Malegaon blast: ATS chargesheet says Purohit main conspirator

Malegaon blast: ATS chargesheet says Purohit main conspirator

MUMBAI: Nearly four months after the blast at Malegaon, police have filed a chargesheet that named Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit as the main

conspirator who provided the explosives, and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as the prime accused who arranged for the men who planted the explosives.

The 4,000-page chargesheet, filed by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) before the Special MCOCA court here, stated that Purohit floated right wing group Abhinav Bharat in 2007 with an intention to “propagate a separate Hindu Rashtra with its own Constitution”.

According to the document, the Army officer collected “huge amounts” to the tune of Rs 21 lakh for himself and Abhinav Bharat to promote his “fundamentalist ideology.”

The amount was disbursed by Ajay Rahirkar, treasurer of the group, to various other accused to procure explosives for committing unlawful activities.

The conspiracy meetings were held from January 2008 at Faridabad, Bhopal, Kolkata, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Indore and Nashik.

At a meeting in Bhopal on April 11, 2008 Purohit took responsibility of providing explosives while the Sadhvi took the task of arranging for the men for exploding the bombs in the Muslim-dominated town in North Maharashtra.

Purohit had bought RDX with him when he returned from his Kashmir posting. He assembled the explosives at his residence in Pune with the help of co-accused Sudhakar Chaturvedi and wanted accused Ramji Kalsangra, and the same was used in the September 29 blast at Malegaon that killed six persons, it said.

Zaid Hamid (English) on Mumbai Operation and Mossad Connection

BrassTacks Dossier on Indian Terrorism and Debunking the Indian ‘evidence’.

The entire Indian propaganda and lies have been exposed in this pdf document. Read and know for yourself things you never knew before. The entire Mumbai drama, its background, its motives and the players involved, with proof from their own sources, media and speeches. Circulate this far and wide and get it published wherever you can. This must be flooded on the web and passed to all contacts. Let the world see their lies exposed. May Allah (sw) Protect Pakistan.

Please download the PDF file by clicking on the link below:
BrassTacks: Dance of the Devil

BrassTacks Dossier on Indian Terrorism and Debunking the Indian ‘evidence’.
The entire Indian propaganda and lies have been exposed in this pdf document. Read and know for yourself things you never knew before. The entire Mumbai drama, its background, its motives and the players involved, with proof from their own sources, media and speeches. Circulate this far and wide and get it published wherever you can. This must be flooded on the web and passed to all contacts. Let the world see their lies exposed. May Allah (sw) Protect Pakistan.

Please download the PDF file by clicking on the link below:
BrassTacks: Dance of the Devil

Surprise! “Al Qaida” Suspect Saudi National Bombed US Embassy 2008

Saudi killed in raid on suspected al-Qaeda network

[20 January 2009]

SANA’A, Jan. 20 (Saba) – Initial investigations with terrorist Abdul Rahman al-Ghurabi  who was arrested in a Monday’s raid on a suspected al-Qaeda network  have revealed important information about the four-member terrorist group.

The information showed that one of the two killed during the raid was a Saudi national, Salim Muhammad al-Nahdi, wanted in connection with the last year’s attempt attack on the US embassy, security sources were quoted as saying.

Al-Nahdi is believed to be one of those who attempted to attack the US embassy in Sana’a last year when a missile missed the target and hit a nearby female school killing and injuring students.

The sources said security forces found items at the hideout of the cell including two explosive belts, a number of hand grenades, a machine gun and a motorcycle.

On Monday security forces raided a hideout of a suspected al-Qaeda cell in Sana’a.

Two of the ring members were killed during clashes with between troops.

One member, Abdul Rahman Muhammad al-Ghurabi, a Saudi Arabia-born Yemeni, was arrested and the fourth managed to escape unharmed.

The Spoils of Gas War

The Spoils of Gas War

It is often the case that wars result in a redrawing of international maps or a reshuffling of a country’s political deck. Ukraine’s recent gas war with Russia appears to be no exception in as much as it is likely to change the face of Europe’s energy map while reshuffling the political elite in Kyiv.

Wars, however, not only offer up spoils to the victor; they also spoil a lot of other things for those who are involved or not.

Analysts said European gas companies have been foregoing income to the tune of 150m euros per day. And the gas has yet to be turned on.

Eastern Europeans have been hit the hardest, though, particularly the Balkans, Hungary and Slovakia. There were nasty reports of freezing schools and hospitals, even ‘civilian’ deaths, as a result of gas shut-offs.

The Bulgarians threatened to restart their rickety Soviet-era nuclear reactor. The Slovaks did the same, while crying for a state of emergency.

Some, such as the Czech, were more insulated due to the layout of the international pipeline system and some economic foresight at home.

Prague, nevertheless, had its share of headaches. Having just taken over the rotating EU presidency, the country has been sending its diplomats back and forth between Moscow and Kyiv like ping pong balls.

The casualties among the warring combatants have also been significant.

With characteristically crocodile tears, the Kremlin said Russia had lost $1.2 billion.

The opposition in Ukraine claimed $100m in foregone transit revenues as a result of the war, not to mention the losses incurred by the country’s gas-dependent chemical industry.

But the real damage that Russia and Ukraine inflicted on each other and, indeed, on themselves, has yet to be revealed.

It can no longer be denied by EU policy makers that gas transits from the east are unreliable, at best.

No doubt under pressure from powerful gas lobbyists in all the major capitals of ‘old Europe,” Brussels was reluctant to forge a coherent and, more importantly, a united energy policy in relation to an increasingly more assertive Moscow.

Now, someone has to take the blame, and the fingers are pointing east. Maybe Europe will finally get around to implementing some of those nice-sounding renewable energy products; maybe they will speed up construction of alternative pipelines; or maybe they will just settle for more empty eastern promises after the dust of disgust has settled.

Everyone saw it coming, though. Everyone knew that the bilateral gas agreement between the two countries was to end on January 1, that Russia had turned the taps off before, in 2006. In fact, things developed pretty much as they had three years earlier, with Russia first cutting off Ukraine, then everyone else, whose gas it accused Ukraine of stealing en-route. Only this time the war lasted longer.

The question is whether Russia or Ukraine will suffer any further economic consequences.

So far, there has only been talk of the two countries’ spoiled reputation. In addition, the European Commission has issued vague threats about a possible lawsuit against Russia’s powerful Gazprom or Ukraine’s financially crippled Naftohaz Ukrayiny.

The fact that Russia under Vladimir Putin has increasingly taken a high-handed approach to its former satellite countries, and that its shutting-off the gas it delivers to Ukraine in the dead of winter might also be considered high handed has taken backstage to the immediate effects of the gas war on the EU.

That hasn’t prevented Mr. Putin, however, from accusing the EU of “practically” taking Ukraine’s side in the conflict.

But considering Gazprom’s clout in Berlin and Rome, it wouldn’t be surprising if Ukraine came out as the aggressor in the gas war. Georgia suffered a similar fate following its brief and unsuccessful real war against Russia last August. First Tbilisi was the victim, now it is seen as equally if not more responsible for the hostilities.

Ukraine is all the more vulnerable due to its unstable domestic political situation.

As Moscow and Kyiv traded blows via the international media, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko took swipes at each other at home.

While Moscow accused Ukraine of stealing gas meant for Europe, Tymoshenko launched accusations of corruption at Yushchenko, who sent similar accusations back at her.

In the din of the battle, Ukraine’s very legitimate argument that Russia is punishing it for Kyiv’s Western integration efforts has been drowned out.

Its smudged reputation for corruption is being used against Ukraine by its own short-sighted leaders.

As a result, like the murder victim who exchanged hostile words with his attacker or the rape victim who flirted with hers, the fledgling democracy may be judged unfairly by its peers.

And when the map of European energy supplies is redrawn, it may be Ukraine that loses out on the spoils – not just because the idea of building (expensive) alternative pipelines will win the day, but because taking control of Ukraine’s pipeline is already on the table in the form of a proposed “international’ consortium that includes Moscow.

And it doesn’t matter that keeping control of the pipeline is one of the few things that Ukrainian leaders such as Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have agreed upon.

A second term for the pro-Western Yushchenko is as unlikely as the banning of brawls among the nation’s lawmakers. Tymoshenko’s reputation as a champion of the people has also suffered serious damage, leaving an ex-con with close ties to the Kremlin as the leader in public opinion polls.

Even as Tymoshenko announced that a deal had finally been struck during her latest visit to Moscow on January 19, the president’s team was raining on her parade.

Ukraine would surely have to pay closer to the market price footed by Europe, Yushchenko’s people said, or: what did Ms. Tymoshenko have to give Moscow in return for the new low gas price she supposedly brokered up north?

Indeed, although both Putin and Tymoshenko were their respective countries’ chief combatants during the peak of the gas war, the two seemed to have chummed up during their meeting in Moscow on Monday.

Not one to toss words around lightly (unless in anger), the Russian premier said he was obliged to Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, “who during this most difficult situation was able to take responsibility for such important decisions that have led to a resolution of the deadlock.”

For her part, the lady in braids said: “I am much obliged to Vladimir Putin and all his team for their making it possible for Ukraine to make a special condition in 2009 – 20 percent off the international price of gas,” she said the same day, following her meeting in Moscow.

Whether this means Tymoshenko has come out the heroine of the gas war is doubtful, as she can now be easily portrayed by her political enemies to pro-Western voters as a sellout to Moscow, which for its turn could always find a way to challenge any deal at its convenience.

Thus, at the very least, the gas war means the final nail in the coffin of President Yushchenko and possibly a booby trap down the road for Tymoshenko – reshuffling two major cards in the Ukrainian deck.

The geopolitical map is also likely to change, as Ukraine’s only staunch supporters appear to be EU troublemaker Poland and a NATO leadership in retreat behind the US economy.

John Marone, a columnist of Eurasian Home website, Kyiv, Ukraine

Who is hiding the truth?

Who is hiding the truth?

20. January 2009. | 11:05

Source: EMportal, Panorama, Tanjug

Author: Nikos D.A. Arvanites

Ethnic Albanians have committed ghastly crimes in Kosovo and Metohija, and among those that are to be held responsible for the massive murders of Serbs are former commander of the (so-called) Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Kosovo premier, Ramus Haradinaj and Agim Cheku respetively, the Italian weekly magazine Panorama has set out in an analytical article, publishing for the first time the photos of Serb victims.

Ethnic Albanians have committed ghastly crimes in Kosovo and Metohija, and among those that are to be held responsible for the massive murders of Serbs are former commander of the (so-called) Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Kosovo premier, Ramus Haradinaj and Agim Cheku respetively, the Italian weekly magazine Panorama has set out in an analytical article, publishing for the first time the photos of Serb victims.

Before the (1999) NATO bombing campaign Serbs were accused of being butchers, but as soon the forces of the Atlantic Pact marched into Kosovo in June 1999, they became the victims of an ethnic cleansing, the Milan weekly assessed.

Italian General Mauro Del Vecchio, who in June 1999 was in command of a brigade of 7,000 soldiers which also comprised Italian KFOR members, testified in the text about the suffering of the Serbs.

At the time, according to him, one could smell the horrible scent of death in Kosovo miles away.

In the first twenty days or so, I received everyday reports on the corpses of Serbs and the Roma that had been left lying along the roads, said the Italian general, who is currently representing the (left-centrist) Democratic Party in the Italian Senate, upper house of the Parliament of Italy.

Those who did not flee Kosovo, risked to be killed or kidnapped, he added.

The deserted Serb houses were torched and leveled to the ground, and the worst of all was that the Albanians also attacked the Serb churches and monasteries, their goal being to erase every trace of Serbs’ presence in Kosovo, Del Vechhio said, pointing out that that was a taboo topic they were not allowed to speak about with journalists.

This is why a number of photographs that represented a testimony of the horrid crimes against Serbs were snatched away from Italian soldiers, but some of them which were made in secret have been preserved and the weekly Panorama published them exclusively on December 18, 2008.

These photos show the Italian soldiers as taking away the dead bodies of Serb civilians, which were scattered all over the place as the Albanians probably counted on that that NATO soldiers would clear the mess after them.

Nobody was taking away the Serb bodies that were left in all possible places, General Dl Vecchio said.

In a factory hall in Djakovica we also found corpses of the Roma, he said. The mothers and wives of the abducted Serbs were pleading for their dearest ones to be found, but the majority of them have never been found, the Italian general said.

At the time when these photographs were made, the region was under the command of Ramus Haradinaj, a KLA commander who was appointed Kosovo premier later on, the author of the text specified, and explained that last year, The Hague Tribunal had acquitted Haradinaj of all war crimes charges, since all the witnesses in the proceedings had been killed in very strange accidents, as the Tribunal itself had admitted.

In an interview with the Milan magazine, former head of the UNMIK Office on Missing Persons and Forensics ( OMPF) Jose Pablo Baraybar presented data on the kidnapping of Serbs that ethnic Albanian terrorists and separatists had committed in the vicinity of Orahovac in July 1998.

He investigated this massive crime in 2005, when the remains of 26 Serb civilians were found in a ditch in Vulojak, a village 50 kilometers away from Pristina.

Baraybar said that one women, whom the Albanian terrorists had set free, had testified that she had distinctively heard KLA officer Jakup Krasnici, current speaker of the Kosovo parliament, as giving the order “Kill them all.” His command referred to the kidnapped men, among whom there boys as well. When we finally obtained all relevant facts – the victims, evidence and witnesses – The Hague Tribunal told us that it was too late for a new investigation because the Tribunal would be closed in 2010, the Peruvian diplomat said, pointing out that the Kosovo judiciary was not interested in that case.

The Peruvian forensics said that on February 4, 2004, he had also carried out an investigation into the Yellow House issue, a prison located in Burela, northern Albania, where, as he put it, he had obtained no decisive facts, but had rather found a number of serious indications on the murder of kidnapped Kosovo Serbs and the vital organs that had been taken out of their bodies.

The KLA arrested about 300-400 Serbs, Roma inhabitants and Albanian collaborationists and hid them in their secret camps in Albania, one of which was located in Kukes, Baraybar said, referring to the testimony of an ethnic Albanian who is loyal to the Serbian state and who survived thanks to his father who paid ransom.

This witness told me that the camp in Kukes had been visited by a number of KLA members, including Agim Cheku, he said, reminding that Cheku had been Kosovo premier after that (up to January 2008).

Baraybar made a repot on the investigation, in which he claims that traces of blood, as well as injections, muscle relaxants, surgery material and similar equipment were found in the kitchen and the broom closet of the Yellow House, all of which proved that Albanian surgents had taken organs out of the Serbs’ bodies.

The indications we have come across were crystal clear and they sufficed for the launching of a true investigation, the Peruvian diplomat said, but, as the weekly magazine reminded, the ICTY had done nothing after that.

The issue of trade of kidnapped Serbs’ organs was actualized only recently, when former ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte spoke about the issue in her book entitled The Hunt: Me and War Criminals, after which the Council of Europe entrusted Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty with the investigation into this issue, the Milan weekly magazine Panorama reminded.

Turkey may rethink Nabucco if EU talks stall

Turkey may rethink Nabucco if EU talks stall

20. January 2009. | 16:41

Source: EUobserver

Turkey may reconsider its support for the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline – intended to transport gas from the Caspian Sea basin to Europe, bypassing Russia and Ukraine – if there is no progress on the energy chapter of its EU accession talks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday

Turkey may reconsider its support for the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline – intended to transport gas from the Caspian Sea basin to Europe, bypassing Russia and Ukraine – if there is no progress on the energy chapter of its EU accession talks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday (19 January).

“If we are faced with a situation where the energy chapter is blocked, we would of course review our position [on Nabucco],” he said at a conference organised by the Brussels-based European Policy Centre think-tank.

“The other side [the EU] ought to be fair in its treatment,” he added.

According to Mr Erdogan, EU member Cyprus “is putting pressure” on the other 26 member states “so that some chapters are not opened, such as energy.”

A Czech EU presidency official told EUobserver that there was still “no unanimity” among member states on this “complex chapter,” but added that the presidency is working in order to obtain consensus.

The European Commission considers the energy chapter ready for opening and says it is up to member states to give the green light.

Eight other chapters of Turkey’s EU accession package have been officially blocked since 2006 as a result of Ankara’s refusal to open its ports to Cypriot ships, despite signing a protocol in 2005 to extend its customs union with the EU to the 10 states that joined the bloc in 2004.

Turkey does not recognise the Greek Cypriot government in the southern part of the divided island, while at the same time being the only country to recognise its northern Turkish Cypriot section.

Ankara says that due to this “political issue,” Cyprus is also blocking the opening of other negotiating chapters.

