Tuesday 31 March 2009

IRAN ~ HOUSING BIN LADEN?




FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN

SECRET SUMMIT TO TARGET BIN LADEN

WILL INTEL AGENTS FINALLY GET TERRORIST IN SIGHT?


World Net Daily

LONDON – John Scarlett, the head of the British intelligence agency MI6, will hold a secret summit during the G20 conference in London next week to answer the question, "Where is Osama bin Laden?" That's according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

U.S. intelligence officers who have traveled to England with their political leaders attending the conference will spend a day being briefed by a team of MI6 specialists who reportedly have established the whereabouts of the world's most wanted terrorist.

They have been certain for some time that he was given refuge in Iran.

Despite its Shiite radicalism, the country had welcomed the Sunni bin Laden, a decision that goes some way to explaining the rejection by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of President Obama's offer to start new negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Bin Laden, the MI6 experts will tell the meeting, left the northwest province of Pakistan last December to travel first to the Baluchistan province which borders Afghanistan.

They believe he was picked up in Baluchistan by an Iranian military helicopter and flown to Tehran.

In January, he met Ahmadinejad and days later, bin Laden was joined by his four wives, the intel analysts say.

Bin Laden had come to Iran to undergo a kidney transplant, they say. In February he underwent surgery at a medical facility in a high-security compound near the city.

MI6 analysts will tell the meeting that a report bin Laden had died during the operation and his body had been returned to his long-time base in Pakistan is "wishful thinking." Courtesy of Connecting the Dots


DEAR LORD, WHERE DO I BEGIN ON THIS ONE?

FACT? FICTION? PROPAGANDA?

DISTRACTION?

DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS

AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. PLEASE.

PALESTINE ~ GUERNICA

Never Again by Ben Heine


An Illustrated Look at Israel’s On-going Massacre in the Gaza Strip

30 December 2008
Picture and article by Abu Yusef
“There is not enough space for bodies; they lay on the floors of the hospitals and morgues. There is not enough blood for the wounded, and they will soon be joining their countrymen in death.”

Aerial photo of the Gaza Strip. It is the most densely populated place on earth with 1.5 million people huddled into 360 km2, or 4,166 people per square kilometer. It is surrounded on all sides by a massive electric fence and watchtowers. Israel controls the air, land and water around the Strip, and every entry-point in.
The median age in the Strip is 15.3, and 70% of the population are already refugees. 86% of the population is heavily dependent on foreign aid which has been denied them for over two years.
A photo of Israel’s ‘Cast Lead’ operation in which 100 tons of bombs were dropped on the most densely populated space on the planet while the Gazans slept in their beds.

Hundreds of people, civilian and otherwise, were killed in minutes. The Israeli press cheered the stunning ‘misdirection’ by defense Minister Barack preceding the attacks, “They didn’t even see it coming!”

They forgot to mention that had the Palestinians known that this reign of terror was coming, they would not have been able to escape anyway as they have been locked inside of a virtual prison for years.


A women and her child must step over the dead bodies of Palestinian policemen and civilians following the bombing. Though the woman knows that death could fall from the sky at any moment, she must venture out anyway to find food for here family.

Her youngest child has not slept in days due to the shelling and insists on staying by his mother’s side. The streets are empty except the long bread lines and funeral processions.


A mother holds her dead child and weeps. She has already lost her husband in the massacre and has not even had time to mourn.

With all of her brothers locked away in Israeli jails, she does not know how she will care for her family.

Right now, she does not even know whether she will have any family left when the smoke finally clears.



A photo of a young boy preparing to die for Palestine.

Since birth he has suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He knows nothing but pain, war and disillusion.

He has seen fear and tears in the eyes of his father today, and now his world is upside-down.
He has never been given anything and so he has nothing to lose.

ISRAEL ~ PLEASE TELL ME, WHERE IS IT HEADED?

By John J. Mearsheimer
March 31, 2009 "FP"

My $.02 is in the darker green ~ quotations and images.

Benjamin Netanyahu is in the final stages of putting together Israel's next government, which will be opposed to a two-state solution. Most importantly, the new prime minister and his Likud Party are firmly against a Palestinian state. The Labor Party, which will be part of the governing coalition and which has been identified with the two-state solution for the past two decades, did not insist that Likud support that policy as a condition for joining the government.

Bibi Netanyahu.

Its leader, Ehud Barak, merely asked for and got a vague statement saying that Israel was committed to promoting regional peace. Avigdor Lieberman, who heads Yisrael Beiteinu, the other major party in the ruling coalition, is not likely to push to give the Palestinians a viable state of their own. His main concern is "transferring" the Palestinians out of Israel so that it can be an almost purely Jewish state.

So Israel will continue expanding its settlements in the West Bank. In fact, the Israeli press is reporting that Netanyahu and Lieberman agreed in their negotiations to form a government that Israel would build 3,000 housing units in an area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim (a huge settlement bloc) known as E-1.

"The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It's that simple." ~ Yitzak Shamir, Maariv, 02/21/1997

Once that is accomplished, Israel will have effectively cut the West Bank in half, making it almost impossible to create a viable Palestinian state. This deal was supposed to be secret, because the United States is opposed to Israel building in the E-1 area.

The HUGE settlement bloc Maale Adumim

stretching over the hills into the distance.

"We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years' time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody will be able to tear it apart." ~ Ariel Sharon

Please go HERE to Mondoweiss for Google map of Israeli settlements from leaked database. Jamie Dyer has used the information in the translated excerpts of the database to create this Google map. "Making the map helped me to see the strategic placement of these settlements. The hilltops are being systematically taken in a sort of inversion of the topography of justice," Dyer writes. Click on the blue donkeytails to get a report on each landgrab. This little map is a goldmine of information on the placement of the settlements!

