James M. Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of The Christian Century. Jim launched this new personal blog April 24, 2008, at wallwritings.wordpress.com
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by James M. Wall Nicola Nasser, a blogger from Bir Zeit, Palestine, has delivered a stinging rebuke to John Kerry on the eve of the meetings with the U.S., Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Nasser’s blog, allarabi. exposed a “new tactic” in Kerry’s preparation for the peace conference, scheduled to begin Monday. When preparations for the talks began, […]
by James M. Wall Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to name Martin Indyk as the U.S. Representative to the Israel-Palestinian peace negotiation. Indyk has been around this peace talk track before. He belongs to a small group of Jewish diplomats who have specialized in Middle East negotiations. The same names come up with every […]
by James M. Wall Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is the Israeli cabinet minister with the task of finding a way back to peace talks. At the moment, she is one more frustrated negotiator. Livni was so frustrated that she kicked off the month of July with a speech in which she said that if negotiations […]
by James M. Wall “One Day Ramallah Will Rise Up” is the title of a current column by the provocative Ha’aretz writer, Gideon Levy. During this same week, Uri Avnery, another Israeli provocateur, entitled his Gush Shalom column, “The Human Spring”. He sees, and clearly feels, the presence of a “hidden mechanism” pushing the world forward […]
by James M. Wall John Kerry is back in Washington after his fifth official trip to the Middle East. He is already planning his return to the region. Despite the lack of any visible signs of success, the U.S. Secretary of State remains determined to resolve what is generally seen in official Washington as an […]
by James M. Wall “Poor George, he can’t help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” This memorable line from future Texas Governor Ann Richards was aimed at soon-to-be President George H. W. Bush. It was included in Richards’ keynote address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention, which nominated Michael […]
by James M. Wall Secretary of State John Kerry has delayed his fifth “peace process” trip to Israel/Palestine. The Secretary will remain in Washington to attend strategy sessions on Syria. The delay in starting his fifth trip should give Kerry time to add the writings of George Orwell and Rashid Khalidi to his Tel Aviv flight […]
by James M. Wall The two political leaders pictured here are U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Middle East Quartet Representative and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair. The two men are walking next to a wall at the Villa Taverna, the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Rome, Italy, on May 9, 2013. Less than […]
by James M. Wall On the morning of May 23, 2013, our still young, but now greying, President Obama delivered what he hoped would be “a change speech”. The speech was delivered to National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington DC. Reuters began its report on the speech: President Barack Obama on Thursday (May 23) shifted the United […]
Spelling of invasion>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The ostensible reason for that invasiion was to eradicate Iraq’s non-existent WMDs. The American public was primed for the war. The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld leadership team had whipped the American public into such a post-911 war fever that all normal reason and logic had been drained away.
The only problem is that the further Toby is admitted into these inner councils, the greater his abhorrence of the war about to happen. He rates it illegal, immoral and doomed. His discomfort is compounded by the knowledge that even the most supine of his schoolfriends are out on <<<<<<>>>And With the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he boils over. Truthless not a word make it truth less ( or its British???
In Moral Man and Immoral Society theologian Reinhold Niebuhr was aware of the ambiguity of nations forced to employ coercion to preserve “the course of justice”. However, Niebuhr was quick to warn, “moral reason must learn how to make coercion its ally without running the risk of a Pyrrhic victory in which the ally exploits and negates the triumph.”<<<<<<<<end quotes go inside the period.
Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott the Israeli president’s conference has gone viral. Over 100,000 Facebook shares of the Guardian report at last count. Whatever the subsequent fuss, Hawking’s letter is unequivocal. His refusal was made because of requests from Palestinian academics.
Witness the speed with which the pro-Israel lobby seized on Cambridge University’s initial false claim that he had withdrawn on health grounds to denounce the boycott movement, and their embarrassment when within a few hours the university shamefacedly corrected itself. Hawking also made it clear that if he had gone he would have used the occasion to criticise Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
While journalists named him “the poster boy of the academic boycott” and supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movementcelebrated, Ha’aretz, the most progressive of the Israeli press, drew attention to the inflammatory language used by the conference organisers, who described themselves as “outraged” rather than that they “regretted” Hawking’s decision.
