March 2012 Archives


Father David Neuhaus

Below is an excerpt from an  interview conducted by Mark Riedemann for “Where God Weeps,” a weekly television and radio show produced by Catholic Radio and Television Network in conjunction with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Q: You’ve given account of your role within the Jewish environment. How are you within the Arab environment — are you sitting between two chairs?

Father Neuhaus: I like to think that I am sitting on two chairs. We have to work at it. I’d like to make reference to what happened at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East some time ago: I gave my testimony about our little community and many, many bishops came to me afterwards to say how pleased they were to know about this very small and unknown community. Again, our role is not politics. Our role is really to give witness to the fact that our little community is also giving witness to the risen Lord in the land that was His historically. We do this in full communion with our Arab brothers and sisters; again, though politics divide us, perhaps. I wouldn’t say that that is true of all the members of the Hebrew-speaking members of the vicariate, some of whom are great workers for peace and justice in the land. I’d like to think of myself in those terms as well, really struggling that there would be justice for the Palestinian people but our primary aim is the one of saying: It is possible in Jesus Christ because He is our peace and because He is our Peace there is no more Jew or Arab in His body. We are one. One body of Christ.

Read the entire interview on…


Dan Stone writes: This is the latest neo-con, Senate war-monger trick to sucker us into another attack on a small country that poses no real threat to the u.s., or even israel. These “American Terrorists in Congress” are on steroids due to the lack of sufficient opposition to them over the past decade. Yet we, the people, remain the only ones who can stop them, if we can give up our “enemies-everywhere” paranoia with which they have infected us.


Senator Joe Lieberman

Does AIPAC want war?

by Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy

Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012

If a bill pushed by Lieberman passes, it could give the US “political authorisation for military force” against Iran.


Washington, DC – For all it has done to promote confrontation between the United States and Iran, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to avoid the public perception that AIPAC is openly promoting war. In AIPAC’s public documents, the emphasis has always been on tougher sanctions. (If you make sanctions “tough” enough – an effective embargo – that is an act of war, but it is still at one remove from saying that the US should start bombing.)

But a new Senate effort to move the goalposts of US policy to declare it “unacceptable” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability – not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one – gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an “ask” for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran.

US intelligence suggests no Iranian nukes

Sponsors of the Lieberman resolution deny that it is an “authorisation for military force”, and in a legal, technical sense, they are absolutely correct: it is not a legal authorisation for military force. But it is an attempt to enact a political authorisation for military force. It is an attempt to pressure the administration politically to move forward the tripwire for war, to a place indistinguishable from the status quo that exists today. If successful, this political move would make it impossible for the administration to pursue meaningful diplomatic engagement with Iran, shutting down the most plausible alternative to war.

The first “resolved” paragraph of the Lieberman resolution affirms that it is a “vital national interest” of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a “nuclear weapons capability”.

The phrase “vital national interest” is a “term of art”. It means something that the US should be willing to go to war for. Recall the debate over whether the US military intervention in Libya was a “vital national interest” of the United States (which Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it wasn’t.) It was a debate over whether the bar was met to justify the United States going to war.

The resolution seeks to establish it as US policy that a nuclear weapons capability – not acquisition of a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one – is a “red line” for the United States. If the US were to announce to Iran that achieving “nuclear weapons capability” is a red line for the US, the US would be saying that it is ready to attack Iran with military force in order to try to prevent Iran from crossing this “line” to achieve “nuclear weapons capability”.

And this is reportedly being openly discussed by the bill’s sponsors.

Senators from both parties said Thursday that a diplomatic solution was still the goal and they believed the sanctions on Iran were working, but that a containment strategy was less preferable than a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if all else fails.

So, what the Senators are reportedly saying is that if “all else fails” – that is, if diplomacy and sanctions appear to be “failing” to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability – according to these Senators, that’s what “failure” would be – then they want war. That’s not a legal “authorisation of force”, but it is a political one.

And it is not a political authorisation of force in some far-off future. It is a political authorisation of force today.

