Saudi Arabia warns it will not tolerate riots during hajj

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — A top Saudi official warned on Saturday that the kingdom will not tolerate any riots at the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca next month, at a time of rising tension with Iran.

“We will not allow anything that would disrupt the peace of the hajj pilgrimage and disturb the pilgrims. That is why we shall not tolerate any damage, riots or chaos during the season of hajj or out of it,” Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca province, told reporters.

“The most important responsibility for this country is ensuring the comfort and security of the pilgrims,” added the Saudi royal who heads the committee for the hajj.

Pilgrims have already begun to arrive in western Saudi Arabia for the hajj, which this year peaks in the first week of November with all pilgrims, numbering over two million, gathering in the plain of Arafat, just outside Mecca, home to the holiest shrine in Islam.

The Saudi warning, echoing similar stern messages from authorities ahead of every annual pilgrimage, coincides with a dramatic rise in tension between Riyadh and Tehran.

The US Justice Department on Tuesday accused elements in Tehran of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, a charge strongly denied by Iran but which Saudi Arabia wants to take to the UN Security Council.

Saudi security forces have in the past clashed with Iranian pilgrims holding anti-US and anti-Israeli protests.

In 1987, police efforts to stifle such a demonstration sparked clashes in which 402 people died, including 275 Iranians.

( / 15.10.2011)

European parliamentary assembly to monitor Tunisian polls

A delegation of 20 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will monitor Tunisia’s election on Oct. 23, the pan-European organization announced Friday.

They will join observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as well as the European Union for the historic poll, which is the North African country’s first free vote in more than two decades.

On Oct. 23, Tunisians will be voting for a constituent assembly after a transitional period following the toppling of the 23-year dictatorial regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled on Jan. 14.

The members of the PACE delegation, which will be led by Andreas Gross of Switzerland, will meet Foreign Minister Mohamed Mouldi Kefi, Education Minister Taieb Baccouche and Equality Minister Lilia Laabid, as well as representatives of political parties, the statement said.

During their stay, from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, they will also have talks with Yadh Ben Achour, the chairman of the High Commission for the Fulfillment of Revolutionary Goals and the chairman of the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Kamel Jendoubi.

They will also meet representatives of non-governmental organizations and the media, before being deployed throughout the country to observe the conduct of the ballot.

A pre-electoral delegation of the PACE went to Tunis on Sept. 15 and 16 and reported back on the “considerable efforts” deployed to organize the poll for the new parliament, which will draw up a new constitution for the country.

“Despite the delay in drawing up voter lists, concerns over the organization of voting for citizens living abroad and the possible risk of tensions during the electoral campaign, the delegation noted with satisfaction that the Tunisian authorities had swiftly devised a legal framework for organizing pluralist elections,” the PACE statement said.

( / 15.10.2011)

Israel lobby empowers Palestinian solidarity

The ADL report targets pro-Palestinian student groups and warns college
presidents they could lose funding for protests.

The Anti-Defamation League is at it again.

On Wednesday, October 13, the ADL issued its latest report on student activism, trying this time to reframe all work in support of Palestinian human rights as being

The report, “Emerging Anti-Israel Trends and Tactics on Campus”, targets Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national, grassroots nonprofit based near Chicago. Released a few days before the first national SJP conference at Columbia University in New York was set to take place, it accuses SJP chapters of fomenting “anti-Israel” programming on their respective campuses, while charging AMP facilitates the growth and deve­­­­lopment of these students’ groups. All of this combines to create an atmosphere in which Jewish students feel “insecure and unsafe”, the ADL claims.

It is important to note that SJPs are autonomous units and completely independent of AMP. Though our chairman, Berkeley professor Dr Hatem Bazian co-founded the first chapter in 1992, the student groups are not part of AMP. We offer SJPs the same help we offer others planning events about Palestine: Free materials, speakers and

The ADL … equates working for Palestinian rights with delegitimising Israel.

The ADL’s 12-page report and subsequent 57-page book “Fighting Back: A Handbook for Responding to Anti-Israel Campaigns on College and University Campuses” equates working for Palestinian rights with “delegitimising Israel”.

The ADL is trying to put activists on the defensive by shifting the argument away from Israel’s violation of international law and human rights to whether we do or do not support the state of Israel.

As media director for AMP, I conducted months-long research for an educational booklet on the ADL. What I found belies the organisation’s claim that it works to protect civil rights for all.

ADL and US security

It is true that some ADL work is positive and directly benefits society. But over the years, the organisation that was formed to fight anti-Semitism has morphed into an agency that advocates first and foremost for Israel by lobbying Congress and the media and by using intimidation and smear tactics to stifle any meaningful discourse critical of Israeli policies.

It also has a huge influence on security in this country and how law enforcement officials potentially view Arabs and Muslims by training hundreds of US police officers ever year. At least 44,000 law enforcement officers receive regular bulletins and newsletters from the ADL.

Probably most stigmatising, the ADL was caught spying on nearly 2,000 US citizens and organisations in 1993 when federal agents raided its West Coast offices and
found hundreds of confidential files – many of them obtained illegally.

The ADL’s history of domestic espionage dates back to the 1930s and is still
ongoing. As recently as its 2009 annual report, the ADL lauds itself on its “vast data collection” on groups and individuals with whom it does not agree.

According to its 2010 990 IRS tax form, the ADL spent nearly half a million dollars on direct lobbying in 2009. And with an annual salary and benefits package of nearly $700,000, ADL Director Abraham Foxman may have a vested interest in finding anti-Semitism where none exists, namely in student activism that advocates for Palestinian human rights.

The ADL’s report comes amid the larger context of increasing incidents of Zionist attacks on academic freedom on America’s campuses and the criminalisation of
pro-Palestinian activism.

An Israeli organisation … sent letters to hundreds of university presidents warning them they could lose federal funding if they allow pro-Palestinian events on campus.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights began investigating charges of anti-Semitism at two or more universities, charges made possible by the October 2010 reinterpretation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The ADL and other Zionist organisations had lobbied for this reinterpretation for seven years. If found in violation, the universities could lose their federal funding, a precedent that would have a chilling impact on Palestinian human rights advocacy on campuses across the country.

At the start of the academic year, an Israeli organisation, Shurat HaDin, sent letters
to hundreds of university presidents warning them they could lose federal funding if they allow pro-Palestinian events on campus.

In September, ten California students were found guilty on misdemeanour charges of disrupting a public meeting for their role in protesting a speech by Israeli Ambassador
Michael Oren; and several pro-Palestinian activists were subpoenaed by the US
Justice Department last year. They have refused to appear before a grand jury that is secretly investigating such activism.

Finally, the Jewish Federation of North America will be discussing its campus outreach initiative – named the Israel Action Network – in a special session with Israeli Prime
Minister Benyamin Netanyahu during its annual conference in November. The Israel
Action Network is an off-shoot of the Israeli Advocacy Initiative, a program by the Federation and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs that seeks to garner support for maintaining the occupation by establishing relationships in the US government and also with other faith communalities through “interfaith cooperation”.

These are just a few examples that illustrate how difficult it has become to work in Palestinian advocacy in the United States.