The Palestinians, of course, will remain locked up in Gaza and a handful of enclaves on the West Bank. In essence, Netanyahu and his two key ministers ~ Ehud Barak (Defense) and Avigdor Lieberman (Foreign Affairs) ~ are committed to creating a Greater Israel, which will cover all of the territory that was once Mandate Palestine.

Ehud Barak

The Obama administration will surely try to push Netanyahu to change his thinking about a two-state solution and work to give the Palestinians a real state of their own. The Israel lobby, however, will adamantly defend Israel's right to do whatever it wants in the Occupied Territories and make it impossible for the president to put significant pressure on Israel.

"The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. For Ever." ~ Menachem Begin, the day after the UN vote to partition Palestine


Netanyahu, like all Israeli leaders, understands this basic fact of life. He knows that he will just have to say a few nice words about the "peace process" and blame the whole thing on the Palestinians, who he believes are a bunch of terrorists anyway, and he will be pretty much free to do whatever he wants in Gaza and the West Bank.

It seems clear to me and to many smart people I know that this story does not have a happy ending. Indeed, it looks like a disastrous ending. Greater Israel cannot be a democratic state, because there will soon be ~ if there aren't already ~ more Palestinians between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea than there are Israeli Jews. So, if you give each person one vote, Israel becomes Palestine.

That is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever, which leaves two possible outcomes: apartheid and expelling the Palestinians ~ and there are more than 5 million of them ~ from Greater Israel. Talk about repulsive options.

It is worth remembering that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that if there is no two-state solution, Israel will end up in a South Africa-like situation and that will mean the end of the Jewish state. In effect, he is saying that Israel is turning itself into an apartheid state.

My bottom line is that Israel, with the backing of the lobby, is pursuing a remarkably foolish ~ Ehud Olmert would say suicidal ~ policy towards the Palestinians.

I would appreciate it greatly if Israel's American backers would explain what I am missing here. They must think that there is a happy ending to this story that Olmert and I simply fail to see. Otherwise they would not be backing the Greater Israel enterprise.

There is no need for Christian Zionists to respond, because I know what their happy ending is: the Battle of Armageddon and then the Second Coming of Christ.

Israel's Jewish backers do not buy this story, which, in fact, many consider anti-Semitic. But they must have an alternative explanation for how Greater Israel is good for the Jews. What is it?

IRAN ~ NETANYAHU TO OBAMA ~ STOP IRAN OR I WILL

By Jeffrey Goldberg

March 31, 2009

"The Atlantic"

My $.02 is, as usual, in the dark green.

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons ~ and quickly ~ or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

In unusually blunt language, Netanyahu said of the Iranian leadership, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

History teaches Jews that threats against their collective existence should be taken seriously, and, if possible, preempted, he suggested. In recent years, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has regularly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” and the supreme Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, this month called Israel a “cancerous tumor.”

But Netanyahu also said that Iran threatens many other countries apart from Israel, and so his mission over the next several months is to convince the world of the broad danger posed by Iran. One of his chief security advisers, Moshe Ya’alon, told me that a nuclear Iran could mean the end of American influence in the Middle East. “This is an existential threat for Israel, but it will be a blow for American interests, especially on the energy front. Who will dominate the oil in the region ~ Washington or Tehran?”

Netanyahu said he would support President Obama’s decision to engage Iran, so long as negotiations brought about a quick end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it,” he said, but he added that he was skeptical that Iran would respond positively to Obama’s appeals.

In an hour-long conversation, held in the Knesset, Netanyahu tempered his aggressive rhetoric with an acknowledgment that nonmilitary pressure could yet work. “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means.”

When I suggested that this statement contradicted his assertion that Iran, by its fanatic nature, is immune to pressure, Netanyahu smiled thinly and said, “Iran is a composite leadership, but in that composite leadership there are elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist right now in any other would-be nuclear power in the world. That’s what makes them so dangerous.”

He went on, “Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they’ll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?”

Netanyahu offered Iran’s behavior during its eight-year war with Iraq as proof of Tehran’s penchant for irrational behavior. Iran “wasted over a million lives without batting an eyelash. It didn’t sear a terrible wound into the Iranian consciousness. It wasn’t Britain after World War I, lapsing into pacifism because of the great tragedy of a loss of a generation. You see nothing of the kind.”

He continued: “You see a country that glorifies blood and death, including its own self-immolation.” I asked Netanyahu if he believed Iran would risk its own nuclear annihilation at the hands of Israel or America. “I’m not going to get into that,” he said.

Neither Netanyahu nor his principal military advisers would suggest a deadline for American progress on the Iran nuclear program, though one aide said pointedly that Israeli time lines are now drawn in months, “not years.” These same military advisers told me that they believe Iran’s defenses remain penetrable, and that Israel would not necessarily need American approval to launch an attack. “The problem is not military capability, the problem is whether you have the stomach, the political will, to take action,” one of his advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me.

Both Israeli and American intelligence officials agree that Iran is moving forward in developing a nuclear-weapons capability. The chief of Israeli military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, said earlier this month that Iran has already “crossed the technological threshold,” and that nuclear military capability could soon be a fact: “Iran is continuing to amass hundreds of kilograms of low-enriched uranium, and it hopes to exploit the dialogue with the West and Washington to advance toward the production of an atomic bomb.”

