Aletho News


Five countries boycott tourism conference in Jerusalem

Youth Against Normalization | October 17, 2010

Occupied Palestine – An OECD ‘High Level Roundtable’ on tourism due to take place in West Jerusalem has been thrown into chaos by the decision of five countries not to attend and the disclosure by several others that only low-level delegations will take part.

Following attempts by Israel to use the conference to further its territorial claims on Jerusalem and concerns raised by Palestinian civil society and its international supporters that the conference serves to whitewash Israeli violations of international law, the UK, Sweden, Ireland, Turkey and South Africa announced that they would be not be taking part. Although the UK denied that its refusal to attend was politically motivated, Sweden and Turkey openly stated that their withdrawals are political in nature.

In a further blow to the credibility of the ‘high level’ conference at which ‘senior government officials’ were expected to discuss tourism policy , a number of countries will not send tourism ministers and instead low-ranking officials will represent member country governments. The Greek delegation to the OECD told campaigners during telephone calls that no officials from Athens will make the trip and instead a staff member from the Greek tourist information centre in Tel-Aviv will represent Greece. During other telephone calls to OECD offices, campaigners learnt that Denmark will only send a statistician and that Belgium and Norway are still considering what level of representation will attend. France will be represented at a “technical level” only. A number of countries are yet to decide whether Ministers should attend, campaigners understand.

The withdrawals come following comments made by Israeli tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov that the situating of the meeting in Jerusalem – the first OECD meeting hosted by Israel since it became a member in May and only the second time an OECD tourism conference has been held outside of Paris – was in effect recognition by OECD members of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. In a strongly worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, OECD General Secretary Angel Gurria called the comments “factually incorrect and quite unacceptable”.

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

US Congress to Arabs: Drop Dead

Mondoweiss | October 18, 2010

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued the following statement today concerning the Israeli construction in Jerusalem. AIPAC is tweeting happily about it.

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement.

“As such, the resumption of construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit. Ramot and Pisgat Zeev are going to be part of Israel in any conceivable final status deal and to pretend otherwise is pointless.

“As I have said, those who earlier complained about the inadequacy of Israel’s unilateral and uncompensated settlement freeze, who chose to waste those ten months instead of diving aggressively into direct talks on peace, cannot reasonably now turn around and complain that the end of the freeze and the resumption of Israeli construction in Jerusalem—Israel’s capital, and the singular geographic center of the hopes and aspirations of the Jewish people for three millennia—is either a shock or an insurmountable obstacle to peace.

“Israeli construction in Jerusalem, in two already well-established neighborhoods is neither a show of bad faith, nor a justification for avoiding negotiations aimed at achieving a final status agreement. The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians are not going to be achieved by violence and they’re not going to be achieved by the equivalent of holding their breath until their lips turn blue. Direct negotiations are sole pathway to their goal and the sooner they recognize this fact, the better.”

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 2 Comments

The Evil of Madeleine Albright

“Could you have one of our U-2s shot down?”

By Gary Leup – October 18, 2010

Madeleine Albright is infamous for her reply to the question posed by 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl about the sanctions against Iraq in May 1996.

“We have heard that a half million children have died,” stated Stahl. “I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

“I think this is a very hard choice,” replied Albright, “but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

Albright, who served as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, had a cruel disregard for the lives of Iraqis, Serbs, and others. But she apparently had a callous attitude towards the lives of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen too. In his new memoir, General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, writes about a White House breakfast in late 1997. (The account is cited by Justin Elliott in Salon.)

Early on in my days as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we had small, weekly White House breakfasts in National Security Advisor Sandy Berger’s office that included me, Sandy, Bill Cohen (Secretary of Defense), Madeleine Albright (Secretary of State), George Tenet (head of the CIA), Leon Firth (VP chief of staff for security), Bill Richardson (ambassador to the U.N.), and a few other senior administration officials. These were informal sessions where we would gather around Berger’s table and talk about concerns over coffee and breakfast served by the White House dining facility. It was a comfortable setting that encouraged brainstorming of potential options on a variety of issues of the day.

