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Watch: What Ethnic Cleansing Looks Like (In Occupied East Jersulem)

by on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm EDT in Middle East, World

Here’s a video of Jewish Settlers literally taking over a Palestinian family’s home in East Jerusalem — dumping the family’s possessions out onto the street, the furniture into their garden — while the Israeli police stand guard in case the Palestinians try to stop the settlers from taking the home for themselves.  Once emptied, the Jews move right inside, and change the locks on the doors.  Unbelievable!


UPDATE: wrote today of the ongoing demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem:

“Make sure your father gets this,” the municipal inspector tells a 10-year-old boy at the gate of the concrete house in an alleyway in the al-Bustan quarter of Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood right under the shadow of the walled Old City.

“This” is a court-approved demolition notice, “No. 59.” It’s for a house under imminent threat of being torn down by the Israeli authorities because it does not have the requisite building permit.

The demolition notice is headed: “To Unknown Addressee.”

“Now they refer to me as ‘Unknown.’ But they know my name very well – they address payment orders for all municipal and other taxes to me by name,” says Moussa Oudeh.

Moussa, father of five, is one of 78 householders in al-Bustan whose homes are slated for demolition. Since the election of a new Israeli mayor exactly a year ago, 10 other houses in al-Bustan have been bulldozed.


The vans park near a new seven-story block of flats. A blue-and-white Israeli banner, with a large Star of David, has been unfurled from the roof down to the alley beneath.  It’s one of several buildings in Silwan where nationalist religious Israelis have settled in recent years in a bid to boost the Jewish presence in the Arab neighborhood.

For some time, it’s been an open secret that the settlers also don’t have the requisite permit for their building.  According to Israeli press reports, after the recent demolition nearby of a small Palestinian home, human rights groups took the matter to the Israeli courts.

A city inspector called to the dock was asked by the magistrate, “How come you didn’t serve a demolition notification on the seven-story building as well?”

“I simply didn’t notice it,” replied the inspector.

The court has yet to take action on the petition against the settlers for their infraction.

How in the world can President Barack Obama — the nation’s first African American President — continue to turn a blind eye to these bigoted policies, and continue to pledge both his allegiance — which he often describes as ‘sacrosanct’ — and billions of dollars in our tax money to this morally bankrupt country?


I found this story via Mondoweiss (as reported in Haaretz) regarding these extremist settlers:

Just weeks after the arrest of alleged Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel, a West Bank rabbi on Monday released a book giving Jews permission to kill Gentiles who threaten Israel.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book “The King’s Torah” that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation.

It is permissable to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation,” he wrote, adding: “If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments – because we care about the commandments – there is nothing wrong with the murder.”

Several prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Yithak Ginzburg and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, have recommended the book to their students and followers.

Unbelievable!  Why isn’t any of this stuff ever reported in our main stream media?  Don’t Americans deserve to know that billions of their tax dollars are subsidizing this scary shit?

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s Diplomatic Skills Rival Those Of John Bolton’s

by on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israel PM Benjamin NetanyahuNice work Hillary!  The fallout from her most recent world tour continues to materialize.

First our nation’s chief diplomat completely offended the country of Pakistan.  Here’s how the Pakistan Daily appraised her visit with their officials and press:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on the offensive during her three-day visit to Pakistan that was concluded yesterday. Her comments were blunt and combative, and the Pakistani press labeled her approach as “aggressive diplomacy.”

The intended purpose of Clinton’s visit was to drum up support for the ongoing war against al Qaeda and to pressure the Pakistani government to do more in fighting insurgents. Apparently she checked whatever diplomatic skills she might have at the door and her remarks to her hosts were anything but diplomatic.

She at one point hinted that Pakistani officials are reluctant to pursue al Qaeda. “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” Clinton told her Pakistani interlocutors during an interview with journalists in Lahore.

Clinton’s comments were on the wrong track as they were made at time when the Pakistan’s army was busy fighting tribal insurgents in Waziristan on the heels of its two-month offensive in the Swat valley in Northeast Pakistan. Pakistan has also single-handedly captured the largest number of al Qaeda operatives since 2002. The military involvement in the war on terrorism has started to take a heavy toll on the Pakistani population and threatens to destabilize the country if insurgents continue to bring the fight to Pakistan’s major cities. […]

Next, on to Israel, where she decided to inflict some irreparable damage to the Middle East Peace Process.  First she stands with one of the most right-winged Israeli leaders of our lifetime, Benjamin Netanyahu, and sings him praises for basically telling the United States to go ‘fuck itself’ on its demands that Israel cease its illegal settlement activity.  She gloated about how his agreement to slow down the illegal settlements was ‘unprecedented’.

