Saturday, March 21, 2009

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/ArticlePrintPage.aspx?xyz=QrrxVt3TvzXFrDmiEjLHXtzjtPwD6KTN6or2H2tbCYPjAA4a3iqQpvkh9BM5MiruA31VOj6XJvgszPUY4m8vBOZM7PYX5gCGmVsjSBHay68GHElLJBqjYQ%3d%3d
Hebrew paper: Israel should bow to Hamas's conditions on Shalit
[ 20/03/2009 - 05:22 PM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Hebrew Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper has asserted Thursday that all events indicate that Hamas Movement emerged victorious in the latest war in Gaza Strip, and that the Israeli occupation authority should bow to the Movement's conditions for swapping prisoners.

In an article it published Thursday, the popular paper highlighted the necessity to release Palestinian captives in Israeli jails based on the list submitted by Hamas, adding that the harm inflicted and could be inflicted on the Hebrew state as a result of the failure of the swap deal would be greater than Hamas's losses.

The paper, in this regard, urged the IOA to acknowledge the defeat in Gaza, and to stop deceiving the Israeli occupation army soldiers, stressing, "Israel won't be able to free Gilad Shalit neither by pressuring Hamas nor by going to another military operation in Gaza Strip".

It added that Hamas Movement, the strongest in the Palestinian arena, would exert more efforts to capture more Israeli soldiers to swap them with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in the event the IOA continued to refuse Hamas's conditions.

"Defeated Israel should bow its head and surrendering Palestinian captives to Hamas Movement, and Israeli leaders and officials must stop playing the role of heroes at the expense of Shalit", the paper concluded.

Shalit was captured in June 2006 from his tank in a qualitative operation that was carried out by Palestinian resistance fighters from three Palestinian factions led by Hamas.
Since then, the IOA spared no effort in locating him using its intelligence networks, in addition to its agents in the Gaza Strip but to no avail.


(Emphasis added - B.M.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

MY SECOND OPEN LETTER TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF AUSTRALIA

The Hon. Robert McClelland
Federal Attorney-General
Canberra, ACT

Dear Minister,

Re: My complaint against the illegal wiretapping of my phone and the illegal nightly harassment by Israel's clandestine arm.

The following letter was emailed to yourself personally, and not as an open letter,on the 8th of March, 2009. I have had so far no reply, while the nightly harassment continues unabated, depriving me of the minimal restful night sleep. Hence this second open letter to you.

In my first open letter to you on the 10th of December, 2008 ( see
http://2ndpartofmyautobiography.blogspot.com/2008/12/chapter-30-open-letter-to-attorney.html) I have outlined the details of my complaint. Some 6 weeks later I received a reply from your department advising me to write to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS). I did that immediately.

In his 18th February ,2009, reply to my letter, Mr. Ian Carnell , the IGIS, rejected my complaint. That rejection was not justified, and I immediately sent him the following email message :

“ Mr. Ian Carnell
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
ACT
===
Dear Mr. Carnell,


thanks for your reply letter I received today.


The concluding paragraph of your letter states as follows :

"While I don't doubt that you have experienced a range of unpleasant occurances, I consider it extremely unlikely that ASIO or any other part of the Australian Intelligence community would have undertaken the activities you suggest."

It seems therefore necessary for me to provide you with further personal details of which you might not be aware. I have arrived in Australia with my wife and 2 children from Europe 41 years ago. We have travelled by boat on Assisted Passage immigration visas to Australia. This being the case, our expected Australian citizenship would almost automatically be granted ,in due course, within 3 years, but it was not to be in our case.

The refusal to grant Australian citizenship following our applications had lasted some 10 years, and no reason was given for the refusal.

Two Labour parliamentarians - one federal member, the other state member - have separately checked my immigration file to find out the reasons for the government's refusal, and they have arrived with the same findings. They told me that the refusal was inserted into my file by ASIO, and that the reason for it was that I had supported the Palestine Liberation Organisation as an anti-Zionist peace activist.

There can be little doubt, therefore, that ASIO had acted at the behest of Israel's clandestine organisation, and not necessarily in Australia's best interests. It had been the beginning of long years of suffering for myself and for my family, as I could not practice my profession as a lawyer (enter the Bar), and was blacklisted and denied any job, even unskilled factory jobs, as well as wiretapped and had listening devices planted in our home. My own physical harassment, and my daughter's incarceration in a psychiatric hospital followed shortly after.

Moreover, if it would have been true that it is "extremely unlikely that ASIO or any other part of the Australian Intelligence community" have collaborated with Israel's clandestine organisation in harassing me and my family, including the wiretapping of my phone, then it gives rise to the following question : has Australia given up its sovereignty to please Israel's government to the extent that it allows the latter to harass and punish an innocent Australian family, to wiretap their phone, and in doing so to violate Australian laws ?


Would it not be - and is it not ! - the duty of ASIO to stop such violations of Australian laws by a foreign government on Australian soil ?

Sincerely, Benjamin Merhav”

To which letter he replied again with complete rejection of my complaint.Thus, for example, he rejects the information provided to me by 2 Labour parliamentarians - one federal and one state member - who had checked some 35 years ago my immigration file to find out the reason why my then application for Australian citizenship was repeatedly rejected by the Department for Immigration. According to their information - provided to me separately by each of them - ASIO had inserted its objection at the behest of Israel's clandestine arm.

