Saturday, August 31, 2013

[ePalestine] Haaretz: Former Bush administration official: Israel may be behind use of chemical arms in Syria

It wouldn't be the first time...think Lavon Affair

West of Eden

Former Bush administration official: Israel may be behind use of chemical arms in Syria

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, says Israel may have conducted 'false flag' operation. Describes its government as inept and Netanyahu as 'clueless.'

By Chemi Shalev
May 4, 2013 [NOTE: story is from a few months back and refers to a past incident]

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who once served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff, believes that the chemical weapons used in Syria may have been an Israeli "false flag" operation aimed at implicating Bashar Assad's regime.

Wilkerson made his astounding assertion in an interview on Current TV, the network once owned by former Vice President Al Gore and recently purchased by Al-Jazeera.

Wilkerson said that the evidence that it was Assad's regime that had used the chemical weapons was "flaky" and that it could very well have been the rebels or Israel who were the perpetrators. Asked why Israel would do such a thing, Wilkerson said: "I think we've got a basically geostrategically, geopolitical inept regime in Tel Aviv right now."

"I think we saw really startling evidence of that," Wilkerson continued, "in the fact that President Obama had to tell Bibi Netanyahu 'Pick up the phone, you idiot, call Ankara and get yourself out of this strategic isolation you're in right now."

A "false flag" operation is a covert attack on foreign or domestic soil carried out by governments or organizations under a false identity, aimed at placing blame on the enemy. It originates with a ruse once used in naval warfare in which ships would hoist the enemy's flags in order to infiltrate his ranks.

Wilkerson, 63, a former Army helicopter pilot who flew combat missions in Vietnam, served as Colin Powell's chief of staff in 2002-2005. He was responsible for reviewing the intelligence information used by Powell in his by now infamous February 2003 United Nations Security Council appearance on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

After his retirement, Wilkerson described this presentation as "a hoax" and became an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration's handling of the Iraq war. He now serves as a professor at Virginia's William and Mary College and is a guest commentator on several U.S. television networks.

Speaking on the Current's Young Turks program, Wilkerson said that because of the instability in the Middle East, Israel's current geo-strategic situation is "as dangerous as it's been since 1948." He added that President Obama "has got to be very circumspect about what he does in exacerbating that situation."

"Netanyahu is clueless as to this," Wilkerson said. "I hope President Obama gave him a lecture in geostrategic realities."



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[ePalestine] +972: WATCH: Soldiers on patrol dance at Palestinian wedding, get suspended by IDF


WATCH: Soldiers on patrol dance at Palestinian wedding, get suspended by IDF
By Noam Sheizaf

Published August 28, 2013
Go figure...

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Friday, August 23, 2013

[ePalestine] Homeland Security Made in Israel (by Philip Giraldi)

Dear friends,

If you live in America, especially if you pay taxes, please don't miss this one...

When citizens fall asleep, democracy is damaged,
When citizens are awake and do nothing, democracy is structurally damaged,


Homeland Security Made in Israel

By Philip Giraldi

August 21, 2013

If there should happen to be an al-Qaeda attack in Calhoun County Alabama, Sheriff Larry Amerson will presumably know what to do. That is because he and a number of colleagues in law enforcement have received paid trips to Israel to learn how to deal with the terrorist threat.

The Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) sponsors a Law Enforcement Exchange Program "in order to learn how to better protect the U.S. communities from terrorist attacks." The program takes law enforcement officials from the United States and sends them to Israel for training in the "strategies and techniques perfected by Israeli law enforcement." Amerson, past president of the National Sheriff's Association, made his trip in 2012. Along the way, he reportedly benefited from a "greater understanding of the situation in Israel as it relates to terrorist threats." JINSA also hosts conferences in the U.S. where Israeli officers are brought over to brief American law enforcement officials.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is also involved in the effort to indoctrinate the U.S. law enforcement community. Its website's Homeland Security Monitor chronicles numerous meetings between Israeli intelligence and police officials and their U.S. counterparts, to include numerous trips to Israel to learn from the masters of the craft about various aspects of security, including controlling borders and airports. Even firemen have made the journey, presumably to learn how a fire in Israel differs from a fire in the United States.

