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October 05 2013

Drafting the blueprint for Palestinian refugees' right of return - Haaretz By Gideon Levy and Alex…

Drafting the blueprint for Palestinian refugees’ right of return -
Haaretz By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac | Oct. 5, 2013 |
http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/twilight-zone/1.550550

For two days, participants in the international conference of the Zochrot organization, which took place this week at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, discussed how to promote the return of the Palestinian refugees, how to plan their villages that are to be rebuilt, and whether their houses will be similar to those that were destroyed.

Was it a hallucination?

There was probably no more appropriate venue than this: the Eretz Israel Museum, with vestiges of the lovely Palestinian stone houses belonging to the village of Sheikh Munis, standing among its exhibition pavilions; a place that describes itself on its official website as a “multidisciplinary museum dealing with the history and culture of the country.” Even the posters that were hung outside on the street where the museum is located spoke of “Cultural Memory” − although they were referring to the seventh Israeli Ceramics Biennale.

There was probably no less appropriate time: When the only issue on the agenda is the Iranian bomb; when the possibility of a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians seems more distant than ever; and when the term “right of return” is far more threatening to Israelis than the term “the Iranian bomb” − this was the time and this was the place for holding the Zochrot conference, under the headline of “From Truth to Redress,” with its declared intention of promoting the return of the Palestinian refugees to their lost villages.

About 200 Israelis, Jews and Arabs, along with several guests from abroad, participated in the event. Had a passerby found himself there, he would have been persuaded to believe that the return was imminent, any day now. Someone in the lobby said, “It’s a little bizarre” − but under the radar, there is a tiny minority of Israelis, Jews and mainly Arabs, who are working seriously toward making it all happen.

For one, the Udna ‏(Our Return‏) project is in full force. There are already several groups of young Israeli Arabs, third- and fourth-generation refugees, who are not only dreaming about return but are also planning it, recreating their grandparents’ villages in their imagination and planning their reconstruction.

And, in fact, the most powerful part of this conference was the revelation of the existence of such groups − descendants of the uprooted, refugees in their own
country − who already have architectural models of the villages slated to be rebuilt. Some of these people even live now among their ruins, in a quasi-underground manner. In a country where there are people who are seriously planning the construction of the Third Temple; where an outpost is established on every barren hill of the West Bank; where every furrow of land is sacred to the Jews − there is room for them, too, of course.

But the construction of the Third Temple or the establishment of innumerable illegal settlements threatens the Israelis far less than the implementation of past decisions by the High Court of Justice and Israeli governments to restore the uprooted residents of Ikrit, for example, to their land. It turns out that a group of 15 young people has been living for about two years in the village’s church; they are descendants of the original uprooted residents, Arab hilltop youth, who are determined to rebuild the village.

“Transitional justice” is the legal term for what they dream of, and they tried this week ‏(in vain‏) to pursue justice in the museum.

When Aziz al-Touri, a representative of the unrecognized Negev village of Al-Araqib, asked why Jews are allowed to move to the Negev, to kibbutzim, moshavim and isolated farms there, but the Bedouin are not allowed to live in their villages, the question of justice echoed through the museum in full force, reminding everyone that, in effect, 1948 never ended. Over the past three years the huts of Al-Araqib have been rebuilt 59 times. That, too, constitutes a return of sorts, after Israel demolished them 58 times, an unmarked Guinness record, perhaps, that few people in this country have even heard about.

The question of justice also reverberated when the homes of tens of thousands of citizens of the nascent state were destroyed in 1948 and afterward. When some of these people were forced to abandon their houses in the heat of battle, when some were promised they could return quickly. To date, no Jewish communities were built on the ruins of some of their villages − and still Israel stubbornly refuses to allow even them, and not only the refugees in the camps and the residents of the diaspora, to return to their land. Why? After all, they aren’t a threat to Israel’s “Jewish character.”

Amnon Neumann, a former fighter for the Palmach − the pre-state Jewish commando force of the Haganah − opened the second day of the Zochrot conference with a manifesto he wrote against Zionism and in favor of the one-state solution. A video clip that was produced by Zochrot and screened at the gathering brought his testimony about 1948: He took part in the occupation and expulsion campaigns in the south of the country, between Sderot and Gaza.

“In all the Arab villages in the south,” he said in the clip, “almost nobody fought. The villagers were so poor, so miserable, that they didn’t even have weapons ... The flight of these residents began when we started to clean up the routes used by those accompanying the convoys. Then we began to expel them, and in the end they fled on their own. They didn’t think they were fleeing for a long time. They didn’t think that they wouldn’t return. Nor did anyone imagine that an entire nation wouldn’t return. We began expelling them, and then we began to spread out to the sides ... We expelled them because of Zionist ideology. Plain and simple: We came to inherit the land and that’s why we didn’t bring them back ...

“I don’t want to get into these things, these aren’t things that you get into. Why? Because I did it. During that period, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I received the same education as everyone else. I carried it out faithfully, and if they told me things that I don’t want to mention, I did them without having any doubts at all. Without thinking twice. I’ve been eating myself up for 50-60 years already, but what was done was done. It was done on orders.”

Dr. Munir Nuseibah, a lecturer and researcher in law from Al-Quds University, spoke of the right of return of the tens of thousands of Palestinians who over the years lost their right to return to the Gaza Strip, where Israel continues to control the population registry.

Amir Mashkar, a young man of 19, told about his and his friends’ outpost in the Ikrit church: “There was no longer a war, the war was over, there weren’t any confrontations, and suddenly the village disappeared. Only the church and the cemetery remained ... to this day we bury our dead in Ikrit. We return to our village only as corpses.”

Everything he and his friends try to plant or build around the church is uprooted or destroyed by the Israel Lands Administration. The land was confiscated, after all. One day, members of Mashkar’s group put down synthetic grass, imagined there was a soccer stadium there, played against the team Ahi Nazareth − and won. Ikrit the champion. “Oh, tanks and cannons, we are returning to Ikrit,” they wrote on the victory poster.

Said Salameh Heibi, 30, a mother of three with a bachelor’s degree in economics, an Israeli woman descended from the community of Maghar, who lives today in the northern town of Kabul ‏(south of Acre‏) and wears a black kerchief and keffiyeh: “They always said that the young people would forget. The young people won’t forget: Here I am. I live five minutes from Maghar and I’m a refugee. Someone else lives in your place and you’re a refugee. It’s not easy. Every time I open the window I can see the mountain that belonged to my family. I don’t aspire to return to the entire territory − others deserve something, too − but the right of return is a right, not a dream, a right that’s not up for negotiation.

“They succeeded in 1948, but we won’t forget. The generation after us won’t forget. We visit there almost every day. For a Maghari who meets another Maghari, it’s like meeting a cousin. I feel as though I was expelled. This land is ours and it caused pain to my father. I saw him crying many times because of it, every time they said: Maghar. It’s not easy. We’re the third generation and we’re saying: Enough.”

Another young man, whose family comes from Lajoun, in Wadi Ara, presented a digitized preview of his ancestral village, which he intends to rebuild: cobblestone “Dutch” streets, stylish stone houses, pergolas, promenades, water canals − a lovely village.

Michal Ran, an American doctoral student from the University of Chicago, presented her vision of return, urban planning based on research of several villages. She says that al-Ruways, a village northeast of Haifa, can be rebuilt, that nobody lives on its ruins and all its descendants live in Tamra. Ran is deliberating as to whether to build high-rises, and recommends developing green spaces and pedestrian paths.

And Aziz al-Touri, of Al-Araqib, spoke about the wheat fields that the Israel Lands Administration sprayed with poison from a plane in the late 1990s. And also about the special forces of the Israel Police, the planes, horses, bulldozers, commandos, the Border Police and members of its counter-terrorism unit − all of whom came in the middle of the night on July 27, 2010, three generations removed from 1948, and destroyed his village. Since then, he said, they repeatedly destroy, and the residents repeatedly rebuild and repeatedly return.

The vision of the pergolas and the promenades in Lajoun simply evaporated.

October 01 2013

Jerusalem negotiable, right of return is not, Likud's Hanegbi tells J Street | Jewish Telegraphic…

Jerusalem negotiable, right of return is not, Likud’s Hanegbi tells J Street |
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

http://www.jta.org/2013/09/30/news-opinion/united-states/jerusalem-negotiable-right-of-return-not-likud-lawmaker-tells-j-street