But instead of demoralising us, attacks such as the ADL’s deepen our commitment for peace and strengthen our resolve for justice in Palestine – because it lets us know we’re making a difference. The movement for justice in Palestine is growing louder every day and that’s why Zionists who want to maintain the occupation are trying everything to silence it.

The ADL was once a highly respected organisation. But, sadly, today it has lost most of its credibility. The organisation can no longer be taken seriously as a protector of
rights when, in its quest to support the occupation, it turns a blind eye to Israel’s rampant violations of international law and its human rights abuses of Palestinians and then vilifies anyone working to right those injustices.

( / 15.10.2011)

Israel and Libya: Preparing Africa for the “Clash of Civilizations”

October 15, 2011 “Global Research ” Under the Obama Administration the United States has  expanded the “long war” into Africa. Barack Hussein Obama, the so-called “Son of
Africa” has actually become one of Africa’s worst enemies. Aside from his continued support of dictators in Africa, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) was unhinged under his watch. The division of Sudan was publicly endorsed by the White House before the referendum, Somalia has been further destabilized,  Libya has been viciously attacked by NATO, and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is going into full swing.

The war in Libya is just  the start of a new cycle of external military adventurism inside Africa. The U.S. now wants more military bases inside Africa. France has also announced that it has the right to militarily intervene anywhere in Africa where there are French citizens and its interests are at risk. NATO is also fortifying its positions in the Red Sea and off the coast of Somalia.

As disarray and  turmoil are once again uprooting Africa with external intervention, Israel sits silently in the background. Tel Aviv has actually been deeply involved in the
new cycle of turmoil, which is tied to its Yinon Plan to reconfigure its strategic surrounding. This reconfiguration process is based on a well established technique of creating sectarian divisions which eventually will effectively neutralize target states or result in their dissolution.

Many of the problems afflicting the contemporary areas of Eastern Europe, Central
Asia, Southwest Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Africa, and Latin America are actually the result of the deliberate triggering of regional tensions by external powers. Sectarian division, ethno-linguistic tension, religious differences, and internal violence have been traditionally exploited by the United States, Britain, and France in various parts of the globe. Iraq, Sudan, Rwanda, and Yugoslavia are merely a few recent examples of this strategy of “divide and conquer” being used to bring nations to their knees.

The Upheavals of Central-Eastern Europe and the Project for a “New Middle East”

The Middle East, in some regards, is a striking parallel to the Balkans and Central-Eastern Europe during the years leading up to the First World War. In the wake of the First World War, the borders of the multi-ethnic states in the Balkans and Central-Eastern Europe were redrawn and reconfigured by external powers, in alliance with local opposition forces. Since the First World War until the post-Cold War period the Balkans and Central-Eastern Europe have continued to experience a period of upheaval, violence and conflict that has continuously divided the region.

For years, there have been advocates calling for a “New Middle East” with redrawn boundaries in this region of the world where Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa meet. These advocates mostly sit in the capitals of Washington, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv. They envisage a region shaped around homogenous ethno-religious states. The
formation of these states would signify the destruction of the larger existing countries of the region. The transition would be towards the formation of smaller Kuwait-like or Bahrain-like states, which could easily be managed and manipulated by the U.S., Britain, France, Israel, and their allies. 

 The Manipulation of the First “Arab Spring” during World War I

The plans for reconfiguring the Middle East started several years before the First World War. It was during the First World War, however, that the manifestation of these colonial designs could visibly be seen with the “Great Arab Revolt” against the Ottoman Empire.

Despite the fact that the British, French, and Italians were colonial powers which had prevented the Arabs from enjoying any freedom in countries like Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan, these colonial powers managed to portray themselves as the friends and allies of Arab liberation.

During the “Great Arab Revolt” the British and the French actually used the Arabs as foot soldiers against the Ottomans to further their own geo-political schemes. The secret
Sykes–Picot Agreement between London and Paris is a case in point. France and Britain merely managed to use and manipulate the Arabs by selling them the idea of Arab liberation from the so-called “repression” of the Ottomans.

In reality, the Ottoman Empire was a multi-ethnic empire. It gave local and cultural autonomy to all its peoples, but was manipulated into the direction of becoming a Turkish entity. Even the Armenian Genocide that would ensue in Ottoman Anatolia has to be
analyzed in the same context as the contemporary targeting of Christians in Iraq as part of a sectarian scheme unleashed by external actors to divide the Ottoman Empire, Anatolia, and the citizens of the Ottoman Empire.

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, it was London and Paris which denied freedom to the Arabs, while sowing the seeds of discord amongst the Arab peoples. Local corrupt Arab leaders were also partners in the project and many of them were all too happy to become clients of Britain and France. In the same sense, the “Arab Spring” is being
manipulated today. The U.S., Britain, France, and others are now working with the help of corrupt Arab leaders and figures to restructure the Arab World and Africa.

The Yinon Plan

Yinon Plan, which is a continuation of British stratagem in the Middle East, is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the Middle Eastern and Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.

The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military’s Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, which the Biden Plan also calls for, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution
in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.

Note: The following map was drawn by Holly Lindem for an article by Jeffery Goldberg. It was published in The Atlantic in January/February 2008.
Map Copyright: The Atlantic, 2008.

The following map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was
published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel
of the U.S. National War Academy. Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph
Peters 2006.

The Eradication of the Christian Communities of the Middle East

It is no coincidence that Egyptian Christians were attacked at the same time as the
South Sudan Referendum and before the crisis in Libya. Nor is it a coincidence that Iraqi Christians, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, have been forced into exile, leaving their ancestral homelands in Iraq. Coinciding with the exodus of Iraqi Christians, which occurred under the watchful eyes of U.S. and British military forces, the neighbourhoods in Baghdad became sectarian as Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims were forced by violence and death squads to form sectarian enclaves. This is all tied to the Yinon Plan and the reconfiguration of the region as part of a broader objective.

In Iran, the Israelis have been trying in vain to get the Iranian Jewish community to
leave. Iran’s Jewish population is actually the second largest in the Middle East and arguably the oldest undisturbed Jewish community in the world. Iranian Jews view themselves as Iranians who are tied to Iran as their homeland, just like Muslim and Christian Iranians, and for them the concept that they need to relocate to Israel because they are Jewish is ridiculous.

In Lebanon, Israel has been working to exacerbate sectarian tensions between the various Christian and Muslim factions as well as the Druze. Lebanon is a springboard into Syria and the division of Lebanon into several states is also seen as a means to balkanizing Syria into several smaller sectarian Arab states. The objectives of the Yinon Plan are to divide Lebanon and Syria into several states on the basis of religious and sectarian identities for Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Christians, and the Druze. There could also be objectives for a Christian exodus in Syria too.

The new head of the Maronite Catholic Syriac Church of Antioch, the largest of the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches, has expressed his fears about a purging of Arab Christians in the Levant and Middle East. Patriarch Mar Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi
and many other Christian leaders in Lebanon and Syria are afraid of a Muslim
Brotherhood takeover in Syria. Like Iraq, mysterious groups are now attacking the Christian communities in Syria. The leaders of the Christian Eastern Orthodox Church, including the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, have also all publicly expressed their grave concerns. Aside from the Christian Arabs, these fears are also shared by the Assyrian and Armenian communities, which are mostly Christian.

