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The "Greater Middle East "
Imperial Illusions of Change
By Kareem M. Kamel
Researcher – International Relations
The Arabs are in fact a people, not a collection of random countries
passively available for outside intervention and rule.1 – Edward Said
The Bush administration can try to present this US plans for transfer
of power and elections in Iraq to the American public as the first
course in a full meal of modern democracy. But the Iraqis, who've
never developed a taste for junk food, aren't likely to see it that
way.2 – Christopher Dickey, Newsweek
US policy in Iraq might lead to a civil war
As the world continued to focus on the daily events in Palestine and
Iraq, the Bush administration launched a wide-ranging initiative,
allegedly aimed at promoting democracy in the "greater" Middle East.
Senior White House and State Department officials have begun talks
with key European allies about "a master plan" to endorse major
political, economic and social reforms in Arab and South Asian
countries. The "Greater Middle East Initiative" is scheduled to be
announced at the G-8 summit, which will be hosted by President Bush
at Sea Island, Georgia, in June 2004.3The US will also bring up the
initiative in EU and NATO summits.
The new initiative is modeled on the 1975 Helsinki accords, which
were intended to settle post-World War II border disputes and were
signed by 35 nations, including the United States, the Soviet Union
and almost all European countries. The Helsinki accords, which also
involved human rights issues, were eventually used by the West to
promote and protect dissident groups in the Soviet bloc. Some experts
consider the Helsinki accords to be a key factor in the demise of
communism in the Eastern Bloc.4
United States ' Vice President Dick Cheney first hinted at
the "Greater Middle East Initiative" during the World Economic Forum
in Davos, Switzerland. Although Cheney is one of the key architects
of the US doctrine of pre-emptive warfare, he declared, "Our forward
strategy for freedom commits us to support those who work and
sacrifice for reform across the greater Middle East. We call upon our
democratic friends and allies everywhere, and in Europe in
particular, to join us in this effort." 5
More recently, during the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan to Washington in January, the US administration gave
Erdogan the green light to promote the initiative in the Middle
East.6 Despite the fact that the exact details of the ambitious
initiative are still being crafted, some sources point out that the
US wishes to export Turkey's secular model to the entire Middle East,
and to establish a system of absolute separation of religion and
state in the region. Turkey will be sending Muslim scholars to the
rest of the Islamic world with the avowed aim of limiting Islamic
teachings to prayer and fasting.7 Moreover, those "scholars" will
encourage civil marriages involving members of different religions,
and will work to belittle Islamic principles that contradict the
Western liberal model – issues such as jihad, polygamy, and hijab
will all be shunned.
To avoid legal problems, the US transferred "terror" suspects to
allied governments in the Muslim World.
The new initiative is the latest in a series of "pro-democracy"
declarations by high-ranking officials in the US administration. Last
November, President Bush stated his adoption of what he called
a "forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East," explaining
that "sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the
lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe,
because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense
of liberty." Then, on December 12, 2003, US Secretary of State Colin
Powell spoke about the "US-Middle East Partnership Initiative,"
according to which the US would work to promote regional economic
growth, female emancipation, and greater participation of citizens in
Visionary talk of a "greater Middle East " for a few months during an
election year might carry the hope of convincing the US electorate
that the Bush administration's efforts are genuine. However, in light
of the mounting problems that the US is facing in the region, the
new "Greater Middle East Initiative" is most likely to fail. The
reasons for this expected failure have much to do not only with the
conflicting and irreconcilable objectives that US foreign policy has
pursued since September 11, but also with perceptions of the US in
the Middle East, perceptions created by America's long history of
supporting "friendly tyrants" in the region.
The US' failure to find an acceptable solution to the Arab-Israeli
conflict, its continuing support for Israel's expansionist policies
and the absence of a consistent vision for Iraqi independence or
state-building leave the US with little or no credibility as a
sincere proponent for change in a region long troubled by
dictatorship and militarism.
US Foreign Policy in the Middle East : The Manufacture of Insecurity
Since September 11, the US government has insisted that its "war on
terror" will inevitably make the world a safer place, and that the
Middle East will be witnessing, for the first time in its turbulent
history, the benefits of freedom and democracy.
More than two years later, however, Muslims find themselves under
siege either through direct occupation by US and Israeli forces or
through the draconian measures imposed on citizens by US-allied
governments in the name of "fighting terrorism."
The reason for this state of affairs is that the Bush administration
is facing two conflicting imperatives. The first is the need to fight
Islamic fundamentalism worldwide, which has entailed that the US set
aside its democratic rhetoric and seek closer cooperation with
authoritarian regimes throughout the Middle East and Asia. The second
is the realization on the part of many US decision-makers that it is
precisely the lack of democracy in Muslim countries and the US '
alliances with oppressive autocracies that fuel the cause of the
Since September 11, it has became clear that notions such as human
rights, democracy, peace, freedom, accountability and economic
opportunities were used to pursue strategic interests and serve the
purpose of imposing Western hegemony. Regimes in the Middle East
capitalized on the moment and used the convenient excuse of "fighting
terrorism" to tighten their grip on power; they continued to arrest,
detain and torture thousands of members of opposition groups in their
own countries. Many of those regimes were emboldened by the US'
abridging of its own domestic civil liberties after September 11
through the large-scale detention of immigrants, closed deportation
hearings, and the declaration of even some US citizens as "enemy
combatants" with no right to counsel or to contest the designation.9
In addition, the US ' arbitrary imprisonment, torture and
extrajudicial killing of captives within the cages of Guantanamo Bay
and Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan sent a message to pro-US regimes
that such practices are indeed acceptable.10
To relieve itself from possible legal problems or public protests,
the US transferred "terror" suspects to allied governments in the
Muslim World (the same countries criticized in the US State
Department's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices) with
torture and forced confessions being commonplace.11 Many "terror"
suspects are even held at overseas CIA interrogation centers which
are completely off-limits to reporters, lawyers and outside agencies,
and are routinely beaten, tortured and deprived of sleep by US Army
Special Forces and local security officials before interrogation.12
US security interests supersede its calls for democracy.
While the US preached democracy and freedom, it not only advocated an
aggressive doctrine of pre-emptive warfare, but also worked to
cultivate closer ties with tyrants in the Middle East and Central
Asia. The most glaring case of US security interests superseding its
calls for democracy lies in Pakistan, where President Pervez
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 military coup, tightened his
authoritarian grip on power, and instituted a series of
antidemocratic constitutional amendments. In recognition of the
Pakistani leader's critical supporting role in the "war on
terrorism," the Bush administration showered Musharraf with praise
and attention, waived various economic sanctions that had been
imposed on Pakistan, assembled a handsome aid package that exceeded
$600 million in 2002, and restarted US-Pakistani military
Given Gaddafi's recent decision to terminate his country's WMD
program and open his country up to Western interests, praise was
heaped on the Libyan leader; all calls for reform within Libya seemed
to have faded as US security interests were fully met.
In Central Asia, the US ' need for military bases and other forms of
security arrangements led the US to forge closer relations with the
despotic leaders of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.14 Even
Saparmurat Niyazov, the totalitarian megalomaniac running
Turkmenistan, received a friendly visit from Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld in April 2002. In view of Kazakhstan 's significant oil and
gas reserves, and President Nursultan Nazarbayev's close cooperation
with the US on security and economic matters, there was no US
pressure of any sort on Kazakhstan 's president to launch democratic
The Quagmire of Palestine and Iraq : The US Fails Its First Test
A closer look at the strategic underpinnings behind the "Greater
Middle East Initiative" suggests that the Bush administration and its
neoconservative masterminds are eager to go back to Cold War
politics. In essence, they seem to regard the Middle East as the
legitimate heir to the former Soviet Union – a new "pole" threatening
the United States. In turn, political Islam has become, in their
worldview, the 21st century's communism, even if certain
interpretations of political Islam resonate closely with the
aspirations of a significant segment of Muslim public opinion. The
result has been an increase in militancy and extremism in Muslim
civil society and a blatant rejection of any message emanating from
the neo-conservative, pro-Zionist administration currently holding
the reigns of power in Washington.
One has to remember that in a bid to gain support for the Iraq war,
US officials claimed that the end of Saddam's regime and the
implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian "roadmap" would transform
the Middle East and encourage the development of pro-Western
democracies. Instead, the "roadmap" has gone nowhere and the Arab-
Israeli conflict has once again been conveniently neglected by the US
administration. Israel continues its atrocities in the West Bank and
Gaza while Palestinian lands are still being grabbed by
Israel 's "apartheid wall." As the 2004 elections loom, the Bush
administration continues to adopt Israel 's insistence that there can
be no movement in negotiations until the Palestinian Authority
dismantles militant groups. This has provided Ariel Sharon with the
opportunity to expand settlements and confiscate more Palestinian
land without fear of reprimand from the US administration.15
In Iraq, Bush had promised a transfer of power to Iraqis by June 30.
Only a few weeks ago Washington 's spokespersons suggested that the
June handover would most likely be postponed until January 2005,
when "genuine" elections can be held. Other sources suggest that some
in the US administration are in favor of handing over sovereignty to
an expanded Iraqi governing council dominated by the same faces
currently in charge.16
Analysts warn that such a policy might lead to civil war, since many
other Iraqis see the Iraqi Governing Council as an instrument of US
policy and resent its domination by returned exiles, such as Pentagon
favorite Ahmed Chalabi.17
In fact, UN envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi warned of the imminent
danger of civil war in Iraq if demands for elections and transfer of
power are not met.18 Indeed, the country is being torn apart between
Kurdish demands for independence in the north and the nationalist
tendencies of Iraqi Arabs. Moreover, Sunnis will most likely resist
any Shi'ite control of political power.
Even if circumstances miraculously changed and Iraq developed into a
fully-functional independent and democratic state, this would
probably result in more pressing demands for an early withdrawal of
all US forces from the country – clearly an unacceptable demand to
Washington, given Iraq 's geo-strategic importance.19 One has only to
note how American military officials were quick to point out that
approximately 100,000 US troops would be needed in Iraq long after a
sovereign government is restored.20
With every major change in the strategic landscape of the region,
Arabs and Muslims are usually faced with a new "initiative," "plan"
or "project" – each promising freedom, prosperity and regional
advancement. The "Greater Middle East Initiative" is nothing but the
latest in a series of US and Israeli initiatives aimed at maintaining
their hegemony and dominance.
One should note Shimon Perez' "New Middle East Initiative," which was
presented after the Arab system was devastated in the aftermath of
the 1991 Gulf War. Perez promised the Arabs prosperity if they chose
to fully normalize relations with Israel and include his country in
all regional arrangements. Back then, an international coalition had
been forged to force Saddam to leave Kuwait, while Israel refused to
withdraw from occupied territories in Lebanon and Syria. Eventually,
Israel only agreed to engage the Palestinians in fitful long-term
negotiations, which gradually became known as the Oslo process. The
result was catastrophic: Israel gave the Palestinian Authority all
the symbols of sovereignty, but maintained actual political, economic
and military control over the Palestinians during the ill-
fated "decade of negotiations" in the 1990s.
Once again, as the Arabs are defeated and demoralized, a
new "initiative" is being crafted by outside powers with an agenda
for change that is completely different from that of mainstream Arab
civil society. After the Tenet Plan, the Mitchell Report,
the "roadmap," and Bush's recent "forward strategy for freedom," a
new place in the dustbin of history is reserved for the Greater
Middle East Initiative.
Kareem M. Kamel is an Egyptian freelance writer based in Cairo,
Egypt. He has an MA in International Relations and is specialized in
security studies, decision- making, nuclear politics, Middle East
politics and the politics of Islam. He is currently assistant to the
Political Science Department at the American University in Cairo.
1 Edward Said, "Unprecedented Crisis: The Arab Condition," Al-Ahram
2 Christopher Dickey, "Garbage In, Garbage Out," Newsweek February
3 Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler, "Bush Aims for `Greater Mideast '
Plan," Washington Post February 9th, 2004
5 "Cheney Asks EU to Join Reform Drive," IslamOnline.net January
6 Sa'ad Abdul Majid, " Turkey Enthusiastic about US `Greater Middle
East ," IslamOnline.net February 17th, 2004
7 Abdel Haleem Ghazali, " Egypt and Turkey : The Key to a Counter
Middle East Initiative," Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (Arabic) February 21st,
8 Thomas Carothers, "Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror,"
10 Yamin Zakaria, "The Axis of Hypocrisy," Jihad Unspun November
11 Slavoj Zizek, " Iraq 's False Promises," Foreign Policy
12 Eyal Press, "In Torture We Trust?" Nation March 31st, 2003
13 Thomas Carothers, "Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror,"
Foreign Affairs January/February 2003
15 Catherine Cook, "White House Now Ignoring Palestine," MERIP
16 Michael Hirsh, "Pencil It In," Newsweek February 14th, 2004
18 Tony Karon, "Iraq: Anybody Got a Plan?" Time.com February 18th,
19 Paul Rogers, "The `Greater Middle East Initiative': Vision or
Mirage?" Open Democracy February 12th, 2004
20 Robert Burns, "US Expects Troops In Iraq for Years," Associated
Press February 20th, 2004.
REAL ARAB REFORM
David Ignatius, Washington Post, 3/12/04
BEIRUT -- The Bush administration's new initiative to encourage
democracy and reform in the Arab world has all the solidity of a hot-
air balloon. It's floating grandly toward Planet Arabia, while down
below the people who would be affected by it are variously taking
potshots, running for cover or scratching their heads in confusion.
Are we really going to make this mistake again? To state what should
be obvious after the reversals of the past year in Iraq: The idea of
Arab democracy is meaningless unless it begins at home, driven by an
Arab agenda for change, rather than by outsiders. If it's seen as
another attempt to impose the West's agenda, then the planned U.S.-
European Greater Middle East Initiative will fail -- and deservedly
Rather than preaching from their dirigibles overhead, Americans and
Europeans should try listening more carefully to what the Arabs
themselves have to say -- not to the leaders, whose main agenda is
holding on to power, but to the millions of people who are desperate
A starting point for me is listening to the leading Shiite cleric in
Lebanon, Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. He can hardly be accused
of pro-American sympathies; he was the spiritual leader of the
Hezbollah fighters whose suicide bombs drove U.S. troops from Lebanon
in 1984. But he's become a surprisingly progressive thinker and was
one of the first Muslim clerics to condemn unambiguously the attacks
of Sept. 11, 2001.
I've visited Fadlallah several times over the past two years at his
well-guarded office within the maze of Beirut's southern suburbs,
accompanied by my friend Jamil Mroue, publisher of Beirut's Daily
Star. Each time, Fadlallah has surprised me. This time, it was in the
ferocity of his call for reform in the Arab world. You cannot put the
case for change more bluntly or emphatically than he did...
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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Al Qaeda spy killed was a local operative, says ISPR
ISLAMABAD, March 30: Army on Tuesday distanced itself from an earlier
claim that Al Qaeda's intelligence chief Abdullah was killed in the
operation against terrorists in South Waziristan.
Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen
Shaukat Sultan told newsmen that Abdullah was not a front-line leader
of Al Qaeda but a 'local operative' who had been working for the
terrorist group for some time.
The ISPR chief had said in a press briefing at the Foreign Office on
Monday that troops had succeeded in killing Al Qaeda's spy
chief. "The man identified only as 'Mr Abdullah' was merely a small-
time local operative," he said on Tuesday.
Sources here said Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah was on the "most wanted
list" of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "He is not
really the intelligence chief for all Al Qaeda, but one of the top
intelligence people in Wana for Al Qaeda," the ISPR chief added.
Gen Sultan refused to say if the military had found Abdullah's body,
saying he had no details about the full name, nationality and
identity of the man. Some 63 militants were killed and 166 local and
foreign fighters, including Afghans, Arabs, Chechens, Uighurs from
China and Uzbeks were captured in the operation, which was wound up
on Sunday, Gen Sultan said.
The spokesman said that at least 46 troops had been killed and 26
wounded, adding that, it was Pakistan's worst toll in its two-year
hunt for Al Qaeda fighters. The government, Gen Sultan said, had
suspended the operation to give time to tribal elders to play their
role to persuade foreign militants to surrender.
Al Qaeda can't provoke Pakistani soldiers: US
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, March 30: The United States has rejected the
suggestion that an Al Qaeda tape provoking Pakistani soldiers to
revolt against President Pervez Musharraf could have a negative
impact on the Pakistan Army.....
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
9/11 may have been the result of a similar remote control technology.
Hypersonic aircraft flies at Mach 7
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, March 28: An experimental X-43 pilotless
plane late on Saturday broke the world speed record for an
atmospheric engine, briefly flying at 7,700 kilometres per hour -
seven times the speed of sound, NASA said.
The hypersonic aircraft, a cross between a jet and a rocket, was
dropped from the wing of a modified B-52 bomber, boosted by an
auxiliary rocket to an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet and flew on
its own power for 10 seconds, said the National Aeronautics and Space
After the 10-second test firing of the engine, the X-43A glided
through the atmosphere conducting a series of aerodynamic manoeuvres
for about six minutes before plunging into the Pacific Ocean.
"This is a success, everything worked as planned," said NASA
spokeswoman Leslie William. "For the first time we succeeded in
separating two vehicles flying at Mach 7. The atmospheric engine as
planned for 10 seconds at a hypersonic speed," she said. "So far
everything has been successful."
Project chief Vincent Rausch had earlier said the 230 million dollar
programme "could mark the beginning of a revolution in aviation and
NASA says the prototype engine is destined to eventually power a new
generation of space shuttles. The test of the tiny prototype - only
3.6 meters in length and 1.5 meters wingspan, weighing 1.2 tons -
marked the first time a non-rocket, air-breathing scramjet engine
powered a vehicle in flight at hypersonic speeds, defined as speeds
above Mach 5.
The previous world speed record was established by an SR-
71 "Blackbird" spy plane, which flew at Mach 3.2. An experimental X-
15 plane was able to fly at Mach 6.7, but with a rocket engine.
NASA described the X-43 as a cross between a jet engine and a rocket
engine, called a "scramjet," for supersonic combustible ramjet, an
engine resulting from 20 years of research.
A scramjet operates by supersonic combustion of fuel in a stream of
air compressed by the high forward speed of the aircraft, as opposed
to a normal jet engine, in which turbine blades compress the air.
Scramjets start operation at about Mach 6, or six times the speed of
sound. Therefore, the aircraft needed to be boosted by an auxiliary
rocket to its autonomous operating altitude.
NASA said the scramjet technology seeks to launch air-breathing
engines to ever higher altitudes without the weight oxygen canisters
add, thus increasing payload capacity and eventually lowering the
cost of orbital launches.
The major difference between a scramjet and a rocket engine is that a
rocket must carry its own supply of oxygen, while a scramjet, taking
advantage of very high speed, extracts oxygen even from the extremely
thin atmosphere at high altitudes.
The X-43 has a theoretical top speed of 10,000 km/h but NASA said it
did not attempt to attain that speed during Saturday's trial flight. -
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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French Muslims Urged To Correct Their Image
By Hadi Yahmed, IOL Paris Correspondent
PARIS, March 29 (IslamOnline.net) - French Muslim media experts
considered the image of Islam in the French media to be teeming
with 'deceit and distortion', highlighting the need (for French
Muslims) to join the media field more actively to correct their image
This came during a symposium organized Saturday, March 27,
by "Multiple France Coalition" in the French capital Paris, with the
participation of a number of Muslim researchers and media people in
"The recent dialogue on Islam in France has shown several important
premises; the first of which is that the French mass media always
deals with Islam as a religion of the past that has no present or
future," Sori Kaba, editor in chief of Umma.com, a prominent
Francophone website for French Muslims, said.
Belonging to the past is a common feature among all western religions
and philosophies, Kaba added, giving examples for the wrong handling
of the Islamic issues by the French media, like
demonstrating "fanatic trends" as the only representative of Islam,
while ignoring other more open ones.
"French mass media uses the term [Islamists] as an accusation in
itself, though such term is being used in the Arab and Islamic world
to refer to people and parties represented in the parliaments of
their respective countries," he said.
He reiterated that the western history is not void of persecution,
referring to what the Protestant Christians faced during the sixth
"Several mass media present a false and unrealistic image of Islam,
quoting a report prepared by France Channel Two on a Paris
neighborhood, showing it as an Afghan district in the capital, though
the reality is surprisingly different," Ahmed Hafeizy, presenter of
France Channel Two 'Knowing Islam' program, said.
Abu Bakr Malek, an editor in 'safirnat.info' website, affiliated to
the Muslim community in France, said that falsehoods attributed to
Islam in the French media simply stem from ignorance.
"Several French experts, who introduce themselves to mass media as
specialists in Islamic issues, have not read Qur'an and do not know
the difference between Qur'anic verses and Prophetic sayings," he
On means of correcting falsehoods attributed to Islam in the French
media, Kaba said, "Muslims of France should deliver their own image
themselves, instead of only being the subject of such imaging. They
should be active to generate their own image."
"We try to undertake such mission through Umma.com website, calling
upon Muslims of France to join the media field rather than being a
subject of an imaging fabricated by others," he added.
Hafeizy agreed with Kaba that it is imperative that Muslims and Arabs
draw their own image. He reiterated that Muslims are required to
review the image drawn by the Islamic world about others.
The number of Muslims in France exceeds six millions, representing
10% of the population and possessing 1.8 million votes. Muslims in
France come from 53 countries and speak 21 languages. Algerians
represent a great majority of Muslims in France.
Some studies and estimates point out that the number of Muslims in
France will be more than threefold by 2020. Their numbers will reach
20 millions due to the high fertility rate, the high birth rate,
continuous immigration into France and adoption by large numbers of
French people of Islam, as Muslims of French origin amount to
The French Malaise
By Israel Shamir
Tarascon is as French as they come. A charming and tiny Provençal
village outside the high crenellated walls of an old chateau on the
high bank of Rhone lies in a pleasant country full of sunlight,
thistle, rough wine and Mistral poetry. But for the river, it is very
similar to my arid Palestine; and indeed, an ingenious and liberated
Palestinian girl Nicolette was wooed here by the heir to Beaucaire
castle, young Aucassin, in a 13th-century fable. Tarascon's church
(bombed in 1940's by the ubiquitous US Air Force) is old enough to
remember their oaths. But Tarascon's chief claim to posterity is due
to a novel by the bard of the South, Alphonse Daudet. There is a
monument to its main character, Tartarin, an epitome of a Southern
peasant, a jovial, earthly but boastful type who is getting carried
away by his imagination and invariably gets cold feet.
In a less-well-known sequel, Tartarin is told that the Alps are
perfectly safe, and ravines, avalanches and steep rocks are but means
for the local guides to squeeze hefty tips from naïve alpinists.
Armed with this knowledge Tartarin commits great feats of courage,
crosses abyss by walking a rope, climbs unvanquished heights and
shocks his guides by his foolhardy bravery; until… Until he learns
that the dangers of the Alps are perfectly real. From that moment he
is unable to walk even a broad path for fear for his life, and the
great hero of yesterday has to be taken down by four strong men.
This mishap of Tartarin reminded me the present U-turn of French
politics. Just a year ago, France courageously objected to the US
plans of aggression in Iraq. Jacques Chirac forged the coalition of
the brave, allying with Germany, Russia and China against the
neocons' drive to submit the Middle East to Sharon's mercy. But since
then, the US tanks reached Baghdad, and the neocons declared France
their enemy No.1, on a par with North Korea and Iran. Tartarin of
Tarascon had had second thoughts for he paid heed to the Alpine abyss
in front of him.
This U-turn is most visible in relation to Israel and to Jews. Just a
year ago, the feeling of French independence was so strong that a
French ambassador dared to wonder why `a small shitty country' causes
so much mischief on global scale. Now, the president of the small
shitty country entered Paris amidst the triumphal brouhaha normally
reserved for victorious emperors; and the butcher of Qibye, Sabra and
Chatila is about to visit the subdued France this summer.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz mused: "If you are planning to visit
Paris next week, maybe you should reconsider. Because of the "rising
tide of anti-Semitism"? On the contrary. Because of the "I love
Israel" parade. President Moshe Katsav will be arriving in Paris for
a state visit and his counterpart, Jacques Chirac, intends to greet
him with a big bear hug and even halt all the traffic in the busy
downtown area. In the 16th century, the Protestant King Henri IV
declared that "Paris is well worth a Mass" (i.e., conversion to
Catholicism). The sovereign sitting in the capital today believes
that warmer relations with Israel are well worth giving irritable
Parisian drivers a nervous breakdown."
The best and biggest congress venue of Paris, Palais des Congres, was
allocated to the annual concert of ABSI, Association for Israeli
Soldier's Welfare (it was shifted at last moment to the Expo Park at
Versailles). The brave communists of PCN-NCP wrote in their
ringing Gallic prose: `It appears that we have to attend to welfare
of these sweet guys who planted 200 000 anti-personnel mines in South
Lebanon, of the henchmen of the check-points, the destructors of
Jénine and Palestine, of back-up troops of the death squads, the
pilots who bomb the Palestinian refugee camps, of soldiers shooting
at children armed with stones'.
The PCN-NCP do not beat around the bush and do not attribute this
development to doubtful Israeli charms. For them, "the Zionist lobby
are the advance force of Yankee collaborationists who carry out their
old worn-down blackmail of `antisemitism'," this equivalent of anti-
Sovietism in the Pax Americana. But the real problem is
not `antisemitism' but Judeophobia, fear of Jews, not-too-irrational
fear of their power. Many people in France and elsewhere believe in
their heart of hearts that it is the Jewish power that brought
American tanks to Baghdad, and can bring them to Paris, if necessary.
True or not, the idea has its own power. And while the brave French
people of the PCN-NCP reject what they call `Kollaboration with the
American-Zionist imperialism', less brave trod the submissive path of
Vichy. France is not conquered yet, but Tartarin already warms his
The Jewish lobby hates every reference to Christ and objects to the
epochal film Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson; and in all Catholic
France, once the beloved daughter of the Church, not a single
established distributor dared to screen this film. This suicidal task
was taken by a Christ-loving Muslim immigrant from Maghreb, thus
stressing that Christ is the unique figure uniting Arab Muslims,
French Catholics and Russian Orthodox in one anti-Mammonite front.
Indeed, the Muslim immigrants restored to France some of its
indomitable spirit that was lost with many young lives at Verdun.
The Zionist lobby objected to the wild humour of Dieudonne and this
extremely popular stand up comedian found the halls of the country
locked in front of his face. The Zionist lobby objected to my book
L'Autre Visage d'Israel published by Balland, and its manager Denis
Bourgeois, this rightful heir to Tartarin, ordered to burn the book.
Now, on 15 of March, 2004, in Marseille, the CRIF, the shock troops
of American-Israeli collaborators in France, take to court the
internet publisher of La Maison d'Orient, Pierre-Alexandre Orsoni and
the translator Marcel Charbonnier, dour friends of Palestine and my
friends, for `provocation of racial hatred' for they translated and
published in the Web my essay Midas Ears (read it in English , in
French , in Spanish ).
In the essay, I attributed the Iraqi War to the concerted drive of
the organised American Jewry. "Oh no, it is OIL", wrote some
readers, "it is WMD", surmised others. A year passed by, Iraq is
conquered, but there is no oil coming out of there, as I predicted;
but oil and food is coming at good price to the bleeding American
troops in Iraq from Israel. There was no WMD in the Middle East, but
in Israel, the only beneficiary of the Iraqi War.
King Midas also did put his barber on trial for disclosing the
terrible secret of king's donkey ears; but too late, the secret was
out. Likewise, the secret of Polichinelle of Jewish influence in the
US was out thanks to their push for war.
The CRIF had an additional reason to attack Midas Ears. In the essay,
I quoted a French Jewish historian Simcha Epstein, who discovered
that French Jewish organisations secretly bought and subverted French
media for many years. This historical fact was too close to the dark
heart of CRIF's influence. Instead of arguing with it, or asking
Simcha Epstein, a leading Jewish historian with the Centre of
Antisemitism Studies in Israel, to enlighten them, they tried to
silence it. Two newspapers Le Monde and Libération (a.k.a. L'Immonde
and L'Aberration) apparently felt concerned and simultaneously
attacked Orsoni, Marcel Charbonnier and me. None dared to deal with
the accusation of Epstein. Indeed, Le Monde had met the Israeli
President with a front page heading Zionist and Proud of It.
The trumped-up charges of `racial hatred' should not mislead. It is
our Zionist enemies who daily incite racial hatred, Alain
Finkielkraut ("What's good for the Jews is good for France") to
Arabs, Andre Glucksman to Russians, Daniel Goldhagen ("Hitler's
Willing Executioners") to Germans. In 1972, Bernard-Henri Levy
applauded summary executions of French lovers of German officers in
the most racist terms. But de Gaulle did not `incite racial
hatred' when he called for Resistance to the German invader. Joan of
Arc did not `incite racial hatred' when she fought for France against
the English overlord.
Our friends, noble Pierre-Alexander Orsoni and valiant Marcel
Charbonnier, belong to the same sort of French as Charles de Gaulle;
they fight for Free France against the encroaching shadow of Judeo-
American imperialism and its Fifth column in France. Friends of
Palestine, they know of the Cross of Lorraine presented by de Gaulle
to Arafat; the embattled Palestinian president still wears it on his
heart as a sign of love to Christ and to His French and Palestinian
warriors. It will surely bring victory to the fearless and deserving.
The judges in Marseille should be fearless, too. For a judge, as
opposed to a peasant of Tarascon, cowardice is a sin; it is the
unforgivable sin of Pilate. They should not listen to the claque of
CRIF calling to crucify these men. After all, France is not occupied
yet, though you would never guess it by the impudence of the Fifth
Column. The writ of New York and Tel Aviv does not reach Marseille
yet. Though Alps are real, Tartarin can still walk this path.
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Mazin Qumsiyeh/Morton Klein Debate @ Manhattanville College
by Abbas Hamideh (Resistance48@...)
March 31, 2004 - I just got back from the Mazin Qumsiyeh/Morton Klein
Debate at Manhattanville College in Westchester, New York. I must
say that this was a victory for the Palestinian perspective and
struggle in Westchester County, New York tonight!!
Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh (Co-founder, Al-Awda/Palestine Right To Return
Coalition) was truly impressive tonight with his debate against
Morton Klein (President, Zionist Organization of America), the oldest
Pro-Israeli organization in the United States.
During the extensive debate, Dr. Qumsiyeh kept to the basics on the
plight of the Palestinian people, explaining Israel's racist
policies, endless human rights violations, defiance of International
Law, UN Resolutions violations, continued building of Apartheid Wall,
extrajudicial assassinations, killing of Internationals like Rachel
Corrie and the continued and on going brutal occupation and
oppression of Palestinians.
Meanwhile the Zionist Morton Klein in my view committed political
suicide with his very racist references and attacks on Hamas, the
Palestinian Authority, and even used his indoctrinated views of Arabs
in general and Saudi Arabia's 'neglected Arab women.' Not to mention
in his views that "Palestine never existed." The audience was purely
disgusted with Klein's poor and overly abused Zionist propaganda.
Basically Klein did the Palestinians a favor in spilling out his
organizations racism publicly!
Mazin Qumsiyeh was truly patient and effective with his just and well
articulated views on the Palestinian struggle both in Palestine and
the United States. The US bias media was extensively exposed. He was
magnificent and really got many if not most people attending on the
side of Palestine!
One American Jewish listener said told people at the event "I came
here to support Israel and Morton Klein but was disappointed when I
learned the facts in Qumsiyeh's debate on Palestine." This person
literally changed in an instant when he became aware of the real
facts at hand. ZOA's Morton Klein's very racist and ignorant
perspective backfired on Israel and it's supporters tonight. His
racism, and hatred based debate was useless.
One of the amazing moments for me was when the Police Lieutenant of a
local town took his hat off at the end of the debate and thanked
Mazin and the Palestinians who were there to share their plight and
said he himself benefited greatly tonight for being at the debate.
The Police Luitenenant even purchasedone of Mazin's published books
on Palestine. This was an active duty Police Luitenenat in full
uniform who came to supervise the security at the event. I truly
believe that we can win the fight against Zionism propaganda if given
Channel 12 News in Westchester, New York came out and covered the
event. There was a small clip of the debate that was aired
immediately after the Manhattanville College event. Their coverage
theme was called: "The Middle East Conflict took center stage at a
local Westchetser College tonight." http://www.news12.com/WC
Much thanks to the Manhattanville College students and staff for
putting this debate together and giving justice a chance to be heard
on its campus. Much thanks especially to the supporters of Palestine
who came out to show their unequivocal support!
Long Live Palestine!
Thawra Hatal Awda!
Yours in struggle,
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Substance and Semantics in the "Ethnic Democracy" Debate
ASTRONOMERS RECENTLY DEALT WITH THE weighty question of whether to
continue classifying Pluto as a "planet" or to redefine it as
a "transNeptunian object." This debate did not involve disagreement
over the actual nature of Pluto itself; all agreed that it was
smaller than the eight other planets, that it was composed mainly of
ice, and that it had an unusual elliptical orbit. The question was
whether to define the concept of "planet" elastically enough to
include such an object, while still excluding numerous other objects
that also orbit the sun. For the astronomers involved, this was
largely arbitrary, since nothing inherent to the term "planet"
(original meaning: "a wanderer") furnished operational guidelines for
Similarly, there is remarkably little disagreement over the actual
substance of Israeli politics in the recent debate over "ethnic
democracy" in the pages of Israel Studies.1 Sammy Smooha classifies
Israel in the historically-rare category of "ethnic democracy"; As'ad
Ghanem, Nadim Rouhana, and Oren Yiftachel challenge the "democracy"
component of that taxonomy and suggest instead the label
of "ethnocracy," a somewhat less rare but still infrequent species;
Ruth Gavison argues for moving the debate into explicit rather than
submerged normative terms, and concludes that there is no necessary
conceptual inconsistency between a state being Jewish and its being a
democracy. All, however, describe the actual situation of non-Jews in
Israel, in law and in practice, in similar terms. In Smooha's
words, "minorities are treated as second-class citizens, feared as a
threat, excluded from the national power structure, and placed under
some control," while "at the same time [they] are allowed to conduct
a democratic and peaceful struggle that yields incremental
improvement in their status."2
The question of whether this disqualifies Israel as a democracy
obviously depends on the definition of democracy that is used. The
term "democracy," like the term "planet," does not have an inherent
and precise delimitation that is fixed for all time and is
intuitively obvious in its application to specific cases. Standard
dictionary definitions, such as "government by the people"
or "majority rule," do not take us very far. Political scientists
must operationalize the concept for it to be useful empirically, and
such definitions will always be arbitrary to some extent. We usually
ask only that the analyst be clear about the definition being used in
order to avoid superfluous debate over semantics-though it is useful
to remember that definitions deviating widely from conventional
usage, no matter how precise, are still likely to invite
Gavison points out that the use of a label loaded with positive and
negative connotations--such as "democracy"--has especially serious
consequences. This is further reason to be as precise as possible in
defining such concepts operationally. Gavison then deals with these
consequences on a political and normative level. I agree that the
normative aspects of this issue should be made explicit, and I find
her discussion of them illuminating. The focus here, however, will
return to what she terms the "scholarly" or "conceptual" level,
dealing with grubby issues of definition and methodology.
Ghanem, Rouhana, and Yiftachel do begin with a clear definition of
We perceive [democracy] as a system of government based on several
key principles: (a) equal and inclusive citizenship and civil rights,
(b) popular sovereignty and universal suffrage; (c) protection of
minorities; and (d) periodic, universal and free elections.3
To this the authors later add a de facto fifth requirement: a
democracy must have clear borders. This is because it must have
a "demos," defined in ancient Greece as "an inclusive body of
empowered citizens within a given territory." This clearly implies,
they argue, clear and permanent borders: "the state should belong to
all its citizens and only to those citizens."4
Ghanem, Rouhana, and Yiftachel have, therefore, supplied us with
fairly precise and measurable criteria for differentiating between
a "democracy" and a "non-democracy." Fair enough. By this definition
it is also clear that they have a very strong case for flunking
Israel. It is difficult to argue (and so far no participant in this
debate has argued) that Palestinian Arabs in Israel enjoy full
equality with Jews either de jure (that is, in terms of
constitutional and legal structures) or de facto.5 As a minority,
they are systematically excluded from important areas of Israeli
life. The lack of clear borders is expressed in the citizenship
extended to Jewish settlers (but not Palestinians) living beyond the
Green Line and in the ambiguous relationship of Israel to Jewish
diasporas around the world. The state of Israel is established
explicitly on an ethnic basis, and, by the above criteria, an ethnic
democracy is, indeed, a contradiction in terms (like "hot ice," as
the authors put it).
Political scientists working empirically on democracy have generally
employed much less unforgiving criteria. Some even challenge the
validity of dealing with political democracy as a dichotomous, either-
or, concept: "I believe that we unnecessarily compromise the concept
of political democracy by considering it a dichotomous phenomenon.
This leads to a crude lumping of countries into the same category
when in reality they have very different degrees of political
democracy."6 And those who have chosen to dichotomize democracies and
non-democracies have proceeded more cautiously.
Dankwart Rustow, in 1967, applied the following four criteria:
1. The free flow of information and the free expression of opinion.
2. The competition of party programs and candidates for electoral
3. The control of the government by elected representatives.
4. Either (a) periodic changes in the composition of the ruling
majority or (b) representation of all major electoral trends within
Application of these criteria to contemporary states led to a list of
31 democracies, Israel being one of them.7
In 1971, Robert Dahl suggested a set of eight requirements for
democracy (which he termed "polyarchy" in order "to maintain the
distinction between democracy as an ideal system and the
institutional arrangements that have come to be regarded as a kind of
imperfect approximation of an ideal"):
1. Freedom to form and join organizations.
2. Freedom of expression.
3. Right to vote.
4. Eligibility for public office.
5. Right of political leaders to compete for support and votes.
6. Alternative sources of information.
7. Free and fair elections.
8. Institutions for making government policies depend on votes and
other expressions of preference.
Consequently Dahl classified 26 states, circa 1969, as "fully
inclusive polyarchies," Israel being one of them.8
G. Bingham Powell established five criteria for democracy in 1982:
1. The legitimacy of the government rests on a claim to represent the
desires of its citizens.
2. The organized arrangement that regulates this bargain of
legitimacy is the competitive political election.
3. Most adults can participate in the electoral process, both as
voters and as candidates for important political office.
4. Citizens' votes are secret and not coerced.
5. Citizens and leaders enjoy basic freedom of speech, press,
assembly, and organization.
Powell concluded that 20 nations had continuous democratic regimes
from 1958 to 1976, Israel being one of them.9
Finally, Arend Lijphart, in 1984 and 1994, using Dahl's criteria,
identified 23 nations that had been continuously democratic since the
immediate post-World II period--Israel being one of them.10
None of these operational definitions, it will be noted, required
equality of rights, non-exclusion of minorities, or clear and
unambiguous borders. All of them also recognized that, in Lijphart's
words, "democratic regimes are characterized not by perfect
responsiveness but by a high degree of it."11 Of course, Ghanem,
Rouhana, and Yiftachel are free to argue that a definition of
democracy ought to include minority rights, and to so define it
themselves. Nominalists such as myself have no problem with that so
long as it is made clear and explicit, and so long as it is applied
consistently to all states. But the authors need to bear in mind that
this usage does differ from that common in political science, which
may force them to remind the reader repeatedly of their higher
standard (or find another label for it). It also differs
significantly, it should be added, from what the person in the street
generally understands by "democracy." One indication of this is a
recent survey of Palestinians in which 75 percent rated the status of
democracy and human rights in Israel as either "Good" or "Very Good,"
against 67 percent for the United States, 55 percent for France, and
32 percent for the Palestinian Authority.12
HOW DIFFERENT IS ISRAEL?
