Sunday, November 29, 2009

And now for some GOOD NEWS!
Lobbying and campaigning does work! . . .

International Campaign To Ban Landmines

Australian Network Incorporated.

Media Release

Australia provides global leadership on vision of a landmine-free world

The Australian Network to Ban Landmines has praised the Australian Government’s commitment to provide $100 million for work to rid the world of landmines over the period 2010 to 2014.

This funding will be used to cover clearance of minefields, assisting victims of landmines and other unexploded ordnance, providing education about the risks of landmines to communities where it will not be possible to remove the threat of landmines in a reasonable timeframe and assisting in the universalisation of the UN Convention banning anti-personnel landmines (“the Ottawa Convention”).

“The announcement by the Australian Government provides global leadership on seeking a world that is rid of anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions”, said Dr Mark Zirnsak, National Co-ordinator of the Australian Network to Ban Landmines.

Australia will now be in a very strong position to encourage other countries to match its commitment to rid the world of these terrible weapons that go on killing and maiming for decades after conflicts end.”

“This funding will make a real difference to people’s lives. It will mean less mines in the ground and more assistance for victims of landmines and their families, to help them get their lives back together”, said Dr Zirnsak.

While the annual number of casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war continues to decrease as a result of the impact of the Ottawa Convention, the total number of landmine survivors continues to increase. The 2007 Landmine Monitor Report stated that there are an estimated 473,000 landmine survivors in the world today need on-going assistance.

Countries within our region that have high numbers of survivors from landmines and cluster munitions who need on-going assistance are Cambodia (47,000), Lao PDR (5,500) and Thailand (2,000). In addition, Afghanistan (52,000 – 60,000) and Iraq (estimated 80,000 to 100,000 amputees) are countries that receive aid from Australia that have high numbers of survivors of landmines and cluster munitions.

There are more than 70 countries affected by anti-personnel landmines and unexploded ordnance with thousands of square kilometers of area being contaminated that needs to be cleared.

In 2007 there were 2,448 recorded casualties in 15 countries in the Asian region from landmines and unexploded ordnance, although it should be noted that it is believed that the number of casualties (especially deaths) that go unreported outnumber the reported casualties.

Australia’s multiyear mine action assistance is acknowledged by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines as global best practice.

Australia’s own assessment is that the mine action activities it has funded, largely in the Asian region, have been integrated within the broader development context. For example, in the 2007 – 2008 financial year Australia provided $3.27 million to Cambodia’s Clearing for Results Program which has continued to exceed its annual land clearance target, clearing 8.5 km2 of land in 2007. The funding is directed to priority mine clearance tasks in accordance with Cambodia’s national and provincial development plans.


Dr Mark Zirnsak, National Co-ordinator, Australian Network to Ban Landmines, 0409 166 915


Statement by the Australian

Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Stephen Smith, MP

on Mine Action

18 November 2009

Mr Speaker, every five years nations now recommit themselves to tackling the scourge of landmines and other remnants of war. This year, Australia will present our largest ever commitment to mine action at the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Convention in Colombia.

Australia was one of the original signatories of the Mine Ban Convention when it opened for signature in December 1997 in Ottawa. Australia ratified the Treaty in December 1998. The Treaty came into force in March 1999. The first Review Conference was held in Nairobi in 2004, five years after the Treaty entered into force.

Australia is committed to a world free from landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. These weapons have contaminated more than seventy countries around the world and kill and maim at least five thousand people a year.

Australia has long supported action to eradicate landmines and other explosive remnants of war and to ease the suffering of adversely affected people and communities. Australia has a proud history of being at the forefront of international efforts on mine action.

For more than a decade, our advocacy and leadership has demonstrated Australia’s international commitment.

Madam Deputy Speaker, in Oslo last December, I signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on behalf of Australia. The Convention is a significant humanitarian achievement, prohibiting cluster munitions that scatter battlefields with hundreds of explosive devices. Many of them fail to detonate and pose a long-term threat to civilians for years after hostilities have ceased.

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties recommended in August 2009 that Australia should ratify the Convention. The Government is proceeding with all the usual necessary consultative steps to complete ratification. It is certainly the Government’s aspiration and intention to ratify as soon as possible.