Sheikh Al-Rahi was recently in Paris where he met President Nicolas Sarkozy. It is reported that the Maronite Patriarch and Sarkozy had disagreements about Syria, which prompted Sarkozy to say that the Syrian regime will collapse. Patriarch Al-Rahi’s position was that Syria should be left alone and allowed to reform. The Maronite Patriarch also told Sarkozy that Israel needed to be dealt with as a threat if France legitimately wanted Hezbollah to disarm.

Because of his position in France, Al-Rahi was instantly thanked by the Christian and Muslim religious leaders of the Syrian Arab Republic who visited him in Lebanon. Hezbollah and its political allies in Lebanon, which includes most the Christian parliamentarians in the Lebanese Parliament, also lauded the Maronite Patriarch who later went on a tour to South Lebanon.

Sheikh Al-Rahi is now being politically attacked by the Hariri-led March 14 Alliance, because of his stance on Hezbollah and his refusal to support the toppling of the Syrian regime. A conference of Christian figures is actually being planned by Hariri to oppose Patriarch Al-Rahi and the stance of the Maronite Church. Since Al-Rahi announced his position, the Tahrir Party, which is active in both Lebanon and Syria, has also started targeting him with criticism. It has also been reported that high-ranking U.S. officials have also cancelled their meetings with the Maronite Patriarch as a sign of their
displeasure about his positions on Hezbollah and Syria.

The Hariri-led March 14 Alliance in Lebanon, which has always been a popular minority (even when it was a parliamentary majority), has been working hand-in-hand with the
U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the groups using violence and terrorism in Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood and other so-called Salafist groups from Syria have been coordinating and holding secret talks with Hariri and the Christian political parties in the March 14 Alliance. This is why Hariri and his allies have turned on Cardinal Al-Rahi. It was also Hariri and the March 14 Alliance that brought Fatah Al-Islam into Lebanon and have now helped some of its members escape to go and fight in Syria.

A Christian exodus is being planned for the Middle East by Washington, Tel Aviv, and Brussels. It is now being reported that Sheikh Al-Rahi was told in Paris by President Nicolas Sarkozy that the Christian communities of the Levant and Middle East can resettle in the European Union. This is no gracious offer. It is a slap in the face by the same powers that have deliberately created the conditions to eradicate the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. The aim appears to be the resettling of the
Christian communities outside of the region so as to delineate the Arab nations along the lines of being exclusively Muslim nations. This falls into accordance with the Yinon Plan.

Re-Dividing Africa: The Yinon Plan is very Much Alive and at Work…

In the same context as the sectarian divisions in the Middle East, the Israelis have outlined plans to reconfigure Africa. The Yinon Plan seeks to delineate Africa on the basis of three facets:

(1) ethno-linguistics;
(2) skin-colour;
(3) religion.

It seeks to draw dividing lines in Africa between a so-called “Black Africa” and a supposedly “non-Black” North Africa. This is part of a scheme to create a schism in Africa between what are assumed to be “Arabs” and so-called “Blacks.”

An attempt to separate the merging point of an Arab and African identity is underway.

This objective is why the ridiculous identity of an “African South Sudan” and an “Arab North Sudan” have been nurtured and promoted. This is also why black-skinned Libyans have been targeted in a campaign to “colour cleanse” Libya. The Arab identity in North Africa is being de-linked from its African identity. Simultaneously there is an
attempt to eradicate the large populations of “black-skinned Arabs” so that there is a clear delineation between “Black Africa” and a new “non-Black” North Africa, which will be turned into a fighting ground between the remaining “non-Black” Berbers and Arabs.

In the same context, tensions are being fomented between Muslims and Christians in Africa, in such places as Sudan and Nigeria, to further create lines and fracture points. The fuelling of these divisions on the basis of skin-colour, religion, ethnicity, and language is intended to fuel disassociation and disunity in Africa. This is all part of a
broader African strategy of cutting North Africa off from the rest of the African continent.

Israel and the African Continent

The Israelis have been quietly involved on the African continent for years. In Western Sahara, which is occupied by Morocco, the Israelis helped build a separation security wall like the one in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In Sudan, Tel Aviv has armed separatist movements and insurgents. In South Africa, the Israelis supported the Apartheid regime and its occupation of Namibia. In 2009, the Israeli Foreign Ministry outlined that Africa would be the renewed focus of Tel Aviv.

Israel’s two main objectives in Africa are to impose the Yinon Plan, in league with its own interests, and to assist Washington in becoming the hegemon of Africa. In this
regard, the Israelis also pushed for the creation of AFRICOM. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), an Israeli think-tank, is one example.

Washington has outsourced intelligence work in Africa to Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is effectively involved as one of the parties in a broader war not just “inside” Africa, but “over” Africa. In this war, Tel Aviv is working alongside Washington and the E.U. against China and its allies, which includes Iran.

Tehran is working alongside Beijing in a similar manner as Tel Aviv is with Washington. Iran is helping the Chinese in Africa through Iranian connections and ties. These ties also include Tehran’s ties to private Lebanese and Syrian business interests in Africa. Thus, within the broader rivalry between Washington and Beijing, an Israeli-Iranian rivalry has also unfolded within Africa. [1] Sudan is Africa’s third largest weapons producer, as a result of Iranian support in weapons manufacturing. Meanwhile, while Iran provides military assistance to Khartoum, which includes several military cooperation agreements, Israel is involved in various actions directed against the Sudanese. [2]

Israel and Libya

Libya had been considered as “a spoiler” which undermined the interests of the former colonial powers in Africa. In this regard, Libya had taken on some hefty pan-African
development plans intended to industrialize Africa and transform Africa into an integrated and assertive political entity. These initiatives conflicted with the interests of the external powers competing with one another in Africa, but it was especially unacceptable to Washington and the major E.U. countries. In this regard, Libya had to be crippled and neutralized as an entity supportive of African progress and pan-African unity.

The role of Israel and the Israeli lobby was fundamental in opening the door to NATO’s military intervention in Libya. According to Israeli sources, it was U.N. Watch that actually orchestrated the events in Geneva to remove Libya from the U.N. Human
Rights Council and to ask the U.N. Security Council to intervene. [3] U.N. Watch is formally affiliated with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which has influence in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy and is part of the Israeli lobby in the United States. The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), which helped launch the unverified claims about 6,000 people being slaughtered by Qaddafi, is also tied to the Israeli lobby in France.

Tel Aviv had been in contact simultaneously with both the Transitional Council and the Libyan government in Tripoli. Mossad agents were also in Tripoli, one of which was a
former station manager. At about the same time, French members of the Israeli lobby were visiting Benghazi. In a case of irony, the Transitional Council would claim that Colonel Qaddafi was working with Israel, while it made pledges to recognize Israel to president Sarkozy’s special envoy Bernard-Henri Lévy who would then convey the message to Israeli leaders [4]. A similar pattern (to that of Israel’s links to the Transitional Council) had also developed at an earlier stage in South Sudan, which was armed by Israel.

Despite the Transitional Council’s position on Israel, its followers still tried to demonize
Qaddafi by claiming he was secretly Jewish. Not only was this untrue, but it was also bigoted. These accusations were intended to be a form of character assassination that equated being a Jew as something negative.

