Bulletin N° 248


31 July 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In these soul-searching times, when political mistakes of the past have been brought home to haunt us, we come face to face with the total inadequacies of our culture which inhibit us from confronting the irrational constraints of late capitalism and militarism in any meaningful way. In fact, our careful training has had just the opposite effect of acquiring skills necessary to organize alienated citizens around the collective self-interests, of learning how to communicate beyond the barriers of class, ethnicity, and gender, of facilitating discussions of new strategies that would include people as a purpose, and not simply as some abstract means to an end.

We stand in shame, as accomplices to major war crimes committed by a cynical political elite who have somehow found their way to the levers of political, economic and military power. We hardly know how they acquired access to this power, and we cannot fathom what they really want, in any ontological sense; nor do we know to what extremes they are willing go in order to arrive at their short-term goals. We do sense, however, that the danger is real, that our future is threatened, and that to stop this madness we must collectively find something better.

If there is any lesson to be learned from the American political system it is that supporting "the lesser evil" is no solution. No one has better depicted the pathos of the opportunistic mobilization of hatred in the absence of real democracy than George Orwell, in his books Animal Farm and later in 1984. When we are not present and democratically participating at discussions of strategy, his message reads, we become easily manipulated at the lower level of tactics, and because of our ignorance of the real context we sometimes become convinced by arguments in favor of Kamikaze tactics, or rather stumble into situations, like imperial troops, which offer no alternative.

For George Orwell's description of the obligatory but effective "hate sessions" in front of the larger-than-life image of Goldstein (1984) visit :


Another literary warning shot was fired by the former African-American slave Frederick Douglass, who later became a self-educated abolitionists, and who wrote toward the end of his life :
Find out just what people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of
injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted
with either words or blows. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom
they oppress.

The following 7 articles pertaining to the repression most of us feel to varying degrees were received by CEIMSA during the last couple of days, when one atrocity after another was reported from the Middle East.

Item A. contain two current articles sent to us by TruthOut, the first by Tom Perry on protestors who broke into UN Head Quarters in Beirut; the second by Kathy Gannon describes the Israeli attack on civilians in the southern Lebanese village of Qana, where 56 were killed this morning in their sleep by Israeli-American missiles.
Item B. is an article from Dhar Jamail on the use of illegal weapons, including white phosphorus, by Israeli Defense Forces against civilians in Lebanon.
Item C., by The Progressive Magazine editor, Matthew Rothschild is his comments on Condoleezza Rice, "Midwife from Hell".
Item D. is from Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study Professor Joan Scott, who was the keynote speaker at the Princeton Middle East Society conference where on the agenda was a discussion of the current dangers to academic freedom in United States universities.
Item E. is an article sent to us by Richard Du Boff on "why no peace or stability can emerge in West Asia through occupation, subjugation, and the military slaughter of civilians," written by Siddharth Varadarajan, Deputy Editor of The Hindu in New Delhi, India
Item F. is a video interview from Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, showing Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah talking with former U.S. diplomats on Israeli aggressions, prisoner exchanges, and the founding of Hezbollah.
And, finally, item G., by Robert Fisk, is a commentary on what he believes to be Blair's tactics of using "ceasefires" as a weapon for political ends.

An additional item, providing more context for a better understanding of the articles below, is this video report depicting the reality and horror of today's war against civilians.

Click here to watch.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal - Grenoble 3

from Tom Perry & Kathy Gannon :
30 July 2006
Also see below:     
34 Youths Among 56 Dead in Israeli Strike    •
    Go to Original

  Protestors Break Into UN HQ in Beirut
    by Tom Perry

    Beirut - Lebanese protesters broke into the U.N. headquarters in Beirut on Sunday, smashing windows and ransacking offices, after an Israeli air strike killed 54 people in south Lebanon.
    Several thousand people massed outside the building in downtown Beirut chanting "Death to Israel, death to America. We sacrifice our blood and souls for Lebanon".
    Geir Petersen, the personal representative of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Lebanon, condemned the Israeli attack on the village of Qana and called for an immediate investigation.
    "I strongly condemn today's killing of tens of civilians by Israeli shelling of residential buildings in the village of Qana," he said. He was not in building when it was attacked.
    By late afternoon, all the protesters had drifted away.
    At least 542 Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed in the war between Israel and Hizbollah and there is growing anger in Lebanon that the international community has not done enough to end it.
    Lebanon's health minister estimates the toll at 750, including unrecovered bodies. Fifty one Israelis have also been killed.
    "We understand the feeling of the Lebanese people after many civilian victims fell in the bombardment of Qana ... which reminds us of the tragedy that befell the people of the village in 1996," said Mervat Tallawy, U.N. under-secretary-general.
    "We appreciate the intervention of the highest Lebanese authorities to provide protection for the U.N. headquarters in Beirut and Lebanon's need for the United Nations and ESCWA," said Tallawy, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

    In April 1996, Israeli shelling killed more than 100 civilians sheltering at a U.N. peacekeepers' base in Qana. On Sunday, most of the 54 killed were children.
    Calls to Attack Tel Aviv
    U.N. spokesman Khaled Mansour said the building had been stoned and furniture smashed but no U.N. staff were hurt as they had taken refuge in the basement. He said a small fire was started on the second floor but it had been contained.
    Demonstrators held aloft the flags of Lebanon, Hizbollah and the Amal party, whose leader, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, appealed for a halt to the attack on the building.
    Demonstrators tore down a U.N. flag outside the building and ripped it to shreds and called on Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to launch rocket attacks on Tel Aviv.
    "Oh Nasrallah, oh our cherished one, destroy, destroy Tel Aviv," they chanted.
    Members of Hizbollah, the Shi'ite group that sparked the war 19 days ago when it seized two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid, tried to restrain the crowd.
    Following the attack, Lebanon canceled a planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday, saying she was unwelcome until a ceasefire was declared.