American officials argue that Iran has not crossed the “technological threshold”; the director of national intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, said recently that Israel and the U.S. are working with the same set of facts, but are interpreting it differently. “The Israelis are far more concerned about it, and they take more of a worst-case approach to these things from their point of view,” he said. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen, recently warned that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would undermine stability in the Middle East and endanger the lives of Americans in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has no weapons-grade uranium, US military officials have said in an attempt to clarify recent statements from Washington and Israel. National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told US senators that Tehran had only low-enriched uranium, which would need processing to be used for weapons. But in his evidence to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr Blair said the Israelis were envisaging a "worst-case scenario".

"We assess now that Iran has no highly enriched uranium", he said. Although analysts broadly agreed that Iran had some low-enriched uranium, the enrichment process to produce weapons-grade material would involve technology that the country is not thought to possess, Mr Blair added.

The Obama administration agrees with Israel that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to Middle East stability, but it also wants Israel to focus on the Palestinian question. Netanyahu, for his part, promises to move forward on negotiations with the Palestinians, but he made it clear in our conversation that he believes a comprehensive peace will be difficult to achieve if Iran continues to threaten Israel, and he cited Iran’s sponsorship of such Islamic groups as Hezbollah and Hamas as a stumbling block.

Ya’alon, a former army chief of staff who is slated to serve as Netanyahu’s minister for strategic threats, dismissed the possibility of a revitalized peace process, telling me that “jihadists” interpret compromise as weakness. He cited the reaction to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza four years ago.

“The mistake of disengagement from Gaza was that we thought like Westerners, that compromise would defuse a problem ~ but it just encouraged the problem,” he said. “The jihadists saw withdrawal as a defeat of the West. Now, what do you signal to them if you are ready to divide Jerusalem, or if you’re ready to withdraw to the 1967 lines? In this kind of conflict, your ability to stand and be determined is more important than your firepower.”

American administration sources tell me that President Obama won’t shy from pressuring Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue during his first visit to Washington as prime minister, which is scheduled for early May. But Netanyahu suggested that he and Obama already see eye-to-eye on such crucial issues as the threat posed by Hamas. “The Obama administration has recently said that Hamas has to first recognize Israel and cease the support of terror. That’s a very good definition. It says you have to cease being Hamas.”

When I noted that many in Washington doubt his commitment to curtailing Jewish settlement on the West Bank, he said, in reference to his previous term as prime minister, from 1996 to 1999, “I can only point to what I did as prime minister in the first round. I certainly didn’t build new settlements.”

Netanyahu will manage Israel’s relationship with Washington personally ~ his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, of the anti-Arab Israel Beiteinu party, is deeply unpopular in Washington ~ and I asked him if he could foresee agreeing on a “grand bargain” with Obama, in which he would move forward on talks with the Palestinians in exchange for a robust American response to Iran’s nuclear program. He said: “We intend to move on the Palestinian track independent of what happens with Iran, and I hope the U.S. moves to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons regardless of what happens on the Palestinian track.”

In our conversation, Netanyahu gave his fullest public explication yet of why he believes President Obama must consider Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be his preeminent overseas challenge. “Why is this a hinge of history? Several bad results would emanate from this single development. First, Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella. This raises the stakes of any confrontation that they’d force on Israel. Instead of being a local event, however painful, it becomes a global one.

"Second, this development would embolden Islamic militants far and wide, on many continents, who would believe that this is a providential sign, that this fanaticism is on the ultimate road to triumph.

“Third, they would be able to pose a real and credible threat to the supply of oil, to the overwhelming part of the world’s oil supply.

Fourth, they may threaten to use these weapons or to give them to terrorist proxies of their own, or fabricate terror proxies. Finally, you’d create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area ~ nearly all the Arab regimes are dead-set opposed to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. They fervently hope, even if they don’t say it, that the U.S. will act to prevent this, that it will use its political, economic, and, if necessary, military power to prevent this from happening.”

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Netanyahu asserted, Washington’s Arab allies would drift into Iran’s orbit. “The only way I can explain what will happen to such regimes is to give you an example from the past of what happened to one staunch ally of the United States, and a great champion of peace, when another aggressive power loomed large. I’m referring to the late King Hussein of Jordan who was an unequaled champion of peace. The same King Hussein in many ways subordinated his country to Saddam Hussein when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. Saddam seemed all-powerful, unchallenged by the United States, and until the U.S. extracted Kuwait from Saddam’s gullet, King Hussein was very much in Iraq’s orbit. The minute that changed, the minute Saddam was defeated, King Hussein came back to the Western camp.”

One of Iran’s goals, Netanyahu said, is to convince the moderate Arab countries not to enter peace treaties with Israel. Finally, he said, several countries in Iran’s neighborhood might try to develop nuclear weapons of their own. “Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The Middle East is incendiary enough, but with a nuclear arms race it will become a tinderbox,” he said.

Few in Netanyahu’s inner circle believe that Iran has any short-term plans to drop a nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv, should it find a means to deliver it. The first-stage Iranian goal, in the understanding of Netanyahu and his advisers, is to frighten Israel’s most talented citizens into leaving their country.

“The idea is to keep attacking the Israelis on a daily basis, to weaken the willingness of the Jewish people to hold on to their homeland,” Moshe Ya’alon said. “The idea is to make a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for Jews unattractive for them. They are waging a war of attrition.”

The Israeli threat to strike Iran militarily if the West fails to stop the nuclear program may, of course, be a tremendous bluff. After all, such threats may just be aimed at motivating President Obama and others to grapple urgently with the problem. But Netanyahu and his advisers seem to believe sincerely that Israel would have difficulty surviving in a Middle East dominated by a nuclear Iran. And they are men predisposed to action; many, like Netanyahu, are former commandos.

