Aletho News


Army to seize new national sacrifice zone for militarism

This land will be used to conduct military exercises with a new generation of automated heavy tracked combat equipment, including live fire and bombing. The area to be sacrificed stretches from Kansas to the Rocky Mountains and is larger than Vermont and many entire nations.

Our Land is Our Life

Essay by Andrea Leininger

So what does the land signify, what does it mean to you? This question has been asked of ranchers nonstop for the past few years, ever since it was made known that the Army wanted to expand their Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. And every time, we answer, “It’s our life.”

Now, some people just can’t understand why we get so worked up over a piece of land. And wouldn’t it just be easier, they ask, to take the money and get a house in town where you don’t have to work yourself to the bone 24/7? Well, actually, no. It would not be easier. We would be miserable. Why? Because we’re not working.

I know that sounds preposterous to some, but to us, it makes all the sense in the world. When you have worked so hard to build something out of nothing, and you have put your sweat, your tears, and your blood into it, it is impossible to give it up and see all of those years, all of that time, and all of that precious, hard-earned money go to waste. And when you think of what will happen to that land when tanks roll over it, bombs blast it, and bullets riddle your house in urban warfare training, it makes you sick, and it makes your blood boil. How can they take something away from us that we worked our whole lives to build, and put everything into it until that is all we live and breathe?


The environmental overseers of Fort Hood (a current maneuver site) made this statement, “Our mission is to train soldiers to fight and win wars wherever they are sent. To accomplish that training, it is anything but friendly to the environment.”

Fort Hood spends up to 119 days a year just putting out fires set during live fire practice.

Not only will the local communities be dispersed, but the public will be barred from visiting this unique part of the world. It will eventually be abandoned as a massive depleted uranium contamination site.


November 28, 2010 Posted by | Militarism | Comments Off on Army to seize new national sacrifice zone for militarism

More Than a Bribe: Obama Surrenders Palestinian Rights

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | November 25, 2010

The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the rightwing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward.

Former Middle East peace diplomat Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy that “any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant.” He further claimed: “The Obama administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis, Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during some very tough times. The U.S. president has seized on this issue and isn’t giving up — a central requirement for success.”

But at what price, Mr. Miller? And wouldn’t you agree that one party’s success can also mean another’s utter and miserable failure?

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reportedly spent eight hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only to persuade him to accept one of the most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power. The agreement includes the sale of $3 billion worth of US military aircrafts (in addition to the billions in annual aid packages), a blanket veto of any UN Security Council resolution deemed unfavorable to Israel, and the removal of East Jerusalem from any settlement freeze equation (thus condoning the illegal occupation of the city and the undergoing ethnic cleansing). But even more dangerous than all of these is “a written American promise that this will be the last time President Obama asks the Israelis to halt settlement construction through official channels.”

Significant. Achievement. Success. Are these really the right terms to describe the latest harrowing scandal? Even the term ‘bribe’, which is abundantly used to describe American generosity, isn’t quite adequate here. Bribes have defined the relationship between the ever-generous White House and the quisling Congress to win favor with the ever-demanding Israel and its growingly belligerent Washington lobby. It is not the concept of bribery that should shock us, but the magnitude of the bribe, and the fact that it is presented by a man who positioned himself as a peacemaker (and actually became certified as one, courtesy of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee).

Equally shocking is the meager return that Obama is expected to receive for hard-earned US taxpayers’ dollars. According to the Atlantic Sentential, this will be “a measly three month extension of the settlement moratorium that originally expired in late September.”

Acknowledging from the onset that these are mere “midterm maneuvers”, Noah Feldman, writing in the New York Times, asks the question: “Can Obama succeed where so many others have not?” He preludes his answer with: “Israel and the Palestinian Authority will not, of course, make things easy.”

Seriously, Mr. Feldman?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose mandate has already expired, must be living the most humiliating and difficult moments of his not so distinguished career. At one stage he had hoped that the advent of President Obama would spare him and his authority further embarrassment. Imagining the president would side with his ‘moderate’ position, he placed all his eggs in the Obama basket, even bidding against the democratically elected government of Palestinians in the occupied territories. He went as far as to halt an international investigation into Israeli crimes in the recent Israeli war on Gaza so that not to frustrate Netanyahu’s government or upset the pro-Israeli sensibilities in the US Congress.

True, Abbas tried to appear as a confident and self-assertive leader at times. He asked for a chance to think about the resumption of peace talks, conditioned his acceptance on Israeli actions that never really actualized, and finally sought the help of the Arab League, a beleaguered and muted organization without any political mandate.

How did Abbas and his authority make things ‘difficult’ for the US, Mr. Feldman? Would any self-respecting government agree to concessions that are made on its behalf without the opportunity to offer its own input? This is exactly what the PA has repeatedly done under Abbas.

Still, many Israelis are not happy with the barter. Caroline B. Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, described the freezing of construction in the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank as “discriminatory infringement on the property rights of law abiding citizens (that) is breathtaking.” She had the hubris to consider the pitiable moratorium as equivalent to “land surrenders.”

As for the major F-35 deal, it is “simply bizarre,” she argued, for after all, “Israel needs the F-35 to defend against enemies like Iran.”

Mind-boggling. US generously hands Palestinian rights to Israel on a silver platter, and the far-right mentality, which now governs Israeli mainstream politics and society, still finds it unacceptable.