    Go to Original
The Associated Press
    Sunday 30 July 2006
  34 Youths Among 56 Dead in Israeli Strike
    By Kathy Gannon
    Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed "great sorrow" for the airstrikes but blamed Hezbollah guerrillas for using the area to launch rockets at Israel, and said he would not halt the army's operation.
    The Lebanese Red Cross said the airstrike in Qana, in which at least 34 children were killed, pushed the overall Lebanese death toll to more than 500. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon in a setback for diplomatic efforts to end hostilities. She was to return to the U.S. Monday morning, abruptly breaking off her diplomatic mission in the Mideast.
    Before the airstrike, Olmert told Rice he needed 10-14 days to finish the offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official. The two said they would meet again Sunday evening.
    "We will not stop this battle, despite the difficult incidents this morning," Olmert said said during Israel's weekly Cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting. "We will continue the activity and if necessary it will be broadened without hesitation."
    Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to hold an emergency Security Council meeting to arrange for an immediate cease-fire after the Qana strike.
    Rice said she had called Saniora to postpone; angry Lebanese officials said it was their government that called off the meeting.
    Israeli said it targeted Qana because it was a base for hundreds of rockets launched at Israeli, including 40 that injured five Israelis on Sunday. Israel said it had warned civilians several days before to leave the village.

    "One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields," said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. "The Israeli defense forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone."
    Rescuers aided by villagers dug through the rubble by hand. At least 20 bodies wrapped in white sheets were taken away, including 10 children. A row of houses lay in ruins, and an old woman was carried away on a plastic chair.
    Villagers said many of the dead were from four families who had taken refuge in on the ground floor of a three-story building, believing they would be safe from bombings.
    "We want this to stop!" shouted Mohammed Ismail, a middle-aged man pulling away at the rubble in search for bodies, his brown pants covered in dust. "May God have mercy on the children. They came here to escape the fighting."
    "They are hitting children to bring the fighters to their knees," he said.
    Rice said she was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life" in Israel's attack. But she did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militias.
    "We all recognize this kind of warfare is extremely difficult," Rice said, noting it comes in areas where civilians live. "It unfortunately has awful consequences sometimes."
    "We want a cease-fire as soon as possible," she added.
    The United States and Israel are pressing for a settlement that addresses enduring issues between Lebanon and Israel and disables Hezbollah ­ not the quick truce favored by most world leaders.
    Saniora said Lebanon would be open only to an immediate cease-fire.
    "There is no place at this sad moment for any discussions other than an immediate and unconditional cease-fire as well as international investigation of the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now," he told reporters Sunday.
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not rush into a cease-fire until it achieved its goal of decimating Hezbollah, whose July 12 capture of two Israel soldiers provoked the fighting.
    More than 5,000 people protested in central Beirut, denouncing Israel and the United States, some chanting, "Destroy Tel Aviv, destroy Tel Aviv." A few broke car windows and tried briefly to break into the main U.N. building until political leaders called for a halt to damage.
    Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr questioned Israel's claim that Hezbollah fired rockets from the village. "What do you expect Israel to say? Will it say that it killed 40 children and women?" he told Al-Jazeera television.
    Qana, in the hills east of the southern port city of Tyre, has a bloody history. In 1996, Israeli artillery killed more than 100 civilians who had taken refuge at a U.N. base in the village. That attack sparked an international outcry that helped end an Israeli offensive.
    Sunday's attack drew swift condemnation from several world leaders.
    French President Jacques Chirac's office said "France condemns this unjustifiable action, which shows more than ever the need to move toward an immediate cease-fire, without which other such dramas can only be repeated."

