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Boycotting Israel: It's Time!

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  • World View
    Bush administration agrees to extend by three-year loan guarantees for Israel given to Israel in 2003 US EXTENDS CREDIT LINE TO ISRAEL Y-Net News 8/20/06
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2006
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      Bush administration agrees to extend by three-year loan guarantees for
      Israel given to Israel in 2003


      US EXTENDS CREDIT LINE TO ISRAEL
      Y-Net News
      8/20/06
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3293331,00.html


      The Bush administration has agreed to an Israel demand that a loan
      guarantee deal be extended by an additional three years, until 2011.

      The Congress needs to approve the move.

      Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson said the administration's conceding
      to Israel's request underscores Washington's faith in Israeli economy.

      In 2003, the United States approved a USD 9 billion aid package to
      Israel in the form of loan guarantees which allow Israel to borrow
      money on the international market for low interest rates.

      Israel has used less than half of the fund leaving USD 4.6 billion in
      available cash.

      Finance Minister Director General Yossi Bachar discussed the extension
      of the loan period with US Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmit.

      Hirchson praised the Administration for expressing faith in Israel's
      economy.

      Bachar will leave for New York on Wednesday where he will present to
      officials and investors the Israeli government's fiscal plans after
      the war in the north.

      ===

      The Case for Boycotting Israel: Boycott Now!
      By VIRGINIA TILLEY
      August 5 / 6, 2006
      http://www.counterpunch.org/


      Johannesburg, South Africa.

      It is finally time. After years of internal arguments, confusion, and
      dithering, the time has come for a full-fledged international boycott
      of Israel. Good cause for a boycott has, of course, been in place for
      decades, as a raft of initiatives already attests. But Israel's war
      crimes are now so shocking, its extremism so clear, the suffering so
      great, the UN so helpless, and the international community's need to
      contain Israel's behavior so urgent and compelling, that the time for
      global action has matured. A coordinated movement of divestment,
      sanctions, and boycotts against Israel must convene to contain not
      only Israel's aggressive acts and crimes against humanitarian law but
      also, as in South Africa, its founding racist logics that inspired and
      still drive the entire Palestinian problem.

      ===

      Palestinian death toll reaches 202 as 'Operation Summer Rains' extends
      into its tenth week

      Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN)
      24 August 2006

      OPT: The Gaza Strip Situation Report 07-24 Aug 2006

      Palestinian death toll reaches 202 as 'Operation Summer
      Rains' extends into its tenth week

      The nearly two-month long Israeli military operation in
      the Gaza Strip continues to exact a heavy toll on the 1.4
      million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Two hundred
      and two (202) Palestinians, including 44 children have
      been killed since 28 June, when 'Operation Summer Rains'
      (the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) name for the offensive)
      began. One IDF soldier has been killed and 26 Israelis
      injured in the same period.

      Thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee their
      homes due to repeated ground incursions and intensive
      shelling by the IDF. Since 28 June, the Israel Air Force
      (IAF) launched at least 267 air strikes attacks on the
      Gaza Strip. Only a limited amount of humanitarian aid has
      reached the Gaza Strip in the last ten days following the
      complete closure of main Karni crossing point. However,
      according to WFP, all food commodities are available in
      the market although there is a shortage of milk powder due
      to the closure of the crossings.

      Approximately 120 Palestinian structures including houses,
      workshops and greenhouses have been destroyed and another
      160 damaged by the Israeli military since the beginning of
      the current operation. According to UNDP, electricity
      networks and bridges have been the hardest hit. UNDP
      estimates the cost to the electricity networks at US$ 1.8
      million. Destruction of civilian infrastructure, including
      the Gaza Power Plant, remains un-repaired, leaving more
      than a million people with only limited access to power
      and water.

      The increasingly unpredictable and volatile atmosphere in
      which the UN and other humanitarian agencies are now
      operating in the Gaza Strip was illustrated by the
      kidnapping of two international journalists ten days ago
      by a previously unknown group of Palestinian militants.

      The IDF operation was launched three days after
      Palestinian militants attacked an IDF observation post at
      Kerem Shalom and captured one IDF soldier. Violence had
      been on the increase prior to this attack. Two IDF
      soldiers and two Palestinian militants were also killed in
      the attack and four other IDF soldiers injured. Israel has
      stated that it would continue its operations until its
      soldier is released and Palestinian militants cease firing
      rockets towards Israel.

