the early morning of Wednesday and damaged three houses.

Israeli soldiers during a nightly invasion in the West Bank
Israeli soldiers during a nightly invasion in the West Bank

Local media report that the army held a large-scale incursion in the area of Awarta. More than twenty military vehicles entered the village and soldiers stormed several homes, leaving behind destroyed furniture and other property, the head of the local council stated. There was even some structural damage done by military vehicles.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

fidelidade ao racismo

fonte:Al Ahram

Loyalty to racism

Israel's attempt to legislate loyalty to the Jewish state is proof of the failure of the Zionist/colonial project of Israelification, writes Azmi Bishara

What is behind the latest wave of legislative proposals flooding the Knesset agenda? I refer specifically to those intended to curb manifestations of Palestinian patriotism and to restrict the political activity of Arab Israelis.

The aim of these laws is to impose the Israeli nationalist creed by coercion. It's really that simple. Over the last decade, the Knesset has experienced several bursts of legislative activity seeking to restrict freedom of opinion and expression on the questions of the Jewishness of the state and the right to resist occupation. The advocates of these laws are indefatigable. If the proposals fail to pass through any of the necessary stages, they are resubmitted over and over again in the hope of wearing out their opponents.

Is Israel really heading towards fascism? Is its vaunted democracy on the wane? Or, I suppose, we could rephrase these questions as follows: Was Israel more democratic at some point of time than it is today and are liberal civic rights in that country being beaten back after having thrived at that particular point of time? What exactly is going on?

I would say that two developments are unfolding in tandem. On the one hand, Israel is experiencing a deepening of and expansion in the concept and exercise of liberal political and economic civil rights (for Jewish citizens). At the same time, there is an upsurge in ultranationalist and right-wing religious extremism accompanied by flagrant manifestations of anti-Arab racism. As a consequence, the Jewish citizen endowed with fuller civil rights (than those that had existed in earlier phases when Zionist society was organised along the lines of a militarised quasi- socialist settler drive) is simultaneously an individual who is more exposed to and influenced by right-wing anti-Arab invective.

The contention that Israel had at one point been more democratic and is now sliding into fascism is fallacious. It brings to mind our protest demonstrations in the 1970s and the earnest zeal with which we chanted, "Fascism will not survive!" Our slogans were inspired by the Spanish left before the civil war in Spain and by the Italian left in the 1930s. But, in fact, the context was entirely different. Israel was the product of a colonialist settler drive that came, settled and survived. Fascism is a very specific form of rule, one that does not necessarily have to exist in a militarised settler society that founded itself on top of the ruins of an indigenous people. Indeed, that society organised itself along pluralistic democratic lines and it was unified on a set of fundamental principles and values as a basis for societal consensus. As militarist values figured prime among them, there was no need for a fascist coup to impose them. Even Sharon, who, from the perspective of the Israeli left, seemed poised to lead a fascist coup was one of the most ardent advocates of women's rights during his rule. He also proved one of the more determined proponents of implementing the rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court, which is a relatively liberal body in the context of the Zionist political spectrum and within the constraints of Zionist conceptual premises. Israel has grown neither more nor less democratic. The scope of civil rights has expanded, as has the tide of right-wing racism against the Arabs.

Among the Arabs in Israel there have also been two tandem developments. The first is an increasing awareness of the rights of citizenship and civil liberties after a long period of living in fear of military rule and the Israeli security agencies, and in isolation from the Arab world. That period was also characterised by attempts to prove their loyalty to the state by dedicating themselves to the service of the daily struggle for material survival and progress in routine civic affairs. At the same time, however, the forces of increasing levels of education, the growth of a middle class, the progress of the Palestinian national movement abroad, the advances in communications technologies, the broadening organisational bonds among the Palestinians in Israel, and the cultural and commercial exchanges between them and the West Bank and Gaza combined to give impetus to a growing national awareness.

The Arab Israelis' growing awareness of rights has paved the way for an assimilation drive to demand equality in Israel as a Jewish state. Such a demand is inherently unrealisable, as it would inevitably entail forsaking Palestinian national identity without obtaining true equality. Instead of assimilation there would only be further marginalisation. However, this danger still looms; there are Arab political circles in Israel that are convinced that this is the way forward. At the same time, there is the danger that truly nationalist forces could lose their connection with the realities of Palestinians' civil life, by stressing their national identity exclusively with no reference to their citizenship or civil rights, or the conditions of their lives. This tendency threatens to isolate the nationalist movement from its grassroots, and this danger, too, persists although to a lesser extent.

The flurry of loyalty bills and the like reflects another phenomenon that has taken root among Arabs in Israel and that the Israeli establishment regards as a looming peril. This peril, from the Israeli perspective, is twofold. Not only can Palestinians exercise their civil rights in order to fight for equality, they can also take advantage of their civil rights in order to express and raise awareness of their national identity by, for example, commemorating the Nakba and establishing closer contact with the Arab world. Commemorating the Nakba -- the anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel and the consequent displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians -- is a relatively new practice for Arabs inside Israel, dating only to the mid-1990s. Before this -- until at least the end of the 1970s, before the spread of national awareness gained impetus among Arabs inside Israel -- many of them participated in the celebrations of Israel's independence day and offered their congratulations to Israelis on the occasion. There were no laws against commemorating Nakba Day, not because Israel was more democratic but merely because there was no need for such laws in the eyes of the Israeli establishment, since the Arabs were not commemorating it anyway. In fact, open demonstrations of disloyalty to the state as a Zionist entity were very rare.

