The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday published its list of the 10 most influential and active anti-Israel groups in the United States, a compilation including one organization led by American Jews.
“While there are hundreds of groups that organize and participate in various anti-Israel activities, we have identified the largest and most well-coordinated anti-Israel groups,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
“These groups are not promoting peace, they are spreading propaganda to assault Israel’s legitimacy. We want to Americans to know who these groups are and what it is they really stand for, which is to delegitimize the Jewish state,” he said. [...]
“These groups demonize Israel through various public campaigns. Their messages are one-sided and fail to take the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into account,” said Foxman. “They unfairly attack Israel while ignoring Palestinian terrorism and incitement. They apply a different standard to Israel than other countries, condemning it for implementing policies to protect its citizens.”
Accepting ADL award, Murdoch decries ‘ongoing war against Jews’
Media magnate accuses Leftists of spurring anti-Semitism under the guise of legitimate criticism of Israel.
Media mogul K. Robert Murdoch on Thursday decried the "ongoing war against the Jews" and demanded an end to efforts to isolate Israel.
Accepting an award from the Anti-Defamation League for his support of Israel, Murdoch described the phenomenon of delegitimizing Israel as a "soft war" which he said has now entered a "new phase."
“This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by delegitimizing it," Murdoch told attendees at the New York dinner where he was bestowed the ADL International Leadership Award. "The battle ground is everywhere – the media, multinational organizations, NGOs. In this war, the aim is to make Israel a pariah.”
Can you believe it…? Rupert Murdoch…! *gah*
I find it a highly hypocritical choice, in light of the ADL’s own masthead proclamation: ADL: Fighting Anti-Semitism, Bigotry and Extremism…
Today’s Haaretz announced this explosive bombshell…
Victory for Israel’s right as ‘Jewish state’ loyalty oath nears vote
After intense negotiations, Netanyahu loses battle to soften controversial citizen’s declaration, paving the way for approval in the Knesset.
…Ministers approved a draft of the proposed oath, which would require anyone taking Israeli citizenship to swear allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state". [...]
Sources close to Netanyahu said the prime minister had decided to approve the proposed legislation in light of continuing peace talks, in which he has repeatedly pressed the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"What we demand of the Palestinians, we must demand of our own citizens too," a Netanyahu confidante said.
*gah* The march onwards to a full-fledged, Fascist State continues on unabashedly…
Labor expects new settlement freeze as payoff for loyalty oath
Junior coalition partner furious after PM hands victory to right-wingers with backing for citizenship requirement of pledging loyalty to ‘Jewish democratic state.’
Labor party ministers angered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s snap decision to back a controversial citizenship loyalty oath said late Wednesday that they expected a new freeze in settlement building as a payoff. [...]
But the prime minister must perform a balancing act. Allies at both ends of the political spectrum and the Labor party hope that his latest concession is a sop to right-wingers ahead of a decision to renew a ban on settlement building in the West Bank – a key demand of the left.
"I hope that Netanyahu’s support is a payoff to Lieberman, so that the prime minister will be able to extend the freeze without breaking apart his coalition," said one Labor minister, who declined to be named. [...]
"Netanyahu is under heavy pressure from the Americans," the minister said. "I presume that he intends to announce an extension of the freeze soon. " [...]
"The decision is outrageous and irresponsible," said Minority Affairs Minister Avishai Braverman, calling on Labor leader Ehud Barak to convene an immediate debate in the party with the aim of blocking the move.
Now, since I’ve been remiss the past few days on the latest news on the Peace Farce, let me bring you up to speed…
It is hard to imagine anything Ross left out. For Bibi, the Ross offer was a dream come true. All that for a 60-day freeze.
But Bibi said "no".
And why? "Netanyahu said he appreciated the letter but could not accept the American proposal because it included a two-month extension of the construction moratorium, which he said would damage his public credibility.
Pressure mounts on PM to reject US ‘benefits package’
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has begun efforts to persuade Likud cabinet members to support a deal with the US in which Israel would limit construction in Judea and Samaria for 60 days in return for American promises, Likud officials confirmed on Sunday.
