Palestinian sues over Bruno ‘terrorist’ slur

Associated Press

December 10 2009

Ayman Abu Aita waches extracts from Sacha Baron Cohen’s new hit movie ‘Bruno’, in which Aitta says he was presented as a ‘terrorist’

A Palestinian shopkeeper portrayed as a terrorist in the film Bruno is suing Sacha Baron Cohen, US talk show host David Letterman and others in a £67.5 million defamation case.

The action filed by Ayman Abu Aita in US federal court seeks 110 million dollars in damages for libel and slander.

In the film, Cohen plays a gay Austrian fashion journalist trying to make it big in the US. To achieve worldwide fame, Bruno travels to the Middle East to make peace. He interviews Abu Aita, and a caption labels the Bethlehem shopkeeper as a member of the militant Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

Mr Abu Aita is suing CBS and Letterman’s company Worldwide Pants over an interview before the film’s release where the Late Show host and comedian Cohen discussed Bruno’s encounter with a “terrorist”.

In the interview, Cohen, 37, said he set up the meeting in the West Bank with the help of a CIA agent.

Cohen said he feared for his safety and interviewed the “terrorist” at a secret location chosen by Mr Abu Aita. A clip was then played on The Late Show with David Letterman.

According to the lawsuit, however, the interview with Mr Abu Aita took place at a hotel chosen by Cohen and located in a part of the West Bank that was under Israeli military control.

Film distributor NBC Universal and director Larry Charles are also named in the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for Universal Studios declined to comment. Tom Keaney, a spokesman for David Letterman, also said he would not comment.

Cohen also faced multiple lawsuits after his earlier movie Borat including one for £18.4 million filed by residents of a remote Romanian village who said they were misled into thinking the project was a documentary about poverty. Most of the lawsuits were thrown out.

Mr Abu Aita is prominent businessman, a Christian and a “peace-loving person who abhors violence”, the latest lawsuit states.

Before the film, he “enjoyed a good reputation for honesty and a peaceable nature” in his community, his lawyers wrote.

They say any accusations or insinuations that he is or ever was associated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, or any other terrorist activity, was “utterly false and untrue”.

Lawyer Joseph Drennan said mr Abu Aita was never offered a release to sign to appear in the film.

“This is an important lawsuit because it is about the dignity of a specific person. It is about his reputation, about his standing in the community,” Mr Drennan said.

“It addresses a very corrosive and calumnious slur against any young Palestinian who would be a political activist on the West Bank”, who would be called a “terrorist” because of his activism.

Hatem Abu Ahmad, Mr Abu Aita’s Arab-Israeli lawyer, said Cohen made millions “on the back of my client”.

The film drew disdain from the Israelis and Palestinians portrayed in a place Bruno calls Middle Earth.

Mr Drennan said he expected a hearing on Mr Abu Aita’s complaint in late January.

Source

I hope he wins. Something like that could do a lot of damage to a person including getting him killed. Being called a terrorists is outrageous when you are a peaceful person. This borderlines a hate crime for profit.

It could also destroy your life.

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344 US House of Representatives voted to condemn the Goldstone report on Israel /Gaza War

November 7 2009

I have to wonder how 344 so called,  educated people could actually vote against the Goldman report.  This definitely not one of the US’s better moments in time.

Those 344 are saying it is find to kill, murder and maim innocent civilians, children included.  They are also saying it is fine to destroy, UN Buildings,  Schools,  Hospitals and kill a countries Police Force etc.

These are not considered war crimes in the eyes of those 344 people.

Well to all Americans if your country is invaded and those things happen they are not war crimes. Your life has no meaning obviously. When you let criminals off the hook as the US Government thinks they should be, then your Government Representatives are enablers of the criminals.

Israel has broken many International Laws and they seem to always get away with it.

The rest of the world is expected to obey those same laws they break.

I suppose we should not be too surprised by this, the US has also failed to prosecute their own War Criminals or those who have committed Crimes Against Humanity.

Obama wanted to put the US in a new view by the rest of the world and rid the country’s  and rid the country of it tarnished reputation left by George Bush and Company.

This Resolution is an absolute failure in that respect. To condone criminal behavior is not improving your reputation in the view of the world,  it is just reinforcing the criminality of it.

The US reputation is still extremely tarnished.

Now they will of course give Israel it’s almost 3 billion in aid to buy more weapons to kill more people.

Just business as usual.  How sick.

I had hope for Obama but as of this Resolution I have lost all respect for him and his 343 Cohorts.

What they should be doing is cutting Aid to Israel and stopping all Weapons from entering Israel.

If they did that then they would earn the respect of the rest of the world maybe. It would show the rest of the planet they have actually changed from the former warmongering lunatics, we had to tolerate for 8 years. .

The US condones this  Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

They condone the starvation of innocent civilinas and the blokcade that continues day after day.

Recent UN vote results on the Goldstone Resolution

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Poland, Slovakia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United States.

Abstain: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Absent: Bhutan, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

Rep Dennis Kucinich blasts ‘Operation Cast Doubt’

By Pulse

“Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.” — Dennis Kucinich

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a nonbinding resolution (344-36) that urged the President and Secretary of State to oppose the endorsement of the Goldstone Report condemning Israel’s war crimes during its war on Gaza. Of the 36 representatives in the US Congress who voted against the obscene resolution (H. Res 867 a. k. a. the Ros-Lehtinen/Berman resolution) condemning the Goldstone Report as ‘biased’, the responses of Dennis Kucinich and Brian Baird are worth highlighting. Kucinich’s blazing two minute statement on the floor can be watched in the clip below and the transcript appears over the fold, as does a list of Congressional representatives who voted against the resolution. Americans living in those districts might consider writing to their representatives to thank them for their integrity and voting for justice.

TRANSCRIPT

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)  made the following statement on the House Floor about H. Res 867, which condemns the ‘Goldstone Report’ or the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict:

Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.

Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.

The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and Israel, may as well be called the “Down is Up, Night is Day, Wrong is Right” resolution.

Because if this Congress votes to condemn a report it has not read, concerning events it has totally ignored, about violations of law of which it is unaware, it will have brought shame to this great institution.

How can we ever expect there to be peace in the Middle East if we tacitly approve of violations of international law and international human rights, if we look the other way, or if we close our eyes to the heartbreak of people on both sides by white-washing a legitimate investigation?

How can we protect the people of Israel from existential threats if we hold no concern for the protection of the Palestinians, for their physical security, their right to land, their right to their own homes, their right to water, their right to sustenance, their right to freedom of movement, their right to the human security of jobs, education and health care?

We will have peace only when the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis is brought before this House and given equal consideration in recognition of that principle that all people on this planet have a right to survive and thrive, and it is our responsibility, our duty to see that no individual, no group, no people are barred from this humble human claim.

