21 November 2008


Photo 1 & 2: the new college expansion facing the threat of demolition - Photos courtesy of LRC

Academic Freedom - Israeli Style
You won't find defenders of 'academic freedom' such as Engage taking up issues such as the attack in Hebron on a Palestinian college. Academic freedom is only for the settler society, not the colonised. Such is the hypocrisy of those such as Goldsmith lecturer, David Hirsh, whose hypocrisy is such that his fellow academic colleagues refused to elect him to the UCU National Council.

Tony Greenstein
On the 30th October 2008, at 10:15 a.m. the Israeli army stormed the faculty of the Palestine Technical College in Aroub Refugee Camp, Hebron and arrested students from some of the classrooms. The students were blindfolded, shackled and then repeatedly beaten, slapped and punched all over the body. They were then taken to Gush Etzion military detention centre. At 9:00 pm two of the boys were released, however, eight of them are still in detention. None of the boys are older than 16. Hatem is a teacher in the Palestine Technical College. He states that on the 30th October 2008 at approximately 10:15 a.m. the Israeli Occupation Forces arrived at the college in four military jeeps. Hatem was the only teacher present in the playground area at that time. One of the soldiers shouted at him, 'there are the boys that threw stones' .

Hatem told the soldier that the typical school day is from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. so all of the children were inside their classes. The soldier then pushed Hatem to the ground and ordered the other soldiers to search the college. Around ten soldiers entered the college. They kicked the doors and entered the classrooms where the children were taking their practical classes. They closed the door and one of the soldiers started beating a physically disabled student that was sitting in the first row. The soldiers started yelling at the boys and then pushed one of the students, MD. One of the soldiers grabbed MD and shouted, 'You are the boy that threw the stones'. MD was arrested along with six other boys. The soldiers subsequently entered the other classrooms and began randomly arresting students. They specifically targeted those who were wearing black jackets. The soldiers then took all of the boys to the playground area and prevented the teachers from talking with the students. The soldiers subsequently started to beat one of the students, RB by slapping his face and kicking him on his head. Hatem tried to help him, however, the soldiers threatened to open fire. They then fired stun grenades and live bullets into the playground area. The soldiers continued to beat some of the other detained students. Hatem states that he could hear the students screaming from the beatings, however, he was prevented from doing anything to help them. The director of the college called an ambulance; however, it was delayed due to the soldiers blocking the entrance of the Camp. The soldiers then blindfolded and shackled 19 students and forced them to sit at the base of the military tower at the entrance of the Refugee Camp. After fifteen minutes the soldiers released nine students.

Testimony from 16 year old student taken by Addameer Attorney Firas Sabbah on November 3rd 2008 at Gush Etzion Military Detention Centre.

My name is RB. I was born on the 26th of October 1992. Iג€™m a 10th grade student at the Palestine Technical College where I study agriculture. On the 30th October 2008, as usual I went to school. I was supposed to have an exam that day. At around 10:30 I was terrified when I saw soldiers entering the classroom. They started randomly arresting my classmates. Then the soldier told me to get out of the class. I was taken to the playground area of the school. When the soldier saw me looking at him he grabbed my head and slapped me on the face. He told me to keep my face to the ground. After that he made all of us stand in one row and we were forced to walk one after the other towards the military tower. I lost my place in the row and the soldier hit me on my legs and kicked me. Another soldier beat me until we reached the gate of the Refugee Camp. After that, the soldier laughed in my face and when I looked back he slapped me and beat me so hard on the chest that I felt it was difficult to breathe. I fell to the ground where I continued to be beaten. After about three hours I was blindfolded and shackled and pushed into the military jeep. My blindfold slipped in the process of getting into the jeep so I was beaten again.

