Egypt working with Israel on Rafah policy

and other news from Today in Palestine:

Gaza

Report: Egypt working with Israel on Rafah policy
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Egypt has explained to Israel that the Rafah crossing will not be used to transfer goods, and restrictions will be imposed on the movement of individuals, Israel radio reported Thursday. According to political sources quoted in the report, Egyptian authorities are aware of the risk that “terrorist elements” could pass through Rafah, the sole non-Israeli entrance point, and Cairo will act accordingly.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391429

What opening Rafah means and doesn’t mean / Yousef Munayyer
27 May — There will undoubtedly be those trying to proclaim that life is on the up and up in Gaza now and that the siege is over. But Gaza and the siege that entraps it is immensely complicated. Ignoring the nuances of this policy and thinking that Gaza is equivalent to a solid black box that just had its lid opened is entirely misleading … What the Opening of Rafah Does Not Mean: The siege is over … By retaining total control over the other crossings, Israel is still able to maintain its siege policy to practically the same exact extent as before the opening of Rafah. Unless Egypt and Palestine completely revamp the Rafah crossing and the infrastructure around it on both sides of the border, this is unlikely to change … Electricity and Water: …Gaza is overwhelmingly dependent on Israel when it comes to electricity … The Blockade: …Israel enforces its illegal naval blockade at the 3-nautical mile mark (most of the fish native to Gaza’s territorial waters are beyond this mark) and when Gaza’s fishermen get too close, they get shot…What the Opening of Rafah Does Mean: The Closing of A Dark Chapter in Egypt’s History
http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2011/05/what-opening-rafah-means-doesnt-mean.html

Egypt’s ‘state security’ still blocks Rafah exit from Gaza / Rami Almeghari
EI 26 May –  “My father, may he rest in peace, was an Egyptian, my daughters are Egyptians, my grandchildren are Egyptians, my brothers are Egyptians, I am an Egyptian,” an exasperated Salah Zorob told The Electronic Intifada.. “Please look at these papers — here is a court ruling and Egyptian interior ministry documents, proving my Egyptian nationality. Why have they turned me away seven times in three months now?” Zorob related his story as he rode the bus from Rafah crossing back toward his home in Gaza after his latest failed attempt to enter Egypt. Zorob, 70, was denied access on Sunday.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/egypts-state-security-still-blocks-rafah-exit-gaza/10015

What does prevent Egypt from opening Rafah until now? / Rami Khries & Mohammad A.
Alresalah 23 May — …Doubts and questions have returned to Palestinians about the intentions of the new rulers of Egypt regarding the Palestinian file and Gaza’s siege, particularly after the signing of the reconciliation agreement. Ayoub Abu Sha‘er, Rafah crossing’s police chief said that the number of Palestinian “Black list”, as considered by Egyptian authorities, – before the revolution — was not to exceed 20 passengers, while the number exceeded these days 60 passengers, there are also some travelers who were allowed to travel before the revolution, but now, they  are banned from this right…. The Egyptian Obstacles against Palestinian travelers is not limited in Rafah crossing, some Palestinians have been recorded as “persona non grata” cases, and they’ve deported from Cairo International Airport after landing, prompting a Palestinian passenger to have an “hysteria attack” after the Egyptian authorities banned him to travel back to his home in Gaza, and deported him to Damascus, where he came from.
http://www.alresalah.ps/eng/?action=showdetail&seid=323

EU to extend border assistance mission at Rafah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — The European Union council has adopted a decision extending the EU border assistance mission for the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, until Dec. 2011, officials said Thursday. The mission was launched in 2005 to provide a third-party presence to open the crossing point and to build confidence between Israel and the Palestinians in line with the EU’s institution-building efforts. A statement from the EU said that despite the closure of Rafah following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, the mission maintained full operational capability and is ready to redeploy at short notice.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391573

Medics: 3 hurt after navy shells fishing boat
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 May — Israel’s navy fired on fishing boats late Thursday, injuring three Palestinians, medics said. The fishermen were transferred to Ash-Shifa hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, medical official Adham Abu Silmiya said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391460

Video: Gaza fishermen protest naval blockade
26 May — Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza –  Gazan fishermen held a sit-in at the fishermen pier to protest against Israeli naval blockade. Israel retained military control of Gaza’s territorial waters under the so-called 1993 Oslo Peace Accords and agreed to allow fishing boats to sail into the Mediterranean for up to 20 nautical miles. But in the last 10 years Gaza fishermen have been able to fish only in a narrow stretch of water up to three miles. Gazan fishermen sail within a three-nautical-mile zone most of the time, but despite that they have come under increasing Israeli fire and attacks … Meanwhile Hamas government civil defense forces held maneuvers to prepare to deal with any possible Israeli attack on fishing and international aid boats in Gaza’s territorial waters.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/181915.html

Specialists: 95% of Gaza water is not drinkable
GazaTV 27 May — During a workshop organised by the Mizan centre for Human rights held on Thursday in Gaza,  Palestinian specialists said that 95% of groundwater in the Gaza Strip is not potable. They called on the international community and the and High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to assume their responsibilities, through pressure on the occupation, to affirm the water rights of the Palestinian people
http://gazatvnews.com/2011/05/specialists-95-of-gaza-water-is-not-drinkable/

UNRWA employees end strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 May — UNRWA employees in Gaza have reached an agreement with the UN agency to end their strike, union chief Suheil Al-Hindi said Friday. Staff were on strike in protest over the UN agency’s dismissal of some of their colleagues. The agency provides services to Palestinian refugees. UNRWA agreed to appoint an independent judge to review the dismissals, Al-Hindi said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391523

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

The largest government-supported extreme right-wing settlement in Jerusalem
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity 26 May — …Who is behind “Ma’aleh Zeitim”?  The invitation to the inauguration ceremony bears the signature of Ateret Kohanim and settler patron Irving Moskowitz. Their purpose is to implant a settler presence in the whole of East Jerusalem to a degree that will prevent any peaceful solution in the city. The settlement in Ras Al-Amoud is intended to block once and for all the historic plan to establish a corridor from the West Bank to East Jerusalem assuring, amongst other things, access for Muslim pilgrims to the Temple Mount/Haram Al Sharif.  Aryeh King, Irving Moskowitz’s point man, lives in “Maaleh Zeitim”. King is also behind the project to evict Palestinian families from Umm Haroun in Sheikh Jarrah in order to bring more settlers into that neighbourhood.
http://www.en.justjlm.org/464

Study: Settlements worth $18.8 billion
Ynet 27 May — Economic center releases report assessing monetary worth of Jewish homes in West Bank in event state evacuates them. No coincidence report was released following Obama’s call for return to ’67 lines, says manager
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4074668,00.html

