Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Sign a petition to end the violence in Lebanon
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 2:55 PM

Please go to and sign the Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition and forward this invitation to your friends.

Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition:

To The Concerned Citizen of The World:"Killing innocent civilians is NOT an act of self-defense. Destroying a sovereign nation is NOT a measured response."Lebanese civilians have been under the constant attack of the state of Israel for several days. The State of Israel, in disregard to international law and the Geneva Convention, is launching a maritime and air siege targeting the entire population of the country.

Innocent civilians are being collectively punished in Lebanon by the state of Israel in deliberate acts of terrorism as described in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.The Lebanese people feel left out by the world that is turning a blind eye on the savagery of the Israeli state. Israel does not seem to be capable of approaching any problem outside the realm of the military power bestowed on it by the government of the United States of America and other western governments. We are writing you this letter in the hope that this massacre is immediately stopped. It is the universal duty of each individual to defend the innocents and expose the truth.
The numerous civilian victims of the Israeli operations are increasing by the hour. The viciousness of the attacks has attained terrifying levels where a child has been cut in three while another was half burned. The Israeli war machine, in its blind savagery, is destroying not only our lives but the foundations that could help the civilians survive beyond their massacre. The Israeli Defense Forces are destroying in few hours what Lebanon has spent years and billions of dollars to rebuild.

Up until now more than 300 Lebanese civilians have been killed and thousands missing under the rubbles , thousands wounded, bridges and infrastructure destroyed, refugees are leaving Beirut in droves and worst of all the enforced siege might lead to a human catastrophe in the next few days. There must be an end to this cycle of violence and continuous violation of international laws and basic ethical behavior.

Between the blindness of the international community and the deafness of the Arab one, the besieged Lebanese population has no way out.

Peace begins with justice

This petition is going to be sent to all representatives (Senate, Congress, Assembly, etc.) in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK and European Union. Moreover, it will be sent to more than 500 media outlets around the world. If you have the contacts of the representatives of your country (not listed above), please email us the list and we will include you country representatives as recipients.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

UK Govt Sources Confirm War With Iran Is On

In the last few days, I learned from a credible and informed source that a former senior Labour government Minister, who continues to be well-connected to British military and security officials, confirms that Britain and the United States. "... will go to war with Iran before the end of the year."By Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed 07/24/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -

As we now know from similar reporting prior to the invasion of Iraq, it's quite possible that the war planning may indeed change repeatedly, and the war may again be postponed. In any case, it's worth noting that the information from a former Labour Minister corroborates expert analyses suggesting that Israel, with US and British support, is deliberately escalating the cycle of retaliation to legitimize the imminent targeting of Iran before year's end. Let us remind ourselves, for instance, of US Vice President Cheney's assertions recorded on MSNBC over a year ago. He described Iran as being "right at the top of the list" of "rogue states". He continued: "One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked... Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."

But the emphasis on Israel's pre-eminent role in a prospective assault on Iran is not accurate. Israel would rather play the role of a regional proxy force in a US-led campaign.

"Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East..." reports Seymour Hersh. He quotes a former high-level US intelligence official as follows:"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah-we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism."

Are these just the fanatical pipedreams of the neoconservative faction currently occupying (literally) the White House?Unfortunately, no. The Iraq War was one such fanatical pipedream in the late 1990s, one that Bush administration officials were eagerly ruminating over when they were actively and directly involved in the Project for a New American Century. But that particular pipedream is now a terrible, gruelling reality for the Iraqi people. Despite the glaring failures of US efforts in that country, there appears to be a serious inability to recognize the futility of attempting the same in Iran. The Monterey Institute for International Studies already showed nearly two years ago in a detailed analysis that the likely consequences of a strike on Iran by the US, Israel, or both, would be a regional conflagaration that could quickly turn nuclear, and spiral out of control. US and Israeli planners are no doubt aware of what could happen.

