Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
While we listen to tunes, made by ignorant fools,
Israel blocked the UN from delivering food,
They'll bring in the troops and you won't even glimpse at the news,
They make money of the products that we are quick to consume,
It's not simply a question of differing views,
Forget emotions, this is fact, what I spit is the truth,
Makes no difference if you're a Christian or if you're a Jew,
They are just people living in different conditions to you,
They still die when you bomb their schools, mosques and hospitals,
It is not because of rockets, please god can you stop it all,
I'm not related to the strangers on the TV,
But I relate because those faces could have been me,
Words can never ever explain the raw tragedy,
It's not a war they're just murdering more rapidly,
We are automatically supporting pure savagery,
Imagine how you'd feel if it was your family,
This is for Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza,
This is for the child that is searching for an answer,
I wish I could take your tears and replace them with laughter,
Long live Palestine, Long live Gaza,
Palestine remains in my heart forever,
We stand for peace, in times of war we shan't surrender,
Remember, it didn't start in that dark December,
Every coin is a bullet, if you're Mark's and Spencer,
And when your sipping Coca-Cola,
That's another pistol in the holster of a soulless soldier,
You say you know about the Zionist lobby,
But you put money in their pocket when you're buying their coffee,
Talking about revolution, sitting in Starbucks,
The fact is that's the type of thinking I can't trust,
Let alone even start to respect,
Before you talk learn the meaning of that scarf on your neck,
Obama promised Israel 30 billion over the next decade,
They're trigger happy and they're crazy,
Think about that when you're putting Huggies nappies on your baby,
This is for Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza,
This is for the child that is searching for an answer,
I wish I could take your tears and replace them with laughter,
Long live Palestine, Long live Gaza,
This is not just a war over stolen land,
Why do you think little boys are throwing stones at tanks?
We will never really know how many people are dead,
They drop bombs on little girls while they sleep in their beds,
Don't get offended by facts, just try and listen,
Nothing is more anti-Semitic than Zionism,
So please don't bring bad vibes when you speak to me,
I know there's plenty of Rabbi's that agree with me,
It's your choice what you do with this message,
Don't get it confused; I view this from a truly human perspective,
How many more resolutions have to be violated,
How many more children have to be annihilated
Israel is a terror state, there terrorists that terrorise,
I testify, my television televised them telling lies,
This is not a war, it is systematic genocide,
But whatever they try, Palestine will never die!!!
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
In an article published on 17 December, the newspaper expressed concern at the work of our website, Redress Information & Analysis, in highlighting Israeli racism and crimes against humanity.
The article, written by the Jewish Chronicle's chief political editor, Martin Bright, cited a shadowy organization known as the "Community Security Trust", as being particularly worried by the fact that Redress's message was now part of mainstream public opinion.
The Community Security Trust is officially a "charity" but has been accused of hiding behind its charitable status in order to act as the internal policing arm of the Zionist Federation in Britain.
Martin Bright became the Jewish Chronicle's first-ever non-Jewish political editor in September 2009. A self-proclaimed left winger, Mr Bright subscribes to a broadly neo-conservative agenda on Islamism and the "war on terror".
He is also the author of a pamphlet for the right-wing thinktank Policy Exchange attacking UK government dialogue with Muslims.
To read the full Jewish Chronicle article, click here.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Why are Israeli politicians hysterically lobbying in Europe in order to avoid the passing of the EU report and draft resolution on East Jerusalem? What are the Israelis trying to hide??
Israeli ultra-rightist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who has visited over 20 European cities this last week, explains that Israel has taken "huge steps to prove its interest in resuming peace talks".
Rhetoric is all one hears from Israeli officials and violence and illegal behaviour is all one sees. Lieberman has been telling European leaders that "Palestinians were not interested in negotiations with Israel" and that "their desire to achieve an agreement with Israel is mere lip service." Chutzpah is what this is called.
Lip service? Maybe reading the EU draft resolution itself might give a few interesting details regarding the amount of lip service Israel is paying while it continues to pursue without hesitation its illegal land annexations in spite of commitments to the international community to honour the various peace agreements and negotiations which clearly mean nothing to the illegal Zionist entity.
Please read theEU draft resolution below and help expose Israeli lies and hypocrisy.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
An audio recording of this sermon is available here.
Thanksgiving has become a problematic holiday for many of us. We want to appreciate the wonderful gifts of life, but the holiday is housed in a story that now requires us to be dishonest.
In school, I was taught a view of history that assumed people of European descent were the centre of a story that culminated in the founding of our country. In all those years of history classes, we did not hear directly from one slave or native person. That distorted view of history became the foundation from which I did politics. I just assumed that, in any conflict, we are good and they are bad. We want peace, they want to hurt us. We are basically honest, they can’t be trusted. I believed we are better than others because of the unexamined mountain of propaganda upon which I stood.
A few decades ago this false innocence was shattered by a conversation with a visitor to our church who had worked for the CIA. He told me about the horrors of US foreign policy. He talked about the routine slaughter of innocent civilians to protect the business interests of corporations overseas. I did not believe him. I thought he was crazy. Slowly and reluctantly I began to investigate for myself. What I discovered broke my heart.
It is not possible to find truth today if we begin by refusing to let go of a lie about yesterday. The founding myth of the American empire is that Columbus discovered America. You cannot discover a country where people already live unless those people don’t count. By repeating that story every year we silence the victims of the American holocaust. If native people count, Columbus did not discover America. If native people count we cannot say that God gave us this land. If native people count, we cannot claim as blessings things that were actually seized by violence.
I do not believe we should feel guilty about what our ancestors did to people centuries ago, but I do think we should be honest about what happened. And when we are honest about the past, it is very difficult not to see that we are doing many of the same things in the present. Guilt is the only non-pathological response to our relationship to the Third World and actual political change is the only alternative to that guilt.
It can be very difficult to wrestle with these issues when friends and family call us to the old stories. That is why on 22 November, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, our worship will be a service of atonement to prepare us for the Thanksgiving season. Our goal is not to feel guilty, but to be honest. If we remember that God loves all people equally, we will also remember that children of God must humble themselves and bring justice to all people.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
The Jerusalem Post reported on 25 November that Sir Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, criticized the appointment of two leading Jewish academics [Sir Lawrence Freedman and Sir Martin Gilbert] to the UK's Iraq Inquiry panel, stating it may upset the balance of the inquiry.
Miles said the two academics were Jewish and that Gilbert was an active Zionist. He also said they were both strong supporters of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Iraq war.
"It is a pity that, if and when the inquiry is accused of a whitewash, such handy ammunition will be available," he added. "Membership should not only be balanced; it should be seen to be balanced."