While the proposal has not been finalized, Netanyahu’s associates have started making inquiries with the ministers, asking them to be flexible. [...]
Following those pledges, Netanyahu would have little to no chance of passing a proposal that would limit construction in the cabinet, security cabinet or septet. No votes have been scheduled ahead of this weekend’s key Arab League summit in any forum of ministers.
The Gaza Flotilla: The Collapse of Israel’s Political Firewall
This case-study deals with the Gaza Flotilla which caused tangible and significant damage to Israel. Israel’s response to future flotillas and the entire campaign being waged against it, requires a comprehensive systemic treatment of the delegitimization challenge.
Folk’s…! It’s a mighty spooky read… (PDF!59pgs) Some key graf’s…
The evolution of the Delegitimization Network. This network aims to turn Israel into a pariah state so it will ultimately cease to exist. It is based in a number of metropolitan cities (US!), within which a relatively small number of individuals and organizations mobilize the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. The Delegitimization Network’s success lies in its ability to harness the Western liberal and progressive elite. It does so by employing a variety of means aimed at blurring its true intentions; [...]
11. These groups are leading a systemic and systematic attack against Israel’s political and economic model, which has already had strategic consequences and may become existential if ignored or inadequately addressed.
12. Moreover, Israel suffers from strategic conceptual inferiority in contending with this threat. In other words, Israel has no effective response to the challenge it faces. This inferiority has caused Israel to repeatedly suffer from political and diplomatic disappointments, despite evident quantitative and qualitative military, technological, and economic superiority. For example, Israel’s ability to defend itself militarily has been compromised; its sovereignty has been challenged by increased international involvement in its domestic issues and the leveraging of universal jurisdiction against it; and it faces the risk of boycotts. [...]
40. It takes a network to fight a network - The delegitimization campaign against Israel is carried out by a network of NGOs based in a number of international metropolitan cities. Disrupting this network should become the main anti-delegitimization focus.
41. ‘Re-branding’ Israel is critical for the battle against delegitimization, as well as for Israel’s ability to communicate its messages effectively and for disrupting the Delegitimization Network’s ability to fulfill its goals.
59. Israel is dealing with the parallel ripening of two processes:
- The successes accumulated by the Delegitimization Network, which opposes Israel’s existence based on a variety of political, ideological, and philosophical principles. Western-based radical leftist elements shape and lead the Delegitimization Network, with the aim of turning Israel into a pariah state. To this end, they purposefully advance the association of the state with the South African apartheid regime in order to undermine the legitimacy of Israel’s existence;
- The efficacy of the ‘Strategy of Implosion’ advanced by the Resistance Network – led by Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas – which rejects Israel’s existence based on Islamist and Arab-nationalist ideology. The Resistance Network aspires to precipitate Israel’s implosion by means of ‘overstretch’: sabotaging processes aimed at ending Israel’s control over Palestinians, advancing Israel’s delegitimization, and developing means of asymmetric warfare deployed against Israel’s military and civilian population.
60. The Reut Institute contends that combined, these forces represent a political-diplomatic strategic threat that may become existential. Resistance Network leaders repeatedly and publicly declare their goal of causing Israel’s implosion inspired by precedents set by the Soviet Union, South Africa, and other countries. This logic is ripening into a strategy that is yielding tangible gains.
Israel commandos ‘peacefully’ board Jewish Gaza-bound aid boat IDF says commandos peacefully intercepted the ‘Irene’, the latest vessel to try to breach an on the Palestinian territory in the wake of Israel’s deadly flotilla raid in May.
"After they boarded, I was standing with my hands around Reuven Moskowitz, the 82-year-old holocaust survivor," he [Yonatan Shapira] told BBC News. "We were trying to protect each other and singing: ‘We shall overcome.’
"The Israeli navy captain came closer and pulled out his Taser gun and said: ‘If you don’t let go… it will hurt.’
"We continued to hug and he shot me twice on my right shoulder. It was painful, but not as bad as the third shot.
"He moved the life vest I had on, so he could reach closer to my heart and shot me, which made me lose control of my body. It felt like an epileptic attack or something.
"At that point I couldn’t hold anything and they grabbed me brutally to the boat."