36 voting against (and 22 ‘present’) on H. Res. 867:

The Nays:

Baird
Baldwin
Blumenauer
Boustany
Capps
Carson (IN)
Clarke
Clay
Davis (KY)
Dingell
Doggett
Edwards (MD)
Ellison
Filner
Grijalva
Hinchey
Johnson, E. B.
Kilpatrick (MI)
Kucinich
Lee (CA)
Lynch
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
Miller, George
Moran (VA)
Olver
Pastor (AZ)
Paul
Price (NC)
Rahall
Snyder
Stark
Waters
Watt
Woolsey

Present: (means Abstained)

Becerra
Cooper
Dahlkemper
DeFazio
Delahunt
Duncan
Eshoo
Farr
Heinrich
Hirono
Honda
Johnson (GA)
Jones
Kaptur
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Luján
Obey
Speier
Tierney
Welch
Wu

Source

Senators of the 111th Congress
House of Representatives
of the United States/Phone Numbers

Kucinich is in trouble already. Already being demonized for voting against the Resolution. They don’t want to up set the leadership of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee)

Kucinich Withdraws Amid Uproar over His Israel StanceBy George Bennett

 

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich lasted less than 24 hours as headliner for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner after some of the party’s elected officials blasted the Ohio Democrat’s stance on Israel and threatened to skip the event.
For the Rest click here

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To Israel Hamas is not al-Qaida

The two are radically different – the position of the democratically elected Hamas is about land, not religion, creed or race.

September 21 2009

By Anas Altikriti

The exiled Democratically elected Hamas leader, Khaled MeshalThe exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, speaking at a press conference in Damascus in 2008. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty

The New Statesman’s interview with Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, was one of the most significant interviews with the leading figure in a movement that has been demonised and excommunicated by most of the western world and its media. The fact that Meshal realises that his words will be scrutinised by his allies and supporters as closely as his adversaries confirms that he speaks of the official position of Hamas on a number of crucial issues which the pro-Israel propaganda apparatus has managed to manipulate for so long.

Arguably, the most important assertion made in the interview, conducted by Ken Livingstone, is that in which Meshal clearly stated that the Palestinian struggle was anything but a conflict between Muslims and the Jewish people. He insisted that the Palestinians were fighting against the occupier who had dispossessed them of their homes and lands, regardless of religion, creed or race. He also went on to confirm that the concept of coexistence was largely present in the Palestinian psyche, and that genocide, as suffered by Jews in Europe (and which he described as “horrible and criminal”) was alien not only to the Palestinians but to the inhabitants of the region as a whole.

His statement that Jews, Muslims and Christians had for centuries lived side by side – implying there was nothing intrinsic to prevent this happening again in the future – is crucial. This mirrors Ismail Haniyeh’s response, after he became prime minister in 2006, to the question of whether the Palestinians wished to throw the Jews into the sea: “Does a besieged people that is waiting breathlessly for a ship to come from the sea want to throw the Jews into the ocean? Our conflict is not with the Jews, our problem is with the occupation.”

This unequivocal stand is one that ought to be welcomed by Jewish communities around the world. Rather than the fear-mongering tactics of the Israeli media machine, particularly during the Gaza attack earlier this year, warning Jews of imminent attacks against them and their facilities, Meshal was sending a clear message of assurance that the Palestinian struggle was political rather than religious and about real political grievances and not against the Jewish people per se. This comes after Meshal had himself publicly rejected any attack committed anywhere in the world which exploited the premise of the Palestinian struggle.

His comments on democracy were equally enlightening. He explained that since the Palestinian people included the entire political, religious and ideological spectrums, Hamas would abide by the outcome of their vote, respect the rights of different faiths and political views, and refrain from imposing Islamic law against the wishes of the people. This position has been condemned by al-Qaida and the leading Salafi-jihadi theologian Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi who stated that they and Hamas shared “neither ideology nor doctrine”.

Meshal’s interview was denounced by Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis on grounds that would equally exclude the government from talking to Israel were it not for the double standards applied to Palestine and the Middle East. Indeed, the very fact that Ivan Lewis should be made a minister with responsibility for the Middle East, given his clear bias as a former deputy leader of the Labour Friends of Israel, is a sad indication of how little interest it displays in convincing people of any kind of fairness in its approach to this part of the world.

The British government led the way in proscribing Hamas when the Islamic movement won the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in January 2006. More recently it is reported that the British government has been heavily involved in training and supporting the security forces of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which have been accused of imprisoning, torturing and physically abusing members of Hamas and other political factions. While finding time to condemn an interview in a weekly magazine, neither Ivan Lewis nor the British government as a whole has accepted the finding of the authoritative UN report on Gaza authored by a committee led by a South African judge well known for his support for Israel, which condemned Israel for war crimes and possibly even crimes against humanity in Gaza.

A few weeks ago in Oxford, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, spoke promisingly on the Palestinian issue, making clear that al-Qaida and Hamas were quite different. On that he was right. When the Twin Towers were attacked in September 2001, the Palestinian intifada was at its peak and people around the world were gripped by the resolve and tenacity of the Palestinian people. Visiting South Africa at the time, I found most universities had unions supporting the Palestinian struggle and comparing it to their own successful struggle against apartheid.

However, one immediate reaction to the collapse of the towers and the death of almost 3,000 Americans was the mobilisation of the Israeli propaganda machine which claimed that the fight it was engaged in on the streets of Palestinian towns and villages was the same as that which the US and its people had horrifically come face to face with. The message was that Hamas, which was in the forefront of the Palestinian struggle, was one and the same as al-Qaida, and that their persecution of Hamas was simply part of the global war on terror. The radical different policies and methods of Hamas and al-Qaida, not least the refusal of Hamas to take up arms outside Palestine, were dismissed.

Even the most superficial examination exposes these lies. Al-Qaida has four main features: it has called for a “global war on the Crusaders and Jews“; it sees any target anywhere around the world that serves its cause as legitimate; it dismisses democracy as an affront to Islam and a satanic system of rule; and it believes in enforcing Sharia law in all Muslim countries, if not beyond.

As Gideon Levy, a columnist for the popular Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, explains in the New Statesman, Hamas is totally different. In fact, Hamas supports democracy, is the democratically elected majority representative of the Palestinian people and takes up arms solely within Palestine because there is no alternative against an illegal occupying power that confiscates its people’s lands and destroys their livelihoods. In similar circumstances, as Israeli leaders have themselves admitted, any people in the world would do the same.

It is high time that we act assertively to resolve the 61-year Palestinian tragedy and end the ongoing crisis. It is time for the British government to stop discrediting itself by blatant double standards and to listen to many, including the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, and to recognise and speak directly to those whom the Palestinian people have chosen to represent them: Hamas.

Source

People should be allowed to elect who they want to represent them.

The West and Europe should be ashamed of themselves.

PA minister accuses Israel of neglecting prisoners’ health Plus two very good reports on the way Israel forces Palistinians to plead Guilty to crimes they didn’t commit

UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection

Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 8:21 am  Comments Off on To Israel Hamas is not al-Qaida  
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Embargo against Israel: Spreading Willingness in the Middle East

Qatar to cut relations with Israel?
January 12 2009

Qatar’s premier says Doha will cut trade ties with Israel if other Arab states are united.

Doha has proclaimed that it would be willing to sever its trade relations with Israel if the Arab world meets certain conditions.

“If Arab countries decide collectively to sever relations [with Israel], we will join the Arabs,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani said in a televised interview with Al-Jazeera.

The Qatari prime minister added that Israeli operations in Gaza have created a humanitarian crisis that can only be alleviated by such collective action.

“They only want Qatar to make a sacrifice [while] they continue to deal with the Jewish state,” he added.

Even if it severs relations with Israel, Doha says it will not close down Israel’s trade office, which has been run by two Israeli diplomats since 1996.

Qatar has lobbied for an extraordinary Arab summit to discuss “measures to address the continued Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip”, but its efforts have been inconclusive.

Over 900 Palestinians — the native population of the land — have been killed and more than 4000 wounded in Israeli military operations in Gaza since December 27. The UN has only managed to adopt a nonbinding resolution to condemn the crimes.