Energy – a means to woo EU public

Speaking at a joint press conference with Mr Erdogan later on the same day, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “We agreed on the need for this [Nabucco] pipeline and we should solve quickly the outstanding problems.”

The Nabucco plan proposes a 3,400-km pipeline from Turkey’s eastern border to Austria that would transport up to 31 billion cubic metres of gas per year from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran. It is seen by the EU as a key tool to diversify gas supplies in the wake of the current Russia-Ukraine gas crisis.

“We should see our energy relations not only in the framework of the accession negotiations,” Mr Barroso added, calling energy supply a “critically important” issue.

The commission president said that energy security was an area where Turkey “could make the case in [EU] public opinion,” which remains mostly sceptical towards Ankara’s EU future.

“This is one of the cases where we can show to the European Union public opinion how important Turkey is for the EU …Turkey should not be seen as a burden, but as an asset,” Mr Barroso said.

For his part, Mr Erdogan softened his earlier speech saying: “We give full support [to Nabucco] all the time,” but once again called for “political obstacles” to be removed and accession talks to be sped up.

‘A leap’ expected in 2009

Despite the slow pace of negotiations, Mr Erdogan stressed EU integration remained a “top priority” for his country and expressed hopes this year would bring positive developments in the process.

“I hope there will be a leap in 2009,” Turkey’s premier said.

“There has been a lot of negativity coming out of Europe about Turkish membership and this has affected levels of public support in the country,” which fell from 75 percent in 2004 to 40-50 percent at present, he warned.

Turkey opened EU accession negotiations in 2005. It has so far opened ten of its 35-chapter accession package, with just one successfully closed.

Israel…A Trail Ablaze On a Steep Slope

Israel…A Trail Ablaze On a Steep Slope

Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 652

20/01/2009 Between July 1942 and February 1943, a 200-day battle, the bloodiest in human history, left 1,800,000 casualties on the Russian and German sides. A total of 200,000 square kilometers were destroyed in the battle of Stalingrad, yet casualties and destruction were never the measurment unit of defeat and victory. The Germans  lost the Battle and for the Russian heroism shown King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the Stalingrad citizens a jeweled sword in appreciation of the bravery that they had shown.

Between December 27, 2008 and January 17, 2009 a 22-day assault, the bloodiest in human history, left more than 1,300 civilians killed on one side; the Palestinian side. Much of a total of 365 square kilometers has been destroyed in the Israeli war on Gaza. Still, casualties and destruction is not the measurment unit of victory and defeat. The Israelis who launched a disproportionate war on Gaza have been defeated. Throughout history, a resistance force has never been required to eliminate an enemy or capture land; like in France, Lebanon and Palestine, the resistance’s job is to fight, repel and hold out. Victory is achieved when these three conditions are met.
Triumphant Gazans will not wait for a ‘king’ to award them with a jeweled sword; they’ve already earned the accolade of honor.

Although Hitler’s strategic main objective of battle of Stalingrad was the capture of the Volga River, Olmert’s objective of the war on Gaza was…nobody inside and outside Israel knows.

What they have been saying in the Jewish state after the ceasefire took effect, is that the war ‘is just another stop along a trail blazing with fire;’ a trail that formally started to ascend in 1948 and reached the pinnacle just before the end of the second millennium. However, the trail has been descending steeply since the start of this third millennium with an increasing speed and a fast growing blaze that will eventually render the whole trail to ashes.

First was the humiliating pullout of Israel from Lebanon in 2000, second was the 2006 war on Lebanon and third was the 2008 war on Gaza. In those three wars, Israel was not the entity everyone thought it was; the entity that battles Arab armies and defeats them in less than a week. 33 days in Lebanon and another 22 days in Gaza saw Israel’s defeat not by armies, but by resistance fighters and steadfast civilians.

Israel claimed it wanted to crush Hamas, then faced the bitter truth and claimed it just wanted to change the status quo in Gaza, then it got more modest and claimed it wanted to stop Palestinian rocket firing, then in a weaker tone it stated it only wants to teach Hamas a lesson and when all of the above failed, Israel said it wanted to restore its so called power of deterrence after the defeat in Lebanon in 2006; deterrence by adopting the “Dahyie Doctrine” – The Beirut Southern Suburb Doctrine that saw the destruction of Dahiye in 2006 – in military operations though which civilians and civilian infrastructure become the main targets.

The Israelis could not achieve anything from the war on Gaza. They couldn’t even engage in ‘phase three’ of the war.

Like Lebanon, Gaza has proved Israel’s military might can no longer be the primary instrument for pushing the Israeli trail in this region.
Gaza did not cure Israel of its deep Lebanon wound but only further exposed the tragic and never-ending mistakes the Jewish state has committed for over 60 years.

‘When the guns become completely silent, and the full scope of the killing and destruction becomes known, then we will finally understand how deeply and fundamentally wrong our actions in this region have been from time immemorial – how misguided, unethical, unwise and above all, responsible, time after time, for fanning the flames that consume us,’ David Grossman’s Haaretz analysis said.

There is nothing much left in this ‘blazing trail’ to burn.

Today in Solidarity We’re All Palestinians: History of Israeli Terror Killings Gaza Aggression Timeline

Global Research, January 19, 2009
World outrage continues over Israeli war crimes and Washington’s complicity. Gazans are now immortalized. Hamas is more popular than ever and remains resolute despite everything the IDF threw against it.

Democrats and Republicans share equal guilt. They fund Israeli state terror, are partnered in its aggression, and have collaboratively planned, supported, and/or agreed to it for the past 41 years. Continuity under Obama is assured. The current Gaza carnage is the worst since 1967. In spite of its “unilateral” ceasefire, sporadic Israeli attacks continue. The IDF merely redeployed. Gaza remains under siege, and human suffering is overwhelming and unrelieved.

Since December 27, Israel conducted terror bombings, tank and naval vessel shellings, and assault troop slaughter on the ground. Illegal weapons were used. Neighborhoods are burning and in ruins. Horrific wounds are reported. Civilians were willfully massacred. They comprise 80 – 90% of the casualties according to human rights organizations and medical authority reports. All 1.5 million Gazans were targeted. They still are. There’s no place anywhere to hide.

Sporadic fighting continues after Israel’s January 17 announcement. Earlier, Israeli Radio reported that more reservists were activated and that IDF operations were in “phase three.” Forces on the ground pushed deeper into Gaza where they remained up to now. Attacks on neighborhoods and refugee camps intensified. Death and injury tolls mount. They approach 7000 but exclude potentially hundreds of unidentified bodies under rubble.

A Brief History of Israeli Terror Killings Since 1946

Gaza is full-scale war but just the latest bloodstained episode in Israel’s six-decade reign of terror against Palestinians. This section reviews others since 1946, two years before the establishment of a Jewish state. The list is long, way-incomplete, very disturbing, and shows what Palestinians have endured for over 60 years. Their ordeal continues in the West Bank and Gaza under siege, still attacked, and, as always, betrayed by the dominant media.

The King David Hotel July 22, 1946 Bombing

The Menachem Begin-led Irgun planned and conducted the massacre of 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounding 58 others. As head of the Jewish Agency, David Ben-Gurion approved the operation. It was to destroy British-gathered evidence that its leaders colluded with the Haganah, Palmach, Irgun and Stern gangs in a wave of terrorist crimes and killings. Bombing the King David Hotel was the most notorious and followed a pattern before and since of brutal Israeli state terrorism.

The British Secretariat of the Palestine Government and British Army HQ kept offices in the hotel. Attackers disguised as milkmen, planted explosives in milk containers, placed them in the basement and left. At the time, the action shocked the civilized world and outraged the British leadership and House of Commons.

Other Israeli Terrorist Incidents against Palestinians

— Tira, December 11, 1947 – five Palestinians were killed and six injured;

— a village outside Haifa, December 12, 1947 – 12 Palestinians killed;

— a village outside Tel Aviv, December 14, 1947 – 18 Palestinians killed and 100 injured;

— al-Khias, December 18, 1947 – the paramilitary   Haganah killed 10 Palestinians, most inside their homes;

— Haifa, December 30, 1947 – six Palestinians killed and 42 wounded;

— Jerusalem, December 30, 1947 – Irgun terrorists threw a bomb from a speeding car killing 11 Palestinians and two Brits;

— Balad Esh-Sheikh, December 31, 1947 – the Haganah killed 60 Palestinians, most inside their homes;

— Jaffa, January 4, 1948 – the Stern Gang killed up to 30 and wounded 100 in a truck bombing;

— the Semiramis Hotel, Jerusalem, January 4, 1948 – the Haganah bombed the hotel killing 25 civilians;

— Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, January 7, 1948 – 17 Palestinians killed;

— Tireh, February 10, 1948 – seven Palestinians killed and five injured;

— on a bus from Safad, February 12, 1948 – five Palestinians killed and five injured;

— Sa’sa’, February 14, 1948 – 60 Palestinians killed, mostly in their homes;

— Qisarya, February 15 – 20, 1948 – 25 Palestinians killed;

— Haifa, February 20, 1948 – six Palestinians killed and 36 wounded;

— Haifa, March 3, 1948 – the Stern Gang blew up the Salameh Building killing 11 Palestinians and wounding 27;

— al-Husayniyya, March 12 and 16 – 17 – the Palmach twice raided the village killing 15 and wounding 20 in the first attack; killing 30 in the second one;

— Jews blew up a train near Benjamina on March 31, 1948 killing 25 Palestinians and wounding 61;

— al-Sarafand, April 5, 1948 – 16 Palestinians were killed and 12 wounded, most when a house was mortared;

— Dier Yassin, April 9, 1948 – the Menachem Begin-led Irgun slaughtered well over 120 Palestinian men, women and children in a bloody rampage; The New York Times reported 254 killed on April 13; 53 orphaned children were dumped like trash along the wall of the Old City; homes were dynamited with inhabitants inside; people were shot at close range, including children; the massacre marked the beginning of what followed during Israel’s “War of Independence:” depopulating 531 towns and villages; 11 urban neighborhoods; massacring or displacing 800,000 Palestinians; and committing  countless rapes and other atrocities;” remember Dier Yassin; it, too, is immortalized;

— Tel Litvinsky, April 19, 1948 – Jews killed 90 Palestinians;

— Tiberias, April 19, 1948 – Jews blew up a home killing Palestinians inside;

— Ayn al-Zaytun and nearby villages, May 1 – 4, 1948 – 27 Palestinians killed;

— Acre, May 18, 1948 – Israeli troops killed over 100 Palestinians;

— al-Kabri, May 20, 1948 – Israeli forces killed villagers and machine-gunned children who survived;

— al-Tantura, May 22 – 23, 1948 – Israeli troops killed over 200 villagers, mostly unarmed young men shot in cold blood;

— on May 26, 1948, David Ben-Gurion formed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from the Haganah;

— Lydda, July 11 – 12, 1948 – the IDF killed several hundred civilians, including 80 machine-gunned inside the Dahmash mosque;

— Elot, late July, 1948 – the IDF arrested 46 young men; on August 3, several were found dead, and 14 of those arrested were shot in cold blood in an olive grove – in full view of the villagers;

— Suqrir, August 29, 1948 – the IDF killed 10 villagers;

— Hula, Lebanon, October 24 – 29, 1948 – the IDF machine-gunned 50 villagers;

— al-Dawayima, October 29, 1948 – the IDF killed up to 200 villagers;

— Majd al-Kurum, October 30, 1948 – the IDF slaughtered 20 or more villagers in cold blood;

— Saliha, October 30, 1948 – IDF forces blew up a house killing 94 Palestinians;

— Sa’sa’, October 30, 1948 – hundreds of Palestinians were slaughtered in cold blood; the entire village was expelled;

— Nahf, October 31, 1948 – a brutal massacre was carried out of unknown numbers;

— Khirbat al-Wa’ra al-Sawda, November 2, 1948 – the IDF killed 14 villagers;

— Beit Jala, January 6, 1952 – seven Palestinians were slaughtered in cold blood;

— Jerusalem, April 22, 1953 – the IDF killed 10 Palestinians;

— Bureji Refugee Camp, August 28, 1953 – the IDF killed  20 Palestinians and wounded 62 others;

— Qibya, Jordan, October 14, 1953 – Ariel Sharon’s infamous Unit 101 killed 70 villagers;

— Nahalin, Jordan, March 28, 1954 – the IDF killed nine Arabs and wounded 19;

— Gaza City, April 5, 1956 – IDF shelling killed 56 and wounded 193;

— Kafr Kassem, October 29, 1956 – the IDF killed about 50 men, women and children;

— the Suez War, October 29 – November 7, 1956 – the IDF executed about 273 Egyptian soldiers and civilians in cold blood;

— Khan Yunis, November 3, 1956 – the IDF killed dozens of civilians in cold blood;

— Rafah Refugee Camp, November 12, 1956 – the IDF slaughtered over 100 Palestinians;

— Nuqeibi, Syria, March 16 – 17, 1962 – IDF artillery and aircraft killed at least 30 unarmed villagers;

— Samu, Jordan, November 13, 1966 – the IDF destroyed 125 houses, a school, clinic and 15 houses in a nearby village killing 18 and wounded 54 in cold blood;

— the Six-Day War, June 5 – 11, 1967 – IDF forces preemptively and without cause attacked Egypt, Syria and Jordan; they massacred as many as 2000 helpless or captured Egyptian soldiers; killed about 340 Syrian villagers in the Golan Heights and displaced more than 300,000 Palestinians who fled to the Jordan River’s east bank along with others to Lebanon, Egypt and Syria;

— the USS Liberty incident, June 8, 1967 – Israeli forces attacked and killed 34 Americans and wounded 171 in international waters; a Department of Defense inquiry whitewashed it as a case of “mistaken identity” despite clear knowledge it was a willful attack on a US naval intelligence vessel;

— Rafah Refugee Camp, June 1967 – the IDF killed 23 Palestinians and buried them in a mass grave;

— following the Six Day War, June 1967, 56 Palestinians were shot in cold blood trying to cross the Jordan River to the West Bank;

— February 21, 1973, the IDF shot down Libya Airlines Flight 114 killing 106 passengers, including one American;

— Hebron, February 25, 1994 – Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 praying Palestinians;

— the First (1987 – 1992) and Second (2000 – 2005) Intifadas – thousands of Palestinians were killed and injured during IDF rampages against them;

— the 1982 Lebanon invasion and occupation; 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed, including 3000 massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps;

— Jenin, 2002 – the most infamous of numerous massacres during the Second Intifada; the IDF invaded the city and refugee camp; cut them off from outside help; destroyed hundreds of buildings; buried many alive in them under rubble; cut off power and water as well as food and other essential to life supplies; refused to allow in help, including medical aid; and killed and wounded dozens of Palestinian civilians; some accounts cite hundreds as Israeli forces swept up bodies and buried them to avoid an accurate count;

— the summer 2006 33-day (Second) Lebanon War – the IDF inflicted mass terror attacks and destruction throughout the country; around 1300 were killed; many more were wounded; one million (or one-fourth of the population) were displaced; and most vital infrastructure was destroyed to bring the country to a halt;

— the June 2006 Operation Summer Rain against Gaza; all border crossings were closed isolating the Territory and preventing essential to life supplies from getting in; air strikes and shellings were used; three main bridges were destroyed; the main water pipe for the Nusairat and al-Boreji refugee camps as well as the Strip’s only power plant supplying 80% of the Territory’s electricity; the IDF moved into Gaza and took control;

— the assault followed a series of bloody Israeli attacks: a weekend beach shelling killing eight Palestinians, including seven members of one family; 32 others were injured, including 13 children; a highway missile attack killing 11 and injuring 30; another missile attack killing three children and wounding 15;

— during the same period, the IDF conducted around 50 incursions into Palestinian West Bank communities; farmland was razed; homes were raided; dozens taken into custody, including children; on June 29, nearly the entire Hamas leadership was arrested, including eight cabinet ministers, 25 PLC members from the Change and Reform Party, and other Hamas officials.

Palestinians have endured all of the above and far more for over 60 years, 41 under occupation:

— many thousands of Palestinians were killed, injured, imprisoned, and tortured; since 1967, over 700,000 have been incarcerated; the great majority are tortured; many are held uncharged in administrative detention; anywhere from 10 – 12,000 Palestinians or more remain in prison at all times;

— rampaging military incursions occur repeatedly throughout Occupied Palestine; in November 2007 alone, 786 West Bank raids were conducted; several Palestinians were killed; dozens wounded; and around 400 arrested; in addition, public and private properties were damaged; crops destroyed; land seized; curfews imposed; and free movement was and remains severely restricted;

— in addition, settlement expansions seize West Bank land; the Separation Wall is taking another 10%; Palestinians have few rights, and since Hamas won a January 2006 PLC majority none at all in Gaza; desperation now plagues them with the Territory under siege, and approaches disaster since Israel launched late December terror bombings and ground and offshore attacks.

