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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    

Gaza unrest may deepen over Abbas reportOmar Karmi - The National - Eyebrows could not possibly have been arched any higher than they were yesterday morning at a headline in an Israeli newspaper that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was threatening to dismantle the Palestinian Authority should Israel release imprisoned Hamas politicians in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier31/7/2008
Imagine if the kids took over Khaled Diab - The Guardian - I was pleased to learn from Kayali that Israeli and Palestinian schoolchildren have been involved in a similar experiment: using their imagination to dream of what life could be like, 10 years from now, in a peaceful 2018. I was intrigued to get some insight into the thinking of the coming generation, whose voices we rarely get to hear, despite the fact that they stand to lose the most from this ongoing conflict. 31/7/2008
In Palestine, even the camera lies Akram Salhab - Ma`an News Agency - "Even when a crime is caught on film, however, it is not sufficient evidence for a conviction and as the criminal soldier from the incident above walked free on Tuesday, Palestinians will be wondering what they need to do to for the world to take seriously the daily attacks that they face. Because in Palestine, it would seem, even the camera lies"28/7/2008
The end of history: with a period, not a question markPhyllis Bennis - The Nation - Beginning around 100 BC, the fabled Silk Road brought goods and travelers from China and Central Asia, through the lands of Persia and Mesopotamia, and over to Palmyra in Syria. One branch of the road then turned south, crossing through Bethany, the biblical village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, as it headed west from Jerusalem to Yoppa (today`s Jaffa) and the Mediterranean Sea. 27/7/2008
The lesser of two evils? Obama, McCain and the question of US policy regarding IsraelBenjamin Dwyer - Alternative Information Centre - Mr. Obama, running a campaign based on change, hope, and audacity, has shown precious little of these amorphous aspects in regards to the Israel/Palestine conflict. The day after his nomination was numerically assured, he gave a speech at the annual conference of AIPAC in which he kowtowed to the status quo, calling for the failed two-state solution and, perhaps surprisingly, calling for Jerusalem to remain undivided as Israel`s capital. He has since attempted to rescind these statements prior to a trip to Israel and the West Bank.27/7/2008
Israeli racism and defeatMichael Warschawski - Alternative Information Centre - My heart is with the Goldwasser and Regev families, who can finally mourn on the graves of their loved ones. My heart is with the family of Samir Kuntar who can, after thirty years, embrace him in his home. Goldwasser, Regev and Kuntar were prisoners of war who, in accordance with the laws of combat, were entitled to return home as quickly as possible.27/7/2008
US strategy in Middle East under new pressure: talks, at least about talking, take holdPhyllis Bennis - Zmag - The Bush administration`s ideologically-driven "no withdrawal, no negotiations" war policies in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere in the region are rapidly and visibly failing.27/7/2008
Arabs see Obama aligning with Bush-McCain positionsSana Abdallah - Middle East Times - Analysts say that seeking Arab commentators contrasted Obama`s Berlin speech where he called for "unity among the races and religions" and "tearing down all forms of walls" with the fact that forty-eight hours previously he had stood very near the Apartheid Wall at Jerusalem and failed to refer in any way to its existence. "Seeking the domestic Jewish vote does not require exaggerated pledges of loyalty to Israel while virtually ignoring the national plight of the Palestinians". 26/7/2008
What the world doesn’t seeB. Michael - Ynet - Every minute of every hour of every day, the State and its army are engaged in (...) shattering the fabric of life of an entire people; the deliberate, wicked, and purposeful abuse of millions of people; the cold and calculated bureaucratic management of besieged ghettos; a Stasi-like chokehold over the entire population.26/7/2008
Road Map or "Bulldozer Map?" Nasser Lahham - Ma`an News - Bulldozers are a machine used to build Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. They are used to dig up fields and confiscate them from Palestinian farmers. Palestinians have seen bulldozers tear up ancient olive trees; they have seen them tear down their homes. The bulldozer was the tool used by Israeli forces to kill US solidarity activist Rachel Corrie. Rachel was killed by a D9 Caterpillar bulldozer in March of 2000. The machine had been shipped to Israel by manufacturers in her own country. 25/7/2008