As I waited in the Knesset cafeteria to see Netanyahu, I opened a book he edited of his late brother’s letters. Yoni Netanyahu, a commando leader, was killed in 1976 during the Israeli raid on Entebbe, and his family organized his letters in a book they titled Self-Portrait of a Hero. In one letter, Yoni wrote to his teenage brother, then living in America, who had apparently been in a fight after someone directed an anti-Semitic remark at him.

“I see … that you had to release the surplus energy you stored up during the summer,” Yoni wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s too bad you sprained a finger in the process. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a good fist fight; on the contrary, if you’re young and you’re not seriously hurt, it won’t do you real harm. Remember what I told you? He who delivers the first blow, wins.”

IRAN ~ HERE WE GO AGAIN ~ ANOTHER SCARE

By Eric S. Margolis
March 09, 2009 "Khaleej Times"

While the United States was fighting for its economic life, Obama administration officials and the media issued a blizzard of contradictory claims over Iran’s alleged nuclear threat, leaving one wondering who is really charge of US foreign policy?


Much of the uproar over Iran’s so-far non-existent nuclear weapons must be seen as part of efforts by the Israeli lobby to block President Barack Obama’s proposed opening to Teheran, and to keep pressing the US to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Israel’s supporters and most Israeli military experts insist Iran has secret weapons programmes. Israel knows about covert nuclear programs, having run one of the world’s largest and most productive.

The hawkish Hillary Clinton’s naming of veteran Israel supporter Dennis Ross as her special adviser on Iran and the Gulf suggest she is more interested in building future domestic political support than securing balanced advice.

Meanwhile, confusion over Iran grew sharply. New CIA director, Leon Panetta, said ‘there is no question, they (Iran) are seeking that (nuclear weapons) capability.’

Pentagon chief Adm. Mike Mullen claimed Iran had ‘enough fissile material to build a bomb.’ Fox News claimed Iran already had 50 nuclear weapons. While the American Rome burns, here we go again with renewed hysteria over MWMD’s ~ Muslim Weapons of Mass Destruction. Wars drums are again beating over Iran.

The czar of all 16 US intelligence agencies, Adm. Dennis Blair, stated Iran could have enough enriched uranium for one atomic weapon by 2010-2015. But he reaffirmed the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is not pursuing them. Defence Secretary William Gates backed up Blair. So does the 
UN nuclear agency. Some of the confusion over Iran comes from misunderstanding nuclear enrichment, and lurid scare stories.

Iran is producing low-grade uranium-235 (LEU), enriched to only 2.5 per cent, to generate electricity. Teheran has this absolute right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its centrifuge enrichment process at Natanz is under 24-hour international inspection. Iran’s soon to open nuclear plant at Bushehr cannot produce nuclear weapons fuel. Its spent fuel will be 
returned to Russia.

Today, some 15 nations produce LEU U-235, including Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, and Japan. Israel, India and Pakistan, all covert nuclear weapons powers, refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty. North Korea abrogated it. UN inspectors report Iran has produced 1,010 kg of 2-3 per cent enriched uranium for energy generation, insists Iran. Theoretically that is enough for one atomic bomb.

But to make a nuclear weapon, U-235 must be enriched to over 90 per cent in an elaborate, costly process. Iran is not doing so, say UN inspectors.

Highly enriched U-235 or plutonium must then be milled and shaped into a perfect ball or cylinder. Any surface imperfections will prevent achieving critical mass. Next, high explosive lenses must surround the core, and detonate at precisely the same millisecond. In the gun system, two cores must collide at very high speed. In some cases, a stream of neutrons are pumped into the device as it explodes.

This process is highly complex. Nuclear weapons cannot be deemed reliable unless they are tested. North Korea recently detonated a device 
that fizzled. Iran has never built or 
tested a nuclear weapon. Israel and South Africa jointly tested a nuclear weapon in 1979.

Even if Iran had the capability to fashion a complex nuclear weapon, it would be useless without delivery. Iran’s sole medium-range delivery system is its unreliable, inaccurate 1,500 km ranged Shahab-3. Miniaturizing and hardening nuclear warheads capable of flying atop a Shahab missile is another complex technological challenge.

It is inconceivable that Iran or anyone else would launch a single nuclear weapon. What if it didn’t go off? Imagine the embarrassment and the retaliation. Iran would need at least ten warheads and a reliable delivery system to be a credible nuclear power.

Israel, the primary target for any Iranian nuclear strike, has an indestructible triad of air, missile and sea-launched nuclear weapons pointed at Iran. An Israeli submarine with 
nuclear cruise missiles is on station off Iran’s coast. Iran would be wiped off the map by even a few of Israel’s 200 
nuclear weapons. Iran is no likelier to use a nuke against its Gulf neighbours. The explosion would blanket Iran with radioactive dust and sand.

Washington would do better to stop worrying about Iran and focus on its economic meltdown.
My $.02 worth. Please read AMERICA ~ THE FREEMAN AFFAIR ~ PART FOUR to learn how badly the Israelis want war and have been manipulating Washington forces to bring it about. Washington has NO INTENTION of taking care of the financial problems of America and since it is owned by AIPAC at this time, who is basically ISRAEL, and Israel is determined to bring on Armageddon, things are not looking good. Not irreversible but certainly not looking good.

Eric S Margolis is a veteran US journalist who has reported from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan for several years

Monday 30 March 2009

ISRAEL ~ ETHNIC CLEANSING AND ISRAEL

The Ultimate Aim is the Transfer of Arab-Israelis

By Conn Hallinan
March 05, 2009 "Counterpunch"

One of the more disturbing developments in the Middle East is a growing consensus among Israelis that it would acceptable to expel ~ In the words of advocates “transfer” ~ its Arab citizens to either a yet as unformed Palestinian state or the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt.


