Tearing the heart out of Beit Jala, Palestine

"Another day, another example of Israel illegally ripping out the soul of a Palestinian area. Olive trees are the life-blood of the Palestinian people and it’s at least encouraging to see a few activists trying to prevent the Israeli bulldozers with their dirty work."

The more things appear to change, talk of peace, the more they remain the same, ethnic cleansing. That's the West Bank, Palestine for you.

Thanks to Antony Lowenstein for this tip.

LINK: http://antonyloewenstein.com/2010/03/05/tearing-the-heart-out-of-beit-jala/

Why Doesn't US Condemn Israeli Human Rights Abuses UPDATE

The above question was posed to Obama one day after the SOTU address at a townhall meeting in Tampa FL. His response was on the front page of Huffington Post. Considering our humanitarian response to Haiti, it is a highly confronting question because it asks, how can America, a beacon for liberty around the world, support human rights abuses carried out by an ally, Israel. Everyday abuses of the human rights of Palestinians continue, not just through the inhumane blockade of Gaza, but even within Israel, let alone the Palestinian territories in general where nonviolent activists are being arrested, one by one. There is no need to describe the atrocities of Gaza a year ago and the continuing deprivations, but smaller human rights abuses occur daily all over the territories.

Obama was asked the above question in a public forum, why doesn't "he" condemn Israeli human rights abuses, only one day after his State of the Union speech where foreign policy was somehow ignored, especially the ideals laden in his Cairo speech of a year ago.

Instead of posting Obama's response in text, here is the CNN video of the interaction:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/28/obama-asked-why-us-doesnt_n_440816.html

After listening, I'm beginning to think that at this stage in his political career, Obama is capable of out slicking Clinton at this game. Nobody doesn't believe that Obama is any less scared of the Israel Lobby than any other elected politician like Clinton, but it is obvious that he will continue the practice of pandering to Israel, human rights abuses or not.

UPDATE

There's more...

Ehud Barak: war criminal or savior of Middle East peace?

In an article which appeared yesterday in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Ehud Barak, Israel's minister of defense, and condemned war criminal for his leadership in the Gaza atrocities of a year ago, announced that “peace process failures (are a) greater threat than Iran nukes,” to paraphrase the article title.

Interestingly, it was five years ago that Barak made a proposal concerning peace on the Charlie Rose Show. In this interview, he acknowledged that Israel must set its eastern border and pull tens of thousands of settlers behind it. (Aside, he also finally acknowledged the hoax of Camp David, the “generous offer.”)

It was January 25, 2005 and called: A conversation with Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Barak about the possibility of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

http://www.charlierose.com/view/content/1076

In a report by Haaretz dated yesterday, January 26, 2010, Barak publically reiterated his view concerning Israel's borders, that unresolved borders are more dangerous to Israel than Iran's nuclear program. Curiously, Hillary Clinton likewise proposed that renewed negotiations begin with the settling Israel borders, which bypassed Netanyahu continuing colonialism, something he is hardly interested in, given his public claims to considerable territory belonging to the Palestinians.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1145244.html

"Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said that Israel's failure to strike a peace deal with the Palestinians was a greater threat to the country than a nuclear Iran, Army Radio reported.

"The lack of a solution to the problem of border demarcation within the historic Land of Israel - and not an Iranian bomb - is the most serious threat to Israel's future," Barak told a Tel Aviv conference.

Barak called on the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to return to the negotiating table. Abbas has so far refused to restart talks until Israel freezes settlement building in the West bank, including in east Jerusalem. Abbas recently complained to Saudi King Abdullah over heavy pressure on him, particularly from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, to renew talks with Israel, the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Tuesday."

Are we being snookered again or is this a legitimate offer that Barak is peddling? At the same time, it is clear that what Netanyahu seems to be proposing is an Apartheid state for the Palestinians, lacking independent borders, Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, encirclement by Israeli forces, in short, bantustans.

What are we to believe?

 

 

Israeli Tennis StarTarget Of Anti-Israel Protests

There has always been controversy over whether culture, academia, and sports should ever be included in boycott and protest campaigns, this one against Israel's occupation, its ongoing colonization all the Palestinian territories, and the Apartheid situation that has resulted. The inhumane (Jimmy Carter) siege of Gaza also continues just one year after Israel's brutal attack on Gaza in which 1,400 mostly civilian residents, including over 300 children, died.

In this case, the protest/boycott is against the participation of a former female Israeli soldier and military employee, Shahar Peer, in the Australian Open.

"(Shahar Peer) who did mandatory military service when she was 19 and has worked as a secretary for the Israeli military, has been targeted for protests aimed at Israel and its military for human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Last year it was hardly shocking when the United Arab Emirates, in the wake of conflict in Gaza, denied Peer a visa to play in a major tournament in Dubai. (Peer says she already has a visa for this year's Dubai event.) It is a little strange, however, to see raucous peace protesters heckle her at every match during a recent tournament in New Zealand.

While anti-Israel protesters showed up at the same tournament in Auckland last year, this time they escalated their rhetoric as well as the demands made on the young Israeli player. They demanded that she withdraw from the event as a public demonstration of her "commitment to peace." And they called for an international sports boycott aimed at Israel."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/shahar-peer-tennis-star-t_n_433238.html

You judge.

 

What the Gaza Freedom March accomplished: Vu Pensiero

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8osR2BtQZs&feature=player_embedded

 

The above video was produced as an afterthought to the Gaza Freedom March earlier this month to sum up its accomplishments, even though most of the 1,300 participants, who traveled to Cairo from 42 countries, never got a chance to enter Gaza. Most of the humanitarian aid driven across Europe and the Middle East in 200 or so trucks accompanied by roughly 400 activists from 14 countries, the British Viva Palestina aid convoy, however, did make it into Gaza, in spite of Egypt's obstacles.

 

The famous song heard in the Video, Va Pensiero, is by Giuseppe Verdi and was first performed in 1842 when the Northern part of Italy was under Austrian occupation just as Palestine is today. It is about the plight of the Jews, who were exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco.

The piece subsequently become a call for freedom for all occupied peoples around the world. Here it is dedicated to the Palestinian fight for freedom and independence.

 

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