THE NEED FOR COMPARISON
How would other nations rank by the criteria that Ghanem, Rouhana,
and Yiftachel propose? If we all agree that Israel is to be judged as
other countries are judged, a comparative perspective becomes
necessary. Such problems as minority rights in a conflict situation,
security pressures on civil liberties, the role of religion in
politics, and overwhelming pressures on available resources can be
fully evaluated only by comparing the Israeli case to others, similar
and dissimilar.13 The authors explicitly recognize that
democratic/non-democratic governments exist on a continuum and that
there is no perfect democracy, which certainly invites comparison. (I
also understand informally that they are in fact studying
other "ethnocracies," though the subset of cases they find comparable-
-Estonia, Serbia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka--seems very limited.)
The lack of such comparison in the article at hand, however, tends to
create the impression that Israel is being measured against an ideal
standard, making any serious defect grounds for rejecting its
democratic credentials. It is only fair to ask whether other states
pass this test. Can any nation with ethnic problems--meaning most
nations in the world today--pass muster regarding equality and non-
exclusion of minorities in law and in practice? Surely the United
States, with its glaring racial inequities, would have to be
classified as "non-democratic" if this standard is applied
Ghanem, Rouhana, and Yiftachel do provide grounds for differentiating
Israel from "truly" democratic states when they stress the degree to
which Israeli violation of equal rights is anchored in law. While all
or most states may fall short in practice, the authors stress the
formal structures that legitimize this discrimination in Israel: the
Law of Return and other legislation privileging Jews and Jewish
values, quasi-governmental bodies such as the Jewish Agency or the
Jewish National Fund that exclude non-Jews, etc.14 It might be argued
that other democracies enshrine equality and non-exclusion at least
formally, whatever their shortcomings in practice, but that Israel
does not do even this.
Of course, Ghanem, Rouhana, and Yiftachel do not in fact limit their
critique of Israel to formal structures. They mix law and practice
together--and they are perfectly correct in doing so, since both must
be considered. But even putting this aside, there are other problems
with an exclusive focus on formal structures. In the first place, it
is not clear that even by this criteria most presumed democracies are
free of sin. Several years ago, my state legislature decreed that
henceforth the official language of Indiana was to be English;
admittedly this had little if any practical impact, but were I a
native Spanish-speaker I would see this, quite correctly, as an
insult and even as a discriminatory act. It certainly is not an
ethnically- and culturally-neutral law. Many states in the modern
world have adopted policies to "protect" their cultures against alien
influences; are they beyond the pale?
But most importantly, actual practice is surely at least as
important, if not more important, than official structures. Judged by
its official constitution and laws, the Soviet Union under Joseph
Stalin was one of the most democratic polities in human history. An
analysis limited to formal structures would be very uninstructive in
most cases, like a furniture inventory that says nothing about a
family that slouches in its chairs and snores in its beds. An
official apologist for Israel might even conceivably make the
argument that Israel is simply being less hypocritical than other
states by matching its formal structure to what it actually does.15
Looking at both law and practice, any comparison must begin with a
recognition of the general tenuousness of democracy. Democracy is a
relatively recent and still far-from-universal human achievement; by
Lijphart's criteria, there were no democracies at all until the early
twentieth century (because women did not have the vote), and only 23
states have been continuously democratic since the immediate post-
World War II period. All of these are relatively well-developed,
prosperous nations; all but Israel, India, Costa Rica, and Japan are
in Western Europe, North America, or the British Commonwealth.16
Israel often appears in the literature as one of the major case
studies of democracy in a deeply-divided society. Ethnic and
religious cleavages clearly make the achievement of democracy more
difficult; analysts point to a strong correlation between homogeneity
and political democracy.17 Generally, only a handful of states with
deep and numerically significant ethnic divisions have maintained
stable democracies by standard criteria: Switzerland, Belgium,
Canada, arguably India--and Israel. Thus it is not too surprising
that one of the weaker aspects of Israeli democracy is minority
rights. Political scientists consider "consociational" democracy, in
which power is shared among major groups (Switzerland is the classic
example), to be more suitable to deeply-divided societies than simply
majoritarian democracy in which nothing dilutes majority rule. I have
argued that Israeli politics is basically consociational within the
Jewish community, but not in dealing with the Jewish-Arab division.18
Consequently, I would agree with the implicit premise of this debate:
Jewish-Arab relations within Israel are the acid test of Israeli
democracy. Posing this in stark "either-or" terms, however, obscures
the reality that all nation-states must in some fashion balance the
demands of cultural, ethnic, and historical particularity against
universalistic principles. Israel faces the difficulty, in David
Kretzmer's words, of managing the tension between two conceptions of
nationhood: "As a democratic state Israel must serve the needs of all
its citizens; as the state of the Jewish people its function is to
pursue particularistic goals."19 But Israel is hardly the only state
facing this dilemma.
Both Smooha and his critics present Israel as a relatively unusual
case transcending conventional categories, whether as an "ethnic
democracy" (which Smooha opposes to either majoritarian or
consociational democracy) or as an "ethnocracy" (which Ghanem,
Rouhana, and Yiftachel oppose to either democracy or
authoritarianism). But does Israel really represent a third type in
either classification? Is the ethnic element in the Israeli polity so
strong as to constitute a difference in kind, and not just a
difference in degree?
Neither of the two essays clearly addresses the critical issue of the
relationship between an "ethnic" state--democratic or not--and the
basic concept of a "nation-state" as it has been generally understood
and used in political theory (Gavison also notes this "ambiguity
between ethnicity and nationhood").20 In either version, the basic
concept of an ethnic state comes suggestively close to the classic
definition of a nation-state. A "nation" is typically defined as "a
people connected by supposed ties of blood generally manifested by
community of language, religion, and customs, and by a sense of
common interest and interrelation."21 This differs little, if at all,
from most notions of ethnicity. As the idea became prevalent that
every nation had a right of self-determination, the dominant
political model in the world became the nation-state: "A state
organized for the government of a 'nation' whose territory is
determined by national boundaries, and whose law is determined, at
least in part, by national customs and expectations."22
Since ethnic borders seldom correspond perfectly to political
borders, the "national" majority in any given state constitutes a
dominant ethnic group with respect to minorities not identified with
that nationhood, no matter how democratic the procedures. All
nationalisms have a potential problem with minority rights, as Jewish
history demonstrates only too well. Furthermore, a hostile majority
can suppress a minority by democratic as well as non-democratic means
(as democracy is usually defined). The critical question is how far
ethnonational identity is intertwined with the very definition of the
state, and this is a matter of degree.
In theory liberal democracy is indifferent to distinctions among
citizens. But no political system exists in a social, cultural,
linguistic, and historical vacuum; even the most liberal regime is
shaped by its particular context. A nation-state, formed around a
central "nation" however defined, bears some particularistic
features. This imprint will be lighter where the prevailing model of
nationality is assimilative and where it corresponds to the concept
of citizenship. In this "New World" model, state forms nation: there
is a territorial focus, citizenship is extended to those born within
its borders (jus solis ), and naturalization is not tied to
ethnicity, culture, or descent. Such a pattern predominates not only
in New World nations formed by immigration, but also in some states
with natural borders (e. g., islands), in some older states where
borders shaped identity (France, Britain), and in newly emerging
states where "artificial" borders are beginning to shape identity.
Even here, however, a sense of particularity--Americanness,
Japanness, Frenchness--remains and may be a strong political factor.
Clearly this sense is stronger in the "Old World" model where nation
forms state: there is an ethnic focus, with citizenship distinguished
from nationality and often extended on grounds of descent (jus
sanguinis ), while naturalization is more difficult, since it is tied
to ethnicity, culture, or language. This pattern predominates in some
areas with well-defined historical nations (Central and Eastern
Europe, Asia), in newer states formed when the concept of nation-
state was at its peak (post-World War I), and in some situations
where the mismatch between ethnic and political borders is especially
dramatic (Vietnam, Korea, Bangladesh, Yugoslavia).
As a product of the nation-state idea at its most intense, Israel
belongs to the "Old World" model and ranks toward the more ethnic end
of this continuum. It is not, however, in a category by itself; there
are many other states in which ethnicity is likewise closely
intertwined with the definition of the state. Many states, for
example, confer citizenship by descent and/or ethnicity to those who
can establish an ancestral link.23 The Israeli Law of Return is an
unusual case of jus sanguinis in that it recognizes an ancestral link
over two millennia, but other states have similar policies. Germany,
which generally follows the concept of a community of descent, has as
part of its 1949 Basic Law a provision granting the right of "return"
to refugees of German ethnic stock, which led to a massive influx
of "Germans" from Eastern Europe whose ancestral link was measured in
centuries.24 The Soviet Union, following World War II, adopted
similar "laws of return" for persons of Armenian, Russian, Ukrainian,
or Byelorussian national origin who wished to enter the Soviet Union
and receive Soviet citizenship. During the decolonization process,
the imperial powers (Britain, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium)
readmitted "nationals" who were generations removed from the home
Does the existence of a broader Arab-Israeli conflict make Israel's
minority issue unique? One of the more curious defenses of de facto
discrimination is the argument that Israeli Arabs, as an ethnic
minority linked to an external threat, represent a unique security
problem. This is not the case: there are Greeks in Turkey and in
Turkish Cyprus as well as Turks in Greek Cyprus; Hindus in Pakistan
and Moslems in India; Tamils in Sri Lanka; Arabs in Iran; Albanians
in Macedonia; Chinese in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia;
Somalis in Ethiopia; and many potentially hostile tribes with cross-
border links in Africa. In the past, the presence of ethnic Japanese
in the United States and Canada, Armenians in Turkey, Germans
throughout Eastern Europe, and various "suspect" ethnic groups in the
Soviet Union, has been a source of concern to the governments
The treatment of these "enemy minorities" has usually been dismal.
The fate of Armenians during World War I, of Japanese in the United
States during World War II, and of German minorities during and after
World War II, testifies to the corrosiveness of wartime suspicions.
In recent decades, the expulsion of suspect minorities has been
commonplace, long before civil strife in the former Yugoslavia
gave "ethnic cleansing" a bad name. It is noteworthy that, among 26
ethnically-divided states rated as democratic (see below), only the
Baltic states parallel Israel in having sizeable minorities linked to
a potentially hostile neighbor. Clearly such links do put minority
groups in a more complicated and vulnerable position.
One useful index related to this pattern is the exclusion of ethnic
minorities from military service; again, Israel is not unique in
selective conscription. Among democratic nations, Britain did not
apply the draft to Ireland in World War I or to Northern Ireland in
World War II, while in Canada the conscription of French Canadians
was a contentious issue in both conflicts. Elsewhere minorities have
been excluded from the armed forces, in whole or in part, in Burma,
Fiji, Guyana, Iraq, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and a number of
African states.26 Military service often serves minorities as a path
to gaining legitimacy and acceptance, as it has with the Druze
community in Israel.
Israel's link to ethnicity is not unique. But the Law of Return and
other explicitly Jewish features do place it among the more ethnic
nation-states, and thus among the more problematic in terms of ethnic
minorities. How many states actually have significant ethnic
minorities, and how do they fare in democratic terms? In The Jewish
State, I took a tentative stab at this question, admittedly very
rough and incomplete. In 1995 there were, by this count, 71 states in
the world with ethnic minorities, defined by language, of over 5
percent.27 Of these 71 states, 26 (including Israel) were ranked
as "free" on political rights and civil liberties in the annual
Freedom House survey of 1994-1995.28
From Israel's perspective, an important question is how many of these
26 states practice some form of ethnic power-sharing and how many do
not, and whether this is related to the size of minorities. Arend
Lijphart's four basic characteristics of consociational power-sharing
are: 1) participation in the governing coalition or executive; 2) a
high degree of group autonomy; 3) proportionality in representation
and allocation; and, 4) a formal or informal minority veto on matters
of fundamental importance.29 Addressing only ethnic divisions, 11 of
the 26 states (not including Israel) met at least three of these four
There was a clear correlation between power-sharing and the size of
the minority. Only one of the 12 democratic states with linguistic
minorities of less than 20 percent (Finland) used power-sharing
techniques in its ethnic relations, while 10 of the 14 democratic
states with minorities above 20 percent did so. Clearly accommodation
of ethnic groups above this threshold, in a democracy, ordinarily
involves the use of explicit power-sharing techniques that, by their
nature, dilute the prevailing ethnicity of the state. With an Arab
minority of about 19 percent, Israel stands near the fulcrum: close
to the upper limit on the size of minorities that states have
generally been able to incorporate successfully into functioning
majoritarian democracies, and beyond which most have found
consociationalism more applicable. To judge by experience elsewhere,
it would appear that Israel might be able to integrate this minority
without wide use of power-sharing techniques, but that such
techniques are clearly preferable and perhaps even essential.
CONCLUSIONS: ETHNICITY AND POWER-SHARING
Of what, minimally, does the "Jewishness" of the Jewish state
consist? The Israeli Supreme Court, in dealing with the eligibility
of parties to participate in elections, has tried to answer this
question. Acceptance of Israel "as a Jewish state," the court ruled,
means at least (a) maintenance of a Jewish majority, (2) the right of
Jews to immigrate, and (3) ties with Jewish communities outside
Israel.31 None of these features are inherently inconsistent with
democracy as usually defined, and none of them are unique to Israel.
The nation-state, based on the principle of the sovereignty for a
particular ethnonational community, is the prevailing form of
political organization in international relations. Most states,
including most democracies, claim some kind of ethnic component in
their identity, and none exist in a cultural vacuum. A large number
of states grant citizenship on the basis of ethnic identity of
descent. Nor is the existence of a dispersion peculiar to the Jewish
people, save perhaps in duration and extent, and the growth of
sentiment for "normalizing" Israel-Diaspora relations could lessen
any remaining differences (by limiting the Law of Return, reducing
the role of world Jewry in Israel, or even reversing the flow of
influence as Israel becomes the dominant force in the Jewish world).
Israel is a democracy by the usual standards in which power-sharing
techniques have functioned fairly effectively among Jewish groups,
but from which the Palestinian Arab minority has been excluded. Given
the depth of the ethnic division, lessons from experience elsewhere,
and the particular strengths of Israeli politics, the extension of
power-sharing--consociational democracy--to Palestinians within
Israel is clearly the preferred option. Israeli Jews wish to remain
Jewish: that, after all, was the basic idea of Zionism. By the same
token, Israeli Arabs are a non-assimilating minority with their own
culture, language, and identity. Democratic governments--and even
many non-democratic regimes--usually achieve long-term stability in
such cases by power-sharing based on the explicit recognition of two
or more ethnic communities.32
This may require development of an overarching identity, a common
framework that transcends the division into Jew and Arab, to counter
the feeling of Israeli Arabs that they do not belong. Though the name
Israel is decidedly Jewish in origin, Arab citizens have often
expressed interest in expanding the concept, as a territorial label,
to encompass non-Jews as well. This would in essence create the
common civic space that has existed only in theory. Israeli Arab
novelist Anton Shammas has asked for "a new definition of the
word 'Israeli,' so that it will include me as well. . . ." Responding
from a Jewish perspective, A. B. Yehoshua noted that during the First
Temple period "Jewish religious identity was not at all a necessary
element of Israeli identity," and projects a gradual cultural
symbiosis leading to a common Israeli identity.33
Introduction of power-sharing would be eased by the fact that it
already works on the Jewish side. Power-sharing among Jewish groups,
messy and contentious yet effective, already serves as a model of
independent organization, collective bargaining, and direct action
within the framework of law. On the municipal level, a "system of
elite consultations" kept Arab-Jewish peace in Jerusalem over the
decades, providing another model.34
Whether conceived as consociationalism or not, specific proposals for
Jewish-Arab accommodation tend to be similar. Most involve explicit
recognition of Israeli Arabs as a national minority with rights as a
group, such as an act of the Knesset affirming that "the Arab
minority in the State of Israel is an integral part of the Jewish
State and is entitled to full recognition of its specificity within
the framework of law."35 Recognition of Arabs as a minority could
involve making state symbols and practices more inclusive; for
example, by having "Israeli" holidays that draw in both communities.
Secondly, following from such recognition would be group autonomy in
cultural and educational affairs, with the election of a
representative body for that purpose, and possibly the establishment
of an Arab-language university. Functional autonomy in these areas
may be necessary to counter the growth of support for territorial
autonomy or total separation.
Finally, inter-ethnic consociationalism will get a tremendous boost
when Arab parties that accept the framework of a Jewish state are
brought into government coalitions. Nothing else can provide as clear
an index of the extension of Israeli power-sharing to the Arab
community. It is extremely important, as Gavison notes, that
Palestinians participate directly in the decision-making process
themselves, rather than having these issues handled as an internal
debate among Jewish Israelis.
This is in addition, of course, to a fair allocation of resources and
equality before the law. Nothing in the "Jewish" nature of the state
inherently compels discrimination in local government budgets, health
and welfare services, education, economic opportunities, or treatment
in the courts. In fact all of the above measures could be implemented
without renouncing the essential Jewishness of Israel as a nation-
state. What they involve is some dilution of the relationship between
ethnicity and statehood, moving Israel more toward the center of the
spectrum on this dimension. There always remains some sense in which
an ethnic minority "does not fully belong" in a nation-state with a
dominant ethnic group, but Israel would become more of a "normal"
nation-state with "normal" minority problems.
A majority in both communities--roughly two-thirds, in fact--endorse
the continuation of Israel as a Jewish state, with full recognition
of Arab rights as a national minority as a workable solution.36 This
assumes, of course, the continuation of the process of delinking the
Israeli Arab situation from developments in the West Bank and Gaza.
For Arabs within Israel, the sense that the basic conflict was being
resolved would free them to focus further on their own problems and
demands. Resolution of broader Arab-Israel issues could conceivably
intensify their struggle in the sense that they could no longer be
put off by security arguments. But on the whole, peace and stability
on the international level should reduce tensions within Israel,
remove legitimate security issues, help expand civil rights, and make
Israelis more willing to accept independent Arab organizations and
Arab control of their own education and internal affairs. In such a
setting Arabs could also perform military service, or another form of
national service, as a path to integration and equality.
Reading in the other direction, this implies that there is no real
solution to ethnic relations within Israel as long as the larger
problem impinges. The future of Israeli democracy is inextricably
linked to continued moderation of the Arab-Israeli conflict and to
the fate of the larger Arab population in the territories beyond the
1. Sammy Smooha, "Ethnic Democracy: Israel as an Archetype," Israel
Studies, 2 (Fall 1997) 198-241; As'ad Ghanem, Nadim Rouhana, and Oren
Yiftachel, "Questioning 'Ethnic Democracy': A Response to Sammy
Smooha," Israel Studies, 3(2) (1998) 253-67; Ruth Gavison, "Jewish
and Democratic? A Rejoinder to the 'Ethnic Democracy' Debate," Israel
Studies, 4(1) (1999) 44-72.
2. Smooha, "Ethnic Democracy," 200.
3. Ghanem, Rouhana, and Yiftachel, "Questioning 'Ethnic Democracy',"
4. Ibid., 261. Emphasis in the original.
5. On de jure discrimination against non-Jews, see David Kretzmer,
The Legal Status of the Arabs in Israel (Boulder, CO, 1990) 17-22.
6. Kenneth A. Bollen, "Political Democracy: Conceptual and
Measurement Traps," in Alex Inkeles (ed), On Measuring Democracy: Its
Consequences and Concomitants (New Brunswick, NJ, 1991) 9-10.
7. Dankwart Rustow, A World of Nations: Problems of Political
Modernization (Washington, DC, 1967) 94, 290.
8. Robert Dahl, Polyarchy, Participation, and Observation (New Haven,
CT, 1971) 3, 9, 248.
9. G. Bingham Powell, Contemporary Democracies: Participation,
Stability, and Violence (Cambridge, MA, 1982) 3, 5.
10. Arend Lijphart, Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and
Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries (New Haven, CT, 1984) 2,
38; Lijphart, "Democracies: Forms, Performance, and Constitutional
Engineering," European Journal of Political Research, 25 (January,
11. Lijphart, Democracies, 2.
12. Center for Palestine Research and Studies, survey of 7-9 January
13. The case for a comparative perspective is made convincingly by
Benyamin Neuberger, "Israel's Democracy and Comparative Politics,"
Jewish Political Studies Review, 1 (Fall, 1989) 67-75, and in Michael
N. Barnett (ed), Israel in Comparative Perspective: Challenging the
Conventional Wisdom (Albany, NY, 1996).
14. See note 5, above.
15. Does any country other than Israel tie itself in knots by
attempting to legislate "permissible" torture, rather than simply
denying that such practices are officially tolerated?
16. See note 10, above.
17. Dahl, Polyarchy, 106-21. See also the study by Pierre Van den
Berghe, "Pluralism and the Polity: A Theoretical Exploration," in Leo
Kuper and M. G. Smith (eds), Pluralism in Africa (Berkeley, CA, 1969)
18. Alan Dowty, The Jewish State: A Century Later (Berkeley, CA,
19. Kretzmer, Legal Status, 176.
20. Gavison, "Jewish and Democratic?", 52.
21. Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of Nationalism (New York, 1990) 230.
22. Roger Scruton, A Dictionary of Political Thought, 2nd edition
(New York, 1982) 313.
23. This includes some states that also recognize jus solis; a
partial list would include Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France,
Germany, Hungary, Liberia, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and the
United Kingdom as well as the Soviet Union and most Soviet successor
states. Ruth Donner, The Regulation of Nationality in International
Law, 2nd edition (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY, 1994) 32, 69, 114-19;
United Nations Legal Department, Laws Concerning Nationalities
(United Nations ST/LEG/ser.B/4, 1954) 222-4, 386-7. The Israeli Law
of Return can also be defended as a policy of selective immigration,
rather than as extension of a particular conception of citizenship;
since all states practice selective immigration, the question then
becomes the legitimacy of selection on ethnic grounds, and again
Israel is not unique in this regard.
24. Claude Klein, Israel as a Nation-State and the Problem of the
Arab Minority: In Search of a Status (Tel-Aviv, 1987) 4; United
Nations Legal Department, Supplement to the Volume on Laws Concerning
Nationality (United Nations ST/LEG/ser.B/9, 1959) 118; William Rogers
Brubaker, "Immigration, Citizenship, and the Nation-State in France
and Germany: A Comparative Historical Analysis," International
Sociology, 5 (December, 1990) 386-7, 396, 400; Manfred Steger and F.
Peter Wagner, "Political Asylum, Immigration, and Citizenship in the
Federal Republic of Germany," New Political Science 24-25 (Spring,
1993) 65, 67.
25. United Nations, Laws Concerning Nationalities, 466.
26. Cynthia Enloe, Ethnic Soldiers: State Security in Divided
Societies (Athens, GA, 1980) 54-63, 78-82, 136, 182-3, 189-90.
27. Based on the data in Maps 'n Facts (Broderbund Software, 1994);
closely-related languages were grouped together and microstates were
eliminated. For more information see Dowty, The Jewish State, 210-12.
28. Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and
Civil Liberties 1994-1995 (New York, 1995) 683-4.
29. Lijphart, "The Power-Sharing Approach," in Joseph V. Montville
(ed) Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies (Lexington,
MA, 1990) 494-5, 503.
30. The 11 states were Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Canada, Finland,
Guyana, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Spain, and Switzerland.
31. E.A. (Election Appeal) 2/88 Ben Shalom v. Chairman of Central
Elections Committee Piskei Din, 43(2) (1988) 221.
32. This argument is developed by Oren Yiftachel, "The Concept
of 'Ethnic Democracy' and its Applicability to the Case of Israel,"
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 15 (January, 1992) 125-36.
33. The exchange between Shammas and Yehoshua is in David Grossman's,
Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Palestinians in Israel (New
York, 1993) 257, 270-1.
34. Alex Weingrod, "Shadow Games: Ethnic Conflict and Political
Exchange in Israel," Regional Politics and Policy, 3 (Spring, 1993)
35. Klein, Israel as a Nation-State, 24; see also Sammy
Smooha, "Class, Ethnic, and National Cleavages and Democracy in
Israel," in Ehud Sprinzak and Larry Diamond (eds), Israeli Democracy
Under Stress (New York, 1993) 325-6.
36. Sammy Smooha, Ethnic Democracy, 231-2; Hanna Levinsohn, Elihu
Katz, and Majid Al Haj, Jews and Arabs in Israel: Common Values and
Reciprocal Images (Jerusalem, 1995) 23.
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ARABS GLUED TO TV NEWS - BUT NOT US-SPONSORED AL HURRA
Gregory D. Johnsen, Christian Science Monitor, 3/30/04
SANA'A, YEMEN – For the past two months in small, smoke-filled rooms
carpeted with discarded khat leaves, I have been watching television.
Television usually isn't a big part of the khat chew, a daily but
segregated ritual for most men and women here in which the leaves of
the mildly stimulating khat plant are chewed and stored in one's
cheek. Conversation is the rule at these affairs, and the talk is
given over to poetry, politics, and, as the hour grows late, simply
listening to the alchemic beauty of the language.
But when the US launched its new Arabic-language news channel - Al
Hurra - on Feb. 14, television became politics.
I've watched the opinions of the small group of young Yemeni men that
I usually chew with go from anger and disappointment to surprise and
admiration and back over this latest US pitch to the Arab world.
Like many things the US does, Al Hurra - "the Free One" in Arabic -
inspires mixed emotions in its Middle East audience. The station,
with a first-year budget of $62 million, is intended as an
alternative to pan-Arab news stations like Al Jazeera and Al
Arabiyya. President Bush has said that Al Hurra will cut through
the "hateful propaganda that fills the airwaves in the Muslim world,"
and promote debate in the region.
But for most of my friends, like Amar al-Audi, a quick-witted 24-year-
old driver, the first day of broadcasting was insulting. After
listening to interviews with President Bush and Norman Pattiz, who
heads the US agency overseeing the channel, Amar was livid.
"It is just like everything America does, they say every other Arab
station is wrong and they [the US] are right," he said as he tuned
the TV to Al Jazeera.
The next day, as I walked into the khat chew, I asked jokingly if
anyone wanted to watch Al Hurra. The response from the room was
immediate: One man quickly quipped from the corner, using Arabic word-
play to spin "Al Hurra" into a rhyming Arabic obscenity. The joke got
lots of laughs from the room, but the television remained locked on
One week later, during a lull in the conversation, Amar looked at me,
winked and turned the television to Al Hurra.
"What's this?" I cried.
He shrugged. "It's like this," he said, holding up a cigarette, "at
first it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but then you get addicted."
I asked him if he'd been secretly watching the channel in his house.
Sheepishly, he admitted he had, and that he liked it.
Abd al-Hakim al-Terhan, a 30-year-old guard, came to his rescue with
an explanation: "It has a lot of new shows that we've never seen
before. Just watch, by May everyone will be addicted to it."
"But what about the documentaries in English with only Arabic
subtitles?" I asked, knowing that some of the seven people in the
room were illiterate.
"Yes, it would be better if it was voiced over in Arabic like they do
on Al Jazeera," Amar agreed. "But we've never seen shows like this,
and we don't want to miss any of them," he said of programs such as
car shows, documentaries on life in India, and features on the Oscars.
I continued to press them with questions on the news, curious as to
whether a pro-US news broadcast featuring Arab anchors could gain
fans in the Arab world.
"People still turn the channel when the news comes on," Amar
said. "But in the future, as more people see the programming, no one
will turn the channel because they won't want to miss even one minute
of what might be following the news."
The real test, he continued, "will be how they cover a story that is
bad for America, like another big terrorist attack or one of bin
A few weeks later, Amar's big test came when his cellphone rang with
the news that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command,
was giving a taped audio-message on Al Jazeera.
The television was tuned to Al Jazeera as we listened to Mr. Zawahiri
talk about "lies" that Bush had told the US, and new terrorist
attacks to come.
The moment the tape finished, the television was turned back to Al
Hurra as we waited for the news. Time dragged on, as I prayed that Al
Hurra would do this right, and lead the news with Zawahiri's tape.
But as soon as the news came on I knew the US had lost a wonderful
opportunity to show the Arab world it was serious about reaching out.
The story on al-Zawahiri was buried deep in the newscast with no
analysis or discussion, simply the acknowledgment that it had taken
"That's it," Amar said. "It is just one more state-run news agency,
and we already have plenty of official news."
By the time the Spanish railway bombings took place, frustration and
disappointment had set in to such a degree that Al Hurra was only
glanced at as we flipped between the coverage on Al Jazeera and Al
Arabiyya. Those glimpses did nothing to stop the clicking of the
remote: it was programming as usual, no news. And that's why no one
here was clicking to Al Hurra last week for coverage of Israel's
assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, nor to coverage of
the Pakistani Army's fierce battle with Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants
on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Al Hurra is no longer watched at the khat chews.
• Gregory D. Johnsen, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan, is a
Fulbright Fellow conducting research on the 1962-1970 Yemeni civil
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Eight held, explosives seized in London
LONDON, March 30: Police arrested eight men and seized a cache of
explosives during raids at dawn on Tuesday in Britain's biggest anti-
terror operation since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.
With Europe already on a high state of alert after the Madrid
bombings, British police pounced in 24 separate raids, seizing more
than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which is prime bomb-
The eight suspects were believed to be of Pakistan origin, police
sources said. There was enough explosive material to launch an attack
as big as the devastating Irish Republican Army bomb that hit
London's financial district in 1996 and killed two people.
The fertilizer was similar to that used in the 2002 Bali bombings -
but there was no clue about possible targets. Britain has long feared
it could be a prime target for Muslim militants.
London's police chief has repeatedly said he believes an attack is
inevitable. Britain has been on high alert since the Sept 11 attacks
in New York and Washington.
Peter Clarke, head of Britain's anti-terror branch, said at a news
conference that the fertilizer was discovered in a two-metre high
plastic bag in a west London warehouse.
"Part of the investigation will focus on the purchase, storage and
intended use of that material," Mr Clarke said. But he did stress the
operation was not linked to investigations into the coordinated train
bombings in Madrid on March 11, which killed nearly 200 people, or to
Irish extremists. -Reuters
Manila foils terror attack
MANILA, March 30: The Philippines said on Tuesday it had foiled
a "Madrid-level" terror attack on shops and trains in the capital
Manila by arresting four suspected Muslim militants and seizing a
large amount of explosives.
The suspected plot by members of the Abu Sayyaf group comes as
campaigning heats up for the May 10 general election. "We have pre-
empted a Madrid-level attack on the metropolis by capturing an
explosive cache of 80 pounds (36kgs) of TNT which was intended to be
used for bombing malls and trains in Metro Manila," Gloria Arroyo
said on television. -Reuters
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Towards a British Islam
Thursday April 1, 2004
Several details about the eight young men arrested in
raids across the home counties this week stir much
thought. They are all British born. They do not live
in areas of high deprivation, but in places like
Crawley, Ilford and Slough. Some have young families.
None of them fits the conventional profile of Islamist
terrorists as alienated, isolated immigrants. If this
is suburban Islamism, it poses difficult questions
about Britain's record in integrating the Muslim
community and in fostering a secure, strong sense of a
British Islamic identity.
There are many in the Muslim community whose warnings,
through the early 1990s, of a radicalised generation
fell on deaf ears. They would argue that Britain has
not so much failed to integrate Muslims, as failed
even to try. As they saw the traditional authority
structures of their community undermined in the urban
west, they saw the dangers of a disorientated youth,
vulnerable both to drugs and Islamism. Organisations
like the Muslim Council of Britain at the interface of
state and Islam struggled to establish and maintain
their credibility with both. The state's apparatus of
multi-culturalism, with its emphasis on ethnicity
rather than religious identity, served Muslim needs
ill, they claimed. They would point to a catalogue of
neglect towards the Muslim community, evident in high
unemployment and high educational underachievement,
particularly among Pakistani and Bangladeshi males.
They argue that the response to setting up Muslim
schools was too slow, and that boys' vital religious
instruction in mosques on Saturdays has remained in
the cultural clutches of religious authorities back in
Pakistan or Bangladesh. The resources were inadequate
to promote a vibrant Islam of which these British
youngsters could be proud.
The crucial ingredient which radicalises this kind of
community disaffection into some individuals
undertaking acts of extreme violence is the
international context. It began with the slow
international response in Bosnia, but now spans the
globe from Chechnya and Palestine to France where the
sisters cannot wear the hijab. The perception
everywhere is that the proud, expansionary faith of
Islam is under attack. That makes a faith in which the
ummah (international community of believers) is
central and, when combined with modern mass
communications, quite literally explosive. Worryingly,
this international context - in particular the war on
Iraq - is now sapping the will of the British Muslim
community to integrate, as a recent Guardian-ICM poll
Britain faces a pressing task of mapping an effective
strategy of engagement with Islam, one that spans both
the global and local contexts. It is about when and
why we embark on wars with Muslim nations; but it is
also about the kinds of schools and estates which are
built and the methods used by police against Muslims.
This may take the British state into new territory -
funding the training of imams, supporting mosques
which run Arabic and scripture classes - and it is
vital to listen to those who have been closest to the
development of the Islamist threat over the last two
decades. This includes a fundamental re-examination of
our understanding of integration that does not simply
entail minorities conforming to a British
prescription; it challenges secular liberalism to
offer more than polite distaste.
It is helpful, given the current sense of fear, to
bear in mind a useful precedent. In 1795, in the midst
of war with France, Britain began to fund the Catholic
Maynooth seminary in Ireland to stop students going to
France to be trained. The example may seem arcane, but
at the time it was contrary to all the principles of a
protestant state. National emergency dictated that
piece of British pragmatism - and it may do so again.
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Iraq: Armed Spies Killed, Mutilated
This video should only be viewed by a mature audience
Falluga Video 03/31/04
Four US mercenaries are torched,
dismembered and hung in Iraq
La Voz de Aztlan
[Image] Los Angeles, Alta California - March 31, 2004
- (ACN) In a scene reminiscent of George Romero's "The
Night of the Living Dead", four US mercenaries
suffered a horrific and gruesome death at the hands of
about 30 Iraqis near the town of Fallujah early this
morning. The four US mercenaries employed by
Blackwater Security Consulting where traveling in two
SUV vehicles when they were ambushed and their
vehicles set on fire. A large crowd of angry Iraqis
approached the torched vehicles with shovels and rocks
and pulled the four charred corpses out onto the
roadway. Two of the bodies where dragged throughout
the town's streets. The other two were dismembered and
one was decapitated. Two of the torsos were then taken
to a bridge that crosses the Euphrates River and hung
like animals. The crowd, in addition, took one leg and
one arm, tied ropes on them with a rock on each end,
then swung both of them over electric power lines.
[Image} The Pentagon is running out of soldiers and
has been forced to hire paid mercenaries it calls
"security consultants". A major Pentagon contract is
held by Blackwater USA out of Moyock, North Carolina
(http://www.blackwaterusa.com). Blackwater Security
Consulting, a company of Blackwater USA, has been
hired to guard Iraqi oil wells against attack by
insurgents and to provide security for the US
occupation administrator Paul Bremer. The four
mercenaries honorifically killed today in Fallujah
were employed by Blackwater Security Consulting.
[Image] Blackwater Security Consulting recruits former
or retired CIA agents, US Special Operations personnel
and commandos from foreign armies. The US security
company recently hired mercenaries from Chile to
replace US soldiers on security duty in Iraq. A few
months ago Blackwater USA flew a group of about 60
former Chilean commandos, many of whom had trained
under the military government of Augusto Pinochet,
from Santiago to its 6000 acre training camp in North
Carolina. These commandos will be shipped to Iraq to
serve for a maximum of one year duty.
The privatization of security in Iraq is a growing
business as the US seeks to reduce its commitment of
troops. At the end of last year there were 10,000
hired security personnel in Iraq. Squads of Bosnians,
Filipinos and Americans with special forces experience
have been hired for tasks ranging from airport
security to protecting Paul Bremer, the head of the
Coalition Provisional Authority.
[Image] The Iraqi occupation is becoming a problem of
immense proportions for the USA. American oil
companies need to commence the extraction of vast
amounts of Iraqi oil in order to pay for the high cost
of mercenaries to guard the pipelines and other
occupation costs. This is not yet happening. The
present gouging of the American motorist as
demonstrated by the higher and higher price for a
gallon of gasoline is proof of this.
The four US mercenaries that met a cruel death in Iraq
today were selling their services to the oil companies
for a few bucks a month. The Iraqi people who killed
them were defending their land from foreign invaders
determined to loot their oil. I rather ride my bicycle
or walk than continue witnessing this tragedy unfold.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Please note: This article along with 5
gruesome photographs of the victims
are published at:
If you are squeamish about looking
at charred and dismembered corpses,
it is recommended that you refrain from
visiting the above web page.
The "civilians" whose dead corpses were mutilated in
Fallujah were in fact armed enemy combatant operatives
belonging to a top-secret security organization.
N.C.-based Blackwater known as leader in security
STEVE EARLEY/ THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
By ALLISON CONNOLLY AND MELISSA SCOTT SINCLAIR, The
Web link: Blackwater USA in Moyock, N.C., parent
company of Blackwater Security Consulting
Archives: Blackwater USA and its training center in
Blackwater fact sheet
Two security guards and a law enforcement official
stand at the gate of Blackwater Training Facility in
Moyock on Wednesday. Little known by neighbors, the
firm is a global leader in the security business.
April 1, 2004
MOYOCK, N.C. — In the world of professional security,
Blackwater USA is one of the most-respected
organizations in the business.
But here in its own back yard, it is a well-kept
"Nobody knows anything about Blackwater," Susan
Johnson, Currituck County sheriff, said Wednesday.
"They don't bring a lot of attention to themselves."
The Moyock-based company became the center of
international attention Wednesday when four of its
civilian contractors were killed by an Iraqi mob . The
burned bodies of the men were dragged through the
streets, and some of their remains hung from a bridge
over the Euphrates River.
Blackwater USA officials declined to answer questions
about the attack, and were not releasing the names of
the dead until next of kin had been notified. It is
not known if the men who were killed are from the
region or outside the area.
In less than a decade, Blackwater USA has evolved into
one of the biggest providers of security in the world.
Founded by two former Navy SEALs in 1996, the company
provides a wide variety of training and security
services at its sprawling 6,000-acre complex just
south of the Virginia-North Carolina border.
The four men killed Wednesday work for Blackwater
Security Consulting, one of five branches of
Blackwater USA. The others: Blackwater Training
Center, Blackwater Target Systems, Blackwater Canine,
and Blackwater Air. Its clients include personnel from
federal law enforcement agencies, the Department of
Defense, Department of State, and Department of
Transportation, local and state entities from around
the country, multi-national corporations, and other
Of the 25 companies providing security in Iraq,
Blackwater is the most reputable and professional,
according to Peter Singer, national security fellow at
the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. The work
is risky, and that is why the company is thriving,
"The conditions they face are as dangerous or more
dangerous than those faced by U.S. soldiers," Singer
Much of the work sounds like it was plucked right out
of a Tom Clancy novel.
The company recently recruited former commandos from
Chile to guard Iraq's oil wells, training them and
paying them up to $4,000 each per month for the work,
according to The Guardian of London.
Other contracts are classified so that even the
government doesn't know what the company is doing for
one of its agencies, said Blackwater USA president
"We scour the ends of the earth to find
professionals," Jackson told The Guardian. The company
also does considerable work with local law enforcement
and military forces close to home. One reason for its
location was its proximity to the military bases in
Former SEAL Eric Prince used his Michigan-based family
fortune to fund the creation of Blackwater, and his
contacts within the elite SEAL community of
southeastern Virginia to staff it. The need for
specialized training grew following the attacks on
Sept. 11, 2001.
The rural complex is one of the largest privately
operated firearms and tactical training facilities in
the country. It has a 9,000-square-foot rustic lodge
with conference rooms, two large classrooms and a
dining hall. A bunkhouse sleeps 40 people.
The outdoor ranges include one with an urban street
facade, a carbine range and four others with
specialized, computer-operated equipment. A two-story
tactical house has ballistic-proof walls capable of
accommodating several shooters firing simultaneously,
and targets that won't allow ammunition to pass
Outside the house is an irregularly shaped pond that
provides training for SEALs.