      Key developments since the last Situation Report on 7
      August [1]:

      Eighteen (18) Palestinians were killed, two of them
      children, and 87 injured since 8 August. One IDF solider
      has been injured in the same period.

      No humanitarian aid has passed through Karni crossing
      since 15 August which has been closed for security reasons
      according to the IDF. On 23 August, Sufa crossing opened
      as an alternative entry point for humanitarian aid and
      food supplies.

      No Palestinians were allowed to leave the Gaza Strip
      either into Israel or across to the West Bank; only a
      limited amount of commercial goods have left the Gaza
      Strip and the import of construction materials vital to
      the rebuilding of infrastructure continued to be denied.

      Two international journalists were kidnapped in Gaza city
      on 14 August. A previously unknown militant group calling
      itself the "Holy Jihad Brigades" claimed responsibility
      and set a deadline of 26 August for the release of Muslim
      prisoners in the USA in exchange for their captives.
      Government workers have gone on strike in protest at the
      nonpayment of PA salaries. Gaza school teachers are also
      threatening not to turn up for the new school year which
      begins on 2 September.

      Developments in detail

      Military operations

      The number of incursions declined during the reporting
      period, although IDF artillery shelling into open areas of
      the Gaza Strip and IAF air strikes on houses belonging to
      alleged militants has continued. The IDF has continued the
      practice of warning families by telephone to evacuate
      their residence prior to an air strike. This practice
      continues to result in the repeated evacuation of entire
      neighbourhoods forcing Palestinian residents to abandon
      their property and personal belongings in panic; in some
      cases, strikes never take place. The number of artillery
      shells fired by the IDF decreased in the last few weeks.
      Since 9 August, a total of approximately 185 artillery
      shells have been fired compared to an average of 200-250
      per day in previous periods. Since 28 June, Palestinian
      militants have fired on average six homemade rockets per
      day into Israel, injuring 11 Israelis. However, the number
      of homemade rockets fired has also decreased in the last
      few weeks.

      Between 22 - 23 August, the IDF entered the eastern
      section of Gaza City near Karni crossing and the area of
      Khuzaa conducting house-to-house searches. Search and
      arrest operations were also recorded in the areas of Nahal
      Oz (23 August) and Beit Hanoun industrial area (16-17
      August).

      IDF incursions with tanks and bulldozers took place also
      in Al Yahuddiya (18 and 21 August), As Shoka (15 August)
      and Abu Al Ajeen area (14 August) resulting in land
      levelling and the demolition of 10 buildings.

      Crossing points and humanitarian access

      Erez crossing remains partially open to diplomats and
      medical cases with permits. No Palestinian workers have
      been allowed through since 12 March. Attacks on IDF
      observation posts at Erez took place on 15 and 18 August.

      Karni crossing, the principal goods terminal, has remained
      closed since 15 August for all consignments, including
      humanitarian aid. UNRWA has reported today that the
      shortages of food, fuel and construction supplies are
      jeopardising every element of their operations in the Gaza
      Strip. UNRWA has 123 empty containers waiting to leave
      Gaza; 13 full containers have been cleared in Ashdod port
      but are unable to enter the Gaza Strip due to the closure.
      UNRWA reports "it requires urgently 2,000 tonnes of cement
      for upgrading and reconstruction of critical
      infrastructure (health centres and schools)". The
      Municipality of Gaza requires urgently 30 truckloads of
      pipes to improve the sewage system.

      Rafah remains closed for regular movement but was open on
      10, 11 and 19 August for limited movement. According to EU
      BAM, over 6,600 people crossed into Egypt and 310 people
      entered the Gaza Strip on these three days.

      Sufa opened on 23 August for the import of humanitarian
      aid and food supplies. PalTrade reports that 56 trucks
      loaded with 649 tonnes of different food commodities
      crossed between 3am and 7:30pm on 23 August. Sufa remained
      open on 24 August.

      The fishing industry has been paralysed by the complete
      ban imposed by the IDF on fishing grounds off the Gaza
      Strip for over 50 days. On 14 August, the General
      Syndicate of Marine Fishers requested the assistance of
      the international community to support the needs of the
      fishermen and their families - there are almost 3,000
      licensed fishermen in the Gaza Strip, most support
      sizeable families. Assistance was requested specifically
      in view of the new school year to cover the extra expense
      for clothes, stationary and other school-related needs.

