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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    

Red Rag ColumnGideon Spiro - Merchavia stories: Hashomer Hatzair - the sheep and the vegetable garden - who stole my books? 31/12/2009
Israel`s doctors must allay torture fears : Allegations of Israeli doctors colluding in the torture of Palestinians must be investigatedAntony Lerman - The Guardian - Evidence has been produced by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and PHR-I of doctors examining interrogated Palestinians before, during or after torture without documenting, reporting or resisting, and by providing medical documents and information to the bodies responsible for the torturing. These are all expressly prohibited under WMA and Israel Medical Association (IMA) guidelines, as is even the presence of a doctor where there is torture. These allegations have never been seriously investigated by the IMA, despite persistent urging by PHR-I as part of its long struggle against the use of torture and its bringing of the issue to the attention of the WMA. 31/12/2009
There is no deluxe occupation Haaretz - Editorial - Over the course of 42 years of occupation, an approach has taken root which holds that the security and even convenience of the settlers take precedence over the property rights and welfare of the Palestinians. In order to ensure the safety of Israelis, dozens of bypass roads were paved in the West Bank and hundreds of roadblocks were put up. The route of the separation fence, which was supposed to separate the West Bank from the territory of the State of Israel, was also adjusted to the settlements` expansion plans. To this end, thousands of dunams of land were expropriated from their owners and farmers were separated from their fields, the source of their livelihood. 31/12/2009
Journey to nowhere Gideon Levy - Haaretz - There is no Palestinian partner, because there is no Israeli partner who is ready to take action. The day that Israel starts acting, together with the Palestinians, the partner will be there. Even Nelson Mandela wasn`t the Mandela we know until he was freed from prison and South Africa was placed in his hands. He too refused to give up armed resistance for decades, but when he was given a true opportunity, he followed a path of peace. The key was in the hands of F.W. de Clerk, not those of Mandela. Israel, too, has that key. Now that it is no longer possible to halt everything because of terrorism, since there is almost none, Israel has lost one of its best weapons. When there is terrorism, one cannot act, and when there is no terrorism, there`s no reason to act. But don`t worry, it will be back, if nothing happens. 31/12/2009
Truth cast in leadMichael Sfard - Ynet - Cast Lead was our second war of independence. In the first, we liberated ourselves from two thousand years of living under the control of others. In the second, we liberated ourselves from the ropes of Jewish heritage and morality that have been binding us for years. We no longer have to comply with the prohibition of killing the righteous with the wicked. We are exempted from remembering the lessons of being an occupied people without rights. The unavoidable insights of those who have been silenced have been erased and substituted with attitudes reserved for sub-humans. 30/12/2009
`European funding of Israeli NGOs isn`t meddling`HERB KEINON - The Jerusalem Post - "There is a certain perception in Israeli society that what we are financing in Israel and in this region is unique, and that these are programs aimed at influencing public policy in Israel," Andrew Standley said. "The reality is that these are global programs, and the kind of actions that we are supporting in Israel can and are just as easily funded in places like China, India, Indonesia and even the US." 30/12/2009
Gaza, One Year LaterNoam Chomsky - An audio, Zmag - "Chomsky speaks about the strategic isolation of Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian territories, the continued US/Israeli crimes, the corrupt Israeli prison system, the Israeli decision to choose expansion over security." 30/12/2009
Hope Springs Eternal Joharah Baker - MIFTAH - I`m wondering what the new year will bring for those who have lost so much? For the people of Gaza, New Years brings the reminder of the horrors of last winter, when Israel pounded the Strip for 22 days on end and killed scores of innocent people. I don`t think the Samoudi family, who lost 48 members in the invasion, will have much to celebrate. Neither will the Sukarji and Abu Sharkh families in Nablus, whose sons were executed just last week by invading Israeli troops at point blank range, one of them before his pregnant wife and children. How about the demolished homes and the confiscated land, the prisoners and their families? There are scores of Palestinians, unrecognized soldiers, who pay the price of Israel`s occupation every day and for whom empty words from politicians mean absolutely nothing. 30/12/2009
