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by John Pilger
hat tip: Information Clearing House
February 25, 2010
I phoned Rami Elhanan the other day. We had not spoken for six years and much has happened in Israel and Palestine. Rami is an Israeli graphic designer who lives with his family in Jerusalem. His father survived Auschwitz. His grandparents and six aunts and uncles perished in the Holocaust. Whenever I am asked about heroes, I say Rami and his wife Nurit without hesitation.
Soon after when we met, Rami gave me a home videotape that was difficult to watch. It shows his daughter Smadar, aged 14, throwing her head back, laughing and playing the piano. “She loved to dance,” he said. On the afternoon of 4 September, 1997, Smadar and her best friend, Sivane, had auditions for admission to a dance school. She had argued that morning with her mother, who was anxious about her going to the centre of Jerusalem. “I didn’t want to row,” said Nurit, “so I let her go.”
Rami was in his car when he turned on the radio to catch the three o’clock news. There had been a suicide bombing in Ben Yehuda shopping precinct. More than 200 hundred people were injured and several were dead. Within minutes, his mobile phone rang. It was Nurit, crying. They searched the hospitals in vain, then the morgue; and so began, as Rami describes it, their “descent into darkness.”
Hat tip: Democracy Now!
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the world famous British musician Roger Waters. He’s best known as a founding member, bassist, singer, songwriter for the iconic rock band called Pink Floyd. The band is perhaps best known for their record The Wall.
Well, Roger Waters is also a supporter of the Gaza Freedom March and an outspoken critic of Israel’s separation wall with the West Bank and the underground wall Egypt’s building with Gaza that Ali Abunimah was just talking about.
Democracy Now!’s Miguel Nogueira spoke with Roger Waters this weekend and asked him about Gaza.
ROGER WATERS: We implore the Egyptian government to allow this peaceful, nonviolent protest at the siege of this country to proceed. I have a feeling they will. This again points to the power, or the potential power, of this demonstration. I think the Egyptian government may find that if they deny this due process of the rights of human beings to peacefully protest when they see a crime being committed, then they will find themselves on very dangerous shifting sands and put into a very difficult position themselves. So this again speaks to the fact that the organizing committee of the Freedom March on Gaza have already achieved—even before they start, they’ve achieved, to some extent, their aim, because this is becoming big news around the world, and it will become bigger and bigger news.
By Paul Craig Roberts
Information Clearing House
The US government is now so totally under the thumbs of organized interest groups that “our” government can no longer respond to the concerns of the American people who elect the president and the members of the House and Senate. Voters will vent their frustrations over their impotence on the president, which implies a future of one-term presidents. Soon our presidents will be as ineffective as Roman emperors in the final days of that empire.
Obama is already set on the course to a one-term presidency. He promised change, but has delivered none. His health care bill is held hostage by the private insurance companies seeking greater profits. The most likely outcome will be cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in order to help fund wars that enrich the military/security complex and the many companies created by privatizing services that the military once provided for itself at far lower costs. It would be interesting to know the percentage of the $700+ billion “defense” spending that goes to private companies. In American “capitalism,” an amazing amount of taxpayers’ earnings go to private firms via the government. Yet, Republicans scream about “socializing” health care.
Republicans and Democrats saw opportunities to create new sources of campaign contributions by privatizing as many military functions as possible. There are now a large number of private companies that have never made a dollar in the market, feeding instead at the public trough that drains taxpayers of dollars while loading Americans with debt service obligations.
By Paul Craig Roberts
Hat tip: “Information Clearing House”
On June 30, the government of Israel committed an act of piracy when the Israeli Navy in international waters illegally boarded the “Spirit of Humanity,” kidnapped its 21-person crew from 11 countries, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Laureate Mairead MaGuire, and confiscated the cargo of medical supplies, olive trees, reconstruction materials, and children’s toys that were on the way to the Mediterranean coast of Gaza. The “Spirit of Humanity,” along with the kidnapped 21 persons, is being towed to Israel as I write.
