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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Angry Birds Topple Middle East Leaders


Eslam al-Rihani
A cartoon video which recounts the unrest in the Middle East using the characters in the popular Angry Birds game and the children's story Three Little Pigs is racking up the views on YouTube.

The video, which has been posted on the YouTube channel of a Russian named Egor Zhgun, had been viewed more than 400,000 times on the video-sharing site.

In the video, the egg-stealing green pigs in the original Angry Birds game from Finland's Rovio portray Tunisia's deposed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak and Libyan strongman Moamer Gaddafi.

The Angry Birds first take out Ben Ali in his house of straw before moving on to topple Mubarak in a house made to resemble an Egyptian pyramid.

Gaddafi proves a harder nut to crack in his house of stones and survives several barrages of birds before he is finally crushed by a "mighty eagle" in the colors of the United States.

The video can be seen at youtube.com/user/egorzhgun on YouTube.


Turkish FM: Arab Rulers Must Change or Risk Defeat


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday a new era was sweeping the Middle East and it was up to its leaders to embrace change or risk being cast away.

He dismissed allegations by many Arab autocrats that an unprecedented wave of uprisings that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and inspired masses across Libya, Yemen and Bahrain was the work of "foreign elements."

Davutoglu said the Middle East was passing through a political and social upheaval like that which gripped Eastern Europe in the 1990s and toppled a series of communist dictators.

"In the region there is an era of change," Davutoglu told Reuters in an interview. "It is like Eastern Europe in the late 1990s. Once there is a popular demand in a region, each country is being affected by these demands."

The world, he said, was changing and a young generation of Arabs "wanted more dignity, more economic prosperity and more democracy."

"Now wise leaders in the region should lead this process rather than try to prevent it. Those who try to prevent this process will face more difficulties like in Libya," he said. "This is a new era that will bring many challenges, many opportunities and many risks."

"It is up to these leaders to maximize the opportunities and minimize these risks," he added.

Davutoglu was speaking a day after an international coalition in London piled pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to quit, resolving to continue military action against his forces until he complies with a UN resolution.

Assad Forms Panel to Study Lifting Emergency Law


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has set up a committee to look into replacing a decades-old emergency law with anti-terrorism legislation.

The state news agency SANA said on Thursday the panel would study and prepare "legislation, including protecting the nation's security and the citizen's dignity and fighting terrorism, paving the way for lifting the emergency law."

It said the committee would complete its work by April 25, but gave no further details.

Meanwhile, SANA said that Assad directed Head of the High Judicial Council to form a special judiciary committee to launch immediate investigations into all the incidents which claimed the lives of a number of civilians and military personnel in Daraa and Lattakia.

According to the agency, the mentioned committee would conduct its work according to the valid laws and is entitled to turn to whoever it deems fit for help in the mission assigned to it. It also has the right to demand whatever information or documents from the bodies concerned.

Assad also issued a legislative decree to increase monthly salaries and wages and add an article for Syrian workers in Syrian embassies and delegations abroad.

One day earlier, Assad renewed warnings that Syria was targeted by a huge conspiracy and announced his will to launch the process of reform in the country. "We are all for reform. That is the duty of the state. But we are not for strife," he said. "Reform is not a trend," he said. "When the people demand their rights, it is the state's duty to fulfill their demands. What we should watch out for is starting reforms under these circumstances right now, this passing wave."

"We were late in implementing reform but we will start now," Assad said, addressing those asking for reform. He said that ties between the state and the people are not based on pressure but on the rights and needs of citizens. He also announced plans to combat corruption and increase job opportunities.

Mofaz threatens to boost prison restrictions


[ 31/03/2011 - 08:51 AM ]

NAZARETH, (PIC)-- Shaul Mofaz, head of the Knesset's foreign affairs and security committee, has threatened to heighten restrictions on Palestinians held in Israeli prisons as Israeli political pressure to see captured soldier Gilad Shalit is released soars.

Mofaz's threats came during a visit to the Ofer prison near Ramallah city as he toured the facility with Knesset members from the Labor and Likud parties and vowed to discontinue the prison canteen system and deny prisoners rights to visits and to some television stations.

The move was motivated by the continued detention of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by resistance factions in the Gaza Strip in 2007, according to rights groups who quoted the Ofer prisoners.

Mofaz went to the prison a first time two weeks ago and threatened to take arbitrary action against the inmates.

The prisoners said then that Mofaz intended to promote himself politically as the alternative to Kadima party head Tzipi Livni and used the Palestinian prisoner issue to do that among party members.

Meanwhile, the Israeli free-Shalit committee has ruled out that Abu Sisi from Gaza was secretly abducted from the Ukraine 40 days back because of suspicion of having secret information about Shalit.

The group said that the report first published by the German Dir Spiegel newspaper was only a media tool to allow Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to buy time and to boast about the measures he has taken towards freeing Shalit.

Shalit's father has pronounced publically that Netanyahu's government has so far been impotent in pressuring Hamas in order to free Shalit.

Dir Spiegel suggested that Abu Sisi, an engineer from Gaza who disappeared mysteriously during a visit to the Ukraine, had information on Shalit's whereabouts.

Israeli Radio announced Wednesday night that Shin Bet has informed the Israeli government that it will present an indictment against Abu Sisi.