The former ambassador also said that having two historians in a panel of five "seems a lot" and also questioned the Jewish academics' credentials.
In December 2004 Sir Martin, while pointing out that the “war on terror” was not a third world war, wrote that Bush and Blair “may well, with the passage of time and the opening of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and Churchill” – an eccentric opinion that would seem to rule him out as a member of the committee. Sir Lawrence is the reputed architect of the “Blair doctrine” of humanitarian intervention, which was invoked in Kosovo and Afghanistan as well as Iraq.To read the full article, click here.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Despite wielding great influence among the highest realms of British politics and media, little is known about the individuals and groups which collectively are known as the pro-Israel lobby.
Political commentator Peter Oborne sets out to establish who they are, how they are funded, how they work and what influence they have, from the key groups to the wealthy individuals who help bankroll the lobbying.
He investigates how accountable, transparent and open to scrutiny the lobby is, particularly in regard to its funding and financial support of MPs.
The pro-Israel lobby aims to shape the debate about Britain's relationship with Israel and future foreign policies relating to it.
Oborne examines how the lobby operates from within parliament and the tactics it employs behind the scenes when engaging with print and broadcast media.
For background information, click here. In particular, the articles below (others are listed on the left-hand margin of http://www.redress.cc/stooges):
- Israel’s agents of influence in Britain
- Who's who of Israel's agents of influence in Britain – also in PDF format.
- Zionists at the heart of the British government
- British premier stresses his pro-Israel credentials
- Exposing the ignorance and hypocrisy of Conservative Friends of Israel
- Gordon Brown puts Israel lobbyist in charge of Britain's Middle East policy
- Israel now calling the shots on UK security?
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Update to the following:
- How the “most moral army in the world” wages war on students
- How the “most moral army in the world” wages war on students - Update 1
Berlanty Azzam, a fourth-year student of Bethlehem University, has been prevented from continuing her studies and robbed her of her degree. Last week, after attending a job interview, she was arrested by the Israeli military at a checkpoint, deported to Gaza blindfolded and handcuffed, and unceremoniously dumped there in the dark late at night.
The Israeli embassy in London, when asked for an explanation, said that Ms Azzam held a permit to stay in the West Bank for 4 days in 2005 and since the permit had expired she’d been living in the West Bank illegally. “As you probably know, every Gaza resident who stays in the West Bank requires a permit, failing to do so is a breach of the law. As Ms Azzam has failed to provide a valid permit she was deported back to Gaza.”
The embassy spokesperson added that if Ms Azzam wished to complete her studies at Bethlehem she should apply for a permit to the relevant authorities (COGAT) in Gaza.
After checking with Bethlehem University’s senior management, it seems the embassy’s excuses are insufficient, so I have pressed the ambassador’s people for a fuller explanation.
Thank you for your reply of 4 November, which raises further questions.But I’m not holding my breath.
1. When did the state of Israel pass and put into effect this law concerning the residents of Gaza? Was it AFTER 2005, i.e. after Berlanty was already in the West Bank? When Berlanty went to Gaza in 2005, there was no such law, so her moving to the West Bank in 2005 was perfectly legal, was it not?
2. Does the democratic state of Israel forbid its own citizens to move from one city to another? Under what authority does the state of Israel forbid citizens of the Palestinian territories to move from one city to another?
3. Why did the state of Israel wait until she was within two months of graduating before pouncing?
4. You say that "if Ms Azzam wishes to complete her studies in Bethlehem University, she will need to submit her application to the relevant authorities (COGAT) in Gaza where they will be processed." How many students from Gaza have applied to COGAT in the past year? And how many students have had their applications approved?
Bethlehem University says that 12 students from Gaza have applied to attend the University and NOT ONE has received permission from the relevant COGAT authorities in Gaza. Do they all pose a security threat to the democratic state of Israel?
I look forward to your further reply and perhaps a word or two from the ambassador, Mr Prosor.
4 November 2009
[Update to story – How the “most moral army in the world” wages war on students – published on 1 November.]
The Israeli embassy in London has finally made its excuses for the “senseless outrage” of preventing Berlanty Azzam, a fourth-year student of Bethlehem University, from continuing her studies and robbing her of her degree. She was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint and deported to Gaza blindfolded and handcuffed, and dumped there in the dark late at night.
Re: Ms Berlanty Azzam (I.D. 801158791)Berlanty was resident in the West Bank since 2005 and all that time resisted the temptation to return home to Gaza to see her folks. If her permit expired in 2005 why did the Israelis wait to ‘discover’ this fact just 2 months before she was due to graduate?
Ms Azzam is a Gaza resident who is staying in the West Bank illegally. Ms Azzam held a permit to stay in the West Bank for 4 days in 2005 and since the permit has expired has been residing in the West Bank illegally.
As you probably know, every Gaza resident who stays in the West Bank requires a permit, failing to do so is a breach of the law. As Ms Azzam has failed to provide a valid permit she was deported back to Gaza.
If Ms Azzam wishes to complete her studies in Bethlehem University, she will need to submit her application to the relevant authorities (COGAT) in Gaza where they will be processed.
Ms Ma'ayan, Israeli Public Affairs Department
Embassy of Israel
2 Palace Green
London W8 4QB
What the embassy tells me does not tally with what the University has been told. In an update issued today Bethlehem University management reports:
- On Tuesday, 3 November 2009 the lawyers at Gisha were informed that the state of Israel claims that Berlanty has no right to be at Bethlehem University - to be in the West Bank. However, Berlanty did not need a permit to remain in the West Bank after entering, and no such kind of permit existed in 2005, so she couldn't have requested one. Berlanty only needed the Israeli permit to cross through Israel from Gaza to the West Bank, which she received.
- The Israeli High Court of Justice will hold another court hearing on Berlanty's case next Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 9:00am to have the Israeli military to further explain why Berlanty was removed from Bethlehem to Gaza.
- In their response to the court, the Israeli state admits that a "mistake" was made in removing Berlanty on the night of Wednesday, 28 October 2009. Orders were given by the legal adviser's office not to do it. It was done anyway and still they refuse to return her to her studies at Bethlehem University.
I’m not a lawyer, but it would be nice to hear a legal expert explain what authority Israel has for its bloody-minded and cruel conduct towards hard-working students.
4 November 2009
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Saturday, 17 October 2009
The report, written by someone who could not remotely be described as biased towards the Palestinians, found devastating evidence of Israeli war crimes during the bombardment and land incursion.
The British government initially indicated that it would vote to accept the report, which would then be forwarded to the UN Security Council.
It now seems it is about to renege on that pledge and vote to block it.