During that time we had U-2 aircraft on reconnaissance sorties over Iraq. These planes were designed to fly at extremely high speeds and altitudes (over seventy thousand feet) both for pilot safety and to avoid detection.

At one of my very first breakfasts, while Berger and Cohen were engaged in a sidebar discussion down at one end of the table and Tenet and Richardson were preoccupied in another, one of the Cabinet members present leaned over to me and said, “Hugh, I know I shouldn’t even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event — something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough — and slow enough — so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?”

The hair on the back of my neck bristled, my teeth clenched, and my fists tightened. I was so mad I was about to explode. I looked across the table, thinking about the pilot in the U-2 and responded, “Of course we can …” which prompted a big smile on the official’s face.

“You can?” was the excited reply.

“Why, of course we can,” I countered. “Just as soon as we get your ass qualified to fly it, I will have it flown just as low and slow as you want to go.”

The official reeled back and immediately the smile disappeared. “I knew I should not have asked that….”

“No, you should not have,” I strongly agreed, still shocked at the disrespect and sheer audacity of the question. “Remember, there is one of our great Americans flying that U-2, and you are asking me to intentionally send him or her to their death for an opportunity to kick Saddam. The last time I checked, we don’t operate like that here in America.”

Imagine that! A Cabinet official suggesting a deliberate provocation endangering a military pilot’s life in order to justify a war: “…but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event — something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world.” Is this mere amoral pragmatism? Machiavellian? It is in any case evil.

(I’m reminded of how the key neocon text “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” authored by Paul Wolfowitz for the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) “thinktank” in Sept. 2000, states that the “process of transformation” to the kind of super-militarized aggressive state the neocons hoped for “will be a long one absent some catastrophic event like a new Pearl Harbor.” And as the Deputy Secretary of Defense he warned of another Pearl Harbor in his speech at West Point in June 2001. After 9-11, widely compared in the media to the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941, he immediately set about preparations for war with Iraq.)

On January 31, 2003 President George W. Bush in a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair seriously proposed provoking Saddam to shoot down a U.S. aircraft. According to notes taken by Blair advisor David Manning (the accuracy of which has never been challenged), Bush suggested “flying U-2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted with UN colors. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach” of UN resolutions. Maybe then the UN, which had refused to endorse the plan to attack Iraq and was sceptical about the justifications given by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, would endorse war. (Perhaps the military brass opposed the plan, which was never carried out.)

At the Clinton White House breakfast described by Gen. Shelton, Berger, Cohen, Tenet and Richardson were involved in separate conversations. The other cabinet members were Robert E. Rubin (Treasury), Janet Reno (Attorney General), Bruce Babbit (Interior), Dan Glickman (Agriculture), Mickey Kantor (Commerce), Alexis Herman (Labor), Donna E. Shalala (Health and Human Services), Andrew M. Cuomo (Housing and Urban Development), Rodney Slater (Transportation), Richard W. Riley (Education), Jesse Brown (Veteran’s Affairs), Federico F. Pena (Energy), and Albright.

Out the 14 members of the Cabinet, there were four women. The fact that Shelton deliberately avoids indicating the gender of his interlocutor may hint that it was one of them. It is hard to believe that Attorney General Reno would suggest sacrificing an airman to the head of the Joint Chiefs at a White House breakfast. Or the Secretary of Labor, or Secretary of Health and Human Services. It’s hard to believe anyone on the above list would so–except Albright.

Albright in her memoirs expresses regret for her “it was worth it” statement in the 1996 interview. And she told Newsweek in 2006, “I’m afraid that Iraq is going to turn out to be the greatest disaster in American foreign policy—worse than Vietnam.” But she bears partial responsibility for the December 1998 bombing of Iraq (“Operation Desert Fox”), a prelude to the 2003 invasion. She helped produce the disaster.