How I’ve come to know Gilad ShalitSimon Black - Palestine Think Tank - I know Gilad Shalit. Not personally, but I could tell you what he looks like, his age, where he went to school, his hometown, his father’s name, what his father looks like, and how he weeps for his son. I know that this is not the first time that the Shalit family has felt the emotional impact of armed conflict. I know that during the Arab-Israeli war, Gilad’s uncle, Yoel, was killed. I know that Gilad’s brother is named after Yoel. I know that his brother attends university in Haifa and is worried about him. I know that Gilad is being held by Palestinians after his army outpost was raided and Gilad was captured.....What I do not know is the names and faces of the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israeli jails. 24/7/2008
Soldier who killed peace activist denied appealHanan Greenberg - YNet - Taysir Hayb tells military committee hearing his appeal that he sent taped apology to family of British peace activist Tom Hurndall, whom Hayb killed while he was shielding Palestinian children from gunfire; however family denies receiving tape 24/7/2008
Climbing up the Rabbit Hole to the Real World Joharah Baker - MIFTAH - As the Palestinians` wonderland vision fades into the background, the reality of the situation comes to the fore. In contrast to Olmert`s prediction that "peace has never been nearer", the Palestinians feel it is miles away. Nothing on the ground has changed in terms of Israeli promises to ease restrictions on the Palestinians` everyday life such as removing some of the 600 or so checkpoints peppered throughout the West Bank. Jerusalem is as sequestered as always, if not more. 24/7/2008
Serious consequences Ghassan Khatib - Bitterlemons - All this is happening in parallel with the failure of the PA, led by Fateh, and its allies among the "moderate" Arab regimes to secure any achievement in political negotiations, especially on the most sensitive and immediate issues: a freeze on Israeli settlement expansion and a release of prisoners within the context of Palestinian-Israeli relations and negotiations. 24/7/2008
Why Israel Can`t Attack IranRoni Ben Efrat - Challenge - Israelis like to claim that they will be the main victim of Iranian nuclear development. They hark back to the scuds of Saddam Hussein, which fell on Tel Aviv in the first Gulf War when they had no direct part in the conflict. So too, this time—Israelis say—they will be in the crosshairs, and this justifies pre-emptive action. 24/7/2008
Upside down Eyal Megged - Bitter Lemons - "We live from hand to mouth, like in the Diaspora. They have statesmen, we have lawyers. They rely on their endurance, stubbornness, toughness and patience, while we have become a superpower of wine and cheese." 23/7/2008
A KEY TO STABILITY - Bolstering Palestinian security forcesAnthony H. Cordesman - IHT - "In fact, even the American military attachés at the embassy are forbidden by the State Department to go into the West Bank and Gaza to carry out liaison efforts with Palestinians or develop human intelligence on the threat of Hamas." 23/7/2008
The Cost of Occupation: Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - 2008 Report Shlomo Swirski - Adva Center - The prolonged conflict has been extremely damaging to both sides, and especially to the Palestinians, but also Israel is paying a heavy price for the continuation of the conflict and for the absence of a fair and agreed-upon partition.22/7/2008
A presidential primer on the Middle East conflictRichard Boudreaux - Los Angeles Times - Here`s a vivid example of the limits of American influence over the Jewish state. Israel for years has ignored its formal pledges to freeze settlement growth on territory claimed by the Palestinians, undermining their faith in U.S.-backed peace talks. The Bush administration`s objections have been mild and rarely public. Its critics, noting that most Israelis oppose further settlement growth, say a stronger U.S. stand could make a difference by weakening the settlers` political clout. 22/7/2008
Met with silenceKhaled Amayreh - Al-Ahram - Recent Israeli army aggressions against Palestinian charities, beauty salons and shops show unequivocally that Israel is morally lost21/7/2008
Palestine in the Middle East: opposing neoliberalism and US powerAdam Hanieh - ZNet - Over the last six months, the Palestinian economy has been radically transformed under a new plan drawn up by the Palestinian Authority (PA) called the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP). Developed in close collaboration with institutions such as the World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID), the PRDP is currently being implemented in the West Bank where the Abu Mazen-led PA has effective control. It embraces the fundamental precepts of neoliberalism: a private sector-driven economic strategy in which the aim is to attract foreign investment and reduce public spending to a minimum.20/7/2008
Dr. Benny and Mr. Morris: the historian and the twisted politics of expulsionRoane Carey - Counterpunch/The National - 19/20 July 2008 - Is it possible for someone who matter-of-factly supports crimes against humanity to be a good historian? A startling and provocative question, no doubt, but one that inevitably arises upon consideration of the remarkable career of Israeli scholar Benny Morris. 20/7/2008
Different planetsUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - Never before have I experienced the tragic conflict in such a stunning immediacy as last Wednesday, the day of the prisoner swap between the State of Israel and the Hezbollah organization.20/7/2008