“Nuclear weapons capability” is a fuzzy term with no legal definition. But Joe Lieberman, a principal author of the bill, has said what he thinks this term means:

“To me, nuclear weapons capability means that they are capable of breaking out and producing a nuclear weapon – in other words, that they have all the components necessary to do that,” Lieberman said. “It’s a standard that is higher than saying ‘The red line is when they actually have nuclear weapons’.”

But many experts think that Iran already has the “components” necessary for “breaking out”.

“To me, nuclear weapons capability means that they are capable of breaking out and producing a nuclear weapon – in other words, that they have all the components necessary to do that.”

– Senator Joseph Lieberman

On Thursday, Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies was quoted saying that the November report from the International Atomic Energy Agency “basically laid out the fact that Iran now has every element of technology needed to make a fission weapon”.

On January 24, Helene Cooper reported in the New York Times:

Several American and European officials say privately that the most attainable outcome for the West could be for Iran to maintain the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon while stopping short of doing so.

This suggests two things. One, these US and European officials believe that Iran already has “the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon”; two, these US and European officials believe that inducing Iran not to use this knowledge and technology to build a nuclear weapon is the best outcome that the West can achieve.

If the experts and Western officials who believe that Iran already has “the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon” are right, then what that says is that Iran has already crossed the “red line” of the Lieberman bill. And therefore, the supporters of the Lieberman bill are saying that they are ready for war today. Or they are ready for war any time that they decide to join the experts and officials who say that Iran has already crossed the Lieberman “red line”, which of course is something that the Lieberman supporters can do anytime they want.

It’s as if someone wearing a bag over their head says, “I’m ready for war whenever I see light”. All they have to do to see light is take the bag off their head, so they are saying that they are ready for war whenever it is convenient for them to say that they are.

Anyone who supports the Lieberman bill is declaring themselves for war. If AIPAC makes the Lieberman bill an “ask” for its March policy conference, then at least we’ll be done with the pretence that AIPAC is doing anything besides trying to get the US into another Middle East war.


Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.

Source: Al Jazeera


It’s deeply encouraging to see some of the great peacemakers of Isarel/Palestine recognised and celebrated.


WCC congratulates Mitri Raheb for German Media Prize


The World Council of Churches (WCC) congratulates Palestinian Lutheran pastor Rev. Dr Mitri Raheb on receiving the 2011 “Deutscher Medienpreis” (German Media Prize). The award recognizes his individual work and Palestinian churches’ efforts for peace.

“Dr Raheb is a person with immense integrity. His understanding of Christian witness with clear words and profound actions makes him a deserving recipient of this honour,” said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC.

Raheb is pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). He is among four recipients of the prestigious prize to be awarded in Baden-Baden, Germany today.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the prize this year, it honours individuals who, in their work for peace, have quietly carried on with little media attention. The Deutscher Medienpreis jury said Raheb was being honoured for building the Bethlehem congregation’s education, health care and dialogue programmes.

Raheb is president of the Diyar Consortium and the ELCJHL Synod. The Bethlehem congregation and the Consortium, along with other congregational and educational ministries, reach out to thousands of individuals and families each year in Jerusalem, other parts of the West Bank and Amman, Jordan.

“Raheb’s vision for building peace from within, knowing the roots of Palestine, its culture, churches and people, makes his work unique. Therefore we acknowledge his contribution to the ecumenical movement with great pride,” said Tveit.

This is not the first time that Raheb’s work has been internationally recognized. In 2008 he received the Aachen Peace Prize. Also receiving the Deutscher Medienpreis today are Dr Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Stanislaw Petrow of Russia and Dr Sakena Yacoobi of Afghanistan.

The 3,000-member ELCJHL has five congregations in Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Bethlehem area, and in Amman, Jordan. The church is led by Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, who is also president of the Lutheran World Federation.

