UN will recognize Palestinian state: Poll

Almost half of the Palestinians living in the occupied territories believe that the United Nations will recognize an independent Palestinian state, a new survey shows.

The poll, conducted by a German organization, revealed that 51% of Palestinian respondents assume that the Palestinian Authority’s planned request to become a full UN member state will be accepted while 37% believe in the opposite.

Twelve percent said they had no idea what the outcome would be.

A total of 1,100 people took part in the phone survey, which was conducted between August 13 and 15, nearly one month ahead of the planned request.

The application for the international recognition of Palestinian statehood has been reportedly submitted to the UN and the UN General Assembly will vote on the issue in two weeks.

The future Palestinian state would include the West Bank and Gaza, with East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital. The PA says it believes that more than 130 countries would recognize the state of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders.

Israel and the US have strongly opposed the planned Palestinian bid. Washington has repeatedly said that it would veto the move at the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, many Palestinian groups have expressed opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s move, saying that it will legitimize the Israeli occupation of other Palestinian lands.

(www.presstv.ir / 07.09.2011)

Islamic finance spreads in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Home to some 70 million Muslims, Nigeria is stepping up efforts to capitalize on the growing popularity of the one of the world’s fastest-growing financial sectors: Islamic banking.

Earlier this year the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a final set of regulations which introduced Islamic banking to the country.

CNN’s Christian Purefoy discussed the sector’s potential with Hajara Adeola, managing director of Lotus Capital, one of the groups helping to pave the way for Islamic finance in Nigeria.

Adeola says there is a growing appetite for this form of banking.

“It is working in Nigeria and there is a lot of interest in doing Islamic  banking, in West Africa in particular,” she says.

Spread across the Middle East and other parts of the world, a slew of Islamic  financial institutions have been offering interest-free services that advocates  say can provide a more sustainable alternative to conventional banking practices.

The industry, which exists in more than 50 countries, is estimated to be worth around $1 trillion and has the potential to eventually be worth $5 trillion, according to ratings agency Moody’s.

Charging and paying interest is not allowed in Islamic finance because it is prohibited under Sharia law. Instead, if a bank is providing finance for an infrastructure project, for example, the bank and customer agree to share the risk of investment and divide any earnings.

You would have to somehow employ that money into productive use and then you can earn a return on that money.
Hajara Adeola, Lotus Capital

“One of the most well known (principles) is the lack of interest or usury, so you can’t own a return simply for having money — which is what interest is,” Adeola says. “You would have to somehow employ that money into productive use and then you can earn a return on that money.”

Islamic banks are not allowed to trade in financial risk areas or deal in mortgage-backed securities or credit-default swaps. Investing in Islamically unacceptable businesses such as alcohol and cigarette makers, casinos and adult-entertainment companies is also forbidden.

In June, Jaiz Bank International became the first group to be allowed to open a Shariah-compliant bank in Nigeria after gaining an approval in principal from the country’s Central Bank.

Adeola believes Nigeria has the potential to become one of the largest Islamic banking sectors in the world.

“It is a huge market,” she says. “There’s about 70 million Muslims in Nigeria. Research shows approximately 30% of the Muslim population typically would be interested in Islamic finance and if you look at the projection they made for the size of the market, it is really quite tremendous — and that’s just the domestic.”

But the Central Bank’s decision has met opposition from some Christian leaders in Nigeria, who argue that the move could increase religious violence in a country whose population is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians.

According to a VOA news report in mid-July, the Christian Association of Nigeria said the introduction of Islamic banking could stir up religious tensions at a time when security forces are fighting Islamic fundamentalists who want an independent state in northern Nigeria ruled by Islamic law.

But Adeola says that Islamic finance is not a threat and can appeal to the country’s Christian community as well its Muslims.

“Islamic finance is universal,” she says. “There is nothing about it that offends anyone or offends their faith or their principles. If anything, there are many Christians who like to invest with us because it’s also in line with their own ethical values.”

(http://ht.ly/6oeuA / 07.09.2011)

Jihad in India: Deadly Islamic Attack Strikes Courthouse in New Delhi

Relentless, daily, supremacist Islam. Reuters reports that the military wing of Islam, an al Qaeda-linked group with bases in Pakistan and Bangladesh, proudly claimed credit for the attack.

A powerful bomb  placed in a briefcase outside the High Court in New Delhi killed at  least 11 people and wounded 76 on Wednesday in an attack authorities  said was claimed by a South Asian militant group linked to al Qaeda.

“South Asian” is code for Muslim.

The 2-kg bomb dug a crater  three to four feet deep near the main reception counter where passes are  issued for lawyers and visitors to enter the sprawling sandstone  building before the main security checkpoint.

Deadly Explosion Strikes Courthouse in New Delhi NY Times

Witnesses described a chaotic scene at the Delhi High Court after the blast at 10:14 a.m., outside a reception area used by  litigants, lawyers and visitors to enter the courthouse.

“It was in shambles,” said Ajay Mehrotra, a lawyer who witnessed the  explosion. “There was total chaos. There was blood. People were running  for their lives.”

The Indian home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, called the explosion a  terrorist attack and noted that New Delhi was already in a high state  of alert with Parliament in session. Mr. Chidambaram said Indian  intelligence agencies had received information in July about a possible  terrorist threat to the city, which had been turned over to the local  police. He did not elaborate about the intelligence report and said  investigators had not yet identified a suspect in Wednesday’s explosion.

(atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com / site van Pamela Geller / 07.09.2011)

Commission: 101 Bahrain prisoners on hunger strike

MANAMA (AFP) — More than one hundred prisoners are hunger strike in Bahrain after being jailed following a government crackdown on Shiite-led protests in February, an independent commission said Wednesday.

The Bahrain Commission of Inquiry said in an emailed statement that 84 inmates, including doctors and nurses who treated protesters and opposition figures, are on hunger strike in prison.

Seventeen others have been hospitalised by the ministry of interior due to their refusal to eat and their deteriorating health condition.

Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab told AFP this week that more than 200 Shiites jailed for their role in the month-long anti-government protests had joined the protest.

Rajab said the action was started last week by 12 of the 47 doctors from Manama’s Salmaniya hospital who were arrested during the crackdown on the Shiite-led protests.