Professor Joseph Massad on Gaza Under Attack

Columbia University Professor and Middle East expert Joseph Massad, a Palestinian American, wrote this about Israel’s Gaza attack and invasion:

— “Since 2006, Arab regimes, neoliberal Arab intellectuals (in America and elsewhere), as well as (Fatah under president Mahmoud Abbas and appointed prime minister Salam Fayyad) reached an understanding that only Israel will be able to save them from Hizbollah and Hamas, both organizations constituting a threat to the open alliance Arab regimes have with the US and Israel against Iran and all progressive forces in the region;”

— “A veritable open alliance now exists between (Fatah), Arab regimes, and Israel (with neoliberal intellectual Arab support), wherein Israel is subcontracted to decimate the Hamas government – the only democratically elected government in the entire Arab world,” and therein lies its problem; Washington and Israel won’t tolerate democracies; they want repressive regimes they can control; Fatah is a collaborationist ally; Abbas and Fayyad its quisling leadership; Massad calls this “treachery;” it and other Arab regimes “rule by terror and fear;”

— Israel’s carnage is its latest attempt “to ensure that all Arabs and all Palestinians are ruled by dictators and never by democratically elected officials;” Fatah and world powers approve; nonetheless, Palestinians “understand very well that Abbas, his clique, the Arab regimes, the US and Europe are all culpable in their slaughter” as is Israel; they’re all “co-conspirators and active partners in crime.”

The IDF performs admirably against defenseless civilians. The aftermath, however, is another matter. “Palestinian determination” is strong enough to make Fatah and Abbas “losers” provided popular resistance won’t let Israel conquer populations, steal their land, destroy their livelihoods, imprison them in ghettos, and starve them into submission.

For the last century, Zionists haven’t learned that “the Palestinian yearning for freedom (can’t) be extinguished no matter how barbaric Israel’s crimes become,” how collaborationist are other Arab regimes, or how traitorous are some of their own people like Fatah. “The Gaza Ghetto Uprising will” continue their proud resistance never to “accept the legitimacy of a racist European colonial settlement in their midst.”

Collaborationist Fatah West Bank Crackdowns

On January 8, AP reported that with Gaza fighting raging, West Bank police violently suppressed pro-Gaza demonstrations. “It’s as if Gaza has become another country,” said university student Mohammed Akram standing next to pictures showing injured Gazans. “You watch TV and see an entire family killed by a missile,” said Hossam Salim. “They’re not militants or Hamas or anything.”

Other reports said PA police assaulted street demonstrators, focusing mainly on anyone carrying Hamas green flags. Violence and arrests followed as Abbas won’t let street protests become large, persistent, or openly hostile to Israel. Demonstrators were shocked that police attacked them for supporting their own people in Gaza. Abbas has orders to crack down, and some say he’s “on the side of the Jews.”

The Jerusalem Post highlights a Fatah – IDF “Iron Fist” policy, a massive crackdown, against all opposition. Reporters and photographers are threatened and assaulted. It’s too early to tell, but Massad believes this may backfire and defeat Abbas.

The New York Times may agree. In a January 14 article, correspondent Isabel Kershner headlined: “War on Hamas Saps Palestinian Leaders.” She says Fatah and Abbas “seem increasingly beleaguered and marginalized, even in the Palestinian cities….they control….The more bombs in Gaza, the more Hamas’ support (grows) at the expense of the (PA).” It wants control over Gaza, but according to Palestinian analyst Ghassan Khatib: “How can it make gains in a war in which it is one of the casualties?”

As a result, Hamas (like Hezbollah in Lebanon) is more popular than ever – among their own people and the Arab street. They represent popular resistance against colonial rule and complicit Arab regimes. If history is a guide, oppression in the end won’t work. It provokes anger, dissent and revolt, then liberation. Palestinian unity must denounce Fatah and Abbas, back Hamas, support its popular resistance, and continue struggling for peace, social justice, self-determination, and freedom.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in a Typical Week

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) compiles them daily for its weekly report. It’s disturbing reading even without conflict and affects the West Bank as well as Gaza. Palestine is under military occupation. It’s oppressive, illegal and continuous for the past 41 years.

PCHR gives detailed daily accounts of the Gaza slaughter. It also reports on Israel’s West Bank oppression with collaborationist Fatah PA (Palestinian Authority) help. Abbas blamed Hamas for the violence, and prime minister Salam Fayyad said nothing to condemn it for the first 13 days of fighting. Afterwards, he made tepid comments, more indicative of complicity than condemnation. Why so? He’s a former IMF and World Bank official with no standing among his people. In the 2006 PLC elections, he got 2.4% of the vote as a measure of his illegitimacy. He and Abbas are Israeli tools, enforcers, with considerable Western aid and weapons.

PCHR’s West Bank report states:

“IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) have continued to impose severe restrictions on (free movement), including (in) occupied East Jerusalem.” It cites hundreds of checkpoints, roadblocks, closed and controlled roads, and the illegal “Annexation Wall” that will stretch 724 kilometers when finished. It mentions continued assaults, killings, harassments, searches, neighborhood incursions, arrests, and numerous other indignities against a traumatized people like Gazans:

— two-thirds of West Bank roads between Palestinian communities are closed and/or fully militarized; 500 kilometers of roads are restricted;

— one-third of the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem, is off-limits to Palestinians without a military permit; very few are available;

— from January 8 – 14, six Palestinians, including two women were arrested at checkpoints;

— on January 8 in Hebron, Israeli forces raided homes; arrested two brothers; and shot and killed Ibrahim Shamlawi in cold blood;

— the IDF fired on al-Fawar refugee camp demonstrators wounding two, including a child;

— on January 9 in Madama village southwest of Nablus, the IDF raided homes and arrested three men plus another in Nablus;

— another man was arrested in Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin; homes were raided and searched;

— in two East Jerusalem areas, Israeli police, border guards and undercover units fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and sound bombs on young men and children demonstrating; dozens of children were treated for tear gas inhalation;

– in Hawara village, south of Nablus, Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, and southern Hebron, the IDF fired on demonstrators, wounded five men and one child, and arrested two others;

— on January 10 in Azmout village, northeast of Nablus, homes were raided and searched;

— in Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron, the IDF fired on demonstrators, wounding three;

— on January 11 in Beit al-Roush village, southwest of Hebron, homes were raided and searched;

— in Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, more homes were raided, searched and one man was arrested;

— on January in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, homes were raided, searched, and two men were arrested;

— in Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron, homes were raided, searched, and one young teenager was arrested, age 14;

— on January 13 near Kiryat Arba settlement and Jouhar Mount in east Hebron, dozens of homes were raided and searched;

— in Dura village, southwest of Hebron, homes were raided, searched and two men arrested;

— in Beit Oula village, northwest of Hebron, homes were raided, searched and one man arrested;

— in Ethna village, northwest of Hebron, the IDF shot and killed one man while he was farming his land; according to witnesses, he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and violently beaten for hours, then fired on and killed at point blank range;

— on January 14 in Awa village, southwest of Hebron, homes were raided, searched and six men arrested;

— in Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron, homes were raided, searched and one teenager arrested; and

— in Kufor Qallil village, east of Nablus, homes were raided, searched and another teenager arrested.

On January 19 (for next week’s PCHR’s report), sources indicate that the IDF “kidnapped seven Palestinian civilians” during morning pre-dawn West Bank city and town invasions.

Under military occupation, this is daily West Bank life today made harsher by oppressive Fatah security enforcement for Israel. New checkpoints, restrictions, curfews, and other measures are imposed at any time – against peaceful, non-combatant civilians. Palestinians live in daily fear of being harassed, arrested, tortured, or killed. Under siege and terror attacks, conditions in Gaza are worse, but no place in Occupied Palestine is safe, “ceasefire,” or no “ceasefire.”

Gaza Aggression Timeline

On December 27 without cause, Israeli aircraft launched terror bombings on Gaza – not coincidentally timed for when children were leaving and arriving at school. Relentless round-the-clock attacks have continued for over three weeks. Ceasefire negotiations continue. Under immense pressure and with US collaboration, IDF assaults may pause. This section reviews the timeline.

December 27 – Day One:

At 11:25AM, an initial “shock and awe” attack was launched with 60 aircraft hitting 50 targets simultaneously. By early afternoon, over 100 tons of bombs had fallen. Around 230 deaths were reported and 400 injured, many seriously. Most victims were civilians, many women and children. The same pattern continues daily. From 80 – 90% of casualties are non-combatants according to medical authorities and three human rights organizations on the ground. News reports and independent observers called December 27 the bloodiest day in Occupied Palestine since the 1967 Six Day War.

Day Two

Deaths rose to about 300, injuries to around 900. Dozens of round-the-clock sorties were flown plus helicopter and naval vessel attacks and tanks shellings from inside Israel. Targets from the start included government buildings, the parliament building, police stations, roads, a main water pipe, fuel tanks, schools, the Islamic University of Gaza, mosques, power facilities, sewage systems, TV stations, fishing boats, animal farms, charities, a mental health center, pharmacies, the main prison, ambulances, medical storage warehouses, private dwellings, commercial buildings, workshops, the control room of a telecommunications company – Gaza’s entire infrastructure network and civilian neighborhoods. The Territory is being reduced to dysfunction and ruin. The idea is to render Hamas impotent and let Fatah control all Occupied Palestine.

Day Three

Around 335 deaths and 1400 injured have been counted. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights(PCHR) reported that dozens of missiles hit “civilian facilities and mosques in densely populated areas (including refugee camps). In (one) very horrible crime (over night to early early morning), 22 Palestinian children were killed or wounded” while asleep at home.

Day Four

Deaths are up to 360. Injuries exceed 1400. PCHR reported that 23 private homes so far were bombed and 37 other civilian facilities.

Day Five

Deaths are now 390 and 1600 injured. PCHR reported that Israel “used fighter jets, helicopter gunships, drones and gunboats to launch hundreds of barbarian indiscriminate raids….with disregard for the (welfare), security and safety of the (entire) civilian population (and) vital services” they need. The humanitarian situation is “desperate.”

Day Six

By New Year’s day, deaths were up to 400 with 1700 injured.

Day Seven

Death and injury tolls mount – up to 420 killed and 1850 wounded, many so seriously they won’t survive. Senior Hamas resistance leader Dr. Nizar Rayan was killed at home along with his wife and 11 of his children. PCHR reported that in the last 24 hours aircraft bombed and completely destroyed eight homes and a family meeting hall in Gaza City, 11 others in northern Gaza plus dozens of badly damaged neighboring homes in both locations. Six more were destroyed in central Gaza and three in Rafah. In the first seven days, 66 private homes were destroyed and their inhabitants killed or wounded.

Day Eight

Around 100 children and women so far were killed. More private homes and refugee camps are targeted. The New York Times reported that “Israeli tanks and troops swept across the border into Gaza on Saturday night opening a ground war….after a week of intense airstrikes.”

Day Nine

Around 455 deaths are reported and 2300 injured. In one horrific incident, aircraft bombed a Jabalya mosque in northern Gaza killing 15 civilians, four children, and injuring 27 others. Ambulances trying to reach the wounded are attacked. AP reported that “Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swarths through the Gaza Strip on early Sunday, cutting the (Territory) into two and surrounding its biggest city (as the offensive) gained momentum.”

Day Ten

Deaths reached 510. Injuries exceeded 2300. Daily counts are the best estimates. PCHR reported that Israeli forces pushed deeper into Gaza and fighting was intense in “densely populated residential areas;” whole families have been killed in attacks, many inside their homes.

Day Eleven

Deaths total 600 and injuries around 2400, including 130 children, 33 women and six medical personnel according to PCHR. Its investigations show “at least 90%” of Palestinian killed in the past few days are civilians. Everything is coming under fire. Israeli tanks shelled an UNWRA school used as a shelter killing at least 40 civilians inside. No place is safe. There’s nowhere to hide. Gaza is totally isolated, surrounded, and cut off.

Day Twelve

Deaths jumped to 660 and injuries to 2800. The entire Strip is bombarded. Everything is targeted, including medical personnel and journalists. The enormity of the crimes is appalling. International community silence is shameful. Mass killing and destruction continue. No relief so far is in sight.

Day Thirteen

Deaths exceeded 700, including 169 children and 46 women. Injuries hit 3000. PCHR reported that even hospitals are attacked.

Day Fourteen

Deaths reached 760 and injuries around 3100. Thus far, 189 children, 50 women and six medical personnel have been killed.

Day Fifteen

The death toll hit 800. Injuries topped 3100. PCHR reported that the IDF “continued to attack and obstruct the work of medical, civil defense crews and humanitarian relief crews….(Israel) intends to cause maximum deaths and casualties among Palestinian civilians, and maximum destruction to their property.”

Day Sixteen

Deaths numbered 852 with injuries up to 3200. PCHR reported that bombings against residential neighborhoods have been relentless, and ground operations expanded into more Palestinian towns, villages and residential areas. The IDF is using incendiary white phosphorous bombs “against civilians.” They’re shelling them with “flaming objects that explode into potentially lethal shrapnel while releasing suffocating white smoke.” Severe burns to the bone, spasms, serious breathing difficulties, severed limbs, and other injuries are reported, many life-threatening.

Targeting civilians with white phosphorous (called Willy Pete) is illegal. It works by interacting with oxygen to produce fire and smoke for use as smokescreens or as a terror weapon. It’s an incendiary like napalm and thermites. As a weapon, it can destroy an enemy’s equipment, limit vision, or burn flesh to the bone. Exposure to the smoke can also cause liver, kidney, heart, lung, other organ damage and death. Ingesting it causes throat and lung blistering until victims suffocate while phosphorous burns their insides. Israeli forces are using this against civilians along with other terror weapons.

They’re also forcing people from their homes, holding them in detention, treating them inhumanely, denying them food and water, and using them as human shields during clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters. Amnesty International’s Israeli investigator Donatella Rovera told the London Guardian that:

“It’s standard practice for Israeli soldiers to go into a house, lock up the family in a room on the ground floor, and use the rest of the house as a military base, as a sniper’s position. That is the absolute textbook case of human shields.” Other instances involved forcing Gazans at gunpoint to precede them into buildings to shield them from possible attack. The 1907 Hague Regulations and Fourth Geneva Convention prohibit these practices. Its Article 27 states:

“Protected (non-combatant) persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons….They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence….”

Its Article 28 states:

“The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points immune from military operations.” Civilians may not be placed alongside soldiers or military facilities to deter attacks on them.

Articles 31 and 51 also prohibit use of physical or moral coercion to force civilians to perform military tasks. Nonetheless, Israel uses these tactics repeatedly in defiance of its own High Court ruling against them.

Day Seventeen

Deaths reached 885 and injuries 3900. Indiscriminate attacks continued. The great majority of casualties are civilians. At least 211 are children.

On January 12, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC – the successor body to its Commission on Human Rights) passed a Cuba-sponsored resolution condemning Israel’s aggression and recommending international observers investigate atrocities on the ground. The vote was 33 ayes, one nay (Canada), and 13 abstentions by Germany, represented EU nations, South Korea, Switzerland, and others. Countries in support included Russia, China, Brazil and Argentina. America isn’t a member.

Day Eighteen

Deaths hit 910 and injuries 4250.

Day Nineteen

Terror bombings and savage ground attacks continued round-the-clock. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that confirmed deaths passed 1000 and over 4580 have been injured, many seriously with hundreds “clinically” dead. A Gaza City municipal facility was struck by a blast described as enormous. A central Gaza City cemetery was also hit spreading body parts and rotting flesh over a wide area and simultaneously destroying homes in Sheikh Radwan. Jabaliya Refugee camp was targeted with deaths reported, and Israeli tanks continue to shell houses in densely populated areas.

Entire neighborhoods have been leveled. Agricultural land has been razed. Attacks continue night and day. PCHR cites the “massive forced internal displacement of the civilian population of Gaza City” and other targeted areas.

Reuters, Haaretz, and the Egyptian news agency MENA reported that with changes Hamas may be ready to accept an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil praised Egypt’s initiative as “the only one calling for an immediate stop to Israeli aggression.”

Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan told Al-Jazeera that changes still must be made. “There are still points of difference” so far unresolved. “The initiative in its present form does not realize the (Palestinian national) interest. Specific points have to be changed….We believe there is no initiative which cannot be modified or changed.”