Original post on the World Council of Churches website



Omar Abu Jariban

Photo by: Mohammed Dabah, B’Tselem

Sol Salbe writes (on Wednesday, February 29, 2012): Last Friday Haaretz did something unusual: it placed an opinion piece on top of its front page. But it wasn’t just  an ordinary opinion piece, it was written by one of the country foremost novelists, David Grossman. The article, like Emile Zola’s J’accuse, to which it has been compared, was a moral critique. Many who read it were very moved. But the moral missive never appeared in English (at least to my knowledge). The English Haaretz has always been somewhat reticent in presenting Israel to the world. And of course translating Grossman is not easy, he is a master of the language and the art of writing.I have no idea whether I have done justice to this work. But it needed to be translated. The message is too important.*Hebrew original:…


Translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service, Melbourne Australia… 

Why? Who died? 

All said and done  it is merely a minor story about an illegal alien who stole a car, was injured in an accident, then released from hospital to have cops dump him, still injured to die the by the roadside.  What are the building blocks that lead to such an atrocity? 

David Grossman 

Omar Abu Jariban, a resident of the Gaza Strip, staying illegally in Israel, stole a car and was seriously injured while driving it. He was released from the Sheba Medical Centre while his treatment was still ongoing and handed over to the custody of the Rehovot Police station. The police were unable to identify him. He himself was bewildered and confused. The Rehovot Police officers decided to get rid of him. According to Chaim Levinson’s account, they loaded him onto a police van at night accompanied by three policemen. He was still attached to a catheter, was wearing an adult nappy and a hospital gown. Two days later he was found dead by the roadside. 

It’s a minor story. We have already read some like it and others where even worse. And when it is all said and done who is the subject of this story: an illegal infiltrator, from Rafah and a vehicle thief to boot.  And at any rate it happened as long ago as 2008, there is a statue of limitation to consider. And we have other, fresher, more immediate matters which are more relevant for us to consider. (And beside all that, they started it, we offered them everything and they refused and don’t forget the terrorism.). 

Ever since I read the story,  I find it difficult  to breathe the air here:  I keep on thinking about that trip in the police van, as if some part of me  had remained there, bonded  on permanently and impossible to be prise out.  How precisely did the incident pan out? it? What are the real, banal, tangible elements that coalesced together make up such an atrocity? 

From the newspaper I gather that there were three cops there alongside Omar.  Again and again I run the video clip mentally in my head: Was he sitting like them on the seat or was he lying on the floor of the van? Was he handcuffed or not? Did anybody talk to him? Did they offer him a drink? Did they share a laugh? Did they laugh at him? Did they poke fun at his adult nappy?  Did they laugh at his confusion or at his catheter? Did they discuss what he was capable of while still attached to the catheter or once he would be separated from it? Did they say that he deserved what was coming? Did they kick him lightly like mates do, or maybe because the situation demanded a swift kick? Or did they just kick him for the heck of it, just because they could, and why not? 

Besides, how can someone be discharged just like that from medical treatment at the Sheba Medical Centre?  Who let him out in his condition?  What possible explanation could they put down on the discharge papers which they signed off? 

And what happened when the van reached the Maccabim checkpoint [not far from Jerusalem -tr]? I read in the newspaper that an argument ensued with the Israeli checkpoint commander, and that he refused to accept the patient. Did Omar hear the argument about him from within the van, or did they drag him out of the van and plonked  him in front of the commander, replete with catheter, nappy and hospital gown for a rapid overall assessment by the latter? And the commander said no. And yalla! We are on our way again. So they returned to van, and they kept on going. And now the guys in the van are perhaps not quite as nice before, because it is getting late and they want to get back and wonder what have they done to have deserved copping  this sand nigger and what are they going to do with him now.  If the Maccabim checkpoint rejected him, there was no way in which the Atarot checkpoint will take him. It is now pitch black outside and by the by, while traveling on Route 45, between the Ofer military base to the Atarot checkpoint, a thought or a suggestion pops up.  Perhaps someone said something and nobody argued against, or perhaps someone did argue back but the one who came up with the original suggestion carried more weight. Or perhaps there was no argument, someone said something and someone else felt that this is precisely what needs to be done, and one of them says to the driver, pull over for a moment, not here,  it’s too well lit, stop there. You, yes you, move it, get your arse into gear you piece of shit – thanks to you our van stinks;, you ruined our evening, get going! What do you mean to where?  Go there. 

And what happens next? Does Omar remain steady on his feet, or are his legs unable to carry him? Do they leave him on the side of the road, or do physically take him there, and how? Do the haul him? Do they drag him deeper into the field? 

You stay here! Do not follow us! Do not move! 

And then they return to the car, walking a little bit more briskly, glancing behind their shoulder to ensure that he is not pursuing them. As if he already has something infectious about him. No, not his injury. Something else is already beginning to exude out of him, like bad tidings, or his court sentence. Come on, let’s get going, it’s all over. 

And he, Omar Abu Jariban, what did he do then?  Did he merely stand on his own feet or did he suddenly grasp what was happening, and started running and shouting that they should take him with them? And perhaps he did not realise anything, because as we said, he was confused and bewildered, and just stood there on the road or in the field, and saw a road, and a police van driving away. So what did he do? What did he really do?  Started walking aimlessly, with some sort of a vague notion that somehow being a little further away would turn out somewhat better? Or maybe he just sat down and stared blankly in front of him and tried to figure it, but it was clearly beyond his comprehension for he was in no position to understand anything? Or perhaps he lay down and  curled up on the ground and waiting? Why? And whom did he think about? Did he have someone, somewhere, to think about?  Did the thought occur to any of those police officers, at any time during that whole night that there was someone, a man, a woman or a whole family for whom Omar was important? Someone who cared about him? Did it occur to them that it was possible, with a little bit more of an effort to locate this person and hand Omar to them? 

Two days later they found his body.  But I have no idea how much time had elapsed from the moment they dumped him by the roadside until he died. Who knows when it dawned on him that this was it; that his body did not have enough strength left to save himself. And even if could have summonsed the energy, he was trapped a situation from which there was no exit, that his short life was about to end here. His brother Mohammed, said by telephone from Gaza, "They simply threw him to the dogs". And in the newspaper it says, "Horrible as it may sound, the brother accurately described what happened.”  And I read it and the image turns into something real, and I try to wipe that image from my mind. 

And in the police van, what happened there after they dumped Omar ? Did they talk among themselves? About what?  Did they fire each other up with hatred and disgust at him, to retrospectively justify what they did?   To justify what in their heart of hearts they knew stood in contrast to something.  Maybe that thing was the law (but the law, they probably imagined, they could handle).  But maybe it was contrary to something deeper, some deeply ingrained memory in them which they found themselves in, many years ago. Maybe it was moral tale or a children’s story  in which the good was good and the bad was bad.  Perhaps one of them recalled something they learnt at school — they did pass through our education system, didn’t they? Let’s say it was S Yizhar’s HaShavuy (the captive). 

Or maybe the three of them pulled out their mobile phones and spoke to the wife, the girlfriend the son. At such times you may want to talk to someone from the outside. Someone who wasn’t here who did not touch this thing. 

Or maybe they kept quiet. 

No, silence was perhaps a little bit too dangerous at that point. Still, something was beginning to creep up the van’s interior; a sort of a viscous dark sensation, like a terrifying sin, for which there is no forgiveness. Maybe one of them yet did suggest softly, let’s go back. We’ll tell him that we were pulling his leg. We can’t go on like this, dumping a human being. 

The paper says: “As a result of the police Internal Affairs investigation, negligent homicide charges were filed in March 2009 against only two of the officers who were involved in dumping and abandoning Abu Jariban.  Evidence has yet to be submitted in a trial of the pair but in the meantime, one of the two accused has been promoted.” 

