Bulletin N° 281


28 December 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
My daughter came home with a joke the other night : An ethnologist entering the Amazon River Basin was looking for a lost tribe of cannibals. Coming upon the chief of a small tribe of a few men, women and children he asked, "Are there cannibals in this region?" to which the chief replied, "No, I ate the last one."

A similar (but not so funny) jump in logic can be seen concerning the continued killings and brutalization by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza today, and the growing army of Ideologues in the West  who are prepared to rewrite history in a one-dimensional way that would deny the inconvenient reality of Israel's aggressive criminal activities in Gaza. To mention this reality is to be called a "hate monger" by their ideologues.

It is reminiscent of the McCarthy Era in America, when an anti-communist ideology prevailed, and the most superficial declarations of correct, "main-stream" opinion passed as profound truth. This comes with all the force of a "survival instinct"....

On the individual level, job shortages for academics make this kind of intellectual practice practically inevitable. To get hired in the intellectual market place where a growing ideological hegemony governs, one simply must "tow the party line," where conclusions are evaluated, not by their relationships to supporting evidence, but rather in accordance with their usefulness to the defenders of an "official order", who are themselves prepared to ignore completely any inconvenient truths. Cooking the evidence is also one necessary preparation for war!

On the more general level of political economy, the "survival instinct" also plays a role. At the end of his book, Man and Woman, War and Peace: The strategist's companion, (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987), Professor Anthony Wilden poses a final question concerning the "survival instinct" of the capitalist system itself, and not just that of individual players, like the ideologues :

    Does the Kondratieff Wave give us reliable information about the future? Perhaps. The future
behavior of a goal-seeking, time-dependent, adaptive system like state and private capitalism
cannot be predicted with any detail or accuracy. General patterns and trends can be singled out.
   The K-wave represents a pattern of economic behavior which cannot at present be shown to be true,
but which can always be proved by becoming true.
   The interest of the K-wave chart, in my view, is that although it was drawn up in 1972, over 15 years
ago and before the oil price hike in October 1973, the shape of the curve still fits the general pattern
of behavior of the world economy.
   The question to be decided of course is whether or not we are in the middle of a fourth K-wave. Is the
world economy presently recovering (in 1987) from what may have been the "primary recession" after
the U.S. withdrew from Indochina and about to embark on the long decline of the "second depression",
with a cataclysmic war at the end of it, near the turn of the century? (pp.293-94)

The K-wave theory, he suggests, has some predictive value. Are wars essential for the private profit motive to remain the driving force of our political economy, or can democratic participation take the place of war and govern the production and distribution of goods and services  according to social needs instead of private profits ? [For more detailed discussions of "Market Socialism vs. Socialism" and "War as a capitalist imperative" visit the CEIMSA Archives where recent bulletins can be found that are devoted to these subjects.]

Below are 4 items that were received by CEIMSA and which describe the increasingly militarized environment of capitalism, where conformity to militarist "main-stream" thinking (such as zionism in Gaza) has become the modus vivendi for ambitious, goal-seeking, time-dependent, adaptive systems of all kinds (to paraphrase the systems-analysis concept from communication theory).

A. is an article by investigative reporter, Robert Fisk, on the surrealistic political environment of "denial" in the United States at the end of year 2006.

In item
B. Dr. Catherine Shamas introduces us to a new publication from the Alternative Information Center (AIC), Cheap Wars, by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan.

C., from Edward Herman, presents two more reviews of Jimmy Carter's controversial book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (published by Simon & Schuster, November 2006)

D., also from Edward Herman, is a series of seven short testimonies on the growing "chain of callousness" in Gaza.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Dircector of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3

from Robert Fisk :
23 December 2006
The Independent

Banality and barefaced lies
by Robert Fisk


[Here in America, I stare at the land in which I live and see a landscape I do not recognise ]

I call it the Alice in Wonderland effect. Each time I tour the United States, I stare through the looking glass at the faraway region in which I live and work for The Independent - the Middle East - and see a landscape which I do no recognise, a distant tragedy turned, here in America, into a farce of hypocrisy and banality and barefaced lies. Am I the Cheshire Cat? Or the Mad Hatter?

I picked up Jimmy Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid at San Francisco airport, and zipped through it in a day. It's a good, strong read by the only American president approaching sainthood. Carter lists the outrageous treatment meted out to the Palestinians, the Israeli occupation, the dispossession of Palestinian land by Israel, the brutality visited upon this denuded, subject population, and what he calls "a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights".

Carter quotes an Israeli as saying he is "afraid that we are moving towards a government like that of South Africa, with a dual society of Jewish rulers and Arabs subjects with few rights of citizenship...". A proposed but unacceptable modification of this choice, Carter adds, "is the taking of substantial portions of the occupied territory, with the remaining Palestinians completely surrounded by walls, fences, and Israeli checkpoints, living as prisoners within the small portion of land left to them".