And she helped produce disaster in the former Yugoslavia. As violence rose in the Serbian province of Kosovo, between the Kosovo Liberation Army and security forces, she (and Cohen) deliberately exaggerated the Kosovar Albanian death toll and demanded the U.S. right to intervene. She arranged the de facto alliance with the KLA, earlier labelled “terrorist” by U.S. officials. In March 1999 at the Rambouillet talks between Serbia and the Kosovar rebels, along with the U.S., its European allies and Russia, the U.S. demanded that the whole of Serbia (and other states within what was left of Yugoslavia) submit to virtual occupation by NATO. Yugoslavia had proudly remained outside the Warsaw Pact and had prided itself on participation in the Non-Aligned Movement. No government in Belgrade could have complied with Albright’s demands.

The so-called Rambouillet Agreement was rejected outright by the Serbs as well as their Russian allies. But Albright immediately stated, “We accept the agreement”–as though there was any agreement. The bullying was conducted in such a smug fashion that the French Foreign minister accused the U.S. of becoming a hyperpuissance–not a mere superpower but a “hyperpower.”

John Pilger wrote, “Anyone scrutinizing the Rambouillet document is left with little doubt that the excuses given for the subsequent bombing were fabricated. The peace negotiations were stage managed and the Serbs were told: surrender and be occupied, or don’t surrender and be destroyed.”

This was indeed Albright’s plan (and that of Bill Clinton, egged on by Hillary, who has confessed, “I urged him to bomb”), resulting in the deployment of NATO to bomb a European capital for the first time since 1945, killing at least 500 civilians (Human Rights Watch) and maybe ten times that number.

A Republican official later told a think tank that a certain “top official” had told him: ” We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get.” Don’t we see a pattern here?

Throughout the last decade the neoconservatives have been the leading warmongers. But they have no monopoly on imperialist arrogance, contempt for truth and indifference to human life. Madeleine Albright is proof of that.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history.

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | 3 Comments

The United States fights and pays for Israel’s wars

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari | The People’s Voice | October 17, 2010

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely-published Irish author and journalist. He has been living in Japan since 1999. Cathail’s articles and commentaries have appeared on a number of media outlets and newspapers including Tehran Times, Khaleej Times,, Foreign Policy Journal, Information Clearing House, Intifada Palestine, Pakistan Daily and Palestine Think Tank.

Maidhc joined me in an exclusive interview and responded to my questions about the 9/11 attacks, the influence of Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration, the prospect of Israeli – Palestinian conflict, the prolonged controversy over Iran’s nuclear program and the freedom of press in the United States.

Kourosh Ziabari: The Iranian President’s recent proposal for the establishment of a fact-finding group to probe into the 9/11 attacks stirred up widespread controversy in the United States. American politicians reacted to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s plan with frustration. Is it because they are aware of some evidence which suggests that Israel was behind the attacks?

Maidhc Ó Cathail: I would say that most American politicians are totally unaware of the Israeli “art students,” the so-called “dancing Israelis,” the Odigo warnings and other facts that point to Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, they probably considered Ahmadinejad’s questioning of the official 9/11 narrative to be yet another unwarranted provocation of the United States by the Iranian leader.

Ziabari: You’ve recently written an article about the bill proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman which claims the entire internet and the whole global computer network and everything on it as a “national asset” of the United States, thus giving the power to the U.S. President to kill the internet in the event of a national cyber-emergency. How does this bill, as you’ve put it precisely, kill the internet? In what ways is this proposal contradictory to American freedoms and incongruous with international law?

Ó Cathail: Titled “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010,” the bill stipulates any internet firms and providers must “immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the “National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications,” a new section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If the bill becomes law, not only American citizens but people everywhere could have their right to access and share information cut off at any time by this increasingly powerful government department.

Interestingly, the Department of Homeland Security owes its origins to a bill co-sponsored by two of Israel’s biggest supporters on Capitol Hill: Senator Lieberman and Senator Arlen Specter, who was seen as “the go-to guy for the Jewish community on Israel.” As I wrote in an article entitled “The Merchants of Fear,” Israel has profited enormously from “homeland insecurity” in the United States and elsewhere since 9/11. It’s hardly a coincidence that the source of this latest expansion of Homeland Security at the expense of civil liberties is “the No. 1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress.”

