Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The United States and the Muslim World: Has Obama reneged on his Cairo promise?

By Khaled Hroub
Director of the Cambridge Arab Media Project, United Kingdom

Responding to a student's question in his landmark visit to Istanbul in April 2009, Barack Obama said, "States are like big tankers, they're not like speedboats. You can't whip them around and go in another direction ... you turn them slowly, and eventually you end up in a very different place." Obama has begun to turn the American tanker, but this gradual change does not satisfy the expectations that swept the Muslim world upon his election. The image of the United States, badly damaged in recent years, requires a speedier overhaul than the one currently underway. Many Muslims and mainstream Islamists around the world wonder whether the turning of the tanker will be permanent. A policy reversal is more than likely when Obama leaves office, and the burst of fresh air that Obama's election brought to U.S.-Muslim relations could easily run out.

This article discusses the impact of Obama's presidency on improving U.S.-Muslim relations, with particular focus on Islamists and political Islamic movements. Obama's policy towards the Muslim world and the Middle East will hinge on two topics: the Palestinian- Israeli issue and support for democratization. While George W. Bush gave priority to democracy promotion in the Middle East and ignored Palestine, Obama seems to have taken the opposite approach, concentrating on Palestine and ignoring democratization. If Obama cannot fulfil the high hopes pinned upon him by many Muslims, their compounded frustration could be more damaging than the anger they experienced during the Bush years, and lead to more radicalization. Underneath this fatalistic resignation would lie the sentiment, "If Obama cannot not mend fences with Muslims, no one can."

‘Obamania' has had a significant effect on U.S.-Muslim relations. According to Gallup polls, in most Arab countries, the approval rate of American leadership doubled, and in some cases, tripled during the first year of Obama's presidency. From 2008 to 2009, approval of U.S. leadership increased from 14% to 37% in Tunisia , 25% to 47% in Algeria, 6% to 25% in Egypt, 12% to 29% in Saudi Arabia, and 4% to 15% in Syria. (Lebanon and Palestine are the outliers; approval of American leadership fell from 25% to 22% in Lebanon, and 13% to 7% in Palestine.Overall, this positive upswing corresponds to the new language and tone that Obama brought to international relations. Confrontational policies have been replaced by cooperation, unilateralism by multilateralism, war-mongering by engagement and dialogue.

Perhaps the most striking dimension of the new administration's foreign policy, as repeatedly stated by Obama himself, is America's new approach to the Muslim world, and the Muslim Middle East in particular. Obama's major developments in this field include reinstating Palestinian issue at the top of the foreign policy agenda, scheduling a deadline for the removal of American troops in Iraq (whose presence is seen by many Muslims as a proof of American imperial hegemony over Muslim land), announcing that the infamous Guantanamo Bay detainment facility will close, and combating the disrespect towards and fear of Muslim-American and Arab-American citizens that emerged after 9/11.

Determined to deliver a clear message to the Muslim world about this new approach, Obama gave his first televised interview just one week after taking office to the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Arabiya satellite station. In the interview, he stressed that Muslims should know that the U.S. is not their enemy. Obama said that his job is "to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the wellbeing of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries."

Obama's reconciliatory approach to the Muslim world continued with his two historic speeches in Istanbul and Cairo in April and June of 2009, respectively. In both speeches, he reiterated the themes of coexistence and common values, dismissing the notion of a clash of civilizations. Obama made clear distinctions between the peaceful Muslim majority and the small, violent radical groups hijacking Islam and claiming to act in its name. The Cairo speech was praised around the world as an oratorical masterpiece, and several books analyzing its significance and impact have already been published.

Islamist Ambivalence
Preceding Obama's visit to Cairo, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement titled "The Brothers' Opinion on the American President's Visit to Egypt" on June 4th, 2009.The strangeness, and perhaps the significance, of the statement is that it did not pronounce any clear position on Obama's visit. The Brothers' reiterted their stance on Israel, attacked Western policies, and confirmed the right of the Egyptian people to defend their country and change their internal authoritarian regime. At the end, the Brothers declared they would assess Obama's visit after it had taken place, and avoided making any prior judgement. Short and vague--but not condemning the visit altogether--it reflected the conflicted mood among Arab Islamists toward Obama's visit. After Obama's speech, the Brothers issued no followup message as they had promised, and posted nothing about the Cairo visit on their homepage. This reflects a continuing ambivalence among the Brotherhood, and among mainstream Islamist groups, about how to respond to Barack Obama, no longer a pet presidential candidate but the leader of the United States.

Reactions to President Obama by Islamist groups and intellectuals have been varied and conflicting. A range of these reactions, spanning several movements, will be surveyed here. Isam Al-Aryan, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, wrote an article in Beirut's Al-Akhbar daily titled "A Letter to Barak Obama." In the article, Al-Aryan warned Obama against supporting authoritarian regimes in the region, lamenting that these regimes have surrendered their sovereignty and interest to outsiders. Al-Aryan also expressed bitterness that global American military outreach often operates against the essence of American values.

It is a matter of allegiance to your country when you promote principles that are called upon by the American Constitution, the values of freedom, respect of human rights, democracy, and respect for the will of people. By contrast, it is not a matter of allegiance to your country to keep your armies ... occupying all corners of the world. It is not a matter of faithfulness to your principles to keep those detainees in jail without conviction and extract false confessions from them by torture; and to use tyrants and autocrats who remain in power because of your support...

Among the strongest Islamist endorsements for Obama, Mustapha Ikhlaif's article in Al Jazeera called upon Obama to convert to Islam and become the worldwide Caliph of Muslims. The author, a Moroccan academic who writes with Islamist undertones, argues that the race and ethnicity of a Muslim leader is of no importance as long as he embodies the message of Islam. Ikhalif contends that Persians, Turks, Seljuks and other ethnicities have ruled over the Arab region - why could not Barak Hussein Obama be one of them? Obama has been received warmly, even hailed by Muslims, and the only major step he must take before reigning over Muslim countries is simply to convert to Islam.

Al Jazeera also featured work by Muhanna Al-Habeel, a staunch critic of Obama and his Arab and Muslim fans. Al-Habeel, a Saudi writer, wonders how Obama "can explain to us the meaning of justice and tolerance in Islamic values at the same time that his forces strike against tens of innocent people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and those American-occupied areas [are drowned] in rivers of blood." Al-Habeel went on to exclaim, "How nice Mr. President looked while he was sending his greetings to the victims in their graves..."

Between these extremes, another Islamist writer, Nabil Shabib, a Syrian living in Germany, is skeptical. He believes Obama's choice to visit Turkey first among Muslim countries was a loaded move. Shabib contends that Turkey is the type of majority-Muslim state the West wants to see--a secular Muslim country. More importantly, Obama wants to exploit the respected position of Recep Tayyip Erdugan's Turkey in order to implement American policies in the Muslim world. Obama wants Turkey to adopt a more active role in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and in the Arab/Israeli conflict. For Shabib, this amounts to "Turkey becoming a Trojan horse for American policy in two components: soft political discourse; and political substance that is based on the continuation of hegemony in a new transformed ‘soft hegemony' after military failures."
Hamas and Obama
Hamas, after greeting Obama's candidacy with such enthusiasm, has been frustrated by the first year of his Presidency. Hamas followed the American presidential race closely and supported Obama to the point of harming his campaign. In April 2008, Ahmad Yousef, political advisor to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, praised Obama during a WABC radio interview. The statement was widely used by Obama's opponents, who denounced him as Hamas' favorite candidate.

Khaled Meshaal, Hamas' chief political leader, has expressed that his organization is more willing to enagage with American policymakers since Obama came to office. Hailing Obama's victory, Meshaal said, "It's a big change--politically and psychologically and it is noteworthy and I congratulate President Obama ... yes, we are ready for dialogue with President Obama and with the new American administration, on the basis that the American administration respects our rights and our options."

Since his election, Obama holds a very delicate position regarding Palestine and Hamas, a litmus test for many Muslims concerning Western credibility in promoting human values and justice. In his Cairo speech, Obama introduced a new approach to Hamas. "Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist."[

In an interview, Meshaal responded by saying
Undoubtedly Obama speaks a new language. His speech was cleverly designed... The essence of the speech was to improve the U.S. image and to placate the Muslims. We don't mind either objective, but we are looking for more than just mere words. If the United States wishes to open a new page, we definitely would welcome this. We are keen to contribute to this. But we [believe that cannot happen] merely with words. It must be with deeds, by changing the policy on the ground'.

However, despite early signs in January 2009 that the Obama administration was ready to engage with Hamas,[16] putting an end to American isolation of the party and the 1.5 million Palestinians under its jurisdiction in the Gaza Strip, nothing tangible took place.

The greatest challenge for the Obama administration is how to translate rhetoric and well-intentioned statements into concrete change. After a year, Obama's presidency has a mixed balance sheet, and frustration is gathering rapidly. On the Palestinian issue, Obama failed to pressure Israel to put a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Withdrawing troops from Iraq in January 2010 has been postponed until August 2010. Obama's dialogue and enagement approach has not been particularly successful in confronting Iran about its nuclear program. Both Republican and Democratic Congressmen stalled Obama's plan to close Guantanamo by voting down measures to relocate the detainees. Turning the hefty tanker is a strenuous job indeed.