Respect MP George Galloway says:
If Britain casts its vote against the truth it will be a staggering indictment of this government. Everyone who responded in shock and horror to the bombardment of Gaza should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office now to demand that the British representative to the UN stands by the original decision.Please email the foreign secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Burying this report will only create deeper bitterness in the Middle East and further sully our country's reputation. It will, more importantly, send a signal to the hawks in Israel that they can kill and maim Palestinians with impunity.
"Gordon Brown and David Milliband have a chance to avoid that. They should be held to account if they refuse to take it."
Visit George's official website http://www.georgegalloway.com
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Intelligence experts Ray McGovern and Greg Thielmann respond to a question from the floor on the significance of Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal in the discussion of Iran. McGovern notes that "an unpardonable mistake in US politics is to mention the Israeli arsenal as a motivation for Iran." Adding that, "by acknowledging the Israeli nukes, one realizes that Iran is surrounded on all sides by nuclear powers. Russia to the North, Pakistan to the East, Israel to the West, and US ships in the Persian Gulf to the South.
Thielmann cautions US figures on the danger of ignoring the fact that, "between Iran and Israel, only one of these two states is currently under existential threat, and that is Iran."
Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was employed under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.
Greg Thielmann is a Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association, located in Washington, DC. Thielmann came to fame in 2003 when he quit his position as director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office at the State Department's Intelligence Bureau, citing the manufacturing of intelligence concerning the Iraqi government's weapons program. He openly criticized the false information that was then used to gain support for launching the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. This brought an end to a 25-year career in the US foreign service officer.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Leader accused of inciting “holy war”By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
The Israeli government announced yesterday [7 October] it would consider banning Israel’s Islamic Movement at the next cabinet meeting, in a significant escalation of tensions that have fuelled a fortnight of bloody clashes in Jerusalem over access to the Haram al-Sharif compound of mosques.
The move followed the arrest of the movement’s leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, on Tuesday [6 October] on suspicion of incitement and sedition. Police accused Sheikh Salah of calling for a “religious war” in recent statements in which he warned that Israel was seeking a takeover of the Haram, which includes the al-Aqsa mosque.
Sheikh Salah was released a few hours later on condition that he stay away from Jerusalem for 30 days. The decision was widely interpreted as a move to damp down a possible backlash from Israel’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, many of whom regard the sheikh as a spiritual leader. Police were deployed in large numbers throughout Jerusalem yesterday.
An Islamic Movement spokesman, Zadi Nujeidat, told the Haaretz newspaper: “We will continue our activities and call for a continued presence in and around the mosque. We are used to arrests.”
The move against the Islamic Movement follows a series of pronouncements from Sheikh Salah, echoing statements from Palestinian officials in the occupied territories, that have infuriated the Israeli government.
This week he called on Muslims who could reach the compound – access to which has been heavily restricted by the Israeli police – to “shield the [al-Aqsa] mosque with their bodies”. Sheikh Salah himself has been barred by the courts from entering the Haram compound for several months.
At his annual “Al-Aqsa is in danger” rally in his hometown of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel last week, he warned tens of thousands of supporters that Israel was trying to prise away control of the compound from the Islamic religious authorities. He added that, should Israel force a choice between martyrdom and renouncing al-Aqsa, “we will clearly choose to be martyrs”.
Like many other Palestinian leaders, Sheikh Salah fears that, as well as “Judaising” East Jerusalem, Israel is engineering a takeover of the Haram – known to Jews as the Temple Mount because the remains of the destroyed first and second Jewish temples are believed to lie under the mosques.
He has raised repeated concerns that Israel is secretly digging under the mosques, as it did before opening the Western Wall tunnels in 1996. Then, clashes led to the deaths of 75 Palestinians and 15 Israeli soldiers.
A delegation of Palestinian leaders from inside Israel who visited the compound yesterday warned that there was strong evidence of such excavations.
In an interview with Haaretz on Monday, Sheikh Salah also warned against “infiltration of extremist Jewish elements” into the compound – a reference to Messianic cults that want the mosques destroyed so a third temple can be built.
Muslim leaders throughout the region have expressed growing concern that the Israeli police are secretly escorting such groups into the compound following a decision by Israel in 2003 to allow non-Muslims to visit the Haram without oversight from the Islamic authorities.
Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, meanwhile, are unable to reach Jerusalem, and Israel has increasingly limited access to the mosques for Palestinians with Israeli IDs.
During clashes at the compound on Sunday, the Islamic Movement’s deputy, Kamal Khatib, and the Palestinian Authority’s minister in charge of Jerusalem, Hatem Abdel Khader, were arrested. Both were released on bail and banned from Jerusalem for 15 days.
Calls from Israeli officials for Sheikh Salah’s arrest and restrictions on the Islamic Movement have been growing all week.
The deputy prime minister, Silvan Shalom, of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, told Israel Radio on Tuesday: “Sheikh Raed Salah should be behind bars.”
The cabinet meeting on Sunday will discuss a law to ban the Islamic Movement being drafted by the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party of Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister. The bill is expected to be presented to ministers a week later.
The interior minister, Eli Yishai, of the Shas party, announced on Tuesday he would withdraw funding for imams who “incited” against Israel and was investigating whether he could fire them.
The Islamic Movement has rapidly grown in popularity by focusing on charitable and welfare work and has won control of several councils since the 1980s.
Despite eschewing terrorism, the movement is regarded with great suspicion by Israeli officials, who have shut down its charities and newspaper on several occasions. Sheikh Salah and four other leaders of the Islamic Movement were arrested in 2003 accused of supporting terrorism but released two years later in a plea bargain that significantly reduced the charges.
It is unclear how Israel would ban the Islamic Movement.
Analysts say the government could use the 1945 emergency regulations from British rule but the move would be unlikely to withstand judicial scrutiny. Traditionally, the security establishment has argued that it is better not to push the Islamic Movement underground.
The US state department was reported this week to have expressed concern to Israel that it and the Palestinian Authority not “inflame tensions” over the Haram al Sharif.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
A version of this article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi. The version on this blog is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Tension over control of the Haram al-Sharif compound of mosques in Jerusalem’s Old City has reached a pitch unseen since clashes at the site sparked the second intifada nine years ago.
Ten days of intermittently bloody clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem culminated yesterday in warnings by Palestinian officials that Israel was “sparking a fire” in the city. Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper similarly wondered whether a third intifada was imminent.
Israel, meanwhile, deployed 20,000 police to safeguard the annual Jerusalem march, which was reported to have attracted a crowd of 70,000 passing through sensitive Palestinian neighbourhoods close to the Old City.
