UPDATE from IPS NEWS… just published.

My dear friend and brother Mohammed Omer returned to his native Gaza Strip on Thursday… literally unconscious and unable to speak after being beaten and tortured by Israeli troops. He is still unable to speak so I was not able to communicate with him, I will be posting updates on his condition in future posts.

Mohammed was in Britain, where he was the recipient of a prize for journalism. You can read about it HERE in a post I wrote earlier in the week.
Mohammed’s ordeal is written about in an Action Alert issued by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a journal in which he appears regularly.

Gaza Correspondent Mohammed Omer Home Again in Rafah

At a June 16 ceremony in London, Mohammed Omer, author of the regular Washington Report feature “Gaza on the Ground,” received the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (a link to the presentation and Omer’s remarks can be found on our home page, <>). He shared the prestigious prize with independent American journalist Dahr Jamail, who was honored for his “unembedded” reports from Iraq.

Before traveling to England to receive his award, Omer spoke in Sweden, the Netherlands and Greece about the situation in Gaza. Dutch MP Hans Van Baalen, head of the parliament’s foreign relations committee, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Pilger spent weeks lobbying Israel to issue an exit permit to allow this young reporter to travel to Europe and London.

Not for the first time, however, getting home was even harder than leaving.

As soon as Omer arrived in Amman, the Dutch diplomats who were helping facilitate his travel arrangements informed him that the Israelis did not want to allow him to return. After further intervention by his Dutch sponsors, Omer finally got the green light, and on the morning of June 26 crossed from Jordan into the occupied territories via the Allenby Bridge. There he was interrogated, strip-searched and manhandled for several hours. After losing consciousness, he finally was taken to a hospital in Jericho, and from there escorted back to Gaza.

MP Van Baalen has demanded that Israel launch an investigation into Omer’s barbaric treatment.

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)


Israelis want everything

Israelis want everything

We want all our problems to be resolved without paying any price
Yair Lapid

According to all the polls, the vast majority of the public wants everything to be done – and I mean everything – in order to secure the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. According to the same polls, a vast majority of the very same public objects to the release of hundreds of terrorists with blood on their hands. According to the latest poll, 57% of Israelis back peace talks with Syria. According to a poll undertaken at the same time, 70% of Israelis object to giving back either all or part of the Golan Heights. According to all the polls, a vast majority of the public thinks and says that the time has come for a decisive military operation that would put an end to Qassam attacks on Gaza-region communities. Yet the exact same majority is unwilling to see IDF troops dying in the Strip. Those are our children, and we are unwilling to see them sent to their death on the Philadelphi Route. These contradictory numbers are usually brought up during discussions meant to ridicule the culture of polls. Yet all these contradictions are not the fault of the polite lady who called to ask for our opinion – rather, these contradictions happen on our end. We are the ones who want “government stability,” but on condition the current government be toppled. We are the ones who think Hizbullah should be removed from the northern border, but are unwilling to accept another war. We are the ones who want a Jewish state, but insist on annexing four million Muslims. We are the ones who express remorse over the disengagement, but thank God that we are no longer in Gaza. We are the ones who object to religious coercion, but choose to get married at the Rabbinate’s office. In short, we are the ones who want everything, but are unwilling to compromise on anything. We refuse to realize that resources are limited, that life isn’t perfect, and that everything comes with a price tag. Because the thing we really want has a name, and it’s short and catchy and well entrenched in our national consciousness: It’s called “The Entebbe Operation.”

We want our problems to disappear

After all, this is what we really want. To see elite soldiers hopping off airplanes, under the command of some kind of Netanyahu, and resolving all the problems that have turned us into hostages. Just like it happened in 1976, we want the miracle to emerge out of the sky wearing camouflaged uniforms and take over the deserted airport of reality.