Milestone in the Right Direction Boaz Okon - Yedioth Ahronoth - The court reached the only logical outcome. The ban on Palestinian movement on Route 443 was lifted. The ruling was courageous, but the reasons may elicit misunderstandings. Instead of declaring that the separation regime on the roads is fundamentally wrongful, it was determined that the ban on Palestinian movement on the road, which was paved on lands taken from them, was imposed by the army without proper authority. It was also determined that a sweeping and total ban on Palestinian movement was disproportionate. However, anyone who makes an effort could understand between the lines that another solution of separation, for example, granting some of the Palestinians travel licenses, is possible. 30/12/2009
Israel resembles a failed state Ali Abunimah - Electronic Intifada - The shift in public opinion is palpable as Israel`s own actions transform it into a pariah whose driving forces are not the liberal democratic values with which it claims to identify, but ultra-nationalism, racism, religious fanaticism, settler-colonialism and a Jewish supremacist order maintained by frequent massacres. 29/12/2009
International law is clear: Israeli settlements are illegal Iain Scobbie (in reaction to Eric Rozenman)- Los Angeles Times - Israel refused to be seen as the successor state to the Palestinian mandate. Accordingly, it refused to pay the public debt that Palestine owed to Britain. How then can there be a right of Israeli settlement in the West Bank, territory to which Israel itself has never made legal claim? 29/12/2009
Red Rag ColumnGideon Spiro - Two states for one people - Human Rights Day - a good Arab - well-intentioned racism27/12/2009
Dead in its tracksby Saleh El-Naami Al-Ahram Weekly in English "Palestinian unity is still unreachable"25/12/2009
A Tougher Stance on the Use of Military Force Stirs Little Public Debate By ISABEL KERSHNER NYT " In the year since Israel launched its devastating military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, the country’s political and military leaders have faced intense international condemnation and accusations of possible war crimes."25/12/2009
U.S. official blasts Israel envoy`s `unfortunate` J-Street remarks Barak Ravid - Haaretz - "It is not 1939," she said. "We have the state of Israel. We have laws in countries that are holding people accountable." Advertisement When Ambassador Michael Oren turned down J Street`s request to be keynote speaker at its first annual conference, and chose not to attend, debate over the group, already intense in the American Jewish community, reached as far as Jerusalem. "It is not 1939," she said. "We have the state of Israel. We have laws in countries that are holding people accountable." When Ambassador Michael Oren turned down J Street`s request to be keynote speaker at its first annual conference, and chose not to attend, debate over the group, already intense in the American Jewish community, reached as far as Jerusalem. 24/12/2009
Jordan’s King Remakes His Government MICHAEL SLACKMAN - NYT - "The king tried to blunt that criticism by ordering the government to rework an unpopular election law that limits the ability of voters to select their representatives." 23/12/2009
Danger: Popular struggleAmira Hass - Haaretz - ""The quiet security [situation] in the West Bank and the fact that the [Palestinian] Authority is acting against terror in an efficient manner has caused the international community to turn to Israel and demand progress."" 23/12/2009
The covenant for the land Yitzhak Laor - Haaretz - There is nothing here that some future historian could not explain as the absolute logic of a systematic state effort at gradual expulsion, either in the occupied territories or within the state`s borders, each area at its own pace. 22/12/2009
It`s the “Zionism of the State” vs. the “Zionism of the Land”Gadi Taub - Yediot Aharonot/Koteret - Although this is not an enemy army, we are talking about a fundamental clash between two kinds of Zionism, which are incompatible, and therefore we should not make light of the magnitude of the shock that we will undergo before we succeed in dividing the land. 22/12/2009
Change in Gaza is possibleGershon Baskin - Jerusalem Post - If we want to weaken Hamas, end the economic siege.22/12/2009