That the world’s most famous scientist had recognised the justice of the Palestinian cause is potentially a turning point for the BDS campaign. And that his stand was approved by a majority of two to one in the Guardian poll that followed his announcement shows just how far public opinion has turned against Israel’s relentless land-grabbing and oppression.
President Assad’s chances of retaining power in Syria are getting “smaller and smaller by the day,” said Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, today.
The statement is the most explicit admission from the regime’s chief ally that its days may be numbered, but Mr Medvedev also reiterated that the regime must not be toppled by external forces.
As the political pressure on Damascus grows, so the scale of the humanitarian disaster in Syria could also be significantly greater than official figures show, according to analysis by The Independent. The latest UN figures say that 678,540 refugees have been registered or are awaiting registration although the true numbers are likely to be closer to one million.
by James M. Wall In the late 19th century, Henry Morton Stanley (of Stanley and Livingston fame), (right) was the “king’s man”—more accurately, a hired colonist conqueror—working for Belgium’s King Leopold II. Stanley’s assignment: Seize and conquer for Belgium, the vast and unexplored territory surrounding Africa’s Congo River, a territory that stretched from Stanley Falls […]
by James M. Wall If you believe the Israeli and US pro-Israel media, the new US Secretary of State, John Kerry (right) is “confused” in his new job. What led to the confusion? To those who embrace his negative media coverage, the Secretary forgot the rules. He forgot what US Diplomats must never forget. What is […]
by James M. Wall (UPDATE BELOW) A Boston Marathon Interfaith memorial service, “Healing Our City”, was held at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross Thursday, April 18. It was a service that concluded with remarks delivered by President Barack Obama. The National Journal’s Matthew Cooper called Obama’s remarks “an emotional rallying point for the city”. It was also, Cooper […]
by James M. Wall Despite vicious opposition from the Alan Dershowitz conservative wing of the American Jewish community, Cardoza Law School honored former President Jimmy Carter April 10, for his career of work on peace and conflict resolution. The International Advocate for Peace award was given to Carter by the student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. […]
by James M. Wall Prior to the start of the Iraq War on March 19, 2003, New York Times journalist Chris Hedges (right) occupied a lonely perch among major media journalists. He opposed the war. Today, Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winner and now a columnist for the website Truthdig, continues to write with the passion of a […]
by James M. Wall Many political progressives have harshly criticized President Obama’s recent trip to Israel and Palestine. They claim he was too warm toward Israel and too lukewarm toward Palestine. Did these critics pay close attention to what the President actually said and saw on this trip? I don’t think so. The president declined to […]
by James M. Wall Unless security forces have torn it down, the poster (shown here) was one of the sights President Obama would see if his motorcade made its way to Ramallah, Palestine on a West Bank highway. The poster was posted on a corner after the road passes through the Qalandia checkpoint separating the West Bank […]
by James M. Wall The New York Times performed a valuable service for its readers on Wednesday, March 13, exactly one week before President Obama is scheduled to arrive on his first-ever presidential visit to Palestine and Israel. The Times contrasted the major media voice of the liberal Zionism of the American ruling classes, with that […]
The Family Research Council, formerly part of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization, warned supporters that Hagel’s confirmation shows America is forgetting about “God’s covenant with Abraham: to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her.”