Gaza has been described as the “world’s largest concentration camp.” It is home to 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven by force of American-supplied Israeli arms out of their homes, off their farms, and out of their villages so that Israel could steal their land and make the Palestinian land available to Israeli settlers.
What we have been witnessing for 60 years is a replay in modern times, despite the United Nations and laws strictly preventing Israel’s theft of Palestine, of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century theft of American Indian lands by US settlers. An Israeli government spokesman recently rebuked the President of the United States, a country, the Israeli said, who stole all of its land from Indians, for complaining about Israel’s theft of Palestine.
I knew the “Spirit of Humanity” would fall to Israeli piracy the minute I received on June 25 from an official of an Israeli peace organization a “public advisory” that the government of Cyprus had withheld permission for the “Spirit of Humanity” to leave for Gaza. The US State Department had advised that “The Israeli Foreign Ministry informed U.S. officials at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv that Israel still considers Gaza an area of conflict and that any boats attempting to sail to Gaza will not be permitted to reach its destination.” The “Spirit of Humanity” obtained permission to leave Cyprus when all aboard signed a waiver absolving Cyprus of all responsibility for the crew’s safety at the hands of the Israelis.
As President Obama has called for humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza, and as the International Red Cross has damned the inhumanity of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the question that immediately comes to mind is why did not the United States send sufficient US Navy escort to see the “Spirit of Humanity” safely through international waters to Gaza? We send ships against Somalian pirates, why not against Israeli ones?
hat tip: WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
Statement on Obama Actions Thus Far re Gaza
In a message to President Obama today, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney wrote:
“It is time that the United States negotiate in good faith with Hamas, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It is also time that the U.S. government tell Israel to release the Hamas Parliamentarians it illegally arrested. President Obama, please say something about Gaza. You have been roundly condemned for your continued silence in the face of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. Silence is complicity. Not one more bomb for Israel.”
Israeli action in Gaza has outraged the world. Starting with Israel’s inhumane blockade of Gaza when it didn’t like the 2006 election results that put Hamas officially into power. In September 2007, Israel declared Gaza an “enemy entity.” Of course, Israeli efforts to isolate the Gaza Strip can be traced back to Ariel Sharon as early as 2005. In carrying out its military Operation Cast Lead, Israel not only committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, it also carried out a long-standing goal of Gaza isolation. The President’s continued silence on Gaza and the Palestinian right of self-determination is unacceptable.
I would like to commend President Obama for recognizing that peace is the imperative and that the United States can play a constructive role in its attainment. However, placing a phone call to an irrelevant “leader” in an attempt to revive his political standing is not a route to peace: it is a journey down the same road that we’re already on, that is massacres, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture–all with U.S. weapons, paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
By Rose Aguilar
Hat tip: AlterNet
Posted May 20, 2009
Author Susan Galleymore shares her dramatic encounters with mothers who living in Mid-East war zones and American military moms.
In 2004, Susan Galleymore traveled 7,472 miles from Alameda, Calif., to deliver a message to her Army Ranger son stationed on a military base in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.
“Don’t do anything you’ll regret or be ashamed of because it will haunt you for the rest of your life,” she told him.
The devastation and despair she witnessed, and the stories she heard in taxis and coffee shops along the way made her realize how disconnected Americans are from the realities of war and occupation — even those of us who like to think we are well-informed.
She decided that she couldn’t return to California and continue life as usual.
Over the next few years, she traveled to Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria to interview mostly mothers about their personal stories and everyday struggles.
She couldn’t go to Afghanistan because she ran out of money, so she interviewed Afghan women by phone and Afghan American women living in the Bay Area in person. She also interviewed a number of American military moms.
Galleymore compiled these first-person narratives, along with her observations and analysis, in a newly released book, Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak About War and Terror.