Ironically, American law enforcement and emergency services are every bit as capable as those in Israel and really have nothing to learn. The difference in practice is that Israel uses extensive profiling to identify threats, which means Arabs are regularly stopped and questioned. Exposure to that dubious technique is often paid for by the U.S. taxpayer as much of the travel to Israel is funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which provides billions of dollars in training grants to cover the expenses. Marc Kahlberg of International Security Consulting offers a package that is called "Eye of the Storm." He promises "an exclusive learning tour into the heart of Hebron. You will have the opportunity to see first-hand how the police there are dealing with a daily volatile situation. You will feel the adrenalin, but be completely safe and will be the guests of the Israeli Police Commander." As Hebron is the largest Arab city on the West Bank with a population of 250,000 that against its will hosts an illegal Israeli settlement of 1,000 protected by the police and army, it promises to be an interesting experience.

It has been reported that when the United States was attacked on 9/11 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased because he understood that Washington and Tel Aviv would now be joined at the hip in their mutual response to what Israel has been defining as terrorism. When Netanyahu spoke before congress shortly afterwards he said "We are all targets" before engaging in a number of meetings instructing Washington regarding what must be done. Netanyahu's Israel succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, exploiting the incident to such an extent that the United States has adopted wholesale Israeli perceptions of Middle Eastern politics. As Scott McConnell has observed, there exists "a transmission belt, conveying Israeli ideas on how the United States should conduct itself in a contested and volatile part of the world. To a great extent, a receptive American political class now views the Middle East and their country's role in it through Israel's eyes."

Beyond that political assessment, the Israel-terrorism nexus operates on a number of levels. It has been sometimes noted that the United States has adopted the Israeli model to deal with terrorism, so much so that American politicians sometimes consider Israel a component of U.S. national security. Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's website included "Israel" under the category "Homeland Security."

The federal bureaucracy has also been changed to accommodate the new reality. Since the Clinton Administration, every senior diplomat or official dealing with the Middle East region has had to pass through a vetting process to ensure full support of and deference to Israeli interests, which include its view of the terrorist threat. Non-compliance is career ending. Chas Freeman, who was named to head the National Security Council in 2009, was quickly forced to step down when it was determined that he was not sufficiently pro-Israel.

Since 2001, many senior appointees throughout the federal government have gone one step farther, no longer making any effort to hide their strongly pro-Israel sentiments. Witness the ascendancy of Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, William Boykin, and Eric Edelman at the Defense Department under George W. Bush. Given the openly expressed identification with Israel at the Pentagon and National Security Council it is no surprise that Washington and Tel Aviv appear to align completely on how to combat terrorism. Both claim the right to engage in preemptive warfare and to assassinate people in other countries without any transparent legal process. Both operate lethal drones to kill suspected militants on the ground, both have engaged in torture, and both operate high security prisons containing numerous suspects who are described as terrorists but who have never been and quite likely never will be tried. Many of the detainees have been confined for years and will undoubtedly die in prison without ever being charged with a crime. Some of them are surely innocent.

The Israeli-American model for dealing with terrorism is itself unusual. Historically speaking, countries that have been plagued with a terrorism problem have focused on countering that specific threat without seeking to expand the conflict. But that has not been the case for post 9/11 America, with George W. Bush grandiloquently proclaiming a global war on terror which was later euphemized into a "global freedom mission" under Bush and as "overseas contingency operations" under Barack Obama. Bush set the United States up as an international policeman with the rest of the world relegated to being either "with us or against us." Israel meanwhile set the framework for the program, defining the terrorist threat against itself and Washington as "radical Islam," a phrase that has been readily picked up by American politicians and the media. Radical Islam implies a worldwide struggle that is frequently conflated into a complete rejection of political Islam and suspicion regarding the intentions of anyone who is a practicing Muslim, a predisposition that is playing out currently vis-a-vis Egypt.