    Jordan's King Abdullah II condemned "the ugly crime perpetrated by Israeli forces in Qana," calling it "a blatant violation of the law and all international conventions."
    Lebanese civilians have suffered the most from the fighting. Lebanese officials said most of their citizens slain in the conflict have been civilians. Thirty-three Israeli soldiers have died, and Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel have killed 18 civilians.
    Fighting also broke out between guerrillas and Israeli soldiers in a zone called the Taibeh Project area, about 2 miles inside Lebanon. The Israeli army said one soldier was moderately wounded. Hezbollah's al-Manar TV claimed two Israeli soldiers were killed.
    Heavy artillery rained down on the villages of Yuhmor and Arnoun, close to Taibeh. In northern Israel, rockets fell on Nahariya, Kiryat Shemona and an area close to Maalot, the army said.
    Israel has said it would launch a series of limited ground incursions into Lebanon to push back guerrillas, rather than carry out a full-fledged invasion. Israeli troops pulled back Saturday from the town of Bint Jbail, suggesting the thrust, launched a week ago, had halted.
    But Lebanese officials reported a massing of troops and 12 tanks near the Israeli town of Metulla further to the northeast, on the tip of the Galilee Panhandle near the Golan Heights, suggesting another incursion could begin soon.
    France circulated a draft Security Council resolution on Saturday among the other 14 council members. It would call for an immediate halt to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and seek a wide new buffer zone in south Lebanon monitored by international forces and the Lebanese army.
    British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said the strike on Qana was a "tragedy for the people affected," especially so since negotiators had been close to reaching "the basis for a cease-fire."
    She stopped short of calling for a cease-fire. "We have repeatedly called on the Israelis to act proportionately," Beckett said.
    A peace package Rice brought to the region called for a U.N.-mandated multinational force that can help stabilize in the region, according to a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
    It also proposes: disarming Hezbollah and integrating the guerrilla force into the Lebanese army; Hezbollah's return of Israeli prisoners; a buffer zone in southern Lebanon to put Hezbollah rockets out of range of Israel; a commitment to resolve the status of a piece of land held by Israel and claimed by Lebanon; and the creation of an international reconstruction plan for Lebanon.
    The latter two provisions resembled parts of a proposal by Lebanon's government. But they fell short of Hezbollah's demands, including a prisoner swap to free Lebanese held for years in Israeli prisons and the disputed land, known as Chebaa farms, put under U.N. supervision until its status can be resolved.

from Dahr Jamail :
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006
Subject: Iraq Dispatches: Israelis Accused of Using Illegal Weapons

Israelis Accused of Using Illegal Weapons
by Dahr Jamail

BEIRUT, Jul 28 (IPS) - The Israeli military is using illegal weapons against civilians in southern Lebanon, according to several reports.*

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said this week that Israel had used cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon, in clear violation of international law.

The group said cluster bombs killed a civilian and injured 12 others in Blida village in the south of Lebanon last week. Cluster bombs disperse hundreds of tiny shrapnel-filled 'bomblets' that are "unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable", and should not be used in civilian areas, HRW said.

Lebanese doctors, aid workers and refugees are reporting that the Israeli military has used the incendiary weapon white phosphorous in civilian areas, also in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Dr. Bachir el-Sham at the Complex Hospital in Sidon in the south of Lebanon told IPS in a telephone interview that he has received civilian patients injured by incendiary weapons.

"We are seeing people that are all blackened, with charred flesh that is not burned by normal bombs and flames," he said. "I am sure this is a special bomb. They are using incendiary weapons on civilians in the south. We are seeing these patients."

The doctor also told IPS that the Israelis are again using suction bombs, which they used heavily during the Lebanese civil war.

"They are using suction bombs that implode our buildings," he added, "With implosive bombs...instead of the glass blasted out, it is inside the building. These kill everyone inside the building. There are rarely survivors when they use these bombs."

Bilal Masri, assistant director of the Beirut Government University Hospital (BGUH) had told IPS earlier that "many of the injured in the south are suffering from the impact of incendiary white phosphorous."

Wafaa el-Yassir, Beirut representative of the non-governmental organisation Norwegian People's Aid, told IPS that several of her relief workers in the south had reported assisting people hit by incendiary weapons.

"The most important thing is that we have an investigation for the Israelis' use of banned weapons," she said. "They have used phosphorous in Nabatiyeh and cluster bombs in Dahaya district of Beirut."

She also told IPS that a doctor at the Bint Jbail hospital, in the small city near the southern border of Lebanon where much of the fierce fighting has taken place, had told her agency that he was certain that white phosphorous had been used against civilians there.

Zacharia al-Amedin, an 18-year-old refugee being treated for lacerations from bomb shrapnel told IPS, "I was in a village near Tyre, and the Israelis were dropping incendiary bombs all around us, even though there weren't fighters near us. So many civilians were hit by these weapons."

The Lebanese ministry of interior has officially said that the Israeli military has used this weapon.

President Emile Lahoud said recently on French radio: "According to the Geneva Conventions, when they use phosphorous bombs and laser bombs, is that allowed against civilians and children?"

An Israeli military spokesman told Reuters news agency, "Everything the Israeli defence forces are using is legitimate." International law requires that the military distinguish between combatants and civilians. Incendiary weapons and cluster bombs when used in areas where there may be civilians contravene international humanitarian law.

"We are a country of humans, not animals," Sham told IPS. "Real people are dying here. You must ask this of the world, to please help."

from Mathew Rothschild :
29 July 2006

"Her description of the conflagration in Lebanon as the 'birthpangs of a new Middle East' was about as callous as it gets, matched only by Bush's remark that the conflict represents 'a moment of opportunity,'" writes Matthew Rothschild describing Condoleezza Rice's opposition to an immediate cease-fire.

Condoleezza Rice: Midwife From Hell

from Joan Scott :
28 July 2006
Institute for Advanced Study

Princeton Panelists Share Cautionary Tales
Of Dangers to Academic Freedom
by Jane Adas


Participating in the lecture and panel discussion on "Academic Freedom and Middle East Studies" were (standing, l-r) Professors George Saliba, Mark Mazower and Joan Scott, and (seated, l-r) Professors Zachary Lockman adn Miriam Lowi
(Staff photo J. Adas).