Australia is the eleventh largest donor to mine action. We have contributed more than $175 million to mine action over the past twelve years.

Australia has been a committed mine action donor in sixteen badly affected countries across the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, namely Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Somalia, the Sudan, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam.

This assistance has helped affected countries achieve their mine action goals.

In 2005, Australia committed $75 million over five years to 2010 to clear landmines, rehabilitate and support survivors and educate communities about the risk of mines.
At the time this commitment had welcome bipartisan support.

I can report to the House that Australia achieved this commitment in August 2009, well ahead of schedule. Australia’s assistance has changed the lives of people for the better.
Through the provision of prostheses, wheelchairs, rehabilitation and other support, Australia has given a chance for a new life to thousands of landmine survivors.

We have saved many more lives through mine risk education, vital clearance and the subsequent release of productive land.

We have cleared mines from nearly seven million square metres of land in Cambodia and over five million square metres in Laos. This land is now being cultivated to reap social, environmental and economic benefits. It is used for resettlement, schools, roads, canals, water supplies and agricultural production such as rice paddies, tree plantations and fish farms.

In Cambodia, Australia’s work with the Australian Red Cross has helped more than 10,000 landmine survivors with prosthetics, wheelchairs, physiotherapy, livelihood training and support, and adequate health care, clean water and latrines.

In Lebanon, clearance of unexploded ordnance, particularly cluster munitions, and safety training has enabled safe access for humanitarian aid and promoted economic recovery.

In Iraq, nearly nine million square metres of land has been cleared, and Australia’s work with the United Nations Development Programme, the UNDP, has helped with the destruction of more than 60,000 explosive remnants of war, including abandoned artillery shells, mortars, grenades and ammunition.

Clearing unexploded ordnance from schools has allowed nearly 2,500 pupils to return to their studies while clearing unexploded ordnance from agricultural land has allowed 1,500 farmers to open new vegetable and date farms.

Madam Deputy Speaker, Australia can be proud that so many people’s lives have improved through these opportunities in education and employment.

Afghanistan is one of the most adversely mine-affected countries in the world and has one of the largest mine action programs. Australian support has helped establish a new Community Based Demining Project in Oruzgan province in the south of Afghanistan. Over 7,000 remnants of war have been removed to enable affected communities to again move freely again and to cultivate their lands.

On Monday last week I visited Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been through a terrible conflict, a civil war lasting over 25 years where thousands of people were casualties and thousands of people were displaced. I announced when I was there a contribution by Australia of $6 million to assist in de-mining to ensure that the areas where people are resettled to are free from the terrible blight of landmines. This is vital work to enable communities to return to their homes, farmers to return to their fields and children to return to school.

The International Community will set further goals for landmine eradication at the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Convention in Colombia in two weeks time.

The Summit on a Mine-Free World will review progress made under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention over the past decade. The Summit will also look ahead to the next five years. Australia looks forward to participating in the Summit. It is an important milestone in the life of the Mine Ban Convention.

At the Summit, the Australian delegation will be led by Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan and will include former Member for Cowan, Graham Edwards.

At the Summit, Australia will renew its commitment to global efforts to reduce the impacts of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, which continue to threaten the lives of so many people.

Since meeting the $75 million commitment to mine action, the Australian Government has been developing a strategy to build on our successful past efforts and to guide future assistance. We have consulted widely with key partners including Governments and Australian and International Non-Government Organisations.

Australia will present our new Mine Action Strategy for the Australian aid program to the Summit in two weeks time. The new strategy will support the achievement of Australia’s obligations under the Mine Ban Convention itself, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, in particular Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, and our future obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Under the Strategy, Australia will pledge $100 million over the next five years working towards a world free from landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. This is the largest five-year commitment made by Australia to mine action.

It reinforces Australia’s ongoing commitment to mine action and sees Australia at the forefront of international efforts on mine action. Australia’s assistance will support countries still affected by these weapons, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos and Sri Lanka. The Strategy has one overriding goal – to reduce the threat and social and economic impact of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.

