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Palestinian hunger striker Hana Shalabi hospitalized


Palestinian protesters hold posters of Hana Shalabi in 2011. (file photo)
Press TV –  March 20, 2012

Female Palestinian prisoner Hana Shalabi, who has been on a hunger strike since February 16, has been hospitalized.

“Hana Shalabi was transferred this evening to Israel’s Meir hospital after her state of health deteriorated,” Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqaa said on Monday.

An independent doctor from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel who examined Shalabi said her life was at risk. The doctor described a weakening of her muscles, weight loss of 14 kilograms, and a very weak pulse.

She has been on a hunger strike since her arrest in the northern West Bank on February 16. She was originally ordered to be detained without trial for six months.

Although Shalabi was among more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in October 2011 in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, she was later re-arrested and sent back to prison.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

US builds world biggest spy center

Press TV – March 19, 2012

The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is building the biggest spy center for intercepting and storing electronic communications collected from all over the world and American citizens.

A new report published by the monthly magazine Wired, said that the centre located in Bluffdale, a remote valley in the state of Utah, can process yottabytes (a million billions of gigabytes) of data.

The facility of USD 2 billion is designed to “intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications including the contents of telephone calls, private e-mails, mobile phone text messages and Internet searches.

According to the report, the facility is “the most covert and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever,” and it will use 65 megawatts of electricity a year, with an annual bill of USD 40 million.

The spy center intercepts commutation signals as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.

Using what will likely be the world’s fastest super computer, the NSA can gather data through ‘dumb’ home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and lighting systems which are connected to the Internet.

The facility is to provide technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), collect intelligence on cyber threats and carry out cyber-security objectives, reported Reuters.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama Apologizes For Kandahar Massacre But Not For His Own Killings

By Sherwood Ross | Blacklisted News |March 19, 2012

How shall the world view the apology by President Obama for the massacre of 16 Afghan villagers allegedly by a lone U.S. serviceman in Kandahar Province when the President is himself personally responsible for the extra-judicial killing of hundreds of civilians by means of drone aircraft strikes whose crime he defends? Army Staff Sgt., Robert Bales, of Lake Tapps, Wash., is being held in prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Mr. Obama is free to travel the campaign trail.

“We’re heart-broken over the loss of innocent life,” the president said of the Kandahar massacre. His seeming expression of contrition rings hollow, though, particularly if one considers how Mr. Obama goes about his daily routine ordering drone strikes and seemingly is unaffected by the “loss of innocent lives” they cause, as well as by the hated companion night raids on Afghan homes, also the result of his policy.

As The New York Times reported March 17th, President Hamid Karzai said “many civilians have died in the (night) raids,” adding, “This has been going on for too long. It is by all means the end of the rope here. This form of activity, this behavior, cannot be tolerated.”

Obama is more than willing to investigate anyone other than himself for war crimes. “I can assure the American people and the Afghan people that we will follow the facts wherever they lead us, and we will make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law.”  To “follow the facts” the president need look no further than his own mirror. Not surprisingly, he termed the drone strikes “very precise, precision strikes against al-Qaeda and their affiliates.” Given the facts, this is a falsehood.

As investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill writes in the March 5/12 issue of The Nation, “President Obama’s first known authorization of a missile strike on Yemen, on Dec. 17, 2009, killed more than 40 Bedouins, many of them women and children, in the remote village of al Majala in Abyan.”

And the Bureau of Investigative Journalism based at City University, London,  put the number of Pakistani children killed in drone strikes at 168. In one raid directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, a drone was dispatched to kill the headmaster of a school, which it did—but 60 children attending classes there were killed as well. “Even one child’s death from drone missiles or suicide bombings is one child too many,” a UNICEF spokesperson said. President Obama takes a very different view. He claims drones have “not caused a huge number of civilian casualties” and it is “important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash.”

Since 2004, the U.S. has made nearly 300 drone attacks just in N.W. Pakistan alone, killing between 1,700 and 2,800 individuals, of whom an estimated 17 percent were said to be civilians, not so-called “militants,” according to the New America Foundation of Washington, D.C.