Jewish settlers severely beat elderly Palestinian shepherd in Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 26 May — Ghassan Douglas, in charge of settlements file at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank, said Thursday that settlers severely beat an elderly Palestinian Shepherd, 67, in Madama, a village south of Nablus. Douglas said that Hamad al-Kett  was beaten by 12 settlers from the settlement of Yizhar. He was transferred to a hospital in the city of Nablus where they described his condition as critical. Medical  Sources told WAFA that al-Kett was injured deeply in his face and head, hairline fracture in his skull, bruises all over his body and he suffered from bleeding that caused him to lose consciousness. Acting Chairman of Madama Village Council, Eyhab al-kett said that “Hamad was herding his sheep in the southern region of the village, when he was attacked by settlers who tried to take the sheep from him. The old man tried to resist them, so they took advantage of the fact that he was alone and old and brutally assaulted him.”
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=16257

Israeli forces – incursions, destruction, detention

Israeli soldiers demolish 3 water wells in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 26 May — Israeli Soldiers Thursday demolished three water wells near the Separation Wall, in Idhna, a town west of Hebron, according to Idhna municipality.The wells were used for agricultural and domestic needs due to water shortage in town. Jamal Tameezi, mayor of Idhna condemned the continuous demolition of wells in Idhna, saying that these measures target agricultural lands in an attempt to confiscate them.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=16248

Israel arrests 8, searches homes and school
HEBRON (WAFA) 26 May — Israeli forces Thursday raided several villages in Hebron area, arrested five and set up several checkpoints at village entrances, said security sources. Sources told WAFA that soldiers arrested two Palestinians from Idhna, one from Surif, and another from Beit ‘Awwa, all in the Hebron area. Soldiers also arrested a 15-year- old Palestinian boy from Al-Samu‘, a village south of Hebron, holding him as hostage until his brother, who apparently is wanted by the army, turns himself in. However, both brothers were released within several hours of their arrest. Meanwhile, soldiers raided the towns of Surif and Beit Ummar, searched several houses, in addition to Beit ‘Awwa’s middle school. The army set up several checkpoints at the entrances of Yatta, Al Samu‘, Sa‘ir, al-Nabi Younis and al-Fawwar refugee camp. In the Ramallah area, soldiers arrested seven Palestinians after raiding and searching their home, said security sources.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=16246

Palestinian seized in army raid on Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — Israeli forces detained a young man Friday east of Bethlehem, relatives said. His brother said 10 army vehicles raided Al-Obeidiyeh village at 3:30 a.m. and detained Ahmad Al-Asa, 24. An army spokeswoman confirmed that one person was arrested in Al-Obeidiyeh. Two other Palestinians were seized in separate raids east of Bethlehem and in Ramallah, she added. Also Friday, the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement demanded that Israel release a “substantial number” of Palestinian political prisoners as a “positive step” toward peace.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391514

Palestinian held over collision with settler’s car
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 May — A Palestinian man said Israeli police detained and threatened him on Wednesday, several days after he was involved in a car accident with a settler. Sharif Azmi Al-Shyoukhi, 21, said police tried to force him to take full responsibility for the accident, which happened Sunday. Al-Shyoukhi said an Israeli settler sped after him, causing the accident. He sustained moderate injuries in the crash. He said Israeli officers detained him for several hours on Wednesday and tried to bribe him, offering to drop the case for 3,000 shekels ($864).
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391207

Activism / Solidarity

Israeli army shuts down ‘illegal’ Palestinian protests
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 May — Israeli forces shut down anti-wall protests in villages across the West Bank on Friday. The Israeli army says the unarmed weekly protests in Palestinian villages are illegal. Asked why the protests were illegal, an army spokesman said the areas between Israel’s separation wall and villages Ni‘lin and Bil‘in, near Ramallah, were declared “closed military zones” every Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m … In Ni‘lin, entering its fourth year of protests, popular committee member Salah Khawaja said that despite Israel’s military campaign against the village, the demonstrations would continue. “We lost five people, 700 have been injured and 150 arrested, many of them children. “But we vow to continue and to bring more people to our strategy of non-violent resistance.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391570

Two injured, six arrested as Israeli troops attack West Bank anti-Wall protests
Ramallah (PNN) 27 May — … One child  was injured in the arm, six arrested, and home caught fire on Friday when Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest in the village of al-Nabi Saleh, central West Bank. Israeli troops attacked the villages and their International and Israeli supporters as they gathered after the midday prayers. Ahmad al-Tamimi, 8, was injured in the arm by a tear gas bomb fired by soldiers. Later troops invaded the village and fired tear gas into people homes. One house owned by Abed al Rahman Tamimi caught fire from a tear gas bomb, residents managed to put out the fire; the house sustained damage but the family escaped unharmed.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10115&Itemid=56

Meeting senseless aggression face to face / Gershon Baskin
JPost 23 May — A recent trip to the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh shed a new light on the IDF and its operations — For months I have been hearing about disproportionate use of force by the army against weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh – a small pastoral Palestinian village northwest of Ramallah. Last week, I watched several YouTube videos filmed by activists in the village, providing vivid visual images of the forceful arrests of protesters by the army. I was disturbed because all of the clips showed how the demonstrations ended; none showed how they began. I was convinced that there must have been stone-throwing by the shabab in the village which provoked the violent army responses. So I decided I had to see for myself … As someone who served in the army and was involved for years in the education of officers, I was amazed at the abuse of power, the lack of any real purpose, and the pure show of force for force’s sake demonstrated by our soldiers.
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=221897

Video: Israel to be sued over Nakba Day protest killings
GazaTV (Press TV video) 27 May — Almost two weeks after the Nakba day protests, the families of victims of Israel’s recent violence have decided to file lawsuits against the Israeli Army for firing at unarmed civilians. Several lawyers and legal experts have announced that they will file the lawsuits on behalf of the families of those who were wounded or killed by Israeli gunfire.
http://gazatvnews.com/2011/05/israel-to-be-sued-over-nakba-day-protest-killings/

Corrie lawyers expose army smear campaign against ISM / Charlotte Silver
EI 26 May — Israeli army spokesperson Brigadier General Ruth Yaron testified this week in what was expected to be the final hearing of the Rachel Corrie trial, now in its fifteenth month of oral testimonies. But once again, the conclusion of the oral testimonies has been pushed back and the Corrie family continues to wait for a final decision Under examination was a report Yaron had written and submitted to the court on the activities of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), with which Corrie had been volunteering in Gaza. In the report, Yaron maligns the work of the ISM by arguing that there is a significant disparity between how the organization presents itself and its actual practice. Yaron argues that the ISM misrepresents itself as dedicated to nonviolent direct action, but in reality participates in and supports violence directed at the State of Israel.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/corrie-lawyers-expose-army-smear-campaign-against-ism/10014

Very short video: ‘Tear down that wall!’
0:37 Protesters envision the fall of Israel’s apartheid wall outside AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. Move Over AIPAC, 5/22/11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbYzFZPqG-s

