Petition! Lift Travel Restrictions from Palestinian Journalist!

SIGN THE PETITION To:  Israeli and Palestinian Authorities  -Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.

Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was “barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons.” No further explanation was given.

His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.

There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.

We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived “security” risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.http://www.petitiononline.com/k1h2a3l4/petition.html

http://palestinethinktank.com/2008/05/28/petition-lift-travel-restrictions-on-palestinian-journalist/

Palestine Think Tank

If you’re wondering why I’ve been “absent”, it’s because I’ve been working very hard! The new site www.palestinethinktank.com has loads of new material every day, and I haven’t yet had time to cross post it here, but will do.

In the meantime, bookmark that site, this blog will remain to reprint some of those papers as well as featuring a few things you won’t find there that deal with other issues.

Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry: Lies are Truth

The people in the press staff of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry are talented science fiction writers. Almost nothing that they write has any bearing on reality, and it seems that they use Orwell’s 1984 as a guidebook for news dispatches. All that they need to do is look at the facts on the ground (terminology that was invented by the hasbara commission, more than likely, because it is something different than reality. It has a bit of the sense of imposition of a negative reality that cannot however be challenged by ‘ordinary’ people), and turn them on their heads. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. That’s exactly how the Israeli PR staff represents reality with their warped mirror.

I do suggest, for those who, like myself, find some pleasure in reading nonsense to subscribe to their newsletter or to read it on their site. It is just about as absurd a thing one can find to read. The trouble with it is: it’s taken seriously by the Big Mass Media and a lot of the dispatch services never verify any of the information that is released. If you wonder just why everyone is so wrong about Israel and Palestine, look no further.

On 7 May, this was their press release. I will deconstruct it. Their original in Israeli Blue.

Behind the Headlines: Hamas holding civilian population in Gaza hostage.

How’s that for a shock headline? It is as if the people of Gaza are in a concentration camp and kept hostage. Well, they are, of course, but it’s not Hamas who has locked them in and thrown away the keys, but this does not matter. Israel KNOWS that people are going to notice sooner or later that Gaza has become the place on earth where the greatest number of people are confined and held hostage, but passing the stick to Hamas is going to resolve any nasty questions about who is keeping them prisoner.

By seizing the fuel, food, and medical supplies that Israel is transferring to the Gaza Strip, and using the supplies itself, the Hamas terror organization is basically holding the civilian population of Gaza hostage.

Ah, so all of these wonderful things have been delivered by generous Israel to Gaza? No one has seen any of it, so it must be the bad guys of Hamas who have diverted all of it and probably are storing everything in warehouses, or selling it on the black market. The crossings have all been closed, but no one should become aware of the fact, unless they wonder how a million and a half people can get by without replacement of the material that is consumed. Naturally, it’s not a good idea to indicate to people that a blockade has been made in order to break the resistance of these people, which at least are classified as civilians by the people who bomb them indiscriminately when it suits them. But for Israel, all that material has arrived, in fact, Israel itself is transferring it to the Gaza Strip! But since things have a material presence, they don’t just disappear, the culprit for these enormous quantities of goods simply NOT BEING THERE has got to be the bad guys. Hamas can’t let anyone see all the truckloads of material, including fuel, that Israel is donating. Seizing it for political purposes, so they can justify the uprising. Well, of course, none of that is true. Since the siege started last fall, nothing has entered into the Gaza Strip, and very little has gotten out. The population is indeed being held hostage, but Israel is doing a three card shuffle – blame it on Hamas (repeat as well that they are a ‘terror organization’ so that it’s easier to insert in a copy and paste journalist report.

 

Israel has continued to supply fuel, food, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, despite Hamas attacks precisely on those crossings Israel must use to transfer the supplies. 

Israel has supplied nothing, nor have they let anyone else do so. Yet, to deny material sustenance would be a crime against humanity, because the occupier is obligated to provide for the people who are being occupied. However, Israel will state that they no longer occupy the Gaza Strip. “We left! The settlers are gone,” they say. Well, one does not have to have colonial presence to exact control over a territory. All that needs to be done is to control its borders, and Israel does just that: stick them in the prison and let them fight it out between themselves is the policy that Israel has decided to enact in order to bring Gazans to their knees or, failing that, make them beg for Fatah to take control of the elections Hamas won, therefore, giving Israel the electoral results they wanted but were denied. Israel controls the air space, territorial waters, offshore maritime access, and the border between Israel and Gaza, with most of the crossings being closed even for those needing medical assistance. Egypt controls the southern border. This means that they are committing crimes against humanity by denying Gazans aid, food, fuel and freedom of movement. But, they won’t admit it. In fact, that’s what the lie about Hamas taking the materials is there to cover. 

 

It is apparent that Hamas is targeting the crossings in order to prevent the transfer of humanitarian aid to the civilian population, thus both needlessly depriving its own population as well as causing an artificial humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Clearly, Hamas wants to create a crisis in order that international pressure will be placed on Israel.

