Archives: April 2004

Wed Apr 28, 2004

Doomed to failure in the Middle East

Dear Prime Minister,

We the undersigned former British ambassadors, high commissioners, governors and senior international officials, including some who have long experience of the Middle East and others whose experience is elsewhere, have watched with deepening concern the policies which you have followed on the Arab-Israel problem and Iraq, in close cooperation with the United States. Following the press conference in Washington at which you and President Bush restated these policies, we feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 28, 04 | 5:48 pm

Tue Apr 27, 2004

Gaza withdrawal? Do it right

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has returned from Washington with the blessings of President George W. Bush for his unilateral withdrawal plan. He's likely to win the May 2 Likud referendum on the plan, as well as cabinet approval.

Then comes the real test: the physical evacuation of thousands of bitter settlers, whose resistance will undoubtedly be reinforced by many thousands of supporters determined to make the unilateral withdrawal as messy as possible. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 27, 04 | 6:50 pm

Neocon Man: Profile of Daniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes was a busy man in the days following September 11, 2001. The Philadelphia-based foreign policy analyst and commentator on terrorism and Islam first learned that planes had crashed into the World Trade Center when a local television producer called to invite him to the station for an interview. Over the next twelve months, Pipes would appear on 110 television and 450 radio shows. His op-eds graced the pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. The New York Post signed him up as a columnist. The Philadelphia Inquirer described him as "smoking-hot."

It was not always thus.


Posted by: Hazem on Apr 27, 04 | 12:19 am

Sun Apr 25, 2004

The Rising Corporate Military Monster

Thee Rising Corporate Military Monster
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

A corporate military monster is being created in Iraq.

The U.S. government is relying on private military contractors like never before. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 25, 04 | 6:27 pm

A country Destroyed

Once there was a time when American conservatives defended their country from government. No more. Today conservatives defend Bush’s warmongering neo-Jacobin government at all costs. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 25, 04 | 4:10 pm

Arafat Among the Ruins

The Mukata has always been something of a prison, even before Israeli Army bulldozers destroyed all of it but the two buildings where Yasir Arafat is currently making his stand. The walled compound, once the size of several city blocks, is in a prosperous residential area of Ramallah, the West Bank city. Over the decades, it has gone from being an army base in support of the British occupation of Palestine, to a Jordanian administrative center to the headquarters of Israeli forces in the city -- and finally, the command center of Arafat's Palestinian Authority, after the Oslo accords of 1993. If there is any real continuity to the place, it is that under the British, the Israelis and Arafat, it has almost always contained a jail. Today, although there are several hundred people who either live or work in the Mukata, about 20 of whom are described by the Israelis as important terrorists, the compound's most important prisoner is Arafat himself.

Posted by: Hazem on Apr 25, 04 | 4:53 am

Bush owes world some answers

pen Letter to George W. Bush

Sole Owner of the WAR in Iraq

& the person who caved-in to Ariel Sharon,

The leader of a gang that has hijacked both

The United States of America & Israel

Mr. Bush,

In the middle of last week you met with Ariel Sharon in the White House where you conceded to Sharon's demands for everything he told you he wanted to happen in Palestine, and in the Middle East, including his desire to murder Mr. Arafat.

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 25, 04 | 2:49 am

A Warning to Those Who Dare to Criticize Israel in the Land of Free Speech A Warning to Those Who Dare to Criticize Israel in the Land of Free Speech

04/24/04 "The Independent" -- Behold Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, would-be graduation commencement speaker at Emory University in the United States. She has made a big mistake. She dared to criticise Israel. She suggested--horror of horrors--that "the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the occupation". Now whoah there a moment, Mary! "Occupation"? Isn't that a little bit anti-Israeli?

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 25, 04 | 12:16 am

Sat Apr 24, 2004

Israeli Education Official Calls for Professor to Be Punished for 'Genocide' Accusation

Israel's minister of education, Limor Livnat, has announced that she will not participate in events at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev until the institution disciplines a member of its faculty who wrote that Israel is conducting a "symbolic genocide" of the Palestinian people.

Lev Grinberg, a sociologist who is a senior lecturer in the behavioral-sciences department, wrote last month in La Libre Belgique, a Belgian daily newspaper, that "the murder of Sheik Ahmed Yassin is part of a major move carried out by the government of Israel, which can be described as symbolic genocide."

