Reviving Silk Route in J&K

Reviving Silk Route in J&K

Reopening of roads in J&K will revive old Silk Road and it will definitely change State’s political and economic landscape but current effort ignored Ladakh

Willayat Ali

Silk Route has served as a confluence of civilizations and the reopening of the old route will make Jammu and Kashmir a favorite spot of tourism. The major roads which connect Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the world are Jammu-Sialkot, Poonch-Rawalkot, Uri-Muzafarabad, Kargil-Skardu, Leh- Mansarovar and Leh- Yarkand. A casual look at history also reveals that these routes contributed greatly to economy, cultural and political development of Jammu and Kashmir as it known for their historical and cultural contacts with outside region-Central Asia, Xinjiang and Tibet. The fact that the section of “Silk Route”, ran through this region, highlights the historical, economic and cultural significance of the various routes. All that need to be done is to learn from history and re-establish the cultural and economic contacts along these roads and will revive the Silk Route. Opening of these roads will totally change the nature of present interactions between the various communities of these regions that include Jammu, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan and Leh Kargil.

Subsequently, this process will provide positive inputs to the Indo-Pakistan peace process, Sino- Indian relation and also further contact with Central Asia through land route. Muzaffarabad-uri Road which opened in 2005 was the biggest confidence building measures between India and Pakistan relating to Jammu and Kashmir. The opening of this route for trade recently would benefits to apple industry, shawl and wooden furniture industry, since 80% people are engaged in these sectors. As it will be seen subsequently, the Kashmir valley has adequate goods, which could be exported successfully across the LoC. Poonch- Rawalakot Road was also opened in 2006 for divided families. A beginning has been made but this need to be consolidated and expand further. Beside trade, tourism is another important sector in the Kashmir valley and this region could also become an important hub for educational activities. Politically, it would also allow both sets of Kashmiris to appreciate the levels of political freedom, governance and security issues on the other-side.
Another route Jammu-Sialkot is yet to be open. In terms of trade transaction, economy, divided families or history, the linkages of Jammu with its neighboring regions – Punjab, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad can’t be ignored. The Jammu-Sialkot links both road and rail in particular has great significance. Before independence, this road was the primary link for the people for this region with the outside world and the railway line from Lahore to Jammu ended in the heart of Jammu city. If there are train services like – Thar Express between Munabao and Kokhrapar and Samjhauta Express between Wagah and Atari why not have Chenab Express between Jammu and Sialkot.

Government of India is also considering the opening of Kargil-Skardu road. However, the government seems to be reluctant to take any decision over the opening of this road; though the leaders make promises during the elections to maintain their vote banks but they forget the given words once they come to power. The LoC not only divided the Paharis in Rajouri and Poonch and the Kashmiris in the valley, but has also divided the Baltis in Kargil and Skardu regions who would love to visit the other side and see their relatives. Skardu is 130 km away from Kargil. If the road is open, it would take just five to six hours to reach Skardu. Today it takes five to six days to reach Skardu from Kargil via Delhi. People of this region from Leh to Gilgit, believe that they are distinct, historically and politically. Geographi- cally, Ladakh and Northern Areas comprise two third (78%) of the entire Jammu and Kashmir territory and historically from times immemorial, these region from Leh to Gilgit were interconnected economically, politically and culturally. Until 1947, trade and movement of people took place continuously from Tibet to Central Asia through Leh, Kargil, Skardu and Gilgit. Traders, caravans, people and religions moved along the “Silk Route”. Today this region cut off from rest of the world during winter session as the Zojila pass closed for six months in year and the road is also one of the most dangerous in the entire region. since two year army has started courier service from Kargil to Srinagar once in week during winter which is too much depend on the mood of the pilot as they often make excuse of bad weather and do not come as per schedule which always creates unnecessary headache to the passengers. Being an important region of the state it needs to be connected by air and land routes.