It is apparent to those who invent this lie, and it is tragic that many believe it! Hamas does not have any control over the crossings of incoming goods. Nothing has been turned back or stashed away for the simple reason that nothing has been delivered! The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is far from artificial. It is real and evident to anyone who has access to view it. Clearly, the crisis was created by Israel, but passing the buck of the ‘international pressure’ is the only remedy that Israel can come up with. They have no intention to break the siege. It is in their interests to continue it to the bitter end. Unfortunately, neither Gazans nor Hamas can do anything to change this. We are going to see a long, hot summer ahead, and Israel is doing damage control. 

Recent reports indicate that not only is Hamas depriving the civilization population, it is allocating the supplies for its own use.

Then, we get a flaming headline:

Hamas steal fuel from the civilian population

A Jerusalem Post report, on the 29th of April, ( ) states that Hamas stole 60,000 liters of fuel from the civilian population of Gaza. This was confirmed by the head of the Palestinian Authority’s gas agency, who added that Hamas gunmen had raided the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, stealing at least 60,000 liters of fuel meant for the Gaza power station, for use in their own vehicles.Of course, this quote is in quite a few papers, all of them stating that Mohahed Salama stated as such to Israeli Radio. I’ve been unable to find any other source to confirm this. As a matter of fact, Israel doesn’t like to quote him when he stated something much more sinister: 

 

Mojahed Salama, head of the PA Petrol Agency in Gaza, said that fuel imports Sunday showed a 40 to 50 percent reduction in diesel and benzene supplies and a 12 percent reduction in fuel for Gaza’s power plant. “We sent the supplying company the same daily requests, but they said they were sorry and that because of the new imposed sanctions they could only send us a reduced quantity”, Salama told Reuters. A spokesman for Dor Alon, the Israeli energy company that supplies Gaza, said the company had “received instructions” from the Defense Ministry and was “acting according to those instructions”.
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-172296528.html

So, who is stealing fuel from the civilian population? Ask the Israeli Defence Ministry all about their instructions.

Of course, these international reports are very worrying if one takes them by the soundbites provided by Israel. Take the London Independent report:

The London Independent reports on the artificial crisis caused by Hamas, which even caused the UN to suspend food aid to 650,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip after running out of fuel for its delivery vehicles. An emergency tanker sent to the Nahal Oz terminal was turned back by demonstrators, and was forced to return empty.  EU condemns Hamas actions which lead to further suffering of the Palestinian population.Now, that sounds really awful. But, if someone actually did read the article they would find these quotes:

 

Both sides agree that storage tanks on the Gaza side of the terminal are full, with stocks of up to 1 million litres of fuel. But Mahmoud Khozendar, the distributors’ vice-chairman, said that was only enough to meet three or four hours’ demand. They needed at least 10 times as much as Israel was prepared to deliver.Did you see what I saw? That last line kind of sticks like a pin in the cheek. They needed at least 10 times as much as Israel was prepared to deliver.

 

And this quote from the same article:

 

Last night Hamas proposed a six-month cease-fire with Israel, saying the Gaza Palestinian group would stop firing rockets into the Jewish state if Israel lifts its blockade of the coastal strip at the same time, Egypt’s state run Mena news agency reported.

The report came after a day of closed-door meetings between Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who has been mediating between Hamas and Israel, and Hamas’ strongman, Mahmoud Zahar.

Under the international boycott imposed after Hamas seized Gaza by force last June, Israel’s declared policy has been to allow in enough fuel, food and medical supplies to keep people alive, but not enough for them to live well.

So, even the best article that Israel propaganda experts could fine from an independent source point out something that doesn’t make Israel look too wonderful:

Namely, Hamas has offered a cease-fire of the Qassam Rockets (which at any rate cause limited damage). It is willing to come to a solution to have the blockade lifted. Evidently, while this is what Israel claims is behind the blockade, when action is taken to do so, they refuse to accept it and blame Hamas of being terrorists and depriving their own people of things they need to live. Ah, but remember, Israel admits it will KEEP PEOPLE ALIVE, at some level of survival, but they are going to have to suffer. Sounds like Auschwitz to me. 

On 24 April, the Presidency of the EU stated that Hamas activities were obstructing and even preventing humanitarian work by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).This is terrible news. Let’s see what else is on that press statement by the EU:

 

…the Presidency urges regular and unrestricted delivery of fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip in order not to aggravate further the humanitarian crisis there. The Presidency reiterates the EU’s call on all parties to work urgently for the controlled re-opening of the crossings in and out of Gaza for both humanitarian reasons and commercial flows.In other words, they are calling on Israel to put an end to their policies and to urgently act so as not to aggravate the humanitarian crisis that everyone knows is in full swing.

 

But let’s conclude this press release.

 

Hamas nationalizing fuel supplies meant for the civilian populationIn another report, Nissim Keinan of Israel’s Second Radio channel reported on 4 May that Hamas was in fact holding the civilian population hostage. 

 

Nissim Keinan, nationally famous for his Voice of Israel broadcasts from the Sderot and Gaza regions, told Arutz-7 the IDF Gaza offensive accomplished a “drop in the ocean” of what needs to be done.

Who is this reporter? I never heard of him, but he’s very famous in Israel. Here is something to give us an idea of who our source is:

 

Nissim Keinan is the voice heard several times a day on national radio, reporting from the south on Kassam rockets in Sderot, terrorist activity from within Gaza, and nearly everything else that goes on in that area of the country.