      Electricity

      No developments have been reported for the urgent repairs
      needed to the Gaza Power Plant. Currently, the remaining
      electricity available from Israel (approximately 57% of
      daily supply) is being shared among the 1.4 million people
      of the Gaza Strip. Gazans receive on average between six
      and eight hours of electricity per day and for most
      families living in urban areas two to three hours of water
      per day.

      Water and sanitation

      Intervention and coordination for the urgent issue of the
      Beit Lahiya Waste Water Treatment Plant were discussed in
      a technical meeting held on 23 August between the IDF,
      OCHA and the Palestinian staff responsible for the plant.
      The plant needs urgent repair to prevent the overflow of
      sewage onto neighbouring towns.

      The new Japanese-funded employment generation programme
      for solid waste management implemented by UNDP will create
      approximately 200,000 workdays over a period of 6 months.

      UNDP has committed US$ 80,000 to procure spare parts for
      the Coast Municipal Water Utility (CMWU) which reports a
      general shortage in spare parts due to the closure of
      Karni.

      ICRC has procured 14 generators of different sizes with 12
      to be used in the water and wastewater sector based on
      needs assessed by the CMWU.

      UNRWA is in the fourth round of dispensing fuel for solid
      waste disposal across the Gaza Strip.

      Fuel The Nahal Oz energy pipelines remained partially open
      for imports of fuel, except for August 9 when it was
      closed for a full day.

      Health

      Data provided by UNRWA shows an upward trend in the number
      of children consultations for diarrhea, a reflection of a
      possible decline in water quality and food safety. This
      problem is particularly acute in Northern Gaza and Rafah
      districts where a 200% increase, from March to June 2006,
      has been registered - well above the seasonal variation
      increase of 40%.

      The number of permits requested by patients for referral
      to Israel remains low as a result of the new criteria for
      passage introduced by the IDF after 25 June. Only patients
      in very critical conditions are considered eligible.
      Cancer patients have started to obtain permits since the
      last week of July.

      Food

      Merchants have resumed selling goods on credit to
      employees who have paid part of their debts.

      According to the latest WFP market update, the price of
      vegetables is likely to rise again due to increased
      irrigation costs (use of generators to compensate power
      cuts), the loss of loans, land levelling during IDF
      incursions and the inflated price of imported fertilizers
      and other agricultural utilities. The Ministry of Social
      Affairs (MoSA) is in the process of distributing the
      July/August allocation of food aid to the 80,181 persons
      falling under the WFP Social Hardship Cases programme. The
      Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is preparing to register
      "new poor" beneficiaries for the second phase of
      distributions.

      Shelter and land

      Forty-seven (47) families (340 persons), including more
      than 100 children, remain temporarily sheltered in a UNRWA
      school in Rafah after fleeing IDF shelling in the southern
      area of As Shoka and Al Tanour Quarters. UNRWA is
      supporting these people with food and water while UNICEF
      has provided baby hygiene kits and ten indoor recreational
      kits. At the peak of the incursion, nearly 3,000 people
      were being assisted. Most have been helped to move into
      more suitable accommodation following a relocation
      allowance offered by UNRWA. On 9 August, UNRWA closed the
      three temporary shelters in Jabalia used to shelter
      families who fled their houses in Beit Hanoun and Beit
      Lahiya as a result of IDF shelling.

      According to the Mayor of As Shoka, the IDF incursion into
      the area levelled most of the agricultural land,
      demolished all the greenhouses and destroyed water and
      electricity networks. In the fields that were not damaged,
      crops have been lost as Palestinians have not been able to
      work the land. Fifteen per cent of all agricultural land
      in the Gaza Strip was in the As Shoka area. In response to
      a request from Beit Hanoun Municipality, three UNDP
      engineers have been seconded for a period of three months
      to assist in the assessment of needs and in the
      preparation of projects.

      Coordination

      Since 25 June, UN agencies, the ICRC and humanitarian NGOs
      have held regular coordination meetings. During the
      reporting OCHA facilitated on 10 August the visit of the
      deputy Foreign Minister of Norway to the Karni terminal,
      the Gaza power plant as well as members of the UN
      community in Gaza for a briefing on the humanitarian
      situation.

      Footnotes

      [1] This is the tenth Situation Report issued by OCHA
      since June 2006. The previous reports were published on
      21, 27, 30 of June, 4, 6, 12, 18 of 27 July and 7 August.

      ===

      Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Press Release
      30 August 2006


      Impending Health and Environmental Disaster Threatens Gaza City due
      to Uncollected Garbage in the Streets

      PCHR calls upon the staff and workers of the Gaza Municipality to
      take into account the formation of emergency committees to prevent an
      environmental disaster by the accumulation of uncollected garbage from
      public streets and neighborhoods.

      PCHR is extremely concerned over the accumulation of garbage and
      waste in the public streets of Gaza City and its neighborhoods, as a
      result of a strike by Gaza Municipality workers for not receiving
      their salaries since March 2006. The strike has halted all services
      offered by the municipality, including garbage collection. The piles
      of garbage are threatening to cause an environmental disaster risking
      the lives of civilians. PCHR acknowledges that the right to strike is
      guaranteed by the law. Nonetheless, the Centre calls upon the
      municipality staff and workers to save the city from an impending
      environmental and health disaster.

      It is noted that the 1800 staff and workers of the Gaza Municipality,
      with the exception of 60 staff members in the drinking water and
      sewage disposal unit, began a partial strike at 12:00 on Wednesday,
      23 August 2006, to demand the payment of their salaries that have not
      been paid since March 2006. The partial strike continued the next day
      from 11:00-12:30. And on Saturday, 26 August 2006, the staff and
      workers began a complete strike, and held a demonstration in front of
      the Municipality garage. The complete strike has continued till the
      publication of this statement. Throughout the strike the workers
      organized rallies and marches in the streets and opposite the
      Palestinian Legislative Council building and Offices of the President
      and Prime Minister.

      On Thursday, 24 August 2006, PCHR's fieldworkers noticed large piles
      of garbage and waste in and around garbage cans and boxes in streets
      throughout Gaza City, in markets, and near key institutions such as
      hospitals, schools, and governmental buildings. In addition, there
      was considerable presence of flies and rodents around these places,
      especially at night. In addition, bad smells issued from these
      piles.

      PCHR considers the right to strike as a right guaranteed by
      Palestinian law and International Human Rights Law. However, it is
      unacceptable for striking workers to use public property and the
      municipality assets to achieve their goals, including municipality
      vehicles or other assets. The Centre calls upon:

      - The union of municipality workers to assess the health and
      environmental effects of stopping basic services in Gaza City,
      especially in the field of public sanitation. The Centre calls upon
      the union to establish emergency teams to prevent any health risks
      that could threaten the health and safety of civilians;

      - The staff and workers of the municipality to assess the
      health and environmental risks caused by the spread of garbage in
      streets on the health and lives of civilians. The Centre calls upon
      them to immediately collect garbage and waste to avert an impending
      environmental disaster;

      - The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to meet the
      demands of the municipality workers by negotiating directly with
      their representatives to reach a solution that guarantees the payment
      of their salaries for the last few months. The Centre calls for a
      solution that ensures a dignified living standard, especially in
      light of the deteriorating living conditions in the Occupied
      Palestinian Territory, especially the Gaza Strip.

      - The Ministry of Local Government to seriously assess the
      status of municipalities in the Gaza Strip, especially those which
      are not elected, so as for these municipalities to be run be elected
      councils; and

      - The local community to contribute towards solving this
      problem by paying any unpaid fees to municipalities, to enable them
      to pay the salaries of their staff regularly.

      ===

      THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE ZIONIST STATE OF ISRAEL?
      Alan Hart
      International Institute of Strategic Studies, New Civilisation debate
      Thursday, August 10, 2006
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/message/779


      I'm going to suggest to you that what we might now be witnessing is
      the long beginning of the end of the Zionist state of Israel. In the
      next 10 minutes or so I will talk my way to an explanation of why I
      think so; and then I'll address the question of what the most likely
      consequences would be. I can see two ­ One State of Palestine for All
      and real, lasting peace, or Catastrophe for All… and by "All" I don't
      just mean Israeli Jews and the Arabs of the region, I mean all of us,
      everywhere.