International Call to Stop the Jewish National Fund


By uspcn Published: March 29, 2011Posted in: Events, Features, News

International Call to Stop the Jewish National Fund
The US Palestinian Community Network is an endorser of the international call to Stop the JNF. Extensive factsheets and supporting materials for the campaign may be found at the Stop the JNF website.

Stop the JNF
Stop Greenwashing Apartheid
Call for an international campaign to stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

To endorse the campaign, visit StoptheJNF.org
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) [1] was instrumental in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in the 1948 Nakba [2], and continues to play a central role in maintaining Israel’s regime of apartheid [3]. The JNF provided political, financial and intelligence [4] support for the Zionist forces in their conquest, massacres and ethnic cleansing operations that characterized the 1948-49 war and the Palestinian Nakba. Today, the JNF controls vast properties belonging to millions of Palestinians, developing them exclusively for persons of “Jewish nationality”, a concept established and promoted in the JNF’s charter to exclude all others.
The JNF was created in 1901 to acquire land and property rights in Palestine and beyond for exclusive Jewish settlement. While indigenous Palestinians are barred from leasing [5], building on, managing or working their own land, the JNF holds the land in trust for “those of Jewish race or descendency” living anywhere in the world to “promote the interests of Jews in the prescribed region” [6]

To ensure such racist control over the majority of confiscated Palestinian lands, Israel adopted the JNF model of discriminatory land management as official state policy. In 1953, the Israeli Knesset legislated special status for JNF, enabling it to carry out governmental functions as a Zionist institution (“for Jews only”). The JNF continues to operate as a state-chartered organization under Israeli law [7], with direct control over some thirteen percent of the land in pre-1967 Israel. Further, the JNF appoints six out of thirteen members of the governing board of the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), which manages the JNF’s thirteen percent, in addition to another eighty percent of all land in Israel. It is through this relationship with the JNF that Israel, while portraying itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, in fact, outsources the land-management functions of the state to this discriminatory state-chartered organization.

After the 1948 Nakba and the expulsion of approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian population from their homeland, the JNF was repackaged as an environmentalist organization carrying out forestation activities. The JNF’s forests, parks and recreational facilities, planted and built on the ruins of hundreds of destroyed and depopulated Palestinian villages, have critically served to veil from public view the continuing official Israeli attempts to erase the traces of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The JNF is thus fundamentally complicit in the denial of displaced Palestinians’ rights to return, restitution and compensation, and in green-washing Israel’s regime of apartheid, colonization and occupation.

The JNF’s activities are not limited to the part of mandate Palestine that became Israel in 1948. The JNF’s Canada Park, for example, covers the remains of the Palestinian villages Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba, which the Israeli army depopulated and razed on the explicit orders of the then Chief-of-Staff, General Yitzhak Rabin, in the course of the 1967 war. Moreover, through its subsidiary Himnuta, the JNF has illegally acquired lands and houses in the occupied West Bank, and particularly in 1967 occupied Jerusalem.

Today, the JNF’s projects of displacement and forestation continue, particularly in the Naqab (Negev) and the Galilee. In these areas, “development” projects in which the JNF plays a central role, aim to continue the forced displacement of Palestinian citizens of Israel to make way for exclusively Jewish settlements and for JNF parks and forests.

The JNF continues to serve as a global fundraiser for Israeli colonization and apartheid. Despite its complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity, and despite its status as a chartered agent of the State of Israel, the JNF and its affiliate organizations enjoy charitable status in over 50 countries as environmental charities. These JNF branches worldwide also work to muster the political support necessary for legitimizing and promoting Israeli apartheid, a task greatly facilitated by the political, economic and cultural elites in each country that have signed on as JNF patrons.

As part of the global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel until such time as it respects and implements international law, we the undersigned organizations call on global civil society to join us in a campaign to challenge the JNF by:

exposing and documenting the role of the JNF in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine; protesting and disrupting the JNF’s fundraising activities across the globe; opposing and acting to nullify the JNF’s charitable and tax exempt status in Europe, the Americas, Oceania and Asia, and Africa; condemning the activities of the JNF through popular tribunals and truth commissions; supporting Palestinian and Israeli organizations resisting the forced displacement of Palestinians in the Naqab and Galilee; and urging those organizations collaborating with the JNF, and especially those with environmental and anti-racist mandates, to break ties with the JNF.

Notes
[1] In Hebrew, the JNF takes the name Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL) (literally, the “Perpetual Fund for Israel”). In some states, JNF affiliate organizations use this name instead of JNF.
[2] Ethnic cleansing by means of expulsion, massacre and population transfer and related grave breaches and crimes defined in the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), as well as the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (1945) and the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (1998).
[3] The term apartheid refers to the crime defined in article 2 of the “International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid” and article 7 of the “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”.
[4] The JNF played an important role in the preparation of the “village files”, used by Zionist forces as a primary reference in planning and executing the depopulation and destruction of Palestinian communities in the 1948 Nakba (See Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oxford: One World Press, 2006)
[5] In some cases, Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab have been allowed 3-year leases (compared to the 49-year leases granted Jewish citizens of Israel).
[6] Jewish National Fund Memorandum of Association (1907).
[7] State-chartered, or para-state, organizations are organizations that through a formal, legal agreement, participates in the functions of the state.
[8] Most villages of Palestinian Bedouin of the Naqab were rendered non-existent by Israel’s 1965 Planning and Construction Law. Today, over 80,000 of these Palestinian citizens of Israel live in the “unrecognized villages”, their land has been confiscated, they receive no water, electricity, or any other form of government-provided means of existence, and face the constant threat of home demolition and forced eviction. The state aims to displace them to the urban townships and use their land for exclusively Jewish settlement.The JNF aims to play a leading role in this process through its “Blueprint Negev” fundraising campaign, through which it plans to invest $600 million in 10 years “supporting a new generation of Israeli pioneers”. See the JNF eBook Volume 1, p. 18.