PROFESSOR Joan Scott of the Institute for Advanced Study, and chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), was the keynote speaker at a Sept. 18 lecture and panel discussion on “Academic Freedom and Middle East Studies” sponsored by the Princeton Middle East Society. The AAUP has found that anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment on campus has become acceptable, she reported, attributing this to elements of the USA PATRIOT Act and a compliant press. Among the many victims of this attitude she cited were Tariq Ramadan, the renowned Islamic scholar who was unable to teach at the University of Notre Dame after the U.S. revoked his visa, and Sami Al-Arian, the tenured professor who was suspended by the University of South Florida because the threats that were made on his life were deemed unsettling to campus life.

Of the incidents the AAUP has tracked since 9/11, Scott said, all but one have been instigated by the pro-Israel bloc. Off-campus lobbying groups, such as Daniel Pipes’ Campus Watch and David Horowitz’s Students for Academic Freedom, have promoted an atmosphere of fear that leads to self-policing by professors and administrators. She described their efforts to bring the judiciary and legislature to bear on hiring, grading, and class content as “affirmative action for the conservative agenda.” There have been some examples of brave university administrators, Scott acknowledged, but more of capitulation to outside pressure and interference.

Panelist and professor Mark Mazower arrived at Columbia from England in the fall of 2004, just as the David Project, a Boston-based pro-Israel organization, was arranging private showings of “Columbia Unbecoming.” The film targets three Arab professors at Columbia, accusing them of intimidating and harassing their Jewish students. Mazower was appointed to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee to investigate those charges. He said he found the originating events of less concern than the broader issues of academic freedom. The former were propelled into the public arena by outside groups bringing Washington lobbying tactics into academe via sympathetic students. He was surprised, Mazower said, to find some students performing a monitoring role in the classroom, and cited the New York Times headline, “Committee finds no anti-Semitism at Columbia,” as evidence of the conflation of anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel­something that is “a huge cultural fact in the U.S.” and “raises serious questions about the attitudes of American Jews.”

Professor George Saliba was one of the accused Columbia professors. Some students came to his classes with video cameras, he said, and he now worries about every word that might be taken out of context. Describing The David Project’s mission as political rather than academic­to improve Israel’s image on campus­he said it has succeeded in casting a shadow on the future of Middle East studies. From now on, Saliba charged, any administration will be cautious about hiring Arabs or offering courses on Israel/Palestine and will accept the taboos of society so as not to jeopardize funding.

Professor Zachary Lockman was the academic adviser to Mohamed Yusri, a Ph.D. candidate at New York University who was charged with material aid to terrorists and conspiracy to deceive the U.S. government. Lockman testified at Yusri’s trial, but his former student was convicted and is now awaiting sentencing of up to 20 years. Lockman had suggested Yusri’s dissertation topic: a political biography of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was sentenced to life in 1995 for an alleged plot to bomb the Lincoln Tunnel. Yusri, who supported his graduate studies and family as an Arabic translator, had access to Abdel Rahman as the translator for the sheikh’s lawyer, Lynn Stewart, who also was convicted. Yusri, a 49-year-old secular Egyptian married to an evangelical Christian, was accused of being an “acolyte of the sheikh.” The prosecution cited as evidence a book in Yusri’s possession on political Islam (published by the University of California Press) and materials for his dissertation, thus criminalizing his work as a translator and researcher. Lockman described Yusri’s conviction as a gross miscarriage of justice.

Professor Miriam Lowi of The College of New Jersey discussed Zionism, anti-Semitism and the state of Israel. The diaspora is essential to Israel, she said, with the defining elements securing the bond between the two being the Holocaust and the 1967 war. The victim status of the former, Lowi maintained, has led to Israel being in a state of permanent defense, in danger of extermination even if it is the aggressor. When Lowi visits Israel and is asked why she does not make aliyeh (move to Israel), she replies, “Life is good in the U.S.” The response, she said, is generally, “That’s what they said in the 1930s”­thus making anti-Semitism a powerful ally of Zionists. Lowi concluded by stating that diaspora Jews should have the right to be indifferent toward Israel.

Azmi Bishara at Princeton


Israeli Knesset member Dr. Azmi Bishara
(Staff photo J. Adas).

The third annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Princeton Committee on Palestine, was delivered Oct. 6 by Dr. Azmi Bishara, who discussed “War, Occupation and Democracy: U.S. Strategy in the Middle East.” Bishara, formerly head of Birzeit University’s departments of philosophy and political science, has been a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset since 1996  and is head of Muwatin, the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy.

According to Bishara, the American neoconservatives who pushed the U.S. policy of democracy as an export item are now beginning to be disillusioned. This is due in part, he said, to the failure of that policy in Iraq­where not only is there no democracy, but also no electricity or gasoline for cars. There are few examples of successful democracies after occupation, Bishara observed. Japan and Germany, cited by the neocons, are the exceptions, not the rule, he argued. Both had binary parliaments before occupation, Washington was not opposed to Japanese or German nationalism, and the U.S. shared with them an opposition to the Soviets and China. When it comes to the Arab world, Bishara pointed out, the U.S. has always opposed Arab nationalism and has viewed modern secular nationalism as a threat.

Bishara accused the U.S. of making a weird, uncritical linkage between terrorism and despotism­hence the need to export democracy for national security. But, statistically, he asked, does despotism lead to terrorism? He compared democratic India to China on the specific issue of terrorism: 204 terror actions in India; 0 in China. Does traditional democracy stop terrorism? Citing the IRA in England and the assassination of a prime minister in Israel, Bishara concluded that there actually is no connection.

