Ethnic cleansing? What ethnic cleansing?

Nothing in Israel-Palestine has changed in 60 years. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that has never stopped continues to be defended by Israelophiles. Today, these two reports appeared which could not be ignored. The Likud Charter to colonize all of original Palestine seems to remain in the forefront of Israeli occupation policy in the Palestinian territories.

Jerusalem municipality publishes plans to demolish hundreds of Palestinian homes

Moaz Zat`ari

Al-Maqdese Society Development (MSD)

January 3, 2010

While the world was celebrating the new year eve, Palestinians in East Jerusalem received shocking news for more demolition orders issued by Jerusalem Municipality. MSD held a press conference on 31/12/2009 and revealed a map issued on 28/12/2009 by the Jerusalem Municipality. By this, the Municipality plans to demolish hundreds of Palestinian residency buildings in Silwan and other neighborhoods as Al-Bustan and Al-Thouri.

And so, it seems that it won't be a happy year for Palestinians in East Jerusalem according to the latest Israeli demolition plans.

Accordingly, MSD published a report in order to highlight the residency buildings (contained in the map) which Jerusalem Municipality plans to demolish in Silwan in East Jerusalem.

(snip)

......the map used Jewish names instead of the famous and well-known Arabic ones for areas in East Jerusalem. For instance, Silwan was named Air David, Wadi-Hilwa was named Kfar Hshelwah and Al-Bustan was named Gad Hmealakh.

http://www.al-maqdese.org/english/news/plugins/spaw/uploads/files/MSD%20%20Report%20about%20Silwan.PDF

So that is one of the ways ethnic cleansing is done, change the names. And then this report,

The only thing flourishing - the settler houses

Beny Gefen

Jan. 4, 2010

Yesterday I, with another 3 human beings, organized by `rabbis for human rights`, accompanied peasants from the Palestinian village Awarta who wanted to plow their lands. Having settlements and a few outposts near by and partially on their private lands they are afraid to cultivate their lands. The military doesn`t protect them in spite of many commitments to the supreme court. With us they dare to go to their lands.

We came to a small plot in which the peasant had planted about 100 olive seedlings a few weeks ago. He had protected each seedling with an expensive barrel against the gazelles. ALL THE SEEDLINGS HAD BEEN UPROOTED BY THE VANDAL SETTLERS! ALL OF THEM!

The peasant began to plow his plot, about 800 meters from Itamar settlement. A military vehicle came and ordered him to leave his land `being a security danger to the settlement`...

I had been in this area a year ago. Then there had been on one of the hills a small outpost of one house. Now there are about 25 houses there and there are more outposts near by. This is in the `fingers concept` of the settlers: building lines (`fingers`) of illegal outposts in order to prevent the establishing of continuous Palestinian state.

http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=37583

Does anyone actually believe that it is all about Iran or Hamas? While these red herrings are thrown out there, recently by Netanyahu at the UN, the reality on the ground, as demonstrated above, shows that Israeli colonialism goes on apace, of which a big part is unseen ethnic cleansing.

 

 

US supports the siege of Gaza

....and indeed undoubtedly gave the go-ahead for Israel's massacre of Gazan Palestinians a year ago.

That was on Bush's watch. But there is no evidence that Obama is following a different policy, which was clearly evident in American acquiescence during the recent Gaza Freedom March, which brought over 1,300 internationals, including Americans, to Cairo one year later.

In this report from Al Jezeera (the American press was no where to be found) during the protest, Egyptian security forces attempted to prevent 41 US activists from reaching the American Embassy in Cairo. Hoping to ask the American ambassador for help in reaching the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, these activist-citizens instead found themselves surrounded by Egyptian riot police.

One activist, Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, told Al Jezeera: "We met with a political rep. in the embassy, Greg Legrefo, and talked about the dire situation in Gaza and international complicity for more than hour .... but the bottom line is the US supports the siege of Gaza.” That the US Army Corps of Engineers is providing technical assistance to Egypt to build an underground wall along the Egypt-Gaza border to stop Palestinian tunneling supports that proposition. The tunnels bring in much needed albeit black market food and even medical supplies to the besieged population.

On New Years eve, Jean Athey, a Maryland grandmother and human rights activist, wrote this Op-Ed for Truthout about her experiences at the American Embassy in Cairo as a member of the Gaza Freedom March along with Abunimah. And she appears to have come if indirectly to the same conclusion: that the United States supports the siege of Gaza. There is no other conclusion can one draw from the events that transpired in Egypt this past week.

Obama's silence only added to the impression.