But since that time, change did not affect Israel alone. The political culture of broad swathes of Arabs inside that country shifted towards more open expressions of their national identity. To them, there is no contradiction between this and the exercise of their civil rights. Indeed, they felt it their natural right to use the civil liberties with which they are endowed by virtue of their citizenship to engage in forms of political expression that the Israeli establishment regards as contradictory to its concept of citizenship. Naturally, the clash became more pronounced with the growing stridency of right-wing Zionist racism.

The citizenship of Arabs inside Israel has a distinct quality that I have been attempting to underscore for years. Theirs does not stem from ideological conviction or the exercise of the Zionist law of return. Nor is their situation similar to migrant labour or minorities who have chosen to immigrate to the country and who accommodate to the status quo, as is the case with immigrant communities in the US or France, for example. Their citizenship stems from the reality of their having remained in the country after it was occupied. They are the indigenous people. It is not their duty to assimilate to the Zionist character of the state and the attempt to transform them into patriotic Israelis is an attempt to falsify history, to distort their cultural persona and fragment their moral cohesion. A Palestinian Arab who regards himself as an Israeli patriot is nought. He is someone who has accepted to be something less than a citizen and less than a Palestinian and who simultaneously identifies with those who have occupied Palestinian lands and repressed and expelled his people.

It is impossible, here, to examine all facets of the phenomenon, but we should also touch upon a third trend, which is the growing degree of showmanship, sensationalism and catering to the forces of popular demand on the part of Knesset members. This trend is to be found in all parliamentary systems since television cameras made their way into parliamentary chambers. Parliament has become a theatre and a large proportion of MPs have become comedians or soap opera stars, depending on their particular gifts and/or circumstances. However, when the favourite drama or comedy theme is incitement against the Arabs, this can only signify that anti-Arab prejudices, fear mongering, abuse and intimidation are spreading like wildfire. This is the very dangerous and not at all funny part about the parliamentary circus. And it's going to get grimmer yet for Arabs in Israel.

In the Obama era, following the failure of Bush's policies, the Israeli government will be directing the venom of its right-wing racist coalition against East Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs. After all, it will be easier to focus on domestic matters, such as emphasis on the Jewishness of the state, than on settlements in the occupied territories. Some of the proposed loyalty laws, such as that which would sentence to prison anyone who does not agree to the Jewishness of the state, will have a tough time making it through the legislative process. However, merely by submitting the proposal, the racist MK will have killed two birds with one stone: he will have made a dramatic appearance before the cameras so that his constituents will remember his name come next elections, and he will have stoked the fires of anti-Arab hatred. Other laws may stand a better chance. The proposal to ban the commemoration of Nakba Day could pass like the law prohibiting the raising of the Palestinian flag, or it could fail because even on the right there are those who object to such a ban. It is also doubtful that this country could promulgate a law compelling people to swear an oath of allegiance, because the intended targets are not immigrants but citizens by birth. It would require quite a feat of constitutional re-engineering in order to render citizenship acquired by birth subject to a loyalty oath at some later phase in a person's life.

Naturally, no state, however totalitarian it may be, can impose love and loyalty for it by force, let alone a colonialist state that would like to force this on the indigenous inhabitants it had reduced to a minority on their own land. Certainly it would be much easier for Israel to prohibit manifestations of disloyalty than to legislate for forced manifestations of loyalty.

For many years I've been advocating a Palestinian interpretation of citizenship in Israel that Israel continues to reject, with consequences to myself that readers may well be aware of. According to this interpretation, the Palestinian Israeli effectively tells the ruling authorities, "My loyalty does not go beyond the bounds of being a law abiding citizen who pays his taxes and the like. As for my keeping in touch with Palestinian history and with the Arab world in matters that should be inter-Arab, such things should not have to pass via you or require your approval." Such talk was previously unheard of in Israel and it came as quite a shock to the ears of interlocutors used to liberal-sounding references to "our Arab citizens" who serve as "a bridge of peace" and proof of "the power of Israeli democracy". Rejecting such condescension, the new type of Palestinian says, "My Palestinianness existed before your state was created on top of the ruins of my people. Citizenship is a compromise I have accepted in order to be able to go on living here in my land. It is not a favour that you bestow on me with strings attached."

Apparently, more and more Arab citizens have come around to this attitude, to the extent that Israel has begun to realise that the material exigencies of life or gradual acclimatisation to Israeli ways and political realities will not be able to stop the trend. It has come to believe that only new laws will bring a halt to what it regards as dangerous manifestations of disloyalty. Such laws will be inherently oppressive but they will simultaneously pronounce the failure of Israelification.

Author's note: In his defence of the need for a law to punish with imprisonment those who refuse to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, MK Zevelun Orlev cited the "case of Azmi Bishara". According to this right-wing lawmaker, "this case" began when Bishara refused to recognise the state verbally, after which he proceeded to visit "the countries of the enemy" without permission and to "abet the enemy" in time of war. Naturally, the accusations are groundless. Azmi Bishara did indeed visit Arab countries, openly and without permission, because he refuses to subordinate the relationship between himself, as an Arab, and the Arab world to Israeli authority. However, as an opposition Arab Knesset member, Bishara had no information to hand to an "enemy" or anyone else for that matter. Meanwhile, his ideas on politics and other matters are in the public domain, having been published and discussed in Israel and elsewhere. The allegation of abetting the enemy in time of war was merely a cover-up for a political witch-hunt. Its leaders are now trying to create legislation so they do not have to concoct security excuses in the future in order to suppress the advocates of opinions such as those Bishara expresses.

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