The U.S., Bishara continued, having very little history in the area prior to 1967, lacks the ABCs of colonialism. The former colonial powers that carved out these countries would not have made the mistake of, for instance, dissolving the functional army, an important non-sectarian institution in Iraq. For Washington, he added, the lack of separation of church and state suddenly is not a problem in Iraq. While there is no Catholic army or Protestant political party in the U.S., he elaborated, not only does the U.S. allow this in the Middle East, but it considers it democracy.

Historically, Bishara noted, confederation is an administrative decentralization into districts where citizens can choose to live. But, he said, when America takes federalism to the Third World, it becomes an issue of identity. Americans don’t speak of the French as Catholics, he pointed out, but routinely speak of Kurds, Shi’i and Sunnis. Defining confederation as the autonomy of sects, Bishara warned, will end with religious leaders leading religious groups.

Bishara said he pays careful attention to the speeches President George W. Bush reads because they are written by serious people. “They hate us because of who we are” reflects a lumping together of American identity, way of life, and policy. The majority of Arabs, he assured the audience, like the first two, but not the third. U.S. policy on Palestine, he said, is a bigger issue than Americans realize. Binyamin Netanyahu claims that Arab regimes are the central problem. Conceding that may be true for each individual country, Bishara emphasized that, for Arabs as a whole, Palestine is the only remaining colonial wound. Palestine is an issue of justice, he said, not of statehood. What is meant by the solution of a Palestinian state, wherever that might be, is in reality a demographic solution for Israel.

In Bishara’s opinion, Zionism is incompatible with a democratic state. He described two kinds of citizens in Israel: Jews as ideological citizens, and Palestinians, the incidental, accidental citizens who experience discrimination in every aspect of their lives. And yet, he said, “Israel immigrated to us, not the reverse.” One does not build a modern nation state on the basis of ancient history like the Old Testament, he added, because then Germans would have national rights in Central Asia. When asked whether the fact that he is in the Knesset proves Israel is democratic, he responded that it is not an inalienable right, but one given by Israel that can be taken away if Palestinians do not behave and are not grateful. “For me,” he said, “give me back Palestine and take away your democracy.”

Between Gaza and the West Bank


Members of Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian
Peace Orly Lubin (l) and Issam Nassar
(Staff photo J. Adas).

An Israeli and a Palestinian professor­both members of the international network Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (<www.ffipp.org>)­traveled to Princeton University Oct. 10  to discuss the topic “Between Gaza and the West Bank.” Orly Lubin is with the Department of Literature and the Women and Gender Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, while Issam Nassar, associate director of the Institute of Jerusalem Studies, currently teaches in Bradley University’s history department. The event, sponsored by the Transregional Institute, was the first in a series devoted to the theme of “Society under Occupation: Contemporary Palestinian Politics, Culture, and Identity.”

Nassar questioned whether Israel’s recent disengagement from Gaza was a solution and, if so, for what and for whom. The U.S. considers Gaza’s problems­high population density in very little space and high unemployment­as a result of the intifada. This is somewhat true, Nassar conceded, since the Israeli army destroyed 45,000 Gaza homes, along with many mosques, schools, and places of business. But one can’t understand the history of Gaza in only the last five years, he said.

Gaza’s problems go back to 1948, when refugees from the new Israeli state flooded into the area, quadrupling its population. Following the 1967 war, Israel incorporated the occupied territories into its economy as a market for Israeli products and a source of cheap labor inside Israel, producing what Nassar characterized as complete economic dependence on Israel. Then, during and after the Oslo peace process in the 1990s, Israel imposed a continuous closure that has sealed Gaza off “like a prison.”

As evidence that disengagement is not about solving the difficult situation for Palestinians in Gaza, Nassar quoted Israel’s original disengagement proposal of April 18, 2004: it will “serve to dispel claims regarding Israel’s responsibility for the Gaza Strip” and leave “no basis to claim that Gaza is occupied territory.” Under actual implementation, “overall exclusive authority over all air space and territorial water will remain in Israel’s hands” and Israel will continue to sell Gaza electricity and gas at pre-disengagement prices.

If Israelis had acted with good will, Nassar maintained, they would have worked with the Palestinians instead of unilaterally. Instead, he said, they “handed a free victory to Hamas.” Israel has sold the removal of a few thousand settlers who should not have been there, leaving great destruction in the process, as a great concession. And the U.S. is exerting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to confirm the end of any Israeli responsibility for Gaza, hinting that if Palestinians succeed in Gaza, more will be coming. But, Nassar asked, with such a history and with its borders, sky, sea, and water resources under Israeli control, how can Gaza become independent?

Lubin addressed the issue of what the Gaza disengagement means for Israelis. The majority of Israelis, she assured the audience, have no illusions that it is a courageous step. They know that Israel created a ghetto with no infrastructure and allowed no development, and that its army can re-enter at any time. What Israelis saw on television were not the weeping soldiers and mothers shown on American broadcasts, she said, but disengaged, well-trained soldiers dealing with screaming, orange-wearing fanatics and parents putting their children through unnecessary trauma. Within one week, Lubin said, things were back to the normal routine of targeted killings, bombing Gaza, and extending the apartheid wall in the West Bank.