In Somalia, last October 14th alone, U.S. drones killed 78 and injured 64 in one raid and killed 11 civilians and wounded 34 more the same day in another. And from March 3-12, the U.S. killed 64 people in Yemen by drone strikes. The government called them  “militants” but local residents countered they were civilians.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon reportedly is building 60 drone bases across the world and its clamor for more planes is so great that contractors cannot keep up with demand. Rather than halt the use of these indiscriminate killing machines, indications are the Pentagon sees them as the future weapon of choice, and by some accounts they have now been used in six countries.

On the website of Iraq Veterans Against the War, the AP reports,  organizer Aaron Hughes declared that Afghan war veterans “believe that this incident is not a case of one ‘bad apple’ but the effect of a continued US military policy of drone strikes, night raids, and helicopter attacks where Afghan civilians pay the price.’’

Mr. Obama has continued and expanded the criminal drone policies begun by his predecessor George W. Bush and both  warmongers are eminently qualified to stand trial for their crimes.

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Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant. Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com

March 19, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

End of the nuclear illusion

By Praful Bidwai | The News | March 19, 2012

A year after the nuclear catastrophe began at the Fukushima Daiichi station in Japan, the world has a historic chance to put an end to one of the biggest frauds ever played on the global public to promote a patently unsafe, accident-prone, expensive and centralised form of energy generation based upon splitting the uranium atom to produce heat, boil water, and spin a turbine. Candidly, that’s what nuclear power generation is all about.

The lofty promise of boundless material progress and universal prosperity based on cheap, safe and abundant energy through “Atoms for Peace”, held out by US President Dwight D Eisenhower in 1953, was mired in deception and meant to temper the prevalent perception of atomic energy as a malign force following the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Eisenhower was a hawk committed to building up the US nuclear arsenal from under 1,500 to over 20,000 warheads and sought to “compensate” for this by dressing up nuclear energy as a positive force. “Atoms for Peace” camouflaged the huge US military build-up in the 1950s.

The nuclear promise was also based on untested, unrealistic assumptions about atomic electricity being safe and “too cheap even to meter”. The projection sat ill at ease with the subsidies, worth scores of billions, which nuclear received. The US navy transferred reactor designs developed for its nuclear-propelled submarines to General Electric and Westinghouse for free. The US also passed a law to limit the nuclear industry’s accident liability to a ludicrously low level.

Fifty-five years on, the world has lost over $1,000 billion in subsidies, cash losses, abandoned projects and other damage from nuclear power. Decontaminating the Fukushima site alone is estimated to cost $623 billion, not counting the medical treatment costs for the thousands of likely cancers.

All of the world’s 400-odd reactors are capable of undergoing a catastrophic accident similar to Fukushima. They will remain a liability until decommissioned (entombed in concrete) at huge public expense, which is one-third to one-half of what it cost to build them. They will also leave behind nuclear waste, which remains hazardous for thousands of years, and which science has no way of storing safely.

All this for a technology which contributes just two percent of the world’s final energy consumption! Nuclear power has turned out worse than a “Faustian bargain” – a deal with the devil. Even the conservative Economist magazine, which long backed nuclear power, calls it “the dream that failed.”

Nuclear power experienced decline on its home ground because it became too risky and “too costly to hook to a meter”. The US hasn’t ordered a single new reactor since 1973, even before the Three Mile Island meltdown (1979). Western Europe hasn’t completed a new reactor since Chernobyl (1986). As a former member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission put it: “The abiding lesson that Three Mile Island taught Wall Street was that a group of NRC-licensed reactor operators, as good as any others, could turn a $2 billion asset into a $1 billion cleanup job in about 90 minutes.”

Nuclear power is now on the run globally. The number of reactors operating worldwide fell from the historic peak of 444 in 2002 to 429 this past March 1. Their share in global electricity supply has shrunk from 17 to 13 percent. And it’s likely to fall further as some 180-plus 30 years-old or older reactors are retired. Just about 60 new ones are planned.

After Fukushima, nobody is going to build nuclear reactors unless they get a big subsidy or high returns guaranteed by the state – or unless they are China, India or Pakistan. China’s rulers don’t have to bother about democracy, public opinion, or safety standards.