UPDATE Tuesday, February 26: The Hill reported Tuesday afternoon: The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Pentagon chief in a 58-41 vote, ending the most contentious confirmation fight for a Defense secretary in U.S. history. Only four Republicans backed Hagel, a former GOP senator from Nebraska whose controversial statements on Israel, […]
by James M. Wall The agreement Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid (NV) thought he had reached with Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY), died a slow, angry and ugly death Thursday. When this new Senate held its first session in January, younger and more progressive Democratic members of the Senate wanted Harry Reid to take advantage […]
“Why, I in this weak piping time of peace Have no delight to pass away the time, Unless to spy my shadow in the sun And descant on mine own deformity.” William Shakespeare: Richard III by James M. Wall A major archaeological discovery was announced in Leicester, England this week. Experts have confirmed that skeletal remains […]
by James M. Wall This nation’s foreign policy is, for this weekend at least, in the pious hands of John Hagee, a Christian fundamentalist preacher from Texas. To be sure, Hagee is not the only policy-shaker whose minions are roaming the hallowed halls of the nation’s capitol. But he is certainly the most conspicuous and […]
by James M. Wall Shortly after the polls closed in Israel’s Knesset election this past Tuesday, two American Liberal Zionist groups, J Street and Americans for Peace Now (APN), were out with triumphant emails to their peace-oriented members: Israel voters have chosen a new government that will “revive the peace process with the Palestinians and […]
by James M. Wall Israel’s 19th general election, Tuesday, January 22, is almost certain to be won by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. There is no serious Liberal election opposition to Likud. What is serious, however, is the very real possibility that after this election, the Israeli government could turn even harder to the […]
By James M. Wall The war against Chuck Hagel followed a predictable pattern. It will end soon when the U.S. Senate votes to confirm Hagel as President Barack Obama’s next defense secretary. This is one of those rare occasions in American politics when you may ”take it to the bank“, that in a struggle between a […]
by James M.Wall UPDATE Friday, 6 p.m. CST: The Daily Beast and the Los Angeles Times are reporting that President Obama will name Chuck Hagel as his next Defense Secretary. Sources in Washington say that the nomination will be announced Monday or possibly Tuesday, of next week. Al Jazeera has purchased the struggling U.S. network, Current, which […]
By James M. Wall The Washington Post wrote in a lead editorial, December 18, that President Obama should not nominate former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as his Defense Secretary because the President “has available other possible nominees who are considerably closer to the mainstream and to the president’s first-term policies.” Daily Beast columnist Andrew Sullivan responded to the Post editorial […]
by James M. Wall Former Nebraska Senator Charles (Chuck) Hagel (above right) may be nominated by President Barack Obama to be secretary of defense. The President is known to like his old Senate colleague, a Republican who, like Obama, considered running for president in 2008. Unlike Obama, Hagel decided not to run. Hagel, a Vietnam […]
by James M. Wall Writing for both Newsweek and The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart used a surprising phrase to describe how President Obama plans to deal with the Israel/Palestine issue during his second term. Beinart took his clue from the “pro forma and bland” response the White House made after Israel’s defiant announcement that it […]
by James M. Wall Israel’s response to the United Nations’ overwhelming vote to admit Palestine to the UN was easily predictable. Israel had been waiting for just this moment to announce it would build a settlement in Area E1 (East One). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was harshly rejected at the UN General Assembly, a stinging […]
On the 38th anniversary of the death of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, the usual memorial event was held at Ben Gurion’s graveside on December 1, in Sdeh Boker, the Negev desert village where he lived during his retirement years.
Uri Avnery wrote in his Gush Shalom column, that Israeli newspapers published a picture of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister, speaking “under a big photo of the late leader gazing thoughtfully into the distance”.
Avnery noticed a small detail in the picture. Avowed atheist Netanyahu was wearing the traditional Orthodox head-covering of respect, a kippah, a head covering that reminds the wearer that he is always “under” Yahweh.
This surprised Avnery, the “grand old man” of Israel’s largely secular peace camp, who wonders, why was Netanyahu wearing a kippah? (To continue reading, click here.)
The 2012 US presidential election will reach its quadrennial crescendo November 6, 2012, less than a year from now.
Should a Republican nominee win the election, it is most probable that he will be either former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (shown here) or Mitt Romney.
No less a Republican conservative authority than Pat Buchanan ponders what such an outcome might produce:
Is a vote for Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich a vote for yet another unfunded war of choice, this time with a nation, Iran, three times as large and populous as Iraq?
Buchanan finds an eagerness for war against Iran in Republican campaign rhetoric:
Mitt says that if elected he will move carriers into the Persian Gulf and “prepare for war.” Newt is even more hawkish. America should continue “taking out” Iran’s nuclear scientists — i.e., assassinating them — but military action will probably be needed.
Sound idiotic? Of course it does, but war fever corrupts the rational mind. We should remember that many Democratic liberals joined the last neoconservative military crusade launched by George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. (To continue reading, click here.)
In the words of Ha’aretz publisher Amos Schochken, Gush Emunim has seized control of26nov11 power in Israel and driven the state into a “flagrantly undemocratic situation.”
How was it possible for this much power to be seized by ”a right-wing ultranationalist, religio-political revitalization movement”, as it is described in Israel: A Country Study?