The Court Hearing

On November 6, 2008, the eight children were brought to Ofer military court. They had been detained for eight days until they were brought before the court . All boys were charged with throwing stones despite the fact that the evidence is built upon the testimonies of only three soldiers. In this initial hearing, the boysג€™ detention was extended until November 11th 2008. In their defence Addameer Attorney Mahmoud Hassan argued that these children are being detained with adults in an adult facility which is in total violation of international law. On the 28th October, 2008, Adv Hassan used this similar argument to secure the release of two 14 year old boys who were arrested from their homes in Beit Ummar on the 9th October 2008. Each boy was released with a bail of 8,000 NIS (Approx $2,111). Indeed according to Addameer's experience, this is the first time that a military judge has agreed to release children under the pretense that it is illegal for them to be detained with adults. On this occasion, however, the military judge rejected Adv. Hassan's argument and ordered that the boys be detained until the end of trial. Adv. Hassan appealed this decision and called for the boys to be released on bail. The result of this latest appeal will be heard in Ofer Military Court on November 20th, 2008. On December 14th, 2008 the Court will commence with a hearing from the witnesses.

Addameer Statement

Addameer strongly condemns the collective punishment of these school boys and their continued detention without sufficient evidence. The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets up universally recognised principles and norms as minimal standards for children's rights. One fundamental principle of sentencing is that the deprivation of liberty, if used at all, should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time (Art. 37 (b), CRC). Clearly this is not the case for these eight boys. It should be emphasized that, in accordance with the Convention, every Child without exception whatsoever, has the right to benefit from these standards. According to Israeli military order 132, Palestinian children age 16 and older are treated as adults and are tried and sentenced by Israeli military courts as adults. Israeli military orders are applied to Palestinian children, even as juvenile legislation defines Israeli children as age 18 or younger. Addameer urges the international community to demand that Israel abide by international law and and treat those under the age of 18 as children. In addition Addameer calls on the international community to insist that the Israeli occupation forces stop at once further arrests of Palestinian juveniles in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

See also an article on how the Israeli military is trying to demolish new buildings that have been constructed on the campus of the Palestine Technical College in Hebron.

10 November 2008

The Lessons of Kristallnacht

70 years ago, the Nazis launched their infamous pogrom against the Jews of Germany, killing dozens of people and burning hundreds of synagogues and smashing the glass of Jewish shops. Contrary to myth, this was not at all popular among ordinary Germans or even the more middle-class elements of the Nazi Party.

Even Herman Goering was angry at this SA organised pogrom since it was German insurance companies who picked up the bill! Goering imposed a 'fine' of 1 Billion Reichmarks on the Jewish community. The pretext for Krystalnacht was the assasination in Paris of Ernst vom Rath, an official at the German Embassy (ironically he was anti-Nazi) by Herschel Grynszpan, a Jewish youth who had fled to France from Germany (& was later captured in the invasion of France but may well have lived out the war). He killed vom Rath in revenge for the treatment of his parents and many other Ost Juden who had been deported or rather dumped over the Polish border.

One of the persistent arguments of anti-Semites who purport to support the Palestinians, is that any mention of the Nazi holocaust is playing into the hands of the Zionists. As Gilad Atzmon wrote to me on 23.6.2005:

‘I do not have any doubt that our notion of the H will change radically in the near future. Too many discrepancies. and as I said, the only active scholarship is in the hands of the revisionists. The funny bit is that only left Jews are defending the Zio-Anglo-American's H narrative.’

Note the ‘Zio-Anglo-American’s H narrative’ i.e the extermination of millions of Jews and millions of others too. But this is a ‘narrative’ which, according to Atzmon can only benefit the Zionists and it is ‘only left Jews’ who tell it apparently! And of course if the only active scholarship is by revisionists and there are ‘too many discrepancies’ [Atzmon being an expert in these matters!] then the conclusion is obvious. Maybe there was no Holocaust.

I mention this because Canon Paul Ostreicher, whose record on anti-racism - in support of refugees, against Apartheid and with Amnesty International - is second to none. He wrote an excellent article for the Guardian on November 4th which drew all the right parallels between Zionist attitudes to Palestinians and Nazi attitudes to the Jews. Following on from the predictable Zionist attacks, I wrote a letter which was published in the Guardian today.
Tony Greenstein

Tuesday November 4
A vandalised shop in Berlin on November 17 1938. Businesses and properties owned by Jews were target of vicious Nazi mobs during the night of vandalism that is known as 'Kristallnacht'.