Nor are India’s rulers moved by these considerations. They are desperate to deliver on the reactor contracts promised to the US, France and Russia for lobbying for the US-India nuclear deal in the International Atomic Energy Agency. Manmohan Singh has even stooped to maligning Indian anti-nuclear protesters as foreign-funded, as if they had no minds of their own, and as if the government’s own priority wasn’t to hitch India’s energy economy to imported reactors. Pakistan’s nuclear czars are shamefully complacent about nuclear safety.

Nuclear power is bound up with secrecy, deception and opacity, which clash with democracy. It evokes fear and loathing in many countries, and can only be promoted by force. It will increasingly pit governments against their own public, with terrible consequences for civil liberties. A recent BBC-GlobeScan poll shows that 69 percent of the people surveyed in 23 countries oppose building new reactors, including 90 percent in Germany, 84 percent in Japan, 80 percent in Russia and 83 percent in France. This proportion has sharply risen since 2005. Only 22 percent of people in the 12 countries which operate nuclear plants favour building new ones.

Nuclear reactors are intrinsically hazardous high-pressure high-temperature systems, in which a fission chain-reaction is barely checked from getting out of control. But control mechanisms can fail for many reasons, including a short circuit, faulty valve, operator error, fire, loss of auxiliary power, or an earthquake or tsunami.

No technology is 100 percent safe. High-risk technologies demand a meticulous, self-critical and highly alert safety culture which assumes that accidents will happen despite precautions. The world has witnessed five core meltdowns in 15,000 reactor-years (number of reactors multiplied by duration of operations). At this rate, we can expect one core meltdown every eight years in the world’s 400-odd reactors. This is simply unacceptable.

Yet, the nuclear industry behaves as if this couldn’t happen. … Full article

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Power and Delusions of Grandeur

By Deepak Pritawi | International Policy Digest | March 18, 2012

First the video of United States Marines urinating on bodies of Afghans who had been killed. Then the revelation that copies of the Quran had been burned at Bagram Air Base, which also serves as an American prison camp in Afghanistan. Nearly thirty Afghans and several NATO troops died in the violent reaction. And as I mentioned in my column of March 4, the BBC Kabul correspondent described these events, and the violent public reaction to them, as the tipping point for NATO in the Afghan War.

Just as the U.S. commander Gen. John Allen and President Obama hoped that apologies from them would help calm the situation comes another disaster. If official accounts are to be believed, an American soldier left his base in the middle of the night, entered villagers’ homes, woke up Afghan families from sleep and shot his victims in cold blood. After committing the murders, the soldier was reported to have turned himself up to U.S. commanders, and was flown out of the country. He has since been named as Sgt. Robert Bales. Other reports tell a different story, indicating that a group of soldiers was involved. Looking drunk and laughing, they engaged in an orgy of violence, while helicopters hovered above.

The massacre was committed in Kandahar, a province where NATO forces regularly carry out night raids on Afghan homes. They capture and kill men sweepingly described as Taliban, their supporters or sympathizers. Male family members therefore leave their homes at night to escape foreign forces. This explains why 9 of the 16 murdered were children. The rest included at least four women, and five Afghans were wounded. Several bodies were burned.

The massacre of Kandahar has echoes of My Lai––a village in South Vietnam where American troops massacred unarmed civilians including women, children and old people almost exactly 44 years ago, on March 16, 1968. The full horror of the My Lai massacre took time to surface, for many attempts were made to downplay it. Soldiers who had tried to stop the killings were denounced by U.S. Congressmen and received hate mail and death threats. It took thirty years before they were honored. Only one American soldier, Lieutenant William Calley, was punished. He spent just three years under house arrest, despite being given a life sentence.

The conduct of the U.S. authorities following the massacre of Afghans will be under critical scrutiny. Those who must bear ultimate responsibility will have to live with the guilt for years to come. And the carnage will continue to haunt the conscience of many people in America and elsewhere. The general sentiment in Afghanistan had already been turning dangerously hostile to foreign troops. Now, reports from Kabul say that Afghans “have run out of patience.”