That objection was purely political, namely, that I had to be punished for my anti-Zionist views as an Israeli peace activist. Furthermore, I have been blacklisted in Australia and could not get a job even as an unskilled factory worker. It is obvious to me that either the IGIS did not fully investigate my complaint, or else he has been attempting to provide cover-up for ASIO, no matter the suffering inflicted on myself and on my daughter as a result. I therefore emailed to him the following note :

“I am very disappointed that you have rejected once more my appeal/complaint to you, a rejection which certainly does not serve justice in this country. I repeat again that the violation of my basic human rights by the authorities is not justified from any point of view because I have been severly harassed and punished for my political views alone, as an anti-zionist peace activist in this country.”

As I mentioned before, my daughter has been under compulsory psychiatric treatment for over 31 years now, also at the instigation and insistence of Israel's clandestine arm, although all her problems have began only following that "treatment". Adding to my blacklisting in this country, a nightly harassment has been carried out against me ever since my return from hospital in early 2001, where a cancer tumour had been removed from my colon, and I needed some good restful night sleep to recover.

Clearly, this deprivation of sleep at night, which is listed internationally as a form of torture, amounts to an attempt on my life by that clandestine organisation. The wiretapping of my phone is meant to update them regarding my plans and moves, so as to figure out how hurt me and my daughter still further. Therefore, as an Australian citizen, I ask you again to order an immediate end to the illegal wiretapping of my phone and to the illegal harassment by that clandestine arm of Israel's government with the illegal collaboration of ASIO.

Thanking you in advance, Benjamin Merhav

U3/2 Birdwood Avenue, Dandenong, Vic. 3175
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7952603.stm
Israel troops admit Gaza abuses

An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers' accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza.
One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children at close range whom troops had told to leave their home.
Another speaker at the seminar described what he saw as the "cold blooded murder" of a Palestinian woman.
The army has defended its conduct during the Gaza offensive but said it would investigate the testimonies.


The Israeli army has said it will investigate the soldiers' accounts.
The testimonies were published by the military academy at Oranim College. Graduates of the academy, who had served in Gaza, were speaking to new recruits at a seminar.


“ The climate in general [was that] lives of Palestinians are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers ” Soldier testimony

"[The testimonies] conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians," academy director Dany Zamir told public radio.

Heavy civilian casualties during the three-week operation which ended in the blockaded coastal strip on 18 January provoked an international outcry.

Correspondents say the testimonies, if proved credible, undermine Israel's claims that troops took care to protect non-combatants and accusations that Hamas militants were responsible for putting civilians into harm's way.

'Less important'

The Palestinian woman and two of her children were allegedly shot after they misunderstood instructions about which way to walk having been ordered out of their home by troops.

"The climate in general... I don't know how to describe it.... the lives of Palestinians, let's say, are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers," an infantry squad leader is quoted saying.

In another cited case, a commander ordered troops to kill an elderly woman walking on a road, even though she was easily identifiable and clearly not a threat.

Testimonies, which were given by combat pilots and infantry soldiers, also included allegations of unnecessary destruction of Palestinian property.


"We would throw everything out of the windows to make room and order. Everything... Refrigerators, plates, furniture. The order was to throw all of the house's contents outside," a soldier said.

One non-commissioned officer related at the seminar that an old woman crossing a main road was shot by soldiers.

"I don't know whether she was suspicious, not suspicious, I don't know her story… I do know that my officer sent people to the roof in order to take her out… It was cold-blooded murder," he said.

The transcript of the session for the college's Yitzhak Rabin pre-military course, which was held last month, appeared in a newsletter published by the academy.

Israeli human rights groups have criticised the military for failing to properly investigate violations of the laws of war in Gaza despite plenty of evidence of possible war crimes.

'Moral army'

The soldiers' testimonies also reportedly told of an unusually high intervention by military and non-military rabbis, who circulated pamphlets describing the war in religious terminology.
"All the articles had one clear message," one soldier said. "We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land."


"Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion," he added.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that the findings would be examined seriously.
"I still say we have the most moral army in the world. Of course there may be exceptions but I have absolutely no doubt this will be inspected on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Medical authorities say more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel's 22-day operation, including some 440 children, 110 women, and dozens of elderly people.

The stated aim was to curb rocket and mortar fire by militants from Gaza. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians were killed.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7952603.stmPublished: 2009/03/19 13:34:26 GMT

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obusha THE NEW CLOWN KEEPS FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE PREVIOUS CLOWN

The name Obusha was worked out by Lori Price, the editor of Citizens for Legitimate Government newsletter, and I owe it to her, as the correct appreciation of the present policies of Barak Obama, the USA President.

Below is part of the text of the CLG newsletter, and following that is part of the text of alternet.com compilation of recent articles regarding Obusha’s policies. It is obvious from the articles cited there that despite this new President’s demagogic statements, before and after his election, he keeps following the criminal policies of the Bush administration - in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Palestine and at home.


Updates from Citizens for Legitimate Government

18 March 2009
http://www.legitgov.org/
All items are here:
http://www.legitgov.org/%20/%20breaking_news
Obusha quietly gave Blackwater (Xe) $70M in February: Blackwater still works for U.S. in Iraq 17 Mar 2009 The U.S. State Department re-signed the security mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater despite Iraq saying it didn't want the company there, records show. The State Department said $22.2 million deal signed with Blackwater, since renamed Xe, in February was a contract modification concerning aviation work, The Washington Times first reported. The contract expires in September, months after its contract for work in Baghdad was to have run out.
New deal for Blackwater 17 Mar 2009 Days after the Baghdad government decided it no longer wanted the mercenary contractor then known as Blackwater in Iraq, the State Department signed a $22.2 million deal in February to keep the embattled contractor working there through most of the summer, contract records show. The decision keeps Blackwater - since renamed Xe - in Iraq months longer than anyone has suggested publicly, while raising questions about why the U.S. would pay a contractor terrorists for work in Iraq if it may not be able to operate there legally.
President Obama, Why Did You Pay Blackwater $70 Million in February? By Jeremy Scahill 17 Mar 2009 The Obama administration has paid the mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater nearly $70 million to operate in Iraq and, according to The Washington Times, may keep the company on the payroll months past the official expiration of its Iraq contract in May. I reviewed Blackwater's recent transactions with the Obama State Department and discovered a $45 million payment to Blackwater on February 4, 2009 for "protective services-Iraq." It is described as a "funding action only." Here is the interesting part: The estimated "Ultimate Completion Date" is 5/07/2011. The Washington Times reported on a $22 million payment to Blackwater on February 2. Combined with the $45 million payment I discovered, that's nearly $67 million in 72 hours.
======================
http://www.alternet.org/tags/barack%20obama/