Key sticking points remain, including Israel wanting Fatah (the PA) in charge of administering Gaza’s reconstruction and controlling its borders – essentially empowering the Abbas – Fayyad government in Gaza as well as the West Bank and neutralizing Hamas.

Other problems also exist, according to Deputy chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk. He told Al-Arabiya television that:

“Israel did not abide by any of the previous truce conditions, and therefore there must be a short and pre-defined period between each stage that would allow us to evaluate the situation and agree to move on to the next stage.”

In addition, Abbas’ presidential term expired on January 9. He claims the right to retain it for another year until January 2010 parliamentary elections are held. Hamas disagrees and no longer recognizes him as president. Its spokesman, Mushir al-Masri said: “He’s in power only because the Israelis and Americans want him to stay.”

Either way, Hamas PLC representative Salah al-Bardawil said ceasefire negotiations seek the following goals: ending Israel’s aggression; withdrawing all Israeli troops from Gaza; lifting the siege; reopening border crossings, rehabilitating the Strip, and compensating Gaza residents for the damage. From Damascus, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal offered the same terms and said: “We will not accept any political movement that doesn’t satisfy these demands.”

White House spokesperson Dana Perino said: “We have every right to be skeptical of things that you see in the newspaper reported about Hamas. And so I think we need to wait and see what actually happens. And as things develop, we’ll comment from there.” A State Department official added that Hamas hasn’t met ceasefire terms. “It’s not a done deal. There are a number of Hamas conditions that (have) to be dealt with.” It’s clear that means empowering Fatah and neutralizing Hamas.

Day Twenty

Haaretz: “Gaza City hospital (Al-Quds) in flames after hit in Hamas-IDF fighting.” Thousands of Palestinians fled in fear as Israeli tanks stormed the city and shelled it, including randomly on residential areas. At the same time, terror bombings continued round the clock. Before midday, confirmed deaths reached 1097 (including 335 children) plus around 5000 injured (including 400 children). Over 400 of the injured are in critical condition.

Israeli aircraft bombed UNWRA headquarters, injuring three employees and attacked two other hospitals from the air and ground. The IDF surrounded Al-Aqsa Hospital, according to volunteers inside. No one can get in or out. Reuters also reported that a media compound was attacked. Several injuries were reported. An IDF spokesperson said attacks will continue despite reports that Hamas may be near accepting an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

Hamas confirmed that its Interior Minister, Sa’ed Sayam and six others (including his son, brother and internal security department chief, Saleh Abu Sharekh) were killed when Israeli aircraft bombed his home.

Gaza Professor Said Abdelwahed emailed that his “neighborhood is under total control of Israeli army tanks, infantry and others after 13 hours of bombing and raiding. Snipers are outside (his) door.” His later emailed included photos of his building that was damaged by shelling.

At the same time, Israeli gunboats intercepted another mercy ship (the Spirit of Humanity) in international waters. On board were doctors, journalists, European parliament members, and desperately needed medical supplies.

Bolivian President Evo Morales joined Hugo Chavez in severing diplomatic ties with Israel and said he’ll ask the International Criminal Court to bring “genocide” charges against its government. He also denounced UN inaction and called for Shimon Peres to be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize for supporting the slaughter.

Reports say the IDF “kidnapped” five West Bank Palestinians in pre-dawn raids, 60 more in Hebron since January 1, and others in Jenin and elsewhere. At the same time, foreign minister Livni “urge(d) the Red Cross  (ICRC) to press Hamas for access to (the captured Israeli soldier) Gilad Shalit,” according to “News Agencies” reports. She rises to new heights of hypocrisy.

While Gaza attacks continue, the Lebanese daily Al Safir reported a build-up of Israeli tanks, military vessels and Apache helicopters on its border:

“The Israeli army has mobilized its troops along the (southern) border from the western Lebanese village of Naqurah to the southern border village of Al Wazzani.” As a result, the Lebanese army and Hezbollah are on high alert, and why not. Lebanon may be next according to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya’s January 18 “Israel’s Next War” article on Global He cites reports that:

“This war is already in the advanced planning stage. In November 2008….the Israeli military held drills for a two-front war against Lebanon and Syria called Shiluv Zro’ot III (Crossing Arms III). The military exercise included a massive simulated invasion of both Syria and Lebanon. (Earlier), Tel Aviv also warned Beirut that it would declare war on the whole of Lebanon and not just Hezbollah.”

Given Israel’s past aggression on the country, this threat must be taken seriously. It may also be Obama’s baptism of fire proof that permanent “wars on terror” will continue on his watch – against Lebanon, perhaps Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and so forth to solidify US hegemony while diverting attention from the collapsing the domestic economy.

Day Twenty-One

Casualties keep mounting. The latest confirmed death toll is 1133. Over 5150 have been injured. Israel is using Egypt to pressure Hamas to surrender. Abbas is on board in support. Khaled Meshal said never. “Israel will not be able to destroy our resistance, and the United States will not be able to dictate us their rules.” They don’t negotiate, they demand.

Hamas’ spokesman in Lebanon, Usama Hamdan, said it will ignore an Israeli unilateral ceasefire agreement. “Either we hear what we have demanded or the result will be the continuation of the confrontation on the ground.”

Meanwhile, reports claim Israeli forces are shooting Gazans waving white flags. On January 13, B’Tselem stated:

“Munir Shafik a-Najar (said) the army has been demolishing houses in his area.” They use gunfire and loudspeakers ordering people out of their homes. “Rawhiya a-Najar stepped out of her house waving a white flag” and was shot in the head. Others were ordered to a school in a village center and were shot in cold blood. Casualties included three dead and many wounded.

General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann called Israel’s assault “genocide” and told Al-Jazeera that he never believed the Security Council would do a thing. How can it with Washington vetoing all resolutions against Israel.

Day Twenty-Two

Confirmed deaths reached 1205. Injuries top 5300 with hundreds in critical condition. Six people were killed, including a woman and two of her children, when aircraft fired missiles at an UNWRA Beit Lahyia school used as a shelter. White phosphorous incendiaries and DIME weapons (that shred flesh to pieces) were used in the fourth attack on a UN school. In each case, Israel had the coordinates, knew the facilities were shelters, and shelled them anyway. Haaretz reported that a UN official wants “an investigation into possible war crimes…and that anyone who is guilty should be brought to justice.”

In similar instances, Israel accuses Hamas of firing from schools, mosques, and civilian neighborhoods – the blame game, always against the victims to absolve the aggressor.

Meanwhile, Israel’s cabinet will consider a “unilateral” ceasefire, according to Haaretz (and then declared it), in the wake of Washington and Tel Aviv signing a Friday agreement to:

— “work cooperatively with neighbors….to prevent the supply of arms and related material to terrorist organizations….with a particular focus on” Gaza and Hamas;

— NATO partners will be involved;

— enhanced “US security and intelligence cooperation with regional governments” will as well;

— enhanced “existing international sanctions and enforcement mechanisms” also;

— “the United States and Israel will assist each other in these efforts” through intelligence sharing;

— “the United States will accelerate its efforts to provide logistical and technical assistance and to train and equip regional security forces….;” and more.

In other words, Washington will reward Israeli aggression and war crimes with more aid and support. After a Tizpi Livni – Condoleezza Rice Washington meeting, the deal was done, but according to Livni, “If Hamas shoots, we’ll have to continue. And if it shoots later on, we’ll have to embark on another campaign.”

For now, however, it appears that Israel and the Bush administration will quiet things down for the January 20 transition of power. Call it a “no-ceasefire” ceasefire, a pause, a conditional one, not a meaningful cessation of hostilities. Gaza is still occupied, under siege, isolated and alone. The Palestinian liberation struggle continues.

Day Twenty-Three

Overnight, Israel, as expected, announced a “no-ceasefire” ceasefire (beginning 2AM January 18), but vowed to assess the situation “minute-by-minute (and) respond with force” freely at any time. No Hamas demands were met. The occupation and siege continue. Borders will stay closed. Gaza remains isolated. The IDF keeps killing civilians. New deaths and injuries are reported. Corpses are being unearthed under rubble. The official known death toll exceeds 1300 but will rise considerably as new bodies are discovered.

Among the dead – 417 children, 108 women, 120 elderly, 14 medical personnel, and at least four journalists. Injuries exceed 5450. Dr. Muawiya Hassanen of the Palestinian Ministry of Health said dozens are still missing and believed dead.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the IDF used half its air force over the past three weeks. It flew over 2500 sorties, dropped over 1000 tons of explosives plus tanks, artillery and navel vessels fired hundreds of shells from land and sea. Nonetheless, Hamas held firm and vows to resist until Gaza is free. Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said:

“A unilateral ceasefire does not mean ending the aggression and ending the siege. These constitute acts of war so this won’t mean an end to resistance.” Nonetheless, on January 18, Hamas official in Cairo, Ayman Taha, announced a temporary ceasefire to “give Israel a week to withdraw,” open all border crossings, and allow in “all materials, food, goods, and basic needs.” Other Gaza resistance groups, except the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), agreed to honor the truce. It rejects a ceasefire, insists that “Israeli attack(s are) continuing,” and said “armed resistance (will) continue as long as there is one Israeli soldier in Gaza.”

For now, explosions are still heard in parts of the Strip. Reports also say shells hit a group of Rafah residents, and white phosphorous bombs struck the At-Tuffah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City. Also an attack helicopter shot at civilians in Jabaliya. So much for the “ceasefire” that can start and stop as Israel chooses in spite of Israeli Channel 10 reporting Israeli tanks and soldiers redeploying from deep inside Gaza positions. Israeli aircraft are still active overhead and naval vessels control coastal areas

Medical crews report “horrifying scenes” of dead bodies “found in pieces.” Many are women and children. Images reveal mass destruction, death and despair.

New York Times Apologetics for Israeli War Crimes

On January 16, Jerusalem-based Steven Erlanger headlined: “Weighing Crimes and Ethics in the Fog of Urban Warfare” in typical New York Times fashion. Poor Israel. Despite three weeks of round the clock war crimes against isolated, beleaguered, and defenseless civilians, he quotes Israeli spokesman, Mark Regev saying that the IDF makes every effort “Not to target civilians, not to target UN people, not to target medical staff. All this is very clear in Israeli military doctrine” in spite of clear contradictory evidence.

Tel Aviv University’s Asa Kashar helped write Israel’s military ethical code. Erlanger cites him calling the IDF’s ethical and legal standards high and conscientiously taught to its military. Another unnamed Israeli chief army legal officer as well saying war crimes charges are “deeply unfair and unjust.”

He dismisses attacks on civilian neighborhoods, hospitals, ambulances, mosques, schools, UN shelters, Gaza’s entire infrastructure, and civilians with no weapons waving white cloths. He cites Israeli claims of being attacked and responding, with no evidence to prove it. He quotes Israeli officials denying collective punishment and claiming no humanitarian crisis exists. He mentions Major Dallal saying: the fundamental question is “How does an army fight a terrorist group?”

Most fundamental is how The New York Times fronts for Israel, conceals its state terrorism, war crimes, and Washington’s complicity in their commission.

A Final Comment

So far, it hardly matters whether or not a ceasefire holds. What does matter is growing world outrage, millions globally condemning Israeli terrorism, and potentially gathering enough momentum to matter. It’s crucial to maintain pressure, demand Israeli war criminals be punished, and build a world movement for sanctions, divestment, boycott, isolation and UN General Assembly expulsion until Israel complies with international law, ends the Gaza siege, the occupation of Palestine, makes just restitution, grants Palestinians self-determination, and is held accountable before the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal for Israel.

On July 9, 2005, the Global BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) called for action until Israel “complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.” It’s long past time to stop inaction, timidity, and weak-kneed indecisiveness.

Since its illegitimate May 14, 1948 birth, Israel defiled the rule of law, abused its neighbors, committed genocide against the Palestinians, stole their land and future, and affronted all humanity with its arrogance. It’s high time these practices end and Israel be held to account. If not now, when? If not by us, who? If that’s not incentive enough, what is?

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Monday through Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions on world and national topics with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

How Is It That the King of Saudi Arabia and the President of the United States Both Do Israel’s Bidding?

‘Arab peace initiative will not remain on the table forever’

Israel destroys, Saudi rebuilds

Saudi King donates one billion dollars to rebuild Gaza, calls for putting end to Arab rifts.

KUWAIT CITY – Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Monday announced the donation of one billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza and called for putting an end to Arab differences.

“On behalf of the Saudi people, I declare the donation of one billion dollars for programmes to rebuild Gaza,” the Saudi monarch said at the opening session of an Arab summit in Kuwait.

“We have to overcome Arab political differences that led to a division in the Arab ranks which can be exploited by those who want to achieve their regional ambitions” King Abdullah said.

He also warned that the Arab peace initiative “will not remain on the table forever.”

Arab leaders are tipped to approve the setting up of a two-billion dollar fund for the reconstruction of Gaza.

Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah announced at the summit’s opening his country will donate all 34 million dollars needed by the UN relief agency for refugees, or UNRWA, for its Gaza Strip relief work.

Qatar last week suggested the setting up of a fund for Gaza and donated 250 million dollars.

The donations came a day after fighting stopped in Gaza between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas, allowing residents to survey the damage from the 22-day war.

Gaza medics said more than 1,300 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli offensive was launched on December 27. The Jewish state has put its death toll at 13, including three civilians.

Gaza Is Our Guernica

Gaza Is Our Guernica

By Joseph E Fasciani

VICTORIA, BC — It is long past time for the world to acknowledge that the destruction of Gaza is the Guernica of our time. All our moral compasses will be set from this point, as to our attitude in this true holocaust. Not one of us is exempt; all will be weighed in the balance of our beliefs and actions.

Here is a photograph of the painting with a statement from Picasso, followed by the present carnage at Gaza [Reuters Jan 12, 2009]:


“What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far, far from it: at the same time he is also a political being constantly aware of the heartbreak- ing, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” Pablo Picasso

“In 1937 Pablo Picasso painted Guernica, a mural, as the centerpiece for the Spanish Pavilion of the World’s Fair in Paris. It is a bitter irony that Guernica, the most lasting monument of the exposition, is the Twentieth century’s most enduring symbol of the horrors of war and the inhumane use of technology. It is a portent for the terrors of the next decade. The painting is based on the events of April 27, 1937, when the German air force, in support of the Fascist forces led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, carried out a bombing raid on the Basque village of Guernica in northern Spain.

“At that time such a massive bombing campaign was unprecedented. The hamlet was pounded with high-explosive and incendiary bombs for over three hours. The non-combatant townspeople including women and children were indiscriminately cut-down as they fled their crumbling buildings. The town of Guernica burned for three days leaving sixteen hundred civilians killed or wounded in its smoldering remains.

“The Fascist planners of the bombing campaign knew that Guernica had no strategic value as a military target, but it was a cultural and religious center for Basque identity. The devastation was intended to terrorize the population and break the spirit of the Basque resistance. In effect it was intended to “shock and awe” the Basques into submission. The bombing of Guernica was a sensation in the world press. The Times of London called it the arch-symbol of Fascist barbarity.”

From, one in a series from the website devoted to

Responses to War created by David Hart of the University of Adelaide.

That the above description could be applied to the present horrors in Gaza with virtually no differences is condemnation enough for Israel to stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Let us substitute Gaza for Guernica and Palestinian for Basque and see the eerie parallels:

“The Fascist planners of the bombing campaign knew that Gaza had no strategic value as a military target, but it was a cultural and religious center for Palestinian identity. The devastation was intended to terrorize the population and break the spirit of the Palestinian resistance. In effect it was intended to “shock and awe” the Palestinians into submission.”

That this massacre is made by the same people who scream “Holocaust!” about themselves is of course the supreme irony, and –from a Christian point of view– the greatest self-incrimination and sin. Sin. Well, there’s a word!

Our idea of sin derives from the Greek word harmartia, which means to ‘miss the mark,” something we cannot fault those precision Israeli bombers for. They locate and hit schools, hospitals, children’s shelters, and UN aid stations. Any and all humanitarian relief points are now suitable targets.

An Israeli friend of mine told me this was a common joke there twenty years ago:

“Why does Israel need expensive spy satellites?”

“So we can spot Palestinian kids picking up stones to throw at our tanks!”

For me, at nearly 66, it brings to mind all the black and white documentaries I watched as a child, often at rallies and memorials we attended with my father’s business partners, Sam Windstrauch and Sam Silberstein, two real Jews who had no interest in Zionism, nor did Albert Einstein, no matter how often he was asked to support “Israel Bond Drives”.

Now the murderers are strangely transposed: the old black and white movies of the Nazis destroying Guernica or taking the Warsaw ghetto have morphed into full-colour TV journalists documenting Israel’s “Defense” Forces [IDF] taking Gaza, exactly as was done sixty years ago.