If the government can provide free air service to the Kashmiris during the blockage of Jammu- Srinagar highway for few days due to snow fall; why the government is so ignorant to provide an air service to Kargil once in a week as the region remains totally cut off from the rest of world for six month during winter session. Thus, the opening of this road is important. Apart from providing opportunities to the divided families and co-linguist people to meet, it might provide opening to the Central Asia. Skardu is already linked with Gilgit, at a later stage will give this region access to the strategic Karakoram Highway from Kargil and Leh regions. This will further link this region with China and Central Asia. Another important route lies across Line of Actual Control (LAC) is Leh- Manasarovar road and leh yarkand route between India and China, again ignored by New Delhi. This route is another option to India to reach Central Asia. Until 1947, the main roads of Ladakh were part of “Silk Route” spreading its fingers into Tibet via Demchok, into Yarkhand through the mighty Karakoram pass. From salt to oil, everything comes through Leh-once a connecting valley between Yarkhand and Central Asia. Today Nubra Valleys only links to the outside world lies through the Khardungla, the highest motorable pass in the world. The local in the Nubra valley are anxious to see the reopening of the old “Silk Route”. Economically, the local population will greatly benefit out of this routes, mainly tourism. Kailash Mansurovar, one of the most revered Hindu pilgrim destinations, is only about 300 km from Demehok. India should make effort to develop the sub- region from Leh to Demchok and Karakoram areas in Nubra valley in terms of developing roads and reconsidering the permit system in the inner line. But unfortunately India did not see roads as of strategic importance, especially in its border regions. Now, the process has started, let it not be limited to only one region. A beginning has been made across the LoC, let it be strengthen further by opening all the routes. Thus, the opening of all above routes will revive the old “Silk Route” and Jammu and Kashmir once again could become the gateway to Central Asia.

Moreover, after opening of these routes, they could be used for linking Gas pipeline. The construction of road links would definitely benefits not only India and Pakistan in CBM, but also to the people of both sides of Jammu and Kashmir economically and politically. India energy needs can be accomplish by constructing pipeline from Central Asia via Afghanistan and Pakistan. As India – Iran – Pakistan Gas Pipeline proposal and Turkmen – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India Gas Pipeline proposal could be accomplish only by building good relationship with Pakistan over Kashmir issue. This age is one of looking for means of cooperation and integration despite whatever political difficulties may be involved. Given Indian growing energy needs, it has become imperative for it to tap into the huge energy reserves of Central Asia, whether in competition or in cooperation with the other major powers involved in the region.

However, given that energy pipelines will cross several national boundaries before they get to India, including those of Pakistan and China. India must necessarily adopt a cooperative approach. Either way, improving transport and other infrastructure in India’s western border states and, in particular Jammu and Kashmir, is an absolute necessity not just in terms of energy concerns but also within a purely development framework. One positive point for India is that both China and Pakistan increasing keenly their concern in the development of bilateral trade keeping other disputes on backside. In Kashmir, both countries (India and Pakistan) showed their interest to open LoC for trade purposes by keeping the Kashmir issue on back. Hopefully, the planned road construction along the Line of Actual Control and Line of Control is a sign of a change in attitudes in New Delhi as well as of an increasingly confident Indian foreign policy in its neighborhoods.

*(The author is a Research Scholar DSRS, Jammu University).
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sunni official predicts upsurge in resistance attacks

The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMSI), created in 2003, is a politically influential group of Iraqi scholars aiming to represent the country’s Sunnis. AMSI opposes the “U.S occupation,” supports resistance against it (while condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilians) and calls the current political process illegitimate.

Niqash met AMSI spokesman, Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faydhi, to discuss AMSI’s position on current developments. Al-Faydhi reiterated that there could be no real national reconciliation so long as the U.S occupation continues and suggested that armed resistance is on the rise.

Niqash: Is it true that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked you to participate in the political process and promised to let you join the government?

Al-Faydhi: Yes, al-Maliki extended an invitation to Dr. Harith al-Dari, Secretary-General of the AMSI, when al-Maliki was at odds with the [Sunni] Accordance Front following their boycott of the government.

The offer came through a mediator who quoted Maliki saying that “Dr. Dari, and not the Accordance Front, is the best representative of Sunnis.” He also quoted al-Maliki saying that “if al-Dari accepts to join the political process, he would deal with him.” As expected, al-Dari refused the offer and sent a message to al-Maliki, through the same mediator, saying: “It is wrong to interpret our conflicts with the Accordance Front as a matter of government positions. We disagree with them because they joined the political process designed by the occupier and based on an ugly sectarian and ethnic basis. Thus you should spare yourself the effort. If you want real national reconciliation, then you should abide by the agreements of the first and second Cairo meetings. In these meetings, we reached a number of agreements as published in the two statements issued after each meeting. If you respect these agreements and implement them, then we are very close to reconciliation.”

[The Cairo statements call for a timetable for U.S withdrawal; an acknowledgement of the legitimate resistance; ending arrests and raids; and the release of detainees held without a warrant ].

Niqash: You are talking about reconciliation but you support military operations carried out by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq. Is there joint coordination between AMSI and these organizations?