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 24, 04 | 10:04 am

Fri Apr 23, 2004

EU pulls back from confronting US over Gaza

European Union foreign ministers have pulled back from an all-out confrontation with the US over President George W. Bush's support for Israel's unilateral "disengagement" plan from the Gaza Strip.

The decision to soften their opposition was made hours before the assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi, ordered by Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, and sharply condemned by the Europeans.

The shift came after an intense debate by EU foreign ministers at an informal meeting in Tullamore, with Jack Straw, British foreign secretary, taking the lead in supporting the US-backed plan.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 23, 04 | 4:21 pm

Livnat boycotts BGU due to faculty member's 'incitement'

Education Minister Limor Livnat is boycotting Ben-Gurion University of the Negev so long as it continues to employ political sociologist Prof. Lev Grinberg, she has told BGU President Prof. Avishai Braverman. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 23, 04 | 9:25 am

Thu Apr 22, 2004

How Israel's nuclear fiction was exposed

The Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu came to the end of an 18-year prison term on 21 April. Peter Hounam, the journalist who originally exposed the story, reflects on 14 years of solitary confinement and the fiction of Israel's non-nuclear status.


Posted by: Hazem on Apr 22, 04 | 6:03 pm

Bad days ahead

NEW: read the original text of the redacted CPA memo.

AS THE SITUATION in Iraq grows ever more tenuous, the Bush administration continues to spin the ominous news with matter-of-fact optimism. According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Iraqi uprisings in half a dozen cities, accompanied by the deaths of more than 100 soldiers in the month of April alone, is something to be viewed in the context of "good days and bad days," merely "a moment in Iraq’s path towards a free and democratic system." More recently, the president himself asserted, "Our coalition is standing with responsible Iraqi leaders as they establish growing authority in their country." More...

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 22, 04 | 5:02 pm

What Kind of State Deserves to Exist?

Amidst the political storm in Israel regarding the "Gaza disengagement" plan, only one really meaningful fact emerges: Sharon received Bush's approval to proceed with his plan for the wall in the West Bank.

With regard to the Gaza strip, the disengagement plan published in the Israeli papers on Friday, April 16th specifies that within a year and a half, the Israeli occupation there should be declared to be over. In every other aspect, the situation will remain as is. The Palestinians will be imprisoned from all sides, with no connection to the world, except through Israel. Israel also reserves for itself the right to act militarily inside the Gaza strip. (1) But since the strip will no longer be defined as an occupied territory, Israel will not be subject to the fourth Geneva Convention. Clause f of section I in the published plan states that "the disengagement move will obviate the claims about Israel with regard to its responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip". In other words, what Israel does today in violation of international law will become legal: It would presumably become formally permissible to starve people and to kill whoever Israel determines - from a child throwing stones, to the successor of a spiritual leader, himself executed a month before.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 22, 04 | 9:50 am

Tue Apr 20, 2004

Democracy is now a cloak for oppression

Al-Qa'ida uses religion to justify its crimes; the US, Britain and Russia today use democracy to cover their actions


Posted by: Hazem on Apr 20, 04 | 11:49 pm

Arab Democrats Feel Betrayed by Bush

Tough times just got tougher for long-suffering democrats in the Arab world.

Democratically inclined commentators in the region's online media are reeling from what they feel is the one-two-three punch of President Bush's rejection last week of Palestinians' "right of return" to their families' former homes in what is now Israel; Bush's endorsement of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza and make permanent some Jewish settlements on the West Bank; and Israel's assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.

As a group, they are not happy with any of Bush's recent actions.
The Arab Media Internet Network, a Palestinian news site that often carries editorials calling for democratization of the Arab world, published statements from Al-Haq, a West Bank human rights group affiliated with the International Commission of Jurists. The statement condemns the Rantisi killing and the Bush-Sharon agreement.

"The only means to achieve a just and durable solution to the conflict is through respect for international law," the group declared. "It cannot be built on a foundation of the violation or denial of international legal obligations or on unilateral statements that are not inclusive of all parties to the conflict."

None of the 24 Arab countries has a democratically elected government. Iraq has scheduled elections for January 2005 but remains under U.S. occupation with a government of hand-picked Iraqis. The Arabs of Israel have second-class citizenship -- but more freedom than most of their Arab neighbors. And when the Bush administration put forward a democracy initiative, to be formally unveiled in June at the G-8 summit, Arab governments were so discombobulated they cancelled a summit meeting rather than publicly discuss the issue.