Israel has also done much to name the players and define the playing field. The hypocrisy of the process is evident when groups like Hezbollah and Hamas are thereby identified by Washington as "terrorists" even though they do not threaten the United States and see themselves as national liberation movements for the Palestinian and Lebanese people. Meanwhile, groups like the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), which have actually killed Americans, have been removed from the State Department list because they are perceived as enemies of the regime in Iran and are therefore by extension friends of Israel and its allies in Congress and the media.

Less visible is Israel's hand in shaping and profiting from the domestic agenda against terrorism, which is where Sheriff Amerson comes in. The Lobby and its friends are intent on projecting a positive image of Israel as a bulwark against terrorism and the "only democracy in the Middle East." The disparate groups that make up The Lobby are active in creating the tie that binds regarding the perception of terrorism on the ground and they do it through exchange programs and the actual involvement of Israeli security companies and contractors in the lucrative homeland security marketplace. Israel is a militarized state and the United States over the past twelve years has also moved in the same direction vis-a-vis its own police forces, a development that again reflects the priorities of national and local governments and the predilection to deal with the perceived terrorism threat through the use of overwhelming force and intimidation. New York City's unconstitutional "stop and frisk" police activity is a preemptive doctrine modeled on Israeli counter-terrorism practice and it should be no surprise that the New York Police Department has an overseas office in Tel Aviv.

It has been noted that the terrorism threat itself is greatly exaggerated, with more Americans killed by falling television sets than by terrorist action, but this has not stopped the proliferation of state level departments of homeland security, fusion centers for sharing information, and the introduction of consultants and security service providers at all levels. Much of the activity is either wasteful, redundant, or completely unnecessary. America's seventy-two fusion centers, where many of the Israeli contractors and advisers wind up, have been denounced in a Senate report as useless, ineffective, and frequently engaged in spying on American citizens, particularly Arabs, but also including anti-abortionists and Ron Paul supporters.

This effort to turn a buck from the woefully mismanaged Department of Homeland Security is multifaceted. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that fully 97% of DHS discretionary grants are given to Jewish organizations even though Janet Napolitano has admitted that there is no "specific, credible threat" against Jewish targets. And the flow of money is combined with similar efforts being undertaken by other elements in the Israel Lobby to influence opinion and create an American national consensus unshakably favorable to Israel. The Israeli arms and security industry, which is partially "covert" so it can sell to countries and rulers on arms embargo lists, is a partner to the process. It is now the fourth largest weapons exporter in the world, behind only the U.S., Russia, and France. It has 6,800 licensed arms and security services providers, making it the largest industry in Israel. Israeli companies can and do bid on federal and local government contracts in the U.S. and they are also able to export their products freely to America thanks to the Israel-United States Free Trade Agreement of 1985 and the Counterterrorism Cooperation Accord Between the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the United States of America of 1996. This direct involvement of Israel in American security has been recently expanded through passage of 2012's United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act.

Israeli companies dominate the international airline security industry, frequently doing double duty as the covert, local Mossad station, but their failures are better known than their successes, including the case of the Nigerian underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who was ultimately detected by an alert passenger. Israeli technology companies also produce many of the devices used by police departments and the FBI to tap telephone conversations and record call data. And the employment of their high tech telecommunications equipment comes at a national security price as, for example, they exploited a back door in the technology to listen in to White House phone conversations during the Clinton Administration.
Israeli contractors and companies dot the homeland security landscape but only rarely attract any attention. One notable exception to that rule was the 2002 attempt by New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey to appoint an Israeli Golan Cipel, who was also his lover, as his Homeland Security adviser. The companies sometimes boast about their role in the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. They claim to provide what they describe as "real" experience and expertise based on their recurring conflict with their Arab neighbors. They often combine that narrative with proselytizing their point of view about the politics of the Middle East. The Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) is currently offering an October "Israeli Adventure of a Lifetime – the Ultimate Mission to Israel," which includes meetings with Mossad officials, observing a trial of a Hamas terrorist, riding an ATV on the Golan Heights, and a briefing by Israeli soldier heroes, all experienced while residing in five star accommodations. It is something like Disneyland with guns and real live Arabs to shoot at.