Al-Faydhi: Every researcher specialized in Iraqi issues, who follows accurate research standards and who is not subject to what others dictate him knows that AMSI does not have any relations with al-Qaeda. It has condemned many acts claimed by the organization, which we considered acts of terror, unjust and criminal. We dealt with events in Iraq by monitoring and evaluating acts, regardless of who committed them. AMSI adopted this approach because the enemy was clever in shuffling cards and attempting to distort the resistance’s image. That is why AMSI always evaluated actions before judging them; acts of resistance were praised and criminal and terrorists acts were condemned regardless of who stood behind them.

It seems that neither the Americans nor the successive governments under occupation appreciated our approach and thus they accused us of having links with these organizations. If any of them has one substantial piece of evidence against us they would have made much ado about it.

Niqash: There has been a recent upsurge in armed attacks in Baghdad, Diyala and Mosul. Do you believe that these attacks are a response by armed groups to al-Maliki’s call for reconciliation?

Al-Faydhi: Neither al-Maliki nor any other person have the right to call for reconciliation. The occupation is ongoing and all international conventions give people under occupation the right to resist their occupiers. Additionally, resistance is a teaching of God.

Regarding the escalation of armed attacks against U.S occupation forces, I don’t believe that al-Maliki’s statements have anything to do with it. I think that resistance is growing again after being undermined by many factors such as the Awakening projects. When these attempts failed, and when al-Qaeda became weak, the Iraqi resistance started to recover and to grow. We have all witnessed the rise in the number of attacks during the last month and I expect the resistance to reach its peak during the coming few months.

Niqash: How do you interpret the ongoing conflict between Sunni parties on a new Sunni parliamentary speaker?

Al-Faydhi: The political process is not of any concern to AMSI because we believe it is not a legitimate process under occupation regardless of who champion this process, the Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds. But the whole situation confirms results already predicted by AMSI when we said that the sectarian quota system will become a source of new crises and problems, not only between the different components of Iraqi society but also within each component. Regarding conflicts between Sunni parties, they should answer this question themselves.

Niqash: Aren’t you convinced that national reconciliation will bring political stability and security to the country?

Al-Faydhi: There will be no national reconciliation under an occupation which supports one party at the expense of the other. The party which receives U.S support will feel strong and will not be compelled to make any concessions. This is human nature and this is what the government is doing now. The other party, now weak, will continue to have its doubts and will interpret each act as evil and driven by occupation. Reconciliation will only become serious when occupation ends and when all Iraqis sit together around the table feeling that they are equals. Then, if no reconciliation is reached, everyone will pay the price equally.

Niqash: The political process is moving ahead and Sunni parties are supporting it.

Al-Faydhi: When a person suffers from a chronic disease no one says that he enjoys good health. He is always vulnerable to relapse at any moment as he is likely to die. The same applies to Iraq. The support of Sunni parties of the political process is of no value because parties who participated in it under occupation lost all popular support. The recent provincial elections, despite the manipulation of its results by occupation, have clearly revealed this fact. Participation in elections did not reach a maximum of 30% in the best cases. Voters did not vote for the sectarian parties who dominate the country’s political process.

Niqash: What is your view on religious fatwas that call Shiites infidels and do you think that Iraqi Shiites serve as an extension of Iranian influence?

Al-Faydhi: Since the first days of AMSI’s creation, we said that Shiites are our brothers in religion, our partners in the country and people of the Qibla [Muslims]. The rule is that we do not accuse the people of the Qibla of infidelity. This is why we visited Shiite religious authorities, such as Sheikh al-Khalisi, and worked with him and others to serve the interests of the country.

Regarding the second part of your question we have never considered Iraqi Shiites as such and we never said so. We only perceive Shiite politicians that are now participating in the current political process taking place under occupation – all of them – as extensions of Iranian influence; this is our view which we still believe in.

Niqash: What will resistance fighters do when U.S troops leave Iraq? Leaders of the Salafi-Jihadi movement say that they will take the battle to neighbouring countries.

Al-Faydhi: We are not adherents to the Salafi-Jihadi movement. AMSI is an independent and new school of thought. It has a distinctive vision and philosophy and we have had a successful experience in crisis management under the occupation of Iraq.

When Iraqis liberate their country, they will rebuild it again and fix all the damage made by war and they will establish good relations with neighbouring countries and with the international community.

Niqash: The government has arrested women described as ‘al-Qaeda members’ being used to commit suicide attacks. Islamic sharia clearly states that women should be spared in Jihad. What is your religious verdict on this matter?

Al-Faydhi: Firstly, I think that there is an exaggeration in such issues motivated and driven by the occupation and its agents. The purpose is to distort the image of jihad in Iraq. In any case, jihad is the responsibility of men; if women volunteer and their guardians allow them to do so, then they can participate in the jihad. If a woman dies in confrontation with the occupier, she will be considered a martyr. If she kills innocent people and die, she will be in an unenviable position because she committed suicide and Islam promises severe punishment to those who do so – may God spare us such punishment.

Niqash: Why did four groups, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Hamas-Iraq, the Mujahedeen Army and the Murabitoun Army, break with al-Qaeda after having previously been loyal to the group?

Al-Faydhi: The organizations you mentioned, according to our own sources, have no links with al-Qaeda and they never said that they were loyal to it. Thus, it is not true to say that they broke from al-Qaeda because they were not linked or loyal to it. When al-Qaeda was only targeting the U.S occupation, its operations were considered as resistance. Others considered it as part of the Iraqi resistance movement. When it started to target innocent people, conflicts started to arise and there were even armed confrontations between the 1920 Revolution Brigades and al-Qaeda in Abu Ghraib; confrontations that lasted for months and led to the deaths of many resistance and al-Qaeda members.

Remembering “Land Day,” Palestinians honour dead from 1976 clashes with Israeli army


Palestinians honour dead from 1976 clashes with Israeli army

By Jonathan Cook in Arrabeh

30 March 2009

Jonathan Cook looks at the events that culminated in the murder of Arab citizens of Israel who were protesting against the theft of their land in 1976 – events that are marked by Land Day.

Palestinians across the Middle East were due to commemorate Land Day today, marking the anniversary of clashes in 1976 in which six unarmed Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli army as it tried to break up a general strike.

Although Land Day is one of the most important anniversaries in the Palestinian calendar, sometimes referred to as the Palestinians’ national day, the historical event it marks is little spoken of and rarely studied.

“Maybe its significance is surprising given the magnitude of other events in Palestinian history,” said Hatim Kanaaneh, 71, a doctor, who witnessed the military invasion of his village.

“But what makes Land Day resonate with Palestinians everywhere is that it was the first time Palestinians inside Israel stood together and successfully resisted Israel’s goal of confiscating their land.”

The confrontation took place between the army and a group usually referred to as “Israeli Arabs”, the small minority of Palestinians who managed to remain in their homes during the 1948 war that led to the founding of Israel. Today they number 1.2 million, or nearly one-fifth of Israel’s population.

“We were given citizenship by Israel, but have always been treated as an enemy, perceived of as a threat to the state’s Jewishness,” said Dr Kanaaneh, who last year published his memoir, A Doctor in Galilee, which offers a rare account in English of Palestinian life inside Israel during the Land Day period.

In 1976, Dr Kanaaneh, having completed his medical studies at Harvard University in the United States, was the only physician in Arrabeh.

Israel crushed organized political activity among Israel’s Palestinian citizens between 1948 and 1966, Dr Kanaaneh said. Nonetheless, popular frustration had mounted as the state expropriated privately owned Palestinian land to build new communities for Jewish citizens, many of them recent immigrants.

During military rule, historians have noted, vast swathes of land were taken from Palestinians, both from refugees in exile and from Israel’s own Arab citizens. Jews had bought only 6 per cent of Palestine by the time of the 1948 war, but today the state has nationalized 93 per cent of Israel’s territory.

“Government policy was explicitly to make the land Jewish – or Judaize it, as it was called,” Dr Kanaaneh said.

The announcement in the mid-1970s of the confiscation of a further 2,000 hectares led to the creation of a new body, the National Committee for the Defence of Arab Lands, which provided a more assertive political leadership.

The minority’s decision to strike, Dr Kanaaneh said, shocked the Israeli authorities, which were not used to challenges to official policy. “Both sides understood the significance of the strike. For the first time we were acting as a national minority, and Israel was very sensitive to anything that suggested we had a national identity or a unified agenda, especially over a key resource like land.”

Although the strike was strictly observed by Palestinians throughout Israel, the focus of the protest were three villages in the central Galilee that faced the loss of a large area of prime agricultural land: Arrabeh, Sakhnin and Deir Hanna.

The prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and his defence minster, Shimon Peres, acted on the eve of the strike.

“What was surprising was that they didn’t send in the police, as you’d expect when dealing with citizens of a country, but the army,” Dr Kanaaneh said.