Solidarity campaign happy Cameron leaving Jewish National Fund
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — The Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom on Friday welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to step down as patron of Jewish National Fund. “This is a welcome development, and reflects the fact that it is now impossible for any serious party leader to lend their public support to racism,” said campaign director Sarah Colborne.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391565

Palestinian ambassador: Border marches part of resistance
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 27 May –  Palestine’s ambassador to Lebanon said Palestinian refugees could march to the borders with Israel more frequently to emphasize the right of return, while stressing that the action was part of a wider peaceful resistance taking place in the occupied Palestinian territories. “This [march] is not a continuous battle [on the border] – it is backed by peaceful popular resistance, which is taking place in the [occupied] Palestinian territories … in rejection of Israeli occupation,” Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah said
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/May-27/Palestinian-ambassador-Border-marches-part-of-resistance.ashx#axzz1NaCL6dJE

Political / Diplomatic / International news

G8 leaders omit mention of 1967 borders in Middle East statement
Haaretz 27 May — Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said on Friday. Canada’s right-leaning Conservative government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost. [G8 comprises the eight leading 'market-economies' in the world.]
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/g8-leaders-omit-mention-of-1967-borders-in-middle-east-statement-1.364459

Prominent Israeli figures urge Europe to recognize Palestinian state
Haaretz 27 May — Leftist group Solidarity sends letter to EU leaders signed by former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, Nobel Laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman and more, saying ‘peace process has reached its end.’
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/prominent-israeli-figures-urge-europe-to-recognize-palestinian-state-1.364361

Abbas to push Palestinian unity government to accept Quartet demands
Haaretz 27 May — Sources close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he will seek to form a government of technocrats by mid-June which will accept the demands of the Quartet, including recognition of Israel. The sources said that Abbas also appears determined to see Salam Fayyad appointed as prime minister on the unity government, despite widespread objection, as he believes that without Fayyad, the international criticism he has received because of the reconciliation agreement with Hamas cannot be countered.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/abbas-to-push-palestinian-unity-government-to-accept-quartet-demands-1.364354

Shaath: New government in ten days
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 May — Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha‘ath said Sunday that a transitional government would be formed within 10 days … The transitional government will be formed within 10 days and will begin work reconstructing Gaza immediately, Sha‘ath said, adding that Fatah was determined to maintain national unity. President Mahmoud Abbas will visit the coastal enclave as soon as the new administration is in place, the Fatah central committee member added.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=391610

Dweik rejects formation of government before reactivation of the PLC
RAMALLAH, (PIC) 27 May — The Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Aziz Dweik, rejected the notion of forming the government before the reactivation of the PLC so that the new government can be presented to it for approval, saying that he received information that the PLC will be reactivated after the government is formed. Dweik told the Hamas Information Office in Gaza that the reactivation of the PLC was still on hold and “we should not be calling for democracy through undemocratic means or call for participation of all by isolating some or call for implementing law in an unlawful manner, the matter is very lamentable.”
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2b

West Bank land won’t give Israel security: Jordan
Reuters 27 May — AMMAN – Israel will not gain security by holding on to territory beyond what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called its “indefensible” 1967 West Bank border, Jordan’s foreign minister said … “I have serious reservations about the Israeli prime minister saying these lines are indefensible and we cannot go back to them,” Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told Reuters in an interview in the Jordanian capital Amman. “It is peace that will bring Israel security …, not increasing the width of Israel or finding a military solution to defending the borders of Israel.”
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/May/middleeast_May775.xml&section=middleeast&col=

Israel denies helping Ofer brothers in Iran dealings case
Haaretz 27 May — The Israeli Foreign Ministry said yesterday it was not helping Ofer Brothers Group get its name off the Americans’ blacklist for alleged dealings with Iran, as the firm had led the media to believe. On Tuesday the U.S. State Department shocked the Israeli business community with its announcement that the Ofer Brothers shipping company had violated economic sanctions against Iran.
http://english.themarker.com/israel-denies-helping-ofer-brothers-in-iran-dealings-case-1.364313

Other news

CCR launches case seeking US knowledge of and role in deadly Israeli attack on humanitarian flotilla
Center for Constitutional Rights 24 May — U.S. Victim’s Father Hopes Documents May Shed Light on Son’s Killing … The federal lawsuit, Center for Constitutional Rights v. Department of Defense, et al. was filed in the Southern District of New York against the Defense Department as well as numerous other federal departments, including Justice and State, and various components of the U.S. military. The initial FOIA requests were filed nearly 11 months ago: only two agencies responded, and their responses were wholly inadequate, according to the suit.
http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/ccr-launches-case-seeking-u.s.-knowledge-of-and-role-deadly-israeli-attack-humanitarian-flotilla-gaz

Bus crash victim: Palestinian who visited Israeli friends / Amira Hass
Haaretz 27 May — The sole victim of Tuesday’s collision between an Egged bus and a truck has been named as Anas Maloul, 25, from the village of Salat al-Dahr northwest of Nablus. He was buried in his village yesterday. Maloul, who lived in Ramallah, was on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem bus Tuesday morning as he returned from a rare visit to Tel Aviv and Jaffa. He spent his last day with his friend Noam Bahat, an Israeli conscientious objector who had spent two years in prison for refusing to serve in an occupying army. Maloul met Bahat when he went on scholarship to study at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. They shared a flat and became close friends.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/bus-crash-victim-palestinian-who-visited-israeli-friends-1.364302

COGAT launches course on operating in urban centers
JPost 27 May — With the possibility of a Palestinian uprising looming ahead of the PA’s planned unilateral declaration of statehood in September, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) launched a course this week aimed at preparing senior IDF officers and government officials for future military operations in urban centers. Overseen by the COGAT Instructional School, the month-long course takes participants to Israel’s various fronts from the Gaza Strip and Egyptian border in the south to the Syrian border in the north.
http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=222462

Soccer / Sweet and sour
Haaretz 27 May — Salim Toama, Hapoel Tel Aviv’s beloved hero and winning goal scorer in Wednesday’s State Cup final, says when he was abroad he missed Israel, racism and all
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/sports/soccer-sweet-and-sour-1.364308

IDF recruits Congolese to enforce occupation, do Israel’s dirty work / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 26 May — [This article is really a reach, since the twins arrived in Israel at age 4, but it's interesting. Wonder how they feel about racism in the IDF] …Not to be outdone by Muammar Qaddafi’s mercenary African army, the IDF too recruits Africans to put the screws to West Bank Palestinians.  Two Congolese twins enlisted in the IDF and were assigned to the Kfir brigade, whose mission is to patrol the West Bank.  Kfir is known as one of the most brutal of IDF units because it operates the checkpoints, performs the late night searches, and generally does the dirtiest work of Occupation … I wonder whether after beating a Palestinian boy, or speaking harshly to a Palestinian grandmother any hint of the savage irony of their situation will creep into their consciousness.  These boys were plucked from the chaos of the Congo and brought to a different and better life in Israel.  All well and good.  But what does the State do to them (an enterprise they participate in gratefully)?  It turns them into the same sort of brutal soldiers who forced their family into exile in the Congo in the first place. 
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/05/26/idf-recruits-congolese-to-enforce-occupation-do-israels-dirty-work/