The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the latest of a series which began when world powers created Israel in 1948 under the Zionist slogan of a ‘land without a people and a people without a land’.

The establishment of Israel in the Middle East was carried out in compensation for the hardships and suffering imposed on the Jews of Europe due to anti-Semitism in the continent.

Zionists benefited by gaining power over the native land of the Palestinians, but the establishment and the subsequent terror attacks against the Palestinian population gave rise to the philosophy of resistance and in recent years armed retaliation.

According to Tel Aviv, the war on Gaza is aimed at ending rocket attacks against Israeli settlers, toppling Hamas and preventing the resistance group from rearming.

Hamas, on the other hand, demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of the Gaza border — which has been closed due to the 18-month blockade imposed on the strip by Tel Aviv.

Source

Jordan OK with forcing end to Israeli ops

Israel has been targeting the Gaza Strip in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

January 12 2009

King Abdullah II says the world must force Israel to halt its operations in Gaza if Tel Aviv does not live up to current expectations.

“Israel should immediately abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1860 and should stop its aggression on the Gaza Strip,” the Jordanian monarch said on Sunday. Source

Iran to tighten screws on Israel funders

Tehran plans to punish firms that directly or indirectly aid or abet Israel.

January 12 2009

The Iranian government has sent a bill to parliament that would hold liable any firm that directly or indirectly aids or abets Israel.

The bill, finalized by the Ahmadinejad administration on Sunday, will impose sanctions on any foreign firms dealing with Israel or monetarily supporting Israeli interests.

The decision came after Israel launched a seventeen-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip that has so far killed 905 Palestinians — many of whom are women and children — and wounded 4080 others.  Source

Can’t say I blame them. Those lovely weapons Israel is using could used on them any time Israel comes up with some feeble excuse.

They will also reap the Toxic Chemicals, DU etc being dropped on Gaza. Of course they want it stopped who wants their populations reaping the a plague of Cancer, and numerous other illness cause from the pollution,  because of a warmongering lunatics.

UK firm blasted for arming Israeli military

US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Israel continues to attack Hospitals, Clinics and Public Buildings in Gaza

Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Who will save Israel from itself?

By Mark LeVine The Israeli government’s justifications for the war are being scrutinised [GALLO/GETTY]

One by one the justifications given by Israel for its latest war in Gaza are unravelling.The argument that this is a purely defensive war, launched only after Hamas broke a six-month ceasefire has been challenged, not just by observers in the know such as Jimmy Carter, the former US president who helped facilitate the truce, but by centre-right Israeli intelligence think tanks.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, whose December 31 report titled “Six Months of the Lull Arrangement Intelligence Report,” confirmed that the June 19 truce was only “sporadically violated, and then not by Hamas but instead by … “rogue terrorist organisations”.

Instead, “the escalation and erosion of the lull arrangement” occurred after Israel killed six Hamas members on November 4 without provocation and then placed the entire Strip under an even more intensive siege the next day.

According to a joint Tel Aviv University-European University study, this fits a larger pattern in which Israeli violence has been responsible for ending 79 per cent of all lulls in violence since the outbreak of the second intifada, compared with only 8 per cent for Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Indeed, the Israeli foreign ministry seems to realise that this argument is losing credibility.

During a conference call with half a dozen pro-Israel professors on Thursday, Asaf Shariv, the Consul General of Israel in New York, focused more on the importance of destroying the intricate tunnel system connecting Gaza to the Sinai.

He claimed that such tunnels were “as big as the Holland and Lincoln tunnels,” and offered as proof the “fact” that lions and monkeys had been smuggled through them to a zoo in Gaza. In reality, the lions were two small cubs that were drugged, thrown in sacks, and dragged through a tunnel on their way to a private zoo.

Israel’s self-image

The claim that Hamas will never accept the existence of Israel has proved equally misinformed, as Hamas leaders explicitly announce their intention to do just that in the pages of the Los Angeles Times or to any international leader or journalist who will meet with them.

With each new family, 10, 20 and 30 strong, buried under the rubble of a building in Gaza, the claim that the Israeli forces have gone out of their way to diminish civilian casualties – long a centre-piece of Israel’s image as an enlightened and moral democracy – is falling apart.

Anyone with an internet connection can Google “Gaza humanitarian catastrophe” and find the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territories and read the thousands of pages of evidence documenting the reality of the current fighting, and the long term siege on Gaza that preceded it.

The Red Cross, normally scrupulous in its unwillingness to single out parties to a conflict for criticism, sharply criticised Israel for preventing medical personnel from reaching wounded Palestinians, some of whom remained trapped for days, slowly starving and dying in the Gazan rubble amidst their dead relatives.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has flatly denied Israeli claims that Palestinian fighters were using the UNRWA school compound bombed on January 6, in which 40 civilians were killed, to launch attacks, and has challenged Israel to prove otherwise.

War crimes admission

Additionally, numerous flippant remarks by senior Israeli politicians and generals, including Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, refusing to make a distinction between civilian people and institutions and fighters – “Hamas doesn’t … and neither should we” is how Livni puts it – are rightly being seen as admissions of war crimes.

Indeed, in reviewing statements by Israeli military planners leading up to the invasion, it is clear that there was a well thought out decision to go after Gaza’s civilian infrastructure – and with it, civilians.

The following quote from an interview with Major-General Gadi Eisenkot that appeared in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth in October, is telling:

“We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective these [the villages] are military bases,” he said.

“This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorised.”

Causing “immense damage and destruction” and considering entire villages “military bases” is absolutely prohibited under international law.

Eisenkot’s description of this planning in light of what is now unfolding in Gaza is a clear admission of conspiracy and intent to commit war crimes, and when taken with the comments above, and numerous others, renders any argument by Israel that it has tried to protect civilians and is not engaging in disproportionate force unbelievable.

International laws violated

On the ground, the evidence mounts ever higher that Israel is systematically violating a host of international laws, including but not limited to Article 56 of the IV Hague Convention of 1907, the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Convention, the Fourth Geneva Convention (more specifically known as the “Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949”, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the principles of Customary International Humanitarian Law.

None of this excuses or legitimises the firing of rockets or mortars by any Palestinian group at Israeli civilians and non-military targets.

As Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur, declared in his most recent statement on Gaza: “It should be pointed out unambiguously that there is no legal (or moral) justification for firing rockets at civilian targets, and that such behavior is a violation of IHR, associated with the right to life, as well as constitutes a war crime.”

By the same logic, however, Israel does not have the right to use such attacks as an excuse to launch an all-out assault on the entire population of Gaza.

In this context, even Israel’s suffering from the constant barrage of rockets is hard to pay due attention to when the numbers of dead and wounded on each side are counted. Any sense of proportion is impossible to sustain with such a calculus.

‘Rogue’ state

Israeli commentators and scholars, self-described “loyal” Zionists who served proudly in the army in wars past, are now publicly describing their country, in the words of Oxford University professor Avi Shlaim, as a “rogue” and gangster” state led by “completely unscrupulous leaders”.

Gazans inspect the damage after an air strike hit a mosque [GALLO/GETTY]

Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University, has declared that Israel’s actions in Gaza are like “raising animals for slaughter on a farm” and represent a “bizarre new moral element” in warfare.”The moral voice of restraint has been left behind … Everything is permitted” against Palestinians, writes a disgusted Haaretz columnist, Gideon Levy.