To achieve this goal, Australia’s strategy will work towards the following four outcomes:

Australia will seek to reduce deaths and injuries;

Australia will improve the quality of life for victims and their affected families and communities;
Australia will support and encourage affected countries to increase their ownership of national mine action efforts; and
Australia will continue to advocate for universal adherence to key international instruments, such as the Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

For many developing countries, these explosive devices continue to hold back development. They bring devastating social and economic impacts to some of the poorest countries in the world, both during and after armed conflict. They adversely affect security and stability. They threaten the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I look forward to the outcomes of the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World. The Summit’s outcomes will help guide implementation of Australia’s new strategy. Australia looks forward to working with our bilateral, regional and international partners to achieve a mine-free world.

Our commitment will support Australia’s objectives to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
We will build on the success of Australia’s leadership
in mine action, reflecting Australia’s commitment to be a good international citizen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A woman among warlords - (Part 1)
Joya: US backed fundamentalism is at the root of the Afghan problem; Foreign troops should get out now
Go to story | Go to homepage

A woman among warlords - (Part 2)
Joya: US in Afghanistan supports drug dealing warlords to better control the regions oil and gas

Go to story | Go to homepage

Thursday, November 19, 2009

13 VS. 2,000,000

Fort Hood Shootings a Shocker...Why Not U.S. War Crimes?

By Ted Rall

American lives are worth a lot. So when Americans get killed, it's a big story. There are lots of editorials. Congressmen call for investigations. We want to find out what happened, why it happened, and how to make sure it never happens again.

The lives of foreigners, on the other hand, are pretty much worthless. Even when they die because Americans killed them, news accounts marking their deaths are short, sweet, and short-lived. Congressional investigations? No way. To the contrary! If anyone is inconsiderate enough to mention the killings of people overseas in a public forum, they get shouted down or simply ignored.

The massacre of 13 soldiers at an Army post in Texas earlier this week places this dichotomy in sharp relief.

The FBI is already helping Army investigators. In addition, Senator Joe Lieberman has announced that his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will launch a full investigation into "every angle" of the shooting, including the motives of the suspect and whether or not government eavesdroppers could have prevented it by notifying Army officials of his contacts with a radical Muslim cleric. Over in the House, Representative Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat, has summoned national intelligence director Dennis Blair to answer questions about Fort Hood before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

But wait--there's more. "Other committees may also launch investigations into how the Army missed warning signs about the accused," reports The Politico.

All sorts of hands are being wrung.

Major Hasan, an army psychiatrist, ministered to victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome who told him terrible stories about combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Should someone have helped him cope too?

Ordered to deploy to the war zone, he asked not to go--and was refused. Should the Army be more flexible?

Is it reasonable to ask a religious Muslim to deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq, wars where he would be asked to kill his coreligionists?

Then there are the phone taps. "U.S. military officials said intelligence agencies intercepted communications between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, a former imam at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, a Washington suburb," reported CNN. "Al-Awlaki, who left the United States in 2002 and is believed to be living in Yemen, was the subject of several federal investigations dating back to the late 1990s, but was never charged." As jihadis do at the start of an attack, Hasan reportedly cried "Allahu Akbar" before opening fire. Shouldn't someone have noticed that the nice shrink with the dopey smile had become a radical Islamist?

The shock, grief and soul-searching are all reasonable reactions to a brutal and tragic event. But it's not hard to imagine how it looks to the outside world.

While the media and public obsess over the deaths of 13 fellow Americans, they ignore the deaths of hundreds of thousands of foreigners.

The American military has killed roughly two million people in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

Those attacks were illegal--no declaration of war, no UN mandate--and are largely recognized as such by the American public. Many of the victims were killed with chemical and radioactive weapons, and some while under torture.

In other words, these are crimes--some of the biggest mass murders in human history.

There are no angry editorials. The illegal wars, instead of being brought to an end, are being ramped up. The crimes--yes, including the torture--continues. But it's OK--as long as it doesn't happen here in the United States. It's OK to rain death on Pakistanis using drone planes...gotta spare those precious American lives!

Mass murder is shocking when the victims are Americans; it's doubly shocking when it happens in America.

Thirteen soldiers die in Texas and it's all we talk about. Two million die in Afghanistan and Iraq and we don't notice and we don't even want to hear about it.

Only 12 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 can find Afghanistan on a map.

The punk band T.S.O.L. wrote the soundtrack to this attitude a quarter-century ago: "We live in the American zone/Free of fear in our American home/Swimming pool and digital phone."