Such a catastrophe would have irreversible ramifications for the global political economy. Energy security would be in tatters, precipitating the activation of long-standing contingency plans to invade and occupy all the major resource-rich areas of the Middle East and elsewhere (see my book published by Clairview, Behind the War on Terror for references and discussion). Such action could itself trigger responses from other major powers with fundamental interests in maintaining their own access to regional energy supplies, such as Russia and particularly China, which has huge interests in Iran. Simultaneously, the dollar-economy would be seriously undermined, most likely facing imminent collapse in the context of such crises.

Which raises pertinent questions about why Britain, the US and Israel are contemplating such a scenario as a viable way of securing their interests. A glimpse of an answer lies in the fact that the post-9/11 military geostrategy of the "War on Terror" does not spring from a position of power, but rather from entirely the opposite. The global system has been crumbling under the weight of its own unsustainability for many years now, and we are fast approaching the convergence of multiple crises that are already interacting fatally as I write. The peak of world oil production, of which the Bush administration is well aware, either has already just happened, or is very close to happening. It is a pivotal event that signals the end of the Oil Age, for all intents and purposes, with escalating demand placing increasing pressure on dwindling supplies.

Half the world's oil reserves are, more or less, depleted, which means that it will be technologically, geophysically, increasingly difficult to extract conventional oil. I had a chat last week with some scientists from the Omega Institute in Brighton, directed by my colleague and friend Graham Ennis, who told me eloquently and powerfully what I already knew, that while a number of climate "tipping-points" may or may not have yet been passed, we have about 10-15 years before the "tipping-point" is breached certainly and irreversibly. Breaching that point means plunging head-first into full-scale "climate catastrophe".

Amidst this looming Armageddon of Nature, the dollar-denominated economy itself has been teetering on the edge of spiralling collapse for the last seven years or more. This is not idle speculation. A financial analyst as senior as Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan's immediate predecessor as chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently confessed "that he thought there was a 75% chance of a currency crisis in the United States within five years."

There appears to have been a cold calculation made at senior levels within the Anglo-American policymaking establishment: that the system is dying, but the last remaining viable means of sustaining it remains a fundamentally military solution designed to reconfigure and rehabilitate the system to continue to meet the requirements of the interlocking circuits of military-corporate power and profit.The highly respected US whistleblower, former RAND strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who was Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam conflict and became famous after leaking the Pentagon Papers, has already warned of his fears that in the event of "another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country, detention camps for middle-easterners and their quote 'sympathizers', critics of the President's policy and essentially the wiping-out of the Bill of Rights."

So is that what all the "emergency preparedness" legislation, here in the UK as well as in the USA and in Europea, is all about? The US plans are bad enough, as Ellsberg notes, but the plans UK scene is hardly better, prompting The Guardian to describe the Civil Contingencies Bill (passed as an Act in 2004) as "the greatest threat to civil liberty that any parliament is ever likely to consider."As global crises converge over the next few years, we the people are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to use the growing awareness of the inherent inhumanity and comprehensive destructiveness of the global imperial system to establish new, viable, sustainable and humane ways of living.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (London: Duckworth, 2006). He teaches courses in International Relations at the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, where he is doing his PhD studying imperialism and genocide. Since 9/11, he has authored three other books revealing the realpolitik behind the rhetoric of the "War on Terror", The War on Freedom, Behind the War on Terror and The War on Truth. In summer 2005, he testified as an expert witness in US Congress about his research on international terrorism. Visit his website
Monday, July 24, 2006
The New Middle East
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 9:58 AM
By Frubious Bandersnatch

As the world watches open mouthed the escalation of violence in the Middle East, we are forced to wonder what is driving these events and to what end? Is it about three kidnapped soldiers?

One suspects that it is not. That there is a plan, a reason and a goal. There is evidence that this 'operation' in Lebanon has been on the cards for some time - (see Matthew Kalman article - Furthermore, Israel is receiving support from the USA, with emergency shipments of bunker busting bombs to drop on Lebanese and doubtless also Gazan targets. The links there are very strong. What are Israel and America planning? A region wide conflagration? An escalation that will draw Syria and Iran into the conflict? Would there be a war now, and on this scale, if Israel and by extension, America, did not want there to be a war? Can we define the bombing of Beirut as an act of self-defense?