The Anointment of Sarcko, the First – Release the Prisoners – Support Obama and Build the Left Reuven Kaminer`s commentary19/7/2008
Hamas and Israel: strange bedfellowsPaul Scham - Common Ground News Service - Paradoxically, this cease-fire (tahdiya, or “calming” in Arabic), which was met by much scepticism, may actually have a better chance of survival than did failed previous agreements hailed by shouts of joy and quotations from Koran and Bible. There is no other option. Both sides are convinced that the other only understands the language of force - and both may be right.15/7/2008
The `Israel-Syria Peace Society` makes it into the mediaAbe Selig - The Jerusalem Post - "We need to change the image of Syria as an enemy to one of a neighbor," said Prof. Moshe Maoz, one of the event`s keynote speakers.15/7/2008
A Kodak Moment: The Not-So-Historic Talabani-Barak HandshakeRamzy Baroud - ZNet - ”Most people would not have even realised that the 23rd congress of the Socialist International was being held near Athens were it not for the moment when Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak shook the hand of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. An Associated Press report, published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, dubbed the handshake ‘historic’. History was supposedly made in Athens on 1 July 2008. Centred in a photo, featuring a widely grinning Barak and Talabani, is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was credited for introducing the two. The three individuals involved are members of political establishments that are largely funded and sustained by the US government” 14/7/2008
Bridging the gapThe Observer - Daniel Barenboim`s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is a unique enterprise, drawing together musicians from Israel and Palestine. Ed Vulliamy is the first journalist to meet its members on both sides of their war-torn land 14/7/2008
Supplies and Speculators - Is There an Oil Shortage? Ismael Hossein-zadeh – CounterPunch - “So, if indeed there is no imbalance between production and consumption of oil in global markets, how do we then explain the skyrocketing oil prices? The answer, in a nutshell, is: war and geopolitical instability in oil markets. Contrary to the claims of the champions of war and militarism, of the Wall Street speculators in energy markets, and of the proponents of Peak Oil, the current oil price shocks are caused largely by the destabilizing wars and political turbulences in the Middle East. These include not only the raging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the danger of a looming war against Iran that would threaten the flow of oil out of Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz”14/7/2008
Who will blink first?Alex Fishman - Ynet - When the time comes for the Americans to pull out the weapon of military madness, what’s more convenient than Israel? (...) we are holding back those crazy Israelis, and we cannot keep on restraining them for long.
The problem is that these types of threats have their own dynamics, and they may end up fulfilling themselves. What will happen if the Iranians do not blink? [N.B.: It`s a mainstream Israeli military commentator who is doing the warning - ed]
Obama is good for peaceURI SAVIR - J-lem Post - "WE NEED an American administration positively and actively involved in the peace process with Syria; for without American involvement, I don`t believe that Syria will make any substantial moves."2/7/2008
Olmert`s "peacetachio" moves Mustafa Abu Sway - Bitter Lemons - "Olmert lacks the necessary courage for a leader who advocates peace. He is simply a survivor who adapts his political position according to the prevailing winds." 1/7/2008
Encountering Peace: Palestinian nationalism is the mirror of ZionismGERSHON BASKIN - J-lem Post - "Time is running out for both of us, but there is still sufficient time to reach an agreement that will save both national movements from mutual destruction." 1/7/2008
The End of the Road for Hamas? Joharah Baker - MIFTAH - Over the past few days, Israeli authorities have cracked down hard on the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank, especially in Nablus. So far, Israeli occupation troops have stormed, raided and shut down dozens of shops, factories medical centers and charities in the city under the pretext of their affiliation with Hamas. Troops have also broken into the Nablus municipality headquarters, confiscated documents and computers and ransacked the premises. At least six mosques were also raided and five school buses expropriated. On July 7, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his government had outlawed 36 Palestinian NGO`s he claims are linked to Hamas.10/7/2008
Iran missile test sends message to US, IsraelALI AKBAR DAREINI - Associated Press - The tests of the long- and medium-range missiles did not appear to mark a significant advance in Iran`s missile capability — similar ones have been tested previously. But the timing and location were clearly aimed to send a message, coming as Iran has sharply stepped up the tone of its warnings of retaliation if attacked. This week, a top official of Iran`s Revolutionary Guards, Ali Shirazi, warned Tel Aviv would be "set on fire" in any Iranian retaliation.10/7/2008