Fellow Haaretz columnist and daughter of Holocaust survivors, Amira Haas writes of her late parents disgust at how Israeli leaders justified Israel’s wars with a “language laundromat” aimed at redefining reality and Israel’s moral compass. “Lucky my parents aren’t alive to see this,” she exclaimed.

Around the world people are beginning to compare Israel’s attack on Gaza, which after the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlers was turned literally into the world’s largest prison, to the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Extremist Muslims are using internet forums to collect names and addresses of prominent European Jews with the goal, it seems clear, of assassinating them in retaliation for Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Al-Qaeda is attempting to exploit this crisis to gain a foothold in Gaza and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, as well as through attacking Jewish communities globally.

Iran’s defiance of both Israel and its main sponsor, the US, is winning it increasing sympathy with each passing day.

Democratic values eroded

Inside Israel, the violence will continue to erode both democratic values in the Jewish community, and any acceptance of the Jewish state’s legitimacy in the eyes of its Palestinian citizens.

And yet in the US – at least in Washington and in the offices of the mainstream Jewish organisations – the chorus of support for Israel’s war on Gaza continues to sing in tight harmony with official Israeli policy, seemingly deaf to the fact that they have become so out of tune with the reality exploding around them.

At my university, UCI, where last summer Jewish and Muslim students organised a trip together through the occupied territories and Israel so they could see with their own eyes the realities there, old battle lines are being redrawn.

The Anteaters for Israel, the college pro-Israel group at the University of California, Irvine, sent out an urgent email to the community explaining that, “Over the past week, increasing amounts of evidence lead us to believe that Hamas is largely responsible for any alleged humanitarian crisis in Gaza”.

I have no idea who the “us” is that is referred to in the appeal, although I am sure that the membership of that group is shrinking.

Indeed, one of the sad facts of this latest tragedy is that with each claim publicly refuted by facts on the ground, more and more Americans, including Jews, are refusing to trust the assertions of Israeli and American Jewish leaders.

Trap

Even worse, in the Arab/Muslim world, the horrific images pouring out of Gaza daily are allowing preachers and politicians to deploy well-worn yet still dangerous and inciteful stereotypes against Jews as they rally the masses against Israel – and through it – their own governments.

What is most frightening is that the most important of Israel’s so-called friends, the US political establishment and the mainstream Jewish leadership, seem clueless to the devastating trap that Israel has led itself into – in good measure with their indulgence and even help.

It is one that threatens the country’s existence far more than any Qassam rockets, with their 0.4 per cent kill rate; even more than the disastrous 2006 invasion of southern Lebanon, which by weakening Israel’s deterrence capability in some measure made this war inevitable.

First, it is clear that Israel cannot destroy Hamas, it cannot stop the rockets unless it agrees to a truce that will go far to meeting the primary demand of Hamas – an end to the siege.

Merely by surviving (and it surely will survive) Hamas, like Hezbollah in 2006, will have won.

Israel is succeeding in doing little more than creating another generation of Palestinians with hearts filled with rage and a need for revenge. Second, Israel’s main patron, the US, along with the conservative Arab autocracies and monarchies that are its only allies left in the Muslim world, are losing whatever crumbs of legitimacy they still had with their young and angry populations.

The weaker the US and its axis becomes in the Middle East, the more precarious becomes Israel’s long-term security. Indeed, any chance that the US could convince the Muslim world to pressure Iran to give up its quest for nuclear weapons has been buried in Gaza.

Third, as Israel brutalises Palestinians, it brutalises its own people. You cannot occupy another people and engage in violence against them at this scale without doing even greater damage to your soul.

The high incidence of violent crimes committed by veterans returning from combat duty in Iraq is but one example of how the violence of occupation and war eat away at people’s moral centre.

While in the US only a small fraction of the population participates in war; in Israel, most able-bodied men end up participating.

The effects of the latest violence perpetrated against Palestinians upon the collective Israeli soul is incalculable; the notion that it can survive as an “ethnocracy” – favouring one ethnic group, Jews, yet by and large democratic – is becoming a fiction.

Violence-as-power

Who will save Israel from herself?

Israelis are clearly incapable. Their addiction as a society to the illusion of violence-as-power has reached the level of collective mental illness.

As Haaretz reporter Yossi Melman described it on January 10, “Israel has created an image of itself of a madman that has lost it”.

Not Palestinians, too many of whom have fallen prey to the same condition.

Not the Middle East Quartet, the European Union, the United Nations, or the Arab League, all of whom are utterly powerless to influence Israeli policy.

Not the organised Jewish leadership in the US and Europe, who are even more blind to what is happening than most Israelis, who at least allow internal debate about the wisdom of their government’s policies.

Not the growing progressive Jewish community, which will need years to achieve enough social and political power to challenge the status quo.

And not senior American politicians and policy-makers who are either unwilling to risk alienating American Jewish voters, or have been so brainwashed by the constant barrage of propaganda put out by the “Israel Lobby” that they are incapable of reaching an independent judgment about the conflict.

During the US presidential race, Barack Obama was ridiculed for being a messiah-like figure. The idea does not sound so funny now. It is hard to imagine anyone less saving Israel, the Palestinians, and the world from another four years of mindless violence.

Source

The Israeli opposition to the war struggles to make its voice heard – Israel’s ‘other voices’ go unheard By Rachel Shabi in Israel January 11, 2009

Like the media and attitude in the US over the Iraq war, those in Israel who oppose the war face many of the same discourse.  They are verbaly abused, demonized and their voices are ignored. The media is of course spewing out propaganda on the war. They demonize the victims in Gaza. The citizens of Israel are not being told the truth by their own media but this is not so unusual the US media left the public blind as well.

The media should at best be fair minded. They should be presenting the facts, as opposed to propaganda. Like many in the US however eventually they may look to outside sources for their news and their own media will become obsolete and known as the propaganda pushers.

You will not see  the facts of DU or the other Toxic Chemicals being spewed into the air leaving the entire area contaminated. Of course those who work for the media in Israel, will also become ill or their children, relatives and friends. When this begins to take a toll on the population , the media will then be walking in their own  shame.

Neglecting the truth and leaving the population blind to the facts, is one of the most hateful,  irresponsible, cruel things, they could do to themselves and the public at large. When the cancer rates begin to climb the media will be responsible in part for failing to do their job.

The Israeli Government of course are totally responsible for the futre deaths, those in the present and many from the past. They have committed many crimes against humanity and committed out and out murder.

I recall so many times reading articles about people being stopped at check points. Many of reports were about Palestinians trying to get to a hospital, to get medical treatment. Of course they were many times held at the check point, until the ill child, man or woman died.

By preventing them from going through the check point, was nothing more then murder of the cruelest kind. This was just one form of torture used by the Israelis. They had many ways of implementing, torture or harassment, used against  the Palestinians.

So imagine yourself trying to get to the hospital and your child who is very ill. Imagine if you can the police stop you. They make you wait on the side of the road until your child dies,  for no reason, other then they can. This of course, they failed to mention in the reports, that Israel 79 percent of the time causes conflicts.

So they have caused your child to die at a t check point,  how would you feel? Angry, outraged, terrorized, horrified, the list of emotions are extensive. Would want to kill someone or would you complacently sit back and say “OH I understand”. Not in a million years would you feel happy or thrilled now would you. This would be a moment in time when you wanted to kill, those responsible for the death of your child…

You would hate them. Would you not?