If one starts looking, scores or even hundreds of Israeli companies and consultants pop up nearly everywhere in U.S. national security while a search of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce website did not identify even a single American security company operating in Israel attempting to obtain Israeli government and private sector contracts. Israel's Security Solutions International offers U.S. taxpayer funded training courses using "Israeli veterans" as instructors. Defense contractor Elbit Systems is providing spy towers on the Arizona border with Mexico. Magal Security Systems, which has four subsidiary companies in the U.S., has a contract for security at American nuclear power plants. Rozin Security Consulting provides security at Mall of America, using its trademarked Suspicion Indicators Recognition and Assessment System, which is basically profiling. Global Security International, with offices in New York City, offers consulting services relating to counter-terrorism operations.

The broader question American taxpayers should be asking themselves is whether the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on national security is money well spent. Israel has a vested interest in making the terrorist threat appear more real than it actually is and also to present itself as the only reliable partner of the United States in the war against global terror. It also profits substantially as its companies and former security officers have exploited their "real experience" credentials to entrench themselves in U.S. homeland security at all levels. With the aid of the domestic Israel Lobby, Tel Aviv has become adept at selling a product, which includes the false depiction of Israel as the victim in the Middle East. This victimhood has apparently obtained traction in the United States, where politicians and the mainstream media persist in describing the nation with the world's largest economy and most powerful military and security forces as somehow threatened. As a result, as Professor Steven Walt has described it, Washington is "chasing spooks and ghosts all over the world," convinced that it is "very, very vulnerable." Israel has certainly done its best to encourage that mindset.
About the author: Philip Giraldi
Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former DIA and CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992 designated as the Agency’s senior officer for Olympic Games support. Since 1992 he consulted for a number of Fortune 500 corporate clients. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish.



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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Peek inside Kerry’s “Peace” Efforts or Propaganda?

A Peek inside Kerry’s “Peace” Efforts or Propaganda?

By Sam Bahour

The first proclaimed leak from Secretary John Kerry’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it is so often called, were published last week in the reputable London-based daily Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat. The source is said to be a posting on the website of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, who claim the information was leaked to them by someone attending the tightly closed negotiating sessions. The validity of this claim and the contents of the leak are unverifiable and the infighting between Hamas and Fatah give both a vested interest to publicly damage the other; however, a read through the supposed leaked information makes anyone familiar with this issue take worrying note.

The Al-Hayat article on the leak states that Secretary Kerry obtained Palestinian President Abbas’ approval on general parameters for the restart of negotiations, at meetings between the two in Amman on 17-18 July 2013, prior to Secretary Kerry’s announcement that negotiations would restart. According to the leaked document, “Kerry set a maximum period of time ranging from 6 to 9 months to be dedicated to bilateral Palestinian-Israeli negotiations ... without any preconditions, beyond the principles listed below and whereby Jordan participates in meetings on refugees, Jerusalem and borders where necessary:

  1. The Separation Wall will serve as the security borders of the ‘Jewish’ state, and the temporary border of the ‘Palestinian’ state… Both parties will acknowledge and announce this. 
  2. There will be “an exchange in disputed territories within the plan of the Separation Wall noted above, as agreed to by both parties and with the blessing of the Arab League Follow-up Committee, as specified by this Committee to Mr. Kerry during their last visit to Washington, ranging in size from eight to ten percent of West Bank lands.”
  3. There will be also be a “freeze in the settlement projects at a number of outposts, as approved by the Israeli government, which does not apply to existing projects in large settlement communities located in the vicinity of Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley, including the settlements of Ma'ale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Har Homa, Gilo, Neve Yacov, Ramat Shlomo, Ramat Alman, Kiryat Arba’, and other densely populated settlements.
  4. The document adds that “residents in frozen settlement communities will have the right to choose between Israeli citizenship or Palestinian citizenship, or both, at the conclusion of negotiations,” and that “talks will culminate with a historic agreement … along the lines of the Oslo Agreement, during which both parties will announce the end of the historic conflict between their peoples, as well as full normalization with all Arab states, at a celebratory meeting attended by the Arab League and representatives of all Arab countries, announcing their approval of Israel’s establishment of a Palestinian state within the limits set out … above, according to agreements…. concluded by the two parties at the end of the negotiations, which will also entail Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
  5. It adds that “at the end of negotiations, some Palestinian families will be allowed to reunite in the West Bank, Rafah and Gaza, while others will have the right to compensation, or emigration … to Arab countries, especially the Gulf…” where they will be “…naturalized… utilizing the  Right of Return Fund for this purpose.
  6. Concerning the status of East Jerusalem, the leaked document indicates that it will be “placed under an international administration (Palestinian-Israeli-Jordanian) for ten years, whereby  resident Israelis in East Jerusalem will have the right  to choose their identity,” i.e. citizenship. 
  7. Furthermore, “Israelis and Palestinians agree to discuss the issue of land exchanges in the West Bank and Jerusalem through negotiating committees despite the non-core points of contention between the two parties… especially those points that are considered important by the delegation of the Arab League, including the proposal to grant citizenship to every Palestinian who has been resident in the Gulf for more than ten years.
  8. The document indicates that there will be a “discussion of executive steps in this agreement during negotiations within the time-limit mentioned above, and that its implementation will extend to ten years from the signing of the agreement.
  9. Israel will also “release a number of Palestinian detainees who have spent twenty years or more in detention, and no longer pose a security threat.
  10. It also stipulates that “President Mahmoud Abbas will call for legislative and presidential elections in the West Bank after the public announcement of the Agreement, in anticipation of the possibility of the emergence of objections to it, and that the terms of the agreement will not fully be announced until after the start of negotiations and the preoccupation of Palestinians with the battles of the Legislative Council and the Presidency.
  11. It also says that “with the signing of the agreement at the end of the specified time-limit and the declaration of an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinians and Jordanians will, with the blessing of Israel and the Arabs, reach an understanding on the role of Jordanian security assistance … to the Palestinian Authority … to stand by its side and help it overcome potential internal or external dangers … as part of a Confederation, which will be announced in conjunction with a trilateral economic initiative, in whose formation Israel will play an active role.
Shocking, to say the least!

If the U.S. and Israel continue to choose the game of might is right, then they should expect, sooner rather than later, a new generation of Palestinians to look Israel straight in the eye and say, “You win! You get it all, Israel: Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem - both east and west sides, all the settlements, all the water, all the Jordan Valley, all the electromagnetic spectrum, all the airspace, and most importantly, you also get all of us. Now, we heard you have free health care in Israel; where do we pick up our medical cards? We also want some of that free education.”

In other words, if the U.S. and Israel are adamant on throwing international law, humanitarian law, UN resolutions, human rights, rights of refugees, and sheer common sense into the sea, then they should expect the Palestinians to redefine their self-determination from a struggle for statehood to a struggle for civil rights between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

In the words of the late Palestinian and global intellectual, Edward Said, it’s “equality or nothing.” What is it about these three simple words that is so hard to comprehend?

~ Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business development consultant from Youngstown, Ohio, living in the Palestinian city of Al-Bireh in the West Bank. He frequently provides independent commentary on Palestine and serves as a policy advisor of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He is co-author of HOMELAND: Oral Histories of Palestine and Palestinians (1994) and blogs at

Sunday, August 18, 2013

[ePalestine] Israel's West Bank Plans Will Leave Palestinians Very Little (By Noam Chomsky)

Information Clearing House

Israel's West Bank Plans Will Leave Palestinians Very Little

By Noam Chomsky

August 17, 2013 "Information Clearing House -   The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks beginning in Jerusalem proceed within a framework of assumptions that merit careful thought.