After all, this is what we were taught – that we can win and be right at the same time; that we can be both occupiers and enlightened; that we can be both a small country surrounded by enemies and the world’s strongest army; that we can cry in Auschwitz and later order a stripper to our Warsaw hotel; that we can get a brand new F-35 from the United States, and at the same time mumble that “the Americans can’t tell us what to do.” Our leaders, or whatever is left of that word, learned the hard way that it is not worth their while sharing life’s unpleasant realities with us. We have no energy for them. We’ll just be angry, or ignore them. Look at, for example, the infantile and damaging discussion regarding whether to attack-or-not-to-attack Iran. Everything has been said already, aside from the bothersome truth: We simply cannot strike Iran. It is too far, and too complex, and the Iranian nuclear program is buried deep underground in a series of facilities we have no way of reaching. You can admit that this is annoying. After all, we expected Batman and Superman to put on a uniform and arrange the world for us just the way we fantasized about it. We don’t want to resolve problems, but rather, only to discover that they disappeared. That the abductees have returned, that the Palestinians compromised with us in exchange for a duplex in Samaria, and that Bashar Assad called and left a message asking us to come at six thirty tomorrow in order to run Syria for him and fix his washing machine. Anyone who deals with early childhood education knows this phenomenon. In professional terms it’s referred to as “magical thinking.” Children believe that if they just want something badly enough, it will happen. Before they go to sleep they close their eyes and say to themselves “a dog, a dog, a dog, I want a dog, I wish I had a dog.” Then they fall asleep convinced that tomorrow morning a cute dog will jump into their bed and lick their face.

Only later, when they grow up a bit, they realize that it doesn’t work that way. If you want a dog, you need to nag your dad, get good grades, swear that you will take the dog for a walk every evening (lies! lies!) and treat your sister well for two whole months. It may take time, but as they grow older, children grow to understand the issue of paying a price. Eventually, we too will understand it.

Oil and Israel

Oil and Israel

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By Andrea Crandall
Debate on the motivation for the Iraq War is shepherded into two camps: securing oil or securing Israel. In reality, the war is being fought to secure oil through Israel. US foreign policy is geared to make Israel its primary transport route for Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil. This also accomplishes two Israeli aims: ending dependence on US aid and toppling uncooperative neighbors.

Richard Perle’s memo to Benjamin Netanyahu, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing The Realm,”[1] is rightfully cited as evidence of Israel’s influence in the US’s decision to attack Iraqi. However, overthrowing Saddam is not the main point of this memo. The “clean break” refers to ending Israel’s dependence on US aid, which weakens Israel, and is the main source of control the US has over its ally.

This change in policy comes at a good time for the US. Friendly oil sources are dwindling. Massive spending on the Iraq invasion, as well as AIPAC spying scandals,[2] have drawn negative attention to the amount of US-Israeli aid. America’s contributions to Israel may not be politically justifiable forever — the States needs an out.

The “Clean-Breakers” in Israel have a big job to do. They must wean Israel from sixty years of aid and cheap loans from the US, during a shaky time for the Israeli economy. Before Perle et alia can free themselves from American interference, they need to find an alternative source of revenue. That type of revenue isn’t going to come from featherless chickens[3] or even arms sales to China.[4] Israeli leaders have fallen back on the commodity that helped create Israel in the first place.

Oil and the History of Israel

Oil played a large role in the lives of Israel’s fathers. In the 1880s, Alfonse Rothschild invested heavily in the Baku oil fields of modern Azerbaijan. As a partner in the highly-lucrative Royal Dutch Shell trust, Rothschild dominated oil transport from Baku fields to Europe. Estimates say between 42% [5] and 36% [6] of oil exports were Rothschild-controlled, more than twice the amount of the next-largest competitor, the Nobel Brothers. These oil exports were the lifeblood of the British Empire.

In 1917 Alfonse’s British brother Lord Walter Rothschild played a crucial role in securing the Balfour Declaration from the cash-strapped Brits, and created the state of Israel.

Israel’s fathers had hopes that their new state would be blessed with viable oil deposits. Over the past 60 years, at least 470 oil wells have been drilled in the tiny country[7] — which have resulted in very little production. This was a big disappointment to everyone involved, considering Israel’s location.

