Tuesday, June 19, 2007

War in Iran Makes Dollars and Sense

This is not normally within the scope of this blog but felt it was important enough to take a stab at to get a better idea of what is really going on in the Middle East.

On November 10th 2005, an article described one of the unspoken reasons why the United States had to invade Iraq: to liberate the U.S. dollar in Iraq so that Iraqi oil could once again be purchased with the petrodollar. See The liberation of the U.S. Dollar in Iraq.

In November 2000, Iraq stopped accepting U.S. dollars for their oil. Counted as a purely political move, Saddam Hussein switched the currency required to purchase Iraqi oil to the euro. Selling oil through the U.N. Oil for Food Program, Iraq converted all of its U.S. dollars in its U.N. account to the euro. Shortly thereafter, Iraq converted $10 billion in their U.N. reserve fund to the euro. By the end of 2000, Iraq had abandoned the U.S. dollar completely.

Two months after the United States invaded Iraq, the Oil for Food Program was ended, the country’s accounts were switch back to dollars, and oil began to be sold once again for U.S. dollars. No longer could the world buy oil from Iraq with the euro. Universal global dollar supremacy was restored. It is interesting to note that the latest recession that the United States endured began and ended within the same timeframe as when Iraq was trading oil for euros. Whether this is a coincidence or related, the American people may never know.

In March 2006, Iran will take Iraq’s switch to the petroeuro to new heights by launching a third oil exchange. The Iranians have developed a petroeuro system for oil trade, which when enacted, will once again threaten U.S. dollar supremacy far greater than Iraq’s euro conversion. Called the Iran Oil Bourse, an exchange that only accepts the euro for oil sales would mean that the entire world could begin purchasing oil from any oil-producing nation with euros instead of dollars. The Iranian plan isn’t limited to purchasing one oil-producing country’s oil with euros. Their plan will create a global alternative to the U.S. dollar. Come March 2006, the Iran Oil Bourse will further the momentum of OPEC to create an alternate currency for oil purchases worldwide. China, Russia, and the European Union are evaluating the Iranian plan to exchange oil for euros, and giving the plan serious consideration.

If you are skeptical regarding the meaning of oil being purchased with euros versus dollars, and the devastating impact it will have on the economy of the United States, consider the historic move by the Federal Reserve to begin hiding information pertaining to the U.S. dollar money supply, starting in March 2006. Since 1913, the year the abomination known as the Federal Reserve came to power, the supply of U.S. dollars was measured and publicly revealed through an index referred to as M-3. M-3 has been the main stable of money supply measurement and transparent disclosure since the Fed was founded back in 1913. According to Robert McHugh, in his report (What’s the Fed up to with the money supply?), McHugh writes, “On November 10, 2005, shortly after appointing Bernanke to replace Greenbackspan, the Fed mysteriously announced with little comment and no palatable justification that they will hide M-3 effective March 2006.” (Click here to learn more about Robert McHugh's work.)

Is it mere coincidence that the Fed will begin hiding M-3 the same month that Iran will launch its Iran Oil Bourse, or is there a direct threat to the stability of the U.S. dollar, the U.S. economy, and the U.S. standard of living? Are Americans being set up for a collapse in our economy that will make the Great Depression of the 1930’s look like a bounced check? If you cannot or will not make the value and stability of the U.S. currency of personal importance, if you are unwilling to demand from your elected officials, an immediate abolishment of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the fiat money scheme that the banking cartel has used for nearly a century now to keep our government and our people in a state of perpetual debt, than you are faced with but two alternatives, abject poverty, or invading Iran.

The plans to invade Iran are unspoken, but unfolding before our very eyes. The media has been reporting on Iran more often, and increasingly harshly. For the U.S. government to justify invading Iran, it must first begin to phase out the War in Iraq, which it is already doing. Next, it must portray the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a threat to the region and the world. Finally, once naive American people are convinced the “weapons of mass destruction” that were to be found in Iraq are actually in Iran, coupled with the almost daily media coverage of Iran’s nuclear power / weapons program aspirations, and what we will soon have on our hands is another fabricated war that will result in tens of thousands of civilian lives being lost, all because the political elected pawns in Washington DC lack the discipline to return our currency to a gold or silver standard, end the relationship with the foreign banking cartel called the Federal Reserve, and limit the activities of the U.S. government to those articulated in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution for the United States of America.

When a wayward and corrupt fiscal policy and fiat currency, coupled with runaway government spending, forces a nation to only be able to sustain the value of its currency with bullets, the citizenry of the country involved in wars primarily to sustain its currency have historically first became slaves to their government, and then to the nations that finally conquer them. If you question the validity of such a premise, or whether it could happen to the United States of America, study the fall of the Roman Empire. If you read the right books on the subject, you’ll quickly discover that towards the end of the Roman reign, the Roman Empire was doing exactly what America is doing today; attempting to sustain a failed fiat money system with bullets.

Understanding fiat money is not an easy task, and the Federal Reserve, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund have purposely made it that way. They do not want the American people to realize that the money in their wallet loses its value with each new dollar that they print. They do not want people to understand that our money does not become money until it is borrowed. When the Federal Reserve has money printed, when it is in uncut sheets of paper, it is not yet money. After it is cut, bundled, and placed into the Federal Reserve vaults, it still is not money. It only becomes money once it is borrowed. Consequently, if all debt were to be paid, if the United States didn’t have an $8 trillion national debt and the American people were debt free, and if all loans of U.S. dollars made to foreigners were paid in full, there would be exactly zero U.S. dollars in circulation because it will have all been returned to the vaults of the Federal Reserve. This might seem hard to fathom, but it is the gospel of fiat money.

The major news media in the United States, fed by Washington DC which in turn is fed by the Federal Reserve, literally, has already begun conditioning the American people for invading Iran. Media accounts of Iran’s nuclear ambitions along with amplification of the potential instability and core evilness of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is setting the stage to spring the invasion of Iran on the American people. There does appear to be a direct correlation between the winding down effort underway in Iraq and the increase of anti-Iran rhetoric. How American soldiers ultimately arrive in Tehran is uncertain at this time, but it is reasonable to expect that if the Iran Oil Bourse opens for business in March 2006 as planned, it will only be a matter of time before the United States will have to blow it up.

If the United States invades Iran, or if Israel starts military actions by launches missiles at Iran’s nuclear power facilities, which then opens the door for the United States to intervene, most Americans will believe that our military actions in Iran will be to defend freedom and liberty while spreading democracy, when the truth is that we’ll be fighting a war in Iran because of our nation’s relationship with the Federal Reserve, a so-called bank that is not owned by the federal government, maintains no reserve, and isn’t a bank at all, but a cartel. Just like our war in Iraq, Americans and foreigners will die in battle so that the historical power bankers and brokers; cartel members such as Rothschild, Morgan, Lehman, Lizard, Schrader, Lobe, Kuhn, and Rockefeller to name a few, can continue collecting interest on every single U.S. coin and dollar bill in circulation, while controlling the U.S. Congress to the extent that the U.S. taxpayer becomes the collateral and lender of last resort to cover bad loans and unpaid debts that these institutions create by loaning money to third world countries, some of which are devout enemies of the United States. Remember the $400 billion savings & loan bailout approved by the U.S. Congress during the Reagan Administration? America is still paying for it – you and me, and so will our children and grandchildren.