"This morning, I was at the US Embassy with a group of about 40 other Americans. We went hoping to see the ambassador, but instead we were surrounded by Egyptian police in riot gear and kept penned in for some five hours. The police told us that they did this at the behest of the American Embassy, but later the "political security officer" of the embassy denied it. So, who is lying? It is interesting that the French ambassador spent the night outside with the French protesters when they first occupied the sidewalk in front of their embassy, but the American ambassador refused to see us, apparently had us detained, and for no reason.

We went to the American Embassy to ask the US to prevail upon the Egyptian government and allow our nonviolent delegation into Gaza. The US has tremendous leverage with Egypt, of course, and if the US asked Egypt to allow us to go to Gaza, the border would surely be opened immediately. Three members of our group were allowed inside the embassy to speak to an American representative, while the rest of us were prevented from moving outside our temporary pen. Our spokespersons reminded the political officer with whom they met that when Barack Obama came to Cairo in June, he spoke movingly of the power of nonviolence as a way to resist oppression. The president said:"

"For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding."

"The Gaza Freedom March embodies that "peaceful and determined insistence" about which the president spoke. I wonder if the ambassador heard his speech.

In that same speech, President Obama acknowledged the dire circumstances of Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular. He said:"

"So let there be no doubt: the state of the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own ... Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security . . . Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress."

"And, yet, it seems that we Americans have turned our backs on the people of Gaza; we are doing nothing to end the siege, which is creating enormous suffering. We have done nothing to compel Israel to end the siege. Indeed, the US is presently facilitating a strengthening of the siege: it was announced last week that the Army Corps of Engineers is assisting Egypt in further isolating the people of Gaza by helping in the construction of a huge underground wall. This wall will cut off the only remaining sources of food, clothes, medicine, and all othera necessities of life, which now enter Gaza through tunnels from Egypt. How shameful that the US is working to increase the suffering of the people of Gaza rather than to diminish it."

"In his Nobel acceptance speech, President Obama said...."

Well it doesn't appear to matter what President Obama said, because it would appear that he only had words to throw at resolving this human rights situation. By his silence over the past week, and the actions of the American Embassy, President Obama has shown that the United States supports the siege of Gaza.

Should we be ashamed?

 (Note: links, quotes not working)

 

 

A stroll through Gaza on New Years Day

Passed on by Irish, at Gaza friends.

“As Egyptian police beat peace activists, reports for Gaza break our hearts. Never forget that it is Israeli war crimes and Israeli/U.S. pressure that is keeping the people of Gaza bombed back to the mud age, It is Israel who has maimed, arrested and killed Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis who stand in support. Egypt's orders come straight from Israel and the U.S. Greta”

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT4tk2RiNIo

The following report is from one of the Free Gaza March activists, Donna Mulhearn, who entered Gaza with the 86 Egyptian authorities permitted through the Rafah crossing.

"He wasn’t like the other boys I met here in Gaza today. This boy, balanced on a piece of concrete jutting out of a high mound of rubble, had his arms folded and just looked at us.

Other boys run towards you and cry “Hallo mister” and they laugh, make funny poses for the camera and carry on. But the boy on the rubble was still. He stared in silence. His face defiant. His large, dark eyes piercing. He stood as though he was waiting. Waiting for us to do something perhaps, to say something. Just waiting.

The boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, was standing on wreckage where his house used to be. Now his family camps in a tent in the midst of the smashed concrete and tangled iron. He is no doubt waiting for his home to be rebuilt, but the siege of Gaza means his family cannot access the raw materials required to do so. “How can we rebuild when we haven’t had a sack of cement in four years?” one head of an NGO  asked us.
 
Our group, a contingent of the Gaza Freedom March, was on a tour of Gaza’s neighbourhoods devastated by the Israel Defence Forces attack on Gaza this time last year. Operation Cast Lead killed about 1400 people, 288 of them children and destroyed more than 3,500 homes.

This was unlike your average city tour, today the commentary was chilling, the scenes raising more questions, creating even more tears. “You can see where three houses used to be,” our guide says pointing to a large empty space along a busy street.

“Here is the Schiffa Hospital where 700 victims were brought on the first night of the attack. Those factories over there are closed because of the siege. And up ahead a school.” He points to a massive mess of concrete and steel where 1000 children used to go to learn. “And on your right a tall apartment tower ripped in two by an Israeli missile, 15 innocents dead at this spot, and in this sports gym 50 dead, and here you can see more tents where the families are sleeping where their houses used to be and in this neighbourhood there were 200 killed.” And so it goes on and on.