The formerly abused become present abuser and use the same tactics: enclose the victims, cut off food, water, and fuel; bomb and shell one and all, set them fleeing in vain. Then move in and use all the newest weapons to maximize their deaths at minimal IDF losses. To date, it seems that goal is a kill ration of 100:1 or better, if possible.

As we step into the Ninth Circle of Hell, please note the IDF’s weapons and tanks are the best that money can buy and the USA supply, in fact, pays for with the billions of dollars of “foreign aid” it generously gives to Israel every year. If the US gave its own citizens as much as it gives to Israel, each man, woman, and child would receive more than US$ 33,000.00 a year. Let me know when you got your cheque, as I have yet to get mine.

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? [Holocaust] I think not.”

Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law authority at Princeton University, 2009

This much is certain: all these killers are true to their leaders, such as Bush, who told us that “I listened to the voices…and acted. I am the Decider.” Some leader! Some decisions!

Can anyone see Christ in anything that comes out from Bush, or from any ZIonazi spokesperson? “For it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what proceeds from his mouth!” warned Jeshua, 2000 years ago. Nothing’s changed.

In the US of A and Canada, self-righteous “Christian” evangelicals aligned with Zionazis defame Him for a fictitious “security” which cannot ever be, for there can never be peace without justice.

In truth, they are not Christians. They, along with the Zionazis, are the new murderous Pharisees of our era, if we have eyes that truly see, and unstopped ears to hear the screams of agony in Gaza, the Guernica of our time.

Travel advisory issued for top IDF officers

Travel advisory issued for top IDF officers

State expresses concern over international human rights groups’ intention to file war crimes charges against military personnel with The Hague, local European courts; says officers planning to travel must contact Judge Advocate General’s Office first

Tova Tzimuki

IDF officers intending to travel to Europe, whether for business or pleasure, have been advised to contact the Judge Advocate General’s Office prior to leaving Israel; and some may be instructed not to leave the country.

The advisory has been issued following Israel’s concern that international arrest warrants may be issued against officers who were involved in the Israeli offensive in Gaza, on charges of war crimes.

Judicial Front

Mazuz: Israel bracing for slew of lawsuits over Gaza op  / Aviad Glickman

Attorney general says legal system preparing for wave of international lawsuits over Israeli offensive in Gaza; adds Judge Advocate General involved in every operational decision

Jerusalem has reportedly received several reports suggesting international human rights groups are in the process of gathering evidence in the form of photos and testimonials, with the intent of filing suits both with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague and in local European courts.

While the State is likely to be able to thwart such attempts in The Hague, having suits of this nature filed with local European courts quashed is more complex: Many of the European courts have taken it upon themselves to hear cases of alleged war crimes perpetrated in other countries, even if they themselves have no affinity to the case.

Once a European court decides to hear such a case, it is within its right to issue bench warrants for the alleged criminals – in this case top politicians and military personnel – and that is a move the State might find difficult to undo.

“As far as the international arena is concerned, Israel is entering what is probably its darkest era,” a Jerusalem source told Yedioth Ahronoth. “The Palestinian and their friends will try to make Israel look like a leper, like China looked after the Tiananmen Square massacre (of 1989), or like Serbia did under (former President Slobodan) Milosevic.

“They intend of mounting a legal front against IDF officers, ministers, Knesset members and Israeli diplomats. They will go after them with arrest warrants all over the world.”

According to political sources, the situation may take another turn for the worst after the foreign media will be allowed back into Gaza Strip, and the devastation in Gaza becomes more evident.

The Israelis claim that Hamas has been using women and children as human shields never really took, said a source. Whenever it was used the response was the same: If you know that there a women and children there – hold your fire.

Why Israel won’t survive

Why Israel won’t survive

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 19 January 2009

From a hill just outside the Gaza Strip, Israelis watch the air assaults on Gaza and dance in celebration of the attacks, 8 January 2009. (Newscom)

The merciless Israeli bombardment of Gaza has stopped — for now — but the death toll keeps rising as more bodies are pulled from carpet- bombed neighborhoods.

What Israel perpetrated in Gaza, starting at 11:30am on 27 December 2008, will remain forever engraved in history and memory. Tel al-Hawa, Hayy al-Zeitoun, Khuzaa and other sites of Israeli massacres will join a long mournful list that includes Deir Yasin, Qibya, Kufr Qasim, Sabra and Shatila, Qana, and Jenin.

Once again, Israel demonstrated that it possesses the power and the lack of moral restraint necessary to commit atrocities against a population of destitute refugees it has caged and starved.

The dehumanization and demonization of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims has escalated to the point where Israel can with full self- righteousness bomb their homes, places of worship, schools, universities, factories, fishing boats, police stations — in short everything that sustains civilized and orderly life — and claim it is conducting a war against terrorism.

Yet paradoxically, it is Israel as a Zionist state, not Palestine or the Palestinian people, that cannot survive this attempted genocide.

Israel’s “war” was not about rockets — they served the same role in its narrative as the non-existent weapons of mass destruction did as the pretext for the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Israel’s real goals were to restore its “deterrence” fatally damaged after its 2006 defeat in Lebanon (translation: its ability to massacre and terrorize entire populations into submission) and to destroy any Palestinian resistance to total Israeli-Jewish control over historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

With Hamas and other resistance factions removed or fatally weakened, Israel hoped the way would be clear to sign a “peace” deal with chief Palestinian collaborator Mahmoud Abbas to manage Palestinians on Israel’s behalf until they could be forced out once and for all.

The US-backed “moderate” dictatorships and absolute monarchies led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia supported the Israeli plan hoping to demonstrate to their own people that resistance — whether against Israel or their own bankrupt regimes — was futile.

To win, Israel had to break Palestinian resistance. It failed. On the contrary, it galvanized and unified Palestinians like never before. All factions united and fought heroically for 23 days. According to well-informed and credible sources Israel did little harm to the modest but determined military capacity of the resistance. So instead Israel did what it does best: it massacred civilians in the hope that the population would turn against those fighting the occupier.

Israel not only unified the resistance factions in Gaza; its brutality rallied all Palestinians and Arabs.

It is often claimed that Arab regimes whip up anti-Israel anger to distract their populations from their own failings. Actually, Israel, the US and subservient Arab regimes tried everything — especially demonizing Iran and inciting sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims — to distract their populations from Palestine.

All this failed as millions of people across the region marched in support of Palestinian resistance, and the Arab regimes who hoped to benefit from the slaughter in Gaza have been exposed as partners in the Israeli atrocities. In popular esteem, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions earned their place alongside Hizballah as effective bulwarks against Israeli and Western colonialism.

If there was ever a moment when the peoples of the region would accept Israel as a Zionist state in their midst, that has passed forever.

But anyone surveying the catastrophe in Gaza — the mass destruction, the death toll of more than 100 Palestinians for every Israeli, the thousands of sadistic injuries — would surely conclude that Palestinians could never overcome Israel and resistance is a delusion at best.

True, in terms of ability to murder and destroy, Israel is unmatched. But Israel’s problem is not, as its propaganda insists, “terrorism” to be defeated by sufficient application of high explosives. Its problem is legitimacy, or rather a profound and irreversible lack of it. Israel simply cannot bomb its way to legitimacy.

Israel was founded as a “Jewish state” through the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s non-Jewish majority Arab population. It has been maintained in existence only through Western support and constant use of violence to prevent the surviving indigenous population from exercising political rights within the country, or returning from forced exile.

Despite this, today, 50 percent of the people living under Israeli rule in historic Palestine (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip) are Palestinians, not Jews. And their numbers are growing rapidly. Like Nationalists in Northern Ireland or non-whites in South Africa, Palestinians will never recognize the “right” of a settler-colonial society to maintain an ethnocractic state at their expense through violence, repression and racism.

For years, the goal of the so-called peace process was to normalize Israel as a “Jewish state” and gain Palestinians’ blessing for their own dispossession and subjugation. When this failed, Israel tried “disengagement” in Gaza — essentially a ruse to convince the rest of the world that the 1.5 million Palestinians caged in there should no longer be counted as part of the population. They were in Israel’s definition a “hostile entity.”

In his notorious May 2004 interview with The Jerusalem Post, Arnon Soffer, an architect of the 2005 disengagement explained that the approach “doesn’t guarantee ‘peace,’ it guarantees a Jewish- Zionist state with an overwhelming majority of Jews.” Soffer predicted that in the future “when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful.”

He was unambiguous about what Israel would have to do to maintain this status quo: “If we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.” Soffer hoped that eventually, Palestinians would give up and leave Gaza altogether.

Through their resistance, steadfastness and sacrifice, Palestinians in Gaza have defeated this policy and reasserted that they are an inseparable part of Palestine, its people, its history and its future.

Israel is not the first settler-colonial entity to find itself in this position. When F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid president, came to office in 1989, his generals calculated that solely with the overwhelming military force at their disposal, they could keep the regime in power for at least a decade. The casualties, however, would have run into hundreds of thousands, and South Africa would face ever greater isolation. Confronted with this reality, de Klerk took the decision to begin an orderly dismantling of apartheid.

What choice will Israel make? In the absence of any political and moral legitimacy the only arguments it has left are bullets and bombs. Left to its own devices Israel will certainly keep trying — as it has for sixty years — to massacre Palestinians into submission. Israel’s achievement has been to make South Africa’s apartheid leaders look wise, restrained and humane by comparison.

But what prevented South Africa’s white supremacist government from escalating their own violence to Israeli levels of cruelty and audacity was not that they had greater scruples than the Zionist regime. It was recognition that they alone could not stand against a global anti-apartheid movement that was in solidarity with the internal resistance.

Israel’s “military deterrent” has now been repeatedly discredited as a means to force Palestinians and other Arabs to accept Zionist supremacy as inevitable and permanent. Now, the other pillar of Israeli power — Western support and complicity — is starting to crack. We must do all we can to push it over.

Israel began its massacres with full support from its Western “friends.” Then something amazing happened. Despite the official statements of support, despite the media censorship, despite the slick Israeli hasbara (propaganda) campaign, there was a massive, unprecedented public mobilization in Europe and even in North America expressing outrage and disgust.

Gaza will likely be seen as the turning point when Israeli propaganda lost its power to mystify, silence and intimidate as it has for so long. Even the Nazi Holocaust, long deployed by Zionists to silence Israel’s critics, is becoming a liability; once unimaginable comparisons are now routinely heard. Jewish and Palestinian academics likened Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Nazi massacre in the Warsaw Ghetto. A Vatican cardinal referred to Gaza as a “giant concentration camp.” UK Member of Parliament Gerald Kaufman, once a staunch Zionist, told the House of Commons, “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow, [Poland]. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.” Kaufman continued, “my grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.” He denounced the Israeli military spokesperson’s justifications as the words “of a Nazi.”

It wasn’t only such statements, but the enormous demonstrations, the nonviolent direct actions, and the unprecedented expressions of support for boycott, divestment and sanctions from major trade unions in Italy, Canada and New Zealand. An all-party group of city councillors in Birmingham, Europe’s second largest municipal government, urged the UK government to follow suit. Salma Yaqoub of the RESPECT Party explained that “One of the factors that helped bring an end to the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa was international pressure for economic, sporting and cultural boycotts. It is time that Israel started to feel similar pressure from world opinion.”

Israel, its true nature as failed, brutal colonial project laid bare in Gaza, is extremely vulnerable to such a campaign. Little noticed amidst the carnage in Gaza, Israel took another momentous step towards formal apartheid when the Knesset elections committee voted to ban Arab parties from participating in upcoming elections. Zionism, an ideology of racial supremacy, extremism and hate, is a dying project, in retreat and failing to find new recruits. With enough pressure, and relatively quickly, Israelis too would likely produce their own de Klerk ready to negotiate a way out. Every new massacre makes it harder, but a de-zionized, decolonized, reintegrated Palestine affording equal rights to all who live in it, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and return for refugees is not a utopian dream.

It is within reach, in our lifetimes. But it is far from inevitable. We can be sure that Western and Arab governments will continue to support Israeli apartheid and Palestinian collaboration under the guise of the “peace process” unless decisively challenged. Israeli massacres will continue and escalate until the nightmare of an Israeli- style “peace” — apartheid and further ethnic cleansing — is fulfilled.

The mobilizations of the past three weeks showed that a different world is possible and within our grasp if we support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Although they will never get to see it, that world would be a fitting memorial for all of Israel’s victims.

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

Inalienable Rights

Inalienable Rights

Posted by Charles Glass

Self-evident Truths: For Barack Obama on the Eve of His Inauguration as President of the United States.

• Israel has the inalienable right to pursue terrorists in the Gaza Strip and everywhere else they are hiding.

• Israel has the inalienable right to attack houses, mosques, churches, United Nations shelters, schools and hospitals to kill terrorists.

• Israel has the inalienable right to expropriate the land of Palestinian farmers for Israeli Jewish settlers.

• Israel has the inalienable right to arrest, torture and brutalise Palestinians who resist the expropriation of their land.

• Israel has the inalienable right to restrict the movement of Palestinians from one place to another in order to protect the settlements it has built on land expropriated, by inalienable right, from Palestinians.

• Israel has the inalienable right to demolish the houses of Palestinians, provided: the land on which the houses stand are needed for Israeli settlement; the owners of the houses are related to terrorist suspects; or Israeli military commanders determine that demolition is necessary.

• Israel has the right to erect concrete walls within the occupied territories to put more land on the Israeli side of the line for future use by Israeli settlers.

• Israel has the inalienable right to establish road networks that non-Israeli residents of the occupied territories are forbidden to use.

• Israel has the right to instruct the President of the United States how the Secretary of State must vote at the United Nations, which criminals must be granted presidential pardons and how he should treat other nations of the Middle East.

• Israel has the inalienable right to a minimum of $1,500 per Israeli Jewish citizen every year from the American Treasury.

• Israel has the inalienable right to the most sophisticated and lethal American weaponry.

• Israel has the right to deploy any and all American weapons on terrorists, whether in violation of international law or agreements with the United States not to deploy phosphorous and cluster bombs against civilian populations.

• Israel has the inalienable right to defy United Nations resolutions and World Court rulings. (A corollary of this right means that United Nations resolutions do not apply to Israel.)

• Israel has the inalienable right to accuse those who disagree with its occupation “anti-Semites,” unless the dissenters are Jewish, in which case Israel has the inalienable right to declare them “self-hating.”

• Israel has the inalienable right to demand the dismissal of American academics, journalists and politicians who voice opinions that question any of Israel’s inalienable rights.
• Israel has the inalienable right to invoke the memory of the victims of Nazi persecution to exempt itself from blame for any of its actions.

• Israel has the inalienable right to determine what rights the Palestinians have.


• The Palestinians have no right to resist military occupation, confiscation of land, seizure of their water supply, collective punishment, arbitrary taxation, torture, public beatings, school closures and the destruction of crops and orchards.

• The Palestinians have no right to disobey Israeli soldiers’ orders or to appeal for outside assistance.

• The Palestinians have no right to non-violent civil disobedience, to armed struggle or to international representation to present their case.

• The Palestinians have no right to withhold taxes that pay for the Israeli occupation.

• The Palestinians have no rights, except those granted to them by the Israeli authorities, whose inalienable rights may not be contested.

Israel’s Message

Israel’s Message

Ilan Pappe

In 2004, the Israeli army began building a dummy Arab city in the Negev desert. It’s the size of a real city, with streets (all of them given names), mosques, public buildings and cars. Built at a cost of $45 million, this phantom city became a dummy Gaza in the winter of 2006, after Hizbullah fought Israel to a draw in the north, so that the IDF could prepare to fight a ‘better war’ against Hamas in the south.

When the Israeli Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz visited the site after the Lebanon war, he told the press that soldiers ‘were preparing for the scenario that will unfold in the dense neighbourhood of Gaza City’. A week into the bombardment of Gaza, Ehud Barak attended a rehearsal for the ground war. Foreign television crews filmed him as he watched ground troops conquer the dummy city, storming the empty houses and no doubt killing the ‘terrorists’ hiding in them.

‘Gaza is the problem,’ Levy Eshkol, then prime minister of Israel, said in June 1967. ‘I was there in 1956 and saw venomous snakes walking in the street. We should settle some of them in the Sinai, and hopefully the others will immigrate.’ Eshkol was discussing the fate of the newly occupied territories: he and his cabinet wanted the Gaza Strip, but not the people living in it.