From the Morning Star report…
Israeli armed forces shot people with taser guns while "hijacking" a British yacht in international waters as it made its way towards Gaza, a Briton on board revealed on Wednesday. [...]
…Mr Vishvanath said that they had been surrounded by about eight Israeli boats and a number of helicopter gunships.
Armed Israeli forces then boarded Irene and tasered one of the former Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) member on board Irene who, along with another ex-IDF members, was putting up a struggle and repeatedly read out a statement telling the naval forces that "the occupation is illegal," Mr Vishvanath said. [...]
Mr Vishvanath, who was the only non-Jew on board Irene, added that the soldiers "almost strip-searched" the crew, disabled the yacht’s entire communications system and confiscated his camera gear.
Haaretz, to it’s credit, followed up on the IDF’s spin…
Jewish Gaza-bound activists: IDF used excessive force in naval raid Activists aboard Gaza-bound ship ‘Irene’ counter IDF version that the vessel was taken over in a peaceful manner.
…Israeli activist and former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira saying that there were "no words to describe what we went through during the takeover."
Shapira said the activists, who he said displayed no violence, were met with extreme IDF brutality, adding that the soldiers "just jumped us, and hit us. I was hit with a taser gun."
"Some of the soldiers treated us atrociously," Shapira said, adding that he felt there was a "huge gap between what the IDF spokesman is saying happened and what really happened." [...]
Eli Usharov, a reporter for Israel’s Channel 10 affirmed Shapira’s version of the events, telling Haaretz that the takeover was executed with unnecessary brutality.
"They used a taser gun against Yonatan. He screamed and was dragged to the military boat," Usharov said, adding that both Yonatan and his brother Itamar were handcuffed.
Certainly sounds peaceful to me…! *gah*
I truly admire Yonatan Shipira’s courage and his convictions…
From that same Haaretz article…
The former IAF pilot said he and his fellow activists were "proud of the mission," saying it was organized "for the sake of a statement – that the siege on Gaza is a crime, that it’s immoral, un-Jewish, and we have a moral obligation to speak out. Anyone who stays silent as this crime is being committed is an accessory to a crime."
…Under the guise of "security" Israel is taking quite extraordinary measures to censor news coming out of both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). Israel, in fact, has such a blatant disregard for or to be more accurate, a blatant hostility towards journalists reporting on the "wrong side" of the conflict that it actually resorts to the deportation, banning, arrest, intimidation, physical abuse and even killing of journalists, seemingly with total impunity.
[Editor removed for copyright violation]
Israel’s treatment of such journalists, be they foreign or domestic, is shameful and the tactics used to control the flow of information coming out of Israel and the OPTs are many. They include:
1. The killing and wounding of journalists by Israeli forces
2. Banning journalists from entering certain newsworthy areas
3. Expulsion of journalists unsympathetic to Israel
4. Military censorship
5. Utilising gag orders, house arrest and forcing reporters into hiding abroad
6. Attacking Palestinian media infrastructure
7. Controlling and censoring the language used
8. An Israeli culture of self-imposed censorship
9. Blocking non-media investigations
10. Preventing critics of Israel from speaking out
Here’s the rest of the blistering critique…(PDF 36p.)
…Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly cooperated to avoid international pressure to extend a settlement freeze in the West Bank, Israeli media reported Tuesday.
According to the Israeli news site Inyan Merkazi, the pair agreed to acting out a scenario which involved the far-right foreign minister’s party Yisrael Beitanu threatening to withdraw from Netanyahu’s coalition government.
The Israeli premier and foreign minister believed the threat of the Israeli government’s collapse would be deemed a valid excuse by the US and Arab countries not to extend the moratorium, which ends on 26 September, the news site reported.
Lieberman’s threat would never likely be carried out, according to the report, which added that his opponents would have him questioned on charges of wire-tapping them and money laundering if he did.
The news site further reported that Netanyahu knew Lieberman would not withdraw from the coalition government, in which it holds five portfolios, and that there was global consensus that the foreign minister impeded peace efforts in the region.