Berliners went wild that day, 19 years ago. The impossible had happened. The Wall had come down. It was November 9 1989. I wasn't there. But I was there on that same date in 1938, 70 years ago. Germans went wild on that day, too. They let loose an orgy of destruction. The synagogues were set ablaze. Jewish shops were smashed up and pillaged. Jewish men were rounded up, beaten up, some to death, many sent to concentration camps. What eventually followed was unthinkable. The streets that night were strewn with broken glass. The Germans called it Kristallnacht, the night not of broken glass but broken crystal, to symbolise the "ill-gotten Jewish riches" Germans would now take from them. Never mind the many Jewish poor. Never mind that Jews such as my grandparents were Germans as deeply patriotic as any of their neighbours.
My Christian father, born to Jewish parents, was in 1938 forbidden, as all Jews were, to continue working as a doctor. From a small provincial town we fled to Berlin with one aim, common to thousands of Jews at that time, to find asylum anywhere beyond the reach of Hitler. An only child, six years old, I was given refuge by kindly non-Jewish friends. Life in their basement flat bore no horrors for me. I simply wondered why I was not allowed to go to school.

My parents had gone underground. My non-Jewish mother had resisted the pressure to divorce her husband and quit a marriage defined by the Nazis as rassenschande, racial disgrace. My father, hoping not to be picked up on the street, as many were, trudged from consulate to consulate, wearing the miniatures of his two iron crosses won in the first world war. Ruefully he said: "In 1918, as a German officer, I fled from the French. Twenty years later, I am fleeing from the Germans."

Now a visa was priceless. The state had confiscated our bank account. We could not bribe our way to safety. With that visa, Nazi Germany could say good riddance. If Kristallnacht had a definable purpose, beyond its pure explosion of hate, it was to make the Jews go away. But, except for the few who had somehow rescued great wealth, the world did not want them.

The day of the great pogrom started much like any other. But a rare treat was in store. My mother came to take me for a walk. As a non-Jew she was not directly threatened. Berlin was bathed in autumn sunshine. We walked to the Tauentzienstrasse, Berlin's Regent Street. For me, the big city was full of wonder - until terror struck. Trucks pulled up at exact intervals. Jack-booted men wielding wooden clubs ran up and down the street and began to smash the windows of the Jewish-owned department stores. My mother grabbed hold of me. We fled. I was soon back in a safe place. My parents left Berlin before the day was out and were hidden in Leipzig by a sympathetic member of the Nazi party. In times of crisis, people are not always what they seem to be.

The search for asylum became more desperate. It took us another three months. Many were not so lucky. Nations met at Evian on Lake Geneva to discuss the plight of Germany's Jews but shrank from their responsibility. No effective policy emerged. At least the Australian delegate was frank: "We have no race problem and we don't want to import one." He and many others around the world bought into Hitler's fanciful racial doctrine. Antisemitism was not just a German aberration. "Why should we import a problem the Germans are so keen to get rid of?" By early 1939, Britain felt "we have done our bit". President Roosevelt firmly refused to increase the American quota.

Our choice narrowed down to Venezuela and New Zealand. The New Zealand government's attitude was like that of its neighbour. Jewish applicants were told explicitly: "We do not think you will integrate into our society. If you insist on applying, expect a refusal." My father did insist. The barriers were high. Either you had a job to come to, at a time of high unemployment, or you had to produce two wealthy guarantors and in addition bring with you, at today's values, £2,000 per head. We were only able to take that hurdle thanks to the generosity of a remarkable Frenchman, a friend of a distant relative. This was the sort of money most refugees could not possibly raise. At a total of 1,000 German, Austrian and Czech Jews, the New Zealand government drew the line. We were lucky. My grandmother, who hoped to follow us, was not. It was too late. She did not survive the Holocaust. Like many others, she chose suicide rather than the cattle-truck journey to Auschwitz. Britain, thanks to a group of persistent lobbyists, at the last moment agreed to take a substantial number of Jewish children. Most were never to see their parents again. Their contribution to British life was significant, now that the stories of the kindertransport are being told.