Endorsers
Al Awda-NY: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
AL-BEIT: Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Israel
Alternative Information Centre (AIC)
American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP)
American Muslims for Palestine
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP)
Askapena
Australians for Palestine
Birthright Unplugged
Boycott Israel Network (BIN)
Boykot Israel Denmark
Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Cambridge Palestine Solidaritiy Campaign
Campagne BDS France
Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple Palestinien
Canada Palestine Association
Collectif 69 De Soutien Au Peuple Palestinien
Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix, Strasbourg
Don’t Buy Into Apartheid
Global Women’s Strike
Human Rights Legal Aid Fund
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)
JNF eBook Series
Labor for Palestine
Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
National Lawyers Guild
Nederlands Palestina Komitee
New York City Labor Against the War.
Palestine Legal Aid Fund
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
Pedal 100 days to Palestine
Philadelphia Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Coalition
Right of Return Congress
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Siege Busters Working Group
SOAS Palestine Society
Students Against Israeli Apartheid, Carleton
Union Juive Francaise pour la Paix (UJFP)
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Palestinian Community Network
Women for Palestine
York Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Anthony Lawson: Holocaust, Hate Speech & Were the Germans so Stupid? (Must Watch)


Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 12:51PM Gilad Atzmon This documentary raises the most crucial questions to do with history and truth. Being subject to Zionist tyranny, we have become detached from our past. History is there to introduce hope for a better future. This should be applied to the Holocaust or any other historical chapter
.


 

Occupying the Bases: April 9th and Iraq’s ‘Day of Salvation’


Image from an Iraqi facebook
page with over 31,000
"likes" calling for action on
April 9th. It reads:
"The Great Iraqi Revolution - 4/9 -
The Day of National Salvation"

On March 22nd, 5 Iraqi grassroots organizations announced an initiative that will target “the occupier and its agents”, that’s to say: US military bases and Iraq’s Maliki-led government. Riding the recent wave of sizable Iraqi demonstrations against, among other things: government corruption, lack of social services, Iraq’s prison industrial complex and a broken sectarian political system, the sit-ins planned for on April 9th are the first to call out the US occupation as a central cause, and sustainer of the shattered social reality that millions of Iraqis face every day. A new zeal and organizational drive inspired by the recent Arab uprisings has allowed the grievances laid out during the past month of weekly protests to coalesce. Two communiques co-signed by “The Popular Movement to Save Iraq”, “The Popular Front to Save Kirkuk”, “The Student and Youth Organization of a Free Iraq”, “The Movement in Steadfast Basra to Liberate the South” and “The Iraqi Association of the Tribes of Southern and Central Iraq”outline their demands and the means by which they hope to achieve them.
Those demands include:
-          The unconditional departure of the occupying forces
-          The revocation of the security agreement which violates the sovereignty and independence of Iraq
-           The revocation of the sectarian and ethnic quota system in the political process
-           The building of a civil Iraqi state through transparent elections, without the interference of the occupation forces or any foreign, regional force, especially Iran
-          The release of the innocent prisoners from occupation and government prisons
-          The disclosure of the location of secret prisons that are scattered all over Iraq’s provinces
-          Carrying out the demands of our people which were outlined during the “Uprising of Rage” on February 25th
-          The formation of an independent judicial committee to investigate the actions of the security forces against peaceful demonstrators [involved in protests over this last month]

The communique continues by announcing  “the launch of a long-term sit-in in all Iraqi provinces to mark the eighth anniversary of the brutal American occupation of our precious Iraq on Saturday, 4/9/2011 [. . .] This sit-in will not last hours or days, but will continue night and day until the protesters demands are met [ . . . ] For our sit-ins we will set up tents in front of US military bases, which are located in every Iraqi province. We ask all patriotic individuals and forces that oppose the occupation to participate in this demonstration.” (Full text of the communiques 16 and 17, including organizer’s contact information and the sites of the planned sit-ins, can be accessed in English here and here, and their original Arabic here and here.)

Location of major US miltary bases in Iraq
(last updated 2008)
The U.S. maintains 14 massive military installations in Iraq, along with dozens of smaller ones. With the Bush administration having pushed for 58 permanent bases during the drafting of the “status of forces” agreement, their fate under Obama and the planned post-2011 “withdrawal” remains unclear.

Among those leading this call is Uday al-Zaidi, the brother of journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who gained world-wide acclaim for his symbolic shoe-throwing at President Bush in December of 2008, and later his eloquent statement about why he did what he did. (As vocal organizers of the past month of protests, both Muntazer and Uday al-Zaidi have been harassed, assaulted and detained by the Iraqi authorities.)
Large media outlet coverage of this mobilization call has been scant, but has included brief stories on Al-Jazeera Arabic, as well as local Iraqi media.

The Iraqi blogosphere though, has been abuzz with talk of this plan, as well as more broadly how to marshal the audacity in the air and mobilize for a new Iraq.