Israel preparing itself for Twitter war over Palestinian state
Haaretz 25 May — Foreign Ministry bracing for a flood of pro-Palestinian tweets ahead of the UN session on a Palestinian state“We are intensively preparing ahead of September,” says Chaim Shacham, head of the information and Internet department at the Foreign Ministry. Think of him as the Israeli government’s tweeter …  Preparation involves constantly monitoring the blogs, tweets and insofar as possible, Facebook entries too, though many posts are closed to the general public …TheMarker: When you find a tweet, Facebook status or post against Israel, what do you do? Palmor: “We have formulated some arguments that are relevant to what’s going to happen in September, even if we don’t know exactly what it will be. We began disseminating these arguments and statements, backed by links to documents and articles, among the relevant bloggers and social media members..
http://english.themarker.com/israel-preparing-itself-for-twitter-war-over-palestinian-state-1.363910

Facebook’s Mid-East traffic in April: Egypt, Pakistan make gains, Saudi Arabia loses users
InsideFacebook 18 May — Having received credit rightly or wrongly for democratic protests across the Middle East in recent months, Facebook is continuing to make big traffic gains in the region — a trend that had begun before any of the recent protests. But this month it also has lost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of users in some key countries.
http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/05/18/facebook-traffic-across-the-middle-east-egypt-pakistan-make-gains-saudi-arabia-loses-users/

Analysis / Opinion / Reviews

Friends without benefits / Matthew Iglesias
Prospect 26 May — The U.S. is Israel’s BFF, but the feeling isn’t mutual –  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a lot of things in his address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, most of them foolish and some of them offensive. But one of his very first statements was among the most important: “Israel has no better friend than America,” he claimed, “and America has no better friend than Israel.” The former is accurate. The latter is absurd. Protecting Israel is a special project taken on by the United States. The reasons may be good and bad, but it’s a burden we undertake. Israel does us no favors and is no use to us. Recognizing that fact hardly solves the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict, but it ought to be the starting point for what Americans should debate–not Israel’s policy toward its Palestinian subjects but America’s policy toward Israel.
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=friends_without_benefits

Egypt pulls the plug on a failed US-Israeli Gaza strategy / Tony Karon
TIME 26 May — It might have been easy, amid the raucous cheering at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Capitol Hill pep rally on Tuesday, for Israelis to ignore President Obama’s earlier warning of a gathering storm on Israel’s horizon. But Wednesday’s announcement that Egypt plans, on Saturday, to effectively end the siege of Gaza by permanently opening the Rafah border crossing brought home the harsh truth of Israel’s increasingly isolated position … the siege strategy had failed long before this week. Its purpose had been not simply to prevent arms from entering the territory, but to topple Hamas. And it effectively achieved neither.
http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/05/26/egypt-pulls-the-plug-on-a-failed-u-s-israeli-gaza-strategy/

Can Obama beat the Israel lobby? / Henry Siegman
The Nation 25 May — The outline of such an initiative was presented to President Obama in several letters by former senior officials, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, William Fallon, Chuck Hagel, Lee Hamilton, Carla Hills, Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, Thomas Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, James Wolfensohn and Paul Volcker. They proposed that negotiations take place within the following parameters:
http://www.thenation.com/article/160952/can-obama-beat-israel-lobby?page=0,1

A Palestinian revolt in the making? / Jesse Rosenfeld & Joseph Dana
The Nation 26 May — …The May 15 demonstrations reinvigorated the long-alienated Palestinian refugee community; although it is 70 percent of the Palestinian population, it has been largely shut out of the negotiations process with Israel. The emerging unity was on display at Qalandia, where youth trying to symbolically march from Ramallah to Jerusalem wore black T-shirts with the slogan “Direct Elections for the Palestine National Council, a Vote for Every Palestinian, Everywhere.” … While the region in revolt was the immediate impetus for change in the Palestinian movement, the issues being addressed and the solutions now demanded on the street have long been seen as necessary to break the current Israeli-Palestinian impasse.
http://www.thenation.com/article/160975/palestinian-revolt-making

Book reviews — Palestinians in Israel: There may be trouble ahead
The Economist 26 May — The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. By Ilan Pappé. Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within. By Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman. The 160,000 Palestinians who survived the 1948 war and stayed in what became Israel in order to remain close to their ancestral homes now number 1.3m. Long marginalised as a rather stranded little community, they have seldom received much international attention compared with the 4.1m Palestinians who live in the occupied territories. Now two books about them have appeared simultaneously, complementing one another. The first, by Ilan Pappé, is an authoritative history of the group’s 60 years or so of existence; the second, by Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman, is an analytical study that includes radical proposals for turning Israel into a state for all its citizens while still preserving its special Jewish identity.
http://www.economist.com/node/18741300?story_id=18741300&fsrc=rss

Is the Arab Spring spreading to US congressional staffs? / Franklin Lamb
Intifada 27 May — “Everyone knows that Members of Congress are regularly pressured and targeted by AIPAC. You should know that dozens of staffers have been fired from their jobs on the Hill during the 15 years I have been here.” … This longtime observer of Congress and former staffer has been somewhat pleasantly surprised by the strong reaction of some Congressional aides to last week’s events on the Hill and the rapid changes happening across the Middle East … Many House and Senate staffers identify with those of similar age who have taken to the streets across the Middle East, who are thought of as courageous, smart and reasonable. They also understand that the Arab Awakening of 2011 is an historic game changer and they are often deeply sympathetic and supportive … “Here is how Bibi got his ‘spontaneous’ applause”, one and then the other explained … “Key Members … were designated as floor leaders and were seated in strategic locations in the Chamber. Once Bibi began his speech the floor leaders would leap up at the indicated cue phases and begin to applaud enthusiastically. Quite naturally, others would follow either not wanting to appear impolite or to stand out and be noticed as not showing proper support for Israel and its Prime Minister. In addition, AIPAC staffers, who prowl congressional offices daily, let it be known that videos of the Members listening to Bibi would be kept on file and insinuated that how the Member’s performed during his speech to Congress would be taken into consideration when planning this summer’s Jewish fundraising events.”
http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2011/05/franklin-lamb-is-the-arab-spring-spreading-to-us-congressional-staffs/

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groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)

About Kate

American (New Englander); Muslim; A.B., M.A. in political science; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 36 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Avi says:

    And US and EU pressure on, and meddling in, Egypt persists. The West thinks it can buy its way into the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East, the same way the US thought it could pacify an invaded nation by bribing Afghans and Iraqis.