The Middle East Times is a reformist weekly in Egypt that dares to act on calls for democracy by challenging the country's repressive press law with a regular feature on articles censored by the U.S.-allied Mubarak government. Its front page today features a photograph of Sharon laughing during his press conference with Bush last week in Washington. The AFP news story posted on the site makes no effort to hide editorial disapproval of U.S actions.

"Flouting successive United Nations resolutions, Bush said it was 'unrealistic' to expect Israel to pull out from all land captured in the 1967 war and added that Palestinian refugees should not be allowed to return to land lost to Israel in 1948, when the Jewish state was created."

The Yemen Times, which recently gave voice to dissent against Yemen's authoritarian government in an article about an Amnesty International conference, called Bush's actions "a disgrace in the history of the region."

Bush and Sharon, the paper said, sent a "a strong message to the Arab world, saying that they could not care less about the Arab regimes or nations. In some sense, they have the right not to care about the region because its leaders were stripped of their power a long time ago. All they have is local might to oppress their own people."

The independent Jordan Times says, "Bush is not listening. Least of all to his own advice.

"When Bush realizes that he is going it alone on the subject of Jewish settlements, not to mention the issue of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, we may find him backtracking. The president had conceded that the final status talks must address all differences between the two sides, especially where it counts most. He knows by now that his new policy has won him no applause, but from Israel."

"The Arabs are going through yet another cycle of pain and anger," writes Ahmed Jarallah, editor-in-chief of the Arab Times, based in Kuwait, the most pro-American Arab country and one of the few that has begun to liberalize its political system.

Jarallah laments Sharon's "crimes and massacres," but says the Arabs have only themselves to blame.

"Amidst all the breast-beating and denouncements we don't see any action. That makes us ask why is Israel attacking us? Why is that country in control of our destiny? Why it is being accepted, loved and pampered by the United States?

"The fault lies with us not with Israel or the U.S. Until today, we still don't know how to win friends. We don't know how to act like Israel, which speaks to the United States with one voice, unlike the Arabs who speak in 24 voices -- one for each country. Even now the Arabs aren't able to get rid of their tribal mentality. They still act in groups and organizations with each hating the other. We have miserably failed to act as one."

English-language news sites may not be representative of overall Arab public opinion. Appealing to readers who speak English and have access to high technology, pundits in the online media speak for a wealthier and more Westernized audience than the more popular Arabic newspapers. But for the same reasons they are a leading constituency for U.S.-backed reform efforts.

The average Arab has "difficulty in understanding the American administration's insistence on weakening the moderates' position," wrote columnist Ghassen Charbel in the Sunday edition of Dar al Hayat, a leading Arabic daily based in Beirut and London.

"The 'Bush Declaration' [about the Palestinian right of return] makes it more difficult to get Arab cooperation in extinguishing the Iraqi fire, and offers a chance to the roaming fighters in search for a chance to fight America and Americans, to do so. "

America's "enmity is costly" to the Arab world, Charbel concludes. "So is its friendship."

Posted by: Hazem on Apr 20, 04 | 2:02 pm

Mon Apr 19, 2004

America quietly sacks its prize witness against Saddam

Once he was a prize witness before congressional committees, arguing that the US must invade Iraq immediately because Saddam Hussein possessed a fearsome arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Given a top job in Baghdad after the war, he has now been quietly sacked by the US authorities.

Khidir Hamza was the dissident Iraqi nuclear scientist who played an important role persuading Americans to go to war in Iraq. His credentials appeared impeccable because he claimed to have headed Saddam's nuclear programme before defecting in 1994. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 19, 04 | 10:32 pm

Sharon's banana republics

The study of American-Israeli relations has preoccupied two generations of scholars. Two competing schools of thought addressed the "who wags whom" debate. The first school spoke of "an American Israel", with the United States dictating to the local ally its regional policy in accordance with the American global vision. Noam Chomsky wrote two decades ago that Washington was the contemporary Rome and Israel its regional belligerent, Sparta.

The second school projects the image of "an Israeli America", a complex relationship where the global superpower adopts the regional policy of its client state and integrates it in its global strategy. This is seen as a result of a powerful pro-Israel lobby that succeeded in turning "Capitol Hill into another Israeli-occupied territory".

