Netanyahu’s Transparent Dancing Demurral

The lying Nutanyahoo attempts to avoid the lobster quadrille with the Quartet, preferring to commence a secret hasbara tango with an illegitimate Abbas, who is making offers without consultation again. Anyone who’s read the Liekud Party platform, which remains unchanged, or Nutanyahoo’s Bar Ilan speech of June 09, knows how disingenuous Nutanyahoo really is. He can’t go against his own party platform which says, amongst other chauvinist, colonialist drivel that flies in the face of international law:

The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.

The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.

The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.

Palestine / Gaza Links

Viva Palestina is finalising plans for the Kick Off for Palestine campaign to construct and maintain links with sporting venues in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ali Abunimah makes a terrific post examining the differentiation between criticism of jewishness and zionism in matters of dual loyalty:

I agree fully with Jones’ reading of Flynn’s reported comments. If accurate it is indeed outrageous to suggest that a British person cannot be loyal to the UK just because he or she is also Jewish. And it’s even more outrageous to suggest that a Jewish person has no “roots” in the UK, just as it would be to suggest the same of a British Muslim or any other person.

But what Jones – and perhaps other critics of Flynn’s comments – have missed, is that the claims Flynn reportedly made have always been at the very heart of Zionism.

Joseph Massad has noted this in his crucial book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question as has international law expert Victor Kattan.

The basic idea is simple enough: Zionists, just like anti-Semites, believed that Jews were inherently alien and rootless in Europe and needed to be expelled physically. The “father” of Zionism, Theodor Herzl in his seminal tract, Der Judenstaat, wrote this nauseatingly anti-Semitic passage:

The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country, and will remain so, even in those highly civilized—for instance, France—until the Jewish question finds a solution on a political basis. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of Anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.

Of course the “political solution” of which Herzl spoke was – Zionism – the removal of Jews from Europe and America so that they could not carry with them the “seeds” of their own persecution.Greatest British Zionist hero a vile anti-Semite

It is no coincidence then that the greatest British hero of Zionists to this day is Lord Arthur Balfour whose eponymous Balfour Declaration promised the Zionist movement that to which it had no right: the land of Palestine.

As Kattan points out in his book From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949, Balfour’s anti-Semitism was well documented and expressed in his writings. From Kattan:

Zionism actually provided Balfour and those who thought like him with the perfect pretext to reduce Jewish immigration into Britain whilst portraying themselves, falsely, as ‘humanitarians’ concerned about their welfare. This is what Balfour wrote in the conclusion to his introduction to Nahum Sokolow’s epic book, the History of Zionism, 1600–1918 (1919):

If [Zionism] succeeds, it will do a great spiritual and material work for the Jews, but not for them alone. For as I read its meaning it is, among other things, a serious endeavour to mitigate the age-long miseries created for western civilisation by the presence in its midst of **a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or absorb. Surely, for this if for no other reason, it should receive our support.

That Balfour had the gall to write this in a book on Zionism was foreboding. One can only imagine what he wrote about the Jews in private or in correspondence that was destroyed or lost.

Indeed. And, as Kattan documents, such sentiments were shared by German anti-Semites who in the same period became enthusiastic supporters of Zionism.

U.S. military chief: Unclear if Israel would alert U.S. ahead of attack on Iran – protocols stuffed?

He said the United States was convinced that sanctions and diplomatic pressure was the right path to take on Iran, along with “the stated intent not to take any options off the table” – language that leaves open the possibility of future military action.

“I’m not sure the Israelis share our assessment of that.

And because they don’t and because to them this is an existential threat, I think probably that it’s fair to say that our expectations are different right now,” Dempsey said in an interview as he flew to Washington from London.

Asked whether he was talking about the differences between Israeli and U.S. expectations over sanctions, or differences in perspective about the future course of events, Dempsey said:

“All of the above.” He did not elaborate.

He also did not disclose whether he believed Israel was prepared to strike Iran.

Fayyad to Haaretz: I will not lead a Palestinian unity government
Survey released last week shows 57 percent Palestinians want Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to serve as head of the unity government.

Palmer Report Release : Turkey Still Adamant

The New York Times has leaked the Palmer Report. The report takes the Israeli view on the legality of the Gaza blockade despite that this position is at odds with the majority of the international community and authorities, including Turkey.

‘The report noted that the panel did not have the power to compel testimony or demand documents, but instead had to rely on information provided by Israel and Turkey. Therefore, its conclusions cannot be considered definitive in either fact or law. ‘

The report wrongly argues that Israel’s blockade does not constitute collective punishment ‘which would be illegal’, and that the naval blockade is necessary for Israel’s ‘security’. Further, the report smears the IHH without evidence. It also dissembles when it describes the direction in which the Mavi Marmara was heading prior to attack by Israel.

The report says:

‘107. Material before the Panel indicates that between 10.58 p.m. and 11.58 p.m. on 30
May 2010 the Mavi Marmara changed course from a bearing of 222º to one of 185º.

However, there is dispute about the significance of this. The Turkish report states that
this course was directed towards a point between Al-Arish and the Suez Canal; while
Israel maintains it in fact turned the vessels more directly towards Gaza.

Given the distance of the vessels from shore, it is hard to draw a firm conclusion as to their
intention from their course alone. Significantly, although the Israeli Navy continued to
issue warnings, no radio message was transmitted by the flotilla indicating that its course
or intended destination had been changed.

108. On the best view we can form of the matter we believe it was reasonable in the
circumstances for the Israeli Navy to conclude that the vessels of the flotilla intended to
proceed to Gaza. That is what they repeatedly said. That intention was consistent with
an intention to breach the blockade.

The report fails to note above that the Israelis jammed radio communications from the vessels prior to their attack. Further in the report though, it is noted that

112. It seems that the decision to commence the take-over operation by surprise just
before dawn was motivated by the desire to avoid publicity as much as by operational considerations.

This was reinforced by the communication blackout imposed against
the Mavi Marmara.”

Ali Abunimah was tracking the vessel prior to and at the time of the attack.

UPDATED: Mavi Marmara was fleeing west at full-speed at time Israel claims “rioters initiate confrontation with IDF soldiers,” and had already been under sustained attack for some time.
The ship Mavi Marmara was not heading toward Israel or Israeli territorial waters when it was attacked, boarded and comandeered by Israeli forces in the early hours of 31 May in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea approximately 85 miles west of Haifa. Had it stayed on its heading at that time it would not even have approached Gaza’s waters.

