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Hamas: Israel detains party leader, son

Ma’an – January 5, 2012

JENIN – Israeli forces detained a Hamas leader and his son in the northern West Bank on Wednesday evening, party officials said.

Ali Abdulllah Khalil Abu Al-Rab, 50, and his 20-year-old son were returning from Ramallah to their home in Qabatiya, near Nablus, when they were apprehended by forces at the Zaatara crossing, the officials said.

Abu Al-Rab was jailed in Israel for 19 years before his release last year. His son is a student at the Arab American University in Jenin.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the report. She said eight people were detained across the West Bank overnight Wednesday.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Hamas: Israel detains party leader, son

National-Security Assassination of Americans in 1973

By Jacob G. Hornberger | January 4, 2011

A Chilean judge has indicted a retired U.S. Naval officer, Capt. Ray E. Davis, in the murder of two American citizens in Chile during the U.S.-supported Pinochet coup in 1973. The indictment indicates that the U.S. military and the CIA may have been responsible for the national-security assassination of two Americans several decades before the start of the war on terrorism.

The two Americans were journalists — 31-year-old Charles Horman and 24-year-old Frank Teruggi. During the Pinochet coup in 1973, both men were taken captive and executed in cold blood.

For decades, the CIA, playing the innocent, denied any involvement in the murders.

Then, in 1999 a declassified State Department document revealed that the CIA had, in fact, played some unidentified role in at least Horman’s murder.

What role? We don’t know. Ever since the revelation of that State Department document, the CIA has remained mum on the case, obviously taking the position that secrecy and cover-up is the best policy.

By the same token, despite the fact that the State Department document clearly furnished sufficient cause to impanel a federal grand jury to investigate the CIA’s role in the murders, the Justice Department under both Republican and Democratic regimes has steadfastly failed and refused to do so.

At the same time, Congress has failed and refused to open an investigation into the murders, in the process subpoenaing CIA officials to testify what exactly the CIA’s role was in the murders, the identity of the CIA officials who participated in the murders, and whether President Richard Nixon or other high U.S. officials ordered the hit to be made on the two Americans.

Horman’s murder was the subject of the movie “Missing,” starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.

The Chilean indictment of a retired U.S. military officer brings a new dimension to the case — the confluence of the two branches of the U.S. national security state — the military and the CIA — to allegedly bring about the murder of two American journalists, on grounds of national security.

What did Horman and Teruggi supposedly do to justify being taken out? The allegation is that during the coup, Horman acquired evidence documenting the U.S. government’s complicity in the coup. Therefore, the argument goes, by acquiring such information Horman became an immediate threat to the national security of the United States.

Moreover, the fact that Horman and Teruggi were leftists, liberals, or socialists who were supporting the socialist regime of Salvador Allende might have also constituted evidence of their being a grave threat to the national security of the United States during the Cold War.

The Chilean indictment of Davis alleges that he gave Horman a ride from the U.S. military installation in Valparaiso, where Horman allegedly acquired the information showing U.S. complicity in the coup, to Horman’s apartment in Santiago.

After that, Horman was picked up by Pinochet’s national-security goons, taken away, and executed.

While no one except the CIA, and possibly the U.S. military, knows exactly what the CIA role was in the murder, the allegation is that the CIA and the military signaled Pinochet that they wanted Horman (and possibly Teruggi) executed but without any evidence pointing to U.S. complicity in the murders.

One ironic twist to this saga involves the murder of a Chilean citizen by the Pinochet regime, on grounds of national security. During his brutal dictatorship, Pinochet sent a national-security hit team to Washington, D.C., where it murdered Orlando Letelier, who had served in the Allende government, on the streets of Washington, D.C. Even though the person who orchestrated the murder, a man named Michael Townley, ultimately got a sweetheart plea deal, no doubt because he had been an agent of the CIA, at least the Justice Department treated the hit as a murder rather than a legitimate assassination by the Pinochet regime to protect Chile’s national security.

On the other hand, however, the U.S. government has never treated the executions of Charles Horman and Michael Teruggi in the same way. Apparently, the notion has been that once the U.S. national security state decides that someone is a threat to national security, including an American, it has the legal authority to eliminate such a threat through assassination.

Equally important, the presumption seems to be that the final judge of what constitutes a sufficient threat to national security to justify an assassination of an American or anyone else lies with the national-security state itself, either through the CIA making the determination itself or by following orders of the president.

All of this, of course, is sheer nonsense. There is clear evidence indicating that two Americans have been murdered by agents of the U.S. national security state. This is not a case where the victims are alleged to have played an “operational role” in attacking the United States or even releasing classified information embarrassing to the U.S. government. The very worst thing Horman and Teruggi allegedly did was acquire information from military sources indicating U.S. government complicity in a regime-change operation in a foreign country and of being liberals, leftists, or socialists.