The government’s original plan, he said, was to break the strike and force employees to go to work, but when villagers began throwing stones, the army imposed a curfew.

“When a neighbour called me to attend to his wife who had gone into labour, I walked out of my house towards an armoured vehicle waving my stethoscope,” Dr Kanaaneh said. “A soldier aimed his rifle straight at me and I hurried back inside.”

Ahmed Khalaila, who was 18 and living in Sakhnin, remembered being woken early by loudspeakers. “Soldiers were calling out that we must not leave the house … We couldn’t even look out of the windows,” he said.

When a neighbour stepped outside her house, she was shot and injured, Mr Khalaila said. He and his older brother, Khader, tried to help the woman. When they were about 50 metres from her, Khader was shot in the head.

“He was still breathing and we hoped he could be saved, but there were checkpoints at all the entrances to the village. We knew no ambulance would be coming for him.”

Eventually the family managed to get him into a car and drove towards the nearest hospital. Held at a checkpoint, Mr Khalaila said, the family watched as Khader bled to death as he lay across his younger brother’s legs on the back seat. Khader was 24 and recently married.

No one ever came to investigate what had happened, or offered the family compensation. “It was as if a bird had died,” he said. “No one was interested; no questions were asked in the parliament. Nothing.”

As well as the six deaths, hundreds more Palestinians were injured and sweeping arrests were made of political activists.

Dr Kanaaneh said the stiff resistance mounted by the villagers eventually forced the government to revoke the expropriation order.

Victory, however, was far from clear cut. The next year, Ariel Sharon, as agriculture minister, announced a programme of new Jewish settlements called “lookouts” in the Galilee “to prevent control of state lands by foreigners”, meaning Israel’s own Palestinian citizens. The three villages were surrounded by the lookout communities, which came to be known collectively as Misgav regional council.

“They were intended to be agricultural communities, but Land Day stopped that,” Dr Kanaaneh said. “Instead they became small bedroom communities, and much of the land we defended was passed to Misgav’s jurisdiction.

“Today the owners of the land pay taxes to the regional council rather than their own municipalities, and Misgav can decide, if it wants, to try to confiscate the land again. We may have got our land back, but it is not really in our hands.”

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

5 Muslim Video Alternatives to YouTube

5 Muslim Video Alternatives to YouTube

by slim
http://muslimworker .com/2009/ 03/5-muslim- video-alternativ es-to-youtube/
<http://muslimworker .com/2009/ 03/5-muslim- video-alternativ es-to-youtube/ \

Youtube has become the defacto standard for online video and is one of
the top websites on the internet for traffic. Even though there are tons
of great Muslim and Islamic Videos on there, there is also a lot of
other videos that are not Islam related.
Alhamdullilah, there are Muslim Video alternatives to Youtube. If you
want to browse specifically for Islamic Video content and not worry
about other content, I will present to you 5 websites that will help.

Here they are: is a really big Muslim Social Media website. Think about it
as Facebook for Muslims. The video section of their website, has a lot of great and different content about Islam.

http://www.IslamicTube. net

MashAllah, IslamicTube. net is another good Muslim Video sharing website.
They have a nice, clean design and logo too.
Their videos are pulled from popular video sharing sites like YouTube
and Vimeo and also have videos hosted on their website.

http://www.guidedways. com/islamicvideo s, the group that brought you iQuran and iPray for iPhone,
also has a video sharing website. It doesn’t have much videos as the
previous two and is not updated as often, but it is still worthwhile to
check out.

http://www.halaltube. com

This website is unique among the rest in the list. It focuses solely on
English Muslim scholars and provides videos and audio for them.

Since everyone has different styles and prefer to learn with certain
scholars, this website covers the whole gamut. Everyone’s favorite
speaker should be available here.

http://www.muslimvideo. com/tv

What is unique about this Muslim Video website is that it also has a lot
of Islamic Videos in Arabic along with many English videos. So if you
know Arabic, this is a good website for you to look into.

Instead of adding a sixth item, I’m going to stick one last website
in here. http://www.MuslimVideos. com has almost the same website address but it
is another general Muslim Video sharing website. I notice it has more
general videos and less lecture videos.
If I missed any Muslim Video website, please feel free to share them in
the comments!

The Ultimate World Order – “The Jewish Utopia”

The Ultimate World

Order – “The Jewish Utopia”

Robert H. Williams


Defending Zionism – Defending the Indefensible

Defending Zionism – Defending the Indefensible


This article responds to a March 15 Los Angeles Times Judea Pearl one headlined: “Is anti-Zionism hate?” Pearl teaches computer science at UCLA, is the father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. It was “formed….to continue Danny’s mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy in the spirit” of the man it represents, including “uncompromised objectivity and integrity….and respect for people of all cultures….”

Some of its honorary board member belie this purpose:

— former president Bill Clinton, an unindicted war criminal and backer of neoliberal plunder;

— Elie Wiesel, a shameless self-promoter, “Holocaust” exploiter, and apologist for the most outrageous Israeli crimes;

— Jordan’s Queen Noor, wife of King Abdullah II, who, like his father Hussein, rules with dictatorial police state powers; and

— Christiane Amanpour and Ted Koppel, two notables in the corporate media who never let facts conflict with their views and support for the powerful.

Pearl calls anti-Zionism “hate more dangerous than anti-Semitism, threatening lives and peace in the Middle East.” Zionism is precisely the opposite as numerous Jewish writers, including this one, have addressed.

In his book “Overcoming Zionism,” Joel Kovel explained how it fosters “imperialist expansion and militarism (with) signs of the fascist malignancy;” that it turned Israel “into a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses” led by terrorists posing as democrats. Kovel’s book and his work got him fired from the Bard College faculty effective July 1 when his current contract expires – for daring to criticize Israel, its Zionist ideology, state-sponsored terror, and decades of lawlessness and egregious behavior.

Kovel expressed outrage that institutions like Bard aren’t bothered; that they grant Israel impunity, suppress dissent, then marginalize, punish, and remove the “heretics,” ones like Kovel who honorably and courageously write truths.

Pearl railed about a UCLA Center for Near East Studies symposium invitation to “four longtime Israel bashers” so they could attack Zionism’s legitimacy and “its vision of a two-state solution….” – a scheme to consign Palestinians to isolated cantons and steal their most valuable land.

He equates legitimate Israeli criticism and anti-Zionism with “criminaliz(ing) Israel’s existence, distort(ing) its motives and malign(ing) its character, its birth, even its conception.” He cites “Jewish leaders (condemning) this hate-fest as a dangerous invitation to anti-Semitic hysteria” even though one has nothing to do with the other and conflating them masks the real issue – Zionism’s corrosive effects and the myths on which it’s based.

Ones Pearl ignores in stating “Anti-Zionism rejects the very notion that Jews are a nation – a collective bonded by a common history – and, accordingly denies Jews the right to self-determination in their historical birthplace. It seeks the dismantling of the Jewish nation-state: Israel, (what it) ‘grants’ to other historically bonded collectives (e.g. French, Spanish, Palestinians), the right to nationhood….”

Pearl can’t accept the hard facts that Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo Zand documented in his important 2008 book: “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” It exposes biblical nonsense comprising core Zionist beliefs about Jews:

— that ancient Romans expelled them;

— their exodus from Egypt, then left to wander the earth rootless;

— enslaved, oppressed, and tormented for centuries; and

— the myth that God bestowed a “Greater Israel” for Jews alone – “A land without people for a people without land.”

According to Israeli journalist Tom Segev and others:

— there never was a Jewish people, just a Jewish religion;

— there was no exile, therefore no return, and much of the Jewish Diaspora was voluntary; and

— the story was a Zionist invention, a conspiracy to justify a future Jewish state, and now vilify Palestinian self-determination as a plot to destroy it.

With regard to other “bonded collectives,” France, Spain, America and other states are nationalities, not religions. Israel is a Jewish state with rights for Jews alone. They matter. Others don’t, and therein lies the difference. Palestinians, in contrast, are occupied, impoverished, oppressed, driven from their land, vilified for being Muslims, and victimized by slow-motion genocide to destroy them and any hope for self-determination.

“Are Jews a nation,” asks Pearl? “Some philosophers would argue Jews are a nation first and religion second.” He cites the usual mythology:

— the Exodus and return to the “promised land before they received the Torah at Mt. Sinai;”

— “the unshaken conviction in their eventual repatriation to (their) birthplace (since) the Roman expulsion;” and

— their “shared history, not religion (as) the primary uniting force behind the secular, multiethnic society of Israel” – favoring Jews alone in a quasi secular/religious state where practicing another one is dangerous.

The “Jewish identity today feed(s) on Jewish history (more precisely folklore and myths) and its natural derivatives –

— the state of Israel” despite its illegitimate birth and mythological roots;

— “its struggle for survival” in spite of being the world’s fourth most powerful military, nuclear-armed; with no enemies except the ones it makes; and having a history of aggressive wars; violence over conciliation; confrontation, not diplomacy; and claiming self-defense as justification when there is none;

— “its cultural and scientific achievements,” much of the latter involving militarism and hard line security; and

— “its relentless drive for peace.”

Pearl like most others can’t accept the fact that Israel disdains peace, thrives on violence, and needs it as justification. The very notion of peace and conflict resolution terrifies it. What prime minister Yitzhak Shamir once admitted about Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war – that there was “terrible danger….not so much a military one as a political one” so a pretext was invented to attack when no threat or justification existed.

It took 18,000 lives and left South Lebanon occupied until Israel Defense Forces withdrew in May 2000, except for the 25 square km Shebaa Farms area illegally retained to this day.

Yet Pearl insists that “anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the Jewish population of Israel, whose physical safety and personal dignity depend crucially on maintaining Israel’s sovereignty. Put bluntly, the anti-Zionist ‘plan’ to do away with Israel condemns 5.5 million human beings, mostly refugees or children of refugees, to eternal defenselessness in a region where genocidal designs are not uncommon.”

He adds that “anti-Zionist rhetoric (shows) academic sophistication and social acceptance in certain extreme yet vocal circles. (It’s also) a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp (and) gives credence (to) the hidden agenda of every Palestinian (for) the eventual elimination of Israel.”

Now some facts misrepresented, distorted, or unstated by Pearl and other like-minded apologists:

— There never was nor is there now an “Israeli peace camp,” as explained above.

— Israel’s sovereignty isn’t the issue. It exists, is accepted, and anti-Zionists don’t dispute it. Further, since at least the late 1980s, Palestinian leaders (including Arafat and Hamas) have been willing to extend recognition. But Israel rejects all peace and reconciliation overtures, yet the dominant media and Zionists won’t mention it.

— Palestinians and other Arabs don’t target Israel and haven’t since the 1973 war. However, they justifiably defend themselves when attacked as international law allows.

— Anti-Zionists, like this writer, have no plan or desire to destroy Israel, harm its people, or render them defenseless. Demanded, however, is that Israel behave, act civilized, practice the democracy it preaches, observe international and its own laws, and be held fully accountable when it doesn’t, including its leaders for their crimes of war and against humanity to deter future ones from committing similar violations.

— Israel alone menaces Palestinians and other regional states, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Those nations, nor any others, threaten Israel, yet again media and Zionist propaganda say otherwise.

— Zionist ideology is extremist, undemocratic, and hateful. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness, and uniqueness – God’s “chosen people.” It harms Jews and non-Jews alike. Former Israeli scholar, critic, and life-long human rights activist, Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001), explained the dangers of Jewish chauvinism, religious fanaticism, and its influence on America’s polity.

He called the notion of self-hating Jews “nonsensical” and explained the definition of a Jew:

….”if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (or) great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person (converted) to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion.” According to the Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinic law, “conversion (must be) performed by authorized rabbis in a proper manner.” For females, it entails an outlandish ritual – “their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a ‘bath of purification’ ” to confirm it.

Shahak wrote extensively on how Israel discriminates in favor of Jews in most every aspect of life, including the three he called most important – “residency rights, the right to work (and to have) equality before the law.”

Zionist ideology demeans non-Jews and denies them equal rights in Israel. A body of law enforces it – to legally discriminate against non-Jewish Israeli citizens (for their religion) and Palestinians in the Territories, something unimaginable in all developed states and most others on every continent.

Shahak stated: “The obvious intention of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel (to affirm its existence as a) ‘Jewish’ state” quite hostile to and demeaning of other religious faiths.

This is the Zionist message and why growing numbers of Jews and many others oppose it. Supporting Zionism is repugnant, indefensible, and equivalent to defending cancer, a malignancy relentlessly destroying its host. It must be exposed, denounced, and once and for all expunged from the body politic. A CIA study suggested the alternative – that beyond 20 years, Israel won’t survive in its present form.

The Agency predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 (Palestinian) refugees. The latter (is) the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”

According to international lawyer Franklin Lamb, “the handwriting….is on the wall….history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later.”

The report also predicts the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the exodus of two million Israeli Jews to America in the next 15 years. They’re fed up and want to leave. Omitted from the report, or at least unrevealed, is that short of an equitable resolution to the long-standing Palestinian conflict, Israel eventually will destroy itself. Nations that live by the sword, die by it, and Israel is no exception.