I live in a place where if my child were ill,  I was headed to the hospital and I was stopped for speeding, lets say, I would probably get a “Police Escort”, to assure, I arrived safe  and as fast as possible to the hospital.

I would expect nothing less from my “Police Force”,  in that type of event.

Not so  for the Palestinians the complete opposite is their reality.

If in fact my Police Force delayed me on the side of the road until my child died and they full well knew he or she was extremely ill, I would raise the roof through out my entire country and scream at the top of my lungs until they were punished for such a cruel and hateful act.

I would expect no less from the “military” of my country as well. If they are in a war zone and someone were ill or injured, I would expect them to assure said  person would receive medical treatment, as soon as possible.  I would be appalled to discover they deliberately prevented someone from getting help.

Even the Red Cross had to wait for four day to get to victims of a bombing in Gaza. This is typical of Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians. As I read the report on the incident with the Red Cross, it didn’t surprise me at all. This happens all to often even when there isn’t a war.

IF you were shocked by that incident about the “Red Cross” then obviously you are very unaware of the real reality, of what has been happening to Palestinians.  Blame your main stream media, for failing to inform you.

They failed to tell you the truth  about the years of oppression.

They failed to tell you how the embargo really affected the people of Gaza.

They failed to tell you the truth about many things pertaining to the Palestinians and how they suffered.

They failed to tell you the truth.

They failed to tell you this.

The Ceasefire was broken by Israel, when their armed forces carried out several attacks on November the 4th 2008,  resulting in the death of 6 Palestinians.

Hamas had not fired a rocket since June 19 2008 ( when the Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was finalized) and only resumed after the Israeli attacks.

If anyone can claim “Self Defense” it is the Palestinians.

Israels claim of self defense is nothing more then fabricated propaganda.

Instead the mainstream media,  demonized those who needed help.

They demonized the victims. They should be hanging their heads in shame,  for their absolute failure to be honest with the public.

Fortunately there are some who have not failed to let the truth be known, but they to have been demonized for telling the truth.  How unpatriotic of them. To those who forged ahead on the road to truth in spite of criticism and harassment, I thank you

Digging out the “truth” is what real journalism is about.

US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

Red Cross slams Israel over 4 day wait to access  wounded

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel killing their own by Using Deadly Weapons of Mass Destuction against Gaza

US Senate Endorses Israel’s War on Gaza

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Gaza attacks spark outcry

BEN LEMPHERS for Metro Edmonton

Hundreds of people gathered outside city hall in support of Palestine, calling for peace and justice. The well-attended, lively demonstration is in response to Israel’s escalating attacks on Gaza, which has claimed several civilian lives. Another gathering is planned for next Saturday.

Local protesters call for end to latest Middle East violence
By JEFF CUMMINGS
January 5 2009

Hundreds of protesters cheered, shouted and sometimes cried in front of city hall yesterday in an emotional rally calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Many were seen carrying signs, while others from Edmonton’s Islamic community were seen wearing Palestinian headscarves and waving Palestinian flags chanting, “Free, free Palestine.”

“This is not an equal war, not a self-defence act, it is a massacre,” read one sign.

Alaa Kadry, a co-organizer behind the large protest, says Israel’s actions against Gaza have affected a large number of families who live in Edmonton.

Some are still having a hard time trying to reach relatives caught in the war, he says.
“We have many families right now who are under siege,” said Kadry, a member of the Canadian-Palestine Cultural Association.

“This is a stand against aggression, against oppression, against all of the massacres that have taken place right now.”

Kadry says the attacks on Gaza are not self-defence, as what many in the international community are calling it.

Peggy Morton, a member with the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism, said another protest is being planned at city hall on Saturday and they will keep on protesting “as long as the attacks on Gaza take place.”

Similar protests were held in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver with the largest rally seen in Montreal where thousands of flag-waving protesters flooded downtown streets.

Source

Thousands brave cold in Montreal to denounce Israeli offensive in Gaza

January 4 2009

MONTREAL – A peaceful, well-attended march denouncing the Israeli offensive in Gaza is snaking its way through downtown Montreal this afternoon.

Several thousand placard-toting, flag-waving protesters braved the bitter cold as Israel’s troops and military machinery continued their push into enemy territory.

Demonstrators of all ages gathered in a square on the western tip of Montreal’s downtown core before heading to the Israeli consulate, housed in an office tower just a stone’s throw away.

The march continued peacefully as demonstrators shouted slogans such as “Israel terrorist” and “Free Palestine.”

The Montreal march is the latest in a series of events this weekend across Canada.

Similar events were held Saturday in Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto.

Mideast conflict sparks more protests in T.O.

January 04 2009

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Palestinian supporters in Toronto are planning more protests to urge the Canadian government to speak up against Israel’s escalating military action on the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered outside the Israeli consulate on Bloor Street to voice their concern about the violence which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians.

The conflict began on Dec. 27, with Israel saying it would no longer tolerate rocket attacks from Hamas on its border towns — attacks that had intensified after the end of a truce agreement.

Rafeef Ziadah, spokesperson for the Palestine House in Toronto, called Israel’s response a disproportionate use of force.

“This is not self-defence,” she said. “Civilians are the ones being killed today.”

The Palestine House organized Saturday’s rally and Ziadah said more protests are being planned as the organization is watching developments in the Middle East closely.

Saturday’s protest was one of many held by Arab communities around the world.

Meanwhile, supporters of Israel are planning their own rally in Toronto. A rally is being planned for Thursday night to show solidarity with the military and their fight against Hamas.

Meir Weinstein, with the Jewish Defence League, says Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians.

“What the Jewish government is doing is ordering the Israeli Defence Force to finally take action against those sending rockets to Israel,” he told CTV Toronto. “What does a decent person expect to do? This is not a game.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel would protect its civilians from rocket attacks, which continued throughout the air assault.

“This morning I can look every one of you in the eyes and say the government did everything before deciding to go ahead with the operation,” Olmert said.

Israeli officials have said they do not intend to occupy the Gaza Strip and have been clear that the goal is to stop rocket attacks.

However, the ground offensive would not be “a rapid one that would end in hours or a few days,” warned one senior military officer, who asked not be named.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the ground offensive “brutal aggression,” and reached out to his rivals in Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

In response to the troop movement, Hamas officials said Gaza would become a “graveyard” for Israeli soldiers.

“You entered like rats,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said in a statement on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV. “Gaza will be a graveyard for you, God willing.”