Since when do such things justify the national-security assassination of American citizens by either the U.S. military or the CIA?

There is no statue of limitations on murder. The U.S. government, including the Justice Department and the Congress, owe it to the American people, including the families of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, to open official investigations into the murders of these two young men and to bring to justice every U.S. official who participated in such murders.

If Chileans aren’t scared to confront the truth, why should Americans be?

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on National-Security Assassination of Americans in 1973

Delegitimizing discrimination: struggle of Palestinians in Israel focus of new book

By Rod Such – The Electronic Intifada – 4 January 2012

Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination, and Democracy by British investigative journalist and The Electronic Intifada contributor Ben White links the struggle of Palestinians within Israel, who make up 20 percent of the country’s population, with those in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and the global diaspora.

With a foreword by Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the book provides current and well-documented information on the systematic discrimination facing Palestinian citizens of Israel, the increasingly repressive measures being taken against both Palestinian and Jewish dissenters in Israel, and the ongoing Judaization within Israel, particularly in Galilee and the Negev (Naqab) desert, that is intended to further segregate and isolate Palestinians from Israeli Jews.

But perhaps the book’s greatest contribution is its dissection of political Zionism, providing a framework to understand why a state that defines itself as Jewish cannot be democratic. A state that defines itself as belonging to one ethnic group, White shows, is inherently wedded to discrimination and inequality, combining elements of both an ethnocracy and a theocracy, but not the kind of pluralistic democracy that guarantees equal rights for all and protections for national minorities.

In her foreword, Zoabi seizes on this very message, noting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to be viewed not through “the lens” of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but rather through the lens of equal rights.

“The argument that the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians is one of a conflict with a racist settler project that was founded on notions of ethnic purity,” Zoabi writes, “is understood implicitly by all Palestinians. We Palestinians were quick to comprehend the relationship between ourselves – as indigenous inhabitants of this land – and those who came to take our place (in every sense) without even considering a common life with or alongside us, and without acknowledging that which had gone before them.”

Zoabi herself is part of the movement within Israel to redefine the state as a “state for all its citizens.” She notes that the dominant Zionist political parties within Israel diametrically oppose this notion and thus expose their project as essentially antidemocratic.

“The ‘state of all its citizens’ project has forced the ‘Jewish state’ to admit the primacy that it grants to Jewish-Zionist values over democratic values,” she writes, “and to recognize the impossibility of coexistence between the two … After all, what is the recent ‘legislation’ pertaining to the Jewishness of the state, and the escalation of the process of Judaization from the level of policy, if not a direct acknowledgment of the conflict between democracy and Zionism, and the privileging of the latter over the former?”

For White, the insistence of the Zionist parties on the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not a tactic merely to block negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, nor is it solely about the Palestinians within Israel. Instead, as he succinctly puts it, “Israel’s definition as ‘Jewish and democratic’ is the contradiction at the heart of the conflict.” He devotes the first chapter, “Jewish and Democratic?,” to framing the discussion that will follow, showing how this definition of a state inherently results in the privileging of Jews at the expense of non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

Discriminatory patterns

White then carefully documents the discriminatory patterns resulting from this definition. For example, in the chapter titled “The Land Regime,” he notes that the Palestinian population within Israel is six times greater than it was in 1948, yet land privately owned by Palestinians has declined to a mere 3.5 percent of total available land. Furthermore, successive Israeli governments have helped finance and support the creation of more than 700 new Jewish communities since 1948, as compared with none for the Palestinian minority “except for seven townships in the Negev intended to ‘concentrate’ the Bedouin population.”

For this reviewer, White’s chapters on “Judaization and the Demographic Threat” and “Systematic Discrimination” were among the strongest, providing extensive background information on topics that are rarely mentioned in mainstream media coverage in the United States.

White reveals that among Israeli officials there is a preoccupation with the “demographic threat” posed by Palestinian citizens of Israel, a preoccupation that might best be described as the secret discontent underlying every supremacist regime. It has led Israeli governments to colonize largely Palestinian areas within Israel itself — including by demolishing Palestinian homes, a practice that takes place not just in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, but also within Israel itself. Part of countering the “demographic threat” is to make sure there is a Jewish presence in every part of Israel, which White refers to as the “Judaization of space.”

A case in point is Nazareth and Upper Nazareth in the Galilee. White explains that after 1948 the remaining Palestinians within Israel — who numbered slightly more than 100,000 out of a previous population of more than 850,000 — were concentrated largely within the Galilee and the Negev (Naqab). The city of Nazareth was almost entirely Palestinian and was the largest Palestinian city controlled by Israel before it occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.