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel will accept a peace agreement that includes handing over Arab parts of Jerusalem, senior Likud lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi said.
“I think we will be able to give a good answer, a win-win answer, to almost every issue including the Jerusalem issue, including the settlement issue — every issue has a compromise that can be relevant to both sides,” Hanegbi said while speaking as part of a panel of Israeli lawmakers at the J Street national conference in Washington.
Hanegbi said the question of Palestinian refugees returning to Israel was the one issue on which there could be no compromise in the recently revived peace talks.
“We do know the two-state solution is the only relevant solution, even to those right-wing members of Knesset,” Hanegbi said. “I think they understand the alternative — escalation and bloodshed, or one state — is not an option if you want to keep a Jewish, Zionist state.”
In comments at a news conference following the panel discussion, Hanegbi described how he could convince more conservative members of his party that a two-state solution would be acceptable.
“Look, you’re afraid that Jerusalem will be divided? No, it’s going to be some creative idea that will allow them to have their own sovereignty in their neighborhoods and to declare whatever they want to declare about it, and we will have sovereignty over other parts,” Hanegbi, who is considered a confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told reporters.
“All these things will be worked out. The devil is, as you know, in the details.”
Hanegbi was joined on the panel by lawmakers from the Yesh Atid, Labor, Hatnua and Shas parties. Udi Segal, the diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 2 News, served as the moderator.
The diverse representation was perhaps a sign of the transition by J Street, which describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” from an organization shunned by the Israeli government and standard-bearing American Jewish organizations to one more accepted by the mainstream.
Labor lawmaker Merav Michaeli told reporters that J Street did not fit neatly within Israeli impressions of American Jewry.
“We in Israel are aware of two groups of American Jews: Those who run the foundations and are involved with groups like AIPAC, and those who don’t care,” Michaeli said. “But there is apparently a third kind who care but they think differently and want their voices amplified.”
Also Sunday at the J Street conference, Israeli opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich reiterated that her Labor Party would provide political cover for Netanyahu in the event he reaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
“Those who support a binational state are in fact promoting a bleak scenario that completely contradicts the basis of Zionism,” Yachimovich said. “The two-state solution is the only viable solution for us.”
Yachimovich called signing a peace deal “in our strategic interest, our economic interest and our moral interest,” and said she would not allow the governing Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition to collapse over the signing of a peace deal.

Iranian FM denounces Israeli « lies »

Iranian FM denounces Israeli “lies”
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/iranian-fm-denounces-israeli-lies

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of lying in his rejection of Tehran’s overtures to the West as a cosmetic ‘charm offensive.’ “We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare, and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered,” Zarif said in an interview with Iranian television broadcast on Tuesday. read (...)

#Iran #Israel #Top_News #united_states

September 14 2013

In Syria, Israel finds a 'blessed war'€™

In Syria, Israel finds a ’blessed war’€™
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/14/in-syria-israel-findsaablessedwara.html

So why has the Israeli government expended so much energy pressing Washington to draw a red line on the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons, and why was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the key outfit of America’s pro-Israel lobby, pressing Congress to authorize military force? The answer is not just about Syria. Indeed, in a press release calling for U.S. intervention, AIPAC homed in not on Damascus but Tehran, stating, “As we witness unthinkable horror in Syria, the urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount.”

Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and Netanyahu confidant, put it more succinctly when he declared, “The very fact that the U.S. was getting ready to act militarily in Syria is positive with regards to the situation in Iran. Confidence in an American commitment that Iran won’t get the bomb has been strengthened.”

Since Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization for a military strike on Syria, Israeli media have depicted him as a weak, dithering figure who has failed to demonstrate “seriousness” in the face of evil. With U.S. missile strikes on hold, and possibly off the table, the Israeli government has begun disseminating threats that it will take matters into its own hands — by bombing Iran, not Syria.

But even if the U.S. fails to intervene, the Israelis can take heart in knowing that the “blessed war” will continue well into the future.

September 08 2013

AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action - Haaretz

AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action - Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.545661

The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes.

“We plan a major lobbying effort with about 250 activists in Washington to meet with their senators and representatives,” an AIPAC source said on Saturday.

Congressional aides said they expected the meetings and calls on Tuesday, as President Barack Obama and officials from his administration make their case for missile strikes over the apparent use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

The vote on action in Syria is a significant political test for Obama and a major push by AIPAC, considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, could provide a boost.

The U.S. Senate is due to vote on a resolution to authorize the use of military force as early as Wednesday. Leaders of the House of Representatives have not yet said when they would vote beyond saying consideration of an authorization is “possible” sometime this week.

Obama has asked Congress to approve strikes against Assad’s government in response to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians.

But many Republicans and several of Obama’s fellow Democrats have not been enthused about the prospect, partly because war-weary Americans strongly oppose getting involved in another Middle Eastern conflict.

Pro-Israel groups had largely kept a low profile on Syria as the Obama administration sought to build its case for limited strikes after last month’s attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus.