Ziabari: In your articles, you’ve alluded to some facts which American citizens might be unaware of. Israel is claimed to be the “staunchest ally” of the United States, but as you’ve mentioned in your articles, it frequently and inexcusably undermined the strategic interests of the U.S. Why does the U.S. government continue to offer its unconditional support for Israel while there are influential voices within the U.S. administration who acknowledge that Israel will betray the United States after all?

Ó Cathail: On this issue, domestic politics invariably trumps the national interest. Any president who offers anything less than unconditional support for Israel will be immediately reprimanded in an AIPAC-drafted letter signed by 76 senators, whose overriding desire to be re-elected apparently blinds them to the incalculable damage Israel is doing to American interests.

I’m not sure if there are “influential voices” within the administration who question Israel’s value to the United States. Those who hold such heretical views as Charles Freeman, Admiral Blair’s nominee for chairman of the National Intelligence Council, are generally kept out of government by the Lobby.

Ziabari: Controversy over Iran’s nuclear program has spanned more than six years and we’re witness to erosive, unfruitful and unconstructive approaches to this issue. What do you think about this standoff? Don’t you believe that Iran has become the subject of an unfair, unjustifiable exercise of double standards while Israel, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, possesses up to 200 nuclear warheads and is immune to any kind of investigation or accountability before the international community?

Ó Cathail: It beggars belief that no sooner than Iraq had been invaded over non-existent WMDs, the so-called “international community” began falling for the same lies – from the same source – about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons programme. We are also supposed to believe that Israel’s massive nuclear arsenal is justified by what Obama called its “unique security requirements,” whereas “evil” Iran must want them to “wipe Israel off the map.” Of course, in the real world, the “Iranian nuclear threat” is all about Israel’s fear of having its regional hegemony challenged. And that’s why, as Marsha B. Cohen expertly documented in a recent article, “In the wake of 9/11, Israel put Iran into ‘Axis of Evil.’”

Ziabari: The mainstream media in the United States frequently boast of their independence and professionalism and usually lash out at the media in developing, non-aligned countries by labeling them state-run and state-controlled. The unanticipated expulsion of Rick Sanchez from CNN over his remarks about the dominance of Jews in the U.S. media demonstrated that the media in the United States are not as free and self-determining as they claim. Is it practically possible to dissolve the Israeli lobby’s stranglehold over the U.S. media? If not, what are the reasons for that?

Ó Cathail: As Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old victim of a vindictive Lobby, recently observed, “You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive.” That’s because there are very few major U.S. media that are not owned and run by pro-Israelis. I can’t see that changing anytime soon. However, the internet is, as John Mearsheimer put it, a game changer. Perhaps that’s why Joe Lieberman seems so eager to “kill” it. It may be that he is less afraid of “cyberterrorism” than he is of the truth.

Ziabari: Let’s switch to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. What is, in your view, the prospect for this erosive and unremitting war? Will the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations bear any fruit and bring about peace between the two sides? Is Israel capable of keeping up its aggressive attitude towards the Palestinian nation? Will it submit to international pressure to lift the blockade of Gaza? Above all, will Israel succeed in surviving politically with its shaky, unsteady foundation?

Ó Cathail: As Charles Freeman recently stated, “Only a peace process that is protected from Israel’s ability to manipulate American politics can succeed.” So, to paraphrase the neocons, the road to Jerusalem leads through Washington. As long as the Lobby holds sway inside the Beltway, Israel can do what it likes in the West Bank and Gaza.

Unless the Palestinians can be forced to accept a series of disjointed Bantustans and call it a “Palestinian state,” there is going to be a single apartheid state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean which would be difficult to sustain over the long term. In order to forestall that threat to its vision of a “Jewish and democratic state,” Israel may be about to embark on another wave of the ethnic cleansing it began in 1947-49.