President Obama, Why Did You Pay Blackwater $70 Million in February?
Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet. March 17, 2009.Obama may keep the company on the government payroll months after its Iraq
contract expires. Not bad for a firm supposedly going down in flames.

In Selling Its Version of the "War on Terror," Obama Is Adopting Bush's Playbook
Andy Worthington, AlterNet. March 17, 2009.Under Obama's Justice Department, "change" means nothing more than turning "enemy combatants" to "Nobodies Formerly Known as Enemy Combatants."

No More 'Enemy Combatants' -- But Is Obama Merely Rebranding Bush's 'War on Terror'?
Liliana Segura, AlterNet. March 17, 2009.Words matter, as Obama said on the campaign trail. But when it comes to his detention and counterterrorism policies, his actions are speaking louder.

Obama Planning to Send Gitmo Prisoners to Saudi Arabia for "Rehabilitation"
Liliana Segura, AlterNet AlterNet: Rights and Liberties. March 13, 2009.The plan involves 100 Yemeni detainees and is opposed by the government of Yemen, which argues it has its own program for ex-jihadists.

Talk with the Taliban, Just Leave Your Troops at Home
ZP Heller, Brave New Films AlterNet: Video. March 11, 2009.Why the Obama administration must stop listening to the same military experts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Reference: 3/2009
Date: 17/3/2009

News Briefing

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights Publishes English Version of Report:
The Targeting of Medical Centers, Ambulance Teams and Civil Defense Teams during the Israeli Offensive “Operation Cast Lead” against the Gaza Strip


Today, Wednesday 18 March 2009 Al Mezan Center for Human Rights published an English-language version of the report, ‘The Targeting of Medical Centers, Ambulance Teams and Civil Defense Teams during the Israeli Offensive “Operation Cast Lead” against the Gaza Strip. This report reviews the systematic targeting of medical centers, ambulance teams and civil defense teams and the obstruction of their work between the period 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009. The report also presents material and human losses sustained by the emergency services during this period.

The report demonstrates that 23 emergency service personnel were killed, 17 of whom were on duty at the time, and 50 emergency service personnel were injured during the offensive. In addition, 39 ambulances, emergency vehicles, field hospitals and civil defense vehicles were damaged or destroyed. A number of health premises, ambulance and emergency centers and civil defense premises were damaged or destroyed.

Evidence presented in the report - which is based on field investigations and witness testimonies – demonstrates that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) deliberately shelled and bombed ambulances and ambulance crews that were attempting to evacuated the wounded and sick from areas under fire. This resulted in the killing and injuring of a number of ambulance team members. In addition, a large number of sick and injured people died, many of whom bled to death, due to the refusal of the IOF to allow their evacuation.

Israeli Occupation Forces also opened fire on individuals from the civil defense, including those that were attempting to extinguish fires ignited by Israeli bombing and shelling, and especially through the use of highly flammable white phosphorous shells used by Israeli forces on a wide scale during its offensive.

Evidence presented in the report demonstrates that the IOF systematically violated the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights law that apply during times of armed conflict. The actions of Israeli forces during the offensive constitute grave violations the Fourth Geneva Convention and especially the articles related to the protection of civilians in time of war, stated in articles 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Convention. These articles give special attention to the organization of healthcare services and hospitals. Article 20 emphasizes the necessity to respect and protect individuals searching for civilians, the wounded, the sick, the elderly and maternity cases, and attempting to evacuate and provide care for them. Article 63 states that relief organizations such as the Red Crescent are able to work under legal protection.

As well as obstructing relief teams’ access to the sick and wounded, and those stranded in their homes, the IOF did not fulfill their duty to provide medical care and relief to them. Civilians were left for long periods of time without care in cases where the Israeli forces were aware of there presence.

In this report, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights calls on the international community to bring to an end Israeli's gross violations of human rights and IHL and to hold to account those who ordered and/or perpetrated such violations. It also calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to act to stop continuing Israeli war crimes against Gaza’s civilian population and to convene an urgent conference to examine the necessary measures that must be taken when a signatory to this Convention neglects its commitments. Al Mezan emphasizes that the High Contracting Parties must go beyond calls for action, but take effective action to stop escalating war crimes and to protect civilians.

The report is available at the link: http://www.mezan.ps/en/details.php?id=8569&ddname=gaza%20destruction&id2=7

End

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ZIONIST VANDALISM, WAR CRIMES AND BRUTALITY ESCALATE BY THE DAY IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE, PARTICULARLY IN OCCUPIED JERUSALEM

The zionist apartheid regime of Israel has been a rogue, racist and fascist regime since its formation in 1948. Now with the formation of its new government - a coalition of fanatical zionists (i.e. fanatical fascists ) - it is likely to be even worse, and it would be an imminent grave danger to the entire humanity !