Israelis often refer to Gaza as ‘Me’arat Nachashim’, a snake pit. Before the first intifada, when the Strip provided Tel Aviv with people to wash their dishes and clean their streets, Gazans were depicted more humanely. The ‘honeymoon’ ended during their first intifada, after a series of incidents in which a few of these employees stabbed their employers. The religious fervour that was said to have inspired these isolated attacks generated a wave of Islamophobic feeling in Israel, which led to the first enclosure of Gaza and the construction of an electric fence around it. Even after the 1993 Oslo Accords, Gaza remained sealed off from Israel, and was used merely as a pool of cheap labour; throughout the 1990s, ‘peace’ for Gaza meant its gradual transformation into a ghetto.

In 2000, Doron Almog, then the chief of the southern command, began policing the boundaries of Gaza: ‘We established observation points equipped with the best technology and our troops were allowed to fire at anyone reaching the fence at a distance of six kilometres,’ he boasted, suggesting that a similar policy be adopted for the West Bank. In the last two years alone, a hundred Palestinians have been killed by soldiers merely for getting too close to the fences. From 2000 until the current war broke out, Israeli forces killed three thousand Palestinians (634 children among them) in Gaza.

Between 1967 and 2005, Gaza’s land and water were plundered by Jewish settlers in Gush Katif at the expense of the local population. The price of peace and security for the Palestinians there was to give themselves up to imprisonment and colonisation. Since 2000, Gazans have chosen instead to resist in greater numbers and with greater force. It was not the kind of resistance the West approves of: it was Islamic and military. Its hallmark was the use of primitive Qassam rockets, which at first were fired mainly at the settlers in Katif. The presence of the settlers, however, made it hard for the Israeli army to retaliate with the brutality it uses against purely Palestinian targets. So the settlers were removed, not as part of a unilateral peace process as many argued at the time (to the point of suggesting that Ariel Sharon be awarded the Nobel peace prize), but rather to facilitate any subsequent military action against the Gaza Strip and to consolidate control of the West Bank.

After the disengagement from Gaza, Hamas took over, first in democratic elections, then in a pre-emptive coup staged to avert an American-backed takeover by Fatah. Meanwhile, Israeli border guards continued to kill anyone who came too close, and an economic blockade was imposed on the Strip. Hamas retaliated by firing missiles at Sderot, giving Israel a pretext to use its air force, artillery and gunships. Israel claimed to be shooting at ‘the launching areas of the missiles’, but in practice this meant anywhere and everywhere in Gaza. The casualties were high: in 2007 alone three hundred people were killed in Gaza, dozens of them children.

Israel justifies its conduct in Gaza as a part of the fight against terrorism, although it has itself violated every international law of war. Palestinians, it seems, can have no place inside historical Palestine unless they are willing to live without basic civil and human rights. They can be either second-class citizens inside the state of Israel, or inmates in the mega-prisons of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. If they resist they are likely to be imprisoned without trial, or killed. This is Israel’s message.

Resistance in Palestine has always been based in villages and towns; where else could it come from? That is why Palestinian cities, towns and villages, dummy or real, have been depicted ever since the 1936 Arab revolt as ‘enemy bases’ in military plans and orders. Any retaliation or punitive action is bound to target civilians, among whom there may be a handful of people who are involved in active resistance against Israel. Haifa was treated as an enemy base in 1948, as was Jenin in 2002; now Beit Hanoun, Rafah and Gaza are regarded that way. When you have the firepower, and no moral inhibitions against massacring civilians, you get the situation we are now witnessing in Gaza.

But it is not only in military discourse that Palestinians are dehumanised. A similar process is at work in Jewish civil society in Israel, and it explains the massive support there for the carnage in Gaza. Palestinians have been so dehumanised by Israeli Jews – whether politicians, soldiers or ordinary citizens – that killing them comes naturally, as did expelling them in 1948, or imprisoning them in the Occupied Territories. The current Western response indicates that its political leaders fail to see the direct connection between the Zionist dehumanisation of the Palestinians and Israel’s barbarous policies in Gaza. There is a grave danger that, at the conclusion of ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Gaza itself will resemble the ghost town in the Negev.

Ilan Pappe is chair of the history department at the University of Exeter and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine came out in 2007.

Troops will remain in Gaza for now

Troops will remain in Gaza for now

Jerusalem – Israel is not talking about totally withdrawing its troops from Gaza for the moment, the army said on Tuesday, hours before the inauguration of United States President-elect Barack Obama.

Asked about reports that ground forces would leave Gaza before Obama is sworn in later on Tuesday, army spokesperson Avital Liebovich said: “For the moment, no one is talking about the total withdrawal of troops.”

A senior official in the defence ministry added: “This will depend on the realities on the ground.”

“We are progressively reducing the number of troops in the Gaza Strip, but we are keeping our units outside of the territory on alert in order to quickly react to any situation,” he said, requesting anonymity.


Israel halted its 22-day offensive on Hamas in Gaza with a ceasefire early on Sunday.

The war killed more than 1 300 Palestinians and wounded more than 5 300 others, according to Gaza medics. Three Israeli civilians and 10 soldiers died. – AFP

Darfur peace mission embarks on heavy military deployment

Darfur peace mission embarks on heavy military deployment

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Sudan has signed an agreement with the joint United Nations, African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), allowing the force full access to use its airports in Khartoum and Darfur to transport heavy military hardware into the country.

Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with UNAMID in Addis Ababa, Monday, granting the peacekeeping mission access to its airport facilities and allowing the joint UN/AU force to upgrade the airport facilities.

UNAMID’s Deputy Special Representative Hocine Medili said the force had been facing various challenges in achieving the full deployment of troops and other military hardware required to make the Darfur mission to effectively carry out its man date.

“We now have the possibility of addressing the challenges that we have been facing at the level of the states. But this does not mean we still do not face many challenges, we have the challenges due to infrastructure,” Medili told journalists here.

UNAMID officials said the force had been seeking to extensively use the airport facilities in Khartoum and Darfur to transport heavy military hardware, but the force had been unable to get uninterrupted access to airport facilities over the last one year.

Medili said the agreement signed with the Sudanese civil aviation authority, would allow UNAMID to upgrade the airport runways and improve runway lighting in Darfur and Khartoum to allow for a 24-hour operation that would fast-track UNAMID’s capacity.

“We have been requesting to use the airport facilities extensively to receive high facility aircraft and allow movement of equipment into Darfur,” Medili said.

The African Union, UN and the representatives from the Sudanese government held a day-long meeting at AU Commission headquarters here to address the challenges facing the Darfur peacekeeping mission and tried to iron out differences amongst them.

Sudan’s Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dr. Saddiq Mutrif said the meeting held in Addis Ababa, was the third of its kind on Darfur and was aimed at ironing out various technical issues regarding the operations of the UN-AU force.

“We decided to have this mechanism regarding UNAMID to address the false allegations that have been thrown around that Sudan is delaying the full deployment from either side,” Mutrif told journalists.

“We are working together. This is to confirm that Sudan and UNAMID are working together to see the full deployment of UNAMID. It is not the intention of either party to delay UNAMID,” the Sudanese official affirmed.

UNAMID said it has more than 30 aircraft which requires adequate packing space both in Darfur and Khartoum, which it has not been able to get, due to the limited capacity available at both places, in Khartoum and in Darfur.

UNAMID said it would deploy its engineering units to undertake surveys on the kind of improvements required to make the UNAMID hybrid operation a success.

Addis Ababa – 19/01/2009

Who’s Country Is It Anyway, Ours Or U.S. Think Tanks’?

Who’s Country Is It Anyway, Ours

Or U.S. Think Tanks’?

Beware: Pakistanis trained and groomed by U.S. think tanks are being inserted into Pakistan’s corridors of power, planted to teach us, the uncouth Pakistanis, what our national interest is and how to achieve it. While we have no problem with U.S. per se, we do have a big problem with diktat. Behind the scenes, the Pakistani capital has become a battleground, pitching a pro-U.S. lobby in the government against Pakistani nationalists. The pro-American lobby wants Pakistan to forget how India is blocking our water and is exporting terrorism inside Pakistan. They want us to allow India access to Afghanistan and transform Pakistan’s Army into an Indo-American proxy force. For this plan to succeed, a maximum number of these turncoat Pakistanis have been mobilized. Gen. Durrani’s ouster is one dent in the armor. We need more of these dents.

By Ahmed Quraishi

Wednesday, 14 January 2008.


ISLAMABAD, PakistanThe last thing we need is a bunch of Pakistani turncoats, fed and groomed in U.S. think tanks, coming to teach us how to live in our own region and what strategic interest is good for us and which one isn’t.

But that’s exactly what’s happening. The story of the axed national security adviser, Maj. Gen. M. A. Durrani, is a case in point.

The government’s spokespeople have been arguing that Mr. Durrani was “removed for speaking out of place and not for being pro-American,” according to a defensive opinion piece distributed to several newspapers early this week. The ghost writer of the piece blamed what he called the ‘Super Hawks’ in the Pakistani media for spreading this lie and linked these hawks to retired army and intelligence people. In short, a big conspiracy theory. Interestingly, there have been several of these ghost write-ups in recent months, churning out an interesting list of nicknames for this alleged group of Pakistani media hawks, from ‘Media Militants’ to the latest one, ‘Super Hawks’.

Who is behind this demonization? I don’t know. Sherry Rehman’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting could be a suspect. But it seems there are other players in the government who have been tasked to launch a media campaign in favor of the Zardari government and against the media. One tip on the latest campaign is this: all of these planted op-ed pieces generally end up doing two things: defending U.S. policy and praising the work of the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Washington. So it’s quite clear the media bash is engineered by the pro-U.S. lobby within the Zardari government.

But it’s no longer a secret. Behind the scenes, the Pakistani capital has become a battleground, pitching U.S. defenders and apologists against those who believe Pakistan has the right to protect its own interest without letting America’s ‘Oil Warriors’ and their think-tank apologists decide for us what that is. The Zardari government and especially its intellectual core manifested by Ambassador Haqqani and now the axed Gen. Durrani have been leading this battle. This duo is the fountain head for all those sales pitches we’ve been recently hearing [“This is our war, not America’s”; “terrorism is a bigger threat, not India”; and – my personal favorite – “bring the ISI under civilian control”—as if the Prime Minister is not civilian enough].

Besides bypassing the Prime Minister, another important reason for why Gen. Durrani could have been fired is his inexplicable penchant in the last days in office to leak sensitive information to foreign media that ended up putting more pressure on the very government and country he was supposedly serving. His last such move on Jan. 7 proved fatal, but it was the last in a long list. He is suspected of having made another leak to Wall Street Journal on Dec. 31. That leak – an alleged admission of guilt by an activist in Pakistani custody – was later denied by an official spokesman. Point is: If you were Gen. Durrani, why would you try to force the hand of your own country in a sensitive matter through calculated leaks? Is there some internal power struggle going on that Mr. Durrani might want to shed light on? Why did Mr. Durrani not stop and think for a second that maybe Pakistan had the right to decide what information to release at a time of its choice, serving its own interest, and not maybe the American interest or the interest of its Indian ally, in a matter as important as the Mumbai-related investigations?

And why this eagerness anyway by this U.S. apologist camp in Islamabad to back the U.S. and Indian ‘evidence’ of Pakistani complicity in Mumbai [India is going as far as directly accusing the ISI and, indirectly, the military]? Why is Pakistan not asking India to pursue all leads in the Mumbai investigations in addition to the Pakistani one, especially when the gist of the Indian ‘findings’ rest on Medicam toothpaste, Touch Me shaving cream and a few ‘Made in Pakistan’ T-shirts that the smart terrorists left behind? If ISI is so good, why would it send operatives wearing T-shirts with Pakistani labels? And the technical part – the audio tapes, the phone calls and the email – is all stuff that can be manipulated. Pakistan should investigate Indian leads, but why act guilty from the start? And who says we trust India’s word on anything anyway?

The point here is that a group of influential U.S. apologists with access to Pakistan’s power corridors continue to play a dangerous game. Their unceasing lectures to Pakistanis on the need to ‘fight terrorism’ imply that Pakistan or Pakistanis condone terrorism. Second, these U.S. apologists ignore the larger game being played out in our region in the name of this war and want us all to do the same. The problem is, they have their comfortable think-tank jobs to go back to while we have to live in this country. If a former Tony Blair cabinet member, Michael Meacher, can come out to say, in Sept. 2003, that ‘the war on terror is being used largely as a bogus cover for achieving wider U.S. strategic geopolitical objectives’ and resign from office as a result, why these U.S. apologists in our midst refuse to even consider the possibility that the chaos in our region might hide some agenda?

The American moves in our region since 2001 barely hide the conclusion that the U.S. desires to see a reduction in Pakistan’s ability to pursue its regional interests, especially regarding Kashmir, Afghanistan and China. For this, neutering Pakistani military and intelligence is a must. This military has already been reduced to a counterinsurgency role and overwhelmed by terrorism coming to Pakistan from the U.S.-controlled territory of Afghanistan. No one in Islamabad wants to talk about how terrorism in Pakistan was introduced starting 2005. Sure we had some smalltime sectarian groups fighting among themselves before that year. But today we have well trained and well armed terrorists whose weaponry and financing is sometimes superior to what our security forces have. Terrorists who continue to receive endless supplies of sophisticated weapons and money despite being blockaded by our military in the border areas with Afghanistan. Our American friends and their new allies, i.e. Karzai regime and India, are also feeding terrorism inside Balochistan. What’s the purpose of our American friends from doing all this? The overriding aim is to stop Pakistan from retaining any influence beyond its borders. Balochistan is being destabilized so that China is unable to use Gwadar to dock its naval and commercial ships there.

Our U.S. apologists refuse to acknowledge any of this and insist on numbing the Pakistanis on a regular diet of propaganda on how Washington is itching to expand freedom and support the nascent Pakistani democracy.

Pakistan has legitimate strategic, economic and security interests in the region. Some overlap with those of Washington’s and some don’t. Is that difficult to understand? No. But does it make any difference to our U.S. apologists who think Pakistan should treat as gospel every piece of intellectual garbage on remaking our country produced by people sitting thousands of kilometers away pretending to know our country and people better than we do?

© 2007-2008. All rights reserved

The Arab World Without Saudi Arabia or Egypt

The new regime by the servants of Israel in NATO will include searching ships in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Gulf, to make sure that no ships carrying weapons can reach the Gaza Strip.

The most stunning part of the Livni-Rice regime agreement was the deployment of NATO troops on the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza Strip.

Fourth Gaza Summit Held in Sharm El-Shaikh, as a Zionist Damage Control for Insulting Hosni Mubarak

By Hassan El-Najjar

Editor, January 18, 2009, 1:00 pm ET

The Zionist Israeli terrorist war on the Gaza Strip has ended after 22 days, in which more than 1300 Palestinians were martyred (killed unjustly by the Zionist aggressors), and more than 5450 people were wounded. Most of those killed or injured were civilians, particularly women and children.

The world governments, including the UN and the Arab League states, did nothing to stop the Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Israeli terrorist forces against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

To the contrary of governments, people all over the world expressed support for the Palestinian people and  condemnation of the Israeli terrorist war through protests and demonstrations breaking out everywhere.

When finally, Qatar called for an Arab summit in reaction to the Israeli aggression, which was held on Thursday, January 15 in Doha, Saudi Arabia and Egypt refused to participate and made efforts to prevent an official quorum. This resulted in that the summit was held outside the auspices of the Arab League, and that the Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, did not attend it. The summit was held with the presence of 13 Arab states, which agreed to demand a number of measures to be taken by the official summit in Kuwait in support for the Palestinian people and punishment for the Israeli terrorist state.

The second summit was held in Riyadh by the Arabian Gulf states, at the request of Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to maintain their internal unity after the Saudi-Qatari split over the war. The summit resulted in pledging assistance to the Palestinian people after the war.

The fourth Arab summit (see the third below) will be held in Kuwait tomorrow. It is an annual pre-scheduled summit, devoted this year for economic affairs. The member states agreed to hold a special session about Gaza, in which resolutions of the other two summits will be addressed.

The third summit about Gaza was held today in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Shaikh, where President Hosni Mubarak spends most of his time.

The summit comes as a quick damage-control and face-saving measure for the Egyptian President, who has been insulted by the Israelis and their US supporters.

Mubarak kept his word by keeping the Rafah crossing closed during the war and for months before despite the public demands for him to open it and provide assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Israeli terrorist government and its supporters in the Bush administration allowed Mubarak to play a role in the peace-making effort through holding talks with the Palestinian resistance organizations. He played the role of a neutral mediator, passing responses from Israelis and Palestinians to each other.

Thus doing, he lost the status of an Arab brother, who is supposed to help his brothers and sisters in Gaza Strip.