Needless to say, the American press and television largely ignored the appearance of this eminently sensible book - until the usual Israeli lobbyists began to scream abuse at poor old Jimmy Carter, albeit that he was the architect of the longest lasting peace treaty between Israel and an Arab neighbour - Egypt - secured with the famous 1978 Camp David accords. The New York Times ("All the News That's Fit to Print", ho! ho!) then felt free to tell its readers that Carter had stirred "furore among Jews" with his use of the word "apartheid". The ex-president replied by mildly (and rightly) pointing out that Israeli lobbyists had produced among US editorial boards a "reluctance to criticise the Israeli government".

Typical of the dirt thrown at Carter was the comment by Michael Kinsley in The New York Times (of course) that Carter "is comparing Israel to the former white racist government of South Africa". This was followed by a vicious statement from Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who said that the reason Carter gave for writing this book "is this shameless, shameful canard that the Jews control the debate in this country, especially when it comes to the media. What makes this serious is that he's not just another pundit, and he's not just another analyst. He is a former president of the United States".

But well, yes, that's the point, isn't it? This is no tract by a Harvard professor on the power of the lobby. It's an honourable, honest account by a friend of Israel as well as the Arabs who just happens to be a fine American ex-statesman. Which is why Carter's book is now a best-seller - and applause here, by the way, for the great American public that bought the book instead of believing Mr Foxman.

But in this context, why, I wonder, didn't The New York Times and the other gutless mainstream newspapers in the United States mention Israel's cosy relationship with that very racist apartheid regime in South Africa which Carter is not supposed to mention in his book? Didn't Israel have a wealthy diamond trade with sanctioned, racist South Africa? Didn't Israel have a fruitful and deep military relationship with that racist regime? Am I dreaming, looking-glass-like, when I recall that in April of 1976, Prime Minister John Vorster of South Africa - one of the architects of this vile Nazi-like system of apartheid - paid a state visit to Israel and was honoured with an official reception from Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, war hero Moshe Dayan and future Nobel prize-winner Yitzhak Rabin? This of course, certainly did not become part of the great American debate on Carter's book.

At Detroit airport, I picked up an even slimmer volume, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report - which doesn't really study Iraq at all but offers a few bleak ways in which George Bush can run away from this disaster without too much blood on his shirt. After chatting to the Iraqis in the green zone of Baghdad - dream zone would be a more accurate title - there are a few worthy suggestions (already predictably rejected by the Israelis): a resumption of serious Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, an Israeli withdrawal from Golan, etc. But it's written in the same tired semantics of right-wing think tanks - the language, in fact, of the discredited Brookings Institution and of my old mate, the messianic New York Times columnist Tom Friedman - full of "porous" borders and admonitions that "time is running out".

The clue to all this nonsense, I discovered, comes at the back of the report where it lists the "experts" consulted by Messrs Baker, Hamilton and the rest. Many of them are pillars of the Brookings Institution and there is Thomas Freedman of The New York Times.

But for sheer folly, it was impossible to beat the post-Baker debate among the great and the good who dragged the United States into this catastrophe. General Peter Pace, the extremely odd chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said of the American war in Iraq that "we are not winning, but we are not losing". Bush's new defence secretary, Robert Gates, announced that he "agreed with General Pace that we are not winning, but we are not losing". Baker himself jumped into the same nonsense pool by asserting: "I don't think you can say we're losing. By the same token (sic), I'm not sure we're winning." At which point, Bush proclaimed this week that - yes - "we're not winning, we're not losing". Pity about the Iraqis.

I pondered this madness during a bout of severe turbulence at 37,000 feet over Colorado. And that's when it hit me, the whole final score in this unique round of the Iraq war between the United States of America and the forces of evil. It's a draw!

from Dr. Catherine Shamas :
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006
Subject: FW: "Cheap Wars" - New publication by the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

We cordially invite you to read our new publication. You can download it directly from our website www.alternativenews.org
<http://www.alternativenews.org/> Or if you want your own hardcopy, please contact Shir Hever, shir@alt-info.org

Economy of the Occupation 10: Cheap Wars

Written by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan for the Alternative
Information Center (AIC)

The Economy of the Occupation is a socioeconomic bulletin describing the economic reality of the occupation. The publications attempt to challenge the mainstream economic perspectives of the Israeli and Palestinian economy, and to provide an alternative analysis that can be understood by non-economists.

Table of Contents:

1.     Capitalism and War

2.     The Rise and Demise of Military Keynesianism

3.     The Globalization of Ownership

4.     The New Wars

5.     The New Order of Capital

6.     Energy Conflicts and Differential Profits

7.     The Primacy of Prices

8.     Sweet Inflation

Your comments are more than welcomed  shir@alt-info.org

Yasser Akawi
Exective Director
Alternative Information Center
Phone (Jerusalem): 972 2 624 1159
Fax (Jerusalem): 972 3 7624664


from Edward Herman :
Subject: Two commentaries on Carter in WSJ
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006

The Wall Street Journal ran two commentaries today (both pasted below). The first, by Ali Abunimah, supports President Carter's use of the term "apartheid" to describe Israeli policies and points out the inequalities between Jews and non-Jews within Israel itself.  The second, by Michael Oren, an Israeli-American and former officer in the Israel Occcupation Army, claims that President Carter has a religious problem with Israel.  Please take a minute to let the Wall Street Journal hear from you. 