It is well overdue for Americans, every American, to do whatever it takes to fully understand the relationship between the United States and the Federal Reserve, along with the grave consequences of our current fiat money system; for even if the United States wanted to continue to sustain the supremacy of the U.S. dollar with bullets, it is historically, impossible. When bullets become the commodity to secure a currency, it is a clear sign of devastating calamity looming. To ignore the warning signs, is to suffer like you have never suffered before, or to die. Harsh words, but true.


Friday, June 08, 2007

USS Liberty: Memories That Won’t Die

‘When the first missile hit, I thought one of the main lines from the boiler had blown. The whole ship shook so hard it felt like an earthquake. About 15 seconds later when I smelled what seemed like burned gunpowder and heard the Captain order everyone to General Quarters on the ship, I knew it wasn’t no blown pipe, but that the ship was under attack. Everything that took place afterwards moved in slow motion’.

So says ‘John Doe’, a survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty who spoke with American Free Press on condition that his name and rank remain anonymous. Lest anyone think that he is being dramatic or overly-paranoid when it comes to what might happen to him as a result of exercising his right of free speech in the land of the free and home of the brave, the truth is that he has good reason for being concerned. 40 years ago he was told in no uncertain terms by 2 Navy lawyers that he was not to divulge what he personally saw and heard on June 8, 1967 when the state of Israel attacked an unarmed naval vessel of the United States and murdered 34 American servicemen in cold blood. In the 40 years since that time, he has watched as those with the blood of his fellow shipmates on their hands have gotten away with murder and has no illusions about their willingness to do the same to him, a theme that has been made explicitly clear to him on many occasions through threatening phone calls and harassing emails.

‘We had no idea who was attacking us until it was all over…It seemed like it would never end, and the only reason I think it stopped was that they ran out of ammo. Had that not happened, I have no doubt that they would have finished us off for sure. They were out to sink us that day, plain and simple.’

He is surprisingly calm when he speaks about what he witnessed that day. At least by superficial appearances he does not wear any of the typical psychological scars commonplace with men who have seen battle up close and personal. For him, the scars he does wear are those of outrage–outrage that 34 Americans lost their lives in a Pearl Harbor-type sneak attack and that the government for which he worked bent over backwards to cover it up. Rather than swallowing the anger and allowing it to destroy him though (as it has done to so many others) he projects it outwardly, as evidenced by his comments–‘Those SOB’s oughtta get on their knees and thank God everyday that I have a wife and kids, because if I were a single man with nothing to lose I would’ve tracked them down a long time ago and dealt them a dose of justice they would never forget.’

He–like the rest of the crew of the Liberty that day–was taken completely by surprise when the attack began, just as Israel had planned. John Doe had started off the day executing his duties in the engineering plant, the heart of the ship that provided the lifeblood for all its vital functions. He–like the rest of the crew–knew that hostilities were taking place in nearby Sinai, but went about his duties confident that he was safe, as the Liberty was in international waters, and–as Americans are never permitted to forget–Israel was America’s ‘greatest ally’.

Besides this, the Liberty was not a vessel of war. In fact she was the most advanced intelligence gathering ship in the world, with no heavy guns, 45 antennae on top and flying a flag a blind man could see from a mile away. Looking back, the only thing that caused him to sense that strange events were afoot was the fact that there were over-flights taking place every 30-45 minutes by low-flying Israeli reconnaissance aircraft in the 6 hour period immediately preceding the attack and that Capt. McGonagle called the Duty Photographic Teams to the deck to document them. Other than that, everything was just another normal peaceful day–until the first missile struck.

‘When the skipper called for Battle Stations, we grabbed our life jackets and helmets…My job was to go and secure all the hatches in deck 01 to ensure watertight integrity for the ship, and it was at this point,’ he tells AFP, that ‘things begin to blank out.’

‘As I said, everything kind of moved in slow motion. We did what we spent months training to do and did so without thinking much about it.’ But there are some things that he will never forget and which wake him at night sometimes.

‘I’ll never forget that first guy I saw, running down the hall towards me, covered in blood, screaming for someone to help him, or that other guy with a hole in his neck and blood gushing out of him. I’m ashamed to say I don’t even remember who they were, even though they were my own crewman.’

He continues–‘Around midnight I came up to the mess hall and saw that it had been turned into a make-shift triage room. The blood was everywhere…on the floor…on the walls…you could smell it and tried not to slip on it.’ One of the things John remembers best is what he calls the ‘incoherent murmur’–the sounds of men, lying on the floor fighting to survive as the ship’s one doctor–Lt. Kiefer–and 2 navy corpsmen tried desperately to save them. ‘Unless you honed in on one of the men and concentrated, it all just sounded like noise, but then once you did, you could hear what was going on. Some prayed out loud, begging God to let them live. Some called out for their moms. We ran out of medical supplies pretty quick and so the men had to lie there until help came 18 hours later, groaning in agony. We later found out that Doc Keifer had taken several pieces of shrapnel in the gut that none of us knew about and didn’t even tend to himself until he did what he could for the rest of the men.’
Going up top to survey the damage, he saw that it was just as bad there as it was below. ‘The deck was usually clean as a whistle, but now it was covered with blood and littered with pieces of flesh, shards of bone and various other body parts of the fellas who had been up there when Israel unleashed hell on us. Bullet holes everywhere you looked. Seemed like there was a million of them.’

He related to AFP some of the other scenes visible on the deck that day–A shipmate lying near the main gun whose body was gone from the waist down…What looked like 5 gallons of blood that pooled in a low spot as it sloshed back and forth with the rocking of the ship…Another crewman whose foot was caught in a cable as he hung upside down, suspended a few feet above the deck, and a few feet from him, one spent casing from the gun. The gunner only managed to fire off one round in the attack before the lower half of his body was blown off.

In John’s opinion, the fact that only one round had been fired was just more proof as to how effective Israel had been in getting the Americans to lower their guard before they were sucker-punched with the sneak attack. John told AFP that Capt. McGonagle, the ship’s skipper, himself covered with blood from shrapnel he caught in his arm and leg, limped out on to the deck and ordered the bigger pieces of flesh and bone be collected and the smaller ones washed off the deck with the firehose. The larger remains were later buried in a singular grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
John Doe could go on all day if pressed to do so, but out of consideration for him the interview is cut short. He had a few parting words though about the matter–

‘Those SOB’s murdered 34 Americans and for the last 40 years our government has covered it up and protected those who did it. It started with one Texas clown named Johnson and continues to this day with another Texas clown named Bush. Had the Liberty attack been dealt with as it would have were it any other country, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this mess today. That region is not worth one drop of American blood, and the thought of them getting away with this is what p* me off more than anything else.