Jerusalem rail firm planning to segregate carriages along gender lines
Pressure from city’s ultra-orthodox Jews has already led to some bus lines confining women to the rear of vehicles
…The railway, which is due to be operational next spring, could have separate compartments for men and women, Yair Naveh, the chief executive of CityPass, said today.
"The train was built to serve everyone," he said. "It is not a problem to declare every third or fourth car a mehadrin [kosher] car."
The suggestion was swiftly condemned by Jerusalem city councillor Rachel Azariya, who said: "Naveh was appointed to run a project – that doesn’t mean that he can tell people where to sit and where not to sit…
I am actually bummed that a Target is being built here in Hilo town, right behind our local Wal-Mart, to add insult to injury… It’s going to be a Super Target and it’s planned square footage alone far exceeds the Gaza Plaza by half at least…! The Big Island already has two Wal-Marts, an already built Target, along with several large shopping malls to support a population base of 150K+…! Gaza has a population of 1.5 million…
But, I digress…
Here’s a first hand account of the dire circumstances the Gazans face daily…
"…It’s three years since I’ve been back to Gaza. Much has happened since my last visit. Fatah waged a failed coup and now rules only the West Bank, while Hamas is in charge of Gaza. Israel launched its deadly Cast Lead assault. Fuel shortages. Electricity crises. And so on.
I needed to regain perspective. So I walked and I talked and I listened. I went to the beach where women – skinny jeans and all – were smoking water pipes, swimming and generally having a good time, irrespective of the purported Hamas ban on women smoking sheesha.
During the eight hours of electricity we get each day, I logged on to the internet and browsed the English-language papers. It seemed like suddenly everyone was an expert on Gaza, claiming they knew what it’s really like. Naysayers Zionist apologists and their ilk have been providing us with the same “evidence” that Gaza is burgeoning: the markets are full of produce, fancy restaurants abound, there are pools and parks and malls … all is well in the most isolated place on earth – Gaza, the “prison camp” that is not.
If you take things at face value, and set aside for a moment the bizarre idea that the availability of such amenities precludes the existence of hardship, you’ll be inclined to believe what you read.
So, is there a humanitarian crisis or not? That seems to be the question of the hour. But it is the wrong one to be asking.
The message I’ve been hearing over and over again since I returned to Gaza is this: the siege is not a siege on foods; it is a siege on freedoms – freedom to move in and out of Gaza, freedom to fish more than three miles out at to sea, freedom to learn, to work, to farm, to build, to live, to prosper.
Gaza was never a place with a quantitative food shortage; it is a place where many people lack the means to buy food and other goods because of a closure policy whose tenets are “no development, no prosperity, and no humanitarian crisis“, Gisha, the Legal Centre for the Freedom of Movement, explained in a press release.
The move from a “white list” of allowable imports to a “black list” might sound in good in theory (ie everything is banned except xyz, to only the following things are banned) but in practice only 40% of Gaza’s supply needs are being met, according to Gisha. The Palestinian Federation of Industries estimates that only a few hundred of Gaza’s 3,900 factories and workshops will be able to start up again under present conditions
Sure, there are a handful of fancy restaurants in Gaza. And yes, there is a new mall (infinitely smaller and less glamorous than it has been portrayed).
As for food, it is in good supply, having found its way here either through Israeli crossings or the vast network of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. Of course, this leaves aside the question of who in Gaza’s largely impoverished population (the overwhelming majority of whose income is less than $2 a day, 61% of whom are food insecure) can really afford mangoes at $4 a kilo or grapes at $8 a kilo. A recent trip to the grocery store revealed that meat has risen to $13 a kilo. Fish, once a cheap source of protein, goes for $15 to $35 a kilo.
Prices are on par with those of a developed country, except we are not in a developed country. We are a de-developed occupied territory.
All of the above adds up to the erasure of the market economy and its replacement with a system where everyone is turned into some kind of welfare recipient. But people don’t want handouts and uncertainty and despair; they want their dignity and their freedom, employment and prosperity and possibility.
Perhaps most significantly, they want to be able to move freely – something they still cannot do.