I tell my story on this anniversary not just for its historic and personal interest, but because it brings into sharp focus the far from humane attitude of Britain, the European Union and many other rich countries to the asylum seekers of today. True, there are now international conventions that did not exist in 1938, but they are seldom obeyed in spirit or in letter. The German sentiment "send them away" has given way in Britain and in many other parts of Europe to "send them back", sometimes to more persecution and even death. Lessons from history are seldom learned.

Dr Peter Selby, president of the National Council of Independent Monitoring Boards, has written with justifiable anger of his experience of Britain's immigration removal centres at ports and airports, which are prisons in all but name. We lock up children, separated from their parents, hold detainees for indefinite periods, and many are made ill by the experience. Those who advocate tougher immigration policies, such as Frank Field's Migration Watch, are accountable, writes Selby, for the coercive instruments - the destitution and detention - that are already being used and will be used even more to enforce it. This is not quite our 1938, but the parallels are deeply disquieting.

An even sadder consequence of this story of anti-Jewish inhumanity is that many of the survivors who fled to Palestine did so at the expense of the local people, the Palestinians, half of whom were driven into exile and their villages destroyed. Their children and children's children live in the refugee camps that now constitute one aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse that embitters Islam and threatens world peace: all that a consequence of Nazi terror and indirectly of the Christian world's persecution of the Jewish people over many centuries.

With fear bred into every Jewish bone, it is tragic that today many Israelis say of the Palestinians, as once the Germans said of them: "The only solution is to send them away."

However understandable this reaction may be, to do so, or even to contemplate it, is a denial of all that is good in Judaism. To create another victim people is to sow the seeds of another holocaust. When, in the 1930s, the Right Rev George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, pleaded in vain for active British support for the German opposition to Hitler, many accused him of being anti-German. The opposite was true. He did not tar all Germans with the Nazi brush. Today, those of us who offer our solidarity to the minority of Israelis working - in great isolation - for justice for the Palestinian people, are often accused of being antisemitic. The opposite is true. It is a tragic parallel.

November 9 is deeply etched into German history. On that day in 1918 the Kaiser abdicated. Germany had lost the first world war. Five years later to the day, Hitler's followers were shot down in the streets of Munich. The Nazis, year by year, celebrated their martyrs. Then came 1938: Kristallnacht. Berlin's Holocaust Memorial and other memorials in many German towns and villages, where once the synagogue stood, are mute reminders of what began that day. But the significance and the shame of that day stretches far beyond those who set the synagogues alight. Who, we need to ask, are the victims now, both near and far, and what is our response?
• Canon Dr Paul Oestreicher is a former chair of Amnesty International UK

Letters November 5th
Canon Paul Oestreicher's moving account of his childhood experiences in Nazi Germany (The legacy of Kristallnacht, G2, November 4) is spoilt by his suggestion of a "tragic parallel" between that event and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. While the recent spate of attacks by Jewish settlers on their West Bank Arab neighbours is contemptible, it does not remotely constitute a modern-day Kristallnacht. Even during the bloodiest periods of both intafadas there were no state-sponsored mass riots; no Arabs were randomly beaten in the streets; mosque windows were not smashed, nor was Arab property burnt to the ground.
If Oestreicher wants to detect echoes of nazism within the Middle East, perhaps he should start with the Hamas charter, which seeks the destruction of Israel. Indeed the virulence of its antisemitism suggests that at least some of the Hamas leadership nurture genocidal ambitions towards Jews. While over a million Arabs live in Israel proper, the Arab and Muslim worlds have become increasingly Judenfrei.
Sidney Jacobs, Exeter

Letters 10th November
The lessons of Kristallnacht for the modern Middle East
Sidney Jacob's denial (Letters, November 5) of the comparison that Paul Oestreicher draws (The legacy of Kristallnacht, (November 4) is a knee-jerk reaction that seeks to portray Nazi Germany's attitude to the Jews as a unique, one-off occurrence. Unfortunately there are only too many parallels that can be drawn in the period 1933-39.
When Jewish mobs shouted "death to the Arabs" in Acre a few weeks ago, that was certainly reminiscent of pogroms in Europe. When slogans such as "Arabs to the gas chambers" are daubed on the separation wall, the parallels are also clear. When Israeli military and police stand by while Arabs peasants tending their olive groves are assaulted by settlers, and when even international observers are injured, then that brings to mind a similar refusal by authorities in Germany to uphold the law and protect their Jewish inhabitants.
The lesson of Kristallnacht is surely that any group of people, given the right set of circumstances, can become transformed from oppressed to oppressor. Settler colonialism in Israel-Palestine has reduced the Palestinians to a sub-human status. A majority of Israeli Jews in opinion polls have repeatedly made clear that they don't wish to live next door to an Arab and would prefer Israel's own Palestinian citizens to emigrate.
The only part of Paul Oestreicher's article I disagree with is his suggestion that the vast majority of Germans took part in Kristallnacht. It was a state organised, SA pogrom, orchestrated by the gauleiter of Berlin, Josef Goebbels. It was deeply unpopular with ordinary Germans, as Ian Kershaw's Hitler Myth makes clear, but by 1938 the ordinary population had been cowed by the Gestapo and the concentration camp apparatus of Nazi Germany.
Tony Greenstein

OBAMA - The Black Face of US Imperialism

Many of my friends and political comrades have seen in Barak Obama a force for change. It is natural that people are joyful and delighted in the fact that, in view of American's history, an Afro-American has been elected President. I share that joy but it is also a good example of how superficial ethnic policies are.

Obama has always been a Democratic centrist. He is no radical. What has made him seem radical was the ageing reactionary McCain and his absurd running mate Palin. Although noone commented on it, in his final debate with McCain he boasted of his role in tort reform in the USA. Most people won't know what this is but simply put, it is a means of protecting powerful corporations from being sued by the people they injure. Interestingly tort reform measures were the first thing Bush did as Governor of Texas.

What Obama will do is to make US imperialism seem more acceptable. No longer the made oil man in the White House, but a descendant of slaves. This is a powerful legitimising force. In this sense the Obama phenomenon is not that different from Zionism. The latter uses the Holocaust to justify the oppression of the Palestinians. Obama uses the legacy of slavery to defend the use of US forces in defence of its economic interests.

The appointment of Rahm Israel Emanuel is a significant sign of the direction Obama will take. We should contrast this with the first prominent Afro-American in US politics, Jimmy Carter's Andrew Young (yes I know most people will say 'Andrew who'). He it was who first met with the PLO thus first challenging the idea that the Palestinians were not entitled to their own political representation without political preconditions. By contrast Obama is what used to be know of as an Uncle Tom.

Tony Greenstein

November 9, 2008 at 11:19:14
Headlined on 11/9/08:
Conned Again
by Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous academic appointments. He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House in March, 2008.
If the change President-elect Obama has promised includes a halt to America's wars of aggression and an end to the rip-off of taxpayers by powerful financial interests, what explains Obama's choice of foreign and economic policy advisors? Indeed, Obama's selection of Rahm Israel Emanuel as White House chief of staff is a signal that change ended with Obama's election. The only thing different about the new administration will be the faces.

Rahm Israel Emanuel is a supporter of Bush's invasion of Iraq. Emanuel rose to prominence in the Democratic Party as a result of his fundraising connections to AIPAC. A strong supporter of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, he comes from a terrorist family. His father was a member of Irgun, a Jewish terrorist organization that used violence to drive the British and Palestinians out of Palestine in order to create the Jewish state. During the 1991 Gulf War, Rahm Israel Emanuel volunteered to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. He was a member of the Freddie Mac board of directors and received $231,655 in directors fees in 2001. According to Wikipedia, "during the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities."
In "Hail to the Chief of Staff," Alexander Cockburn describes Emanuel as "a super-Likudnik hawk," who as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 "made great efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates."

My despondent friends in the Israeli peace movement ask, "What is this man doing in Obama's administration?"

Obama's election was necessary as the only means Americans had to hold the Republicans accountable for their crimes against the Constitution and human rights, for their violations of US and international laws, for their lies and deceptions, and for their financial chicanery. As an editorial in Pravda put it, "Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime. Therefore it could be argued that the new administration in the USA could never be worse than the one which divorced the hearts and minds of Americans from their brothers in the international community, which appalled the rest of the world with shock and awe tactics that included concentration camps, torture, mass murder and utter disrespect for international law."

But Obama's advisers are drawn from the same gang of Washington thugs and Wall Street banksters as Bush's. Richard Holbrooke, son of Russian and German Jews, was an assistant secretary of state and ambassador in the Clinton administration. He implemented the policy to enlarge NATO and to place the military alliance on Russia's border in contravention of Reagan's promise to Gorbachev. Holbrooke is also associated with the Clinton administration's illegal bombing of Serbia, a war crime that killed civilians and Chinese diplomats. If not a neocon himself, Holbrooke is closely allied with them.
According to Wikipedia, Madeline Albright was born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague to Jewish parents who had converted to Catholicism in order to escape persecution. She is the Clinton era secretary of state who told Leslie Stahl (60 Minutes) that the US policy of Iraq sanctions, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, had goals important enough to justify the children's deaths. Albright's infamous words: "we think the price is worth it."

Wikipedia reports that this immoralist served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange at the time of Dick Grasso's $187.5 million compensation scandal.

Dennis Ross has long associations with the Israeli-Palestinian "peace negotiations." A member of his Clinton era team, Aaron David Miller, wrote that during 1999-2000 the US negotiating team led by Ross acted as Israel's lawyer: "we had to run everything by Israel first." This "stripped our policy of the independence and flexibility required for serious peacemaking. If we couldn't put proposals on the table without checking with the Israelis first, and refused to push back when they said no, how effective could our mediation be?" According to Wikipedia, Ross is "chairman of a new Jerusalem-based think tank, the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, funded and founded by the Jewish Agency."

Clearly, this is not a group of advisors that is going to halt America's wars against Israel's enemies or force the Israeli government to accept the necessary conditions for a real peace in the Middle East.

Ralph Nader predicted as much. In his "Open Letter to Barack Obama (November 3, 2008), Nader pointed out to Obama that his "transformation from an articulate defender of Palestinian rights . . . to a dittoman for the hard-line AIPAC lobby" puts Obama at odds with "a majority of Jewish-Americans" and "64% of Israelis." Nader quotes the Israeli writer and peace advocate Uri Avnery's description of Obama's appearance before AIPAC as an appearance that "broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning." Nader damns Obama for his "utter lack of political courage [for] surrendering to demands of the hard-liners to prohibit former president Jimmy Carter from speaking at the Democratic National Convention." Carter, who achieved the only meaningful peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs, has been demonized by the powerful AIPAC lobby for criticizing Israel's policy of apartheid toward the Palestinians whose territory Israel forcibly occupies.

Obama's economic team is just as bad. Its star is Robert Rubin, the bankster who was secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration. Rubin has responsibility for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and, thereby, responsibility for the current financial crisis. In his letter to Obama, Nader points out that Obama received unprecedented campaign contributions from corporate and Wall Street interests. "Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart."

Obama's victory speech was magnificent. The TV cameras scanning faces in the audience showed the hope and belief that propelled Obama into the presidency. But Obama cannot bring change to Washington. There is no one in the Washington crowd that he can appoint who is capable of bringing change. If Obama were to reach outside the usual crowd, anyone suspected of being a bringer of change could not get confirmed by the Senate. Powerful interest groups--AIPAC, the military-security complex, Wall Street--use their political influence to block unacceptable appointments.