Gush Emunim was formed in March 1974, a few months after the October 1973 War, known in Israel as the Yom Kippur War and in the Arab world as the Ramadan War.
The outcome of the 1973 conflict ended in Israel’s favor, thanks to “an estimated US $5 billion in equipment, of which more than US $1 billion was airlifted by the United States during the war when it became apparent that Israel’s ammunition stores were dangerously low.”
A few months after the war, Gush Emunim was created by the National Religious Party (NPR). When NPR joined the Israeli Labor coalition, Gush Emunim joined with other religious groups and began building illegal Jewish settlements beyond the Green Line. (To continue reading, click here.)
In a rare public statement about a US political figure, AIPAC had this to say about the legacy of Dennis Ross:
“In his tireless pursuit of Middle East peace, Ambassador Ross has maintained a deep understanding of the strategic value of the U.S.-Israel relationship and has worked vigorously to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
For True Believers in militant Zionism, AIPAC’s linkage is clear, the strategic bond of the US and Israel, very good; an Iran that even looks toward nuclear capability, very bad.
The Jewish US online Forward publication, which reported the Ross resignation, described him as “a veteran of four failed presidential pushes for Middle East peace”. (The picture of Ross, above, is from Forward.)
This is not a record of success, but an obvious absence of progress does not displease AIPAC, which, like the current right wing Israeli government, has a higher priority than peace; specifically, it desires a militarily powerful and expanding Israel. (To continue reading, click here.)
After working for five US presidents, Dennis Ross has resigned his position as President Obama’s chief Middle East advisor.
Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama, all arrived at the White House determined to recast the nation’s role in finding a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Sometimes immediately, sometimes later, one man was involved in shaping how the US dealt with peace between Israel and the Palestinians. At first his role was small; but by the time he went to work for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, he had became the key player in the process.
That man is Dennis Ross, a non-lawyer, who has been called “Israel’s lawyer”, by former State Department official, Aaron David Miller.
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and a former colleague of President Obama’s at the University of Chicago, was asked by the Institute of Middle East Understanding (IMEU) for his reaction to Ross’ departure. (To continue reading, click here.)
In 1963, temporarily banned from American television for his “radical” views, Pete Seeger toured Australia. On a stage in Melbourne, he introduced a new song by a then 23-year old Tom Paxton. The lyrics began:
What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
I learned that Washington never told a lie
I learned that soldiers seldom die
I learned that everybody’s free
That’s what the teacher said to me
And that’s what I learned in school today
Those are sentiments that drive every nation state as it seeks to shape the thinking of its children. Some states have long histories from which to develop those sentiments.
The modern state of Israel has an extremely short history. It came into existence in 1948 under trying circumstances, a tribal band of immigrants from Europe who had survived the Holocaust.
I was reminded of Pete Seeger singing Tom Paxton’s lyrics when I read an account in the Guardian, about a forthcoming book by Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan.
Peled-Elhanan is a mother, a political radical, and the daughter of the famous Israeli general, Matti Peled, who in retirement, has become a leading activist in the Israeli peace movement.
She comes to her research from a family with deep connections to Israel’s history. Her brother, Milo Peled, is the author of A General’s Son, scheduled for publication by Just World Books in the Spring of 2012.
In her book, Nurit Peled-Elhanan describes images of Palestinians that Israel has included in its text books for children. (To continue reading, and to access the Seeger video, click here.)
To mounting excitement and wild applause, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), voted 107-14 with 52 abstentions, to approve full Palestinian membership in the international body. The vote came on Monday.
Fully aware that the negotiations track pushed by the US and Israel does nothing but enhance Israel’s continued take over of Palestinian land, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has chosen to enlist the UN in Palestine’s request for justice.
The UNESCO vote is step one, and a hugely popular step it is, outside of the US.
In addition to leaving the US and Israel with a demonstratively shrinking number of friends in the international community, the UNESCO vote has far-reaching implications for the PLO’s earlier request to the UN Security Council, which requested full statehood membership in the UN General Assembly. (To continue reading, click here.)
Two young Palestinians, Ahlam (left) and Nezar (right) Tammimi, were among the 477 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli prisons, October 18.
They were in the first contingent of what is supposed to become more than one thousand Palestinians released in an exchange for Israeli Sergeant Gilad Shalit.