Let’s take the case of Fadi. His father recently had heart surgery. He wanted to seek followup care abroad, at his own expense, but he doesn’t fall into the specified categories allowed out of Gaza for travel, whether through Egypt or Israel. “He’s not considered a level-one priority,” Fadi explained. “Can you please tell me why I can’t decide when I want to travel and what hospital I can take him to?”
Even the cream of Gazan high-school students must lobby the Israeli authorities long and hard to be allowed out to complete their studies. They literally have to start a campaign in conjunction with human rights groups to raise enough awareness about their plight, and then look for local individuals to blog about their progress, explained Ibrahim, who was approached by one organisation to “sponsor a student”.
I have no doubt that if Stephanie Gutmann and Melanie Phillips lived in Gaza their principle worry would not be about “what parts of their bodies they can display”, it would be the fact that they would not be allowed out again. It would be because everything from the kind of food they would have on their plate to when they can turn on the lights to what they can clothe those bodies with and whether or not they can obtain a degree is determined by an occupying power.
Using the phrase “prison camp” to describe Gaza, as Britain’s prime minister did, is not vile rhetoric. It is an understatement and even a misnomer. Prisoners are guilty of a crime, yet they are guaranteed access to certain things – electricity and water, even education – where Gazans are not. What crime did Gazans commit, except, to quote my late grandmother, “being born Palestinian”?
Ketchup and cookies may be flowing to Gaza in slightly greater quantities than before. But so bloody what? Goods for export are not flowing out. Nor, for that matter, are people. So while there may be some semblance of civil life and stability in Gaza, there is absolutely no political horizon or true markers of freedom to speak of.
And as long as freedom of movement is stifled, whether by Israel or Egypt, and export-quality goods, which account for a large portion of Gaza’s manufacturing output, are forbidden from leaving Gaza, all the malls and mangoes in the world won’t make a bit of difference."
Written and Reprinted with Permission by Laila El-Haddad. She is a Palestinian freelance journalist, photographer and blogger (www.gazamom.com) who divides her time between Gaza and the United States.
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, [...]
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Woven throughout that noble charter is the fundamental thread of the right of self-determination. Which also constitutes the central tenet of the next two UN documents that all UN signatories have agreed upon: The Covenants on; Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)… In which, Article I, Part 1 of each Covenant clearly states: "Recognises the right of all peoples to self-determination"…
Sadly, since it’s inception the UN was aware of the Palestinian plight and was finally forced to address the Question of Palestine…
The United Nations has been working on the question of Palestine since the first special session of the General Assembly on 28 April 1947, which established a body to investigate the issue and return with its recommendations. Over 60 years later, the range of the UN’s work on the issue has continued to adapt to meet new challenges and address changing realities on the ground. [...]
In 1975, by its resolution 3376 the General Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and requested it to recommend a programme to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty; and to return to their homes and property.
Recalling its resolution 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974,
Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of that resolution,
Deeply concerned that no just solution to the problem of Palestine has yet been achieved,
Recognizing that the problem of Palestine continues to endanger international peace and security,
1. Reaffirms its resolution 3236 (XXIX);
2. Expresses its grave concern that no progress has been achieved towards:
(a) The exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in Palestine, including the right to self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty;
(b) The exercise by Palestinians of their inalienable right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted;
Giving the Israelis the benefit of the doubt, and using the 1975 start point of UNISPAL, in the following 45 years has the UN made any progress in resolving that Question…?
A poignant anecdote on the Palestinians current political plight…
…Mr. Rajoub was released from an Israeli jail only a few weeks ago, having served nearly 50 months for the "crime" of taking part in the 2006 Palestinian elections. In Al-Khalil (Hebron), Rajoub won more votes than any other candidate. The elections were given the go-ahead by both Israel and the US in the hope that Fatah would win. However, when Hamas won a landslide victory, the US and most other western countries, as well as America’s puppet regimes in the Middle East, were hostile towards the new Palestinian government, resulting in the imposition of a financial siege (followed by a total siege on Gaza) intended to make the occupied territories ungovernable by the new Islamist rulers.
…Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon immediately vowed to fight "Palestinian terror" and summoned his cabinet to decide on a military response to the organization that Sharon had once described as "the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face."