Posted by iraqleft

The Rise of Israel's Military Rabbis


Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 11:17PM Gilad Atzmon

Simple truth






Simple truth




Give me some pebbles to throw


Pebbles are the pathway to life
The echo of its music stays
Long after the shadow of the tyrant
Fades away


Tell me;
Did you spend your life
Searching for happiness
Running after crumbs of food
Accumulating tons of rotting clothes
Desiring heaps of rusty cars
Building a house of rubble
Chasing a mirage?




Calm down
Sit for a moment

And listen to your heart-beat
Whispering :
Your tomorrow never comes
Your yesterday has long gone
Your life is nothing but this moment
You are no-where; but now-here





Don't travel far
The dream of happiness you're after
Is very near; inside



So, give me some pebbles to throw
Pebbles are the pathway to life




The echo of its music stays
Long after the shadow of the tyrant
Fades away



Posted by nahida the Exiled Palestinian at 7:30:00 AM

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nabil El-Araby: "Iran is not the enemy and we welcome 'contacts' with Hezbollah!"


NVia FLC

"Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil El-Araby said Tuesday that Iran has historically rooted relations with Egypt as a neighboring country, and should not be regarded as an enemy state, Palestinian Arabic-Language news daily Maan reported Tuesday.
El Araby, who entered into his role March 6 2011 added that Hezbollah is part of the political and social makeup of Lebanon, and that communication between Hezbollah and the Egyptian government is welcomed. The Egyptian foreign minister also said coupled with increased dialogue with Hamas he is committed to improving the humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip and Rafah crossing."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 12:00 PM

‘Million March’ in Support for Assad


almana.

"The people want Bashar Assad!" Millions chanted in a central Damascus square

  



Millions of supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad poured into the country’s streets in a show of support for their leader calling their protests “loyalty to the homeland”

 Batoul Wehbe

Millions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporters poured into the country's streets in a show of support for their leader calling their protests “loyalty to the homeland”.

Sources told Al-Manar TV that there are about two million protesters in Damascus, another two in Aleppo, a million in Hamah, a million in Homos and hundred of thousands in other cities.

All roads leading to Sabeh Bahrat ("Seven Seas") square in Damascus were cut off by police, as men, women and children raised Syrian flags and pictures of Assad and his father, late president Hafez al-Assad.

The rallies come after a high-ranking official in Damascus told AFP that the Syrian government will resign on Tuesday and a new cabinet will see the light within 24 hours.

Protesters were chanting slogans in support of the President, who pledged to make reforms in the country and is expected to deliver a speech soon addressing the nation and especially Daraa people who suffered much lately.

President al-Assad on Monday received a phone call of support from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz expressing the Saudi Arabia's support to Syria in the face of conspiracy which targets its security and stability.

Al-Assad also received phone calls from King of Bahrain Hamad bin Issa al- Khalifa, the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, President Jalal al-Talabani of Iraq and Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. They expressed their countries' standing by Syria in the face of conspiracy to which it is exposed, targeting its security and stability. They underlined confidence in Syria's capability, as leadership and people, to foil that conspiracy.

Concerning the field developments, security forces continued chasing cars which official sources said were accused of undermining security in the areas of the country, especially in Latakia recording an unofficial toll of more than twenty arrests, but without details about the affiliations and reasons.

An official source on Monday denied claims on Reuters talking about a shooting on protests that took place in Daraa by the security forces.
Beware Hasbara Zionist Dark Rooms

"The regime is blaming outsiders (including the US and Israel) for fomenting the uprising.The regime's lie is that the Rabbit is being punished for "supporting the resistance."

The "Palestinian" IDIOT

Israel criminalizes commemoration of the Nakba


Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Electronic Intifada, 29 March 2011

Young Palestinian refugees, victims of the Nakba, study at a refugee camp in Syria, 1959. (UN Photo)


A bill was passed by the Israeli Knesset (parliament) last week which calls on the government to deny funding to any organization, institution or municipality that commemorates the founding of the Israeli state as a day of mourning. The bill has become known as the "Nakba bill," referring to the ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine during and before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947-48.

"Law will not influence the way we commemorate the Nakba," Haneen Zoabi, Palestinian member of the Knesset, told The Electronic Intifada. "On the contrary, we must prove to our people and to the state that we will not be afraid from this law and that this will not succeed in oppressing our feeling or our identity. We will commemorate the Nakba in a much more impressive way this year than we ever did."

"This is a kind of law to control our memory, to control our collective memory. It's a very stupid law which punishes our feelings. It seems that the history of the victim is threatening the Zionist state," Zoabi said.

Elected in 2009, Zoabi represents the Balad party (National Democratic Alliance) and is the first woman to be elected on the list of an Arab party in Israel. She was one of 25 members of the Israeli Knesset (MKs) to vote against the bill on 22 March, compared to 37 MKs who voted in favor of it.

"The Nakba is not just part of the Palestinian history," Zoabi explained. "It's also part of the Jewish history of this land. Because you need two in order to make Nakba. You need the victim and you need the oppressor. It was the Israelis who expelled the Palestinians and destroyed their towns and their villages and stole their land."

"It's not a narrative. It is not a political attitude. It's a historical fact," she added.