Democratization Deficit
The second level of challenges Obama faces with regard to the Muslim world, and Islamists in particular, centers around democracy promotion. Islamists in the Arab world were dismayed that Obama did not use Cairo as an opportunity to address democratisation or the need for political reform in Egypt. Furthermore, he praised President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, an autocrat determined to hand over power to his son, Gamal. Downplaying the issue of democracy advancement is a notable shortcoming of "Obama-ism". As new realism becomes a cornerstone in Obama's foreign policy, his speeches about American involvement in the world have almost completely dropped the previous (Bush-style) emphasis on democratization.

There is a debate raging in Muslim countries on whether it's beneficial to invite external powers to promote democracy. There are concerns about a double standard, since the United States has been famously uneven in its application of democracy. The U.S. desires and fights for democracy in Iraq, but completely ignores Saudi Arabia, for example. The U.S. praises elections in Lebanon when they bring victory to Western-supported coalitions but lambasts elections that empower Hamas in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

Among Islamists (and other opposition forces) in the Arab world there is a great dilemma surrounding what to demand from the West. If Muslims ask the United States to pressure their authoritarian regimes for democratization, they must relinquish sovereignty. Advocates of democracy also understand that explicit American support can be the kiss of death for a popular movement in the Middle East. On the other hand, if the U.S. does not intervene, autocrats will remain in power, citizens will still be denied free speech and political participation, and America will appear complicit.

The onus lies on both sides. If Obama truly believes that a stable Muslim world is in the best interest of the United States, then he must adopt a more consistent approach on democracy promotion, one that is less focused on immediate gain. This is necessary to establish a long-lasting, healthy relationship between the U.S. and Muslim states.

Islamists must develop vision of what they desire from the West, and the U.S. in particular, in terms of democracy promotion. If Islamists pragmatically engage with the U.S. to pursue democratic reforms, they can broaden their own support, and counteract the belief that democratization is a Western conspiracy to infiltrate Muslim countries. It is equally important that the Islamist movement continues its trend toward politicization and secularization, as demonstrated by the successful Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. Focusing on public service and pushing ideological rhetoric and identity politics to the background will encourage external actors to deal more seriously, and less fearfully, with Islamist parties.

The ‘Obamania' that swept the Muslim world has evaporated and harsh realities have resurfaced. Obama's tanker-speedboat analogy is frustratingly realistic, Many Arab observers have insisted that no matter how much goodwill Obama gained upon election, rhetoric must be proven by deeds. It is unfortunate that Obama has found himself in the middle of several intractable issues: two wars; the global financial crisis; domestic disputes about Healthcare. This limits the time and effort that he has allocated for U.S.-Muslims relations, especially the Palestinian cause and democratization, which ought to be top priorities.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Demonstration in Beit Jala / Manifestation a Beit Jala,27.06.2010

Around 30 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals demonstrate against the building of the Wall in Beit Jala, on 27.06.2010. Israeli soldiers blocked the march with barbwire. A group manages to bypass the Israeli soldiers but they were then violently pushed back by the soldiers. As some demonstrators refused to leave, the Israeli soldiers violently arrested three demonstrators. Concussion grenades and tear gas canisters were thrown directly at the crowd and nearby houses. At distance, bulldozers were seen continuing their work, paving the route of the Wall just a few meters from Palestinian homes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Israel threatens Rachel Corrie by ~Latuff2

Amos Horev: Castrated Palestinian in Blood Vengeance

Amos Horev, the retired IDF general, former Technion president, and chief booster of the Israeli defense industry, has a rather sordid past that many might find akin to being a terrorist, Israel-style.

He is one of three panel members of the Gaza flotilla investigation and this incident, described by the inimitable Tom Segev in a 2002 Haaretz article, should shed light on the type of justice he might mete out in this inquiry:

`We castrated you, Mohammed!’

In the mid-1940s, a popular song [by Haim Hefer] among the members of the Palmach was entitled “We castrated you, we castrated you, Mohammed!” [Serasnucha ya Muhammad--the Hebrew lyrics censor the word for "castration" and substitute the meaningless Saragosa in order to permit Israeli youth groups to sing and dance to the song without having to explain the true meaning to such tender ears] That song is remembered even today. During the 60 years that have passed since that time, various theories have surfaced about the song’s origin. However, it was commonly assumed that members of the Palmach had tracked down and then castrated an Arab who had raped a Jewish woman. This was not an isolated case. In his biography of Yitzhak Sadeh, Zvika Dror writes that the commander of the Palmach even sent some of his men to a special course that was given at the Mendele clinic of the Kupat Holim Clalit health maintenance organization. “We would go there at 8:30 P.M. when the clinic was empty,” Dror quotes his source. “A physician and a nurse taught us anatomy and afterward we practiced a castration procedure.”

Now it is official: A book by Gamliel Cohen, “Undercover: The Untold Story of the Palmach’s Undercover Arab Unit,” published by the Ministry of Defense and the Galili Center for Defense Studies, reveals, with amazing precision, who the mythological “Mohammed” was, whom he raped, who authorized the rapist’s castration, who performed the castration and how precisely the “surgical operation” was carried out. Cohen eventually joined the Mossad. He describes how the Palmach’s undercover agents performed their liquidations; the same procedure is being used today in the territories.

The rapist…is identified in Cohen’s book as Araf Ahmed Shatawi, a broad-shouldered, muscular man who lived in the village of Bissan, where the town of Beit She’an is presently located. Shatawi was suspected of having attempted to rape a young woman from Kibbutz Messilot. According to Cohen, the suspicions were based on intelligence data. Shatawi was alleged to have spotted the woman as she descended from a bus and to have dragged her into the bushes. She struggled and managed to thwart the rape attempt. Since the atmosphere in the kibbutz was already highly charged and since this was not the first attempted rape, the supreme command of the Haganah decided that it would provide an effective response to the incident. At first it was proposed that Shatawi be assassinated; however, because of the fear that an assassination might set off a chain of blood vendettas, it was decided, as Cohen puts it, “to deal with him in accordance with the biblical principle that calls for the chopping off of a thief’s hand and which, in this case, would call for attacking the organ he used to perform the crime, namely, for castrating him.”

The plan was submitted to Shaul Avigur for approval. He was somewhat hesitant, in view of the cruel nature of the proposed action; however, Yehoshua Palmon, who later became the prime minister’s adviser on Arab affairs, persuaded him, and Avigur gave the plan the green light. According to Cohen, who quotes documents preserved in the IDF archives, the two individuals who carried out the castration procedure were Yohai Bin-Nun, who later became a major general and the commander-in-chief of the Israel Navy, and Amos Horev, who also later became a major general, the chief scientist of the defense establishment and the president of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. There was a third man, named Yaakuba Cohen; however, according to the Ministry of Defense version of the incident, he did not actually participate in the castration but instead stood guard over the rapist’s family, while Bin-Nun and Horev dragged him from his home into an open field, where they castrated him. Before they set off for this mission, they were briefed by the chief physician of the communities of Tel Yosef and Ein Harod. Cohen does not name him. The book then goes on to provide a detailed surgical description of the castration, which sounds almost like a “do-it-yourself” manual. In the final analysis, according to the Ministry of Defense version, the “operation, it was pointed out, proved highly valuable because it had an immense impact on the entire Beit She’an Valley and horrified the Arab population.”

No doubt, Amos Horev feels like the Israeli bus driver who decorated his bus with a banner that read:

Flotilla 13 [the navy unit that attacked the Mavi Marmara], be ashamed. Why did you kill so few?

Yes, there are those who will say this incident happened nearly 70 years ago and times have changed and that people change. I’m not even going to argue with this proposition though I disagree with it. The fact is that Horev should not have been appointed because his past taints his participation in the present inquiry. Surely, not even a reasonable supporter of the Gaza attack can argue that Horev has the type of past that would instill confidence that he can judge the facts dispassionately.

As an aside, if Israel embraces the type of Biblical justice meted out by the Palmach to the alleged Palestinian rapist, then should we expect, in the unlikely event the Israeli commission finds Flotilla 13 guilty of criminal acts against the Mavi Marmara passengers, that Horev will advocate cutting off the trigger fingers of the shooters? Or perhaps Turkey should take that mission on itself in the event the commission absolves the team of any culpability?

And the next time any supporter of Israel’s draconian policies rants about Arab terror, let them consider for a moment the rather sordid past of some of Israel’s current elite. If those who engaged in acts of terror like Horev can play major roles in their nation’s subsequent history, there is no reason why those Israel currently labels dangerous, murderous terrorists cannot do the same in Palestine.
Written by Richard Silverstein FOR

Who is the Terrorist: Hamas or Israel?

By Dr. Elias Akleh - Intifada Palestine
Israelis justify their genocidal economic siege against Gaza Strip, their December 2008 barbaric war crime onslaught against 1.5 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and their international piracy against the international “Break the Siege Campaign” and the humanitarian aid Freedom Flotilla with the false claim that the democratically elected Hamas leadership, in the Gaza Strip, is a terrorist organization.

Examining Hamas’ history in order to validate/debunk this terrorism claim one discovers that Hamas did not invade and occupy any other country, but Israel did. In 1948 Israel occupied almost half of Palestine, and later in 1967 occupied the rest of Palestine, parts of Egypt, parts of Syria, and parts of Lebanon with it. This illegal occupation still stands up to date.