The alternative is peace and reconciliation, something Israel flatly rejects. Unless that changes, its very existence is at stake, what history teaches but Israel has yet to learn.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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Mehsud Admits to Attack on Islamabad Police Station SIC Unit Investigating Mumbai



Lahore ‘was Pakistan Taleban op’

Pakistan Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud

Mr Mehsud does not like to be photographed

The chief of the Pakistani Taleban, Baitullah Mehsud, has told the BBC his group was behind Monday’s deadly attack on a police academy in Lahore.

He said the attack was “in retaliation for the continued drone strikes by the US in collaboration with Pakistan on our people”.

He also claimed responsibility for two other recent deadly attacks.

Baitullah Mehsud said the attacks would continue “until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans”.

Security officials are interrogating at least four suspects captured after the attack, police say.

We will continue our attacks until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans
Pakistan Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud

Eighteen people, including two civilians, eight policemen and eight militants, were killed and 95 people were injured during the eight-hour battle to wrest back control of the academy, the interior ministry said.

Pakistan’s interior minister earlier identified the Taleban as well as other extremist groups as possible perpetrators and suggested a foreign state could also be involved.


Baitullah Mehsud is the supreme commander of the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan group (Movement of Taleban in Pakistan).

He operates out of a stronghold in the Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan and the US state department recently issued a $5m (£3.5m) reward for his capture.

Speaking to the BBC by phone, he also claimed responsibility for two other attacks:

  • A suicide attack on a security convoy, also on Monday, near the town of Bannu in North West Frontier Province, which killed seven security personnel
  • An attack on the offices of a police station in Islamabad on 25 March

But he denied responsibility for the bombing of a mosque in north-west Pakistan on 27 March, in which at least 50 people died.

Approx. 300 people killed in at least 30 drone strikes since Aug 2008
Drone strikes target tribal regions, mostly Waziristan
Hellfire missiles fired from unmanned Predator drones is main method

Baitullah Mehsud warned the attacks would continue in Pakistan and threatened future attacks on American soil, while he shrugged off the risk of “martyrdom”.

Local attacks are expected to increase in line with the newly announced US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, says the BBC’s Barbara Plett in Lahore.

Different Taleban factions in the border region, including Baitullah Mehsud’s, have joined forces in readiness to confront the planned American troop increase in Afghanistan, she says.

Meanwhile, as the Pakistan government attempts to build a national consensus to fight the Taleban, it is faced with trying to overcome deep opposition among its people to an American role in that struggle.

Pakistan’s ‘choice’

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan’s interior minister urged the country to unite against insurgents after the attack on the police academy in Lahore.

Police officers who were held hostage are freed by their colleagues inside the compound of a police training school on the outskirts of Lahore in Pakistan on Monday

The brazen nature of the siege exposed the challenge facing Pakistan

Rehman Malik said the country had a choice between letting the Taleban take over and uniting to fight them – adding that Pakistan’s integrity was “in danger”.

He told reporters that the militants were believed to be fighters loyal to Mehsud and included an Afghan national.

The minister also suggested that a foreign country was interfering in Pakistan’s domestic affairs.

“Some rival country, or some hostile [intelligence] agency is definitely out to destabilise our democratic forces,” he said, in a possible reference to Pakistan’s long-time foe, India.

Indian officials have condemned the attack on Lahore.


Gunmen seized the Manawan police training school on the outskirts of the city during a morning drill on Monday.

27 March 09: Suicide bomber demolishes crowded mosque near the north-western town of Jamrud, killing dozens
3 March 09: Six policemen and a driver killed, and several cricketers injured, in ambush on the Sri Lanka cricket team in central Lahore
20 Sept 08: 54 die in an attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad
6 Sept 08: Suicide car bombing kills 35 and wounds 80 at a police checkpoint in Peshawar
Aug 08: Twin suicide bombings at gates of a weapons factory in town of Wah leave 67 dead
March 08: Suicide bombs hit police headquarters and suburban house in Lahore, killing 24

Helicopter gunships backed up troops who confronted the militants. They were armed with grenades and some are believed to have blown themselves up with suicide vests.

Our correspondent, who witnessed the aftermath, saw broken glass, bullet casings and body parts scattered over the floor of the academy.

The attack came days after US President Barack Obama pledged to put Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, at the heart of his fight against al-Qaeda militants.

He said “al-Qaeda and its extremist allies” were “a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within”.

US officials have pledged to help Pakistan target so-called “safe havens” for militants in Pakistan’s north-west tribal region bordering Afghanistan