Supporters of the groups and government sources acknowledged they had made it known that they supported U.S. action, concerned about instability in neighboring Syria and what message inaction might send to Assad’s ally, Iran.

But they had generally wanted the debate to focus on U.S. national security rather than how a decision to attack Syria might help Israel, a reflection of their sensitivity to being seen as rooting for the United States to go to war.

EU to ensure settlement guidelines will not harm ties with Israel, says Ashton Haaretz

EU to ensure settlement guidelines will not harm ties with Israel, says Ashton
Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.545659

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton said on Saturday that the EU will make sure the new settlement guidelines do not harm relations with Israel.

Speaking in Vilnius after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ashton said that the guidelines - which state that any private Israeli entity that wants to receive funding from the EU must demonstrate that it has no links to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights – will be implemented “sensitively, and we of course want to continue to have a strong relationship with Israel.”  

Ashton’s comments came after Kerry met in Vilnius with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers, urging them to postpone the new guidelines.

A senior U.S. official said Kerry asked the foreign ministers to support ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks and postpone the implementation of the guidelines so as not to hinder the negotiations. The official said that the foreign ministers showed “willingness and openness to consider Kerry’s request.”

September 07 2013

On Syria, AIPAC, The 800 Pound Gorilla, Risks Looking Like A Chimp ! | MJ Rosenberg

On Syria, AIPAC, The 800 Pound Gorilla, Risks Looking Like A Chimp! | MJ Rosenberg
http://mjayrosenberg.com/2013/09/07/on-syria-aipac-the-800-pound-gorilla-risks-looking-like-a-chimp

I called a friend on Capitol Hill to refresh my memory about what the AIPAC push is going to look like:

First come the phone calls from constituents who are AIPAC members. They know the Congressman and are nice and friendly and just tell him, or whichever staffer the constituent knows, just how important this vote is to him and his friends back in the district.

Then the donors call. The folks who have hosted fundraisers. They are usually not only from the district but from New York or LA or Chicago. They repeat the message: this vote is very important.

Contrary to what you might expect, they do not mention campaign money. They don’t have to. Because these callers are people who only know the Congressman through their checks, the threat not to write any more of them is implicit. Like the constituents, the donors are using AIPAC talking points which are simple and forceful. You can argue with them but they keep going back to the script. Did I mention the rabbis? We only have a few in our district but we get calls from all of them and from other rabbis from around the state.

Then there are the AIPAC lobbyists, the professional staffers. They come in, with or without appointments. If the Congressman is in, they expect to see him immediately. If not, they will see a staffer. If they don’t like what they hear, they will keep coming back. They are very aggressive, no other lobby comes close, They expect to see the Member, not mere staff.

Then there are the emails driven by the AIPAC website, the editorials in the one Jewish newspaper we have in our state. And then the “Dear Colleague” letters from Jewish House members saying how important the vote is for Israel and America. They also will buttonhole the Members on the House floor. Because my boss is not Jewish, he tends to defer to his Jewish colleagues. It is like they are the experts on this. And, truth be told, all the senior Jewish Members of the House are tight with AIPAC. Also, the two biggest AIPAC enforcers, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and his Democatic counterpart, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, are fierce AIPAC partisans, and they make sure to seek out Members on the floor to tell them how they must vote. On anything related to Israel, they speak in one voice: AIPAC’s.

Pretty intimidating, no?

Obviously no one on the peace side has resources like this.

And that is why AIPAC should win. If it doesn’t and if the Members of Congress who voted “no” are re-elected anyway, then the #1 tool AIPAC has going for it will be broken. That is the belief that it is invincible because of the campaign donations its directs both to those who support it and to defeat those who don’t.

Asia Times Online :: Obama dips toe in Syrian Rubicon

Asia Times Online :: Obama dips toe in Syrian Rubicon
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-040913.html
By M K Bhadrakumar , 4 septembre 2013

A leading international authority on the subject, Professor Jack Goldsmith at the Harvard Law School (who previously served as US Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel and also as Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, apart from being a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law) warned on Sunday, “There is much more here [in the proposed AUMF] than at first meets the eye.”

In a detailed commentary for the Lawfare journal, the professor wrote:

It [AUMF] authorizes the President to use any element of the US Armed Forces and any method of force. It does not contain specific limits on targets - either in terms of the identity of the targets (eg the Syrian government, Syrian rebels, Hezbollah, Iran) or the geography of the targets.

Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to take sides in the Syrian Civil War, or to attack Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, or to remove Assad from power? Yes, as long as the President determines that any of these entities has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and that the use of force against one of them would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (eg Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons. It is very easy to imagine the President making such determinations with regard to Assad or one or more of the rebel groups.

Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to use force against Iran or Hezbollah, in Iran or Lebanon ? Again, yes, as long as the President determines that Iran or Hezbollah has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and the use of force against Iran or Hezbollah would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (eg Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.

The proposed Syrian AUMF is worth a lot, for it would (in sum) permit the President to use military force against any target anywhere in the world (including Iran or Lebanon) as long as the President, in his discretion, determines the target has a connection to WMD in the Syrian civil war and the use of force has the purpose of preventing or deterring (broad concepts) the use or proliferation of WMDs in, to, or from Syria, or of protecting the US and its allies from the mere threat (again, a broad concept) of use or proliferation of WMDs connected to the Syrian conflict.

Congress needs to be careful about what it authorizes. [Italics as in original text.]

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war | The Daily Caller

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war | The Daily Caller
http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/29/verify-chemical-weapons-use-before-unleashing-the-dogs-of-war

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.

[…]

According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that “the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions,” the former officers say.

According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

Plus loin:

An Egyptian intelligence report describes a meeting in Turkey between military intelligence officials from Turkey and Qatar and Syrian rebels. One of the participants states, “there will be a game changing event on August 21st” that will “bring the U.S. into a bombing campaign” against the Syrian regime.

The chemical weapons strike on Moudhamiya, an area under rebel control, took place on August 21. “Egyptian military intelligence insists it was a combined Turkish/Qatar/rebel false flag operation,” said a source familiar with the report.

September 05 2013

Another Redline, falling : Transfer of weapons to Hizbullah…. the geopolitical border has already…

Another Redline, falling: Transfer of weapons to Hizbullah…. the geopolitical border has already fallen | The Mideastwire Blog
http://mideastwire.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/another-redline-falling-transfer-of-weapons-to-hizbullah-the-

One of the least discussed, but perhaps most vital field developments of the past few months, and especially the past few weeks, is that Israel has yet another serious problem on its hand vis-a-vis Hizbullah: With Hizbullah fighting in Syria, and “reports” and speculations and off record comments from Hizbullah “sources” saying a counter strike would likely come from WITHIN syria, but with Hizbullah manpower and expertise and command and control, there is no longer really an effective distinction between Syria and so called Hizbullah controlled areas when considered from several angles.

This means the geo-political discourse long pursued by the Israelis to keep things contained – i.e. if syria transfers advanced weapons to Hizbullah IN LEBANON, then this could lead (and has led in syria at least!) to an Israeli strike(s), is all effectively dead as both an effective deterrent and as a tactic of international relations.

Hizbullah is fighting IN SYRIA

Hizbullah now presumably has access (or easy pathways should push come to shove) to most if not all weaponry in sryia

September 02 2013

Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work - Haaretz 2nd of September Editorial

Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work -
Haaretz 2nd of September
Editorial
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.544796

The disappointed voices that arose on Sunday from belligerent circles in Israel in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision on Saturday night to put on hold for now the military operation against Syria might create the false impression that most, if not all, Israelis are eager to see an attack on Damascus.

The long lines at the gas mask distribution centers and the traffic jams that can be expected on the roads leading out of major population centers in the event of an American attack against Bashar Assad’s regime teach us that the disappointed voices belong only to a few. The majority of people in Israel are breathing much easier upon hearing of the postponement and even the burial of the operation. It is important for the American public and administration to know that Israelis – both those who fear a Syrian response against Israel as well as those who doubt such a response will occur – have no interest in encouraging Washington to once again be drawn into a war in the Middle East.

Obama was right in not allowing his actions to be dictated by his personal pride – in the face of Assad ignoring his warnings – or by concern that the American superpower would turn into a laughingstock. The outcome of an operation is determined by the advance planning. Countries do not go out to battle assuming the perfect scenario will unfold. In this case this means the complete destruction of all the weapons of mass destruction by precision attacks from the air without injuring civilians and without American casualties or captives. Accidents and surprising developments are an inherent part of a military action. What can go wrong is sometimes worse than the situation the military blow was intended to fix. This is especially true under the conditions of a civil war in a political entity split between ethnic groups and religions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters were quick to praise his exceptional wisdom in being skeptical about American policy regarding Iranian nuclear weapons. This is a complete distortion of the Syrian lesson. Israel depends on American aid – from war planes to the veto in the United Nations Security Council – and this dependence is increasing as the government’s policy on the occupied territories and the peace negotiations is isolating Israel from the rest of the world. The American policy, for its part, cannot be based on a whim. In democratic nations clear-cut evidence is required to convince the public – weary of war – to pull the trigger before the diplomatic alternatives have been exhausted.