Automatic Identification System (AIS) data transmitted by the Mavi Marmara and captured on the web site Marine Traffic indicates that prior to the Israeli attack, the Mavi Marmara, and presumably the rest of the flotilla in close formation, were traveling due south, parallel to the coast of Israel at a distance of more than 80 miles — well outside Israel’s 12-mile territorial limit. At 00:56:46 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), or 3:56 am local time (UTC+3), according to the AIS data, Mavi Marmara was at coordinates N 32° 47′ 37.3518″, E 33° 31′ 34.14″ and moving south southwest on heading 184 at 7.4 knots.

At 01:35:20 UTC, or 4:35 am local time, the ship had apparently accelerated to 11 knots and begun to turn west, directly away from Israel. At that point it was located at N 32° 42′ 52.848″, E 33° 31′ 0.2604″ and moving southwest on heading 195.

At 01:51 UTC (4:51 am local), the Twitter account @ShipToGazaGr, which was in direct contact with the two Greek-flagged flotilla ships Eleftheri Mesogeios and Sfendoni tweeted, “we have lost comms with ship, last contact was mentioning attack, we are in alert mode.”

At that moment, 01:51:00 UTC, Mavi Marmara was already due almost straight west on heading 247 away from Israel and the Gaza Strip and had sped up to 12.6 knots.

It is clear from the tracking map that the fleet was not heading toward Gaza or Israel before or at the time of the attack and was in international waters. The Palmer report misrepresents.

The Israelis have been upset about the assessment by the Palmer report since:

110. The Panel questions whether it was reasonable for the Israeli Navy to board the
vessels at the time and place that they did. There are several factors to be weighed in that
equation. The boarding commenced at approximately 4.30 a.m., before dawn had

The distance from the blockade zone was substantial—64 nautical miles.

There were several hours steaming before the blockade area would be reached. Then
there is the fact that the boarding attempt was made by surprise, without any immediate
prior warning.

The last radio warning had been transmitted at some point between
12.41 a.m. and 2.00 a.m.—at least two and a half hours prior to the boarding

The vessels were never asked to stop or to permit a boarding party to
come on board. No efforts were made to fire warning shells or blanks in an effort to
change the conduct of the captains. While it must have been clear to the flotilla captains
that the Israeli Navy had been shadowing them for some time, nothing was
communicated about the immediate intentions of the IDF to board the vessels by force.

and later, the report’s assessment that

117. Israel’s decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great
distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the
boarding was excessive and unreasonable:
a. Non-violent options should have been used in the first instance. In
particular, clear prior warning that the vessels were to be boarded and a
demonstration of dissuading force should have been given to avoid the type
of confrontation that occurred;
b. The operation should have reassessed its options when the resistance to the
initial boarding attempt became apparent so as to minimize casualties.

The Palmer report affirms that 5 of those killed on the Mavi Marmara were shot by cowardly IDF from behind. [p. 59] with ‘significant mistreatment of passengers by Israeli authorities’ after the flotilla takeover [p.61]

Although not all the passengers allege mistreatment, in none of the
events to which the statements of the 93 witnesses relate are the witnesses generally more
consistent than upon this matter.

Further [p.65]:

145. There was significant mistreatment of passengers by Israeli authorities after
the take-over of the vessels had been completed through until their deportation.
This included physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified
confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance.

Israel’s excuse of ‘security’ does not justify its actual human rights abuses, including its attack of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara and its overall collective punishment of the people of Gaza of which the naval blockade forms a part. Importantly, the Palmer report fails to recognise the impact of Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza’s fishing industry on which many depend for their livelihood nor those to whom they sell their produce – the beleaguered population of Gaza. According to Save the Children UK in its 2010 Review “Child Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” ‘85% of maritime areas for fishing are blocked to Palestinians, affecting the livelihoods of an estimated 178,000 people—12% of the population’.

The Palmer report was a setup job at the request of the US to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to counter the UN HRC report which is due for discussion at the UNGA this month. With a conservative NZ politician at the helm and the US pawn human rights abuser Uribe involved, there’s no surprise that the findings of the Palmer report are deceptive and favourable to the Israeli interpretations of its piracy at sea and collective punishment.

Turkey has remained adamant that Israel must end its illegal blockade on the people of Gaza, make an apology for its flotilla murders and compensate the families of those murdered.

Whilst erroneously suggesting the blockade was legal, the Palmer report [p.74-75] recommended that

  • An appropriate statement of regret should be made by Israel in respect of
    the incident in light of its consequences.
  • Israel should offer payment for the benefit of the deceased and injured
    victims and their families, to be administered by the two governments
    through a joint trust fund of a sufficient amount to be decided by them.
  • Turkey and Israel should resume full diplomatic relations, repairing their
    relationship in the interests of stability in the Middle East and
    international peace and security. The establishment of a political
    roundtable as a forum for exchanging views could assist to this end.

Palestinian civil society welcomes Turkey’s Decision to Suspend All Military Ties with Israel and Lower Diplomatic Relations


How the zionist elite work over Turkey internally – see this article by a WINEP AIPAC shill, running down the AKP and singing up the zio-friendly CHP/RPP which is falsely cast as progressive and leftist. In reality, the new Kemalism is fascist, just like the old Kemalism, but the military control in this Kemalism is very useful for the zio-imperialists. Another useful indicator of zio-imperial shillery re turkey is the code word ‘neo-ottamanism’.
Israel’s ruling elite are addicted to belligerent militarism – is the smoke from their nostrils meant to obscure Israel’s crimes?
The UN Palmer Inquiry and Israel’s Attack on the Mavi Marmara


The Turkish demand to end the Gaza siege will put Arab states on the spot. They cannot maintain their silence. This goes especially for Egypt, which disgracefully reneged on its commitment last May to reopen the Rafah crossing with Gaza, undoubtedly as a result of pressure from the US, which still retains enormous influence with Egypt’s military.’

PM: Turkey to impose more sanctions on Israel, boost presence in east Med Erdogan:

“Israel has always acted like a spoiled child in the face of all UN decisions that concern it. It assumes that it can continue to act like a spoiled child and will get away with it.”

“If the measures [we have] taken so far [against Israel] are part of a Plan B, then there will also be a Plan C. Different steps will be taken depending on the course of developments. … We are totally suspending our commercial, military and defense ties. They are being frozen entirely,” he added, without clarifying what the next round of sanctions might include.

Officials at the Prime Ministry, however, elaborated later in the day that commercial ties with Israel will not be affected, adding that the commercial ties Erdo?an mentioned refer to the commercial aspect of defense relations. Turkey did not impose a trade embargo on Israel but suspended ongoing defense projects and purchases from Israeli defense firms.