  2. Walid says:

    It’s as I have been saying and raining on Mondo’s picnic; the Rafah opening is somewhat bogus since it opens for crossings 6 days a week from 10 am to 6 pm and those between the ages of 18 and 45 require a visa to enter Egypt. Does the age group sound familiar? It’s like age group of who can pray or not pray on Fridays at al-Aqsa and for all we know from the reported border policy talks between Egypt and Israel, most probably Israel has the final say who gets a visa. Nothing has really changed about the naval and fishing blockade or about the siege blocking food aid or construction materials from entering Gaza. Opening Rafah is to ease the pressure on the Egyptian military and on Israel that continue having more than good relations.

    Those that have been tickling themselves silly with the “Arab Spring” banner should stop doing it for a minute to see clear through these freedom movements that a “spring” never really happened and things are just as shitty in ALL these countries concerned, especially Tunisia and Egypt and other than having gotten rid of their despotic rulers, things have actually turned much worse.

    • yourstruly says:

      with those magical eighteen days in tahrir square fresh in the minds of eighty million egyptians, not to mention the rest of the arab/islamic world, look for the arab spring to reemerge, only stronger and more determined than ever. How does one say “a luta continua” in Arabic?

    • Theo says:

      What did you expect, the same people rule Egypt, as I already blogged two months ago, the egyptians did not accomplish much.
      The same military rules, only the Nr. 1 Mubarak was replaced with the bloody handed chief of the military secret service, who organized torture for years and is friend of Israel and the US. The same police, justice, etc. sit firmly as there were no demonstration for weeks.
      You could observe the same sham in the communist countries, where one clique replaced the other, the change was only cosmetic, the suppression continued as ever.

      In Egypt we cannot expect real changes until heads start rolling, generals, heads of secret service and police are sent to the desert and a democratic civil government takes charge. As long as the US and EU pays the bills, nothing much will change.

  3. Les says:

    The “cooperation” with Israel will not last. Have people forgotten the latest giant demonstrations in Cairo over the past few days in the name of democracy. The military leadership that is doing what it can to slow the pace of democracy is left over from Mubarak and will not last.

    • Walid says:

      Les, the problem is not with the kids of Tahrir Square, their hearts are in the right place and they still continue demonstrating and some of the organizers of yesterday’s mass rally of 250,000 were arrested on Thursday to try to snuff it out before it happens. The Muslim Brotherhood that is now very close to the ruling miltary establishment also came out against the planned Friday demonstration as it also did when the military prevented the Egyptians from participating in the Nakba commemoration on May 15th. You now have the military and the Brotherhood almost speaking with one voice. The military has been ruling Egypt since 1952 and is not about to stop. The Muslim Brotherhood as an organized political party had been outlawed since 1954 but within days of Mubarak’s ouster and the kind words spoken about it by the US on how it should have a voice in the new Egypt, the Supreme Military Council approved it as an official party for the coming elections. In what’s happening, you have the military that has the upper hand and will continue to have it since it has the blessings of the US, you have the Brotherhood that was the only well-organized group to have come out of this supposed rebellion and you have the Tahrir Square kids that are all heart and that were used by the other 2 groups to scream Mubarak out of office. The regime is still in place with exception to a couple of ministers that have been condemned to spend a few years in jail and the kids of Tahrir Square will not see the freedom they asked for. As you can see, there is no talk about letting supplies into Gaza frm the Egyptian side and this should tell you where the Egyptian military stand on this.

      • seafoid says:

        I can’t see the brotherhood clamping down on Gaza.
        The whole point of the siege of Gaza from the masri point of view was to stop Hamas giving the Brothers ideas in Umadunya.

        link to nybooks.com

        is unfortunately subscription only but it says the people behind Jan 25 are being sidelined by the army and the Brotherhood.

        • Walid says:

          Seafoid, having been finally accredited by the military council after being in the shadows (as a political party party) since 57 years tells you that the Brotherhood will dance to whatever music the military would play and Hamas is the last thing on their mind these days. The umadunya will continue being ruled by the military with the strings being pulled by the US. That means that al-Baradei has a zero chance of winning because he refused to play ball on the framing of Iraq and Iran and that Musa will be the new boss-man in Egypt because he has never upset the US.

          It’s sad as you said that kids of Tahrir Square that put so much pain into the overthrow of Mubarak are being sidelined by the army and the Brotherhood. They used those kids to the limit but now are getting annoyed by their demonstrations and demands. Also sad that the Christians of Egypt are now really on their own to look out for themselves. That thing in Egypt wasn’t a revolution at all; it was simply the army and the Brotherhood using the kids to get rid of Mubarak for them. The regime that they wanted to change wasn’t made up of only Mubarak, Soleyman and a handful of crooked ministers, it was about the whole establishment that was propped up and kept in place by the military. One of the current demands by the Tahrir Square demonstrators is for the military to stop making arbitrary decisions affecting the Constitution since the military council is an interim governing body that cannot be changing laws or the Constitution without consulting the people.

        • VR says:

          Walid, I think you assessments are correct, this is why I said getting rid of Mubarak in Egypt was like cutting the tiny tip of a snakes tail off and proclaiming you killed the whole snake. Essentially the military in Egypt does not want to lose its multi-billion dollar check from the USA, nor its position of power and consequent benefits. This is why when I saw this kissing and worship of the military going on during the demonstration I essentially saw the handwriting on the wall, but no one wanted to hear about it.

          I did a series of what I thought needed to occur in three posts on my site, and although it covers the issues with a very broad brush stroke it holds the bare essentials of what must be done for deep lasting systemic change –

          BEATING THE NEOLIBERAL BEAST GLOBALLY

          EXCERPT: “In order to overcome this there must be simultaneous activity all over the world which overcomes the imposed boundaries of nations (another way to divide and conquer), with all over humanity beneficially in control. The process of centralization, whether conceived of as private enterprise (the few), or committees which rise above the people (state apparatus) must not only be discarded but destroyed.

          Going down the primrose path of representation as opposed to the peoples hands on participation is a trap. Many think the path of democracy is found down the road of representation, but it is merely a form to isolate the people from the process of control. If you follow the forms of representation throughout the world you will only find the commiseration of the many and the benefit of the few, and it is not merely that the system has been “corrupted,” it is designed to work this way. So to opt for some form of representation as it is designed today is a form of insanity. ”

          This was followed up with two other posts, I can only link one, because when you do three or more here it is not accepted on this site –

          REVOLUTION: ELABORATION TO WORLD CLASS STATUS, TRUE REVOLUTION 1

          There is a following post on Feb. 27th 2011, same title part 2 which adds and elaborates. As I said before, none of it exhaustive, but if it is not recognized you canot rely on any type of substantive change.

        • Interesting. Thanks. -N49.