John was told 4 decades ago by the US Government that he would get his chance to speak one day. ‘Well, it’s been 40 years and they haven’t contacted me yet, although I did manage to get $200.00 after the State Department filed a claim against the state of Israel for what took place that day. I was lucky, some of the other guys only received $56.00 for what they went through.’

‘Forty years ago they told us that speaking about it would be doing a ‘disservice’ to the dead. Hell, I can’t think of a bigger disservice than what’s been done to the fellas than the 40 years of silence they’ve gotten on this issue from their own government. We are tired of the silence, tired of the lies. We have been fighting the devil and his advocate for 40 years now, in this case, Israel being the devil and the US government being his advocate.’
For more on what took place that day, readers of AFP are encouraged to go to the website dedicated to the memory of the men of the USS Liberty found at > http://www.ussliberty.org./ Those interested in watching the video documentary on what took place entitled ‘Dead in the Water’ can write to the USS Liberty Veterans Association, c/o Moe Shafer/4994 Lower Roswell Rd, Suite 33/ Marietta Georgia 30068. The cost of the video is $25.00 and all proceeds go to the LVA for purposes of keeping the Liberty story alive.

© 2007 Mark Glenn
Mark Glenn, Correspondent, American Free Press Newspaper. He can be reached @ americanfreepress@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The "Set-back"

June the 5th marks the 40th anniversary of what has become know as "the set-back" it also marks the day that I as a human being, lost my right to live in security.


June 5: At 10:10 GMT Israel launches the first wave of attacks. Almost 400 Egypt-based military aircraft destroyed, leaving craters in the runway more than five metres wide and one point six metres deep

June 6: Israel captures the Gaza Strip, defeating part of the Egyptian army

June 7: Israeli paratroopers seize control of the old city of Jerusalem; 40,000 troops and 200 tanks are deployed against the Jordanian army - the West Bank and East Jerusalem is taken

June 8: Sinai is captured and Egyptian forces are defeated

June 9: Ground fighting between Israeli and Egyptian forces continues in the Golan region

June 10: Israel defeats the Syrian army in the Golan Heights. Fighting ends when Israel heeds UN warnings not to advance into Syria

The sounds of bombs dropped from airplanes, screaming to the ground as they fell are seared in my memory. The fear of not knowing if the next one was going to wipe out my family who were huddled in the hallway of our home. We spent 6 days in that hallway tring to avoid bullets and shrapnel that was flying all around the very backyard that just few days earlier I had been playing.

The Zionists called it "re-uniting Jerusalem" to me it sounded like a tearing apart.

After trying to live under the repressive Zionist regime for a year my family decided to leave, with the hope that one day we would be able to come home and live free where all of our ancestors had lived free...it's been 40 years...and counting.

BBC Report (Real Audio/Video)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Right to Strike

Something very interesting from haaretz.com regarding the U.S.'s secret plan to attack Israel in 1967 to prevent Israel from expanding westward, into the Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.

Oh, what a different world we would be in had they implemented the plan...and what a different life I would have had...in my home in Jerusalem!!

The right to strike

By Amir Oren

The end of the story is known: During the Six-Day War, no battles were waged between the Israel Defense Forces and the United States. True, the American spy ship "Liberty" was attacked by mistake, but neither side initiated exchanges of fire. What is not known - and because of it, the story is riveting nevertheless - took place in the background. For some time, the United States had had an emergency plan to attack Israel. In May 1967, one of the U.S. commands was charged with the task of removing the plan from the safe, refreshing it and preparing for an order to go into action. However, the preparations lagged behind the developments in the diplomatic arena, and even further behind the successes of Israel's air force and armored divisions in Sinai. The general who was planning to attack Israel made do with extricating frightened American citizens and a panic-stricken ambassador from Jordan. This unknown aspect of the war was revealed in what was originally a top-secret study conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington. In February 1968, an institute expert, L. Weinstein, wrote an article called "Critical Incident No. 14," about the U.S. involvement in the Middle East crisis of May-June 1967. Only 30 copies of his study were printed for distribution. Years later the material was declassified and can now be read by everyone, although details that are liable to give away sources' identities and operational ideas have remained censored. Strike Command, the entity that was to have launched the attack on Israel, no longer exists. It was annulled in 1971 for domestic American reasons and superseded by Readiness Command, which was abolished in the 1980s in favor of Central Command (CENTCOM) - which today includes forces in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan - and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

The general who oversaw the planning in 1967 was Theodore John ("Ted") Conway. In Israeli terms, taking into consideration all the relevant differences, he can be likened to Avraham Tamir and Yuval Ne'eman, Aharon Yariv and Giora Eiland. Conway was a talented but forgotten officer, who did not leave a powerful impression on the history of the army that made use mainly of his brain; he did more participating than actual fighting in his generation's wars. His qualities as a curious and intelligent planner, a quick study who was creative in his solutions, led his commanders to assign him to headquarters and deprived him of the prospect of leading fighting forces. That didn't stop Conway from advancing through the ranks. In the last decade of his service he moved up quickly to the highest level - that of four-star general - at the age of 56, as head of Strike Command. It was in this last post, ahead of his retirement, that he served as the crisis of May 1967 unfolded. It was his last opportunity to see whether what he had conceptualized could truly be realized. 'Subway' soldiers Conway, who hailed from Indianapolis, described himself jestingly as one of the "subway" soldiers, as New Yorkers who enlisted to serve in World War II were sometimes described: short men, whose dimensions suited the crowding on the underground trains. He was a small, coiled spring, a physical fitness zealot. Every New Year's Day he made his officers take part in a 16-kilometer run, so that they would not spend the holiday watching television in a beer-induced stupor on the couch. In the 1930s he was sent to Paris to study France, its language and culture, in order to return to West Point and teach the cadets about them. His exposure to Europe peeled away the provinciality that characterized the American officer corps at that time. During World War II, in the course of his service in North Africa, Italy and France - sometimes as an interpreter and liaison between the U.S. and British forces, and between both of them and the French forces - Conway acquired expertise and an understanding of the complexities of security and diplomacy on both shores of the Mediterranean. If the U.S. Army was going to have to act in the Middle East, there was no officer more suited than him to command the forces in the period of the Six-Day War. As a 30-year-old captain at the start of the American involvement in the world war, Conway volunteered for the paratroops, but was disqualified because of his age. A decade later, after two years in military colleges, he discovered that the only way to avoid being assigned to a desk job in the Pentagon was to volunteer for the paratroops. He tried again, and this time, as a colonel of 40, he was given command of a brigade. In October 1961, when President John Kennedy paid a visit to Fort Bragg, the headquarters of the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division and of the Special Forces, the then 50-year-old Conway was already the commander of the division, had parachuted with his troops and marched back to base with them in a trek of 135 kilometers. His deputy, Ed Rowny, later recalled the presentation Conway prepared for Kennedy: He divided the division into five units and dressed each of them in a different uniform, in order to demonstrate the division's flexibility to carry out missions anywhere in the world. One group was in standard battle fatigues, ready to be airlifted to Europe; a second was in jungle camouflage fatigues, ready to deploy to Vietnam; a third wore desert camouflage fatigues; a fourth wore winter uniforms of the Korean War type; and the fifth, equipped with skis and wearing white ski suits, was available for Arctic operations. Within a few months, Conway's clever presentation of worldwide readiness sparked an imitation. At MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida, the headquarters of Strike Command, an officer demonstrated for the camera of the ground forces monthly journal Army just how ready every soldier there was for any mission anywhere: They had not one duffle bag and not two, but three: one Arctic, one tropic, one miscellaneous. more...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Time for a Bi-National State

I discovered this article from Le Monde Diplomatique titled:

Time for a Bi-National State

Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas may have affirmed that they want a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but it may be more promising to return to a much older idea.