It is possible that at the end of a bitter debate in the Congress and votes in the committees and full House and Senate, Obama’s decision, now frozen, to use military force against Assad’s chemical stockpiles will be approved. In any case, it is essential that the decision be made on Capitol Hill, and not in Jerusalem.

Dubious Intelligence and Iran Blackmail : How Israel is driving the US to war in Syria | Max…

Dubious Intelligence and Iran Blackmail: How Israel is driving the US to war in Syria | Max Blumenthal
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/dubious-intelligence-and-iran-blackmail-how-israel-is-driving-the-us-to-

Oddly, neither outlet was able to reproduce audio or any quotes of the conversation between the Syrian officials. Channel 2 did not appear to cite any source at all – it referred only to “the assessment in Israel” – while Focus relied on an unnamed former Mossad official for its supposed bombshell. The definitive nature of the Israeli intelligence on Ghouta stood in stark contrast to the kind introduced by other US allies, which was entirely circumstantial in nature. At the same time, it relied on murky sources and consisted of vague assertions.

The Assad regime may indeed be responsible for the Ghouta massacre, but Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus does not exactly have a reputation for trustworthiness. (Consider, for example, the Israeli army’s shameless attempt to link the Gaza Freedom Flotilla to Al Qaeda by plastering Israeli media with crude and easily discredited propaganda, always sourced to anonymous national security officials.) Yet in his determination to see the US attack the country he recently referred to as “Iran’s testing ground,” Netanyahu appeared to be succeeding in his campaign to bring Obama’s red line back into focus.

[…]

The threat of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran if the US does not act on Syria is slowly seeping into American media, and will almost certainly grow more pronounced this week as pro-Israel pundits and members of the Obama administration unite on their message. AIPAC may also join the push for congressional authorization, a move the night flower-style lobby managed to avoid during the run-up to invading Iraq. If the Israel lobby is forced into the open, it could hold the prospect of an attack on Iran like a gun to the heads of members of Congress, warning them that the price of inaction is a regional conflagration.

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

August 29 2013

Mission for Growth to Israel - Enterprise and Industry

Mission for Growth to Israel - Enterprise and Industry
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/initiatives/mission-growth/missions-for-growth/antonio-tajani/middle-east/israel/index_en.htm

22-23 October 2013

Overview

Israel is one of the most competitive economies in the world. The country’s main strengths is its world-class capacity for innovation, which rests on highly innovative businesses that benefit from the presence of some of the world’s best research institutions geared toward the needs of the business sector. Israel and the European Union have genuine interest in increasing bilateral business relations and market integration in mutually beneficial ways to boost strong sustainable growth and create jobs.

This Mission of Vice-President Antonio Tajani will target numerous industry sectors; however, innovative and environmental technologies will be crucial topics on the agenda since the Mission will be organised in conjunction with the Water Technology & Environment Control Exhibition and Conference in Tel Aviv 22-24 October 2013 (www.watec-israel.com).

The Mission has three main objectives:

promoting innovation and sustainable growth on both sides;
helping EU companies, in particular, SMEs operate in Israel;
* promoting EU industry in targeted sectors by participating in matchmaking events with local entrepreneurs.

August 28 2013

PressTV - Israel will be first victim of US military action against Syria : Iran official

PressTV - Israel will be first victim of US military action against Syria: Iran official
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/08/27/320703/israel-first-victim-of-us-war-on-syria

Iran’s Majlis Director General for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam stressed on Monday that a military strike on Syria is very unlikely, but added that if it actually occurred, “the first victim… would be the Zionist regime (Israel), because the Syrian military… can launch a major offensive on” Israel and “flatten the place that is tied to the US’s national security.”

US Military Has Myriad Ways to Strike Syria in Potential Operation
http://www.voanews.com/content/us-military-has-multiple-ways-to-strike-syria-in-potential-operation/1737526.html

http://gdb.voanews.com/6CCDDB11-83ED-4F2D-8100-2215CB96A74E_mw1024_n_s.jpg

August 26 2013

Ties With Egypt Army Constrain Washington - NYTimes.com

Ties With Egypt Army Constrain Washington - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/world/middleeast/us-officials-fear-losing-an-eager-ally-in-the-egyptian-military.html?pagewa

“We need them (egyptian military) for the Suez Canal, we need them for the peace treaty with Israel, we need them for the overflights, and we need them for the continued fight against violent extremists who are as much of a threat to Egypt’s transition to democracy as they are to American interests,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, who retired this year as head of the military’s Central Command.