Initiated by MK Alex Miller of the ultra right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu and officially called "Budget Principles Law (Amendment 39) - Reducing Budgetary Support for Activities Contrary to the Principles of the State," the bill would also allow the government fine groups it determines are working against the "Jewish and democratic" nature of Israel or who violate the symbols of the state, such as the Israeli flag.

The original version of the bill -- which was subsequently changed due to widespread condemnation -- called for putting any individual who publicly commemorates the Palestinian Nakba in jail for three years.

"The purpose of the bill is to prevent members of the Arab minority in Israel from exercising their democratic right to commemorate a seminal event in their history. This legislation will cause harm to cultural and educational institutions that teach about the Nakba by cutting their funding and will further entrench inequality and discrimination. The bill is both anti-democratic and discriminatory," wrote Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, in a 14 March press release ("Adalah: Nakba Law Violates Rights of Arab Minority ...").

Adalah stated that it sent an urgent letter to the Chair of the Israeli Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and member of the Yisrael Beitenu party MK David Rotem, asking him to reject the bill before it was voted into law.

"The bill's approval would lead to major harm to the principle of equality and to the rights of Arab citizens to preserve their history and culture. Arab citizens of Israel are an indigenous minority living on its homeland, and their historical roots to this land run extremely deep, and thus their identity must be preserved," the Adalah press release stated.

Adalah had signaled its intention to petition the Israeli high court should the bill be approved in the Knesset. Now that it has been voted on, the only way the bill can now be overturned is through an Israeli high court ruling.

Impact of the bill already being felt

According to Israeli activist Eitan Bronstein, while the practical and legal implications of the Nakba law are impossible to foresee, the law is already making an impact.

"I would say that the main implication and influence is already there, is already in practice, and is already working. Anyone who wants to do something [to commemorate the Nakba], they immediately have a question about the Nakba law and whether or not they are under any risk," Bronstein, founder and spokesperson of Zochrot, an organization that works to raise awareness of the Nakba within Israeli society, told The Electronic Intifada.

"We analyze this law as part of a whole campaign to intimidate anyone who wishes to study, to remember, to mention, to have anything to do with the Nakba. In Israel, it mostly effects and it already effects, from what we see, Palestinian citizens from Israel," he added.

Bronstein explained that while many Israeli liberals have objected to the law because of civil liberties concerns, few have acknowledged how important it is to commemorate the Nakba itself.

"I think it's about time that there will be many more Israelis who participate in Nakba commemorations and not only because of freedom of speech, but to understand how important it is. We should take a clear stance in supporting and participating in commemorating it and struggling against the denial of the Nakba," Bronstein said.

"Without understanding the Nakba, you cannot of course understand the scale or the importance of this key issue of Palestinian refugees. If we don't address the Nakba, we cannot really address properly our future. Any solution for the future which is not based on addressing this issue of the Palestinian refugees, it will be useless."

"The fear of the victim"

The Nakba bill is just the latest piece of discriminatory legislation targeting the Palestinian minority in Israel, who constitute 20 percent of the overall population of the state.

More than twenty bills are presently being discussed in the Israeli Knesset that impact -- both directly and indirectly -- the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Included among these bills is the controversial loyalty oath legislation, which would mandate new immigrants to pledge loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state" and the "Acceptance to Communities Bill."

Passed same day as the Nakba law, the "Acceptance to Communities Bill" formalizes the establishment of admission committees to review potential residents to communities of up to 400 family units in the Negev and Galilee regions, where the Palestinian population in Israel is largely concentrated.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the bill would allow these committees to refuse admission to a wide variety of people, including Palestinians, single parents and same-sex couples, among others.

"The racist, anti-Arab rhetoric used by some of the promoters of this bill is shameful, but it's important for the public to understand that any one of us could be targeted by this bill. Israeli legislators are about to sacrifice equality and the right of every person to choose their place of residence -- in favor of the extra-rights of the residents of these wealthy communities, who wish to 'select' new residents on public lands," said ACRI Attorney Gil Gan-Mor in a 22 March press release ("Final Vote Today on Nakba Law and Acceptance to Communities Bill").

According to Haneen Zoabi, the wave of increasingly hostile legislation in the Knesset signals how extreme the Israeli state has become.

"Any racist law will succeed within this Zionist and right-wing Knesset. Any law which any fool or any crazy or any hysterical and racist person could imagine, anything, he can pass it within this racist Knesset," Zoabi said.

"I think that the message is that there is no place for the Palestinian or the Palestinian identity to be a part of this state. It is a kind of political strategy in order to change the laws of the political game. These laws have a political function. It is not a mere expression of Zionism."

She added that with the Nakba law in particular, the Israeli government is trying to delegitimize the Palestinian struggle within the country.

"They have a political function of delegitimizing our political struggle. When you delegitimize this struggle, this is the more dangerous thing. You are delegitimizing a political tool, a legitimate tool. This is more dangerous than a mere political or identity expression," Zoabi said.

"Behind this law is a fear, the fear of the victim. Behind this law is the ability of the memory of the victim to threaten the legitimacy of Zionism."

Originally from Montreal, Jillian Kestler-D'Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in occupied East Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at http://jilldamours.wordpress.com.

General strike in 1948 occupied Palestine on Land Day - Lafta inhabitants reject Israeli plans to sell their land


[ 30/03/2011 - 12:53 PM ]

LOD, (PIC)-- The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee has declared that a general strike was declared in all areas of Palestine occupied in 1948 on Wednesday on the 35th anniversary of the Land Day .