Ziabari: A brief review of the contemporary history of international relations reveals that the United States has never been faithful and loyal to its stooges. It held up Saddam Hussein, unconditionally aided him, supported him, funded him and persuaded him to invade Iran in the 1980s and executed him 20 years later. It backed and sponsored the House of Saud and Bin Laden family until an international terrorist gang was framed out of it, and now is bombarding Northern Pakistan in an attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden, the man whose relationship with the Bush family is known to almost everyone. So can we conclude that a similar destiny is awaiting the state of Israel?

Ó Cathail: First of all, Israel has never been a “stooge” of the United States. If there is any stooge in this relationship, it is America. After all, it is the U.S. that has been fighting and paying for Israel’s wars, not the other way around. However, if enough Americans ever learn about the well-documented examples of Israeli treachery, the Lavon Affair, the USS Liberty, Operation Trojan and Jonathan Pollard come to mind, the Jewish state may be left to fight its own wars. Perhaps then, as Ahmadinejad really said, the occupation regime over Jerusalem will “vanish from the page of time.”


October 18, 2010 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Israeli Occupation Forces Arrest Palestinian MP

Journalist also detained

Ma’an – 18/10/2010

BETHLEHEM — Israeli forces detained a Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council on Monday from the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

Hatem Qafaish, elected to the Palestinian parliament in 2006 with Hamas’ Change and Reform bloc, was detained after Israeli forces ransacked his home, a local source told Ma’an. The PLC member was detained on 6 November 2007 and placed under administrative detention until his release in 2009.

Palestinian journalist Raed Ash-Sharif, working with a local Hebron radio station, was also detained.

According to the Ad-Dameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights organization, Qafaish had been detained by Israel five times previous to his latest detention. He was elected to the PLC in January 2006 after campaigning from his prison cell.

Qafaish was also among the more than 400 activists Israel deported to Marj Al-Zuhur in southern Lebanon in December 1992. After returning to the West Bank in 1993, he chronicled his experience in exile in a series of articles in the Al-Quds newspaper. He intended to eventually to publish a memoir, but the manuscript was confiscated by Israeli prison guards.

There are six Hamas-affiliated PLC members in Israeli, detained shortly after the Islamist movement’s electoral victory. Following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 in a cross-border raid in Gaza, Israel launched a detention campaign targeting Hamas affiliated PLC members in a bid to secure the soldier’s release.

A second campaign was launched in 2009, after Israel, Hamas and a German mediator, failed to come to a prisoner swap deal under Ehud Olmert’s premiership. Many of those detained in the later campaign were handed down administrative detention sentences, according to a report issued in June, with others receiving prison terms. The majority were released shortly after.

Since the beginning of 2010, a number of Hamas PLC members were released, including Mohammad Abu Teir. Shortly after his release, Abu Teir was again detained, issued a revocation order for his Jerusalem residency rights, and handed down a deportation warrant. He is currently being remanded in custody until Israel’s Supreme Court hears his case.

Abu Teir is among three other elected Change and Reform parliamentarians who are faced with deportation from Jerusalem.

One lawyer told Ma’an that under all legal precedents, lawmakers are immune while sitting in office. Israel, the lawyer said, has violated this legal norm both by jailing Palestinian PLC members in the West Bank and passing laws within the Israeli Knesset removing Palestinian-Israeli members’ immunity under the pretense of spying for an enemy state.

Thirty-one detainees stood for the Palestinian general elections in January 2006, with 15 becoming members of the PLC.

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on Israeli Occupation Forces Arrest Palestinian MP

Israeli police look to settlers to fill ranks

First army, now police set for takeover

By Jonathan Cook | October 18, 2010

As US-sponsored peace talks have stalled over the issue of settlements, Israel’s national police force has revealed that it is turning to the very same illegal communities in its first-ever drive to recruit officers from among the settlers.

The special officer training course, which is chiefly aimed at discharged combat soldiers, includes seven months of religious studies in an extremist West Bank settlement.

The programme has provoked widespread concern among Israel’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the population.