However, one doesn’t need to have oil to make money from oil. Israel sits between the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the last great oil producing regions on earth. The Jewish state connects the biggest producers and the biggest consumers.

Israel was first considered as a major distributor in the 1950s, with the building of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline). Originally, Haifa was chosen to be the western-end terminal. However, Israeli extremists’ conflict with the British Mandate resulted in the Tapline being rerouted to Sidon, Lebanon — via the Golan Heights.[8]

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the only reason that the US doesn’t use Israel to transport oil is the danger of disruption from Palestinian unrest.[9] Perle also recognizes that destabilizing factor in “A Clean Break” and suggests breaking the Palestinians through “hot pursuit,” dismantling Palestinian representation in Jerusalem, and securing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The US government has been wholehearted in its support for these tactics. Bush began moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in December 2006,[10] and extended the “International Emergency Economic Powers Act” another year.[11] This act prohibits anyone under US jurisdiction from contributing to organizations Bush deems “terrorist” — including the democratically-elected Hamas government in Palestine.

The Neocons hope that soon oil pipelines will flow through Israel, unmolested.

What the pipe will look like

“The vast expanses of the former Soviet Union harbor oil and gas riches which will be crucial in fueling the global economy in the next century. The huge oil reserves, estimated at over 25 billion barrels, under the Caspian Sea and in the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are similar to those in Kuwait and larger than those in Alaska’s Northern Slope and the North Sea combined. Control over these energy resources and export routes out of the Eurasian hinterland is quickly becoming one of the central issues in post-Cold War politics.” “The New ‘Great Game’: Oil Politics in the Caucasus and Central Asia,” by Ariel Cohen, The Heritage Foundation 25th January 1996.

This Century’s Oil Basket

Source: Energy Information Agency,

Currently, the United State’s best access to Caspian oil is through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC pipeline), which runs through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Its opening gave Turkey’s geopolitical standing a huge boost (especially in the Middle East), as well as significant income. Israel has had rocky relations with Turkey — relations that the Jewish State has tried to warm to secure plans for a pipeline from Ceyhan to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon.[12] The BTC pipeline also forces the United States to take Turkey’s opinions seriously.

All indications point to more “hydrocarbon power” for Turkey in the future: Russia has expressed interest in piping gas through Turkey.[13]

Turkish “hydrocarbon power” makes Israel and the US nervous. Turkey is an unsteady ally for Israel and America, as shown by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hosting of a Hamas delegation in February 2006. American and Israeli support for Kurds on the Turkish boarder adds to the strain. On top of that, US military planners are worried about “defending” the BTC pipeline — something that will only get harder if Turkey’s power increases and the country gravitates outside of US control.[14]

It makes sense for the US to want an oil tap it knows is reliable. Israel fits that description nicely: it has ports on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, has established military contacts with the USA and would provide a shorter pipe route for Iraqi and Middle Eastern oil than Turkey.

BTC- the Israeli version

Israel and the US intend to seize pipe routes that are being planned across Southwestern Asia.

Planned Pipe Routes — Approximate Paths

Blue lines represent existing oil pipes.
Dotted lines represent alternate routes.
Source: Sanders Research Associates

In the past year, Syria, Iraq and Iran have proposed rehabilitating old pipelines and creating new pipelines to transport oil between each other. According to their plans, one pipe would start in Iran, stretch across Iraq and end on the Mediterranean Sea in Syria. The Iraqis and Syrians are talking separately of a pipe from Kirkuk to Syria. The two lines could be connected or expanded eastward along Iran’s boarders to take oil from the Caspian Sea or Central Asian producers. This plan was first made public in October 2000, but was stymied by US involvement in Iraq.[15]

Originally, the US was dead-set against the Kirkuk-Syria pipe.[16] Now that America controls Iraq, the US wants to build that pipeline.[17] The Americans are very quiet about the new plans for the Syria-Iranian pipe — presumably Syria and Iran are confident the Iraqi government will comply.[18] America is waiting to make its move until after these pipes are completed.