In reality, Israel and NATO are in the same camp. Israel is a de facto member of NATO. Had Qaddafi been conniving with Israel while the Transitional Council was working with NATO, this would mean that both sides were actually being played as fools against one another.

Preparing the Chessboard for the “Clash of Civilizations”

It is at this point that all the pieces have to be put together and the dots have to be connected.

The chessboard is being staged for a “Clash of Civilizations” and all the chess pieces are being put into place.

The Arab World is in the process of being cordoned off and sharp delineation lines are being created. These lines of delineation are replacing the seamless lines of transition between different ethno-linguistic, skin-colour, and religious groups.

Under this scheme, there can no longer be a melding transition between societies and countries. This is why the Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the Copts, are being targeted. This is also why black-skinned Arabs and black-skinned Berbers, as well as other North African population groups which are black-skinned, are
facing genocide in North Africa.

What is being staged is the creation of an exclusively “Muslim Middle East” area (excluding Israel) that will be in turmoil over Shiite-Sunni fighting. A similar scenario is being staged for a “non-Black North Africa” area which will be characterized by a confrontation between Arabs and Berber. At the same time, under the “Clash of Civilizations” model, the Middle East and North Africa are slated to simultaneously be in
conflict with the so-called “West” and “Black Africa.”

This is why both Nicolas Sarzoky, in France, and David Cameron, in Britain, made back-to-back declarations during the start of the conflict in Libya that multiculturalism is
dead in their respective Western European societies. [5]

Real multiculturalism threatens the legitimacy of the NATO war agenda. It also
constitutes an obstacle to the implementation of the “Clash of Civilizations” which constitutes the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. In this regard, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor, explains why multiculturalism is a threat to Washington and its allies: “[A]s America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues [e.g., war with the Arab World, China, Iran, or Russia and the former Soviet Union], except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat. Such a consensus generally existed throughout World War II and even during the Cold War [and exists now because of the ‘Global War on Terror’].” [6]

Brzezinski’s next sentence is the qualifier of why populations would oppose or support wars: “[The consensus] was rooted, however, not only in deeply shared democratic values, which the public sensed were being threatened, but also in a cultural and ethnic
affinity for the predominantly European victims of hostile totalitarianisms.” [7]

Risking being redundant, it has to be mentioned again that it is precisely with the intention of breaking these cultural affinities between the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region and the so-called “Western World” and sub-Saharan Africa that Christians and black-skinned peoples are being targeted.

Ethnocentrism and Ideology: Justifying Today’s “Just Wars”

In the past, the colonial powers of Western Europe would indoctrinate their people. Their objective was to acquire popular support for colonial conquest. This took the form of spreading Christianity and promoting Christian values with the support of armed merchants and colonial armies.

At the same time, racist ideologies were put forth. The people whose lands were colonized were portrayed as “sub-human,” inferior, or soulless. Finally, the “White Man’s burden” of taking on a mission of civilizing the so-called “uncivilized peoples of the world” was used. This cohesive ideological framework was used to portray colonialism as a “just cause.” The latter in turn was used to provide legitimacy to the waging of “just wars” as a means to conquering and “civilizing” foreign lands.

Today, the imperialist designs of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany have not changed. What has changed is the pretext and justification for waging their neo-colonial
wars of conquest. During the colonial period, the narratives and justifications for waging war were accepted by public opinion in the colonizing countries, such as Britain and France. Today’s “just wars” and “just causes” are now being conducted under the banners of women’s rights, human rights, humanitarianism, and democracy.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montréal. He specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He was on the ground in Libya for over two months and was also a Special Correspondent for Flashpoints, which is a program based in Berkeley, California. Nazemroaya has been releasing these articles about Libya in conjunction with aired discussions with Cynthia McKinney on Freedom Now, a show aired on KPFK, Los Angeles, California.


[1] The Economist, “Israel and Iran in Africa: A search for allies in a hostile
world,” February 4, 2011.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Tova Lazaroff, “70 rights groups call on UN to condemn Tripoli,” Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2011.

[4] Radio France Internationale, “Libyan rebels will recognise Israel, Bernard-Henri Lévy
tells Netanyahu,” June 2, 2011.

[5] Robert Marquand,”Why Europe is turning away from multiculturalism,” Christian
Science Monitor
, March 4, 2011.

[6] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books October 1997), p.211

[7] Ibid.



* These civilizational
divisions and categories are incorrect. There are no clearcutting divisions
between many of these so-called and supposedly “distinct



Copyright © Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2011

( / 15.10.2011)




Back to Basics in Palestine: Time for Unity, Synergy and Mobilization

Palestinian freedom is non-negotiable.
(The following is a condensed version of Susan Abulhawa’s speech at the
Al-Awda Center grand opening)

By Susan Abulhawa

Summary: Susan Abulhawa presents an argument to abandon all negotiations with Israel and to abandon calls for the One State and Two State solutions; and in fact, to abandon academic debates on a political construct in favor of embracing the basic calls of Palestinian civil society for essential human rights.  This strategy includes the need for a consensus and unified call originating from Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and agreed upon with the various Palestinian communities that make up the Palestinian Nation, including: Palestinians of the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza,
refugee camps outside of Palestine, the worldwide Diaspora and Palestinians of 1948.  She argues that the greatest and unstoppable power available to Palestinians lies in their roots, the moral authority of their struggle for freedom.  Harnessing that power, to which Israel has no real defenses, is the most practical path forward and it is rests on the need for 1) a unified call for freedom and the full range of human rights and dignities 2) a point of synergy among the multitude of internal and external movements which include direct action and solidarity activities inside Palestine and around the world and 3) sustained mobilization from the bottom up, hopefully with the assistance of the Palestinian Authority, but at least without interference from them.

To try to comprehend the PA’s UN bid for statehood and to figure out what the
ramifications are on many fronts, it behooves us to take a look at history because, this is, after all, not the first time that a Palestinian state was formally declared.  I know there are legal differences between the declaration of state in the 1980s and the current application for recognition, but for all intents and purposes, they are both attempts to achieve statehood by seeking international recognition, which, I feel, is the wrong approach for our struggle at this moment in history and, in my opinion is also probably a cynically calculated move that has little to do with actually achieving statehood.

The First Intifada & Declaration of Statehood

In 1988, the PLO formally declared the State of Palestine, and the designation “Palestine” for the PLO was adopted by UN in acknowledgement of that declaration, even though we had no formal status at the UN as a state.  At that time, as with the present, we had overwhelming popular support in the General Assembly.  Also at that time, as in the present, the US did everything it could to prevent any kind of recognition or international legitimacy for Palestine.

The more important and striking similarity between the declaration of statehood in 1988 and in the present UN bid is the presence of a persistent nonviolent movement with growing international solidarity.

In 1987, the first Intifada began as a popular, spontaneous, and grassroots uprising that moved the Palestinian struggle away from guerilla warfare.  It changed the way the world saw Palestinians and began to reveal the brutality of the occupation.  The first intifada was nonviolent, marked by mass civil disobedience, boycotts, refusal to pay taxes, disruption of power and sewage going to illegal colonies and more of the like.  Throwing rocks against tanks and armored Israeli vehicles was symbolic and few in the international community bought Israel’s claims that these rocks constituted serious violent threats.