Speaking with Arutz-7´s Hebrew newsmagazine on Monday, Keinan said, “Yes, it was a successful operation, but it appears that the terrorist activity will simply revert right away to the way it was before. We’re talking about looking for a needle in a haystack – because Beit Hanoun, where the offensive took place, is just a small town of 30,000 people; but what about Beit Lahiya and all its terrorists? And what about Jebalya, and the entire area of the Shati refugee camp, and the Khan Yunis area, and Dir el-Balach – I mean, the entire place is swarming with terrorists. Just because you took care of one place and confiscated weapons and ammunitions, it still doesn’t mean that you´ve achieved the goals.”

“In any event,” Keinan continued without stopping, “it´s strange to hear the army talk of such great successes, when really it was just a routine operation. They moved the Kassam launchers southward, true – but you can fire Kassams from the south too, you know, and they also fire them from the north. Yes, the accuracy of the firing has been impaired, but they were never accurate; they just shoot and it hits wherever it hits.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/115008

The Summer Rain Offensive was a Drop in the Ocean of what needs to be done? So, Keinan thinks that 197 civilians and 48 children killed by the IDF is a good and positive thing? Sounds again, a hell of a lot like Auschwitz to me. So, I leave you to speculate on his final words here:

He stated that Hamas has nationalized all the fuel supplies transferred by Israel for the civilian population, and for operation of the electricity plant, and is using it solely for its own purposes. In addition, food sent by the donor countries is allocated in accordance with Hamas instructions. Of the thousands of tons of grains, food and fuel that were transferred, none was able to reach the civilian population.All of a sudden, he cares about the civilian population of Gaza? And I am Santa Claus.

 

See also Israel has what you like! Hasbara Instructions

Gilad Atzmon – Anatomy of an Unresolved Conflict

According to Hegel, attaining ‘self-consciousness’ is a process that necessarily involves the other. How am I to become conscious of myself in general? It is simply through desire or anger, for example. Unlike animals that overcome biological needs by destroying another organic entity, human desire is a desire for recognition.

In Hegelian terms, recognition is accomplished by directing oneself towards non-being, that is, towards another desire, another emptiness, another ‘I’. It is something that can never be fully accomplished. “The man who desires a thing humanly acts not so much to possess the thing as to make another recognise his right. It is only desire of such recognition, it is only the action that flows from such desire, that creates, realizes and reveals a human, non biological I.” (Kojeve A., Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, 1947, Cornell Univ. Press, 1993, p. 40). Following this Hegelian line of thinking, we can deduce that in order to develop self-consciousness, one must face the other. While the biological entity will fight for its biological continuity, a human being fights for recognition.

In order to understand the practical implications of this idea, let us turn to the ‘Master-Slave Dialectic’. The Master is called the Master because he strives to prove his superiority over nature and over the slave who is forced to recognize him as a master.

At first glance, it looks as if the master has reached the peak of human existence but as we shall see, this is not the case. As has just been stated, it is recognition that humans fight for. The master is recognised by the slave as a master but the slave’s recognition has little value. The master wants to be recognised by another man, but a slave is not a man. The master wants recognition by a master, but another master cannot allow another superior human being in his world. “In short, the master never succeeds in realising his end, the end for which he risks his very life.” So the master faces a dead-end. But what about the slave? The slave is in the process of transforming himself since, unlike the master who cannot go any further, the slave has everything to aspire to. The slave is at the vanguard of the transformation of the social conditions in which he lives. The slave is the embodiment of history. He is the essence of progress.

A Lesson in Mastery

Let us now try to apply the Hegelian Master-Slave Dialectic to the notion of Jewish ‘chosenness’ and exclusivity. While the Hegelian ‘Master’ risks his biological existence to become a master, the newborn Jewish infant risks his foreskin. The chosen infant is born into the realm of mastery and excellence without (yet) excelling at anything. The other awards the chosen baby his prestigious status without the requirement of facing any process of recognition. And in fact, the ‘chosen’ title is given to Jews by themselves (allegedly God) rather than by others.

If, for instance, we try to analyse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the Hegelian mechanism of recognition, we realise the impossibility of any dialogue between the two parties. While it is more than clear that the Palestinian people are fighting for recognition, which they declare at every possible opportunity, the Israelis avoid the whole recognition issue altogether. They are convinced that they are already fully recognised in the first place. They know who they are – they are born masters who happen to live on their ‘promised land’. Israelis refuse to join the dialectic ‘meaning transformation’ game and instead divert all their intellectual, political and military efforts into demolishing any sense of Palestinian recognition. The battle for Israeli society is to suppress any Palestinian symbol or desire, whether material, spiritual or cultural.