The government has accused them of inciting the overthrow of the ruling Al-Khalifa family.

According to the statement, the commission has invited an international experts on hunger strikes to evaluate the health and well-being of the prisoners.

One expert, Dr. Sondra Crosby, was to be granted permission to visit all 101 prisoners to provide advice and counselling to the participants on the challenges of a hunger strike.

The commission, which has been charged with investigating the crackdown on protesters and opposition figures, is to release its findings in a report on October 30.

The commission says the entire report will be made public.

Twenty-four people died during the repression of popular protests between mid-February and mid-March, according to official figures from Manama. Four protesters have since died in custody.

(www.maannews.net / 07.09.2011)

VS roepen Niger op de Kaddafi’s in te rekenen

De Amerikaanse regering heeft er vandaag op aangedrongen bij de buurlanden van Libië de in het nauw gebrachte Kaddafi’s in hechtenis te nemen als zij daar hun toevlucht nemen. Een woordvoerder van de nieuwe militaire raad in Tripoli zei dat het verzet Muammar Kaddafi heeft omsingeld.

Volgens een woordvoerder van het Witte Huis hebben de VS de boodschap de Kaddafi’s in te rekenen in het bijzonder aan Niger gericht. Gisteren arriveerde een konvooi met onder meer Kaddafi’s veiligheidschef Mansour Dao in de Nigerese hoofdstad Niamey. De hoofdstad van Niger ligt in het zuidwesten van het land, niet ver van de grens met Burkina Faso, dat Kaddafi vorige maand asiel heeft aangeboden.

Internationaal Strafhof
Niger en Burkina Faso hebben echter beide het handvest van het Internationaal Strafhof (ICC) ondertekend en zouden dus verplicht zijn de voormalig Libische leider, tegen wie een arrestatiebevel is uitgevaardigd, uit te leveren. Gisteren nam Burkina Faso afstand van Kaddafi, en zinspeelde erop hem mogelijk aan het Strafhof uit te leveren.

Maar beide landen zijn ook lid van de Afrikaanse Unie (AU). Op een top van de AU in juli werden lidstaten opgeroepen het arrestatiebevel van het ICC te negeren. De AU heeft het ICC ervan beschuldigd het alleen op Afrikanen gemunt te hebben.

Anis Sharif, een woordvoerder van de nieuwe militaire raad in Tripoli zei dat het verzet in Libië weet waar Kaddafi zit en dat het slechts een kwestie van tijd is  voordat hij wordt ingerekend of gedood. Zijn onderminister van defensie sprak hem echter niet veel later tegen.

Omsingeld
Mohammad Taynaz verklaarde dat het nieuwe bewind in Libië geen idee heeft waar Kaddafi zich ophoudt. Volgens de onderminister verschuilt de voortvluchtige kolonel zich mogelijk zelfs nog in zijn tunnelnetwerk onder de hoofdstad Tripoli. Taynaz en Sharif verklaarden wel eenstemmig dat de NAVO niet aan de jacht deelneemt.

Sharif zei vandaag dat Kaddafi is opgespoord met behulp van technologie en menselijk inlichtingenwerk. Waar Kaddafi zich precies bevindt, wilde Sharif niet zeggen. Wel verklaarde hij dat de kolonel is omsingeld. Rebellen zouden zich in een straal van zestig kilometer rond de plek waar Kaddafi zich heeft verschanst bevinden. Volgens twee bronnen die nauw verbonden zijn met het nieuwe bewind gaan de rebellen ervan uit dat de verdreven Libische leider zich in het omsingelde Bani Walid bevindt.

(www.parool.nl /07.09.2011)

Would UN General Assembly Vote for an Independent Palestine?

The Life and Times of Arafat- Mission Incomplete

Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall ,there are enough existential and serious problems for regimes and states in the Arab and Muslim world ,from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, and beyond , greedy , ruthless White Christian Crusaders pursuing mostly illegal policy of destruction and loot of  sovereign states like Libya ,Iraq etc .There is relentless pressure on Assad regime in Syria, but the next hot item on the Middle East agenda is going to be the vote on Palestine Independence in United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September, 2011.

According to Israel’s Haaretz the UNGA is expected to okay an independent Palestinian state by a huge majority. “The wording of the draft, crafted in recent days by the Fatah leadership, is designed to enable even “problematic” countries such as Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic to climb on board, or at least abstain. This version will make it difficult for the United States and the Marshall Islands, and even for Israel, to explain their votes against the proposal. Instead of recognizing Palestine within the 1967 borders, it will state that the permanent borders will be determined in negotiations with Israel based on the borders of June 4, 1967. This approach made it possible to enlist the support of leading moderates in Hamas, who claim that recognition of the 1967 borders before the signing of a final-status deal means waiving the claim to the right of return.”

Given the Israeli government’s intransigence, the Palestinian leadership and its advisers feel that the option of settling the conflict via bilateral negotiations − the path pursued by the Palestinian leadership for 20 years − is no longer viable. Most of them “ support the option of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital and a fair arrangement that will fulfill the right of return and the compensation of the Palestinian refugees. -It rejects the possibility of continuing the status quo, maintaining that the endless negotiations provide cover for expanding the settlements and consolidating the occupation. It will also erase from the agenda the option of a Palestinian state with temporary borders and limited sovereignty, under effective Israeli control.”

The Palestinian Authority leadership also examined other options like nonviolent resistance as in Egypt and Tunisia – or dismantling itself and restoring responsibility for the West Bank’s inhabitants to Israel or towards a model of a bi-national state or democratic state without distinction between Israel and Palestinian citizens. Even the possibility is a confederation between Jordan and the Palestinian state was examined. The last attempt was made by late Yasser Arafat after the failure of the Camp David talks in 2000. Arafat travelled to many capitals, to seek support for such a declaration. But most countries advised Arafat to continue with the peace negotiations rather than pursue a unilateral path.

This time the situation is different. There is little hope for real negotiations. The Arab revolts against pro-US leaders have created a favorable environment. Cairo , which was under US influence followed a pro-Israel policy .Now the transition government in Egypt has already called upon the United States to support Palestinian independence. Popular uprisings elsewhere will influence the governments in the Arab world to be more sensitive on the Palestinian issue. There is little doubt of deep the support in the Arab and Muslim Street for the Palestinians .