As a result, the first intifada began to capture the imaginations and inspire civil societies everywhere, despite Israel’s best PR and hasbara campaigns.  Popular international solidarity was growing and there was a burgeoning awareness of who we are and what we had suffered for decades under occupation.  And for the first time, there was open public criticism of Israel in places that would not have dared to do so before.  Simply, the moral authority of our cause could not be ignored.

Even though Israel was committing unspeakable war crimes to suppress the intifada, the movement only intensified and caused power to shift to the Palestinian street, for the first time.  That shift was also changing world opinion, which was a major threat to Israel because it hit at their greatest weak point: their image, and I’ll touch on that more shortly.

But the first intifada didn’t just threaten Israel, it was also a threat to the Palestinian leadership, which was outside of Palestine at the time.  The persistence of the first intifada spawned local leaderships that were not directly affiliated with the PLO, and although the PLO had nothing to do with the first intifada, they quickly positioned themselves at the forefront and began to take control as much as possible from the outside.  The PLO’s efforts to control extinguished the intifada’s fire and culminated in the Madrid Conference followed by the Oslo Accords.

In essence, here’s what happened: after decades of suffering at the hands of a brutal military occupation whose only purpose was to displace or subjugate Palestinians under their control, we had the first bottom up movement that was full of solidarity, full of hope. And, more importantly, it was full of promise.  It promised to grow and spread.  It promised a path of successful nonviolent resistance with growing international attention at the levels of civil society, mainstream media, and government leaderships.  This promise was seized by the Palestinian leadership.  They took ownership of the movement when it started to gain momentum on the ground and abroad, they grabbed the reigns of it, and then they steered us into what turned out to be more slaughter and more wholesale theft of our lands and properties, all under the auspices of a negotiated settlement called the “Peace Process”.

Today we find ourselves in a situation bearing many of the same hallmarks and a reaction by the Palestinian leadership that looks too much like their reaction then.

The Second Intifada & UN Bid for Statehood

Although the second intifada’s early days saw violent Palestinian reactions to Israel’s sustained terrorism, it has morphed into a nonviolent struggle that is taking roots not only in Palestine, but throughout the world.  The change in the 2nd Intifada’s character has spurred many to declare it over, but this is not an accurate statement.  The second intifada is alive and well and growing.

Perhaps the earliest manifestations of the active nonviolent resistance came from the activites of the International Solidarity Movement. Construction of the Apartheid Wall spawned more local heroes who began leading unrelenting and regular demonstrations.  The call from Palestinian Civil Society for international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel was launched was launched in 2005, pushing the movement in new directions and far outside of Palestine, whereby solidarity groups all over the world joined and have been implementing creative nonviolent resistance actions.

The results have been impressive and nonviolent resistance is once again taking hold in the occupied territories and around the world.  It’s happening on an even greater scale internationally, thanks to the current communication technology that was not available in the 1980s.  Among the many victories of BDS abroad, several major corporations have had their hands forced by activists.  Thanks in large part to BDS affiliate, CodePink, AHAVAs flagship store in London was forced to close.  Veolia, the French multinational corporation lost billions of euros worth of municipality contracts for its involvement in building infrastructure to illegal Israeli settlements and it is now facing financial meltdown.  Most recently, Agrexco, a major Israeli exporter of produce, that come primarily from illegal Israeli farms on stolen Palestinian land, has been
forced to liquidate its assets after being unable to pay its creditors thanks to the efforts of BDS.

These are just a few examples of the results of cooperation between civil society everywhere who have heeded the calls of BDS.  This popular movement is taking a life of its own and is accompanied by similar movements, like the International Solidarity Movement that I mentioned before, the Free Gaza Movement, the flotillas, and the Russell Tribunals, to name a few.  Important international figures across the world have signed on and taken action against Israel’s apartheid.  These are prominent individuals in their fields – literary figures, musicians, clergy, military personnel, activists, journalists, and more – who have taken very public stands against Israeli Apartheid.

This is huge!  It’s importance and impact should not be underestimated.

It hits right at what I said was one of Israel’s weakest points.  Israel pours billions of dollars into creating and maintaining the image of civilized and enlightened country,  and they panic when the world starts to see the reality of their ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing; And they panic even more when they’re called out on it.

That’s why they’ve been so freaked out lately passing one fascist law after another to try to police what people say, what they publicly remember [anti-Naqba law], or what they choose to buy or not buy [anti-boycott law].  They’re freaked out by internationals bearing witness to their war crimes; so they’ve passed a series of laws to prevent non-Palestinians from going into the West Bank and Gaza.  Then there’s the racist loyalty oath – the list goes on.  They are absurd, fascist laws that only show how scared Israel has become of our growing solidarity movement, BDS, and nonviolent actions inside Palestine.

This ground swell should not be minimized!

Then came Arab Spring!

It caused a seismic shift in power away from the ruling elite toward the people and toward popular action and democracy throughout the Arab World.  Arab Spring inspired and galvanized our movement even more.  Arab Spring is now going global, as it’s not a stretch to make a connection between the demonstrations in Tahrir Square and the ongoing Occupy Wall Street in New York.

Against this backdrop of people power, the Palestinian Authority, unilaterally [and I don’t mean ‘unilaterally’ in that it excluded Israel; but ‘unilaterally’ in that it excluded Palestinians] decided to make a bid for statehood at the UN.  At no time did Mahmoud Abbass address the people he supposedly represents.  Even at the UN, when he made the bid for statehood, he was still speaking to everyone except us.  That, to me, is a bad sign that history could be repeating itself here.  It looks too much like the past,
particularly when we see images of Palestinians giving Abu Mazen a heroes welcome home; it reminds me of the fanfare of the PA’s arrival in the West Bank after Oslo, which is clear to everyone in retrospect to have been nothing more than a ruse to quiet popular nonviolent action in order to give Israel the time it needs to continue its colonial endeavors in the occupied territories.

I would also add that the timing of this UN bid is questionable, as it comes when the PA is severely weakened by the damning revelations of the Palestine Papers leaked on Al Jazeera.  Why, after 20 years of negotiations, does the PA make this move?  I’m sure it didn’t just dawn on them that Israel was only ever just trying to buy itself time to create facts on the ground.  They’re not stupid and they understood Israel’s colonial expansion and goal to take everything they could.  The truth is that the PA was scared.  Their power was threatened by Arab Spring and by the fadeeha el kobra (the great scandal) of the Palestine Papers.  So, this move may well have been just a cynical calculation to restore the power of the PA.  I hate to think the worst – that it was actually orchestrated with Israel and the US for the same purpose and what we’re
witnessing is theatre.

Caution to the PA/PLO

So, I’m worried about this UN bid.  However, I also think, that if certain conditions are met and the same mistakes of the past are not repeated, it can still be salvaged as a good thing.  For that to happen, the PA (or PLO, it’s hard to know who is who anymore) must ensure that the following happens:

1. They must go forward full force with what they started, without compromise.

I hear that at least one Security Council member is trying to get the PA to alter the text of the UN bid, in exchange for voting in favor of statehood, so that it excludes the ability to take any retroactive grievances to the International Court of Justice.

If this happens, it would be a disaster for us because it would be a back-handed way for the PA to abdicate the Right of Return (which they have no right to do) under the cover of statehood.