By Leila Farsakh

There is talk once again of a one-state bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Oslo peace process failed to bring Palestinians their independence and the withdrawal from Gaza has not created a basis for a democratic Palestinian state as President George Bush had imagined: the Palestinians are watching their territory being fragmented into South African-style bantustans with poverty levels of over 75%. The area is heading to the abyss of an apartheid state system rather than to a viable two-state solution, let alone peace (1).

There have been a number of recent publications proposing a one-state solution as the only alternative to the current impasse. Three years ago Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor in the 1970s, wrote that the question is “no longer whether there is to be a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel, but which model to choose” (2). Respected intellectuals on all sides, including the late Edward Said; the Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, Azmi Bishara; the Israeli historian Illan Pape; scholars Tanya Reinhart and Virginia Tilley; and journalists Amira Haas and Ali Abunimeh, have all stressed the inevitability of such a solution.

The idea of a single, bi-national state is not new. Its appeal lies in its attempt to provide an equitable and inclusive solution to the struggle of two peoples for the same piece of land. It was first suggested in the 1920s by Zionist leftwing intellectuals led by philosopher Martin Buber, Judah Magnes (the first rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Haïm Kalvarisky (a member of Brit-Shalom and later of the National Union). The group followed in the footsteps of Ahad Ha’am (Asher Hirsch Ginsberg, one of the great pre-state Zionist thinkers).

Underlying their Zionism was a quest for a Jewish renaissance, both cultural and spiritual, with a determination to avoid injustice in its achievement. It was essential to found a new nation, although not necessarily a separate Jewish state and certainly not at the expense of the existing population. Magnes argued that the Jewish people did not “need a Jewish state to maintain its very existence” (3).
No to partition

Although supporters of the bi-national state remained a marginal group in Zionist politics under the British mandate, they made sure they were heard both in official Zionist circles and the international arena. They also pleaded before the 1947 United Nations special committee on Palestine. When the commission finally recommended partition, they strongly opposed it, calling for a bi-national state in Palestine, forming part of an Arab federation. They campaigned for a federal state that would respect the rights of all citizens, while guaranteeing the national aspirations of the Jewish people to cultural and linguistic autonomy. They proposed, in line with the British, the creation of a legislative council based on proportional representation, safeguarding the rights of its nationals but also assuring equal political rights for all citizens of the state.

But with the UN’s partition plan and the Arab-Israeli war that broke out in 1948, a one-state solution was shelved. It came to light again in 1969 with the call by Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement for the creation of a “secular and democratic state” in Palestine. The new state was based on the right of return — while accepting a Jewish presence in Palestine — and it was to end the injustices stemming from the creation of Israel and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian villagers. Although it called for the destruction of Israel as a colonial entity, it upheld the principle of a single state for all, Muslim, Christian or Jew. This was the first official attempt by the Palestinians to address the relationship between national and individual rights of citizenry. The idea met with no enthusiasm in Israel, and none internationally, and again lost momentum.

The failure of the one-state option has often been attributed to the idealism of its cause and its failure to come to terms with local realities. Nevertheless, as Magnes pointed out, the option offered significant advantages in demographic and territorial terms in 1947 to the Jewish cause (4).

In fact, the idea failed because the political actors of the time rejected it: the Zionist organisations were not interested, the British were unsupportive and the Arabs too suspicious. Between 1948 and 1993 the only significant change in these positions came from the Arabs, who finally came to terms with the existence of Israel.

Despite the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s calls for a secular, democratic state, Arafat prepared Palestinians for partition as the only available option. The PLO’s national council accepted the position in 1974, and confirmed it with its declaration of Palestinian independence in 1988 and the acceptance of the UN partition plan. A separate, independent Palestinian state was the best hope, even if it had to be on only 22% of the territory. The long Palestinian struggle for statehood culminated in 1993 with the Oslo accords.
From dream to nightmare

The tragedy of Oslo is that it turned the dream of two states into the nightmare of a single new state of apartheid. Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin declared that the great success of the accords, perhaps their only success, was to recognise that Israelis and Palestinians were “destined to live together, on the same soil in the same land” (5).

Since 1994 the Palestinians have not been liberated; they have been imprisoned by the Israeli system of permits and the installation of 50 permanent checkpoints and terminals fragmenting the territory into eight bantustans (6). Since 2002 the Palestinian Authority has seen its territory further eroded by the 700km-long wall being built with the aim of severing the West Bank from the remaining 46% of the territory.

What is the attraction of a bi-national state in these circumstances? For a start, a two-state plan appears to be less of a solution to the nationalist aspirations of either Zionists or Palestinians. Before 1947 partition had not been tried; since then it has taken root in circumstances of total Israeli domination. Despite the historic compromise of 1993, the Palestinians have not obtained the independent, viable state they sought. Palestinian nationalism has also met its limits: its leaders have failed to guide their people to independence and are now reduced to tearing themselves apart.

But partition has also failed to give Jews the security the state of Israel promised. About 400 Israelis were killed in suicide attacks in the 1990s, and 1,000 more have died since the second intifada of 2000. Antisemitic feelings are worsening around the world.

Demographic changes will continue to undermine any plans for partition. In 2005 there were 5.2 million Israelis living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river, and 5.6 million Palestinians. Despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and its plans to demarcate the West Bank frontier, a separate Israeli state will have to deal with the much more rapid demographic growth of the Palestinian population within its own frontiers. This will have not only economic but political consequences, given the Palestinian population’s current lack of basic rights.

There is another factor that argues against a two-state solution: the idea of citizenship founded on justice and equality. History has shown that, in this region as elsewhere, partition cannot be achieved without the expulsion and transfer of populations. This raises ethnic issues. There can be no peace, from a moral point of view, without an equitable solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, based on the right of return or compensation, as required as early as 1948 by resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly.

But this right of return, and the expansion of the Palestinian population, endangers Israel’s Jewish identity. This has always been a major problem for Israelis.
Essential anachronism

According to historian Tony Judt, this is where Israel reaches its limits. No state can claim democratic credentials whilst practising ethnic exclusion; not after the crimes of the last century (7). Virginia Tilley says that partition, and the very existence of Israel, are “flawed from the start, resting on the discredited idea, on which political Zionism stakes all its moral authority, that any ethnic group can legitimately claim permanent formal dominion over a territorial state” (8).