Still wondering why they hate us?

Ted Rall is the author, with Pablo G. Callejo, of the new graphic memoir "The Year of Loving Dangerously." He is also the author of the 2002 graphic travelogue "To Afghanistan and Back." Visit his website

Who Will Be Next?
The Eviction Of Palestinian Families Continue

Video Report

The United Nations, the United States and the European Union have all called on Israel to stop the illegal eviction of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, urged Israel to end its "provocative actions" in East Jerusalem, while calling for it to freeze all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

Despite that, the sight of Palestinians in East Jerusalem being forced out of their homes has become an all too familiar scene.

Video - Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from occupied East Jerusalem.

Posted November 17, 2009

The Real Story Of The Terrorist "Mad Doctor Hasan"

By Jeff Gates

When Army Major Nidal Hasan killed U.S. troops on the nation's largest military base, was this evidence of "militant Islam"? Or did this military psychiatrist snap under pressure while treating returning vets on a base averaging ten suicides a month? Is there an undisclosed agenda behind those seeking to portray this act as the work of "Islamo fascists"? Continued

Why Did Obama Win?

Stephen Sackur Interviews Noam Chomsky

When he published his first political critique 40 years ago, he was fired up by the war in Vietnam. Today he is still raging against America's malign influence and calls the war in Afghanistan 'immoral'. Continue

Bolivia Re-invents Democratic Socialism

By Judy Rebick

Bolivia is reinventing democractic socialism. They are in the process of creating a plurinational state with equal rights for all nations and people, redistributing land, providing free health and education for everyone, creating what they call a pluri-economy that includes public, private, co-operative and communitarian. Continue

Should Palestine Declare Itself a State?

By Max Fisher

"It worked in Kosovo. It worked in Georgia. And it will work in Palestine. There are 192 member states in the United Nations and as many as 150 would recognize the state of Palestine, creating a diplomatic nightmare for Israel and its lonely ally the United States." Continue

The New State Solution

By Chris Hedges

The Israelis have orchestrated acute misery and poverty in the Palestinian territories over the past two decades in an effort to subdue and ethnically cleanse the captive population. They have reduced Palestinians, many of whom now live on less than $2 a day, to a subsistence level. Continue

Erekat: It’s Time to Recognize a Palestinian State

By Ma'an News Agency

“it is time to recognize a Palestinian state on the borders of 4 June 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital.” Arguing the case, Erekat argued that the EU recognized the State of Kosovo before other official channels supported its claim for independence. Continue

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Herowin War in Afghanistan

From: Mike Hastie

To: Military Resistance

November 05, 2009

When I left Vietnam in 1971,

herowin was everywhere.

It was one of the reasons why

the U.S. was defeated in Vietnam.

We just couldn’t win that war,

because hero-win finally delivered

the truth to the American people.

The U.S. government had no mission in Vietnam,

just like we have no mission in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Except to steal natural resources to protect our interests.

That truth was brought home to me shortly before

I left Vietnam in September 1971,

when an American soldier who was a herowin addict,

blew his brains out with his M-16.

Then there was the time I unzipped a body bag and

looked at another herowin addict who shot himself

in the forehead with a pistol.

Blew his skull wide open.

You just can’t win with herowin.

I saw so many American soldiers destroy their

lives with herowin.

They went back to America with a full blown herowin addiction.

No mission.

No cause.

Nobody who gave a shit when they came home.

What the American people know about the Vietnam War,

you could stick in a thimble.

A thimble....

that was about the size of the plastic vials that herowin came in,

in Vietnam.

Some people shot it.

Some people snorted it.

Some people smoked it.

Either way,

you couldn’t win with herowin.

And, that may be the same reason America

will not win in Afghanistan.

Not to mention that the war is a lie to begin with.

In fact,

that’s why herowin was used so much in Vietnam,

because the war was a lie,

and we could have never won in Vietnam.




Don’t mean nothin’

Then, when you get back from Vietnam,

you realize the U.S. Government was involved in the

herowin trade all along.

The South Vietnamese military was involved in

the manufacturing of herowin.

Ever see an American soldier on herowin with an

M-16 in his hands during a mortar attack?

I have.

And, that’s one reason why we didn’t win in Vietnam.