The ostensible cause of friction is Israel’s religious holidays that have brought Jewish worshippers to the Western Wall, located next to the Haram al-Sharif and traditionally considered the holiest site in Judaism. The wall is the only remnant of the Jewish temple destroyed by Herod in AD70.
At a deeper level for Palestinians, however, the ease with which Jews can access sites in and around Jerusalem, while the city is off-limits to the vast majority of Palestinians, highlights the extent to which Palestinian control over Jerusalem and its holy places has been eroded by four decades of occupation.
That point was reinforced on Sunday [4 October] when the gates to the mosque compound were shut by Israeli police, who cited safety concerns for 30,000 Jews praying at the Western Wall for Succot.
Jerusalem’s police chief, Aharon Franco, also incensed Palestinians on Monday by castigating them for being “ungrateful” after Israel had allowed them to pray at Al-Aqsa during Ramadan.
In fact, only a small proportion of Palestinians can reach the mosque. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza cannot get past Israel’s separation wall, and the 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel and Jerusalem are finding it harder to pray there. This week police have been allowing only women and Palestinian men with Israeli identification cards showing they are aged at least 50 to enter.
Both the Palestinian Authority and Jordan issued statements this week warning that Jewish groups, including extremists who want to blow up the mosques, should be prevented from entering the Haram.
It was in this context that the leader of the Islamic Movement inside Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, called on Israel’s Palestinian citizens to “shield the [Al-Aqsa] mosque with their bodies”.
Concerned that most Palestnians can no longer access the mosques, Salah has taken it on himself to campaign against Israeli moves under the banner “Al-Aqsa is in danger”, urging Israel’s Palestinian minority to protect the mosques by increasing their visits and ensuring a strong Islamic presence at the site.
In a further provocation by Israel yesterday, Salah was arrested on suspicion of incitement and sedition. A judge released him a few hours later but only on condition that he stay away from Jerusalem.
Palestinian concerns about Israeli intentions towards the Haram are not without foundation. Israel’s religious and secular leaders have been staking an ever-stronger claim to sovereignty over the compound since the occupation began, despite an original agreement to leave control with Islamic authorities.
On the ground that has been reflected in Israel’s efforts to reshape the geography of the city.
It began with the hasty razing of a Muslim neighbourhood next to the Western Wall that was home to 1,000 Palestinians. In place of the homes a huge prayer plaza was created.
Next a ring of Jewish settlements were built separating East Jerusalem from the West Bank, and more recently Jewish extremists have been taking over Palestinian neighbourhoods just outside the Old City, such as Sheikh Jarrah, Ras al-Amud and Silwan.
With official backing, Jewish settlers have also been confiscating and buying Palestinian homes in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, including next to the mosques, to establish armed encampments.
They have also been assisted by Israeli archeologists in digging extensively under the quarter. Tensions over the excavations escalated dramatically in 1996 when Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister then as now, approved the opening of the Western Wall tunnels under the mosques. In the ensuing violence, at least 70 Palestinians were killed.
In addition, Israeli officials and rabbis have been redefining the significance in Jewish religious thought of the compound, or Temple Mount as it is known to Jews.
The rabbinical consensus since the Middle Ages has been that Jews are forbidden from entering the compound for fear of desecrating the site of the temple’s inner sanctum, whose location is unknown. Instead religious Jews are supposed to venerate the site but not to visit it or seek to possess it in any way.
That view has been shifting since a wave of religious nationalism was unleashed by the seemingly miraculous nature of Israel’s victory in the Six-Day war. As the Israeli army captured the Old City in 1967, for example, its chief rabbi, Shlomo Goren, rushed to the Haram to read from the Bible and blow a ram’s horn, as the ancient temple priests had once done.
At the Camp David talks with the Palestinians in 2000, Ehud Barak, the Israeli prime minister at the time, demanded – against all Jewish teachings – that the whole compound be declared the “Holy of Holies”, a status reserved for the temple’s inner sanctum. His adviser Moshe Amirav said Barak had used this precondition to “blow up” the negotiations.
The Camp David failure led to an explosion of violence at the Haram al-Sharif a few months later that triggered the second intifada.
Islamic sovereignty was challenged again in 2003 when Israeli police unilaterally decided to open the compound to non-Muslims. In practice, this has given messianic cults, who want the mosques destroyed to make way for a third temple, access under police protection.
It was precisely rumours that Jewish extremists had entered the compound on the eve of Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, that provided the spark for the latest round of clashes.
It is reported that a growing number of settler rabbis want the injunction against Jews praying at the compound lifted, adding to Palestinian fears that Israeli officials, rabbis, settlers and fundamentalists are conspiring to engineer a final takeover of the Haram al-Sharif.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
A version of this article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi. The version on this blog is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.
Monday, 5 October 2009
Enough is enough?From Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights Newsletter
It is hard to describe our emotions in the past three days in Palestine since we heard of the Palestinian "leadership" withdrawal of the discussions at the UN Human Rights Council about the Goldstone report.
Can those who made the decision look straight in the eyes of the families of the 400 children butchered in Gaza and tell them that this was politically necessary because Hillary Clinton asked them to do it (the same administration that failed to even get the rapist to have a short pause in his rape!)? Maybe just one family (see picture below)? And will the rest of us (and yes each of us is responsible) be able to look into these same eyes and tell them we were satisfied with expressing sympathy and uttering words?
Who decreed that popular civil action cannot be directed at those who harm the cause and happen to also be Palestinian? Will our shame, anger and revulsion be NOW moved to civil action? Will we really have a democratic civil society or one ruled by a clique of elites? Will decent people in Fatah stand-up to correct this trend? Will we say enough is enough and this was the straw that broke the camel's back?...
See Palestinians drop endorsement of Goldstone report on Gaza war
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Decision of Palestinian Leadership and International Pressure an Insult to the Victims
Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling *Below is an urgent statement by the The Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO)
As human rights organizations we strongly condemn the Palestinian leaderships’ decision to defer the proposal endorsing all the recommendations of the Fact Finding Mission, and the pressure exerted by certain members of the international community. Such pressure is in conflict with states’ international obligations, and is an insult to the Palestinian people.
PNGO condemns PA request of delaying endorsement of Goldstone recommendations
PNGO expresses its bewilderment and strongly condemns the Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal of its draft resolution supporting the recommendations contained in the Goldstone Report, resulting in a deferral of a vote to endorse the report in the Human Rights Council to March 2010. The report suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity were committed by the Israeli military during its 23-day offensive in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009.