As Alexander Cockburn put it in his column, "Obama, the first-rate Republican," "never has the dead hand of the past had a 'reform' candidate so firmly by the windpipe." Obama confirmed Cockburn's verdict in his first press conference as president-elect. Disregarding the unanimous US National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons five years ago, and ignoring the continued certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency that none of the nuclear material for Iran's civilian nuclear reactor has been diverted to weapons use, Obama sallied forth with the Israel Lobby's propaganda and accused Iran of "development of a nuclear weapon" and vowing "to prevent that from happening."

The change that is coming to America has nothing to do with Obama. Change is coming from the financial crisis brought on by Wall Street greed and irresponsibility, from the eroding role of the US dollar as reserve currency, from countless mortgage foreclosures, from the offshoring of millions of America's best jobs, from a deepening recession, from pillars of American manufacturing--Ford and GM--begging the government for taxpayers' money to stay alive, and from budget and trade deficits that are too large to be closed by normal means.
Traditionally, the government relies on monetary and fiscal policy to lift the economy out of recession. But easy money is not working. Interest rates are already low and monetary growth is already high, yet unemployment is rising. The budget deficit is already huge--a world record--and the red ink is not stimulating the economy. Can even lower interest rates and even higher budget deficits help an economy that has moved offshore, leaving behind jobless consumers overburdened with debt?

How much more can the government borrow? America's foreign creditors are asking this question. An official organ of the Chinese ruling party recently called for Asian and European countries to "banish the US dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies."

"Why," asks another Chinese publication, "should China help the US to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the US can expand without limit?"

The world has tired of American hegemony and had its fill of American arrogance. America's reputation is in tatters: the financial debacle, endless red ink, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, rendition, torture, illegal wars based on lies and deception, disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries, war crimes, disregard for international law and the Geneva Conventions, the assault on habeas corpus and the separation of powers, a domestic police state, constant interference in the internal affairs of other countries, boundless hypocrisy.
The change that is coming is the end of American empire. The hegemon has run out of money and influence. Obama as "America's First Black President" will lift hopes and, thus, allow the act to be carried on a little longer. But the New American Century is already over.

7 November 2008

A Healthy Palestinian Prisoner Operated on Without His Consent - Another Israeli Breach of human rights

You would have to delve back into the depths of Nazi Germany to find a practice whereby doctors operate on a healthy patient, without their consent, for the purpose of experimentation. This of course raises into question the role of Israeli doctors, especially given that the longstanding President of the Israeli Medical Association, Yoram Blachar, becomes President of the World Med Association soon. Blachar is on the record as defending torture in Israel.

Tony Greenstein

Palestinian prisoner Mohannad Odeh from the town of Aroorah north of Ramallah in the West bank, filed a complaint to the lawyer of the Mandela Organization. His complaint might seem strange in the civilized world. He never knew why the Israeli prison administration transferred him to a hospital and why he was subjected to a surgery he knew nothing about since he is healthy.
He made it quite clear that he never suffered any health problems. But still he found himself being transferred to Soroka Hospital in Beir Elsabba (Beer Sheba). He was requested to sign papers that should he died they can transfer and use his organs. He refused to sign and requested to see his family or get in contact with them before he was taken to the operating theatre. But the prison Administration denied him this request.He was sedated, taken to the operating room, operated on without his consent.

When he woke up, he found himself surrounded by Israeli doctors and medical instruments and pipes. What organs were taken? Or what kind of experimenting was done on such helpless prisoners?