A Thirst for West Bank Water Environment Fareed Taamallah - The Nation - Under Olmert`s plan, Israel aims to keep the two main Palestinian West Bank aquifers: the lower Jordan River basin in the east, and the eastern mountain aquifer, trapped behind Israel`s wall in the west. This will force Palestinians to depend on Israel for water, preserving the status quo, a dramatically unjust division of water resources. 10/7/2008
Mideast realities and Olmert`s new initiativesEditorial - IHT - "If any long-term good is to come of them, the next American administration will need to be truly committed to diplomacy - and a lot more adept at it." 1/7/2008
Could anyone be "worse" than Bush?Patrick Cockburn - Counterpunch - These days, it’s an almost irresistible temptation to believe that when the present incumbent finally rides his mountain bike off into the sunset next January the world will be a better place merely by the fact of his absence. Amid the sinister twilight of the Bush years, such hopes are understandable. Looking at the blazing bodies of their comrades, used as torches to brighten up his banquets, the early Christians must certainly have rejoiced when Nero passed, little knowing that not so far over the horizon loomed Domitian and other emperors eager to add uplifting chapters to the Book of Martyrs.6/7/2008
Istiklal: When is Independence Day?Kathy Kelly - Commondreams - The city of Amman, Jordan, is awash with numerous colorful signs that proclaim independence, “Istiklal.” The word is found on posters and placards in store windows. It names a major thoroughfare, a hospital, and a shopping center. 6/7/2008
Satan`s counselUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - It was just a passing conversation, but it has stuck in my memory. It was soon after the Six-Day War. I was coming out of the main hall of the Knesset, after making a speech calling for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state. Another Knesset member came down the corridor - a nice person, a Labor Party man, a former bus driver. Uri, he said, catching me by the arm, what the hell are you doing? You could make a great career! You are saying many attractive things - against corruption, for the separation of religion and state, about social justice. You could have a great success at the next elections. But you are spoiling everything with your speeches about the Arabs. Why don`t you stop this nonsense?6/7/2008
As Israel `Separates`, Let us Unite Maiko Sato - MIFTAH - But if we ourselves don’t step back and try to realize that we are clutching at our own necks, we can end up harming ourselves. From the observations of people in Palestine, I strongly believe we need understanding between each other before we attempt to achieve this with others. Let us take our cue from the ancient Egyptian slaves – only when they united could they fend off the pharaoh`s evil schemes. We should not allow Israel - this modern day pharaoh – to manipulate us. 3/7/2008
Hamas government blames Israel for Rafah crossing incidentsRami Almeghari - IMEMC & Agencies - In a statement, faxed to press, the government`s spokesman, Taher aL-Nunu, said that the Israeli procrastination to lift the blockade of Gaza in accordance with the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire deal, has helped the eruption of Rafah crossing incidents. 3/7/2008
The inevitable overreactionSeth Freedman - The Guardian - Trade and Labour Minister Eli Yishai`s on-the-scene response was to demand an immediate freeze on freedom of movement for Arab residents of East Jerusalem, as well as the predictable call for the terrorist`s home to be demolished. Not for him the option of treating every criminal as an individual; instead, the attack was reason enough to tar all Arabs with the same brush, and clamp down, vice-like, upon their thousands-strong community.3/7/2008
Denied the right to go homeZeina Ashrawi Hutchison - Nuclear Disarmament Party - This has been happening to many Palestinians who have a Jerusalem ID card. The Israeli government has been practicing and perfecting the art of ethnic cleansing since 1948 right under the nose of the world and no one has the power or the guts to do anything about it. Where else in the world does one have to beg to go to one`s own home? Where else in the world does one have to give up their identity for the sole reason of living somewhere else for a period of time? 3/7/2008
Israel`s Lopsided Legal System Joharah Baker- MIFTAH what civilized country is demolishing the home of a criminal considered "legal" and not inhumane collective punishment? When Baruch Goldstein sprayed a Hebron mosque with bullets, gunning down 29 Muslims kneeling in prayer, Israeli bulldozers hardly rushed to tear down his home in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. When an Israeli F-16 fighter plane dropped a 500-pound bomb on a Gaza apartment building, destroying the homes of several families and killing at least 16 people, the pilot did not have to worry about his family losing the roof over their heads because of his terror-filled act. 31/7/2008
Meet the new Obama, master of the U-turnDominic Lawson - The Independent. And a related article by Noam Chomsky in Aljazeera - "US public irrelevant"5/7/2008