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 19, 04 | 10:27 pm

Kerry: Rantisi's killing was justified

US Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said on Sunday Israel's killing of Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi was justified because Israel "has every right in the world to respond to any act of terror against it."

"Hamas is a terrorist, brutal organization," he told NBC's Meet the Press.

"It has had years to make up its mind to take part in a peaceful process. They refuse to ... and I support Israel's efforts to try to separate itself and to try to be secure."

Posted by: Hazem on Apr 19, 04 | 12:22 pm

Sun Apr 18, 2004

Vanunu released to life of 'internal exile'

Mordechai Vanunu, the man who first revealed that Israel had nuclear weapons, is "demoralised, worried and angry," as he finally prepares for the end of his 18-year prison sentence this week.

In one of the more grudging and unusual prison releases of recent times, Mr Vanunu, 49, is due to walk out of jail on Wednesday at the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon and into a series of heavily confining restrictions, amounting to a form of internal exile. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Apr 18, 04 | 7:08 pm

Bush Blows it Again

President George W. Bush continues to mislead the American people as to the cause of terrorism directed against the United States.

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 18, 04 | 1:48 pm

Sat Apr 17, 2004

Creating a Bantustan in Gaza

South Africa will be very interested in the Israeli disengagement plan published yesterday. The political, military, and economic aspects of the plan for the Gaza Strip and the enclave in the northern West Bank are amazingly similar to the homelands, one of the last inventions of the white minority in South Africa to perpetuate its rule over the black majority. The black and colored people that were concentrated in 10 isolated enclaves had limited autonomy, but their economic well-being depended on the good will of the white government. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 17, 04 | 11:18 pm

America quietly sacks its prize witness against Saddam

Once he was a prize witness before congressional committees, arguing that the US must invade Iraq immediately because Saddam Hussein possessed a fearsome arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Given a top job in Baghdad after the war, he has now been quietly sacked by the US authorities.

Khidir Hamza was the dissident Iraqi nuclear scientist who played an important role persuading Americans to go to war in Iraq. His credentials appeared impeccable because he claimed to have headed Saddam's nuclear programme before defecting in 1994. More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 17, 04 | 2:07 pm

Iraq as Vietnam

It is a pity the major news media have not convened a commission of inquiry to examine their own mistakes and derelictions concerning the war in Iraq. Wouldn't it be instructive to go back now and re-examine the "documents" the press and television provided Americans to understand why the United States must invade and conquer? Many of the news stories would sound quite naïve and gullible (also hysterical) in light of present events. The patriotic banners that accompanied TV news reports would look irresponsibly biased. Remember those investigative reporters uncovering Saddam's secret weapons like bomb-sniffing dogs? Remember the bellicose columnists and editorial writers who called for war with grotesque self-confidence?

Of course, news people don't look backward. No time for self-examination when they are caught up in the "new" news--a commission in Washington examining whether the White House failed its duty to thwart terrorism; the bloody unraveling of "nation-building" in Iraq. Both are suspenseful stories and compete for the main headlines.

Why do I feel melancholy rather than excitement? When reporters reach an advanced age, they sometimes become burdened by memory (assuming their brains are still functional). One can begin to recognize that much of the news is actually an old story--recycled versions of the human folly committed by previous generations. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Apr 17, 04 | 4:06 am

Fri Apr 16, 2004

By endorsing Ariel Sharon's plan George Bush has legitimised terrorism

What better recruiting sergeant could Bin Laden have than the President of the United States?

So President George Bush tears up the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and that's okay. Israeli settlements for Jews and Jews only on the West Bank. That's okay. Taking land from Palestinians who have owned that land for generations, that's okay. UN Security Council Resolution 242 says that land cannot be acquired by war. Forget it. That's okay.

Does President George Bush actually work for al-Qa'ida? What does this mean? That George Bush cares more about his re-election than he does about the Middle East? Or that George Bush is more frightened of the Israeli lobby than he is of his own electorate. Fear not, it is the latter. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 16, 04 | 5:41 pm

Turning into Israel?

Outraged by President Bush’s embrace of Ariel Sharon and the bloody U.S. assault on Fallujah, the Arab world is linking America’s occupation with Israel’s. That’s ominous.