In the end,

America got stoned in Vietnam with herowin.


Because the war was unwinnable.

Because the entire Vietnam War was a lie.

The U.S. Government was bombing Laos before

the Gulf of Tonkin Lie ever happened in 1964.

That is just one of a thousand lies that the American people

never knew about the Vietnam War.


towards the end of the Vietnam War,

that is why tens of thousands of American soldiers were on


It’s the lie that makes you want to kill yourself.

It’s the lie that makes you want to use herowin.

It’s the lie that made me want to do a swan dive over a cliff

with my automobile when I got back from Vietnam.

It’s the lie that made that American soldier in Vietnam put

an M-16 to his head.

It’s the lie that still makes me unable to wash the blood off

of my hands.

It’s the lie that is killing America everyday in Iraq,

and Afghanistan.

Not to mention the great suffering and death our government

is inflicting on hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East.

Lying is the most powerful weapon in war.

Ever have a close friend hang himself in a motel room?

I did.

He was a Vietnam veteran.

He did that,

because the lie broke his neck.

Mike Hastie

U.S. Army Medic

Vietnam 1970-71

"The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 1967

From the I-R-A-Q (I Remember Another Quagmire) portfolio of Mike Hastie,

US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71.

For more of his outstanding work, contact Mike at:

To receive Military Resistance:


Army suicides set to hit new high in 2009: Suicides in the U.S. Army will hit a new high this year, a top general said on Tuesday in a disclosure likely to increase concerns about stress on U.S. forces ahead of an expected buildup in Afghanistan.

Lest we forget: Obama Promise To End The War, 2007: Video: Quote: "I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war...

More on the lunacy (and obscene profitability - for some!) of War! . . .

How the US Funds the Taliban

By Aram Roston

"The American soldier in me is repulsed by it," he said in an interview in his office at FOB Shank in Logar Province. "But I know that it is what it is: essentially paying the enemy, saying, 'Hey, don't hassle me.' I don't like it, but it is what it is."


A Morally Bankrupt Military
When Soldiers and Their Families Become Expendable

By Dahr Jamail

According to military records, over 43,000 troops classified as “nondeployable for medical reasons” have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Continue

Lack Of Health Care Killed 2,266 US Veterans last Year: Study


The number of US veterans who died in 2008 because they lacked health insurance was 14 times higher than the US military death toll in Afghanistan that year, according to a new study. Continue

Afghanistan: Over 2,000 civilians killed in first 10 months of 2009: Armed conflict in Afghanistan claimed the lives of over 2,000 civilians from January to October 2009, and the numbers are rising, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Afghanistan’s Oil Binge: 22 Gallons of Fuel Per Soldier Per Day: The U.S. military consumes 22 gallons of fuel per soldier, per day. And each gallon costs $45 or more to haul to the battlefield. Actually, $45 per gallon is a lowball estimate; according to the Navy, it’s more like $300 to $400.

KBR improperly billed for security guards, senator says: KBR, the largest contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, improperly billed the Pentagon and was paid about $103 million for armed security guard services, a U.S. senator says.

U.S. adviser to Kurds stands to reap oil profits: Galbraith, 58, son of the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, stands to earn perhaps $100 million or more as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract.

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,339,771"

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,680

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,515

Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq

For more details, click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Nation Of Destroyers


Narration used in the video is


an Iraqi-American woman who speaks passionately against war.

Her website is


This video contains images & words that depict the reality and horror of war

Posted November 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Return to the Middle Ages

By Bouthaina Shaaban

November 03, 2009 "
Counterpunch" --

When you read a news story saying that “the United Nations called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes and put an end to the policy of forced evictions in East Jerusalem, warning that there are 60,000 Palestinians threatened of becoming homeless,” you cannot but wonder about the role of the international organization today and about the goal for which it was created on the eve of the victory of the forces of freedom against Nazism and Fascism and whether it is the same organization authorized by history and the world’s peoples to guarantee the right to ‘self determination’?

Is it the same organization charged with “putting an end to colonialism”? Is it the same organization which believes in the right of all peoples to freedom without discrimination in terms of race or religion? If it is the same organization, why does it allow Palestinian civilians suffer from the brutality of armed settlers?