Turkey’s total exports to Israel were around $2.082 billion in 2010 and $1.382 billion over the course of the first seven months of 2011. Turkey imported goods from Israel totaling $1.359 billion in 2010 and $1.180 billion in the first seven months of 2011.

Turkey and Israel signed a tourism cooperation agreement in Jerusalem on June 1, 1992 and Turkey became the second most-popular tourism destination for Israelis. Turkey received 511,435 Israeli tourists in 2007; 558,183 in 2008; 311,600 in 2009 and only 109,600 in 2010.

Turkish-Israeli tension from a domestic policy perspective


Turkey says jointly planning Palestinians UN upgrade campaign

“Recognition of a Palestinian state is not a favor for the Palestinians, it is the Palestinian people’s most natural right and our debt to them,” Davuto?lu said. “It is time to pay the debt.”

‘Davuto?lu said keeping Gaza and the West Bank under occupation is already illegal and that it is unacceptable to see the blockade over an illegally occupied territory as legal.

On Saturday, Davuto?lu said Turkey would start procedures to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands.

He said to end the illegal Gaza blockade, Turkey will continue its legal struggle in international sphere. Noting that Shaath was also briefed by steps Turkey will be taken regarding Israel, Davuto?lu said he shared his views about a UN General Assembly decision to take Israel to the ICJ.

Davuto?lu said Turkey is wrapping up its works to challenge Israel’s Gaza blockade in the ICJ and that he received the support of Arab League and the Organization for the Islamic Cooperation. ‘

The ziolobby mobilises against Turkey with threats against EU membership. As if Israel would be admitted.

‘The EJC echoed the words of the report, which recommends that Turkey and Israel should resume full diplomatic relations or there may be disastrous unseen consequences.

Turkey’s reluctance to comply by the recommendations of the report is unfortunate, the representative body of European Jewish communities said, and is not helpful towards their efforts towards membership of the European Union. ‘

Official: Israel military attache to stay in Turkey
Exporters fear losing Turkish market

Flashback to 2004, and US racist interpretation of Erdogan’s liberalisation of Turkey :

‘But the Turkish military has justifiably expressed worries over the AKP’s power grab and its implications for the direction of Turkish foreign policy.

The effects of this erosion of power are already being felt. Turkey’s military establishment, the traditional guardian of Mustafa Kemal Attaturk’s secularist legacy, has long been the main driver of strategic ties with Jerusalem. Its progressive loss of control over the country’s security policy has therefore called into question the durability of Israel’s most important regional alliance. ‘


Report: Turkey seeking strategic alliance with Egypt

The two are due to sign a strategic cooperation agreement concerning military, diplomatic, and economic issues.

The moves comes as the crisis in Israel-Turkey relations deepened after the UN-commissioned report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid was leaked to the New York Times, foiling a last-ditch effort to patch up relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, following the expulsion of the Israeli envoy from Turkey, Egyptians called on their government to follow in Turkey’s footsteps, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday, and expel the Israeli envoy in Cairo, as well as alter the Camp David Accords to allow more Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

OIC, Arab League lash out at Palmer report as ‘biased’

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin ?hsano?lu on Saturday called on the international community to exert as much pressure as possible on Israel to lift the illegal blockade it imposes on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, while he expressed dismay at the UN report on the raid that said Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was a legal security measure. ?hsano?lu also voiced support for Turkey’s reaction to the report, apparently lending support to Turkey’s expulsion of Israel’s ambassador and the severing of military ties with Israel.

The OIC chief said he believed the UN Panel of Inquiry’s report “failed to reflect an objective and unbiased position, as it considered the Israeli blockade of Gaza legal and appropriate.”

“The OIC cannot accept any report that would whitewash Israel’s attack on the humanitarian flotilla and condone Israel’s illegal blockade against the Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip. The Israeli blockade on Gaza is an unjustified collective punishment conducted illegally by an occupying power. Israel should be compelled to lift this embargo and be held accountable for all its illegal actions,” ?hsano?lu said, calling once again for an “objective and even-handed” probe into the flotilla incident.

Dr. Mutaz M. Qafisheh: Palmer Report: manifestly ill-founded and a shame on the UN

Davugotlu: flotilla issue is wider than Israel and Turkey ‘an issue between Israel and international law and ethics and the international community.’

The meeting on Saturday gathered together 27 ministers from EU member countries, as well as their counterparts from Iceland, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia, all nations aspiring to join the bloc, in the Baltic Sea resort of Sopot, Poland.Davuto?lu was the last minister to take the stage, where he answered questions apparently prompted by his announcement Friday in Ankara that Turkey has downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel to the level of second secretary, and giving the Israeli ambassador and other high-level diplomats until Wednesday to leave the country.

In other measures against Israel, Turkey suspended military agreements, promised to back legal suits brought against Israel by the families of the raid victims, and vowed to take steps to ensure that freedom to navigate is maintained in the eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking with Today’s Zaman late on Saturday en route from Sopot to Turkey, Davuto?lu said he first explained to the assembled ministers how the situation in the eastern Mediterranean has been prone to escalating tensions due, to the unresolved Cyprus conflict and the ongoing crisis in Syria. “I brought up the issue of the overall dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean. I noted that everyone should be careful, and told them about the Israel issue. Everyone came up to me and asked if there is anything they can do about it. They agree that Turkey is right, and they advise us to ease up the tension. I told them that it is an issue in its own right for us, with or without the Arab Spring or the Middle East conflict. When the incident happened a year ago, there was no Arab Spring. It is about principles for us. Our people were murdered by an army outside of combat conditions,” Davuto?lu told Today’s Zaman.

I think recent Israeli governments have failed to understand the dynamics, actors and policies essential to the “new Turkey.” Turkey is no longer a country ruled by its military, which suppressed different points of view on domestic as well as foreign policy matters. Any state that wishes to be a friend of Turkey should first win the support and sympathy of its people
Yigal Palmor lies about the 3 Turkish demands, which have been consistent since Israel’s flotilla crimes
Turkey’s narrow escape from the wrath of Palmer and Uribe
Irony: Dozens of Israelis questioned at length upon landing in Turkey (another Ravid story)
Palmer Panel Needs Little Common Sense
The United States and Ergenekon “Deep State” in Turkey
Turkey’s Role in Post-Revolutionary Middle East
Thus Spoke the Turkish People: 2011 Election and Its Aftermath


Flimsy analysis trivialising Turkey’s moves as populist. Could become the new hasbara.