The committee said in a statement that the strike would cover all institutions and sectors especially local councils, shops, schools, health institutions, farmers, employees, and workers in all sectors.

A march in Lod on Tuesday night signaled the start of the Arab activity to commemorate the event back in 1976 when Israeli security forces killed 6 Palestinians and wounded 100 who were taking part in a demonstration to protest seizure of Arab land.

The march started in front of the Abu Eid family homes, which were demolished by the Israeli authorities, and ended at the municipality.

Another march is expected in Araqib village in the Negev, which was repeatedly leveled by the Israeli authorities, at noon Wednesday, and the central march would take place in Arraba Al-Batuf village in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Islamic and national forces are expected to participate in a major demonstration in northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday in solidarity with the Arab masses in 1948 occupied Palestine on the occasion of Land Day. An agreement was made that only the Palestinian flag would be hoisted during the march.

The interior ministry in Gaza gave permission for the march while Hamas called for active participation in it.

Lafta inhabitants reject Israeli plans to sell their land

[ 30/03/2011 - 08:29 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Inhabitants of the Lafta village to the northwest of occupied Jerusalem have declared their rejection of the Israeli occupation authority's plan to sell 700 dunums of their land to Jewish contractors.

A number of those inhabitants told a press conference at the Ambassador hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday that the contractors would build 212 villas on those lands.

They said that the step was in violation of UN resolutions, calling on the international organizations to preserve the village lands from Israeli confiscation.

They said that the villas would be built over 500 dunums after razing 70 buildings in the village.

The inhabitants distributed a statement affirming their insistence on their historical right to their land and heritage.

They asked the world community and human rights groups to pressure Israel into halting its policy of wiping out Palestinian heritage and landmarks.

Assad Warns of Big Conspiracy Targeting Syria


Syrian President Bashar Assad renewed on Wednesday warnings that Syria was targeted by a huge conspiracy and announced his will to launch the process of reform in the country.

In an exceptional address to parliament that lasted almost one hour, Assad said that a huge conspiracy was targeting Syria. "I know that the Syrian people have been awaiting this speech since last week, but I was waiting to get the full picture... to avoid giving an emotional address that would put the people at ease but have no real effect, at a time when our enemies are targeting Syria," Assad told parliament.

The Syrian President, who expressed belief that Syria will emerge as victorious out of the "test of unity" it was facing, said his country's enemies had taken advantage of the needs of the people to incite strife. "This conspiracy is different in shape and timing from what is going on in the Arab world," he said, while noting that Syria is not isolated from the region, but at the same time is not a copy of other countries.

Assad also noted that the enemies of Syria are working to continuously hit Syria’s stability. While expressing hope that the latest developments would support the Palestinian cause, he recalled that his country’s foreign policy has been based on a decision to hold onto rights and defend the Arab resistance. "Therefore, the objective behind the latest plot against Syria is aimed at ending its leadership of the resistance against Israel," he highlighted.

Addressing the weekend developments in Syria, Assad stressed that the strife began weeks ago through the instigation of satellite TV stations. He praised the people of Daraa who constitute the main arm in protecting Syria. "Daraa’s people will contain the minorities that sought to create chaos," he said.

The Syrian President turned to announce the state’s readiness to launch the process of reform. "We are all for reform. That is the duty of the state. But we are not for strife," he said. "Reform is not a trend," he added. "When the people demand their rights, it is the state's duty to fulfill their demands. What we should watch out for is starting reforms under these circumstances right now, this passing wave."

The Syrian leader stressed that the measures announced Thursday were not taken under pressure. "The measures announced Thursday were not made suddenly," he said. "The emergency law and political parties’ law have been under study for a year. There are more, unannounced reforms ... but giving a timeframe is a logistic matter. When we announce it in such circumstances, it is difficult to make that deadline," the president said.

"We were late in implementing reform but we will start now," Assad said, addressing those asking for reform. He said that ties between the state and the people are not based on pressure but on the rights and needs of citizens. He also announced plans to combat corruption and increase job opportunities.

Assad, referring to Egypt & Tunisia: "If we stay without reform we are on the course of destruction"

 Syrian watches President Bashar Assad on television
"....  Assad, who painted himself as a visionary and the tough son of his late father, Hafez, made no dramatic promises or sweeping concessions to end weeks of bloodshed.....  Assad said that the reforms demonstrators were calling for, including the lifting of emergency law and wider political freedoms, were among existing proposals that would be enacted this year. "There are no hurdles to reforms, but there are delays," said Assad, who received a standing ovation when he entered Parliament. He did acknowledge that the Syrian people "have demands that have not been met." Referring to Egypt and Tunisia, he added: "If we stay without reform we are on the course of destruction."

But he offered no specifics and did not, as many were anticipating, repeal the emergency law, which has kept his Baathist party in power since 1963. The president, who in two weeks of protests has shifted between crackdowns and appeasement, such as raising salaries, said "it is my responsibility to secure the stability of the nation." It was unclear whether the address would stem revolts that have flared in cities in the north and south but have yet to threaten the capital, Damascus. That test will come Friday when anti-government protesters have called for large rallies across the country. They are likely to be met by crowds of pro-Assad demonstrators ....  the president seemed confident in his security forces and that his defiance to what he described as foreign agitators would rally the country.... "
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 11:19 AM

The 'other' Lieberman: "On the ground we're anything but neutral ... Message to Assad in Syria!"