To “‘assert a Jewish presence in the area,’ in the words of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli government created Upper Nazareth as a Jewish settlement. This settlement was allowed to expand and flourish, eventually growing to 50,000 residents and occupying 42,000 dunams [a dunam is a quarter of an acre], whereas in Nazareth, 70,000 Palestinians were “forced into just 14,000 dunams: four times as crowded.” The mayor of Upper Nazareth still regards Palestinians as a “demographic threat” and announced in June 2009 the creation of a new ultra-Orthodox neighborhood “‘to counter Arabs moving in.’”

A spate of recent books has documented the impact of discrimination against Palestinians within Israel, among them Saree Makdisi’s Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, Ilan Pappe’s The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel, and Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within by Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman. All provide valuable information on inequalities and discrimination.

However, White’s figures are among the most current available. For example, he notes that in 2010, Palestinian citizens accounted for a third of all poor people in Israel and of the 30 communities with the highest unemployment, 27 of them were Arab. Whole sectors of employment are off limits to Palestinians. Israeli government data from 2011 showed that of the more than 2.3 million people employed by 170,000 Jewish-owned businesses, less than 86,000, or only 3.7 percent, were Palestinian citizens. A survey of almost 200 industrial firms in 2010 showed that 41 percent did not “‘employ any Arab college graduates.’”

Discrimination in education

On the topic of education, this reviewer wished that White had provided more background information to explain Israel’s de facto system of segregated education from kindergarten through the 12th grade. White acknowledges that Israel does not have a legally-segregated K-12 school system.

Nevertheless, the system of de facto segregation in education resulted from a deliberate policy. Military rule fenced off Palestinian rural villages from Jewish settlements and rigidly controlled Palestinians’ ability to move freely with a permit system not unlike apartheid South Africa’s notorious passbooks. Military rule ensured a system of segregated schools in rural areas. What is often not appreciated is what happened in the so-called “mixed cities” where Palestinians and Jews lived together, such as Haifa.

There, in 1948, the Haganah (an armed Zionist organization) forcibly removed Palestinians from the Carmel Ridge and “German Colony” areas to concentrate them in a single neighborhood, the Wadi Nisnas, despite objections from Palestinian members of the Knesset (MKs) who noted that the purpose was to create a “ghetto.” As one MK put it at the time, “It’s described as a military action. But in fact it’s a political one. It’s racism!”

Despite the MKs’ objections, the Haganah commander who implemented the forcible creation of a ghetto noted that he wasn’t interested in their views. They were simply to do as they were told, as recounted in the Israeli historian Tom Segev’s 1949: The First Israelis.

Of course, so-called “separate but equal” school systems are anything but. White documents a study conducted in association with the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics which found that for each Jewish student, schools have a budget of around $1,100 a year, compared with a figure of just $191 for each Palestinian student, almost six times less.

Rethinking our approach to Israel

In his concluding chapter, White returns to his theme of why the political Zionist dream of a Jewish state is central to the conflict. “There is an urgent need to rethink our approach to Israel, consistent with the reality on the ground in the West Bank, the reasons for the failure of the ‘peace process,’ and the situation for the Palestinian minority in a Jewish state. It means moving beyond the ‘occupation’ discourse that limits the conflict to policies and phenomena specific to the territories conquered by Israel in 1967. It is time to re-integrate the different elements of the historic conflict, and see the ‘Question of Palestine’ holistically.”

He adds, “it is necessary to see how, as a result of Israeli policies and legislation, one in seven Palestinians is a second-class citizen, a third are under military rule without citizenship, and half of all Palestinians are outside the borders, dispossessed and forbidden from returning. This latter reality is central to the contradiction of the ‘Jewish and democratic’ state, an identification that was only established and can only be maintained, by the expulsion and forcible exclusion of half the Palestinian people.”

By placing the emphasis on human rights and equality, White argues that the struggle must be redirected toward genuine “democratization and de-colonization, based upon the recognition of both Palestinian and Jewish rights.

“Freed from the imperative of maintaining an exclusivist ethno-religious state, issues like water rights or the status of Jerusalem are transformed from the stumbling blocks of tortuous negotiations into opportunities for celebratory affirmations of a common homeland and the mutual protection of both communities’ rights.”

This perspective surely must be taken up by those engaged in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a global nonviolent movement confronting Israeli apartheid. The great theorist of nonviolence, Gene Sharp, argued that its effectiveness lies in the “delegitimization” of the policies of oppression. Its power comes not from pressuring the powerful or from disrupting the status quo but from making the policies of oppression illegitimate in the eyes of the nation’s citizens and the world.

Thus, the Birmingham, Alabama civil rights protesters who were water-hosed by Bull Connor’s firemen, as seen on nationwide TV, were part of the process of delegitimizing the US South’s system of segregation. Once that occurred, the resulting victories in civil rights legislation became inevitable. So, it is not Israel itself that is being made illegitimate, but rather the policies of privileging one ethnic group over another as summed up in the phrase “the Jewish state.”