Protesters came out in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008 to denounce the Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip and show solidarity with the Palestinian people. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel)

Source

Protests Sunday Jan 4

SundayJan 4 Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

SundayJan 4 Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Protests Sat Jan 3

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Saturday Jan 3 Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009

Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 8:00 am  Comments Off on Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza  
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Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

New Reports of Saturday and Sundays Protests at the bottom of the page

Iranian protestors attend an anti-Israel rally, after Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Iran is warning Israel not to launch a ground offensive into Gaza as protests against the Israeli bombings of the Hamas-run area continue. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Egyptian security face protestors , who attempted to take to the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Jan. 2, 2009. Riot police and security vehicles peppered the surrounding streets preventing many worshippers and journalists from getting to Al Azhar mosque. At least two were injured during a scuffle. (AP Photo)

Kenyan Muslim protesters in Nairobi, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, burn a representation of Israel’s national flag during a rally against Israeli military strikes on Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

Indian paramilitary soldiers and policemen beat Kashmiri Muslim protesters during a protest against the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, in Srinagar, India, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Tanzanian Muslim demonstrator shout slogans, during a protest, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to protest against the Israeli military strikes in the Gaza strip. The Muslims said they will not rest until Israel stops striking to the Gaza strip. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said)

Palestinian woman protest against Israel’s military operation in Gaza, in the center of the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. About 3,000 Hamas supporters protested in Nablus against the Israeli offensive, singing songs and calling for an attack against Israelis in Jerusalem. Thousands demonstrated throughout the West Bank in solidarity with the people of Gaza.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Nicaragua born human rights activist Bianca Jagger, right, reacts with singer Annie Lennox, left, before the start of the press conference in London to announce the mass demonstration in central London on Saturday to demonstrate against the ongoing Israeli military action against Gaza, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. British comedian Alexei Sayle is seen at centre. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

January 2 2008

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Thousands protested Friday against Israel’s air offensive targeting Hamas at demonstrations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Similar protests have been held daily across the Middle East since Israel launched the bombing campaign last Saturday. But these gatherings held mostly after Friday prayers were larger — mainly because Friday prayers are a traditional gathering opportunity for Muslims — and seemed to be more far-reaching in the number of countries where protests occurred.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 400 Palestinians and sparked outrage among the Arab public. Israel says its offensive is aimed at silencing Hamas rockets.

In Tehran, a crowd of about 6,000 stretching for a half-mile (kilometer) marched from prayers at Tehran University to Palestine Square, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and burning Israeli flags.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned Israel that entering Gaza “by land will be the biggest mistake of the Zionist regime.”

Iran is a major backer of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, giving it millions of dollars. The U.S. and Israel accuse Iran of giving weapons and rockets to Hamas, though Tehran denies arming Hamas.

In Egypt, authorities clamped down hard to prevent protests Friday. Hundreds of riot police surrounded Cairo’s main Al-Azhar Mosque, where a rally had been called, and scuffled with would-be protesters, keeping most from approaching.

Police also arrested 40 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood that called for protests.

More than 3,000 people marched in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish.

Many governments in the Arab world such as Egypt have been wary about protests at home over Israel’s Gaza assault lest the protests spiral out of control.

In Jordan, police fired volleys of tear gas and scuffled with protesters who tried to reach the Israeli Embassy in Amman. A few of the protesters threw stones at police, but the security forces dispersed the group, arresting several.

About 30,000 Jordanians gathered at a stadium in Amman shouting their support for Gaza and calling for the abolition of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty signed in 1994.

More than 10,000 Muslims marched through Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to protest the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, aiming fake missiles labeled “Target: Tel Aviv, Israel” at the U.S. Embassy.

Protests were also held after Friday prayers in other cities in the world’s most populous Muslim country, in what was the largest turnout since Israel began the operation.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 3,000 people gathered outside a prominent mosque, according to police estimates. Men in the crowd threw stones and shoes at an effigy of President George W. Bush.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in the Philippines capital Manila, carrying placards saying Israel is a “butcher of children.”

In Turkey, Israel’s closest ally in the region, some 5,000 people denounced the Israeli raids outside a mosque in Istanbul, burning Israeli and U.S. flags and reciting funeral prayers for the victims.

In Syria, some 2,000 marched in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting “jihad will unite us.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad talked with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday and called on the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution forcing Israel to immediately halt its Gaza offensive, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

In Sudan, thousands marched in downtown Khartoum, urging Muslims to jihad and denouncing Israel and America.

Protests erupted as well in the Palestinian territories.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, thousands demonstrated in solidarity with Gazans, calling for Palestinian unity and accusing Arab leaders of silence over Israel’s bombardment.

Ex-Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and other celebrities, including activist Bianca Jagger, comedian Alexei Sayle and former London mayor Ken Livingstone, held a news conference in London demanding Israel halt the onslaught.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil almost 200 people led by local Muslim leaders gathered outside the Sao Paulo Art Museum to protest the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Several demonstrators carried Palestinian flags, and banners reading “End the Genocide in Gaza.”

In Bern, Switzerland, hundreds of people marched, calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and demanding the international community impose sanctions against Israel.

Russian authorities detained about 37 people after a small protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Moscow demanding an end to attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Muslims held a rally at the main mosque in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, hoisting banners that said “Palestinian Blood Is Human Blood” and shouting for Kenya to sever ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, has issued a message urging Muslims to attack Jews everywhere, according to the SITE Intelligence, a group which monitors extremist Web sites.

Source

Just Added January 5 2009

Sunday Report: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Saturday Jan 4  Reports on protests

Saturday Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

SaturdayJan 3 Reports: US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris etc

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

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

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 1:28 am  Comments Off on Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault  
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Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

A Palestinian woman walks past a destroyed Hamas police compound after an Israeli air strike

A Palestinian woman walks past a destroyed Hamas police

compound after an Israeli air strike

An Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

An Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

Palestinians carry the wounded to hospital, left, after Israel launched a second day of air strikes on the Gaza Strip

Palestinians carry the wounded to hospital, left, after Israel launched

a second day of air strikes on the Gaza Strip

An explosion is seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

An explosion is seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern

Gaza Strip

Palestinians look at a destroyed Hamas police compound

Palestinians look at a destroyed Hamas police compound

A destroyed Hamas police compound

A destroyed Hamas police compound

Smoke rises over the main Hamas security complex

Smoke rises over the main Hamas security complex

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

Palestinian fire fighters extinguish a fire

Palestinian fire fighters extinguish a fire

A Palestinian boy walks past a destroyed al-Shifa mosque

A Palestinian boy walks past a destroyed al-Shifa mosque

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

A Hamas policeman shouts in front of a burning building

A Hamas policeman shouts in front of a burning building

A Palestinian man inspects the destroyed house of the governor in Gaza City

A Palestinian man inspects the destroyed house of the

governor in Gaza City

A Palestinian man looks at a destroyed building of the Islamic University in Gaza City

A Palestinian man looks at a destroyed building of the Islamic

University in Gaza City

A Palestinian man smokes a cigarette in front of the rubble of a destroyed mosque following an Israeli air strike in the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip

A Palestinian man smokes a cigarette in front of the rubble

of a destroyed mosque following an Israeli air strike in

the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip

Palestinian firemen extinguish fire from a building following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

Palestinian firemen extinguish fire from a building following an

Israeli air strike in Gaza City

A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on the ground as other men look for survivors outside the Hamas police headquarters

A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on

the ground as other men look for survivors outside the

Hamas police headquarters

Palestinians inspect the rubble of the presidential building, the office of president Mahmoud Abbas which is now under Hamas control, after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

Palestinians inspect the rubble of the presidential building,

the office of president Mahmoud Abbas which is now

under Hamas control, after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

Palestinian inspect a building after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

Palestinian inspect a building after it was destroyed by an Israeli

air strike

Fire and smoke rise from a destroyed building as Palestinians carry a victim of an Israeli air strike that targeted Buriej refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip

Fire and smoke rise from a destroyed building as Palestinians

carry a victim of an Israeli air strike that targeted Buriej refugee

camp in the central Gaza Strip

Palestinian civil defence workers use a hose in an attempt to control a fire consuming a building following a fresh Israeli air strike in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip

Palestinian civil defence workers use a hose in an attempt to control

a fire consuming a building following a fresh Israeli air strike

in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History are Ignored

By Robert Fisk

December 29 2008

We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care any more – providing we don’t offend the Israelis. It’s not clear how many of the Gaza dead are civilians, but the response of the Bush administration, not to mention the pusillanimous reaction of Gordon Brown, reaffirm for Arabs what they have known for decades: however they struggle against their antagonists, the West will take Israel’s side. As usual, the bloodbath was the fault of the Arabs – who, as we all know, only understand force.