Hamas did not evict complete populations of cities, did not perpetrate massacres of civilians, and did not level and raze complete cities. Israel did. Israelis had forcefully evicted the residents of Palestinian cities in 1948 and again in 1967. Israelis had committed many massacres against Palestinian civilians, such as the massacres of Deir Yassin, Ein al-Zeitun, Al-Tantura, Al-Dawayima, Jenin, and many others in Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, in his book “All That Remained” had documented 500 Palestinian towns the Israelis destroyed and leveled to the ground in order to erect Israeli colonies in their places.

Hamas did not create the worst refugee crises in the world. Israel did. In 1948 Israelis expelled almost 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and towns, drove them to the neighboring Arab countries, and denied them the right of return as per UNSC resolutions. In 1967 Israelis, again, drove thousands other Palestinians from their town out of the country. For the last 62 years these refugees are living under the charity of the UNRWA.

Hamas did not send its army to attack its neighboring countries. Israel did. Israeli army attacked Jordan until it was defeated in Al-Karameh Battle in March 1968. Israel attacked Egypt and occupied the Egyptian Sinai until 1973 when the Egyptian forces destroyed the Israeli Bar Lev Wall on the eastern bank of Suez Canal. This led to Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian Sinai Desert. Israeli army invaded and occupied Lebanon twice; once in 1978 and again in 1982. The second occupation lasted eight years until Hezbollah’s resistance defeated Israelis in 2000 and forced them to retreat from Lebanese land.

Hamas did not steal Palestinian land, farms and homes from their rightful owners to build illegal colonies (settlements) in violation of all international laws and despite opposition of many UNSC resolutions, and to forcefully introduce aggressive extremist religious Jewish Israelis within Palestinian communities. Hamas did not forge land and home deeds to illegally seize Palestinian properties. Israel did. Land seizure, home demolition, and home theft are routine attacks on Palestinian civilians. Such practices have intensified lately with the latest plan of demolishing 22 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem in order to build a tourist park.

Contrary to what pro-Zionist media wants us to believe Hamas is not the extreme religious fanatics intolerant to other religions with a psychotic fervor to kill Jews. True, they are fundamental Muslims, whose religion teaches tolerance and acceptance of the “People of the Book”; Jews and Christians. They are not against Jews per se, but against the Zionist occupation of their land. Israeli Jews are the most extremist religious fanatics, who prescribe to the religiously racist “God’s Chosen People” ideology that is intolerant to all other religions.

Hamas did not bomb, torch, or destroy any Jewish synagogues nor dug up and razed Jewish cemeteries. Israel did. Since 1948 Israelis had destroyed hundreds of Mosques, turned others into Jewish bars or clubs or senior homes. Jewish colonizers (settlers) had torched and vandalized many mosques. Religious extremist Jews are threatening to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque, third holiest Islamic place, in order to build third Solomon Temple in its place. Israeli government had confiscated land belonging to Christian church. The Israeli army had bombed Christian churches including the Nativity church in Bethlehem, a Sumerian church in Nablus, and an Orthodox church in Gaza.

When a Jewish cemetery gets vandalized Israel and Zionists cry anti-Semitism. Yet Israelis give themselves the right to destroy hundreds of Palestinian cemeteries. In a most presumptuous act the Israeli government is digging up and razing almost a thousand years old Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem to build a museum of tolerance in its place.

Hamas was not involved in human organ trafficking by murdering Jewish children and stealing their body organs. Israelis did. Rabbis, who suppose to respect life, with the cooperation of Israeli military officials and Israeli military physicians were caught red-handed into this despicable crime.

Hamas did not manufacture drugs and smuggle them into the US. A gang of Rabbis, American Zionist Jews, and Israelis are involved into manufacturing ecstasy drugs in Israel and smuggling them into the US to profit on American addiction.

Hamas did not send arms with military trainers to every corner of the Middle East to arm and to train terrorist groups to terrorize local citizens and to attack local governments. Israel did. Israel had armed and trained Lebanese Phalangist militia, who started the Lebanese civil war and later on became Israel’s proxy army during Israel’s occupation of Lebanon. Israel had, also, armed and trained Kurdish militia in north Iraq to terrorize Iraqi civilians and to attack Turkish troop in east Turkey. Israel had armed and trained Jundullah terrorist group to terrorize Iranian citizens, and to attack and bomb Iranian government buildings.

Israel’s arming and training had expanded beyond the Middle East to reach South African government who terrorized and suppressed the local citizens. In Algiers Israel armed and trained terrorist groups, who perpetrated many massacres against civilians. In Sudan Israel armed terrorist groups to create a division between the North and the South Sudanese. Israeli military trainers reached Latin America, where they trained drug lords’ militias in Mexico and Columbia.

Hamas did not send assassinating teams, with forged foreign passports, to other countries to murder political officials, scientist, and university professors. Israel did. In 1973 Israeli army and Mossad assassins, sent to Beirut, Lebanon, assassinated three political figures; Kamal Nasser, Kamal Adwan and Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar. An estimated 100 other Lebanese security personnel and civilian neighbors were also murdered in this raid. In 1988 Israeli assassins were sent to Tunis and murdered Khalil al-Wazir, a PLO leader, in front of his wife and son. Several security guards were also murdered in this raid. In 1997 Mossad agents with forged Canadian passports entered Jordan and attempted to assassinate Khaled Mish’al, a Hamas official, with poisonous chemical weapon. The Israeli assassins were caught by Jordanians. In order to appease Jordan’s King Hussein, the then Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered the botched assassination attempt, was obliged to send the anti-dote to cure Mish’al from the poison, and to release the crippled Sheikh Yassin, the founder of Hamas movement. In February 2008 Israeli Mossad agents were sent to Damascus, Syria, where they assassinated by a car bomb Imad Mughniyah, a senior member in Hezbollah.

Not learning from his 1997 criminal botched assassination attempt against Mish’al, Netanyahu, becoming Israeli Prime Minister a second time, had authored the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in January 2010. A team of at least 29 Mossad assassins, carrying forged international passports, were sent to Dubai to assassinate al-Mabhouh; a Hamas official. The assassination was exposed internationally through Dubai’s closed caption cameras.

Mossad assassins were also sent to Iran and Iraq to assassinate scientist, especially nuclear and physics scientists, university professors, and even medical doctors. According to Press TV Israeli Mossad agents were sent recently to Turkey to assassinate Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan but failed in the attempt. Erdogan has been a thorn in Israel’s side lately.

The US, Israel’s best friend and sponsor, was not saved from Israel’s assassinations. The Mossad is accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy because he opposed Israel becoming a nuclear power, and was about to change American policy towards the Israeli/Arab conflict (see Michael Collins Piper’s book “Final Judgment”). There are also many evidence implicating Israeli Mossad agents in the 911 bombing of the Trade Center.

Hamas did not spy on the US, stole its nuclear fuel and nuclear technology. Israel did. Israel’s spying on the US is a well known fact among the American intelligence. The story of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is very well known. Pollard was responsible for the murder of 100 CIA agents, whose names were included in vital intelligence he turned over to the Soviet Union.

Israel’s theft of American nuclear technology and fuel was exposed in the article “America’s Loose Nukes in Israel” by Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, where he explained how large quantities of America’s highly enriched uranium and plutonium was smuggles to Israel via the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC). Besides building their own nuclear bombs, Israelis were trying to sell nuclear material and technology to apartheid South Africa.

Hamas did not commit any crime of high seas international piracy. Israel did. Israeli marine commandos had attacked, rammed, and hijacked “Break the Siege” boats, and lately had attacked Freedom Flotilla killing at least 9 international humanitarian peaceful activists, and kidnapping the rest to Israel, where they were imprisoned, roughed up, interrogated and deported. Twenty other activists are still missing, and feared being dumped in the ocean by Israeli terrorist commandos to cover their crime.

With such comparisons, and many others that could fill up volumes, one may ask why didn’t Israel end up on the West’s terrorist list but Hamas did? This “Terrorist List” was forced by Bush administration on the world. It is the American perspective and the American global hegemonic aspiration that determine who would be listed as a terrorist. Of course if the US would not put itself on the list for terrorizing Iraqis, Afghanis, and Pakistanis, why would it list Israel for terrorizing Palestinians and neighboring Arab Countries?

Hamas is a resistance movement with a branch of social services. It resists Israeli occupation and, at the same time, provides humanitarian and financial aid to families, who suffered from the Israeli occupation. It is not corrupt as what Fatah has lately become, and is not a collaborator with Israel as Fatah’s officials. Thus it gained popularity and trust. When the American administration forced election on Palestinians in 2006 hoping to legitimize Fatah’s collaborators again, Hamas won the election instead. This election was certified as fair and democratic by international monitors headed by Jimmy Carter, once an American president.

Hamas, rightfully, wanted to rectify the previous unjust agreements, expressed willingness to establish a long term truce with Israel, and accepted the two states solution providing that Israel would completely withdraw to 1967 borders. Israel rejected Hamas gestures the same way it had rejected all Arab peace initiatives in the past. Israelis refuse to be restricted within a defined border because that means the end of the Zionist expansionist scheme.

Israel, the Bush administration, and Abbas with his security chief Dahlan conspired to overthrow Hamas as was reported by Vanity Fair. Fortunately, Hamas was aware of the conspiracy and kicked Fatah’s security forces out of Gaza. Since then the US added Hamas to the terrorist list, and Israel started its choking siege against Gaza.

Израиль грозится отнять у Ливана нефтегазовые месторождения

Ливан решительно осудил угрозы израильского министра по развитию инфраструктуры Ландау об использовании силы для контроля газовых месторождений в международных водах под тем предлогом, что они якобы расположены в израильских территориальных водах.