Please write to wsj.ltrs@wsj.com. Letters should be 200 words or less and include your name, address and telephone (for identification purposes only).


Jimmy Carter's Book: A Palestinian View

December 26, 2006; Page A12

President Carter has done what few American politicians have dared to do: speak frankly about the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has done this nation, and the cause of peace, an enormous service by focusing attention on what he calls "the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between
Palestine's citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank."

The 39th president of the United States, the most successful Arab-Israeli peace negotiator to date, has braved a storm of criticism, including the insinuation from the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League that his arguments are anti-Semitic.

Mr. Carter has tried to mollify critics by suggesting that his is not a commentary on Israeli policy inside Israel's own borders, as compared with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem -- territories Israel occupied in 1967. He told NPR, "I know that Israel is a wonderful democracy with equal treatment of all citizens whether Arab or Jew. And so I very carefully avoided talking about anything inside Israel."

Given the pressure he has faced, it may be understandable that Mr. Carter says this, but he is wrong. In addition to nearly four million Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the occupied territories, another one million live inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. These Palestinians are descendants of those who were not forced out or did not flee when Israel was created in 1948.

They have nominal Israeli citizenship, and unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa, they do vote for the country's parliament. Yet this is where any sense of equality ends. In Israel's history, no Arab-led party has ever been asked to join a coalition government. And, among scores of Jewish ministers, there has only ever been one Arab minister, of junior rank.

Discrimination against non-Jewish citizens both informal and legalized is systematic. Non-Jewish children attend separate schools and live in areas that receive a fraction of the funding of their Jewish counterparts. The results can be seen in the much poorer educational attainment, economic, health and life outcomes of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Much of the land of the country, controlled by the quasi-governmental Jewish National Fund, cannot be leased or sold to non-Jews. This is similar in effect to the restrictive covenants that in many U.S. cities once kept nonwhites out of certain neighborhoods.

A 2003 law stipulates that an Israeli citizen may bring a non-citizen spouse to live in Israel from anywhere in the world, excluding a Palestinian from the occupied territories. A civil rights leader in Israel likened it to the American anti-miscegenation measures from the 1950s, when mixed race couples had to leave the state of Virginia to marry legally.

For Palestinians, the most blatant form of discrimination is Israel's "Law of Return," that allows a Jewish person from any country to settle in Israel. Meanwhile, family members of Palestinian citizens of Israel, living in exile, sometimes in refugee camps just a few miles outside Israel's borders, are not permitted to set foot in the country.

The rise of Avigdor Lieberman, the new deputy prime minister, who openly advocates stripping Palestinians in Israel of citizenship and transferring them outside the state, reflects increasingly extremist politics. In response to growing discrimination, leaders of Palestinians inside Israel recently issued a report, "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel." It calls for Israel to become a state where all citizens and communities have equal rights, regardless of religion. Many Israeli commentators reacted angrily, calling the initiative an attempt to dismantle Israel as a "Jewish state." However, even if Mr. Carter's recommendations are implemented, and Israel withdraws from the territories occupied in 1967, the struggle over the legitimacy of a state that privileges one ethno-religious group at the expense of another will not disappear.

As other divided societies, like South Africa, Northern Ireland and indeed our own are painfully learning, only equal rights and esteem for all the people, in the diversity of their identities, can bring lasting peace. This is an even harder discussion than the one President Carter has courageously launched, but ultimately it is one we must confront if peace is to come to Israel-Palestine.

Mr. Abunimah is the author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse" (Metropolitan Books, 2006).
Jimmy Carter's Book: An Israeli View

December 26, 2006; Page A12

Several prominent scholars have taken issue with Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," cataloguing its historical inaccuracies and lamenting its lack of balance. The journalist Jeffrey Goldberg also critiqued the book's theological purpose, which, he asserted, was to "convince American Evangelicals to reconsider their support for Israel."

Mr. Carter indeed seems to have a religious problem with the Jewish state. His book bewails the fact that Israel is not the reincarnation of ancient Judea but a modern, largely temporal democracy. "I had long taught lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures," he recalls telling Prime Minister Golda Meir during his first tour through the country. "A common historical pattern was that Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature of the Labor government."

He complains about the fact that the kibbutz synagogue he enters is nearly empty on the sabbath and that the Bibles presented to Israeli soldiers "was one of the few indications of a religious commitment that I observed during our visit." But he also reproves contemporary Israelis for allegedly mistreating the Samaritans -- "the same complaint heard by Jesus almost two thousand years earlier" -- and for pilfering water from the Jordan River, "where . . . Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist."