PNGO considers that this move by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is an insult to the victims of Operation Cast Lead, and actively facilitates the ongoing impunity of suspected Israeli war criminals; while the siege on Gaza enters its 28th month, Israeli military attacks on the Palestinian population are ongoing and settlement expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continues unabated. PNGO is shocked at the suggestion by the PA that accountability for the victims in Gaza could adversely affect the peace process.
PNGO asks Palestinian political parties to immediately adopt a clear position about the PA decision and to request from the PA a public explanation. This decision has triggered embarrassment and disappointment among Palestinians and activists in the international community, who have made efforts to bring perpetrators of war crimes in Gaza to justice. The Palestinian Authority has wasted an important opportunity towards ensuring accountability of the State of Israel for their war crimes and human rights violations.
In the words of Justice Goldstone at the presentation of his report at the HRC on 29 September: "This is the time for action. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."
The Palestinian NGOs Network(PNGO) Ramallah
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Labour MP for Birmingham Northfield
Chair, Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group
LABOUR CONFERENCE: MP CONFRONTS ISRAELI MINISTER OVER WAR CRIMES CHARGE
Richard Burden MP last night confronted Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the Labour Party Conference. Mr Burden called on him to respond to the findings of the recent UN report that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza during ‘Operation Cast Lead’.
Mr Burden, Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, also presented the Israeli Minister with a copy of the group’s report of a fact-finding visit to Gaza earlier this year. The report highlights the impact of Israel’s actions in deepening the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Mr Barak’s appearance at Labour’s conference in Brighton had already attracted widespread protest. As Defence Minister in the current and previous Israeli Government, Ehud Barak was directly involved in planning and executing Israel’s attack on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009. Mr Barak is named in the report by Judge Richard Goldstone which is being discussed this week at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Speaking from Brighton today, Mr Burden said:
“Israel chose not to cooperate with the UN investigation, even though it was conducted by someone as eminent as Judge Goldstone.− ENDS −
“Now Israel is trying to rubbish Goldstone’s conclusions before the ink in his report is barely dry. They even say the United Nations had no mandate to investigate allegations of war crimes in Gaza in the first place. That is just not good enough. If the United Nations has no mandate to uphold international law, then what does it have a mandate to do?
“Goldstone’s findings are serious and the international community cannot ignore them. If war crimes were committed in Gaza – by whatever side – they must be held accountable. It is not acceptable for Israel to demand the international community takes action against attacks on civilians by Palestinians but refuse to face up to its own responsibilities for the atrocities in Gaza last winter and for the continuing humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing blockade.
“If Israel continues to refuse to face up to its own responsibility to investigate these things properly and to bring those responsible to justice, the UN Security Council must do so itself – by referring the issue to the International Criminal Court. The UK’s commitment to human rights means we should be at the forefront of making that happen.”
Duncan Sinclair: +44 (0)7837 257 001 / email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS:
In February Mr Burden led the first UK Parliamentary delegation to Gaza to see first hand the results of the conflict there. A copy of the delegation’s report is available online here: http://www.richardburden.com/palestine-report-2009
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Saturday, 15 August 2009
On 2 August, Israeli riot and border police evicted two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, claiming the land on which their houses were built belongs to Jews.
The court ruling was the result of a Jewish settlers' association claiming there were Jewish inhabitants in the region in the 1930s.
The Real News spoke to the evicted families, and to Stephen Lendman, Research Associate at the Center for Research on Globalization about whether the same could happen to Jewish families.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
This is an image of a page from a French passport, whose owner recently went through the Allenby Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the Israeli occupied West Bank. It shows an Israeli-issued stamp that provides the passport owner with a three-month tourism visa. What makes this stamp unique however is that the Israeli border agents who issued it appear to have come up with a new criteria regarding the freedom of movement of its holder.
The presence of “Palestinian Authority only” on the stamp is what makes it unique.
Previous Israeli-issued tourism visas do not restrict the freedom of movement of tourists who are allowed passage into the country, and who originate from countries which Israel has diplomatic relations and reciprocal arrangements regarding travel. That meaning, as long as someone was allowed into the country, they were able to travel freely whether they chose to visit the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, or the Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
“Palestinian Authority only” greatly restricts this freedom of movement, and thus undoes the former arrangement. It essentially precludes travel to areas of pre-1967 Israel, as well as to Israeli controlled areas in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Israel exercises full control over 59 percent of the West Bank - areas known as “Area C.”
It further exercises security control over an additional 24 percent of the West Bank (Area B) with the Palestinian Authority [PA] in control of civil affairs there.
The only area which the PA nominally controls in full, and which a holder of this stamp is thus presumably eligible to travel to, is Area A. The latter comprises the remaining 17 percent of the West Bank.
Area A however is not composed of one territorial unit, but is divided into thirteen non-contiguous areas.
Furthermore, the Israeli army routinely invades Area As, to arrest Palestinians, making a mockery of Palestinian control there.
The fragmentation of PA jurisdiction in the West Bank has invited comparisons to the Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa. Bantustans were false states set up by the white apartheid regime as a means to enforce the segregationist nature of apartheid, controlling the primarily black population, while disenfranchising them particularly with regards to expropriating their land and resources.
In a recent speech, John Dugard, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, made the comparison directly. Dugard, who is South African and a professor of international law noted:
“Are there Bantustans in the West Bank? And I think the answer to this question is yes. We do see territorial fragmentation of the kind that the South African government promoted in terms of its Bantustan policy. We see, first of all, a very clear separation being made between the West Bank and Gaza. But within the West Bank itself, we see a separation to essentially three or more territories and some additional enclaves with a center, north and south. And it’s quite clear that the Israeli government would like to see the Palestinian Authority as a kind of Bantustan puppet regime.”
Israel’s travel restrictions to PA areas are somewhat contradictory. Visitors can seemingly travel to Area As but must do so by crossing Israeli controlled areas (Area C). This means that visitors have the right to hop between different Area A ‘islands’, but can’t be caught in between.
Moreover, the very restriction on travel is equivalent to a country issuing a visa to a specific area of its country, but not to the whole country. A parallel might be the U.S. issuing a visa only to majority-black Harlem in Manhattan, or the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in Connecticut.
This happens to violate the 1975 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (also known as “Oslo II” or “Taba”) which states that “Tourists to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from countries having diplomatic relations with Israel, who have passed through an international crossing, will not be required to pass any additional entry control before entry into Israel.” (Annex 1, Article IX “Movement Into, Within and Outside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” 2 (e))
As far as I am aware, this stamp has begun to be issued within the last month, and no Palestinian or international body, official or grassroots, has identified or spoken publicly of the phenomenon, whose scope is also not known.
The stamp has also been issued to at least one American citizen, as the below image taken from a U.S. passport attests.
