April 2012 Archives

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The whole truth is coming out about the situation in the Holy Land.  The truth is coming out too slowly to suit a large and growing number of people, but the truth is coming out surely, nevertheless.

You and I can help to educate the public by circulating pertinent news reports like the one pasted below.  This report reflects a peculiar antisocial attitude which needs to be recognized for what it is and illuminated.  When we share what we’re learning with our friends and neighbors … without imposing what we’re learning on them … we thereby help to hasten the end to a great deal of international, highly personal suffering.

 God seems to be working His purpose out in the Holy Land today.  We’re all of us a part of it.  Jerusalem has a way of changing people.  It’s going to take the whole truth to set all of us free.  The two highlights in the following news report are mine.

Peace,
Roy
 

Israeli settlers assault UN delegation in al-Khalil

Israeli settlers assault UN delegation in al-Khalil

 

Al Qassam website – Jewish settlers threw stones and rubbish on a number of foreign law professors, who are participating in a conference about Palestine’s membership in the U.N. which is being held at al-Khalil University, while they were touring the old city near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadasa.

The delegation visited the old city over two days to see how the Israeli occupation soldiers and Jewish settlers deal with Palestinians.

They were guided by Muhammad al-Jarbeeni, a lecturer at the university and an activist in defending al-Khalil, to see for themselves the measures and restrictions against Palestinian residents in the old city, the rough treatment by the occupation army and the harassment by the settlers.

The visiting delegation were also briefed on the closure of Shuhada street and the effect it is having on the local residents and the residents of Tel al-Romaidah.

Lecturer and researcher at Oxford University, Abbas Sheblaq said that the situation in the old city is a clear proof of the fascistic way used by the occupation to uproot Palestinians and the Israeli mentality which aims to eliminate the other.

He further described the occupations practices in al-Khalil as worse than what the defunct apartheid regime’s practices in South Africa, adding that what the media relates about the practices of the occupation and its settlers does not exceed 5% of the facts there.

For his part, Guy S.Goodwin-Gill, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College (Oxford University) said that he has been to many areas of armed conflict around the world, but he has never seen anything like what he saw in al-Khalil’s old city.

Original post on the Occupied Palestine blog: Israeli settlers assault UN delegation in al-Khalil

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This week, veteran 60 Minutes producer Harry Radliffe threw Overtime a real plum: the story of Taybeh.

He and correspondent Bob Simon stumbled on the tiny village of Taybeh while they were in the West Bank, reporting on the Holy Land’s vanishing population of Christians.

What makes Taybeh the last all-Christian village in the Holy Land? The village has no mosque and is home to three distinct Christian communities: Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholics.

Taybeh’s roots are deep, and for Christians, important: the biblical name of the village is Ephraim. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ came to Taybeh from Jerusalem before his crucifixion. John 11:54 states: "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples."

The name of the village was changed from Ephraim to Taybeh around 1187, by the Islamic leader Saladin.

Today, Taybeh’s population is dwindling, down to around 1500. The majority of Christians there are Greek Orthodox.

But have faith. The town’s resident Roman Catholic priest, Father Raed Abu Sahlia, isn’t going anywhere. As he told Bob Simon with a smile:

"I will assure you that even if all the Christians of the Holy Land will leave, and I will remain alone, I will get married, we will start another new generation."

Click to view video: www.cbsnews.com……

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Peers….  It’s time to stretch.  Let’s make sure we all understand what a Hudna is..  And let’s all make sure we understand what a Fatwa means to Muslims.  Because if another world war breaks out in the Middle East, nobody would win.  Everybody would lose.  The article pasted below will help us understand FATWA.   Peace, Roy  

Fatwa against nuclear weapons political milestone

Iranian soldier wearing gas mask during Iran-Iraq war

Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:51AM GMT

By Dr. Ismail Salami

The fatwa of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution can well serve as a beacon of light for Washington in order to find its way out of darkness and ignorance.

The fatwa issued by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei forbidding the production, proliferation and use of nuclear bombs is to be considered a political milestone in Iranian history and one which can salvage the Islamic nation from the spate of external threats and plots.

Fatwa is a religious decree issued by a Muslim leader against a specific issue and it is incumbent upon all Muslims to abide by it.However, in this particular case, the issuance of the fatwa has not only religious but political force as well as the leader in the Islamic Republic is the prime decision-maker.

The recent P5+1 talks, which the US officials hailed as “a step forward” and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton described as “constructive and useful”, were held in an ambience filled with optimism this fatwa inspired. Although the ten-hour talks between Iran and the six world powers apparently bore no tangible fruits, the two sides ended the talks with an air of sanguinity in a feel-good atmosphere. Further to that, the two sides seemed resolute to put an end to the long-standing dispute so stubbornly dragged on for years by the West.

Some Iranian officials have expressed hope and optimism the next round of talks slated to be held in Baghdad on May 23 will come to fruition.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in Zagreb, Croatia, on Wednesday, “We are optimistic about the future of negotiations and want the other sides to put their words into action.”

The western pessimistic glasses have cast a dark haze over Iran’s nuclear energy program, making long-standing efforts to inculcate that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons program.

Be it as it may, there is no point in believing that Iran is seeking to produce nuclear weapons as there is no evidence whatsoever pointing to this notion. Besides, modern history has proved that Iran has never been an aggressor; rather it has become a victim of aggression. During the Iran-Iraq war in 1983, the Iraqis used mustard gas, and in March 1984, they used tabun, a nerve agent used for the first time in war. The corrupt regime of Saddam Hussein continued to use chemical weapons until the end of war in August 1988 in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol on the use of chemical weapons. They also used the nerve agent sarin.

In March 1986, the then UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar formally announced that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iran on the strength of the report of four chemical warfare experts sent to Iran in February and March 1986 by the UN. The report concluded that “Iraqi forces have used chemical warfare against Iranian forces”; the weapons used included both mustard gas and nerve gas. The report further stated that “the use of chemical weapons appear[ed] to be more extensive [in 1981] than in 1984.” However, the regime of Saddam Hussein made pointlessly egregious efforts to deny the report; yet, the influx of badly wounded chemical victims from Iran to Europe for receiving medical treatment was not something the Iraqi regime could easily deny.

In 1984 Iraq became the first country to use a nerve agent on the battlefield. Around 5,500 Iranians died as a result of the nerve agent between March 1984 and March 1985. Tabun kills within minutes. Also, over 16,000 Iranians were killed by the toxic blister agent mustard gas between August 1983 and February 1986.

In spite of all these inhumane atrocities perpetrated by a US-backed coup regime, the Islamic Republic never did the same to retaliate.

Painful as it is, the US government threw all its intelligence, financial and military support behind a regime it knew thrived on evil and havoc. In 1982, the US government started supplying the regime with dual-use vehicles such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances as well as materials for producing chemical weapons.

The then US President Ronald Reagan announced that the US “could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran”, and that it “would do whatever was necessary to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.” Then CIA Director William Casey personally spearheaded the effort “to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war. Pursuant to the secret NSDD, the United States actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing US military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required. The United States also provided strategic operational advice to the Iraqis to better use their assets in combat. For example, in 1986, President Reagan sent a secret message to Saddam Hussein telling him that Iraq should step up its air war and bombing of Iran. This message was delivered by Vice President George H. W. Bush who communicated it to Egyptian President Mubarak, who in turn passed the message to Saddam Hussein. Similar strategic operational military advice was passed to Saddam Hussein through various meetings with European and Middle Eastern heads of state” (quoted from the sworn court declaration of former NSC official Howard Teicher, dated 1/31/95, regarding ‘Iraqgate).

Under the encouragement and direction of the US government, how many bombs fell on the Iranian cities while people were sleeping? How many youths lost their lives in a war that dragged on for eight years? How many women were widowed? How many children were orphaned? Is there no remission to this political insanity?