Rod Such is a freelance writer and former editor for World Book and Encarta encyclopedias. He is a member of the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign and Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Iran shrugs EU oil ban, looks to Asia

Al Akhbar, Reuters, AFP | January 5, 2012

Iran shrugged off the impact of new European and American sanctions targeting its oil sector a day after EU governments agreed to move ahead with an oil embargo on Tehran.

The National Iranian Oil Company said demand was so high for Iranian oil that it would have no trouble selling it elsewhere.

“We hope that Iran’s oil is not sanctioned officially but if so we have taken the needed arrangements,” the company’s director of international affairs, Mohsen Qamsari, was quoted as saying in a report on Iran’s oil ministry website.

The 27-nation European Union struck “an agreement in principle” to ban Iranian oil imports on Wednesday, according to an EU diplomat in Brussels.

Negotiations were ongoing to determine when the ban should start, though France is pushing for an announcement at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting at the end of January.

Objections to an EU oil embargo on Iran were reportedly dropped, most notably by Greece, which relies heavily on Iranian oil imports and fears repercussions on its debt-ridden economy.

Details of reassurances that won Greece’s support for the sanctions were not disclosed.

Washington welcomed the EU’s decision to press ahead with new sanctions on Iran.

“These (EU measures) are the kinds of steps that we would like to see not just from our close allies and partners in places like Europe but from countries around the world,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

“We do believe that this is consistent with tightening the noose on Iran economically,” she said. “We think that the place to get Iran’s attention is with regard to its oil sector.”

Iran exports about 18 percent of its oil to the European Union, making the bloc the second-biggest destination after China. Oil revenues make up 80 percent of Iran’s foreign currency earnings.

But four of Iran’s top five oil export destinations are in Asia, giving weight to claims by Iran’s leaders and its oil company that it can easily offset an EU ban by simply shifting exports to Asia.

Japan and Turkey are seeking US waivers that would still enable them to import oil from OPEC’s second largest oil producer.

To that end, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to China and Japan next week to discuss sanctions “coordination,” but a deal with Tokyo is unlikely to be achieved, a Japanese government source speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters.

Beijing on Wednesday said it opposed “unilateral sanctions” against Iran. But Washington is hoping that, at the very least, China will extract deep discounts if it continues to buy Iranian oil. … Full article

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Economics | Comments Off on Iran shrugs EU oil ban, looks to Asia

Nuclear Agency Squabbling Throws Smokescreen Over Safety Lapses

By LINDA PENTZ GUNTER | CounterPunch | January 5, 2012

Four of the five commissioners at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission have charged their boss, Chairman Gregory Jaczko, with “causing serious damage to this institution.” That is tough talk coming from an agency where mismanagement under previous chairmanships actually did serious damage, not only to the regulatory integrity of the institution, but to safety integrity at nuclear reactors.

For example, in April 2000, the Commission had photographic evidence of extensive corrosive leakage that put the Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, Ohio within a hair’s breadth of a meltdown. Yet, despite lava-like formations of rust roiling off the top of the reactor pressure vessel, the NRC allowed the reactor to restart, giving it the green light for two more years of operation. The NRC clearly needed a top to bottom safety shakeup.   That’s when Chairman Jaczko showed up.

The grumbling over Jaczko is a convenient smokescreen to draw attention away from the fact that, for the first time in decades, the NRC actually has a Chairman who, in his own words, is “a very passionate person about safety” at the country’s 104 operating nuclear reactors. That shows up the other four, who, much of the time, adhere to an old culture of capitulation to the demands of the nuclear power industry, a practice which almost invariably diminishes safety.

Although he has by no means a perfect record, Jazcko has on several important occasions put his vote where it counts to reinforce safety at the country’s nuclear power plants.

Last June, Chairman Jazcko was alone on the Commission in calling for the end to handing out more “Get out of Jail Free” cards for fire code violations potentially affecting the safe shutdown of reactors during a fire.  For decades, the nuclear industry has been in violation of federal fire safety laws, yet the Commission consistently shields the nuclear industry from potentially costly fixes by negating enforcement of its own regulations.

Jaczko wisely carried out President Obama’s decision to cancel the licensing of the scientifically unsound proposed radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV. Jaczko’s was also the only dissenting voice in the September 2005 NRC vote that approved a “parking lot” dumpsite for 40,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste targeted for the tiny Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation in Utah. (The project was later canceled).  He was again the sole opposing vote in April 2009 when the NRC approved a 20-year license extension for the dangerous and decrepit Oyster Creek reactor in New Jersey, the country’s oldest.