Via FLC

 
“It’s very clear what the coalition forces, and now NATO, are doing there is directly supportive of the freedom fighters who are trying to overthrow [Moammar] Gadhafi,” Lieberman said. “And I don’t mind that; we have taken a side, and it’s the right side, which is the side of the people of Libya. ..... So maybe official diplomatic policy is that we’re neutral — but on the ground and in the air over Libya we’re anything but neutral,...... My own hope is that the strong position that the world community has taken in Libya sends a very clear message to  Assad in Syria ..."

Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 9:25 AM

The left’s double standards on Libya


By Jeffrey Blankfort



29 March 2011



Jeffrey Blankfort highlights the hypocrisy of some leftists in Europe and the USA who, in the struggles they wage from their armchairs or behind their computers against the bogeyman of US imperialism, are happy to treat Libyan civilians as expendables and to support murderous Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi – as long as he appeared to be opposed by the West.



While the odds are that this so-called "humanitarian intervention" will end badly for the people of Libya, one factor that has been studiously ignored by its opponents and that effectively was used to justify the intervention in the first place was the repeated threats by both Muammar Gaddafi and his playboy son Saif al-Islam to carry out a door to door bloodbath against the people of Benghazi. Dictator and son declared them to be foreigners in the pay of Al-Qaeda, and Libyan tanks and armored personnel carriers were on the road to Benghazi to carry out their threats when they were attacked by French aircraft and destroyed.



Whether they would actually have carried out what they promised we will never know – neither Gaddafi nor his offspring are known for their mercy. But it must be understood that their threat to carry out a bloody massacre of major proportions was the equivalent of an engraved invitation to the Western countries to intervene in the name of, but not for, humanitarian reasons.

The belief that any country, and I mean any country, ever bases its foreign policy on humanitarian principles is belied by history and, in this instance, the records of the US, UK and France are certainly proof of that.



France's Nicolas Sarkozy acted quickly because he stood to be embarrassed by the close relationship he had with both the colonel and his son which reportedly included the latter contributing considerable sums to his election victory. British ties to the Gaddafi regime also included payoffs to important Britons and the report that part of the deal to allow BP to obtain a lucrative exploration contract with Libya was the release from a Scottish prison of the man convicted, probably wrongly, of the Lockerbie bombing.

There is strong evidence that this intervention was not something the Obama administration wanted or needed at this time, just as he was taking off on a long-postponed trip to Latin America and his party was engaged in a major budget fight with the Republicans. Moreover, it was Defence/War Secretary Robert Gates who first publicly objected to the no-fly zone because it could not be enforced without taking out Libya' air defences, which would be an act of war. The French and British positions, however, made it difficult for Washington not to participate and in a major way.

Over the years Gaddafi and his sons have not only spread their oil revenues throughout Africa, buying support through various projects, including funding the military force of the African Union, but they have also hosted a number of well known American activists. Like those who travelled to the Soviet Union and its East bloc satellites in past decades, these saw the equivalent of Libya’s Potemkin villages and came away sincerely believing that he was a progressive “socialist” while ignoring the fact that he was a dictator who tolerated no political dissent.

Once one commits oneself to the belief that certain individuals are beyond criticism, as we saw first with Stalin when otherwise intelligent people set aside their critical thinking faculties, it should not be surprising that there has been no mention by those defending Gaddafi of his collaboration and that of his intelligence services with the CIA in Bush’s and now Obama’s so-called "war on terror", and of reports that Libya was part of Bush's "extraordinary rendition" network.

Nor have we heard about his ordering the murder of 1,200 prisoners in Benghazi in 1996.

This sad state of events exposes a glaring problem that has characterized a significant segment of the US and Western left going back to the days of Stalin, and that is its tendency to see everything in black and white terms.

For this segment, which has been out in full force on this issue, the only criterion necessary to judge a dictatorship or a dictatorial central committee is where it stands in respect to US and Western imperialism.

If it is opposed by the US and its allies, it must be defended, regardless of the fact that it might be a police state which denies to its peoples the right to dissent politically from official government policies and practices and to organize opposition to that government – that is, free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of association. How different, in the end, are the double standards of that segment of the left from those wielding power in Washington? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent statements to the contrary, the White House doesn’t care about what the dictators who collaborate with the US do to their people. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said of the Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza, “he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch!”

The double standards of that segment of the left was, without a doubt, one of the reasons the peoples of the former Soviet satellites, all of which were police states, when they were struggling for their liberation, turned to the likes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who opportunistically reached out to them and not to the left in the US and the West that had shown them their backs as they are doing to the people of Libya today.

To add to this, well before the Libyan situation developed, numerous websites and many bloggers, most of whom know next to nothing about the region, stated, as if it were fact, that the uprisings throughout North Africa and the Middle East have all been orchestrated by, take your pick, (1) the US through the National Endowment for Democracy and a handful of non-governmental organizations or (2) George Soros, through his Open Society programmes or, if you wish, both.

I suspect that if these movements had avowed what these “experts” considered to be a “socialist” or “anti-imperialist” agenda instead of making demands for such bourgeois concepts as free speech, freedom of the press and the right to organize politically, they might have considered their uprisings indigenous and legitimate. Since they didn’t, they obviously must be manipulated by nefarious outside forces.