Like movie sets in Hollywood, mock decks of ships and
fake schools are used to train military and law
enforcement officials how to react to all sorts of
potential threats. Sailors make the pilgrimage to
Blackwater to learn how to repel an onboard terrorist
attack. Police officers train there to react to
Columbine-like school shooters at their "R U Ready
Blackwater has trained over 50,000 military and law
enforcement personnel, according to its Web site:
"Hundreds of sailors have been through their
anti-terrorism/force-protecting training," said Lt.
Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a spokesman for the Navy's Fleet
Forces Command in Norfolk.
The Navy signed a five-year, $35 million training
contract with Blackwater in 2002, but Brown said he
did not have details about the status of that
SEALs based at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in
Virginia Beach also train at Blackwater.
The Coast Guard routinely trains its forces at
Blackwater, especially those heading for duty in Iraq.
Many Hampton Roads police officers know the facility
well. Because of problems at Norfolk's firing range,
city officers have been training at Blackwater for
months. Johnson, the Currituck County sheriff, said
that two officers had left the sheriff's department to
work for Blackwater overseas.
It's tempting, she said, because "they can receive
what they make in one year, in one month" – perhaps
$600 per day.
Both officers have since returned to their old jobs,
she said: "Sometimes money isn't everything."
Staff reporters Matthew Dolan, Jon Frank, Jack Dorsey,
Matthew Roy and Matthew Jones and news researcher Ann
Kinken Johnson contributed to this report.
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, The Merciful
FATWA on Mutilating the Dead Bodies in War
Name Muhsin - United Kingdom
Title Mutilating the Dead Bodies in War
Question As-Salamu `alaykum. Could you please clarify
how Islam views the issue of mutilating the dead
bodies of enemies at times of war?
Group of Muftis
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and
blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, thank you very much for having
confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are
purely for Allah's Sake, meet your expectations.
First of all, it is to be noted that Islam prohibits
torturing living people and mutilating the dead even
if they are non-Muslims. By law, people who do any of
these two things are considered war criminals.
However, if the enemies of Islam kept on doing this
with Muslims, then Muslims are permitted to treat them
in the same manner. Almighty Allah says: " If ye
punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye
were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily it
is better for the patient." (An-Nahl: 126)
Yet, it is better to show patience and forgiveness and
never follow the way of our enemy and meet a crime
with another crime, for this is not the characteristic
of a true Muslim.
Responding to the question, Sheikh Faysal Mawalai,
Deputy Chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and
Research, states the following:
"Firstly, it is not allowable to torture the living or
mutilate the dead even if they are non-Muslims. In the
hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon
him) when he was sending Hamzah Al-Aslami in an
expedition, he instructed him: "If you find so and so,
kill him. But never kill him by burning, for none uses
fire in torturing except the One Who created it (i.e.
Allah)." (Reported by Abu Dawud)
In another hadith, Safwan ibn `Assal said: "The
Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent us in
an expedition and said, 'Move under the protection of
Allah and for the sake of Allah. Fight those who
disbelieve in Allah but never mutilate.'" (Ibn Majah)
Secondly, it is permissible to mutilate only in case
of retaliation. If one cuts the ear of another, his
ear is to be cut. If he inflicted any physical damage
on him, he should be retaliated against in the same
manner. It is also allowable to mutilate the enemies
of Islam and torture them when they are fighting
Muslims and doing this with them. Almighty Allah says:
" If ye punish, then punish with the like of that
wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure
patiently, verily it is better for the patient."
This verse was revealed, as well known, when the
polytheists mutilated the corps of Hamzah ibn `Abd
el-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him). The
Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) swore to
mutilate seventy corpses of the polytheists in
retaliation for what they did with Hamzah's dead body.
Hence, this verse was revealed to indicate that
punishment should be with the like of the deed, so
that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was
permitted to mutilate only one corps of the
polytheists. However, the verse also shows that
patience and refraining from retaliation is better in
Allah's Sight. Thereupon, the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him) refrained from it and did not
Thirdly, based on the above, it is originally
impermissible for the Muslims to mutilate the
polytheists who get killed in wars. But if the latter
mutilated the corps of Muslims, then Muslims would be
permitted to treat them in the same manner by
mutilating their corpses. Replying in the same way is
permissible according to Shari`ah rules based on the
Qur'an and the Sunnah. However, it is better to keep
patience and not reply to evil deeds with the like."
Moreover, Dr. Ahmad Abu-Al-Wafa, Professor of
International Law, Faculty of Law at Cairo University,
"In the Man-made Law:
Mutilating the corpses of the dead is prohibited in
the man-made international law. It rather considers it
a war crime for which severe penalty is due.
In the Islamic Shari`ah, two points should be
1. Mutilating corpses is prohibited in the same way
torturing the living people is forbidden.
2. It is better not to reply to the evil acts of the
enemy in the same manner, except if responding in the
same way will deter the enemy from exceeding their
limits by mutilating corpses. Almighty Allah says: "If
ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith
ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily
it is better for the patient." (An-Nahl: 126)", and "
The guerdon of an ill-deed is an ill the like thereof.
But whosoever pardoneth and amendeth, his wage is the
affair of Allah. Lo! He loveth not wrong-doers."
Finally, Sheikh `Ikrimah Sabri, The Mufti of Al-Quds
(Jerusalem) & Khatib of Al-Aqsa Mosque, concludes:
"In fact, the principle of reciprocity has
well-established rules in Shari`ah, whereby Muslims
are warned from embarking on such inhumane attitudes.
For instance, in case the enemy mutilates the dead
bodies of Muslims, the Muslim army is not permitted to
act in the same manner.
In all cases, Muslims should not initiate the
aggression, for Islam is the religion of mercy. War is
not the first option in the life of Muslims; rather,
it comes after da`wah and kind advice."
You can also read:
Islam's Stance on Prisoners of War
War Ethics in Islam
If you have any further comments, please don't
hesitate to write back
May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide
you to that which pleases Him, Amen.
Allah Almighty knows best.
A comparison of photos from Friday and today show how
the people of Fallujah responded to a boastful
antichrist flyer proclaiming in Arabic that 'Escaping
to any place, hiding anywhere, will not prevent the
coalition forces from finding you and bringing you to
A resident in the flashtown of Fallujah, 60 km norht
of Baghdad displays a leaflet distributed by US
troops. The leaflet reading 'Escaping to any place,
hiding anywhere, will not prevent the coalition forces
from finding you and bringing you to justice', was
distributed in this restive town a day after a US
Marine and five Iraqis, including a cameraman working
for ABC News were killed during clashes with
insurgents after Friday prayer.(AFP/Karim Sahib)
AFP - Mar 27 5:17 AM
Bremer dares to speak of "inexcusable and despicable" body
mutilations of his mercenaries!
See the photo of Ali Abbas who was maimed by an
antichrist cruise missile that was deliberately fired
into his home, killing all the other members of his
Bremer threatens to punish Fallujah militants
www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-01 18:53:32
BAGHDAD, April 1 (Xinhuanet) -- US overseer in Iraq
Paul Bremer on Thursday threatened to punish militants
who killed four civilian contractors and five US
soldiers west of Baghdad a day earlier.
While addressing 479 new graduates from the Iraqi
police academyin Baghdad, Bremer said this act "will
not go unpunished" and that "they have not died in
Describing Wednesday's killing and the mutilation of
the victims' bodies as "inexcusable and despicable,"
Bremer said attacks against the US-led coalition "will
not derail the march toward stability and democracy in
In Fallujah, some 50 kilometers west of Baghdad,
gunmen ambushedtwo four-wheel-drive vehicles
Wednesday, killing four American contractors before
angry crowds mutilated the charred the bodies oftwo of
Earlier, five US soldiers were killed when a roadside
bomb exploded as their convoy passed by the US
military base in Habbaniya, 30 kilometers west of
Resentment against American forces remains prevalent
in Fallujah, a restive town described by alleged
messages from Saddam Hussein before he was captured as
the "capital of resistance." Enditem
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
ADC Commends DOJ for Protecting Student's Right to Wear Headscarf in
ADC welcomes the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division's
complaint against an Oklahoma school district for violating the
constitutional rights of a student by denying her the right to wear
her hijab (headscarf) to school. ADC views this 14th Amendment-based
complaint, which aserts equal protection for the student in question,
as an important step in preserving equal rights for Americans Muslims.
The Civil Rights Division made the announcement yesterday that it
would "seek to intervene in a lawsuit pending against the Muskogee,
Oklahoma Public School District to protect the right of a sixth-grade
Muslim girl to wear a headscarf to school."
According to the complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the student was twice suspended
from the Benjamin Franklin Science Academy for refusing to take off
her headscarf, or hijab, after being told that it violated the
school's dress code. That code prohibits students from wearing hats,
caps, bandanas, or jacket hoods inside school buildings. The girl and
her parents filed suit in October 2003.
The Justice Department, in addition to its complaint, filed a motion
to intervene in the private litigation. The case is entitled Hearn et
al. v. Muskogee Public School District 020. "No student should be
forced to choose between following her faith and enjoying the
benefits of a public education," said Assistant Attorney General R.
Alexander Acosta. "We certainly respect local school systems'
authority to set dress standards, and otherwise regulate their
students, but such rules cannot come at the cost of constitutional
liberties. Religious discrimination has no place in American schools."
According to the DOJ, "The complaint alleges that the school district
violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the Constitution, which bars states from applying dress codes in an
inconsistent and discriminatory manner. The complaint asks the court
to prohibit the school district from discriminating against the
student, and to have the dress code policy revised to ensure that
discrimination on the basis of religion does not continue."
MUSLIMS WELCOME JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HIJAB DEFENSE
DOJ supports religious attire of OK Muslim student
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/31/04) – The Council on American-Islamic
(CAIR) today welcomes a Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to
support the right of an Oklahoma student to wear an Islamic head
scarf, or hijab.
School officials in Muskogee, Okla., had suspended the Muslim sixth-
grader twice last fall because they claimed her hijab violated their
dress code policy prohibiting hats, caps, bandanas or other headwear.
A CAIR alert about the girl's suspension drew international media
attention and prompted hundreds of concerned Muslims to contact local
and state education officials to request religious accommodation.
School district officials subsequently allowed the Muslim student to
attend classes pending a review of the dress code policy.
The girl's parents filed suit against the Muskogee School District
last October. Yesterday, the federal government filed a motion in the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to support
of the family's lawsuit. (Hearn et al. v. Muskogee Public School
"No student should be forced to choose between following her faith
and enjoying the benefits of a public education," said Assistant
Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta in a DOJ news
release. "Religious discrimination has no place in American schools."
"This significant legal step may help set a precedent that will
benefit students of all faiths," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad
Awad. "Our government's action also sends a clear message to the
international community that America will defend its citizens'
Earlier this year, France moved to ban Muslim head scarves in public
schools. Other countries, even some with Muslim-majority populations,
have or are considering similar bans.
The DOJ complaint alleges that the school district violated the equal
protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution,
which bars states from applying dress codes in an inconsistent and
discriminatory manner. CAIR also cited the Oklahoma Religious Freedom
Act as legal support for religious accommodation. That act
states: "No governmental entity shall substantially burden a person's
free exercise of religion."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is
headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 26 offices nationwide and
- END –
CONTACT: Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, rahmed@cair-
U.S. TO DEFEND MUSLIM GIRL WEARING SCARF IN SCHOOL
Terry Frieden, CNN, 3/31/04
WASHINGTON- The Justice Department announced Tuesday the government's
civil rights lawyers have jumped into a legal case to support a
Muslim girl's right to wear a head scarf in a public school.
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Alex Acosta said
government lawyers would support 11-year-old Nashala Hearn, a sixth-
grade student who has sued the Muskogee, Oklahoma, Public School
District for ordering her to remove her head scarf, or hijab, because
it violated the dress code of the Benjamin Franklin Science Academy,
which she attended.
The girl continued to wear her hijab to school and was subsequently
suspended twice for doing so. The family appealed the suspensions,
which were upheld by a district administrative hearing committee.
Her parents filed suit against the Muskogee School District last
On Tuesday the federal government filed a motion in a federal court
in Muskogee to intervene in support of Nashala's position...
The Council on American-Islamic Relations -- which has often been
critical of the Bush administration's policies -- praised the
government's support in the case.
"This moves comes in a time when the Muslim community feels like they
are being singled out and their civil rights threatened," a statement
from the group said.
"The news also sends out a message to the international community,
especially some European countries where the wearing of the head
scarf is being banned, that America will defend its citizens'
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
Ten Years after the war against Iraq J.B.Russell
reports on the lasting legacy of depleted uranium. [Photos]
DEPLETED URANIUM: THE WAR CRIME THAT HAS NO END
by Paul Rockwell
2004-02-20 | "Depleted uranium is a crime against God
Dr. Doug Rokke, U.S. Army health physicist
The international dispatches about the U.S. invasion
and occupation of Iraq - replete with graphic details
about overcrowded hospitals, U.S. cluster bomb
shrapnel buried in the flesh of children, babies
deformed by U.S. depleted uranium, farms and markets
destroyed by U.S. bombs – do not make pleasant
reading. The mounting evidence from the invasion of
Iraq establishes what many Americans may not want to
face: that the highest leaders of our land violated
many international agreements relating to the rules of
war. Unless we address the war crimes of the Bush
administration - and the prima facie evidence is
overwhelming - we betray our conscience, our country,
and our own faith in democracy.
The United States is bound by customary law and
international laws of war: the Hague Conventions of
1889 and 1907, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and the
Nuremberg Conventions adopted by the United Nations,
December 11, 1945 - all of which set limits beyond
which, by common consent, decent peoples will not go.
Under the Constitution, all treaties are part of the
supreme law of the land. Humanitarian law rests on a
simple principle: that human rights are measured by
one yardstick. Without that principle, all
jurisprudence descends into mere piety and power. Nor
do violations of the laws of war by one belligerent
vindicate the war crimes of another.
Of all the violations of the laws of war by the
highest officials of our country, none is more
alarming or portentous than the widespread,
premeditated use of depleted uranium in Iraq. Eleven
miles north of the Kuwaiti border on the "Highway of
Death," disabled tanks, armored personnel carriers,
gutted public vehicles – the mangled metals of Desert
Storm - are resting in the desert, radiating nuclear
energy. American soldiers who lived for three months
in the toxic wasteland now suffer from fatigue, joint
and muscle pain, respiratory ailments - a host of
maladies often known as the Gulf War Syndrome.
Ever since the end of Desert Storm, when the Pentagon
unloaded 350 tons of depleted uranium, American
officials have been well aware of the health hazards
of the residue that is collected from the processing
of nuclear fuel. When President Bush and the Pentagon
authorized the use of depleted uranium for the
shock-and-awe campaign against Iraq in March 1983, the
Bush administration not only committed a war crime
against the people of Iraq, it demonstrated reckless
disregard for the health and safety of American
Article 23 of the Geneva Convention IV is clear and
unambiguous: "It is forbidden to employ poison or
poisoned weapons, to kill treacherously individuals
belonging to the hostile nation or army, to employ
arms, projectiles or material calculated to cause
unnecessary suffering." The Geneva Protocol of 1925
explicitly prohibits "asphyxiating, poisonous or other
gasses, and all analogous liquids, materials or
The radiation produced by depleted uranium in battle
is a poison, a carcinogenic material that causes birth
defects, lung disease, kidney disease, leukemia,
breast cancer, lymphoma, bone cancer, and neurological
Depleted uranium is much denser than lead and enables
U.S. weapons to penetrate steel, a great advantage in
modern war. But under the Geneva Conventions, "the
means of injuring the enemy are not unlimited." When
DU munitions explode, the air is bathed in a fine
radioactive dust, which carries on the wind, is easily
inhaled, and eventually enters the soil, pollutes
ground water, and enters the food chain. Unexploded
casings gradually oxidize, releasing more uranium into
the environment. Handlers of depleted uranium in the
U.S. are required to wear masks and protective
clothing - a requirement that Iraqi and American
soldiers, not to mention civilians, are unable to
After the Gulf War in 1991, Iraqi hospitals recorded a
surge in cancer and birth defects. Hospital statistics
from Basra show that in 1988 there were 11 cancer
cases per 100,000 people. By 2001, after schools,
homes, and entire neighborhoods were leveled from the
air, the number increased to 116 per 100,000. Breast
and lung cancer and leukemia showed up in all areas
contaminated by depleted uranium. Dr. Jawad al-Ali,
cancer specialist at the Basra Training Hospital,
noted that, "The only factor that has changed here
since the 1991 war is radiation." Thirteen members of
his staff, all present when the hospital area was
bombed, are now cancer patients.
The Christian Science Monitor recently sent reporters
to Iraq to investigate long-term effects of depleted
uranium. Staff writer Scott Peterson saw children
playing on top of a burnt-out tank near a vegetable
stand on the outskirts of Baghdad, a tank that had
been destroyed by armor-piercing shells coated with
depleted uranium. Wearing his mask and protective
clothing, he pointed his Geiger counter toward the
tank. It registered 1,000 times the normal background
The families who survived the tragic decade of
sanctions, even the children who recently survived the
bombing of Baghdad, may not survive the radiated
aftermath of military profligacy. Uranium remains
radioactive for two billion years. That's a long time
According to Dr. Doug Rokke, U.S. Army health
physicist who led the first clean-up of depleted
uranium after the Gulf War, "Depleted uranium is a
crime against God and humanity." Rokke's own crew, a
hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the
fine dust. "When we went to the Gulf, we were all
really healthy," he said. After performing clean-up
operations in the desert (mistakenly without
protective gear), thirty members of his staff died,
and most others - including Rokke himself-developed
serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway
disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney
problems. "We warned the Department of Defense in 1991
after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond
The growing outcry against the use of depleted uranium
is not a matter of minor legal technicalities. The
laws of war prohibit the use of weapons that have
deadly and inhumane effects beyond the field of
battle. Nor can weapons be legally deployed in war
when they are known to remain active, or cause harm
after the war concludes. The use of depleted uranium
is a crime whose horrific consequences have yet to run
Years ago in the midst of France's brutal war in
Algeria, the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre admonished
the French intelligentsia:
"It is not right, my fellow-countrymen, you who know
very well all the crimes committed in our name. It's
not at all right that you do not breathe a word about
them to anyone, not even to your own soul, for fear of
having to stand in judgment of yourself. I am willing
to believe that at the beginning you did not realize
what was happening; later, you doubted whether such
things could be true; but now you know, and still you
hold your tongues."
There Are No Words ...
Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs
by Bob Nichols
March 27, 2004
As a writer I do not have a set of words to describe
what 142 Degrees in the shade is like. I've seen 120
D. in Phoenix and 110 D in the spa's sauna I use. One
hundred forty-two degrees leaves me speechless. Try to
imagine 142 D temperature while wearing a helmet, long
sleeve shirt, long pants, a bullet proof vest, boots,
and carrying a 70 pound pack.
By contrast the Inuit of Alaska and Canada have
thirty-seven words to precisely talk about different
kinds of snow.
So, since the temperature is heating up in Iraq it
seemed like a good time to float this story to
different Internet sites and news publications. There
was one story in 2003 of one 19 year old British
soldier whose military job was to work in a British
tank. In Iraq. In the summer. Word is, from London,
that he forgot to drink enough water and he literally
cooked in his tank.
But, this story is not about the temperature in Iraq.
You can bet, though, the weather will be really
important for those Americans unfortunate enough to
still be in Iraq this summer.
This story is about American weapons built with
Uranium components for the business end of things.
Just about all American bullets, 120 mm tank shells,
missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, 500 and 2,000 pound
bombs, cruise missiles, and anything else engineered
to help our side in the war of us against them has
Uranium in it. Lots of Uranium.
In the case of a cruise missile, as much as 800 pounds
of the stuff. This article is about how much
radioactive uranium our guys, representing us, the
citizens of the United States, let fly in Iraq. Turns
out they used about 4,000,000 pounds of the stuff,
give or take. That is a bunch.
Now, most people have no idea how much Four Million
Pounds of anything is, much less of Uranium Dust (UD),
which this stuff turns into when it is shot or
exploded. Suffice it to say it is about equal to 1,333
cars that weigh three thousand pounds per car. That is
a lot of cars; but, we can imagine what a parking lot
with one thousand three hundred and thirty three cars
is like. The point is: this was and is an industrial
strength operation. It is still going on, too.
No sir-ee, putting Four Million Pounds of Radioactive
Uranium Dust (RUD) on the ground in Iraq was a
definitely "on-purpose" kind of thing. It was not
"just an accident." We, the citizens of the United
States, through our kids in the Army, did this on
When the uranium bullets, missiles, or bombs hit
something or explode most of the radioactive uranium
turns instantly to very, very small dust particles,
too fine to even see. When US Troopers or Iraqis
breathe even a tiny amount into their lungs, as little
as One Gram, it is the same as getting an X-Ray every
hour for the rest of their shortened life.
The uranium cannot be removed, there is no treatment,
there is no cure. The uranium will long outlast the
Veterans' and the Iraqis' bodies though; for, you see,
it lasts virtually forever.
But, it gets worse. Seems an Admiral who is the former
Chief of the Naval Staff of India wanted to know how
much radiation this represented. He also wanted to
express the amount in a figure that the world,
especially the non American world, could easily
The Admiral decided to figure out how many Nagasaki
Atom Bombs it would take to deliver the equivalent of
the total amount of radiation deployed in Iraq in 2003
in Four Million Pounds of uranium.
The Admiral also wanted to figure out how much
radiation the United States Military Forces have
deployed in the last Five American Wars, the so-called
Five Nuclear Wars.
That is a simple enough task for somebody like the
Naval Chief of Staff for a country that is a member of
the Nuclear Club. Using the Nagasaki bomb for the
measuring stick is a particularly gruesome twist,
though. For those of you in the States who do not know
it, the United States Military Forces dropped two
nuclear Bombs on Japan at the close of World War II.
The whole world remembers that.
One Atom Bomb was dropped by Americans on the city of
Hiroshima, the other on the city of Nagasaki three
days later. About 170,000 people were incinerated
immediately. It was a really big deal.
It is a measuring stick that plays very well in the
rest of the world; but, not very well on Fox News
(Fair & Balanced) (c) or the rest of the Fox-like
American media. The Department of Energy still lists
the Hiroshima and Nagasaki detonations as "tests." The
admiral released the data months ago at a scientific
conference in India. This article is the first report
of the data in the United States. It will first be
released on the Internet.
The admiral in India calculated the number of
radioactive atoms in the Nagasaki bomb and compared it
with the number in the 4,000,000 pounds of uranium
left in Iraq from the 2003 war. Now, believe me, it is
a lot more complex than that; but, that is essentially
what the experts in India did.
How many Nagasaki Nuclear Bombs equal the Radiation
loosed in the 2003 Iraq war? Answer: About 250,000
How many Nagasaki Nuclear Bombs equal the Radiation
loosed in the last Five American Nuclear Wars? Answer:
About 400,000 Nuclear Bombs.
Who would do something like this?
We would. The only people in the history of the world
to engage in Nuclear Wars are Americans, citizens of
the United States. Allegedly, the Germans and Japanese
of WWII also wanted to engage in nuclear wars, except
the American Military beat them to the draw, so to
Respected academic scholars could debate forever
whether or not Herr Hitler, Fuhrer of Germany, would
have deployed uranium munitions in the Sudetenland if
the weapons had been available. Certainly the Germans
knew just as much about uranium wars as we did at the
time. It seems doubtful that Adolph Hitler would have
ordered the use of uranium munitions there because the
Sudetenland was so close to the Fatherland, Nazi
An American General named Leslie Groves was in charge
of the bomb making operation called The Manhattan
Project. In 1943 The War Department knew exactly what
uranium bullets and bombs were good for.
If the nuclear weapons did not detonate in Japan, the
use of uranium bullets and bombs were the fall back
position. It was not till Ronald Reagan was President
in 1980 did the re-named Defense Department resurrect
the deadly radioactive uranium bullets, bombs, and
missiles. No wonder his popular nick-name was Ronnie
The American Military knew the symptoms of radiation
poisoning in 1943 too; starting with the irritated
sore throat through to an agonizing death from being
cooked from the inside out.
President Bush promised to invade twelve countries in
the 2003 State of the Union speech. I believe the man.
For some reason, some misguided Americans do not
believe him, or think he was "exaggerating." The rest
of the world has every reason to believe him, though.
Not to worry, the President has plenty of raw material
for radioactive uranium munitions left. There are more
than 77,000 Tons stored at the 103 nuclear waste
plants and the several Nuclear Weapons Labs in the US.
Each one makes another 250 pounds of radioactive
material a day for radioactive bullets, bombs, and
missiles. Not to put too fine a point on it; but, that
is enough for 40.5 more gloriously successful
campaigns like the 2003 Nuclear War in Iraq.
Every year about this time the Southern winds leave a
fine desert sand on the windshields of cars parked
outside in Continental Europe and Britain. Soon this
sand dust will carry a surprise. Thanks to the
Americans. Thanks to us. We did this to the world.
And, we wonder why they hate and despise us so.
These uranium weapons' indiscriminate killing effect
gives a whole new meaning to the age old term: cannon
fodder. In Iraq, what goes around, comes around. If
not the uranium munitions themselves, the uranium dust
will be in the bodies of our returning armed forces,
time bombs slowly ticking away the lives of the
gullible and the ignorant with their very own internal
radiation source, the cannon fodder of the 21st
Century American Nuclear Wars.
Put your ending to this article next.
A lot of people have done everything we can think of
to stop these nuclear wars. Even more specifically to
stop the use of uranium as a munition and shut down
the nuclear power plants. We have tried and failed for
years. Why don't you give it a try? Can't hurt
anything! Write what steps you would take to turn this
situation around. Contact me at: bobnichols@....
Bob Nichols writes in Oklahoma City and is the
Editorial writer for DemoOkie.com. Bob Nichols is a
contributing writer for LiberalSlant, Democratic
Underground, OnlineJournal, AmericaHeldHostage, and
other online dot com publications. Mr. Nichols is a
frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer and
other print publications. He lives and works in
Oklahoma. He is a member of CASE -- Citizens' Action
for Safe Energy, and President of the Carrie Dickerson
Foundation. CASE has successfully killed two serious,
well funded attempts to build Nuclear Power Plants in
Oklahoma and several attempts to site what is now
known as the "Yucca Mountain Reactor Dump" in
Oklahoma. All these efforts to build nuclear
facilities have failed. CASE won every time.
For addtional information...
Afghan DU Recovery Fund: http://www.afghandufund.org/
Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association:
Coalición Internacional para la Abolición de las Armas
The Eos life~work resource centre:
GULF WAR SYNDROME UK SUPPORT GROUP:
Pandora DU Research
Traprock Peace Center:
United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights:
Uranium Medical Research Centre: http://www.umrc.net/
Uranium Weapons Conference;
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UK to speed up introduction of compulsory ID cards
LONDON, April 1: Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated on Thursday
that Britain would speed up the introduction of compulsory
identity (ID) cards following the arrest of eight terror suspects
Britain was already planning to bolster its tough anti-terror
laws, passed in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the
United States, but Mr Blair told his monthly news conference
further measures were needed now.....(Reuters)
UK Muslims fed up with being blamed
By Peter Fray, Herald Correspondent in London
April 3, 2004
Four days before nine alleged Islamic terrorists were
arrested this week, Britain's Muslim leadership held a
private summit to decide on a strategy for dealing
with a Madrid-style strike in London.
There emerged a common complaint: that Muslims across
Europe are tired of having to defend their faith and
say sorry every time a supposed Islamic terrorist is
Inayat Bunglawala, a participant in the summit, said:
"We've apologised relentlessly and yet we feel it's
all one way from our side.
"The [British] Government is not making an effort of
its own to try and acknowledge that there is a genuine
grievance out there.
"If just a 10th of the energy [on fighting terrorism]
was spent on putting pressure on the Israelis to
behave . . . and allow the Palestinians some . . .
dignity, there would be a sea change in opinion."
While Mr Bunglawala's Muslim Council of Britain (MCB),
the peak body for the country's 2 million Muslims,
agreed to take a less defensive stance, that sea
change is yet again on hold following the dramatic
capture of British-born young men and enough
fertiliser to carry out a Bali-style bombing in
Now the focus is on how these supposedly regular
"English guys" of Pakistani descent could have
allegedly conceived of such horror - not how Britain
and other governments could soothe their motivations.
Since September 11, 2001, 537 British Muslims have
been detained by police and 94 have been charged under
the all-encompassing Terrorism Act. Only six have been
convicted. Islamic leaders have complained about being
targeted, noting that British Jews would be furious if
subjected to the same treatment.
However, this week such protests were a footnote to
public soul-searching as mainstream leaders attacked
the brainwashing of young Muslims by a few
British-based radical imams.
The MCB's general secretary, Iqbal Sacranie, wrote to
the head of Britain's 1000-plus mosques asking
worshippers to unite and fight against terrorism. "The
letter is a change of emphasis," he said. "We have to
face the reality."
Mr Bunglawala said: "What is worrying is that these
men were almost all born in Britain of Pakistani
background. There is certainly a great deal of anger
with the way our government has allied itself with the
United States. That's quite different to people
planning acts of terror."
Relatives have proclaimed their innocence and
allegiance to Britain. "They are just regular English
guys," said Sajjad Ahmad, an uncle of three of those
arrested. "They are as British as they come. They
don't even have beards."
But the sister of one told the Daily Mirror her
brother had recently become very devout. "All he does
now is read the Koran and listen to it on tape."
In Britain right now intense study of the Koran is
enough to make you a suspect. Little wonder so many
Muslims are fed up with apologising.
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MUSLIM WOMAN DEPORTED TO VENEZUELA WITHOUT HER CHILDREN
Associated Press, 4/1/04
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Muslim woman fighting to remain in the United
States was deported to her native Venezuela without her three
Immigration officials put Amina Silmi on a flight to Caracas on
Silmi, of the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, was born in
Venezuela to Palestinian parents. She came to the United States in
1990, married twice and had three children without attaining legal
Her second husband was deported in December after being convicted of
trafficking in food stamps before their marriage.
In 2001, an immigration judge ordered her to be deported. Her appeals
were exhausted on March 18.
Silmi left her children, ages 5, 6 and 12 and all U.S. citizens, in
the care of a sister. She has no family or friends in Venezuela.
Because of immigration violations, she is barred from returning to
the United States for 10 years...
Opponents say Silmi did not receive due process and characterized her
plight as a civil rights issue.
"It's very easy to scapegoat immigrants," said Julia Shears, director
of the Cleveland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
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REJECT RACISM. REJECT ISRAEL.
The Real History of Israel - online flyer FOR PUBLIC USE.
EU: IDF actions that harm civilians akin to 'acts of terror'
By Sharon Sadeh, Haaretz Correspondent, and Reuters
1 April 2004
The European Parliament on Thursday compared injuries to
Palestinians by Israeli military action to "acts of terror," and
called for a suspension of the Israel-EU Association Agreement,
should Israel persist with its policy of assassinations.
The agreement, which came into existence in June 2000, elevates
Israel's political and diplomatic status in its dealings with the EU
regarding finance and trade.
Also Thursday, a European Parliament probe said that European Union
aid has not been siphoned off to Palestinian militants carrying out
attacks on Israelis, but some lawmakers disputed the findings.
The EU is the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority. Alleged
misuse of the funds has also prompted a probe by the EU's anti-fraud
office OLAF. The parliamentary inquiry looked at monies handed out
from the end of 2000 to the end of 2002.
The parliamentary committee met Palestinian officials during the
course of its probe. It also looked at documents handed over by the
Israeli army and intelligence, which both alleged that EU financial
assistance was diverted to finance terrorism.
"There is no conclusive evidence, to date, that the EU non-targeted
direct budgetary support was used to finance illegal activities,
including the financing of terrorism," said the draft report adopted
by the committee of inquiry.
But showing the controversial nature of the issue, a minority group
of committee members backed slightly different findings.
While agreeing there was no formal proof EU funds were used to
finance militants, they said suspicions existed that Palestinian
Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat had indeed authorized such
The European Commission, responsible for channelling the funds to
the Palestinian Authority, was pleased that the main report found no
financing of guerrillas.
Commission external affairs spokesman Emma Udwin also noted that the
EU had changed the way it funded the Palestinians and now targeted
aid for specific purposes.
Before, it was handing over 10 million euros ($12 million) a month
to help pay the salaries of Palestinian public sector workers.
From April 2003, it started a new system of allocating two tranches
worth 40 million euros each. Money is only handed over if various
conditions are met, such as the presentation of invoices for bills
the Palestinians need to pay.
Why Americans are sending billions to Israel
Paul J. Balles*
29 March 2004
You asked why the US gives billions of dollars to
Israel, despite the fact that the Israelis attacked
the USS Liberty. You apparently learned only recently
of how the Israelis got away with that attack. You
seem completely unaware of how Israel and its American
Zionists control America.
You should know that Zionists control the US
government and the media. If you have a significant
position in the government or are a significant voice
in public, the Zionists will destroy you! If you
object to blind support of Israel, they will label you
anti-Semitic and threaten you and cost you your job.
Do you know that if you complain about Zionist
influence, you will receive hate mail and threats of
violence? If you object to the billions of dollars of
your taxpayer money going to Israel, the Zionists will
label you a Jew-hating Aryan, and they will pretend
that you don't care that "6 million Jews were
exterminated in the holocaust".
They will use that "history" to play on yours and
everyone else's collective guilt. They will also use
it to distract attention from slaughterers like Sharon
who kill and maim and destroy everything Palestinian.
Zionist Israel and its American supporters will
continue the blatant murders of Palestinians - old men,
women, children and cripples - until the Zionist
genocide of Palestinians is complete. They truly
learned much from the Nazis!
And, yes, America and Americans' billions supports it
all - the killing, the maiming, the destruction of
property, the deprivation, the imposed poverty, the
theft of water rights, the Bantustans, the Apartheid
Wall and the suicide bombers.
Do you wonder how America supports the suicide bombers?
When an entire people are overpowered, tortured,
repressed, subjugated and subdued beyond hope, with
America standing on the sidelines applauding and
paying for it while Europe turns its head away, what
do you expect the people to do?
They can't cry. They have no tears left. They can't
fight tanks and Apache helicopters and F-16s with
stones! If they fire a rocket that hits no one, the
source of the rocket will be destroyed anyway. Firing
rockets against Israelis with the latest American
military detection equipment amounts to suicide with
The suicide bombers who sacrifice themselves in a weak
attempt at resistance are actually creations of Israel
and America. Thanks again to the billions of dollars
Americans cough up each year for their endowment.
Don't ever again ask why. Ask fellow Americans when
you're going to put a stop to the long distance
support for a Mafioso of Zionist hit men.
When are you going to insist that the president and
his men - Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Wurmser, Feith,
Cohen - all closer to Israel than they are to America
- get prosecuted as members of an organized crime
syndicate? Make no mistake: Zionism in America is
When will you stop electing Senators and
Representatives to Congress who can't resist the lure
of Zionist support? They're nothing more than
legislators who embrace the same organized crime
When will you stop reading the crap written and
published by the New York Times, the Washington Post
and US News? When will you stop being influenced by
the broadcasts of the Murdoch empire and Fox News?
When will you stop supporting organized Zionist crime
and take America back from Israel for Americans?
*Paul Balles is a retired American university
professor and freelance writer who has lived in the
Middle East for 34 years.
Bush under Fire over Sharon Invitation
By Andrew Woodcock, Political Correspondent, PA News
A senior Jewish MP today launched an attack on US
President George Bush's decision to invite Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the White House.
The invitation amounted to a "presidential seal of
approval" for Sharon's Likud Government, which was
responsible for "indiscriminate" killings of
Palestinians, said Mr Kaufman.
He called for economic sanctions against Israel to
bring Likud to the negotiating table.
Speaking today at the Rusholme branch of the Labour
Party in Manchester, Mr Kaufman said: "By inviting
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the White House,
President George W. Bush has given his presidential
seal of approval to Israel's Likud government.
"That Government's policies include targeted
assassinations, indiscriminate killing of
Palestinians, including this weekend's slaughter of a
small boy, the separation wall that is bringing
poverty and despair to huge numbers of Palestinians,
continuation of settlements against international law,
and breaking up Palestinian territory into small
fragments through the installation of 482 Israeli army
The veteran Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, a
long-time critic of Likud, added: "Bush has shown
whose side he is on in this grossly unequal struggle
by refusing to invite the Palestinian Prime Minister,
even though the ostensible purpose of the invitation
to Sharon is the Middle East peace process.
"Invitations to Jordanian and Egyptian leaders, though
satisfactory, are no substitute to the exclusion of
"Bush's father, as president, understood the
importance of forcing the Israelis to the conference
table by imposing economic sanctions on a previous
Likud Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir.
"It is not enough for the world community, including
our own Government, to condemn the Israeli
Government's brutal policies of repression. Only
widespread economic sanctions on Israel, together with
cutting off arms supplies, can make any impact on this
Government without a conscience."
The White House announced on Friday that a long-mooted
meeting between Bush and Sharon would take place on
April 14 and cover "the war on terror and the search
for Israeli-Palestinian peace".
The session is scheduled two days after Bush is to
welcome Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to his Texas
ranch. A week later, on April 21, Bush will meet
Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House.
USA says trade deficit with Israel is too high
JERUSALEM, March 10 (Reuters) - The United States is
concerned that its trade deficit with Israel continues
to widen even as Israel receives large amounts of
annual U.S. aid, Under Secretary of Commerce Kenneth
Juster said on Wednesday.
"U.S. exports to Israel have fallen every year since
2000 to the point where the (trade) deficit is
approaching $6 billion," Juster told Reuters.
"Given the expensive interaction with Israel, that's
a troubling development."
Israel, which receives nearly $3 billion in mostly
military aid annually from the U.S., exported more
than $12 billion to the United States in 2003, while
U.S. exports to Israel were less than $7 billion -- a
drop from nearly $8 billion in 2000.
But while Israel has a trade surplus with the United
States, it has a trade deficit of about $6 billion
"It's puzzling," Juster said, noting trade and other
economic issues have "concerned our government in
"If the trade deficit widens for legitimate reasons,
that happens," he said.
"But if we feel the processes are not fair that would
be something for the U.S. trade rep to focus on and
have to consider," Juster said, noting the United
States was not contemplating economic sanctions on
Israel should the situation worsen.
Israel is due to announce its foreign trade data from
February on Thursday at around 1200 GMT. Its 2003
trade deficit of $6.0 billion was the lowest in 12
Juster,who just finished up a Middle East trip, aid he
raised the issue with Israeli officials along with the
U.S.'s contention that the bidding process for Israeli
contracts was unfair.
"I urged improvement in the public procurement process
so U.S. companies did not feel discouraged from
participating in Israeli projects," he said in a phone
interview from Washington.
"Many tenders in our view are closed to competition
and U.S. companies have reported the lack of
transparency in evaluation of bids for government
contracts, lengthy procedures for tenders and use of
negotiated agreements rather than public tenders."
BIDDING PROCESS "FLAWED"
In particular, Juster called the bidding process for
contracts to build desalination plants in Israel
At the same time, Juster expressed concerns about
Israel not adopting multinational standards.
"We believe there should be a level playing field and
multinational and U.S. standards should be applicable,"
Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade was not
available for comment on Juster's remarks.
Juster praised Israel for good export control systems
that prevent sensitive technologies from landing in
the wrong hands.
"There are many good things in the economic sphere but
we are puzzled by the trade deficit," said Juster,
head of the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry
Juster also met officials from Jawwal Palestinian
Communication, the Palestinian mobile phone provider.
"In our view they really provide a professional model
for Palestinian economic development and it's in
everyone's interest that they succeed in providing
jobs for Palestinians," he said.