Strangely enough, the Palestinians are managing quite well in their fight for recognition. More and more people out there are now beginning to understand the just nature of the Palestinian cause and the level of inhumanity entangled with the entire concept of Zionism and Jewish politics in general. More and more people out there find the Palestinian people and their spokesmen very easy to empathise with. Even the Hamas who were despised by most Western political institutions are now managing to get their message across. The Israelis, on the other hand, are falling behind in such manoeuvres. The average Western listener finds them almost impossible to sympathise with. While a Palestinian will call you to share his pain and misery, talking straight to your heart, the Israeli spokesman will demand that you to accept his views. He will insist on selling you a ready-made fantastic historical narrative; a repetitive tale that starts somewhere around Biblical Abraham, continues with a series of Holocausts and leads eventually towards more current bloodshed. It seems as if the Israelis, the masters, always present the same faceless story. Can Abraham and the Holocaust justify Israeli inhuman behaviour in Gaza? Not really, and the reason is simple, Abraham and the Holocaust and historical narratives in general do not evoke genuine emotional feelings. And indeed, the Jewish political world is so desperate to maintain its narrative that the last Holocaust has now been transformed into a legal narrative. The message is as follows: “beware, if you doubt my narrative you will end up behind bars.” This is obviously an act of desperation.

Following Hegel, we learn that recognition is a dynamic process; it is a type of understanding that grows in you. While the Palestinians will use all their available, yet limited, resources to make you look at their faces, in their eyes, to carry you into a dynamic process of mutual recognition, the Israelis would expect you to accept their narrative blindly. They would expect you to turn a blind eye to the clear fact that as far as the Middle East is concerned Israel is an aggressor like no other. Israel is an occupying regional super power, a tiny State heavily engaged in exploring different nuclear, biological and chemical arsenals. It is a racially orientated apartheid state that bullies and abuses its minorities on a daily basis. Yes, the Israelis and their supportive Jewish lobbies around the world want you to ignore these facts. They insist upon being the victims, they want you to approve their inhuman policies referring to Jews endless suffering.

How is it that Jewish politics has become aggressive like no other? It is simply the fact that from a Jewish political perspective, there is ‘no other’. The so-called other for them is nothing but a vehicle rather than an equal human subject. Israeli foreign affairs and Jewish political activity should be comprehended in the light of a severe lack of a ‘recognition mechanism’. Israeli and Jewish politics, left right and centre, is grounded on locking and fixing of meaning. They would refuse to regard history as a flux, as a dynamic process, as a journey towards ‘oneself’ or self-realisation. Israel and Israelis view themselves as if they are external to history. They do not progress toward self-realisation because they have a given, fixed identity to maintain. Once they encounter a complex situation with the surrounding world, they would then create a model that adapts the external world into their chauvinist self-loving value system. This is what Neo-conservatism is all about; this is what the fantasmic yet sickening newly emerging Judeo-Christian discourse is all about.

As sad as it may sound, people who are not trained to recognise the other are unable to let them be recognised. The Jewish tribal mindset: left, centre and right, sets Jews aside of humanity. It does not equip the followers of the tribal mindset with the mental mechanism needed to recognise the other. Why should they do it? They have done so well for many years without having to do so. Lacking a notion of an other, indeed transcends one far beyond any recognised form of true humanist thought. It takes one far beyond ethical thinking or moral awareness.

Instead of morality, every debate is reduced into a mere political struggle with some concrete material and practical achievements to aim for.

Hegel may throw some further light on the entire saga. If indeed one becomes aware of oneself via the other, then the ‘Chosen subject’ is self-aware to start with. He is born into mastery. Accordingly, Israelis are not practicing any form of dialogue with the surrounding human environment since they are born masters. In order to be fair to the Israelis, I have to admit that their lack of a recognition mechanism has nothing to do with their anti-Palestinian feelings. As a matter of fact, they cannot even recognise each other – Israel and Israelis have a long history of discrimination against its own people (Jews of non-European descent such as Sephardim Jews are discriminated against by the Jewish elite, those of Western descent). But are progressive Jews any different? Not really. Like the Israelis and similar to any other form of tribal chauvinist ideology, they are continuously withdrawing into self-centred segregated discourse that has very little to engage or grab the interest of anyone besides themselves. Consequently, like the Israelis who surround themselves with walls, the Jewish progressive cells have already set themselves into cyber ghettos that are becoming increasingly hostile to the rest of humanity and those who supposed to be their comrades.

Historic Materialism

If one cannot establish relationships with one’s neighbour based upon recognition of the other, there must be another way of establishing a dialogue. If one cannot form a dialogue based upon empathy with the other and the rights of the other, one must pursue another mode of communication. It seems as if the alternative ‘chosen’ dialogical method reduces any form of communication into a materialistic language. Almost any form of human activity, including love and aesthetic pleasure, can be reduced to a material value. The Chosen political activists are well practised in using this method of communication.

Recently the Israeli ultra-Zionist author A B Yehoshua has managed to upset many American Jewish Ethnic leaders at the American Jewish Committee conference by saying: “You [Jews in the Diaspora] are changing jackets … you are changing countries like changing jackets.” Indeed, Yehoshua came under a lot of pressure following his remark, he was very quick to regret his statement. However, Yehoshua’s insight, while far from being original, is rather painfully truthful.

It is quite apparent that some politically orientated Diaspora Jews are engaged in an extremely fruitful dialogue with any possible core of hegemony. Yehoshoua’s criticism was fairly spot on. Following Yehoshua, once it is clear that a new country is becoming a leading world super power, it won’t take long before a wave of liberated assimilated Jews would try to infiltrate into its governing elite. “If China ever became the world’s foremost super power,” he warned, “American Jews would migrate there to assimilate rather than in the US.” (http://www.amin.org/eng/uncat/2006/june/june30-1.html).