One prevailing assumption is that there are two options: either a two-state settlement will be reached, or there will be a "shift to a nearly inevitable outcome of the one remaining reality -- a state 'from the sea to the river'," an outcome posing "an immediate existential threat of the erasure of the identity of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state" because of what is termed "the demographic problem," a future Palestinian majority in the single state.

This particular formulation is by former Israeli Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, but the basic assumptions are near universal in political commentary and scholarship. They are, however, crucially incomplete. There is a third option, the most realistic one: Israel will carry forward its current policies with full U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support, sprinkled with some mild phrases of disapproval.

The policies are quite clear. Their roots go back to the 1967 war and they have been pursued with particular dedication since the Oslo Accords of September 1993.

The Accords determined that Gaza and the West Bank are an indivisible territorial entity. Israel and the U.S. moved at once to separate them, which means that any autonomy Palestinians might gain in the West Bank will have no direct access to the outside world.

A second step was to carry forward the creation of a vastly expanded Greater Jerusalem, incorporating it within Israel, as its capital. This is in direct violation of Security Council orders and is a serious blow to any hope for a viable Palestinian entity. A corridor to the east of the new Greater Jerusalem incorporates the settler town of Ma'aleh Adumim, established in the 1970s but built primarily after the Oslo Accords, virtually bisecting the West Bank.

Corridors to the north including other settler towns divide what is to remain under some degree of Palestinian control -- "Bantustans," as they were called by one of the main architects of the policy, Ariel Sharon, in a reference to the territory set aside for black South Africans during the apartheid era.

Meanwhile Israel is incorporating the territory on the Israeli side of the "separation wall" cutting through the West Bank, taking arable land and water resources and Palestinian villages.

Included are the settlement blocs that "will remain part of Israel in any possible future peace agreement," as stated by Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev as the current negotiations were announced.

The International Court of Justice ruled that all of this is illegal, and the Security Council had already ruled that all of the settlements are illegal. The U.S. joined the world in accepting that conclusion in the early years of the occupation. But under Ronald Reagan, the position was changed to "harmful to peace," and Barack Obama has weakened it further to "not helpful to peace."

Israel has also been clearing the Jordan Valley of Palestinians while establishing Jewish settlements, sinking wells, and otherwise preparing for eventual integration of the region within Israel.

That will complete the isolation of any West Bank Palestinian entity. Meanwhile huge infrastructure projects throughout the West Bank, from which Palestinians are barred, carry forward the integration to Israel, and presumably eventual annexation.

The areas that Israel is taking over will be virtually free of Arabs. There will be no new "demographic problem" or civil rights or anti-apartheid struggle, contrary to what many advocates of Palestinian rights anticipate in a single state.

There remain open questions. Notably, pre-Obama, U.S. presidents have prevented Israel from building settlements on the E1 site -- a controversial area in the West Bank that Israel hopes to develop -- which would complete the separation of Greater Jerusalem from Palestinian-controlled area. What will happen here is uncertain.

As the negotiations opened, Israel made its intentions clear by announcing new construction in East Jerusalem and scattered settlements, while also extending its "national priority list" of settlements that receive special subsidies to encourage building and inducements for Jewish settlers.

Obama made his intentions clear by appointing as chief negotiator Martin Indyk, whose background is in the Israeli lobby, a close associate of negotiator and presidential adviser Dennis Ross, whose guiding principle has been that Israel has "needs," which plainly overcome mere Palestinian wants.

These developments bring to the fore a second common assumption: that Palestinians have been hindering the peace process by imposing preconditions. In reality, the U.S. and Israel impose crucial preconditions. One is that the process must be in the hands of the United States, which is an active participant in the conflict on Israel's side, not an "honest broker." A second is that the illegal Israel settlement activities must be allowed to continue.