Gilad Shalit must be freed at any cost Gideon Levy - Haaretz - ...all the more so because the actual cost is lower than the one bandied about by those who oppose the release. Yes, there will be more and more terrorists in the future, with or without the hundreds of released prisoners, if the occupation and abuse of the Palestinian people continues. 22/12/2009
When Will It Be Our Time?MUSTAFA BARGHOUTHI - NYT - "In the face of European and American inaction, it is crucial that we continue to revive our culture of collective activism by vigorously and nonviolently resisting Israel’s domination over us." 20/12/2009
Our modern-day SpartaGadi Taub - Ynet - "The settlers’ Zionism is an express route to losing the major Zionist accomplishment (that is, the Jewish State) and accepting their interpretation of Judaism is an express route to limiting Jewish morality to clods of earth." 20/12/2009
Despair in RamallahUri Misgav - Ynet - "We decided to stop being fools, they told me in Ramallah."20/12/2009
Israel: EU official`s `occupation` remark casts pall on ties By Akiva Eldar - Haaretz Correspondent " Government officials in Jerusalem harshly criticized the new European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, for her scathing remarks about the "Israeli occupation" in her maiden speech." 18/12/2009
The ball is now with the international community by Ghassan Khatib - Bitterlemons "Binyamin Netanyahu`s announcement in late November that his government would implement a settlement freeze was not taken seriously by Palestinians, Arabs or other interested and involved parties." 18/12/2009
An honourable exitby Azmi Bishara - Al-Ahram Weekly online "Is there any way for the Palestinian Authority to escape its current predicament? Yes, says Azmi Bishara, but only if long bankrupt strategies are jettisoned once and for all." 18/12/2009
Building on extremismby Saleh El-Naami - Al-Ahram Weekly "While there is an ideological shift in Israeli society towards the right, it is not the only reason why Jewish settlements are quickly being inhabited."18/12/2009
UN Envoy: “Settlement Slowdown, Is Not Settlement Freeze”by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies "United Nations Middle East Envoy, Robert Sery, informed the Security Council that Israel’s partial slowdown of settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories is only a slow down not a settlement freeze. "18/12/2009
Who’s afraid of the Hesder Yeshivas?Ofer Shelah - Maariv - When the army wishes to make a demand, it knows quite well how to do so, as any official in the Finance Ministry who ever argued with the generals about the budget, can attest. But in the defense ministers’ bureaus no one can recall even one event in which the public threats actually materialized into an unequivocal demand that the arrangement with the Alon Moreh or Har Bracha yeshiva indeed be annulled. It is convenient for the officers to appear as those whose righteous demands were rejected due to political considerations; the politicians swallow the small amount of damage for the sake of continued good relations with the religious right. 17/12/2009
The impunity of Israel and its allies will carry a priceSeumas Milnew - The Guardian - No doubt both Britain and the US, with their own record of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, fear that if universal jurisdiction is applied to Israel it could be catching. This was a principle that was apparently only intended to apply to countries that challenge western power or African states, not a "strategic partner" and "close friend", as Miliband described Israel this week. 17/12/2009
U.S. planning to restart Israel-PA talks based on `67 bordersAkiva Eldar - Haaretz - "Meanwhile, a senior diplomatic source told Haaretz on Tuesday that there were gaps between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas on the very definition of the negotiating process."16/12/2009
Israel’s revealing fury towards EUEditorial Financial Times - Israel, especially under the hardline nationalist government of Benjamin Netanyahu, has begun to overreact almost systematically to the perceptible erosion of international support for its irredentist claims on the West Bank. 15/12/2009
Maariv’s defense analyst: Rabbis own the IDFDidi Remez/Ofer Shelah - Coteret - The army’s combat units, and particularly the infantry brigades, are full of religious soldiers and officers, in numbers that far outnumber their part in the general population. Some of the hesder yeshivas today are what the kibbutzim and the military boarding schools were in the past.13/12/2009