Why not?Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - THE INEVITABLE reaction to the bombing of Iran will be the blocking of the Strait of Hormuz. That should have been self-evident even without the explicit declaration by one of Iran`s highest ranking generals a few days ago. Iran dominates the whole length of the Strait. They can seal it hermetically with their missiles and artillery, both land based and naval.13/7/2008
How Britain wages warJohn Pilger - - The military has created a wall of silence around its frequent resort to barbaric practices, including torture, and goes out of its way to avoid legal scrutiny. 13/7/2008
A Palestinian lawyer contemplates his vivisected countryDaniel Phillips - Daily Star - "First published in the UK last year, "Palestinian Walks" has since won of the 2008 Orwell Prize for political writing...Having a US edition of this book will not come close to solving the manifold problems confronting Shehadeh and his clients, but it is a step in the right direction."12/7/2008
Different approaches arise from different motivesWaleed Sadi - - "The EU has concluded that democracy cannot be imposed from the outside. This has yet to dawn on the US leadership."5/7/2008
What`s Missing from the New York Times: The Deaths of ChildrenEve Spangler - The Counterpunch - "Even more to the point for people who wish to base their political arguments on the lives of children: during those same years [September, 2000 - August, 2007], 857 Palestinian children were killed by Israelis and 119 Israeli children were killed by Palestinians. "19/7/2008
How to prevent kidnappingsOrly Halpern - Globe and Mail - "If Israel really wants to end this phenomenon, it would not send a message that the only way to release prisoners is by kidnapping," Palestinian lawyer Diana Butto said. Followed by: Gush Shalom`s Haaretz ad on full prisoner exchange.18/7/2008
Prisoners’ Homecoming a Triumph for HezbollahMICHAEL SLACKMAN - The New York Times - For some here, though, recent wounds were too raw, and the distrust of Hezbollah too deep, to savor the apparent triumph. Last May, Hezbollah turned its guns on residents of Beirut during a spasm of sectarian violence. It routed pro-government forces with ease, forcing a compromise that gave them the veto power in the government. 17/7/2008
No Mediterranean Union shortcut around Arab-Israeli conflict Hasan Abu Nimah - The Electronic Intifada - Europe has been remarkably passive in dealing seriously with the problems of the regions in question. This is dangerous. If Europe is truly concerned, there is a due need for a principled, bold, decisive and compatible with international law policy towards the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Any correct course of action should begin there. It is to realize that shortcuts did not and will not work. 17/7/2008
`Theatrical return for the living and the dead`Robert Fisk - The Independent - But what would this matter to Mr Nasrallah in his hour of final triumph? Once more, despite Hizbollah`s capture of west Beirut earlier this year and the gun battles that broke out across Lebanon (total dead 65), he has recaptured his old popularity as the only man with the only army to stand up to Israel`s legions. And there will most assuredly be another war. By the roadside south of Tyre yesterday, there was a huge poster of an Israeli warship struck by a Hizbollah missile in 2006, burning fiercely. "And more to come," the caption announced, archly. 17/7/2008
Turning the TablesMichael Scheuer - Anti War - "American Israel-firsters have long since dropped any pretense of loyalty to the United States and its genuine national interests."16/7/2008
Planning for failure – how to end the occupation, create the Palestinian state and make peace with Israel without negotiationsGershon Baskin - Al Quds - "This article is serving as a call to Palestinians and to Israelis who support real peace with Palestinians to wake up now and to begin to prepare the strategy for failure, that we hope will never have to be used."16/7/2008
Humiliation and Occupation: Gaza`s Dying ChildrenRamzy Baroud - The Counterpunch - "Palestinians .. should focus their energies on unifying their ranks for nothing compels more fury than their disunity, and nothing is as humiliating as their reliance on Israeli and US arms and money to keep their own brethren in Gaza starved and browbeaten."5/7/2008
Sixty and BeyondAlon Ben-Meir -The Palestine-Israel Journal-"Indeed, no number of security measures can end the violence because occupation by its very nature provokes resistance. Although Israel has a myriad of legitimate security concerns, the security measures taken to allay them have assumed a life of their own, often disregarding the terrible hardships they inflict on the Palestinians. The problem of occupation has also been compounded by the construction of an elaborate settlements network, which has itself become an obstacle to any future Palestinian state on the same land...As a sign of its commitment to end the occupation, Israel should start to evacuate two or three of the numerous West Bank settlements from which it must withdraw in any peace agreement."4/7/2008
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