‘But Turkey’s demand that Israel apologize, compensate the victims and lift the Gaza blockade is rooted primarily in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s obligation to his electorate. It has become a common, uniting, national denominator, an integral part of Turkey’s national prestige and its domestic policy.’

A subtle form of whitewash: the Palmer report on Israel’s attack on the flotilla
Turkey to take Israel to ICJ T

he UN report concluded that the blockade was “a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons entering Gaza by sea”.

Davutoglu said Turkey did not accept that conclusion, noting that it contradicted the UN Human Rights Council’s findings.

“We will start the application process to International Court of Justice within the next week, for an investigation into what the Gaza blockade really is,” Davutoglu told TRT news channel.

Turkey to challenge Gaza blockade

Huwaida Arraf describes the divergence in Greece and Turkey policy re participation in the recent flotilla:

‘But the country that was—that really cooperated with Israel—and it was a shock and quite sad—was Greece. And it did—we did learn that it came under a lot of political and economic pressure also because of the economic situation that they’re in. But they did impose restrictions and did not let our boats leave. So it really became complicit in Israel’s blockade. And we are challenging that on different levels.

Turkey itself didn’t really. It did communicate to us and to our Turkish partners that it might not be helpful at this time, but what happened—but the Turkish organization IHH remained fully a part of the flotilla. The Mavi Marmara was not able to go, because it was not physically, mechanically ready to go. In fact, up until the date that we were supposed to launch, they still had people working to meet all of the guidelines for being certified to go into international waters on the kind of mission that we wanted it to. So we knew—at a point, we realized it wasn’t going to be ready, and we took that boat out of the equation. But the Turks remained fully a part of the organizing. And in fact, we were going to launch one boat from Turkey. One of the boats—it was the Irish ship—was located in Turkey, but it was sabotaged by, we believe, Israeli agents and was not able to launch. So, they didn’t really place any barriers, certainly not like Greece did.’

According to Norman Finkelstein:

“This report does not claim that they were looking for a confrontation. It holds them morally culpable for trying to cast publicity on an illegal and inhumane blockade. With the Israelis, at least we’re in the same moral universe, and it’s a question of fact. What was the intent of these commandos—excuse me, what was the intent of the activists? Was it to get a confrontation, or was it to cast humanitarian—cast light on what’s happening? But with this report, we’ve entered a new moral universe. They are actually saying that to cast light on an illegal and inhumane blockade is a morally sinister act.

Then there’s the other side of the equation. There is not one word, one syllable, on how many Gazans have perished as a result of Israeli attacks. It’s not 25. It’s not 250. It’s at least at an order of magnitude of 2,500. We’re not just talking about the 1,400 Palestinians who were killed in Operation Cast Lead. Israel always has operations in Gaza, has very fancy names—Operation Summer Rains, Operation Autumn Clouds, Operation Hot Winter, Operation Rainbow. All of it vanishes from this report. The only people who have suffered deaths in Gaza due to armed hostilities are Israelis.

Now, let’s say it’s true. Fair enough. They have a right to impose a naval blockade to prevent weapons from going to Gaza, for security reasons. Don’t the people of Gaza have the right to impose a military blockade on Israel, to prevent weapons from going to Israel? You can’t even raise that question. It’s beyond their comprehension. In fact, the irony is, that’s the law. The law is, as Amnesty International pointed out in its report “Fueling Conflict,” under international law and domestic American law, it’s illegal to transfer weapons to any country or—any state or non-state party which is a consistent violator of human rights. So, if that commission, the Palmer Commission, named after, you know, the former New Zealand president, if they had any integrity, they would have said, OK, Israel has the right to impose a blockade on Gaza, and the international community” — because this is what Amnesty said. Amnesty says the international community has an obligation—that’s what they said—to impose an arms embargo on Israel, as well, because it’s a consistent violator of human rights.

It was a complete spit in the face of the Turks, what this report said.

So I think, from a moral point of view, it was a disgrace. But from a political point of view, it will probably end up helping the Palestinians. You have to remember the whole point of the report. It described the killing of the nine members of the—on the—passengers on the Mavi Marmara. You know the phrase they used? It was a “major irritant” to diplomatic relations. Killing nine people is an “irritant.” And they said, “We have to get over this irritant, so that Israel and Turkey can restore diplomatic relations.” That’s their moral level.


The real reasons Turkey stopped the Mavi Marmara sailing to Gaza last June

One calculation Turkey certainly would have had time to consider is the price it might pay in terms of retaliation from the United States, Israel’s protector and patron. Turkey, unlike Israel, is a formal ally of the United States, a member of NATO, and thus has a mutual defense pact with the United States.

The Turkish government must have concluded that it can withstand whatever wrath the United States might mete out, especially since the US still feels it needs Turkey to help maintain its faltering hegemony in the region.

On the same day it announced sanctions on Israel, Turkey also revealed that it had reached agreement to host radar installations as part of the American-sponsored and conceived NATO “missile defense” program.

Press reports indicate that as part of the deal, the US acceeded to a Turkish demand that data from the Turkish-hosted radars not be shared with Israel.

Turkey, it turns out, is still of more practical benefit to US regional hegemony than Israel, which is increasingly a strategic and political burden to the United States.

According to AP:

Turkey is preparing to challenge Israel’s blockade on Gaza at the International Court of Justice.

“What is binding is the International Court of Justice,” Davutoglu said. “This is what we are saying: let the International Court of Justice decide.”


Another reason the US demurs to Turkey – the Incirlik air base, with 5000 US airmen
Yet another reason why the US is fond of Turkey – the Nabucco pipeline
Further, Turkey is a formal ally of the US, unlike Israel, which is just a ‘special friend’
Yet another reason why the US needs Turkey – TAI supply to Northrop Grumman of F35 parts
Turkey is fully integrated into US hegemony as projector of US power & facilitator of resources
Flashback to June 2010 in EI ‘After the Flotilla, will Turkey emerge as a force for Palestinian rights?’

Hamas Welcomes Turkish Decision To Expel Israeli Ambassador
Turkey Expels Israeli Ambassador, Ends Military Cooperation
Pro-zionist Hurriyet quotes unnamed ‘Turkish diplomats’ :

Turkish diplomats told the Hürriyet Daily News that the Turkish Navy will be more visible in the eastern Mediterranean through regular patrolling in international waters. “A more aggressive strategy will be pursued. Israel will no longer be able to exercise its bullying practices freely,” one said.