As regards Turkey, Ankara’s relations with Israel have plummeted to very low depth with nine Turks killed by Israeli commandos on Mavi Marmara carrying aid for embattled Gaza citizens . Ankara recently withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv and asked Israel to apologies .Since many years Ankara has regularly criticized Israel and its policies .When Israel  was reported to be interfering in north Iraq with the aim of creating problems in Turkey’s Kurdish South East , Turkish PM Tayep Erdogan had accused Israel of state terrorism in Gaza. Many other countries have made declarations of support but the critical issue is what the EU countries and the U.S. will do. Catherine Ashton, EU’s senior official told the media that the Palestinian Authority had made significant progress . Its institutions now compared favorably with those in the West. There have been several other positive reports by international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the U.N. that have studied the police force, municipal services and schools that indicate that the Palestinians are almost ready to run their own state.

But do not rule out Israel’s obduracy and its deep influence in US policy making apparatus and corridors of power.

Before proceeding further let us first have a look at the tortured history of region in general and Palestine in particular.

Almost all the states in the region were once part of the Ottoman Empire and ruled by Caliph Sultan in Istanbul, which apart from Muslim countries in the regions also included Eastern Europe and Balkans right up to the gates of Vienna. As the West European powers from the end of 17 century rolled back the Ottoman arms from the Gates of Vienna ,they annexed and began exploiting the former Ottoman territories beginning with Arab Muslim peoples of north Africa .The  French, the English and the Italians being the primary beneficiaries .But colonial settlements and genocide of natives took place by Europeans in Americas, rest of Africa and far off Australia , New Zealand too, along with Portuguese ,Belgian ,Dutch, Spanish and Germans also joining in .The whole of Africa was divided along arbitrary borders , for brutal exploitation, specially by the Belgians and the Dutch.

Most of West Asia fell into European lap after the defeat of the Ottomans which had sided with Germans in WWI .

Background and seeds of Arab-Israeli disputes

Strategically and religiously speaking the Arab-Israeli disputes with its core problem of Palestine is as old as time, beginning from the days of the Trojan wars, the first struggle between the West and the East. Or the expulsion and dispersal of Jews from Palestine ( if true) ,or from the differences between Prophet Mohammed and the Jews in Medina following the Hijra. Or the Christian Crusades to recover the religious sites in the Holy Land, except that the Crusaders had treated Jews then as brutally as the Muslims. And even the Orthodox Christians at Constantinople. And now, to control the strategic space and exploit energy reserves under Arab lands.

The Tigris and Euphrates region has a turbulent history. Following the exhaustion of the Persian and Roman/Byzantine empires the armies of Islam emerging from the arid sands of the Arabia carved an empire from the Atlantic to China in the 7th Century. But after the Ottoman Sultan annexed the caliphate and guardianship of Mecca and Medina in 16 century, the peninsula became peaceful back water .

In the wake of the rollback of Ottoman Turks from the gates of Vienna, European powers started moving into Islamic lands in North Africa and from 18th century onward progressively colonized them. The British took over Cyprus and Egypt but World War I provided an opportunity for further colonial acquisitions when Turkey sided with Germany. To protect its Indian colonial possession and its lifeline, the Suez Canal, the British encouraged Arabs under Hashemite ruler Sharif Hussein of Hijaj to revolt against the Ottoman sultan caliph in Istanbul and deputed spy T E Lawrence to help out with promises of independence.

But the war’s end did not bring freedom as promised; because by secret Sykes-Picot agreement, London and Paris arbitrarily divided the sultan’s Arab domains and their warring populations of Shias, Sunnis, Alawite Muslims, Druses, and Christians. The French took most of greater Syria, dividing it into Syria and Christian-dominated Lebanon. The British kept Palestine, Iraq and the rest of Arabia.

When Sharif Hussein’s son Emir Feisel arrived in Damascus to claim Syria as promised , the French chased him out. So the British installed him on the Iraqi throne. Feisel’s brother Emir Abdullah was granted a new Emirate of Trans-Jordan, east of the River Jordan, created out of wastelands vaguely claimed by Syrians, Saudis and Iraqis.

By the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Britain had also promised a homeland for Jews in Palestine. Under the Versailles conference in 1920, Britain was made the mandatory power for Palestine, which appointed Samuel Butler, a liberal Jew, as the first high commissioner to facilitate Jewish immigration and their settlement. So the European Jews began migrating to Palestine, and the trickle became a flood with the rise of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe. From then on started fights, pogroms and battles between Palestinian Arabs and Jewish immigrants. After World War II, the State of Israel was carved out of British Palestine by the United Nations in 1948, but it was not recognized by the Arabs. The United States recognized Israel but not Palestine. In the ensuing first 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which the Arabs lost, Israel expanded its area, while Jordan in collusion with Israel annexed the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza.

As if the Palestinians were then just another Arab people up for grabs.

After the rise of Arab nationalism in the early 1950s led by Colonel Gamal Nasser of Egypt, socialists and nationalists, mostly military officers, took over the decaying medieval kingdoms of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya , much to the consternation of Western oil companies. The Anglo-French attempt in collusion with Israel to cut Nasser down to size in the 1956 Suez war, opposed by the US and USSR, was an abject failure. Also a sign that the time of London and Paris was passed .

But in the six-day preemptive war of 1967, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt and occupied Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights. Thus were laid the foundations for Arab-Israeli problems of the region. The core UN Resolution 242 requires that Israel vacate lands it occupied after the June 1967 war.

From its very inception, almost all its neighbors coveted Jordan. But astute King Hussein (who ruled from 1953-99) not only survived a dozen assassination attempts, he also fended off conspiracies against his land. When Hussein died in 1999 of cancer, the kingdom had become a keystone of equilibrium in the region and a modern flourishing state, despite lacking oil or other resources.