Nobody in Israel thinks disengagement was designed to further the peace process, Lubin asserted; most think it was done for military considerations: it took too many soldiers to guard small, scattered settlements. In fact, she said, the army may no longer reveal the cost of protecting the settlements. The army also has been coping with those who refuse to serve, Lubin said: Every year one-third of those supposed to enlist do not do so, some out of principle but most because serving in the army is unpleasant.

According to Lubin, disengagement broke the myth of the settlements. They had been viewed as a serious obstacle to peace because it had been assumed that nobody could remove them. The fact that it was so easy to get out of settlements, that it took only six days­despite suicide threats and a potential split in the Likud party­has caused a crisis for the Orthodox right wing. It thought it had broad support, but two anti-disengagement demonstrations were canceled when crowds failed to show up. Lubin said the settlement movement lost the people because it was self-centered and oblivious to other issues, such as rising poverty within Israel. For some of the religious settlers who really expected the miracle their rabbis promised them, disengagement has been a theological crisis. Many no longer feel they belong to the Zionist movement.

Israel as a society, Lubin argued, has been held together for 38 years by occupation. It has always been about security, the holiness of the land, and the logistics of the military. But, she said, when the occupation turned out to be so visibly bad, the glue holding Israeli society began melting, revealing the fractures that have always been there. Lubin sees the possibility of good coming out of this fragmentation, if it leads Israelis to ask themselves, what does it mean to be accountable as a nation, to acknowledge what has been done? What would it mean to take responsibility? It would cost money, but, as she reminded her American audience, “your tax dollars will take care of that.”

Jane Adas is a free-lance writer based in the New York City metropolitan area.

from Richard Du  Boff :
29 July 2006
Subject: Beware Israel's "new order"
The Hindu

Beware the 'new order' Israel is imposing
(No peace or stability can emerge in West Asia through occupation, subjugation, and the military slaughter of civilians)

ON JULY 28, 1989, a detachment of heavily armed Israeli commandos descended upon the southern Lebanese village of Jibchit. The time was 2 a.m. They burst into the home of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, leader of the Hizbollah militia, beat up his wife, and shot dead a neighbour before bundling the Sheikh and two other men into a helicopter. One of those seized was a young man named Hashem Fahaf who had no connection to Hizbollah, the other was the Sheikh's bodyguard.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which carries a helpful if damning account of the kidnapping on its website, "Israel had hoped to use the sheikh as a card to affect an exchange of prisoners and hostages [held by Hizbollah] in return for all Shiites held by it."

So brazen was Israel's action that the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution (No. 638) calling for the "immediate safe release of all hostages and abducted persons, wherever and by whomever they are being held." Needless to say, Tel Aviv ignored the resolution. After all, kidnapping non-combatants, including minors, and holding them hostage, was an integral part of Israel's military strategy. In May 1994, Israeli soldiers abducted a prominent Lebanese businessman and former commander of the Shia Amal militia, Mustafa al-Dirani, and brought him into Israel. The aim of that kidnapping was to try and get information about the location of Ron Arad, an air force navigator who had been shot down over Sidon in 1986 during Israel's ongoing aggression against Lebanon.
Mr. Fahaf, whose presence Israel refused to recognise for years, spent 11 years in jail before the Supreme Court finally ordered his release. He was allowed to return home along with 18 other Lebanese nationals who - the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in August 2003 - had been held "according to the official version ... as `bargaining chips' for Ron Arad". Two of those released had been kidnapped as boys and had grown into adulthood in captivity.
Sheikh Obeid and Mr. Dirani were finally released in 2004, after being held hostage by the Israeli government for 15 and 10 years respectively. Both men spent extended periods of time at Camp 1391, dubbed Israel's Guantanamo, a prison whose existence the Israeli authorities do not freely admit to. There, Mr. Dirani was raped, sexually abused, and tortured by Israeli soldiers . A lawsuit filed by him against the State of Israel is currently pending before a judge in Tel Aviv. He is claiming NIS 6 million ($1.5 million) in damages.

The 2004 release was part of a general prisoner swap brokered by the German government in which Hizbollah released an Israeli businessman and reserve colonel seized in 2000 in order to force Tel Aviv to free Sheikh Obeid. Hizbollah also returned the bodies of three Israeli soldiers killed in action. In exchange, Israel set free the Sheikh, Mr. Dirani, and 33 other Lebanese and Arab hostages, as well as 400 Palestinian prisoners. It also returned the bodies of 59 Lebanese nationals killed by its security forces over the years.

It is necessary to recall this entire sordid episode in order to put in perspective Hizbollah's foolish action of seizing two Israeli soldiers across the blue line dividing Lebanon from Israel. Thanks to Israel, kidnapping and hostage-taking - as well as the targeting of non-combatants and even children - have become "acceptable" military tactics in the region though one would be hard pressed to come across any reference to Sheikh Obeid or Mr. Dirani in the international news coverage that followed Hizbollah's action. The Shia militia wants Tel Aviv to free the handful of Lebanese prisoners still in Israeli jails who were promised freedom in 2004 but never released. Most prominent among them is Samir Kuntar, captured in 1978 during a guerrilla raid on an Israeli settlement near the Lebanese border. Kuntar was found guilty of killing a civilian man and his young daughter and sentenced to more than 500 years in prison by an Israeli court. The Israeli authorities may baulk at releasing a "convicted child killer." But in rejecting the possibility of a negotiated settlement and indiscriminately bombarding Lebanon, Tel Aviv has turned its own soldiers into the executioners of children. When a well-marked United Nations post takes a direct hit and ambulances are struck - according to a recent dispatch by Robert Fisk - with missiles that pierce the Red Cross and Crescent symbol right at the centre, it is hard to accept the Israeli claim that all civilian deaths were unintended.