The Western media covered the exchange as a story about the lone Israeli soldier involved. Television captured the dramatic scenes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeting the young man who had spent five years in prison.
The Western public saw and read virtually nothing about the 477 Palestinians who were released from Israeli prisons, except for those stories that reminded the public that many of the prisoners, to use the term so popular among Israeli politicians, had “blood on their hands”.
This bias against Palestinians was so blatant that Jewish activist Noam Chomsky was moved to accuse the media of treating the released Palestinian prisoners as “unpeople”. It is time to tell their stories, and to do so without apology.
In a talk at New York City’s Barnard College the night the Hamas-Israeli prisoner exchange was announced, Noam Chomsky anticipated the one-sided media coverage of the exchange.
He charged the media with treating Israeli Jews as people, while dismissing Palestinians as “unpeople”.
Chomsky, who is Jewish, brings credentials to this issue as both an acclaimed linguistic scholar, and a strong advocate of Palestinian human rights.
To illustrate his point at Barnard, Chomsky described a front-page New York Times story, dated October 12, with the headline: “Deal with Hamas Will Free Israeli Held Since 2006.”
by James M. Wall
There are so many doubts and questions surrounding the alleged Iranian-sponsored assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador, that for Barack Obama to take a prominent role in announcing the case may prove to be a serious political and diplomatic mistake.
The American public loves intrigue and simplistic narratives, good versus bad. What they don’t like is to be lied to in the narrative. We were fooled once by the Iraq-WMDs ”mushroom cloud” campaign orchestrated by Bush-Cheney. As a result we are still fighting two seemingly endless wars in the Middle East.
By highlighting a “terror” plot that involved a Mexican drug cartel, the Saudi ambassador to the US, and a highly unstable potential assassin, Obama brought us Bush-Cheney, the Sequel.
As Obama announced the Justice Department action he promised “strong sanctions” against Iran. The Justice case alleges that an Iranian-American, Manssor Arbabsiar, was introduced to a man he thought had a connection to a Mexican drug cartel, very bad guys with assassination skills. Arbabsiar’s “contact” to the cartel was, in fact, an undercover US Drug Enforcement official, who was setting up a standard FBI “sting”.
The indictment also includes Arbabsiar’s cousin Ali Gholam Shakuri, an officer in the Iranian Qods Force. It is that elite army unit that allows the Department of Justice to claim that the plot has ties to the “highest” levels of the Iranian government. Obama said there was evidence that additional connections were made, but they have not been included in the indictment, and may never be, on security grounds.
A “sting” most often targets a major player believed to be a serious threat to American peace and security. Arbabsiar may yet emerge as a serious player, but that is no reason why Barack Obama should be in the White House as the nation’s lawyer, announcing the case . He has an Attorney General to perform those duties. Criminal case announcements should be made in the Justice Department, not in the White House. (To continue reading, click here.)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress, is withholding basic heath care from children who live in the world’s largest outdoor prison, the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
Specifically, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) (at left) “is keeping her House of Representatives committee from considering approval of $192 million in humanitarian program assistance”.
JTA, a Jewish news agency, reports:
The Americans for Peace Now website is reporting that other House Republicans also are holding the money, and that Republicans in the House and Senate are holding $150 million in security assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
Republicans and Democrats have warned that such money may be withheld if the Palestinians do not pull back from their attempt to gain statehood recognition through the United Nations and absent peace talks with Israel.
If this were happening in an American community, Child Welfare agencies would descend on the offices and homes of these American adults and demand that they release the children from an unsafe and unhealthy environment. They might even move to arrest some of the leaders, including Florida Congresswoman Ros Lethiene.
Unfortunately, for Palestinians in need of this assistance, there are no officials with authority to arrest members of the US House who are eager to punish Palestinians for their bold attempt to break the bonds of Occupation. (Click here to continue reading.)
A warning to the United States and Israel is embedded in a New York Times analysis entitled, “Arab Debate Pits Islamists Against Themselves”.
The warning lies in the reality that the Palestinian people are on the same march against the same obstacles that have stirred the quest for freedom throughout the region.
The warning is there, even as the Times editors chose to leave Palestine on the editing room floor. Anthony Shadid, who co-wrote the analysis with David D. Kirkpatrick, may have wanted to include Palestinians, but it is a strong possibility the Times editors had a different agenda.
What the analysis delivers, however, demonstrates a deep understanding of the rise of a younger Arab/Muslim generation which seeks to balance secularism with Islam.
The people of Palestine know they are a part of this uprising. They, with others in the region, will not be denied. This is the “moment” when the Palestinian people are joining in the march to freedom land. Here is part of Shadid’s analysis: (To continue reading, click here.)
President Obama’s speech to the United Nations this week was also embarrassing, and grossly insensitive to the reality of the Palestinians who have since 1967, suffered the pain, death and humiliation of Occupation.
President Obama focused his speech on Israeli security, which has served as the excuse for Israel to continue its ever-expanding control over what is now called the West Bank and Gaza.
One reason the Obama speech was pathetic
was that he studiously avoided uttering the word “occupation”. Instead,
the President carefully parroted the ultra right wing Israeli narrative
with even more vigor than he has used in previous talks to those annual
AIPAC Israel-worshipping conferences.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an Arab League meeting in Cairo, Egypt, that a vote to accept a Palestinian state in the United Nations “is not a choice but an obligation.”
Later, on a Cairo television program, Erdogan declared: “Israel is the West’s spoiled child. To this day it has never executed a decision by the international community.”
The Turkish leader was on his second day of an “Arab Spring” tour which was obviously designed to gain Arab support for a Palestinian state application before the UN General Assembly, which meets in New York this week.
Both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will state their positions in back to back addresses before the UN, Friday, September 23, setting up a confrontation between “the West’s spoiled child” and a captive population fighting to escape from a military occupation.Read the rest of the article >>
Mahmoud Abu Samra was killed August 19 in an Israeli air raid near Gaza City. He was 13 years old. The Palestinian news service, Ma’an, tells the story of Mahmoud’s death:
Renewed air strikes across the Gaza Strip late Thursday killed a Palestinian teenager and injured more than a dozen others amid an escalation in violence that left some 20 people dead throughout the day.
Just after midnight Friday, Israeli warplanes launched a series of raids targeting Gaza City, the northern towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, and Khan Younis in the south.
Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said an air strike on a home near the former intelligence services headquarters in Gaza City killed 13-year-old Mahmoud Abu Samra and injured 18 others.”
Mahmoud (at left in the picture above) is number 150 in the list of 173 men, women and children who have been killed this year by Israeli forces.
Each person who dies in the struggle against the Occupation, is identified by Palestinians as a Shaheed, the Arabic word for “martyr”.Read the rest of the article >>
Uri Avnery, intrepid columnist, ageless Israeli peace activist, and retired IDF soldier, has seen, up close, the actions of every government Israeli voters have put in office since the nation was created.
He is not fooled by the antics, decisions and deceptions of the current Israeli right-wing government. Avnery peers into the soul of the Netanyahu-Lieberman team and reports back to his readers the dark visions he finds there.
With a wisdom that was sadly missing from US media following 911, Avnery writes that the recent deadly exchange of fire in the southern Sinai gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the excuse he needed to change Israel’s public conversation. Avnery calls his posting, “The Return of the Generals”.
At the beginning of the week, Binyamin Netanyahu was desperately looking for a way out of an escalating internal crisis. The social protest movement was gathering momentum and posing a growing danger to his government. The struggle was going on, but the protest had already made a huge difference. The whole content of the public discourse had changed beyond recognition.
The city square of Tel Aviv has been covered with protesters living in tents. There was danger the Arab Spring spirit would soon engulf the region’s so-called “Only Democracy."
Eighty-one members of the US House of Representatives—about 20 percent of the total membership—are enjoying a late summer week-long, all-expenses paid trip to Israel.
This hasbara (propaganda) trip happens every other summer (in non-election years), but this year’s excursion to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea comes at a time when voters back home are not thinking about Israel. They are worried about their under-water mortgages and disappearing 401Ks.
Instead of returning immediately to their home districts to answer questions about the US economy, 81 House members are flying to Tel Aviv to demonstrate their loyalty and devotion to a foreign power. They are hoping, of course, as they bolster their standing with AIPAC, that financially-stressed voters will not be told that the 81 are enjoying an all expenses paid visit to Israel.