Spot the differenceUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - A SHORT historical quiz: Which state (1) Arose after a holocaust in which a third of its people were destroyed? (2) Drew from that holocaust the conclusion that only superior military forces could ensure its survival? (3) Accorded the army a central role in its life, making it “an army that had a state, rather than a state that had an army”? (4) Began by buying the land it took, and continued to expand by conquest and annexation? (5) Endeavored by all possible means to attract new immigrants? (6) Conducted a systematic policy of settlement in the occupied territories? (7) Strove to push out the national minority by creeping ethnic cleansing?13/12/2009
Red Rag ColumnGideon Spiro - Holocaust, Inc. - Zionism and pollution - Nobel Prize for Nobel`s peace - Fighter or terrorist? Murdered or died?13/12/2009
How newspapers censor the Palestinian side of the story... wonderful new Jerusalem memoir by Emma Williams: "It`s Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street." An English doctor married to a U.N. official, Williams socialized with many journalists and government officials during the second intifada and after, and witnessed the "business of silencing" the Palestinian side. Mondoweiss brings excerpts from the new book12/12/2009
Great Speech, but what about Israel-Palestine?M.J. Rosenberg at Media Matters reminds Obama and the rest of us, that the noble principles he laid out in his Nobel acceptance speech should be applied in Israel-Palestine too; otherwise, they are just empty words.12/12/2009
A thoughtful, honest Nobel lectureBy Michael Tomasky Blog on Guardian website "Obama`s speech wasn`t designed to pander to an international audience or to help him politically at home. So what was it for?"11/12/2009
A step of sobrietyWeissglas - Yediot: Get real, the choice is between settlements (incl. E Jerusalem) and [how to avoid] pariah status 8/12/2009
Why aren’t we ashamed? -- We should be ashamed to see Gilad Shalit’s parents begging usYael Mishali - Ynet - I am ashamed of rightist rabbis; it’s hard to count the number of victims we paid and will pay for the sake of their settlement vision. I’m ashamed of rightist supporters and religious politicians whose political agenda prompts us to place IDF troops and all citizens of this country in daily danger of terror attacks and wars.8/12/2009
The military threat Merav Michaeli - Haaretz - "The power wielded by the security establishment grows whenever Israel finds itself in a situation where it faces `an existential threat` and `a security danger.` It is then that it pours money, its best people, its energies and its skills into defense. This is what happens when the interests of the defense sector diverge from the interests of the state which subsidizes it and which it purports to defend" 7/12/2009
The Goldstone Report and the debate in IsraelEdward C. Corrigan - Dissident Voice - "Richard Goldstone is not the only Jew manipulated by the world-wide anti-Semitic conspiracy. Throughout the three weeks of the Gaza War, more than 10 thousand Israelis demonstrated against it again and again. They were photographed carrying signs saying `End the massacre in Gaza,` `Stop the war crimes,` `Israel commits war crimes,` `Bombing civilians is a war crime.` They chanted in unison: `Olmert, Olmert, it is true – They’re waiting in The Hague for you!` Who would have believed that there are so many anti-Semites in Israel?!"6/12/2009
Israel should give up Jerusalem as its capital - commentaryYossi Melman - Haaretz - It is hard to understand how two peoples, in the modern era, are willing to die for the sake of religious symbolism of stones and places of worship. Moreover, this "holiness" is preventing any chance of achieving a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If, as expected, the Israelis and Palestinians fail to reach agreement on Jerusalem, it might be better if they agreed on the following: Israel would announce that at least temporarily it would move its capital to a different city.6/12/2009
"The Freeze" is just another scene in Israel`s masqueradeGideon Levy - Haaretz - Like every production, be it a flop or a hit, the future of this show will also be decided by the audience. In the meantime, as the first act shifts into high gear, the viewers are yawning. The government and the settlers are proud to introduce "The Freeze," a show in which both sides play - in quite unconvincing fashion - already scripted parts. 6/12/2009
Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009Uri Blau - Haaretz - Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children`s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on T-shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him.6/12/2009