As we walked through the remains of a bombed out sports/entertainment complex right on Gaza’s beachfront, Ahmed, our guide - a smartly dressed, well spoken young man - wanted to tell us the story of Houda Ralia. A girl of nine, she was swimming at the beach when missiles struck,  Houda rushed back to her family who were on the beach. She saw them killed right in front of her. Mother, father and four brothers.

After an hour of proving this detailed account of last year’s attack, Ahmed sighed, “however long we talk about the suffering, it will never be long enough.”

It’s rainy, windy and cold here, the families in tents have a winter to endure and, because of the siege, no prospect to be in a home by next winter. Hours after I saw him, I still feel the stare of the boy on the rubble – the boy who is not playful with us because he’s angry, he’s tired and he‘s homeless. His stare haunts me because I know that he knows.

He knows the reason he won’t have a home by next winter is because the international community has allowed the siege of Gaza, an illegal and morally reprehensible blockade to continue with barely a comment from our political leaders. UN Human Rights Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard Falk says that because there has been no meaningful international pressure coming from Governments it is up to civil society, you and me, to step in.

There are many reasons we should step in: because of the 288 children killed last year, the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe caused by the siege, the physical and mental trauma of the population, but also for the boy in the rubble.

The boy in the rubble is waiting. Until he feels some hope he will maintain his defiant stance, his challenging stare.

He wants to be playful again, but he’s waiting for us to end the silence that has left his community in a state of constant struggle.

This little boy from Gaza city, living in a tent surrounded by the rubble where his house used to be, folds his arms and stares in our direction because he is waiting for us to act.

May his eyes haunt us until we do.

PS: Meanwhile in Cairo, our colleagues are maintaining a powerful protest against the Egyptian Government’s refusal to allow the 1300 or so activists there to join us in Gaza. Many have been barricaded in their hotels by riot police, others have been injured by police at a peaceful protest in the city. This is receiving world-wide press coverage, although perhaps not in Australia."

Australia? How about the US?

 

A stroll through Gaza on New Years Day

Passed on by Irish, at Gaza friends.

“As Egyptian police beat peace activists, reports for Gaza break our hearts. Never forget that it is Israeli war crimes and Israeli/U.S. pressure that is keeping the people of Gaza bombed back to the mud age, It is Israel who has maimed, arrested and killed Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis who stand in support. Egypt's orders come straight from Israel and the U.S. Greta”

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Egyptian police beat Gaza peace activists

or try this,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT4tk2RiNIo

The following report is from one of the Free Gaza March activists, Donna Mulhearn, who entered Gaza with the 86 Egyptian authorities permitted through the Rafah crossing.

"He wasn’t like the other boys I met here in Gaza today. This boy, balanced on a piece of concrete jutting out of a high mound of rubble, had his arms folded and just looked at us.

Other boys run towards you and cry “Hallo mister” and they laugh, make funny poses for the camera and carry on. But the boy on the rubble was still. He stared in silence. His face defiant. His large, dark eyes piercing. He stood as though he was waiting. Waiting for us to do something perhaps, to say something. Just waiting.

The boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, was standing on wreckage where his house used to be. Now his family camps in a tent in the midst of the smashed concrete and tangled iron. He is no doubt waiting for his home to be rebuilt, but the siege of Gaza means his family cannot access the raw materials required to do so. “How can we rebuild when we haven’t had a sack of cement in four years?” one head of an NGO  asked us.
 
Our group, a contingent of the Gaza Freedom March, was on a tour of Gaza’s neighbourhoods devastated by the Israel Defence Forces attack on Gaza this time last year. Operation Cast Lead killed about 1400 people, 288 of them children and destroyed more than 3,500 homes.

This was unlike your average city tour, today the commentary was chilling, the scenes raising more questions, creating even more tears. “You can see where three houses used to be,” our guide says pointing to a large empty space along a busy street.

“Here is the Schiffa Hospital where 700 victims were brought on the first night of the attack. Those factories over there are closed because of the siege. And up ahead a school.” He points to a massive mess of concrete and steel where 1000 children used to go to learn. “And on your right a tall apartment tower ripped in two by an Israeli missile, 15 innocents dead at this spot, and in this sports gym 50 dead, and here you can see more tents where the families are sleeping where their houses used to be and in this neighbourhood there were 200 killed.” And so it goes on and on.

As we walked through the remains of a bombed out sports/entertainment complex right on Gaza’s beachfront, Ahmed, our guide - a smartly dressed, well spoken young man - wanted to tell us the story of Houda Ralia. A girl of nine, she was swimming at the beach when missiles struck,  Houda rushed back to her family who were on the beach. She saw them killed right in front of her. Mother, father and four brothers.