UN Report on Israel’s Flotilla Massacre: Facts and Fallacies
Israel forms team to fight lawsuits over flotilla attack
Palestinian factions back Turkey for expelling Israel envoy
Turkey downgrades diplomatic ties with Israel after UN report leak

‘Dubbing Israel’s current stance “a position devoid of strategy,” Gül spoke to the media on Friday hours after Ankara announced the sanctions to be imposed on Israel due to the country’s refusal to comply with Turkish demands for compensation, an apology and the lifting of the Gaza blockade’.

‘The country has demanded an apology and compensation from Israel, as well as the removal of the Gaza blockade, before the countries can finally normalize their relations. The report, made public by media outlets on Thursday, revealed that it considered the Israeli navy’s blockade of Gaza a legal action, while deeming the Israeli interference “unreasonable killing” of civilians; however, it merely suggested that the country pay compensation to the families of the deceased activists slain on the ship. The report was initially set to be released in February, but faced multiple delays meant to give the countries an opportunity to come to an agreement without the disruption the findings may cause.

“The requests for the delays came from Israel every single time,” Davutoglu said in a press conference on Friday, where he explained that Israel needed the extensions to sort out the deadlock in the Israeli cabinet. “We have held four sessions with Israeli officials to come to an agreement,” the foreign minister said and noted that some of the sessions yielded results agreeable to both parties. “However, the agreements were delayed with the aim of reaching an internal consensus in Israel.”’

‘Outlining the course of action Turkey would take from Friday onwards, Davutoglu noted that “Turkey does not recognize the blockade Israel has over Gaza. We will ensure that the blockade is investigated in the International courts.” The minister also announced that Turkey would “help the victims of the flotilla raid in any way it can” to claim their rights, a move Israel had feared would come if they issued the apology to the country for the loss of life aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Davutoglu also indicated that “it is time for Israel to make a choice” and that true security could only be obtained with the establishment of true peace, a comment that referred to the blockade on Gaza, which Israel defends as a measure of security to block arms from reaching Hamas in Gaza.’

Holding Israeli administration “the sole responsible” for the deadlock, Davutoglu stated that Turkey would be imposing sanctions on Israel as “it is now apparent that Israel is only trying to drag the process out with its perpetual requests to delay the report.” In the sanctions announced by the foreign minister, Turkey is projected to reduce the diplomatic relations to the level of second secretaries starting Wednesday, and put a hold on all military agreements between the countries, which have been significant partners in the field, with military contracts soaring beyond $1 billion.

Top Israeli legalists believe UN’s report on deadly raid on Gaza flotilla lays possible evidentiary basis for future lawsuits against military personnel
Turkey vows to take legal action against Israelis involved in Gaza flotilla raid
Rights orgs: Gaza siege illegal, Palmer recommendations fall far short of justice


Why the Palmer-Uribe report on Israel’s flotilla attack is worthless
Turkey Expels Israeli Ambassador

Turkey says it is expelling the Israeli ambassador and cutting military ties with Israel over the country’s refusal to apologize for last year’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday Turkey is downgrading diplomatic ties to the level of second secretary and that the ambassador will leave Turkey by Wednesday.

Davutoglu also said Turkey was suspending all military agreements signed between the former allies, saying “it is time Israel pays a price.”

Related Links

Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm – a comparative analysis of media representations of the Turkish position.
Haaretz: Turkey may expel Israeli ambassador in wake of Gaza flotilla report

Unless there is an Israeli apology, “we will put Plan B into play,” Davutoglu said in a joint interview to the Thursday’s Zaman and Hurriyet dailies. He said Turkey intended to impose sanctions, “which both Israel and other international parties are aware of.”

Referring to Israel’s request for another delay in the report’s publication, he said that Ankara “cannot accept another six-month extension.”

Senior Israeli officials said Thursday that Israel would not apologize for the raid and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reiterated this to the U.S. administration in the past few days.

The sanctions Turkey is planning against Israel include scaling back the level of diplomatic representation in both countries from ambassador to first secretary. This means Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, and his deputy, Ella Afek, would be expelled.

Turkey is also planning a diplomatic and legal campaign against Israel in the United Nations, and will help the families of those killed and injured in the raid to file lawsuits against Israel in courts worldwide.

In addition, Ankara is threatening to halt trade between Turkey and Israel, which totals in the billions of dollars.

Davutoglu said Turkey had agreed to delay the report’s publication several times because Israel wanted to negotiate over the Turks’ demand for an apology.

“We patiently waited for Israel to decide. It seems Israel has some difficulty in making a decision,” he said.

Todays Zaman: Turkey has vowed that its demands from Israel remain unchanged and that it is powerful enough to protect rights of its citizen in a first official reaction to a leaked United Nations panel report on Mavi Marmara incident

Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey’s position regarding Israeli lethal raid into Mavi Marmara ship has been very clear since May 31 last year and vowed that Turkey is powerful enough to protect rights of its citizens “no matter who says what.”

Turkish foreign minister also added that there are many things in the report that make Israeli side uncomfortable. Davutoglu downplayed the importance of report by suggesting that more important is what Israel did not realize with respect to Turkey’s demands.

Davutoglu said Turkey’s demands – official apology, compensation to families of the victims and lifting Gaza blockade – firmly remain in place and that whatever the report finds, Israel did not meet Turkey’s demands.

The foreign minister said his “comprehensive statement” on the issue will largely focus on Israel’s failure to meet the demands of Turkey rather than the report itself.

Davutoglu told Today’s Zaman in an interview on Wednesday that the last chance for Israel to extend an apology of the lethal Israeli raid is the date when the UN report is released. He said Turkey will do whatever is required if Israel does not extend apology by Friday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on July 23 that Turkey now intends to move on to “Plan B” with respect to Israeli apology conundrum, which will include a campaign against Israel to be carried out at UN institutions, legal action against senior Israeli figures in European courts, and military cooperation between Turkey and Israel being put on hold.

The total estimated value of the current military contracts that Turkey has awarded to Israeli companies amounts to $1.8 billion. This figure comprises a significant amount of the two nations’ total annual trade volume of $2.6 billion. Turkey had cancelled dozens of military agreements, war games and military projects with Israel following the lethal Israeli raid of the Mavi Marmara in May of last year.

Davutoglu: No more delays for UN report on Israel

Highlighting Turkey’s determination to switch to the so-called Plan B, Davuto?lu said: “We have been told that there has been a consensus, including an apology and other issues, which means we have made progress in the negotiations. But when it came to the final move, Israel always takes a step back at the last minute because of debates among its coalition.”

“Turkey will be imposing sanctions that are well known by Israel and some other international parties,” Davuto?lu firmly noted as he stated that Turkey is determined in its clear stance and ready to act accordingly.