The commissioners appear to be using their spat with Jaczko to shroud their own collective inaction despite the lessons that should have been learned from the still unfolding nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. During the early weeks of the accident, it was Chairman Jaczko who urged Americans in Japan to evacuate to 50 miles away from the Fukushima disaster (although US standards still only require 10 miles, a regulation Jaczko should now push to change.) He also created the Near- and Long-Term Fukushima Task Force to examine the implications for a similar crisis on US soil. That shows a concern for public safety that should be central to the commissioners’ mandate.

Congress, to whom the NRC is answerable, should be paying attention to job performance at the agency. But rather than wrangle with the trivialities of alleged workplace tantrums, our elected officials need to scrutinize the NRC’s long history of failure to enforce its own safety regulations.

During the BP Deep Water Horizon debacle, revelations that the now hastily renamed Minerals Management Service was too cozy with the oil industry and disastrously derelict in its duty to enforce safety regulations, made waves. Yet, despite the fact that the NRC is literally playing with fire – and radioactivity – no similar scrutiny has been applied.

Congress could better spend its time looking deeper into lax safety oversight at NRC and tell its commissioners to stop favoring the nuclear industry’s financial priorities over public safety.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Nuclear Power | Comments Off on Nuclear Agency Squabbling Throws Smokescreen Over Safety Lapses

Who Are the Palestinians?

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan | Palestine Chronicle | January 5, 2012

In 1917, Jews constituted 7 percent of the indigenous Palestinian population and owned 1 percent of the land. Britain, as a colonial power and the victor of World War I forced the Palestine Mandate and gave itself the right to grant a homeland to the Jewish people in Palestine in “Balfour Declaration” that facilitated the colonization of the land by foreign Jews.

The 1948 War that led to the creation of Israel over seventy-eight percent of Palestinian territory resulted in the devastation of the Palestinian society. More than 80 percent of the Palestinians who lived in the part of Palestine upon which Israel was established became refugees, their society disintegrated and their lives at the individual, community and national level were changed. The Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem came under the Hashemite regime while those residing in the Gaza Strip came under uncaring Egyptian administration. Then after the 1967 war, Israel brought these regions under its military occupation, and the Palestinians ended as either refugees or under occupation.

Who Are the Palestinians?

They are the descendents of all the groups that inhibited Palestine since the ancient Canaanites and beyond. Palestine was successively conquered by Canaanites, Philistines, ancient Hebrews, ancient Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Ayyobies, and Turks. The groups which lived in Palestine fought, inter-married, collaborated and no group was obliterated.

We can’t explore at length several millennia of uninterrupted history of the Palestinians in one article or even in one book, but this narrative is an attempt to review some archeologists’ findings and Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts about the Canaanites, the first inhabitants of Palestine. Ancient Egyptians who had personal contacts with the Palestinians through commerce and military campaigns have been credited for providing partial answers to the question of who were the early Palestinians. Modern archeologists have unmasked evidence from the annals recorded on clay and early bronze pottery that Egypt was involved in Palestinian and Syrian affairs during the First and Second Egyptian Dynasties 3100-2686 B.C.

People lived in Palestine in permanent settlements since the so-called Pre -pottery period 8000 to 5000 B.C. (Before Christ); they developed farming techniques and domesticated animals according to many historians including the Canadian archeologist Donald Redford. But Palestine as a geo-political unit dates back to 3000 B.C. Palestine was called the Land of the Canaanites until the twelfth century B.C.

The topography of Palestine with its mountains dividing the land into upland, valleys, steppe and coast, formed natural barriers among ancient communities and limited the cultivation of large tracts of land. It made it impossible to create large towns or a nation-state in all of its territory as in Egypt or Mesopotamia (Iraq) where the rivers that were easy to navigate allowed a central government to control the lengthy stretches of their banks especially after developing crop cultivation and cattle control.

Unlike their counterparts in Egypt who had the service of the gods as a major factor for the structural form of their towns, security against invaders and wild animals was the Palestinian community’s uppermost concern. In written description of their neighbors in the north, the Egyptians of post-3000 B.C. called the Palestinian cities “unwt” which meant “fortified enclosures”.  As an example, the British archeologist Kathleen Kenyon wrote in her book “Digging up Jericho” that the two-thousand people community of Jericho surrounded their town with a stone wall three meters wide and four meters high, interspersed with towers. Jericho is one of the major Palestinian cities to be excavated in the twentieth century.

According to the historian Donald Redford, contemporary archeologists from Britain, the US and Australia estimated that in the Early Bronze age, Palestine had a population of about 150,000 living in twenty large settlements that each can be characterized as a town and scores of small communities that were within a day’s walk distance from the closest major town. The towns came into being as they grew slowly over the years from small settlements into larger communities. Palestinian towns were surrounded by very thick brick and stone walls with gates and towers. Town people engaged in agriculture and trade with each other and with their neighbors in Egypt in the south and Byblos in Syria to the north. The international letters written in the Semitic Accadian language on clay tablets that had been sent by Canaanite officials to the Egyptian government officials in Amarna City during the 18th Dynasty rule sheds more light on the Canaanite’s relations with the Egyptians.