The establishment of a bi-national state would redefine the identity of the state; it would favour democracy over nationalism. For Ali Abunimeh it would allow “all the people to live in and enjoy the entire country while preserving their distinctive communities and addressing their particular needs. It offers the potential to deterritorialise the conflict and neutralise demography and ethnicity as a source of political power and legitimacy” (9). At the heart of this conflict there remains a persistent territorial issue. Ethnicity (and, even more, religion) continues to be the main source of legitimacy and the quest for power.

Those arguing for a single democratic state now detect growing popular support for this solution, inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement. Boycott campaigns are being organised in Europe and the United States against what is often now called Israeli apartheid (10).

Groups in Israel and in Palestine are working together against the construction of the separation wall and are inventing new forms of resistance. The struggle has been redirected, against Israel’s policies rather than its people, and for rights for all rather than separate states for each.

True, the three political protagonists seem far from convinced. Israel’s politicians and the majority of its population insist on separation, as their wholehearted support for the wall seems to prove. The international community seems intent on a two-state solution, but does little to bring it about or influence progress. The Palestinian leadership is at a loss for a strategy, and the differences between Hamas and Fatah continue to generate conflict. But the present deadlock has created new conditions. Perhaps the time is ripe for original ideas and untried solutions.


Leila Farsakh is an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and author of ‘Palestinian Labour Migration to Israel: Labour, land and occupation’ (Routledge, London, 2005)

(1) Leila Farsakh “Israel: an apartheid state?”, Le Monde diplomatique, English language edition, November 2003.

(2) Meron Benvenisti, “Which Kind of Bi-national State?”, Haaretz, Tel Aviv, 20 November 2003.

(3) See www.one-democratic-state.org

(4) Judah Magnes, Like All Nations, Weiss, Jerusalem, 1930.

(5) Yitzhak Rabin’s statement at the signing of the Declaration of Principles, Washington, 13 September 1993.

(6) www.btselem.org/english/statis tics/. See Dominique Vidal, “Jerusalem’s apartheid tramway”, Le Monde diplomatique, English language edition, February 2007.

(7) Toni Judt, “Israel: the Alternative”, New York Review of Books, 23 October 2003.

(8) Virginia Tilley, The One-State Solution, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2005.

(9) Ali Abunimah, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, Henry Holt, New York, 2006.

(10) See the calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against http://www.bds-palestine.net/

ONE Democratic State

I have just discovered a group called The Association for One Democratic State in Palestine/Israel. They believe (as I do) that the only just solution in Palestine is one secular and democratic state and not the two-state solution which is painfully obvious that it is not working. Here's something about them:

The Association

The Association is a non-governmental organization incorporated according to the Swiss association law. Its headquarters is located in Geneva , Switzerland .

Membership is open to all nationalities provided a candidate for membership accepts the principle of one democratic state in Palestine/Israel.

An international conference and general assembly will be held in Geneva on Octobre7 and 8, 2006.

Who we are

We are Palestinians who have been continuously acting reflexively because of the atmosphere of urgency that we have lived under for decades, and now find it imperative to plan strategically. We are the Palestinians, who inspite of being brutalised for generations have not lost our humanity and have not become racist or exclusivists. We are calling for PEACE, RECONCILIATION and EQUALITY with Israelis in one political entity. We are the overwhelming majority of Palestinians who are not intimidated by the wealth, political skills or the connectedness of the Israelis to superpowers; for we are an educated and energetic people who excel when provided the opportunity. We are the refugees who realize that they can have a homeland only in a reunified country in historic Palestine

We are Jews in and outside Israel who overcame Zionist indoctrination and do not want to support a brutal, racist state. We do not want to be an appendage of world imperialism in their drive to subdue and exploit the Middle East . We are the Israelis who realize that we can thrive and prosper in a country at peace with its neighbors with a vast economic market open for it. We are the Jews who want a spiritual-cultural home in Palestine/Israel rather than a mercenary-military state that exists to fight and destroy

We are the Europeans and North Americans who are cognisant of the role of their countries in establishing and maintaining a colonial-setter state in Palestine at the expense of its indigenous population. We realize that at the root of the tension between the Arab and Muslim societies and those of Europe and North American is the Palestine/Israel conflict. Our states are based on citizenship not ethnicity, and we are not going to support a supremacist exclusivist state for one ethnic group. We are Europeans who understand that, because of geographic proximity, our strategic and economic well-being depend to a large extent on a stable Middle East .

We are members of the international community who are keenly aware of the threat that this conflict constitutes to world peace. We want it resolved in the same manner that all other colonial-settler experiments, most recently South Africa , were resolved: one country, with one person-one vote, and without apartheid.

We all subscribe to the highest standards of human rights. We do not patronise, denigrate or discriminate against any group.

We are not naïve dreamers, for we realize that the road is rough, but it is the only road to peace and justice. We shall not be demoralized, cynical or complacent.

Also they have a forum of discussion, that you may want to join by using the following link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/one-democratic-state/

You will need a Yahoo! account...it's FREE though...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Patriarch: Son of a Refugee

ince hip-hop was born on the streets of the Bronx in the 70s, it has been a mechanism by which disaffected people have expressed their concerns and empowered themselves through music. Through the years, different groups have put their own stamp on the rap world and this tradition continues today through a man who goes by the name of Patriarch.

Born in San Francisco and raised in the East Bay, Hayward, California, Patriarch's love for communication through art began early. In elementary school, he played a bevy of musical instruments, including the violin and by the age of 12, he was writing poetry. These talents later manifested themselves in a lyrical form of music - hip hop.

Patriarch never let obstacles deter his drive to become someone respected and admired for his work. Patriarch developed a rare speech impairment as a child which limited his ability to communicate with others which in turn only secluded him from the outside world. At the age of 11, Patriarch witnessed a divine event in his life when miraculously with the help of his and his grandmother's prayers his speech impairment was rid from his life in one night. His strength and his strong faith comes from the lessons and teachings of his grandmother.

Growing up in a predominantly African-American and Latino community, Patriarch was immersed in West Hayward bred rap artists such as Spice 1 and influenced by other local artists such as Tupac Shakur, Digital Underground, Richie Rich, E-40, Dru Down, The Luniz, Too Short and many more. Living only a block away from Spice 1 in Patriarch's West Hayward neighborhood, Patriarch would see a lot of the artists he grew up listening to visiting the East Bay Legend Spice 1, and would only inspire him to pursue music even more.

Patriarch has now worked or performed with such great artists such as, The Dogg Pound, The Outlawz, Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Akon, Tyrese, San Quinn, D12, Obie Trice, Furious, Get Lit Ent. and the list goes on and on. Patriarch has traveled across the world to perform and is only getting started

It is the dichotomy of the struggle of the African in America and the plight of the Palestinian that makes Patriarch's choice to rap a natural one. Hip hop is like air for Patriarch. With a determination to change the world through his art, this Son of a Refugee is destined to touch the lives of true hip hop fans, make a difference and introduce you to a whole new shade of hip-hop.

Download the song "Palestine" here for FREE!

Buy the album on iTunes

Learn more: Patriarch on MySpace

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hot Winter

My friend Lucy, has been MIA for a while...last I heard she was back in Nablus. And then all of this:

Tell me this DOESN'T remind you of stormtroopers during WWII...I hope she's alright.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

1948...in Pictures and Words

A previous post (Old Newspaper Clippings) has had a lot of reaction both on and off the blog mostly thanks to the photographs, so I decided to try and give some depth to what actually happened when the Jewish state was declared in 1948. To do this along with some more photographs, I have decided to use an excerpt from the book "Blessed are the Peacemakers ...The History of a Palestinian Christian" written by Father Audeh Rantisi.

A special note for those who come to this blog and have bought into the idea that Palestinians hate Jewish people (Palestinians are also Jewish by the way) we Palestinians
are fighting for justice and for our dignity...we don't hate Jews, we hate Zionism, an ideology which brought this kind of destruction to our peaceful part of the world...the "Holy Land".

That said, here's a bit about Father Rantisi: He was born in Lyda, now the site of Ben Gurion Airport, in 1937. From 1955 to 1958 he attended the Bible College of Wales, moving in 1963 to continue his studies at Aurora College in the state of Illinois. He then served as a missionary in Sudan. In 1965 he opened the Evangelical Home for Boys in Ramallah, West Bank. In 1976 Father Rantisi was elected as Ramallah's deputy mayor and he is now the director of the orphanage of the Evangelical Home of Boys.

I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July of 1948. The pain sears my memory, and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try.

First, Israeli soldiers forced thousands of Palestinians from their homes near the Mediterranean coast, even though some families had lived in the same houses for centuries. (My family had been in the town of Lydda in Palestine at least 1,600 years). Then, without water, we stumbled into the hills and continued for three deadly days. The Jewish soldiers followed, occasionally shooting over our heads to scare us and keep us moving. Terror filled my eleven-year-old mind as I wondered what would happen. I remembered overhearing my father and his friends express alarm about recent massacres by Jewish terrorists. Would they kill us, too?

We did not know what to do, except to follow orders and stumble blindly up the rocky hills. I walked hand in hand with my grandfather, who carried our only remaining possessions-a small tin of sugar and some milk for my aunt's two-year-old son, sick with typhoid.

The horror began when Zionist soldiers deceived us into leaving our homes, then would not let us go back, driving us through a small gate just outside Lydda. I remember the scene well: thousands of frightened people being herded like cattle through the narrow opening by armed soldiers firing overhead. In front of me a cart wobbled toward the gate. Alongside, a lady struggled, carrying her baby, pressed by the crowd. Suddenly, in the jostling of the throngs, the child fell. The mother shrieked in agony as the cart's metal-rimmed wheel ran over her baby's neck. That infant's death was the most awful sight I had ever seen.

Outside the gate the soldiers stopped us and ordered everyone to throw all valuables onto a blanket. One young man and his wife of six weeks, friends of our family, stood near me. He refused to give up his money. Almost casually, the soldier pulled up his rifle and shot the man. He fell, bleeding and dying while his bride screamed and cried. I felt nauseated and sick, my whole body numbed by shock waves. That night I cried, too, as I tried to sleep alongside thousands on the ground. Would I ever see my home again? Would the soldiers kill my loved ones, too?

Early the next morning we heard more shots and sprang up. A bullet just missed me and killed a donkey nearby. Everybody started running as a stampede. I was terror-stricken when I lost sight of my family, and I frantically searched all day as the crowd moved along.

That second night, after the soldiers let us stop, I wandered among the masses of people, desperately searching and calling. Suddenly in the darkness I heard my father's voice. I shouted out to him. What joy was in me! I had thought I would never see him again. As he and my mother held me close, I knew I could face whatever was necessary. The next day brought more dreadful experiences. Still branded on my memory is a small child beside the road, sucking the breast of its dead mother. Along the way I saw many stagger and fall. Others lay dead or dying in the scorching midsummer heat. Scores of pregnant women miscarried, and their babies died along the wayside. The wife of my father's cousin became very thirsty. After a long while she said she could not continue. Soon she slumped down and was dead. Since we could not carry her we wrapped her in cloth, and after praying, just left her beside a tree. I don't know what happened to her body.

We eventually found a well, but had no way to get water. Some of the men tied a rope around my father's cousin and lowered him down, then pulled him out, and gave us water squeezed from his clothing. The few drops helped, but thirst still tormented me as I marched along in the shadeless, one-hundred plus degree heat.

We trudged nearly twenty miles up rocky hills, then down into deep valleys, then up again, gradually higher and higher. Finally we found a main road, where some Arabs met us. They took some of us in trucks to Ramallah, ten miles north of Jerusalem. I lived in a refugee tent camp for the next three and one-half years. We later learned that two Jewish families had taken over our family home in Lydda.

Those wretched days and nights in mid-July of 1948 continue as a lifelong nightmare because Zionists took away our home of many centuries. For me and a million other Palestinian Arabs, tragedy had marred our lives forever.
Throughout his life my father remembered and suffered. For thirty-one years before his death in 1979, he kept the large metal key to our house in Lydda.
After more than four decades I still bear the emotional scars of the Zionist invasion. Yet, as an adult, I see what I did not fully understand then: that the Jews are also human beings, themselves driven by fear, victims of history's worst outrages, rabidly, sometimes almost mindlessly searching for security. Lamentably, they have victimized my people.

Four years after our flight from Lydda I dedicated my life to the service of Jesus Christ. Like me and my fellow refugees, Jesus had lived in adverse circumstances, often with only a stone for a pillow. As with his fellow Jews two thousand years ago and the Palestinians today, an outside power controlled his homeland-my homeland. They tortured and killed him in Jerusalem, only ten miles from Ramallah, and my new home. He was the victim of terrible indignities. Nevertheless, Jesus prayed on behalf of those who engineered his death, "Father, forgive them..." Can I do less?

We are fighting for justice and for our dignity...we don't hate Jews, we hate Zionism. One of the other sad truths of this is that Israeli children aren't taught the story of their countries original inhabitants despite it only happening 58 years ago. If anything they are taught despise and look down on 'the Arabs'.

Refugees being forced out of their villages (near Lod and Ramla). "Nakba in Pictures"

1948 UNRWA photo

Israeli soldiers looting an unidentified Jerusalem area Palestinian village in 1948. GPO/AIC photo.

Palestinian refugees separated from their home by the "green line". 1948 UNRWA photo

Israeli Soldiers in abandoned Palestinian home in Qatamoun, West Jerusalem, in 1948. GPO/AIC Photo.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Palestinians Are Not Children of a Lesser God

This is an op-ed piece that I just discovered. It was published by The Jewish Daily Forward

We Palestinians Will Honor Our Word

I know of no way to measure suffering, no mechanism to quantify pain. All I know is that we Palestinians are not children of a lesser God.

Had I been a Jew or a Gypsy, I would consider the Holocaust to be the most atrocious event in history. Had I been a Native American, it would be the arrival of the European settlers and the subsequent near-total extermination of the indigenous population. Had I been an African American, it would be slavery in previous centuries and apartheid in the last. Had I been an Armenian, it would be the Turkish massacre.

I happen to be a Palestinian, and for Palestinians the most atrocious event in history is what we call the Nakba, the catastrophe. Humanity should consider all the above as morally unacceptable, all as politically inadmissible. Lest I be misunderstood, I am not comparing the Nakba to the Holocaust. Each catastrophe stands on its own, and I do not like to indulge in comparative martyrology or a hierarchy of tragedies. I only mention our respective traumas in order to illustrate that we each bring to the table our own particular history.

The fact that the accords reached last week in Mecca between Hamas and Fatah were met with a variety of reactions, ranging from warm to cautious to skeptical, makes it imperative to revisit and learn the lessons of the diplomatic history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Time and again the three “no’s” of the Khartoum summit in 1967 — no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel — are invoked as proof conclusive of Arab intransigence toward Israel. Such a claim, however, conveniently forgets that Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Jordan accepted United Nations Security Council resolution 242 just months after the Khartoum meeting.

Also forgotten is that Syria, after the October War in 1973 — the purpose of which, it should be remembered, was to reactivate a dormant diplomatic process and to capture the attention of American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger — accepted U.N. resolution 338, which incorporated resolution 242. Ignored, too, is that the entire Arab world endorsed a peace plan put forth by the then-Saudi crown prince Fahd at a 1982 summit in Fez, Morocco, as well as unanimously backed the initiative put forth by then-Saudi crown prince Abdallah in Beirut in 2002.

For the Palestinian national movement, the October War in 1973 was a demarcation line in strategic thinking. It is then that we concluded that there was no military solution to the conflict. Until then we had advocated a unitary, democratic, bicultural, multiethnic and pluri-confessional state in Mandatory Palestine.

After 1973, a pragmatic coalition within the Palestine Liberation Organization emerged. Composed of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, Nayef Hawatmeh’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and As Sa’iqa, the Palestinian branch of the Syrian Ba’ath Party, the coalition demanded not absolute justice but rather possible justice within the framework of a two-state solution. The fact that As Sa’iqa belonged to that school of thought, it is worth noting, is proof that Damascus can be a constructive player in the region if properly engaged and its concerns addressed. Syria is not necessarily the eternal spoiler that needs to use the Lebanese theater or the Palestinian scene in order to remind everyone of its presence.

Led by this pragmatic coalition, the PLO was ready for a historical compromise as far back as 1974. It was not the rejectionist player, as many have labeled it, but rather the rejected party until the Oslo peace talks in 1993. Throughout its presence in Lebanon, the PLO aimed to remain a military factor so as to be accepted as a diplomatic actor.

I have told my many Israeli interlocutors that I believe that the Israeli posture in peace negotiations was to expect a diplomatic outcome that would reflect Israeli power and intransigence, American alignment toward Israeli preferences, declining Russian influence, European abdication, Arab impotence and what they hoped to be Palestinian resignation.

It is this attitude that has resulted in having a durable peace process instead of a lasting and permanent peace. Peace and security will stem not from territorial aggrandizement but from regional acceptance — and make no mistake about it, we Palestinians are the key to regional acceptance of Israel. For years now, the Arab world from Morocco to Muscat has been ready to recognize the existence of Israel if it withdraws back from its expanded 1967 borders. The perpetuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is due not to the Arab rejection of Israeli existence, but to the Israeli rejection of Arab acceptance.

The absence of a credible diplomatic avenue has allowed for the emergence and the strengthening of radical movements. The electoral defeat of Fatah in January 2006 was caused by a plurality of factors, not least of them the fact that Fatah became identified with negotiations and a peace process that was non-existent for the last six years and totally unconvincing during the years preceding. To the Palestinians, the last 15 years of “peacemaking” were years during which we witnessed the expansion of the occupation — with the number of settlers doubling — not a withdrawal from the occupation.

Now, however, there is a chance to move beyond this history. As a result of the agreement reached last week in Mecca, the Palestinian government will be more representative than at any period before. The new foreign minister, Ziad Abu Amr, both enjoys the confidence of Hamas and is a political friend of Mahmoud Abbas — who as PLO chairman is charged with negotiating on behalf of the Palestinian people and as P.A. president has prerogative over the conduct of foreign affairs.

Both Fatah and Hamas are in favor of a cease-fire, for which they can now ensure disciplined Palestinian adherence — especially if it is reciprocated by the Israeli side and extended to the West Bank, where alas we have recently witnessed an escalation in assassinations and arrests. And in Mecca, Hamas and Fatah agreed that the Palestinian government will honor all agreements signed by the PLO, will abide by all the resolutions of previous Arab summits and will base its activity on international law.

The term “honor,” rest assured, has as much a ring of nobility to it in Arabic — if not more — as it does in any other language.

A territory that was occupied in 1967 in less than six days can also be evacuated in six days — so that Israelis can rest on the seventh, and we can all finally engage in the fascinating journey of nation-building and economic recovery.

Afif Safieh is head of the Palestine Liberation Organization Mission to the United States.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Debunking the Myth of Israeli Democracy

As part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2007...tomorrow night in Montreal:

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights presents:

"Debunking the Myth of Israeli Democracy"

Dr. Jamal Zahalqa
Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, and member of the National Democratic Assembly (Balad) Party

Thursday February 15th 2007
Concordia University, Hall Building (on DeMaisoneuve) room H-937

Dr. Jamal Zahalka is a Palestinian Israeli and member of the Israeli Knesset. Zahalka will be speaking about the nature of Israeli apartheid and how it operates within Israel to discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian minority. His lecture will expose the brutal reality faced by the Palestinian citizens of Israel and debunk the myth of "Israeli democracy".

As Israel and its global backers like Canada and the United States tighten the strangulation hold on the Palestinian people in an attempt to provoke Palestinian infighting; and while the Israeli military continues its brutal daily assault on Palestinian life, it is crucial that people in the rest of the world wake up to the apartheid nature of the Israeli state, and it is our collective responsibility to expose and isolate this regime until apartheid is dismantled.

The analysis of apartheid put forward during Israeli Apartheid Week in previous years has played an important role in raising awareness and disseminating information about Zionism, the Palestinian liberation struggle, as well as the connections with the Aboriginal sovereignty struggle on Turtle Island and the South African Anti-Apartheid movement. The analysis put forward in the week is spreading on a global scale, and this Israeli Apartheid Week is taking place simultaneously in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, New York, Oxford, Cambridge and London.

Visit the "End Israeli Aparthied" Website for events near you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Israel and the Media: The Ten Commandments

ell, considering that the subject of my last post barely made the news this week, here are ten rules everyone should memorize before watching the evening news or reading the morning paper. They make everything perfectly clear:

Rule # 1: If the story is about the Middle East, the Arabs always attack first and Israel always defends itself. This is called "reprisals".

Rule # 2: Arabs, Palestinians or Lebanese have no right to kill the soldiers or civilians of the other side. This is called "terrorism".

Rule # 3: Israel can kill civilian Arabs. This is called "legitimate self-defence".

Rule # 4: When Israel kills too many civilians, the West asks Israel to be more "proportionate" in its attacks. This is called "the reaction of the international community".