The US government is morally and financially indebted to Iran. What seems to be the right course of action to be taken by the US government is that Washington should make it clearly known to Iran that it entertains good intentions about the Iranian nation and that it is resolute to compensate for the agony and havoc it has wrought upon Iran. In other words, it is Washington which should take first steps to dispel ambiguities as to its intentions.

There seems to be little hope the upcoming talks will bear splendid fruits unless the US dismounts its mule of obstinacy, puts an end to its animosity towards the Islamic Republic, forsakes its morbid cynicism and acknowledges that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

The fatwa of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution can well serve as a beacon of light for Washington in order to find its way out of darkness and ignorance.


Dr. Ismail Salami

The author of Human Rights in Islam and Iran, Cradle of Civilization, Dr. Ismail Salami writes articles with his main focus on the Middle East. His articles have been translated into a number of languages.

More articles by this author

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Thanks to Dr. Duane Christensen, an Old Testament scholar, for circulating this commentary from MondoweissHere’s the direct link for sending comments to CBS, if you want to share it with all your networks. Currently there are 286 comments posted. I agree that despite a few omissions, Bob Simon’s reporting was very strong. Please read on. 

Peace, Roy

What ’60 Minutes’ & Bob Simon got right and wrong

Apr 23, 2012 02:46 pm | Yousef Munayyer

If you haven’t seen it, yesterday’s installment of CBS’s long-running news program “60 Minutes” included a very important segment where journalist Bob Simon investigates what is behind the dwindling presence of Palestine’s Christian population. The segment was powerful and overall very positive. Here is what Bob Simon got right and what he got wrong:

What he got right: The question of the status of the Palestinian Christian population in Palestine is not a new one. In fact, the broader question of ‘Christian Flight’ has long been around, particularly in western discourse. Often, however, investigations into this question in the past have looked superficially at population numbers and come to conclusions without any rigorous inquiry.

What Bob Simon got so right was his approach to the story. To find out what was bothering Palestinian Christians, Bob Simon thought it might be a good idea to talk to them, their representatives and the leaders of their institutions. This shouldn’t be revolutionary, but when it comes to the question of Christians in Palestine in the mainstream US media, allowing Palestinian Christians to actually speak for themselves is sadly novel.

oren

Perhaps this is why the segment managed to draw ire from the Michael Oren, the Ambassador of Israel, even before he saw it. Bob Simon asked Oren how he could draw conclusions about a report he has yet to see. Oren stumbled to respond to a rather straightforward question, first half-saying he assumed it would be bad for Israel then saying he had ‘information’.

Unless Oren and the state of Israel has a network of spies at CBS the only information he must have had is who Bob Simon spoke to: Palestinian Christians. I’m sure Oren was also able to figure out no official representatives of the State of Israel were interviewed either. So, what set off alarm for Oren was that Palestinian Christians where actually going to have an opportunity to narrate their own story to a national American audience.

That is all Oren the ‘information’ needed to freak out and Bob Simon, recognizing how ridiculous this was, gave Oren the opportunity to expose himself to an national American audience. Bob Simon did not intend his piece to be a comment on the way Israel attempts to control the discourse on Palestine and Palestinian Christians, but Michael Oren made that especially news worthy.

anastas

The Anastas house, (pictured left) which is surrounded by Israel’s apartheid wall on three sides and was featured in the CBS segment, is very much symbolic of the larger issue Oren helped Simon expose. Michael Oren and others want to wall-off the discourse so only one angle, one direction, one perspective- the official Israeli perspective- is visible. Bob Simon’s segment busted through some of these walls by simply going to the source of the subject matter; Palestinian Christians.

Simon’s segment made clear that Israel isn’t targeting Palestinian Christians as Christians, rather they are targeted by Israeli policies because they are Palestinians. Israel is an Equal Opportunity Occupier and its walls, checkpoints and restrictions do not discriminate between Christians and Muslims. There is no doubt, however, that Palestinian populations in cities like Bethlehem and Jerusalem, which have historically been home to a significant number of Christians, face some of the most severe effects of Israeli policies.

By giving voice to Palestinian Christians and by showing how this community in Palestine was particularly vulnerable to Israeli occupation, Simon struck a devastating blow at a pillar of Israeli propaganda which became most prominent after 9/11; that Israel is at the front lines in a common Judeo-Christian battle against Islamism.

The Israel Lobby’s alliance with American Christians, particularly evangelicals, is a integral part of its successful efforts to influence American policy makers. How Israeli policies effect Palestinian Christians might change this and there were stirrings of concern in the Jewish community about a change in this relationship prior to Simon’s 60 Minutes segment. Thus, the preemptive strike against CBS was entirely predictable.

Oren seemed to be at a loss for words at some points and when Simon, a veteran journalist, told him he had never in his years of reporting received complaints on a story before it aired Oren replied “Well, there is a first time for everything, Bob.”

Oren’s right, there is a first time for everything. This is the first time that an Israeli Ambassador’s intimidation tactics were so bravely turned against him by a journalist who just wasn’t going to take it any more. Hopefully it is a harbinger of things to come.

The Israeli Ambassador is right to complain of a ‘hatchet job’ but he was the one who brought the hatchet then proceeded to turn it on himself. Simon just kept the cameras rolling.

wall

What he got wrong: Bob Simon made one glaring factual error which was disappointing. Almost in passing, as he narrates over imagery of Israel’s wall in the West Bank, Simon says that: “Israel built the wall over the last 10 years, which completely separates Israel from the occupied West Bank.” But, of course, this is far from true. In fact, the wall cuts deeply into the West Bank and is not built on the green line, the West Bank’s perimeter. What makes this error more disappointing is that in an 60 Minutes segment that Mr. Simon did in 2009 (also very much worth watching) he described the wall’s path far more accurately:

“Israel is building what it calls a security wall between the West Bank and Israel to stop suicide bombers. The Palestinians are furious because it appropriates eight percent of the West Bank. Not only that. It weaves its way through Palestinian farms, separating farmers from their land. They have to wait at gates for soldiers to let them in.”

Overall, this story was a very important expose of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and also how Israel attempts to regulate mainstream American discourse on the issue. For this, we have to thank Bob Simon and the folks at 60 Minutes, and of course, Ambassador Michael Oren.

For how much longer will Israel’s oppression of the native Palestinians last? For how much longer will the US mainstream media hesitate to tackle this issue and give voice to Palestinians?

The clock is ticking and thanks to this 60 Minutes segment last night it is ticking a little faster this morning.

This post first appeared on the Palestine Center blog Permission to Narrate.

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Peers,“A Letter from Laura” which is pasted below is a doozie, a bona fide doozie.  Not many people on the mailing list know who Laura is for reasons Samia explains in a brief introduction.  Everybody on the mailing list knows who Samia is.  Samia Khoury is my primary connection into the female population of Palestine.

I read Laura’s letter slowly and carefully.  When I got to her mention of the King David Hotel (highlighted) I thought that I should forward the letter to Sami Joseph who’s a Palestinian Refugee living with his family outside London.  Sami had a family member who was killed in the bombing of the King David Hotel.  Sami is a retired engineer, a grandfather, a Lutheran, a septuagenarian and a long-time on-line friend of mine who hasn’t been allowed even to visit his homeland in decades.  Sami and Fr. Stephen Sizer know each other in the UK.  Sami and Bishop Riah know each other.  While I was reading Laura’s closing paragraph (highlighted) I decided to send the letter to the whole list.  I especially want Dante and UncleChri to see it:  “Palestinians have the right to defend themselves” is one of the one-liners that the three of us use regularly in The Podium.   The Podium is AOL’s most active political chatroom.  The Jewish Community is always well-represented in The Podium.

Peace,
Roy+

 P.S.   “Where there’s a will, there’s a Sabeel.”  

Laura, my sister-in-law has asked me to circulate the following  letter as she has not joined the electronic mail circle.   She reads a lot and does not miss one item in the weekly Time magazine.  She  is writing the following  in response to a letter written  by Mr. Jeremy Slomnicki in the inbox of  the Time Magazine  issue of April 16 in which he emphasizes the need for Israel to defend itself because of “Palestinian Terrorism.”  She did not respond to the Time magazine because she wanted to say more words than allowed, yet she is hoping that in one way or another it will reach Mr. Slomnicki. 