We must ask ourselves these questions. And as our minds wonder the abstract paths of global geopolitics, it is of paramount importance never to lose sight of the human cost of these strategies, which are paid for in human blood and destroyed lives. If your stomach is feeling strong, follow the link below to see the true price of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East", as Condoleeza Rice recently described events in Lebanon.

It is not yet clear what this will mean for us in Bethlehem, or for Palestinians throughout the West Bank. Like the rest of the world, we can only look on in shock and awe as the tragedy unfolds, and hope the war does not come home to roost in our town, that the next victims are not our families and friends. They are already our neighbours. In Lebanon and Gaza. Just people like us, who would like to live their lives in peace. On Wednesday night alone, Israeli sources admitted dropping 23 tonnes of explosives on Beirut in an effort to penetrate what was believed to be a bunker used by senior Hezbollah officials. The damage wrought on the infrastructure of the city will take years to repair. The damage wrought on the people will never heal, and nobody can bring back the dead.

After this, can anyone expect the Lebanese to be good neighbours to Israel? Will the population support a government friendly to Israel? Or will young men flock to the resistance movements, eager for vengeance and with little to lose? Will this conflict escalate until every country in the region is involved and the blood spilt swells from a trickle to a raging torrent? And the bitterness of the people whose lives have been so brutally shattered hardens into implacable hatred?

What a price to pay. We owe it to those people to ask 'why?' What vision drives this? What is the 'new Middle East' referred to by Condoleeza Rice and what will it look like on the ground? What is the true scale of this operation, and what does it hope to achieve?

And if we do not find that it is worth it, we must strain every sinew to hold back this war in any way that we can. From Palestine to the USA and from Israel to Australia. Even if we cannot do much we must do something, even if something is small it is better than nothing. In recognition of the common humanity of all people, in recognition that it is not necessary to hate each other, in recognition that the shattered body of a child killed in a war that it will never understand shames us all, we must act to stop this.

From Bethlehem Ghetto we call for peace, and we hope you will join us.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
From Bethlehem to Gaza - our thoughts are with you
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 8:29 AM

PCHRPalestinian Centre for Human Rights
Ref: 68/2006
Date: 12 July 2006
Time: 10:00 GMT