Rule # 5: Palestinians and Lebanese are not allowed to capture Israeli soldiers, even if it’s only three soldiers, since this would pose "an existential threat to the state of Israel".

Rule # 6: Israelis have every right to kidnap as many Palestinians as they like. They now have approximately 10,000 such prisoners, including 300 children. There is no limit to the number that can be kidnapped and no need to prove the guilt of the kidnapped individuals. It is enough to use the magic word "terrorist" and that settles the matter.

Rule # 7: When you say "Hezbollah", you must always add the words "Islamists", "Shiites" and "backed by Syria and Iran".

Rule # 8: When you say "Israel" you must not add "the Jewish State" or "the Jewish army" and above all must not use the words "backed by the United States, France and Europe" since this implies an unequal conflict.

Rule # 9: Never mention the "occupied territories" or UN resolutions except for Resolution #1559, which called for the disarming of Hezbollah. And do not mention violations of international law or of the Geneva Conventions. This upsets TV viewers and radio listeners by forcing them to think.

Rule # 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we give them and their defenders as much time as possible to speak on the air. This allows them to help us better understand Rules # 1 - 9.

And this is what is called "journalistic neutrality".

Written by Sabri Khayat

Thanks to PAJU Montreal

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Beginning of "The End"?

Israeli forces demolished the entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque after destroying the Moroccan Gate bridge leading to the Muslim holy site. Chief Palestinian Justice Sheikh Taysir Tamimi said that the timing of the destruction in the Old City of East Jerusalem was purposeful as all eyes are on the meeting in Mecca and political leaders are enroute.

The Sheikh told a press conference in Ramallah this afternoon that the Israeli government is continuing with its plan to demolish the historic road at the Moroccan Gate with a major threat to the western side of the Mosque.

Israeli forces expelled all Arab workers and journalists Monday, increased the military presence in the face of nonviolent protests over the past two days, and closed all roads on Tuesday.

Sheikh Tamimi pointed out that today's demolitions began a few years ago when the excavation plan was laid to destroy Al Aqsa Mosque one part at a time and build over its remains. He said that Israel is committed to ethnic cleansing.

The Israeli government is destroying Muslim neighborhoods and historic sites, demolishing Palestinian homes and closing Jerusalem to Palestinians with the Wall. It is also penetrating the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and building a synagogue and putting Jewish settlers in place.

The Sheikh said that he trusted the ability of Palestinians to defend the holy places and face the occupation. A number of Palestinian leaders issued statements and sent letters of protest, as did the Jordanian King and government, but this has not stopped Israeli forces in the systematic takeover of Jerusalem.

Listen to this ABC report by David Harker:
Real Audio | Windows Media | MP3

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Old Newspaper Clippings

Palestine pre-Israel

I've created a photo gallery of some old newspaper clippings of Palestine. Click on the image above to open the gallery.

You can run the pictures as a 'slide show' or just click on the individual thumbnails.

Take some time to read the captions describing the picture contents...you may gain a better understanding of what Palestine was before the creation of the Jewish state and why I (and others) lament the loss of what Palestine was...and what it could have been.

I still believe it's possible to re-Unite Palestine and ALL of it's people as a secular, modern nation.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Global Peace March

undreds of thousands of Americans will march to their capital city Washington DC on Saturday 27 January. It could be the rebirth of the US peace movement. People round the world - let’s join the march with our own global internet protest! Last week, our ad told decision-makers in Congress how strong world opposition is to Bush’s escalation in Iraq.

This Saturday, Avaaz supporters at the US march will carry banners and country placards announcing how many of us from each nation are joining the marching. Every signature will be counted on the banners! Let’s raise a global voice for a real plan to end this war. Let’s make those numbers big. Time is short. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!

Click here or cut an paste this: http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_peace_march/act.php


Here's how things went:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jewish Like Me

McGill University is one of the bigger University's in Canada and it's campus is here in Montreal. It may actually qualify as an "Ivy League" school. I was going through the McGill Daily paper online and came across this story, "Jewish Like Me" written by Jesse Rosenfeld, a Toronto transplant.

It's a very good article that illustrates the dichotomy of what it is to be a Jew from a North American perspective. As a Palestinian forced to leave his home I am encouraged by this public display of condemnation of Israel's violent past and a call for justice for the Palestinian people.

Here's part of the article:

"Like most kids growing up Jewish, I loved Israel. I identified with the country and saw my Jewish identity expressed in it.

Maybe it was because I found inspiration in an Israeli culture that seemed to focus on youth. I liked how David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, referred to the “New Israeli Jew” – strong, committed and independent – as opposed to the idea of a “European Jew” – weak, emasculated, and dependent. Or maybe I wanted to identify with something other than tedious family gatherings in Toronto complete with a grandmother who pinched my cheeks.

Either way, as a short, underweight early teen looking to find a form of community and feeling of empowerment, Israel and its image provided me with a feeling of masculinity. The Israeli myth allowed me to reject the stuffiness of North American Jewish culture while keeping a sense of an imagined community that was still accepted, and even encouraged, by my family and community.

As I explored this more, I began to realize that Zionism was synonymous with a violent colonization and occupation of another people."

>> Read More Here

Thursday, January 18, 2007

'Peel'ing Back History

One of the most dynamic streets in Montreal, my adopted home is Peel Street. It's full of great restaurants, chic shopping and a beautiful park. As a Palestinian I have always felt uneasy with the name 'Peel' (See: Peel Commmission) but in the desire for knowledge I have done some research and discovered some very interesting things about Peel Street.

The street was actually named after a former British Prime Minister The Right Honorable Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet. He was the British PM before Canada was even established as a country, from 1834 to 1835 and then again from 1841 to 1846. With my uneasy feeling suppressed I decided to dig further on who was the guy the Peel Commission was named after and discovered that indeed Lord Peel (William Wellesley Peel) was the Grandson of Robert Peel. His Dad was Arthur Wellesley Peel also a very prominent politician most notable the Speaker of the British House of Commons 1884 to 1895. All of this to say that long before the Peel Commission made it's "decision" vis-a-vis Palestine, there was a long history of elitism.

You've got to think with THAT kind of political pedigree it's no wonder W. W. Peel got it wrong.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies." -Groucho Marx

The British should have helped the European immigrants assimilate themselves into Palestinian society while helping the Palestinians to understand Jews came to Palestine to create a new life for themselves and not to steal land and jobs from them. Then before the British left Palestine they should have set them working shoulder-to-shoulder to build a liberated Palestine they could all be proud of...they didn't...

If you're interested here's a live webcam looking down on St. Catherine and Peel Streets.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

House Buying in Jerusalem

appy New Year! (It's not too late is it?) I've been busy.

You'll be happy to know (unless you're a Zionist) that with the new year I've decided to start looking for a place to live back in Jerusalem and came across this listing. The down side is that it's just an apartment and I would prefer to "buy a piece of land" for obvious metaphorical reasons, but man, look at the view...come to think of it it looks exactly like my profile picture doesn't it?!?! Hey, that's cool!

Tell me what you think of the place...