One year after Baghdad fell to victorious U.S. troops, the Americans had to conquer the country all over again. The great rebellion of April 2004 expelled the U.S. from much of the capital, humiliated coalition allies, cut supply and communications lines to the south, and revealed a reservoir of popular hatred for the U.S. among both some Sunni Arabs in Fallujah and some Shiites in their cities. But perhaps the most ominous development for the U.S. was that the events tied together two occupations and two intifadas, or popular uprisings – Iraq and Palestine. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 16, 04 | 5:29 pm

The Vietnam Analogy

Iraq isn't Vietnam. The most important difference is the death toll, which is only a small fraction of the carnage in Indochina. But there are also real parallels, and in some ways Iraq looks worse. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 16, 04 | 4:22 pm

Thu Apr 15, 2004


An American life is worth a thousand Iraqi lives. Iraqi satirist and author Khalid Kishtainy does the accounts for the recent fighting in Falluja.


Posted by: Hazem on Apr 15, 04 | 10:38 pm


The world is too terrible a place to live in, not because of the bad things that happen, but because of the good people who stand by and do nothing.
Albert Einstein

Until recently it was a mystery to me how in the 1930s on of the most evil regimes in history could usurp power in a country that at the time represented the pinnacle of culture in terms of the arts and sciences, and was thought to be a model of democracy. How could the German populace have permitted such an occurrence?

As the Project for the New American Century unfolds and the unholy alliance of Christian Zionists, Neo Conservatives and corporate and Jewish Lobbies act in concert to dictate the foreign policy of the world’s only superpower, the global situation deteriorates. It seems inevitable now that the bogeyman of organised international terror will fill the void left by the demise of the Cold War. The fear generated by its intangible tentacles already acts as the catalyst, which is perverting western democracies and eroding established civil rights. When people are sufficiently afraid, they will accept whatever information they are given by those in authority, even if logic indicates that the information is skewed.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 15, 04 | 8:07 pm

Questioning the Israeli Boycott

Geneva, Switzerland

I would like to respond to Neve Gordon's piece, "Against the Israeli Academic Boycott" (Feb. 14). Like Gordon, I am opposed to an academic boycott of Israeli universities precisely because it singles out academia. Unlike Gordon, however, I don't see any valid justification to exclude universities and research institutes from a general boycott of Israeli goods and services.

The driving force behind the rapidly developing boycott movement is the frustration that many people in the West feel about the almost total indifference of their governments to the ongoing Israeli war against the Palestinians, and about the unperturbed legitimacy that Israel continues to enjoy in Western political circles. Since governments are not willing to stand up and put pressure on Israel, a variety of independent, grassroots initiatives have sprung up. They share the aim of delegitimizing Israel and its official institutions, penalizing it economically and isolating it politically.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 15, 04 | 9:17 am

Wed Apr 14, 2004

The Lonely Historian

Benny Morris discusses the new version of his famously controversial book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, which has left him alienated from both the left and the right.

As a reporter covering the war in Lebanon in 1982, Benny Morris paid his first visit to a Palestinian refugee camp—the Rashidiye Camp, near Tyre. The people there had originally come from the Galilee, and many of them had fled during the war of 1947-48. The stories they told Morris about their flight shook him, and made him want to probe deeper into the question that lay at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict: how did 700,000 Palestinians come to evacuate their homeland during the war of 1947-48, and who was responsible? More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 14, 04 | 10:08 pm

Mon Apr 12, 2004

War on Iraq is a Nuclear War

In May, 2003, the United States dumped 2,200 tons of depleted uranium on Iraq, according to reliable sources, and it's logical to assume that more depleted uranium is being employed in the current attacks on Faluja that began April 8 to put down Iraqi resistance to the American presence there.

According to independent geoscientist Leuren Moret, the war on Iraq - like the war on Afghanistan - is a nuclear war. "Depleted uranium is a nuclear weapon and it is a weapon of mass destruction under the U. S. government's definition of weapons of mass destruction," Moret says. More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 12, 04 | 8:17 pm

Sat Apr 10, 2004

Iraq's enemy within: The US-appointed governing council cannot deliver democracy

In Iraq we say: "Choose the companion first, then the road." We believe it very important to know who one is travelling with. On June 30 the US-led occupation forces will hand power to an Iraqi government. Iraqis would like to begin our journey towards a much-needed stability and democracy. But at the moment our "companions" are the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and their appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). We have not chosen them. More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 10, 04 | 12:57 pm