“The police have already repeatedly demonstrated their hostility to Palestinian citizens, but this move proves that the authorities want to extend and deepen our oppression,” said Jafar Farah, the director of Mossawa, an advocacy centre for the Palestinian minority.

“Is it really credible that these religious extremists who have been educated to hate Palestinians in the West Bank are going to behave differently when they police our communities inside Israel?”

The first 35 cadets in the officer-training programme – known as “Believe in the police” – are to start their studies next month. More than 300 settlers are reported to have expressed an interest in the course so far.

The police command is said to have taken up the idea, originally proposed by right-wing groups, in the hope of reversing years of declining recruitment levels that have led to a national shortage of officers.

Cadets will study for three and a half years, mostly at Haifa University in Israel, at the end of which they will be awarded a degree and the rank of officer.

But their studies also include seven months in a religious seminary in a small extremist settlement, Elisha, deep in the West Bank. Although all the settlements are illegal under international law, Elisha is one of dozens of wildcat settlements also illegal under Israeli law.

Gershom Gorenberg, an expert on the religious settlers, said Israel’s “future police commanders” would graduate from the course after an early lesson in law-breaking.

Yonatan Chetboun, the head of the Raananim movement, a right-wing group overseeing the programme, described to Olam Katan, a newspaper popular with the religious community, one way the organizers might win over settlers to a career in the police.

He said taking potential recruits on night-time patrols of Ramle and Lod – Israeli towns notorious for containing deprived, crime-ridden Palestinian neighbourhoods – would quickly open their eyes to one of “the most meaningful national issues”.

The police spokesman was not available for comment.

A team of rabbis has been appointed to resolve potential conflicts between the settlers’ religious principles and their police duties, which could involve desecrating the sabbath and dealing with “immodest” women.

A right-wing settler activist, Hor Nizri, who has clashed with the police in the past over the evacuation of settlements, has been put in charge of recruiting young settlers.

He told the Yedioth Aharonoth newspaper that the programme was “a historic reconciliation”, adding: “We want to fill the ranks of the police as we fill the ranks of the army.”

His comments have sparked concern among Palestinian groups inside Israel that the programme is the first phase of an attempted settler “takeover” of the police, replicating their growing dominance of sections of the army.

The first official figures on the number of settlers in the Israeli military, released last month, show their massive over-representation in combat units. About a third of all officers in such units were settlers, up from only 2.5 per cent in 1990.

The police hope that a career in the force will be attractive to many of the settlers after they are discharged.

However, Mr Farah said there was plenty of evidence that religious settlers were becoming ever more extreme in their hostility towards Palestinians. He pointed to the growing influence of extremist rabbis in promoting anti-Palestinian views.

Over the summer, two prominent rabbis from the settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus, were questioned on suspicion of incitement after publishing a book, The King’s Torah, in which they sanctioned the killing of non-Jews, including children. In one passage, the authors write: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us.”

The book has been endorsed by a number of senior rabbis in the settlements.

Similar sentiments have been gaining a foothold among army rabbis.

Early last year, in the immediate wake of Israel’s three-week operation in Gaza, it was revealed that the army rabbinate had handed out a booklet to combat soldiers about to enter Gaza calling their attack “a war on murderers” and warning them against “surrendering a single millimetre” of territory.

Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the attack, including hundreds of women and children.

The Palestinian minority’s relations with the police are already marked by deep distrust, following the killing of 13 unarmed demonstrators and the wounding of hundreds more in 2000, at the start of the second intifada.

A subsequent state commission of inquiry accused the police command of viewing the minority as “an enemy”.

Mr Farah also pointed to the unexplained deaths of 36 Palestinian citizens by the police over the past decade. In only two cases have police officers been convicted.

Some Israeli observers have expressed concern that the settlers’ greater influence on the police could also make implementing the dismantlement of West Bank settlements much harder in any future peace deal.

Mr Gorenberg said previous evacuations, including the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, had been handled chiefly by the police because so many army units were dominated by settlers. The police, he added, “could acquire the same weakness”.

A version of this article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi.

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment