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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2009 arrow June 23, 2009

June 23, 2009
June 23, 2009: With thanks to the NY Times and my next step

June 18, 2009

Dear President Obama and President Carter,

I thank you both for your leadership regarding Israel Palestine Gaza.

From June 5th to 12th, I was embedded with CODE PINK activists who had been invited by the UN to cross into Gaza through Erez, to bring toys, playground equipment and hope. Israel refused them entry, but over 120 committed justice and peace activists entered through Egypt and erected three playgrounds.

I went not just to report, but in support for the children and because 2009 is the final year of the UN's Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for All the Children of the World.

America is on the record in the UN as abstaining in support of this initiative, because "it would make it harder for us to go to war."

I was in Jerusalem visiting with Mordechai Vanunu, while Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at Tel Aviv University and CODE PINK was outside nonviolently demonstrating against Israel’s invasion of Gaza, settlements and separation wall.

Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserves Colonel, former U.S. diplomat and CODE PINK activist reported, "Heavy handed police treatment of the CODEPINK: Women for Peace delegation began immediately after members of the group unfurled several pink banners that read 'Free Gaza' and 'End the Occupation.'

"CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and New York activist Zool Zulkowitz were physically dragged across the street…A French journalist who was a member of the CODEPINK delegation, was arrested as she crossed a small street in an attempt to take photos of the demonstration…Israeli police and military violently shoved the group back into a wall. Delegation member Tighe Barry from Santa Monica, California was struck in the face with the butt of a military rifle and pushed to the ground…he was treated for a concussion, an injured neck and an asthma attack.

 

"'Is this the great democracy that the U.S. taxpayers pay for with $3 billion dollars a year?' cried Medea Benjamin as she was being dragged away by the police."

 

I have cried the same refrain ever since I learned the story of Mordechai Vanunu, who has been denied the RIGHT to leave the state and the RIGHT to speak to non-Israeli ever since he emerged from his tomb sized cell on April 21, 2004.

I have been reporting on Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial ever since it began on January 25, 2006- the same day Hamas was democratically elected.

On July 2, 2007, Israel sentenced Vanunu to six months in jail for speaking to foreigners in 2004-who happened to be media.

Two days before President Bush's first trip to Israel, and a day before Vanunu's appeal was to begin, Israel sentenced him to community service. But, Israel does not recognize occupied East Jerusalem as part of their community, and they denied Vanunu the right to serve the sentence in his own community.

On September 23, 2008, the Jerusalem District Court announced: "In light of (Vanunu's) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country's security in jeopardy, we believe his sentence should be reduced."

  On November 24th, 2006 Vanunu wrote:

"My lawyer succeeded to reveal a few very important facts:

1. This General of the Army also was not allowed to see all the secrets that he is required to protect by these restrictions that they claim I know them. So, he gave orders of restrictions without knowing what he is protecting or that he is also following orders blindly, and Mossad Sheen Bet using its authority for just punishing me.

2. He testified that it is not a crime for me to talk with foreigners in general anywhere.

3. He testified that I can speak freely to any Israeli citizens about anything; it is not his concern what I am saying to them. These Israelis can give this information to any foreigners. It was difficult for the Judge to understand why this dichotomy exits between foreigners and Israelis. It means that it is not about secrecy but about something else."

On May 14, 1948, The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel affirmed:"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." 

Vanunu's appeal fighting three months in jail was to be heard on June 18, 2009. Israel has rescheduled the date three times this year.

Please be a friend to Israel and remind them that the longer they detain him, the greater his legend will grow.

I hope you both will speak up for Vanunu's right to leave Israel- which is all Vanunu has been seeking since April 21, 2004.

With hope and "HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 

Eileen Fleming, Founder http://www.wearewideawake.org/ Author "Keep Hope Alive" "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"


On June 4, 2009, President Obama will speak on the world stage from Egypt hoping "to use the occasion to deliver a broader message about how the United States can change for the better its relationship with the Muslim world."

He began last week, at the State Department, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced in front of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, that the Obama administration, "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions [the administration has communicated its position] very clearly, not only to the Israelis, but to the Palestinians and others, and we intend to press that point."

Netanyahu responded with remarks released by his office, "We will not build new settlements. But it is not fair not to provide a solution to natural growth."

Under international law, every one of the 120 Jewish only colonies-spun as 'neighborhoods'- are illegal and there are currently 300,000 Israeli colonists who inhabit them.

The day before last week's Netanyahu/Obama meeting, Israel announced the building of a new settlement; Maskiot, in the Jordan Valley, which is the first new settlement to be officially established in 26 years.

An Israeli settlement freeze is the first step required to prove that America can be an honest broker for peace –through justice-and that will reinvigorate negotiations that will lead to diffusing many other regional problems.

Israeli officials are also now complaining that they are now willing to meet with Abbas unconditionally, but the Palestinians are setting the preconditions. Palestinian officials stated Abbas would not meet with Netanyahu to begin peace discussions until there is a halt on all settlement growth and Israel acknowledges the right of the Palestinian's to have their own state.

Georgetown University Middle East expert Daniel Byman stated, "Over the past 15 years, settlements have gone from being seen in Washington as an irritant, to the dominant issue." He pointed out key figures in the Obama administration; George Mitchell, who headed the Mitchell Commission, and recommended a halt to settlements and national security advisor Gen. Jim Jones, are in agreement that the settlements are a major obstacle to a peace settlement that will hold.
 
The good news is that members of Congress are coming to understand that America's national security interest and Israel's require an end to the conflict-and that requires addressing all obstacles and righting all injustices. Momentum for Obama's position is building led by high profile Jewish American Congressional members, such as Representative's Gary Ackerman, Robert Wexler, and Howard Berman, who are all well-informed on foreign policy and comprehend that peace in the Holy Land is essential to American national interest as well as the only way for Israel to ever be secure.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he was extremely impressed with the Obama administration's resolve after his private meeting with Obama at the White House which was followed by an expanded meeting in the Oval Office with Obama, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Clinton, and other U.S. officials.

Obama said in a joint press conference with Abbas that, "We are a stalwart ally of Israel and it is in our interests to assure that Israel is safe and secure. It is our belief that the best way to achieve that is to create the conditions on the ground and set the stage for a Palestinian state as well. And so what I told Prime Minister Netanyahu was that each party has obligations under the road map. On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state.
 
"On the Palestinian side it's going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We've seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank.  Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process."
 
 
Obama has insisted, "The absence of peace between Palestinians and Israelis is an impediment to a whole host of other areas of increased cooperation…I want to see progress made, and we will work very aggressively to achieve it…I believe that many Israelis share the same view that time is of the essence, and we can't continue with the drift. We need to get this thing back on track…I think it's important not to assume the worst but to assume the best. Obviously, Prime Minister Netanyahu has to work these issues in his own government."

Obviously both leaders have much work to do, for as Jeff Halper, American Israeli, Mid East commentator and founder and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against house Demolitions, wrote on May 25, 2009:

"Although the Obama Administration may truly desire viable two-state solution and even understands all Israel’s tricks, it is also clear that without significant pressure it cannot be achieved. And here is where the real problem arises. Israel’s trump card has always been Congress, where it enjoys virtually unanimous bi-partisan support. And Obama’s own Democratic Party, which received almost 80% of the Jewish vote in 2008, has always been far more “pro-Israel” than the Republicans. It may well be that Obama and Mitchell will try to take American policy in a new and more assertive direction and the leaders of his own party will balk, fearful of not being re-elected."-NETANYAHU CHOOSES WAREHOUSING


Religious Zionists, fundamentalists and the ideological right believe that Israel should stretch from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and include the West Bank, which they refer to as Judaea and Samaria and consider "liberated" by the 1967 Six Day War, for many politicians thought grabbing territory would improve Israel's bargaining position in future peace talks.

Theodor Meron, the legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry immediately after the Six Day War advised that the building of settlements would be illegal under international law because it contravened various conventions prohibiting the settling of civilians on occupied territory. "Meron, who went on to become one of the world's most eminent international jurists, has never wavered from that view. The US has been somewhat equivocal over the years about the legal position. But the large majority of Western countries (including Britain), the UN, and the International Court of Justice, which restated its view in a 2004 advisory opinion on the military's separation barrier, say that settlements are illegal, whether in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. And the 2003 Road Map, with the backing of the US, called for a total freeze on settlement construction. Israel's government and judiciary, however have never accepted that view." [Donald Macintyre, The Independent, May 29, 2009]


In 1971, Ariel Sharon bragged to Winston Churchill III: "We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart."