Such sentiment is hardly new among Israeli extremists, and it has long been advocated by racist Jewish organizations like Kach, the party of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, as well as groups like the National Union, which doubled its Knesset representation in the last election. (Kach is very much a terrorist organization with many charges against them; Kahane founded the JDL in 1968, before forming the Kach Party in Israel.)

Rabbi Mier Kahane, Terrorist, Israeli Politician

But “transfer” is no longer the exclusive policy of extremists, as it has increasingly become a part of mainstream political dialogue. “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines,” Kadima leader and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a group of Tel Aviv high school students last December, “and among other things, I will be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘ your national solution lies elsewhere.’”

Such talk has consequences.

According to the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, anti-Arab incidents have risen sharply. “Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” says Sami Michael, the organization’s president. Among the Association’s findings:

55% of Jewish Israelis say that the state should encourage Arab emigration;

78% of Jewish Israelis oppose including Arab parties in the government;

56% agree with the statement that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development”;An Arab cannot contaminate what is pure. It is forbidden to blend darkness and light. The nation of Israel is pure and the Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an evil disaster an evil devil, and a nasty affliction. The Arabs are donkeys and beasts. They are endowed with true filthiness. There is pure and there is impure, and they are impure." ~ Rabbi David Batzri, quoted in Ha'aretz, March 22, 2006) (Neither group is perfect, but from what was seen in the recent assault on Gaza, the numbers should be reversed!)

75% of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

The tension between Israeli democracy and the country’s Jewish character was the centerpiece of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party’s campaign in the recent election. His party increased its Knesset membership from 11 to 15, and is now the third largest party in the parliament.

Lieberman, who lives in a West Bank settlement near Bethlehem, calls for a “loyalty oath” from Arab-Israelis, and for either expelling those who refuse or denying them citizenship rights. During a Knesset debate last March, Lieberman told Arab deputies, “You are only temporarily here. One day we will take care of you.”

Avignor Lieberman, racist extraordinaire

Such views are increasing, particularly among young Jewish Israelis, among whom a politicized historical education and growing hopelessness about the future has fueled a strong rightward shift.

In a recent article in Haaretz, Yotam Feldman writes about a journey through Israel’s high schools, where students freely admit to their hatred of Arabs and lack of concern about the erosion of democracy.

"One shot, 2 Kills"
These popular shirts are signs of extreme racism in Israel.


“Sergei Liebliyanich, a senior, draws a connection between the preparation for military service in school and student support for the Right” Feldman writes, “‘ It gives us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can stick it to them…I like Lieberman’s thinking about the Arabs. Bibi, Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right wing Likud Party, doesn’t want to go as far.”

Feldman polled 10 high schools and found that Yisrael Beiteinu was the most popular party, followed by Likud. The left-wing Meretz Party came in dead last.

"The Smaller It is, the Harder to Kill".
Another popular Israeli shirt.

In part, the politicization of the education system is to blame.

Mariam Darmoni-Sharviot, a former civics teacher who is helping implement the 1995 Kremnitzar Commission’s recommendations on education and democracy, told Feldman, “When I talk to a civics class about the Arab minority, and about its uniqueness in being a majority that became a minority, my students argue and say it’s not true that they Arabs were a majority.” She said when she confronted teachers and asked why students didn’t know that Arabs were a majority in 1947, the teachers become “evasive and say it’s not part of the material.”

In part, students reflect the culture that surrounds them.

“Israeli society is speaking in two voices,” says Education Minister Yuli Tamir. “We see ourselves as a democratic society, yet we often neglect things that are very basic to democracy. If the students see the Knesset disqualifying Arab parties, a move that I’ve adamantly opposed, how can we expect them to absorb democratic values?”

All the major Israeli parties voted to remove two Arab parties, United Arab List-Ta’al and Balad, from the ballot because they opposed the Gaza war. Balad also calls for equal rights for all Israelis. Kadima spokesperson Maya Jacobs said, “Balad aims to exterminate Israel as a Jewish state and turn it into a state for all its citizens.” Labor joined in banning Balad, but not Ta’al.

The Israeli Supreme Court overturned the move and both parties ended up electing seven Knesset members in the recent election.

“The ultimate aim here,” says Dominic Moran, INS Security Watch’s senior correspondent in the Middle East, “is to sever the limited ties that bind Jews and Arabs, to the point that the idea of the transfer of the Arab-Israeli population beyond the borders of the state, championed by Yisrael Beiteinu, gains increasing legitimacy.”

(“Terrorize the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources. The daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions” Ur Shlonsky, quoted by Ghali Hassan, Gaza: The World’s Largest Prison, Global Research, 2005)

One in four Israelis lives below the poverty line.

This turn toward the Right also reflects an economic crisis, where poverty is on the rise and the cost of maintaining the settlements in the Occupied Territories and Israel’s military is a crushing burden. Peace Now estimates that the occupation costs $1.4 billion a year, not counting the separation wall. Israel’s military budget is just under $10 billion a year. According to Haartez, the Gaza war cost $374 million.


Some 16% of the Jewish population fall below the poverty line, a designation that includes 50% of Israeli Arabs.

“The Israeli reality can no longer hide what it has kept hidden up to now that today no sentient mother can honestly say to her child: ‘ Next year things will be better here,’” says philosophy of education professor, Ilan Gur-Ze’ev. “The young people are replacing hope for a better future with a myth of a heroic end. For a heroic end, Lieberman fits the bill.”

Israeli children receiving a basic education by their elders.

Intercommunal tension manifests itself mainly in the Occupied Territories, where the relentless expansion of settlements and constant humiliation of hundreds of Israeli Army roadblocks fuels Palestinian anger.