I blogged earlier on the outcry at the time in the Arab world — a dramatic display of utter shock and bereavement at this sudden shift in policy by the Obama Administration.  So, the following day, in Marrakech, Hillary tried to tamper down the damage by clarifying her statement:

‘This offer falls far short of what our preference would be, but if it is acted upon it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth.

Then in yet another about face (as reported by The Palestinian Chronicle):

… the next day [after Hillary’s clarification] she deployed [yet] another character, mixing a take-it-or-leave-it approach to the Palestinians with praise for the White House.  She told Al Jazeera, ‘I think it is important for your viewers to say to themselves, ‘well, we can continue with what we have now ‘which is a halt to nothing’ or we can halt all new settlement activity’.

The purpose of her mission had been to kick-start the Middle East peace talks, and by the time she left for Cairo, she’d single-handedly sabotaged them for good.  Now The New York Times is reporting that Palestinian President Abbas announced he will not seek re-election:

[Abbas’s] announcement, coming immediately after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s visit to kick start talks between Israel and the Palestinians, illustrated the rising tensions over the Obama administration’s failure to produce an Israeli settlement freeze or any concessions from Arab leaders.

Mrs. Clinton’s visit to the region, which she characterized as a success, sowed anger and confusion among Palestinians and other Arabs after she praised as “unprecedented” Israel’s compromise offer to slow down, but not stop, construction of settlements. […]

A top aide to Mr. Abbas said a large part of the “despondency and frustration” felt by Mr. Abbas and the entire Palestinian leadership was due to President Obama’s unrealized promises to the region. He said he feared that without a stop to settlements, Islamist rivals in Hamas could triumph and violence could break out.

“There was high expectation when he arrived on the scene,” the aide, Nabil Shaath, who heads the Fatah party’s foreign affairs department, said of Mr. Obama, at a briefing. “He said he would work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that it would play a major role in improving the American and Western relationship with the Muslim world. Now there is a total retreat, which has destroyed trust instead of building trust.”

Mr. Shaath added that if the United States vetoed sending a United Nations report critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Security Council, “It really is like telling the Palestinians to go back to violence.”

President Abbas was probably the most peaceful, pro-western leader the Palestinians had ever had.

Talk about a “bull in a china shop,” could Obama have picked a more confrontational and destructive personality to serve as our nation’s ‘chief Diplomat’?  And I had assumed the days of John Bolton were finally behind us.  Apparently not …


Juan Cole (sourcing the BBC) reveals that chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization Steering Committee, Saeb Erekat is calling it a moment of truth for President Abbas.  Erekat goes on to say:

Palestine Authority president Mahmoud Abbas should be frank with the Palestinian people and admit to them that there is no possibility of a two-state solution given continued Israeli colonization of the West Bank.

It is morally and ethically unconscionable to leave millions of Palestinians in a condition of statelessness, in which they have no rights. Therefore, if there isn’t going to be a two-state solution, there will have to be a one-state solution, in which Israel gives citizenship to the Palestinians.

It’s a fascinating, and long overdue realization.  You can read more about it at Salon …

Bill Moyers Interviews Justice Richard Goldstone About Gaza Investigations

by on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 7:52 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Here’s a must see for those interested in learning more about the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation into Israel’s military incursion into Gaza, and its controversial findings: namely that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes.

Bill Moyers speaks at length with Justice Richard Goldstone — whom I wrote about last week.  Here’s a few excerpts of the interview:


BILL MOYERS: What did you see with your own eyes when you went there [to Gaza]?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, I saw the destruction of the only flour-producing factory in Gaza. I saw fields plowed up by Israeli tank bulldozers. I saw chicken farms, for egg production, completely destroyed. Tens of thousands of chickens killed. I met with families who lost their loved ones in homes in which they were seeking shelter from the Israeli ground forces. I had to have the very emotional and difficult interviews with fathers whose little daughters were killed, whose family were killed. One family, over 21 members, killed by Israeli mortars. So, it was a very difficult investigation, which will give me nightmares for the rest of my life.


BILL MOYERS: What makes those acts war crimes, as you say?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, humanitarian law, really fundamentally is what’s known as the “principle of distinction.” It requires all people involved, commanders, troops, all people involved in making war, it requires them to distinguish between civilians and combatants. And then there’s a question-

BILL MOYERS: Combatants, right?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: -and combatants. And then there’s a question of proportionality. One can, in war, target a military target. And there can be what’s euphemistically referred to as ‘collateral damage,’ but the ‘collateral damage’ must be proportionate to the military aim. If you can take out a munitions factory in an urban area with a loss of 100 lives, or you can use a bomb twice as large and take out the same factory and kill 2000 people, the latter would be a war crime, the former wouldn’t.


BILL MOYERS: You wrote, quote, the military operation, this military operation in Gaza, was a result of the disrespect for the fundamental principle of ‘distinction’ in international humanitarian law. So in layman’s language, the distinction between what and what?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Between combatants and innocent civilians.

BILL MOYERS: And you’re saying Israel did not do that, in many of these incidents.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: That’s correct.

BILL MOYERS: Did you find evidence that that is deliberate on their part?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, we did. We found evidence in statements made by present and former political and military leaders, who said, quite openly, that there’s going to be a disproportionate attack. They said that if rockets are going to continue, we’re going to hit back disproportionately. We’re going to punish you for doing it. And that’s not countenanced by the law of war.

BILL MOYERS: So they were doing, on the ground, what they had said earlier they intended to do.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: That’s correct.

BILL MOYERS: -so there was intention.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, certainly. You know, one thing one can’t say about the Israel Defense Forces is that they make too many mistakes. They’re very, a sophisticated army. And if they attack a mosque or attack a factory, and over 200 factories were bombed, there’s just no basis to ascribe that to error. That must be intentional.


BILL MOYERS: Did you find war crimes by Hamas?


BILL MOYERS: What were they?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: We found that the firing of many thousands of rockets and mortars at a civilian population to constitute a very serious war crime. And we said possibly crimes against humanity.


BILL MOYERS: But when the terrorists, the militants, whatever one wants to call them, are known to be embedded in, as you say, those tight, complex, concentrated areas, what’s the other army to do?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: It’s for example, to launch commando actions, to get at the militants and not the innocent civilians. And there’s an element of punishment, if one looks at the attacks on the infrastructure, on the food infrastructure, one sees a pattern of attacking all of the people of Gaza, not simply the militants.

BILL MOYERS: Why do you think they bombed the infrastructure so thoroughly?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, we’ve found that the only logical reason is collective punishment against the people of Gaza for voting into power Hamas, and a form of reprisal for the rocket attacks and mortar attacks on southern Israel.

BILL MOYERS: So that would be the explanation for why, if they were interested only in stopping the bombing, they didn’t have to destroy the land.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: No, this was a political decision, I think, and not a military one. I think they were telling the people of Gaza that if you support Hamas, this is what we’re going to do to you.


BILL MOYERS: The “Financial Times” says it is your reputation, Judge Richard Goldstone’s reputation, the Israeli government fears and not your methods. What do they have to be afraid of?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: The only thing they can be afraid of is the truth. And I think this is why they’re attacking the messenger and not the message.

BILL MOYERS: What do you hope happens now?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, I certainly hope that there’ll be sufficient drive within Israel, within the government and in the general public to force the Israeli government to set up an independent, open inquiry. And it can do it. It’s got a wonderful legal system, its got a great judicial system, its got retired judges who certainly, in my book, would earn the respect of the overwhelming number of people around the world, including the Arab world, who, if they held open, good faith inquiries, would put an end to this.


BILL MOYERS: The Israeli Cabinet this week set up a special cabinet lobbying group to urge the United States to use its veto power in the Security Council to prevent any legal action against the Israelis. What do you make of that?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, you know, that’s the sort of politics you and I were talking about, not too many minutes ago. That’s using the political route rather than the legal route.

BILL MOYERS: Our state department has come right out and said, your findings are unfair toward Israel.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, you know, those are statements it’s impossible to respond to, because there’s no detail. They haven’t said why it’s unbalanced. They’ve said there are flaws in the report. And I really do hope and invite the administration to indicate where the report is flawed or unbalanced. And I certainly would welcome learning where we went wrong, and if and I’m easily- I would be easily convinced. And if we if we made mistakes in those are pointed out, I would be the first person to admit it.


I highly recommend that everyone go to Bill Moyers Journal and watch this enlightening interview — there’s a lot more to it (this was merely a teaser — so to speak).  See what Justice Golstone says, so that you can draw your own conclusions on this issue (and not just swallow the defamatory rhetoric being leveled at him by the pro-Israel right).

The interview can be found here:  Part 1, Part 2, and the transcript of the interview can be found here:  Bill Moyers Journal