Palestinians make up 60 percent of Jordan’s population (some Israeli leaders say that in Jordan Palestinians already have their own state). Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) militants and Palestinian army officers conspired against King Hussein (King Abdullah, his grandfather, was assassinated by a Palestinian in 1951), so, he expelled Arafat-led PLO to Beirut in early 1971. The Hashemite Kings rely on tribal Jordanians for security and armed forces and have Chechens as their praetorian guards.

Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, who became prime ministers of Israel later had fought savage guerrilla battles against the British and the Arab Palestinians to create the State of Israel, were no different from leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others. The British were unable to handle the turbulent situation and handed over the hot potato to the (UNO), which in 1947 put forward a plan to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.

Since then there have been three regional wars between Israel and the Arabs (1948, 1967 and 1973) and two Palestinian uprisings (intifadas) against Israeli occupation. It was either an Arab wish to control if not destroys the State of Israel or an Israeli attempt to extend its boundaries ( to biblical frontiers ) further into Arab lands. But after every war and uprising more Palestinians came under Israeli control or left their homeland and the refugees now number into millions. After each war Israel gained more territory. In 1948 it extended the Jewish areas under the partition plan to its present internationally recognized borders (but the Arabs of Israel do not have full and equal rights as citizens).

From these areas a large number of Palestinian refugees fled or were forced to flee the Jewish state in 1948. After the wars in 1948 and 1967, Israel began an illegal program of building new settlements in the Occupied Territories, which has continued all along and never really ceased.

The 1973 Yom Kippur war initiated by Egypt made Israel feel vulnerable and not that invincible ( For the first time Israel threatened to nuke Cairo unless– .Since then Israel’s nukes run into many hundreds ,the only nuclear armed power in the region.) Only a US military hardware air bridge and other help turned the tide for the Israelis. But Egypt gained little while oil-rich Gulf States became obscenely wealthy with fourfold increase in crude prices, with neo-rich Gulfis lording over in Cairo .
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a peace deal with Israel in 1978 at Camp David after his startling 1977 visit and address to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament ). Sadat was later assassinated for this act of treason by his own Islamist group of soldiers. But Egypt got its territory back from Israel, including oil wells in Sinai.

In 1982, when Sharon was defense minister, Israel invaded Lebanon and expelled Arafat and his guerrillas from there. It was then that massacres took place at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Chatilla, for which Sharon was blamed after an inquiry. Arafat and his PLO headquarters were shifted  to Tunis.

Jordan made peace with Israel after the Oslo Accords. In 1988 it gave up all its claims on the West Bank. But the Israeli conflict with other Arab states such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and others persists.

It is said that there can be no war against Israel without Egypt and no peace without Syria (with its armed forces in Lebanon till a few years ago and its support to Hezbollah). With Egypt neutralized, fears of a regional or wider conflagration receded but it stirred up Islamist terrorism, and hatred towards Israel’s Western backers, primarily the United States and its poodle UK .France joins up when Syria and Lebanon come up .The hate in the Muslim and Arab world reached very high levels after the illegal US-UK-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its brutal occupation since then. However all agree that great injustice has been done to the Palestinians, now under Israel control or as refugees spread elsewhere, with millions still living in refugee camps. When former US president Jimmy Carter compared the situation of the Palestinians to apartheid South Africa , he faced the wrath of Jewish community and neo-cons in US and elsewhere.

First Intifada

After its agreement with Egypt , Israel felt that it had resolved the problem of Palestinians under its occupation, which also provided cheap labor. It was then that Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, refusing to be enslaved, revolted. This erupted as Intifada in 1987 in the Gaza Strip and then spread to the West Bank. Later other organizations took over and claimed credit for this spontaneous outburst of anger against repression and thirst for freedom. Except for stone-throwing by children, it was generally free from violence from the side of the Palestinians. These pictures on TV screens around the world brought home the injustice being perpetrated on the Palestinians in their own land and angered the Muslim world in particular.

The 1987 Intifada was somewhat like Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent movement against the British but in a Middle East setting. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan used to screen on its TV channel Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi on the anniversary of Intifada in November, which was easily received in the Occupied Territories, Israel, Syria and the neighborhood. Its implicit message was to keep the revolution (Intifada) non-violent and not let Israel divide the Palestinian people in their struggle. The horrendous results of use of violence with killings of Israelis by suicide bombers countered by carnage and destruction by Israeli military planes, helicopter gunships and missiles in the second Intifada from September 2000 was there for all to see.

Palestine and Gulf war, 1990-91

The US maneuvered Saddam Hussein into the 1991 war but without any strategic pre-planning. The West had supported Iraq’s long war against Khomeini’s Iran. US had granted loans to Baghdad worth billions of dollars. Amid high tension between Kuwait and Baghdad over common oil wells, two islands, and the return of a $10 billion loan, Iraq threatened Kuwait with war. A few days before the Iraqi invasion on August 2, 1990, US Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein that his dispute with Kuwait was a bilateral Arab affair. This was never clearly refuted by the US and Ambassador Glaspie disappeared from view. Meanwhile, all attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq-Kuwait row by Arab nations, led by King Hussein of Jordan and later joined by King Hassan of Morocco, were rebuffed by the US, as was Kuwait’s offer of indirect negotiations. Feelers for negotiations by the Saudis were drowned in Western cacophony. Saddam’s reported offer to the UN secretary general to withdraw from Kuwait, made just before the US led war, was brushed aside. Efforts by Mikhail Gorbachev, who had just unraveled the USSR, were treated with disdain.

Bush had attacked Iraq in 1991 without informing the UN secretary general, undermining the world body (the 2003 invasion was against UN will and its Charter.) For the countries of the region, the war resolved nothing. Instead, the US made Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other allies pay through the nose, an estimated $100-$150 billion. Iraq was bombed into the Middle Ages. US and Iraq’s enemy Iran, was the major gainer. Before the war ,to guard his back, Saddam agreed to the old boundary with Iran in the Shatt-al Arab waterway, disagreement over which had led to the Iran-Iraq War.

US promises turned sour in the aftermath of the Gulf War. George Bush Sr., also encouraged Iraqis, especially Kurds in the north and Shias in the south, to revolt. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, most of which had large Shia populations, were horrified, as a Shia state in south Iraq would strengthen Iran. The prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurds worried Turkey, whose own Kurds were fighting for freedom. The hapless Iraqi Kurds, and the Shi’as paid a terrible price.