Disturbed by secular Laborites, he is further unnerved by religiously minded Israelis who seek to fulfill the biblical injunction to settle the entire Land of Israel. There are "two Israels," Mr. Carter concludes, one which embodies the "the ancient culture of the Jewish people, defined by the Hebrew Scriptures," and the other in "the occupied Palestinian territories," which refuses to "respect the basic human rights of the citizens."

Whether in its secular and/or observant manifestations, Israel clearly discomfits Mr. Carter, a man who, even as president, considered himself in "full-time Christian service." Yet, in revealing his unease with the idea of Jewish statehood, Mr. Carter sets himself apart from many U.S. presidents before and after him, as well as from nearly 400 years of American Christian thought.

Generations of Christians in this country, representing a variety of dominations, laymen and clergy alike, have embraced the concept of renewed Jewish sovereignty in Palestine. The passion was already evident in 1620 when William Bradford alighted on Plymouth Rock and exclaimed, "Come, let us declare the word of God in Zion." Bradford was a leader of the Puritans, dissenting Protestants who, in their search for an unsullied religion and the strength to resist state oppression, turned to the Old Testament. There, they found a God who spoke directly to his people, who promised to deliver them from bondage and return them to their ancestral homeland. Appropriating this narrative, the Puritans fashioned themselves as the New Jews and America as their New Promised Land. They gave their children Hebrew names -- David, Benjamin, Sarah, Rebecca -- and called over 1,000 of their towns after Biblical places, including Bethlehem, Bethel and, of course, New Canaan.

Identifying with the Jews, a great many colonists endorsed the notion of restoring Palestine to Jewish control. Elias Boudinot, president of the Continental Congress, predicted that the Jews, "however scattered . . . are to be recovered by the mighty power of God, and restored to their beloved . . . Palestine." John Adams imagined "a hundred thousand Israelites" marching triumphantly into Palestine. "I really wish the Jews in Judea an independent nation," he wrote. During the Revolution, the association between America's struggle for independence and the Jews' struggle for repatriation was illustrated by the proposed Great Seal designed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, showing Moses leading the Children of Israel toward the Holy Land.

Restorationism became a major theme in antebellum religious thought and a mainstay of the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches. In his 1844 bestseller, "The Valley of the Vision," New York University Bible scholar George Bush -- a forebear of two presidents of the same name -- called on the U.S. to devote its economic and military might toward recreating a Jewish polity in Palestine. But merely envisioning such a state was insufficient for some Americans, who, in the decades before the Civil War, left home to build colonies in Palestine. Each of these settlements had the same goal: to teach the Jews, long disenfranchised from the land, to farm and so enable them to establish a modern agrarian society. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln said that "restoring the Jews to their homeland is a noble dream shared by many Americans," and that the U.S. could work to realize that goal once the Union prevailed.

Nineteenth-century restorationism reached its fullest expression in an 1891 petition submitted by Midwestern magnate William Blackstone to President Benjamin Harrison. The Blackstone Memorial, as it was called, urged the president to convene an international conference to discuss ways of reviving Jewish dominion in Palestine. Among the memorial's 400 signatories were some of America's most preeminent figures, including John D. Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, Charles Scribner and William McKinley. By the century's turn, those advocating restored Jewish sovereignty in Palestine had begun calling themselves Zionists, though the vast majority of the movement's members remained Christian rather than Jewish. "It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist State around Jerusalem," wrote Teddy Roosevelt, "and [that] the Jews be given control of Palestine."

Such sentiments played a crucial role in gaining international recognition for Zionist claims to Palestine during World War I, when the British government sought American approval for designating that area as the Jewish national home. Though his closest counselors warned him against endorsing the move, Woodrow Wilson, the son and grandson of Presbyterian preachers, rejected their advice. "To think that I the son of the manse [parsonage] should be able to help restore the Holy Land to its people," he explained. With Wilson's imprimatur, Britain issued the declaration that became the basis of its League of Nations mandate in Palestine, and as the precursor to the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution creating the Jewish state.

The question of whether or not to recognize that state fell to Harry S. Truman. Raised in a Baptist household where he learned much of the Bible by heart, Truman had been a member of the pro-Zionist American Christian Palestine Committee and an advocate of the right of Jews -- particularly Holocaust survivors -- to immigrate to Palestine. He was naturally inclined to acknowledge the nascent state but encountered fervid opposition from the entire foreign policy establishment. If America sided with the Zionists, officials in the State and Defense Departments cautioned, the Arabs would cut off oil supplies to the West, undermine America's economy and expose Europe to Soviet invasion. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops would have to be sent to Palestine to save its Jews from massacre.

Truman listened carefully to these warnings and then, at 6:11 on the evening of May 14, he announced that the U.S. would be the first nation to recognize the newly-declared State of Israel. While the decision may have stemmed in part from domestic political considerations, it is difficult to conceive that any politician, much less one of Truman's character, would have risked global catastrophe by recognizing a frail and miniscule country. More likely, the dramatic démarche reflected Truman's religious background and his commitment to the restorationist creed. Introduced a few weeks later to an American Jewish delegation as the president who had helped create Israel, Truman took umbrage and snapped, "What you mean 'helped create'? I am Cyrus" -- a reference to the Persian king who returned the Jews from exile -- "I am Cyrus!"

Since 1948, some administrations (Eisenhower, Bush Sr.) have been less ardent in their attachment to Israel, and others (Kennedy, Nixon) more so. Throughout the last 60 years, though, the U.S. has never wavered in its concern for Israel's survival and its support for the Jewish people's right to statehood. While U.S.-Israel ties are no doubt strengthened by common bonds of democracy and Western culture, religion remains an integral component in that relationship. We know that Lyndon Johnson's Baptist grandfather told him to "take care of the Jews, God's chosen people," and that Bill Clinton's pastor, on his deathbed, made the future president promise never to abandon the Jewish state. We know how faith has impacted the policies of George W. Bush, who is perhaps the most pro-Israel president in history.

In his apparent attempt to make American Christians rethink their affection for Israel, Jimmy Carter is clearly departing from time-honored practice. This has not been the legacy of evangelicals alone, but of many religious denominations in the U.S., and not solely the conviction of Mr. Bush, but of generations of American leaders. In the controversial title of his book, Mr. Carter implicitly denounces Israel for its separatist policies, but, by doing so, he isolates himself from centuries of American tradition.

Mr. Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, is the author of "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East," to be published by Norton in January.

from Edward Herman :
Subject: Testimonies on the growing "chain of callousness" in Gaza.
Date : Sunday, December 27, 2006

24 December 2006

The new refugees
by Amir Hass

 Until Enaya Samara, who has been living in forced exile for the past eight months returns to her village near Ramallah, and until Someida Abbas, who was banished from his home 10 months ago accompanies his children to kindergarten again, it will not be possible to believe the defense establishment's promise to change its policy. So long as American, Brazilian and German citizens whose name is not Cohen but Abdullah, are refused entry at the borders, we will know that the policy is still in effect - the policy of causing tens of thousands of Palestinian families to break up, or to leave their homes and emigrate. This is not a new policy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since 1967, Israel has been carrying out demographic manipulations which should actually be called expulsion. Military edicts have caused some 100,000 people to lose their status as permanent residents in the occupied territories and to remain exiles in the countries to which they went to study or work. These manipulations have turned 240,000 people who were born in the West bank and Gaza and left the territories because of the 1967 war, and another 60,000 who were abroad when it broke out, to become new refugees.

All of them left behind families in the territories, but Israel prevented the vast majority from reuniting again in their homeland. (During those years, Israel was actively promoting the right of Jews in the USSR to emigrate and reunite with their families in Israel). After 1994, Israel made it possible for several thousand Palestinian families to unite every year; in other words, it granted their children the status of permanent residency. But the quota it fixed was always less than the real needs, and since 2001, Israel has even frozen the family unification process and barred Palestinians who are citizens of Arab countries (particularly Jordan and Egypt) from coming to visit.

Until 2006, Palestinians with Western citizenship (Europeans and Americans) were able to avoid this comprehensive policy. In the 1990s, they were considered a welcome population (investors, businessmen, academics working in international organizations such as the World Bank). Even if most of them did not get permanent residency, Israel permitted them to live here and visit regularly. This was also the case with Western spouses of Palestinian residents. Until someone in the political echelons decided that this "positive discrimination" (as opposed to citizens of Jordan and Egypt) was intolerable. And from the start of 2006 their entry has been blocked.

It is not clear who the decision-maker is. The coordinator of government activities in the territories told Western diplomats it was the Interior Ministry that made the decision. Interior Ministry officials say it was a joint decision with the Defense Ministry.

Be that as it may, whoever made the decision did not take into account that this was a blow to the strongest circles among the Palestinians - those who speak English, have access to the U.S. State Department, to important journalists, and to the Israeli and international business worlds. They found a way to get together and protest, unlike the tens of thousands of women who have Jordanian citizenship and hide in fear in the West Bank because Israel does not recognize their right to live with their husbands and children.

The change of policy toward Palestinians with Western citizenship was brought to the attention of MK Ephraim Sneh even before he became deputy defense minister. Already then, Sneh was of the opinion that there was no point in changing the policy and that doing so would be harmful to Israel's interests. In a conversation with Haaretz, he sounded sincere in promising that this policy toward the Americans and Europeans had been canceled and that his bureau was working on new regulations that would "make things simpler rather than making them more complicated, and would alleviate rather than aggravate" the situation. (However, it was possible to understand from this that the regulations would not legalize the stay of thousands, particularly adults and children who remained even though their visas were no longer valid).

But the joy is premature: During the past two weeks, officials continued to prevent the entry even of those who are married and have children here and those who came on a visit. Are these merely "left-overs of the previous situation," as Sneh put it, or does it testify also to the fact that Sneh is not the sole decision-maker, as was evident with his position on removing the roadblocks?

On the Israeli scene, army commanders (some of them settlers) act together with politicians, jurists and academics who are terrified of the demographic balance. The Green Line does not exist for them. They thought up the Citizenship Law, which crassly expanded the discrimination against Israeli Arabs and intervenes in their right to have a family life. Why do they not act the same across the Green Line where the military edict is in force? And if Sneh ceases being deputy defense minister, who can guarantee that a deputy from the Kadima party will not cancel the cancelation?

More than ever before, the Israeli system today denies the fact that it is repression and discrimination, an integral part of every occupation, that create the security threat. The most it is prepared to do is make "improvements" and mete out "favors," but it will not recognize rights.

24 December 2006

Update on the Father Banned to Mourn Killed Daughter
“The custom of callousness to the suffering of the Palestinians is ingrained so deeply in the Israeli establishment that there was no basic human sensitivity that would have made it possible to treat the mourners in a manner concomitant with their suffering and with our guilt.”

“It is impossible to attribute the chain of callousness described above to this or that individual or even to this or that institution, but only to point out an ongoing process of
brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person: the person who seeks a livelihood, the person in pain over his daughter, killed by our forces' fire, the one for whom even natural human empathy with his mourning is no longer natural to us.” [both quotes from the Editorial below]

24 December 2006

Dear All,

I apologize for harping on the subject.  But on the one hand the item is not likely to appear in the commercial media abroad, and on the other hand I believe the behavior towards the father symptematic of Israeli attitudes towards Palestinians.  And that pains me, both as a Jew and as a human being. 

Now I find that I am not alone.  The Editor of Ha'aretz agrees, at least insofar as concerns the Israeli officials in charge.  Indeed, the "brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person" had been ongoing for many a year in Israel.  Jews, of all people, who suffered the like on their own persons, should be the last to have attitudes as these towards the 'other.'

Below initially is the news report, followed by the editorial.


Ha’aretz Update
24 December 2006

West Bank platoon commander dismissed over killing of girl, 14
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

The IDF dismissed a platoon commander from his post on Sunday, five days after a soldier in his unit mistakenly shot dead a 14-year-old girl, Doaa Abd al-Qadr, near the West Bank city of Tul Karm.

The case had received particular attention because the girl's father, Nasser Abd al-Qadr, was in custody in Israel at the time of the shooting, and a court refused to allow him to attend his daughter's funeral or be at home in Tul Karm for the mourning period.

On Sunday, overall West Bank commander Major-General Yair Naveh conducted an investigation into the incident. The probe was carried out at the site of the shooting, beside the separation fence by the Tul Karm-area village of Faroun. A parallel investigation by Military Police detectives is continuing.

The Naveh investigation ordered the dismissal of the platoon commander. It also instructructed that the commander of his company, a part of the Nahshon infantry battalion, receive an official reprimand. The soldier who shot the girl has been suspended from duty until further notice.

Nasser Abd al-Qadr was freed on bail on Friday, two months after he was arrested on suspicion of being in Israel illegally and of stealing a vehicle.

On Saturday, Abd al-Qadr visited his daughter's grave and met his three other children, whom he last saw two months ago. "I wanted to see her for the last time, to kiss her for the last time," he said of his dead daughter.

Nasser Abd al-Qadr will return to the lock-up on Tuesday morning and will remain there until his trial begins. He said he has no intention of trying to flee, and that he was  merely seeking work in Israel.

"I hope that Israel w! ill look at my family. I had four children, and now I have three. I hope they will set me free," he said.

An initial investigation into the Tuesday incident showed that the girl and a 12-year-old friend were in the area of the fence when they were spotted by a force of soldiers, who reported two "suspicious figures" west of the barrier. The force' platoon commander then fired into the air. As the two girls tried to flee, a soldier who served as a marksman fired two bullets, hitting the 14-year-old Doaa.

The investigation further showed that the marksman had acted on his own, had received no permission to open fire, and had ignored the presence of the officer, who was a meter away from him. The marksman said that he believed that the figure was a terrorist, mistaking the girl's backpack for a combat vest. He admitted that he saw no weapon, and was unable to explain why he opened fire on people escaping away from the fence and toward the village. He said that he had shot at their legs, although in fact he hit the girl's forearm.

Father first denied bail  The Tel Aviv District Court last week had refused the father bail on the grounds that the law did not provide for this, after the prosecution objected to his release. On Thursday evening, his lawyer petitioned the High Court of Justice, but Justice Asher Grunis postponed the hearing until Monday, which would have been after the mourning period concluded.

On Friday morning, however, the state prosecution changed its mind about the father's release. His attorney, Rami Othman, received an offer from the prosecution to release him. The Justice Ministry explained the change of heart by saying the petitioner had originally approached the wrong court, and that the matter had been reconsidered after the petition was submitted to the High Court.

Abd al-Qadr was ordered to post NIS 5,000 bail and to bring two people to sign a guarantee of his return. The money was transferred by th! e Associ ation for Civil Rights in Israel. Othman found one person to sign but spent many hours searching fruitlessly for a second. On Friday afternoon, MKs Ahmed Tibi (Ta'al) and Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) announced they would serve as the guarantors. Tibi then drove with Othman to the Abu Kabir lockup and signed.

The police refused to set Abd al-Qadr free at Abu Kabir, where the media was waiting, and insisted on driving him in a police van to the Taibeh roadblock, saying otherwise he would again be in Israel illegally.

"The judicial system displayed a total lack of sensitivity, and the girl was killed a second time when her father was not allowed to participate in the funeral," Tibi said.

Abd al-Qadr was set free at the roadblock but his waiting relatives on the other side were dispersed by soldiers who said they feared a crowd would gather.

Ha’aretz Editorial :
24 December 2006

Three days of callousness
Haaretz Editorial

Last Tuesday, Doaa Abd al-Qadr, 14, left her home near Tul Karm and walked toward the separation fence. It was a spring day, her mother says, and she decided to visit relatives, Israeli Arabs who live on the other side. Doaa and a 12-year-old friend were walking in a ditch on the Palestinian side, about 100 meters from the fence, when Israel Defense Force soldiers spotted them and fired warning shots - as far as is known. When the two girls came out of the ditch, an IDF marksman fired another shot. Doaa Abd al-Qadr died on the! way to the hospital.

The IDF responded harshly to the firing against orders; the marksman and his commander were suspended, and a military police investigation started. Urgency, however, did not typify the subsequent treatment of the mourning family. The custom of callousness to the suffering of the Palestinians is ingrained so deeply in the Israeli establishment that there was no basic human sensitivity that would have made it possible to treat the mourners in a manner concomitant with their suffering and with our guilt.

When it became clear that Doaa's father had been held for two months in the Abu Kabir lockup for entering Israel without a permit, his lawyer requested that he be released to attend his daughter's funeral. Although no one claimed that the father, Nasser Abd al-Qadr, was involved in terror activities or that his early release would harm the security of the state, the courts, in three instances, were not persuaded that it would be possible, beyond the letter of the law, to allow a man who had lost his daughter due to an IDF mistake to take part in mourning her death. For three days of excruciatingly complicated and unnecessary legal procedures, the father
remained incarcerated. Concern that Abd al-Qadr, who was suspected of stealing a car, would not return from his mourning to prison, hardened the hearts of the judges.

On Wednesday, half an hour before the funeral, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel said that the request to release the father had been submitted late and to the wrong court, and therefore rejected it. He did propose that a representative of the Prisons Authority escort the father to and from the funeral, but ignored the fact that the father was a resident of the territories and there was no one who could escort him to Tul Karm. On Thursday, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Noga Ohad refused to release the father, and High Court Justice Asher Grunis set another hearing for the following week, aft! er the e nd of the mourning period. If attorney Rami Otman had not insisted on once more approaching the State Prosecutor's Office, and if MKs Zahava Gal-On and Ahmed Tibi had not agreed to sign a guarantee, the father would not have managed to get to the mourners' tent. On Friday evening, in a patrol car whose windows were blackened so the media would not, perish the thought, take advantage of the opportunity to talk to him, the father was released on bail at the Taibeh roadblock.

It is impossible to attribute the chain of callousness described above to this or that individual or even to this or that institution, but only to point out an ongoing process of
brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person: the person who seeks a livelihood, the person in pain over his daughter, killed by our forces' fire, the one for whom even natural human empathy with his mourning is no longer natural to us.

The Associated Press
26 December 2006

Army judge criticizes detention of Palestinians without trial
by The Associated Press

[Army judge criticizes detention of Palestinians without trial]

top military judge disclosed that 2,700 Palestinians have been detained without trial this year, criticizing the military prosecution for not filing charges against some of them.

Colonel Shaul Gordon, chief justice of the army's West Bank appeals court, told the soldiers' weekly "Bamahane" that 2,000 of the detainees filed appeals, and their detention was shortened in many cases. He said even the ones who do not file appeals are reviewed.

The practice of administrative detention has been harshly criticized by Palestinians and human rights groups, who say that if the military has  evidence against suspects, it should put them on trial. The military has  responded that sometimes evidence is too sensitive to submit to a trial.

Gordon, who is leaving his post after six years, backed the critics in some cases. "Sometimes we get the impression that with a bit more effort in the investigation, an indictment could have been brought, because that is the best way," he told the weekly.

The publication reported that Gordon instituted basic reforms in the military court system during his term.

Until 2002, the military courts were part of the army prosecution system, but Gordon forced a separation, making the courts independent. "Today every defense lawyer knows the prosecution is a separate entity" from the courts, he said.

Also, until two years ago, the military used army officers with no legal training as judges. The weekly said standard procedure was to run defendants through the judicial process at top speed, with officers pulling duty as judges regardless of their qualifications.

Gordon scrapped the system. "It appeared absurd and unacceptable to me," he said. Instead, he persuaded civilian judges to serve their reserve army duty as military judges.

The soldiers' publication said that about 10,000 indictments are brought against Palestinians each year, including 3,600 for security offenses and 1,500 for public disturbance. Others are criminal and traffic offenses.

Gordon said the most difficult period was during Israel's 2001 sweep through the West Bank that followed a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings. The judicial system was flooded with thousands of detainees. In one case, he said, a Palestinian was brought before him on charges that he helped plan a terror attack.

Gordon asked for the documentation and was shocked to read that the man was innocent - another person had confessed to the crimes of which he was accused. "That's a story that shows how we can go wrong," he told the weekly.

On Behalf Of Mazin Qumsiyeh

 Israeli Apartheid deepening

More Israeli apartheid laws are being enacted and others being enforced.  A new law will punish Palestinians using yellow-plated ("Israeli") cars (including taxis) and punish the drivers unless they have special permits from Israeli occupation authorities.  A Palestinian getting a ride even from a friend or a relative (or even an Israeli spouse) will get them both punished.  The law was enacted and will go into effect in January.  Israel also is proceeding with other laws intended to ethnically cleanse Palestine
of a key segment of its remaining population and deny any international support to Palestinians.  An apartheid law is being implemented removing Palestinians, including those born in Palestine, who hold foreign passports (and who were unable to retain or get the Israeli issued ID card, other set of apartheid laws stripped thousands of their ID cards).  Tens of thousands of Palestinians thus were denied their residency rights and families are forced to either separate or find other countries to live in.  This
coincides with accelerated plans to de-develop the remaining Palestinain economy by a system of strangulation.  For example, Palestinians in Jerusalem are being separated by massive walls from Palestinians in the suburbs of Jerusalem (imagine the devastation to both suburbs and city in America if a wall is built around the city separating it from its suburbs).

Unemployment is now at 70%  and over 50% of Palestinians who remained in Palestine live in poverty. 80% of Palestinians overall are refugees or displaced people.

Foreigners are also now routinely denied entry to Palestine.  This is intended to remove witnesses and peace activists from the deepening apartheid/hafrada. How will we respond and will the hundreds of organizations around the US (and thousands around the world) that profess support for human rights rise to this challenge? Will governments be forced to obey the International Covenant against Crimes of Apartheid and Racism? Will more people write regularly to the media to demand they do their job and report teh real news not their racist PR?

1. A new e-Book/Book on the Web explores some of the Israeli apartheid laws and practices: "Foundations of Civil and Political Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories" http://www.flwi.ugent.be/cie/yschmidt/index.htm

2. The Niggerization of Palestine http://www.blackagendareport.com/002/002h_js_niggerization_of_palestine.html

3. Twenty-five Leading Professors from major academic institutions in Germany explain "Why the 'special relationship' between Germany and Israel has to be reconsidered" http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?lg=en&reference=1569

4. Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish extremists in Hebron "Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint
with a small group of human rights workers (HRWs) to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by about 100 Jewish
extremists in small groups. They started chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” ­ a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day....." http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/18/hebron-day-06/

5. Palestinian mass resistance blocks Israeli air strike. Palestinians have started to employ new tactics to prevent Israeli air attacks on their houses. Hundreds of protesters successfully forced the Israeli air force to halt air strikes on a house belonging to Muhammad Baroud in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday night. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6074.shtml

6. Picture Balata:  Outside the West Bank City of Nablus lies the Balata Refugee Camp. Home to almost 25,000 residents living on less than one square
kilometer, Balata is the most densely populated refugee camp within the West Bank. In recent years Balata has seen hundreds of deaths and arrests, dozens
of home demolitions and the camp is subject to near nightly invasions by the Israeli army. It is here that the Picture Balata workshop was started to teach youth from the camp about photography. Picture Balata puts the camera into the hands of the children born and raised inside the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6067.shtml

7. Israeli Zionist Group on Israeli settlements/colonies in the occupied West Bank: "More than a third of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are built on privately owned Palestinian land, an Israeli campaign group has reported. Peace Now says nearly 40% of the land the settlements sit on is, according to official data, "effectively stolen" from Palestinian landowners. This, the group says, is a violation of Israel's own laws. Settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law,
although Israel rejects this. About 430,000 Jews live in these residential areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Peace Now called on the Israeli government to return the private land to its owners." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6168752.stm

Source: Mazin Qumsiyeh