Active in Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas wants to liberate all of Palestine and establish a radical Islamic state in place of Israel. It is has gained notoriety with its assassinations, car bombs and other acts of terrorism.
But Sharon left something out.
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.
Israel "aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.
Israel’s support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official.
Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan. 26(2006) — The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world.
In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.
Fatah, which has dominated the legislature since the previous elections a decade ago and the Palestinian cause for far longer, won 43 seats. A collection of nationalist, leftist and independent parties claimed the rest.
As the Carter Center noted about that 2006 Palestinian elections…
SUMMARY OF OBSERVATIONS
Under the difficult circumstances of the ongoing conflict and occupation, Palestinian voters turned out in large numbers in a strong expression of their desire to choose representatives through open and competitive elections. The obvious pride and enthusiasm of Palestinians about the election process was evident throughout the voting districts. This was reinforced by the professional and impartial performance of election officials. Through the high turnout in these elections and in the 2005 presidential election, as well as the notable participation in five rounds of municipal elections over the last year, Palestinians have clearly demonstrated a commitment to democratic elections. It is now up to the elected leaders and representatives to construct genuinely democratic institutions and processes that will bring the peace and prosperity that the Palestinian people deserve, within a free and independent state.
Even Mahmoud Abbas had realized the inevitable results of the ’06 elections…
Mahmoud Abbas has said he will not run for office again when his current term as president of the Palestinian Authority ends in three years.
"I will just complete my remaining three years in office," he said. "I will not run again. That is absolute."
Ahhh… a minor detail, he doesn’t run, he just extends his Presidency by a mere executive fiat instead…
Hamas: Abbas no longer president
…Hamas leaders say Mahmoud Abbas is no longer the president of the Palestinian Authority since his term expired Friday.
Abbas argues that he has the right to remain in office for another year because the law says presidential and parliamentary elections should be held at the same time, the Jerusalem Post reported. Parliamentary elections are set for January 2010.
…The election left Mr. Abbas in an awkward situation, in control of the country’s foreign policy and security forces, but with Hamas in charge of virtually everything else. The strains were exacerbated by Israel’s move to cut off tax revenues that paid for the bulk of government salaries, and by the decision of the United States and the European Union to suspend most of its aid in protest of Hamas’s refusal to recognize Israel or renounce violence.
Under prodding from other Arab nations, the two sides reached a power-sharing agreement. But in the streets their rivalry continued. The tensions came to a head in June 2007, when fighting broke out between gunmen allied with Hamas and Fatah in Gaza, the center of Hamas’s power. After the Fatah forces were routed, Mr. Abbas dismissed the unity government and fired the prime minister, Ismail Haniyah of Hamas.
Hamas rejected the move and set up its own administration to rule Gaza. The separation of the two territories has further complicated efforts to achieve a Palestinian state.
…Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Friday for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 24, in a political gamble that could end in divorce for the divided Palestinian movement.
His Islamist rivals Hamas immediately rejected the call and suggested they may hold their own ballot in the Gaza Strip, a move that would create two rival presidents, two parliaments and two prime ministers in two, separate Palestinian territories.
Abbas is the West’s chosen partner-for-peace in stalled talks that U.S. President Barack Obama hopes to resurrect soon with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iranian-backed Hamas refuses to recognise Israel’s right to exist.
The election call is a risky tactic that further complicates an already difficult process, but may have been discussed in a telephone conversation Abbas had earlier in the day with Obama, who called him to talk about the status of peace efforts.
Spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said Obama reiterated his personal commitment to establishing a Palestinian state, while Abbas repeated that a relaunch of talks required clarity about the deal in view, and a halt to Israeli settlement activities.
Abbas to Obama: I’m against lifting the Gaza naval blockade
The Palestinian president reportedly told Obama that lifting the naval blockade of Gaza would bolster Hamas, a move that shouldn’t be done at this stage.