Turkish President Turgut Ozal, seduced by US hints of winning “lost” Kurdish areas of north Iraq, became an energetic supporter of the Bush coalition and almost opened another front in the war against Iraq, but was prevented by stiff opposition from his powerful military. But instead of getting oil-rich Mosul and Kirkuk, the economic sanctions against Iraq and closure of the Iraqi pipeline via Turkey cost Ankara $50 billion in lost trade. Unemployment rose as the sanctions halted the 5,000 trucks that used to roar to and from Iraq daily, aggravating the economic and social problems in Turkey’s Kurdish heartland of rebellion.

A Turkish deputy prime minister once ruefully told this writer, “Mr. Ambassador, you cannot trust the Americans, not even their written promises.” A sobering thought for those who support the US blindly.

Saudi Arabia was misled in 1991 by doctored evidence of Saddam’s intentions. The stationing of US troops on sacred Arabian soil after the war was resented by Arabs and Muslims all over the world. They also oppose oppressive pro-US Arab regimes and their siphoning off of oil wealth. After September 11, most Muslims saw the Arab-Israel conflict and US illegal invasion of Iraq as part of Crusade versus Jihad (In fact this is the word George Bush used after 11/9.)

But Palestinians and their cause suffered the most both after 1991 war on Iraq and the 2003 invasion .Saddam Hussein was a staunch supporter of PLO . Even when financially squeezed he sent money to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. After the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 ,many Palestinians lost jobs in Kuwait and other Gulf states. But their education , language and ethnic similarity almost makes them indispensable in the Gulf region.

Israel and Palestine

It is amazing that those who suffered so much in the Holocaust, an acme of western material civilization i.e. use of the last Jewish bone and for centuries earlier because of blind prejudice in Europe and elsewhere  are so capable of inflicting the same unspeakable horrors on the lives of others. What the Israelis are doing is indeed the action of “terrorists” who accuse Palestinians of “terror”. When a person has to turn himself or herself into a human bomb in order to fight for a cause, when children throw stones at tanks, these are acts of desperation from an oppressed people.

Israel is a powerful country, backed by the mighty power of the United States, both in money and in arms. Jews in US and neo-cons support Israel with Jewish AIPAC blackmailing US leaders and lawmakers by threatening to defeat them at polls by their financial and media clout .The world recognizes the plight of the Palestinians, and understands it, but is unable do much about such incredibly inhumane deeds and events.

Israeli solutions!

Since the occupation of Palestinian territories after the 1967 war, the major policy debate in Israeli military and political elites has been about how to keep maximum land (and water and other resources) with minimum Palestinian population. Annexation of heavily populated Palestinian land, with high birthrates, would create a “demographic problem” and reduced Jewish majority. So two solutions were considered. Massive emigration from Russia was encouraged and organized in the early 1990s. The Labor Party’s Alon plan consisted of annexation of 35-40 percent of the Occupied Territories, and either Jordanian rule or some form of autonomy for the remaining land to which the Palestinian population would be consigned.

It was a compromise since it was inconceivable to repeat the “solution” of the 1948 independence war, when much of the land was obtained “Arab-free”, after mass expulsion of the Palestinians (nearly 700,000 were forced to flee). But in keeping with late Sharon’s character, the second solution became the mission i.e. how to get more land by finding a more acceptable and sophisticated “1948-style” solution, i.e. squeeze out as many Palestinians as possible. “Jordan is Palestine” was the phrase Sharon and other leaders had repeated in the 1980s.

The 1993 Oslo Accords were along the lines of the Alon plan to which Arafat had agreed. In the past, the Palestinians had always opposed such plans, which would take away too much of their land. Arafat had agreed only because he was getting old and losing his grip on the Palestinian society. There was opposition to his dictatorial one-man rule and open corruption in his organization. Funds meant for the PLO were distributed among close associates (some of them look too well fed and content) , which was talked about openly. This is a problem with all revolutionary organizations when they acquire levers of power.

Only an apparent “smashing victory” could have kept Arafat in power. So behind the back of the Palestinian negotiating team headed by Haider Abd al-Shafi, Arafat accepted an agreement that left all Israeli settlements intact, even in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli settlers occupied one-third of the land, while a million Palestinians are crowded in the rest. But as time went by, Israel extended the “Arab-free” areas by new settlements and connecting roads etc in the Occupied Territories to about 50 percent of their land. Labor circles began to talk about the “Alon Plus” plan, namely even more land to Israel. That would have still allowed some kind of self-rule in the remaining 50 percent of land under Palestinians, but like Bantustans in South Africa. Palestinians would be left with less than 20 percent of 1945 Palestine under the British mandate. This is what Sharon dreamt to break the unity of Palestine nationalism.

At the time of Oslo Accords, the majority of Israelis were tired of war. They thought fights over land and water resources were over. Haunted by the memory of the Holocaust, most Israelis believed that the 1948 War of Independence, with its horrible consequences for the Palestinians, was necessary to establish a state for the Jews. But now both sides with their states could live normally and peace-fully. Most people on both the sides believed that what they were witnessing were just “interim agreements” and that eventually the occupation would somehow end, and the settlements would be dismantled. Two-thirds of Jewish Israelis supported the Oslo agreements in the polls. It was obvious there was no stomach for any new wars over land and water.

But the ideology of war over land never died out in the army, or in the circles of politically influential generals, whose careers moved from the military to the government. From the start of the Oslo process, the maximalists objected to giving even that much land and rights to the Palestinians. This was most visible in military circles, whose most vocal spokesman was then chief of staff Ehud Barak, who objected to the Oslo agreements from the start. Another beacon of opposition was, of course, late Ariel Sharon. In 1999, the army got back to power through the politicized generals – first Barak, and then Sharon.