Most of the settlements were in three geographic locations that have water supplies and fertile soil, the northern coastal plain, upper Jordan valley and the Valley of Jerzeel (Marj Ibn Aamer). Archaeological records show settlement in the Palestinian desert of Negev and there were well traveled roads from northern Egypt to the region of southern Palestine. Miscellaneous artifacts discovered in the ruins of Arad town located north east of Beer Sheba in the Negev desert surrounded by two dozen satellite villages suggest town was a center of trade commerce. Arad was a prosperous 3rd millennium BC Canaanite town, built as a fortress surrounded by a stone wall with towers. And since there were no under-ground water springs in the town’s vicinity, its planners built reservoirs to capture the winter rain run off.

Ancient Canaanite tribes, the first identified ancestors of the Palestinians, ruled all Palestine and Jordan until around 1150 B.C. when the Philistines settled in the southern coastal area. Ancient Egyptian texts described Canaan as land  that encompassed the eastern coast of the Mediterranean which includes modern Palestine, the western part of Jordan, parts of southern Lebanon and parts of south west Syria. Sometimes, the Canaanite City of Gaza was referred to by the Ancient Egyptians as Canaan due to its close proximity and its commercial relations with Egypt.

Historians postulate that the 15th Egyptian Dynasty, known as the “Hyksos”, who ruled north Egypt from 1650-1550 B.C. was Canaanite. When Egypt’s central government under the 13th and 14th Dynasties was too weak to defend the country, Canaanite invaders from the north (Palestine) conquered several small kingdoms in Egypt’s Delta and established the “Hyksos” rule over north Egypt. Their capital was the city of Avaris in the Eastern Delta, at Tell ed-Dab’a on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. Egypt’s trade under the “Hyksos” reached the Euphrates in the north. They were the first to introduce the horse and chariot into Ancient Egypt, and as time passed, their kings gradually became more and more Egyptianized. They built temples and cemeteries like those of the Egyptian pharaohs but the architectural layout was of Canaanite style. The “Hyksos” temples’ architect, burial custom, pottery and weapons in Egypt were not different from those found in the contemporary Middle Bronze II period in Palestine. This supports the claim that the “Hyksos” were Canaanite in origin according to the Egyptologist, William Gillan Waddell.

The Land of Canaan fell under Ancient Egyptian rule in around 1480 BC, not for the last time in history. Under Pharaoh Thutmose II of the 18th Dynasty, the Egyptians conquered the Land of Canaan up to the banks of the Euphrates River. After their experience with the Hyksos invaders, the Egyptians began to value the Land of Canaan for its strategic location vis-à-vis foreign powers in the north who might challenge Egypt again. After expelling the Hyksos elites, the vengeful Egyptians destroyed their monuments and Thutmose II extended Egypt’s frontiers and turned the Land of Canaan into a buffer zone.

Canaan had always been valued for its resources and its two transit corridors, one along the coast and the other crossing the Jordan River. The Egyptians appointed local magnates at local principalities as their own vassals. Egypt took stringent measures to retain its hold on Palestine for its proximity and its resources that included copper mines, olive oil, wine, grapes and figs. Business boomed up and down the coast from Gaza in Palestine to Ugarit (Latakia today) in north Syria and commerce resulted in extensive exchange of merchandize, workers and ideas.

The Philistines, Indo-European tribes referred to as the “Sea People”, settled in the coastal plain of Canaanite Land around 1,150 B.C. Waves of the Philistines settled in Palestine during the early rule of Egypt’s 20th Dynasty. Excavations suggest that their material culture was Mycenaean Cypriote besides the Canaanite and Egyptian.

Less than a century after their arrival, the Philistines moved to establish themselves independent of the aegis of Egypt. According to the University of Chicago archeologist R. H. Dornemann, the Philistines broadened their area of influence beyond their fortresses by controlling towns in the south formerly belonging to the Egyptian administration. And in the north, their settlements began to appear in the Valley of Jerzeel and in the Jordan Valley.

Some contemporary Palestinian families claim to be descendents of one ancient Palestinian group or another. When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, Hamdi Canaan, whose family claims to be descendant from the ancient Canaanites, was the Palestinian mayor of Nablus, one the ancient cities in Palestine. His family has been in the soap manufacturing business for hundreds of years, using the Palestinian olive oil as the main ingredient.

The Palestinians today not only have to suffer living under military occupation or as refugees, but to add insult to injury, Newt Gingrich, an American politician who will do anything including selling his soul to get a vote [or campaign funding] , said “the Palestinians are an invented people.” The archeologists’ findings and Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts suggest the Palestinian People existed a long time before the Americas were discovered [by Europeans] and while Newt Gingrich’ European ancestors were living in caves. [Editorial comments by Aletho News]

– Hasan Afif El-Hasan is a political analyst. His latest book, Is The Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on and Barnes & Noble.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | 4 Comments

No jail for Jewish extremists in “price tag” attacks

Al-Akhbar, AFP, Ma’an | January 5, 2012

Twelve Jewish extremists involved in “price tag” arson attacks on Palestinians in recent weeks have escaped jail time, but will instead be barred from the West Bank for up to a year, Israel’s military revealed in a statement on Tuesday.

Referring to the men as “activists,” the statement said that one man has been banned for one year, while the others will not be able to enter the occupied Palestinian territory for varied periods between three and nine months.

Israel’s military said these men were suspected of involvement in violence targeting Palestinians and Israeli forces, and described the orders issued as a “preventative measure to remove the threat by the activists in the area.”

Israeli media reports said the settlers named in the orders lived at four Jewish enclaves built in the territory Israel captured in a 1967 war which Palestinians seek for a state.

The measures follow a pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month to crack down on Jewish extremism in the West Bank and prevent further violence.

A number of Palestinian properties have been attacked in previous weeks, including mosques, homes, and vehicles.

The latest “price tag” attack occurred only yesterday when Jewish extremists burnt Palestinian cars, and scrawled anti-Arab graffiti in Hebrew.

Israeli settlers routinely harass and attack Palestinians in the West Bank, with their crimes rarely punished as Israeli security forces often turn a blind eye.

By contrast, Palestinians are frequently detained and suffer from tight daily restrictions imposed by Israeli occupation forces.

On Tuesday, undercover Israeli forces abducted and briefly detained a six-year-old Palestinian boy in Jerusalem.

Israeli troops interrogated the child in the hope he would reveal the names of stone-throwing Palestinian youths.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law, but construction continues in defiance of the international community and to the detriment of the indigenous Palestinian population.

Israel has maintained a military occupation of the West Bank since 1967.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

2012 – Iran and the Israeli poodles

Uprooted Palestinians | January 5, 2012

The world had witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all (except to please Israel). Had the Iranian not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy,” Martin Van Creveld, Israeli military historian, New York Times, August 21, 2004.

On Friday, China said new US sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad won’t affect its business dealings with Tehran. Iran’s oil exports to China last year was 547,000 barrels per day or 25% of all its oil exports, and growing: If the daily averages of China’s imports for the last two or three months are maintained (with many expecting them to actually rise), then in 2012 China will be importing nearly one-third of all of Iran’s oil exports.

Even after 31-years of western sanctions, independent international economic reports indicate that Iranians have more disposable income than ever before, and are enjoying the modern amenities of life, such as housing (63%), education (78%), medicare (70%), automobiles (37%) and mobile phones (88%). They are, however, spending more than their income, probably as a result of rising inflation, with less saving.

Iran’s recent Velayat-90 Military Maneuvers and its success in producing and testing Iranian-made uranium fuel rods – a major step toward Iran’s independence in developing a complete domestic nuclear fuel cycle to power the country’s power-generating nuclear plants – have made the US and western Israeli poodles go bananas. The US, France, Britain, Canada and EU have all threatened Iran with further sanctions and military action if Iran tries to block the Strait of Hormuz.

With more Israeli wars expected in the Muslim East; beginning with Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan – the economic, political and social outlook for 2012 is profoundly negative.

Professor James Petra in an article entitled A Doomsday View of 2012, says:

“The US economy will fall into recession in 2012 and the “jobless recovery of 2011” will be replaced by a steep increase of unemployment in 2012. In fact, the entire labor force will shrink as people losing their unemployment benefits will fail to register. Faced with equally limited political choices, the electorate will react by voting out incumbents, abstaining and via spontaneous and organized mass movements, such as the “occupy Wall Street” protest. Disatisfaction, hostility and frustration will pervade the culture. Democratic demagogues will scapegoat China, the Republican demagogues will blame the immigrants. Both will fulminate against “the islamo-fascists” and especially Iran.”

The 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations and their “Israel First” followers in Congress, State, Treasury and the Pentagon will push for war with Iran. If they are successful it will result in a regional conflagration and world depression. Given the extremist Israeli regimes’ success in securing blind obedience to its war policies from the US Congress and White House, any doubts about the real possibility of a major catastrophic outcome can be excluded.