Imagine people of Israel ... Zeki Ergas - - It truly hurts to say it, but Israel is no longer beautiful. It has become ugly. It may still have physical beauty. Its men and women may be healthy and good-looking, and the country may be beautiful. But it no longer has the beauty of the soul, the beauty of the heart and the beauty of the spirit which count far more than physical beauty. How can we deny that the Israeli government and the Israeli settlers in the occupied territories are, in that respect, largely, made up of ugly people. Even the Jewish religion, that beautiful religion that is the originator of the other two monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam, has been, by religious fanatics, turned into an ugly religion.6/12/2009
The height of kitchUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - From time to time, the relationship between Germany and Israel needs a review. The German government – the present one like all its predecessors – draws from the Holocaust an unequivocal conclusion: Israel, the “state of the victims”, must be pampered. Konrad Adenauer decided that massive support for Israel (in addition to the indemnities paid to the individual victims) would open the doors to the world. Since then, much water has flown down the Rhine and the Jordan. The time has come to ask some questions. Question 1: While the German friendship with us is a moral imperative, does it have to include support for immoral actions?6/12/2009
Human currency Kieron Monks - EI - "The army is determined to secure the captured Israeli soldier`s return by any means necessary and if that means turning Hamas into popular heroes it seems that is a price they are willing to pay. For the PLO, which has wasted years in pointless talks it is a bitter pill to swallow. For the world it is another reminder that force is the only currency the Israeli government trades in"5/12/2009
2009 Journalist Conference in Israel: No NewsHedva Issachar - Hagada Hasmalit - "The support provided by Israel’s primary media to the security and political moves of the government—any government—is not new in Israel. The perception that media is committed to the ethics of the “public’s right to know,” in numerous cases even against strong currents that demand the silencing and concealment of information, serves more as a title for academic conferences and less as a rule that guides the media establishment in Israel"5/12/2009
I have no brother Yossi Sarid - Haaretz - "`The settlers are our brothers,` Prime Minister Netanyahu said this week, trying to convey their holy wrath. But let me make it clear: They are not my brothers. I don`t have any brothers like that, or sisters"5/12/2009
Perpetual predicamentBy Khaled Amayreh - Source: Al-Ahram Weekly "Delayed elections will not resolve the deep national crisis facing the Palestinians, Khaled Amayreh reports from Ramallah "4/12/2009
Israel Uprooted 7000 Olive Trees This YearSaed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies - The Center reported that 5720 trees were uprooted in Salfit district. 400 Olive trees were uprooted and burnt in Qalqilia district, 1600 trees were cut or uprooted by the settlers in Hebron district, and 30 olive trees were uprooted in Bethlehem. These violations were carried out in conjunction of preventing the residents from harvesting their olives in several West Bank areas, as the orchards became isolated behind the Annexation Wall. 3/12/2009
Inclusive Judaism is needed in IsraelMenachem Klein - Common Ground News - Inclusive Judaism prays at the Cave of the Patriarchs without harming its sacred status as a mosque for Muslims. Inclusive Judaism views the Wailing Wall as part of the Temple Mount and therefore recognises it as a sacred place in Islam because of Al-Borak’s affinity to al-Aqsa. Inclusive Judaism promotes sharing sovereignty when the site is an active sacred place: the Wailing Wall and the Haram al-Sharif have been holy to Jews and Muslims respectively for thousands of years. Inclusive Judaism claims that because we are Jews, nothing human is foreign to us. Therefore, even the right of return cannot be an exclusive right for Jews only, and we shall not make ourselves blind to the suffering we have caused and are still causing the Palestinians. 2/12/2009
Borderline Views: Who`s monitoring the monitor?DAVID NEWMAN - The Jerusalem Post - NGO Monitor itself does not practice the same degree of transparency that it demands from others. It constantly refuses to disclose its own funding sources, over and beyond the minimal amounts which are registered with the official register of nonprofit organizations and which account for but a small percentage of its actual income. And despite many requests for NGO Monitor to investigate, on an equal basis, the activities and funding of right-wing NGOs, many of which support illegal activities in the West Bank, it has consistently refused to do so. Many of these NGOs are North American-based and fund activities in settlements which are deemed illegal by both international and US law, while others support hesder yeshivot whose leaders, just a week or so ago, supported the illegal call for soldiers to refuse orders aimed at future settlement evacuation. 2/12/2009