The outposts, which Israel now agrees to dismantle, are even blatantly illegal according to Israeli law, and they were all aided by various government departments who provided electricity and water to the squatters who established mobile home parks on high ridges close to existing settlements as their way to claim more land for future development. The settlements created many facts on the ground-such as apartheid roadways-roads that Palestinians are forbidden to drive upon and a military infrastructure and wall which have effectively carved the West Bank into separate cantons/Bantustans, preventing the indigenous people access to their land, resources, families and holy sites.

However, citizen actions are increasing as residents, Israelis and internationals persist to nonviolently demonstrate against the route of the wall in agricultural villages, such as Bil'in and Ni’lin, where weekly demonstrations against the route of the construction of The Wall, began in 2004, when the International Court of Justice deemed it illegal and demanded it be removed where ever it did not follow the Green Line. The demonstrators have no issue if Israel wants to build a wall on Israeli property, the people rise up in order to shine the light on Israel stealing the indigenous people's property to erect a wall that denies them access to their resources, jobs, families and holy sites.

The conflict became personal for the USA on March 13, 2003, when Rachel Corrie, an altruistic young America stood up and was run over by Israeli forces who then demolished a pharmacists home in Gaza with a USA made Caterpillar bulldozer. Israel investigated and exonerated their own forces; the USA Congress has done nothing at all.

On March 13, 2009, Tristan Anderson, an altruistic young America, was critically injured by Israeli forces who shot a large hole in the right part of his forehead with a tear gas canister, causing severe damage to his right eye and the need to remove part of the right frontal lobe of his brain which had been shattered by bone fragments.

Tristan was shot because he had taken a stand against the route of the construction of the wall that cuts through the village of Ni’lin that is making way for even more settlers to move in. Tristan was shot with a "Ruger rifle and a high velocity tear gas canister. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail and has a propeller to accelerate the weapon mid-air. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and it has caused numerous injuries." [1]

The bullet can only be heard by a low sweeping noise in the air as it passes. The low caliber allows the bullet to easily enter the body and cause internal bleeding. The bullet can enter a body from approximately 50 meters.

"In 2001, Maj.-Gen. Menachem Finkelstein, then judge advocate general, ordered that use of the Ruger rifle be stopped. The decision followed the killing of several children in the Gaza Strip by Ruger-rifle fire, and an order by OC Central Command to cease using the rifle, which was given after finding that soldiers often used it without justification against demonstrators. On 27 December 2001, Ha’aretz quoted a senior military official as saying that “the mistake was that the Ruger came to be seen as a means to disperse demonstrators, contrary to its original designation as a weapon like any other.”- B’tselem

"The Israeli army has also begun to use a more dangerous high velocity teargas projectile, labelled “40 mm bullet, special/long range” in Hebrew. The canister is black, heavy (130 grams without the propeller) and can reach more than 400 meters due to a propelling device. The gas-canister explodes only after it hits the ground. No tail of gas or audible cue makes this canister more likely to cause injuries, as demonstrators cannot anticipate when it is being used. Additionally, acceleration from the propeller and weight of this canister cause a greater impact when hitting a demonstrator. Use of this high velocity tear-gas projectile has caused the critical injury of Tristan Anderson." [Ibid]

If the United States is serious about halting the illegal Israel settlements, money remains the currency with the loudest voice.

"The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs will likely "mark-up" President Obama's FY2010 budget request, which includes $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel. This request for an increase in military aid to Israel comes despite the fact that Israel consistently misuses U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.  However, over 150,000 Americans for justice and peace have sent letters to Congress letting them know that we oppose this budget request and want to see an end to the military occupation of Palestine. We also demand that any aid to Israel be conditioned on Israel achieving stated U.S. policy goals. To sign and send that letter too, please click:

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27254

As President Obama flies out of Egypt, this reporter makes her way to Gaza and onto Nil'in, embedded with altruistic Americans connected with CODE PINK, who have been invited by the United Nations (UNRWA) to visit schools, hospitals and to work with Gazans to build an International Friendship Playground.

Learn More:

 http://codepinkalert.org/article.php?id=482

1. http://palsolidarity.org/2009/01/4699

2. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27254



Fictions on the Ground
By Tony Judt

June 22, 2009-Op-Ed Contributor to New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/opinion/22judt.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&pagewanted=print
 
I am old enough to remember when Israeli kibbutzim looked like settlements (“a small village or collection of houses” or “the act of peopling or colonizing a new country,” Oxford English Dictionary).
 
In the early 1960s, I spent time on Kibbutz Hakuk, a small community founded by the Palmah unit of the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish militia. Begun in 1945, Hakuk was just 18 years old when I first saw it, and was still raw at the edges. The few dozen families living there had built themselves a dining hall, farm sheds, homes and a “baby house” where the children were cared for during the workday. But where the residential buildings ended there were nothing but rock-covered hillsides and half-cleared fields.
 
The community’s members still dressed in blue work shirts, khaki shorts and triangular hats, consciously cultivating a pioneering image and ethos already at odds with the hectic urban atmosphere of Tel Aviv. Ours, they seemed to say to bright-eyed visitors and volunteers, is the real Israel; come and help us clear the boulders and grow bananas — and tell your friends in Europe and America to do likewise.
 
Hakuk is still there. But today it relies on a plastics factory and the tourists who flock to the nearby Sea of Galilee. The original farm, built around a fort, has been turned into a tourist attraction. To speak of this kibbutz as a settlement would be bizarre.
 
However, Israel needs “settlements.” They are intrinsic to the image it has long sought to convey to overseas admirers and fund-raisers: a struggling little country securing its rightful place in a hostile environment by the hard moral work of land clearance, irrigation, agrarian self-sufficiency, industrious productivity, legitimate self-defense and the building of Jewish communities. But this neo-collectivist frontier narrative rings false in modern, high-tech Israel. And so the settler myth has been transposed somewhere else — to the Palestinian lands seized in war in 1967 and occupied illegally ever since.
 
It is thus not by chance that the international press is encouraged to speak and write of Jewish “settlers” and “settlements” in the West Bank. But this image is profoundly misleading. The largest of these controversial communities in geographic terms is Maale Adumim. It has a population in excess of 35,000, demographically comparable to Montclair, N.J., or Winchester, England. What is most striking, however, about Maale Adumim is its territorial extent. This “settlement” comprises more than 30 square miles — making it one and a half times the size of Manhattan and nearly half as big as the borough and city of Manchester, England. Some “settlement.”
 
There are about 120 official Israeli settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank. In addition, there are “unofficial” settlements whose number is estimated variously from 80 to 100. Under international law, there is no difference between these two categories; both are contraventions of Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which explicitly prohibits the annexation of land consequent to the use of force, a principle re-stated in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.
 
Thus the distinction so often made in Israeli pronouncements between “authorized” and “unauthorized” settlements is specious — all are illegal, whether or not they have been officially approved and whether or not their expansion has been “frozen” or continues apace. (It is a matter of note that Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, belongs to the West Bank settlement of Nokdim, established in 1982 and illegally expanded since.)
 
The blatant cynicism of the present Israeli government should not blind us to the responsibility of its more respectable-looking predecessors. The settler population has grown consistently at a rate of 5 percent annually over the past two decades, three times the rate of increase of the Israeli population as a whole. Together with the Jewish population of East Jerusalem (itself illegally annexed to Israel), the settlers today number more than half a million people: just over 10 percent of the Jewish population of so-called Greater Israel. This is one reason why settlers count for so much in Israeli elections, where proportional representation gives undue political leverage to even the smallest constituency.
 
But the settlers are no mere marginal interest group. To appreciate their significance, spread as they are over a dispersed archipelago of urban installations protected from Arab intrusion by 600 checkpoints and barriers, consider the following: taken together, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights constitute a homogenous demographic bloc nearly the size of the District of Columbia. It exceeds the population of Tel Aviv itself by almost one third. Some “settlement.”
 