In “A Clean Break,” Perle states that Syria, Hezbollah (Lebanon) and Iran are a “challenge” to Israel. By looking at the proposed pipelines, we begin to understand the nature of that challenge. Syria, Lebanon and Iran chose routes that terminate too far north for Israel to benefit.

Syria, Iran and Lebanon are the pieces of the oil puzzle that America has not yet taken. Israel’s disastrous incursion into Lebanon, as well as Bush’s warmongering against Syria and Iran suggest the US will try to complete the puzzle. Once the US controls these three countries, it can begin shipping crude out of Israel’s ports in Eilat and Ashkelon (the terminals of the Trans-Israel Pipeline, Tipline). Using the Tipline will give the oil alternate departure points, should one of the Mediterranean or Red Sea routes become unstable. Aside form US interests, the Eilat port allows Israel to service Far Eastern markets as well.

What other choices does America have?

The reason that this political and military maneuvering is necessary, is because the US does not want to deal with Russia for oil. Despite brief hopes for cooperation after the September 11th attacks, the US government has made it clear that it doesn’t see Putin as a partner, and the US media has consistently painted Russia as a racist, undemocratic state.

In reality, the US government doesn’t want to pay Russia for oil because Russia is a threat to its dominance. American foreign policy has aimed to undermine Russia’s economy and sovereignty: through corrupt privatization programs and encouraging sham-revolutions along Russia’s boarders. Putin has also shown some reluctance to cooperate with international financial elites — perhaps his chief sin.

Whether it is in the American people’s interest or not, the US government will avoid dealing with Russia for oil.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire

Will securing pipelines through Israel help secure oil for America’s needs? Only if the US could do this without spreading even more anger throughout Southwest Asia. Turkey would be foolish to continue cooperating with the US after it invades Syria and Iran — Turkey’s pipe is next on the list.

Securing oil through Israel means that the US becomes dependent on Israel — our only “friend” in a hostile world. Israel would control the tap to the American economy — a tap that America paid to build. Not only would Tel Aviv be our crucial supplier, they would have other markets in Asia should Uncle Sam go bust. A great plan for securing the realm, a terrible plan for America.
[1] A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” Richard Perle et alia , 1996. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.

[2] AIPAC is the “American Israeli Public Affairs Committee,” the most powerful lobby in Washington DC.

[3]Bald chicken ‘needs no plucking,’” BBC News, 21 May, 2002.

[4]US acts over Israeli arms sales to China ,” Conal Urquhart, Monday June 13, 2005 The Guardian .

[5]History of the Development of Azerbaijani Oil ,” Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

[6]Baku Baron Days: Foreign Investment in Azerbaijan’s Oil ,” Mir Yusif Mir-Babayev, 2004, Azerbaijan International.

[7]Israel Exploration History ,” Zion Oil and Gas Company, 2004.

[8]History of the Tapline,” Al Mashriq hosted by the Østfold College, Halden, Norway.

[9] Eastern Mediterranean Oil: Israel , accessed January 2007. Energy Information Administration (US Government).

[10] Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 9 / Tuesday, January 16, 2007 / Presidential Documents.

[11]Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process ” January 18, 2007, The White House.

[12]The Militarisation of the Eastern Mediterranean: Israel’s Stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline ” Michel Chossudovsky,

[13]The new Great Game ” Richard Norton-Taylor, March 5, 2001 The Guardian.

[14]The Empire strikes back…and the target is Turkey “, John Laughland, All News is Lies, Sept/07/2003.

[15]Syria-Iran pipeline to be reopened in November – MEES report ,” Tuesday October 31, 2000 The Iranian Times.

[16]Iraq: US objections will not stop Iraq- Syria oil pipeline ,” 7/29/1998 Arabic .

[17]Rehabilitation Oil Pipeline via Syria ,” 17/10/2006 Al-Sabah .