Occupied Jerusalem has been the major target for the zionist apartheid regime of Israel, ever since its invasion by the zionist occupation army in June 1967. Immediately after the invasion of Jerusalem, and in blatant violation of international law, a whole Palestinian residential quarter had been bulldozed into dust by the criminal invaders to make room for a huge plaza in front of the "Wailing Wall". Then came the illegal annexation of Jerusalem by the zionist invaders.

Now, as the next phase, the zionist apartheid regime of Israel has been busy bulldozing entire neighbourhoods of Arab Jerusalem, and the first on the destruction list are those which border with the ancient city. The latest news, as the following news report outlines, is that 1,700 home are currently targeted by the criminal zionist rulers, making 17,000 Palestinian homeless.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=88734&sectionid=351020202

Israel to raze 1,700 Palestinian homes
Mon, 16 Mar 2009

The Palestinian Islamic Movement says Israel plans to evacuate and demolish at least 1,700 Arab-owned homes in East Jerusalem (al-Quds). Speaking at a Sunday press conference in Jerusalem, Sheikh Raed Salah, who leads the Islamic Movement, revealed the demolition plan, saying the move would leave more than 17,000 Palestinians homeless in East Jerusalem. He also warned the situation on the ground was the most dangerous since Israel's illegal annexation of the area in 1967.

This is while back in February, warnings were issued for hundreds of Palestinians to evacuate East Jerusalem (al-Quds) before demolishing their homes in the area, saying their houses were illegal. Palestinian officials say many of the houses issued with demolition orders were built before 1967 while Israeli settlements in the area were built after 1967.

Elsewhere, dozens of Palestinians and international peace activists confronted Israeli bulldozers uprooting olive trees in the towns of Ras Teera and Wad Ar-Rasha, southeast of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. According to witnesses, the bulldozers were backed by Israeli soldiers and police forces to prevent the residents from obstructing their work.
MRS/MMA

Viva Palestina Email Alert
Monday 16th March 2009

Dear Viva Palestina,

Our delegation of 60 women and men from 7 nations sponsored by CODEPINK: Women for Peace were in Gaza City invited by the United Nations for International Women's Day when the Viva Palestina convoy arrived.

And many of us were at the Rafah border crossing when a large part ot your delegation departed Gaza. We had the opportunity during the two days to meet and talk with many of you.

We are all so impressed and proud of the tremendous humanity and spirit of the members and supporters of Viva Palestina.

What an uplifting event for the people of Gaza to see--
such an outpouring concern as evidenced by the 300 persons on the convoy, much less the hundreds of tons of much needed supplies.

Our delegation sends its love and respect to the people of Gaza and to the people of Viva Palestina!

Ann Wright
Reitred US Army Colonel and former US diplomat

who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war
(Emphasis added - B.M.)
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5426
ACTION ALERT
March 16, 2009

Statement from the family of Rachel Corrie
Posted on: March 16, 2009

We thank all who continue to remember Rachel and those who, on this sixth anniversary of her stand in Gaza, renew their own commitments to human rights, justice and peace in the Middle East. The tributes and actions in her memory are a source of inspiration to us and to others.

Friday, March 13th, we learned of the tragic injury to American activist Tristan Anderson. Tristan was shot in the head with a tear-gas canister in Ni’lin Village in the West Bank when Israeli forces attacked a demonstration opposing the construction of the annexation wall through the village’s land. On the same day, a Ni’lin resident was, also, shot in the leg with live ammunition.

Four residents of Ni’lin have been killed in the past eight months as villagers and their supporters have courageously demonstrated against the Apartheid Wall deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice—a wall that will ultimately absorb one-quarter of the village’s remaining land. Those who have died are a ten-year-old child Ahmed Mousa, shot in the forehead with live ammunition on July 29, 2008; Yousef Amira (17) shot with rubber-coated steel bullets on July 30, 2008; Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22) and Mohammed Khawaje (20), both shot and killed with live ammunition on December 28, 2008. On this anniversary, Rachel would want us all to hold Tristan Anderson and his family and these Palestinians and their families in our thoughts and prayers, and we ask everyone to do so.

We are writing this message from Cairo where we returned after a visit to Gaza with the Code Pink Delegation from the United States. Fifty-eight women and men successfully passed through Rafah Crossing on Saturday, March 7th to challenge the border closures and siege and to celebrate International Women’s Day with the strong and courageous women of Gaza. Rachel would be very happy that our spirited delegation made this journey.

North to south throughout the Strip, we witnessed the sweeping destruction of neighborhoods, municipal buildings, police stations, mosques, and schools –casualties of the Israeli military assaults in December and January. When we asked about the personal impact of the attacks on those we met, we heard repeatedly of the loss of mothers, fathers, children, cousins, and friends. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports 1434 Palestinian dead and over 5000 injured, among them 288 children and 121 women.

We walked through the farming village of Khoza in the South where fifty homes were destroyed during the land invasion. A young boy scrambled through a hole in the rubble to show us the basement he and his family crouched in as a bulldozer crushed their house upon them. We heard of Rafiya who lead the frightened women and children of this neighborhood away from threatening Israeli military bulldozers, only to be struck down and killed by an Israeli soldier’s sniper fire as she walked in the street carrying her white flag.

Repeatedly, we were told by Palestinians, and by the internationals on the ground supporting them, that there is no ceasefire. Indeed, bomb blasts from the border area punctuated our conversations as we arrived and departed Gaza. On our last night, we sat by a fire in the moonlight in the remains of a friend’s farmyard and listened to him tell of how the Israeli military destroyed his home in 2004, and of how this second home was shattered on February 6th. This time, it was Israeli rockets from Apache helicopters that struck the house, A stand of wheat remained and rustled soothingly in the breeze as we talked, but our attention shifted quickly when F-16s streaked high across the night sky. and our friend explained that if the planes tipped to the side, they would strike.