This past December, settlers in Hebron attacked Palestinians after the Israeli government removed a group of Jewish families occupying an Arab-owned building. In response, the settlers launched “Operation Price Tag” to inflict punishment on Palestinians in the event the Tel Aviv government moves against settlers. Rioters torched cars, desecrated a Muslim cemetery, and gunned down two Arabs.

Settler rampages on the West Bank are nothing new, even though they receive virtually no coverage in the U.S. media. But a disturbing trend is the appearance of extremist settlers in Israel. Late last year Baruch Marzel, a West bank settler and follower of Kahane, threatened to lead a march through Umm al-Fahm, a largely Arab-Israeli town near Haifa.

Baruch Marzel on the march to destroy Umm al-Fahm

“We have a cancer in our body capable of destroying the state of Israel,” Marzel told The Forward, “and these people are in the heart of Israel, a force capable of destroying Israel from the inside. I am going to tell these people that the land of Israel is ours.”

Arab-Israelis charge that settlers ~ some of them extremists re-settled from Gaza three years ago ~ played a role in last year’s Yom Kippur riots in the mixed city of Acre and forced Arab families our of their houses in the east part of the city. Arabs make up about 14% of Acre and 20% of Israel.

Rabbi Dov Lior, chair of the West Bank Rabbinical Council, has decreed, “It is completely forbidden to employ Arabs and rent houses to them in Israel.”

The Adallah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights is urging Israeli Attorney General Mernachem Mazuz to investigate “Wild incitement to racism against Arabs in general and the Arab residents of Acre in particular.”

On Oct. 15, three days after the Acre riots, two Arab apartments in Tel Aviv were attacked with Molotov cocktails. Seven Jewish men were arrested. The Arab residents of Lod and Haifa charge that they too are being pressured to move.

Young settlers looking for something to do.

In the case of Lod, municipal authorities are open about their intentions. Municipal spokesman Yoram Ben-Aroch denied that the city discriminates against Arabs, but told The Forward that municipal authorities want Lod, to become “a more Jewish town. We need to strengthen the Jewish character of Lod and religious people and Zionists have a big part to play in this strengthening.”

However, the growing lawlessness of West bank settlers and Jewish nationalists has begun to unsettle the authorities in Tel Aviv. After right wing extremists tried to assassinate Peace Now activist Professor Zeev Sternhell, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said the intelligence organization was “very concerned” about the “extremist right” and its willingness to resort to violence.

Even Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said “We are not willing to live with a significant group of people that has cast off all authority,” and called Operation Price Tag a “pogrom.”

So far, however, the government and Shin Bet have done little to rein in the rising tide of right wing terror, which is aimed at Jews as well as Arabs.

Ahmad Tibi of the Arab Ta’al Party says that while Arab Israelis feel threatened by what Ben Gurion University political scientist Neve Gordan calls a “move toward xenophobic politics,” Tibi warns that, “It is the Jewish majority that should be afraid of this phenomenon.”

Readers might want to subscribe to Jewish Peace News at jpn@jewishpeacenews.net for a very different picture of Israel than most Americans get.

Conn Hallinan can be reached at: ringoanne@sbcglobal.net

MUST JEWS ALWAYS SEE THEMSELVES AS VICTIMS?

By Antony Lerman
Saturday, 7 March 2009 "The Independent"

Fierce debate has been raging in 'The Independent' about Israel's conduct in Gaza. Here, one leading Jewish thinker argues that until Jews shake off their persecution complex, there can never be peace in the Middle East

In the wake of Israel's attack on Gaza, eager voices are telling us that anti-Semitism has returned ~ yet again. Eight years of Hamas rockets and the world unfairly cries foul when Israel retaliates, they say. Biased media are delegitimising the Jewish state. The Left attacks Israel as uniquely evil, making it the persecuted Jew among the nations. Even theatres keep wheeling out those anti-Semitic stereotypes, Shylock, Fagin and the "chosen people", just to torment us. If this bleak picture were an accurate portrayal of what Jews are experiencing today, who could deny that suffering is the determining feature of the Jewish condition?

In most Jewish circles, if you pause to question this narrative and suggest that it might be exaggerated, that it unrealistically implies a level of dreadfulness and victimhood unique to Jews, you'll attract hostility and disbelief in equal measure, and precious little public sympathy. But in the work of Professor Salo Baron, probably the greatest Jewish historian of the 20th century, we find powerful justification for just such a questioning.

Professor Baron spoke out angrily against what he called the "lachrymose conception of Jewish history", which placed suffering at the centre of Jewish life. "Suffering is part of the destiny" of the Jews," Professor Baron said in an interview in 1975, "but so is repeated joy as well as ultimate redemption." Another distinguished historian, Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, said Baron always fought against the view of Jewish history as "all darkness and no light. He laboured mightily to restore balance".

Baron, who was born in Poland and went to America in 1930 to teach at Columbia University in New York, died aged 94 in 1989, perhaps one of the most significant years in post-war Jewish history. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR, the suppression of Jewish religious practice and cultural expression came to an end. More than two million Jews were finally free to choose to be Jewish or not. An astonishing number chose Jewishness and a remarkable revival of Jewish life began. This historic moment aptly illustrates the central truth of Baron's critique.

Twenty years on, that revival continues, but the world's response to Israel's war on Gaza and the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents in a number of countries since the war began have led many to paint a very dark picture of the current Jewish predicament. So, in thinking about the accuracy of this, especially in view of the poisonous weed of anti-Semitism that Howard Jacobson, writing in The Independent last month, claims to find growing in practically every patch of criticism of Israel, I wondered what light Professor Baron would have found in the current darkness.