Спикер ливанского парламента Набих Берри заявил, что Израиль игнорирует тот факт, что согласно картографическим данным этот шельф относится к ливанским водам.

Берри потребовал, чтобы ливанское правительство увеличило добычу нефти и газа в территориальных водах, предупреждая о негативных последствиях в том случае, если Израиль попробует украсть ливанские газовые месторождения в Средиземноморье, сообщает ПИЦ.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Пакистанский суд запретил антиисламские веб-сайты

Правительство Пакистана объявило, что установило официальный контроль над семью основными сайтами, среди которых поисковая система Google, Yahoo и YouTube. Это было сделано после выхода постановления суда о запрете всех сайтов, содержащих враждебные исламу материалы.

Представитель государственного комитета телекоммуникаций сообщил, что они получили от министерства информационных технологий приказ выполнять это постановление.

Как отметил член комитета Карам Мехрана, в официальном порядке будут в основном контролироваться Google, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Amazon, Ping и YouTube. Под контролем будут не только эти сайты, но и каждая ссылка с них. И в случае обнаружения антиисламских материалов сайт будет блокироваться, согласно постановлению суда.

Комитет будет также контролировать 17 менее популярных сайтов, на которых раньше были замечены материалы антиисламской направленности.

Указание о мониторинге этих сайтов поступило после того, как в четверг суд восточной провинции Пенджаб постановил блокировать любые ресурсы, публикующие материалы, направленные против принципов ислама.

Это уже второй случай, когда суды обязывают пакистанские информационные ведомства принимать меры против сайтов.

В прошлом месяце был временно закрыт сайт Facebook, после того как там появилась группа, призывающая участвовать в конкурсе карикатур на пророка Мухаммада, а в феврале 2008 года был закрыт на небольшой срок YouTube в качестве демонстрации протеста против кощунственных изображений пророка Мухаммада, передает "Аль-Джазира".

Saturday, June 26, 2010

United we stand, together they shall fall: The United States of Apartheid Israel

Moscow, June 26, 2010 (Pal Telegraph—Rachael Rudolph): For those of us who have grown up, lived in or gone to a US school in America, the pledge of allegiance recited every morning before the start of our elementary school days still rings in the memory of most, if not all. The opening, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which is stands…”, lingers irrespective of how old one gets, how many years past, or the number of places lived and visited. Nowhere do the stanzas read “I pledge allegiance to the flag of “Israel” and definitely not “for which it stands.” Yet, for some reason, our policymakers pledge their allegiance through their unwavering monetary and verbal support of and policies toward the Apartheid State of Israel, where freedom and democracy definitely do not ring true. One ponders, with the current US Supreme court decision, how much longer shall there be vestiges of democracy and freedom in the United States of America?

This past week the US Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that bans providing support to groups or individuals designated by the government as engaging in acts of terrorism. A quick sweep of newspaper headlines, news tickers at the bottom of the television screen, or twitter posts would not have many Americans batting an eyelid. I can hear some of my students or those walking across the college campus in rural Virginia, and even my grandfather and brother in mountains of western Maryland, making reference to the US government having a right to ban those who want to aid so-called known “terrorists.”

To diverge just a bit, one should recall the designation of a movement as a terrorist organization or an individual as a terrorist is political. Some non-state actors, engaged in acts of resistance, despite them having a right under international law, are defined as engaging in acts of “terrorism.” State policies intentionally targeting civilians are defined by some as acts of terrorism, and others as necessary in the name of state security. History has demonstrated that states and the international community use this classification as a political tool to designate those they are opposed to as “terrorists” and those they support as “freedom fighters” or “liberation movements.” As the saying goes, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist best sums up US policy of supporting and opposing non-state actors that cross its path in the pursuit of its foreign policy goals.

One need only look at US foreign policy toward Apartheid Israel as one of the more recent examples, or even the US Supreme Court’s decision upholding the lower court’s decision. What happened to the days where the US pursued a foreign policy not designed to interfere in the domestic politics of another state or region? Where are the days when foreign economic aid was provided to help feed a starving population and fund schools for those who lacked an education? When precisely did the tide turn to playing politics, interfering in the domestic affairs of others, and funding states to systematically starve, target and exterminate an entire population?

The problem with the quick sweep of the headlines regarding the US Supreme Court’s decision is that they lay a security blanket over the overworked, average working person. What is being covered up and protected is that the US Supreme Court Decision, which divided the court, is the type of aid being banned. Deemed a criminal act and aiding terrorism are providing advice, counseling or teaching others how to work within the confines of international law, to abide by human rights, and to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance. This decision also bans providing humanitarian aid to an entire population because the government has designated one of the political parties as a terrorist organization. It is only a matter of time before the US government, in its so called “War on Terrorism” begins to target humanitarian and human rights groups that provide aid to the besieged Palestinians.

According to former President Jimmy Carter, the upholding of this law inhibits the work of human rights and conflict resolution groups. The law seeks to criminalize those who want to work within the confines of international law, to promote human rights, and to reduce armed conflict. Where have the values of and respect for that which democracy is supposed to stand for gone? Where is the outrage over the upholding of this injustice?

The defining, promotion and protection of human rights has become a political game waged by states. They have been able to do so because for far too long American citizens, participants in the International Community and concerned humanitarians worldwide have failed to demand accountability of those representing them in the International community. Today, the voices of Americans are heard unequally; the privileged participate more than any other group or segment in society; and, public officials are more responsive to them than to the average and less affluent.

From the many students to the overworked average citizen, the voices complaining about US politics, politicians and government are similar. What does it matter, as our voices are not heard, our votes irrelevant, and our system corrupt. These voices are actually not too different from a study conducted by the Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy. It found that more than 50% of Americans distrust, lack faith in, and feel the US government, its policies and the politicians elected do not represent them. The thesis put forward in that study is the ideal of equal citizenship and responsive government are undergoing threat in the United States due to an era of persistent and rising inequalities. Disparities of income, wealth and access to opportunity are growing more sharply in the US then in many other countries.

It is time for the people of the United States to demand of their representatives to stand for the values enshrined in, and that form the basis of, the US constitution rather than acting as the voice of and representatives for the people of Apartheid Israel. We are two separate entities, and the duty of our elected representatives is to those living in and who are citizens of the United States. Is it not time for the United States to care for its own, the hungry, unemployed and sick that are alive within the borders of the United States? Will we, the people of the United States, continue to allow our representatives to bankrupt our country, thereby depriving our young and future children and grandchildren with a future that our forefathers promised?

An end to military aid to Apartheid Israel will force it to engage in real dialogue, with all Palestinian parties and not just those actors that will acts as its servants, and to find a solution whereby a Palestinian state is possible. Apartheid Israel will remain acting with impunity so long as it continues to receive military and financial support from the United States. While the government of the United States provides financial support and protection to Apartheid Israel, US citizens will continue to go bankrupt. Nonethe lss, as participants in the international community, the United States does have an international duty. Its duty should be the implementation and protection of human rights and not criminalizing the behavior of those seeking to work within international law, uphold human rights and reduce conflict. The US Supreme Court decision and the policies of the US government run contrary to the values upon which American was founded and the principles embodied in international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

When shall the act of systematically starving and killing civilians, including women, children and the elderly become an act of terrorism, one engaged in by the state? When shall aid to a state that carries out such policies be considered providing material support to those known or suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism? Those silent over the many Palestinians that have been injured, harmed and lost their life as a result of the sanctions and siege imposed are just as guilty as those states in the international community that are committing human rights abuses by their enforcement or military aid.

Where is our leadership? Where are our states? The time has come for concerned humanitarians worldwide and states claiming to be our representatives in the international community to stand steadfast and in solidarity with human rights and international law, to join forces, take a stand, and speak out against the unjust, inhumane, and degrading treatment of all, including Palestinians. It is time to end the unjust and criminal siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and aid to Apartheid Israel.

The street or public sentiment are often demonized by others, particularly politicians, who deem them and their voices as being irrational and emotional, unorganized and leaderless, thus hostile for a time being and within a particular context or around salient issues within a given time and space. Some would argue that the voices that speak out do not reflect public sentiment or express public discontent, as the majority is merely submissive and unconcerned. Others argue that the power of the people is nothing more than a myth, a fiction that those living in a fantasy world would like to see be reality. The street or public, however, are part of and form public opinion within a country, region and in the international community.

They may dismiss us as being irrelevant, irrational and governed by emotion, but the louder we speak, the more we act, the larger the crowds that take to the streets demanding action, the more we shall become a reality to be reckoned with. Then, the voice of the voiceless will be formulated into policy and policies that actually reflect reality on the ground and the preference of the people.

Gone are the days when politicians can dictate what we are to believe and an old political order governed by neo-imperialist political elites seeking to control, dominate and subordinate others for their own self-interests. Our politicians and governments are there to represent us and not the interests of other countries. Is it to be the United States of America or the United States of Apartheid Israel? Shall we continue to support our politicians and governments who send funds so that others can exploit, slaughter, starve and enslave a population? While of course at home, the homeless will continue to increase, the unemployment lines will get longer, healthcare will bankrupt the system, and our loved ones will continue suffer.

Governments and those in power may be able to imprison an entire people such as what the Apartheid Entity has done to Gaza; beat and torture protesters; take passports to prevent us from traveling; and, accuse or charge us with aiding terrorism because we choose to work within the confines of international law or send aid to those being systematically subjugated and strangled because of the policies of our government. They, however, cannot stop us from globally mobilizing against injustice, oppression, repression and subjugation. Apartheid, occupation, systematic killing, and targeted extermination must be brought to an end. Let there be no more wars led by (neo)imperialist elites; no more sanctions, blockades and embargoes designed to starve a population into submissiveness; and, no more silence from the street. The days of apathy have ended, and the voice of the voiceless has risen.

Сионистские ВВС снова бомбили аэропорт г. Рафах

Сегодня ночью сионистские бомбардировщики нанесли новый авиаудар по Сектору Газа. Как минимум, один человек получил тяжелое ранение, сообщают палестинские медики.

"Израильские" ВВС бомбили как сам г. Рафах, так и аэропорт возле этого города, а также г. Бейт-Ханун на севере анклава.
Армейские источники также подтвердили факт авианалетов на Сектор Газа.

Сионистская оккупация систематически подвергает бомбежкам палестинский анклав, в результате которых погибают мирные жители.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Посольство Британии прекратило выдачу виз израильтянам

Посольство Великобритании в Тель-Авиве прекратило выдачу виз израильтянам в знак протеста против инцидента на пограничном переходе Алленби. Израильские пограничники открыли для проверки пакет с британской дипломатической почтой.

Посольство потребовало от МИД Израиля принести извинения и провести расследование инцидента. В последние дни посольство Великобритании без объяснения причин отказывает израильтянам, пришедшим с просьбой о получении визы, сообщает

Напомним, это уже не первый дипломатический скандал между Англией и Израилем. Ранее в связи с выдачей лондонским судом ордера на арест Ципи Ливни возникли трения на высоком уровне. Израильское правительство даже дало указание своим министрам воздержаться от поездок в Англию до тех пор, пока там не будет принят закон, ограждающий их от возможности ареста во время посещения страны.

Затем из Британии был выслан израильский дипломат, который являлся официальным представителем разведывательной службы «Моссад» в Соединенном Королевстве. В этот раз скандал между Великобританией и Израилем разразился после того, как тело одного из лидеров ХАМАС, аль-Мабхуха, было найдено в одной из гостиниц Дубая. По данным следствия, к убийству причастна разведслужба Израиля. При этом участники операции въехали в Арабские Эмираты по поддельным британским паспортам. Копии, предположительно, были сняты в аэропорту Тель-Авива с паспортов британских туристов.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mohamed Khodr – Petition: A World United for the Freedom of Humanity…Freedom of Palestine


"Brothers in suffering, brothers in resistance, brothers in ideals and conviction. It is now our duty to further strengthen this bond in order to secure this hard-won freedom for future generations."
–Guy Verhofstadt , former Prime Minister of Belgium

We The People, citizens of the world sharing a common planet, sharing the fate and destiny of life and death, sharing a globe decorated by the gifts of air, land, and sea, sharing the joys and sorrows of our fellow man and woman, hereby declare our freedom from fear, our freedom from all greedy, subjugating, occupying, and oppressive forces, our freedom to declare, resist, and fight by all means necessary man's evil toward fellow man without fear of consequences.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world."
Eugene Debs

Thus we unite in words, but more importantly in actions, to solemnly declare our full commitment to the liberty, freedom, equality, and most importantly, justice and peace for all mankind. We will not rest until every child is born free, lives free, and dies free.

We commit ourselves to the democratic principle that all men, women, and children are created equal in the eyes of God and humanity and are endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty, freedom, justice, honor, dignity, and respect. No people or nation shall be permitted to live arrogantly and act with impunity, denying freedom and justice to others and defying the will and laws accepted by all mankind.

We The People of the world reject and will resist any political, economic, or military power that seeks to oppress peoples while thieving their lands and resources to the benefit of the few, the elites, the greedily corrupt corporate dominated governments who utilize their military might to declare their right to the lands and wealth of weaker nations.

History is replete with powerful empires invading and enslaving peoples with an arrogance and sense of supremacy that the lives of the subjugated people are expendable and subordinate to their goals of economic thievery. But history has always shown that all empires crumble when the masses rise up in rebellion and resistance to reclaim their freedom from oppression.

As Napoleon stated:
"There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit."

We The People, in total recognition that the most catastrophic tragedy in modern history inflicted upon innocent natives is the illegal theft of a land, Palestine, and the forceful ethnic cleansing of two thirds of its people and destruction of hundreds of their villages to establish the State of Israel allegedly as a safe haven for the persecuted European Jews.

England gifted Palestine, a land it did not own or occupy, to Jews in a simple 68 worded letter, the Balfour Declaration, sent to a rich English Jewish banker, Lord Rothschild, in 1917. President Truman in 1948 recognized the newly established State of Israel within 6 minutes of its declaration of "independence" (from whom?).

"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."
–Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot (Israeli Newspaper), July 14, 1972 (Cited in Nur Masalha's "A land Without A People" 1997, p98).

Millions of Palestinians are now the largest refugee population in the world living in refugee camps run by the United Nation Organization, UNRWA, as dispossessed refugees in their own land and in a Diaspora in neighboring Arab countries and around the world. They have been refugees for 62 years while the world remains silent as Israel continues to expropriate and settle their remaining lands in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, all with the aid and protection of the United States, a superpower shackled by the powerful Pro Israeli lobbies and media.

World Governments maybe silent but we citizens of the world will "never again" be silent as Israel, the most condemned nation on earth by hundreds of U.N. Resolutions, the International Criminal Court, and Human Rights Organizations, continues to commit war crimes against Palestinian civilians, acting with total impunity and protection from its hostage supporter, the United States.

We The People, the signers of this petition from around the world today declare that words and silence are no longer an option, no longer a policy or behavior worthy of our humanity and our beloved values of brotherhood, justice and equality for all mankind.

We will join each other with dedicated courageous hearts and hands in an unrelenting worldwide massive movement and resistance against any government that adopts a direct or indirect policy of supporting Israel's illegal occupation due to domestic or international pressures.

We will unite and coordinate our actions through world wide organizations supporting humanity's goal to finally end Israel's Occupation and establish the Free State of Palestine within the 1967 borders. We will work through all means of communication, primarily through the Internet: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and websites.

This will be the first peaceful Internet Revolution and overthrow of a colonial power in history.

We should begin by educating ourselves on the Palestinian issue then launch massive educational campaigns in our respective communities and countries.

In democratic nations we must launch a voter registration campaign to ensure that politicians are held accountable for any action supportive of Israel.

In the United States most minorities are not registered to vote or don't vote. Given that minorities will become the majority of the American population in 40 years, their votes and future political clout will impact America's support of Israel and its foreign policy based on militarism. Voter registration, not money, is the key to free all humanity from the industrial-military-media complex that has whittled our intellect and replaced it with Pavlovian consumerism.

All of us must match if not surpass Israel's massive and well coordinated public relations machine that quickly feeds the lies and propaganda to its supportive western media. In every nation Pro Peace and Pro Palestinians organizations and activist websites must develop massive email lists to rapidly disseminate information requiring a rapid response from its listserves with emails, phone numbers, and faxes on whom to contact. Israel kills with bullets and supports its massacres with powerful media sound byres and talking points.

We must not allow our governments or institutions to serve Israel's interests above our own national interests. In the U.S., Congress eagerly sends billions of dollars to Israel while denying unemployment benefits, preventing the loss of hundreds of thousands of teachers, and feeding America's hungry children.

We will educate our peoples to totally boycott and divest from companies, corporations and their subsidiaries, academic institutions, labor unions, or any organization that directly or indirectly invests or does business with Israel, especially in the Arab and Muslim world.

We shall commit ourselves to participate and strengthen the already existing Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions campaigns against Israel.

(see:,,,, among many other campaigns)

We shall boycott and cancel all paid subscriptions to any and all media that is biased against the Palestinians and Pro Israel in its reporting and editorials. News is easily accessible through television, radio, and the internet.

We the People, vow to establish November 29 as an annual worldwide day of protest against Israel's illegal theft and occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land. This November 29 will be the 63rd anniversary of the war crime known as U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 passed November 29, 1947, that illegally partitioned Palestine, giving European Jews 55% of Palestine although they constituted one third of Palestine's population, and 45% to Palestinians who comprised two thirds of Palestine's population, notwithstanding that all of Palestine, except 6%, was their land in 1947.

Contrary to western governmental lies and propaganda the Palestinians in 1988 agreed to recognize Israel's right to exist and to accept a Palestinian nation along the 1967 borders, a mere 22% of their previous homeland (now they own less than 14% of Palestine due to illegal settlements, military bases, the Apartheid Wall, and military buffer zones.)

Hamas on several occasions has repeatedly stated it will accept a Palestine state along the 1967 borders, including in a letter carried to President George W. Bush.


The Arab League's Peace Proposal of 2002, reiterated in 2007, offered Israel a Pan Arab peace proposal that recognizes and normalizes all relations with Israel in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands. Israel has never been interested in Peace thus rejecting this extraordinary plan.

For 2,600 years whenever Jews were given an opportunity to return to Palestine, the vast majority preferred living outside the "Promised Land".

Between 1880 and 1925, about 2,378,000 European Jews preferred immigrating to the United States while less than 40,000 Jews chose Palestine. Jobs and wealth have always surpassed their claim to Palestine. The situation exists till this day where more Jews live outside of Israel than inside with the greatest majority being in the United States.