But aside from this arrogant Israeli response, and the US media’s attempts to find the positive in Obama’s latest scandal, one question must be raised. What happens now that Obama has finally shown he really is no different from his predecessors? That the United States has lost control of its own foreign policy in the Middle East? That, frankly, Netanyahu has proved more resilient, more steadfast, and more resourceful than the American president?

Shall we go on making the same argument, over and over again, or has the time finally arrived for Palestinians to think outside the American box? Can Arabs finally venture off to seek other partners and allies in the region and around the world who understand the link between peace, political stability, and economic prosperity? It may perhaps be time for them to further their relationship with Turkey, to reach out to Latin America, to demand accountability from Europe and to try to understand and engage China.

The latest US elections have showed that the Obama hype has run its course in the US itself. One can only hope that Palestinians, Arabs and their friends will realize that it was all indeed a hype -before it’s too late.

Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of

November 28, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | 1 Comment

Israeli forces shoot Gaza fisherman at shore

27 November 2010 | International Solidarity Movement

Gaza – At 12:30 pm, Ahmed Mahmoud Jarboh, aged 26, was shot in the back of the left knee by the Israeli Offensive Forces (IOF) while fishing at the shore of Beit Lahya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. He is currently hospitalized in Kamal Udwan, in the neighboring town Jabalya, where his condition is being monitored.

Beit Lahya borders the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the 1949 Armistice Line with Israel to the north. The village’s economical resources are crippled by Israeli policies that restrict the fishing zone to three nautical miles and impose a 300 meter buffer zone on Palestinian land.

For over a year Ahmed has daily frequented the same area to fish with a small cast net. Today he and two of his colleagues were fishing from the shore at approximately 350 meters from the border fence. This incident again exemplifies a recent UN report conclusion that the danger zone does not halt at 300 meters: it can reach up to 1.5 kilometers.

“For over a year I have come here daily to fish. The soldiers in the watchtower see me every day: they know I am only a fisher! There was no reason for them to be suspicious as this is a normal, daily scene. Nothing special was going on.”

Even though the IOF soldiers should be familiar with Ahmed’s face, he was shot without warning:

“The only shot that was fired was the one that hit my leg”, he states.

When they heard the bullet being fired, the two other fishermen ran away to find shelter. As soon as they considered the situation “safe” again, they realized what had happened. They went to pick up Ahmed from the water and brought him to the hospital. The wound is stitched now, but probably surgery will not be necessary. It is still uncertain how long Ahmed will have to remain in the hospital and how long it will take for him to fully recover from this injury.

“I’m a father of two and I am the sole provider for my family. We have nothing else than what I gain from fishing.”

The 3 nautical mile restriction has resulted in a depletion of revenues which pushes people into the dangerous buffer zone. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, there have been nine people injured this month while working in the buffer zone. Ahmed Mahmoud Jarboh marks the tenth victim of IOF buffer zone aggression in four weeks.

November 28, 2010 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israeli forces shoot Gaza fisherman at shore

Army Officer Who Shot American Activist In Her Eye Exonerated

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – November 28, 2010

The Israeli District Police in the Occupied West Bank exonerated an Israeli Army officer who shot an American peace activist in her eye during a protest at the Qalandia terminal, north of Jerusalem, six months ago.

On May 31, the 21-year old American Art student, Emily Henochowicz, was hit in her eye with a tear gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier during a nonviolent protest.

Henochowicz, a student at the Cooper Union College based in New York was participating in a protest against the Israeli May 31 attack on the Turkish ship, Marmara, that was heading to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies. Nine Turkish
peace activists were killed in the attack.

She was carrying a Turkish flag during the protest when a soldier fired a gas canister at her hitting her in the eye. She lost her eye and suffered several other fractures.

Her family filed a complaint to the Israeli Police arguing that the police officer deliberately fired the canister at her. But the officer, the Border Police battalion commander and the company commander claimed that the canister hit her in the eye after it ricocheted off a barricade, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported. They said that their claim is “backed by a video footage”.

Representing Henochowicz and her family, Israeli Attorney, Michael Sfrad, slammed the police investigation and stated that the investigation was negligent and described it as a “sewage treatment plant for the Border Police”, Haaretz reported.

Sfrad said that the police did not speak to the Haaretz reporter, Avi Issacharoff, and photographer Daniel Bar-On, who were both at the scene and managed to capture the attack in print and photos, Haaretz added.

Sfrad stated that failing to question objective witnesses, who stated that the officer took direct aim at Henochowicz, is considered an obstruction to the investigation and a “confession that there is no interest in finding the truth”.

The case is currently in the hands of the district attorney’s office, the police told Haaretz without giving any further information.

Emily was studying at an Art School in Jerusalem; she holds Israeli citizenship, her father was born in Israel and her grandparents are holocaust survivors.

After arriving in Israel, she started spending time in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories, and her drawing started reflecting the suffering of Palestinian life in the occupied territories.

Israel refused to pay a US$37,000 bill for her treatment in Jerusalem and claimed that she was not intentionally shot and that she “endangered herself by participating in the demonstration”.

‘Doodle’ by Emily Henochowicz:

November 28, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Army Officer Who Shot American Activist In Her Eye Exonerated