In the Latest Example of State Terrorism:
IOF Bomb a House in the Sheikh Radwan Quarter, Killing a Palestinian, his Wife, and 7 Children; 34 Civilians were Injured
“My name is Jihad Mohammad El-Saloul. I’m 49 years old, and work as a teachers. I’m a neighbor of Dr. Nabil Abu Salmeya.
Tonight at approximately 2:45 in the morning, I heard a small explosion. My wife, our children, and I woke up. I thought it was a sound bomb. My children were standing near the window. After about 10 minutes I heard a second explosion. The glass fell over our heads. I got out of the house to see what happened. One of our neighbors is Ahmad Bahar “Abu Akram,” a political leader in Hamas. I thought the explosion was in his home. As I walked, I was surprised that the explosion was in Dr. Nabil Abu Salmeya’s house. I went towards the bombed house. Smoke and thick dust was issuing from the house. I saw an injured, bearded man among the rubble (El-Ja’bari). We put him in a blue Fiat with 3 young men from among the neighbors. After that, I went to help save others.
We found Abu Salmeya’s son Ahmad, who studies engineering at university. He was injured in the face. He was in pain, and was standing on the balcony of the bombed house. He was calling us. We took him to an ambulance.
After that I saw a girl, Abu Salmeya’s daughter, who was about 17. She was handicapped. Her body was thrown on the ground, between the trees in the garden.
Then we found the body of his son, Yehya, who is in fourth grade. It was a headless body. We found the head in the hallway of a neighbor’s house, from Abass family. I knew Yehya and the girl well.
Then I found another son. He was dead and on the ground.
Then we found the body of the mother. He leg was torn off.
Then we found two arms of a man among the trees.
As to the house next to Abu Salmeya’s house, it belongs to my neighbor Rajih Abbas. Most of the household was injured by glass and brick shrapnel. We took out an elderly woman (65) who is
Rajih’s mother. She injured in the leg, which was broken. We took out a child from the same room, from under the rubble and dust. The child was still breathing. I couldn’t believe that the child was still alive.
The Civil Defense Corps started to search the rubble immediately after the bombardment. At approximately 7:00 in the morning, they found Awad Nabil Abu Salmeya (19), who studies engineering. He was suffering from moderate injuries. He survived by a miracle.
Dr. Abu Salmeya’s family consisted of 11 members: himself, his wife, 5 girls, and 4 boys.
We only saw his sons Mohammad and Awad. Till now, we don’t know anything about 3 of his girls, who are still under the debris.
This is a residential area. Even if there were one or two wanted (activists), how can a whole neighborhood be targeted and bombed by planes, causing all this death and destruction to us, them and neighbors who are civilians. They do not want to kill the wanted, but to destroy civilians, kill them, and terrorize them.
The house is built on an area of 200 square meters. It is two parts. The southern part is old, and consists of a ground floor and a second floor. The second part is an open area with two rooms and a salon for the children.
The southern part was targeted. The deaths were there.
This are is called “Shanti neighborhood, Amer Project, Sheikh Radwan Quarter.
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have committed a new war crime against Palestinian civilians, flagrantly breaching the Fourth Geneva Convention. IOF fighter jets dropped 2 bombs at a 2-story house in a crowded neighborhood in the town of Jabalia. The house belonged to a Hamas leader. The house owner was killed, and so were his wife and 7 of their children. The house was completely destroyed. In addition, 34 civilians were injured, including 5 children and 6 women. Extensive damage was inflicted on 15 houses surrounding the targeted house.
After committing the crime, IOF declared that the bombardment targeted Mohammad El-Deif, the commander of the Hamas military wing, and others with him, claiming that they were in the house. For their part, Hamas confirmed that El-Deif is safe.
This crime is a reminder of the war crime perpetrated on 23 July 2003 to assassinate Salah Shehada, a Hamas leader. In that incident, IOF targeted a residential building in the densely-
populated El-Daraj neighborhood. More than 20 people were killed, including women and children, and dozens were injured.
The latest war crime comes within Israel’s policy of extra-judicial assassinations against Palestinian activists. This policy is criticized by the international community as it leads to casualties among innocent civilians.
With this crime, the number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip rises to 68, including 33 innocent civilians. Two women and 14 children are among the dead.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 2:45 on Wednesday, 12 July 2006, an IOF fighter jet dropped 2 bombs at the house belonging to Nabil Abdel Latif Abu Salmeya (46), a leader in Hamas who works as a lecturer in the Islamic University. The 2 bombs hit the 2-story house built on 200 square meters in the Shanti lands are in the town of Jabalia. The house was destroyed on top of the occupants. The owner was killed, and so were his wife Salwa Ismail Abu Salmeya (42) and 7 of their children: Basma (16), Somaya (17, handicapped), Aya (9), Yehya (10), Nasr (7), Huda (13), and Eman (12). The son Awad (19) was rescued, and is suffering from serious injuries. Eyewitnesses indicate that the bodies of the dead were torn and scattered. Work continues to clear the rubble and search for bodies and survivors.
PCHR is greatly concerned over the IOF crimes against Palestinian civilians that have become a trend. The Centre stresses that an arbitrary attack that endangers the lives of civilians and their properties, especially if prior knowledge indicates that civilians could be killed, injured, or have property damaged, is a war crime in the first protocol additional to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In the Center’s view, the complacency of the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the 4th Geneva Convention and their failure tot take effective steps to stop Israeli war crimes has been a supporting and encouraging element for Israel to continue perpetrating additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians. The legal cover provided to Israel by the US, which purposely hinders International Humanitarian Law, and the conspiracy of silence by Europe encourage Israeli to continue to perpetrate war crimes unchecked, placing it above international law.
The Centre reminds the High Contracting Parties of:
- Their obligations under article 1 of the convention to ensure respect of the convention under all circumstances;
- Their obligations in article 146 of the convention to pursue suspects of committing serious violations of the convention, noting that these violations are war crimes according to article 147, as specified in the first protocol additional to the convention
The Centre calls upon the Swiss Government to:
- to take a leading role in highlighting and acting to stop the grave breaches of international law that are currently taking place in the Gaza Strip, as is its obligation as the depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- to make efforts to mobilise the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to intervene in this situation and meet their obligations to protect the rights of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip under International Humanitarian Law.
- to call on the Security Council to send an international protection force for the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
The Centre calls upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to:
- to issue a statement strongly condemning Israel’s grave breaches of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
- to make a visit to the OPT in order to see for yourself the long term damage that has already been and is currently being inflicted on the civilian population – a population who should be enjoying protection under International Humanitarian Law.
- to call a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in order to ensure that these states fulfil their obligation under international law to protect the civilian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.