A decade ago, at the peak of the legal battle between major Jewish institutions and the Swiss Bank, Norman Finkelstein stood up and said that very little remains of the Jewish Holocaust apart from various industrial forms of financial bargaining for compensation. According to Finkelstein, it was all about profit-making. Without any criticism intended by me about financial compensation, it appears as if some people are quick to translate their pain into gold. (It is important to mention that pain as well as being transformed into gold, can be transformed into other values such as moral or aesthetic ones). However, the possibility of transforming pain and blood into cash stands at the heart of the Israeli false dream – that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially the refugee problem, is resolvable. Now we know where this assumption originates. The Israelis, as well as Jewish leading institutions, are fully convinced that if they were happy to come to a financial settlement with the Germans (or the Swiss for the matter), the Palestinians would be equally happy to sell their lands and dignity. How do the Israelis arrive at such a strange conviction? Because they must know better than the Palestinians what the Palestinians really want. How? Because the Israelis are brilliant, they are the Chosen People. Moreover, the chosen subject doesn’t even try to engage with the human in the other. Sixty years after the Nakba, the mass the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians, the vast majority of Israelis and world Jewry do not even start to acknowledge the Palestinian cause, let alone do they show any form of empathy.

When you talk to Israelis about the conflict, one of their most frequently used arguments is the following: “When we (the Jews) came here (to Palestine), they (the Arabs) had nothing. Now they have electricity, work, cars, health services, etc.” This is obviously a failure to recognise the other. It is typical of the chauvinist colonialist to impose one’s own value system on the other. In other words, the Israelis expect the Palestinians to share the importance they attach to the acquisition of material wealth. “Why should the other share my values? Because I know what is good. Why do I know what is Good? Because I am the best.” This arrogant and completely materialistic approach obviously lies at the heart of the Israeli vision of peace. The Israeli military calls it ‘the stick and the carrot’. Seemingly, when referring to Palestinians they actually have rabbits in their minds. But, as bizarre or even tragic as it may sound, the Israeli born, ultra-left Mazpen movement was not categorically different. They obviously had some revolutionary dreams of secularisation for the Arab world. They obviously knew what was good for the Arabs. Why did they know? Shall I let you guess? Because they were exclusively and chauvinistically clever. They were the Marxists of the chosen type. Hence, I wasn’t overwhelmingly surprised that as time went by, the legendary ‘revolutionary’ Mazpen and the despised neo-conservatism actually united into a single catastrophic message: “We know better what is good for you than you yourselves do.”

Both Zionists and Jewish leftists have a “New Middle East dream”. In Peres’s old fantasy the region turns into a financial paradise in which Israel would stand at the very centre. The Palestinians (as well as other Arab States) would supply Israeli industries (representing the West) with the low cost labour they need. In turn, they, the Arabs, would earn money and spend it buying Israeli (Western) goods. In the Judeo progressive dream the Arabs leaves Islam behind, they become Marxist cosmopolitan progressives (East European Jews) and join the journey towards a world revolution. As much as Peres’s dream is sad, the Judeo Marxist version is almost funny.

As it seems, within the Zionist dream, Israel would establish a dual coexistence in the region where the Palestinian people would be the eternal slaves and the Israelis their masters. Within the Judeo progressive cosmopolitan dream, Red Palestine will establish a dual coexistence in the region where the Palestinian people would be the eternal slaves of a remote Euro-centric ideology. If there is a big categorical difference between the two Judeo centric ideologies, I just fail to see it.

However, according to Hegel, it is the slave that moves history forward. It is the slave that struggles towards his freedom. It is the slave who transforms himself and it is the master who eventually vanishes. Following Hegel, we have good reason to believe that the future of the region belongs to the Palestinians, the Iraqis and nation Islam in general. One way of explaining why Israel ignores this understanding of history relates to the conditional detachment of the exclusive ‘chosen’ state of mind.

Welcome to Cuckoo land

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian doctor who lives and works in the occupied West Bank, referred to Israel as “trying to be David and Goliath at the same time” (Dr. Barghouti was speaking at a debate at the House of Commons, 22 Nov. 2000). According to Dr. Barghouti, this is impossible. He also claimed that “Israel is probably the only State that bombs a territory it occupies.” He found this very strange and even bizarre. Is it really strange to be David and Goliath simultaneously? Is it really strange to destroy your own property? Not if you are insane. The lack of mirroring (again, seeing oneself through the other) can lead people, as well as nations, into strange dark corners. The lack of a framework which would allow you to discern your own image through the other, the lack of a corrective mechanism, appears to be a very dangerous state of affairs.