If it’s war you want, vote Kerry

John Laughland shows that the Democratic contender is more hawkish than Bush, and may appeal to the neocons this November


Posted by: Hazem on Apr 10, 04 | 9:02 am

Fri Apr 09, 2004

The Empty Room

Condi Rice was in Washington trying to pass her oral exam before the 9/11 commission yesterday, and the president was on vacation in Texas. As usual, they were in close agreement, this time on the fact that neither they nor anyone else in this remarkably aloof and arrogant administration is responsible for the tragic mess unfolding in Iraq, and its implications for the worldwide war on terror. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Apr 09, 04 | 4:53 pm

Thu Apr 08, 2004

Journalists Killed by U.S. Troops Remembered in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The brother of a Spanish journalist killed by U.S. troops in Baghdad on April 8 last year laid flowers in the Iraqi capital in his memory on Thursday and demanded those responsible be brought to account.

Jose Couso, a cameraman with Spanish television Telecinco and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, were killed when a U.S. tank fired a shell into the Palestine Hotel, where most foreign media in Baghdad were staying during the U.S.-led invasion.

Tarek Ayoub, of Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, was killed in a U.S. air raid in Baghdad the same day. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Apr 08, 04 | 10:24 pm

“In memory of those who report on conflict, but pay the price with their lives”

Journalists’ organizations worldwide marked the anniversary of the shelling of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad by US forces with a fresh call for the United States to release vital information about what happened in a number of incidents in which journalists and media staff were killed.

Click here to read a full report.

Posted by: adminr on Apr 08, 04 | 7:35 pm

Wed Apr 07, 2004

UN relief agency says suspending food aid in Gaza

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced Thursday it stopped distributing emergency food aid to some 600,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA said in a statement that the suspension followed restrictions introduced by Israel on the sole commercial crossing into Gaza through which it is able to bring in humanitarian assistance.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 07, 04 | 12:37 pm

Israeli professor accuses Israel of genocide in European

In an article published in a Belgian newspaper, Dr. Lev Greenberg of Ben-Gurion University labels Israel's actions "criminal" and calls on the world to stop Sharon immediately.

"The murder of Sheikh Yassin is part of an Israeli policy that can be described as symbolic genocide". This claim was made by Ben-Gurion University professor Lev Greenberg in a recent article published in the Belgian daily 'La Libre Belgique'. Greenberg, a member of the university's political sociology department, served as spokesman for the “Yesh Gvul” peace organization in 1982, was imprisoned in 1987 for refusal to serve in the territories, and is an outspoken supporter of soldiers who currently refuse to serve there. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 07, 04 | 12:14 pm

Génocide symbolique/Symbolic Genocide

The murder of Sheik Ahmad Yassin by the government of Israel is part of a major move carried out by the government of Israel, which can be described as symbolic genocide. Unable to recover from the Holocaust trauma and the insecurity it caused, the Jewish people, the ultimate victim of genocide, is currently inflicting a symbolic genocide upon the Palestinian people. Because the world will not permit total annihilation, a symbolic annihilation is taking place instead. Sad, depressing, and demanding a reaction. As a son of the Jewish people, as a concerned Israeli citizen, I condemn this abominable act and call upon the international community to save Israel from itself; in particular, I call upon the European Community to interfere in a direct and active manner, to prevent the anticipated mutual bloodshed. The complex connection between the Jewish people and Europe has not been cut off yet, and it is time for action. Not out of guilt about the past, but out of a sense of responsibility for the future. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 07, 04 | 12:08 pm

Iraq on the Brink of Anarchy

Not content with surrounding the largest Sunni city west of Baghdad with tanks and armoured personnel carriers, US forces used Apache helicopters to attack Shia Muslim slums of Shoula yesterday, sent dozens of their main battle tanks into the hovels of Sadr City and then slapped an arrest warrant on the Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr - who must dearly have wanted the United States to do just that.

Gun battles in Sadr City overnight had cost the lives of up to 40 Iraqis and at least eight Americans, but in the sewage-damp streets yesterday, they were handing out letters, allegedly written by the Sunni townspeople of Fallujah, newly surrounded by 1,200 marines. "We support you, our brothers, in your struggle," the letter said. If they are authentic, it should be enough to make US proconsul, Paul Bremmer, wonder if he can ever extricate Washington from Iraq. The British took three years to turn both the Sunnis and the Shias into their enemies in 1920. The Americans are achieving it in just under a year.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Apr 07, 04 | 9:31 am

Tue Apr 06, 2004

Iraq's mercenaries: Riches for risks

The severe lack of security in Iraq has opened up a highly profitable market for private security contractors.