Thursday, July 06, 2006
Summer Rain Over Gaza Waters the Seeds of Hatred
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 3:47 PM
Summer Rain over Gaza
by Frubious Bandersnatch

Consider this: an 8 km wide by 23 km long strip of arid land by the Mediterranean Sea containing a population of one and a half million people. This is Gaza, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, and the one of the most water poor, second only to Kuwait. Over half of the population are refugees, expelled from Israel following the 1948 and 1967 wars.

The Strip bears the scars of 40 years of military occupation. The economy is in crisis, with over 30 % unemployment (PCBS, 2005) and over half the population living below the official poverty line of less than $2 per person per day (PCBS, 2004). Despite efforts by the Palestinian Authority and international donors, infrastructure is completely inadequate to serve the needs of the population. The decaying water system was running at 50 % losses when it was passed over to Palestinian control after the peace agreements of the early 90s. The situation has not been improved by repeated Israeli missile strikes since 2000, smashing pipelines and destroying pumping stations.

The sewage system is even more inadequate. Only 60 % of the population are connected to any form of sewage network and there are only 3 poorly functioning treatment plants. Thus 80 % of wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment, infiltrating the ground and poisoning the groundwater, which is the only source of fresh water in the area (UNEP, 2003). The quantity of freshwater available does not come close to meeting the basic demands of the population and as a consequence, the aquifer has been heavily overabstracted for years, causing infiltration of sea water and deterioration of water quality. Currently only 10 % of the water distributed in Gaza meets World Health Organization drinking water standards (UNEP, 2003).

Demand for food for the inflated population is high and cultivable land is scarce. Hence agricultural practices are intense, relying heavily on toxic agrochemicals which wreak further environmental destruction. Even so there is no food security and a high dependency on imported food from Israel, a supply that can readily be cut off by the simple expedient of closing the border crossings. The water shortage is so severe and the demand for food so high that sewage water is sometimes used to irrigate crops, with obviously appalling health consequences. Put quite simply, Gaza is in a state of escalating humanitarian crisis: a large population with resources inadequate to sustain itself in a poisoned and deteriorating environment.

Consider this: Summer Rain over Gaza. A rain of missiles shattering roads, schools, powerstations, pipelines and people. Shooting fish in a barrel. In such a densely populated area, it would be difficult not to hit something important. Power stations and main transport routes have been deliberately targetted. The consequences? Inability to move food supplies, breakdown of water pumping stations and sewage treatment plants, further contamination of drinking water supplies as ruptured sewage pipes mingle their contents with drinking water supplies. Most of the water wells in Gaza and all of the sewage treatment plants were powered by the destroyed power station which also constituted the only source of domestic electricity in the region (CMWU, 2006). In short, a humanitarian disaster has been precipitated, as food and water supplies run dry and hunger, thirst and disease become the daily reality of the beleaguered population. Summer Rain over Gaza: what exquisite irony.

The reason that has been given by Israeli leaders for this deliberate targeting of Gaza's life support systems has been that it is necessary to "tear down the infrastructure of terrorism". This statement begs two vital questions: firstly, what is meant by "terrorism", and secondly, what is the "infrastructure of terrorism" or what sustains terrorism?