Israel is breaching the International law inside and outside prisons. Palestinians are treated as if they have no human rights or dignity, and the international community is still debating should they interfere or not? Is it OK to allow hearing aids reach the Palestinian children who lost their hearing because of the Israeli bombings or not? Is it ok to make a man strip naked and dance for the soldiers' sick pleasure? Is it ok to beat and torture a humanbeing? Is it ok to perform surgery on healthy, NON consenting adults or children? These and other questions must be answered by not only the Israeli government, the USA who funds Israel, but the whole world as well.
What is happening is outrageous. I hereby do request that the human rights groups and establishments conduct formal investigations and hold whoever is guilty- accountable for crimes against humanity.Under no law it is accepted to breach human rights, occupied or not occupied, imprisoned or free. Should such outrageous breaches happen to a USA or UK citizen, the story would be on all the international front page news.However because it is Palestinians who are being tortured and their organs are being taken away and their bodies are experimented on illegally, no one cares to report that. The world turns a blind eye.

By Iqbal Tamimi

3 November 2008

The destruction of Bassem abu Gwedar's home and the demolition of the 'unrecognised' Bedouin villages of the Negev

There is no 'terrorism' on the part of the Bedouin of the Negev. They haven't resorted to force of arms, the usual excuse on the part of the Zionists for their rape and pillage of the Palestinians. Yet as the following message shows, this hasn't prevented the demolition of homes in Bedouin . The following message is a description of a typical example of the racist demolition of Palestinian homes for the sole reason that their inhabitants are not Jewish. The 'Demographic Problem' i.e. too many non-Jews is the primary reason in the Jewish State for these acts of terror against an unarmed civilian population.

Tony Greenstein

To: "Yeela Livnat"

Dear all,

Thursday in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Khashm Zanna the home of Bassam abu Gwedar, a father of three young girls, and his wife, all citizens of the State of Israel, was demolished. The reason given by the Israeli authorities was that the structure was a new structure and had been built without a permit, which for all residents of the unrecognized villages is unattainable. The home had been built a year ago replacing the tin hut they lived, and the demolition order was posted almost immediately. The family took the case to the local courts, which refused to offer any respite from their predicament.

The situation is that of a catch 22: there is no method of attaining a building permit, but without a building permit the home is illegal and must therefore be destroyed, so Bassam and his family were left homeless. The bulldozers arrived at nine o'clock in the morning accompanied by 150 soldiers and 20 members of the paramilitary Green Patrol.

Bassam's neighbors gathered in front of the home in non-violent protest of the order, but under threat of violence they retreated and the bulldozers crushed his home to rubble. It was completed at 10:40 AM, taking under two hours to leave a family of five without a home. Bassam and his family's sole crime were being members of an ethnic group in a state that is severely biased against him and those like him. Bassam's family watched the demolition with utter desperation and helplessness, confronted with afaceless force of destruction. The season chosen for the demolition was not lost on the family. The recent rains and cold make the homelessness that much harder. "We have nowhere left." He told members of the RCUV Thursday. Khashm Zanna is an unrecognized village of more than 2000 people livingroughly 15 kilometers south of Beer Sheva in the Negev desert, and has been in the same location for more than 200 years. They have no access to electricity, water, sewage, paved roads, or medical services from theIsraeli government. They are constantly under the threat of home demolition, as all houses in the village have been deemed illegal. This demolition is not an isolated incident, but the latest in a series of co-ordinated operations designed to make life in the villages as unbearable as possible, so as to force the residents to abandon their lands.

Also Thursday, the village of Tweil abu Jarwal was completely destroyed for close to the 20th time. The night prior to this demolition, six young men of the village were arrested and kept overnight in the police holding cells in Beer Sheva. They were arrested in the village on charges of trespassing on their own land, held overnight and then released on the sole condition that they refrain from returning to their homes for two weeks. This village is deeply in need of assistance in the form of new tents, and if you or someone you know can contribute for new tents in the village, please donate through PayPal to yallylivnat@gmail.com, or send a check payable to the RCUV at 47 Ha-Atzmaut St PO Box 10002,Beer Sheva, 81405, Israel

Thank you all,

Joshua Berer,

International Communications Advocate, Regional Council of Unrecognized Bedouin Villages, olomachad@gmail.com