In the midst of these events (U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies in January, Quran burning in February, massacre in March), President Obama decided to invoke a comparison between himself and two of history’s legendary figures, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. To me, the latest events in Afghanistan are dismaying, and the timing of the president’s attempt to invoke parallels with Gandhi and Mandela is sickening. It goes to show what power does to its holder.

Much has been written about the New York fund-raiser, where President Obama gave his address as he sought support for a second term. I repeat the obvious to say that the country he leads has been engaged in a number of wars resulting in deaths and destruction on a vast scale. Their legacies will continue to take a heavy toll. Even when U.S. forces have withdrawn from occupied lands, or high-altitude bombing without deploying American troops on the ground has ceased, we will not know how long and in how many places Obama’s secret wars are waged. In the November 2008 election, he had offered a hope of change for good. It remains as illusive as it was under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama and NATO have moved and expanded the war theater––in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Kenya, Somalia and possibly places we are not aware of. His tactics have steadily become more threatening with foes and friends alike, linking ever more war and routine matters of international relations, trade and so forth.

Despite the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq and the Afghan project heading toward an end, there exists a more explosive situation from South Asia to North Africa. The scenario of a major war in the region haunts many. Obama may appear reluctant to attack Iran or Syria. But that clandestine warfare by major powers and their proxies continues is hardly in doubt. The Obama administration’s aggressive, interventionist instinct is on open display. And to draw parallels between himself and great souls such as Gandhi and Mandela is a grotesque parody of their historic struggles.

At the New York fund-raising event, Obama said that “the change we fought for in 2008 hasn’t always happened as fast as we would have liked … real change, big change, is always hard.” Next, making a leap into history, he continued, “Gandhi, Nelson Mandela––what they did was hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term …”

Corruption infects our world in many forms: material and moral, visible and invisible, direct and indirect. But the underlying motive behind all things corrupt is a strong opportunistic instinct to benefit oneself at the cost of others by allurement or deception. No wonder politics has fallen so much into disrepute. The aphorism of the nineteenth-century English historian Lord Acton that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” has acquired a special meaning today.

Employing his political mantra of “change” and attempting to show likeness with Gandhi’s and Mandela’s life and achievements is one thing. Truth is a different matter. Gandhi never aspired for any political office, never held one, and did not fight any election. After his incarceration in prison for 27 years, Mandela was a reluctant president of South Africa. And he made clear that he would serve only one term while a new generation of successors was groomed.

Above all, Mandela used his presidency to avoid a bloodbath and stabilize the country as apartheid collapsed. Precisely for these reasons, both Gandhi and Mandela were such formidable opponents of the unequal and unjust systems which they fought.

Non-violence was Gandhi’s tool. When violence erupted, Gandhi withdrew his movement against the British. He thought of others, Muslims and Untouchables he called Harijans (Children of God). He paid the ultimate price when a Hindu fundamentalist assassinated him in 1948. Neither Gandhi nor Mandela considered attacking another country, signing assassination orders, exaggerating or inventing facts about people they saw as adversaries.

Mandela’s African National Congress was inspired by Gandhi. But once the organization had realized that South Africa’s vast black majority was up against an apartheid regime whose brutality was exceptional, the ANC did engage in a low-intensity war. And the United States and Britain listed Mandela as a “terrorist.”

President Obama recently justified his drone attacks inside Pakistan by saying that they “have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.” It is impossible not to interpret this as an admission that drones do kill and wound civilians. But it is a minor matter in the president’s eyes. Only a few days ago, the German news magazine Der SPEIGAL said that while under the Bush presidency there was a drone attack every 47 days, the interval now under President Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, is just four days. The Americans have “already executed 2,300 people in this manner.” Nobody has a chance today if this president decides that their time is up.

Gandhi’s agitation for boycott of British goods in favor of home-made products and his advocacy for an austere life were fundamental elements of the anti-globalization movement of his time. His ethos was “to consume less for the uplift of others from poverty and deprivation.” He lived the life he preached, for which Winston Churchill, then leader of the Empire, disparagingly called him the “naked fakir.”