Terrorism is a controversial and subjective term with multiple definitions. One definition is "a violent action targetting civilians exclusively" (Wikipedia - However, terrorism is defined by the US Department of Defense as "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives." The government of Israel, it seems, defines terrorism as any act of violence against any Israeli target, civilian or military, perpetrated by any Palestinian. Any use of force by Palestinians against Israelis is 'unlawful'.

The current Israeli invasion of Gaza was ostensibly caused by the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of one more (Gilad Shalit) by Palestinian militants connected with the elected Palestinian government (Hamas). There are two points that are extremely pertinent here. One is that the action was against a military target; and the other is that Palestine has no 'lawful' army. This being the case, actions undertaken by the military wing of the elected government against the deployed military personnel of an Occupying power are somewhat subject to interpretation in terms of their 'lawfulness' or otherwise.

The Israeli invasion, and indeed the entire military occupation of the Palestinian Territories, are themselves on similarly shaky ground with regard to their 'lawfulness'. Civilian individuals and infrastructure have been repeatedly targeted and multiple UN resolutions have been passed declaring the illegality of such actions. Furthermore, the objective of these actions, namely the furthering of the Zionist ideal, is political, religious and ideological, and few could argue that they do not constitute "coercion" of a democratically elected government. Hence under US Department of Defense definitions, Israel is certainly perpetrating acts of terrorism against the Palestinian government and society.

However, let us return to the question of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis. Whilst there is some question as to whether the stated cause of the current conflict constitutes terrorism, the firing of Qassam rockets into Israeli civilian settlements and the suicide bombing of civilian population centres which have taken place in recent months fit more easily into generally accepted definitions of terrorism. So the question we must now ask is what drives such acts? Will destroying civilian infrastructure in Gaza help to prevent further terrorism?

It is doubtless true that terrorists, as human beings, are ultimately sustained by water, food and heat. Also, by Israeli definition, Gaza is a 'haven for terrorists'. Thus by denying water, food and heat to large sections of the Gazan population, Israel will almost certainly harm some terrorists. However, such a strategy could only really be effective in eradicating terrorism if the entire population of Gaza were annihilated along with the terrorists. In short: by genocide and ethnic cleansing. The absolute immorality of such a solution should be clear to the meanest intelligence. And yet, let us be clear, this is the strategy that Israel is currently pursuing.

This is quite simply not a sustainable solution to the problem and it is doubtful that it will be permitted by the International community. Hence if there is to be any resolution to the conflict, it is worth considering in slightly more depth what sustains Palestinian 'terrorism' against Israelis. What can drive people to have such a disregard for human life that they are prepared to indiscriminately murder people they have never met and will never know, to take their own lives in the process, to abandon home and family and all that so many of us hold dear in life? What is the psychological infrastructure of terrorism?

It is popularly held that Palestinian terrorists are motivated primarily by religious idealism and rabid anti-semitism; that they are determined to wage a 'jihad' against Israel and all things Jewish, possessed by an innate hatred of Jews in general. There is certainly an element of this in the rhetoric of a number of resistance groups operating in Palestine which is avidly seized upon by Israeli politicians to reinforce the notion that there is 'no partner for peace' in Palestine. Thus it is assumed that the roots of Palestinian terrorism lie in an unreasoning hatred of Jews and that there is nothing that can be done about this.

It is the 'unreasoning' and 'nothing to be done' parts of this interpretation that are fundamentally flawed. The roots of terrorism against Israelis lie in hatred of Israelis. However, to assume that this is just some innate quality of Palestinians, or even to assume that the motivation for this hatred is simple anti-semitism is to remove it from the context in which it occurs. It is inaccurate. In truth, what sustains terrorism and fuels anti-semitic rhetoric is the daily misery to which the people of Gaza are subjected. The wrenching grief and impotent fury of a caged, abused and traumatized population living in a rotting cesspool of poverty and despair. It is the lack of hope for a better life, the grinding poverty and the killing of loved ones that fuels terrorism. As of May 2006, 2162 Gazans had been killed by the Israeli military since the outbreak of the Intifada (PCBS, 2006). 451 of these people were children. In the past month the killing has accelerated and the destruction escalated. Re-read the opening paragraphs of this article. Put yourself in the place of a Gazan. This is not unreasoning hate. And it is not an insoluble problem.

Gaza has been for 40 years under the heel of Israeli occupation. Half the population are refugees. The overcrowding, the poverty and the environmental degradation are direct results of the expulsion of Arabs from Israel proper and of retarded development since then due to Israeli Occupation. Not only is it in Israel's interests to alleviate the suffering of the Gazans, but it is furthermore their moral responsibility. Only when the Gazans are given the opportunity to experience emotions other than impotent fury and crushing grief will the infrastructure of terrorism be torn down. The current Israeli strategy of communal punishment in reality strengthens that infrastructure, with every missile that falls, with every death.

The ghettoization of the West Bank is pushing the entire Palestinian population in the same direction, with Gaza standing as a stark and terrifying example of what lies ahead. From where we stand in Bethlehem, as the Wall closes around the city and incursions and targeted assassinations become more and more common occurrences; as the economic foundations of the society are undermined and the means of self-support confiscated and destroyed, we are forced to contemplate Gaza and wonder if, five or ten years down the line, the whole of the West Bank will be in the same state.

It is very clear that this strategy is quite simply ineffectual in terms of quashing terrorism. It does not make Israel safer; it in no way furthers reconciliation or peace, and it destroys the lives of thousands and millions of innocent people Summer Rain over Gaza waters only the seeds of hatred and the harvest will be bitter indeed.

PCBS (2006) Intifada Statistics. See Website.
PCBS (2005) Labour Force Survey Annual Report. Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 2005.
PCBS (2004) Deep Palestinian Poverty in the Midst of Economic Crisis. Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 2004
UNEP (2003) Desk Study on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. United Nations Environment Programme, 2003.
CMWU (2006) Affect of Israeli Operations on the Water & Wastewater Sector in Gaza Strip. Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), Project Management Unit (PMU), Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), July 4th 2006.

Wikipedia -

The author is a Research Associate at the Applied Research Intitute of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and holds MPhil and BSc degrees in Environmental Science and Ecology.
Israeli Army Invades Sleepy Beit Sahour Suburb; arrests woman, 22.
posted by: [jimiffondu] at 1:27 PM
Two nights ago, at around 1:00am local time, as the Italian football team booked a place in the World Cup finals, and enthusiastic young supporters were driving through the town, beeping their horns and shouting in celebration, seven heavily armoured Israeli army jeeps made an incursion into the town of Beit Sahour, a suburb to the east of Bethlehem city.

After detaining a man in the Abu Sa'ada neighbourhood, still left with his hands bound together, the soldiers stormed a nearby house, home to the Douka family. The soldiers forcibly removed the daughter, Neveen Douka, 22, and questioned her outside the house, while her parents were forced into silence at gunpoint, eyewitnesses report. The soldiers then took the girl back into her home and ransacked the entire building, before arresting her and taking her to an undisclosed location.

The incursion and arrest comes as a surprise to the normally quiet town of Beit Sahour, with the last incursion of this sort happening some three months ago, but does coincide with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's alleged comments that 'No Palestinians shall sleep this week'.

Neveen Douka now joins some 1300 Palestinian civilians being held in Administrative Detention within Israel without charge or trial.

Three of the seven jeeps it took to seize a girl in the night

Israeli Army Invades Sleepy Beit Sahour Suburb; arrests woman, 22.
posted by: [jimiffondu] at 1:27 PM
Two nights ago, at around 1:00am local time, as the Italian football team booked a place in the World Cup finals, and enthusiastic young supporters were driving through the town, beeping their horns and shouting in celebration, seven heavily armoured Israeli army jeeps made an incursion into the town of Beit Sahour, a suburb to the east of Bethlehem city.

After detaining a man in the Abu Sa'ada neighbourhood, still left with his hands bound together, the soldiers stormed a nearby house, home to the Douka family. The soldiers forcibly removed the daughter, Neveen Douka, 22, and questioned her outside the house, while her parents were forced into silence at gunpoint, eyewitnesses report. The soldiers then took the girl back into her home and ransacked the entire building, before arresting her and taking her to an undisclosed location.