Real war aims

Recalling the recent history of kidnappings is also necessary for another reason: To puncture the myth that the disproportionate and utterly criminal Israeli military response that is pulverising Lebanon and its people today is somehow driven by an urge to free its two kidnapped soldiers.

Read what Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former U.S. National Security Advisor,
told a small gathering in Washington last week about this. "I hate to say this but I will say it. I think what the Israelis are doing today for example in Lebanon is in effect - maybe not in intent - the killing of hostages. The killing of hostages ... Because when you kill 300 people, 400 people, who have nothing to do with the provocations Hizbollah staged, but you do it in effect deliberately by being indifferent to the scale of collateral damage, you're killing hostages in the hope of intimidating those that you want to intimidate. And more likely than not you will not intimidate them. You'll simply outrage them and make them into permanent enemies with the number of such enemies increasing."

On a par with the fantasy that the latest Israeli aggression against Lebanon is about protecting the legitimate security interests of Israel is the demand being raised in various quarters for a NATO peacekeeping force to be deployed on the Lebanese side of the border in order to disarm Hizbollah. Frequent reference is made to Security Council resolution 1559 of 2004, which called on the Lebanese government to assert its sovereignty over the whole of its territory and disarm the Shiite militia. When it suits Israel and the United States, United Nations resolutions such as 242 and 338 on Palestine or 638 on releasing hostages can be ignored for years on end. But other resolutions acquire a Biblical patina and instant compliance is required of them. By grossly interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs, Resolution 1559 was clearly ultra vires of the U.N. Charter. That is why it passed with the barest possible majority. Russia and China chose to abstain rather than exercise their veto because the resolution envisaged no enforcement mechanism. In any case, it is absurd for Israel - which is bombing Lebanon at will and sending in its troops - to speak in favour of a resolution that calls for the Lebanese government to assert its sovereignty.

As the Israeli peace bloc, Gush Shalom, has said, the current offensive against Lebanon - like the 1982 invasion which led to two decades of occupation - was prepared in advance in anticipation of a suitable provocation. Hizbollah's kidnap raid provided the Olmert regime the excuse it needed to launch a war for the physical elimination of the militia and the eventual installation of a pliant regime in Lebanon that would do Israel's - and the U.S.' - bidding. In many ways, the script is not that different from the manner in which the abduction of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian guerrillas gave Tel Aviv the pretext to do something it was itching to do ever since Hamas won the elections.

In both cases, Israel and its principal international backer, the U.S., have proved how bogus is their vision of a "New Middle East" centred around respect for democracy and human rights. By attacking Gaza and Lebanon, that too with such overwhelming and disproportionate military force, Israel has decisively turned its back on the possibility of a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians and Syrians. The Olmert regime has no intention of relinquishing its illegal control over land and aquifers that belong to others. The U.S. does not want democracy to flourish in the region. Nor does Israel. What it wants are partners who are too weak, isolated or pliant to insist on their rights. What it has in mind are unilateral outcomes, imposed through gunboat negotiations if possible or through war if necessary. In both cases, the active support of the Bush administration and the silence of the rest of the world are essential.

The refusal of the U.N. to condemn the Israeli aggression against Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, its failure to bring about an immediate ceasefire despite the mounting civilian toll, and its inability to get Israel to lift its inhuman blockade of Gaza and release the Hamas Ministers and MPs it kidnapped last month are paving the way for a human tragedy of monumental proportions. As long as the world continues to appease Israel in this manner, the people of the region - and especially the Israelis - will never know peace.

Siddharth Varadarajan
Deputy Editor, The Hindu
New Delhi, India

Website: svaradarajan.blogspot.com
Email: sv1965@gmail.com

from ICH :
29 July 2006

Interview with Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah
(Video and Transcript)

Talks With Former US Diplomats on :
Prisoners and
Hezbollah’s Founding.

Click here to view Real Video

from Robert Fisk :
29 July 2006

Blair and his masters regard ceasefires as a weapon, a means to a political end

The truth of Blair's 'urgent diplomacy'
By Robert Fisk

07/29/06 " The Independent" -- -- I dropped by the hospital in Marjayoun this week to find a young girl lying in a hospital bed, swathed in bandages, her beauty scarred for ever by some familiar wounds; the telltale dark-red holes in her skin made by cluster bombs, the weapon we used in Iraq to such lethal effect and which the Israelis are now using to punish the civilians of southern Lebanon.

And, of course, it occurred to me at once that if George Bush and Condoleezza Rice and our own sad and diminished Prime Minister had demanded a ceasefire when the Lebanese first pleaded for it, this young woman would not have to spend the rest of her life pitted with these vile scars.

And having seen the cadavers of so many more men and women, I have to say - from my eyrie only three miles from the Israeli border - that the compliant, gutless, shameful refusal of Bush, Rice and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara to bring this bloodbath to an end sentenced many hundreds of innocent Lebanese to death. As I write this near the village of Blat, which has its own little list of civilian dead, it's quite clear that many more innocent Lebanese are being prepared for the slaughter - and will indeed die in the coming days.