In the world ruled by President Obama today, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, were he not in his nineties and so frail, would be his greatest enemies. And they could well have been on Obama’s list for drone attacks. Mercifully that is not the case, and this president can indulge in comfort.

Great people like Gandhi and Mandela use power to curb power. Barack Obama stands among those who use power to accumulate more of it. Therein lies the moral of any comparison in this debate.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel bars Palestinian MP from going to Geneva to attend UN conference

Palestine Information Center – 19/03/2012

RAMALLAH — The Israeli occupation authority and its forces refused on Sunday to allow Hamas lawmaker Ibrahim Dahbour to travel abroad.

MP Dahbour was on his way to Geneva to join a Palestinian parliamentary delegation invited by the international network for rights and development to participate in a conference, sponsored by the UN human rights council, on Israel’s violations against Palestinian lawmakers.

The lawmaker told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that Israeli soldiers at Al-Karama crossing informed him that he was banned from travel for security reasons.

It was not the first time he was banned from traveling outside the occupied Palestinian territories, the MP affirmed. He added that Israel does not want the Palestinian lawmakers to be in contact with the international community and have the chance to explain and rally support for their national cause.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Colonization of the Mind: Normalize This!

By Samah Sabawi | Palestine Chronicle | March 18, 2012

(Full Transcript. Excerpts from this speech were presented at the University of Sydney Australia during Israeli Apartheid Week 2012.)

I would like to talk about normalization. I found the best definition of the word normalization on the Palestinian Campaign for Cultural and Academic Boycott’s website:

“Normalization is the colonization of the mind, whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.”

So projects that constitute normalization are not about freedom, justice or liberation, but about numbing our minds to the horror of the occupation, so we accept it as normal, as permanent, as an unchangeable fixed reality!

A typical normalization project brings Palestinians and Israelis together to talk about acceptance of one another to reduce the ‘hate’ that drives the conflict! But without taking action of any sort to change the environment that creates the animosity. As if Palestinian resistance is driven by emotions of hate not acts of oppression, by irrational anger and not dispossession, by senseless loathing and not acts of ethnic cleansing!

Advocates for normalization would have us believe that their so-called joint peace initiatives are the defining test, to tell the difference between a moderate and a terrorist. A moderate would engage, cooperate, reconcile and co-exist but never directly challenges the oppression. A moderate would learn to live with the status quo and cope with it. Anyone who rejects the status quo and takes action to change it is not interested in peace, is hateful, is a radical and is a terrorist. And for as long as these labels are waved around they hope that people would be intimidated into acquiescence.

An important feature of “normalization” projects is providing the illusion of symmetry, pushing the idea that Palestinians and Israelis share equal responsibility and claiming that both people have been locked into this age old struggle. They try hard to convince you that both people just have two different narratives, reducing the facts to fiction and the reality to storytelling, insisting that if we hear both narratives then we’ll come to agree that the truth lies somewhere out there, in an abstract world, perhaps in a third version that is yet to be told.

And like old people sitting around swapping tall tales over bitter Turkish coffee to pass the time in a place where no one cares about truth or consequence, we the Palestinians are encouraged to sit with Israelis and listen to their narratives while they listen to our narrative and that is the end of that! They go back to their vibrant cities that once carried Arabic names, and we go back behind the walls where nothing changes but the fact that our Bantustans keep on getting smaller with every passing day!

Subscribing to this idea of ‘narrative’ requires that we erase our collective memory and close our eyes to our present reality. It requires that we forget history, forget dates, numbers, UN documents, human rights reports, sights of destroyed villages, camps filled with the internally displaced and camps filled with the refugees from 1948. It requires that we forget all concrete evidence because it all comes down to story telling and narratives.

And while they talk of some looming existential threat we are supposed to forget that it is Palestine that has been wiped off the map and that Palestinians are the ones who are fighting everyday for their right to simply exist on their land.

I guess they hope that it would take a few sessions of narrative swapping to finally make us see the necessity of firing a gas canister into the face of an unarmed protestor. Or that it would take a few football games with house broken Palestinian players paraded in a field to finally make us appreciate why one-ton bombs must be dropped on refugees in Gaza. And maybe if we were to spend a summer camp together getting to know one another, we will finally see the light and apologize for not quietly moving out of their way when they took our homes and tore down our villages.