The first generation of Israeli leaders (Ben-Gurion, Eshkol, Meir, Peres, Begin) grew up in the Diaspora, mainly in Eastern Europe. Being a Jew living in a non-Jewish environment forces one to develop a sharpened self-awareness and imposes a certain kind of mirroring. Moreover, early Zionism is slightly more developed than other forms of Jewish tribal politics for the simple reason that Zionism is there to transform the Jews into ‘people like other people’. Such a realisation involves a certain amount of necessary mirroring. However, this was not enough to restrain Israeli aggressive acts (e.g., Deir-Yassin, Nakba, Kafer Kasem, the ’67 war, etc.) but it was more than enough to teach them a lesson in diplomacy. Since 1996, young leaders who were born there have led Israel into the state of ‘chosenness’ (Rabin, Netanyahu, Sharon, Barak, Olmert). Whilst in their earlier years they were imbued with an intense traditional Jewish anxiety, as they grew up this was overtaken by the legacy of the 1967 ‘miracle’, an event that turned some of the ‘chosen’ ideologies into a messianic extravaganza. This fixation with absolute power exacerbated by Jewish anxiety coupled with ignorance of the ‘other’ leads to epidemic collective schizophrenia, both of mood and action; a severe loss of contact with reality that gives way to the use of excessive force. The recent “Second Lebanon War” was an obvious example for that matter. Israel retaliates with machine guns in response to children throwing stones, with artillery and missiles against civilian targets following a sporadic uprising, and with a total war to a minor border incident. This behaviour should not be explained by using political, materialist or sociological analytical tools. Much greater understanding could be gained by situating the conflict within a philosophical framework, which allows a better understanding of the origins of paranoia and schizophrenia.

The Israeli Prime Minister, representing both ‘David and Goliath’, can talk about the vulnerability of Israel, Jewish pain and Jewish misery in one breath and about launching a massive military offensive against the whole region in the next. Such behaviour can only be explained by seeing it as a form of mental illness. The funny/sad side of it is that most Israelis do not even realise that something is going terribly wrong. Being a born master leads to the absence of a ‘recognition mechanism’. Inevitably it leads toward blindness. This lack of a recognition mechanism results in a split psyche, being both ‘David and Goliath’ at one and the same time. It seems that neither Israel nor Israelis can any longer be partners in any meaningful dialogue.

PALESTINE THINK TANK IS BORN!!

Haitham Sabbah, Mary Rizzo and Gilad Atzmon are very pleased to announce their new site. Palestine Think Tank. It is a site containing news, analysis, art and more to further the cause of justice for Palestinians. It concentrates on many aspects of the resistance, but also focuses on the issues affecting the entire Middle East. Please visit us at www.palestinethinktank.com, share this news with those who might be interested, and if you have a blog or site, consider linking to us. We also have a forum for those interested in interactive communication.

Together with us are some of the most insightful and talented writers, activists and artists around. Contributors include Khalid Amayreh, Ramzy Baroud, Adib Kawar, Ernesto Paramo, Wael Al Saad, Nadia Hasan, Iqbal Tamimi, Richard Jones, Nahida Izzat, Razan Al Ghazzawi, Khaled Islaih, Steve Amsel, Ben Heine and many more. www.palestinethinktank.com contains both original material and material from other sources that we believe deserves to be considered.

We are people from different backgrounds who live in different countries. We speak different languages and believe in different religions, or even believe in no religion at all.

These differences are not a problem to any of us.

Differences are what makes the world a wonderful place because everyone is unique. It allows us the possibility to learn more about the world and gain insights we would never have access to otherwise.

Celebrating our differences, we understand that there is a belief that unites us and unites all the people involved in creating this website. It is the belief that Zionism is wrong. Zionism is racism. For Zionism to happen, it means the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of the land of Palestine. We accept nothing about Zionism as being positive, yet we believe there are some people who don’t know exactly what Zionism is, and therefore assume it is something different than an ideology, and therefore, is beyond criticism.

We wish to educate those who don’t know what Zionism is so that they are able to see how damaging it is and how it is a just cause to stop it. We hope www.palestinethinktank.com will be a space for free discussion and wide-ranging analysis.

We believe that the just struggle of the Palestinian people is the greatest liberation struggle of our times, and we aim to render service to their cause through presenting as many aspects of their history, culture and struggle as we can. We intend to give space to many Arab voices as well, since the full realisation of the potential of people in the entire Arab world has been hindered for far too long by the “International Community”. It is far easier to promote an idea of “the Arab” that cleanses Israel and the West from all responsibility for the instability and lack of progress that in some cases is evident than to listen to the complex arguments and reasoning that people from these countries and who understand the history of the Arab World are able to present.

We hope to be able to provide a site full of valid content that is at the service of the Palestinian people especially. Their steadfastness is an inspiration to all mankind, and to those of us in particular who feel close to their cause or are Palestinian, it is a message of love, hope and humanity that we hope we are worthy of.

Content of www.palestinethinktank.com is intellectual property of the authors. All material that does not appear in this site as the original source will always be credited for authors and source.

The material here may be reproduced elsewhere, but we request that you kindly cite our source and post a link to the page on www.palestinethinktank.com from where it was taken. We will also build up our links and community as time develops, so that we can all work towards our goal with the energy and imagination required.

www.palestinethinktank.com contains a forum, which is a space to discuss arguments related to the Middle East. We hope that it will allow all of us to broaden our horizons, engage in constructive debate and present a social network that will be useful to all of us.

www.palestinethinktank.com will be in two languages, in English predominantly, and Arabic.

We accept original articles as well as suggestions for material published elsewhere.