We cannot let them do that and I think, Zahi, it’s time for another petition with 600,000 signatures to deliver to Abbass like the one Al-Awda delivered to Arafat when he was considering the same thing.

The second part of going full force forward is to take the bid to the General Assembly once the SC sends it back with the promised US veto.  I’m very happy to see that the PA has been pushing for Palestine membership in various UN bodies, including, most recently, UNESCO.

2. Don’t stand in the way of popular movements. Already the PA is sending police to bust up peaceful anti-occupation protests, in essence, working for the occupier.  This has to stop. The PA cannot be allowed to seize the power on the ground and tamp out the spread of nonviolent resistance.

3. Become a force that creates synergy among our various efforts to achieve our rights; make the UN bid into something that adds to the ongoing efforts instead of something that stifles them. For example, the UN bid can open up legal avenues for a whole new arena for our struggle, but don’t let that come at the expense of tamping a growing nonviolent resistance movement.

4. They should become a force of unity; not only between Gaza and the West Bank, but also among Palestinians of 1948; Palestinians still in refugee camps in other nations; and Palestinians in the Diaspora, whether in Arab nations, the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world.

5. Finally, they should not assume that they will maintain power without popular blessing, which will not remain if this UN bid stifles our efforts or gives away an iota of our Right to Return.

This is a warning to the PA that accepting statehood at the expense of retroactive grievances (i.e. everything we’re fighting for, including the Right of Return) will have terrible consequences for us all.

Time to abandon calls for Two-State Solution AND the One-State Solution

That said, I want to emphasize why I think we are living in the most opportune time we’ve had in the history of this conflict.

The kind of bottom up power we’re witnessing is fertile ground for us.  This is the arena in which we are more powerful.  This is the field where we win because Israel has no real defenses against us in this arena.  Our greatest power lies in the moral command of our cause – we are the indigenous people fighting for freedom, struggling to live dignified lives in our own homeland.  We didn’t come from Poland or Russia, or France, or Germany, or any other place.  We are the natives of the Holy Land in ever sense of the word “native” – historically, ethnically, culturally, legally, and even genetically, we are the natives.  If you take samples of our DNA, the results will show genetic markers specific to that region of the world.  Our strength is in our roots.

It is no accident that Israel is so often so busy uprooting our olive trees or unearthing our cemeteries to cover them over with new structures.  Because the truth is that there is no forensic evidence linking most Israelis to the land.  So, they have been busy either destroying traces of our existence or trying to claim it as theirs.   But that is really an impossible task, now matter how much they’ve already destroyed.  Palestine is passed down from one generation’s hearts and memories to another.  Ben Gurion could not have been more wrong when he predicted that “The old will die and the young will forget”.

But we are where we are now and they are here with us, whether we or they like it or not.

And the bid for statehood has been made, regardless of how we feel about it.

So what is the path forward?

Before we answer that, we have to decide what is the end game.  What is the
result we want to achieve.  Unfortunately, and after 65 years of this struggle,  we still do not have a truly unified call.

People often ask me which proposal do I support, the one state or the two state.  It seems those are the only two proposals in people’s mind.  That it has to be one or the other and we end up struggling for one or the other.  We waste precious time and energy debating the merits of one over the other.  Which is better, we ask: The Two State Solution – ostensibly based on the 1967 borders; or the One State Solution – which would presumably include all of Palestine for all her inhabitants.

The fundamental problem with both of these proposals is that they are concentrating on the political construct and of statehood.   And I think that is the wrong approach.

If we drill down to what we really want, what we all want and all can agree on: it is to live dignified lives in our own homeland, with full human and civil rights accorded to everyone there equally regardless of religion.

I know this sounds a lot like the One State proposal; but it differs in that it is simply a call for basic rights.  It is not a call for a particular political construct because frankly, it doesn’t matter what the political construct looks like, as long as all our basic human rights are upheld, and that includes our natural right to return and live in our own homeland.

This, in my opinion, is what we should be working toward.  Calling for our natural rights as human beings and as an indigenous people is what unifies us all.  To be accorded human rights is our rightful inheritance.  It is the rightful destiny of human beings not to be subjugated, expelled or oppressed.  The call from Palestinian Civil Society, which originated inside the occupied territories, is the best starting place framework.  In any event, we are in great need of a consensus for a unified and uncompromising call founded on the goal of human dignity.  This can form the frame of reference for whatever actions we take.

So, I would say, do NOT think in terms of a political construct; but to think in terms of human rights.  In terms of human dignity and human worth that is not measured by religion.  This is a goal that will unify us and will strengthen our collective efforts that pour into the same movement for freedom.

Palestinian Resistance: Failures of the past and why it’s time to abandon negotiations

For the most part, Palestinian resistance has been allowed to develop on two
major fronts, and mostly exclusive fronts.

1. Armed resistance.

Although we have the right to resist foreign occupation by any means available to us, including armed resistance, I think this is not an effective strategy for us.

For starters, rocks, moltov cocktails, or even homemade rockets, don’t stand a chance against armoured tanks, warplanes and some of the most sophisticated death machines known to man.  This is simply not an arena where we can gain any ground because here we are weak in this regard.  We do not have a military or any necessary hardware to change this fact.

More importantly, armed resistance ultimately erodes the singul most important power we have.  As I already mentioned, it is the moral superiority of the cause of justice and human rights, against their cause, which is the desire for power and an ethnoreligious pure society.

2. The second main path that the Palestinian leadership has taken us has been
negotiations.  This too is and always was a fundamentally flawed and moral unsound approach, because it assumes a very denigrating assumption:

That our basic rights as human beings, our rights as the indigenous people of the Holy Land, and our freedom, are things to be negotiated for; as if our rights, enshrined in all tenets of international law, and our freedom are mere bargaining chips to be traded for clean water or bread.

And yet, the PA has continued along in what every one of us knows is a sham.  This peace process was never designed to lead to a life of dignity for Palestinians.  It was never meant to lead to a viable Palestinian state.  Netanyahu’s speech made that clear.  Israel’s actions for the past twenty years have made that clear.  Why else would they continue, on a daily basis, to expropriate Palestinian land and turn it over for the exclusive use of Jews being invited from all over the world to come and take what is not theirs?  Why else would they continue their policy of home demolitions unabated?  The Peace Process was always a ruse to buy Israel more time to take more and more and more and ultimately wipe us off the map.

You only need to look at how the map has changed over time to see the truth in that statement.

The current map proves that.  How could this not be apparent to the PA?  In fact, even as he submitted the bid for statehood, Mahmoud Abbas made the mind boggling statement that there was no substitute for negotiations.

He is, in fact, very wrong.  In fact, there is no other instance in history where an occupied and oppressed people has been expected to actually negotiate with their oppressors for freedom and for basic human rights.

When Nelson Mandela was in prison and change began to sweep over South Africa, some of his comrades were being released from prison.  Nelson Mandela too was offered a deal for his freedom.  P. W. Botha offered him freedom if he would renounce violence.  Mandela refused the offer, and his now famous letter, he explained that “Only free men can negotiate.”