The incursion and arrest comes as a surprise to the normally quiet town of Beit Sahour, with the last incursion of this sort happening some three months ago, but does coincide with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's alleged comments that 'No Palestinians shall sleep this week'.

Neveen Douka now joins some 1300 Palestinian civilians being held in Administrative Detention within Israel without charge or trial.

Three of the seven jeeps it took to seize a girl in the night

Saturday, July 01, 2006
Israeli invasion of Gaza condemned by Israeli Newspaper
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 8:33 AM
Although lacking in many details, this article in Haartz deserves some special attension. It emphasises how the Israeli states actions in Gaza are so disproportionate that large sections of the Israeli public cannot take them seriously.

By Destroying the central power station in Gaza, the State has committed a war crime of august proportions. An estimated 700,000 people will be without electricty for some months. In practicle terms this means alot more than the powering down of TV's and electronic home luxuries. The entire sewage system, water system and various other critical systems (hospitals?) will also cease to function as they depend upon electricty.

This is collective punnishment on a grand scale. Something which is in total contravention of international law. Gaza is already the worlds largest open air prison, with little hope for the future. Over the last few days, life in half of the prison has just become alot darker.

So what is behind such actions? Why would Israel treat the people of Gaza so badly if they have already decided that the territory is too over populated and too difficult to rule directly?

"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands." -- Ariel Sharon, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

Haaretz- The government is losing its reason

By Haaretz Editorial 06/30/06 "Haaretz" -- --

Bombing bridges that can be circumvented both by car and on foot; seizing an airport that has been in ruins for years; destroying a power station, plunging large parts of the Gaza Strip into darkness; distributing flyers suggesting that people be concerned about their fate; a menacing flight over Bashar Assad's palace; and arresting elected Hamas officials: The government wishes to convince us that all these actions are intended only to release the soldier Gilad Shalit.

But the greater the government's creativity in inventing tactics, the more it seems to reflect a loss of direction rather than an overall conception based on reason and common sense. On the face of it, Israel wishes to exert increasing pressure both on Hamas' political leadership and on the Palestinian public, in order to induce it to pressure its leadership to release the soldier. At the same time, the government claims that Syria - or at least Khaled Meshal, who is living in Syria - holds the key. If so, what is the point of pressuring the local Palestinian leadership, which did not know of the planned attack and which, when it found out, demanded that the kidnappers take good care of their victim and return him?

The tactic of pressuring civilians has been tried before, and more than once. The Lebanese, for example, are very familiar with the Israeli tactic of destroying power stations and infrastructure. Entire villages in south Lebanon have been terrorized, with the inhabitants fleeing in their thousands for Beirut. But what also happens under such extreme stress is that local divisions evaporate and a strong, united leadership is forged. In the end, Israel was forced both to negotiate with Hezbollah and to withdraw from Lebanon. Now, the government appears to be airing out its Lebanon catalogue of tactics and implementing it, as though nothing has been learned since then. One may assume that the results will be similar this time around as well. Israel also kidnapped people from Lebanon to serve as bargaining chips in dealings with the kidnappers of Israeli soldiers.

Now, it is trying out this tactic on Hamas politicians. As the prime minister said in a closed meeting: "They want prisoners released? We'll release these detainees in exchange for Shalit." By "these detainees," he was referring to elected Hamas officials. The prime minister is a graduate of a movement whose leaders were once exiled, only to return with their heads held high and in a stronger position than when they were deported. But he believes that with the Palestinians, things work differently.

As one who knows that all the Hamas activists deported by Yitzhak Rabin returned to leadership and command positions in the organization, Olmert should know that arresting leaders only strengthens them and their supporters. But this is not merely faulty reasoning; arresting people to use as bargaining chips is the act of a gang, not of a state. The government was caught up too quickly in a whirlwind of prestige mixed with fatigue. It must return to its senses at once, be satisfied with the threats it has made, free the detained Hamas politicians and open negotiations. The issue is a soldier who must be brought home, not changing the face of the Middle East.

© Copyright 2006 Haaretz. All rights reserved