When he couldn’t persuade the Palestinians to accept the Israeli conditions (to stop the firing of rockets and smuggling of weapons through tunnels), the Israelis ignored him.

The foreign minister of the Israeli terrorist government, Tzipi Livni, traveled to Washington and signed an agreement with the US Secretary of State, Condy Rice, according to which the US would assemble a NATO regime to prevent the Palestinians from smuggling weapons to Gaza in the future.

The NATO maritime regime in effect will replace the Israeli-Egyptian previous regime, which failed to stop the smuggling of weapons to Gaza Strip.

Hopefully, the new NATO maritime regime won’t help the Israeli terrorist government in stealing the Gaza offshore gas field, which has been a lusty dream of greedy Israelis for years.

The new regime by the servants of Israel in NATO will include searching ships in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Gulf, to make sure that no ships carrying weapons can reach the Gaza Strip.

The most stunning part of the Livni-Rice regime agreement was the deployment of NATO troops on the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian resistance organizations announced that any NATO troops deployed on the Palestinian side of the border will be resisted as foreign occupation forces. This was enough deterrence for the Livni-Rice regime designers to decide deployment of these troops on the Egyptian side, which turned to be the most stupid blunder Livni, Rice, and their assistants committed during the war-ending haggling.

They completely forgot to secure approval of the Egyptian President, who was their partner all the way.  Mubarak immediately aired a speech rejecting any foreign troop deployment on the Egyptian soil. The Egyptian government spokespersons and media commentators felt the insult right away and started talking about the Egyptian national security and sovereignty, expressing rejection of the deployment of foreign troops on the Egyptian soil.

When the Israelis and their supporters felt that they made a terrible mistake, they started a process of damage control to their stupidity.

First, the Israeli terrorist prime minister, Ehud Olmert, announced that his government accepts the request of the Egyptian President for a ceasefire in Gaza. This announcement was another stupid blunder because the news about the Israeli ceasefire preceded Mubarak’s speech, in which he asked Israelis to stop the war attacks.

Then, came the idea of showing support for Mubarak, through a public relations event in the form of a summit in Sharm El-Shaikh. The main NATO European leaders announced that they would come for the event within hours. Thus, leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Turkey, Czech, and Spain, together with the King of Jordan and the PA acting President. The US was represented by its ambassador in Cairo.

The summiteers announced their positions, which were basically identical to the Israeli position.

The most disgusting words came from the UN Secretary-General, who called on Arabs to persuade Palestinians to accept peace !!!!!

It seems that the Secretary-General is completely out of touch with what is going on, when he asked the Palestinian victims of Israeli aggression to accept peace. It is most likely that he fell victim to the bias of his Zionist advisor, Teri Rod Larson, the enemy of Arab resistance in Lebanon and Palestine.

The Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, refused to attend the Doha summit, saying that the 13 Arab states were one state short for an official quorum to be held under his auspices. However, he attended the Sharm Al-Shaikh summit, though most of the participants were not even Arab leaders!

Amr Moussa, however, said something that can be counted for him. He reminded the summiteers that Palestinians have been digging tunnels because they were under siege. They had to find a way to bring food to the besieged  population of  the Gaza Strip. He argued that if there’s peace and the border crossing points are open, then there will be no need for Palestinians to dig tunnels.

Is this hard for the servants of Israel to understand?

We are living in amazing times, indeed!

Terrorism Endemic To India, As well

With intelligence warning of terror attacks, Assam on high alert

Guwahati (IANS): A maximum security alert has been sounded in Assam with intelligence reports about terrorists trying to stage violent attacks in the run-up to Republic Day, officials said here on Monday.

A police spokesman said security forces have stepped up anti-insurgency operations with reports that the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was planning to carry out violent strikes ahead of the Jan 26 celebrations.

“As always, the ULFA has been trying to carry out strikes in the lead up to Jan 26 and hence a massive security offensive and vigil is being carried out,”Assam police chief G.M. Srivastava told IANS.

In the past two weeks, security forces have killed seven ULFA militants in separate encounters, including two of them Sunday near Hajo, about 30 km west of Assam’s main city Guwahati.

“Militants of the ULFA’s 709 battalion have been trying to enter Guwahati and other towns ahead of Republic Day to create terror, but at the same time our security forces are on the job and hence been able to foil such attempts,”the police chief said.

In separate raids, security forces have managed to recover a huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosives, including 27 AK 56 assault rifles seized from a village home in eastern Assam over the weekend.

“The militants are definitely trying to smuggle weapons and explosives, but the good thing is that we are getting tremendous support and cooperation from the local people who are helping the security forces in thwarting all nefarious designs,”Srivastava said.

Militant groups in the northeastern states of Assam, Tripura and Manipur have for years boycotted national events to support various demands.

There are some 30 rebel groups operating in the region with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy and the right to self-determination. More than 50,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the northeast since India’s independence in 1947.

Palestinian factions united by war

Palestinian factions united by war

Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, centre, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the leader of Islamic Jihad, right, and Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP, left, attend a summit in Doha [AFP]

The al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, an armed wing of Fatah, once threatened to kill Khalid Meshaal, the leader of Hamas.

However, from the beginning of the war on Gaza up to the ceasefire called by Palestinian factions on Sunday, it was fighting shoulder to shoulder with its former rival, lobbing rockets into Israel from the beleaguered coastal strip, Fatah representatives in Damascus say.

Israel says it has dealt Hamas a crippling blow, but its 22-day onslaught that killed around 1,300 civilians and injured at least 6,000 more has brought together a slew of Palestinian factions, many of them previously sworn enemies of Hamas.

Many observers are left wondering if the Hamas-allied coalition will be a new front against Israel and whether Hamas will be able to prevent other factions from launching attacks from Gaza, breaking the fragile calm.

“Israel’s aggression on Gaza has unified the Palestinian groups in the face of the Zionist aggression,” says Mohammed Nazzal, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in Damascus.

Coordinated attacks

Several factions have been staking claims in the fight in Gaza.

Daily updates on the websites of the armed wings of Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Resistance Councils, and other groups – variously decorated with rocket-propelled grenade toting men, Quranic verse, jagged communist style art, and pictures of the late Yasser Arafat – have claimed responsibility for attacks on Israeli troops and rockets launched into Israel.

Most groups claim to be launching coordinated attacks with Hamas and other factions.

On its website, Islamic Jihad says it has lobbed 262 rockets into Israel since the war began, many of which it says were fired in concert with Hamas.

Israeli military sources say that at least 750 rockets have been shot into Israel since Operation Cast Lead began, killing three civilians. They say ten soldiers have been killed and over 100 injured.

Abbas undermined

According to Sameer Rifai, the Fatah representative in Damascus, the fact that some of those rockets were fired by Fatah members contradicts the official stance of Mahmoud Abbas, the party’s leader and the Palestinian president.

Abbas had been calling for both sides to unconditionally cease hostilities in Gaza; a stance that many say will cost Fatah much of its former support.


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The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has been acting without the consent of the Fatah leadership, Rifai said.

He added, however, that the group was engaged in a “legitimate form of defence”.

“The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are a part of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” he said in an interview last week.

“They are defending their homes, their lives, and themselves. They are people fighting an occupation.”Some analysts say the fact that factions of Fatah have been fighting in Gaza symbolises the high level of disintegration within the organisation.

“[Abbas’] grassroots support doesn’t want to be linked to or feel that it is a part of an organisation that has not participated in defending fellow Palestinians,” says Maha Azzam, an associate fellow at the Middle East Centre at Chatham House.

They are saying “our leadership may be wrong, but there are those among us at the grassroots level that are willing to stand by our brethren in Gaza,” says Azzam, adding that “this delegitimises Abbas’ role enormously”.

Hamas support growing

Meanwhile, in Damascus, the de facto capital of many Palestinian factions, the role of Hamas seems to be gaining greater legitimacy.

On Sunday, Musa Abu Marzuq, the deputy of Hamas’ political bureau, appeared on Syrian television, speaking not in the name of Hamas, but “in the name of Palestinian resistance factions” to declare a one-week ceasefire and to insist that all Israeli troops leave within that time period and that border crossings be opened.

But despite the veneer of a unified front against Israel, Hamas might not be able to hold together an alliance of such disparate groups for long, analysts say.

One faction, the secular PFLP, has already dissented. Maher Taher, the PFLP’s representative in Damascus, declined to comment on their decision, but in an interview with Al Jazeera, he insisted that “the Israeli attack is continuing”.

“The PFLP is fighting on the ground against this barbaric invasion by Israel,” he said in an interview last week, before the ceasefire.

“This is a battle involving all of the Palestinian people.”

Last week, several other Palestinian factions in Damascus issued a statement refusing “any security arrangements that affect the resistance and its legitimate right to struggle against the occupation”.

The coalition was composed of representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, Al Saiqa, the Popular Struggle Front, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Palestinian Liberation organisation, Fatah’s ‘Intifada’ faction, and a number of other Palestinian groups.

They categorically refused the presence of international forces in Gaza, a proposition put forth in part by Abbas. They also said that any peace initiatives must include the immediate secession of Israeli attacks, the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, an end to the economic blockade, and an opening of all of Gaza’s crossings, including the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Temporary alliance

“This [alliance] will last so long as there is a crisis,” Azzam says.

“Once stability is reached and the political process gets under way, which isn’t particularly viable in the foreseeable future, then we will see the factionalism come to the fore again.”

But whether or not Hamas’ allies stay allies may not make much of a difference for Israel, observers say, adding that the different factions will either continue to stand behind Hamas, bolstering the group’s legitimacy in Gaza, or break away and start launching rockets in violation of the ceasefires.

“All factions will need to agree on one position” for the conflict to come to a final solution, Taher said last week.

It is unclear what exactly that position will be, but with most factions still reserving the right to launch rockets outside of the one week ceasefire, an ultimate solution may still be a long way off.

Taher said: “We are not going to give up our right to resist until Israel ends the occupation.”

Somebody’s Getting Jumpy

Suspect package triggers bomb alert at Israeli Embassy

Army bomb disposal experts have been called out to the Israeli Embassy in Dublin this morning following the discovery of a suspicious substance.

The substance, which was discovered at around 8.30am, is believed to have been in a package delivered to the building.

The Gardai, the Fire Service and the Defence Forces Explosives Ordnance Disposal unit are all at the scene on Pembroke Road in Ballsbridge, which has been closed to traffic.

The collapse of Gaza’s water and waste water sector

Following twenty two consecutive days of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, water and sanitation services and facilities are on the brink of collapse. The water and sanitation sector was already in a dire state following the 18 month blockade on Gaza, which had prevented the entry of material necessary for construction and repair of water and sanitation facilities as well as the fuel and electricity necessary to operate essential services such as sewage pumping stations and water wells. Israel’s aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip beginning on the 27 December 2008 and the ground invasion beginning on the 3 January 2009 have turned an already desperate humanitarian situation into a catastrophe.

Currently more than half a million residents of the Gaza Strip (a third of the population) have no access to clean water. Some have been without water for over ten days. The Costal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) the water sector service provider in Gaza, has announced that it is no longer able to maintain services in the water and waste water sector due to concerns for staff safety and an acute shortage of spare parts, materials, equipment, electricity and fuel required to rehabilitate facilities and operate services.

Israeli military attacks have caused extensive damage to water and sanitation infrastructure. Due to damage to water pipes more than 30,000 residents in Nussierate city are without a water supply as well as more than 200,000 residents in Gaza City. Destruction of El Edara well has left more than 25,000 people in Jabalia city without a water supply. Damage to an electrical transistor that operates a water well, has left more than 40,000 residents of southern Tal Al Hawa city without water. Destruction of water filling points has been reported, long queues of people are waiting at water filling points and water trucks are desperately needed to supply those without access to a water supply. Three staff members from the Palestinian Water Authority have been killed during the course of Israel’s military assault on Gaza, two working in the waste water sector and one who was working at a water well at the time.

Sewage is currently overflowing into residential areas posing an extreme threat to people’s health and the environment. The main sewerage line in Beit Hanoun has been destroyed and the main power generator at Beit Lahia waste water treatment plant has been attacked. Due to the presence of Israeli troops in the Netzarim area the Gaza waste water treatment plant has stopped operating and is in danger of collapse. Waste water from this plant is now reported to be flooding the area up to 1 km distance from the plant. The waste water level at the main Beit Lahia waste water lagoon is increasing due to lack of electricity to operate it and could collapse releasing millions of cubic metres of waste water into surrounding areas threatening lives and property. So far appeals for materials to repair damaged infrastructure and coordination for technicians to access the area have been denied by the Israeli authorities.

Whilst armed Palestinian factions have breached international humanitarian law by launching rockets into civilian areas inside Israel, the indiscriminate and excessive use of force employed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip violates international humanitarian law. As an occupying power in Gaza, maintaining effective control of Gaza’s territory, Israel remains responsible for the welfare of the civilian population and is obliged to uphold international human rights law and the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Gaza Strip. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (I-IV) states that “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities… shall in all circumstances be treated humanely”. Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions makes clear that “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food-stuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works”.[1] Indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and civilian property and infrastructure are therefore strictly prohibited. However, Israel has directly targeted water and sanitation infrastructure and the CMWU reports that all basic water and sanitation infrastructure has been destroyed in areas that were subject to Israeli military attack. This includes a direct hit on the Gaza City Waste Water Treatment Plant on 10 January. On 18 January a water well was destroyed in the Abu Ghazala area of Beit Hanoun causing the death of a one and a half year old child whose family’s house was located near to the well.

Article 48 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions makes clear that; “the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.” Attacks on water and sanitation infrastructure and technicians carrying out their duties in relation to water and waste-water services cannot be seen to conform to this requirement. Both Israel and armed Palestinian groups are obliged to stop such unlawful attacks immediately and risk being held accountable for war crimes.

As an occupying power, under international humanitarian and human rights law, Israel is responsible for the welfare of the civilian population and must ensure that Palestinians are provided with or allowed to secure the basics for survival including food, water, medical supplies and shelter. Prisoners of war and/or protected persons are guaranteed access to drinking water, water for personal hygiene and sanitation under the Geneva Conventions.[2] The fourth Geneva Convention, relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949) states that an occupying power is responsible for maintaining public health and hygiene in an occupied territory which necessitates the provision of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.[3] It further states “If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal”.[4] Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a human rights treaty ratified by the State of Israel, all people are guaranteed the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health which includes the right to safe and sufficient water and affordable and accessible water and sanitation services and facilities.

Rather than fulfilling its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, Israeli attacks have reduced access to water and sanitation and Israel has taken no steps to remedy such access. Denying the civilian population the means necessary for their survival in this manner or hindering the provision of humanitarian aid, is a war crime and is recognized as such by The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998).[5] It makes clear that “For the purpose of this Statute, “war crimes” means … Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions”.[6]

COHRE calls upon:

– The international community to ensure that Security Council Resolution 1860 is immediately implemented which calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance.

– High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions should immediately convene to ensure Israel’s compliance with the Geneva Conventions (Article 1) and hold perpetrators responsible for grave breaches to account (Article 146).

– All States should impose targeted economic sanctions upon Israel to the extent consistent with international human rights law. Such sanctions should apply, in particular, on exports from Israel into their countries and their own export of military arms and equipment to Israel.

– The European Union and member states should immediately suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement and all economic ties with Israel in line with the European Union Guidelines on Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law (2005) which calls for the imposition of sanctions and other restrictive measures to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and bring perpetrators of violations to justice before domestic courts or an international criminal tribunal such as the International Criminal Court.

– MERCOSUR should suspend its free-trade agreement with Israel.

– Egypt should immediately lift all restrictions on the flow of civilian imports and exports into and from Gaza. The Arab League should urge Egypt to do so.

For more information please contact:

Lara El-Jazairi, Legal Officer, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions: Tel: +44 (0)7961908714.

A previous COHRE report Hostage to Politics: The impact of sanctions and the blockade on the human right to water and sanitation in Gaza (June 2008) is available for download at:

Established in 1992, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) is an independent, international, non-governmental human rights organization committed to ensuring the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights for everyone, everywhere, with a particular focus on the human right to adequate housing and adequate public services for all. COHRE is registered as a not-for-profit foundation in the Netherlands. COHRE has an international secretariat based in Geneva, and regional offices for Africa, North America, South America and Asia/Pacific. COHRE’s Right to Water Programme has been working on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory since 2007.

India’s Evidence of Pakistani-based CIA/Mossad Assassins

Mumbai Terror attacks – Dossier of evidence

This is a scanned copy of the 69-page dossier of material stemming from the ongoing investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26-29, 2008 that was handed over by India to Pakistan on January 5, 2009.