The evasive and shameful language of the UN’s call comes in the context of the submission of the Security Council to the Zionist will, and consequently commits a historic disgrace in the form of ignoring the legitimate political, civil and human rights of the Palestinian people including their right to life and freedom.

For the UN not to take any initiative or measure which leads to giving the Palestinian people the right to self determination will remain a disgrace in the history of the organization which will never be removed.

The Palestinians have been under a racist settler form of colonialism for over sixty years; and they are targeted with a campaign of ethnic cleansing launched by armed gangs of settlers supported by Israel’s police and army.

This is unparalleled in the 21st century in terms of the crimes which include siege, murder, food poisoning, starvation, assassination, demolishing houses, scorching crops, destroying farms, raping prisoners, trafficking in the organs of captives and preventing Palestinians from moving between their villages, farms and schools.

All this happens under the full gaze and silence of the ‘civilized’ world which fully supports the Israeli government and fully ignores the savage crimes committed each day by Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers. This silence is also a crime against the Palestinian people, because it allows Israeli politicians and generals and their allies to carry on with their crimes against civilians and violate the Geneva conventions and international humanitarian law.

The UN call on Israel to “stop removing [demolishing] Palestinian houses” comes on the backdrop of demolishing the houses of the Hanoun and Ghawi families in al-Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, and even removing the tent they built on the street near their house and confiscating its contents which consisted of covers to ward off the cold, and some utensils. The tent housed fifty persons of the two families who, up until a few months ago used to live in their home demolished by Israeli occupation soldiers in their policy of Judaizing Jerusalem.

Every now and then, the UN or the EU acknowledge that “destroying the homes of Palestinians is a violation of international law”.

But if this and the other crimes referred to above are violations of international law, why do not they move their conscience to protect the security of Palestinians? The question is: what will the United Nations or Europe do? Will they limit themselves to acknowledging that Israeli acts are in sharp contrast with the UN Charter and international humanitarian law, while armed Jewish settler gangs continue to murder, demolish and set fires in Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron and other places without any deterrent and without being brought to account?

If all these crimes committed daily against Palestinians do not amount to ethnic cleansing and genocide, what does?

In America White settlers, centuries ago, used to throw contaminated blankets on Indians to kill them. Today, Israel’s rulers deprive Palestinians of food and medicine, burn crops and poison drinking water in order to kill the Palestinians or force them to leave. The UN calls this crime “forced eviction”. So, is there voluntary eviction?

After all the crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces and armed gangs of settlers, the UN only “calls on Israel to stop demolishing houses”. Maybe, it forgot to add, “please!”

What Palestinian civilians urgently need now is an investigation into Israeli crimes to be reported to an international organization which still retains some self respect and concern for what remains of its credibility.

The crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces, the terrorization of unarmed Palestinian civilians by armed settlers have become a shame for humanity which should not be tolerated. The acts of these settlers and their supporters in the Israeli government and financiers in the Western pressure groups return the world to the law of the jungle.

Considering the shameful incapacity of the United Nations and president Obama’s reiteration of his commitment to “Israel’s security” on the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish settler – while he should have expressed an equal commitment to Palestinians’ security – makes it incumbent on the free people of the world and its intellectuals, including Jewish intellectuals, to raise their voice against Israel’s war criminals so that Jews are not eternally shamed for committing war crimes and genocides.

They should not keep silence concerning these crimes and should not be satisfied with preventing Israeli criminals from travel. They should be brought to justice in the same way the world has brought to justice other criminals responsible for killing and occupation before them.

Jewish intellectuals in particular should ask themselves why should their government be built on the ruins of the lives and freedom of another people; Why their government should commit crimes of killing children, massacres, home demolition and assassination and then try to justify these crimes and blame all those who want to bring it to account? Why do not Jewish intellectuals face this historical moral dilemma in the Zionist entity?

When Nazi Germany committed massacres against the Jews and other peoples, the Germans faced this dilemma and passed laws banning anti-Semitism. When the world paid the price of Japanese wars and ambitions, Japan took a historical and final decision against war. Why would Jewish intellectuals think they should justify all the acts of Israeli politicians and generals? How can they justify the fact that Ehud Olmert is prosecuted for financial corruption and not for his and others’ crimes against Palestinian and Lebanese children and civilians?