So the maximalist generals-turned-rulers decided to correct what they view as the grave mistakes of Oslo. In their eyes, Sharon’s alternative of fighting the Palestinians to the bitter end and imposing new regional order may have failed in Lebanon in 1982 because of the weakness of the soft Israeli society, but given the new war philosophy established through US military operations in Iraq, Kosovo, and, later, Afghanistan, the political generals believed that with Israel’s massive air superiority, it might still be possible to execute that vision. However, in order to get there, it was first necessary to convince the Israeli society that, in fact, the Palestinians were not willing to live in peace, and was still threatening Israel’s very existence. Sharon alone could not have possibly achieved that, but Barak did succeed with his generous offer- fraud. There was no real offer on the table. It was a media-assisted creation like the belief created in the US population that Iraqis were responsible for September 11.

”The Israeli press is as obedient as elsewhere, and it recycles faithfully the military and governmental messages. But part of the reason it is more revealing is its lack of inhibition. Things that would look outrageous in the world are considered natural daily routine.” Tanya Reinhart

Earlier the world was made to believe that Israel was willing to withdraw even from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In the polls, 60 percent of the Israelis, hoping for peace, had enthusiastically supported dismantling all settlements in the Golan Heights. But the end of this round of peace negotiations ended in the same way as with Palestinians. It was made out that Syrian leader Hafiz al-Assad did not comprehend and had let the opportunity slip. Israelis then became convinced that it was the rejectionist Assad who was unwilling to get his territories back and make peace with Israel. Assad was a cool and wise statesman and was not fooled. Those close to the military now say that Hezbollah, Syria and Iran tried to trap Israel in a “strategic ambush” and that Israel had to evade that ambush by setting one of its own, i.e. another war like the 1967 preemptive war. And they are encouraging hawks in the US administration in that direction. The US and UK have shown the way in Iraq by their war on Iraqis to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction.

Why did Barak permit Sharon a provocative visit to Temple Mount/Haram to ignite the boiling frustrations accumulated in the Palestinian society? The massive security forces used rubber bullets against unarmed demonstrators. When the visit triggered more demonstrations the next day, Barak escalated the shootings and ordered Israeli forces and tanks into densely populated Palestinian areas. By all indications, the escalation of Palestinian protest into armed clashes could have been prevented had the Israeli response been more restrained. Even in the face of armed resistance, Israel’s reaction had been grossly out of proportion, as stated by the General Assembly of the UN, which condemned Israel’s “excessive use of force” on October 26, 2000.

The first Palestinian terrorist attack on Israeli civilians inside Israel took place on November 2, 2000, a month after Israel used its full military machine against Palestinians including helicopters, tanks and missiles. So it was not defense against terrorism as claimed by Israel. It would appear that another plan to destroy the Palestinian infrastructure and to discredit Arafat, i.e. that he had never given up the “option of violence”, was ready in October 2000 and are contained in a manuscript known as the “White Book”.

Late Professor Tanya Reinhart suggests in her book Israel/Palestine that despite the horrors of the past two years, there was still another alternative. “Israel should withdraw immediately from the territories occupied in 1967. The bulk of Israeli settlers (150,000 of them) are concentrated in the big settlement blocks in the center of the West Bank. These areas cannot be evacuated overnight. But the rest of the land (about 90-96 percent of the West Bank and the whole of the Gaza Strip) can be evacuated immediately. Many of the residents of the isolated Israeli settlements that are scattered in these areas are speaking openly in the Israeli media about their wish to leave. It is only necessary to offer them reasonable compensation for their property. The rest … are a negligible minority that will have to accept the will of the majority.”

That would leave only six to 10 percent of territories under occupation with large settlement blocks. This, along with the issues of Jerusalem and the right of return, could be left for negotiations, after the Palestinian society begins to recover, settle on the land that the Israelis evacuate, construct political institutions and develop its economy. According to a Dahaf poll of May 6 solicited by Peace Now, 59 percent supported a unilateral withdrawal of the Israeli army from most of the Occupied Territories, and dismantling most of the settlements. Only this can renew the peace process.

Unfortunately, in the evolutionary ladder of governance, societies have moved up from the tribal model when the warrior chief, sometimes the head priest too, was the ruler. Security of the tribe and wars was their major preoccupation. Israel is the first Jewish state in history after two millennia. It is barely 50 years old. Based on its history of persecution leading to the Holocaust, inputs of messianic religious fervor, labor (kibbutz) ideals and other ideas brought by its ruling elite, mostly from the European states, the warrior-king construct dominates Israel’s state philosophy and the political system, situated as it is among almost implacably hostile Arabs (tribes). “The hundreds of ex-generals who man most of the key posts in [the Israeli] government and society are not only a group of veterans sharing common memories. The partnership goes much deeper. Dozens of years of service in the regular army form a certain outlook on life, a political world view, ways of thinking and even language.”

Unfortunately, policies and plans of Israel’s political generals have now become intertwined into the views of US neo-conservatives. In the name of the fight against terrorism, more terror is being rained by Israel, where stability, security and peace remain elusive.

Gaza Strip: A Veritable Concentration Camp

The Gaza Strip or Gaza is one of the territorial units of Occupied territories .It is 41 km long and 6 to 12 Km wide , with a total area of 360 sq kms , borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. Its population of about 1.6 million , mostly Sunni Muslims are descendants of or refugees form exodus to Gaza in 1948 following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War .Its boundaries were confirmed by the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement of   24 February 1949. The Gaza Strip remained under Egypt and administered through the Palestine Government and then directly from 1959 until 1967, when Israel occupied it following the Six day war  .Following the Oslo Accords  between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the Palestine Authority was set up as an interim administrative body but with Israel maintaining control of Gaza ‘s airspace .In 2005 Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza. Since July 2007, following the first ever freest elections ( which US led West had insisted on and won by Hamas and a after a battle with PA , Hamas is the effective government in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli occupation (1967–2005)After the June 1967 Six day war, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and created in all  21 settlements covering 20% of area .Gaza also served its security concerns. The March 1979 Israel -Egypt Peace Treaty provided for the withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula with the Egyptians agreeing to keep the Sinai Peninsula demilitarized. Cairo renounced all territorial claims on it . Until 1994 the Israeli military was responsible for the maintenance of civil facilities and services. After the Oslo Accords in May 1994, a phased transfer of governmental authority to the Palestinians took place except for the settlements blocs and military areas. The Palestinian Authority, led by Arafat chose Gaza City as its first provincial headquarters. After the second peace agreement in September 1995, the Palestinian Authority took over most of West Bank towns  .It also established an elected 88-member Palestinian National Council (PNC) . .