Ever since 1948, we’ve been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis – just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist “death wagon” will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be “liberated”. And always Mr Bush Snr or Mr Clinton or Mr Bush Jnr or Mr Blair or Mr Brown have called upon both sides to exercise “restraint” – as if the Palestinians and the Israelis both have F-18s and Merkava tanks and field artillery.

Hamas’s home-made rockets have killed just 20 Israelis in eight years, but a day-long blitz by Israeli aircraft that kills almost 300 Palestinians is just par for the course.

The blood-splattering has its own routine. Yes, Hamas provoked Israel’s anger, just as Israel provoked Hamas’s anger, which was provoked by Israel, which was provoked by Hamas, which … See what I mean? Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel bombs Hamas, Hamas fires more rockets and Israel bombs again and … Got it? And we demand security for Israel – rightly – but overlook this massive and utterly disproportionate slaughter by Israel. It was Madeleine Albright who once said that Israel was “under siege” – as if Palestinian tanks were in the streets of Tel Aviv.

By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli.

Back in 2006, it was 10 Lebanese dead for one Israeli dead. This weekend was the most inflationary exchange rate in a single day since – the 1973 Middle East War? The 1967 Six Day War? The 1956 Suez War? The 1948 Independence/Nakba War? It’s obscene, a gruesome game – which Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, unconsciously admitted when he spoke this weekend to Fox TV. “Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game,” Barak said.

Exactly. Only the “rules” of the game don’t change. This is a further slippage on the Arab-Israeli exchanges, a percentage slide more awesome than Wall Street’s crashing shares, though of not much interest in the US which – let us remember – made the F-18s and the Hellfire missiles which the Bush administration pleads with Israel to use sparingly.

Quite a lot of the dead this weekend appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve? Is Hamas going to say: “Wow, this blitz is awesome – we’d better recognise the state of Israel, fall in line with the Palestinian Authority, lay down our weapons and pray we are taken prisoner and locked up indefinitely and support a new American ‘peace process’ in the Middle East!” Is that what the Israelis and the Americans and Gordon Brown think Hamas is going to do?

Yes, let’s remember Hamas’s cynicism, the cynicism of all armed Islamist groups. Their need for Muslim martyrs is as crucial to them as Israel’s need to create them. The lesson Israel thinks it is teaching – come to heel or we will crush you – is not the lesson Hamas is learning. Hamas needs violence to emphasise the oppression of the Palestinians – and relies on Israel to provide it. A few rockets into Israel and Israel obliges.

Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who’s never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word.

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.

Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated “terrorism”. So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles.

Source

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 7:28 am  Comments Off on Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians  
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Prime Minister’s plea on oil prices as he tours the Middle East to secure IMF funding

By Nigel Morris

November 1 2008

Gordon Brown flies out to the Gulf today on a mission to persuade the region’s oil-rich states to help combat the global economic meltdown.

He is expected to meet the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and ask them to pump billions of pounds into the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is struggling to cope with pleas for help from countries facing collapse in their financial system.

The Prime Minister will also urge them not to cut production in an effort to reverse the slide in oil prices over the past month. The size of the challenge facing the British economy was underlined on the eve of the tour, as Mr Brown was warned that levels of debt and borrowing will climb higher than during the last recession in the early 1990s.

A report by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies concluded that the Government was going into the recession with a “significantly higher” level of debt than in 1990. Even excluding the cost of nationalising Northern Rock, public sector net debt is due to reach 39.7 per cent of gross domestic product this year and is “very likely” to rise above 46.2 per cent within the next couple of years.

The Prime Minister has sought to emphasise the “global” nature of the economic downturn. Ahead of his latest trip abroad he signalled fears that the $250bn (£155bn) fund available to the IMF to help fragile economies might not be enough to cope with the extent of global downturn. Hungary, Iceland and Ukraine have already agreed emergency loans, while other countries queuing up for help include Belarus, Turkey and – critically for regional security – Pakistan.

Mr Brown believes the IMF’s coffers should be topped up by the rapidly-growing economies of the Gulf region, whose revenues have soared as fuel prices leapt this year. He is also targeting China, which is sitting on large reserves of capital.

The extra cash required by the IMF to counter the international turbulence could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. But Mr Brown will probably run into opposition in the region, whose leaders have already expressed dismay that they are being asked to tackle a problem that has its roots in the turmoil in the American sub-prime mortgage market.

The Prime Minister will also express his opposition to the decision of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output from today by 1.5 million barrels a day.

The Gulf nations, which produce more than half of the world’s oil, have seen the price of a barrel fall from a high of $147 (£91) in July to below $65 yesterday. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said yesterday: “We recognise over that over the long-term global demand for oil is increasing, so over the long-term price is likely to increase. But what we want to avoid is the sharp increases we have seen in recent months.” Mr Brown is also planning to renew his call on the Gulf states to invest in renewable energy technology.

He is being accompanied by Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, and Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and more than 20 business leaders.

During a visit to Edinburgh yesterday, Mr Brown said low interest rates and falling inflation, along with lower national debt than other countries, would help Britain survive the turbulence. “It is the first global crisis that we are having to deal with in this new industrial age where so much is global. I am confident that the opportunities for our economy are great in the years to come.”

The shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, yesterday accused the Prime Minister of trying to “spend his way out of recession” at the risk of exacerbating the downturn and saddling future generations with huge tax increases to combat rising national debt.

In a speech drawing dividing lines between Conservative and Labour approaches to the economic crisis, he denounced Mr Brown as irresponsible for suggesting that the Government can “borrow without limit” to stave off recession.

He said the policy of borrowing more to pay for a state “spending splurge” was “a cruise missile aimed at the heart of the economy”, which could require tax rises equivalent to 4p on income tax. But he was attacked by Labour and Liberal Democrat opponents for being “confused” and “out of his depth” in his analysis.

The credit crisis: Latest developments

*PM to urge Gulf states not to cut oil production as Opec reduces output by 1.5 million barrels a day

*Osborne accuses Brown of trying to ‘spend his way out of a recession’

*Barclays to take £7.3bn from investors in Abu Dhabi and Qatar in bid to maintain bonus packages

*Investors in the Middle East could end up owning as much as one-third of banking giant’s shares

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Poverty is not decreasing as the World Bank claims


The Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved by 2015 at the present rate of progress

Progress in basic social indicators slowed down last year all over the world and at the present rate it does not allow for the internationally agreed poverty reduction goals to be met by 2015, unless substantial changes occur. This is the main conclusion that can be extracted from the 2008 figures of the Basic Capabilities Index (BCI), calculated by Social Watch.

Out of 176 countries for which a BCI figure can be computed, only 21 register noticeable progress in relation to how they were in 2000. Other 55 countries show some progress, but at a slow rate, while 77 countries are stagnated or worse. Information is insufficient to show trends for the remaining 23. As the impact of the food crisis that started in 2006 begins to be registered by the new statistics coming in, the situation is likely to get worse in the next months.

Contrary to frequent claims that poverty is diminishing fast in the world, the index computed by Social Watch shows that the deficient coverage of the basic needs required to escape poverty persists; even more, it is increasing, in spite of impressive economic growth in most developing countries.

LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN: Slight progress, with some countries regressing.
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA: Acceptable BCI level reached before 2000.
SOUTH ASIA: Significant progress. India improving fast, pushes the region up.
CENTRAL ASIA: Slight progress, with some countries regressing.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: Slight progress.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: Slight progress. No recent evolution data for China.
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Average progress is extremely slow, with some countries regressing even further from already low levels. At the current rate, the region would need more than a century to reach an acceptable BCI.

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Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 7:42 am  Comments Off on Poverty is not decreasing as the World Bank claims  
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NATO to consider talks with the Taliban?

An Afghan soldier holds his weapon at a check point in Arghandab district, recaptured from the Taliban militants, in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday June 22, 2008. (AP / Musadeq Sadeq)An Afghan soldier holds his weapon at a check point in Arghandab district, recaptured from the Taliban militants, in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday June 22, 2008. (AP / Musadeq Sadeq)

Oct. 8 2008

LONDON — When NATO defence ministers meet in Budapest on Thursday, they will face a worsening situation in Afghanistan and vexing questions about whether the war can be won.

Increasingly, military commanders and political leaders are asking: Is it time to talk to the Taliban?

With U.S. and NATO forces suffering their deadliest year so far in Afghanistan, a rising chorus of voices, including U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the incoming head of U.S. Central Command, have endorsed efforts to reach out to members of the Taliban considered willing to seek an accommodation with President Hamid Karzai’s government.

“That is one of the key long-term solutions in Afghanistan, just as it has been in Iraq,” Gates told reporters Monday. “Part of the solution is reconciliation with people who are willing to work with the Afghan government going forward.”

Gen. David Petraeus, who will become responsible for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan as head of U.S. Central Command on Oct. 31, agreed.

“I do think you have to talk to enemies,” Petraeus said Wednesday at an appearance at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, when asked about potential dialogue with the Taliban.

“You’ve got to set things up. You’ve got to know who you’re talking to. You’ve got to have your objectives straight,” he said. “But I mean, what we did do in Iraq ultimately was sit down with some of those that were shooting at us. What we tried to do was identify those who might be reconcilable.”

In terms of Afghanistan, he said: “The key there is making sure that all of that is done in complete co-ordination with complete support of the Afghan government — and with President Karzai.”

But entering negotiations with the Taliban raises difficult issues.

It is not clear whether there is a unified Taliban command structure that could engage in serious talks, and the group still embraces the hardline ideology that made them pariahs in the West until their ouster from power in 2001.

During its 1996-2001 rule, Afghan women and girls were barred from attending school or holding jobs, music and television were banned, men were compelled to wear beards, and artwork or statues deemed idolatrous or anti-Muslim were destroyed.

In an assault that provoked an international outcry, Taliban fighters blew up two giant statues of Buddha that had graced the ancient Silk Road town of Bamiyan for some 1,500 years.

Seven years after the U.S. invasion, what was originally considered a quick military success has turned into an increasingly violent counterinsurgency fight.

An unprecedented number of U.S. troops — about 32,000 — are in Afghanistan today, and the Pentagon plans to send several thousand more in the coming months. Gates is expected to press for additional troops and money for the fight in Afghanistan at this week’s NATO meeting.

At least 131 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan this year, surpassing the previous annual high of 111 in 2007. An additional 100 troops from other NATO countries have died in 2008.

Canada, which has some 2,500 troops in southern Kandahar province, has lost 23 soldiers so far this year.

NATO commander says peacemaking up to Afghan gov’t

Speaking in London on Monday, U.S. Gen. John Craddock, NATO’s supreme operational commander, said he is open to talks with the Taliban as long as any peacemaking bid is led by the Afghan government, not western forces.

“I have said over and over again this is not going to be won by military means,” Craddock said, adding that NATO’s goal is to create a safe environment so responsibility for security can be transferred to Afghan authorities.

The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, added his voice to the rising chorus, saying Tuesday it was “desirable” to have direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and offering to host any such meeting.

The problem, say some analysts, is identifying who within the Taliban can be a reliable negotiating partner.

“The Taliban are no longer a monolithic force; with whom do you negotiate if you want to talk with the Taliban?” asked Eric Rosenbach, executive director of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Rather than high-level, high-profile negotiations, “the Afghan government should pursue talks with individual commanders and warlords” who have renounced violence, he said.

“This approach is much more likely to succeed, will further fracture the opposition, and will place the Afghan government in a position of strength for future negotiations.”

Charles Heyman, editor of Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, said there is widespread agreement that the original U.S. and British goal of building a liberal, western-style democracy in Afghanistan is not attainable because the Taliban never were routed or forced to disband.

“There is going to be an accommodation with the Taliban whether people like it or not,” he said. “Everyone knows this is going to be very, very difficult.”

He said the West’s long-term interest would be served by ensuring that al-Qaida doesn’t have a presence in Afghanistan. That would mean making sure any future Afghan leadership, even if it includes Taliban elements, understands that it will come under sustained attack if it allows al-Qaida to set up training camps there.

Ayesha Khan, an associate fellow at the Chatham House research group in London, said it is possible that clerics close to fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar could meet with Afghan government representatives.

“This desire to engage the Taliban started last year and has gained momentum,” she said. “The British government is involved in strategizing it. They are trying to separate the more moderate Taliban from the more extremist ones.”

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US military admits killing 33 civilians in Afghanistan air strike

October 9. 2008

The US military has admitted killing 33 civilians in an air strike on a village in Afghanistan in August, far more than it has previously acknowledged.

Following the attack on August 22 on Azizabad, in Heart province, the Afghan government claimed that 90 civilians, mainly women and children, were killed, a figure backed by the UN.

Until now the US has estimated that that no more than seven civilians died in the attack. It launched an inquiry after it emerged that film recorded on mobile phones showed rows of bodies of children and babies in a makeshift morgue.

The inquiry found that of the 33 dead civilians, eight were men, three women and 12 children. The 10 others were undetermined. It also claimed that 22 Taliban fighters were killed in the attack.

The inquiry dismissed the Afghan government’s estimate as over reliant on statements from villagers.

“Their reports lack independent evidence to support the allegations of higher numbers of civilian casualties,” the US report said. A spokesman for the Afghan government said it stood by its estimate.

The US expressed regret for the civilian losses but blamed the Taliban for having chosen to take up fighting positions near civilians.

“Unfortunately, and unknown to the US and Afghan forces, the (militants) chose fighting positions in close proximity to civilians,” the report said.

The acting commander of US forces in the Middle East, lieutenant general Martin Dempsey, said the attack was based on credible intelligence and was made in self defence.

“We are deeply saddened at the loss of innocent life in Azizabad. We go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties in Afghanistan in all our operations, but as we have seen all too often, this ruthless enemy routinely surround themselves with innocents,” he said.

US central command said its investigation was based on 28 interviews resulting in more than 20 hours of recorded testimony from Afghan government officials, Afghan village elders, officials from nongovernmental organisations, US and Afghan troops, 236 documents and 11 videos.

The issue of civilian deaths has outraged Afghans and strained relations with foreign forces in Afghanistan to help fight the insurgency. Afghan president Hamid Karzai has warned US and NATO for years that they must stop killing civilians on bombing runs against militants, saying the deaths undermine his government and the international mission.

Following the raid on Azizabad Nato’s commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, issued a revised tactics and procedures for air and ground assaults against insurgents.

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Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 9:44 am  Comments Off on NATO to consider talks with the Taliban?  
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