The message conveyed in normalization projects is consistent: We the Israelis have to do what we need to do because YOU MAKE US DO IT and the only way we might slow down (not stop) is if we feel that you like us and if you make us feel secure enough. Now if you choose to be good Palestinians, join in these initiatives and stop this resistance nonsense, maybe then, we will bring you into the house of moderates where you may not eat with us in the dining room, but at least we’ll take you in from the cold and let you sit on the kitchen floor where it is safe and warm.

So this is how they try to colonize our minds and force us to accept the inequality. Expecting us to exchange our freedom for breadcrumbs and to reduce our existence to coping with this deformed reality.

And while they live in their high towers in narrative land do they not see us marching through our fields where the olive trees that were planted by our ancestors have been ripped from the earth with their hands. Their severed roots reaching out like amputated limps, life seeping away through their tips, reeking of broken hopes and dreams. If they could just STOP the rattling of their bulldozers for just one minute they may actually finally hear that heartbreaking sound the earth makes when it weeps beneath their feet.

If they could hold their fire, turn off their tank engines and lower their guns, they may finally hear our voices. We have been chanting loud and clear! We have told them you are welcome to come and co-resist with us to bring down this ugly system of domination. We have said to them if you want to get to know us, then come and march with us against the wall. Come and stand with us against the bulldozers. Visit us in our prisons. Shelter us from the stones your Jewish settlers throw at our children.

We have said it loud and clear: We will not co-exist with you in your world of inequality. If you want to co-exist with us, you are welcome to join us in our struggle for freedom, because right now, this is the only place where we exist!

We see through their attempts to whitewash the oppression. No hasbara video they will EVER create about their supposedly gay loving and democratic state will alter the reality that every Palestinian family has experienced; arbitrary detentions, torture in their prisons and house evictions and demolitions.

And no sleek brand Israel campaign will ever explain why a woman in Jerusalem has fallen to her knees, broken on the sidewalk, with bits and pieces of her life scattered on the pavement as Jewish settlers look through the windows of what was once her home.

There is nothing normal about this! There is nothing normal about any of it!

There is nothing normal about sentencing nine year olds in military courts. There is nothing normal about forcing pregnant women to have babies at checkpoints. There is nothing normal about the imprisonment of a million and a half people in Gaza, then bombing them at will knowing they have no place to run and no place to hide. There is nothing normal about nailing shut the front doors of houses in Hebron forcing entire families to jump from rooftop to rooftop to go to their schools and work. There is nothing normal about stealing our water then forcing us to buy it back in drops. There is nothing normal about making Palestinians pay for the gasoline the Israeli bulldozers have used when they demolished their house. Above all, there is nothing normal about their expectation that with enough brutality we will give up.

So how about they normalize THIS: We will continue to resist! Their checkpoints have made us cherish our freedom. Their bombs have made us resilient to fear. Their bullets have made us embrace non-violence. Their hypocrisy has made us love the truth. Their tyranny has made us stronger. Their apartheid wall has forced us to stand so tall, so tall, we can see the whole world, and the whole world can see us. While they hide behind their piles of concrete and lies.

So let these walls they have built confine them! Let the word ‘apartheid’ define them! And when they ask you where you stand on normalization, join us and say that you stand with those who have stood their ground, shouting into the barrels of their guns, ‘you may have occupied our villages and towns, but you will never colonize our minds’.

They will never colonize our minds!

Thank you!

- Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer and is Public Advocate for Australians for Palestine.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

Jewish settlers stealing Palestinian water springs: UN

Al Akhbar | March 19, 2012

Illegal Israeli settlers have taken over dozens of natural springs in the West Bank, preventing Palestinian access to much-needed water sources, a United Nations report said on Monday.

The report produced by the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said at least 30 springs across the West Bank had been completely taken over by settlers, with Palestinians unable to access them at all.

In most instances, the report said, “Palestinians have been deterred from accessing the springs by acts of intimidation, threats and violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers.”