[See: ; 'Encyclopedia Judaica]

We the People, in truth and courage will never stop our words and actions until a Palestinian child can enjoy all the freedoms, rights, privileges, and citizenship conferred upon him/her by his/her own independent State of Palestine with its capitol in East Jerusalem.

Palestinians will for the first time in 100 years learn to smile again, to laugh, to play, and finally to sleep in peace without fear and nightmares.

Our journey is long, difficult, and faces many obstacles, but it shall begin with a first step, your caring signature on this petition.

God bless all who sign this petition who love freedom for themselves and for all humanity.

Dr. Mohamed Khodr

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore, (individual citizens) have the duty to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."
~ Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950 ~

(Please visit this site: to read Zionist's deliberate policy of ethnically cleansing Palestinians.)

Кончина "холокоста"

НОЧЬ. ТЬМА КРОМЕШНАЯ. Ливень. Не видать ни зги.

И вдруг – вспышка молнии. На мгновенье мы видим в ярком сете весь окружающий нас пейзаж, и он совершенно преображается.

ТАКОЙ ВСПЫШКОЙ стали действия нашего правительства в отношении Газы и флотилии.

Обычно в том, что касается предоставлений об окружающем мире, «израильтяне» пребывают во тьме. Но тут на мгновение они узрели подлинный пейзаж, и картина оказалась ужасной. Потом на нас вновь обрушилась тьма, «Израиль» спрятался в свой пузырь, и внешний мир исчез из поля его зрения.

Но доли секунды хватило, чтобы открыть зловещую картину: с момента предыдущей вспышки молнии положение «государства» «Израиль» ухудшилось по всем направлениям.

Флотилия и нападение на нее не породили этот пейзаж: он был таким же с момента образования теперешнего правительства. Но ухудшение началось задолго до этого.

Акция Барака с компанией лишь послужила детонатором назревшей ситуации и подтолкнула ход событий в неверном направлении.

Как же выглядит новый ландшафт, на который пролил свет Барак?

ПРЕЖДЕ ВСЕГО, факт, на который до сих пор никто не обратил внимания: наступила кончина «холокоста».

При всей шумихе, которая поднялась в мире в связи с этими событиями, «холокост» ни разу не был упомянут. Правда, в «Израиле» кое-кто называл Реджепа Тайипа Эрдогана «новым Гитлером», а критики «Израиля» упомянули «нацистское нападение», но слово «холокост» из речей практически исчезло.

В течение двух поколений наша внешняя политика использовала «холокост» как свое главное орудие. Отношение к «Израилю» определялось за счет игры на уязвленной совести мира. Чувство вины за совершенные зверства или за равнодушие побудило Европу и Америку смотреть на «Израиль» иначе, чем на другие страны – и на его ядерное оружие, и на поселения. На любую критику действий наших правительств автоматически ставили клеймо «антисемитизма», и критики замолкали.

Но время вершит свою работу. Новые трагедии притупили чувства, и для новых поколений «холокост» стал делом давнего прошлого – не более чем главой истории. Чувство вины улетучилось во всех странах, кроме Германии.

«Израильское» общество этого не заметило. Огромный аппарат прилагает силы к тому, чтобы память о «холокосте» не стерлась: тут и рассказы в детском саду, и церемонии, и мемориальные дни, и организация поездок «туда».

Поэтому «израильское» общество было шокировано, осознав, что «холокост» утратил силу политического инструмента - самое ценное орудие затупилось.

ГЛАВНЫЙ СТОЛП политики «Израиля» – союз с Соединенными Штатами. Используя любимое Нетаньяху выражение (употребленное им, правда, в другом контексте) – это скала, на которой «зиждется наше существование».

Многие годы союз с США обеспечивал «Израилю» безопасность в любых ситуациях. Мы знали, что можем получить от Соединенных Штатов всё, что нам нужно: самое совершенное оружие, обеспечивающее нам перевес надо всеми арабскими армиями вместе взятыми; военное имущество и боеприпасы во время войны; деньги для развития нашей экономики; вето в Совете безопасности, налагаемое на направленные против «Израиля» резолюции; автоматическую поддержку всех действий израильских правительств. Любая малая и средняя страна в мире знала, что для входа в вашингтонские дворцы ей придется сперва дать на лапу «израильскому» привратнику.

Но в последний год на столпе стали появляться трещины. И не царапины или сколки, неизбежные при нормальном износе, но трещины, вызванные смещениями грунта. Взаимное отвращение Барака Обамы и Нетаняху – лишь симптом гораздо более глубокой проблемы.

Глава «Моссада» сказал на прошлой неделе в парламенте: «Для Соединенных Штатов мы перестали быть благом, а стали бременем».

Этот факт облек в пронзительные слова генерал Петреус, сказав, что продолжающийся «израильско»-палестинский конфликт ставит под угрозу жизни американских солдат в Ираке и Афганистане, и последовавшие затем смягчающие высказывания не уменьшили значения такого предупреждения.

СУДЬБОНОСНЫЕ перемены произошли не только в «израильско»-американских отношениях, но и само положение США стало меняться к худшему, не предвещая ничего хорошего для «израильской» политики.

Мир меняется – медленно и неприметно. США всё еще остаются самой могущественной страной, намного превосходя любую другую, но это уже не единственная сверхдержава, какой она была с 1989 года. Играет мускулами Китай, набирают силу страны вроде Индии и Бразилии, и важную роль начинают играть государства в разряде Турции – да, именно Турции!

Это не вопрос одного-двух лет, но любой, задумывающийся о будущем через десять-двадцать лет, должен понимать, что если не произойдет кардинальных изменений, положение «Израиля» лишь ухудшится.

СОЮЗ с США – один из столпов «израильской» политики. Другая ее опора состоит в поддержке со стороны евреев в разных странах мира.

62 года мы могли рассчитывать на нее с закрытыми глазами. Что бы мы ни делали, почти все евреи в мире становились по стойке смирно и отдавали нам честь. Когда мы шли сквозь воду и огонь, одерживали победы или терпели поражение, во славе и в унижении – мировое еврейство поддерживало нас, снабжало деньгами, выходило на демонстрации, оказывало давление на правительства. Не задумываясь и не критикуя.

Теперь этому наступил конец. Медленно и неприметно трещины поползли и по этой опоре. Опросы общественного мнения показывают, что большинство молодых евреев в США отвернулись от «Израиля». Они не просто переносят свои симпатии с «израильского» истэблишмента на «израильский» либеральный лагерь, а отворачиваются от «Израиля» совсем.

Это тоже ощущается не сразу. АЙПАК продолжает вселять ужас в вашингтонские сердца, а Конгресс и далее будет плясать под его дудку. Но когда ключевые посты займет новое поколение, поддержка «Израиля» начнет рушиться, американские политики перестанут пресмыкаться перед этим лобби, и администрация постепенно изменит свое отношение к нам.

ГЛУБОКИЕ перемены у нашего ближайшего соседа уже очевидны, а некоторые совершаются подспудно, и инцидент с флотилией обнажил их.

Влияние наших союзников постоянно снижается. Из силы слабеют, а старая (или, если хотите, новая) держава Турция находится на подъеме.

Хосни Мубарак занят передачей власти своему сыну Гамалю. Исламская оппозиция в Египте поднимает голову, а саудовские деньги блекнут в свете заманчивости турецких возможностей. Иорданский король должен приспосабливаться к ситуации. Ось Турция-Иран-Сирия-"Хизбаллах"-ХАМАС набирает силу, а ось Египет-Саудовская Аравия-Иордания-Фатх – ее теряет.

НО САМАЯ важная перемена происходит в международном общественном мнении. Можно вновь вспомнить сталинскую насмешку («А сколько дивизий у папы римского?»)

Недавно «израильская» телевизионная станция показала чудесный фильм о немецких и скандинавских доброволках, нахлынувших в «Израиль» в 50-е и 60-е годы, чтобы жить, работать (а иногда и выходить замуж) в кибуцах. Тогда «Израиль» считали маленькой страной, окруженной злобными врагами – государством, которое строят на пепле «холокоста», чтобы превратить его в прибежище свободы, равенства и демократии.

Исполненные высокими идеалами юноши и девушки со всех концов света не стремятся стать добровольцами в кибуцах – теперь их можно встретить на палубах судов, плывущих к попранной, задушенной, прозябающей в нищете Газе. Ее боль тронула сердца многих молодых людей. «Израильский» Давид библейских времен стал озверевшим израильским Голиафом.

И никакой гений пропаганды не изменит этого положения. Уже несколько лет весь мир ежедневно видит государство «Израиль» на телевизионных экранах и на первых страницах газет в образе вооруженных до зубов «израильских» солдат, стреляющих по мальчишкам-камнеметателям; видит пушки, ведущие огонь фосфорными снарядами по жилым кварталам: вертолеты, занятые «точечными ликвидациями»; а теперь еще и пиратов, нападающих на гражданские суда в открытом море. Охваченные ужасом женщины с младенцами на руках, мужчины с ампутированными ногами и руками, разрушенные дома. Когда человек видит сотни таких снимков, приходящихся на один с изображением другого «Израиля», эта «страна» становится чудовищем.

МНОГО ЛЕТ НАЗАД мне хотелось высмеять пристрастие наших лидеров к использованию силы, и я переиначил фразу, в немалой степени отразившую еврейскую мудрость: «Если сила не дает решения, попытайся действовать умом». Чтобы показать, в какой степени «израильтяне» отличаются от тех евреев, я изложил эту фразу так: «Если применение силы не дало результатов, попробуй применить еще большую силу».