        • seafoid says:

          Walid

          I see your point and I am sure the Army is trying to put a lid on this but I really doubt it will work . Of course the Americans and Israel want to put Egypt back in its box but this is a time of massive instability and the context that led to Mubarak’s difficulties isn’t going away.

          Masr ta’baan- Egypt is exhausted and what’s the army going to do about it? The same neoliberal know nothings will return backstage to pull the strings. They won’t do anything to address the crisis because they don’t understand it. That is what is happening in the US in the Obama admin (minus the army).
          There is no reversion to the mean. The situation just continues to deteriorate.

          The Brotherhood may not be playing a very smart game here. Leadership means responsibility and accountability. If they mess up the next 5 years that could be it.

          The timescales are all speeded up. Egypt doesn’t have 20 years for a Brotherhood experiment along the lines of Iran. The economics are too unfavourable and too volatile and the regional situation is too fragile.

          This picture says so much about the poverty in Egypt.

          link to guardian.co.uk

          Why doesn’t this boy go to school ? Why is he working ? How is it that Egypt still has boys with trolleys at border posts?

          The Middle East is a system and systems all have lives. The Middle East system is in a structural crisis

          link to monthlyreview.org
          The functioning of their normal lives has to be analyzed in terms of cyclical rhythms and secular trends. The cyclical rhythms are sets of systemic fluctuations (upturns and downturns), in which the system regularly returns to equilibrium. However, it is a moving equilibrium since, at the end of a downturn, the system never returns to exactly where it was at the beginning of the upturn. This is because secular trends (slow, long-term increases in some systemic characteristic) push the curve slowly upward, as measured by some percentage of that characteristic in the system.

          Eventually, the secular trends move the system too near its asymptotes, and the system is unable to continue its normal, regular, slow upward push. Thereupon, it begins to fluctuate wildly and repeatedly, leading to a bifurcation—that is, to a chaotic situation in which a stable equilibrium cannot be maintained.

        • Walid says:

          Great blog, VR, I see you’ve been writing about Egypt from the start and you smelled very early on what this “revolution” was never about. I agree about putting the power into the hands of the people but not to the extreme limit where you take it in blowing away all forms of greedy entrepreneurship because while this would make everyone truly equal, in the end it makes them all equally poor; if forced to make a choice, I’d still rather live in the wicked USA than in Cuba. Getting back to the bogus revolution, I found this small piece from your blog most interesting:

          “The military, whether it is propped up by foreign capital or not, whether our loved ones are in its ranks or not, is never designed to listen to nor obey the voice of the people. All military should subordinate itself to the will of the people, and if they refuse they are nothing but the servants of the system which the people wish to do away with. Whether the force of the military is applied either domestically or in foreign war it is not by the will of the people, and it does nothing to protect you but is designed for the will and enrichment of the few. If you say to me that any institution of force, military or police, will not allow the people to do what they want to do – then I say they are controlled by other than the will of the people. If you tell me that the people would like to do thus and so collectively but cannot because of contrary force, than that force is not standing by the will of the people.

          The army should be told to stand down to the will of the people, the generals should be dismissed who are propping up anything but the will of the people. They should be told in no uncertain terms that they will join the ranks of the people, and this because they have been isolated and cloistered, educated to follow orders, and they need to determine who’s orders they are going to obey. The rank and file should be encouraged to break the ranks and not be involved in the suppression of the people, or they will face the people in full force on what has been turned into a field of battle.

          There is no revolutionary thrust which historically never faced the prospect clash with the system of the status quo supporting the few, as opposed to that which is the will of the people. Anyone who told you or implied that this can solely be a peaceful process is either deceived, or they have been infiltrated by the design of the few – because they told you that you can chant and march your way peacefully to liberation, but if this is all you do it will never be substantive change because you will leave the heart of the system intact. This suspicion, which I posted in my last post is correct, it is prescient – ”

          VR, I agree that the army never really cared about what the people wanted other than their common desire to dump Mubarak, but to apply your principle of doing away with it because it’s not going along with the people assumes that the people are already equipped to deal with the situation, which is not at all the case. The only organized group able to assume any responsability or authority there is the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood and it somewhat explains why the US has suddenly written-off Mubarak and become chummy with it. In any event, who among the people can dictate to the army to step aside?

          Compare the situation with Tunisia where power suddenly dumped into the hands of an unprepared people has resulted in 120 new political parties applying for official accreditation to run in the coming elections and only 50 new ones getting it to be added to the current 13. If this isn’t enough chaos for the liberated Tunisians, the government will run out of cash to pay its bills by the end of June if financial aid doesn’t start flowing in. Tunisians are still demonstrating daily for a multitude of demands because of the 25% unemployment with the Muslim fundamentalists set to make a good showing in the elections. Egypt and Tunisia got rid of their corrupt leaders, but haven’t really fixed anything.

        • VR says:

          I appreciate the compliment in regard to the blog Walid. In regard to your response I would like to make some further comments, specifically in regard to your opening comments and conclusions.

          “I agree about putting the power into the hands of the people but not to the extreme limit where you take it in blowing away all forms of greedy entrepreneurship because while this would make everyone truly equal, in the end it makes them all equally poor; if forced to make a choice, I’d still rather live in the wicked USA than in Cuba.”

          This is a common response, in reality it is a surface observation and does not dig beneath the surface of what is really transpiring. It is easy to make such responses when we are “doing well” because what else matters? Plenty. What I call the back yard view has some merit, it just ignores all of the growing commiseration surrounding it. I do not say what I am about to in order to be rude, it is just a plain fact – that the rapidly receding upper and lower middle class is really nothing but the fat around the midsection of an elite. Let me give an example of what I mean by quoting a bit of my last post from the triad I mentioned earlier –

          “It should be apparent to everyone at this point that global finance, financial institutions, banks and the entire financial infrastructure is not there to serve the people. You should have come to this conclusion as you saw trillions of dollars pour into these corporate troughs while the people languish – it should have been apparent when we saw dictators toppled recently with no significant financial shifts in the working and the poor left to wallow in their systemic poverty.

          People should have woken up with the enacted “austerity programs” when they have been the victims, and when financial criminals were given carte blanche being showered with your wealth while the people suffer. As the democratic landscape recedes exponentially, the programs which gave some alleviation to the people are cut, the few who have some means left are attacked and stripped of collective bargaining, and as the people have thrown off dictators only to sit in neutral and eventually be awarded with a pittance. It should have been no surprise for those who even suspect that only an enriched few are served by this representative farce.

          A vote with feet should be made of no confidence in the financial system, there should be a run on the banks. People should withdraw their money from institutional players, and Wall Street should be mobbed with people so that it cannot even function. The function of the private banks and the Federal Reserve should be nationalized and their offices turned into museums! The so-called representatives should be told to undo us from the myriad treaties which enmesh us in this current structure of global finance – this should be the activity of every people in every nation as it stands.