Sur le sujet, dans les blogs du @mdiplo : « Armée égyptienne et américaine, des amis de trente ans » http://blog.mondediplo.net/2013-07-10-Des-amis-de-trente-ans

#USA #armée #Egypte

Views of Palestinians give reason for hope in Mideast peace talks - CSMonitor.com

Views of Palestinians give reason for hope in Mideast peace talks - CSMonitor.com

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0822/Views-of-Palestinians-give-reason-for-hope-in-Mideast-peace-talks

Views of Palestinians give reason for hope in Mideast peace talks

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/content/2013/0821/0821-palestinian-protest-as-settlement-wall/16767953-1-eng-US/0821-Palestinian-protest-as-settlement-wall_full_380.jpg

Skeptics see Palestinians as committed to violent resistance and unwilling to recognize the state of Israel. In fact, more than 20 years of polling data strongly refute these perceptions, and give leaders in Ramallah substantial room to maneuver in the ongoing peace talks.

#israël #palestice #pourparler_de_paix #colonisation #occupation

Israel's Most Liberal City Introduces Racially Segregated Kindergartens - The Daily Beast

Israel’s Most Liberal City Introduces Racially Segregated Kindergartens - The Daily Beast

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/23/the-banality-of-racism-in-israel-s-most-liberal-city.html

When the children of south Tel Aviv head back to school on Tuesday, kindergarteners will attend facilities that are segregated by race. The children of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa will go to their kindergartens and all the other kids will go to their own. As of this year, the municipality of Israel’s most liberal city decided that separate-but-equal for three-to-six year olds was the way to go—in 2013.

http://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/articles/2013/08/23/the-banality-of-racism-in-israel-s-most-liberal-city/_jcr_content/body/inlineimage.img.503.jpg/1377290666808.cached.jpg

#israël #racisme

August 23 2013

Abbas : “We Will Not Demand To Return To Akka, Safad and Jaffa”

Abbas: “We Will Not Demand To Return To Akka, Safad and Jaffa”
http://www.imemc.org/article/66005

He was referring to the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of the refugees displaced during the creating of Israel in historic Palestine.

“I know how concerned you (the Israelis) are, therefore I want to make some issues clear”, Abbas said, “I assure you that following the end of successful peace talks, the conflict will be resolved, we will not demand to return to Jaffa, Akka and Safad”.

The statements of Abbas, who comes from a family of refugees displaced by the Israeli forces from Safad during the Nakba of 1948, received extensive Israeli media coverage.

Ohad Hamo of Israel’s TV Channel 2 stated that Abu Mazin (Abbas) “is a courageous man who wanted to put the Israelis at ease”.

August 20 2013

Why Saudi Arabia is taking a risk by backing the Egyptian coup | David Hearst | Comment is free |…

Why Saudi Arabia is taking a risk by backing the Egyptian coup | David Hearst | Comment is free | theguardian.com
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/20/saudi-arabia-coup-egypt?CMP=twt_gu

Why has the kingdom, famed for its caution on the diplomatic stage, put all its eggs in one basket, which, considering the volatility in Egypt, remains fragile and unpredictable. Who knows which side in Egypt will prevail, and if that is so, why back the coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi so publicly ? Sisi thanked the kingdom in fulsome terms. He said that the Saudi intervention was unprecedented since the Yom Kippur 1973 war with Israel. Praise indeed.

For Dr Maha Azzam, associate fellow of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, the kingdom’s fire-breathing support for the coup comes as little surprise. Not only had they been astonished by Washington’s abandonment of the kingdom’s closest regional ally in Hosni Mubarak, a point they made very clear during his trial. They had seen him replaced, at the polls, by the Brotherhood, which challenged the kingdom’s claim to be the protector of Islam.

Azzam said: “What they had was a lethal equation, democracy plus Islamism, albeit under the Muslim Brotherhood. That was a lethal concoction in undermining the kingdom’s own legitimacy in the long run. They know full well they do not want democracy, but to have another group representing Islam was intolerable.”