      I thought I would be the first to give voice in public to the idea
      that Israel might be planting in Lebanon the final seeds of its own
      destruction, but while I was working on my text for this evening, I
      came across an interview given by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was
      President Carter's National Security Adviser. He said: "Eventually, if
      neo-con policies continue to be pursued, the United States will be
      expelled from the region and that will be the beginning of the end for
      Israel as well."

      As Israel's bombardment of Lebanon unfolded, a great deal of nonsense
      was written and spoken by pundits and policymakers throughout the
      mainly Gentile Judeo-Christian world about why it was happening. The
      main thrust of the nonsense was that Hizbullah started the war and
      that Israel was merely defending itself. I think the truth about
      Hizbullah's role in triggering the war can be summarised as follows ­
      bearing in mind that the border incident of 12 July was one of many
      since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, and which more
      often than not, according to UN monitors, were provoked by Israeli
      actions and/or Israeli violations of agreements. By engaging an IDF
      border patrol, killing three Israeli soldiers and taking two hostages,
      and firing a few rockets to create a diversion for that operation,
      Hizbullah gave Israel's generals and those politicians who
      rubber-stamp their demands the PRETEXT they wanted and needed to go to
      war ­ a war they had planned for months
      .
      I was reminded of what was said to me on the second of the six days of
      the 1967 war when I was a very young ITN correspondent reporting from
      Israel. One of my sources was Major General Chaim Herzog. He was one
      of the founding fathers of Israel's Directorate of Military
      Intelligence. On the second day of that war he said to me in private
      conversation: "If Nasser had not been stupid enough to give us a
      PRETEXT for war now, we would have created one in the coming year to
      18 months."

      Hizbullah's purpose in taking Israeli prisoners/hostages was to have
      them as bargaining chips - to secure the return of Lebanese prisoners
      Israel had refused to release in a previous prisoner exchange. As
      former President Carter implied in an article for The Washington Post
      on I August, it was not unreasonable for Hizbullah to assume that an
      exchange would be possible because "the assumption was based on a
      number of such trades in the past."But on 12 July 2006 the government
      of Israel was not interested in trades. It did not give a single
      moment to diplomacy or negotiations of any kind. It did not even
      consider a local retaliation to make a point. Israel rushed to war.

      As Defence Minister Amir Peretz put it: "We're skipping the stage of
      threats and going straight to the action."On the subject of
      Hizbullah's rockets, (which are hit-and-miss low tech weapons when
      compared with Israel's state of the art firepower), it is right to ask
      ­ Why, really, were they there? What, really, explains Hizbullah's
      stock-piling and its bunkering down? The honest answer, which has its
      context in the whole history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and
      Zionism's demonstrated designs on Southern Lebanon in particular, is
      this: Hizbullah was strengthening itself militarily for the same
      reason as Eygpt did when President Nasser, with great reluctance after
      America had refused to supply him, accepted weapons from the Soviet
      Union. Nasser did NOT upgrade Eygpt's military capabilities to make
      war on Israel. He wanted to be able to demonstrate to Israel that
      attacking Eygpt to impose Zionism's will on it was not a cost-free
      option. In other words, Hizbullah had been improving its military
      capability to deter Israeli incursions and attacks, which was
      something the Lebanese army was incapable of doing. Am I suggesting
      that Hizbullah would NOT have let loose its rockets if Israel had not
      gone for the war option? YES! The notion that, on 12 July 2006,
      Hizbullah was joined in conspiracy with Iran and Syria to wipe Israel
      off the face of the earth is nothing but Zionist and neo-con
      propaganda nonsense ­ to justify Israel's latest war of aggression and
      also, perhaps, to justify, in advance of it happening, war on Iran.
      It's true that the rhetoric of Iran's President gave and gives a
      degree of apparent credibility to Zionist and neo-con spin ­ but only
      to those who are unaware of, or don't want to know, the difference
      between the facts and documented truth of the real history of the
      Arab-Israeli conflict (as in my book) and Zionism's version of it.

      To those who really want to understand why the Zionist state of Israel
      behaves in the way it does, and is (as described in a recent article
      courageously carried by The Independent) "a terrorist state like no
      other", I say not only read my book, but give special attention to
      page 485 of Volume One. On it I quote what was said behind closed
      doors in May 1955 by Moshe Dayan, Israel's one-eyed warlord and master
      of deception. He was in conversation with Israel's ambassadors to
      Washington, London and Paris. At the time the Eisenhower
      administration was pressing Israel to abandon its policy of reprisal
      attacks.