[18]Syria, Iran to establish oil pipeline across Iraq ,” 2006-03-07 Xinhuanet.

America’s Likely Future

Israel’s richest families

control 34 percent of top income

Nineteen businessmen and their families control more than third of income of Israel’s 500 leading companies


Published: 07.19.07, 16:56 / Israel Money

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function setDbLinkCategory(url) {eval(unescape(url));} Nineteen businessmen and their families control 34 percent of the income of Israel’s 500 leading companies, figures released Thursday by Business Data Israel show.

According to the figures, Israel’s rich shared an income of NIS 248 billion ($57.4 billion) of a total of NIS 722 billion ($172 billion) in income generated by Israel’s top 500 companies. The figure is equal to 88 percent of last year’s state budget.

The Dankner, Tshuva, Azrieli, Weisman, Saban, Arison, Bino, Federman, Borovich, Leviev, Hamburger, Fishman, Strauss, Wertheim, and Alovich families are among the 19 families who control the bulk of Israeli business.

The Azrieli family joined the club of powerful business lords last year with its purchase of stakes in Granite Ha-Carmel Investments Ltd, acquiring controlling shares in Tambour, Sonol and Supergas.


The Alovich family purchased Zahav lines from Eliezer Fishman and joined the top-19 club.

The Wertheimer family exited the club, which numbered 18 in 2005, with the sale of 80 percent of Iscar to American investment mogul Warren Buffet.

The Dankner family increased its stake in the income generated by Israel’s leading companies to 18.7 percent through the purchase of Koor Industries, higher than any other family.






Ghost town in the West Bank
Photographs: Gali Tibbon

Locals have fled the West Bank village of Al-Ram since the barrier was built two years ago, cutting family members off from each other and from work in Jerusalem. Once a thriving Palestinian district, it is now home to abandoned shops, deserted streets and overgrown gardens.

The barrier was erected in the middle of the neighbourhood two years ago, cutting off families from each other
As the barrier crept down the high street in Al-Ram, it separated children from schools

Many residents travel through a gap in the barrier to work, but Israel only needs to insert two more concrete blocks to seal it shut

Source via

Also read……

East Jerusalem towns being cordoned off, nearby village under complete isolation

Palestinian News Network (PNN)

PNN – Israeli forces have imposed a travel ban on the street leading to the East Jerusalem town of Beit Hanina and the Bir Nabala neighborhood. Nabi Samwiil is utterly isolated due the road closure and impossibility of passing the checkpoint.

Residents from neighboring villages are unable to use the street as well, causing a wide gap in the international right to freedom of movement.

Israeli forces will also not allow any cars with Palestinian license plates to pass through the checkpoint that is near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ramot. Access within East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and that between the two, is being further restricted.

This cordoning off of Palestinian lands severely contravenes international law.

The Palestinian village of Nabi Samwiil has also recently been separated by Israeli forces from the rest of the West Bank. The village with a population of 220 Palestinians is now almost entirely isolated. The old village is now “interfering” with the much more recently built Israeli settlements of Givat Ze’ev and Ramot. It was the link to Bir Nabala and other neighboring villages where most essential services are located, or can be reached from, including hospitals, clinics, schools, gas stations and commercial centers for shopping.

The Israelis overtook the street in March of this year, and forced Palestinians to use a tunnel to pass through, however in order to reach that tunnel, the residents of Nabi Samwiil must pass through the Ramot Checkpoint, which Israeli forces will not allow them to do if they have Palestinian license plates, but they are considered “West Bank” Palestinians which means they are not allowed to have Israeli license plates. They have to pass on foot or in a car with Israeli plates only if every person in the car is a resident of the same village. That ends of meaning that all traffic is pedestrian and people cannot even visit.

This is not the first case of total isolation in the West Bank. Villages in Nablus, Bethlehem and the Jordan Valley faced similar scenarios. It is part and parcel to the creation of cantons and the Israeli policy of eating the West Bank until the lives of the Palestinians are so difficult, they leave on their own.