The brutal murders of four American security men in Falluja on Wednesday 31 March is unlikely to deter the many would-be mercenaries willing to accept the risks involved in providing security amid the instability of post-war Iraq, according to one security firm.

The US has so far spent $20bn on reconstruction in Iraq. The companies which have won these contracts currently expect to spend about 10% of their budgets on providing personal security planning and protection for their workers. More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 06, 04 | 9:05 pm

Iraqi intellectuals flee 'death squads'

Occupied Iraq is suffering a new brain drain as intellectuals flood out of the country to avoid unemployment and an organised killing campaign.

In recent months assassinations have targeted engineers, pharmacologists, officers, and lawyers.

More than 1000 leading Iraqi professionals and intellectuals have been assassinated since last April, among them such prominent figures as Dr Muhammad al-Rawi, the president of Baghdad University.

The identity of the assailants remains a mystery and none have been caught. More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 06, 04 | 8:59 pm

Poisoned? Shocking report reveals local troops

Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found.

They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah.

"I got sick instantly in June," said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. "My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach." More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 06, 04 | 8:55 pm

Boycotting Israel at NYU?

The habitual academic petition-signers against Israel are out in force, in a letter to Hebrew University president Menachem Magidor. They charge that Israel "makes it difficult or impossible for Palestinian teachers and students to reach their universities," and that Israeli troops are responsible for "harassment, arrests, random shootings and assaults" on Palestinian campuses. The occupation itself, they write, "disrupts the necessary framework for any successful educational structure." The signatories of the letter call themselves "defenders of Palestinian academic freedom and supporters of the academic boycott against Israel." And they ask "the Israeli academic leadership where it stands on the issue of current Israeli policy, and to share with us what Israeli academic institutions are doing to challenge the behavior of your government." (For more, see this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.) More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 06, 04 | 8:30 pm

Letter Urges Israeli Academics to Oppose Government's Palestinian Policies

Israel's academic leaders should take a public stand against their government's violations of academic freedom at Palestinian universities in the occupied territories, say more than 300 signatories to an open letter that has been published online. But the man to whom the letter is addressed, Menachem Magidor, president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says the letter displays the double standard of those who are boycotting Israeli academic institutions.

The letter was conceived by Lawrence Davidson, a professor of history at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He and several other American and British faculty members who were also involved drafting and posting the letter have for the last two years led a campaign to boycott Israeli universities to protest Israel's military actions against the Palestinians (The Chronicle, April 26, 2002). More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 06, 04 | 8:25 pm

Sun Apr 04, 2004

Uprooting Weeds

On Thursday, March 11th, 2004, Bedouin fields were sprayed with Monsanto's toxic Roundup for the seventh time in 2 years as the Israel Lands Authority sent a fleet of planes to 'redeem' land near Mitzpe Ramon, in Abde and in Qatamat, unrecognized villages in the Southern Negev. In such cases, the State has rendered Bedouin cultivation of unused desert expanse, illegal. Twice in February, fruit trees (olives and dates) were uprooted from Bedouin villages, each time some 50 trees. Below please find an article analyzing this policy of uprooting, and destroying food crops. Bustan is collecting any information on crop-spraying operations around the world as a tactic to gain state control over lands.

Uprooting Weeds

* Devorah Brous

In spite of Israel's depleted economy, the price of bread has recently been hiked up. In response, several NGO's are packing trucks with baskets of bread to distribute among hungry families up north and in neighborhoods throughout the country, as families can't afford to purchase bread or flour. Meanwhile, down south in the Negev desert Israeli authorities are destroying fields of wheat with toxic chemicals.

Posted by: adminr on Apr 04, 04 | 10:59 pm

Treasury: NIS 846m was used to build homes in territories from '90-'03

The Housing and Construction Ministry transferred NIS 846 million to fund the construction of 2,568 housing units in the Gaza Strip and West Bank from 1990 and 2003, according to data provided by the Treasury on Thursday.

The funds were used to provide mortgages for the unions constructing the housing units. More...

Posted by: adminr on Apr 04, 04 | 1:05 pm