Uribe’s appointment to flotilla probe guarantees its failure

Desperate Danny to Clinton: ‘Declare Turkey a terror-supporting state’

“Turkey has gotten closer to Iran and constitutes a direct continuation of the axis of evil. The government in Washington must answer the Turkish problem before it is too late,” Danon wrote, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Israeli official called for economic and diplomatic sanctions against Turkey until Ankara changes its ways and abandons what he said “the way of terror.”

“The Turks have crossed the line. They supported the flotilla, they support terror and they dare to ask Israel to apologize to them,” Danon said.

Independent journalists dismantling Israel’s hold on media narrative
UN calls Israeli raid on flotilla ‘excessive’


In preparation for the Palestinian fakestatehood bid, Kahanist illegal settlers in the West Bank are readying their trained hounds to go for the throat.

Palestine / Israel Links

Protests did not breach law: ACCC
Blow to Australian ziolobby: ACCC decides against invoking secondary boycott penalties for BDS
Idf Plans Harsher Methods With West Bank Demonstrations

COMMENT: Less violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the IDF. As MOD Pol-Mil chief Amos Gilad told USG interlocutors recently, “we don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Israel may seek amendment of peace treaty with Egypt, says report

Other Links

Fears for Egyptian blogger on hunger strike in jail

Australia Links

Why the Murdoch empire in Australia threatens democracy
THE Tenterfield Shire Council has apologised to the Aboriginal people of the shire for “hurtful or offensive comments” made during debate about raising the Aboriginal flag

The Hypocrisy of the US on Illegal Israeli Settlements

The US has signalled that it will be vetoing the resolution currently before the UN Security Council against Israeli settlement expansion, despite the resolution’s consistency with existing US policy and previous votes in the UN.

M J Rosenberg considers that this US veto “violates broader US interests”, is a function of US domestic policy and the power of the campaign finance from the ubiquitous Israel lobby is to blame:

This is from AFP’s report on what Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We have made very clear that we do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues,” Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We have had some success, at least for the moment, in not having that arise there. And we will continue to employ the tools that we have to make sure that continues to not happen,” said Steinberg.

There is so much wrong with Steinberg’s statement that it is hard to know where to start.

First is the obvious. Opposition to Israeli settlements is perhaps the only issue on which the entire Arab and Muslim world is united. Iraqis and Afghanis, Syrians and Egyptians, Indonesians and Pakistanis don’t agree on much, but they do agree on that. They also agree that the US policy on settlements demonstrates flagrant disregard for human rights in the Muslim world (at least when Israel is the human rights violator).

Accordingly, a US decision to support the condemnation of settlements would send a clear message to the Arab and Muslim world that we understand what is happening in the Middle East and that we share at least some of its peoples’ concerns.

The settlement issue should be an easy one for the United States. Our official policy is the same as that of the Arab world. We oppose settlements. We consider them illegal. We have repeatedly demanded that the Israelis stop expanding them (although the Israeli government repeatedly ignores us). The administration feels so strongly about settlements that it recently offered Israel an extra $3.5bn in US aid to freeze settlements for 90 days.

It is impossible, then, for the United States to pretend that we do not agree with the resolution (especially when its language was carefully drafted to comport with the administration’s official position). So why will we veto a resolution that expresses our own views?

Steinberg says that “We do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues.”

Why not? It is the Security Council that passed all the major international resolutions (with US support) governing Israel’s role in the occupied territories since the first one, UN Resolution 242 in 1967.

He then adds, with clear pride that:

“We have had some success, at least for the moment, in not having that [the settlements issue] arise there.”

Very impressive. The United States has had no success whatsoever in getting the Netanyahu government to stop expanding settlements — to stop evicting Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for ultra-Orthodox settlers — and no success in getting Israel to crack down on settler violence, but we have had “some success” in keeping the issue out of the United Nations.

The only way to resolve the settlements issue, according to Steinberg, “is through engagement through the parties, and that is our clear and consistent position”. Clear and consistent it may be. But it hasn’t worked. The bulldozers never stop.

Of course, it is not hard to explain the Obama administration’s decision to veto a resolution embodying positions that we support. It is the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is lobbying furiously for a US veto (actually not so furiously; AIPAC doesn’t waste energy when it knows that its congressional acolytes — and Dennis Ross in the White House itself — will do its work for them).

The power of the lobby is the only reason we will veto the resolution. Try to come up with another one. After all, voting for the resolution (or, at least, abstaining on it) serves US interests in the Middle East at a critical moment and is consistent with US policy.

But it would enrage the lobby and its friends who will threaten retribution in the 2012 election.

Simply put, our Middle East policy is all about domestic politics. And not even the incredible events of the past month will change that.

That is why US standing in the Middle East will continue to deteriorate. We simply cannot deliver. After all, there is always another election on the horizon and that means that it is donors, not diplomats, who determine US policy.

Yet the power of campaign finance and political pressure from the Israel lobby cannot be separated from the skewed system which facilitates corruption of imperial power. Other interests wilfully operate against people’s welfare within and without the empire besides the Israel lobby – big tobacco, big pharma, big banks, big chemicals, big oil and big defence are also empowered disproportionately by the US campaign finance and lobbying system.

A fundamental overhaul of the plutocratic US political system which presently permits the rich to rule courtesy of campaign bribery and extortionist lobbying would assist greatly the reassertion of balanced US foreign and domestic policy.


It seems the US is attempting to head off the UNSC settlements resolution by supplanting a mealy-mouthed statement.

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. The Palestinian delegation, along with Lebanon, the Security Council’s only Arab member state, have asked the council’s president this evening to schedule a meeting for Friday. But it remained unclear whether the Palestinian move today to reject the U.S. offer is simply a negotiating tactic aimed at extracting a better deal from Washington.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined the new U.S. offer in a closed door meeting on Tuesday with the Arab Group, a bloc of Arab countries from North Africa and the Middle East. In exchange for scuttling the Palestinian resolution, the United States would support the council statement, consider supporting a U.N. Security Council visit to the Middle East, the first since 1979, and commit to supporting strong language criticizing Israel’s settlement policies in a future statement by the Middle East Quartet.

. @PJCrowley for goodness sake, just support the UNSC resolution against Israeli settlements – mealy-mouthed statements aren’t sufficient! #


Obama calls Abbas in bid to prevent UN vote on settlements
Hey Conservatives! You’ll never guess who else rebuked Israel for its settlement policy at the UN. John Bolton
Reading beyond the headlines
Missing the resolution, not missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity


U.S. Blocks Security Council Censure of Israeli Settlements
Israel: US Veto on Settlements Undermines International Law

The guests: Rashid Khalidi, JPS editor and a professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University; Clovis Maksoud, the director of the Center for the Global South; and Samer Shehata, a professor of Arab Studies at Georgetown University, and Seymour Hersh.