Adib S Kawar – Lebanon Strikes: Politicizing Public Demands

David Welch, the US Near East Affairs emissary with Fouad Siniora. Lebanese labor unions called for a strike on May 7th for adjusting the salaries of the public and private sector employees and workers, as salaries and wages had not been adjusted for the last ten years, although the cost of living had more the doubled or tripled since then, especially prices had escalated almost by 100% compared to what they were at a year ago. The rise is mainly due to unprecedented increase in costs of energy sources and the depreciation of the U.S. Dollar compared to the Euro, which equally affected prices, noting that the Lebanese currency is tied with the U.S. dollar.

Just because those calling for the strike are in the opposition camp, the government and its so-called majority camp, took the opportunity to politicize the strike and hit against the opposition and the Lebanese resistance. The cabinet announced a rise of the minimum wage from LL 300,000 to LL 500,000. (U.S. $200 to $333) without announcing the mechanism of this increase for the minimum wage, noting that there are hardly any workers or employees whose wages or salaries are at the official minimum nor any mentioning of the adjustment of other salaries and wages which had been the case in all previous laws of adjustment of salaries.

On the occasion, the coalition of committees and popular unions issued a communiqué condemning the governmental and the majority party’s actions to abort the strike saying:

While the Lebanese are preparing for celebrating the liberation day and resistance on 25/5/2008, and while all Arabs are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Arabs Nakbah of Palestine caused by the Zionist aggressor, the ruling group issued a number of unprecedented and grave decisions:

1 – These decisions aim at depriving the resistance of its legitimacy and will consider its leaders and fighters and probably its martyrs as outlaws, which is certainly in the service of the Zionist enemy and its American masters and tallies with their logic.

2 – These decisions clearly contradict the essence of the basis on which the present government (considered by the opposition as illegal) gained parliamentary legitimacy, which legitimized the right, presence and role of the Lebanese resistance in liberating the land and defending the Lebanese and Lebanon against the continuous Zionist aggression.

3 – These decisions are a stab in the heart of the Lebanese patriotic accord, and hits the sentiments and feelings a large sector of the Lebanese people and the Arab Nation, which considers the resistance as a child to defend Lebanon and Arab pride.

4 – These decisions are a clear proof of the involvement of the ruling gang in the project of creating internal sedition in Lebanon to give a cover for the failure of the Zionist/American project and its extensions, and an arrangement for an internal sedition, which the Zionist enemy failed to do. They actually work for the fulfilment of the ‘prophecy’ of C. David Welch, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, in which he announced during his last visit to Lebanon of a ‘hot summer’ in Lebanon and the region”.

5 – The decisions are in full contradiction of the head of the ruling gang, Fouad Siniora, at the end of President Lahoud’s presidency on 24/5/2008 that he shall not take decisions that are of basic characteristics before electing a new president of the Republic.

6 – These decisions reflect a clear lack sense of responsibility, because they don’t take into consideration the repercussions and results and their effects on the static patriotic options in relation to internal stability.

7 – These decisions reflect the ruling gang’s total slipping to involve the security and military establishments in the political maneuvers, which is a game that the Lebanese paid a heavy price for in the past.

8 – These decisions go beyond the simplest rules and administrative principles, because they are taken without legal or legislative basis. And they are a result of known political intentions with well known sources.

9 – These decisions increase the fears of a large sector of the Lebanese public of the existence of a Zionist-American plan to internationalize Lebanon starting with internationalization of the airport and other public facilities.

(The so-called majority ruling gang claims that Hezbollah put monitoring cameras around the airport to control the airport).

10 – These decisions start with the airport and its security and remind us that all the wars that were waged against Lebanon started from the airport, since the 28/12/1968 aggression that inaugurated the continuing Zionist war on Lebanon 40 years ago, up to the July 2006 war that started with the bombardment of the airport and its closure for several weeks after the end of the aggression.

The comments about the ruling gang decisions call on those who care for the unity, security and stability of Lebanon to rise up to reject these dangerous decisions, and demand the immediate retreat from their implementation, and not be a starting point for the anti-Lebanon plans.

Some factions of the ruling gang, by direct orders from what they call their American ally, order the sabotaging of resistance efforts for defending Lebanon against Zionist aggressions, which are directly or indirectly in the service of the Zionist enemy, and the ‘American ally’ takes no action which is not for Zionist interest. Certain parties are ‘complaining’ about the special means of communication (special telephone system) of the resistance that is vital for its operations and security.

In the meantime, Condy consoles the same Siniora

Khalid Amayreh – Shimon Peres: the lying old man

Does Shimon Peres carry the genes of a pathological liar?

The question may sound facetious to many, but Peres’s apparent inability to distinguish between truth and falsehood makes the question quite valid.

At 84, Peres continues to dish out a daily staple of lies, including obscene lies.

This week, the “hero” of the Qana-1 massacre, told foreign correspondents based in Israel that “Hamas was standing in the way of Palestinian statehood.”

Well, this is, of course, a blatant lie, to say the least, because every honest person under the sun, Jew or gentile, knows well that the main obstacle impeding the realization of peace in the Middle East has been the intensive colonization of Palestinian land and unending expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied territories that belong to another people.

So how can we possibly buy the argument that Hamas is responsible for the building on the West Bank of hundreds of Jewish settlements, inhabited by hundreds of thousands of fascist-minded “settlers” who view non-Jews as animals in the shape of humans who should be enslaved by the “master race” as water carriers and wood hewers?