So far, the main stream media (MSM) has protected them. The only way to find out if your congress person is living in Israeli luxury for a week is to call his or her office and ask. The MSM has not bothered to identify the 81, except when a single member is mentioned in a fawning local feature story.Read the rest of the article >>
From time to time, just as the Middle East political cauldron reaches one of its major boiling points, the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman sits down to write an open letter to the leaders of a particular Middle Eastern state, offering sage advice on what action Friedman thinks the leader should take.
Thus far, I have resisted following the Friedman letter-writing format. But the time has come for me to do my own version of Friedman speaking truth to the powerful.
I do not expect my communiqué to have the impact of a Friedman letter (his readership is larger), but I do have a suggestion that I think would be helpful to the six-member Palestinian delegation that will soon request full membership in the United Nations General Assembly.
I propose that they each read, very carefully, a new book, by Jack O’Connell, King’s Counsel: A Memoir of War, Espionage, and Diplomacy in the Middle East.Read the rest of the article >>
Bronner actually evoked Parks’ name in his report. Did his editors think we would not notice?
Blogger Philip Weiss noticed, and he made sure his Mondoweiss readers noticed. By including a brief reference to the iconic moment when Rosa Parks broke the law by sitting in the front of a segregated bus, the New York Times has connected the American civil rights movement to the Palestinian struggle for human rights.
Here is that connection: Rosa Parks deliberately violated an unjust Alabama segregation law. The Palestinian and Israeli women and girls who crossed the Israeli segregation border, broke Israeli laws.
Palestinians living a few miles from the coast reach adulthood without ever seeing or entering the Mediterranean Sea because they live behind a barrier of an occupation of their land that is illegal under international law.Read the rest of the article >>
Professor Fawaz A. Gerges explained why Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu tried to use his considerable political muscle in a failed effort to keep Hosni Mubarak in power.
Gerges, who teaches Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, described the Arab uprising for BBC New Middle East :
Regionally, Israel is the biggest loser. It has put all its eggs into the basket of Arab dictators and autocrats, like Egypt’s deposed Hosni Mubarak. Israel fought tooth and nail to support Mr Mubarak, who played a key role in tightening the siege of Gaza and the noose around Hamas’s neck.
Few members of the US Congress would agree with Professor Gerges. A large majority of the Congress sees nothing wrong with automatically approving an annual $3 billion contribution to the government of Israel, the responsible party to that “siege of Gaza”.
A recent debate in New York City’s New School featured two Democratic Party antagonists on the Israel/Palestine issue: Brian Baird, the former Washington state congressman, and Brooklyn congressman Anthony Weiner.
Philip Weiss described the debate for Mondoweiss:
The conversation was deftly moderated by Roger Cohen of the New York Times, who was not afraid to call Weiner out when the congressman said there are no Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, or when he said that all the settlements are in Israel.
The chief response to the debate so far (besides the predictable at the National Review) has been shock at Anthony Weiner’s contempt for international law and Palestinian humanity.
A politician who has distinguished himself on healthcare reform and economic justice issues in the US, resorts to “It’s war, and war is hell” arguments when Baird, a clinical psychologist by training, describes the destruction of schools and innocent families and U.N. compounds by Israeli bombing, and the collective punishment of millions of people denied lentils, toothpaste, building materials, and the freedom to move beyond a territory less than the size of New York City.
Weiner’s obvious lack of information about the West Bank and Gaza was in sharp contrast to Baird’s informed passion over the issue. This wide gap between Weiner and Baird illustrates why there is such a desperate need in this country for Egyptian American journalist Mona Eltahawy.
Eltahawy is a columnist based in New York who writes for Canada’s Toronto Star, Israel’s The Jerusalem Report and Denmark’s Politiken. Her opinion pieces have been published in The Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune.
Before moving to the U.S. in 2000, Eltahawy was a news reporter in the Middle East for many years, and worked in Cairo and Jerusalem as a Reuters correspondent. She has also reported for various media from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China.
Eltahawy was all over the media during the Egyptian uprising, on one occasion confronting Alan Dershowitz on CNN.
In an appearance with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Feb 1, Eltahawy talked about her conversation with Dershowitz, and about her effort to convince American media to stop calling the uprising in Egypt a “crisis”. It was not a crisis, she pointed out. For Egyptians, it was an opportunity.