We are Palestinians of diverse perspectives and affiliations — scholars, intellectuals, artists, activists, trade unionists, human rights advocates and civil society leaders, inside historic Palestine and in exile — who are united in our commitment to the fulfillment of the fundamental rights of all Palestinians, particularly our inalienable right to self-determination. This universally sanctioned right encompasses, at a minimum, freedom from occupation and colonization in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
During a 9 June meeting with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, you reportedly said: "I would never deny [the] Jewish right to the land of Israel," a statement that you have yet to retract. We regard this announcement, which adopts a central tenet of Zionism, as a grave betrayal of the collective rights of the Palestinian people. It is tantamount to a surrender of the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live in equality in their own homeland, in which they have steadfastly remained despite the apartheid regime imposed on them for decades. It also concedes the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
…The US and the EU continue to pressure the Palestinian Authority leadership to embrace direct talks with Israel, but to what end, asks Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah… …Moreover, Abbas, according to close and reliable sources in Ramallah, is becoming disillusioned with the entire peace process and believes that the international pressure exerted on him to switch to direct talks is only intended to give Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu more time to "create facts on the ground" — an allusion to building more Jewish colonies on the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.
Abbas is showing a modicum of resistance to American pressure. He told a meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council in Ramallah this week that he wouldn’t accept direct talks unless certain conditions were met. These include a full settlement construction freeze, agreement on the demarcation of borders, and an Israeli pledge that negotiations must pick up where the two sides left off in talks during the tenure of the previous Israeli government.
I do worry about whom is negotiating for the Palestinians….!
"Israel will never apologize for defending its citizens," a high-ranking Israeli government official told CNN Monday, after Turkey reportedly demanded an apology or an inquiry into an Israeli raid on an aid ship that killed nine Turkish citizens.
"Of course we regret the loss of life, but it was not the Israeli side that initiated the violence," the official said.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman later rejected Ankara’s demand more bluntly.
"We have no intention of apologizing to Turkey," he said, according to the ministry.
Israel is "concerned" about what it sees from Turkey, he said, but added: "These sort of expressions are a part of a Turkish change of direction and a new Turkish policy, which is an internal matter we cannot get involved in."
Interestingly, Israel is apparently concerned with more than just the Turks, as Hasbara henchman and senior researcher at the Institute for Zionist National Security, Hirsch Goodman, recently reported…
[Editor's Note: Several paragraphs were removed to stay within copyright and fair use guidelines. Thank you for providing an excerpt and a link rather than quoting all, or substantially all, of the original article.]
Israeli research and study centres, as well as the Zionist lobby, are working overtime studying Israel’s opponents in the Middle East, primarily Syria, Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas. Some leaked reports have confirmed that many Israeli experts are engaged on looking at the causes of the decline in Israel’s diplomacy and how the Zionist state can restore its primacy, without which Israel’s political, security, military and economic abilities will also be damaged.
In the face of this failure, which Israel is not used to, there has been a growing awareness of the necessity to seek a new qualitative solution in the Middle East that will give Israel a better position to implement its agenda in the region. According to Israeli sources, there is an increased focus on the need to use more coercion and diplomatic compulsion against Iran and Syria. Coercion coupled with military action is seen as the preferred option against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas and its Palestinian allies.
Goodman adds that the role played by the media in Israel and US is to entrench the notion that the current Middle East reality does not provide any real possibility for achieving peace. Thus, Israel, in cooperation with the United States, has to try to modify the reality in the region to accommodate the Israeli concept of peace, where the media, dependent on the decision-makers in Tel Aviv on the political and security level, focuses on the link between the rise of Hezbollah and the weakening all Israel’s deterrence.
The Israel Project (TIP), an American Hasbara outfit, commissioned Republican political consultant Frank Luntz to examine the effectiveness of Israel’s public diplomacy in the US on the Flotilla debacle. TIP gave the memo to the Prime Minister’s Office, where someone promptly leaked it to Chico Menashe, Channel Ten TV News diplomatic affairs correspondent.
Luntz’s findings are grim. Here’s a summary:
1. 56% of Americans agree with the claim that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza;
2. 43% of Americans agree with the claim that people in Gaza are starving;
3. [Only] 34% of Americans support the Israeli operation against the Flotilla;
4. [Only] 20% of Americans “felt support” for Israel following announcement of easing of Gaza closure.
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