As such, he urged Israeli customs officials to release
mobile phones and other telecoms equipment intended
Juster noted the United States has spent little time
focusing on economic matters in the area due to the
political situation and decades-long Arab-Israeli
"In Israel, we have a well developed relationship in
the security sphere and political side but we have not
focused enough on trade and the economic sphere," he
"It's ironic we haven't given that enough attention at
times because Israel was the first country the United
States developed a free trade agreement with," he said.
"Security and trade go hand in hand so we need to give
attention to the trade component as well."
FROM THE FILES OF
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL (UPI)
The recent missile strike by U.S.-provided Israeli
helicopter gunships on the highly respected spiritual
leader of the Palestinian resistance, the frail,
nearly blind, 67-year-old quadriplegic Sheikh Ahmed
Yassin as he was returning in a wheel chair from
early morning prayers, reminds us once again of the
cowardly, out-of-control criminality of the rogue,
terrorist, Zionist entity in the Middle East. It
merely confirms the "Murder, Inc." mentality of the
international thugs in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, who
have adopted political assassination as a matter of
state policy. As described below, they think that
with a wink and a nod from their sponsors in
Washington, they can get away with anything in their
ongoing war against the goyim.
Israel to kill in U.S., and allied nations
By Richard Sale, UPI Intelligence Correspondent
January 15, 2003
JERUSALEM—Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive
approach to the war on terror that will include
staging targeted killings in the United States and
other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence
officials told United Press International.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has forbidden the
practice until now, these sources said, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
The Israeli statements were confirmed by more than a
half dozen former and currently serving U.S. foreign
policy and intelligence officials in interviews with
United Press International.
With the appointment of Meir Dagan, the new director
of Israel's Mossad secret intelligence service,
Sharon is preparing "a huge budget" increase for the
spy agency as part of "a tougher stance in fighting
global jihad (or holy war)," one Israeli official
Since Sharon became Israeli prime minister, Tel Aviv
has mainly limited its practice of targeted killings
to the West Bank and Gaza because "no one wanted such
operations on their territory," a former Israeli
intelligence official said.
Another former Israeli government official said that
under Sharon, "diplomatic constraints have prevented
the Mossad from carrying out 'preventive operations'
(targeted killings) on the soil of friendly countries
He said Sharon is "reversing that policy, even if it
risks complications to Israel's bilateral relations."
A former Israeli military intelligence source agreed:
"What Sharon wants is a much more extensive and tough
approach to global terrorism, and this includes
greater operational maneuverability."
Does this mean assassinations on the soil of allies?
"It does," he said.
"Mossad is definitely being beefed up," a U.S.
government official said of the Israeli agency's
budget increase. He declined to comment on the Tel
Aviv's geographic expansion of targeted killings.
An FBI spokesman also declined to comment, saying:
"This is a policy matter. We only enforce federal
A congressional staff member with deep knowledge of
intelligence matters said, "I don't know on what
basis we would be able to protest Israel's actions."
He referred to the recent killing of Qaed Salim Sinan
al Harethi, a top al Qaida leader, in Yemen by a
remotely controlled CIA drone.
"That was done on the soil of a friendly ally," the
But the complications posed by Israel's new policy
"Israel does not have a good record at doing this
sort of thing," said former CIA counter-terrorism
official Larry Johnson.
He cited the 1997 fiasco where two Mossad agents were
captured after they tried to assassinate Khaled
Mashaal, a Hamas political leader, by injecting him
According to Johnson, the attempt, made in Amman,
Jordan, caused a political crisis in Israeli-Jordan
relations. In addition, because the Israeli agents
carried Canadian passports, Canada withdrew its
ambassador in protest, he said. Jordan is one of two
Arab nations to recognize Israel. The other is Egypt.
At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu said, "I have no intention of stopping the
activities of this government against terror,"
according to a CNN report.
Former CIA officials say Israel was forced to free
jailed Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and 70 other
Jordanian and Palestinian prisoner being held in
Israeli jails to secure the release of the two
would-be Mossad assassins.
Phil Stoddard, former director of the Middle East
Institute, cited a botched plot to kill Ali Hassan
Salemeh, the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics
massacre. The 1974 attempt severely embarrassed
Mossad when the Israeli hit team mistakenly
assassinated a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway.
Salemeh, later a CIA asset, was killed in Beirut,
Lebanon, in 1976 by a car bomb placed by an Israeli
assassination team, former U.S. intelligence
"Israel knew Salemeh was providing us with preventive
intelligence on the Palestinians and his being killed
pissed off a lot of people," said a former senior CIA
But some Israeli operations have been successful.
Gerald Bull, an Ontario-born U.S. citizen and
designer of the Iraqi supergun -- a massive artillery
system capable of launching satellites into orbit,
and of delivering nuclear chemical or biological
payloads from Baghdad to Israel -- was killed in
Belgium in March 1990. The killing is still unsolved,
but former CIA officials said a Mossad hit team is
the most likely suspect.
Bull worked on the supergun design -- codenamed
Project Babylon -- for 10 years, and helped the
Iraqis develop many smaller artillery systems. He was
found with five bullets in his head outside his
Israeli hit teams, which consist of units or
squadrons of the Kidon, a sub-unit for Mossad's
highly secret Metsada department, would stage the
operations, former Israeli intelligence sources said.
Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning "bayonet," one former
Israeli intelligence source said.
This Israeli government source explained that in the
past Israel has not staged targeted killings in
friendly countries because "no one wanted such
operations on their territory."
This has become irrelevant, he said.
Dagan, the new hard-driving director of Mossad, will
implement the new changes, former Israeli government
Dagan, nicknamed "the gun," was Sharon's adviser on
counter-terrorism during the government of Netanyahu
in 1996, former Israeli government officials say. A
former military man, Dagan has also undertaken
extremely sensitive diplomatic missions for several
of Israel's prime ministers, former Israeli
government sources said.
Former Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Gal Luft, who
served under Dagan, described him as an "extremely
creative individual -- creative to the point of
A former CIA official who knows Dagan said the new
Mossad director knows "his foreign affairs inside and
out," and has a "real killer instinct."
Dagan is also "an intelligence natural" who has "a
superb analyst not afraid to act on gut instinct,"
the former CIA official said.
Dagan has already removed Mossad officials whom he
regards as "being too conservative or too cautious"
and is building up "a constituency of senior people
of the same mentality," one former long-time Israeli
Dagan is also urging that Mossad operatives rely less
on secret sources and rely more on open information
that is so plentifully provided on the Internet and
"It's a cultural thing," one former Israeli
intelligence operative explained. "Mossad in the past
has put its emphasis on Humint (human intelligence)
and secret operations and has neglected the whole
field of open media, which has become extremely
Prosecutor recommends indicting Sharon
TEL AVIV, March 27: Israel's chief prosecutor will recommend to the
attorney general that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should be indicted
in a long-running corruption case, a television network said on
The network said State Attorney Edna Arbel had concluded there were
sufficient grounds to charge Mr Sharon with bribery in connection
with a real estate deal involving his son, Gilad, and land developer
David Appel, a stalwart of the prime minister's ruling right-wing
A final decision on whether to indict Mr Sharon rests with Attorney
General Menachem Mazuz once he receives Arbel's recommendations.
Ariel Sharon, 76, has in the past denied any wrongdoing but analysts
have said he would probably be forced from office if he were
As prosecutors began considering the charges in January, Mr Sharon
told supporters at a rally he had no intention of resigning over the
The premier's aides said he would not step down even if he was
indicted, but an opinion poll in January said if charges were
brought, the prime minister may have little choice but to bow to
public pressure and go.-Reuters
Activist's family launch legal bid
23 March 2004 - This is London
The family of a peace activist from north London shot dead by Israeli
troops are launching a legal challenge to gain access to full details
of the investigation into his killing, it has been revealed.
Tom Hurndall, 22, died in January after spending nine months in a
coma after being shot in the head while trying to help Palestinian
children at a military checkpoint in Gaza.
Today, his mother, Jocelyn Hurndall, voiced concerns that an Israeli
soldier charged with manslaughter over his death may be being used as
Her family has instructed lawyers to take an appeal to the Israeli
Supreme Court, demanding full access to the evidence gathered in the
military police investigation into the shooting.
The family was given a three-page summary of the investigation
earlier this month, but has been told it will not be shown the full
evidence, including statements from witnesses apparently challenging
the official version of events.
The soldier himself is apparently now claiming that he was following
orders from above when he fired his gun.
Mrs Hurndall told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It should contain
transcripts of statements made by soldiers and colleagues, all of
whom were initially claiming that the sergeant who shot Tom was being
hung out to dry.
"There are crucial questions which need to be answered and we can
only answer those by having full access."
Although senior Israeli officials have promised Prime Minister Tony
Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw a full investigation of Mr
Hurndall's death, Mrs Hurndall said the family had been obstructed in
its search for the truth.
HOUSE BILL STALLS CALLING FOR PROBE OF CORRIE'S DEATH
Ellyn Ferguson, Olympian, 3/16/04
WASHINGTON -- Chances seem dim for a U.S. investigation into the
death of The Evergreen State College student Rachel Corrie, who was
killed trying to stop an Israeli Army bulldozer from demolishing a
Palestinian home last year.
The Israeli government called her death an accident and ruled out
charging the soldiers involved in Corrie's March 16, 2003, death.
Shortly afterward, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, introduced a
nonbinding resolution calling for a U.S. investigation into Corrie's
death. Corrie grew up in Olympia.
But Baird said the measure is increasingly unlikely ever to move out
of the House International Relations Committee.
"It's an admittedly controversial and difficult issue," he said.
Although the Israelis made initial findings in the case last year,
Baird said he still is waiting to see the full report and
accompanying video evidence...
Hasan Mansori, government affairs coordinator for the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, said Corrie's death has generated "a lot
of dialogue among people about the volatile situation in the Middle
Still, Mansori said he does not foresee Congress taking up Baird's
resolution any time soon.
"It's going to be difficult to pass it," Mansori said.
A FRIEND WHO DIED FOR PEACE
Joe Carr, Kansas City Star, 3/16/04
I am a 22-year-old student from Kansas City who last year spent four
months doing peace work with the International Solidarity Movement in
Movement volunteers began taking nonviolent direct action against
Israel after the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution
that would have sent in professional peacekeeping troops. I had the
privilege of working with Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old student from
Little did I know that I would witness her death.
One year ago, our group was opposing Israeli demolitions of
Palestinian homes. According to the Israeli human rights group
B'Tselem, Israel has demolished more than 11,000 Palestinian homes
since 1968, fewer than 5 percent of them for security reasons. On
March 16, 2003, we were in Rafah, Gaza Strip, where Israel was
demolishing homes to construct a massive wall. We used our bodies to
physically block bulldozers. A Palestinian would be shot for even
going near a bulldozer, but our white skin and Western passports
provided us a measure of protection - but not quite as much as we'd
Rachel, wearing a fluorescent jacket, knelt in front of the family
home Of a Palestinian physician with whom Rachel had stayed. Though
she was clearly in his view, the bulldozer driver continued forward
until he was moving the earth underneath her. She climbed onto the
mound he was pushing, elevating to eye-level with the driver...
Subject: Hater of Israel -- Sone' Yisrael
Tue, 30 Mar 2004 09:26:27 EST
One of the racist Ashkenazi Nazis (i.e., Zionists) that takes part in
the Friedman discussion list called Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a professor
at the Yale Medical School, a hater of Israel as if it were a bad
It is a curious phrase. Modern Israeli Hebrew uses antishemi for anti-
Semite, but Rabbinic Hebrew and Yiddish use Sone' Yisrael/sone
yisroel, hater of Israel, where Israel implicitly means bnei Yisrael
(children of Israel) or klal Yisrael (community of Israel).
Racist Ashkenazi Nazis reinterpret Yisrael in the phrase Sone'
Yisrael as Medinat Yisrael (State of Israel) so that the
Yiddish/Rabbinic word for anti-Semite in their sick twisted minds
comes to mean hater of the State of Israel and by extension hater of
Zionism because the State of Israel is consolidated on Zionist
Hence to Ashkenazi Nazis an anti-Semite is a hater of the State of
Israel or Zionism.
Racist Ashkenazi Nazis uses anti-Semite in this way for propaganda
purposes because they assume that anti-Semite has such negative
connotations that no one would ever want to be called anti-Semite.
But let's consider the case of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh. He is a native
Palestinian. His family was in some sense lucky to be living in the
part of Palestine that came under Jordanian occupation during 1947-8.
(One could analogize the division of Palestine in 1947-8 between
Ashkenazi Nazis and the Transjordanians to the division of Poland in
1939 between German Nazis and the USSR.) An Ashkenazi or a Pole that
lived in Soviet occupied Poland would likewise have been lucky, but
Qumsiyeh's family would have seen the devastation that Ashkenazi Nazi
(Zionist) forces did by plundering, mass murdering and ethnic
cleansing of the native population, just as the German Nazis did in
1939-40 to native populations of Poland. Then in 1967 Zionists
occupied the rest of Palestine just as the Nazis later occupied the
rest of Poland.
Did not Poles and Ashkenazim of Nazi occupied Poland (all of Poland)
have an absolute right to hate the Nazis or Germans (no one really
made much of a distinction back then)? Does not the Palestinian
population of Zionist occupied Palestine (all of Palestine pre-1967
Israel and the Occupied Territories) have an absolute right to hate
the Zionists and Jews (the Zionists work real hard to blur the
distinction between Zionist, i.e., Ashkenazi Nazi, and Jew)? Did not
all decent human beings have an ethical obligation in 1939-40 to hate
and despise Germans and Nazis? Do not all decent human beings today
have an ethical obligation to hate and despise Jews and Zionists
(Ashkenazi Nazis)? Should not decent people call themselves anti-
Semites with pride if we follow the usage [of "Semites" as] racist
Ashkenazi American Nazis?
Personally, I would prefer to confine the terms anti-Semitism and
anti-Semite to the latter half of the 19th century and to the first
half of the 20th century. Today, I would prefer to use the terms
legitimate and illegitimate Judeophobia, but if racist Ashkenazi
American Nazis persist in using anti-Semite in the current political
context, true patriotic Americans devoted to fundamental American
principles of antiracism, democracy and human rights will just have
accept the epithet from Ashkenazi American Nazis as a badge of honor.
Today all decent ethical human beings must be anti-Semites. And
decent antiracist Ashkenazim and Israeli Jews must be at the
forefront of the struggle against Zionism and the State of Israel in
order to escape association with Ashkenazi Nazism (Zionism).
The following is a summary of gross Israeli violations of
international law perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in March
*73 Palestinians (58 in the Gaza Strip and 15 in the West Bank)
were killed by Israeli forces, which puts the number of Palestinians
killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the Intifada at
2527, including 2176 civilians.
*134 Palestinians were injured in the Gaza Strip, increasing the
number of Palestinians injured in the Gaza Strip since the beginning
of the current Intifada to 6975.
*118 Palestinian homes were demolished in March, thus, the number of
homes demolished since the beginning of the Intifada has increased
*120 donums were razed in the Gaza Strip, putting the total area of
agricultural land razed at 22616 donums
SETTLERS MOVE TO ARAB AREA, IGNITING CLASH
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/1/04
JERUSALEM -- Jewish settlers protected by Israeli police moved into a
crowded Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem before dawn Wednesday,
sparking a clash with angry Arab residents.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was an early supporter of an organized
effort to move Jews into the traditionally Arab eastern sector, and
he bought a house in the walled Old City's Muslim Quarter in 1987.
Israel captured the Old City from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli
But Wednesday's move by the settlers could prove an embarrassment to
Sharon as he tries to convince President Bush this month in
Washington that he is sincere about plans to withdraw some settlers
from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers dismantled two uninhabited Jewish
outposts in the West Bank, consisting of a couple of empty shipping
containers, a tent and a shack.
In recent years, hawkish Jewish groups have steadily strengthened
their footing in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and now an
estimated 180,000 Jews live there.
On Wednesday, eight Jewish families moved into a new six-story
apartment building in East Jerusalem, and a dozen religious-school
students moved into part of an older Arab family compound.
After the move was completed, armed settlers and police officers
guarded the entrances and kept watch from rooftops...
Palestinians riot as Israeli settlers gain new foothold
By Donald Macintyre in Silwan
1 April 2004
Armed Israeli settlers moved into this populous and largely rundown
Palestinian neighbourhood of East Jerusalem yesterday as they opened
a new front in their co-ordinated - and bitterly contested - effort
to establish Jewish footholds in Arab districts of the city.
Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing residents and arrested nine
Palestinians after clashes when the settlers arrived in the early
hours with police and security guards to occupy two buildings - one
a seven-storey apartment block - previously owned by Arabs below the
walls of the Old City. As local Palestinians said that some
residents had been beaten, a police spokesman, Shmulik Ben-Ruby,
said that six police officers had been hurt.
Awad Rajabi, 55, said that he had been sleeping in his home next
door to one of the occupied apartments, which he had been renovating
for his son's family after what he thought had been a
straightforward purchase of it for 35,000 Jordanian dinars (#26,500)
eight months ago.
"I hear a noise and went downstairs. There were about 20 or 30
settlers with border police, a police car and jeeps. He said that
they had shouted before breaking into the apartment: "'This is our
house.' I said: 'No this is my house.'" He added: "This is the first
step, they want to dismiss us from the area altogether."
Witnesses said that the Jewish activists had carried boxes, chairs,
tables and potted plants into buildings, which they had purchased
from a local Arab developer, and that a van packed with sofas and
couches arrived. Others had hauled a water tank on to the roof of
one of the buildings and installed a generator.
Mr Rajabi's daughter, Najat, 15, was behind their home at 7am, about
to cross to another part of the extended Rajabi family compound -
which houses about 120 of his relatives in 20 separate apartments -
when she heard voices from the window of the home now occupied by
the settlers' group and saw part of a gun barrel.
"They said: 'We killed Sheikh Yassin and we will kill you,'" she
claimed. The operation was the first of its kind conducted by the
Committee for the Renewal of the Yemenite Village in Shiloah -
Hebrew for Silwan - to "reclaim" land which is in sight of the Al
Aqsa Mosque and Jewish Temple Mount and once belonged to a community
of Yemeni Jews which was first established in the 1880s but was
finally forced to leave during Arab riots in 1938. But the group is
closely associated with Ateret Cohanim, an umbrella settler group of
the hard-line national religious right, and follows similar settler
operations in neighbouring districts.
A similar group of armed activists broke into and took over the home
of a sleeping Palestinian family in nearby King David's City last
As armed police patrolled the district, Daniel Lourie, a spokesman
for the settlers' committee, insisted that 66 years after the last
Yemeni Jews had left "we have returned Jewish families to the area
with the idea of living side-by-side with the Arabs".
Asserting the right of Jews to settle anywhere in their biblical
"homeland", he said the settlers - who do not accept the idea of a
separate Palestinian state - regarded the Yemeni district as a
"microcosm of the whole of Israel".
However, Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer who is a prominent
opponent of the settler operations in the city, said the settlers
had the goal of turning Jerusalem in to a "predominantly, if not
exclusive, Jewish city".
He said: "They are not numerically significant, but in its effect on
the stability of Jerusalem, this is so contrary to the interests of
the Israeli state that it is tantamount to pyromania."
The settlers say that as in other such cases their purchase of the
buildings were perfectly legal, though declined to name the Arab
vendors because of the risks of reprisals against them and their
families for collaborating with Jewish settler families. While not
disputing that the properties had been legally purchased by the
settlers, the Rajabi family said it believes it was tricked by
Muhammad Maraghi, a member of a prominent local family, who they
named as the previous owner of both buildings, into handing over Mr
Rajabi's savings for the same home.
Mr Maraghi's wife, Fatima - who had been occupying - and was herself
evicted from, early yesterday, the top two floors of the otherwise
empty apartment block, said that her husband had been in the United
States since Saturday and she did not know how to contact him.
Mr Rajabi said: "I am destroyed by this. I borrowed the money to pay
him and I have used up all my savings."
She and other members of the Maraghi clan have placed a proclamation
disassociating themselves from her husband, believed to be a nephew
of Abu Musa, a prominent Fatah leader who rebelled against Yasser
Arafat in the early 1980s, and describing him as an "outcast".
The proclamation added: "We strongly denounce his action and we are
loyal to the blood of the martyrs."
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Jeweler Admits Handling Cash To Missile Smugglers
Abraham could be fined $250,000 and sentenced to up to
NEWARK, United States, March 31 (IslamOnline.net) - An
American Jewish jeweler pleaded Tuesday, March 30,
guilty to charges that he acted as a middleman between
arms smugglers and an undercover FBI agent.
Yehuda Abraham, A New York Jewish diamond dealer
pleaded guilty to charges that he "unwittingly"
handled a $30,000 payment for smugglers of a
shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile who intended to
shoot down U.S. airliners, Israeli daily Haaretz
Abraham, 76, was rounded up -
- along with two others, including a British arms
dealer, Hemant Lakhani, last August in New Jersey on
charges of trying to sell the missile to the FBI
informant at a hotel near the Newark International
The informant had then claimed that he was a
representative of a "Somali terrorist cell", the New
York Times reported.
Abraham told Judge Katharine Hayden that he did not
know and did not ask what the $30,000 payment was to
be used for.
He further admitted that he was ready to accept
further cash in a separate arms smuggling deal with
the same people without knowing that it involved arms.
Judge Hayden scheduled sentencing for July 19 and
continued Abraham's release on $10 million bond.
The United States attorney, Christopher J. Christie,
said the government had not sought a cooperation
agreement with Mr. Abraham because he had little to
offer in the way of testimony against his accomplice
Christie said he was seeking a three-year prison
sentence for Abraham, who has admitted to facilitating
many business deals through such transfers, which are
illegal in the United States, the Times said.
"I hope this sentence says to those involved in the
money remitting business that we are going to take it
seriously because they could be aiding terrorists,"
Christie said as he stood outside the federal
courthouse after the plea hearing. "The post-9/11
world is a very different world."
Under the law, Abraham could be fined up to $250,000
and sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Moinudden Ahmed Hameed, whom prosecutors describe as
another financial middleman who did not know he was
involved in transactions involving illegal weapons,
remains in custody, Haaretz said.
Prosecutors said Hameed, who is charged with
conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting
business, arrived from Malaysia as part of the alleged
planned sale of 50 more missiles. They said he and
Abraham were to collect an initial payment of about
$500,000 from the informant, it added.
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Occupiers Spend Millions on Private Army of Security Men
Coalition of the Mercenaries
By ROBERT FISK and SEVERIN CARRELL
March 29, 2004
An army of thousands of mercenaries has appeared in
Iraq's major cities, many of them former British and
American soldiers hired by the occupying
Anglo-American authorities and by dozens of companies
who fear for the lives of their employees.
Many of the armed Britons are former SAS soldiers and
heavily armed South Africans are also working for the
occupation. "My people know how to use weapons and
they're all SAS," said the British leader of one
security team in southern Baghdad. "But there are
people running around with guns now who are just
cowboys. We always conceal our weapons, but these guys
think they're in a Hollywood film."
There are serious doubts even within the occupying
power about America's choice to send Chilean
mercenaries, many trained during General Pinochet's
vicious dictatorship, to guard Baghdad airport. Many
South Africans are in Iraq illegally--they are
breaking new laws, passed by the government in
Pretoria, to control South Africa's booming export of
mercenaries. Many have been arrested on their return
home because they are do not have the licence now
required by private soldiers.
Casualties among the mercenaries are not included in
the regular body count put out by the occupation
authorities, which may account for the persistent
suspicion among Iraqis that the US is underestimating
its figures of military dead and wounded. Some British
experts claim that private policing is now the UK's
biggest export to Iraq--a growth fueled by the surge
in bomb attacks on coalition forces, aid agencies and
UN buildings since the official end of the war in May
Many companies operate from villas in middle-class
areas of Baghdad with no name on the door. Some
security men claim they can earn more than lbs80,000 a
year; but short-term, high-risk mercenary work can
bring much higher rewards. Security personnel working
a seven-day contract in cities like Fallujah, can make
$1,000 a day.
Although they wear no uniform, some security men carry
personal identification on their flak jackets, along
with their rifles and pistols. Others refuse to
identify themselves even in hotels, drinking beer by
the pool, their weapons at their feet. In several
hotels, guests and staff have complained that security
men have held drunken parties and one manager was
forced to instruct mercenaries in his hotel that they
must carry their guns in a bag when they leave the
premises. His demand was ignored.
One British company director, David Claridge of the
security firm Janusian, has estimated that British
firms have earned up to lbs800m from their contracts
in Iraq--barely a year after the invasion of Iraq. One
British-run firm, Erinys, employs 14,000 Iraqis as
watchmen and security guards to protect the country's
oil fields and pipelines.
The use of private security firms has led to some
resentment amongst the Department for International
Development's aid workers--who fear it undermines the
trust of Iraqi civilians. "DFID staff would prefer not
to have this," said one source. "It's much easier for
them to do their job without any visible security, but
the security risks are great down there."
One South African-owned firm, Meteoric Tactical
Solutions, has a lbs270,000 contract with DFID which,
it is understood, involves providing bodyguards and
drivers for its most senior official in Iraq and his
small personal staff.
Another British-owned company, ArmorGroup has an
lbs876,000 contract to supply 20 security guards for
the Foreign Office. That figure will rise by 50 per
cent in July. The firm also employs about 500 Gurkhas
to guard executives with the US firms Bechtel and
Kellogg Brown & Root.
Opposition MPs were shocked by the scale of the
Government's use of private firms to guard British
civil servants, and claimed it was further evidence
that the British army was too small to cope. Menzies
Campbell, the Liberal Democrat's foreign affairs
spokesman, said: "This suggests that British forces
are unable to provide adequate protection and raises
the vexed question of overstretch--particularly in
light of the remarks by the Chief of the Defence
Staff, last week that Britain couldn't stage another
operation on the scale of Iraq for another five
Andrew Robathan, a Tory MP on the international
development select committee and former SAS officer,
said: "The Army doesn't have the troops to provide
static guards on this scale. Surely it would have been
cheaper to have another battalion of troops providing
The UK's largest private security firm in Iraq, Global
Risk Strategies, is helping the coalition provisional
authority and the Iraqi administration to draft new
regulations. It is expecting to increase its presence
from 1,000 to 1,200 staff this spring, and could reach
1,800 this year. However, aid charities are disturbed
by the sums being spent on security, since DFID has
diverted lbs278m from its mainstream aid budget for
Iraqi reconstruction. Dominic Nutt, of Christian Aid,
said: "This sticks in the craw. It's right that DFID
protects its staff, but this is robbing Peter to pay
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US DETENTION OF SUSPECTS PROVES A PR DISASTER
The Age, 3/29/04
The American military is holding about 8000 Iraqi security detainees
without trial or formal charges, most of them in a prison where at
least six US guards have been criminally charged with abusing
inmates. While legal under the Geneva Conventions, the detentions are
proving disastrous to the image of the US-led occupation authority as
hundreds of Iraqis freed this month spread stories of dismal
conditions and say they were never told why they were arrested.
US officials insist they treat the prisoners fairly, but the widely
circulated stories about seemingly arbitrary arrests fuel the sense
of injustice here. In one such case, Mahmoud Khodair said American
soldiers blasted into his basement apartment six months ago and
dragged him off, accusing him of aiding insurgents. Like hundreds
more, he was released earlier this month with no explanation of why
he was arrested or why he was ultimately cleared to go home.
"Nothing has changed since Saddam," Mr Khodair said. "Before, the
Mukhabarat (secret police) would take us away and at least they
wouldn't blow down the door. Now, some informant fingers you and gets
$100 even if you're innocent." It is a problem the US recognises and
it is crafting a new approach.
Iraq a year later ... the resistance continues
By FinalCall.com News
Updated Mar 22, 2004, 12:13 am
Iraqi students hold national flags during a demonstration outside
Baghdad's Mustansiriyah University March 13, in protest against the
new U.S.-backed interim constitution. Students also demonstrated in
the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, and the northern
Sunni city of Mosul. Many Shiite students boycotted classes to
protest the new draft law. Photo: AFP
(FinalCall.com) - Seven United States soldiers were killed March 12-
14 and 19 were wounded, according to Army and U.S. officials, after a
lull in U.S. military deaths and the guerilla-style warfare that has
claimed close to 250 U.S. soldiers since President George Bush
declared the war in Iraq was over in April 2003.
Iraqi civilians, meanwhile, continue to be struck down, caught in
between U.S./UK forces and those fighting the coalition's occupation.
Five civilians were killed near the town of Baguba, 35 miles
northeast of Baghdad, when a mortar hit their village, near a U.S.
military base. On March 13, three Iraqis were wounded when an errant
mortar-type bomb hit an apartment complex next to the Iraqi
coalition's headquarters in Baghdad, a U.S. military official told
And the body of a policeman from Fallujah, west of Baghdad, who had
been reported missing on March 12, was discovered riddled with bullet
holes, a police officer told the Associated Press.
Yet, the conservative think tank, The Conference on Foreign Affairs,
released a report at Final Call press time stating that "significant
progress" has been made in reconstruction and the political
transition in post-conflict Iraq.
An editorial in the German weekly Die Zeit summed up the dilemma
faced by the international community as it pertains to assessing the
reality of Iraq. "With terror attacks on Shiites and indications of
civil war from Kirkuk to Kerbela, the situation in Iraq confirms the
view of the professional pessimists every day. Can it get worse?
Professional optimists can also point to the situation in Iraq,
because the government council has signed an interim constitution
designed to back the country until August 2005. This is a success for
the U.S. administrator. But whose view is correct?"
"The Iraq of today cannot be easily mapped onto a neat diagram of
sect or political party," Rahul Mahajan, author of the book, "The
U.S. War on Iraq: Myth, Facts and Lies," told The Final Call. He said
understanding the relationship between Iraqi society and the Iraq
state after three decades of Ba'ath Party rule is crucial to the
success of the post-war reconstruction efforts.
An editorialist in Financial Times argues that the U.S. narrative of
what is going on concerning the violence is portrayed as the action
of terrorists who are targeting coalition troops and Iraqi security,
as the June 30 date for the occupation's formal handover to an
interim government nears. "That looks to be a serious
misinterpretation," he wrote.
Nevertheless, the Coalition Provisional Authority is saying not to
worry, because the armed elements of the old regime of Saddam Hussein
that are still in Iraq, in large part leading the attacks against
U.S. and UK forces, are hunted down every day.
Scott Ritter, author of "Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass
Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America" and the former UN
weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, says that the anti-U.S.
resistance in Iraq today is Iraqi in nature and more broadly based
and deeply rooted than acknowledged.
"Though the Bush administration consistently characterizes the nature
of the enemy in Iraq as terrorist, and identifies the leading
culprits as foreign fighters, the notion that al-Qaeda or al-Ansar al-
Islam are using Baghdad (or any urban area in Iraq) as an independent
base of operations is far-fetched," Mr. Ritter said.
But the spin doctors won't quit. Dr. Mustafa Alain, an expert on Iraq
at the Royal United Services Institute in London, says that "there
must be a mastermind" behind the terror attacks in Iraq; "We are not
talking about a group of amateurs."
Furthermore, the U.S. media continues to portray the recent attacks
on Iraqi Shiites as a deliberate attempt by elements linked to al-
Qaeda to foment inter-community strife and civil war. Michael Ratner,
president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the U.S.
government is clearly desperate "to get some sort of cover for its
So desperate that the Pentagon continues to pay $340,000 a month
for "intelligence collection" to the political organization in Iraq
led by Ahmad Chalabi, a member of the provisional government,
according to the New York Times.
The story said that the U.S. government admitted that much of the
information provided by the group before the war proved useless. A
later review in early 2004 by additional government agencies
concluded the same thing, the newspaper said. It was the Knight-
Ridder newspapers' group that broke the story that the payments,
which were authorized by Congress in 1998, were continuing.
One other issue that is sure to provoke the ire of the opposition to
the occupation is a little-talked about Article (59)c in the interim
constitution, which says that the Iraqi Interim Government will be
empowered to conclude binding agreements regarding the presence and
role of foreign forces in Iraq. This means, according to analysts,
that a temporary un-elected body, rather than the elected government,
will sign defense pacts with the U.S. and its associates.
While Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said he strongly objected to un-
elected bodies making any long-standing commitments on behalf of
Iraq, observers say they expect the nation's interim rulers will be
under massive pressure to grant Washington whatever it wants on the
Washington observers said that, after a month of acrimonious debate,
the Pentagon, rather than the State Department, was put in charge of
reconstruction, so the military, rather than the civilian agencies of
the U.S. government, will be calling the shots when it comes to
spending the $18 billion allocated to rebuild Iraq. According to
analysts, Article (59)c essentially denies Iraq the most basic
attribute of sovereignty: control over its own territory.
US citizen charged with spying for Iraq
NEW YORK, March 11: US federal prosecutors said on Thursday they had
arrested a US citizen, charged with acting as a paid spy for Iraqi
An indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court charged Susan
Lindauer with acting as an unregistered agent of the Iraqi
Intelligence Service (IIS) and engaging in prohibited financial
transactions with the government of Iraq.
Lindauer, 41, allegedly made multiple visits to the Iraq's United
Nations mission in New York from Oct 1999 through March 2002 and met
several IIS members.
The indictment noted that the IIS, as well as coordinating counter-
intelligence activities, played a role in numerous terrorist
operations, including the attempted assassination of former president
"Additionally, the IIS located, intimidated, and killed Iraqi
defectors and dissidents living abroad," it said. Lindauer was
arrested on Thursday morning in her hometown of Takoma Park,
Maryland, and was to be brought before a judge in Baltimore later in
the day. She will be formally arraigned in New York on March 15.
During her visits to the UN mission, Lindauer allegedly accepted
various payments - totalling around 15,000 dollars - in return for
services provided in the course of her "ongoing intelligence
relationship" with the IIS.
Some of the payments were made when Lindauer visited Baghdad in early
2002 - a trip paid for by the IIS. Prosecutors said Lindauer's
acceptance of money, if proven, would constitute a violation of the
statute prohibiting transactions with a government that sponsors
international terrorism. -AFP
Cost of the War in Iraq
Iraqi outcry as US bans newspaper
Hundreds of Iraqis have protested in Baghdad after a
Shia newspaper was banned for allegedly inciting
violence against the US-led coalition.
Angry crowds gathered at the offices of Al-Hawza
Al-Natiqa weekly, which is produced by supporters of
the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
US troops earlier delivered a letter announcing a
60-day ban on the weekly.
The US blames Al-Hawza for inciting violence; the
paper's supporters say the ban attacks freedom of
"We ask everybody to come to the newspaper and stay
there until it is reopened," read a statement issued
by Mr Sadr's office.
Demonstrators responding to the call chanted
anti-American slogans and burnt a US flag in Baghdad's
Al-Hawza's editor, Ali Yasseri, told Reuters the US
soldiers padlocked the office and threatened to arrest
those who did not leave the premises.
A letter in Arabic handed out by the troops said the
paper "misleads readers" and "constitutes a real
threat of violence against coalition forces and Iraqis
who work with the coalition".
A spokesman for Mr Sadr said the paper was against the
US occupation of Iraq, but denied the charge that it
Sheikh Mahmud Sudani said Al-Hawza had attracted
censure because it strongly criticised the killing of
Palestinian preacher, Sheikh Yassin, by Israeli forces
in Gaza last week.
Mr Sadr, a young cleric based in the holy city of
Najaf, has fast risen to prominence since the US-led
invasion in 2003.
Huge crowds flock to his fiery sermons calling for an
end to the US occupation of Iraq, while his supporters
have formed an armed militia claiming to provide
security and social welfare for Shias.
Recent articles in Al-Hawza have accused the chief
American administrator, Paul Bremer, of following in
the footsteps of the deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein,
by persecuting Shias.
The publication has also alleged American rockets -
rather than a car-bomb, as was widely reported -
killed 53 Iraqis in the town of Iskandariyah recently.
BREMER CLOSES HARDLINE NEWSPAPER AND IRAQIS ASK: IS THIS DEMOCRACY US-
Robert Fisk, Independent, 3/30/04
ANOTHER LITTLE lesson in democracy...
On Sunday morning, American troops blocked the four roads into the
square and Iraqi policemen - 90, according to the journalists of the
Al-Hawza al-Natiqa newspaper - entered the paper's offices on the
square and presented the staff with a signed letter from Paul Bremer,
the US proconsul, ordering them to close down the weekly for 60 days.
Then US troops searched the premises. A few biscuits were left lying
on the sofa of the editor's office. And the gates were closed with a
new lock, marked "American Made". "This is not America - this is
Iraq," one of the paper's journalists said yesterday, pointing at the
gate which had already been forced open by the staff.
Now let us not be romantic. Al-Hawza al-Natiqa means "The Spoken
(Islamic) College" and the paper is a mouthpiece of Muqtada Sadr,
whose "Mehdi's army" brings a chill even to the heart of Paul Bremer.
Its sin, among many, was to criticise Mr. Bremer and - in his own
words, for he signed the letter - "to provoke violence against the
Coalition Forces'." For coalition, read occupation.
The letter was quite specific; anyone who disobeyed and dared to
publish more "false reports" faced court, a possible year in prison
and a $ 1,000 (pounds 550) fine.
Mr Bremer was specific about the paper's alleged crimes. The letter
was addressed to the manager of the paper, Sheikh Abbas al-Raba'i,
and stated that his publishing licence was being revoked. He and his
editor, Sheikh Abbas Hassan Zargani, were guilty of
publishing "false" articles.
"I am satisfied that your newspaper ... published many articles ...
that made the security situation unstable and that you are
encouraging violence against the Coalition Forces and the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA)..."
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Riyadh To Close Charities
Some of targeted charities have been established by royal decrees
By Fawaz Mohammad, IOL Correspondent
RIYADH, March 29 (IslamOnline.net) – Saudi Arabia is set to close all
charities and relief organizations outside the kingdom and place
their funds and properties under the control of a newly established
governmental body, well-places Saudi sources revealed Sunday, March
Among the targeted organizations are the World Assembly of the Muslim
Youth (WAMY), the Islamic Relief International, the Islamic Waqfs and
the Saudi Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo and Chechnya
(SJRC), the sources, speaking on condition not to be named, told
The activities of the yet-to-be dismantled charities would be
exclusively run by the state-run Saudi Civil Council for Relief and
Charity Work Overseas, which was set up last month by a royal decree
by King Fahd.
The sources said the Saudi move is expected to have a domino effect
on some 100 charities worldwide.
The new body would announce its statutes and modus operandi as soon
as the procedures of its establishment are completed.
It will be run by a group of Saudi "citizens involved in charity work
and renowned for their experience, integrity and good reputation",
according to the royal decree.
WAMY Secretary General Salih Al-Wehabi told IOL that a Saudi
ministerial committee has been already set up to put the royal decree
into effect, voicing concerns about the consequences of the king's
Some of the targeted charities have been established by Saudi royal
decrees and chaired by ministers and senior officials.
Wehabi hoped that the activities of the licensed charities, like WAMY
and the Islamic Relief, would not be restricted and melted into the
Wehabi said the new body should work in tandem with the licensed
Saudi charities, while other non-official organizations should work
under its umbrella.
Established in Saudi Arabia in 1972 by a royal decree, WAMY is an
independent international organization and a member of the United
WAMY's headquarters are based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It also has
presence in 55 countries and an associate membership of over 500
youth organizations around the world. Its budget for the FY 2002/03
stood at 175 million Saudi Rials.
Analysts believe the kingdom has yielded to Washington, which has
been laying huge pressures on Arab and Islamic countries,
particularly Saudi Arabia to regulate charity operations, claiming
that funds usually end up in the hands of "terrorists."
The kingdom decided last December to shut down Islamic affairs
divisions in all Saudi embassies around the world.