We meet Elham, a Lebanese mother whose home was bombed by the Israeli air force in July 2006. She says
“My message to Americans, especially American women, is, ‘Please try to feel how Arab women feel.’ Why do American mothers send their sons to die in Iraq? Is it for democracy? Shouldn’t democracy be built by the people? If it is imposed from those outside, isn’t that occupation?
“When Americans talk about terrorists, I look around, and I see people bombing our people, our land, and I wonder just who are the terrorists? The United States doesn’t call the Israeli attacks against us in our land terrorism, yet calls our defense of land and our people terrorism.
“America is learning now, in Iraq, what the Israelis have learned, what the British should have learned, what the French have learned, and what the Ottomans learned about Arab resistance. History will not change. Those who don’t have a history and who will not learn the lessons of history will not have a future.
“Americans haven’t yet understood that it is not only technology that wins in the long run. The spirit of the people to own their own land and their own culture will always win in the end. We have heroes and martyrs for our cause, and their young people are killed just for the material benefit of a few.”
Pope in Bethlehem endorses independent Palestinian state
Hat tip: AP
May 13, 2009
Standing in the cradle of Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI told Palestinians on Wednesday that he understands their suffering and offered his strongest public backing yet for an independent Palestinian state.
To get to Jesus’ traditional birthplace of Bethlehem, Benedict had to cross through towering concrete slabs, part of a separation barrier Israel has erected to wall off the West Bank’s Palestinian areas.
Bethlehem, West Bank (AP) — “Mr. President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders,” the pontiff said upon his arrival, standing alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
It was the third day of Benedict’s Holy Land pilgrimage meant largely to boost interfaith relations. But so far, it has been fraught with political land mines. Israelis have criticized the German-born pope for failing to adequately express remorse for the Holocaust, while the Palestinians are pressing him to draw attention to the difficult conditions of life under Israeli rule.
The pope also called for a Palestinian homeland when he arrived in Israel on Monday for the five-day visit. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the audience, says Palestinians are not ready to rule themselves and he has resisted international pressure to endorse the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
In Bethlehem, Benedict delivered a special message of solidarity to the 1.4 million Palestinians isolated in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He has no plans to visit Gaza.
Israel recently waged a three-week war against Gaza
militants men, women and children that killed more than 1,000 people and badly damaged thousands of homes. The war compounded suffering already caused by an Israel and Egyptian blockade of Gaza’s borders since Hamas wrested control of Gaza two years ago.
“In a special way, my heart goes out to the pilgrims from war-torn Gaza: I ask you to bring back to your families and your communities my warm embrace, and my sorrow for the loss, the hardship and the suffering you have had to endure,” the pope told thousands of Palestinians who packed an open-air Mass in Manger Square, some hoisting Palestinian and Vatican flags and pictures of the pontiff and Jesus.
“Please be assured of my solidarity with you in the immense work of rebuilding which now lies ahead, and my prayers that the embargo will soon be lifted,” he added.
Sat, 21 Feb 2009
Renowned US intellectual Noam Chomsky says Barack Obama did not comment on Israel’s war on Gaza, as it was part of the “premeditated” plan.
We have been informed by an Israeli source that the recent invasion of the Gaza Strip was completely premeditated, Chomsky said in an interview with the French Al-Ahram daily.
The plan was to deliver the maximum blow to Gaza before the new US president took office, so that he could put these matters behind him, added the famous intellectual, referring to Obama’s pledge to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
According to Chomsky, while Israel was pounding the Gaza Strip — during which over 1300 Palestinians were killed –, Obama excused his silence by saying that “There’s only one president at a time.”
See all the pages on pdf here.
For the first time, The Liberty Voice included a color spread in its printed version! Pick up your copy of The Liberty Voice to see this dramatic photo-journalism piece (hat-tip Norman Finkelstein) on the tragedy currently befalling Palestinians.
Newspapers are available at all these fine locations.
A Prayer for Israel
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
~Psalm 51; verses 1-4
Photo montage courtesy of Norman Finkelstein
Treatment of Jewish people in the 1940′s Treatment of Palestinian people – Now