Would he have concluded that the lachrymose conception of Jewish history has returned and that a restoration of some balance is required? Have we Jews succumbed psychologically to a sense of eternal Jewish victimhood, a wholly negative Jewish exceptionalism, or is paranoia justified?

Some pioneering research, published as Israel's bombing of Gaza began, throws some light on this. It reveals just how much the feeling that no matter what we do, we are perpetually at the mercy of others applies to Jewish Israelis. A team led by Professor Daniel Bar Tal of Tel Aviv University, one of the world's leading political psychologists, questioned Israeli Jews about their memory of the conflict with the Arabs, from its inception to the present, and found that their "consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering".

The researchers found a close connection between that collective memory and the memory of "past persecutions of Jews" and the Holocaust, the feeling that "the whole world is against us". If such a study were to be conducted among Jews in Britain, I suspect the results would be very similar.

For Jews to see themselves in this way is understandable, but it's a distortion and deeply damaging. As Professor Bar Tal says, this view relies primarily on prolonged indoctrination that is based on ignorance and even nurtures it. The Jewish public does not want to be confused with the facts. If we are defined by past persecutions, by our victimhood, will we ever think clearly about the problem of Israel-Palestine and the problem of anti-Semitism?

To justify its attack on Gaza, Israel threw the mantle of victimhood over the residents of southern Israel who have lived under the constant threat of rocket attack from the territory since 2001. Israeli government and military spokespeople seemed to get a remarkably sympathetic hearing in the media when they made this argument. But history did not begin in 2001.

As the Israeli journalist Amira Hass notes, the origin of Israel's siege dates back to 1991, before suicide bombings began. The relentless emphasis on Israeli suffering, to the exclusion of all other contextual facts, and the constant mantra that no other country would tolerate such a threat posed to its citizens over such a long period provided the basis for arguing that the military option was the only alternative. The victim is cornered and there's only one way out.

But the popular Israeli phrase ein breira, "there is no alternative", won't stand one second's scrutiny. There was a wealth of informed senior military and security opinion, especially following the disaster of the 2006 Lebanon war, which argued that there is no military solution to the problem of Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah.

Even before Lebanon, in 2004, former IDF spokesman Nahman Shai, a senior figure in the Israeli establishment, said: "Despite all the anger, frustration, and disgust we feel, we ought to talk to Hizbollah. We must exploit every possibility to reach a compromise with them and gain precious time. Does it really embody all the evil in the region? What are we waiting for? We can always go back to fighting terrorism."

Early in January this year, Israel's former Mossad chief and former national security adviser, Efraim Halevy, said: "If Israel's goal were to remove the threat of rockets from the residents of southern Israel, opening the border crossings would have ensured such quiet for a generation."

Daniel Levy, former adviser in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, shows clearly where the wrong choices were made: withdrawing from Gaza without co-ordinating the "what next" with the Palestinians; hermetically sealing off Hamas and besieging Gaza after the 2006 elections instead of testing Hamas's capacity to govern responsibly; instead of building on the ceasefire, Israel was the first to break it on 4 November. In short, there were other alternatives.

The current flurry of diplomatic activity only confirms this. Tony Blair's first trip to Gaza, Hillary Clinton's talks with Israel's leaders and stronger language on settlements and the $5bn pledged for Gaza at the Egyptian donor conference are all discomfiting signs for Israel's polity, now in a state of electoral upheaval. They show that the Gaza offensive blasted open the doors to alternative diplomatic options, as well as the possibility of a new Palestinian unity government. Instead of validating the government's line that this was justice for Israel's traumatised southern citizens, it only served to demonstrate to the world, and especially to the new Obama administration, Israel's responsibility for the injustice of the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

It's not a political judgment to feel compassion for Israelis terrorized by Hamas rockets, and it's just the same for Palestinians living in a virtual prison in Gaza. But the objective predicaments of the two populations are not the same. To convince yourself that a turkey shoot is an act of great heroism, you need the "self-righteousness" and "blind patriotism" Professor Bar Tal found in his study.

You see yourself as David against the Islamic Goliath. The world sees a powerful elephant and an aggressive, rogue mouse that draws blood. The elephant hands the mouse the power of veto over the entire Middle East peace process by demanding that the mouse recognize the elephant's existence before any meaningful negotiations with Palestinians can take place. All this does is send a message of weakness: "We genuinely believe that our existence is threatened by this mouse."

Professor Baron argued that you cannot understand the history of the Jews outside of the histories of the societies in which Jews lived. Yet this narrative of victimhood is sustainable only on the basis of a negative Jewish exceptionalism which severs the Jewish experience from the historical mainstream.

The hope and optimism which accompanied the collapse of communism and the Jewish revival in Europe in 1989 have certainly been eclipsed by a defensive, fearful, ethnocentric mindset, which makes a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict ever harder to achieve and casts a pall over Jewish life everywhere. So why are we reading our own times through the prism of a lachrymose view of Jewish history?

If you're urging me to list the faults of the enemies of the Jews, to say it's all because of them, you might as well stop reading now. Yes, of course our predicament is partly caused by others who wish us no good, but before we heap blame on them, I want to hold up a mirror to ourselves, to know what's our responsibility. The liberal historian of Zionism, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, said it's "wrong to deny the Jews the dignity of having made their own history, even its pain". Consider these five interlocking points.

There is every reason why the Holocaust should be a constant influence on our thinking. But by insisting on owning it, fencing it off and seeing it as uniquely unique, we're in danger of lifting the Jewish tragedy out of history altogether. And this process has been a conscious act. If seen as completely unfathomable, the Holocaust is easily used to justify extraordinary measures to ensure that it doesn't happen again. This is a dangerous road to travel.