          There needs to be general strikes in all of labor, not merely to get “better deals” but to entirely change the structure of the working relationships. Means of production have to revert to the people, seeing that these corporations currently stand on the foundation of exploitation of the many for the few. The ideas of “working relationships” and that unions are the partners of management have been nothing but a capitulation to our own enslavement. The very legal structure on which corporations stand has to be torn down, and their suit to personhood has to be denied and struck down.

          The “free market” globally as currently conceived is nothing but the monopoly game of the few, so that doors are closed to those who are targets for exploitation and the interpretation of who operates in the market has been left to a small privileged enclave. The shift must be from profit orientation to anthropocentric, the chief criteria has to be the indiscriminate betterment of the people in the process. All meetings of current elite entourage must be shut down at the demand of the people, nothing is done over the peoples heads – it does not matter whether you are talking about an isolated tribe in Africa or the Amazon or the cities of so-called renown in the “developed” countries. There needs to be a new market global order, not only is the current one non-sustainable, it should not be allowed to exist!”

          REVOLUTION: ELABORATION TO WORLD CLASS STATUS, TRUE REVOLUTION 2

          I could go on in regard to the representative system, but this is all I am going to write for now, have a busy schedule today. Suffice it say that it is good to see a critical mind work Walid, keep questioning and searching.

        • Walid says:

          VR, notwithstanding what you deem as my superficiality and back yard shallowness, what you say would make sense in an ideal world but in the imperfect one we’re living in it would be impractical. I loathe what Monsanto et al are doing to the little farmer, but I also recognize that while these biggies are squeezing the life out of the little guys, they are also contributing at improving yields that the poor farmer and the rest of the world badly needs. Blowing them away and starting from scratch as I understood you are saying would only make matters worse. Power was put into the hands of the people of Tunisia and look what that has gotten them. The current systems are not that bad, but they lack the necessary controls and honest people at the helm. The banks didn’t screw the system, it was the political guys that let them do the screwing for whatever unholy reason.

        • Walid says:

          “The Brotherhood may not be playing a very smart game here. Leadership means responsibility and accountability. If they mess up the next 5 years that could be it. ”

          seafoid, these guys have a new look one now and you’d have a problem making them out. Those being interviewed on TV are clean shaven, wearing suits with white shirts but still no neckties. Religion is seldom discussed and you have to expect a very minimal chance of them tripping and falling on their faces since they have now received the blessings of the US and they still have those of the Saudis, of course. Now that they have had their political party accredited after it was outlawed in 1954, they are on their best behaviour and will continue so for a little while into the future.

          The other friendly group, the Salafists outlawed since the death of Sadat, will be fielding candidates under 5 different political parties, one which is the Gamaa al-Islamiya whose current leader was involved in the Sadat assassination. Salafist have even more friends in Saudia than the Brotherhood, so between the army controlling everything and all these religious people wanting to express themselves politically instead of with violence, it’s looking very promising. Doesn’t leave much of the pie for the kids of Tahrir that did all the work.

  4. Avi says:

    Truner Classic Movies (TCM)

    Dr. Jack Shaheen and Robert Osborne will be hosting Race & Hollywood: Arab Images on Film, about the portrayal of Arabs in Hollywood.

    Showtimes: Tuesday and Thursday nights in July on TCM.

    • Walid says:

      I saw Shaheen interviewed last year in which he pointed to many of the negative things I hadn’t noticed in movies about Arabs. I’ve seen most of the movies on the list in my yunger days and at the time thought they were all great but now that I’m older and wiser and have been alerted by Dr Shaheen, I see that he’s 100% right.

  5. patm says:

    We learned from one of our idf hasbaroons on the Levy thread about the use of Congolese troops “to do occupation work.” Here’s the confirmation.

    link to richardsilverstein.com

    • GuiltyFeat says:

      Pat, sweetie, did you read the story behind your link or were you trying to mislead on purpose?

      Israel doesn’t use “Congolese troops”. The story (a piece of Israeli PR fluff) is about twin boys who came to Israel from the Congo when they were 4 years old. 15 years on, they have volunteered for national service.

      Is is entirely misleading to describe them as “Congolese troops”.

      When you pull stuff like this it impacts your integrity as a commenter.

      • patm says:

        Daniel, I first heard about Congolese troops in Israel from a very reliable source: one of your fellow hasbaroons.

        What’s that you say about “integrity as a commenter”?

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          I’m saying that using the term “Congolese troops” to describe two volunteer Israeli soldiers who happen to have been born in the Congo but brought up and educated in Israel, is misleading and a little racist. It’s as if you are ignoring the choice of these two young men to identify themselves as Israeli and telling them that they must be “Congolese troops” and on par with Gaddafi’s African mercenaries (from Richard Silverstein’s piece) whether they like it or not. Do you tell American soldiers who immigrated as children that they are mercenaries?

          I’m saying that you are losing your integrity as a commenter.

          I imagine that you are waiting to launch a counter claim against me and I don’t know what I have done to you to deserve it. You broke into another post to crow about a comment on another site that I didn’t make. You have implied in more than one post that I have lied or misrepresented myself in my comments on Mondoweiss.

          I will state now that I have been honest and truthful in everything I have written about myself since I started commenting here. I challenge you or anyone else to identify a lie that I have told about myself. If you come up with even one, I will withdraw from the site permanently.

        • patm says:

          Get over yourself, woman!

          Go! Go! Tell Hasabara Central to send us a new troll.

        • Hostage says:

          using the term “Congolese troops” to describe two volunteer Israeli soldiers who happen to have been born in the Congo but brought up and educated in Israel, is misleading and a little racist.

          The State of Israel refuses to register an ‘Israeli’ nationality. So racism aside, which of the 135 different nationalities that the State of Israel actually does use for registration purposes do these two volunteer soldiers really possess?

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          And yet, somehow, my passport is valid when I travel.

          Stop defending Pat’s racist description of these young men as “Congolese troops”.

          I just wish for once people would admit when they’ve misspoken instead of assuming that anything I say must be wrong.

          Pat’s refusal to back down from his racism and his bizarre, misogynist and transgender abuse have destroyed any credibility he may have had.

        • Hostage says:

          And yet, somehow, my passport is valid when I travel. … does not answer the question that I had asked.

          I”ll try again. I didn’t engage in racism, transgender abuse, or say that you must be wrong. I asked which of the 135 different nationalities that the State of Israel uses for registration purposes do these two volunteer soldiers belong?

          If the 21 yr. old twins have lived in Israel for 17 years and are still not converts or sincerely interested in converting to Judaism, then I suppose they would still be Congolese. 26 percent of military age Israelis avoid serving in the military altogether. On the other hand, many immigrants do take advantage of the IDF benefits and conversion program as a means of upward social or economic mobility. That is no secret.

        • Hostage says:

          P.S. Never mind. Google translate indicates the Yisrael HaYom article headline described them as the first “Kongolzim” IDF soldiers.