To be sure, Hamas is not an organization of angels. However, blaming the Islamic movement for the liquidation of the two-state solution is noting short of a pornographic lie.

Indeed, from its very inception, Hamas entrusted “peace negotiations” to the PLO, and said on numerous occasions that it would live with a Palestinian state covering the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Moreover, the movement, many of whose leaders have been brutally murdered by Israel, repeatedly voiced a willingness to reach a ceasefire with the Israeli occupation army on condition of parity and reciprocity.

Hence, it was Israel – not Hamas – that rejected peace, first by stealing Palestinian land from rightful proprietors at gunpoint and then, by pursuing a genocidal assault against the Palestinian people’s very existence. Needless to say, this ongoing onslaught has certain hair-raising commonalities with the Nazi onslaught against European Jewry during the Second World War.

Peres is not stupid, he knows the power of words and the magic of sound-bites. However, he often doesn’t say what he means, nor does he mean what he says, all for the purpose of eluding a world that dreads confronting Zionist lies.

Peres’s conception of “Palestinian state” is incompatible with the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, as well as being incompatible with international law and human rights.

“Mr. Peace,” as he is occasionally deceptively dubbed, would like the Palestinians to “settle for” a deformed, truncated and territorially discontinuous entity on “parts” of the West Bank, without East Jerusalem and certainly without the repatriation of millions of Palestinian refugees who were uprooted from their homes and towns and villages around this time sixty years ago, in a drama of deportation and exile that continues to this date.

Hamas, like 99% of Palestinians, does reject such a scandalous sell-out of inalienable Palestinian rights. Indeed, even Mahmoud Abbas, the Chairman of the American puppet regime in Ramallah, whom Israel views as “moderate” and an “acceptable peace partner” openly rejects such a humiliating surrender to Zionism.

A classical example of the consummate Zionist leader, Peres may think that deceiving the world and frustrating the hapless Palestinian Authority regime into capitulating to the Zionist reality will be good for the Jews and for peace.

He is absolutely wrong. Palestinians may be in a state of weakness at the present as opposed to Israel, a powerful state that draws much of its military, economic and technological superiority from its tight domination of American politics and policies. However, this anomalous situation can’t be perpetuated forever. Nazi Germany (Israel is undoubtedly an updated version of the Third Reich despite all the fanfare and hasbara to the contrary) didn’t last forever. Nor did diabolical Stalinism, which had much in common with Zionism in certain respects. A fact that is well known to historians.

Coercing the Palestinians to surrender to Zionism, either through brute force as Israel has been doing, or economic inducements as Peres is trying to do, or both, would only keep the embers of injustice smoldering thinly beneath the surface.

So, what Peres and his ilk view as “Jewish ingenuity” will eventually be proven an expression of visionless arrogance and poor statesmanship.

In addition to uttering his usual quotable but mendacious sound-bites about the Palestinians and their enduring plight, Peres is spending time these days trying to convince the world that Iran is Nazi Germany number-2 and its President Ahmadinejad is Adolph Hitler.

Well, how could any person with an iota of honesty and rectitude compare Nazi Germany, which destroyed Europe and caused the death of tens of millions of people, with Iran, a third world country whose only “crime” is its refusal to be subservient to the American-Zionist hegemony?

Besides, it is amply clear that Peres, who played a key role in introducing nuclear weapons to the Middle East via the French connection several decades ago, is utterly unqualified to lecture the world about an alleged Iranian nuclear threat.

To be sure, Israel, which possesses a huge arsenal of hundreds of nuclear bombs and warheads that are trained toward Teheran, Cairo, Damascus and Beirut (and perhaps Berlin as well), has no right to incite the west against the Islamic Republic. In the final analysis, Iran has an inalienable right to develop nuclear technology and even nuclear weapons to deter the mad dogs of Zionism, both in Tel Aviv and in Washington, D.C.

Nuclear weapons, like all weapons of mass destruction, are ugly and evil. However, America and Israel are first and foremost to blame for transforming our world into a jungle where one must be a fox, or a tiger or a venomous cunning snake in order to survive.

Israel claims that it has never threatened to decimate any country or any people and that its nuclear stockpile is for “peaceful purposes.”

But Israel has been decimating the Palestinian people for sixty years and some of its leaders who have a Hitlerian mentality are already threatening to inflict a holocaust on their victims.

For sure, had the Palestinians been strong, Israel would not have destroyed their towns, demolished their homes, bulldozed their farms before expelling them to the four corners of the globe.

In conclusion, Peres and other Zionist leaders can’t be trusted to tell the truth since Zionism and truth are inherently incompatible.

During his stint as Prime Minister in 1996, flowing the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Peres oversaw the Qana-1 massacre in Southern Lebanon when the Israeli Wehrmacht knowingly and deliberately murdered more than a hundred Lebanese civilians, including numerous children who had sought refuge at the UN peace-keeping forces’ headquarters at the village of Qana.

For those who have forgotten or don’t know, neither Peres nor Israel has had the moral courage to say “sorry.”

Obviously they both lack the moral caliber to do so. And their crimes are too colossal and too numerous to be atoned for.