Within the US, Obama has laid the groundwork for a new and bigger war in the Middle East by relocating troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and concentrating them facing Iran. To undermine Iran, Washington is expanding clandestine military and civilian operations against Iranian allies in Syria, Pakistan, Venezuela and China. The key to the US and Israeli bellicose strategy toward Iran is a series of wars in neighboring states, world- wide economic sanctions, cyber-attacks aimed at disabling vital industries and clandestine terrorist assassinations of scientists and military officials. The entire push, planning and execution of the US policies leading up to war with Iran can be empirically attributed to the Zionist power configuration occupying strategic positions in government, mass media and ‘civil society’. A systematic analysis of policymakers designing and implementing economic sanctions policy in Congress finds prominent roles for mega-Zionists like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman; in the White House, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Feltman in State; Stuart Levy and his replacement David Cohen in Treasury. The White House is totally beholden to Zionist fund raisers and takes its cue from the ‘52’ Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations. The Israeli-Zionist strategy is to encircle Iran, weaken it economically and attack its military. The Iraq invasion was the US’s first war for Israel; the Libyan war the second; the current proxy war against Syria is the third.

These wars have destroyed Israel’s adversaries or are in the process of doing so. During 2011, economic sanctions, which were designed to create domestic discontent in Iran were the principle weapon of choice. The global sanctions campaign engaged the entire energies of the major Jewish-Zionist lobbies. They also faced no opposition in the mass media, Congress or the White Office. The Zionist power configuration(ZPC) faced virtually no criticism from any of the progressive, leftist and socialist journals, movements or grouplets – with a few notable exceptions. The past year’s relocation of troops from Iraq to the borders of Iran, the sanctions and the rising Big Push from Israel’s fifth column in the US means War in the Middle East. This likely means a “surprise” aerial and maritime missile attack by US forces. This will be based on a concocted pretext of an “imminent nuclear attack” cooked up by Mossad and transmitted by the ZPC to the Congress and White House for consumption and transmission to the world. It will be a destructive, bloody, prolonged war for Israel. The US will bear the direct military cost by itself but the rest of the world will pay a dear economic price. The Zionist promoted US war will convert the recession of early 2012 into a major depression by the end of the year and probably provoke mass upheavals.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 5 Comments

French Court To Look Into File Of Child Shot In His Father’s Arms

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | January 05, 2012

A French court will be looking into the case of Mohammad Ad-Dorra, 12, who was killed after being repeatedly shot, on September 30, 2000, while seeking shelter from Israeli military fire in his father’s lap; the father was also shot by several rounds.

Eleven years ago, French reporter, Sharl Anderlan, was present at the shooting, and, along with his Palestinian Cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, videotaped the incident. Anderlan was later accused of fabricating the video, despite the fact that the shooting took place in broad daylight in front of several persons, and reporters, who were also witnesses to the incident.

Mohammad Jamal Ad-Dorra was born on November 22, 1988, and was shot dead on September 30, 2000. He and his father were walking in Salah Ed-Deen Street, in Gaza.

When the shooting started, they tried to take shelter behind a concrete barrel and the father started waving to the soldiers, trying to indicate that he was a civilian with a child, but the shooting did not stop.

The father could not fully shelter the child, and both of them were shot by several rounds of live ammunition.

Two weeks after the shooting, France 2 cameraman Talal Abu Rahma, signed an affidavit stating that Israeli soldiers deliberately opened fire at the child and his father.

He further stated that the soldiers were firing towards the child, “not once, but several times”. He also said that the soldiers were also firing at Palestinian policemen, and at a Palestinian police station 30 meters away.

Ad-Dorra was shot and killed just days after the second Palestinian Intifada started. The uprising began after former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, conducted a provocative visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, along with his armed body guards.

France 2 reporter Sharl Anderlan and his Palestinian Cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, conducted a thorough investigation of the shooting, and stood by their original footage which showed that ad-Dorra and his father were shot by Israeli soldiers.

The video’s stark image of a father sheltering his child, and then being shot, became well-known internationally as representative of the Israeli military’s tendency to target civilians.

In response to the international outcry brought about by the video, Israel repeatedly claimed that the shots that killed Ad-Dorra did not come from the direction where the military was stationed, and some Zionist lobbyists even went on to claim that the video and the pictures were fabricated.

In 2004, Philippe Karsenty, the head of “Media Ratings” published several counter reports and videos dedicated to denying the deadly shooting of the child, including a claim that the child “was not killed and that he was seen in a market in Gaza buying tomatoes”.

In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against France 2, alleging that the video was fabricated. In response, the French channel said that the lawsuit is an attempt to divert the world attention from real humanitarian suffering.

In November same year, France 2 sued Karsenty for libel, after he openly accused the agency of “broadcasting a hoax”, France 2 won the suit but Karsenty filed an appeal and the court demanded to see the full footage.

France 2 readily submitted an 18-minute video footage of the deadly shooting, but the appeals court did not examine the contents of the video and other evidence of the shooting, despite having requested the footage.

Instead, the Appeals court dismissed the charge of libel, saying that Karsenty had “practiced his right to criticism, and did not abuse these rights”.

France 2 appealed the dismissal, and the issue will be deliberated by the court this coming February.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on French Court To Look Into File Of Child Shot In His Father’s Arms