  6. Sand says:

    I can’t seem to post over at Jerome Slater’s blog [?]– but I think it’s important to read his latest entry about the Z-Lobby and the mindset of Israel’s leaders and the majority of its citizenry!

    A (Half-Hearted) Defense of the Congressional Democrats [5/26/11]
    by Jerome Slater
    link to jeromeslater.com

    Sh**! (too spooky) — just finished listening to Alan Hart and then immediately came to your site — saying the same thing about what Israel will do if it doesn’t get its way!@

    Interview with Alan Hart (Part 2 of 3)

    Now that most rational people realize the 2ss is well and truly DEAD –the 1ss is the only solution (basically brought on by the Isareli’s, the Zionist Lobby and its US supporters) — and now both you and Hart are saying that Israel would rather go for the Samson option than accept the “de-Zionization of Israel’ — which will basically give the Christian zionists their xmas present — their Armageddon. Unbelievable.

    And for Iran to attack Israel, is an absolute myth — and you know it. Iran would be decimated if it attacked Israel.

    • Hostage says:

      Now that most rational people realize the 2ss is well and truly DEAD –the 1ss is the only solution

      You know, one of the reasons the “South African model” of beating apartheid worked is BECAUSE of the world’s reaction when the TBVC States of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei were formally established. The two state solution is an unavoidable stop along the way to the one state solution. Without a Swiss cheese state, the Palestinians may never be able to pursue their own legal and political remedies. That will leave them dependent on third parties like Goldstone, the Quartet, the Israeli Supreme Court, or the Arab League to act or speak on their behalf. BDS is only half of the solution. So, some of us irrational people are “crazy like foxes” and are still encouraging the Palestinians to pursue recognition of their statehood within the 67 borders in the UN.

      • Sand says:

        I totally understand why the Palestinians want to go to the UN GA for recognition of ‘a’ Palestinian State. If nothing else it will show the World that Israel is indeed a ‘Pariah State’. The Israeli’s (and their US supporters) will scream and shout, even foam at the mouth, lash out about how victimized and hated they are, but they will look small, pathetic and will utimately be seen for the propped-up expensive enterprise they’ve become [bring on BDS].

        For the Palestinians to have any chance of a State (a 2s) — they will ‘initially’ need money and security (long-term economical sustainability — do we really need to go there!) — neither of which the US and the Israeli’s will give them. The Israeli’s solution is for the Palestinians to give up, and move on which I can’t see happening — So, I predict with the weight of Israeli cognitive dissonance (living in an Apartheid State), and Jewish Zionists around the world (seeing what Israel has become) will become unbearable, and the ‘Jewish’ State of Israel will finally implode. I just hope when the Israeli’s and Zionist Jews figure that out they won’t take the region down with them.

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          “So, I predict with the weight of Israeli cognitive dissonance (living in an Apartheid State), and Jewish Zionists around the world (seeing what Israel has become) will become unbearable, and the ‘Jewish’ State of Israel will finally implode.”

          This may be the least astute prediction I have ever read here.

          Israel may be lots of things and it may do lots of things, but this country isn’t going anywhere. That’s a statement of fact not any kind of sinister threat. Stop dreaming of the destruction or implosion of Israel and start working to raise the money you rightly say that the Palestinian state is going to need.

          It’s in everyone’s interest that the Palestinian state succeeds just as it’s in everyone’s interest that Israel does too.

        • Sand says:

          GF: “…This may be the least astute prediction I have ever read here…”

          Believe you me — coming from you I take this as compliment. You, at times, sound like you are living on a different planet than most people.

          GF: “…It’s in everyone’s interest that the Palestinian state succeeds just as it’s in everyone’s interest that Israel does too…”

          Don’t even try this BS with me. You have absolutely no interest in negotiating a “fair”, “equitable” and “sustainable” 2ss — and more importantly neither does the leadership of Israel (they have made that VERY clear).

        • RoHa says:

          ” just as it’s in everyone’s interest that Israel does too.”

          What counts as success for Israel? Maintaining ethnic supremacy?

      • VR says:

        “So, some of us irrational people are “crazy like foxes” and are still encouraging the Palestinians to pursue recognition of their statehood within the 67 borders in the UN.”

        I hope they do Hostage, if not for any other reason than for some to understand the political nature of law which they have for some strange reason have made into some utopia (where they gather this “evidence” is quite beyond me, perhaps they are inhabitants of Pluto and not earth). Lets have at it and make the plea to the UN, I want to get on to real answers and I want the “foxes” to remember this post.

  7. annie says:

    photos from silwan yesterday

    “photographs from the Friday 25 May demonstration in Silwan against Israeli settlements. Seven people were arrested, including both Palestinians and Israeli activists. Israeli forces, aided by armed settlers, fired heavy amounts of tear gas projectiles at protesters.

  8. Jim Haygood says:

    Yousef Munayyer’s blog (second link in the list) provides a clear overview of Gaza’s status as an economic satellite of Israel. From his latest post ‘What Opening Rafah Means and Doesn’t Mean,’ here’s a dismal fact that you aren’t likely to hear from the Isabel Kershners and Ethan Bronners of the MSM:

    ————

    Since [January 2010], the power plant [in Gaza] has twice had to shut down completely, due to lack of fuel. The plant now operates using one turbine, producing only 30 MW of electricity, compared to its average production of 60-65 MW in 2009.

    Israel’s control over the vast majority of electricity generated outside of Gaza, and their ability to deny the sustainable development of electricity generation inside Gaza by preventing the materials necessary for bringing the power-plant up to capacity, gives them effective light-switch control over Gaza.

    ————

    Electric power consumption across nations can be compared on a per capita basis, in watts per person. The U.S. clocks in at a bountiful 1,460 watts per capita (enough to run an air conditioner, a hair dryer, or 14 hundred-watt lamps); the EU at 700; Israel at 734.

    By comparison, Gazans consume a microscopic 0.02 watts per person (not even enough to make a flashlight glow) — far below most of sub-Saharan Africa. Even Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere with a notoriously debilitated power system, achieves 4 watts per capita.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    While Netanyahu dazzles Congress with claims that ‘the Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year,’ Gaza limps along under medieval conditions with half its electricity generation shut down … for years. Israel’s brutal policy of keeping Gazans on a diet just short of starvation continues.

    Nevertheless, the opening of Rafah crossing has symbolic significance. Egypt has bestowed overnight at Rafah what years of fruitless negotiations with Israel failed to achieve: opening of the Karni crossing on a permanent basis for personal travel.

    The lesson for Palestinians is unmistakable: the patronizing ‘peace’ on offer from Israel and America amounted to little more than a condescending adult-supervised recess for school children, which could be revoked at will. That dead-end route to bantustandom is over. Freedom for Palestine will have to be achieved on its own terms, with as much help as possible from other Arab regimes jarred loose from their oppressive orbits as U.S. satellites.