The Palestinian Authority rule under Arafat suffered from serious mismanagement and corruption scandals.

The 2nd Intifada of September 2000 provoked by Israeli over reaction and provocation led to waves of protests, civil unrest and bombings against Israeli military and civilians, many by suicide bombers, and the beginning of rockets and bombings of Israeli border areas by Palestinian guerrillas from Gaza Strip, especially from Hamas and Islamic Jihad volunteers. Tel Aviv began a unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip from 15 August 2005, which was completed on 12 September 2005. Under the plan, all Israeli Settlements in the Gaza Strip (and four in the West Bank) and the joint Industrial Zone were dismantled .In all 9,000 Israeli settlers left Gaza and military bases and Philadelphi route separating Gaza with Egypt were evacuated . On 12 September 2005 Israel formally declared an end to Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip.

While Egypt patrolled its side of the border, Israel maintained its control over the crossings in and out of Gaza. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was monitored by the Israeli army through special surveillance cameras. Official documents such as passports, I.D. cards, export and import papers etc had to be approved by the Israeli army.

The UN, Human Rights Watch and many other international bodies and NGOs  consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza Strip since Tel Aviv still controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, and does not allow the movement of goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea (only by land). Egypt has alternately restricted or allowed goods and people to cross that terrestrial border. Israel lies that Gaza is no longer occupied

After Israel withdrawal in 2005, PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas stated, “the legal status of the areas slated for evacuation has not changed.” Its attorney Gregory Khalil said “Israel still controls every person, every good, and literally every drop of water to enter or leave the Gaza Strip. Its troops may not be there… but it still restricts the ability for the Palestinian authority to exercise control.” Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur said that the international humanitarian law applied to Israel “in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.” In 2009 Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the UNRWA described Israel an occupying power.

Palestinian Authority control (1994–2007) In accordance with the Oslo Accords PA took over the administrative authority of the Gaza Strip (other than the settlement blocs and military areas) in 1994. After the Israeli withdrawal of settlers and military from the Gaza Strip on 12 September 2005, the Palestinian Authority had complete administrative authority in the Gaza Strip.

In the Palestinian parliamentary elections held on January 25, 2006, Hamas won 42.9 % of the total vote and 74 out of 132 total seats (56%). When Hamas assumed power the next month, the Israeli government and its supporters and the EU refused to recognize its right to govern as PA. Direct aid to the Palestinian government there was cut off, the resulting political disorder and economic stagnation led to many Palestinians emigrating from the Gaza Strip.

In January 2007, fighting erupted between Hamas and Fatah. By end of January 2007, a truce was negotiated between Fatah and Hamas. But clashes continued with both factions attacking vehicles and facilities of the other side. In response to constant attacks by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Israel launched an air strike which destroyed a building used by Hamas. In the 2006-2007 fighting more than 600 Palestinians were killed in factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah. In the aftermath of the fighting violent acts killed 54 Palestinians, while hundreds were tortured.

K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.

(akashmanews.com / 07.09.2011)

‘UN flotilla report politically motivated’

A prominent political analyst says a recent UN report on Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla is politically motivated.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Kevin Ovenden, survivor of the Mavi Marmara Gaza-bound aid flotilla, tells us that the recently released UN report uses very mild language to explain Israel’s brutal slaying of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American citizen aboard the Freedom Flotilla in May, 2010.

Press TV: First off, Kevin, before we get into the legalities or lack of them about this report, just recap for people what happened – you were there. You survived it – on the Mavi Marmara on May 31 of last year.

Ovenden: As you say, George, the ship was in international waters. It was well over 16 nautical miles away from the Palestinian coast.

The ship was boarded, brutally, by Israeli forces from the air and from the sea at about 25 minutes past four in the morning. It was pitch black. There were women, old men, and young people all aboard the ship.

Press TV: Archbishops? Top clerics of all kinds?

Ovenden: Archbishops. Top clerics.

The Israeli forces began opening fire almost immediately as they landed aboard the ship. First of all, with rubberized bullets – that’s rubber coated bullets with a steel core – and then seconds after that, with live bullets.

I, myself, saw a man, a very talented Turkish journalist who was holding a stills-camera who was shot through the forehead with a high-velocity bullet, blowing away the back third of his skull. There’s no conceivable way that anyone can claim that that man was a threat to the people who rang out those shots.

Press TV: The United Nations report, if we can glorify it with that title, does make the  point that almost all of the victims were shot many times and, also, at close range…

Ovenden: And many of them in the back.

Press TV: …And in the back. So, the claim that the Israeli action used excessive force, it’s surely the mildest thing that could have been said in the circumstances.

Ovenden: Well, the language is incredibly mild. Talks of excessive force and unreasonable force, and then in a remarkable passage it says that they’ve not received a satisfactory answer from the Israelis as to how nine people were shot dead, some in the head, most in the back, and many multiple times.

Unsatisfactory is the kind of language that you get from your child’s math teacher if they’d failed the test. I think most people in the world would see this as something more than unsatisfactory.

Press TV: And how do they come up with the conclusion that boarding a ship and killing people on it in international waters is legitimate?

Ovenden: It’s important to return to the point you were touching on in the beginning which is that this is not really a United Nations report. It hasn’t emanated from the normal bodies which inquire into these things, the United Nations Human Rights Commission or the United Nations Human Rights Council, both of which have produced reports and recommendations which fly in the face of the worst suspects, the highly questionable aspects of this report.

This was a special report, politically commissioned and politically motivated to report directly to the UN General Secretary. And its aim, and this is the reason why it’s been repeatedly delayed, was to try to come up with a form of words which would be acceptable to Israel but that is also critical enough of Israel in order to be acceptable to the Turkish government and the Turkish public opinion.

Indeed, the report says that its main recommendation is that Turkey and Israel should restore full diplomatic relations for the interests of, well, “Justice, Peace, the Truth?” No, for wider stability inside the Middle East.

So, the underlying reason, I would say, why they could come up with this extraordinary claim is that this was a politically driven and a politically motivated report. And it flies in the face of the UN Human Rights Commission herself, and of the UN Human Rights Council which comprises 47 member states and produced a very thorough, comprehensive report last year.