Мне казалось, что я пошутил. Но, как случается со многими шутками здесь, она обернулась правдой: сейчас это кредо многих недалеких «израильтян» во главе с Бараком.

Безопасность страны зависит от многих факторов, и военная сила – лишь один из них. В конечном счете, мировое общественное мнение важнее ее, и у папы римского не так уж мало дивизий.

Во многих отношениях «Израиль» всё еще остается сильной «страной», но внезапная вспышка света, произведенная флотилией, показала, что время работает не на нас.

Если сила не работает, то еще большая сила тоже ничего не даст.

Если результата нет – то его и не будет. Точка.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

США - Израиль: Кто главный?

Многие люди на Западе, в России и в других регионах восторгаются Израилем, государством, которое было основано всего 60 лет назад и обладает одной из самых мощных армий в мире. В четырех войнах Израиль якобы одержал верх над своими соседями, хотя его население не превышает население небольшого острова. Такие успехи сионистов заставили некоторых людей думать, что Израиль стоит за кулисами мировой политики и даже контролирует США. Поэтому попробуем разобраться, кто кого контролирует и до какой степени.

Близкие отношения с Израилем были секретным направлением американской внешней политики в течение первых 20 – 30 лет существования Израиля. До сих пор США ежегодно выделяют Израилю 3 млрд. долларов военной и экономической помощи. Члены Конгресса от Демократической партии, которые обычно не одобряют американской помощи правительствам, нарушающим права человека, как и республиканцы, которые не одобряют помощи другим государствам вообще, ни разу не попытались возразить против этого.

По сути, все европейские страны вместе с Америкой защищают право Израиля на существование в мире и безопасности. Но только США до конца поддерживают Израиль в различных международных организациях, когда речь заходит о нарушении сионистами международного права.

США проявили интерес к Ближнему Востоку после Второй мировой войны, когда осознали ценность нефти Персидского залива. В 1944 году Государственный департамент описал Аравийский полуостров следующим образом: «Огромный источник стратегической силы и величайшая материальная ценность в мировой истории».

Американцы поняли, что контроль над поставками ближневосточной нефти – это рычаг управления миром. Джордж Кеннан, специалист по Советскому Союзу и архитектор ядерного сдерживания, сказал в 1949 году: «Если США будут контролировать нефть, они смогут наложить вето на действия своих потенциальных соперников Германии и Японии». Осознав потенциал ближневосточной нефти, Америка стала проводить в жизнь политику, направленную на подчинение этого региона.

До Второй мировой войны на Ближнем Востоке ещё господствовала Британия. Именно она и открыла ворота для колонизации Палестины евреями.

В 1906 году британский премьер-министр Генри Баннерман пообещал сионистам создание еврейского государства: «Там живут люди (мусульмане), которые управляют огромными территориями, им принадлежат плодородные земли, в недрах которых скрываются полезные ископаемые. Они контролируют пересечения торговых путей. Их земли – это колыбель человеческих религий и цивилизаций. Эти люди имеют одну религию, один язык, одну историю и одни устремления. Никакие естественные границы не способны разделить их. Если вдруг этот народ объединится в единое государство, то оно будет вершить судьбы мира и отделит Европу от остального мира. Учитывая серьезность этой угрозы, необходимо поместить инородное тело в сердце этого народа, чтобы он не мог подняться с колен, растратив все свои силы в бесконечных войнах. Оно так же может служить плацдармом для достижения Западом его стратегических целей», - заявлял он.

В своих интересах Британия способствовала образованию Израиля в самом сердце мусульманского мира. Однако из-за ослабления Британии после Второй мировой войны США стали доминировать в этом регионе. США хотели видеть Израиль в рамках четко определенных и безопасных границ, в то время как евреи мечтали о Великом Израиле. Это первое различие между позициями США и Израиля. Израиль с самого начала отказался очерчивать свои границы. Это говорит о том, что Израиль не всегда соглашался с США и в некоторых вопросах имеет противоположные интересы.

С появлением сионистского движения евреи поставили своей целью достижение экономической и политической гегемонии на Ближнем Востоке. Америка отвергает идею замещения своего влияния в ближневосточных делах на еврейское и не хочет делить власть ни с какой другой страной.

Америка готова защищать Израиль и обеспечивать евреям высокий уровень жизни в их государстве. Однако она не намерена уступать Израилю часть своего влияния.

Политика США направлена на изоляцию Израиля, ограничение его экспансии и уменьшение его роли в урегулировании арабо-израильского конфликта. Америка заинтересована в создании Палестинского государства, которое служило бы инструментом сдерживания. Она планирует организовать это при помощи международных гарантий и развертывания международного миротворческого контингента на границах Израиля с его арабскими соседями – Иорданией, Сирией, Египтом и будущим Палестинским государством. Кроме того, Америка стремится к установлению международного контроля над Иерусалимом. По мнению Вашингтона, это снизит напряженность в городе и через институты ООН утвердит в нем господство Соединенных Штатов.

Американо-израильские отношения сложились именно таким образом по ряду причин:

1) Многие американцы, особенно либералы, испытывают «теплые чувства» к Израилю. Прежде всего, это свойственно управленцам, воспитанным после Второй мировой войны, которые занимают должности в правительстве и руководят СМИ. Они чувствуют солидарность с еврейским народом, его «исторической борьбой, присущей ему демократичностью, высоким уровнем жизни и образом угнетенного меньшинства, которое жило в диаспоре сотни лет».

2) Христианское правое крыло в США, которое включает в себя десятки миллионов американцев и является главной базой поддержки для Республиканской партии, использует все свои огромные политические и информационные возможности для поддержки Израиля и произраильских лидеров. Поскольку многие из этих людей сильно привержены христианству, они считают собрание евреев на Святой Земле преддверием второго пришествия Христа. А война между израильтянами и палестинцами видится им как продолжение войны израильтян с филистимлянами, в результате которой по предопределению Бога Святая Земля должна была достаться евреям.

3) Центристские и консервативные еврейские организации используют значительные лоббистские и финансовые ресурсы еврейской диаспоры, а также гражданское давление на СМИ, для поддержки израильского правительства. Задачей произраильского лобби является создание атмосферы, отвечающей интересам Израиля, и запугивание тех, кто добивается смягчения американской политики, включая растущее число прогрессивных евреев.

4) Военная промышленность тратит в 5 раз больше денег на предвыборные кампании и услуги лоббистов, чем Американо-израильский комитет по общественным связям и все другие произраильские группы вместе взятые. Военная индустрия получает большую долю от поставок оружия Израилю и другим ближневосточным союзникам США. Члену Конгресса намного проще оспорить 60-миллионную сделку о поставках оружия в Индонезию, чем 2 миллиардную сделку о поставках оружия в Израиль, особенно потому, что во многих избирательных округах находятся заводы по производству этой военной техники.

Израиль построил успешное государство и мобилизовал большие ресурсы для достижения его стратегических целей. Однако невозможно себе представить, чтобы Израиль добился своего сегодняшнего положения без помощи западных стран. Но Израилю не удалось добиться своей конечной цели и создать государство, границы которого охватывали бы все земли, которые, по мнению евреев, были обещаны им Богом. И этого не произошло потому, что такой сценарий противоречит интересам США.

Америка определила границы между Израилем и Палестинским государством. Партия «Ликуд», которая почти всю историю Израиля была у власти, попыталась в одностороннем порядке расширить границы через строительство новых поселений и начала изгонять мусульман. Однако для окончательного решения этого вопроса Израилю необходима помощь США. С этой целью Израиль организовал лоббирование своих интересов в государственных структурах Америки и мировых СМИ. Создание «Великого Израиля» осложняется из-за позиции Партии труда, которая считает необходимым пожертвовать территориями и установить постоянные границы. По их мнению, безопасность стоит того.

Израиль не контролирует Америку полностью, но он все же оказывает значительное влияние на ее политику. США же господствуют на Ближнем Востоке. США имеют решающее слово во многих ближневосточных делах, часто Америка и Израиль проводят одинаковую политику, однако это не означает, что США пожертвуют своими интересами ради Израиля. Поддержка Вашингтоном израильского правительства, равно как и поддержка других союзных правительств по всему миру, продиктована не соображениями безопасности или сильной моральной преданностью этой стране. Политика США в любом уголке планеты определяется их стратегическими интересами.

Palestinian Women under Occupation

The Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations is a Beirut, Lebanon-based organization engaged in "strategic and futuristic studies on the Arab and Muslim worlds, (emphasizing) the Palestinian issue. In early 2010, it published the second of its series, "Am I Not a Human," a report titled, "The Suffering of the Palestinian Woman under the Israeli Occupation, " discussed below.

In spite of their "exceptional suffering," Palestinian women display remarkable endurance qualities. Living under stress in poverty, their homes destroyed, lands razed or expropriated, children sick, husbands imprisoned, fathers killed, and more, they plant seeds of hope, fulfill their daily social role, and participate in political and every day resistance. Since the 1948 Nakba, they've been denied basic human rights, security, free expression and movement, a safe and healthy environment, and education. They became refugees in their own land and abroad, bearing burdens beyond the capacity most women can bear anywhere.

Under occupation, they struggle daily to endure, survive, and provide the best for their families and children - as spouses, mothers, caregivers, fighters, nurses, workers, and teachers.

Annually on March 8, International Women's Day commemorates their economic, political, cultural, scientific, and social achievements, but for Palestinian women, it's more - their struggle under Israeli occupation, their lost freedoms, and imposed hardships, testing them to the limit to cope. For Gazans bordering on Israel, one mother said she:

"sleeps with her eyes wide open, and lives with her heart broken, expecting grief to be renewed at any moment."

Another woman searches daily for a medicine her son Muhammad needs, hospitalized without it. Some mothers have only photos of lost loved ones, or others imprisoned out of reach.

In Gaza, the burden is greatest. Also, however, after Israel's 2003 law banning family unifications of Israeli citizens married to Palestinian spouses in Gaza or the West Bank. It legalized Israel's longstanding practice, forcing some women to live illegally as virtual house prisoners to avoid arrest or deportation without their husbands and children.

Other problems include poverty, unemployment, regular violence, home demolitions, and the dilemma of living day to day in uncertainty, a step away from enough essentials to survive. Too little of everything, including few medical centers, endangers their health, especially when pregnant or coping with serious illness.

Maysoon Saleh Nayef al-Hayek described her experience, saying:

"It was 25 February 2002, not long after midnight, I started having contractions. I woke up Muhammad, my husband, and we went to his parents' house to call an ambulance. We couldn't get through, so my husband took his brother's car and we set off for the hospital in Nablus. My father-in-law came with us. We arrived at Huwara checkpoint (and) were stopped by Israeli soldiers."

"Muhammad was ordered out of the car and they checked his papers. Then my father-in-law and I had to (show ours). Then the car was thoroughly searched. We told the soldiers I had to go to the hospital to give birth as soon as possible, that I was in severe pain. They first refused, then told me to uncover my belly, so they could see I was telling the truth. After all this (for about an hour), we were told to go ahead. We drove on and after a few hundred meters I heard shots. There was heavy gunfire coming from the front of the car."

"The car stopped, and I saw that my husband was hit and was lying on the steering wheel. He had been shot in the throat and upper body, and was bleeding heavily."

Her father-in-law was also hit in the upper body, and shrapnel and flying glass injured her. Contractions were coming faster. Soldiers pulled her out of the car, made her undress to be examined, then left her on the ground, bleeding and in labor.

When she finally reached the hospital, she gave birth to a baby girl in the elevator. Her husband died. Her father-in-law remained in a coma for 40 days. The incident irrevocably changed her life.

Other pregnant women face similar situations, harassed and forced to give birth at checkpoints with no adequate hygienic or medical care to help. In February 2007, the UN Commission on Human Rights addressed the matter in a report titled, "The Issue of Palestinian Pregnant Women Giving Birth at Israeli Checkpoints," noting 69 cases from 2000 - 2006, according to Information Health Center of the Palestinian Ministry of Health records.

Among them, 35 newborns and five women died for lack of care. In six other cases, Palestinian women were injured as a result of being beaten, shot, or affected by Israeli fired toxic gas.

Before the second Intifada, travel time to health facilities was 15 - 30 minutes. Since then it takes two - four hours or longer, and too often security forces prevent it entirely. As a result, many women choose to give birth at home, especially in rural areas and villages, much further away from medical centers and checkpoints needing to get through to reach them - impossible at night for those blocked by the Separation Wall. In all cases, harassment and abuse harm mothers and newborns, at times severe enough to kill.

Rula Ishtaya's birth was imminent, yet checkpoint soldiers blocked her passage. She had to crawl behind a nearby rock to self-deliver, yelling and screaming loudly without help. She survived, but her newborn daughter died, a common experience for other women, making pregnancy the third highest cause of death among child-bearing age women, instead of a joy in anticipation of a new life.

Even with successful deliveries, post-natal complications add other risks, and under Gaza's siege, all of them are far greater, exacerbated by other health problems, malnutrition, and shortages of virtually everything let in, and lack of much more excluded.

As a result, studies show women throughout the Territories are obsessed about death, feel helpless and depressed, experience anger, and have nervous breakdowns. In addition, extreme poverty forces them to ignore personal health and focus on their children and families. Somehow, they persist and endure.

Education is another issue because of checkpoints, barriers, and some schools turned into detention centers, among other issues. As a result, many families keep their daughters at home to avoid harassment and humiliation, and in other cases, they leave school before graduation to help out financially, families prioritizing their sons, expected to provide support when they marry.

For young girls, few opportunities for development, recreation and participation are available, other than school. In other cases, families have no choice but to pressure their daughters to marry early because of poverty and deprivation.

Despite all, learning and school attendance rates are growing, showing where there's a will, there's a way. True also in the labor force, a 2006 study indicating females comprised 14.5% of it. Because of extreme poverty, many must work, though never easily given the high unemployment rate. Others work unpaid in agriculture.

Palestinian women become victims when their husbands, sons or other relatives are arrested, killed or in any way harmed. They're also detained and pressured to help security forces against their loved ones, on threat of home demolitions or worse.

'Um Mansur Shreim's tragedy is typical. A single mother of three detained sons, her husband died at an Israeli checkpoint en route home from his only visit to one of them. He succumbed to a heart attack because authorities delayed his ambulance. Earlier, the family home was demolished after one son was arrested - how Israel punishes family members when one is sought or detained. If one suffers, they all do, women always harmed most if their husbands and sons are seized or killed.

"Um Nasir Abu Hamid's story is also heartbreaking, a mother of 10 sons. One was assassinated. Seven others are in detention, denied parental visits for "security reasons." Four were sentenced to life in prison, and her home was demolished twice.

Despite it all, Palestinian women persist and endure. "Um Nidal Farhat is one of many. Security forces killed three of her sons. She wasn't deterred, sheltering others Israelis wanted in her home, and being willing to sacrifice her own children for freedom and justice.

Women are also politically active, participating in demonstrations, marches, and other protests as well as providing medical and nutritional aid to the injured. Even armed resistance for family and country at times, putting their own bodies on the line at the risk of death or imprisonment.

It's a tradition, going back to the 19th century, the first one in Afula in 1893 when women demonstrated against the construction of a new Jewish settlement. In 1929, British forces killed nine women in al-Buraq Battle, the event called a turning point in the fight for economic and political status.

The first Palestinian women's conference followed in Jerusalem, and the Arab Women's Association executive committee established the Arab Women's Union in Jerusalem and Nablus.

During the 1936 - 39 revolt against Jewish immigration, transfers of land to Jewish owners, and for a new general representative government, women participated valiantly, supplying food, arms, and taking training to fight.

Again during the 1948 war, women were active, trading jewelry for a rifle, providing food, arms and other supplies, and at times fighting alongside their men. One group of women from Jaffa formed a secret women's squad called the Daisy Flower (Zahrat al-Uqhuwan), charged with urging others to fight and provide aid to the resistance. Another Women's Solidarity Association supplied medical, ambulatory and first aid services.

Post-1948, refugees, especially women facing poverty and deprivation, did whatever they could to survive and help their families. The Nakba ignited their spirit and identity to struggle for the right of return.

In 1964, the Union of Palestinian Women was founded to "improve the economic, social, and health status of women, take care of working women, and provide care for mothers and children." A year later, the General Union of Palestinian Women and several charitable socities followed after the PLO was established.

After the 1967 occupation, activist women joined the resistance, engaged in political and social work, and at times armed fighting.

In December 1976, the Israeli military governor amended the 1955 Jordanian election law, enabling all Palestinians aged 21 or over to vote in municipal elections, including women. As a result, women, more than ever, became politically active, causing hundreds to be targeted, arrested or killed.

During the first Intifada, women participated with men. More than 500 arrests didn't deter them nor do they now. After the PA was established in 1994, women worked in public ministries and institutions, mostly in support roles as teachers, secretaries or other non-official capacities, yet some became political candidates and five (out of 88) became cabinet members. In 2006, it became 17 of 132 - representing Hamas, Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Third Way, and Independent Palestine candidate lists.

During the second Intifada, women participated actively, including through heroic demonstrations - 163 paid with their lives. A notable instance was on March 11, 2006 when Beit Hanun women rallied for the release of 70 Palestinian resistance fighters besieged by security forces in Nasr mosque.

Without weapons, they faced down Israeli soldiers and tanks, taking overhead gun fire and some direct, killing two and injuring 18 others, several severely. Among them was Jamilah al-Shanti who said:

"The truth was greater and stronger than what you saw on satellite TV screens....we were adamant on ending that Israeli besiegement of the mosque even if it cost us our lives."

Beit Hanun women volunteered to get others injured to hospitals in spite of Israeli forces banning medical staff from helping. Others confronted Israeli forces directly and were killed or injured - similar to other incidents throughout the Territories, but never easily, for women or men against ruthless forces not shy about gunning them down in cold blood.

A Final Comment

Like heroic Palestinian men and children, women have struggled for liberation for over six decades - socially, politically, and at times militantly for justice, in spite of enormous pressures and responsibilities as wives, mothers, caregivers, and, as needed, freedom fighters.

They've endured poverty, deprivation, and enormous suffering, struggling to endure while facing down Israeli aggression. They sacrificed for their families, lost their children, husbands, and homes, yet they persist as Um Leila explained, saying:

" spite of all the obstacles, in spite of the opposition from the men, the Palestinian women will participate in the liberation struggle. Every day, people are killed amongst us, every day produces a martyr. If people don't understand (our) situation....they won't understand the pain that makes mothers wish, more than anything else, for their sons to become commandos."

That spirit won't die until a courageous people are free again in their own homes, on their own land in liberated Palestine.