Everywhere, the psychological costs of the recent and ongoing attacks for all Gazans, but especially for the children, were sadly apparent. It is not only those who suffer the greatest losses that carry the scars of all that has happened. It is those, too, who witnessed from their school bodies flying in the air when police cadets were bombed across the street and those who felt and heard the terrifying blasts of missiles falling near their own homes. It is the children who each day must walk past the unexplainable and inhumane destruction that has occurred.

In Rachel’s case, though a thorough, credible and transparent investigation was promised by the Israeli Government, after six years, the position of the U.S. Government remains that such an investigation has not taken place. In March 2008, Michele Bernier-Toff, Managing Director of the Office of Overseas Citizen Services at the Department of State wrote, “We have consistently requested that the Government of Israel conduct a full and transparent investigation into Rachel’s death. Our requests have gone unanswered or ignored.”

Now, the attacks on all the people of Gaza and the recent one on Tristan Anderson in Ni’lin cry out for investigation and accountability. We call on President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and members of Congress to act with fortitude and courage to ensure that the atrocities that have occurred are addressed by the Israeli Government and through relevant international and U.S. law. We ask them to act immediately and persistently to stop the impunity enjoyed by the Israeli military, not to encourage it.

Despite the pain, we have once again felt privileged to enter briefly into the lives of Rachel’s Palestinian friends in Gaza. We are moved by their resilience and heartened by their song, dance, and laughter amidst the tears. Rachel wrote in 2003, “I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large degree of their humanity–laughter, generosity, family time—against the incredible horror occurring in their lives…..I am also discovering a degree of strength and of the basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances…I think the word is dignity.”

On this sixth anniversary of Rachel’s killing, we echo her sentiments.

Sincerely,Cindy and Craig Corrie
On behalf of our family
Updated on March 16, 2009

Updates on Tristan Anderson’s condition:
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5324

Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital, tells Ha’aretz:
He’s in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests,” She described Anderson’s condition as life-threatening.


Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack told Ynet:
… the firing incident took place inside the village and not next to the fence. There were clashes in the earlier hours, but he wasn’t part of them. He didn’t throw stones and wasn’t standing next to the stone throwers.


There was really no reason to fire at them. The Dutch girl standing next to him was not hurt. It only injured him, like a bullet.

13 March: Anarchists Against the Wall reports on Tristan’s condition (volunteers with AWALLS were present when Tristan was injured and have been at the hospital to oversee his treatment):
The impact of the projectile caused numerous condensed fractures to Anderson’s forehead and right eye socket. During the operation part of his right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and both his right eye and skin suffered extensive damage. The long term scope of all of Tristan’s injuries is yet unknown.


14 March: Gabrielle Silverman, Tristan’s girlfriend who was with him when he was shot, spoke to Bay City News and KTVU:

As of Saturday he was on full life support and heavily medicated at Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, his girlfriend Gabrielle Silverman said today in a telephone interview.
“My understanding is that they are trying to let his brain rest as much as possible and do as little work as possible,” Silverman said. …


Palestinian medics immediately came to their rescue and attempted to place Anderson onto a stretcher. But even then, Silverman said, “The army began firing tear gas directly at us … again and again and again.”

“Tear gas was falling at our feet as were loading him onto the stretcher,” Silverman said.
When the medics had successfully situated Anderson, an Israeli soldier stood in front of the ambulance and would not allow it to move, Silverman said.


Silverman detailed with clear agitation in her voice the circumstances that followed, as Anderson was “getting worse, vanishing further.”
She said they underwent another 15-minute holdup at the checkpoint, the reason being, she said, that “Palestinian ambulances are not allowed to enter into the state of Israel from the West Bank.”


“Tristan’s life was in serious danger. He was bleeding terribly everywhere from the head,” Silverman recounted. “We had to just sit and wait until eventually an Israeli ambulance from God knows where showed up and we had to change to another ambulance.”

Once they had arrived at the hospital, Anderson immediately underwent surgery, Silverman said. Surgeons removed a portion of the right frontal lobe of his brain and used a tendon from his leg to seal up the area to help prevent leakage. They also “tried to put his face back together,” Silverman said.


14 March: This statement from the Anderson family was posted on indybay.org:

Thank you to all of you who have emailed, called and are holding Tristan and our family in the light. It matters tremendously as we all hold faith for Tristan to recover and return home.
Here is the update for today. Andrew from the US Embassy in Israel called. He had just seen Tristan in person along with Gaby (Tristan’s girlfriend)…


Tristan is stable. He is still unconscious and they are keeping him that way for several more days as it helps with the healing. They are closely monitoring the fluid levels in his brain. Tristan is under 24 hour monitoring and is receiving the best possible care. Trauma care in Israel is done following the same protocols as the U.S. Tristan has been transferred from Emergency Care to the Neurological ICU. This is great news as it means he was stable enough for them to move him. This IC specializes in neurology so Tristan will be getting focused, specific care.

I will continue to send updates as we hear more. Please continue to keep Tristan in your thoughts, prayers, and light.

(His parents) are en route to Israel. His mother has been and will continue to be checking her email. She’s finding the supportive emails very comforting. Comments posted here will be sent to his parents (or may be seen by them).