In January 2004, four branches of the Saudi Al-Haramain Islamic
Foundation -- in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania and Pakistan -- were
added to a U.S. list of groups and individuals suspected of
bankrolling "terrorism", effectively freezing any assets they hold in
the United States.
In August 2003, U.S. President George Bush froze the assets of five
pro-Palestinians charities abroad, depriving Palestinian orphans of
their much-needed aid.
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Israeli Police Storm Holy Site
The Scotsman, UK
Israeli riot police stormed a disputed Jerusalem holy site today,
firing tear gas, stun grenades and plastic bullets to disperse
hundreds Muslim worshippers who threw stones and shoes at them.
It was the most violent confrontation at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound
since deadly clashes there in September 2000 escalated into the
widespread Palestinian riots and led to the current round of Israeli-
Thousands of Palestinians barricaded themselves in two mosques in the
walled compound for about two hours, before police agreed to let them
Police did not enter the mosques themselves, but were deployed across
The clashes came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said
that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Lebanese guerrilla chief
Hassan Nasrallah could become targets for assassination. Sharon's
threats were the most explicit yet against his arch foes.
Sharon also said he ordered a halt to new construction in Jewish
settlements in the Gaza Strip. He further said he would withdraw from
all of the Gaza settlements and the West Bank settlements of Ganim,
Kadim, Homesh and Sanur, for the first time revealing the scope of
his unilateral "disengagement" plan.
Sharon said the withdrawal would be under way within a year.
Commenting on the bribe-taking suspicions against him, saying: "My
hands are clean." Israel's chief prosecutor has recommended he be
indicted, but the final decision is up to the attorney general who is
expected to rule by the end of May.
The confrontations at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, revered by Jews as
the Temple Mount, site of their biblical temples, began after Muslim
Initially, Palestinian youngsters threw stones at police deployed
nearby, police said. At the time, several Jews were praying at the
nearby Western Wall, which runs alongside the mosque compound. The
Western Wall is a retaining wall of the biblical temples and
Judaism's holiest site.
In response to the stoning, hundreds of officers with helmets and
plastic shields burst into the walled compound, shooting tear gas,
stun grenades and plastic bullets, witnesses said.
The crowd of stone throwers grew to several hundred, and worshippers
also threw shoes at the baton-wielding officers. More than 20
Palestinians were injured, Muslim clerics said, and police said they
arrested 14 Palestinians.
"I was praying. I barely finished praying, I started hearing heavy
shooting, and I couldn't believe that kind of aggression from the
Israelis on a place of worship," said Danny Bundakji, a Muslim
chaplain from the Los Angeles Police Department who is visiting the
area on an interfaith mission.
Police denied they used excessive force. "There were hundreds of
Palestinians who started rioting, throwing rocks at police," said
police spokesman Gil Kleiman, adding that police acted quickly so
Jewish worshippers would not be harmed.
After the initial clashes, thousands of Palestinians barricaded
themselves in two mosques in the compound. After two hours, the stand-
off ended peacefully, following negotiations between police and
Islamic Trust, which administers the compound.
The walled holy site is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and it emerged as a key sticking point in peace talks. The
Palestinians seek sole control over the compound, the third holiest
shrine of Islam. Israel has rejected the demand. [NOTE: Zionist wish
build a Temple of Solomon in this location.]
Jenin remembered as settler killed
Aljazeera + Agencies April 3, 2004
Up to 15,000 Palestinians in the West Bank city of Jenin have
commemorated those killed in a bloody Israeli operation two years
ago, as a Jewish settler was shot dead in a resistance attack.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces have conducted
more raids, imposed fresh curfews and arrested dozens of people.
And a once prominent Palestinian resistance group has elected a new
leader to replace its veteran commander who died recently in US
Hundreds of uniformed Palestinian police took part in Saturday's
march – alongside around 500 armed members of al-Aqsa Martyrs'
Brigades, an offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's mainstream
Demonstrators waved numerous pictures of Arafat and Shaikh Ahmad
Yasin, the wheelchair-bound founder of the Hamas movement who was
assassinated by Israel earlier this month.
"We are stronger than we were two years ago and we are going to hit
the enemy harder than ever," a speaker from al-Aqsa Martrys' Brigades
told the crowds.
Some 53 Palestinians and 23 Israeli occupation soldiers were killed
during heavy fighting in the Jenin camp in April 2002, when
occupation troops swarmed into the West Bank to crush resistance
fighters opposing Israel's 37-year old occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.
The march came hours after a Palestinian fighter infiltrated an
illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank, killing a settler before
soldiers shot him dead.
The resistance group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack,
saying it was done to "avenge the assassination" of Yasin by an
Israeli helicopter strike on 22 March in Gaza.
After the settlement attack, Israeli occupation troops in over 80
vehicles invaded Nablus, imposing a curfew and arresting dozens of
people, including two journalists in door-to-door searches.
Aljazeera's correspondent said soldiers set up a checkpoint at the
Uthman mosque, dividing the city into two and preventing its
residents from moving around.
The exact number detained could not be confirmed owing to restricted
access to the city. But the correspondent said a journalist working
for al-Quds newspaper and another with a local television channel
were among the arrested.
Elsewhere, Israeli troops demolished two Palestinian houses in the
southern Gaza Strip on Saturday as the army wrapped up a two-day
invasion of the border town of Rafah.
On Saturday afternoon, the troops rigged the house with explosives and
demolished it, but the strength of the explosive also destroyed a
three-storey structure next door.
Three other houses also sustained damage in the blast, he added.
The demolition sparked a renewal of fierce clashes with
Palestinian fighters in the area, and heavy machinegun fire was seen
coming from an Israeli helicopter flying over the area, the
New PLF leader
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Liberation Front elected a new leader to
succeed Muhammad Abbas, who died in US military custody in Iraq last
The group issued a statement in Lebanon saying its central committee
unanimously elected PLF deputy commander Umar Shibli, also known as
Abu Ahmad Halab, to replace Abbas. It gave no further details.
A PLF spokesman at the Ain al-Hilwah camp near Sidon in southern
Lebanon said the committee had elected Shibli at its meeting in the
West Bank city of Ram Allah two days earlier.
Shibli's predecessor, commonly known as Abu Abbas, was captured by US-
led forces in Baghdad last April and died 10 March this year,
officially of natural causes. The PLF has accused the Americans of
Israeli Troops Storm West Bank
By Samer Khuwayera, Mostafa al-Sawwaf, IOL Correspondents
NABLUS, April 3 (IslamOnline.net) – Up to 70 Israeli tanks and
military vehicles rolled early Saturday, April 3, into the West Bank
cities of Nablus and Tulkarm in a fresh large-scale incursion.
Witnesses told IslamOnline.net that the occupation troops have
stationed in the two cities' crossing points, storming and
surrounding houses to arrest wanted resistance fighters.
They forced panicked residents to flee their homes at gunpoint
threat, blowing up the entrances of houses, witnesses added.
Israeli snipers were seen atop houses overlooking the main streets of
the two West Bank cities.
The Israeli occupation army said the raid came in response to a dawn
attack on a Jewish settlement north of the West Bank by a Palestinian
It also alleged that the offensive was aimed at netting Fatah
activists, who planned attacks on Israeli interests.
The raid saw the arrest of dozens of Palestinian civilians,
journalist Soheil Khalaf, the correspondent of Al-Quds daily, and
cameraman Sami Al-Asi.
Nablus has been under a paralyzing Israeli curfew, adding to the
already deplorable economic conditions of its residents.
The sweep came after a Jewish settler was gunned down and another
wounded by a Palestinian fighter, who infiltrated at dawn Saturday
into the Jewish settlement of Avnei Hefetz, north of the West Bank.
The man, whose identity is not known yet, penetrated the wall
circling the settlement and opened fire at a settler's house.
Israeli troops raced to the scene and killed the man after a fierce
fire exchange. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the
At least 70 Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces stormed
anew Al-Aqsa mosque compound and clashed with worshippers Friday,
Stun bombs and tear gas canisters were fired inside the mosque, in
one of the most serious incidents to break out at the site in recent
Also Friday, three Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The deaths brought to 3,888 the number of people killed since the
beginning of the Intifada at the end of September 2000, including
2,922 Palestinians and 897 Israelis, according to an AFP tally.
'We'll expel illegal Arabs from Israel'
By Aluf Benn
2 April 2004
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that once the separation
fence is completed, the government will act vigorously to expel
Palestinians living illegally within Israeli Arab communities.
In an interview with Haaretz for the holiday to be published in full
on Monday, Sharon said there are tens of thousands of such illegal
Palestinians in the country.
"We have a difficult problem with the fulfillment of their desire to
return by infiltrating Arab cities and villages in Israel," Sharon
said. "Now it is a very difficult problem because of the absence of
a fence. The minute the fence is closed, the activity to remove them
will be much more vigorous, and their ability to return will be
grately reduced. Now, when they are found [and expelled], they come
He spoke in the interview about his desire to carry out the
disengagement plan, and to withdraw from Gaza and four settlements
in the northern West Bank. He reckons terror won't cease after the
evacuation, but hopes it will diminish. Israel's war against terror
will continue and indeed intensify after the withdrawal, the PM
Asked if Yasser Arafat and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah are
targets for assassination, Sharon said, "I wouldn't suggest either
of them feels immune ... Anyone who kills a Jew or harms an Israeli
citizen, or sends people to kill Jews, is a marked man. Period."
Sharon said he has "full faith" in Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.
Sharon said: "My hands are clean. I believe in my full and complete
innocence, and believe there won't be an indictment."
Israeli forces storm al-Aqsa mosque compound
Friday 02 April 2004, Aljazeera + Agencies
Israeli police in riot gear have stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound
in occupied East Jerusalem, firing tear gas and stun grenades.
The occupation forces raided the compound, Islam's third holiest
site, as worshippers were leaving after Friday prayers, reported
Aljazeera's correspondent Shireen Abu Aqla.
She quoted witnesses as saying that they fired rubber bullets and
tear gas, leaving at least 17 people injured.
While the police said the clashes erupted after worshippers threw
stones at them, Palestinians said police acted without provocation.
"No one threw stones," said Adnan Husseini, director of the Islamic
Waqf, which oversees the compound. "They (police)
started doing this every Friday to scare elderly worshippers as
younger ones are already banned. This is flagrant violation of
freedom of worship."
The police said hundreds of Muslim worshippers leaving Friday prayers
threw stones at security men and Jewish worshippers at Judaism's
Western Wall below.
The mosque's Shaikh urged for calm over loudspeakers as worshippers
ran for shelter. Thousands barricaded themselves within two mosques
in the walled compound.
Some are fearful of the clashes outside and remained holed up in two
mosques as police negotiated with Muslim authorities to remove them.
"Lots of worshippers are inside the mosque, trying to get out, but
the Israeli police is outside," said Husseini.
Husseini said they were trying to convince the police to move away
from the compound, to allow worshippers to go home.
In recent weeks, Israeli forces have prevented worshippers from the
occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip under the age of 45 from praying at
Israeli tanks enter Gaza
From correspondents in Gaza City, Gaza Strip
April 2, 2004
ISRAELI tanks have entered the Rafah refugee camp on
the Gaza-Egypt border, residents and Palestinian
security officials said.
There were heavy exchanges of fire between soldiers
and Palestinian gunmen, they said.
Soldiers took over the rooftops of three buildings and
used them as positions for sharpshooters to keep the
gunmen away, witnesses said.
Ambulances were sent to the scene, but there were no
reports of casualties.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
The Rafah camp is a frequent focus of clashes, as
Israeli forces enter to look for tunnels under the
border they say are used by the Palestinians to
smuggle in weapons from Egypt.
The Israelis often destroy buildings used to cover the
entrances to tunnels, and hundreds of Palestinians
have been left homeless in previous operations during
more than three years of Palestinian-Israeli violence.
ISRAEL DESTROYS HOME OF NONVIOLENT COMMUNITY LEADER
1st April, 2004
ISRAEL DESTROYS HOME OF NONVIOLENT COMMUNITY LEADER
Uses live ammunition against protestors
[Kharbathat Bani Harith, RAMALLAH] On Thursday April 1st, 2004, in
the early morning, the Israeli military decided to bulldoze the
family home of Aziz Hassan Ahmed where he and his wife and children
have lived for the last 9 years. Bulldozers had shown up 4 months
prior this day but Aziz's lawyer managed to stop the demolition and
get a temporary injunction issued. However, when Aziz mentioned this
court order to the officer, the latter refused discussion and gave
Aziz the choice to have his house demolished "peacefully"
or "violently": he could get his family's belonging out or the
house would be destroyed along with them.
Aziz responded that he would certainly not help the Israeli army
destroy his family home and showed his determination to oppose the
destruction. He insisted on seeing the demolition order but the Civil
Administrator, Micha, only provided a 1995 order, claiming that the
house was built without permit. Kharbathat Bani Harith is located
deep within the West Bank where the Israeli military is an occupying
force, in violation of numerous UN Resolutions. According to Article
53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention "Any destruction by the Occupying
Power of real or personal property belonging individually or
collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public
authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is
prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely
necessary by military operations."
Other soldiers on duty argued that the house was being destroyed
because it belonged to the family of a "terrorist". (One of Aziz's
brothers, in jail for over 2 ½ years now was given a 36 year sentence
on "conspiracy of involvement in terrorist activities.") Article 33
of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, "No protected person may be
punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.
Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of
terrorism are prohibited."
Aziz believes that his home was destroyed because of his leading role
in mobilizing nonviolent, popular resistance against the Apartheid
Wall in the region. On March 21, 2004 over 35 peaceful protestors
were injured during a violent repression by the Israeli military of a
nonviolent action that Aziz played a leading role in organizing. For
more information on that action, please see:
Destroying Aziz's home constitutes a way to deter the villagers from
protesting the destruction of their community via active nonviolent
Aziz was given no warning about the demolition even though the army
officer claimed that he had warned the family two weeks prior the
Aziz,s house was only the first step. After it was destroyed, the
soldiers moved the Caterpillar bulldozers toward his father's
unfinished house. At this point, 5 Israeli activists managed to make
their way onto the housetop to protect it from demolition, while a
crowd of about 100 Palestinians stood by to support their action. The
soldiers attempted to remove forcefully the Israeli activists who
made it extremely difficult and time-consuming. The soldiers finally
tried to force one of them down the roof by putting him in the
At this point of the confrontation, the soldiers seemed to retreat.
They temporarily left the scene and so did the media. This first
victory was welcomed by chanting by the crowd.
After approximately 2 hours, the soldiers came back to destroy the
house. They brought 6 vehicles and cordoned off the whole area.
Without provocation, the soldiers attacked the crowd of peaceful
demonstrators who were defending the house. The army used excessive
violence to clear the area. They showered the people with tear gas,
rubber-coated metal bullets. They even shot live ammunition in the
air and tried to prevent activists from documenting the destruction.
Meanwhile, several Israeli activists, who were still sitting on the
roof of the house, were forcefully removed one after another by the
soldiers. All through the destruction process, the Israeli military
were consistently using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and
live ammunition to prevent the people from stopping the illegal
destruction of Aziz's father house. Three ISM activists along with
several Palestinian villagers tried to move away from the scene and
find a remote place from where they could document the arrest of the
Israeli activists and the destruction of the house. However, they
were consistently targeted by the soldiers with rubber bullets. At
5:30pm, the soldiers pulled out of the place, leaving behind them a
whole family homeless.
For photos, please see:
ff.htm We are trying to get some footage of the demolition on our
website. Please check back very soon.
(Report compiled from information and photos provided by ISM activist
Jeff, who was on the scene)
1 HOUR IN NABLUS
Report of Raid on Flats near Abdul Mugheeth Al-Ansari boys school
By ISM Nablus
April 1, 2004
12:00 Heard about eight army jeeps near school reportedly firing live
rounds and teargas
12:20 Arrived in area saw four jeeps circling entrance to Al-Qariyon
area - shebab laying/wiring a booby-trap in the road 100 yds from a
12:24 5 shots fired
12:29 Two shots fired - medics said Palestinians returning fire, 20-
30 shebab throwing stones at jeeps - medics had tried to talk with
soldiers - no luck, 700 6-12 yr olds evacuated from area, many
schoolchildren and young girls trying to reach homes in old city
prevented from doing so
12:38 2 shots coming from Israeli military jeep followed by a big
explosion in road, 2 ambulances went in but were turned back by army
12:43 6 shots fired and returned, jeep drove towards ambulances and
shebab, crowds of children in area trying to get home
12:50 3 shots while medics trying to escort large crowd of children
past jeeps (mostly young girls)
12:52 2 shots - children/medics coming back
12:53 4 shots
12:54 2 shots
12:55 3 shots
12:56 2 shots, then 4 jeeps leave
Many windows broken in flats
Generator shot and leaking oil into street
No injuries according to medics
Water pipe leaking
left scene at 13:15
Gun battle at Bethlehem hospital
Agence France Presse
1 April 2004
BETHLEHEM, West Bank, April 1-- An hour-long gun battle raged at a
psychiatric hospital in the West Bank town of Bethlehem early
Thursday before Israeli forces arrested 12 Palestinians, sources on
both sides said.
Eight of the 12 were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a
radical offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah
movement, Palestinian security sources said.
Among those detained was the Brigades commander for the region,
Jamal Hamamrha, who is suspected of involvement in a suicide attack
on a bus in Jerusalem on January 29 in which 10 people were killed,
as well as the bomber.
The other four were members of the hospital's staff, they added.
A military source said that the 12 were all wanted for their
suspected involvement in preparing attacks in Israel. They had taken
refuge in the hospital's administrative wing, he added.
Witnesses said that around a dozen military vehicles had surrounded
the hospital at the start of the operation.
The Israeli source said that troops had first urged the men to
surrender but they responded by opening fire.
The exchanges lasted for around an hour before the group gave
themselves up, he added. There were no injuries.
"Thanks to our operation, we have averted large-scale attacks that
this group was preparing," said the commander of the unit which
carried out the arrest operation, identified as Colonel Nadav.
"They came out when they realised that there was no escape. They
left their weapons and ammunition in the hospital," Nadav told army
Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources said that four members of
another radical faction, Islamic Jihad, were arrested by Israeli
troops near the northern West Bank town of Jenin.
The four were detained in a house in Kafr Rai, southwest of Jenin,
after around 20 jeeps entered the village at daybreak. Gunfire was
heard but there were no reports of injuries.
An Israeli source said that "three operatives were arrested" without
specifying if they belonged to any faction. Two anti-tank missiles
were also recovered, she added.
UN says forced to halt food aid to Gaza
Agence France Presse
30 March 2004
GENEVA, March 30-- The United Nations said Tuesday it will have to
halt food deliveries to the Gaza Strip this week because of
restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of staff and
The head of the UN's aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA),
Peter Hansenne, said it was unable to cope with the impact of
increased Israeli security at crossing points.
"We will have as of Thursday to discontinue food distributions as we
can no longer cope with the inability to take containers out of
Gaza," Hansenne told journalists.
He said the blockage on the movement of used containers was adding
"intolerable costs to a programme which is already stung by
The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 150,000 people in Gaza
are dependent on food aid, while UNRWA provides assistance to more
than 90,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank, both territories
occupied by Israel.
About 11,000 tonnes of food are running into a bottleneck outside
Gaza, Hansenne said.
Hansenne also protested about Israeli measures that were forcing
staff to cross in exposed areas, prompting his agency to prohibit
some aid workers from entering the Gaza Strip because of
"unacceptable risk and danger".
He said there had been no response following repeated complaints to
Israeli authorities this month.
Web: www.iap.org - email: iapinfo@...
JEWISH SETTLERS MOVE INTO ARAB AREA
Ravi Nessman, Associated Press, 3/31/04
JERUSALEM - Ultra-Orthodox Jews armed with assault rifles lugged
boxes, sofas and potted plants into two buildings in a crowded Arab
neighborhood of Jerusalem at daybreak Wednesday, sparking clashes
between Israeli troops and angry residents.
Israeli officials said the group had the right to live in the
buildings in east Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it
in the 1967 Mideast War.
Palestinian officials said the incident proved Israel was less
interested in peace than in tightening its grasp on east Jerusalem,
which they want for the capital of a future state.
Later Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon defended his
plan to unilaterally withdraw from most or all of the Gaza Strip and
parts of the West Bank. A day earlier, he agreed to a binding
referendum among his rebellious Likud Party members on
the "disengagement" plan.
Sharon said Israel must draw its own security line, which would
mean "withdrawal from areas which it is understood will not be under
Israeli control in any permanent agreement to be signed in the
future, which cause great friction between Israelis and Palestinians -
the Gaza Strip, for example."
A poll published Wednesday in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper showed 51
percent of Likud members support the plan, while 36 percent oppose
it. The Dahaf Institute poll questioned 507 Likud members and had a
margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
Sharon blamed the Palestinians for not acting to stop violence. An
Israeli pullout from Gaza would remove their main "excuse," he said,
and then, "we need to tell them, please gentlemen, when there is no
Israeli presence, let's see you start to act."
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia cautiously welcomed the Gaza
plan, but only as a first step to a full West Bank withdrawal.
"In principle, we welcome the Israeli withdrawal from our Palestinian
land," Qureia told Palestinian lawmakers. "But for any withdrawal to
have meaning for us ... it should be followed by a complete Israeli
withdrawal from the West Bank, too..."
Jewish settlement removal a 'big lie'
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
31 January 2004
Palestinians have dismissed Israeli claims that it dismantled a
Jewish settlement near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron as a
The Israeli army said on Wednesday it removed an uninhabited
settlement near the Jewish outpost of Kiryat Arba next to Hebron.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements are illegal, a
stance not recognised by Israel.
Israeli media quoted Jewish settler leaders in Hebron as accusing
the army of "destroying a synagogue and targeting Jewish presence in
"This obviously is a big lie," Abd al-Hadi Hantash, a Hebron
municipal official and expert on Jewish settlements in the West
Bank, told Aljazeera.net.
"It seems to me that [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon wants to
give an impression that he is dismantling settlements ahead of his
planned visit to Washington.
"In fact, we are talking about the removal of a tent and two
secondhand mobile homes from a hilltop south of Kiryat Arba. In any
case, the settlers will move them back on to the same site tomorrow
or after tomorrow after the whole world got the impression that a
settlement had been dismantled.
"It is a cynical public relations game, nothing more than that."
Armed settlers throw stones at Palestinians in Hebron before being
arrested by Israeli police and soldiers.
However, Hantash said the Israeli army coordinates with settlers.
"Israel claims to be a state of law. But how come a state of law
allows the building of so many illegal settlements on usurped land
belonging to Arab villagers?
"And why does the army pave roads to these outposts and give them
water and electricity. The army and the settlers are two sides of
the same coin."
Even before the army hauled the two mobile homes away from the
hilltop overlooking the Hebron-Bani Naim road, die-hard settlers in
the area converged on the site to protest and try to block the
removal of the tent.
Kiryat Arba mayor Zvi Katzover accused the army of destroying "a
synagogue", an apparent reference to the dismantled tent in which
the settlers occasionally held their prayer.
"We will do all we can to rebuild the outpost and save the country,"
Settlers seize building
Meanwhile, rampaging Jewish settlers raided and seized a
multi-storey Arab building in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied
Arab East Jerusalem early on Wednesday, sparking clashes with local
Israeli police forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the
Medical sources in East Jerusalem said at least three Palestinians
It is not clear if the incident is connected with the removal of the
two mobile homes near Hebron.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the seizure of the
building might have been intended as a protest against what happened
But it could also be an attempt by Jewish settler groups to
confiscate yet more Arab-owned real estate.
Many of the settlers are affiliated with an extremist group, Oteret
Cohanim, dedicated to ridding Jerusalem of all non-Jews.
Palestinian leaders in East Jerusalem say the recurrent seizure of
Arab property is carried out through deception, falsification of
documents and outright bullying, sometimes with government support.
Israel Steps Up `Children War' Against Palestinians
Hussam, as shown in Israeli media at Hawara checkpoint [photo]
NABLUS, March 29 (IslamOnline.net) - Israeli media has embarked on a
new stage of distorting the Palestinian resistance image, accusing
Palestinian resistance fighters of making use of children and minors
to execute bombing operations; a matter categorically denied by
Palestinian families and factions as being "an Israeli intelligence
Quds Press News Agency has unveiled Sunday, March 28, that Israeli
media has lately been making up "perfect stories" about Palestinian
children, who have been allegedly sent to blow up themselves, and
their entrapped school bags.
The news agency declared that a number of Palestinian analysts and
concerned bodies in Nablus have been astonished at the call made by
resistance fighters to explode themselves.
"Israeli circles stress that there are large numbers of Palestinian
youths who impatiently wait their turn to execute such martyrdom
operations against occupation targets… How are the youth and children
made use of in such a way?" They wondered, according to Israeli
Responsible sources in Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, an offshoot of Fatah
Movement, as well as some eyewitnesses underlined that, "arresting
Hussam Abdu, 16, is a new fabrication of the Israeli intelligence."
They reiterated that the aim is to "send a horrible message to the
world to the effect that Palestinians urge their children to kill
themselves, in order to negatively affect the Palestinian morale and
weaken the world support to the Palestinian cause."
On Sunday, March 28, Gideon Levy, columnist for Israel's mass
circulation daily Ha'aretz – commenting on Hussam story -
slammed "the cheap attempt to win points on the international public
relations front from the picture of the child" as "ridiculous",
stressing "the world knows that Israel's hands are not clean, that
they are stained with the blood of children".
Different Israeli media have largely focused on displaying several
photos of the arrest process of Hussam last week on the Israeli
Hawara checkpoint, east of Nablus. Such photos have shown the child
wearing explosive belt.
Hussam was not the first or only victim of such Israeli methods. The
incident was repeated with other children like Abdullah Qaraan from
Balata refuge camp, who, the Israelis claimed, transported an amount
of explosives across Hawara checkpoint two weeks ago.
Hussam's brother said that he is "totally convinced that his brother
was a victim of a dirty game orchestrated by the Israeli
intelligence," adding that his brother has been suffering from
unstable psychic condition.
"An intelligence agent may have convinced my brother to wear a false
belt with the aim to make use of such farce for the sake of the
"I headed towards Hawara checkpoint to work there as I do every day.
A small bus arrived and two passengers asked us to carry two bags to
the other side of the checkpoint and paid us 15 Shekels," Qaraan
"We knew nothing about the contents of the bag. I carried them, while
my friend went home. When I arrived to the checkpoint, a soldier
asked me about the content of the bags. I told him that I don't know.
A female soldier ordered me to open them. Inside, there were spare
parts, not explosives as they claim," the child added.
On March 20, occupation soldiers captured Ahmed Abu Makhia, 6, from
Hebron, on his way back from school and put some explosives in his
school bag and took some shots to convince the world public opinion
that the boy carried bombs.
"Ahmed returned home in a very bad condition. When he told me the
story, I reported it to the Palestinian liaison officer, the
governorate and a human rights organization," the child's mother
"Supporting the hypothesis of fabrication is the fact that the
occupation soldiers usually prevent reporters from staying at
checkpoints for long. Yet, an Israeli officer requested that
reporters remain that day to shoot. Furthermore, remarkable numbers
of Israeli reporters were available before the arrival of the boy,"
eyewitnesses told Quds Press.
Eyewitnesses added that soldiers were keen on urging foreign
reporters to focus on the thrilling fabricated "story".
Eyewitnesses present near checkpoints reiterated that Hussam arrived
wearing a remarkable red coat; a fact that reveals that those who
sent him were keen that the boy be distinguished in his clothes to be
Eyewitnesses pointed out that "soldiers have called the boy by his
name," indicating that they knew him prior to that incident.
"Not Our Morals"
On its part, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Fatah Movement,
categorically denied sending Hussam, stressing that the incident is a
mere "Israeli fabrication that aim to do harm to the Palestinian
"The Brigades know nothing about this boy," a prominent official of
the Brigades in Balata camp told Quds Press, pointing out that he was
not astonished that the Israeli intelligence was responsible for this
fabrication, according to him.
"The aim is to post such photos in order to submit evidence of the
inhumanity of Palestinians in front of the world public opinion, as
they send their own children to cruel fate, with the hope of
weakening the world support to the Palestinian struggle," he added.
Doctor's home Rachel Corrie died to save bulldozed
Israel army destroys Palestinian house in Gaza
Xinhua - 30 March 2004
GAZA, March 30-- The Israel army demolished on Tuesday morning a
Palestinian house during a military operation in the southern Gaza
Strip city of Rafah, Palestinian security sources reported.
They said an Israeli force backed by a number of machineries broke
into Al-Salam neighborhood, near the borderline with Egypt, and
demolished the house owned by Awad al-Shaer, in addition to razing
vast areas of agricultural lands.
The residents added the two-story building was the target of the
Israel army one year ago, but it failed to destroy it because of the
efforts of US peace activist Rachel Corrie.
Corrie confronted an Israeli bulldozer that was on its way to
destroy the house and was crushed to death, but she succeeded in
stopping the demolition.
Meanwhile, the Israel army raided early on Tuesday the northern West
Bank town of Toubas and imposed tight curfew on it before carrying
out house-to-house searching campaigns.
Palestinian sources said the Israeli forces have intensified their
deployment near Nablus city, north of the West Bank, claiming that
the deployment is aimed at averting possible attacks against Israeli
They added the Israel army arrested overnight five Palestinians
during military raids in the West Bank cities of Jenin and Ramallah.
Web: www.iap.org - email: iapinfo@...
South Africans Burn Israeli Flags
Muslim anger spirals
March 29, 2004
By Bruce Venter
A six-year-old boy dressed up as a Palestinian suicide
bomber, complete with fake explosives strapped to his
body, was part of a march on the Israeli embassy in
Pretoria over the killing of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed
Yassin was assassinated in a missile attack in Gaza
last week on instruction of the Israeli government -
and Uzair Dockrat (6) said he was there because Yassin
His father, Mohammad Dockrat, said his son's costume
was a symbolic act of self defence against Israeli
aggression in Palestine.
Dockrat said the intention in dressing up Uzair was
not to encourage violence. "It is a statement against
the unlawful Israeli occupation of Palestine," he
said, referring to the outrage Yassin's death has
sparked worldwide. "We are violent towards those who
are violent towards us ... in this case, Israel is the
aggressor," Dockrat said.
The protest attracted between 300 and 400. The march
was supported by the South African Communist Party
(SACP), the Pan African Congress (PAC) and the Muslim
Protesters gathered in Lynnwood before marching to the
Israeli embassy where two Israeli flags which the
protesters had spat at and jumped on were burnt.
With shouts of "Death to Israel, Death to Sharon", the
protesters, many bearing banners and placards, marched
to the embassy.
"This is a peaceful protest and we are not encouraging
acts of violence or intimidation," said organiser
"Israel is a terrorist state illegally occupying Arab
land. We are calling for the South African Government
to boycott this terrorist state," said Osman.
"We do not recognise Israel and therefore we will not
hand over any memorandum, which will mean we recognise
its existence," he said.
Escorted by the SAPS, the protesters stopped outside
the embassy, chanting anti-Israeli slogans.
"We will show our solidarity with our fellow Muslims
who are dying at the hands of American-sponsored
terrorists," shouted Ahmed Salojeen.
A Pretoria rabbi, who asked not to be named, said the
Jewish community remained committed to a peaceful
settlement regarding the Palestinian issue. "We are
deeply saddened by calls for Israel's destruction, but
remain hopeful that violence by both sides will
But Imam Yusuf Salojee vowed: "His death at the hands
of the Zionist terrorists will be avenged."
He said he supports the call by SA Muslims for the
government to suspend all relations with Israel.
"We fought for and won our democracy in this country.
Now our new democratic government appears to support a
terrorist state that is guilty of the murder of
thousands of innocent people," he said.
The protest dispersed peacefully.
In Cape Town, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane
distanced himself from an apparent attack by Lord
George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, on
Islamic fundamentalism and from his criticism of
moderate Muslims' lack of condemnation of suicide
bombers and terrorist attacks.
"The world has been shocked by the suicide attacks in
the Middle East, the terrorist attack in Spain, and
the killing of Yassin," he said.
Now, more than ever, was a time for calm and
understanding, he said.
Meanwhile, the new Hamas leader said yesterday US
President George W Bush was the enemy of God and
He stopped short of threatening revenge on Americans
as he has on Israel for its killing of the militant
Driven underground by Israel's vow to wipe out the
remaining Hamas leadership by air strikes, Abdel Aziz
al-Rantissi emerged briefly for a fiery open-air
speech before 5 000 people in the Gaza Strip.
Rantissi, who last June survived an Israeli strike of
the kind that killed Yassin, said the US veto of a UN
resolution condemning Yassin's assassination was no
Poverty trap for Palestinian refugees
By Alaa Shahine - Monday 29 March 2004 (Al Jazeera)
Amal Akar lost a daughter to cancer two years ago because she could
not afford medical treatment. Now a second daughter faces the same
More worryingly, Akar's story is not uncommon. The 36-year-old mother
of seven lives in the deprived Shatila camp for Palestinian refugees
in Lebanon where poverty is the norm.
With the limited assistance offered by the UN refugee agency and a
jobless husband, she is virtually penniless.
"We borrowed money and I sent letters to newspapers asking for help
to no avail. I don't know what to do," she said, while carrying a
crying baby in her arms.
Part of the problem is that refugees are restricted from taking
These restrictions on Lebanon's 400,000 Palestinian refugees have
been mounting since the end of the country's 15-year civil war in
1990. They are banned from 73 job categories including professions
such as medicine, law and engineering.
They are not allowed to own property, unlike other foreigners, and
are denied access to the Lebanese healthcare system.
Shatila's homes are densely packed and neglected with narrow,
stinking alleys, the dirty walls covered with posters of smiling men
killed during the Palestinian Intifada.
"I don't mind going anywhere in the world, just get me out of here,"
says Akar. "I don't want to settle in Lebanon. All that we have here
is trouble and poverty."
But who said settling was an option?
The Lebanese government has said repeatedly that it will not allow
Palestinian refugees to settle. It says that granting them work
permits and rights to own land will encourage them not to leave and
jeopardise their right of return.
Local analysts, however, attribute this stance to political reasons,
saying that the refugees' Sunni Muslim majority will upset the
balance of sectarian power in the country, currently in the favour of
Lebanon's Shia. They also argue that Palestinians are paying the
price of the influx of Syrian workers who do not need work permits in
Lebanon due to the huge Syrian influence in the country.
"They [the government] consider these things as acts of settlement.
Do they think that if I work or own the roof above my head then I
won't go back home?" said Khalid Abu al-Nur, of the Democratic Front
of the Liberation of Palestine, one of many Palestinian groups that
has an office in the camp.
"These are lame excuses. We are talking about basic human rights.
Refugees in Syria and Jordan are entitled to these rights. What's so
special about Lebanon?" he said.
According to refugees, those living in other camps are not allowed
even to obtain construction tools such as cement to fix their houses.
"We can only do this here because we have Syrians living in the
camp," said Ahmad Abd al-Hadi, referring to the Syrian influence in
Refugees in Lebanon live in 12 camps nationwide. According to the UN
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the largest
camp is Ain al-Hilwa, located in the southern city of Sidon (48km
south of the capital) and famous for armed conflicts among various
factions of Palestinian groups. It houses 44,775 refugees.
The second-largest camp is Nahr al-Barid in northern Lebanon with
some 29,000 registered refugees, while the Shatila camp houses just
more than 12,000 refugees.
In 2002, heavy opposition by the government thwarted a draft law
presented by ten members of the parliament that would allow each
Palestinian the right to own 5000 square metres in Lebanon like other
"We are against settling the Palestinians, but they are suffering
from a great deal of injustice here and they need to have their basic
rights as humans," said Muhammad Khansa, a Hizb Allah official and a
chairman of the Ghubairi municipality where the Shatila camp is
Apart from the lack of basic services, people are finding it harder
to secure food. Umm Rashid, a 69-year-old mother of seven, is
classified by the UNRWA as a "special hardship case" or as UNRWA
spokeswoman Huda al-Tirk puts it: "the poorest of the poor".
She lives on minimal financial aid and a package of basic commodities
provided by the agency, along with a $30 monthly salary paid by the
Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the loss of one of her
sons during the conflict with Israel.
But to make ends meet in a country where the minimum wages stand at
$250 per month, she sells tools and groceries.
Other people run small stores inside the camp, or cross the road to
find jobs in neighbouring areas, benefiting from Khansa's
sympathetic "turn a blind eye" policy.
"The Lebanese hire Palestinians because they don't require any kind
of medical or social securities, and they can work for as long as 12
hours a day without complaining," said Nuhad Hamad, a middle-aged
Palestinian woman who runs a local institute that provides basic
vocational training and educational services to the camp's
UNRWA also provides jobs opportunities to the Palestinians, employing
more than 2000 health and educational staff in its schools and
"We know it's little but this is what we can do," al-Tirk said,
citing the rising population in the camps as one of the main
obstacles against providing more services.
The agency's budget is dependant on donors from the US, the European
Union and other countries, al-Tirk says. The 2004 budget is $351
million, $53 million of which is for Lebanon-based camps.
Palestinian organisations, including Hamad's Najdeh institute, try to
fill the gap. It provides vocational training, literacy courses,
private tutoring and a children's nursery. Classes, however, are
modestly equipped and some courses stop due to a lack of funding.
Teachers are university graduates unable to find jobs elsewhere. They
work for $3 per day.
"But we sometimes deduct from our salaries to keep the courses
running," Hamad said in her small office, where a map of the disputed
territories stood to remind her of a home she never saw.
Students are reminded, too.
Each class has a poster listing the students' names and their origins
in Palestine. Some of them do not seem to need the reminder, though,
such as 13-year-old Sally al-Lahham, who drew a picture of a woman
drying her clothes in the open air next to a tent.
Asked about the meaning of the picture, she replied with a smile: "It
resembles the displaced Palestinians."
Israel blocks humanitarian workers, supplies into Gaza Strip
UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Xinhuanet) -- The United Nations said
on Friday that it may have to reduce or terminate some critical
humanitarian relief operations in the Gaza Strip due to new movement
restrictions imposed on UN personnel and humanitarian assistance by
the Israeli government.
For the last three weeks, nearly all UN and other humanitarian
agency vehicles have been prohibited from crossing through the Erez
checkpoint into Gaza, and food containers are prevented from being
moved into Gaza through the Karni crossing point, the world body said
in a statement.
"These unacceptable limitations on access for humanitarian staff
and goods are undermining UN operational capability to deliver
essential services and food relief to Gaza's civilian population,"
the statement said.
"These operations provide more than half of Gaza's essential
social services, as well as food assistance to several hundred
thousand people," it stressed. "Any cutbacks will lead to a further
deterioration of the already fragile humanitarian situation in Gaza."
Because the restrictions persist, it added, the UN is compelled
to call publicly on the Israeli government to restore full access to
Gaza for UN and humanitarian workers and goods.
US vetoes UN resolution against Israel:
Assassination of Sheikh Yassin
By Masood Haider
UNITED NATIONS, March 26: The United States on Thursday vetoed a
UN Security Council resolution denouncing Israel's 'targeted
assassination' of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader and
founder of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in Gaza City
earlier this week.
Eleven countries - China, Pakistan, Russia, France, The
Philippines, Angola, Chile, Spain, Algeria, Benin and Brazil -
voted in favour of the resolution, while Britain, Germany and
Rumania abstained. Only the United States voted against the
measure which killed the resolution.....
Towns' Muslim history all but erased
BY EDWARD A. GARGAN
March 26, 2004
ASHKELON, Israel - A few deserted cafes, their chairs
strewn across the worn flagstones, stood hollowly in
the wall of what used to be this town's mosque, its
minaret a silent, abandoned relic of an Arab village
that once was here.
Sitting on the low, tiled wall of a plaza, Alex
Alchassar furrowed his brow and said slowly, "Yes, I
heard the news he was from here."