There is an overwhelming international consensus in support of a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border, perhaps with "minor and mutual adjustments" of this 1949 cease-fire line, in the wording of much earlier U.S. policy. The consensus includes the Arab states and the Organization of Islamic States (including Iran). It has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel since 1976, when the U.S. vetoed a resolution to this effect brought by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

The rejectionist record continues to the present. Washington's most recent veto of a Security Council resolution on Palestinian territory was in February 2011, a resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy -- an end to expansion of Israel's illegal settlements. And the rejectionist record goes far beyond the Security Council.

Also misleading is the question whether the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would accept a "Palestinian state." In fact, his administration was the first to countenance this possibility when it came into office in 1996, following Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, who rejected this outcome. Netanyahu's associate David bar-Illan explained that some areas would be left to Palestinians, and if they wanted to call them "a state," Israel would not object -- or they could call them "fried chicken."

His response reflects the operative attitude of the U.S.-Israel coalition to Palestinian rights.
In the region, there is great skepticism about Washington's current revival of the "peace process." It is not hard to see why.


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Thursday, August 08, 2013

[ePalestine] If you think I’m a racist, then Israel is a racist state (By Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso)

When raw racism comes oozing out of the horse's mouth, no further comment is needed...


If you think I'm a racist, then Israel is a racist state

Upper Nazareth's mayor answers detractors who say his reelection campaign calling for the mixed city to be 'Jewish forever' is racist.

By Shimon Gapso | Aug. 7, 2013

Over the past few days, many people have been calling me a racist. Sometimes they also call me a Nazi, a bully or even Hitler. One need only look at the comments on Haaretz's website to put me before a firing squad. What's my crime? What act of bullying did I commit? I made a clear and unequivocal statement that Upper Nazareth was a Jewish city.

Yes — I'm not afraid to say it out loud, to write it and add my signature, or declare it in front of the cameras: Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and it's important that it remains so. If that makes me a racist, then I'm a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of "racists" that started with the "Covenant of the Pieces" [that God made with Abraham, recounted in Genesis 15:1–15] and the explicitly racist promise: "To your seed I have given this land" [Genesis 15:38].

When the Jewish people were about to return to their homeland after a long journey from slavery in Egypt, where they were enslaved for racist reasons, the God of Israel told Moses how to act upon conquering the land: he must cleanse the land of its current inhabitants. "But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you allow to remain... as I thought to do to them, so will I do to you" [Numbers 33:55–56].

God gave them an explicit warning. Yes, the racist Joshua conquered the land in a racist manner. More than 3,000 years later, the Jewish people stood bruised and bleeding on the threshold of their land, seeking once again to take possession of it from the wild tribes that had seized the land in its absence. And then, an outbreak of racism flooded the country.

The racist Theodor Herzl wrote "Der Judenstaat" ("The Jewish State," not "The State of All Its Citizens"). Lord Balfour recommended the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Arlosoroff, Moshe Sharett and other racists established the Jewish Agency, and the racist UN decided to establish a Jewish state — in other words, a state for Jews. The racist Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel, and during the War of Independence even made sure to bring in hundreds of thousands of Jews and drive out hundreds of thousands of Arabs who had been living here — all to enable it to be founded with the desired racist character.

Since then, racially pure kibbutzim without a single Arab member and an army that protects a certain racial strain have been established, as have political parties that proudly bear racist names such as "Habayit Hayehudi" — "the Jewish home." Even our racist national anthem ignores the existence of the Arab minority — in other words, the people Ben-Gurion did not manage to expel in the 1948 war. If not for all that "racism," it's doubtful we could live here, and doubtful that we could live at all.

In these times of hypocrisy and bleeding-heart sanctimoniousness, of the proliferation of flaky types who are disconnected from reality, in the relative security that causes us to forget the dangers we face, we can sit in north Tel Aviv, and cry "racism" to seem enlightened and good-hearted in our own eyes. We can be shocked at a mayor who prefers that his city, which is right next to the largest Arab city in Israel, retain a Jewish majority and not be swallowed up in the Arab area that surrounds it. There will not be a single Jew in the future Palestinian state, but that's all right. That isn't racism.

Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city. Fewer than one-fifth of its inhabitants are Arab citizens, and they enjoy full municipal and national rights. Many of them are friends of mine, and I like and respect many of them. I could wish that Jews were treated the way the Arabs of Upper Nazareth are — not only those Jews who lived in Europe of times past, but also those who live in the Arab countries of today. If that were the case, perhaps we of Upper Nazareth would have no need to be "racists."

The writer is the mayor of Upper Nazareth.


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Monday, August 05, 2013

[ePalestine] Haaretz: We can’t lose a democracy we never had (By Tsafi Saar)


We can't lose a democracy we never had

The illusion of democracy in Israel is just one of the many illusions that we Israelis have been educated to believe.

By Tsafi Saar - Aug. 4, 2013

Many dirges have been heard lately lamenting the death of democracy on account of the governability law that passed its first reading in the Knesset this past week. There is reason to lament; it is indeed a bad and dangerous piece of legislation. But for something to die, it must have once lived. Has there been democracy in Israel before the governability was passed? The answer is no. For Israel's entire 65-year existence it has not been a democratic state. From its founding until 1966 Israel imposed martial law on the Arab communities in its territory. Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967 until today, Israel has ruled over millions of Palestinian inhabitants in these territories – an occupied population with its basic freedoms and rights abrogated.

There has been an illusion of democracy here, or alternatively, a democracy for Jews only. This of course is a contradiction in terms. This is just one of the many illusions, which we Israelis have been educated to believe. It isn't easy to discover how much of life and education here are full of indoctrination, because lightly scratching the surface reveals what is just a cover for an entirely different reality. Some of us discover this at an early age, others later. There are also those who will never discover this, perhaps they would even prefer not to see it.

Among the prominent examples are myths like "making the desert bloom," or the statement, "A land without a people for a people without a land" - basic concepts in Zionism that express a worldview that ignored the land's inhabitants. There is "Hebrew labor," the aspiration that Jews who settled the land would work with their own hands instead of managing others, which is perceived to be something positive until we understand that it means excluding native Arabs from work. Another phenomenon placed on a pedestal is the revival of the Hebrew language. While it was a blessed miracle, it also was enabled by the pushing aside of many other languages as well as other cultures, not infrequently with violence – and this already sounds less heartwarming.

There are also clichés like "our hand is outstretched in peace," as our politicians are wont to say while they are still polishing up ruins. In other versions, still in use today, there are mantras like "no partner for peace." And who can forget "the world's most moral army"? The same army that just recently detained a 5-year-old Palestinian child for investigation, and the state that plans to evict 1,300 Palestinians from their homes in the south Hebron hills to save time and resources, just to mention two examples among countless others.

These are bothersome thoughts. Is it possible that everything we were raised on, or at least most of it, is mistaken? What is the significance of this? And does asking these questions undermine the fact of our existence of here? If our existence here must be based on a strong fist, on pushing out others, on nationalism, chauvinism and militarism, then the answer is yes. But is this really the case?

In the history of Zionism there were other options besides that of Ben-Gurion-style force. For example, the path shown by professors Zvi Ben-Dor Benite and Moshe Behar in their recently published book "Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought: Writings on Identity, Politics, and Culture." Jewish intellectuals of Middle Eastern origin at the beginning of the 20th century warned against adopting a European arrogance to the land's inhabitants and called for respectful dialogue with them. But their words fell on deaf ears. The Brit Shalom faction of Hugo Bergmann and Gershom Scholem also proposed another way in the 1930s that was not accepted.

The state established here was not, despite its pretensions, "the sole democracy in the Middle East." It appears that the first condition for really fixing this situation, if that is still possible, is the recognition that we did not lose democracy now. It never resided here.



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Thursday, August 01, 2013

[ePalestine] The Original No: Why the Arabs Rejected Zionism and Why it Matters (A MUST READ)

Long, but well worth the read, especially if you are Jewish.

The Original No: Why the Arabs Rejected Zionism and Why it Matters
By Natasha Gill, Middle East Policy Council
June 19, 2013

Prepared for another mass No,


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