      Eisenhower was aware that Nasser did not want war with Israel, and
      that he would, when he could, make an accommodation with it.
      Eisenhower also knew that Israel's reprisal attacks were making it
      impossible for Nasser to prepare the ground on his side for peace with
      Israel.

      In conversation with Israel's three most important ambassadors to the
      West, Dayan explained why he was totally opposed - whatever the
      pressure from the West - to the idea that Israel should abandon its
      policy of reprisal attacks. They were, he said, "a life drug." What he
      meant, he also explained, was that reprisal attacks enabled the
      Israeli government "to maintain a high degree of tension in the
      country and the army." What, really, did that mean?Israel's standing
      or full-time army was (as it still is and must be) relatively small,
      not more than about 23,000 souls in all. The other quarter of a
      million fighting men and women who could be mobilised in 48 hours were
      reservists from every walk of Israel's civil society. The real point?
      Without Israeli reprisal attacks and all that they implied ­ that the
      Zionist state was in constant danger of being annihilated - there was
      a possibility that some and perhaps many reservists would not be
      motivated enough to respond to Zionism's calls to arms.Put another
      way, what Dayan really feared was the TRUTH. He knew, as all of
      Israel's leaders knew, that Israel's existence was NOT in danger from
      any combination of Arab forces. And that was the truth which had to be
      kept from the Jews of Israel. Dayan's fear was that if they became
      aware of it, they might insist on peace on terms the Arab regimes
      could accept but which were not acceptable to Zionism. Among those
      present when Dayan explained the need for Israeli reprisal attacks as
      a "life drug" was the Foreign Ministry's Gideon Rafael. He reported
      what Dayan told the ambassadors to Prime Minister Moshe Sharret ­ in
      my view, and with the arguable exception of Yitzhak Rabin, the only
      completely rational prime minister Israel has ever had. And we know
      from Sharret's diaries what Rafael then said to him: "This is how
      fascism began in Italy and Germany!"

      Ladies and gentlemen, I think future historians may say that was how
      fascism began in the Zionist state of Israel.

      In June 1967 Israel's prime minister of the time, the much maligned
      Levi Eshkol, The idea of Israel as a fully functioning democracy is a
      seriously flawed one. It's true that Israeli Jews are free to speak
      their minds (in a way that most Jews of the world are frightened to
      do), and to that extent it can be said that Israel has the appearance
      of a vibrant democracy... But in reality, and especially since the
      countdown to the 1967 war, it's Israel's generals who call most of the
      policy shots, even when one of them is not prime minister. did NOT
      want to take his country to war. It, war, was imposed upon him by the
      generals, led by Dayan. As I explain in Volume Two of my book, what
      really happened in Israel in the final countdown to that war was
      something very close to a military coup in all but name.

      And that's where we are today ­ the generals effectively calling the
      shots in Israel, to the applause of the neo-cons.Why, really, did
      Israel's generals want to make war on Lebanon? There was obviously
      much more to it than the collective punishment of a whole people as
      part and parcel of a stated objective ­ the destruction of Hizbullah
      as a Moslem David which could hit and hurt the Zionist Goliath.I think
      there were two main reasons.The first was that Israel's generals
      believed they should and could restore the "deterrent power" of the
      IDF (Israel's war machine). They believed, correctly, that it had been
      seriously damaged by Hizbullah's success in not only confronting the
      IDF following Sharon's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, but eventually
      forcing it to withdraw, effectively defeated and humiliated… I think
      it is more than reasonable to presume that for most if not all of the
      past six years, Israel's generals were itching to make war on Lebanon
      to repair that damage ­ to restore the IDF's deterrent power. Put
      another way, it was time, Israel's generals believed, to give the
      Arabs (all Arabs, not just Hizbullah) another lesson in who the master
      was.