If Israel is drunk on settlements, the United States has long been its enabler. Were Israel not the leading beneficiary of American foreign aid — averaging $2.8 billion a year from 2003 to 2007, and scheduled to reach $3.1 billion by 2013 — houses in West Bank settlements would not be so cheap: often less than half the price of equivalent homes in Israel proper.
 
Many of the people who move to these houses don’t even think of themselves as settlers. Newly arrived from Russia and elsewhere, they simply take up the offer of subsidized accommodation, move into the occupied areas and become — like peasants in southern Italy freshly supplied with roads and electricity — the grateful clients of their political patrons. Like American settlers heading west, Israeli colonists in the West Bank are the beneficiaries of their very own Homestead Act, and they will be equally difficult to uproot.


Despite all the diplomatic talk of disbanding the settlements as a condition for peace, no one seriously believes that these communities — with their half a million residents, their urban installations, their privileged access to fertile land and water — will ever be removed. The Israeli authorities, whether left, right or center, have no intention of removing them, and neither Palestinians nor informed Americans harbor illusions on this score.
 
To be sure, it suits almost everyone to pretend otherwise — to point to the 2003 “road map” and speak of a final accord based on the 1967 frontiers. But such feigned obliviousness is the small change of political hypocrisy, the lubricant of diplomatic exchange that facilitates communication and compromise.
 
There are occasions, however, when political hypocrisy is its own nemesis, and this is one of them. Because the settlements will never go, and yet almost everyone likes to pretend otherwise, we have resolutely ignored the implications of what Israelis have long been proud to call “the facts on the ground.”
 
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, knows this better than most. On June 14 he gave a much-anticipated speech in which he artfully blew smoke in the eyes of his American interlocutors. While offering to acknowledge the hypothetical existence of an eventual Palestinian state — on the explicit understanding that it exercise no control over its airspace and have no means of defending itself against aggression — he reiterated the only Israeli position that really matters: we won’t build illegal settlements but we reserve the right to expand “legal” ones according to their natural rate of growth. (It is not by chance that he chose to deliver this speech at Bar-Ilan University, the heartland of rabbinical intransigence where Yigal Amir learned to hate Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before heading off to assassinate him in 2005.)
 
THE reassurances Mr. Netanyahu offered the settlers and their political constituency were as well received as ever, despite being couched in honeyed clichés directed at nervous American listeners. And the American news media, predictably, took the bait — uniformly emphasizing Mr. Netanyahu’s “support” for a Palestinian state and playing down everything else.
 
However, the real question now is whether President Obama will respond in a similar vein. He surely wants to. Nothing could better please the American president and his advisors than to be able to assert that, in the wake of his Cairo speech, even Mr. Netanyahu had shifted ground and was open to compromise. Thus Washington avoids a confrontation, for now, with its closest ally. But the uncomfortable reality is that the prime minister restated the unvarnished truth: His government has no intention of recognizing international law or opinion with respect to Israel’s land-grab in “Judea and Samaria.”
 
Thus President Obama faces a choice. He can play along with the Israelis, pretending to believe their promises of good intentions and the significance of the distinctions they offer him. Such a pretense would buy him time and favor with Congress. But the Israelis would be playing him for a fool, and he would be seen as one in the Mideast and beyond.
 
Alternatively, the president could break with two decades of American compliance, acknowledge publicly that the emperor is indeed naked, dismiss Mr. Netanyahu for the cynic he is and remind Israelis that all their settlements are hostage to American goodwill. He could also remind Israelis that the illegal communities have nothing to do with Israel’s defense, much less its founding ideals of agrarian self-sufficiency and Jewish autonomy. They are nothing but a colonial takeover that the United States has no business subsidizing.
 
But if I am right, and there is no realistic prospect of removing Israel’s settlements, then for the American government to agree that the mere nonexpansion of “authorized” settlements is a genuine step toward peace would be the worst possible outcome of the present diplomatic dance. No one else in the world believes this fairy tale; why should we? Israel’s political elite would breathe an unmerited sigh of relief, having once again pulled the wool over the eyes of its paymaster. The United States would be humiliated in the eyes of its friends, not to speak of its foes. If America cannot stand up for its own interests in the region, at least let it not be played yet again for a patsy.
 
Tony Judt is the director of the Remarque Institute at New York University and the author of “Postwar” and “Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century.”


At 55, I have come to view life as a puzzle that you get to arrange the pieces of that come your way as experiences.

 

Experience is ALL about what you do with what happens to you.

 

My next door neighbor-a French Canadian with thirty acres of orange groves is dying, and I will do the least I can-make a difficult visit to the Hospice House he was moved to yesterday-AFTER I keep an appointment with Senator Martinez Orlando rep and seek an appointment with Senator Nelson's office.


I will also drop into a local TV affiliate for CBS with the letter CODE PINK received from Hamas and further reading material, a few photos of Vanunu that I also included with the following snail mail letter to President Obama and Jimmy Carter, which I mailed last Saturday.

 

Today, Cindy/Cheryl should also receive her copies along with a personal note regarding what Vanunu said about her on June 14, 2009.


PS-Cindy/Cheryl did not reply to my first letter to her of April 18, 2009: Messing with the Mossad because Big Brother won't RSVP


 

Read more...




 

The letter Hamas sent to President Obama via the CODE PINK delegation that entered Gaza through Egypt:

 

 

His Excellency President Barack Obama,

President of the United States of America.

 

June 3rd 2009

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

We welcome your visit to the Arab world and your administration’s initiative to bridge differences with the Arab-Muslim world.

 

One long-standing source of tension between the United States and this part of the world has been the failure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

 

It is therefore unfortunate that you will not visit Gaza during your trip to the Middle East and that neither your Secretary of State nor George Mitchell have come to hear our point of view.

 

We have received numerous visits recently from people of widely varied backgrounds: U.S. Congressional representatives, European parliamentarians, the U.N.-appointed Goldstone commission, and grassroots delegations such as those organized by the U.S. peace group CODEPINK.

 

It is essential for you to visit Gaza. We have recently passed through a brutal 22-day Israeli attack. Amnesty International observed that the death and destruction Gaza suffered during the invasion could not have happened without U.S.-supplied weapons and U.S.-taxpayers’ money.

 

Human Rights Watch has documented that the white phosphorus Israel dropped on a school, hospital, United Nations warehouse and civilian neighborhoods in Gaza was manufactured in the United States. Human Rights Watch concluded that Israel’s use of this white phosphorus was a war crime.

 

Shouldn’t you see first-hand how Israel used your arms and spent your money?

 

Before becoming president you were a distinguished professor of law. The U.S. government has also said that it wants to foster the rule of law in the Arab-Muslim world.

 

The International Court of Justice stated in July 2004 that the whole of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are occupied Palestinian territories designated for Palestinian self-determination, and that the Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal. 

 

 

Not one of the 15 judges sitting on the highest judicial body in the world dissented from these principles. 

 

The main human rights organizations in the world, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued position papers supporting the right of the Palestinian refugees to return and compensation.

 

Each year in the United Nations General Assembly nearly every country in the world has supported these principles for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. Every year the Arab League puts forth a peace proposal based on these principles for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.

 

Leading human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have also stated that Israel’s siege of Gaza is a form of collective punishment and therefore illegal under international law.

 

We in the Hamas Government are committed to pursuing a just resolution to the conflict not in contradiction with the international community and enlightened opinion as expressed in the International Court of Justice, the United Nations General Assembly, and leading human rights organizations. We are prepared to engage all parties on the basis of mutual respect and without preconditions.

 

However, our constituency needs to see a comprehensive paradigm shift that not only commences with lifting the siege on Gaza and halts all settlement building and expansion but develops into a policy of evenhandedness based on the very international law and norms we are prodded into adhering to. 

 

Again, we welcome you to Gaza which would allow you to see firsthand our ground zero. Furthermore, it would enhance the US position; enabling you to speak with new credibility and authority in dealing with all the parties.

 

Very Truly Yours,

Dr. Ahmed Yousef

Deputy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry

Former Senior Political Advisor

to Prime Minister Ismael Hanniya

 

 

 





 

   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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Vanunu's Message to

Hillary Clinton re:
The Apartheid Wall



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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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.


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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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posted 3/25/2009

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