In this case, the visitor was only issued a one-week visa to PA areas, affirming that Israel also has the power to determine not only the areas visitors go to, but also the time period they spend there.
Though it is not clear why Israel decided to issue this new kind of visa, certain things can be discerned by assessing Israel’s overall policies towards Palestinians, as well as towards those who seek to visit the areas in which they live.
Israel wishes to strictly regulate travel of visitors who come to the country, especially those curious to see the West Bank. Though it is likely to justify its regulation to PA areas only, under security pretexts, this doesn’t really stand up because in order to get to a PA area, you would need to travel through an Israeli controlled area. Even if this visa ensures that Israeli security cannot be breached in pre-1967 Israel, there is nothing preventing the breaching of security in Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank, including areas of Israeli settlements, and settlement by-pass roads, which Jewish settlers and the Israeli occupation army use.
A more likely justification can be found elsewhere. Israel is issuing a visa for a jurisdictional area (the “Palestinian Authority areas”), that the nominal jurisdictional power (the Palestinian Authority) does not control or issue itself. It would seem logical that the Palestinian Authority issues visas for its areas itself. But the PA does not have that power, and Israel is taking the initiative to do so on its behalf, but without PA consent.
The repercussions of this are multifold. “Palestinian Authority areas” become ‘hardened’ as a territorial and jurisdictional unit, when previously these areas were only intended to be temporary areas of jurisdiction, that would eventually form the basis of a future Palestinian state, to be negotiated between Israel and the PLO. Hence, without the need to negotiate the latter, and to gain agreement from the PA for the actual borders of its state-to-be, (and all that entails with regards to sovereignty), Israel is de facto transforming and elevating a pre-existent jurisdictional arrangement, into a de facto border between itself and the areas the Palestinian Authority “controls.” In sum, Israel appears to be issuing a visa for a Bantustan-like state, that is yet to be declared officially, but which de facto is being created by such bureaucratic measures.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Friday, 3 July 2009
Around ten days ago a group of Israeli officials arrived unannounced at a small and cramped family house on the Jabal as-Zaytoon (Mount of Olives) in Al Quds. The men of the house, which accommodates 25 members of one Palestinian family, were busily working together to construct extra rooms in an attempt to reduce the severe overcrowding they are forced to live with everyday. The Israeli officials began taking photographs of the construction and told the men they had no right to extend their house. According to one of the brothers who was present at the time, the officials then took out an official looking document with Hebrew writing on it and taped it onto one of the outer walls of the house before quickly photographing the document in its position stuck to the wall. It was then removed without further discussion and without the family members being able to read it. One of the officials put the sheet of paper back into his pocket before they all returned to their vehicles and left the scene.
The Jumah family has lived on Jabal as-Zaytoon for decades, since well before the Nakba of 1948. The men remember growing up when the mountain was still covered in the rich Olive trees from which it takes its name, but standing on the flat roof of their house today the view is very different. The area has seen vast development over the last forty years and houses are now tightly packed together, Olive trees are no longer abundant. The Dead Sea is still just visible over the mountains in the distance from this high vantage point but as its waters have been drained so severely by Israeli industry the shoreline has moved substantially, and the tiled red roofs of Maele Adumim try their best to obscure it altogether. Maele Adumim is one of the largest Israeli ‘Settlements’ or ‘Colonies’ in the area of Palestine now referred to as the ‘West Bank’, all these ‘West Bank Settlements’ are illegal under International Law and none of them stood in the days when these men who are now attempting to accommodate their extending families were born in the neighbourhood. Down the hill and across the valley another very disturbing and much more recent construction also scars the landscape. From this distance the Apartheid Wall looks small until it is put into visual context by 5 or 6 story-high Palestinian apartment blocks whose residents are now stranded from each other - their neighbours - by this gross monstrosity. The view from the roof of the Jumah house presents significant evidence of the ‘success’ of Zionist colonization in Palestine, the rubble and devastation at the other side of the house alongside the road is much more recent evidence of Israel’s continued attempts to destroy indigenous life in Al Quds, the capital of Palestine…
At 8am on Monday June 29th over 100 heavily armed IOF soldiers, accompanied by Israeli policemen and snarling dogs, surrounded the Jumah house. They beat heavily on the doors of the various apartments. On the road outside bulldozers waited poised to strike. As the doors were opened by family members soldiers reached inside and dragged them onto the streets. The mother, at 65 years old, resisted and refused to leave her house as did some other family members. She wanted to struggle for her family and her rights. She was pushed backwards roughly as was an aunt who had also stood defiantly alongside her; both fainted from the stress and physical aggression and eventually were carried out unconscious before being rushed to the nearby Al Maqasid Hospital by neighbours. Two of the brothers who attempted to stand their ground were beaten by the intruders and then also dragged outside. Once all family members had been forced out of the building the bulldozers moved into gear and ploughed into the first two small rooms of the house as the family watched in horror. The demolition continued until the first two rooms of the house were reduced to a mass of rubble. The bulldozers did not continue onto the rest of the building as one of the Jumah brothers explained:
“They came (to us) and forced us to sign a letter saying that we would remove all the rubble before Sunday, then they will be back! They told us if we do not clear it all they will remove it and then they will send us the bill for ‘their work’!”
The Israeli Forces forced threatened the family with a bill that will run into thousands of dollars if the remains of their house are not cleared away before they return on Sunday, they also threatened to carry out more demolition on the remainders of the property.
The Jumah family did not have the building permits required by the Israeli Occupation authorities to carry out the extension work that was underway before it was violently halted by this demolition. The only people able to issue this building permit are the same Israeli authorities who brought bulldozers and soldiers to attack the house. Around six months ago the family followed all ‘rules’ laid out by the Occupation and applied to the authorities for the required permit, their request was refused…
“They told us we couldn’t build because we needed a minimum of 600 square metres in order to get the building permit we needed, we had only 100 square metres. Nobody has 600 metres of land here, look around, there’s no space or land left!”
All Palestinians living in Occupied East Jerusalem (Al Quds), or in Areas B and C of the so-called ‘West Bank’ (Areas B and C incorporate all areas of the ‘West Bank’ except the city centres which are referred to as ‘Area A’), must apply to the Occupation authorities for building permission yet it is virtually impossible to obtain. Nearly 300,000 Palestinians live in Al Quds yet according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (ICAHD) only 18 building permits were issued in 2008 in Palestinian areas of the city. This practice forces Palestinians to build without ‘permission’ as their families naturally expand so overcrowding increases as was the case with the Jumah family, yet Israel uses such 'unlicensed' building work as one of many pretexts for demolishing Palestinian houses. OCHA (The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) reports that last year 90 Palestinian buildings in Al Quds were demolished by the Israel authorities for the stated reason of having no building permit. OCHA says this resulted in making 400 Palestinians homeless including over 200 children. A document is sometimes sent to the family by the Occupation authorities informing them of the forthcoming demolition but the Jumah family received no warning. They now believe however that the piece of paper that was taped to their outside wall briefly and photographed by the Israeli officials who came to the house just over a week before the demolition was carried out was probably this document, and that the photographs taken were to create 'proof' of this document being submitted to the family despite the fact that the family themselves were not given this document or even the chance to read it. This 'proof' could be presented by the authorities should the family attempt to build a legal case against this illegal action.
The central section of the Jumah house comprised of two small bedrooms and a living room:
“In one room sleep my brother and his wife, and in the second bedroom sleep his six children. It’s not right six children stuck in one bedroom, when they were smaller it was easier but the oldest is now eleven and boys and girls shouldn’t be forced to share rooms at that age. My mother sleeps on the small sofa in the living room as there is nowhere else she can go…”
With such cramped accommodation the family was desperate to create more space. Even when the permit was refused, as they had expected it would be, they still knew they needed to find a way to extend their living conditions. Another one of the brothers offered to help them with some money as they had none of their own, and they decided to sell the family jewelry and what few valuables they had to try and raise some capital. They used the money to buy whatever building materials they could and for the last five weeks or so everybody has pitched-in together and worked day and night to extend the living space. The brother who had been able to provide some money for the project is a self-employed construction worker but recently has been unable to find much paid work. He lived in 2 small rooms alongside the road and in front of the rooms which housed his mother, brother and wife, and their six children. On the day of the demolition he had found work for the first time in 10 days, ten minutes after starting work he got a desperate phone call urging him to go home immediately. It was the 2 small rooms he lived in that the bulldozers ploughed into and crushed like a tiny beetle under the clumsy feet of an elephant. Sitting with him surrounded by the rubble of his former home he offered few words:
“What can we do? We have no money, no work, no life… all we have is Allah.”
The rubble of his former home cannot be cleared before Sunday, to do so would involve heavy machinery which would incur significant costs; the family is now just sitting and waiting. If the soldiers and their weapons of home destruction do return the family themselves can do little to prevent further demolition being carried out but they are appealing for help:
“Please tell everyone to come here on Sunday at 8am. We need journalists, activists, the Red Cross, we need people from the mosques and churches, we will need hundreds of people, but we need people to come here and help us. We need help…”
Friday, 26 June 2009
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often in the news, and violence is one of the most reported aspects of that conflict. As such, how that aspect is covered is extremely important, as it shapes public understandings and perceptions of the peoples involved.
The BBC and Al Jazeera are two of the world's biggest broadcasters. Arab Media Watch monitored how their respective English-language websites reported acts of violence between Israelis and Palestinians for four months, from 1 February to 31 May 2009.
AMW analysed the prominence of each side's viewpoint and version of events by monitoring how many words were devoted to quoting and paraphrasing Israeli and Palestinian sources, and in what order they were reported. AMW also analysed the prevalence with which each side is portrayed as instigating or responding to violence.
The results are startling, not just due to the one-sidedness of BBC coverage, but also because Al Jazeera fared little better.
Summary of Results
- While every BBC article included Israeli sources, 35 per cent had no Palestinian sources.
- While every Al Jazeera article had Israeli sources, 11 per cent had no Palestinian sources.
- 82 per cent of BBC articles containing sources from both sides devoted more words to Israeli sources.
- 69 per cent of Al Jazeera articles containing sources from both sides devoted more words to Israeli sources.
- Of the articles containing sources from both sides, the majority for both the BBC and Al Jazeera reported Israeli sources first: 59 per cent and 53 per cent , respectively.
- When articles contained more words for Israeli sources than Palestinian, the BBC averaged 3.3 times more words for Israeli sources per article, while Al Jazeera averaged 3.4 times more words.
- When articles contained more words for Palestinian sources, both broadcasters averaged 1.8 times more words for Palestinian sources.
- The BBC published four pictures with captions citing Israeli sources. Al Jazeera
- The absence of Palestinian sources and viewpoints, and the predominance of those from the Israeli side, go against the editorial guidelines of both broadcasters.
- Both broadcasters used words that unequivocally portrayed Israeli violence as a direct response to Palestinian violence. The BBC did so six times, Al Jazeera three times. On no occasion did either portray Palestinian violence as a direct response to Israeli violence.
- The BBC and Al Jazeera overwhelmingly reported Israeli violence as following Palestinian violence: 10 times and seven times, respectively. Only once did the BBC report Palestinian violence as following Israeli violence. This was one occasion more than Al Jazeera.
BBC and Al-Jazeera coverage of Israeli-Palestinian violence
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Congratulations for exposing the extent to which MPs of all parties are abusing the spirit, if not the letter, of the parliamentary expenses system, which was designed to help them better represent the British people, not enrich themselves.
Will you now go a step further and expose how agents of a foreign power, the State of Israel, have penetrated into the deepest recesses of the British political system, corrupting political decisions in a manner that is contrary to the British national interest?
Thanks to Israel’s agents of influence, politicians and other key figures in the British political system are taking decisions and making policies on behalf of Israel that are not in the British national interest. British politicians elected by the public to represent them and to safeguard British national interests are instead acting as agents of influence for Israel, a foreign power whose behaviour and values are loathsome to the British people.
We salute your courage in risking the wrath of the political establishment by exposing the abuse of the expenses system. We hope that you will now take the even more courageous step of exposing those who are not only undermining British national interests and Britain's international reputation, but also prolonging the festering sore of injustice in Palestine whose repercussions run far beyond the Middle East.
Redress Information & Analysis
Website - http://www.redress.cc
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Redress Information & Analysis is dedicated
to exposing injustice, disinformation and
bigotry, and to providing thought-provoking
interpretations of current affairs.
Friday, 8 May 2009
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Benefit Concert not to be missed! Gilad Atzmon performs with his renowned quartet and with special guest Nigel Kennedy.
If that were not enough, someone we love and a true rising star, Sarah Gillespie, will be showcasing her highly-acclaimed debut release. Add to the mix the award winning singer composer Christine Tobin, the incredible accordionist Chico Chagas, multiple award-winning Caroline Bird and the exciting atmosphere of the 606 Club, and there are all the makings of a night to remember!