The UN Human Rights Council actually booked up the trouble to interview 100 people who were witnesses to what took place on the Mavi Marmara. This report has interviewed nobody.

Press TV: If it’s purpose was to lash up Turkey and Israel back together, that’s been a total failure, hasn’t it, because on Friday, the Turkish expelled the Israeli ambassador. What do you think is going to happen next?

Ovenden: Completely. All that the Turkish government was asking for and has been asking for through this period of horse trading of the last nine months is for Israel to undeservedly apologize for killing eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American citizen.

The Israeli government has pointblank refused to apologize and, hence, the Turkish Foreign Minister this week has called for, and we believe the expulsion will take place next week, of the Israeli ambassador.

This is, I think, one of those instances where the supporters of Israel have done Israel no favors at all because instead of them being able to strengthen Israel’s position, in fact, it’s solidified Turkish public opinion behind the government which was freshly elected with a new mandate in wanting to secure justice for the victims of the Mavi Marmara, and, crucially, for standing by the position of the international community of the Red Cross and the UN Human Rights Commission which is at the siege on the people of Gaza is illegal.

Press TV: Well, I wanted to come to that because you are one of the main leaders of Viva Palestina and its siege-breaking convoys, five of which have set off from parts around the world. And I understand there’s a sixth about to do so. Tell the viewers something about that.

Ovenden: There is indeed a sixth convoy. It’s heading off from London and it’s picking up on route in December of this year. Its aim is to be at the gates at Rafah, between Egypt and Palestine, Gaza, on December 27 which will be the third anniversary of the beginning of Operation Cast Lead which cost the lives of over 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them women and children, nearly all of them civilians.

And the convoy’s already picking up tremendous international support from South Africa, which will be a first for the Viva Palestina convoy, from Malaysia, again, from throughout the Arab region, and from the United States.

Press TV: And New Zealand, I think, are interested in coming again.

Ovenden: New Zealand, Australia already have a fundraising operation going.

So, what’s happening is, I think, that the reception that this report – this politically commissioned and politically directed report for Ban Ki Moon – will have around the world will further propel people into supporting missions to end this siege, to bring peace, and to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

You know, it’s not asking a lot to say that just because people voted one way, you shouldn’t starve the women and children of that region because of the way they are.

Press TV: All the Viva Palestina convoys so far have entered Egypt under the period of the dictatorship. This will be the first Viva Palestina convoy to arrive in Egypt whether in Alexandria, as the organizers hope, or in worst case at Al-Arish, in the new Egypt, the free Egypt which will have elected a free parliament for the first time by then. What sort of response do you expect in Egypt?

Ovenden: Well, wherever we arrive in Egypt, and however much time we can spend in Egypt, we would like to spend some days there meeting the people in a way that we were previously unable to under the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, I’m sure, and we are already getting this response from the people in Egypt, that the feeling of people will be overwhelmingly supportive.

We should remember that one of the great cries of shame in Egypt during the dictatorship was that just as Israel dropped the bombs nearly three years ago on the people of Gaza, Hosni Mubarak shut the door and turned the lock on the people of Gaza. And that wasn’t the position, the feeling of the vast majority of the people in Egypt.

Press TV: Quickly, tell me how the people join the convoy?

Ovenden: They should go to vivapalesina.org, they should look at the website, sign up for the information and fill in the registration form.

(www.presstv.ir / 07.09.2011)

Arab League Calls For Serious Boycott Of Israel

The Arab League called on Wednesday for instating a comprehensive and serious popular and official boycott of Israel due to its ongoing violations, and stances that obstruct peace talks.

Mohammed Sbeih, assistant secretary-general for Palestine and the Occupied Territories at the Arab League, stated that “what is needed is a clear and direct aim that all Arab countries must abide by, and implement”.

The statements of Sbeih came during the 82nd session of the Arab League’s, Arab regional offices for boycotting Israel. The session was held on Monday at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo after years of being held in Damascus.

“Boycott is our main goal, and we are committed to what we agree on in order to reflect a real determination which could be carried out on the ground”, the ambassador stated during the opening session.

He added that boycott measures are meant to pressure Israel into stopping its violations, especially after the head of Israeli Knesset stated that “the boundaries of Israel are from the Nile River to Euphrates.”

“During the 16-year Israeli-Arab negotiations, Israel has not compromised anything regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict. Instead, it is escalating the blockade on Gaza, and is ongoing with its crimes”. Sbeih stated, “Israel was also successful in foiling all initiatives for peace in the region”.

The assistant secretary-general further called on all states to support the Palestinian bid the United Nations, in order to achieve a full recognition of Palestinian statehood, based on all related international legitimacy resolutions.

Commissioner-general of the Arab League Boycott Office, Ghaleb Saed, emphasized that the Arab boycott against Israel is one of the basic pillars of the Palestinian cause, and that it must be implemented despite the political changes and developments in the region.

“The notion of Arab boycott of Israel has been out there since more than sixty years”, Saed told reporters.

The 3-day Cairo meeting is discussing a number of items related to the Arab boycott of Israel, on all official and popular levels. A report will be issued stating the findings of the meeting to the Arab foreign ministers’ session that will be held next week.

(www.imemc.org / 07.09.2011)

Palestinian Killed, Six Injured, As Army Bombards Khan Younis

One resident was killed and four others were injured on Tuesday evening, when the army bombarded an area east of Al Qarara, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, The Palestine News and Info Agency, WAFA, reported.

The slain resident was identified as Khaled Abu Samhoud, 22; his body and the four wounded residents were moved to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

Furthermore, three military bulldozers and five tanks invaded Al Qarara and bulldozed farmlands while firing at random. The invasion came shortly after Israeli choppers opened fire into the area.

Border areas between Gaza and Israel are subject to frequent Israeli invasion and attacks, including uprooting Palestinian farmlands close to the border.

Israel is enforcing a no-man zone on areas that are close to the border, an issue that prevents the famers from entering their lands, and those who do are subject to direct gunfire from the area; dozens of casualties were reported due to the illegal Israeli measure.

(www.imemc.org / 07.09.2011)