Samia

 “I am writing this to remind Mr. Slomnicki and all the Slomnickis of the world that the first perpetrators of “Terrorism” in our region were the Jewish underground in Palestine during the British Mandate.  Israel did not exist then, but Jewish terrorism started before 1948.  I do not know how old you are Mr. Slomnicki, but if you are under 60 years you probably need to learn about the bombing of the King David Hotel Wing of the British Secretariat in July 1947 in which one hundred Palestinians were blown up.  The bombing took place on a Saturday to spare Jewish liveswho were off on that day. Ironically the man behind the bombing was Menahim Begin who later became  one of Israel’s prime ministers. King David was just the beginning followed by many other terrorist acts, such as the Semiramis hotel when a whole Palestinian family perished and the Palestine Post offices. The list is endless, but fortunately it has been recorded by many historians and ironically some Jewish ones of conscience who had the courage to expose the truth.   But surely you must have heard of the “calculated” massacre of Deir Yaseen, a peaceful village near Jerusalem when a defenseless population was massacred, mostly  women and children.  A gruesome sight that triggered a scare that led to the fleeing of many Palestinians from their homes.  After 1967  The Jerusalem Post quoted Mr. Menahim Begin regarding Deir Yaseen: “It was a blessing in disguise because it helped create the State of Israel.” Of course those who did not flee were driven out at gun point in other parts of Palestine. 

With regard to your letter Mr. Slomnicki that Israel has the right to defend itself, we are really tired of this cliché.  Surely Israeli has the right to defend itself and so does every nation, but not when Israel is the aggressor, the occupier, the oppressor and the fifth strongest army in the world loaded with a stockpile of nuclear weapons.  So from whom is Israel defending itself?  From a defenseless, dispossessed,  and occupied population separated by walls and check points while their homes are demolished and their farms and olive trees are razed.    Are you comparing a resistance of an area under siege by the use of crude home-made missiles that might have injured a few people but  hardly caused any damage,  to the Israeli air strikes  of populated Gaza that killed hundreds?    The attack on the Jenin camp was another act of “terrorism” and not by underground militias, but by the regular and sophisticated Israeli army.  So it is ironic that you should really be so worried about “poor” Israel’s need to defend itself.  And so is the implanting of the settlers and settlements on Palestinian land an act of terrorism, especially that those settlers are there as colonizers with the sole aim of driving away the Palestinians.  They raid their homes, block them from reaching their farms and groves and use every means to deprive them from living a peaceful life. 

I would like to quote a letter that appeared also in the Time magazine inbox written by Mr. Claus Frausing from Copenhagen in the April 9, 2012 issue:  “Israel’s irresponsible behavior is dangerous for the security of the rest of the world.  Israel is extremely superior from a military point of view.  Thanks to the US. But because Israel has never been able to establish true alliances of friendships with its neighbors, it is surrounded by hostile populations.  A power whose security is based on military superiority alone can only act militarily. This is the real threat to the World not the possible nuclear power of Iran.”

 Not only does Israel want to be the only country that owns nuclear weapons in the region, it wants to be the super power of the region.  It succeeded in having the USA fight its war to eliminate what they perceived as a potential threat, a potential threat, Iraq, under false pretexts, and now their next target is Iran.    Mr. Carter also alluded to that in the Time magazine at one time that if Iran has one war head, Israel has 300.  So Iran will definitely not attempt to attack Israel knowing its strength.  Surely The Soviet Union and the USA during the years of the Cold War were aware of each other’s strength and none would have attempted an attack because both countries would have been destroyed.   The key word was restraint.

Because we Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, because our territories have been surrounded by separation walls, separating us from our Palestinian families and communities, and because we cannot move further than 20 miles without having to go through an Israeli military check point it is we, Palestinians, Mr. Slomnicki, who have the right to defend ourselves.”