Thursday 30th April 2009 @ 606 Club 7.30 p.m. £15.00.Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble with special guest Nigel Kennedy. "Gilad Atzmon, the expat Israeli Saxophonist/clarinetist, combines thrilling jazz musicianship with maverick political intelligence" (The Guardian). Featuring drums prodigy Eddie Hicks on drums, the quartet breaths a renewed spirit into their original repertoire of Arabic-infused bebop, performed with Atzmon's trademark mix of euphoric bluster and heartfelt fragility. With Yaron Stavi (bass), Frank Harrison (piano and electronics), Eddie Hicks (drums) and joined tonight by world famous violinist Nigel Kennedy.
Call 0207 352 5953 to book a table for dinner.
Christine Tobin. "One of the country's finest musicians" (Time Out). Irish born jazz/folk songstress performs an intimate set of groundbreaking original material that won her the 2008 BBC Jazz award for Best Vocalist.
Sarah Gillespie."An incandescent new presence who matches her imposing delivery with superior lyrics” (The Guardian). Singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie delivers a melting-pot mix of urban-folk and Middle-Eastern blues. Performing original songs from her new album Stalking Juliet, expect emotive ballads and raucous gypsy swing – all with her trademark lyricism that knits everyday banter with raw poetry.
Chico Chagas. Virtuoso accordionist from Brazil performs mesmerizing world jazz, joined here by dynamite Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale.
Caroline Bird. Multiple award-winning, critically acclaimed poet combines fairytale fantasy with domestic grit. The overwhelmingly talented prodigy was born in 1986 and is already compared to Dylan Thomas and TS Elliott.
Monday, 13 April 2009
During Israel's 22-day military operations in Gaza, from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, named Operation Cast Lead, the so-called "Israel Defence Forces" (IDF) repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital.
Marc Garlasco, Senior Military Analyst, Human Rights Watch, discusses the ground investigation and findings.This video is also available here.
The Israeli army is at the centre of a controversy over the moral conduct of its soldiers.
The printed t-shirts were discovered by an Israeli newspaper (Pic: courtesy of Yanai Yechiel)
The revelations centre on t-shirt designs made for soldiers that make light of shooting pregnant Palestinian mothers and children and include images of dead babies and destroyed mosques.
The t-shirts were printed for Israeli soldiers at the end of periods of deployment or training courses and were discovered by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
One, printed for a platoon of Israeli snipers depicts an armed Palestinian pregnant women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption in English: "1 shot 2 kills".
Another depicts a child carrying a gun also in the centre of a target.
"The smaller, the harder," read the words on the t-shirt.
According to a soldier interviewed by the newspaper, the message has a double meaning: "It's a kid, so you've got a little more of a problem, morally and also the target is smaller."
Another shows an Israeli soldier blowing up a mosque and reads "Only God forgives".
T-shirts printed for Israeli soldiers mocking the shooting of Palestinian women and children are revealed by an Israeli newspaper.
Above a ninja figure, yet another shirt bears the slogan "Won't chill until I confirm a kill".
The revelations, coming so soon after Israel's offensive in Gaza in which hundreds of civilians were killed – many of them women and children – are causing outrage.
Perhaps the most shocking design shows a Palestinian mother weeping next to her dead baby's grave, also in the crosshairs of a rifle.
It suggests it would have been better if the child had never been born, with the slogan "Better use Durex".
The controversy follows more revelations by other soldiers about abuses and the shooting of civilians during Israel's offensive during the Gaza offensive.
Ex-soldier and campaigner with Breaking The Silence, Michael Maniken, told Sky News Online this week's revelations suggest a pattern of immoral conduct in the army.
"The army keeps on saying we're talking about a few rotten apples but it seems the army doesn't understand there's a norm in this kind of action," he explained.
"We're hearing about this time and time again and the army seems disconnected from reality"...
Monday, 6 April 2009
"It's raining enemy missiles, the screams of Gaza ring in my ears”Basma Awad al-Nabari, a 16 year-old Palestinian girl from the Beduin village of Hura in the Naqab, was shot and killed by “Israel Defence Forces” soldiers at the entrance to the Border Guard base at Shoket.
If the Border Guards’ story is to be believed, Basma was motivated by solidarity with her brothers and sisters in Gaza, and sought to avenge their martyrdom. This was reflected in her notebook entries, and in the fact that she took a pistol and fired shots at the IDF soldiers.
“The girl, Basma Awad al-Nabari, was shot and killed by Israel Defense Forces troops on Saturday, after trying to shoot at officers at a Border Police barrack at Shoket Junction.”
“On Saturday, a 16 year old Beduin girl approached a base of the Border Police, pulled out a pistol and aimed it at the guard. The result was predictable. There were no injuries to the police.” http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/Sharkansky/entry/freedom_rights_and_random_acts
The IDF Chief of Staff, responding to soldiers’ revelations about IDF atrocities and war-crimes committed in Gaza, dismissed his own soldiers’ testimony as lies.
So, if the Border Guard soldiers are not believed, then the Palestinian girl Basma al-Nabari was murdered in cold blood by the IDF soldiers, as her relatives claim.
IDF Chief of Staff: My soldiers are liars
According to her family, Basma was shot and killed in cold blood
The town of Hura is one of the new Israeli-government sponsored “Potemkin villages” in the Naqab, designed to concentrate and control the Naqab Palestinians without giving them equal rights
The Israeli regime of settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid drives the best and the brightest to desperate acts of resistance. Basma al-Nabari should be remembered as a victim of the Zionist murder machine and as a heroine of the Palestine revolution. All fighters for peace and justice should learn and teach the lessons of her life and her death.
As we remember Basma al-Nabari, we must remember that the racist regime will not be defeated by the acts of isolated heroic individuals armed with pistols. It will be defeated when the oppressed of the country rise up to overthrow their oppressors. This will require organization and political consciousness and leadership. None of that is forthcoming from either the Fatah collaborators or the Islamist reactionaries.
Those whose loyalty is to the workers and the farmers and the refugees, and all who protest the injustice of the oppressive militarist regime, must take responsibility to organize the fight-back in an efficient manner. Organization, political consciousness, and mass action are the key elements of the way forward. The antidote to Zionist oppression is democratic revolution. Democratic revolution must be the goal of any movement for peace and justice in Palestine.
In Australia, the supporters of Israeli oppression did their best to silence Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper, to no avail. In Canada, the supporters of Israeli oppression tried to silence Palestine solidarity activist and British MP George Galloway, to no avail. In all countries the organized battle for hearts and minds, to isolate the oppressor-Zionist regime, and to overthrow its supporters -- is the challenge at hand.
By meeting that challenge, we will honour the memory of 16 year old Basma Awad al-Nabari, Z”L. She is our sister.