      The second main reason for the insistence of Israel's generals on 12
      July this year that war was the only option…? I think it's also more
      than reasonable to presume that they saw the opportunity to ethnically
      cleanse Lebanon up to the Litani River, with a view, eventually, to
      occupying and then annexing the ethnically cleansed territory. For
      Zionism this would be the fulfilment of the vision of modern Israel's
      founding father, David Ben-Gurion - a Zionist state within "natural"
      borders, those borders being the Jordan River in the East and the
      Litani River of Lebanon in the north. Israel gained control of the
      Jordan River border in its 1967 war of expansion, but prior to its
      rush to war on 12 July, all of its attempts to establish the Litani
      border had failed. Since 1982 because of Hizbullah's ability to cause
      the occupying IDF forces more casualties than Israeli public opinion
      was prepared to tolerate.According to those currently calling the
      policy shots - Israel's generals and politicians, the neo-cons in and
      around the Bush administration and their associate in Downing Street -
      the name of the game is creating a "new Middle East". It IS happening.
      A new Middle East is being created.

      But what kind of new Middle East will it actually be? In my analysis
      it will be one in which the Zionist state of Israel, having rejected a
      number of opportunities to make peace with the Palestinians and all
      the Arab states, will become increasingly vulnerable and, at a point,
      actually for the first time ever in its shortish history, could face
      the possibility of defeat.In my view the seeds of that possible defeat
      have just been sewn in Lebanon. The fact is that Israel's latest
      military adventure has been totally counter-productive in that has
      caused Hizbullah to be admired by the angry and humiliated masses of
      the Arab and wider Moslem world. That being so, would it really be
      surprising if, in growing numbers, Arabs and Moslems everywhere begin
      to entertain ­ if they are not already entertaining ­ something like
      the following thought: "If 3,000 Hizbullah guerrillas can stand up to
      mighty Israel for weeks and give it a seriously bloody nose, what
      would happen if we all joined the fight?" (Do I hear the sound of
      pro-Western Arab regimes being toppled? Yes, I think so). I imagine
      that even the thought of Israel being defeated one day will bring joy
      to very many Arabs and other Moslems. But there ought to be no place
      for joy because there's no mystery about what would happen in the
      event of Israel actually being on the brink of defeat. I want to quote
      to you now from one of my Panorama interviews with Golda Meir. (It can
      be found, this quote, on the second page Volume One of my book, in the
      Prologue which is titled Waiting for the Apocalypse).

      At a point I interrupted her to say: "Prime Minister I want to be sure
      I understand what you're saying… You are saying that if ever Israel
      was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be
      prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it?" Without
      the shortest of pauses for reflection, Golda replied: "Yes, that's
      exactly what I'm saying." In those days Panorama went on-air at 8
      o'clock on Monday evenings. Shortly after the transmission of that
      interview The Times had a new lead editorial. It quoted what Golda had
      said to me and added its view that "We had better believe her."

      How, actually, would the Zionist state of Israel take at least the
      region down with it? It would arm its nuclear missiles, target Arab
      capitals, then fire the missiles. Such an End-Game to the Arab-Israeli
      conflict, if it happened, and which I would describe as a
      self-fulfilled Zionist prophesy of doom, would probably take many
      years to play out. But the countdown to such a catastrophe would be
      speeded up if, as Brzezinski put it, "neo-con policies continue to be
      pursued." If they are, and if Iran is attacked, I think that a Clash
      of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, would become
      unstoppable.Is there no way to stop the madness and create a "new
      Middle East" worth having? Yes, of course, there is, but it requires
      the agenda of the neo-cons and their associates to be thrown into the
      dustbin of history, in order for there to be a resolution of the
      Palestine problem, which I describe as the cancer at the heart of
      international affairs.Unfortunately, and because of the facts Zionism
      has been allowed to create on the ground in Israel/Palestine, it's
      already much too late for a genuine two-state solution, one which
      would see Israel back behind more or less its pre-1967 borders with
      Jerusalem an open city and the capital of two states.The conclusion
      which I think is invited is this: If the countdown to catastrophe for
      all is to be stopped, the only possible solution to the Palestine
      problem is One State for All. That would, of course, be the end of
      Zionism's colonial enterprise and of Zionism itself. But in my view
      that's what has to happen if there's to be a "new Middle East" in
      which there can be security and peace for all, Arabs and Jews.

      Ladies and gentlemen: I'm not a politician or, any more, a working
      journalist and broadcaster who must write and speak in way that
      doesn't offend very powerful vested interests. I am a reasonably well
      informed human being who cares and who is free to say what he really
      thinks. (Which probably makes me a member of a very small club!) And
      in summary of all that I've said this evening, what I really think
      comes down to this: The equation is a very simple one: No justice for
      the Palestinians = no peace for any of us.

      *********************************************************************

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