Let’s face it. The Libyan situation provides us with no easy answers, and perhaps, with no answers at all. Human problems are not mathematical problems and, more often than not, there are no good attainable solutions – emphasis being on the word, attainable.

The die on Libya has been cast. Now we will just have to see how it plays out.


Jeffrey Blankfort is a US-based radio producer and campaigner for Palestinian rights.

A former editor of the Middle East Labour Bulletin and co-founder of the Labour Committee of the Middle East, he is founding member of the November 29 Coalition on Palestine.

In February 2002 he won a sizable lawsuit against the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for its vast illegal spying against him and other peaceful political groups and individuals, including anti-apartheid activists.
 

War is a Racket by Smedley Butler


Monday, March 28, 2011 at 12:15AM Gilad Atzmon
War is a Racket by Smedley Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940)) is a famous speech denouncing the military industrial complex. This speech by two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient exposes war profits that benefit few at the expense of many. Throughout his distinguished career in the Marines, Smedley Darlington Butler demonstrated that true patriotism does not mean blind allegiance to government policies with which one does not agree. To Hell with war.

It seems as if we've learned nothing!!!

Posted by Gilad Atzmon at 9:53:00 PM
 

‘Million March’ in Support for Assad


almana.

"The people want Bashar Assad!" Millions chanted in a central Damascus square

  



Millions of supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad poured into the country’s streets in a show of support for their leader calling their protests “loyalty to the homeland”

 Batoul Wehbe

Millions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporters poured into the country's streets in a show of support for their leader calling their protests “loyalty to the homeland”.

Sources told Al-Manar TV that there are about two million protesters in Damascus, another two in Aleppo, a million in Hamah, a million in Homos and hundred of thousands in other cities.

All roads leading to Sabeh Bahrat ("Seven Seas") square in Damascus were cut off by police, as men, women and children raised Syrian flags and pictures of Assad and his father, late president Hafez al-Assad.

The rallies come after a high-ranking official in Damascus told AFP that the Syrian government will resign on Tuesday and a new cabinet will see the light within 24 hours.

Protesters were chanting slogans in support of the President, who pledged to make reforms in the country and is expected to deliver a speech soon addressing the nation and especially Daraa people who suffered much lately.

President al-Assad on Monday received a phone call of support from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz expressing the Saudi Arabia's support to Syria in the face of conspiracy which targets its security and stability.

Al-Assad also received phone calls from King of Bahrain Hamad bin Issa al- Khalifa, the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, President Jalal al-Talabani of Iraq and Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. They expressed their countries' standing by Syria in the face of conspiracy to which it is exposed, targeting its security and stability. They underlined confidence in Syria's capability, as leadership and people, to foil that conspiracy.

Concerning the field developments, security forces continued chasing cars which official sources said were accused of undermining security in the areas of the country, especially in Latakia recording an unofficial toll of more than twenty arrests, but without details about the affiliations and reasons.

An official source on Monday denied claims on Reuters talking about a shooting on protests that took place in Daraa by the security forces.
Beware Hasbara Zionist Dark Rooms

"The regime is blaming outsiders (including the US and Israel) for fomenting the uprising.The regime's lie is that the Rabbit is being punished for "supporting the resistance."

The "Palestinian" IDIOT

Abu Zuhri: Fatah authority protecting Israel's security


[ 29/03/2011 - 04:40 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, lashed out at the PA in Ramallah for trying resistance fighters for resisting occupation, describing the act as indicative of its role in protection of Israel's security.

He told the PIC on Tuesday that the indictment list against two resistance fighters point to their involvement in firing at an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank.

Abu Zuhri said that the military court was charging resistance fighters for targeting settlers who wreak havoc in the West Bank and routinely shoot at and assault Palestinian civilians, adding that the trial also displayed the Fatah authority's security coordination with Israel.

Netanyahu to Abbas: You Can’t Have ‘Peace’ with Both Israel and Hamas


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas could spell the end of the so-called peace process, after an aide to Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian president would be willing to give up U.S. aid if needed to secure unity with the rival faction, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

"You can't have peace with both Israel and Hamas," Netanyahu said. "Choose peace with Israel."

Abbas is making a heavy push for reconciliation with Hamas, and a senior adviser said Monday that he was prepared to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid if that was what it takes to forge a Palestinian unity deal.

"Of course we need the American money. But if they use it as a way of pressuring us, we are ready to relinquish that aid," said adviser Azzam Ahmed.

The Palestinian unity government is “isolated internationally” because of Hamas' refusal to recognize the Zionist entity.

Abbas has offered to visit Gaza to lay the groundwork for national elections. Over the weekend, he met with local Hamas officials in the West Bank.

"The president is working hard in order to bring about a unified Palestinian territory before he goes to the UN," Ahmed said.

"This visit should be for the sake of achieving progress on the ground and not only for photos and media coverage, said Mushir al Masri," a Hamas spokesman in Gaza. "The problem is not in forming the government; it's in reaching an agreement."

The Palestinians receive more than $470 million a year in direct financial assistance from the U.S. The U.S. hasn't said what it will do if Hamas returns to power in the West Bank, but it will likely cut off the funds unless Hamas agrees to renounce “violence” and recognize “Israel”. Hamas has given no indication it is prepared to do either, according to Haaretz.