He was the only one of his comrades to remain in prison by the end of the 1980s.  His uncompromising insistence on implementing the full range of human rights and freedoms to Blacks equal to Whites inspired us all and eventually culminated in bringing Apartheid to it’s knees.

Likewise, Rosa Parks did not negotiate with the white driver or white passengers to take her rightful place among the rest of humanity on that bus.  She stayed put with all the force she could muster.  Her insistence on being recognized as fully human, fully worthy, inspired the Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King and Malcom X didn’t enter into negotiations to beg the government to let Black folk use a few more water fountains, or to be allowed to buy a house in just a few white neighborhoods.

Yet that is precisely the indignity we are accepting upon ourselves by engaging in these negotiations. By continuing to negotiate for basic rights, we are accepting the premise that we cannot be fully worthy human beings unless Israel says so.

This is Our Time

With Arab Spring, with BDS, ISM, Free Gaza, and the massively growing
international solidarity, this is our time!

It’s our time to say that only free people can negotiate.  It’s our time to take our seat on the bus and refuse to get up for anyone.  It’s our time to boycott.  To divest.  To proudly link arms with every human being willing to stand with us, no matter who they are – be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim, gay or straight, Black or White or any color in between. And to remember the solidarity shown to us, as our beloved Edward Said once said.

If we continue on the path of nonviolent resistance that we started in the occupied territories and throughout the world, and with the solidarity of justice-seeking people everywhere, I believe with all my being, that we will eventually be in a position to say to the Israelis in no uncertain terms, and with a force they will have no choice but to listen to, that they are welcome to stay as our equals, but not as our masters.

You may think that that day is unrealistic.  You might say that because we’ve been conditioned to see our weakness.  To see how outgunned we are.  How outmaneuvered we’ve been.  Or how little clout we have in the halls of power
compared with the intense influence that Israel wields on the most powerful
countries.   But focusing on these things obscures how powerful we really are.

I read an article recently by someone I very much admire and whose words I often like to read; but this particular article was one that I disagreed with because it reinforces this sense of powerlessness, which is quite harmful.  The article was written when everyone was speculating whether the PA would follow through with the UN bid and the premise of the article was that no matter what happens, Israel will win, whether Abbas follows through or not.

I not only disagree with the premise, but I think that this kind of defeatist outlooks really hurts us.  Yes, I know it’s true that Israel can make any US President jump when they say jump; but I don’t think Israel is feeling much like a winner right now.

How triumphant do you think Israel feels with the world turning against them?  Peoples of the world are seeing them for the apartheid state that they are and their growing isolation surely doesn’t feel very triumphant to them.  It surely doesn’t feel triumphant to them to essentially lose their two major allies in the region, Egypt and Turkey, within the span of one year.

And by believing that we are powerless, we’ve allowed every Israeli to think they can dictate our destiny to us.  Just take for example Benny Morris, who said on Cross Talk a few weeks ago, quote:

“I wish the Palestinians would return to the negotiating table to which they had been invited repeatedly, and do so seriously in good faith and negotiate in good faith. If they don’t want to do that, the Palestinians will continue to suffer.”

Translation: “Do as Israel wants or you will continue to be bombed, killed, deprived, oppressed, and systematically robbed.” In fact, that is happening even when we do negotiate as Israel wants; but the point is that you can see from this statement the level of arrogance that pervades every sector of Israeli society.

We Are Powerful & History is on Our Side

While it is true that we don’t have the military capabilities nor do we have anywhere near Israel’s clout among the ruling elite of powerful nations, we are not powerless.

In fact, we are unrivaled in our power on the ground level internationally. Our struggle for freedom is the longest running and best known around the world.  Harnessing that advantage is the path we must continue to take.

Taking our case, not to the UN or the US State Department or to the UK or
France; but to the populations of the world is where our energy should be

– It’s to the universities that have been signing onto the academic boycotts;
– To consumers who do not want to buy blood products;
– To the churches and synagogues and other religious institutions that understand the
ungodliness of ethnic cleansing and who are making sure that their trusts are not invested in Israel’s war crimes
– To the municipalities and the labor unions who are divesting their pensions from Israel in order to affirm their belief in universal human dignity regardless of ones religion
– To the artists and musicians and writers and filmmakers who do not want their names or creations associated with Israel’s Apartheid
– To our fellow US citizens who do not want their tax dollars spent in support of ethno-religious entitlement and exclusivity, especially when our school districts are teetering on bankruptcy and the unemployment is knocking on the door of 10%.

We cannot lose on this path.  You don’t need to take my word for it.  History is replete with examples that prove what I’m saying.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

And we don’t need to continue down a path of denigrating and racist negotiations.  We are a native people who deserve to live in their native homeland with full human rights.  It’s that simple.

And so to the new sound bite that Israel issued (which is being parroted by the Obama administration, Congress, and nearly all mainstream media commentators): “there are no shortcuts to peace”, I would like to offer these truths:

“Palestinian freedom is non-negotiable” and “Human Rights are non-negotiable”. 

Our message will resonate – maybe not with the ruling elite, but certainly with civil society and ordinary people who adhere to principles of justice and fair play.  Because,

Our demands are self-evident truths that we should pursue without apology, without negotiations, without compromise, and without fear.That’s how every freedom movement achieved its goal before us, and that is how we will achieve ours.  THAT is our most effective path forward, not negotiations.

– Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine. She contributed this article to

( / 15.10.2011)

Syrian forces kill 2 mourners in central Damascus

AMMAN (Reuters) — Syrian forces shot dead two mourners on Saturday when they fired on a funeral procession in central Damascus for a 10-year-old child killed during a protest a day earlier, a witness said.

With the deployment of thousands of police and militiamen loyal to President Bashar Assad, central neighborhoods of Damascus have remained largely free of pro-democracy protests that have spread across the country in the 7-month-old uprising.

But at Saturday’s funeral, “passions were running high,” the witness said. “The body was wrapped in white and thousands behind it were chanting ’the people want the execution of the president’ and ‘we will be free despite you Bashar’.”

Some mourners began throwing stones at the security forces, who fired live ammunition back, the witness told Reuters by phone from the scene in the Maidan district.

The child, Ibrahim Sheiban, was killed in a protest in the Qadam suburb of Damascus. His funeral took place in Meidan, an old, socially conservative district of the capital, because his family is originally from there, said the witness, a private sector employee who did not want to be further identified.

( / 15.10.2011)

Setting a price tag for Israeli supremacy


Inspecting the damage caused to a mosque following an arson attack by far-right Zionists.

Jewish far-right groups responsible for a series of arson attacks on West Bank mosques over the past year broke dangerous ground last week when they turned their attention for the first time to holy places inside Israel.

A mosque was torched, followed days later by an attack on Muslim and Christian graves. In each case the settlers left their calling card — the words “Price tag”, indicating an act of revenge — scrawled on their handiwork. None of the recent attacks against Palestinians has led to prosecutions.

Half-hearted investigations

The so-called “Jewish division” of the Shin Bet (Israeli secret police), which is charged with solving such crimes, is known to be more than half-hearted about pursuing investigations. Like many state institutions, including the army, its ranks are filled with settlers. Paradoxically, a recent report from the Shin Bet warned that Jewish terror networks were not only flourishing in the hothouses of the West Bank’s settlements but growing bolder because of this impunity.