The report said an OCHA survey carried out in 2011 identified a total of 56 springs that were under total or partial control of Israeli settlers, most in the part of the West Bank known as Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and military control.

“Springs have remained the single largest water source for irrigation and a significant source for watering livestock” for Palestinians, OCHA said, noting that some springs also provide water for domestic consumption.

“The loss of access to springs and adjacent land reduced the income of affected farmers, who either stop cultivating the land or face a reduction in the productivity of their crops.”

The report said in most cases where settlers were trying to limit Palestinian access to springs, they have undertaken to turn the area into a tourist attraction, constructing pools, picnic areas and signs carrying a Hebrew name for the spring.

“Such works were carried out without building permits,” the report said.

Israel maintains an economic blockade of Gaza and control over the economy of the West Bank through checkpoints and sanctions.

The country has continued to endorse the growth of Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestine, which are illegal under international law, despite condemnation from the international community.

The OCHA report added that settler actions including “trespass, intimidation and physical assault, stealing of private property, and construction without a building permit,” are also violations of Israeli law.

“Yet, the Israel authorities have systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy,” it said.

OCHA called on Israel to stop the expansion of settlements, “restore Palestinian access to the water springs taken over by settlers,” and to “conduct effective investigations into cases of settler violence and trespass.”

Israel’s Civil Administration, the Israeli military body that administers parts of the West Bank, rejected the OCHA report.

“The report is distorted, biased and full of inaccuracies,” spokesman Guy Inbar told AFP.

“As a general rule, it has been made clear that everyone has the right to access the local natural springs in the public spaces,” he said.

“In case there is a complaint that any party is preventing, threatening or interfering with access to such sites, it must be reported to the nearest police station.”

Israel rarely convicts Jewish settlers for crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli military armored vehicle rams Palestinian bus injuring at least 19 passengers

Palestine Information Center | March 19, 2012

QALQILIYA – 19 Palestinian workmen sustained moderate to serious injuries when the bus they were aboard was deliberately hit by an Israeli military armored vehicle near Qalqiliya city.

The bus, en route to the 1948 occupied lands, overturned as a result of the impact while the Israeli soldiers drove away after committing their crime.

The injured workmen were rushed to hospitals in Qalqiliya city.

A similar earlier incident a month ago had resulted in the killing of 10 Palestinian school children and the injury of 42 others when a heavy truck directly hit their bus at the junction of Jaba between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | 2 Comments

Cynthia McKinney Interviews Gilad Atzmon about Israel, Zionism, and Jewish Identity Politics

Cynthia McKinney: I had the great fortune to meet Gilad Atzmon IN PERSON in Atlanta!  He came, he spoke, he played.  It was marvelous.

I actually interviewed him for Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox radio program that will air some time in the coming few days.  Be on the lookout for it.

The interview was a good follow-up to his remarks in Atlanta.  I touched him.  He’s human.  He’s just a person.  And he’s a thinker.  He has deep philosophical underpinnings for his positions.  He is actually engaging in a conversation with himself, but is allowing the world to hear his musings.  His conversation is no different than the one some Black people are having now around the meaning of the Presidency of Barack Obama since his policies are the exact opposite of what was once the Black Political Consensus that was admired around the world as a result of the struggle for civil rights in this country.  What are we to do when that consensus is betrayed by one of our own?  If you read Glen Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com, you will see what I mean.  When values that have been held for generations are suddenly betrayed, introspection for meaning is always appropriate.

I felt the same way with Madeleine Albright; it only intensified with Condoleeza Rice and Susan Rice.  As I said at a town hall meeting last night, that Rice plantation must have been one messed-up place!  But certainly women must have the same pangs of conscience when we see women personalize policies that result in mass murder.

At any rate, in the flesh, Gilad is charming and thought-provoking.  He said nothing that was offensive to me and nothing that I heard him say resembles what I read about him.

Finally, I know what it is like to be maligned.  For serious values to be twisted and chewed and mangled into distortions beyond recognition.  And although he would never admit it, I’m sure these attacks hurt him immensely.  I wish there were something I could do about that, but we all are so hurt.  Don’t retreat.  Hold my hand and we will walk with Gilad through this difficult time for us all.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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