What was it Condoleezza Rice said? That "a hasty ceasefire would not be a good thing"? What was Blair's pathetic excuse at the G8 summit? That it was much better to have a ceasefire that would last than one which might break down? Yes, I entirely understand. Blair and his masters - we shall give Rice a generic title to avoid the obvious - regard ceasefires not as a humanitarian step to alleviate and prevent suffering but as a weapon, as a means to a political end.

Let the war last longer and the suffering grow greater - let compassion be postponed - and the Lebanese (and, most laughably, the Hizbollah) will eventually sink to their knees and accept the West's ridiculous demands. And one of those famous American "opportunities" for change - ie for humbling Iran - will have been created.

Hence, in the revolting words of Lord Blair's flunky yesterday, Blair will "increase the urgency" of diplomacy. Think about that for a moment. Diplomacy wasn't urgent at the beginning. Then I suppose it became fairly urgent and now this mendacious man is going to "increase" the urgency of diplomacy; after which, I suppose, it can become super-urgent or of "absolutely" paramount importance, the time decided - no doubt - by Israel's belief that it has won the war against Hizbollah or, more likely, because Israel realises that it is an unwinnable war and wants us to take the casualties.

Yet from the border of Pakistan to the Mediterranean - with the sole exception of the much-hated Syria and Iran, which might be smothered in blood later - we have turned a 2,500-mile swath of the Muslim world into a hell-disaster of unparalleled suffering and hatred. Our British "peacekeepers" in Afghanistan are fighting for their lives - and apparently bombing the innocent, Israeli-style - against an Islamist enemy which grows by the week. In Iraq, our soldiers - and those of the United States - hide in their concrete crusader fortresses while the people they so generously liberated and introduced to the benefits of western-style democracy slash each other to death. And now Lord Blair and his chums - following Israeli policy to the letter - are allowing Israel to destroy Lebanon and call it peace.

Blair and his ignorant Foreign Secretary have played along with Israel's savagery with blind trust in our own loss of memory. It is perfectly acceptable, it seems, after the Hizbollah staged its reckless and lethal 12 July assault, to destroy the infrastructure of Lebanon and the lives of more than 400 of its innocents. But hold on a moment. When the IRA used to cross the Irish border to kill British soldiers - which it did - did Blair and his cronies blame the Irish Republic's government in Dublin? Did Blair order the RAF to bomb Dublin power stations and factories? Did he send British troops crashing over the border in tanks to fire at will into the hill villages of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal? Did Blair then demand an international, Nato-led force to take over a buffer zone - on the Irish, not the Northern Ireland side, of the border?

Of course not. But Israel has special privileges afforded to no other civilised nation. It can do exactly what Blair would never have done - and still receive the British Government's approbation. It can trash the Geneva Conventions - because the Americans have done that in Iraq - and it can commit war crimes and murder UN soldiers like the four unarmed observers who refused to leave their post under fire.

And what of the Hizbollah, faithful servants of Syria and Iran, and its leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, God's first servant, perhaps, but that of Damascus and Tehran a close second? I have long believed that its attack across the Israeli border was planned months in advance. But I've now come to realise that Israel's assault on Lebanon was also planned long in advance - as part of the American-Israeli project to change the shape of the Middle East. The idea that Nasrallah is going to kneel before a Nato general and hand over his sword - that this disciplined, ruthless, frightening guerrilla army is going to surrender to Nato - is a folly beyond self-delusion.

But Blair and Bush want to send a combat force into southern Lebanon. Well, I shall be there, I suppose, to watch its swift destruction in an orgy of car and suicide bombings by the same organisation that yesterday fired another new longer-than-ever range missile that landed near Afula in Israel.

The Lebanese government - democratically elected and hailed by a US administration which threw roses at its prime minister after the US state department claimed a "cedar revolution" - has just caught the Americans off guard, producing a peace package to which the Hizbollah has reluctantly agreed, starting with an immediate ceasefire. Can Washington ignore the decision of a democratic government? Of course it can. It is encouraging Israel to continue its destruction of the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza and the West Bank.

So stand by for an "increase" in the "urgency" of diplomacy - and for more women with their skin torn open by cluster bombs.
Damascus and Tehran a close second? I have long believed that its attack across the Israeli border was planned months in advance. But I've now come to realise that Israel's assault on Lebanon was also planned long in advance - as part of the American-Israeli project to change the shape of the Middle East. The idea that Nasrallah is going to kneel before a Nato general and hand over his sword - that this disciplined, ruthless, frightening guerrilla army is going to surrender to Nato - is a folly beyond self-delusion.

But Blair and Bush want to send a combat force into southern Lebanon. Well, I shall be there, I suppose, to watch its swift destruction in an orgy of car and suicide bombings by the same organisation that yesterday fired another new longer-than-ever range missile that landed near Afula in Israel.

The Lebanese government - democratically elected and hailed by a US administration which threw roses at its prime minister after the US state department claimed a "cedar revolution" - has just caught the Americans off guard, producing a peace package to which the Hizbollah has reluctantly agreed, starting with an immediate ceasefire. Can Washington ignore the decision of a democratic government? Of course it can. It is encouraging Israel to continue its destruction of the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza and the West Bank.

So stand by for an "increase" in the "urgency" of diplomacy - and for more women with their skin torn open by cluster bombs.