Evidence 1

Evidence 2

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Evidence 3

Some pages from the dossier were originally posted twice in another format. These have been removed. The complete dossier in the possession of The Hindu consists of 69 pages.


SEE: Once More, the Dialogue of Rockets- Indian Provocation

High alert sounded in Jammu

A high alert has been sounded and security beefed up in and around Jammu city following intelligence reports of a terror attack.

Jammu A high alert has been sounded and security beefed up in and around Jammu city following intelligence reports of a terror attack in the area, a police official said.

“A high alert was sounded today by authorities in Jammu city after intelligence reports of fidayeen (suicide) attack. Security has been increased in and around the sensitive places,” the official said.

More police and para-military forces have been deployed in the city particularly in VVIP areas, civil secretariat, MLA hostel, chief minister’s residence, he said.

Screening of vehicles, keeping a check on exit and entry points to the city and frisking of people have been increased, he said.

All police station in-charge have been asked to keep a round the clock vigil in their areas, he said, adding police flying squads are regularly undertaking night patrolling in Jammu.

Once More, the Dialogue of Rockets- Indian Provocation

India tests missile amid tensions with Pakistan

NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (Reuters) – India successfully tested a supersonic cruise missile on Tuesday in a remote desert close to the Pakistan border, officials said, amid continuing tensions with its nuclear-armed rival over the November attacks in Mumbai.

Indian officials say the launch of the Brahmos was only part of ongoing reliability tests, but some analysts say the timing was sensitive and could alarm Pakistan.

“The test was successful,” a defence ministry spokesman said, without giving details.

The Brahmos, which can travel at up to 2.8 times the speed of sound and has a range of 290 km (180 miles), was tested at Pokhran, a desert town along India-Pakistan border and also the site of India’s 1998 nuclear tests.

Analysts say that given the acrimonious history of India-Pakistan relations, both sides are acutely aware of the signalling that goes with such military tests.

The missile can be fitted with both conventional and nuclear warheads.

“A missile test has a certain interpretative potential by the other side,” said C. Uday Bhaskar, a New Delhi-based strategic analyst. “There is symbolism.”

India has blamed Pakistan militants for the Mumbai attacks that killed 179 people and pressed Islamabad for action. A war of words has ratcheted up tensions, but both sides have said a war was no solution.

The Brahmos, named after India’s Brahmaputra river and Russia’s Moscow river, was developed by a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia.

India, which has the world’s fourth-largest military, plans to fit the missile in several ships, officials said. (Reporting by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Israel: In Quest for Illusive Legitimacy

The present Zionist state of Israel is waging a losing battle to force on countries and world’s mindset to acknowledge its legitimacy but clearly it is an illegitimate state that was carved out of Palestine contending historical claims and thrust on the people of Palestine and the world at large through Zionist manipulative terrorism.”

Israel: In Quest for Illusive Legitimacy

Avi Shlaim: Israel is a ‘rogue’ state led by ‘completely unscrupulous leaders.’ (EPA)
By Syed Akbar Kamal

For generations the people of the world have endured the constant barrage of information flowing out of Palestine. The immense suffering and torture of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli Zionists paints a bleak picture of a defenseless people resisting occupation of their country.

The annihilated, beleaguered and hapless Palestinians witnessed their country wiped off the map as it were right in front of their eyes with the complicity of Western nations mainly Europeans and the United States on May 15, 1948. ‘Nakba’ – the catastrophe – imposed on the Palestinians by Zionists with the active connivance of Western imperialists under the slogan “a people without a land and a land without a people” usurped land of the very people who gave them shelter and refuge from the atrocities of the anti-Semite Europeans.

The disdainful subjugation, extermination and expropriation of their lands continued unabated well into the coming decades mocking the world community that was aghast at the treachery and deception with which it was accomplished. It still goes on with impunity against all international norms. Those who dare raise their voice are brutally challenged, marginalised and silenced.

To a common man the illegitimacy of the state is more than apparent but to the spineless governments of the world who often refuse to call a spade a spade one is witness to selective amnesia. The present Zionist state of Israel is waging a losing battle to force on countries and world’s mindset to acknowledge its legitimacy but clearly it is an illegitimate state that was carved out of Palestine contending historical claims and thrust on the people of Palestine and the world at large through Zionist manipulative terrorism. The more force they applied to legitimize the more foes they added to their list. The world outcry against the present carnage is ample testimony to this.

Selective policies full of double standard – 17 Israelis killed by Qassam home-made rockets in 7 years yet these pipes have become the pretext for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, stopping arms flow through the tunnels of Rafah crossing for Hamas resistance fighters and the imposition of complete siege of the Gaza strip by land, sea and air while the Zionist entity is pumped to the brim by hundreds of thousands of tonnes of US arms to rain on killing the civilians flouting all international laws, committing war crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, genocide and converting Gaza into world’s largest open air prison whose 1.5 million people live under appalling conditions of ‘siege’ as if its status of being most densely populated place on earth was not enough.

Israel applied apartheid policies in building the separation wall dividing families and restricting their movement through 699 check points to name a few from a long list – all smacks of selective application of rules when it comes to the indigenous people of the land. As the present Gaza carnage enters its 16th day Press TV news report say the US is shipping another over 3 thousand tonnes of weapons to Israel and the US officials insist that it is not linked to Gaza war. They want the whole world to believe them. $3 billion annual aid is unconditionally given to Israel out of US taxpayer’s money followed by Egypt as the second largest recipient since Camp David Accord in 1979. How does the world view this special relationship in stark contrast to the naked disparity in US foreign policies toward other countries and regions? It completely defies all logic and imagination. And why not, Israel fulfils its role as a client state safeguarding US interests in the Middle East.

So far in the latest unprovoked planned Israeli aggression on Gaza an estimated 1/3rd of over 1200 killed and over 6,000 injured are women and children. As in the 2006 Lebanon war Israel is using internationally banned weapons – white phosphorous bombs, Cluster ammunitions, Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), Depleted Uranium Dpu. The anger on the streets given Israel’s systematic targeting and merciless killing of civilians especially women and children stirred the conscience of the world at large so much so that the first ladies of the Middle East gathered for an unprecedented meet in Turkey to condemn Israeli actions and to show solidarity for Gazans seeking ways to alleviating their plight. The deafening silence on part of certain Arab governments is fueling discontent among its citizens. There have been calls for using oil as a weapon to place oil embargo to make the West and Israel relent.

Historian Mark Levine in his analysis titled ‘Who will save Israel from itself?’ writes “Israeli commentators and scholars, self-described “loyal” Zionists who served proudly in the army in wars past, are now publicly describing their country, in the words of Oxford University professor Avi Shlaim, as a “rogue” and gangster” state led by “completely unscrupulous leaders”. Inside Israel, the violence will continue to erode both democratic values in the Jewish community, and any acceptance of the Jewish state’s legitimacy in the eyes of its Palestinian citizens. Israel’s main patron, the US, along with the conservative Arab autocracies and monarchies that are its only allies left in the Muslim world, are losing whatever crumbs of legitimacy they still had with their young and angry populations. And goes on to ask: Who will save Israel from herself? Israelis are clearly incapable. Their addiction as a society to the illusion of violence-as-power has reached the level of collective mental illness.

The Zionist Movement instigated the world powers for the creation of an illegitimate state solely based on historical claims on Palestine, the land that belonged to Palestinians for an uninterrupted 1300 years. Since 61 years the entity is on a relentless quest for legitimizing this claim.

This war which is fought in the name of securing the Holy Land, I wonder with the blood smeared on its land of innocent women, children and civilians will ever legitimately belong to the oppressors? Can God be so unjust?

– Syed Akbar Kamal is producer/director for He has written on a wide range of issues for domestic and international publications. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

Reports reveal devastation wreaked by Israeli military in Gaza

Reports reveal devastation wreaked by Israeli military in Gaza

By Patrick O’Connor
20 January 2009

With the ceasefire in Gaza now in effect, for the time being at least, many international journalists are now able to enter the Palestinian territory for the first time since the Israeli military offensive began last month. Initial reports have highlighted the utter destruction inflicted upon the population by Israel’s armed forces. At least 5,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 20,000 damaged, with many urban centers reduced to nothing more than rubble. Gaza’s limited social infrastructure has been largely obliterated, as have numerous factories and agricultural centers.

The picture emerging from Gaza puts paid to the Israeli government’s lies—that its military assault was a defensive response to Hamas rockets, and that those leading “Operation Cast Lead” were taking great care to avoid civilian casualties. The offensive was in fact a war crime—an act of collective punishment aimed at demoralizing and intimidating the Palestinian population, thereby suppressing all resistance to the ongoing Israeli occupation. The Zionist state also no doubt intended to send a warning to Iran, Syria, Lebanon and other potential opponents of its expansionist strategy.

Journalists in Gaza struggled to find appropriate metaphors or historical precedents to describe the devastation. From Gaza City, Reuters’ Douglas Hamilton wrote: “The destruction is total, as if a terrible earthquake had struck. But this was no natural disaster… [D]rive up into the suburb that once sat proudly on the ridge, and it’s as if one had turned a corner of Stalingrad, a dark scene from some World War Two battle of annihilation.”

Associated Press: “Destruction in some areas left streets that resembled a moonscape.”

The Financial Times spoke with Jaber Wishah, deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “This reminds us of the film The Day After,” he said, referring to a film about a nuclear catastrophe. “People are in compete shock.”

Buildings and sites associated with any form of Palestinian autonomy were among those targeted. The parliament and cabinet buildings in Gaza City were destroyed, as was the city’s police headquarters, the Bank of Palestine building, the main university, and several mosques. Israeli shells and tanks ruined acres of olive and fruit groves. Major shopping centers and markets were hit. Many of the small number of factories previously able to operate in Gaza were also targeted. “Gaza’s only cement packing factory is now a giant scrap heap, its towering silo tilting precariously,” Associated Press reported. “The owner’s villa, pounded by Israeli tank shells, looks like Swiss cheese.”

Residential areas, including a large number of apartment buildings, were badly damaged and in many cases entirely destroyed by mortars and bombs. The UN has reported that more than 50,000 Palestinians are homeless and are crowding into 50 emergency shelters. The exact number of people made homeless by the Israeli assault is likely to increase as the full scale of the damage becomes better known. According to an initial estimate issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the structural damage will cost at least $1.9 billion.

Reuters reported: “Municipal bulldozers pushed aside crushed cars and fallen chunks of concrete from the streets, but nothing could conceal the scale of destruction wrought by Israel’s military machine. ‘Some people can’t even recognize the place where their house used to be,’ one policeman radioed to his commander from the northern town of Beit Lahiya.”

Several journalists reported on the racist graffiti left by Israeli troops on the walls of bombed-out apartment buildings and mosques. “Hamas whores” in Hebrew and “Hamas is dead” in English was sprayed onto one mosque in Gaza City’s Zeitoun suburb. The Guardian reported that a nearby home had slogans including, “Arabs need to die” and “Arabs: 1948 to 2009.” Such taunts are evidence of the fascistic sentiments being cultivated within the Israeli Defense Forces.

The humanitarian crisis now confronting the Palestinian people has been made worse by Israel’s targeting of Gaza’s water and electricity networks. People in Gaza City have reportedly been forced to light fires and cook in pots on the side of rubble-littered roads.

Even before the war, water and power infrastructure had already been damaged by the Israeli siege, with the main power station operating only intermittently and fuel shortages affecting water pumps. The military assault saw six major water wells damaged or destroyed, disrupting water supplies to an additional 200,000 of Gaza’s 1.4 million people, according to a senior water authority official cited by the Washington Post. The UN has reported that 400,000 Gazans now have no access to running water. In Gaza City, 80 percent of the electricity grid was damaged, including power lines. Palestinian technicians said that restoring water and electricity services would take weeks, but only if Israel permits the entry of necessary spare parts and equipment.

The terrible casualties inflicted on the Palestinian population underscores the barbarism of the Israeli military assault. At least 1,300 people were killed, including hundreds of children. The toll is likely to rise, as many families are still discovering decomposing bodies beneath the rubble of what were their homes and businesses.

An estimated 5,300 people were wounded, many seriously. Medical personnel in Gaza have reported an unusually high proportion of limb amputations. Dr. Jan Brommundt, a German doctor working for Medecins du Monde in the south Gazan city of Khan Younis, told Al Jazeera that the injuries he had seen were “absolutely gruesome.” He said surgeons had reported many cases where casualties had lost both legs rather than one, raising suspicions that the Israeli military was using Dense Inert Metal Explosives (Dime), an experimental explosive device that expels charged tungsten dust that acts as micro-shrapnel, burning and destroying everything within a four-meter radius.

“Victims will present within one to five hours with an acute abdomen which looks like appendicitis, but it turns out on operation that dozens of miniature particles can be found in all of their organs,” Dr. Brommundt explained. “It seems to be some sort of explosive or shell that disperses tiny particles at around 1×1 or 2×1 millimeters that penetrate all organs. These miniature injuries, you are not able to attack them surgically.”

Another doctor corroborated these reports. Dr. Erik Fosse, a Norwegian surgeon who worked at the Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza during the Israeli attack, told Al Jazeera that there was a significant increase in double amputations. “We suspect they used Dime weapons because we saw cases of huge amputations or flesh torn off the lower parts of the body,” he said. “The pressure wave [from a Dime device] moves from the ground upwards and that’s why the majority of patients have huge injuries to the lower part of the body and abdomen…The problem is that most of the patients I saw were children. If they [the Israelis] are trying to be accurate, it seems obvious these weapons were aimed at children.”

Reports continue to emerge of Israeli war crimes committed during its offensive. Amnesty International yesterday said the deployment of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and illegal. The Israeli military has claimed it was using phosphorous for illumination purposes, but Amnesty found evidence that the incendiary and corrosive substance had been used as a chemical weapon.

There have also been reports of the Israeli army firing bullets and shells tipped with depleted uranium. Arab ambassadors yesterday delivered a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency asking Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to “carry out a radiological and physical assessment in order to verify the presence of depleted uranium in the weaponry used by Israel in the Gaza Strip.”

According to Israeli officials, ground forces are expected to be withdrawn from Gaza by the time Barack Obama is inaugurated as US president. These cynical political calculations point to the fragility of the ceasefire. There are already voices within the Israeli political and military establishment warning that renewed military action is only a matter of time. Opposition Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the military “has dealt Hamas a severe blow, but unfortunately the job has not been completed.”

There remains the danger that the firing of rockets from Gaza will provide the pretext for Israel to launch a broader regional offensive, potentially involving an attack on Iran. Both the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz have published reports today claiming that Tehran plans to smuggle long-range missiles into the Palestinian territories. Neither article included any supporting evidence for this claim, and instead cited “intelligence reports,” indicating that the stories were Israeli intelligence-military plants

Medvedev Calls for Sanctions Against Countries That Arm Georgia

Medvedev Calls for Sanctions Against Countries That Arm Georgia

January 19, 2009
By Helena Bedwell

President Dmitry Medvedev empowered the Russian government to impose economic sanctions on countries that sell arms to Georgia, with which Russia fought a five-day war in August.

Medvedev ordered the government “immediately to present proposals on applying special economic measures” against foreign countries, companies and individuals shown to have delivered weapons or military technology to Georgia that destabilize the South Caucasus region, according to a decree posted today on the Kremlin’s Web site.

“Russia wants to put Georgia under an arms embargo, which it has been trying to do for some time,” said Koba Liklikadze, a Tbilisi-based military analyst. “But the bottom line is that Russia has no right to tell others not to sell arms to Georgia. And in the middle of a global financial crisis, no country is going to say no to a little extra money in the budget, and the arms trade is usually for this purpose.”

The order seemed to be directed primarily against Ukraine, which Russia has accused of delivering arms to Georgia before the war over the separatist region of South Ossetia. Medvedev’s decree was issued hours before Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Timoshenko met in Moscow in a bid to resolve a three-week natural-gas dispute.

It could also apply to the U.S., which has provided Georgia with weapons and trained its soldiers. Georgia seeks to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

‘Proxy Regimes’

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the decree as “absurd,” since Russia in December 2007 suspended its participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and poses a “real military threat to neighboring countries.”

Russia “supplied weapons and military equipment to the proxy regimes” in South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, the ministry said. Russia recognized the regions’ independence shortly after the war, and plans to deploy about 3,700 soldiers in each.

Medvedev also barred the government and Russian companies from selling or shipping arms and dual-use technologies to Georgia until Dec. 1, 2011.

Nana Intskirveli, a spokeswoman for the Georgian Defense Ministry, said Georgia doesn’t buy Russian-made weapons and has none in its arsenal apart from some ammunition left over from the Soviet era.