The desecration last week of a mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba Zangariya, in northern Israel, should not therefore have been a surprise. It was followed at the weekend by the despoiling of two cemeteries in Jaffa, next to Tel Aviv. The goal of the settler movement is to destroy any hope of a two-state solution, which is seen as limiting the Jewish people’s right to all of the land promised by God.

Egged on by an ever larger number of rabbis, the hardliners in this camp are too blinkered to understand that Israeli leaders, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have already voided the peace process. It was no coincidence that the torching of Tuba’s mosque came in the wake of an application last month to the United Nations by Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian Authority president raised the stakes, and so too did the settlers — by this time including Israel’s Palestinian Arab minority, a fifth of the population, in their “price tag.”

Target carefully chosen

The Jewish extremists’ new strategy is apparently to stoke hatred and violence on both sides of the Green Line. As has been noted by Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center, an advocacy group for Palestinians in Israel, the intention is to drain any residual support among Israeli Jews for a Palestinian state by persuading them that they are in an apocalyptic struggle for survival. The target was carefully chosen in this regard.

Tuba is one of a few fervently “loyal” Arab communities in Israel. While many Bedouin were expelled during the 1948 war that created Israel, the tribes of Tuba and Zangariya had an area next to Jewish communities set aside as a reward for fighting alongside Israel’s armed forces. Deprived of jobs and facing the same discrimination suffered by the rest of the Arab minority, many young men still serve, like their grandfathers, in the Israeli army. After the mosque attack, a community leader boasted to an Israeli reporter, “We were among the founders of the state of Israel.”

But as news of the mosque’s desecration spread, enraged youth burned government buildings, fired their army-issue rifles into the air and clashed with police. The settlers’ dream of setting the Galilee ablaze briefly looked like it might be realized.

Last Saturday, following the attack on Jaffa’s graves, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a nearby synagogue in reprisal, further inflaming tensions. Netanyahu was among those who denounced the mosque’s torching, but the logic of his approach to the peace process accords with that of the militant settlers. He and his far-right foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have created a climate in which the narrative of an epic Jewish battle for survival sounds plausible to many ordinary Israelis.

Like the settlers, Netanyahu opposes the emergence of a meaningful Palestinian state; he too implies that the world’s anger at Israel is fuelled by anti-Semitism; and he too wants to reopen the “1948 file” — a historical reckoning in which the Arab minority’s status as citizens would be reappraised. And like the settlers, Netanyahu approaches peace with an iron fist that demands at best Palestinian capitulation, and suggests at worst a future in which a second wave of ethnic cleansing might be necessary to “finish the job” of 1948.

Celebrations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza at Abbas’s UN move — a solitary act of defiance by the Palestinian leader — will quickly sour as it becomes clear that the US and Israel are in no mood to make concessions. The question is: what next?

No hope of statehood

Despite the best efforts of Netanyahu and the hard-line settlers to shape the answer, it may not be to their liking. With no hope of statehood, Palestinians will have to devise their own new strategy for coping with the reality of an apartheid system in which the Jewish settlers become their permanent neighbors.

Trapped in a single state ruled over by their occupiers, Palestinians are likely to draw on the experience of their cousins inside Israel. Israel’s Arab community has been struggling with marginalization and subordination within a Jewish state for decades. They have responded with a vocal campaign for equality that has antagonized the Jewish majority and resulted in a wave of anti-Arab legislation.

The two Palestinian communities, both confronting a harsher future under Israeli rule, have every incentive to develop a unified platform and struggle jointly — and more powerfully — against an overarching regime of Jewish privilege. Their response could be tit-for-tat violence — that is certainly what the settlers would prefer.

But a more effective and likely long-term strategy is a civil rights movement much like the ones that fought against Jim Crow laws in the US and against apartheid in South Africa. A simple rallying cry, voiced to a world exasperated by Israel’s self-destructive behavior, would be “one person, one vote.”

Netanyahu and the settlers hope to subdue Palestinians with the establishment of a Greater Israel. But as the conflagration of mosques suggests, they may ultimately achieve the opposite. By reminding Palestinians on either side of the Green Line of their common fate, Israel may yet unleash a force too powerful to control.

The price tag — this time demanded by Palestinians — will be high indeed for the Jewish supremacists.

( / 15.10.2011)

Protesters killed in Yemeni capital, pipeline bombed in south

SANAA (AFP) — Yemeni police shot dead 12 people and injured dozens of others on Saturday as they opened fire on demonstrators in Sanaa demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s resignation, medics said.

Security forces used live rounds as well as tear gas and water cannon to try to disperse hundreds of thousands of Saleh opponents trying to march on loyalist areas of the city center from their Change Square stronghold, witnesses said.

The death toll went up to at least 12 according to several medics as bodies were taken to four different hospitals.

The clashes erupted on Al-Zubeiri Street which marks the dividing line between parts of the capital held by troops loyal to Saleh and those held by dissident units under the command of General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who rallied to the opposition in March.

Activists had called on protesters to march on the front lines on Saturday in a bid to bring to a head 10 months of increasingly bloody demonstrations against Saleh’s 33-year rule in Sanaa.

Meanwhile, local officials said the death toll from air strikes that killed a senior Al-Qaeda official in southern Yemen had risen to 24.

The Defense Ministry insisted  Yemeni aircraft had carried out the attack on Friday night.

Also Saturday, gas exports from Yemen’s Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden were suspended after a rocket attack blew up a pipeline just to the north, in what officials suggested was a revenge attack for the Al-Qaeda leader’s death.

“The pumping of liquefied natural gas from the Balhaf terminal was stopped because of an explosion on one of its main pipelines,” an engineer working at the site told AFP.

“The pipeline was badly damaged, resulting in halting production,” he said, adding that the pipeline was still on fire.

“We have not succeeded in containing the fire because the hole caused by the explosion is very big,” he said, adding that fixing the pipeline “could take weeks.”

A Shabwa provincial official told AFP earlier that overnight, saboteurs struck the pipeline in Al-Hahina district, just two kilometers  from the Balhaf terminal, disrupting its operations.

“Following the attack, operations were halted in several parts of the terminal,” the official said asking not to be identified.

Huge columns of flame and plumes of smoke were visible from as far as 25 kilometers away, witnesses told AFP.

There was no immediate claim for the attack but the provincial official said he thought it was likely to have been an Al-Qaeda attack carried out in retaliation for apparent US air strikes in Shabwa on Friday that killed seven Al-Qaeda militants, including a son of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi.

“I think it is a response to the air strikes,” the official said.

The 320 kilometer gas pipeline links fields in Marib province further north with Balhaf in Shabwa.

Both provinces are strongholds of Al-Qaeda.

Yemen began exports of liquefied natural gas from the terminal in November 2009.

The impoverished nation had at the beginning of this year 478.5 billion cubic meters (around 17 trillion cubic feet) of proven reserves of natural gas, according to estimates.

( / 15.10.2011)

Gaza: The Realities of International Isolation

A Special CEPR Report (Summer 2011) on the effects of the Israeli siege, Palestinian national reconciliation, Palestinian prisoners in Israel, the international efforts of UN agencies, and the position of Egypt. To read the full report, follow this link and click on there …

(  / 15.10.2011)