Again, we are deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support for Tristan and our family.
Most appreciated,Tristan’s parents and sister


15 March: The Anderson family posted the following statement on indybay.org:

We are deeply grateful for the love and support pouring in from Tristan’s friends and fellow activists around the world. It is moving to see how many people care for Tristan and are moved by his work championing social justice issues. We are proud of Tristan’s fierce courage, adventurous spirit, and his many travels to all corners of the globe.

Tristan’s girlfriend, Gaby, who has been tirelessly by his side, reports that he is doing much better. When the doctor asked him to put up two fingers he did so. Tristan recognizes Gaby and can squeeze her fingers in answer to different questions. He’s started his moving toes and his torso around a bit. This is welcome and wonderful news! We understand things can go up and down, however we are deeply hopeful that Tristan will recover. We are looking forward to when he is stable enough that he can return home to the care and comfort of his family and community.

In the meantime, we are deeply appreciative of the excellent care he’s receiving, the amazing support that Gaby and his friends are providing, and the thoughts and prayers of those around the world who are holding him in their hearts and minds. It matters tremendously as we all hold faith for Tristan to recover and return home.
Again, we are so very grateful for the outpouring of love and support for Tristan and our family.
16 March: Tristan has been taken to the neurological department and is in intensive care. He is currently listed in stable condition, though this may continue to change due to the seriousness of his injuries.

Monday, March 16, 2009

THE ZIONIST APARTHEID REGIME OF ISRAEL CONTINUES TO UPROOT OLIVE TREES IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK SO AS TO BUILD THE ILLEGAL APARTHEID WALL ON THE STOLEN LAND

The olive trees, like the Palestinian people themselves, have been growing in Palestine since times immemorial, perhaps many tens of thousands of years. There have been ancient olive trees growing in Palestine, trees that are hundreds of years old, until the zionist vandals and war criminals invaded the land. They have cut down many the life giving holy trees, as they have done to the indigenous people themselves, mercilessly. They have polluted and poisoned the lands and waters they have illegally occupied (and their crimes have been sponsored and financed by the USA rulers in the name of "peace and democracy").

The following report updates the most recent of the vandalism by the zionist war criminals in the illegally occupied West Bank for the purpose of further expansion of the illegal zionist settlements on the stolen Palestinian lands.

http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/1897.shtml

Wadi Rasha protest halts uprooting for several hours
Latest News,
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign,
March 15th, 2009

Villagers from Wadi Rasha, Ras Tira, and Daba’a held a protest against the destruction of their olive groves and managed to block Occupation machinery for much of the morning. Every day, Occupation forces uproot as many as 40 mature olives trees in their efforts to clear a path for the Wall on village land.

This morning, the residents of Wadi Rasha, Ras Tira, and Daba’a called a general strike and marched to their threatened lands. Some 200 men, women and youth from the villages participated in the demonstration, where they blocked machinery from uprooting trees for much of the morning. Soldiers were unable to force the crowd away, and eventually retreated.

Following the initial success, however, soldiers and machinery were relocated to another area and began to raze land and uproot trees. The people were blocked from reaching the site, located just meters from the edge of Wadi Rasha homes. Some 25 mature trees, which produce three to four buckets of olives each during harvest season, were destroyed during the course of the day.

Every day Occupation forces uproot between 30 – 40 older olive trees and hundreds of the saplings in their effort to clear a new path for the Wall. The new route will affect ,raze or isolate 2,500 dunums belonging to the three small villages. 70% of this land is planted with olive trees, while the remainder serves as natural pastures and agricultural areas.The villages of Wadi Rasha, Ras Tira, and Daba’a are located just southeast of Qalqilya and are currently isolated on three sides by the Wall and a forth by a settler road.

The new path of the Wall will isolate much of their land for the expansion Alfe Menashe settlement.
Viva Palestina Email Alert
23.00 (GMT) Sunday 15th March 2005

GAZA REFLECTS

They have gone. The 'angels', some called them 'saviours', but in reality just ordinary men and women who took part in an extraordinary act - and in doing so brought hope and put smiles on the faces of thousands of Gaza children have all finally left.

All that remains in Gaza is the aid they left behind - the right-hand drive vehicles including many ambulances, now roaming the streets of Rafah, Khan Younes, Beit Hanoun and Gaza City - and the memories.The memories of those heroes, from all walks of life, who crossed continents to reach them, of the jokes and laughter they shared, of the tales of suffering they found the courage to speak about to their guests.

At the Rafah crossing, where they numbered in excess of sixty five, they were inconsolable. Some of them sobbing, whilst others were speechless, sitting at the back of the coach on the way to Cairo, reflecting on what they have just witnessed and left behind.After a long wait, they all headed for Al Arish, the scene of their final push towards Rafah barely a week ago. More waiting was to follow until transport was finally arranged and their journey home began.

Yet things are never that easy. Last night, some of our team spent several hours in the unscheduled company of scores of armed Egyptian police at the side of the road. But the waiting, tense at first, was relieved with the arrival of food and tea, brought by the Libyan drivers from the convoy. More police then arrived with a van full of plastic chairs, so at least they could all sit down as they waited for ‘instructions’! In the end common sense prevailed and our team joined the Libyans in their compound for the evening.


Contacts have been established, money was pledged or handed over for a multitude of projects by Viva Palestina.Whilst world leaders are pledging billions for Gaza there remain disagreements on who should take charge of the reconstruction. Viva Palestina have started the process, George Galloway and the team walked the walk. It took one man to show the way and open the door for other brave men and women to reach this besieged concentration camp known as the Gaza Strip.

Khalid Amayreh wrote 'I salute you for challenging the forces of hypocrisy and moral duplicity back in Britain who instead of calling Israel a criminal state ruled by an evil clique of war criminals, by its real name, hasten to blame the helpless victims for surviving the recent genocide in Gaza and clinging to life, dignity and freedom.''I salute you for being a "non-conformist", because in a world overwhelmed by hypocrisy, immorality, human depravity, unethical expediency, and repulsive political correctness, it takes a true non-conformist to uphold true human values. And above all, I salute you for exposing and putting to shame the treacherous Arab leaders who played their fiddle while Gaza was burning'.

The same is true of everyone who made this convoy possible.Tonight Gaza reflects, stronger, with some more hope and belief than before. Viva Palestina was our lifeline for Gaza injecting love and hope into the veins of Palestinians. Tonight Gaza reflects on the ‘angels’ who came to town and they know that angels always come back.

Farid Arada (additional reporting by Clive Searle)
18.00 (GMT) Sunday 15th March 2009

A VERY BRITISH AFFAIR


By Yvonne Ridley*

I'VE never been a huge flag-waving fan of the Union Jack because to me it was largely a symbol of the old British Empire and all the bad things it once represented in terms of occupation, slavery, tyranny and imperialistic wars.

1966 changed my view to a certain extent when 'we' won the World Cup. It was one of those defining moments where we were all proud to be British.

As young as I was, I remember my mum remarking with glee: "Two World Wars and one World Cup" as she jigged around the front lounge with my late father - the old black and white box in the corner flickering monochrome scenes of jubilation from Wembley Stadium. In the final, almost agonising moments of extra time Geoff Hurst had just powered home his third goal to give England a 4-2 victory over Germany.

Apart from that historic occasion, I can't really remember the urge to pick up the Union Jack again declaring to the world: "I am proud to be British".

As Leo Tolstoy once remarked, such patriotism in its simplest form is nothing more than a "means of obtaining for rulers their ambitions" as well as a sign from us lesser mortals as our "slavish enthralment to those in power".

So it was rather a peculiar feeling when I watched several members of Viva Palestina cloak themselves in the Union Jack for the final stages of our 5,000 mile journey from London to Gaza.

In truth, the British flag was flown throughout our marathon journey across nine countries and the message was loud, proud and clear at each border crossing: "We are British, the convoy is British and we support the Palestinian people."

The last time a convoy bearing British flags had crossed North Africa in such a size, was the Second World War when the Nazis were being chased by the noble Desert Rats.

Our arrival in Morocco, and throughout the Maghreb, attracted the same initial reaction from the powers that be - all assumed the Viva Palestina Brits would be white, fair-haired and clean shaven so imagine their surprise when they saw in large numbers olive skins, hijabs, long black beards and Islamic dress. We might have looked more Tora Bora than Twickenham, but every one of us was a British passport holder, and proud to be so because what we were doing was exceedingly British.

If being British is about promoting equality, justice and fair play with the stronger person going to help the weaker then our convoy was red, white and blue through and through. We were representing the very best of British and on those grounds I felt proud to join in the flag waving. As I said before, I really can't remember such a burst of spontaneous patriotism since 1966.

Viva Palestina was never just about 100 vehicles laden with humanitarian aid and 300 people led by George Galloway, MP. The reality is tens of thousands of British people were stakeholders in Viva Palestina having invested anything from a few pounds, to a shed load of money to help those living in war torn Gaza.

And so, when our very British convoy arrived in Gaza, we were also carrying the hopes, expectations and salutations of countless British people, of faith and no faith, who wanted to show the world that good, humanitarian things come out of the UK for Palestine.

The bombs and bullets and other weapons the British Government gives to Israel to use on the women and children of Palestine is not done in our name.

We cannot stop Gordon Brown from helping to arm the fourth largest army in the world, a military force which is currently being investigated for war crimes following the deaths of more than 1400 civilians.

But we can help repair the view the outside world holds on what it is to be British.

And just a few days ago 300 citizens, waving their Union Jacks, rolled in to Gaza to show the people of Palestine the real face of Britain.

What we did and what we achieved was done in the name of millions across the world.

The welcoming smiles on the faces of the Palestinians made me proud20to be part of the Viva Palestina convoy, proud of every man and woman on that convoy.

And that is something Gordon Brown will never be able to experience about his own convoys to the Middle East. Perhaps it is he who needs a lesson in what it is to be British.

Now pass me that Union Jack, please. Viva Palestina!


* British-born journalist Yvonne Ridley and Scottish award-winning film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani were on board the convoy from the beginning and are making a documentary charting the historic event.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

http://jezekiah.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/how-much-of-aigs-bailouthandout-is-financing-israeli-mortgages-in-jerusalem-the-west-bank/

How much of AIG’s bailout/handout is financing Israeli mortgages in Jerusalem & the West Bank?
March 6, 2009

Related: The Israeli Jerusalem municipality hands out demolition orders for 36 Palestinian families
Related: U.S. gov’t takeover of mortgage giants good for Israeli banks

As of March 4, 2009, the American taxpayer has bailed out American International Group (AIG) to the tune of $163 billion (assuming that the Federal Reserve and the Federal gubmint are to be believed on anything anymore).

On March 3, 2009, this exchange took place in the august and hallowed halls of what used to be known as the Congress of a Constitutional Republic:

With One Word, Bernanke Reveals Who Actually Runs the Country:

Senator Sanders: “Will you tell the American people to whom you lent $2.2 trillion of their dollars?”

Ben Bernanke: “No.”

One can only surmise Bernanke’s reasoning. He claims he doesn’t want to spook the banks and the markets or some such claptrap. I have another possible reason: Bernanke, being an Orthodox Jew (meaning a religious zionist - B.M.), doesn’t want the American public to get any inkling of Israel’s share of the various bailouts.

AIG owns a company in Israel called Ezer Mortgage Insurance (EMI). EMI will insure/finance up to 95% of a private Israeli mortgage. Below is EMI’s nifty ad gizmo with some of the relevant text copy underneath the link. I’ve adjusted the figures to reflect current money values. Please alert me if you spot any problems with the math. (Warning - very annoying music):
It’s so simple to purchase a house in Israel when EMI (a member of AIG, American International Group) makes up to 95% financing possible!

EMI sets the premium as a function of the LTV (Loan To Value ratio) and the term of the loan. As a rule of thumb - for every $100,000 of a loan taken by a borrower, the borrower pays an additional $25 a month.

For example:

David Silberstein is an affluent Jew living in Florida, with a strong affiliation to the Jewish state (meaning a fanatical zionist - B.M.); his children are even considering immigrating to Israel and serving in the Israel Defense Force when they tun 18. Consequently, David is keen on buying an apartment in Israel to strengthen his ties with the Land and to enable his children to live comfortably while in Israel. David has found a property that he likes carrying a price tag of $176,000. While David has sufficient equity to buy the apartment, he has chosen to use EMI’s financial instrument (credit insurance)!

Why ?

Because it’s a smart choice: this way, he has money left over for additional investments and for spreading the risk! David knows that with EMI’s solution, he can buy an apartment without using up all his equity and continue to enjoy the standard of living to which he is accustomed. David and his wife have decided to invest start-up capital in the amount of 10% of the value of the apartment. Accordingly, the terms of the mortgage extended to them by the mortgage bank is as follows:

Property value: NIS 740,640Property value in $: 176,070Total loan NIS: 666,576Total loan in $: 158,463Total start-up capital NIS: 74,064Total start-up capital in $: 17,607LTV (Loan to Value ratio): 90%Monthly payment including EMI premium: NIS 3,857Monthly payment including EMI premium in $: 916.92EMI premium out of total monthly payment: NIS 152EMI premium out of total monthly payment in $: 36Loan term of 25 years. 4.5% fixed interest rate
*$1 = NIS 4.21 as of 03/06/09

America, doesn’t it give you the warm fuzzies to know that while our economy is tanking, Israelis and Jews making aliyah to Israel will still be able to “enjoy the standard of living to which they are accustomed”?

For a little more insight into how the Israeli mortgage market works, see these two links:
A Guide to the Perplexed - An Introduction to Israeli Mortgageshttp://blog.israelmortgage.net/

From the first link:

“Graces:

For those who are building a home in Israel while paying a mortgage elsewhere, or alternatively while paying rent, most mortgage banks offer graces on the loans. Two types of graces exist in Israel - partial and full. Under the terms of a partial grace, only interest must be repaid during the grace period. Under the terms of a full grace, no payment is made during the grace period and any interest that should have been paid is added to the loan balance and is paid back as part of the loan once the grace period ends. Graces are not offered on the zakaut loans and some banks do limit graces to certain loan types.”

Question: Gee whiz, why don’t Americans get these ‘grace’ periods on their mortgages?

Answer: Because we need to give our last drop of blood to support and subsidize the holy, sacred Israeli mortgage market.
(Emphasis added - B.M.)
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/1896.shtml
StopTheWall.org

Dozens of injuries in West Bank anti-Wall protests
Latest News,
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign,
March 14th, 2009

Dozens of people in various West Bank villages were injured this Friday, and one American activist has been seriously wounded in Ni’lin and currently lies in a coma at a Tel Aviv hospital.

In addition to Ni’lin, there were actions in Jayyous, Bi’lin, Ma’sara and Burin, with a demonstration planned for tomorrow in Wadi Rasha.In Ni’lin, nearly 500 people marched to the threatened lands. Soldiers attacked the demonstration and later invaded the village, where they fired hundreds of rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs.

Clashes between youth and soldiers lasted until early evening. Four people were wounded with rubber bullets, while a fifth American activist was struck in the head with a high velocity tear gas round. He was evacuated by a Red Crescent ambulance, which was held for 15 minutes at a military checkpoint at the entrance, and is currently in critical condition.

Hundreds of people were also present in Bi’lin, where demonstrators decried the recent confiscation of 142 dunums and called for the release of political prisoners. Five youth between 15 and 22 years of age were injured, while tens more were affected by tear gas.

At the al-Ma’sara demonstration this Friday, soldiers physically beat four Palestinians, among them several youths, a boy of 12 and an older man of 50. All four were transferred to a hospital in the Bethlehem area for treatment.

Occupation forces in Jayyous attempted to preemptively shut down the weekly demonstration, invading the village and placing it under curfew before mid-day. At 11 in the morning, three jeeps and soldiers on foot entered the village, where they fired sound bombs and tear gas at villagers attempting to enter a local mosque for Friday prayers while announcing a curfew on a loudspeaker.
Local youth reacted by hurling stones at the soldiers, and clashes continued throughout the day. Many more jeeps were brought in, and soldiers again occupied two homes in the village. Two youth were injured by rubber bullets.

In the village of Burin, southwest of Nablus, villagers held a demonstration against the confiscation of their land for settlement.Actions are planned for tomorrow in the isolated area of Wadi Rasha, Ras Tira, and Daba’a, just southeast of Qalqilya city. Organizers have planned a general strike to allow for the participation of all the local residents. The demonstration will start early and attempt to halt bulldozers, which have already razed a 350-meter swath of land 2 kilometers in length, uprooting hundreds of trees.
(Emphasis added - B.M.)