Hawkish ‘Israel Lobby’ More Bark Than Bite?Eli Clifton - Antiwar - "Ultimately Fleshler makes a strong case for American Jewish organizations which represent constituencies who are concerned about human rights in Israel, settlement expansion, and the furthering of the peace process to make more noise and stand up to the mainstream "Israel Lobby."" 2/12/2009
If we can`t make progress bilaterally...Yossi Alpher - Jerusalem Post - We have to offer to talk to Hamas directly about long-term coexistence if a productive solution for the West Bank can be deemed sustainable.1/12/2009
The Gaza scorecard, one year laterRami G. Khouri - Daily Star - "The most important new development during the last year has been the world’s repeated negative assessment of Israeli behavior." 30/12/2009
Captive Helps Close the Distance Between Israelis ETHAN BRONNER - NYT - "Although Israel has spent decades trying to build a reputation as a tough self-sacrificing society that spurns negotiations with terrorists, polls show a strong majority in favor of the trade." 9/12/2009
Encountering Peace: 2 capitals for 2 states for 2 peoplesGershon Baskin - J-lem Post - "UN Security Council Resolution 478 declared the 1980 Jerusalem Law that declared Jerusalem to be Israel`s "eternal and indivisible" capital null and void, affirming that it was a violation of international law." 9/12/2009
How Israel Slipped the Snare of `Particular Concern` KEVIN MINK - Counterpunch - "Through the State Department Looking Glass...the behavior of Israeli Jews towards the Palestinians – Christian and Muslim – has merely “strained” the relationship between the two." 9/12/2009
Steel walls cannot contain the struggle for freedom Hasan Abu Nimah - The Electronic Intifada - Smuggling is normally illegal and shames and incriminates those who engage in it. Not in the case of Gaza though, where forcing a besieged population to act like moles and to dig deep underground to import in their needs from kerosene to cooking oil -- also used as car fuel -- to livestock, is actually an affront to the so-called civilized world, but more specifically to the Arab world which is acquiescing in the lethal blockade and humiliation imposed upon the Palestinians. 16/12/2009
Occupation Threatens Secularism in IsraelJerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler - Antiwar - "Yeshayahu Leibowitz made the dire prediction that the takeover of the destiny of another people would eat away like a cancer at Israel’s heart and soul. The occupation would eventually come to dictate Israel’s own destiny, he prophesied." 16/12/2009
Israeli politicians` fear of legal actionBetty Hunter - Guardian - "We are shocked at reports that the Foreign Office is seeking to avoid its responsibility to uphold international law and bring war criminals to justice." 16/12/2009
Let`s face the facts, Israel is a semi-theocracy Gideon Levy - Haaretz - It begins, of course, with the fact of our presence here. Among other things, it is based on theological reasoning. Abraham the Patriarch was here, so we are, too. He bought the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, so we, too, are in Palestinian Hebron. People who are entirely secular also cite religious and biblical explanations for the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. We can`t even say whether Judaism is a religion or a nationality - and in any event, there is no other country in the Western world where religion has its holy iron grip on the state as it does in Israel. 10/12/2009
Conference at the Knesset on the Financing of Political Activity in Israel by Foreign CountriesHaggai Matar - Anarchists Against The Wall - The conference was closed with MK Elkin`s important words. After going over all that`s been said so far, the MK added by passing that actions against the organizations in question have to be taken step by step. The first step is "increasing transparency" so that the public may know and arrive at the relevant conclusions. What are the next steps? We`ll have to wait and see. We`ll also have to wait and see whether every military operation from now on will have the caption "sponsored by the State Department", so that the public may know and arrive at the needed conclusions. 10/12/2009
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