The interviewees are: Mehran Kamrava, the interim dean of Georgetown University, Qatar; and Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.

Palestine / Israel Links

UN eyes vote on resolution against Israel
The Eleventh Annual Herzliya Conference: The Balance of Israel’s National Security
A House Surrounded on all Sides
Ashton urges FM to come up with proposals
The New York Times Shows Its Poor Journalistic Standards
Illegal for Israelis to support BDS?
Im Tirzu’s Iranian Connection
Israeli Academics Call Poland to Boycott Israeli-Made Weapons
Education Minister proposes student trip to Hebron holy site
How Israel lost its soul during Gaza, and how Egypt has restored a vital principle of resistance
The Imperialistic Israeli Economy
Empire – Pax Americana
120 New Settlement Homes Approved In East Jerusalem
Overcoming Israel’s attempts to discredit protest
Ashton urges FM to come up with proposals
Thomas Friedman’s latest column drove the Israeli media into a frenzy
From Tunis to Cairo to Riyadh?

While a radical regime in Egypt would threaten Israel directly but not America, a radical anti-Western regime in Saudi Arabia—which produces one of every four barrels of oil world-wide—clearly would endanger America as leader of the world economy.

Escape from Gaza
Israeli anti-boycott bill approved for vote by Knesset plenary
Ilan Pappé Interview: There is no end to the dispossession
Serious doubt cast on FBI’s anthrax case against Bruce Ivins
Flashback to 2002: While Media Spotlights One Anthrax Suspect, Another Is Too Hot to Touch

‘Soon after the 9/11 attack, a long, typed anonymous letter was sent to Quantico Marine Base accusing the long-suffering Assaad, Zack’s victim in 1991, of plotting terrori…sm. This letter was received before the anthrax letters or disease were reported. The timing of the note makes its author a serious suspect in the anthrax attacks. The sender also displayed considerable knowledge of Dr. Assaad, his work, his personal life and a remarkable premonition of the upcoming bioterrorism attack.

After interviewing Assaad on Oct. 2, 2001, the FBI decided the letter was a hoax. While major newspapers noted that an anonymous letter had accused Dr. Assaad of bioterrorism, none followed up on it after his innocence was established. Zack’s name never surfaced again as one of the 30 suspects.

When the Washington Report asked Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Ph.D., a biological arms control expert at the State University of New York, if the allegations regarding Dr. David Hatfill now took the heat off Lt. Col. Philip Zack, she replied, “Zack has NEVER been under suspicion as perpetrator of the anthrax attack.”

It is hard to believe that, with his connection to Fort Detrick, Dr. Zack is not one of the 20 to 50 scientists under intense investigation.

When asked if Hatfill was part of the group that ganged up on Dr. Ayaad Assaad, Dr. Rosenberg answered, “Hatfill was NOT one of the persecutors of Assaad.”

She is convinced that the FBI knows who sent the anthrax letters but isn’t arresting him because he knows too much about U.S. secret biological weapons research and production. But she isn’t naming names. Neither is Dr. Assaad, who did not return calls from the Washington Report.’

Egypt Links

Restoring Egypt’s regional role

Egypt will almost certainly return to its Arab base, liberate its foreign policy and restore its leadership role. That means a liberated Arab League and a constructive restoration of the Arab political structures that have deteriorated for the last four decades to the point of irrelevance.

The new Egypt will be a much-needed catalyst for change.

Alarming as it may sound for Israel and its Western backers (those who keep lecturing us about democracy but are the first to resist our struggle to achieve it), it actually is the right, peaceful and accurate course for stability and better relations of cooperation within and beyond the region.

Democracies in Tunisia and Egypt – and perhaps elsewhere – would be more likely to build relations with the US and the rest of the world on the basis of mutual respect and equality, not hegemony and exploitation in favour of Israel.

Israel would never choose to enter into serious negotiations with its Arab neighbours while they are weak, disunited and powerless. If we are at the beginning of a process that will reverse the situation that has existed until now, we have every reason to be optimistic about the region’s future.

Rashid Khalidi, Prof. of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University, and Michael Vlahos, Prof. of Strategy, U.S. Naval War College, discuss the spread of Mideast protests from Egypt to Iran, Bahrain, Yemen and Algiers
Mubarak has given up and wants to die, says Saudi official
The influence of German intel on the Egyptian military – two links, here and here.
Revolutionary Prospects After Mubarak : Richard Falk
Robert Fisk: Three weeks in Egypt show the power of brutality – and its limits
The promise of real democracy in Egypt by Rashid Khalidi

In effect, the Obama administration was seeking to keep Mubarak in office as long as possible, and to keep his police state alive thereafter. For all the recent talk about supporting Egyptian democracy, what is ultimately vital to American policymakers is Egypt’s geopolitical alignment with the United States and its acquiescence in Israel’s regional hegemony — a policy Mubarak, and under him Suleiman, have long facilitated. These core interests could well be affected by a fully democratic Egypt that sought to play a role commensurate with its size and history in regional politics and that represented faithfully the wishes of its people (as the current democratic Turkish government does).

A democratic Egypt might challenge American support of Israel’s Middle Eastern nuclear monopoly, refuse to collude in Israel’s illegal and immoral siege of Gaza, actively back a genuine inter-Palestinian reconciliation, or otherwise assert its independence from American and Israeli policies. It might do so even while respecting the letter of the (highly unequal) peace treaty with Israel and existing accords with the U.S. Given the blinders worn by American policymakers, such an Egypt would be a policy headache in Washington on the level of that caused by all three major regional powers, Israel, Turkey and Iran.

Why Egypt’s Military Cares About Home Appliances
What not to say about Lara Logan
Egypt labor not resting after Mubarak’s ouster

Wikileaks Links

Washington loathes Wikileaks; Arabs love it
Is anybody in Australia being targeted for backing Wikileaks?

Other Links

Bin-Ali and Mubarak Are Waiting For You (on the King of Jordan)
Bahrain in turmoil as second protester is killed
DN! EXCLUSIVE: Authorities Search and Copy U.S. Journalist’s Notes, Computer and Cameras After Returning from Haiti
Young Iranians are looking for a new revolution?
Bahrain: Stop using excessive force against public demonstrations and respect the rule of law, says Pillay
Bahrain Rising
Cameron’s scapegoating will have a chilling, toxic impact
Exclusive: New National Intelligence Estimate on Iran complete

UN School Bombed, 40 Killed – US calls for immediate cease fire

Israel crossed the line.