Why do they even consider these criminals heroes who should be secured and defended?

Why do they form governments consisting of criminals competing with their records in assassination, murder and massacres against Palestinian civilians? These crimes are crimes against humanity by any standard. Why do not they criticize, in their culture, their rulers who have the blood of children on their hands? Silent Jewish intellectuals are responsible for the continuation of crimes which bring them all eternal shame as a result of their silence concerning these crimes.

The United Nations and the European Union, and all those who use evasive language in describing crimes which should prompt the world’s indignation and anger share the responsibility.

History will condemn those who remain silent towards these crimes and will remember and thank only those who defend Palestinian children and the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity, freedom, security and safety on their national soil.

Bouthaina Shaaban
is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Israel's Right To Exist?

By Alan Hart

On Monday 12 October, Prime Minister Netanyahu opened the Knesset’s winter session by blasting the Goldstone Report that accuses Israel of committing war crimes and vowing that he would never allow Israelis be tried for them. But that was not his main message. It was an appeal, delivered I thought with a measure of desperation, to the “Palestinian leadership”, presumably the leadership of “President” Abbas and his Fatah cronies, leaders who are regarded by very many if not most Palestinians as American-and-Israeli stooges at best and traitors at worst.

Netanyahu again called on this leadership to agree to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, saying this was, and remains, the key to peace. And he went on and on and on about it.

“For 62 years the Palestinians have been saying ‘No’ to the Jewish state. I am once again calling upon our Palestinian neighbours – say ‘Yes’ to the Jewish state. Without recognition of the Israel as the state of the Jews we shall not be able to attain peace… Such recognition is a step which requires courage and the Palestinian leadership should tell its people the truth – that without this recognition there can be no peace… There is no alternative to Palestinian leaders showing courage by recognising the Jewish state. This has been and remains the true key to peace.”

As Ha’aretz noted in its report, Netanyahu’s demand for Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state is for him “a way on ensuring recognition of Israel’s right to exist as opposed to merely recognising Israel” (my emphasis). This, as Ha’aretz added, is the recognition which Netanyahu and many other Israelis see as the real core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the name of pragmatism, willingness to “merely to recognise” Israel – meaning to accept and live in peace with an Israel inside its pre-June ‘67 borders – has long been the formal Palestinian and all-Arab position.

Why does it stop short of recognising Israel’s “right to exist”, and why, really, does it matter so much to Zionism that Palestinians recognise this right?

The answer is in the following.

According to history as written by the winner, Zionism, Israel was given its birth certificate and thus legitimacy by the UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947.

This is propaganda nonsense.

  • In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine or assign any part of its territory to a minority of alien immigrants in order for them to establish a state of their own.
  • Despite that, by the narrowest of margins, and only after a rigged vote, the UN General Assembly did pass a resolution to partition Palestine and create two states, one Arab, one Jewish, with Jerusalem not part of either. But the General Assembly resolution was only a proposal – meaning that it could have no effect, would not become policy, unless approved by the Security Council.
  • The truth is that the General Assembly’s partition proposal never went to the Security Council for consideration. Why not? Because the U.S. knew that, if approved, it could only be implemented by force given the extent of Arab and other Muslim opposition to it; and President Truman was not prepared to use force to partition Palestine.
  • So the partition plan was vitiated (became invalid) and the question of what the hell to do about Palestine – after Britain had made a mess of it and walked away, effectively surrendering to Zionist terrorism – was taken back to the General Assembly for more discussion. The option favoured and proposed by the U.S. was temporary UN Trusteeship. It was while the General Assembly was debating what do that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence – actually in defiance of the will of the organised international community, including the Truman administration.

The truth of the time was that the Zionist state, which came into being mainly as a consequence of pre-planned ethnic cleansing, had no right to exist and, more to the point, could have no right to exist UNLESS … Unless it was recognised and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law only the Palestinians could give Israel the legitimacy it craved.

And that legitimacy was the only thing the Zionists could not and cannot take from the Palestinians by force.

No wonder Prime Minister Netanyahu is more than a little concerned on this account.

Israel’s leaders have always known the truth summarised above.

It’s time for the rest of the world to know it.

Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews: The False Messiah (Zionism, the Real Enemy of the Jews). He blogs on