"He" is Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder the Palestinian
militant organization Hamas. Yassin, killed Monday by
an Israeli rocket, grew up here in what then was an
Arab town called Majdal.
"It was right that we killed him," said Alchassar, 35,
who emigrated from the ex-Soviet territory of
Abkhazia, now in Georgia.
Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide
bombings that aim to return Palestinians to this and
other towns, even if that means dismantling the Jewish
state in the process.
Now, Ashkelon is a thriving seaside town, growing
rapidly with the steady immigration of Jews like
Alchassar from the old Soviet Union or Ethiopia.
As far as Alchassar is concerned, his town has always
been Israeli and Jewish. "I've been here nine years,"
he said. "It's my home. I don't know anything about
Arabs living here."
Before 1948, though, this was an Arab town, built on
farming and weaving, with a scattering of Jewish
settlers. In that year, the fledgling Israeli army
fought its way down the coast and drove off the
Egyptian army. Here and across much of what had been
British-ruled Palestine, the people who would
eventually call themselves Palestinians fled their
homes and lands. In Ashkelon, that is celebrated by
the town's official history as a "liberation."
"There were 15,000 Arabs here," said Danny Shahar,
Ashkelon's spokesman and weary publicist. "Between
1948 and 1949, there were already no Arabs in the
area. Jews who were uprooted from Europe were the
first to settle here, Jews from places like Poland."
For Palestinians who came from here and who now live
packed into the impoverished enclave of Gaza, Ashkelon
is still Majdal. For many of them, any peace with
Israel must be built on what they call "the right of
return," the right to resettle on the lands taken from
Yet in Ashkelon, as in much of formerly Arab Israel,
there is little of the Palestinians' past to return
to, no houses to recover, no farmlands untilled. The
mosque has become a cavernous one-room museum,
displaying a few stone fragments from the Roman
empire, photographs of Ashkelon's "liberation" and two
copies of documents in Arabic written in 1947 urging
residents to preserve public order as the Israeli
The Palestinians' return is precluded by the "right of
return" that Israel has conferred on Jews around the
world to settle in Israel and become citizens.
"In 1990, there were 60,000 people here," said Shahar,
the town spokesman. "Now there are 115,000. In those
years, 37,000 people came from the former Soviet
Union, and 3,000 people came from Ethiopia."
Up the coast about 10 miles, there was another Arab
village, called Yibna, which Abdul Aziz Rantisi, who
has succeeded Yassin as leader of Hamas, calls his
home. Eager to return there, Yibna's Palestinian
ex-residents have established a Web site laden with
its history and denunciations of the Israeli presence.
But Yibna is no more. Today it is Yavne, and where
low, limestone Arab homes once stood are malls,
apartment buildings and suburban clusters of houses
with red tile roofs. A mosque is now a synagogue, and
a Muslim cemetery has been turned into a grassy,
The synagogue bears no signs of its previous
incarnation. David Hamo, 63, shows a visitor the
Hebrew library and the place for prayer, and he offers
a history of the domed edifice.
"We think this building is 800 to 1,000 years old,"
Hamo said as he stroked his ash-gray beard. "This is a
holy site. There was a revival of Jewish learning here
in the third and fourth century. And this is the tomb
of Rabi Gamliel, who was the head of the Jewish center
Asked about the people who lived here before Israeli
Jews, Hamo thought for a moment and replied, "From the
Turkish to the Ottoman Empire, I believe this place
was used by Muslims. But there are no Arabs here
Not all Arabs have been driven from Yavne, however. In
a neighborhood where teenagers skateboard and matrons
walk dogs, Yavne's last three Arab families, a clan of
Bedouins, live in tents of nylon and plastic sheeting.
"I'm 55 today," said Salim Abu Salouf, grandfather of
the family. "We've been here a long time."
Salouf said he retired from the Israeli army, where he
served for a decade. With 10 children and three
grandchildren, he has come to see himself as an
Israeli who happens to be Bedouin and Muslim.
Salouf's shared faith with the Palestinians does not
imply sympathy. "I'm not interested in Palestinians,"
he said. "I don't need other people and their
"I grew up here," Salouf said. "We're all brothers
here. I'm just a Bedouin and they're ... " he waved
his hands at the suburbia around him, "they're Jews.
We help each other out."
[NOTE: Bedouins have often played the role of
native collaborator for the colonizing army.]
Victory of brutality
By Gideon Levy - Ha'aretz March 14, 2004
A new species of officer is achieving greatness in the Israel Defense
Forces. These people did most of their service as occupation
officers, and their excellence is a function of the degree of
violence and brutality they exercise against the Palestinians. The
most striking example of this trend is Brigadier General Gadi Shamni,
a graduate of Lebanon and Hebron, who last week concluded his tour of
duty as commander of the Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and was
promoted to head of the Operations Division in the General Staff, a
post which is a major step on the way to becoming a major general.
The promotion of an officer of this type speaks volumes about the
IDF's value system and its order of priorities, far more than what it
says about Shamni himself.
Perhaps not since the days when Ariel Sharon was a serving major
general has the Gaza Strip seen an officer as violent, as boastful
and as brutal as General Shamni. If Shamni's predecessor, Brigadier
General Yisrael Ziv, only mounted numerous useless operations against
the lathes of Gaza, which also resulted in nothing more than
unnecessary bloodshed but didn't prevent the firing of Qassam
rockets at Israeli targets, along came Shamni and initiated a series
of showcase operations - totally pointless and only generated even
In the last of these operations, the one that resulted in the killing
of 15 Palestinians last week, Shamni even articulated a new IDF
doctrine: "stimulus and response." The purpose of the operation, it
was reported, was "to stimulate the armed individuals to come out and
then kill them off." This method, which led to the killing of
innocent people, including children, drew no critical reaction. No
one asked why every armed Palestinian is marked for death and why
it's necessary to "stimulate" armed people in Gaza altogether. Shamni
decided, executed and was promoted. Some in the IDF also explained
that the latest operation was actually meant to be a "farewell party"
on the eve of the ceremony of the handover of command.
The widespread death and destruction that Shamni left behind from his
14 months of service in Gaza did not prevent his promotion, and may
have even contributed to it.
The new species of officer, of which Shamni is the most prominent
example, balks at no means of killing, never expresses sorrow or
regret (not for the killing of innocent people and not for pointless
operations), articulates clear political positions, and is rarely
anything but arrogant in his speech. That's the recipe for
promotion. "We are winning in this confrontation every day, a few
times," Shamni boasted the day after the last operation in an
interview to Haaretz.
Winning in Gaza? Winning what? Against whom? It's hard to believe
that in this day and age there are still officers in the IDF who talk
like this. We've been "winning" in Gaza for 37 years, Shamni even
wins a few times a day, but no lesson has been learned. The results
of the victory: 1.5 million people imprisoned and destitute, living
in subhuman conditions, whose hatred for Israel is only increasing.
To ensure the victory, Shamni introduced an operational routine of an
invasion every few weeks using armored forces, straight into the
heart of the refugee camps and the slum neighborhoods, on every
occasion leaving behind dead Palestinians, many of them innocent
passersby. No one is able to explain the point and purpose of this
brutal presence, this constant delivering of more and more blows to
an already downtrodden population. No one has been called to account
for the terrorism that sprouted and will continue to sprout from these
In Israel we count only the number of terrorists who are killed,
never the terrorists who are born as a result of IDF operations, and
the number of the newborn is legion.
The conscience of officers like Shamni is always clean and polished.
The blood of the innocent people does not torment them. It's doubtful
whether questions of morality even occur to them. They "do the work"
and nothing will stop them. If in 1998 the IDF commander in the Gaza
Strip, Brigadier General Zvi Poleg, expressed regret for the loss of
an eye that a Palestinian baby girl suffered, the new generation of
commanders will view any such remark as a sign of weakness. The eye
of an infant? Who does that interest? We're at war. A few months ago,
when the IDF demolished the homes of seven families who had done
nothing wrong, in Bureij refugee camp, Shamni labeled the
action "surgical" without batting an eyelash; and when, among the
ruins, a pregnant woman, Noha Makadama, mother of ten children, was
killed before the eyes of her husband and children, he coldly
said, "The IDF has no proof that the woman was killed."
Similarly, when his troops killed peace activists Rachel Corrie and
Tom Hurndall and the photographer James Miller, in Rafah, Shamni did
not find fault in their actions.
Knowing well which way the wind is blowing and well-versed in the
dominant language of force, officers like Shamni do not hesitate to
make political statements. None of them is brave enough to speak out
against the continuation of the occupation, against the security
damage caused by the checkpoints or against the security price of the
settlements. "The withdrawal program is putting wind in the sales of
the organizations," Shamni said a few months ago. If the chief of
staff can say so, then so can the divisional commander. But maybe
it's precisely Shamni's operations that have put wind in the sails of
Having withdrawn from Lebanon, this occupation officer will not allow
the scenes of the pullout to repeat themselves. "Look who we're
dealing with," Shamni said in his farewell interview, referring to
the terrorists whom he says use children as human shields. And who
are we dealing with, at the very top of the IDF?
The Hollow Echo of Silence
An Israeli Despairs
March 8, 2004
Today, Palestinian news sources report that 27 Palestinians,
including four children, have been killed in Gaza in less than one
week. Brigadier General Gadi Shamni, the outgoing commander of the
IDF in the Gaza Strip said to Haaretz newspaper "We are winning in
this conflict. In the military arena we are winning every day,
several times." Palestinian political leaders from various camps such
as the Al Aqsa Brigades state that they "vowed to retaliate violently
to the Zionist entity's massacre in the Gaza refugee camps of Breij
and Nusseirat". Hamas statements also promised: "that Zionist
terrorist premier Ariel Sharon would pay dearly for his crimes in the
Gaza Strip. Hamas officials asked all Palestinian military wings to
escalate resistance raids against occupation targets in all areas of
Are we winning, as Gadi Shamni assures the Israeli public? In my view
the answer is firmly: NO! The war against terror, I say to my Israeli
friends, colleagues and leaders - will not be won on the military
front. This past week's actions in Gaza will not decrease the will of
Palestinians of all ages to hate Israel and to fight Israel with
every last drop of blood in their bodies. Palestinian and Arab
television stations throughout the Arab world broadcasted in very
vivid red colors the blood dripping from the head of the young
Palestinian child who was killed yesterday in the gun battle between
Israeli forces and Palestinian forces. Even moderate voices in
Palestine could not hold back the burning desire for revenge while
viewing the shocking pictures.
Since the beginning of this intifada in September 2000, I have stated
over and over again that you cannot win a war against a people who
are fighting for liberation and freedom against an occupying power.
We should know that from our own history and experience better than
most other nations and peoples. It is clear that the Palestinians
will in the end be free and the Israeli occupation will end. It is
mainly a question of time and at what price. The day-to-day battle of
killing is nothing more than futile.
There are those who would say: What do you want us to do, lay down
our arms and let the enemy kill us? To those I would say: we need to
change disks in order to act differently. In the current paradigm of
Israeli-Palestinian relations the only logic is the one of mutual
destruction. That logic is voiced clearly in the kinds of statements
that are made everyday by people on both sides:
We cannot lay down our arms because they will not lay down theirs.
We must fight against terrorism because you cannot compromise with
We must continue to fight the occupation because the only language
they understand is the language of force.
We must fight against terrorism because force is the only language
If we declare ceasefire they will understand that we are weak.
There can be no victories for terrorism because that will increase
Withdrawal is a victory for terror.
They are all terrorists from birth; they drink the hatred with their
Anyway, there is no one to talk to on the other side.
They don't want peace, they only want to destroy us.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
It doesn't matter who says it. In a conflict where there is so much
asymmetry it is amazing how much symmetry there is in the rhetoric.
The very same things that we think about them, they think about us.
And the circle continues over and over, round and round. And with
each day more death, more blood, more destruction. And the entire
resources of two peoples, human capital, financial capital and the
land that we both love is being thrown into the garbage bin of the
logic of military, security, weapons, and defense futility.
In the past I have been attacked by Israelis who would stay that I
and those like me are quislings and self hating Jews for even stating
that there is an occupation. But now even Prime Minster Sharon
himself has spoken about occupation "I think the idea that it is
possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under
occupation - yes it is occupation, you might not like the word, but
what is happening is occupation - is bad for Israel, and bad for the
Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli economy. Controlling 3.5 million
Palestinians cannot go on forever. You want to remain in Jenin,
Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem?" (May 26, 2003) Sharon is planning
for unilateral disengagement.
I am fully behind the idea of Israel ending the occupation in Gaza
and I support any move that will prepare the people of Israel for the
eventuality that we must withdraw from every centimeter of Gaza
including all of the settlements, and the sooner the better. But this
will not bring peace. It should be clear to everyone, especially to
Sharon himself, this will not put an end to the killing.
In a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Israel will not be leaving Gaza
for the last time. Israel will return, IDF troops will re-enter,
Apache helicopters will continue to launch missiles against
Palestinians in the streets of Gaza. Law and order will not reign in
Gaza. The one constant variable that we can all be sure about under
this scenario of unilateralism is that hatred against Israel will
continue to grow. And Israelis will respond with equal levels of
hatred against Palestinians.
Palestinians are not born terrorists and there is nothing about their
genetic makeup that turns them towards terrorism. Israelis too are
not born hating Palestinians and they too are not terrorists from
birth. These are learned behaviors. The main stay of learning these
behaviors is fear. The spread of fear is the fuel of generals and
military minds and politicians who were in their pasts from the same
mind set – Israelis and Palestinians alike. There is firm reliance on
the spread of fear for constant demands for increased military
budgets or for continued smuggling of weapons and paying the salaries
of "freedom fighters" with badly needed scarce resources that should
be used to build, not to destroy. And fear has taken hold. Only we
are all too proud to say that we are afraid. Only cowards are
afraid. But I am not a coward and I am afraid. I am afraid that the
killing and destruction will go on and on, and the well known wish
that maybe my children won't have to fight will be heard over and
over again, generation after generation, and all of our children will
have to fight. And the publics are taken hostage and their voices are
Where are the voices who say enough killing? Where are those who know
in their hearts and in their minds that there is no way to break the
will of the other side? I am burning with anger. I am angry at my
compatriots and I am angry at Palestinians – why do we remain silent?
I have no hopes that our leaders, or their leaders, or the leaders of
the world will save us from our own demise. I am not angrier at the
leaders than I am at ourselves. I no longer have expectations from
our leaders. They will continue to do what they know to do best – and
we all will continue to pay the price with more and more casualties –
Israeli and Palestinian. How many dead bodies will it take before
common Israelis and Palestinians take to the streets and say:
ENOUGH!? 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 100,000? Each new casualty is lost
for nothing. They are not heroes, they are suckers as we all are, and
if we will be honest with ourselves, we will recognize, Israelis and
Palestinians, that they were killed in vain.
Don't believe the myths. We are fighting for nothing – all of us –
Israelis and Palestinians. This war will bring about no
achievements. There are no victories and there are no victors.
There are only losses and losers. We are all losing and we are all
losers. Israelis and Palestinians alike will continue this futile
foolishness and recklessness until we, the people, Israelis and
Palestinians, stand up with courage and go against the tide. As it
continues and as more and more people lose their lives, on both
sides, we are all responsible and we must all take the blame.
I speak with Israelis and Palestinians everyday – from all walks of
life. I know that there are people to talk with on the other side. I
know that it is possible to reach agreements and to arrive at
solutions that would guarantee life with dignity and freedom. I have
been doing this work for too long to give into fear and despair. We
must demonstrate our compassion for their suffering and for our own.
There is hope and there must be hope. There are enough reasonable
Israelis and Palestinians who, like me, are fed up. It is now up to
us, we must make the difference.
Dr. Gershon Baskin is the Israeli-Co-Director of IPCRI – the
Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information
Holocaust survivor: Jews have not learned the lesson
Palestine Information Center
Occupied Jerusalem - A holocaust survivor has
criticized Israel for treating the Palestinians people
in the same way the Nazis treated Jews during the
Second World War.
Hajo Meyer, an 80-year-old Jewish writer who arrived
at The Hague to protest the apartheid Wall Israel is
erecting in the West Bank, said Jews have not learned
the right lessons from their experience with the
"Many Jews have not learned the right lessons from
Auschwitz," aljazeera.net quoted him as saying.
"They interpret `Never Again' to apply only to Jews
whereas it should apply to everybody."
Meyer, who fled from Germany to Amsterdam as a refugee
in 1939, said human rights should apply to all people
regardless of their ethnicity.
"I am against any infringement of a person's rights
based on the grounds of race or ethnic belongings."
ISRAELI MCDONALD'S: FAST-FOOD WORKER FIRED FOR SPEAKING ARABIC
Conal Urquhart, Newsday, 3/22/04
JERUSALEM - "I'm lovin' it," say the T-shirts of McDonald's fast-food
employees in Israel - but on the job, they must voice their
enthusiasm (or order up more fries) only in Hebrew.
The McDonald's chain has come under criticism for its Hebrew-only
policy in the past month, since an ethnic Arab university student,
Abeer Zinaty, and her McDonald's boss said she was fired for speaking
Zinaty, 20, worked for more than two years at a McDonald's restaurant
in Ramle, a partly Arab, partly Jewish town near Tel Aviv. She has
told Israeli newspapers that things were going well at work, and to
make the point she has shown reporters a company T-shirt,
labeled "Excellent Worker 2003," that she won from her superiors.
But in December, her manager fired her and "told me that ... above
all it is because I speak too much Arabic" at work, Zinaty told the
daily Maariv newspaper. Her regional supervisor, Hazem Natshe, also
an Arab, said speaking Arabic was one of several reasons she was let
When an Arab-Israeli civil rights group, Mossawa, complained,
McDonald's Israeli human resources director, Talila Yodfat, explained
in a letter that workers in the company's 80-plus restaurants in
Israel must "speak between themselves and clients just in Hebrew.
This is to prevent uncomfortable situations for workers and clients,
who mostly speak Hebrew."
The letter did not explain why it would be uncomfortable for Hebrew-
speakers to hear other languages in the company's restaurants...
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Russian troops attacked in Chechnya
Sunday 04 April 2004, 1:28 Makka Time, 22:28 GMT
Russian troops have taken heavy casualties in Chechnya
A fresh spate of attacks including a landmine blast
has killed seven Russian soldiers in the troubled
republic of Chechnya since Friday.
Officials said that troops have been fired at by
Chechen fighters 19 times during the past 24 hours,
leaving four soldiers dead.
Another two soldiers died in a gunfight near the
village of Gekhi.
One more soldier was killed and two others wounded
when a landmine blew up a military car in Urus-Martan.
Authorities also discovered and defused a
shrapnel-filled bomb left near a bus stop in the
Chechen capital of Grozny.
Officials meanwhile confirmed that Friday's explosions
on gas and oil pipelines in southern Russia had been
carried out by the Chechen fighters.
The first of the two blasts struck on the
Mozdok-Kazimagomed line, which pumps natural gas to
Azerbaijan. The second struck the Baku-Novorossisk oil
"Most likely it was a terrorist attack," Uvluby
Erbolatov, a regional official in Dagestan, the
southern Russian republic bordering Chechnya where the
explosions occurred, said.
Chechen fighters have been battling Russian troops
since 1999, seeking the republic's independence from
It has been a bloody war, claiming thousands of lives
on both sides with human rights groups accusing Russia
of gross abuses. Chechen separatist politicians have
charged Moscow with conducting a slow genocide.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of Kremlin-supported Chechen
President Akhmad Kadyrov, has meanwhile predicted that
the surrender of a key ally of separatist leader Aslan
Maskhadov would weaken the Chechen fighters.
Federal authorities on Friday had announced that Shaa
Trulayev, head of Maskhadov's bodyguard corps, has
surrendered to Russian forces.
Maskhadov commanded the separatist fighters in the
first of the past decade's two wars in Chechnya and
was elected the republic's first president in January
His authority and control over resistance fighters in
the current war has been weakened by strong senior
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The Burden of Conscience
Dan Frosch, AlterNet
March 23, 2004
Viewed on March 31, 2004
J.E. McNeil recalls the Special Operations soldier who couldn't kill
anymore after an Afghan child darted in front of his riflescope, or
the Marine who vowed he'd never return to Iraq, unable to justify the
devastation he witnessed. McNeil hears such stories every day, as
part of her role as executive director of the Center on Conscience
and War -- a Washington group that works with conscientious
Invariably, when the term 'conscientious objector' is mentioned, our
minds drift to Vietnam. During that war, nearly 172,000 young men
were relieved of military duty after officially registering as
pacifists. Scenes of protestors burning draft cards were forever
seared into America's collective psyche.
But when Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, who'd gone AWOL after returning
from Iraq, publicly announced on March 15 that he was applying for a
conscientious objector discharge, the idea of refusing to fight in
the name of universal peace was hurled into the maelstrom of debate
over the current war.
By definition, a member of the Armed Forces must prove, through an
application and the subsequent investigation, that he or she is
opposed to all war in general, not just one particular conflict.
Mejia, currently assigned to duty with his Florida National Guard
unit at Fort Stewart, Georgia, is waiting to see if Army brass will
sign off on his application or if he will be prosecuted for going
Predictably, the Pentagon has downplayed his story, as well as one
involving two Army medics who requested conscientious objector
discharges the following day, just before being shipped to Iraq. As
reported in The New York Times on March 16, Army spokeswoman Martha
Rudd said 31 of 60 applications for conscientious objector discharges
were given the nod last year and two of five have been approved so
far in 2004 -- hardly a noteworthy percentage of the more than
130,000 troops currently serving in Iraq.
The Army's numbers, however, are not only misleading; they're bound
According to the GI Rights Hotline, a coalition of advocacy groups
that offer confidential counseling and legal advice to American
troops, thousands of soldiers have called its offices inquiring about
conscientious objector status since the war began. In fact, say two
leaders of the GI Rights Hotline, the situation is virtually out of
Teresa Panepinto, GI Rights program coordinator for the Central
Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) -- part of the GI Rights
Hotline -- says her Oakland office fielded 29,000 calls from soldiers
in 2003, both from those awaiting deployment and from those currently
in Iraq. The majority of the calls were from soldiers trying to
navigate a way out of the military, with 22 percent of them inquiring
about the consequences of going AWOL and 13 percent asking about
conscientious objector discharges. Judging from phone call intake
this year, Panepinto says, it's already clear that the numbers are
J.E. McNeil, whose Center on Conscience and War is also part of the
GI Rights Hotline, says that after Sept. 11, her office was initially
getting one or two phone calls a week from soldiers specifically
wanting to know about the conscientious objector application process.
But since January, 2003, the call volume has jumped to one or two
phone calls a day.
"The military doesn't have accurate numbers" states McNeil, a
longtime attorney for conscientious objectors, noting her
organization is currently working on the cases of 30 soldiers who
have either already requested conscientious objector discharges or
are in the process of applying.
The sketchy statistics, she says, are due to overall underreporting
by the Pentagon; applications derailed during the process being
discounted; and soldiers going AWOL or Unauthorized Absence (UA)
before waiting the three months to a year it might take before the
Army makes up its mind.
Says McNeil: "The stories we're hearing out of Iraq are horrific.
Soldiers are calling us and saying 'I now realize what war is and I
can't do it.' It's heart wrenching."
"All I can tell you is how many people have applied," responds Army
spokeswoman Martha Rudd. "I can't comment on how many calls the
hotlines are taking. If somebody is serious, they'll apply and their
application will be considered."
It's worth noting that all of this has considerable historical
precedent. According to the Center on Conscience and War,
conscientious objectors have been in every major American war, dating
back to the American Revolution. Originally, only members of the
historic 'peace' churches -- Quakers, Mennonites and Brethren -- were
permitted to be conscientious objectors. But even they were required
to serve as noncombatants in the military and faced jail time or
seizure of property if they refused. By World War II, because of the
country's first peacetime draft, anybody could register as a
conscientious objector on religious grounds. Such objectors, however,
were forced to serve in the Civilian Public Service for four years
without pay -- working particularly undesirable government jobs
vacated by those who'd gone off to war.
By the end of the Korean War, that program was eliminated and by
Vietnam, you could also cite moral and ethical grounds. Also during
Vietnam, the military began allowing soldiers who could prove they
had a change of heart towards war to apply for a conscientious
objector discharge, and 3,275 soldiers did. During the first Gulf
War, some 111 soldiers were granted conscientious objector
discharges, according to statistics culled by the Center on
Conscience and War.
The current conflict in Iraq is provoking a new movement of
conscientious objectors for two reasons, says McNeil. A
sweeping 'stop-loss' decree, authorized by the Army on Nov. 13 and
designed to stabilize an over-exerted fighting force, prevents
soldiers from retiring or leaving their units 90 days before
deployment and 90 days after returning home. Reservists and National
Guard soldiers in particular have been affected as they are shifted
out of Iraq and then re-deployed within the allotted 90 days. As a
result, says McNeil, men and women accustomed to serving one weekend
a month and two weeks a year are spending most of the year in Iraq,
separated from their families and fighting an increasingly chaotic
and dangerous war.
The second variable has to do with the hellishness of this war
itself. More and more soldiers, no matter how tough their training or
elite their unit, are finding the brutality of urban battle coupled
with the murky justification for invading Iraq as reason enough to
One GI being counseled by the Center on Conscience and War spoke with
Alternet on condition of anonymity as his application for
conscientious objector status is still pending. Part of a Special
Operations unit deployed in Iraq early last year, this soldier spent
four months on seemingly endless combat missions. It took only his
first fight, some three weeks into his tour of duty, to change him.
"There was this numbness..., this human aspect, you didn't think
would be there," he said. "People all around me -- us, the Iraqis --
we were all losing friends and family. It was sickening."
Beneath his proudly polished military speak, the soldier suddenly
sounded very young, as he described his metamorphosis.
"I saw destruction of people. Innocent lives taken that won't be
coming back. I took lives," he said. "You were trained to think these
people were lower than you. But you wondered if that person you'd
just killed could have been your friend.... There was no honor in it,
and I didn't want to be a part of it anymore."
After that first battle, the soldier said it was obvious both to him
and to the other soldiers in his unit that he never wanted to fight
again, though he never told anyone outright because he felt ashamed.
When his unit returned home on leave, he was transferred to a
conventional combat battalion, which had not yet been deployed.
There, the soldier wrestled with his feelings and spoke to Army
chaplains and psychiatrists as well as his own friends and family
about what to do.
"During that time I was made aware of the conscientious objector
option, and I submitted the paperwork, because I realized I want
separation from the military" he said. "I was told I'd be fighting
for freedom and honor and glory, but it's been about protecting
political interests. It's been a lie."
Meanwhile, the solider is still waiting for his application to be
processed and a judgment to be meted out.
Aside from such first hand accounts, both J.E. McNeil and Teresa
Panepinto note that another surefire sign of the intense unhappiness
many soldiers experience towards fighting in Iraq is the high suicide
rate among those stationed there. The Pentagon has acknowledged that
22 soldiers killed themselves in Iraq last year and the Army
dispatched a mental-health assessment team last September to
investigate. The results of that report are expected sometime within
the next few weeks.
Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out and herself
the mother of a Marine who returned from Iraq last May, confirms that
her organization is working with numerous soldiers and families of
soldiers dealing with depression and suicide.
"We're seeing this because people are being deployed for the second
or third time and also because soldiers who believed that this war
was needed in the beginning have come around to see that it's based
on lies," said Lessin, whose group organized a massive peace march in
Fayetteville, North Carolina on March 20.
Interestingly, Lessin's analysis of military suicides and depression
eerily parallels the motives behind the outpouring of phone calls to
the GI Hotline about conscientious objector discharges.
Unfortunately, despite President Bush's blind boasts about American
resolve and lives sacrificed for freedom, it seems certain that this
outpouring -- not to mention the suicides and depression -- is
destined to continue, as more GIs like Camilo Mejia and the anonymous
Special Operations soldier find themselves unable to keep firing
their weapons in good faith.
Nearly 100 years later, apparently, we're still perpetuating what
poet Wilfred Owen called the "old Lie: Dulce et decorum / Est pro
How sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country.
Dan Frosch is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He also
contributes to VIBE, POZ and In These Times.
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Hamas Set for Change?
Interview with Hamas Member Muhammad Nazal
Many might have argued that the floor was indeed shaken underneath
Hamas, if not Palestinian resistance as a whole. On the domestic
level, the departure of the movement's founder and spiritual guide
Sheikh Ahmad Yassin set the ground for a number of questions over the
future of the movement and its reaction to the assassination. On the
regional and global level, Muslims from around the world have
considered the assassination a direct attack on their dignity,
resolve and the quest for freedom, symbolized in the person of Sheikh
IslamOnline interviewed Mr. Muhammad Nazal, a member of its political
bureau, for an answer to many of the questions raised over the future
of Hamas resistance; its forms, means and leadership. Is Hamas on the
verge of fundamental changes affecting its future with Israel
IOL: In view of the recent assassination of the Sheikh. How do you
think it will affect the future leadership of Hamas? Will there be
significant changes in the management of the organization?
There will be no changes in the strategies of Hamas. As for the
leadership of the movement, Dr. Rantissi has been chosen to be in
charge of leadership in Gaza, as for the prime person in charge now,
he is Mr. Khaled Meshaal the chairman of the political bureau, as no
changes had undergone to his post.
The management of Hamas is not centralized. Sheikh Yassin was a
father figure to us all. He was the spiritual guide of the movement.
Yet the management of the movement has always been defused, and
Rantissi and Meshaal have always been important leading figures in
IOL: There are many observers who noted that the assassination of
Sheikh Yassin will in fact lead to further radicalization of Hamas.
Some fear the possibility that the group will disintegrate into
separate factions that will become more focused on militancy, which
could affect other services in the organization. Your comments?
There is no reason for such fears, such fears are only the hopes of
the Zionist enemy, they thought that by assassinating Sheikh Yassin
they would create a gap or disorder in the movement.
Radicalization? Hamas has never been a radical movement, it is an
institutionalized movement with a clear agenda, and its policy is
carried out in accordance with the consensus of the majority of the
IOL: Sheikh Yassin was a father figure to all Palestinians. How will
Hamas fill this void?
Surely, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was an important symbol to the
Palestinians, yet this doesn't mean that the Palestinians are unable
to create new leaders. The Palestinians introduced to the world a lot
of leaders that carried the cause and strife.
IOL: In the statement by Qassam brigades following the assassination,
there was an unclear announcement that the duty to take revenge for
the life of the Sheikh is now the duty of all Muslims, not just
Palestinians. Are they suggesting that Muslims everywhere are now to
take militant operations from all around the world?
Of course not, we advise all Muslims to take their role in military
operations against the Zionist enemy, but only inside Palestine. If
there are people able to cross the borders and enter Palestine they
are asked to answer this call for Jihad as soon as possible.
IOL: What are the chances of the resistance moving to out of
Palestine's borders? Do you plan on targeting Zionist interests all
over the world?
No, the policy of Hamas is to fight inside the Occupied Territories
IOL: Will Hamas change its outlook now to include enmity towards the
US directly? Is it likely to participate in operations that are
directed at US interests?
It is not our policy to target American interests; our resistance
will be only against Zionists.
IOL: But wasn't the Sheikh assassinated with US armaments? Do you not
feel that the escalation against the US itself might serve your
It is true that the USA is the prime supporter of the Zionist entity,
but we don't see that it is wise to open more than one front; our
fight against those who occupied our land is legally, ethically and
Blood on a Wheelchair
Ahmed Yassin - The Man Who Revived a Nation
By Kareem M. Kamel
Researcher - International Relations
"The West demands from us that we stop the resistance. Instead of
asking the occupiers to leave our land, they ask us to surrender to
the occupier… The peace that reinforces occupation, settlements, and
the exiling of the Palestinian people, is not really peace."1 -
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
"Yassin's martyrdom is a new beginning for the resistance, jihad, and
Intifada and will have repercussions and consequences far more
dangerous than this usurper entity [Israel] has so far seen."2 -
Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah Secretary General
Sheikh Ahmed's assassination was met with Palestinian vows of revenge.
Throughout history, wars, revolutions and peace treaties were always
regarded as major harbingers of social and political change. An often
overlooked force for transformation has been political assassination.
In many cases where influential leaders or figureheads were
assassinated, a cascade of interrelated consequences and events
usually occurred, far exceeding the expectations of those who
committed the assassination itself. In this respect, one must note
how the 1914 assassination of the heir to the Habsburg throne,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by nationalist Serbs set in motion a series
of unstoppable events that resulted in World War I - a tragic
conflict in which millions died.
For millions of Muslims, the assassination of Hamas leader and
founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin represents a watershed event, perhaps
signaling a turning point in the Arab-Israeli struggle and in the
overall Western-Muslim conflict that has recently taken on global
proportions with the US' declared "war on terrorism." It is worthy to
note that even some Israeli officers referred to the event as a
transformative one, equivalent in its importance to Sharon's visit to
the al-Aqsa mosque which sparked the current Intifada in September
Perhaps the most telling account of Yassin's martyrdom and its
possible repercussions came from an editorial in the International
Herald Tribune, which read: "The assassination of Sheikh Ahmed
Yassin, a figure whose symbolic stature on both sides of the Arab-
Israeli conflict far surpassed the actual potential of his paralyzed,
feeble body, is certain to become one of those pivotal events around
which passions and hatreds coalesce… Sheikh Yassin was already an
icon in the Arab world, now he is a martyr."4
Yassin seared into the Palestinian consciousness that death to harm
an occupier is glorious.5
Israel's assassination of Sheikh Yassin was met with Palestinian vows
of revenge. Senior Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi
suggested: "The battle is open and war between us and them is open.
They are the killers of prophets and today they killed an Islamic
symbol." Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of the Fatah organization,
called for "war, war, war on the sons of Zion. An eye for an eye.
There will be a response within hours, God willing."6 Tens of
thousands of Palestinians, fist raised in anger, chanted: "By blood,
by sword, we sacrifice for you!" as they mourned the death of the
enigmatic Palestinian leader, killed by Israeli missiles in a predawn
airstrike as he returned home from prayers in a nearby mosque.
Arab television channels replaced scheduled programs with live
coverage of Yassin's funeral. Mourners among a crowd of 200,000
reached out to touch the flag-draped coffin in the biggest turnout in
Gaza since Arafat's triumphant homecoming in 1994 after interim peace
deals with Israel. A few hours later, a statement published on an
Islamist website purporting to be from al-Qaeda urged retaliation
against the US and its allies for Israel's assassination of Ahmed
Yassin.7 However, the swiftest military response to Israel's crime
came from Hizbullah, whose fighters fired rockets and mortar shells
at Israeli military outposts in the occupied Cheb'aa Farms on the
Lebanese-Israeli border. Near Tel Aviv, a Palestinian man attacked
three Israelis with an axe, causing minor injuries. Other scattered
outbreaks of violence left at least five Palestinians dead and caused
dozens of injuries as protesters clashed with Israeli troops.
Israel's extra-judicial killing of a frail quadriplegic as he left a
mosque in the early hours of the day was no doubt the ugliest
expression of state terrorism, the act of a mafia rather than a state
governed by responsible leaders educated in civilized international
norms. However, this was not an unexpected move by the bloodthirsty
government of Ariel Sharon, given regional and international silence
at Israel's daily atrocities in the Palestinian territories. The
heavy-handed US military presence in the Middle East and the mild
response of Arab governments to Israeli carnage most certainly gave
Sharon the "green light" to proceed with his trail of terror.
The Bush administration's first response came from National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who refused to condemn the killing, instead
rationalizing it by pointing to Yassin's "terror" connection,
suggesting that the US had not set any "red lines" for Sharon's
behavior.8 After all, the US was already aware that Israel wanted to
eliminate Sheikh Yassin from the simple fact that it had already
tried and failed to assassinate him last year.
Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi now controls Hamas in Gaza.
Interestingly, the timing of the attack came just weeks after Sharon
announced his intention to implement a disengagement plan in which
Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza. In fact, a team of top
Israeli officials, including Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weisglass
and national security chief Giora Eiland, was headed to Washington to
discuss the withdrawal plan with American officials. The recent
strike against Hamas' leader was supposedly intended to prevent a
situation where Hamas can claim that Israel is withdrawing from Gaza
under pressure from the organization, just as Hizbullah had claimed
after Israel's unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000. In
this regard, Yassin's assassination can be seen as part of an
Israeli "offensive" before its expected disengagement. Following
Yassin's assassination, Israeli security sources declared that Israel
will try to kill the entire leadership of Hamas, irrespective of
further attacks by the militant group. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul
Mofaz declared Hamas a "strategic enemy of Israel," and an Israeli
ministry spokesman added that "it is very important to weaken Hamas
in view of the application of the separation plan."9
More importantly though, there was a sense of Israeli confidence that
Washington would not oppose the operation since both it and Pakistan
are in the midst of an extensive military campaign on the Pakistan-
Afghanistan border to capture al-Qaeda leaders. Sharon may have
believed that if the Americans can kill, arrest and torture hundreds
of Islamists and send them overseas to cages in Guantanamo Bay, they
would definitely not object to the assassination of a single man in
Gaza. Indeed, the assassination of Sheikh Yassin was reminiscent of
the US assassination of an alleged al-Qaeda lieutenant in Yemen by a
missile launched from a CIA drone in November 2002, exhibiting the
same disregard for the norms of international behavior.
Yassin - The Man and the Message
Perhaps one of the most influential leaders in the history of the
Palestinian resistance movement, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was an
exceptional ideologue, motivator, strategist, and inspiration for
thousands of Palestinians yearning for independence. The frail and
ailing Yassin, although himself the picture of physical
powerlessness, probably did more than any other figure to sear into
the consciousness of young Palestinians the notion that death sought
in order to inflict harm upon a hated occupier is glorious.10
Since his early days, the Hamas leader was the inspiration behind
both the 1987 and 2000 uprisings, refusing to accept the pessimists'
objections to what they felt was a road to collective suicide. Yassin
always asserted that since the Palestinians were fighting from a much
weaker position, they must be prepared to accept much greater losses.
In his mosque sermons and teachings, Yassin repeatedly portrayed
suicide attacks as a divinely inspired means for the helplessly
oppressed to strike at a powerful oppressor. The elderly sheikh
insisted that Israel is a militaristic garrison state which had
blurred the line between civilians and soldiers, explaining that
Hamas did not exclusively target Israeli "civilians," except in
direct retaliation for the death of Palestinian civilians. He saw
this as a necessary tactic to "show the Israelis they could not get
away without a price for killing our people."11
Yassin asserted that the Palestinians must be prepared to accept
The current Intifada, which erupted in September 2000, represented
the ultimate vindication of Yassin's thinking. Islamist, nationalist
and secular Palestinian movements scrambled to follow Hamas' suicide
bombing strategy, with every movement boasting of its martyrs and of
its willingness to sacrifice its sons for the larger goal of national
liberation. For mainstream Palestinians, "martyrdom" remained the
ultimate goal - a concept repeatedly invoked at every Palestinian
mass rally and in videotaped messages left behind by suicide
Born in 1936 in Majdal near the coastal town of Askalan, in what was
then Palestine under the British mandate, Sheikh Yassin's political
views were forged at a time of humiliation and defeat for the
Palestinians.13 Father to eleven children, the elderly sheikh belongs
to one of many families expelled from their homes by invading Israeli
forces during the first Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948. After a
childhood accident left him a quadriplegic, he devoted his early life
to Islamic scholarship and studied at al-Azhar University in Cairo,
the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was there that he
developed the belief that Palestine is Islamic land "consecrated for
future Muslim generations until Judgment Day," and that no Arab or
Muslim leader has the right to give up any part of this territory.
Back in Gaza, Yassin founded his own movement, al-Mujama al-Islami,
in the 1970s and began to recruit young activists. The Iranian
Revolution of 1979, the rising tide of Islamism throughout the Muslim
world, and the presence of the exiled secular Fatah leadership in
Tunisia allowed Yassin to set up a more radical Islamic movement -
Yassin was arrested for the first time in 1984 for the illegal
possession of weapons and explosives, but released a year later,
after which he worked to create Hamas, the name of which is an
acronym for "the Islamic Resistance Movement."14 In 1989, Sheikh
Yassin was arrested by the Israelis and sentenced to life
imprisonment for allegedly ordering the killing of Palestinians who
had collaborated with the Israeli army. He was eventually released in
1997, in exchange for two Israeli agents arrested in Jordan during an
attempt to assassinate another Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal.
Hamas was able to build support by offering material help through the
charitable funding of schools, clinics and hospitals that provide
free services to families in distress.
New Hamas head Khaled Meshaal has already survived an Israeli
Since its inception in December 1987, Hamas has carried out the
majority of attacks against Israeli targets, becoming the Zionist
state's most lethal enemy. Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to
exist, and its long-term aim is to establish an Islamic state on pre-
1948 borders. Sheikh Yassin was a staunch opponent of the 1993 Oslo
Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, repeatedly
declaring his movement's opposition to all Western peace initiatives
which do not restore the Palestinians' full rights.
Despite his attempts to maintain good relations with the Palestinian
Authority (PA), there were several attempts by the PA to restrict his
activities. In December 2001, one man died in clashes with
Palestinian police after Sheikh Yassin was placed under house arrest.
Shooting erupted again in June 2002 when Palestinian police
surrounded his house. In September 2003, the Israeli army attempted
to kill Sheikh Yassin while he was at the house of a Hamas colleague
The Living Martyr - Consequences & Prospects
Perhaps the most immediate consequence of Sheikh Yassin's
assassination was the outpour of anger throughout the Islamic World
and the revival of street protests in many Arab and Islamic capitals.
The assassination took place only a few days after international
protests commemorating the first anniversary of the beginning of the
US campaign against Iraq. This ultimately added more anti-US and anti-
Israeli sentiment to popular rage at the continued US occupation of
Iraq. Interestingly, even in Iraq, where the US is relentlessly
trying to establish a pro-US government and win the hearts and minds
of the public, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets deploring the
US and Israel for the assassination of Sheikh Yassin.
Yassin's assassination is likely to lead to the further
radicalization of Hamas.
Iraqi outrage over Yassin's killing was not only confined to
the "Sunni Triangle" that has nurtured the insurgency against the US
and its allies. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Shi'ite spiritual
leader and the single most influential person in Iraq, called on
Muslims to unite against Israel, while the more militant Shi'ite
cleric Moqtada al-Sadr offered the Palestinians "moral and physical
support."15 In an already tense transition process, the extent to
which the US is viewed as complicit in an Israeli action that has
enraged Iraqis will not make the task of US soldiers and officials
there any easier.
Domestically, the immediate consequence of the assassination would be
the increase in the strength and influence of Hamas in the
Palestinian street, and an equal increase in popular disillusionment
with the PA after it appeared incapable or unwilling to protect
resistance leaders despite its numerous security organizations and
international connections. As a result, the PA would find it
increasingly difficult to act against Hamas - actions like collecting
weapons, arresting militants, or preventing the firing of Qassam
rockets, will be politically dangerous for the PA.16
Another possible consequence of the assassination would be that
Hamas, lacking a clear cut leadership, would gradually split into
more radical factions, as happened to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
after Nasser's execution of Sayyid Qutb. Those factions usually
create their own ideologies and mode of operation that is usually
more radical than, and independent of, their parent organization.
Mainstream Palestinian movements have so far avoided any public
alignment with al-Qaeda. However, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi announced
that Hamas had opened a special account with Israel, calling the
assassination of Yassin a declaration of war on Islam.17 Al-
Rantissi's threats could materialize if several leading cadres of the
Hamas movement decide to align themselves with al-Qaeda's global
objectives and strike at Israeli, Jewish, or American targets
In any case, the most certain result of Yassin's assassination would
be the radicalization of Hamas and the sidelining of moderates within
the movement. One also has to remember that Israel's assassination of
Ismail Abu Shanab in Summer 2003- the most pragmatic of all Hamas
leaders - severely restricted the moderate line within Hamas. The
most recent manifestation of the movement's radicalization was the
choice of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi - perceived as the most radical of
all Hamas leaders and one who refuses any form of compromise with
Israel - as the new leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip.
The assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin no doubt represents a
turning point in the history of the Arab-Israeli struggle and in the
larger global conflict between the West and the Muslim world. The
occupation of Muslim lands, the support for "friendly tyrants," and
now, the systematic cold-blooded killing of Muslim icons of
resistance, will definitely fuel the cause of radicals in the Middle
East and silence any possible voices of moderation. For millions of
Muslims, Sheikh Yassin was, and always will be, a symbol of
resistance, piety, and self-sacrifice. Interestingly, his legacy of
resistance and steadfastness had a ripple-effect throughout the
Islamic world that far surpassed his frail figure. Perhaps his
assassination was the wake-up call needed for many Muslims to rise
from their present slumber. One only has to remember how the
assassination of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1989,
led to the radicalization of Arab-Afghans and the establishment of al-
Qaeda. Indeed, living martyrs usually come back to haunt their
Kareem M. Kamel is an Egyptian freelance writer based in Cairo,
Egypt. He has an MA in International Relations and is specialized in
security studies, decision- making, nuclear politics, Middle East
politics and the politics of Islam. He is currently assistant to the
Political Science Department at the American University in Cairo.
1- Faisal Bodi, "My Meeting with Sheikh Yasin," Al-Jazeera (English)
March 22, 2004
2- Hussein Dakroub, "Hezbollah Guerillas Attack Border Area,"
Associated Press March 22, 2004
3- Amos Harel, "Hit May Mean `Low Intensity' Conflict is Over,"
Ha'aretz March 23, 2004
4- "A Death in Gaza," International Herald Tribune March 23, 2004
5- Laura King, "Yassin Instilled the Passion for Glory of Martyrdom,"
Los Angeles Times March 22, 2003
6- Andrew Roche, "Yassin Killing Provokes Muslim Fury, US Disavowal,"
Reuters March 23, 2004
7- "Al-Qaeda Vows Revenge," Al-Jazeera (English) March 22, 2004
8- Tony Karon, "How Israel's Hamas Killing Affects the US," Time.com
March 23rd, 2004
9- "New Strike on Hamas by Israel is Expected," International Herald
Tribune March 23, 2004
10- Laura King, "Yassin Instilled the Passion for Glory of
Martyrdom," Los Angeles Times March 22, 2003
11- Faisal Bodi, "My Meeting with Sheikh Yasin," Al-Jazeera (English)
March 22, 2004
12- Laura King, "Yassin Instilled the Passion for Glory of
Martyrdom," Los Angeles Times March 22, 2003
13- "Sheikh Yassin: Spiritual Figurehead," BBC News
14- "Frail Foe of Israel," Al-Jazeera (English) September 6, 2003.
15- Tony Karon, "How Israel's Hamas Killing Affects the US," Time.com
March 23rd, 2004.
16- Ze'ev Schiff, "No Withdrawal Under Fire," Ha'aretz March 23, 2004.
17- Zvi Bar'el, "Now Hamas Could Align with al-Qaeda," Ha'aretz March
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Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser
by Emad Mekay
Published on Monday, March 29, 2004 by Inter Press Service
WASHINGTON - IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now
the executive director of the body set up to investigate the
terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 -- the 9/11
commission -- in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion
just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch
U.S. ally in the Middle East.
Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect
Israel appears at odds with the public position of President George
W. Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the
link between its war on the regime of former president Hussein and
its concern for Israel's security.
The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to
liberate the Iraqi people, destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) and to protect the United States.
Zelikow made his statements about "the unstated threat" during his
tenure on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the
President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which
reports directly to the president.
He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.
"Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?
I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been
since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel," Zelikow told a crowd
at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel
of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future
of the war on the al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
"And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the
Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you
frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on
it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell," said Zelikow.
The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked
to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so
far cost the lives of nearly 600 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis,
was motivated by Washington's desire to defend the Jewish state.
The administration, which is surrounded by staunch pro-Israel, neo-
conservative hawks, is currently fighting an extensive campaign to
ward off accusations that it derailed the "war on terrorism" it
launched after 9/11 by taking a detour to Iraq, which appears to have
posed no direct threat to the United States.
Israel is Washington's biggest ally in the Middle East, receiving
annual direct aid of three to four billion dollars.
Even though members of the 16-person PFIAB come from outside
government, they enjoy the confidence of the president and have
access to all information related to foreign intelligence that they
need to play their vital advisory role.
Known in intelligence circles as "Piffy-ab", the board is supposed to
evaluate the nation's intelligence agencies and probe any mistakes
The unpaid appointees on the board require a security clearance known
as "code word" that is higher than top secret.
The national security adviser to former President George H.W. Bush
(1989-93) Brent Scowcroft, currently chairs the board in its work
overseeing a number of intelligence bodies, including the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), the various military intelligence groups
and the Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office.
Neither Scowcroft nor Zelikow returned numerous phone calls and email
messages from IPS for this story.
Zelikow has long-established ties to the Bush administration.
Before his appointment to PFIAB in October 2001, he was part of the
current president's transition team in January 2001.
In that capacity, Zelikow drafted a memo for National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice on reorganizing and restructuring the National
Security Council (NSC) and prioritizing its work.
Richard A. Clarke, who was counter-terrorism coordinator for Bush's
predecessor President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) also worked for Bush
senior, and has recently accused the current administration of not
heeding his terrorism warnings, said Zelikow was among those he
briefed about the urgent threat from al-Qaeda in December 2000.
Rice herself had served in the NSC during the first Bush
administration, and subsequently teamed up with Zelikow on a 1995
book about the unification of Germany.
Zelikow had ties with another senior Bush administration official --
Robert Zoellick, the current trade representative. The two wrote
three books together, including one in 1998 on the United States and
the "Muslim Middle East".
Aside from his position at the 9/11 commission, Zelikow is now also
director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett
Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia.
His close ties to the administration prompted accusations of a
conflict of interest in 2002 from families of victims of the 9/11
attacks, who protested his appointment to the investigative body.
In his university speech, Zelikow, who strongly backed attacking the
Iraqi dictator, also explained the threat to Israel by arguing that
Baghdad was preparing in 1990-91 to spend huge amounts of "scarce
hard currency" to harness "communications against electromagnetic
pulse", a side-effect of a nuclear explosion that could sever radio,
electronic and electrical communications.
That was "a perfectly absurd expenditure unless you were going to
ride out a nuclear exchange -- they (Iraqi officials) were not
preparing to ride out a nuclear exchange with us. Those were
preparations to ride out a nuclear exchange with the Israelis",
according to Zelikow.
He also suggested that the danger of biological weapons falling into
the hands of the anti-Israeli Islamic Resistance Movement, known by
its Arabic acronym Hamas, would threaten Israel rather than the
United States, and that those weapons could have been developed to
the point where they could deter Washington from attacking Hamas.
"Play out those scenarios," he told his audience, "and I will tell
you, people have thought about that, but they are just not talking
very much about it".
"Don't look at the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but then ask
yourself the question, 'gee, is Iraq tied to Hamas and the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the people who are carrying out suicide
bombings in Israel'? Easy question to answer; the evidence is
To date, the possibility of the United States attacking Iraq to
protect Israel has been only timidly raised by some intellectuals and
writers, with few public acknowledgements from sources close to the
Analysts who reviewed Zelikow's statements said they are concrete
evidence of one factor in the rationale for going to war, which has
been hushed up.
"Those of us speaking about it sort of routinely referred to the
protection of Israel as a component," said Phyllis Bennis of the
Washington-based Institute of Policy Studies. "But this is a very
good piece of evidence of that."
Others say the administration should be blamed for not making known
to the public its true intentions and real motives for invading Iraq.
"They (the administration) made a decision to invade Iraq, and then
started to search for a policy to justify it. It was a decision in
search of a policy and because of the odd way they went about it,
people are trying to read something into it," said Nathan Brown,
professor of political science at George Washington University and an
expert on the Middle East.
But he downplayed the Israel link. "In terms of securing Israel, it
doesn't make sense to me because the Israelis are probably more
concerned about Iran than they were about Iraq in terms of the long-
term strategic threat," he said.
Still, Brown says Zelikow's words carried weight.
"Certainly his position would allow him to speak with a little bit
more expertise about the thinking of the Bush administration, but it
doesn't strike me that he is any more authoritative than Wolfowitz,
or Rice or Powell or anybody else. All of them were sort of fishing
about for justification for a decision that has already been made,"
Copyright © 2004 IPS-Inter Press Service
This was written a year ago, but it's worth rereading in light of the
recent admissions by the 9/11 commission that the Iraq war was waged
for Israel. It's still a taboo subject among the left.
Playing Ethnic Politics At Ground Zero
MARCH 2003 "Progressive Review" -- One of the reasons Rep. Jim Moran
thinks Jewish leaders are powerful is because the ones he sees are.
Jews outside of Washington - like gun-owners, doctors, and Chamber of
Commerce members outside of Washington - don't have a strong sense of
just how precisely their "community" is being defined daily by their
There is no doubt - if one considers the 'Jewish community' as the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee and various large Jewish
campaign contributors - that Rep. Moran was quite correct in saying
that they could have had a significant effect on the course of our
policy in the Middle East. For example, it took only three days for
them to have a significant effect on the course of Rep. Moran's
career, getting his cowardly colleagues to force him out of his House
leadership position. Earlier, they helped to have a similar effect on
Rep Cynthia McKinney, who went down to defeat thanks in part to an
influx of pro-Israel money. AIPAC, after all, is a lobby powerful
enough that at its most recent conference, one half of the Senate and
one-third of the House showed up.
The fact that the Washington leadership may not accurately reflect the
diversity of its national constituency is not uniquely a Jewish
problem; it is part of the displacement of democracy from the
consensus of the many to the will of a select few that is speeding
the decline of the Republic. And never have the selected been fewer
than under the present Bush.
In talking about the Jewish manifestation of this, politicians and
the media use two different approaches. One is the sanitized patois
of ethnic sensitivity as when the perpetually clichéd Eleanor Clift
wrote: "Moran apologized, but the historical echoes that he awakened
are so antithetical to what Democrats claim to stand for that he
might as well bid goodbye to his political career."
But in the same article in which he quotes Clift, Greg Pierce of the
Washington Times also writes, "One political analyst said he
counseled two Democratic presidential campaigns to call for Moran's
resignation. 'It would be a cheap way to reassure Jewish voters,' he
said. 'I don't understand why they haven't done it yet.'"
In other words, what is considered anti-Semitic when stated at a town
meeting, becomes in another context just your standard keen political
When you look at the facts rather than the Washington rhetoric, you
find that Moran was even more right than it appeared at first. A
study by Belief Net found that only the Southern Baptist Convention
and some Jewish groups supported the military approach and every
other listed major denomination opposed it. True, the Southern
Baptists were unequivocally in favor of war while the Jewish groups -
Orthodox Union, Union Of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform), and
United Synagogue Of Conservative Judaism - wanted to exhaust other
alternatives first, but every other religion Belief Net checked
opposed the war including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of
America, Episcopal Church, Greek Orthodox Church in America, Mormons -
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Presbyterian Church
(USA), Quakers - American Friends Service Committee, United Church of
Christ, United Methodist Church, United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops, Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Unitarian
Universalist Association. The Catholics weren't included but the Pope
took a clear stand against the war.
So why go to such efforts to deliberately conceal and prevaricate
concerning the role of key Jewish organizations in supporting the
Part of the answer can be found in none other than the hypocritically
outraged Washington Post, in an article written by its White House
correspondent, Dana Milbank, last November:
A group of U.S. political consultants has sent pro-Israel leaders a
memo urging them to keep quiet while the Bush administration pursues
a possible war with Iraq. The six-page memo was sent by the Israel
Project, a group funded by American Jewish organizations and
individual donors. Its authors said the main audience was American
Jewish leaders, but much of the memo's language is directed toward
Israelis. The memo reflects a concern that involvement by Israel in a
U.S.-Iraq confrontation could hurt Israel's standing in American
public opinion and undermine international support for a hard line
against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. . .
The Iraq memo was issued in the past few weeks and
labeled 'confidential property of the Israel Project,' which is led
by Democratic consultant Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi with help from
Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Republican pollsters Neil
Newhouse and Frank Luntz. Several of the consultants have advised
Israeli politicians, and the group aired a pro-Israel ad earlier this
year. 'If your goal is regime change, you must be much more careful
with your language because of the potential backlash,' said the memo,
titled 'Talking About Iraq.'
"It added: 'You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq
is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.' In
particular, the memo urged Israelis to pipe down about the
possibility of Israel responding to an Iraqi attack. 'Such certainty
may be Israeli policy, but asserting it publicly and so overtly will
not sit well with a majority of Americans because it suggests a pre-
determined outcome rather than a measured approach,' it said."
This is not the first time this strategy has been tried. For example,
in January 1991, David Rogers of the Wall Street Journal wrote:
When Congress debated going to war with Iraq, the pro-Israel lobby
stayed in the background - but not out of the fight. Leaders of the
American-Israel Public Affairs Committee now acknowledge it worked in
tandem with the Bush administration to win passage of a resolution
authorizing the president to commit U.S. troops to combat. The behind-
the-scenes campaign avoided AIPAC's customary high profile in the
Capitol and relied instead on activists-calling sometimes from Israel
itself-to contact lawmakers and build on public endorsements by major
Jewish organizations. "Yes, we were active." says AIPAC director
Thomas Dine. "These are the great issues of our time, If you sit on
the sidelines, you have no voice. . . "
The debate revealed a deep ambivalence among Jewish lawmakers over
what course to follow, pitting their generally liberal instincts
against their support of Israel. Friends and families were divided.
And even as some pro-Israel advocates urged a more aggressive stance,
there was concern that the lobby risked damaging Israel's longer term
interests if the issue became too identified with Jewish or pro-
. . . AIPAC took pains to disguise its role, and there was quiet
relief that the vote showed no solid Jewish bloc in favor of a war so
relevant to Israel. "It isn't such a bad idea that we were split,"
says one Jewish lawmaker. . .
Pro-Israel PACs have poured money into campaigns for Southern
Democrats not immediately identified with their cause. For example,
the Alabama delegation voted in a bloc with Mr. Bush in both the
House and Senate. At first glance, this can be ascribed to the
conservative, pro military character of the state. But pro-Israel
PACs have also cultivated Democrats there in recent years."
It is hard to imagine such a frank description of ethnic politics
today. Thus it is not surprising that few know that the
aforementioned Thomas Dines - then executive director of AIPAC and
now head of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty - is a member of the
advisory committee of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
The Post, which didn't mentioned Dines' involvement in plotting the
seizure of Iraq, described the new organization as "modeled on a
successful lobbying campaign to expand the NATO alliance."
In fact, the last time prior to the war itself that the Post even
mentioned AIPAC was back in August before the Iraq invasion plot took
full shape. So you had to look elsewhere to find out what the Jewish
leadership was up to. For example, the Jerusalem Post reported last
After weeks of debate and consideration, the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents 52 Jewish
national groups, announced its support for US military action against
Iraq "as a last resort." In a statement released Saturday, the
Conference of Presidents announced that all of its member
groups "support President [George W.] Bush and the Congress in their
efforts to gain unequivocal Iraqi compliance with the obligation to
divest itself of weapons of mass destruction and the means to develop
such weapons." The statement also endorsed the Bush
administration's "efforts to enlist the United Nations and
international cooperation to secure Iraqi compliance, including the
use of force as a last resort.
The chairman of the group, Mortimer Zuckerman went a bit further,
declaring that the failure to attack Iraq would "ruin American
credibility in the Muslim world."
Now let us imagine that the 52 Jewish organizations had instead
reached a consensus that invading Iraq was illegal, unwise,
unconstitutional, and an act of reckless endangerment against the
whole world. Would that have influenced American policy? Of course it
Here's what happened instead, as described by Nathan Guttmann of the
Israeli newspaper Haaretz:
An unusual visitor was invited to address the annual conference held
last week in Washington by AIPAC, the pro-Israeli lobby in the United
States: the head of the Washington office of the Iraqi National
Congress, Intifad Qanbar. The INC is one of the main opposition
groups outside Iraq, and its leaders consider themselves natural
candidates for leadership positions in the post-Saddam Hussein era.
Qanbar's invitation to the conference reflects a first attempt to
disclose the links between the American Jewish community and the
Iraqi opposition, after years in which the two sides have taken
pains to conceal them.
The considerations against openly disclosing the extent of
cooperation are obvious - revelation of overly close links with Jews
will not serve the interests of the organizations aspiring to lead
the Iraqi people. Currently, at the height of rivalry over future
leadership of the country among opposition groups abroad, the
domestic opposition and Iraqi citizens, it is most certainly
undesirable for the Jewish lobby to forge - or flaunt - especially
close links with any one of the groups, in a way that would cause
its alienation from the others.
"At the current stage, we don't want to be involved in this
argument," says a major activist in one of the larger Jewish
organizations. In the end, Intifad Qanbar did not attend the AIPAC
conference. . .
The Jewish groups maintain quiet contacts with nearly every Iraqi
opposition group, and in the past have even met with the most
prominent opposition leader, Ahmed Chalabi. The main objective was an
exchange of information, but there was also an attempt to persuade
the Iraqis of the need for good relations with Israel and with world
Jewry. . . .
Aside from the annual AIPAC conference, two other major events in the
United States last week underscored the gamut of opinions and
perspectives in the American Jewish community on the war. The
positioning of the AIPAC people behind the coalition forces and
behind those who sent them is not surprising. AIPAC is wont to
support whatever is good for Israel, and so long as Israel supports
the war, so too do the thousands of the AIPAC lobbyists who convened
in the American capital.
There is no such uniformity among the various religious Jewish
movements, and indecisiveness is still very much the case. In Los
Angeles, members of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly
gathered and tried to clarify their position on the . . . In the end,
the issue was submitted to an executive council, which issued a draft
resolution that offered support for the war, albeit with
reservations. . .
The dilemma is more pronounced among Reform Jews. They also convened
last week to formulate a joint position, and they too were careful
not to launch any strident criticism of the war itself. . . The only
decision relevant to the war was agreement on a prayer for the
welfare of the soldiers at the front, and recognition of the fact
that there are a variety of opinions on the war. The resolution that
was adopted is very far from constituting an expression of support of
any kind for the war, but is also far from constituting criticism of
The situation is simpler among the Orthodox. Immediately upon the
outbreak of the war, the Orthodox Union, the umbrella organization of
the community, released a statement that expressed unequivocal
support for President Bush and his decision to launch the war on
Iraq, which was described as having "noble aims."
Despite the ambivalence within the various religious segments of
Judaism, not to mention the split among Jews themselves, AIPAC
carried on its aggressive pro-war activity with impunity.
Of course they had some help, as Michael Lind pointed out in the New
Most neo-conservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the
left, not the right. They are products of the largely Jewish-American
Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti-
communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into a
kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in
American culture or political history. Their admiration for the
Israeli Likud party's tactics, including preventive warfare such
Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, is mixed with
odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for "democracy." They call their
revolutionary ideology "Wilsonianism" (after President Woodrow
Wilson), but it is really Trotsky's theory of the permanent
revolution mingled with the far-right Likud strain of Zionism.
Genuine American Wilsonians believe in self-determination for people
such as the Palestinians.
The neo-con defense intellectuals, as well as being in or around the
actual Pentagon, are at the center of a metaphorical "pentagon" of
the Israel lobby and the religious right, plus conservative think-
tanks, foundations and media empires. . .
The major link between the conservative think-tanks and the Israel
lobby is the Washington-based and Likud-supporting Jewish Institute
for National Security Affairs, which co-opts many non-Jewish defense
experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired
General Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied
Iraq. In October 2000, he co-signed a JINSA letter that
began: "We . . . believe that during the current upheavals in Israel,
the Israel Defense Forces have exercised remarkable restraint in the
face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of [the]
The Israel lobby itself is divided into Jewish and Christian wings.
[Pentagon officials Paul] Wolfowitz and [Douglas] Feith have close
ties to the Jewish-American Israel lobby. Wolfowitz, who has
relatives in Israel, has served as the Bush administration's liaison
to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Feith was given an
award by the Zionist Organisation of America, citing him as a "pro-
Israel activist". While out of power in the Clinton years, Feith
collaborating with Perle, co-authored for Likud a policy paper that
advised the Israeli government to end the Oslo peace process,
reoccupy the territories and crush Yasser Arafat's government.
Such experts are not typical of Jewish-Americans, who mostly voted
for Gore in 2000. The most fervent supporters of Likud in the
Republican electorate are southern Protestant fundamentalists. The
religious right believes that God gave all of Palestine to the Jews,
and fundamentalist congregations spend millions to subsidize Jewish
settlements in the occupied territories.
Then, of course, there is Israel itself which has been a huge
beneficiary of American aid only to have repeatedly thwarted the
better efforts of American presidents and other leaders - including
those in Israel - seeking a bit of rationality in the Middle East.
Much of this subversion of sanity has been masochistic; de facto,
right wing Israelis have been among the world's most effective anti-
In a recent Counterpunch article, Kathleen and Bill Christison offer
an explication of this phenomenon;
[Jeff Halper] is an Israeli anthropologist, until his retirement a
year ago a professor at Ben Gurion University, a transplant 30 years
ago from Minnesota, a harsh critic of Israel's occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza, and, as founder of the Israeli Committee Against House
Demolitions, one of the leading peace and anti-occupation activists
in Israel. . .
Zionism, he says, "is a very compelling narrative, but it is totally
self-contained, a bubble in which Israelis separate themselves from
all others." Israelis regard everyone else as irrelevant. When it is
suggested that fear motivates this self-absorption, Halper
disagrees. "It's not so much fear," he says; Israelis "just don't
give a damn. They make everyone else a non-issue. They see themselves
as the victim, and if you're the victim, you're not responsible for
anything you do."
Anything goes if you are the victim, he explains: you don't care
about the consequences of your actions for other people, you need not
take any responsibility for the effect of your policies on others,
you don't care about how others feel. Israelis always think they're
right, he says. They believe everything they do is right because the
Jewish nation is "right," because they are only responding to what
others do to them, only retaliating. "If you combine three elements:
the idea that we are right, with the notion that we're the victim,
and with our great military power," he says, you have a lethal
combination. . . . Israel can act with brutality, but the
responsibility, the fault, lies elsewhere.
To define good Jewishness - or conversely, anti-Semitism - by one's
reaction to the Sharon government makes no more sense than to define
good Americanism by one's reaction to Bush. Sharon not only
blasphemously mocks the lessons supposedly learned from the
Holocaust, his policies represent a huge departure from the
humanistic and progressive politics that long characterized American
Judaism. This tradition, born in European socialism and blended with
American populism, helped mightily to form the social democracy our
country increasingly enjoyed during the 20th century.
I, in fact, grew up almost believing that there were three branches of
Judiasm: Orthodox, Reform, and Liberal Democratic. And it often
seemed that the last was the most powerful. In fact, you couldn't be
an urban progressive of my age without becoming part Jewish.
But history doesn't stop, and just as greater America moved sharply
right after 1980s, so did this country's Jewish politics. It wasn't
alone. Feminism forgot lower class women, labor forgot its own
members, the biggest thing the Congressional Black Caucus did anymore
was an annual dinner, the environmental movement became embedded in
the Washington bureaucracy, and white liberals in general looked the
other way as our civil liberties disintegrated.
To sweep this problem under the bed, to fail to discuss the disaster
that pro-Israeli politics have become for fear of being called anti-
Semitic is both cowardly and dangerous. At a time when the Washington
Post is urging its readers to stock up on several days' food and buy
gas masks because of the possible consequences of the internationally
criminal policies it so vigorously supports, we no longer have time
or tolerance for such cynical games. If you want to die for your own
faith, fine, but you have no right to take the rest of the world with
The danger of the dishonest debate about the Middle East was well
described by Joan Didion in a recent New York Review of Books:
[We need to] demystify the question of why we have become unable to
discuss our relationship with the current government of Israel.
Whether the actions taken by that government constitute self-defense
or a particularly inclusive form of self-immolation remains an open
question. The question of course has a history.
This open question, and its history, are discussed rationally and with
considerable intellectual subtlety in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Where
the question is not discussed rationally, where in fact the question
is rarely discussed at all, since so few of us are willing to see our
evenings turn toxic, is in New York and Washington and in those
academic venues where the attitudes and apprehensions of New York and
Washington have taken hold. The president of Harvard recently warned
that criticisms of the current government of Israel could be
construed as 'anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.'
The very question of the US relationship with Israel, in other words,
has come to be seen as unraisable, potentially lethal, the
conversational equivalent of an unclaimed bag on a bus. We take
cover. We wait for the entire subject to be defused, safely insulated
behind baffles of invective and counter-invective. Many opinions are
expressed. Few are allowed to develop. Even fewer change."
We are entangled, in major part, in a religious war in which bin
Laden, Bush and Sharon comprise a triptych of theological terror that
is putting everyone at great risk. They are each involved in a
vicious heresy, falsely defining their own myopic, immoral, and
sadistic ambitions as their religion's moral faith. This is no time
for politeness, politics, or silence. And while Jews are far from
alone in needing to call their leadership back to sanity, neither are
Copyright: Progressive Review
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Demo against monarchy in Nepal; 205 injured
KATHMANDU, April 3: Thousands of anti-monarchy protesters threw
stones and torched cars on Saturday as they shut down Kathmandu in a
strike to denounce clashes outside the king's palace that left 205
Maoist rebels fighting to topple the monarchy offered moral support
to the estimated 25,000 demonstrators, who marched from across the
capital to a central square chanting slogans demanding a return to
The protesters, a few of them hauling bags full of stones, converged
on a park outside Narayanhiti Palace where some of them lobbed rocks
at a sea of police, who dispersed them with tear gas, witnesses said.
No injuries were reported, but at the same place the day before baton-
wielding police broke up the crowd when demonstrators tried to break
down a barbed-wire barricade.-AFP
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Two police chiefs shot dead in Iraq
BAGHDAD, April 3: Gunmen killed a police chief in Baghdad on
Saturday, the second to be shot dead in 24 hours and the latest in a
growing list of security officers killed by guerillas who target
anyone linked to Iraq's occupiers.
Police said the police chief of Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, was shot
after leaving his home in the capital. His car was riddled with
bullets. On Friday night, the police chief in Kufa, further south,
was shot dead along with a colleague.
Guerillas fighting the occupation have increasingly targeted members
of the US-trained fledgling Iraqi security forces. More Iraqi
security officials have been killed in the past year than American
The US-led authorities in Iraq have warned attacks are likely to
increase ahead of the planned transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis on
June 30. The US military says it has stepped up operations in
reaction to the latest uptick in violence.
Near Baquba, north of Baghdad, a bomb planted in a car by the
roadside exploded next to a passing US military patrol. One Iraqi was
injured in the blast. Witnesses said several US soldiers were wounded
but there was no US confirmation.
In Basra, protesters demanding jobs clashed with Iraqi police,
lobbing stones and smashing windows in the centre of the southern
port. Police said at least one officer was wounded.
Southern Iraq, controlled by a British-led force has been relatively
calm compared to the rest of the country. But a series of protests in
recent weeks have spilled over into violence. On Thursday, one
protester was killed in clashes with police.
ROCKET HITS HOUSE: In the capital, two men were wounded when a rocket
hit a Baghdad neighbourhood on Saturday morning. Parts of one home
were completely burned out after the explosion. There was a pool of
blood in the hallway, and smoke still rising from an armchair.
Angry residents looking on blamed the attack on the Americans, who
are increasingly blamed for everything in Iraq, as frustration grows
at the unabated violence more than a year since the occupation of the
That anti-Americanism was seen in its most extreme form on Wednesday,
when townspeople in Falluja mutilated the bodies of four American
contractors shot dead by guerrillas, burning and kicking their
corpses for hours.
Anyone seen as related to the occupiers has become a target for
guerillas. Police officers, local politicians, foreigners and Iraqis
working for international companies have been killed.
A senior military official said on Saturday that intelligence
officers were viewing footage of the gruesome acts to identify those
reponsible and talk to witnesses.
The US army has promised an overwhelming response, and says it would
be better for the town to hand over the guilty without a fight.
"We don't believe that those people represent the vast majority of
the people in Falluja, nor that Fallujah is a metaphor for Iraq," the
senior official said. "We are going to separate the enemy from the
people and we are going to destroy them."
In Baghdad, thousands of supporters of defiant Shia cleric Moqtada
Sadr marched through the streets of northeast Baghdad, in a show of
strength punctuated by anti-occupation rhetoric.-Reuters
Occupation soldiers kill protesters in Iraq
Sunday 04 April 2004, 15:30 Makka Time, 12:30 GMT
Al-Sadr's supporters promised massive rallies on
Spanish occupation soldiers have shot dead at least 20
Iraqi demonstrators and wounded more than 100 others
in protests supporting Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The toll is expected to rise, reported Aljazeera's
correspondent Muhammad al-Sharif on Sunday.
Some 15,000 of al-Sadr's supporters staged a peaceful
protest on Sunday heading towards the Spanish
headquarters in Najaf, reported al-Sharif.
Spanish troops and helicopters opened fire randomly at
the protesters, he added. But some witnesses said
demonstrators threw stones at military vehicles.
Occupation forces also fired at journalists at the
scene, including Aljazeera's crew, injuring al-Sharif.
Al-Sadr's office bureau has issued a statement calling
on supporters to end protests and declare jihad to
take up arms against occupation forces, reported
Iraqi police fired shots at pro-al-Sadr demonstrations
in central Baghdad, leaving at least two people
injured, reported Aljazeera correspondent Abd al-Adhem
Muhammad. Protesters were marching towards a police
headquarters in Saadun Street.
There have been daily protests for the past week over
the occupation's suspension of the al-Hawza newspaper,
a pro-al-Sadr publication which the US occupation
authorities said was inciting violence.
Mosques linked to al-Sadr had earlier called for a
general strike. Al-Sadr is a fierce opponent of the
occupation and US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
His support is mainly among impoverished Iraqis living
in al-Sadr city in Baghdad, formerly known as Saddam
US occupation authorities had feared the protests
could turn violent and announced they were shutting
the entrances to their sprawling headquarters, better
known as the Green Zone from 5am to 12pm.
"With the concurrence of Ambassador Bremer, travel
outside the Green Zone from 0500 - 1200 hrs on Sunday
4 April 04 will be prohibited due to large
demonstrations at ALL Green Zone check points," the
"These demonstrations have a very high probability of
Bearing out the occupation's worries, Shia mosques
around Baghdad called for al-Sadr's followers to turn
out in force on Sunday.
"Loyal people of Iraq, in protest of the detention of
religious clerics by the occupation forces, the
decision has been taken to general strike at all
government institutions and schools, so we call on you
to answer this call," the loudspeakers blared from
"Mahdi army members should immediately head to Mosque
Muhsin al-Hakim in Sadr City," in reference to
militiamen in support of al-Sadr.
Meanwhile, a bomb exploded outside a small mosque in
the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, early on Sunday,
destroying most of the building and wounding at least
one person, witnesses said.
A Reuters television cameraman at the scene said
al-Rasul al-Adham mosque, predominantly attended by
Shia Muslims, had collapsed from the force of the
explosion, which went off after morning prayers when
the building was mostly empty.
It is not the first time a mosque has been attacked in
In January, five people were killed and more than 30
wounded when a bomb exploded outside another
Shia-dominated mosque in the centre of Baquba as
Friday prayers were ending.
The town, which lies about 65km north of Baghdad, is
inhabited by Sunni and Shia Muslims and has seen
regular unrest over the past year, with fighters
opposing occupation, attacking US forces and Iraqi
US Marines killed
In related news, two US Marines were killed in
separate attacks west of Baghdad, the US military said
in a statement on Sunday.
The army said one Marine was killed in action on
Saturday and the other died on Sunday from wounds
received in a separate engagement on Saturday.
The military declined to give any further information
on the incidents, citing security reasons.
The area west of Baghdad, including the town of
Falluja, is a hotbed of anti-occupation activity.
Earlier this week, four US contractors driving through
the town were killed and their corpses burnt and
dragged through the streets by a crowd.
The same day, five US soldiers were killed in the same
area when a roadside bomb detonated under their
Troops prepare for Fallujah battle
COMBINED NEWS SERVICES
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- At the edge of this hostile city,
units of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force set up
checkpoints and camps this weekend in preparation for
an eventual fight.
The U.S. military activity outside the city yesterday
offered no sign that a strike on Fallujah is imminent.
But as they geared for an eventual battle, some
Marines said they were eager to avenge Wednesday's
killings of four American security guards.
"I've got a lot of hate inside me, but I try to put
that aside," said Sgt. Eric Nordwig, 29, of Riverside,
Calif. The time has come to "clean up the town," he
said Friday evening.
"Fallujah is a barrier on the highway to progress,"
said Col. J.C. Coleman, chief of staff to the 1st
Marine Expeditionary Force. "We're going to eliminate
that barrier without damaging the highway."
Many of Fallujah's estimated quarter-million people
warned of further bloodshed if the Marines return. In
an interview before Friday prayers, a senior Fallujah
cleric made no apologies for the attack on the four
Americans as they drove through the town Wednesday,
but condemned the subsequent mutilation of corpses and
dragging of the bodies through the streets.
"The killing is legitimate," said Khalid Ahmed Salih,
cleric at the Al-Badawi mosque. "But we do not accept
the mutilation of the bodies. Islam orders us not to
do that to a dog. No decent man will accept this."
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq a year ago, American
troops have killed dozens of civilians in Fallujah,
many in the course of firefights against guerrillas,
but many others in murkier circumstances that have led
people here to see the soldiers as unjust and brutal
occupiers. Tensions between U.S. forces and Fallujah
residents began even before the war's end. On April
28, when a crowd of protesters confronted troops,
shots broke out, and 13 people were killed amid heavy
In this city's traditional, tribal culture, revenge is
often seen as a tool of justice. "It is inevitable
that the sons of Fallujah will kill the Americans and
mutilate their corpses," said Fallujah resident Fadhil
Badrani. "Though mutilation is not allowed in Islam,
the grudge and malice in the hearts of the people led
them to do this because of the repeated American
U.S. officials have pressed Fallujah's clerics and
city officials to condemn the attacks and help catch
those who took part. An appeal to citizens for help in
the case has yielded a few tips, Marine officials
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a U.S. spokesman, said the
city could avoid a crackdown if it handed over the
attackers. "The question -- Is there going to be a
fight? -- is one you should ask the insurgents ... and
the mayor," he said.
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Ali Abunimah: Worse than you thought
"It's worse than you thought: pro-Israel influence on US policy"
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 15 March 2004
In the early weeks of the invasion of Iraq, when the US thrust toward
Baghdad appeared to be meeting more resistance than expected, an
awful row broke out in Washington over the role of pro-Israel groups
and individuals in dragging the country to war. Increasing media
examination of the roles of key neoconservative figures associated
with Likudnik groups gave rise to a backlash that sought to tar
anyone who dared raise questions with anti-Semitism.
Laurence Cohen, a columnist for the Hartford Courant, rejected
criticism of key Iraq hawks Richard Perle, Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz and others, claiming, "It took about four
seconds for this clustering to stir anti-Semitic rumblings to the
effect that these crafty, secretive Jews had come together in the
Rose Garden to chant special prayers that transformed George W.
US President George W. Bush (SD photo), Colin Powell and Donald
Rumsfeld into anti-Iraqi warriors, prepared to sacrifice American
lives in a subtle defense of Israel." (13 April 2003) Such claims
were echoed by many pro-Israeli figures, such as Rabbi Marvin Hier,
the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who claimed, "It has now
become en vogue to blame the war on Iraq on Jews." (Washington Post,
15 March 2003)
Ironically, the only times such vicious anti-Semitic caricatures
appeared in the US mainstream media were when commentators like Cohen
introduced them. The effect was to give the entirely false illusion
that such characterizations were rampant, and to seize on a few, rare
and misplaced comments about Jewish officials to silence a legitimate
debate about the role of pro-Israeli activists.
Now, a new firsthand account of life in the US Defense Department
shows just how pro-Israeli groups exerted their influence from within
the government. Karen Kwiatkowski retired as a lieutenant colonel in
the US Air Force after two decades of distinguished service. Her last
posting was at the Near East South Asia (NESA) directorate at the
In a lengthy article in the online journal Salon.com, Kwiatkowski
writes, "From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the
formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the
latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-
intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq."
The "seizure of the reins of US Middle East policy," Kwiatkowski
recounts, "was directly visible to many of us working in the Near
East South Asia Policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any
of us could do about it."
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith (left) and Deputy
Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern South Asian Affairs and
Special Plans William Luti brief reporters on policy and intelligence
during a Pentagon press conference on June 4, 2003. (DoD/Helene C.
All this happened under the watch of Bill Luti, the deputy secretary
of defense for NESA, and went up and down the chain of command.
Some of the specific incidents Kwiatkowski recalls are
illustrative: "Longtime office director Joe McMillan was reassigned
to the National Defense University. The director's job in the time of
transition was to help bring the newly appointed deputy assistant
secretary up to speed, ensure office continuity, act as a resource
relating to regional histories and policies ... Removing such a
critical continuity factor was not only unusual but also seemed like
Kwiatkowski said "the expertise on Mideast policy was not only being
removed, but was also being exchanged for that from various agenda-
bearing think tanks, including the Middle East Media Research
Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs." The main agenda of
all these organizations is advocating closer US-Israel ties. She saw
the "replacement of the civilian head of the Israel, Lebanon and
Syria desk office with a young political appointee from the
Washington Institute, David Schenker. Word was that the former
experienced civilian desk officer tended to be evenhanded toward the
policies of Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon of Israel, but there were
complaints and he was gone." As the personnel changed, so did the
atmosphere; Kwiatkowski recalls that a "career civil servant rather
unhappily advised me that if I wanted to be successful here, I'd
better remember not to say anything positive about the Palestinians."
Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. Central Command. (DoD photo)
In an official meeting at which Kwiatkowski was present, Luti openly
called Marine General, former Chief of Central Command, and Middle
East envoy Anthony Zinni, a "traitor" for having reservations about
the march to war, and open contempt and calls for Secretary of State
Colin Powell to resign were common. What she observed until her
voluntary early retirement was nothing less than a full-scale assault
on the intelligence and policymaking apparatus of the United States.
She witnessed intelligence and careful analysis being replaced with
propaganda, falsehoods and manipulation and fed to the Congress and
the Executive Office of the President. This "fear peddling" was,
Kwiatkowski writes, "designed to take Congress and the country into a
war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses."
What prompted Kwiatkowski to speak out is the "swiftness of the
neoconservatives casting of blame," for the failures in Iraq, "on the
intelligence community and away from themselves." She is indignant
that, "we are told by our president and neoconservative mouthpieces
that our sons and daughters, husbands and wives are in Iraq fighting
for freedom, for liberty, for justice and American values. This cost
is not borne by the children of Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld and
Cheney. Bush's daughters do not pay this price." Many Americans and
observers in the Middle East hope that if Bush is defeated in the
November election, it will lead to a reversal of course in US policy.
But realistically, a President John Kerry would not pressure Israel
any more than Bill Clinton did, and in the post-September 11, 2001,
environment, probably less. And Kerry, despite his misgivings about
the Iraq war, talks of staying until the "job is done."
But that doesn't mean there is no difference between Kerry and Bush.
Hussein Ibish, communications director of the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee explains that, "under President Kerry, the
neoconservative influence on US foreign policy would almost certainly
be greatly diminished for the simple reason that almost all the
prominent neoconservatives have aligned themselves with the
US policy would likely revert to what it was under Clinton, with some
adjustments for the post-September 11 environment. But in the current
circumstances, restoring the professional policymaking and
intelligence apparatus of the US would be a huge improvement. Above
all, it would neutralize the forces that are quietly still pushing
for a march from Baghdad to Damascus in a second Bush term.
Ali Abunimah is a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada. This article
first appeared in The Daily Star.
"The Enemy Within: The Neocon Hijacking of America"
Axis of Logic
Deep in the halls of Washington a putrid wind of sweeping ideology
festers, swirling like a hurricane from the Atlantic seaboard,
becoming a tornado in the frozen tundras of the Midwest, an
impenetrable and monstrous fire wall consuming vast tracts of open
expanse in the West and a sweltering drought drying up the nation s
future. This phenomenon has engendered itself onto an American
landscape that remains oblivious as to its dark and ominous designs
for the country and the world. The neo-conservative movement it is
called, an ideology fostered by a cabal of powerful and influential
members of the establishment that today sit at or near the top of the
White House, Pentagon, National Security Agency and State Department.
Like a virus that was given new life, the once dormant group, for
years denied the claws of power, suddenly awoke and spread through
all levels of the US government with the appointment of George W.
Bush in 2000. This cabal of Machiavelli and autocratic-style
believers of power is now deeply entrenched in the highest positions
of our government, determining policy and the direction our
government and by consequence our nation is headed in.
The names might sound familiar. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul
Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, James Woolsley, Lewis Libby,
Jeb Bush, Richard Perle, Frank Gafney, William Kristol, Elliot
Abrams, Robert Kagan and many, many others. Think tanks like the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Project for a New
American Century (PNAC) spew their ideology. Media such as Fox News
and periodicals such as the Weekly Standard rant their propaganda.
Like vultures waiting to feed off a dead carcass they surround the
president, hissing commands and suggestions as to how the country
will be run. This government behind the government is responsible for
our quagmire in Iraq; it is responsible for our unilateralist foreign
policy and our unyielding support for Ariel Sharon and the Israeli
right-wing Likud Party. The neocons are responsible for alienating
the world against us. Their agenda has usurped the interests and the
goals of the people, the expertise and suggestions of Pentagon
generals and analysts, the policy making ability of lifetime State
Department brokers, CIA, NSA, DIA and other intelligence agencies
findings and conclusions and the overall will of the world community.
The cabal has since 2000 taken all the steps necessary to
indoctrinate us to a new world order in their quest to impose a
global ideology that is forever altering the future course of world
September 11, 2001 will be the date history will remember in infamy
as the day the world s landscape changed. It was the day the
salivating neocons had been waiting for, gleefully licking their
chops at the coming feast they knew awaited. 9/11 was the Pearl
Harbor they needed in order to impose their twisted ideology of
empire building through perpetual pre-emptive warfare onto the world.
They now had a vulnerable and mourning population to begin molding.
An American public that feared like never before was all too easy to
manipulate. Seen on live TV by almost every American, from a plethora
of camera angles, from beginning to end, 9-11 became the call to
arms, the trumpet mobilizing both fear and patriotism onto a deeply
affected populace. The corporate media shoved the horrors of that day
down our throats for months on end through a constant bombardment of
psychologically sensitive images and messages that ingrained in our
minds the need to seek revenge through warfare. We had been attacked,
and we now had to blindly follow the policy makers down the ever-
widening road to Pax Americana.
An enemy was designated and the bombing of mud-brick-shacks and stone-
carrying-camels began. Ceaseless government and corporate media
propaganda made sure we believed the enemy was dying in large
numbers, that the Taliban and al Qaida were suffering and that we
were winning the "war on terror." In fact, only ordinary Afghanis
were suffering at the hands of the military industrial complex.
Leveling to the ground a country that was already living in the Stone
Age did not satisfy BushCo., however, and the neocon favorite bad guy
and one time ally, Saddam Hussein, was put in the crosshairs of the
war party machine.
Hussein and Iraq had been on the scope of the neocon tentacles since
the end of Gulf War I. They had unsuccessfully lobbied the Clinton
Administration for a direct invasion of the beleaguered nation and
with Bush they finally had a loyal puppet. With dilapidated, rusting
and obsolete Soviet weaponry along with years of UN weapons
inspections, combined with a decade of economic genocide that was UN
sanctions, Saddam posed no substantial military threat in the region,
much less to the US. Iraq was therefore an easy target of opportunity
from which to launch the neocon vision of imperial supremacy.
Seen as the easiest of wars to win, Iraq was conquered in short
order, thereby assuring the US of a central strategic base of
operations from which to control the Middle East and Central Asia.
Government-insider neocons assured that government policymakers
consented to the invasion both through pressure on intelligence
analysts to synthesize only that intelligence seen as beneficial to
the neocon strategy and through stovepiping intelligence directly to
the top, thereby bypassing stricter channels of scrutiny. In the
Pentagon, Douglas Feith s Office of Special Plans was put in charge
of cherry-picking and cooking questionable intelligence, later sexing
it up for the case against Iraq.
Distortions, manipulation and propaganda was used in concert with the
corporate media to inculcate into the American conscious the lies
given as pretexts to invade Iraq. WMD s, freedom, imminent threat,
nuclear capabilities, spawning democracy; all were excuses justifying
the war, all were lies. But a drone-like citizenry absorbed it all
and remained inert automatons of ignorance while the neocon onslaught
was unleashed. An unjust war based on fear commenced. Fear was and
still is the neocon s greatest weapon, and its use continues to
assure allegiance from the masses that, even to their great
detriment, remain willing supporters of the neoconartist policies.
With the notion of empire comes the idea of resource control as a way
to maintain US hegemony, and in Iraq the neocons, the military
industrial complex and the American oil/energy cartel, all being
heavily infiltrated inside the Bush Administration and throughout the
corridors of government, saw the second largest oil reserves in the
world. Control of these vital fields of black gold also meant control
of world petroleum supplies, itself a form of economic control over
the markets of the world. One needs look no further than Saudi Arabia
and OPEC to see the power oil yields on the world stage. The US now
has the ability to feed itself all the oil it wants and the ability
to affect oil prices and output through its direct manipulation and
control of any Iraqi puppet government. Iraqi oil can now feed the
neocon/corporate oligarch war machine and subsidize its quest for
In the case of Afghanistan, Bush s oil friends and the US government
have for years dreamed of a pipeline that will run from the vast new
oil fields in the Caspian Sea region through Afghanistan and into US-
friendly Pakistan. Under almost-exclusive American control, these
pipelines will yield substantial amounts of oil and gas. This
geostrategic venture is designed to circumvent pipelines being built
that traverse from Caspian Sea nations into Russia, China and non-
ally Iran. These pipelines, if allowed to function out of the Central
Asian oil fields, would become rivals to the US planned oil/gas
extraction pipes running through Afghanistan. Without an American
pipeline running through the backward nation, the US would be forced
to pay higher prices for oil or gas from these rival or non-friendly
nations and would also have no control over distribution supplies. It
was imperative that a US pipeline be built.
For US continued economic dominance, therefore, it was essential to
create a US-friendly Afghanistan that would allow for the flow of oil
and gas to run through its territory. In the year leading up to 9/11,
both the Administration and oil industry had been in negotiations
with the Taliban for such an investment. As such, the US appointed
puppet, Hamid Karzai, was once a top advisor for Unocal, helping
arrange an accord with the Taliban for building an American oil
consortium pipeline (CentGas) through Afghanistan. When the Taliban
balked at the negotiating table they were threatened with an already
planned invasion of the country. Luckily for BushCo, 9/11 emerged,
making it the perfect launching pad from which to initiate the neocon
and oilgarchy s desired assaults on nations whose oil and strategic
placements were needed for the their master plan of world domination.
Today, an oil/gas pipeline is quickly being built in Afghanistan by
an American oil consortium.
A central tenet of the neocon dream of a Pax Americana was control of
centrally-located Iraq where the US would eventually construct three
to four permanent military bases, a process that is becoming a
reality today. These bases will enable US hegemony throughout the
region, including control of the now US-friendly Central Asian
nations eager for American energy conglomerate investment. With Iraq
s oil reserves safely in American hands, US military strength can
now, like a hawk overlooking its territory, keep an ever-watchful eye
on the Eurasian regions of most interest to the neocon agenda.
The idea of a democratized Middle East, an important though illusory
doctrine of the neocon ideology, was to begin with Iraq, which would
act as a catalyst to the eventual domino effect expected throughout
the region. That the idea of democracy in Iraq and the Arab world is
but a hollow fallacy is of little importance to the neocon goals.
Real democracy will never be allowed to prosper by Bush due to the
threat of theological or fundamentalist elected mandates picked by
the majority of the people. With the exponentially growing levels of
anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli feelings running uncontrolled
throughout the Muslim world, democracy will at the most mean the
installation of cronies and puppets friendly to both the US and
Israel under the guise of democracy. This plan assures American and
Israeli control of the Middle East, forcing Arab nations to accept
Israel s hegemony over the region. In reality, the mirage of
democracy in the Middle East is but a propaganda tool being used to
manipulate the population in the US into remaining passive believers
of an otherwise surreptitious assault on world sovereignty.
A central objective of the neocon agenda is increasing the power of
Israel. Indeed, many of the so-called neocons have deep-seated
connections, interests and relationships with the right-wing Likud
party and with other Israeli fringe groups. Many are die-hard
Zionists, true believers in Israeli hegemony over the Middle East, if
not the world. From their government offices they direct US foreign
policy in favor and in direction of Israel, supporting the Sharon
government and assuring that US and Israeli interests are placed
above that of the rest of the world. The attack on Iraq was in no
small measure a war to defend Israel s interests, thereby helping it
increase its power over the Middle East. A large part of the neocon
vision for the Middle East is for the benefit of the Jewish state, to
assure for its survival and expansion, if not territorially, then
economically. This fact must not be forgotten: the neocons oftentimes
place the interests of Israel and Likud ahead of those of the US. The
rogue government is in many ways making us subservient to Israel s
Likud party run by Ariel Sharon.
Though not publicly discussed, the neocon/Likud vision for Israel may
potentially include the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians into Syria
or Jordan, thereby assuring Zionists of an Arab free Israel with
sovereignty over the lands of "Judea and Samaria" that many Jews
believe have been biblically promised them. With this diaspora of
peoples might come a geopolitical shifting of borders and the
creation of new nation states that would be less powerful and easier
to control. Iraq, for example, might one day be split into three
separate nations; one for Kurds, one for Shi a and one for the Sunni.
Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria might also be reshuffled to suit
American and Israeli interests.
The next targets for the neocons, now being slowly inculcated into
our consciousness, are Syria and Iran. These two nations would most
likely be invaded in Bush s second term, thus increasing US and
Israeli dominance over the Middle East. Under the guise of "fighting
terrorism" in the continued "war on terror," both nations would be
targeted and attacked after a massive propaganda campaign designed to
incriminate both governments in the eyes of the masses. Once invaded,
they will be installed with puppet regimes or monarchs friendly to
both the US and Israel. The next stage in the imperial plan would
thus be complete.
Empire building, neocon style, entails the art of subverting all
threats, perceived and real, present and future, that might rise to
challenge US dominance. Among the future threats the neocon
Machiavellis foresee in their magical fortune-telling crystal ball
are those presented by China, Russia and the European Union. Inherent
in the neocon daydream is the desire to undermine Eurasian economic
development that combines the three powerful political entities
mentioned above. The danger and very real worry concerning the cabal
of crazies is that under their control no nation will be allowed to
compete militarily, politically or economically with the United
States. It means pre-emptive action against challenges and threats to
US hegemony through military might and economic warfare. Even the
sacred zenith that is space has been designated a new frontier for
warfare. In the neocon world, only one power will be allowed to stand
among the fraternity of nations, and that is the US. There can be no
rivals, no close second. If a nation challenges, it will be dealt
What we are witnessing is the creation by a group of autocrats an
oligarchs of an unstable world order where the US will in essence
have control of those nations and regions rich in natural resources
that will be desperately needed for the continued growth of the
economic engine and the corporate Leviathan that runs this country.
With world resources such as oil and water being depleted more every
year through our insatiable demand, the modernizing of China, India,
Indonesia and Latin America and the continued increase in the world s
population, dominant countries such as China and regions such as the
European Union will increasingly compete with us for a share or
indeed the entire pie of the unsustainable quantity of resources. To
the neocons, this must not be allowed to come to fruition.
The nation-state, with its invisible borders and self-serving
interests, will force upon us a most ominous future. Given the
destructive power of today s weapons, the technology at a country s
disposal and the widening perversion and corruption of a nation s
leaders through the demons inherent in capitalism, we find ourselves
immersed in one of the most dangerous times in world history. We have
entered a new mutated form of Cold war: the Greed War. The neocon
unilateralist approach is widening our differences with the world,
provoking an escalating arms race and a sprint to establish strategic
base locations, a military presence and puppet regimes in those areas
of the world that are increasingly seen as vital for the continued
growth and prosperity of a country.
Such is the case today with the Central Asian nations enveloping or
near the Caspian Sea region. If not yet familiar with this region,
you should. It is the next Middle East, but more volatile due to both
the proximity and economic viability of Russia and China bordering it
on the periphery. Its estimated oil reserves are right behind those
of the Persian Gulf states and thus of extreme vital importance to
today s dominant players. Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia are all becoming part
of the grand game of geopolitical chess being played out by the US,
Russia, China and to a lesser extent the European Union. To the
victor go the spoils, and with oil becoming a dwindling yet
indispensable commodity, the tug of war between powers will only
Today, the US already has strategic bases in several Central Asian
countries. Leaders, including the ruthless Uzbekistan dictator, are
being supported by the Bush Administration. Russia refuses to
relinquish its old relationships with the former Soviet states, and
has itself established a military presence in the area. With China s
rapid economic growth and development and with an immense population
that will demand more and more oil the further it modernizes, it is a
safe bet that its interests are well represented in the region as
well. European energy conglomerates are also deeply entrenched in the
area. All of which leads to the conclusion that one day soon there
will be a major conflagration between nations turned rivals. This,
folks, is the future the neocons want to impose on us all.
The example of Central Asia is but the most widely recognized but by
no means the only one. Wars for unsustainable resources and for
economic, monetary and military supremacy will be fought by our sons
and daughters, thanks to our chickenhawk leaders who sit idly and
apathetically as the future of those whose caste has forced upon them
the destiny of fighting for the interests of the elite is forever
vanquished. In wars to come, our zeal to kill will torch us all.
Weapons evolve rapidly, becoming more sophisticated and lethal in
quick spurts of time as technology advances. Unfortunately, humans do
not. Our animal passions remain, taking tens of thousands of years to
evolve, and while history s previous wars produced deaths mostly
among those actively engaged in battle thanks to the primitiveness of
our weaponry, that is no longer the case. Fiery storms of untamed
energy can now obliterate the world many times over. The neocon
future makes us all dead men walking.
The new Rome, the new Caesars, the new legions and Praetorian guard,
America s future under the neocons will resemble a fascist state run
by a corporate oligarch that subverts democracy in favor of military
control over our nation. Their actions abroad will give rise to more
attacks at home, which will give them the excuse and reason to
instill martial law, erasing both the Constitution and our freedoms
while imposing terror and destruction onto the world. Hundreds of
billions of dollars will be diverted away from education, healthcare
and other important social services towards the military industrial
complex and the perpetual war for empire. Our sons and daughters will
be conscripted through the re-introduction of the draft to defend
corporate America s vital interests throughout the world. Dangerously
spreading ourselves like a gluttonous army of locusts gorging on all
that is blooming, oppressing and exploiting both people and land,
karmic hatred will one day return. Proctors will assure allegiance,
armies will police the world. The neofascist dream will make easily
expendable ants of us all.
The hijacking of America that began in November 2000 and continued on
9/11 has brought to the forefront of our government a cabal of
miscreants, greedmongers, charlatans and fascists that is leading us
down into the abominable vortex of self-destruction. We are
ignorantly keeping in power an enemy lying in our wake that is
commandeering US policy and leading us towards global war and
revamped feudalism. Their ideologies are delusional in their grandeur
and out of touch with a reality that escapes their arrogant and
oligarchical minds. They are zealots, ideologues who see the world
through distorted, clouded eyes, without sympathy or understanding
for their fellow man, living a frivolous fantasy of deranged self-
importance. Years of detachment have made them ignorant to the plight
and reality of billions. The danger inherent in the close-knit rogue
network is apparent in its actions and policies. Its sinister schemes
that we are acquiescing to due to our indifference will come back to
haunt us. The terror we help release on the world will boomerang back
to our shores. Through our passivity our fate is being sealed. Our
cherished freedoms and liberties are slowly evaporating into a mist
of nothingness. The blueprint for the end to the American way of life
is slowly and meticulously being executed by the enemy within.
Therefore, at home is where the war on terror must begin.
Manuel Valenzuela is an attorney, consultant, freelance writer and
author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel that will be published in
2004. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and can be reached at
"The Israel Lobby and the Left"
Jewish power has, in fact, been trumpeted by a number
of Jewish writers, including one, J.J. Goldberg, editor of
the Jewish weekly Forward, who wrote a book by that
name in 1996. Any attempt however, to explore the issue
from a critical standpoint inevitably leads to accusations
of anti-Semitism, as Bill and Kathy Christison pointed out
in their article on the role of right-wing Jewish neo-cons
in orchestrating US Middle East policy, in CounterPunch
"Anyone who has the temerity to suggest any Israeli
instigation of, or even involvement in, Bush administration
war planning is inevitably labeled somewhere along the
way as an anti-Semite. Just whisper the word 'domination'
anywhere in the vicinity of the word 'Israel', as in 'U.S.-Israeli
domination of the Middle East' or 'the U.S. drive to assure
global domination and guarantee security for Israel", and
some Leftist who otherwise opposes going to war against
Iraq will trot out charges of promoting the Protocols of the
Elders of Zion, the old czarist forgery that asserted a Jewish
plan for world domination."
This is hardly the first time that Jews have been
in the upper echelons of power, as Benjamin Ginsberg
points out in The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State,
but there has never been a situation anywhere like
the present. This is how Ginsberg began his book:
"Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable
influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and
political life. Jews played a central role in American finance
during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries
of that decade's corporate mergers and reorganizations.
Today, though barely 2 % of the nation's population is
Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief
executive officers of the three major television networks
and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners
of the nation's largest newspaper chain and the most
influential single newspaper, the New York Times."
That was written in 1993. Today, ten years later,
ardently pro-Israel American Jews are in positions
of unprecedented influence within the United States
and have assumed or been given decision making positions
over virtually every segment of our culture and body politic.
This is no secret conspiracy. Regular readers of The New
York Times business section, which reports the comings
and goings of the media tycoons, are certainly aware of it.
Is each and every tycoon a pro-Israel zealot? Not necessarily,
but when one compares the US media with its European
counterparts in their respective coverage of the Israel-
Palestine conflict, the extreme bias in favor of Israel on
the part of the US media is immediately apparent.
A better explanation was provided by Stephen Green,
whose Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with
Militant Israel was the first examination of State Department
archives concerning US-Israel relations. Since the
Eisenhower administration, wrote Green, in 1984,
"Israel, and friends of Israel in America, have
determined the broad outlines of US policy in
the region. It has been left to American Presidents
to implement that policy, with varying degrees of
enthusiasm, and to deal with the tactical issues."
An exaggeration, perhaps, but former US Senator
James Abourezk (D-South Dakota) echoed Green's
words in a speech before the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimation Committee last June:
"That is the state of American politics today.
The Israeli lobby has put together so much
money power that we are daily witnessing
US senators and representatives bowing down
low to Israel and its US lobby. Make no mistake.
The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators'
love for Israel. They have everything do to with the
money that is fed into their campaigns by members
of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that at least $6
billion flows from the American Treasury to Israel each
year. That money, plus the political support the US
gives Israel at the United Nations, is what allows
Israel to conduct criminal operations in Palestine
That is a reality that has been expressed many
times in many forms by ex-members of Congress,
usually speaking off the record.
"The Israel Lobby and the Left"
The Politics of Anti-Semitism
Edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
CounterPunch and AK Press, 2003, pp. 101-106
Short Cuts: Zionists Pressure Harvard
Recently, at Harvard University where I am based, a Jewish student,
using an assumed (gentile) name, began posting anti-semitic
statements on the weblog of the Harvard Initiative for Peace and
Justice, an anti-war, pro-Palestinian group on campus. The student,
it turned out, is the secretary of Harvard Students for Israel -
which dissociated itself from the incident - and had previously
accused the HIPJ of being too tolerant of anti-semitism. He now went
undercover as part of a self-appointed effort to monitor anti-
semitism on campus. In one posting, for example, he referred to
Israel as the 'AshkeNAZI state'. Incidents of this kind, which are
becoming commonplace on American campuses, reflect a wider
determination to monitor, report, defame and punish those
individuals and institutions within academia whose views the right
finds objectionable. The campaign is directed at area studies
generally but the most virulent attacks are reserved for those of us
in Middle Eastern studies whose ideas are considered anti-Israel,
anti-semitic or anti-American.
The relationship between Israel's hardline supporters and the 'Arab
professoriat', as we have been called, has been tense for a long
time. After 11September, the right accused Middle East academics in
particular of extremist scholarship and intellectual treason.
Defending Civilisation: How Our Universities Are Failing America and
What Can Be Done about It, a report published in November 2001 by the
American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a non-profit organisation
founded by Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice-president, and Senator
Joseph Lieberman, effectively accused the academy of being
unpatriotic and anti-American, a fifth column providing intellectual
support for global terrorism. In evidence it cited over a hundred
statements by academics (and others) calling for a more critical
examination of the causes of the events of 11 September and the role
US foreign policy may have played.
Another indictment of Middle East studies appeared in Martin Kramer's
Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in
America, published in October 2001 by the pro-Israel Washington
Institute for Near East Policy. Kramer, who teaches Arab history and
politics at Tel Aviv University, claims that Middle East studies in
the US are dominated - indeed, crippled - by pro-Arab and anti-
American sentiment. The academy, he believes, failed to anticipate
and may even have concealed the growing Islamist threat that
resulted in the attack on the World Trade Center. Middle East
studies, he claims, have devoted too much attention to historical and
cultural subjects that are of no use to the state and its national
security imperatives, and may even harm them.
What is needed, he says, is a new approach to the study of the Middle
East that has at its core 'the idea that the United States plays an
essentially beneficent role in the world'.
There is no let-up. September 2002 saw the establishment of Campus
Watch, a website whose primary purpose is to monitor Middle Eastern
studies faculty in departments across the US for signs of anti-
American and anti-Israel bias. Campus Watch is the invention of
Daniel Pipes, a colleague of Kramer's, and director of the Middle
East Forum, a think-tank devoted to promoting American interests in
the Middle East.
'I want Noam Chomsky to be taught at universities about as much as I
want Hitler's writing or Stalin's writing,' Pipes said to an
interviewer. 'These are wild and extremist ideas that I believe have
no place in a university.' Not only does Campus Watch monitor
universities for signs of 'sedition', i.e. views on US foreign
policy, Islam, Israeli policy and Palestinian rights that Pipes
considers unacceptable; it encourages students to inform on
professors whose ideas they find offensive. Recently, Bush appointed
Pipes to the board of directors of the US Institute of Peace, 'an
independent, non-partisan federal institution created by Congress to
promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of
Given that the political climate here is in good part determined by
an alliance of right-wing supporters of Israel and members of the
neo-conservative establishment, it isn't surprising that the attack
on area studies may soon be enshrined in law. On 21 October last
year, the House of Representatives passed the International Studies
in Higher Education Act, HR 3077. The bill is part of the Higher
Education Act reauthorisation known as Title VI, which dates back to
1959 and mandates federal funding of international studies and
foreign languages. Title VI renews international education and
language-training programmes and has made several important
improvements, but it also contains provisions that would impinge on
curricula, faculty hiring and course materials in institutions that
accept federal funding.
A key figure behind HR 3077 is Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at
the Hoover Institution and an associate of Kramer and Pipes.
Testifying before the House on 19 June 2003, Kurtz accused scholars
of the Middle East and other areas of abusing Title VI support with
their 'extreme and one-sided criticisms of American foreign policy'.
He believes that the basic premise of post-colonial theory is
that 'it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign
languages and cultures at the service of American power' and cites
Edward Said's work in this area as the most pernicious. Kurtz's
testimony was accepted by Congress without debate and many of his
recommendations for 'repairing' the damage were adopted by the House.
Potentially the most onerous of these recommendations is the
establishment of an international higher education advisory board to
ensure that government-funded programmes 'reflect diverse
perspectives and the full range of views on world regions, foreign
languages and international affairs'. The board would have seven
members: three appointed by the secretary of education, of whom
two will 'represent federal agencies that have national security
responsibilities'; two appointed by the speaker of the House of
Representatives; and two by the president pro tempore of the Senate.
One of the board's functions will be to recommend ways 'to improve
programmes . . . to better reflect the national needs related to
The board's recommendations will not be subject to review or approval
by any officer of the federal government, including the secretary of
education. And, although the bill states that the board is not
authorised to 'mandate, direct or control an institution of higher
education's specific instructional content, curriculum or programme
of instruction', it is authorised 'to study, monitor, apprise and
evaluate' a sample of activities supported under Title VI. Which
amounts to the same thing: unprecedented federally mandated intrusion
into the content and conduct of university-based area studies
There is a great deal at stake for American higher education and
academic freedom. If HR 3077 becomes law - the Senate will review the
bill next - it will create a board that monitors how closely
universities reflect government policy. Since the legislation assumes
that any flaw lies 'with the experts, not the policy', the government
could be given the power to introduce politically sympathetic voices
into the academic mainstream and to reshape the boundaries of
academic inquiry. Institutional resistance would presumably be
punished by the withdrawal of funds, which would be extremely
damaging to Middle East centres especially.
HR 3077 contains other provisions that are equally outrageous. For
example, it requires Title VI institutions to provide government
recruiters with access to students and student recruiting
information. The bill even directs the secretary of education and the
advisory board to study - i.e. spy on - communities of US citizens
who speak a foreign language, 'particularly such communities that
include speakers of languages that are critical to the national
security of the United States'.
What all this boils down to is an attempt to silence criticism of US
policy, and put an end to disagreement with the neo-conservative
agenda. It is not diversity that is being sought but conformity.
Sara Roy is a senior research scholar at Harvard's Center for Middle
Eastern Studies and the author of several works on the Palestinian-
London Review of Book, Vol. 26 No. 7 dated 1 April 2004
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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U.N. cites police for being too forceful at rally
Oakland police accused of violence against activists
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER
Here's a distinction Oakland didn't need: A United
Nations report lists police firing of wooden plugs and
shot-filled beanbags at antiwar demonstrators last
April alongside the world's worst cases of government
defamation and violence against activists in 2003.
In her 166-page report, Hina Jilani, a Pakistani human
rights lawyer and investigator for the Geneva-based
U.N. Commission on Human Rights, suggests that Oakland
police used excessive force on protesters at the Port
That puts Oakland's finest in the company of the New
York Police Department -- which charged into
protesters with horses, batons and pepper spray in
February 2003 -- and also Gambia, where security
forces used batons, tear gas, rubber and lead bullets
to quell student unrest in 2000. In Egypt and
Pakistan, other protests against the war in Iraq led
to arrests and alleged torture.
U.N. human rights officials have written up the United
States for child prostitution and pornography,
criminal executions, poor treatment of migrant workers
and violence against women.
But the 2004 report is the first in at least five
years to add the United States to a list of such
repressive regimes as Indonesia, Burundi, China and
others that routinely kill, torture, imprison or spy
on human-rights activists.
Most of those nations responded to "letters of
allegation" from U.N. officials. The U.S. State
Department did not.
"Since we're a foreign policy organization, typically
we don't comment on domestic policy issues unless they
have a foreignpolicy dimension," said State Department
spokesman Lou Fintor.
Later in the spring, the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security reimbursed Oakland by more than $424,000 for
police overtime in protecting critical infrastructure
such as the Port of Oakland during the early weeks of
the war in Iraq.
"While the U.N. is sending out letters, the Department
of Homeland Security is patting them on the back with
$400,000," said David Solnit, a Bay Area organizer for
Direct Action to Stop the War.
Police handling of protests in Oakland and New York
were brought to the attention of the United Nations in
an American Civil Liberties Union report on post-Sept.
11 government repression.
Jilani, a Pakistani human-rights lawyer appointed in
2000 as special representative to the U.N. Secretary
General on the situation of human rights defenders,
made contact with the protesters and their attorneys
"It indicates the outrageous actions of Oakland Police
Department don't comport with international standards
for how to treat people who are expressing their
political viewpoint," said Rachel Lederman, staff
attorney for the National Lawyers Guild in San
Francisco and co-counsel for 48 protesters pursuing a
civil rights lawsuit against the city.
Oakland Police Chief Richard Word could not be reached
Friday for comment. But he has announced that city
police no longer will fire wooden dowels as a means of
Lederman said the city should prohibit indiscriminate
use of such "less than lethal" munitions on crowds.
"These kinds of weapons are in violation of
international standards generally," she said.
Jilani's report says at least two protesters in
Oakland were seriously injured, one of them requiring
surgery and later a skin graft. Attorneys for the
demonstrators say at least 50 people were injured,
more than a dozen seriously enough to seek medical
attention at local hospitals.
One of them, Erik Shaw, served as protesters' liaison
to law enforcement agencies. In the weeks after the
April 7 protest, Shaw said, he was photographed by
apparently undercover law officers on several
searching the flatbed truck that Shaw arrived in, Shaw
told U.N. investigators. They left when challenged for
a search warrant, according to the report.
Antiwar activists will return to the port Wednesday
for another march, said Direct Action's Solnit.
"We're going to make sure we still have a right to
protest," he said.
Contact Ian Hoffman at ihoffman@...
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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U.S. Military Moves in S. Korea Assailed
Pyongyang, April 2 (KCNA) -- The U.S. plan to deploy
an Aegis destroyer in the East Sea of Korea can not be
construed otherwise than a military step prompted by
its strategy to mount a preemptive nuclear attack on
the DPRK, says Minju Joson today. The news analyst
The U.S. seeks to justify the deployment of the
destroyer in the waters off the Korean peninsula with
the ridiculous pretext of "missile threat from the
north" but this is a vain attempt.
The U.S. is waiting for a chance to invade the DPRK
after deploying various latest military hardware and
equipment in south Korea and its surroundings while
betraying its intention to stifle the DPRK with
strength. This reality proves that the only way for
averting a war and defending peace on the Korean
peninsula is to reinforce the nuclear deterrent in
The army and people of the DPRK will closely watch
with high vigilance the U.S. imperialists' strategy of
preemptive nuclear strike for aggression and take
self-defensive measures to cope with it.
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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PAKISTANI SCHOLAR'S HOME IN OTTAWA RAIDED BY RCMP
SON ARRESTED WITHOUT CHARGE:
Could be Attempt to Silence Outspoken Critic
Dr. Mahboob Khawaja is a pre-eminent Pakistani scholar who has
numerous publications and who writes off and on for New Trend. Early
on March 30, 2004 his home in Orleans, near Ottawa, Canada by raided
by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP]. The raid was carried out
like a military attack as if terrorists were being targeted. The
Canadian force burst into the peaceful home, wrecked the peace of the
family and behaved in a way which showed the savagery of Canadian
racism. Dr. Khawaja was not there but his son, Momin was arrested.
The police refused to divulge any charges against Momin and would not
tell Canadian newsmen why the raid was carried out. A CBC journalist
contacted New Trend and informed us of the tragic raid on a peaceful
home. A day after the raid, it's still not clear why this shameful
act was carried out against a family which has never broken the law.
One can only speculate that Dr. Khawaja's criticism of U.S. foreign
policy and his strong words against the vicious Musharref regime in
Pakistan may be behind this outrage. The Canadian government seems to
be trying blindly to please the U.S. government.
[The raid was first reported in the Canadian media as below, without
POSTED AT 8:11 AM EST Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2004
Mounties arrest man during raids in Ottawa
By MARY NERSESSIAN
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
One man has been arrested after heavily armed officers from the
RCMP's anti-terrorism unit executed two search warrants in the Ottawa
"The RCMP executed search warrants in Ottawa in relation to an
ongoing criminal investigation," RCMP Corporal Natalie Deschenes said
The RCMP would not confirm the age or name of the man who had been
Cpl. Deschenes would say only that the arrest was connected to a
search warrant. "As this is an ongoing criminal investigation it
would be inappropriate to comment further," she said.
One of the raids was conducted at a home in Orleans, just outside
The owner is listed as Mahboob Khawaja, author of the book Muslims
and the West: Quest for Change and Resolution, which was published in
2000 and looks at Islamic fundamentalism, global conflicts and the
Western world's understanding of Islam.
Dr. Khawaja has also written several essays disapproving of U.S.
foreign policy and the war on terrorism and commenting on "corrupt
Arab leadership" and "American-Zionist political encroachment in the
He was once listed as policy adviser and a member of the
international affairs, politics and religions faculty at Syracuse
University in New York.
There was no answer at the home last night.
Neighbours said the owner lives in the house with his wife and four
adult children and that he is a university professor who works
They also said that two people, believed to be the owner's children,
were led out of the house. Cpl. Deschenes said they were not
detained, that they were only asked to leave during the search.
"He's a really nice guy, really easy to talk to and friendly," said
neighbour Veronica Thorogood, who said she hasn't seen the homeowner
in about a month.
The RCMP said the search warrants were obtained, after review by an
Ontario Court judge, under Criminal Code procedures intended
to "enable police to collect evidence in an ongoing criminal
CBC-TV reported that the searches involved agencies from other
It was confirmed that the RCMP had worked with the Ottawa Police
Service during the raids, but it was not clear whether the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service was involved.
The main objective of CSIS as the federal government's adviser on
matters of national security "is to investigate and report on threats
to the security of Canada, an objective that it pursues while
respecting the law and protecting human rights."
"I can say we work closely with the RCMP on a number of issues and I
did hear of something happening this afternoon, but it's all RCMP,"
CSIS spokeswoman Nicole Currier said.
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Suspected terrorists blow themselves up in Spain
MADRID, April 4: Three suspects in the Madrid railway bombings blew
themselves up as police prepared to storm their apartment, setting
off a powerful explosion that killed one special forces agent and
wounded 15 police officers, the interior minister said.
Saturday's news further shocked Spaniards, still traumatized by the
March 11 bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800.
An unexploded bomb found on Friday by a high-speed rail track added
to the country's uneasiness.
The blast in Leganes, a southwestern suburb of Madrid, blew out part
of the exterior walls on the first two floors of the brick apartment
building. After the blast, floodlights lit up the wreckage in the
exposed rooms of the building. Pieces of concrete littered the floor
and wires dangled from the ceilings.
Television footage showed smoke billowing into the dark sky behind
buildings in a built-up area, and a handful of people fleeing down
the street. In addition to the three suspected terrorists, one
special forces agent was killed and 15 police officers were wounded,
Interior Minister Angel Acebes said. The injured officers were taken
to hospitals, including Severo Ochoa Hospital in Leganes, where three
of them were listed in serious condition.
The interior ministry said the police began approaching the building
around 7pm (1700 GMT) to make the arrests when the suspects spotted
them from a window and began shooting, chanting loudly in Arabic. No
police officers were hurt by the gunfire.
"The special police agents prepared to storm the building and when
they started to execute the plan, the terrorists set off a powerful
explosion blowing themselves up," Acebes said. Police had evacuated
residents from the area, and low-flying helicopters used searchlights
to scan the buildings.
The minister said a preliminary investigation indicated that three
suspected terrorists had died, but he added the number had yet to be
confirmed because of the damage to the bodies. He added that police
believe those killed may have helped carry out the March 11 train
The news agency Europa Press reported that forensic police and fire
fighters were searching the building's swimming pool for a possible
fourth body. This could not be confirmed independently. "There are
three that could have blown themselves up, but the possibility of
more is not ruled out," Mr Acebes said at his news conference.
"Police believe some of the terrorists that could have died in the
explosion, could have been some sought by the security forces as the
alleged perpetrators of the killings of March 11," the minister
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