@KABOBFest A UN school in #gaza where people were taking shelter was just tank-shelled by Israel, killing 40 people there.

@AJGaza US state department says it wants an “immediate” ceasefire in #Gaza, that is “durable, sustainable and not time limited”.

@tweetsfromgaza Israeli tanks fire on 2nd UN school killing and injuring dozens of refugees with nowhere else to go. #Gaza

RT: @syrianews: UN says it “gave the exact GPS co-ordinates” of the location of the UN school which Israel CHOSE to bomb

From the Guardian:

The UN, which said the school was clearly marked, said it was “strongly protesting these killings to the Israeli authorities and is calling for an immediate and impartial investigation”.

“Where it is found that international humanitarian law has been violated, those responsible must be held to account. Under international law, installations such as schools, health centres and UN facilities should be protected from attack. Well before the current fighting, the UN had given to the Israeli authorities the GPS co-ordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including Asma elementary school.”

Just prior to the announcement of the UN school massacre, the Israeli Consulate tweeted:

@IsraelConsulate New Post: How to End the Battle Successfully #AskIsrael #Israel #Gaza

Bret Stephens writes in today’s Wall Street Journal on ways that Israel can achieve its military aims without imposing unnecessary hardship on the residents of Gaza.

Achieving this aim would not require Israel to take over large swaths of Gaza, but it would require an extended policy of smaller-scale counterterrorism operations, along the lines of the successful West Bank operations.

We shall have to wait and see which post conflict model is adopted, and how free an arm the US gives Israel to complete its balancing act, and whether international monitors will be involved as previously mentioned by Israel.

Khalid Mish’al, head of Hamas Political Bureau says in the Guardian:

“What is being visited on Gaza today was visited on Yasser Arafat before. When he refused to bow to Israel’s dictates, he was imprisoned in his Ramallah headquarters, surrounded by tanks for two years. When this failed to break his resolve, he was murdered by poisoning.

Gaza enters 2009 just as it did 2008: under Israeli fire. Between January and February of last year 140 Gazans died in air strikes. And just before it embarked on its failed military assault on Lebanon in July 2006, Israel rained thousands of shells on Gaza, killing 240. From Deir Yassin in 1948 to Gaza today, the list of Israel’s crimes is long. The justifications change, but the reality is the same: colonial occupation, oppression, and never-ending injustice. If this is the “free world” whose “values” Israel is defending, as its foreign minister Tzipi Livni alleges, then we want nothing to do with it.

Israel’s leaders remain in the grip of confusion, unable to set clear goals for the attacks – from ousting the legitimately elected Hamas government and destroying its infrastructure, to stopping the rockets. As they fail to break Gaza’s resistance the benchmark has been lowered. Now they speak of weakening Hamas and limiting the resistance. But they will achieve neither. Gaza’s people are more united than ever, determined not to be terrorised into submission. Our fighters, armed with the justice of their cause, have already caused many casualties among the occupation army and will fight on to defend their land and people. Nothing can defeat our will to be free.

Once again, Washington and Europe have opted to aid and abet the jailer, occupier and aggressor, and to condemn its victims. We hoped Barack Obama would break with George Bush’s disastrous legacy but his start is not encouraging. While he swiftly moved to denounce the Mumbai attacks, he remains tongue-tied after 10 days of slaughter in Gaza. But my people are not alone. Millions of freedom-loving men and women stand by its struggle for justice and liberation – witness daily protests against Israeli aggression, not only in the Arab and Islamic region, but worldwide.

Israel will no doubt wreak untold destruction, death and suffering in Gaza. But it will meet the same fate in Gaza as it did in Lebanon. We will not be broken by siege and bombardment, and will never surrender to occupation.”

Human Rights Day 10th December

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document which recognises humanity’s common interests and belongs to us all.

The Declaration represents a contract between governments and their peoples, who have a right to demand that this document be respected. Not all governments have become parties to all human rights treaties. All countries, however, have accepted the UDHR.


As the Declaration’s custodians and beneficiaries, all of us must reclaim the UDHR, make it our own. While we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others and help make universal human rights a reality for all of us. In our efforts lies the power of the UHDR: it is a living document that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights PetitionOne way you can show your support for the UDHR and spread awareness of human rights around the globe is to sign the petition to print the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in your passport .

Australians might contemplate in particular Article 14, so cruelly ignored by the xenophobic and human rights abusing Howard government.

1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Howard's ShameSadly, the right to seek asylum takes second place to border protection in the minds of many brainwashed Australians.

The sixth ‘people-smuggling’ vessel to reach Australian waters since September arrived on December 8.

Its 44 passengers brings the number of suspected asylum seekers arriving by boat over the past 10 weeks to nearly 120.

This is a VERY VERY SMALL number of people compared to the legal migrant intake instituted by the Rudd government this year.

The overall migration program will now be 190,300 for this year, and 133,500 of those places will be allocated to permanent skilled migrants.

Wrongful detention of legitimate asylum seekers committed by Howard’s cold-eyed goons is coming back to haunt us.

Immigration Department may be forced to compensate 191 of the 247 people investigated by the Ombudsman for wrongful detention.

The department has so far offered compensation in 40 of the cases and settlements have been reached in 17. In total, about $1.2million in compensation has been paid so far.

If Australia wishes to minimise people-smuggling within the character of the UDHR to which it is signatory, it needs to address human rights issues in asylum seekers’ countries of origin.

Increased border protection to prevent the entry of desperate asylum seekers fleeing human rights abuses is an ineffective bandaid solution, and as has been amply demonstrated during the Howard years with the Tampa and SievX affairs, can lead to shameful Australian human rights abuse with consequent blowback later on, including diminishment of Australia’s international stature and authority to speak out about human rights abuse elsewhere.

Article 19 of the UDHR is today’s recommended reading for Stephen Conroy and supporters of his web censorwall.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

On December 13, protests against Conroy’s proposed web filters will be held around Australia.


Father Frank Brennan is to head a Human Rights Consultative Panel to consider a wide range of human rights issues, including whether Australia should have a bill of rights. Brennan is a self-professed fence-sitter on whether we Australians would benefit from our individual rights being enshrined in a Bill or Charter of Rights.

Australia is the only democratic country in the world without formal human rights protections – join the Getup campaign to change this.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratic elected leader of Burma and Nobel Peace Price recipient, speaks about printing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in passports.