King Abdullah has good reason to fear the Brotherhood, which has been getting unprecedented support in Saudi Arabia since the 3 July coup. Sympathy for Mohamed Morsi has filled Twitter feeds in the country. Support for Morsi on social media has its own emblem, a four-fingered salute, known as the sign of Rabaa.

It is one thing to upset the middle class and the intelligentsia, but quite another to have the country’s religious scholars denounce you. A group of 56 of them did so, by issuing a statement describing the events of 3 July as “unquestionably a military coup and an unlawful and illicit criminal act”. The king has also been attacked in a sermon by a sheikh at the al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, Islam’s second holiest site.

The royal family have responded to the campaign they are facing on social media by sacking a Kuwaiti TV preacher with Brotherhood links. Tareq al-Suwaidan, who has more than 1.9 million Twitter followers, was told that there is no place for those who carry deviant thoughts at the Al Resalah channel.

But this is a dangerous strategy. As president, Morsi resisted calling his regional enemies out for the money and support they gave to Egyptian opposition politicians, parties and private television channels for good reason. Up to 2 million Egyptians are employed as guest workers in the kingdom and their remittances were important for an economy on its knees. He feared that the Saudis would kick them out if he accused them of undermining his presidency. However today, Egyptian ex-pats are not the Brotherhood’s problem or responsibility. What could well follow is an unrestrained campaign by its members to destabilise the Saudi and UAE regimes.

Azzam said : “For the US and EU, there is very little grey area. Either you have authoritarian regimes, including Assad or you have the Arab spring. The authoritarian regimes are saying: ’If we use enough force, we can quell the tide of democracy.’ For Washington it means that there is no regional player that can now mediate with the Egyptian military. No one that can play the role of good cop.”

The battles lines have now been clearly drawn throughout the Arab world. The military coup in Egypt, and Saudi support for it, represents an attempt to turn the clock back, to halt the wave of democratisation heralded by the toppling of Arab dictators. It is unlikely to be the final word or battle in what promises to be an epic struggle .

Erasing Palestine From the Map » CounterPunch : Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Erasing Palestine From the Map » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/20/erasing-palestine-from-the-map

A foreign affairs blogger [#Max_Fisher] for The Washington Post recently posted “40 Maps that explain the world.” Some of the maps are important (“Economic inequality around the world”), some are interesting (“Meet the world’s 26 remaining monarchies”), but others grossly distort the reality they purportedly represent. Chief among this latter category is “How far Hamas’s rockets can reach into Israel” .

http://www.counterpunch.org/wp-content/dropzone/2013/08/WashPostMap.jpg

... a map showing where and with what deadly ramifications Israel’s responses have taken place, such as this one (1) produced by the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East at Harvard University and the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, didn’t make the Post’s list.

Any attempt to cartographically represent the context within which Hamas’s rockets and Israel’s “response” may have been launched, such as this UN map (2), is also entirely missing from the Post’s compilation.

In addition to nearly erasing the Palestinian West Bank altogether, the Post’s map reveals nothing about the multiple ways in which the territory is occupied by Israel.  Maps of Israeli-only roads, checkpoints, the separation barrier, settlements, and the ethnically-based divisions of the West Bank (such as these from Btselem, the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (3), and The Applied Institute for Research – Jerusalem (4)) don’t, according to the Washington Post, help explain this part of the world as much as Gene’s map of Hamas’s rocket-firing potential.

The Washington Post’s map of choice sheds no light on the Palestinian villages within Israel that were ethnically cleansed and destroyed in 1948-1949.  References to these maps from the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) and Visualizing Palestine could have at least begun to cartographically resurrect these erased landscapes.

The Dangers of Distorted Cartography

In sum, The Washington Post’s map explains very little about this part of the world.  But what the map does reveal is The Washington Post’s myopic view of Israel and Palestine.  The ongoing colonization of Palestine by Israel is reduced and reversed, in this map’s representation, to a normal country that must fend off existential threats from its shadowy neighbors.  The effects of this distorted cartography are dangerous—erasing the geographies of Palestine is yet another step in the ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

#Robert_Ross is an Assistant Professor of Global Cultural Studies at Point Park University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

(1)
http://gazasiege.org/images/gazasiege_map_jan2009.jpg

(2)
http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_gaza_blockade_map_june_2012_english.pdf

(3)
http://www.icahd.org/sites/default/files/Map4_WB_Closures_2.jpg

(4) http://www.arij.org/images/stories/pictures/maps/Geopolitical%20map%20of%20the%20west%20bank%202009.jpg

#Palestine #Israël #manipulation #inversion #cartographie

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