After an hour of proving this detailed account of last year’s attack, Ahmed sighed, “however long we talk about the suffering, it will never be long enough.”

It’s rainy, windy and cold here, the families in tents have a winter to endure and, because of the siege, no prospect to be in a home by next winter. Hours after I saw him, I still feel the stare of the boy on the rubble – the boy who is not playful with us because he’s angry, he’s tired and he‘s homeless. His stare haunts me because I know that he knows.

He knows the reason he won’t have a home by next winter is because the international community has allowed the siege of Gaza, an illegal and morally reprehensible blockade to continue with barely a comment from our political leaders. UN Human Rights Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard Falk says that because there has been no meaningful international pressure coming from Governments it is up to civil society, you and me, to step in.

There are many reasons we should step in: because of the 288 children killed last year, the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe caused by the siege, the physical and mental trauma of the population, but also for the boy in the rubble.

The boy in the rubble is waiting. Until he feels some hope he will maintain his defiant stance, his challenging stare.

He wants to be playful again, but he’s waiting for us to end the silence that has left his community in a state of constant struggle.

This little boy from Gaza city, living in a tent surrounded by the rubble where his house used to be, folds his arms and stares in our direction because he is waiting for us to act.

May his eyes haunt us until we do.

PS: Meanwhile in Cairo, our colleagues are maintaining a powerful protest against the Egyptian Government’s refusal to allow the 1300 or so activists there to join us in Gaza. Many have been barricaded in their hotels by riot police, others have been injured by police at a peaceful protest in the city. This is receiving world-wide press coverage, although perhaps not in Australia."

Australia? How about the US?

Linking Up with the World

Here is the Friday, January 1st, 2010 edition of what's making news and interesting reads from around the world.

Iceland Votes to Repay Billions
Iceland's parliament narrowly approved by 33 to 30 vote a repayment scheme to pay back 3.4 billion pounds ($5 billion USD) to Britain and the Netherlands after the Icesave bank collapsed in late 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis. The money will reimburse the British and Dutch governments which stepped in to compensate depositors with Icesave after its parent bank Landsbanki failed last year. The bank's collapse affected more than 320,000 savers. There has been strong opposition to the measure in Iceland, amid fears the country would not be able to afford repayments. But the leftist government of Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir hopes the move will help boost the country's bid to join the European Union and repair its battered economy.

Charges Against Five Blackwater Employees Dismissed
A federal judge has dismissed all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards charged in a deadly Baghdad shooting. More from the New York Times. In Iraq, the news was received with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation.

US Drone Strike in North Waziristan
The second US drone strike in as many days has killed three militants in North Waziristan, part of the Tribal areas of Pakistan. The unmanned US predator drone fired two missiles against a suspected militant hideout in Ghundikala village, 15 kilometres east of Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan and close to the Afghan border. The story in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

Israeli Settlement Construction Continues Unabated
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that despite a temporary ban on construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, hundreds of housing units remain under construction in isolated settlements.

Germany Inc. - A Radical Restructuring Needed
The German news magazine Der Spiegel finds that German economy performed "astonishingly well" against the backdrop of the global financial crisis in 2009. Still the staff writers of Der Spiegel believe that Germany "will need to lay the foundations for a radical restructuring" in 2010 if the country is to " fend off powerful new competitors from China and India." They ask if Germany needs a new business model. It's a question we might ask here in the United States.

DPRK Calls for an End to "The Hostile Relationship"
The New York Times reports that  North Korea called for an end to “the hostile relationship” with the United States, issuing a New Year’s message that highlighted the reclusive country’s attempt to readjust the focus of six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

In an editorial carried by its major state media outlets, North Korea said that its consistent stand was “to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations.” The editorial added that “the fundamental task for ensuring peace and stability” was “to put an end to the hostile relationship” with the United States.

The sequence of easing tension with Washington, establishing a peace regime and then denuclearizing the Korean peninsula has been shaping up as the North’s policy approach before it re-engages in talks about giving up its nuclear weapons, according to officials and analysts in Seoul.



However, the Korea Times reports that a South Korean think tank published a paper arguing that North Korea may detonate a third nuclear device and provoke border clashes to escalate tension on the Korean Peninsula next year. The Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) reported that through a third nuclear test, Pyongyang could show the world that it has no plans to scrap its atomic weapons program. On Thursday, President Lee Myung-bak noted that although there was little progress in inter-Korean relations in 2009, he believe that his government has laid the groundwork for developing relations in a positive direction.

 

Diaries

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