Being so defined by the Holocaust, Jewish leaders in Israel and elsewhere regularly use the tragedy to dramatise Israel's position or the threats facing Jews. So when the US Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman described the attack on the Caracas synagogue as "the scene of a modern-day Kristallnacht" ~ the 9 November 1938 pogrom in Germany in which 91 Jews were killed, more than 30,000 were arrested and 191 synagogues were set on fire ~ he diminished Kristallnacht.

But more than this: it perpetuates the view that we Jews are for ever the objects and never the subjects of history. This was never more than partially true, but ever since the establishment of the state of Israel, it has ceased to be true at all. Israel changed everything – whether you're close to Israel or not. Israel acts on the world stage; it calls itself a Jewish state; what it does affects the Jewish position worldwide; it cannot pretend to powerlessness; it's the subject of history, not the object, and in being so turns Jews everywhere into subjects of history too.

This is starkly illustrated in the fact that the UK Jewish community's defence body, the Community Security Trust, reports a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the beginning of the Gaza war. This is not a new phenomenon. For some decades, incidents have increased at times of high tension or violence in Israel-Palestine.

Jewish leaders and commentators are indignant at the implication that Jews worldwide are responsible for Israel's actions. Don't conflate Jews and Israel, they say. But matters are far more complicated. Most Jews support Israel; they feel it's part of their identity; official Jewish bodies defend Israel when it's criticized.

None of this justifies one single act of anti-Semitism against Jews perpetrated because someone claims to be angry about Palestine. But we can't have it both ways. If you're close to Israel, you can't just own your connection with the country when all is quiet; you have to own it when what Israel does provokes outrage.

The consequence of this is recognizing that by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility. If Israel were truly concerned about Jews worldwide, it would think long and hard about the implications of this reality.

The incongruous truth is that while we are drawing attention to anti-Semitism more comprehensively than at any time in the past 30 years, I sense that so much of the Jewish world is more comfortable with an identifiable enemy that hates us than with a multicultural society that welcomes Jews on equal terms.

Any anti-Semitism must be taken seriously, even at the best of times, but our appetite for the apocalyptic assessment of the anti-Semitic threat seems to know no bounds. When the Labour MP Denis MacShane writes that "Neo-anti-Semitism is a developed, coherent and organised system of modern politics that has huge influence on the minds of millions" and that it "impacts on world politics today like no other ideology", can we really take such hyperbole seriously?

It's perfectly possible to acknowledge the pain caused by increased anti-Semitism but reject wild scenarios and counterproductive ways of dealing with the problem ~ such as demonizing strong criticism of Israel. We should be able to have a dialogue about alternative ways of interpreting what's happening and what needs to be done. Sadly, the Jewish establishment here and other self-appointed gatekeepers of Jewish dignity see this as traitorous and a denial of anti-Semitism.

Nothing illustrates better how we are in thrall to the uniqueness of our suffering than the shocking silence from most Jewish leaders that has greeted the rise of Avigdor Lieberman ~ a politician who, in Haaretz's words, "conducted a racist campaign against Israel's Arab citizens and is suspected of grave criminal acts" ~ to king-maker for the next Israeli government. It's sickening that the leaders of Israel's three largest parties have courted him and conferred respectability upon him, with not the slightest hint that they might be metaphorically holding their noses.

Before we put down the mirror, the final image we see is that of Lieberman.

We are not condemned to accept the fate which the closed-minded ethnocentricity of so many Jews dictates to us. Ameliorating our predicament, restoring the balance, could come from acknowledging modest but profound truths, even if we get to them through distasteful comparisons.

I know that the siege, bombardment and invasion of Gaza were not like the German obliteration of the Warsaw ghetto ~ a comparison that critics of Israel are spreading through the internet I believe. And our need for calm and compassionate examination of the reality of the conflict would be greatly enhanced if we could retire such comparisons. But if we pause to think of the suffering of a dying Jewish child in the ghetto and a dying Palestinian child in Gaza, who would dare to suggest that their suffering is any different. Yet, as Professor Baron seems to imply, we fall all too easily into the trap of thinking that there is something unique about Jewish suffering. There isn't.

Antony Lerman is the former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research

My $.02 worth. This article makes some good points but it is obviously written by a Jew who is quite naive. He makes no mention of the horrid things said about the Palestinians, or the actions of Israel on a daily basis. He omits all discussion to ethnic cleansing or the general arrogance of Israel to the rest of the world. Nor does he discuss the terrorist aspect of Zionism. There is so much left out. The attitudes of the West Bank settlers and the fanatical Rabbis is not mentioned. Nor does he mention the Israeli belief that the world can be tried but no one can ever possibly try Israel.

Also omitted is the outlandish behaviour of the banking cartel which is primarily owned and run by Jews, and the financial situation of so many people today. Nor does he mention the political ownership of the leading politicians of the West, all of which add up to a certain degree of anger as well. AIPAC and the ADL and other such groups are heavily involved in modern day difficulties and sadly a lot of the righteous anger they create is tossed back to the regular nice guy down the street who happens to be Jewish.

Might I add, that the enormous glee exhibited by much of the Israeli populace during the recent assault on Gaza, does not help the Jewish cause at all. "I'm just a little bit racist" by the one woman roused much anger in the West. As a result, many people assume her to be the typical woman in Israel. Or they see them all as being like the aggressive and rude people of the West Bank. The list is endless, I am sorry to say. And of course the media does its best to downplay the peaceful people and brave activists so the aggressive image in maintained.