I know that they do not represent the police. Nor do they represent our society or the state. It’s only a handful or bad apples, or unwelcomed weeds. But then I think about a people which has dumped a whole other nation on the side of the road and has backed the process to the hilt over 45 years, all the while having not a bad life at all, thank you. I think about a people which has been engaging in a brilliant genius-like denial of its own responsibility for the situation. I think of a people, which has managed to ignore the warping and distorting of its own society and the madness that the process has had on its own national values. Why should such a people get all excited over  a single such Omar? 



Father Dave writes: I have searched long and hard to find anyone reporting on this story. My thanks for Father Roy, who found this in the Russian newspaper, Pravda! 

It seems bizarre, looking back, to think that nowadays we have to go to the Russians to escape the Western propaganda machine!


President Michel Suleiman


Netanyahu: No Lebanon will be on the map


Israel what was that about MAPS?

For years, the paranoid Israelis have been screaming bloody murder that the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that "Israel should be wiped from the map." Of course, the man said no such thing, it was a deliberate mis-translation meant to serve their purposes: to demonize Ahmadinejad and Iran and to justify an unprovoked attack against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in Farsi:

"Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."

The full quote translated directly to English:

"The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time."

Word by word translation:

Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).

So that should settle the disinformation campaign being waged in order to set the stage for an aggressive attack against Iran and their paranoid delusions that Iran is building a nuclear weapon in order to "wipe them off the map."

If they are nothing, they are constantly hysterical, while collecting billions annually in American taxpayer money to feed the hysteria and the lust for war and to take out those governments they don’t like, preferably by proxy in the form of NATO or the US Armed Forces.

But it’s ironic. There was no fuss or screaming when Netanyahu actually told an interviewer that when Israel is done with them, there will be NO Lebanon on the new world map.

At a news conference in Switzerland, on the occasion of the building an Israeli railway there, the German newspaper Die Zeit interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

"Congratulations Mr. Netanyahu, my first question is that does the beginning of the large train line’s construction confirm the announcement of the dissident Syrian Intelligence Office that you will strike Lebanon?"

In reply, Netanyahu stated:

"Yes, and it is not a secret that it will happen with U.S.-Gulf support and that is why they have been warned, but before you ask, you have a look at the new map of the world and see that there is no nation with this name." 

Given that the UN Security Council has listed 388 Israeli airspace violations by Israel against Lebanon, there is no doubt what Israel is planning regarding Lebanon.

President Michel Suleiman condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statements on Lebanon, saying that its existence will not be affected by his remarks. Odd that no one else, no big mouth, big talking, big stick western nations voiced the slightest concern that this nuclear armed, racist apartheid state, that has used weapons of mass destruction against Lebanon in the past, committing a genocide against the Lebanese people, was threatening them yet again.

He added in a statement: "Lebanon is the only country to have defeated Israel militarily and the Jewish state is still recovering from it."

Indeed, the only thing that stopped Israel in 2006 from wiping Lebanon off the map was the defense against them provided by Hezbollah, who sent them crying with their tails between their legs.

"Lebanon’s diversity is the complete opposite of Israel’s racist system, which has no place in the world," stressed the president.

Odd, isn’t it, that all of the countries attacked by the west, enemies of Israel, can all say the same thing. That they were the models of tolerance, brotherhood, prosperity and human rights, unlike the western allies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar. etc. that are horrid feudal examples of barbaric practices and backwardness.

"Lebanon is one of the founders of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Netanyahu’s statements reflect his contempt for humans," Suleiman added.

Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon are on high alert in anticipation of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat daily reported recently. According to the report, Hezbollah has been monitoring with caution the reinforcement of IDF troops along the Lebanon border.

It is also interesting to note that the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, admitted that the Israeli train line is funded by Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Asked if he was not afraid of his people, he affirmed the close friendly relations between the two countries. Qatar, the one that has had a vested interest in formenting terrorism and and ‘regime change" in Libya, Syria and elsewhere.

Isn’t it odd that Israel is allowed to wave the stick at anybody it feels like with impunity, while they maintain a monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East? The same country that has threatened all the capitals of Europe?


Lisa Karpova