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New York Times should Apologize for Publishing Palestinians ‘Have Avowed as Their Goal the Killing of All Jews’

By Ira Glunts | Palestine Chronicle | March 31, 2014

I have sent an ‘open letter’ to Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor of  The New York Times, requesting that her newspaper issue an apology in print to its readers, especially its Palestinian readers for publishing the following sentence which was contained in a letter to The Sunday Book Review:  “The ‘conflict’ exists because, by word and deed, Palestinian Arabs have avowed as their goal the killing of all Jews.” (‘Letters: Genesis,’ March 19, 2014)

This slanderous statement is racist, patently false and thus should have no place in The New York Times.

As the journalist James North pointed out, the test for the Sunday Book Review editors “is to ask themselves whether they would have allowed [other] letter writers to tell similar sweeping lies about any other group of people anywhere. Would the editors, to take just one example, permit a letter from India to state that ‘Pakistanis have avowed as their goal the killing of all Indians?’”

Erroneous and salacious statements which falsely characterize Palestinians as wanting to kill all Jews are ever more becoming part of the pro-Israel message.  Sheldon Adelson said it at on a stage at Yeshiva University last October.  The right-wing Israeli political leader Naftali Bennett, said it from a stage in Tel Aviv during the Institute for National Security Studies annual conference this January.

By publishing the libelous statement and then refusing to apologize, The New York Times, which has an important role in defining the parameters of what is acceptable in the Palestinian/Israeli debate, at least among liberal Zionists, helps ensure that we will be reading and hearing this racist statement in the future. That serves neither Palestinians nor those who aspire to peace.

If you would like to write the editors at The New York Times about this matter, please address your thoughts to the Sunday Book Review Editor and send email or letter to be forwarded via the New York Times Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan.  (For instructions for contacting Margaret Sullivan, click here.)

I have been told by an editor at the newspaper that the editorial staff at the Sunday Book Review is currently discussing how to respond to this call for an apology.

– Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY.

April 1, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran to leave talks if Congress OK’s sanctions: MP

Press TV – November 18, 2013

A Senior Iranian lawmaker says the Islamic Republic will leave the negotiating table if the US Congress approves additional sanctions against Tehran.

“The US Congress has recently been seeking to approve a bill to increase sanctions against Iran. It has been decided that the negotiations be suspended if the bill gets through the US Congress,” said Mohammad Hassan Asafari who sits on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Majlis.

The Iranian lawmaker made the remarks after a meeting in which Iran’s nuclear negotiating team briefed the parliamentary committee on two rounds of nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – plus Germany.

The US Senate Banking Committee is mulling over whether to move ahead with a new anti-Iran sanctions bill it had delayed before the latest round of talks between Iran and the group of six world powers which was held in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 7-10.

The new round of sanctions against Iran, which the Senate Banking Committee has been asked to “mark up,” were passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in July. The House bill seeks to cut Iran’s oil exports by one million barrels a day for the next year and includes threats of military force against Iran.

The White House, however, is resisting growing pressure from Congress over Iran sanctions, trying to convince US lawmakers not to impose what they call further “punitive” measures.

“Our hope is now that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we’re negotiating with, [and] it could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said before a closed-door briefing with the Senate Banking Committee on November 13.

During Sunday’s meeting, Iran’s negotiating team also briefed the country’s lawmakers on the agenda of the forthcoming round of negotiations slated to be held on November 20 in Geneva.

“The negotiating team and the members of the Majlis National Security [and Foreign Policy] Committee reiterated in the meeting that the suspension of enrichment as well as the closure of the Fordow facility and the Arak heavy water [reactor] or any other [nuclear] sites is not on our agenda,” Asafari noted.

Meanwhile, Israel has been trying to force the US administration into imposing additional sanctions to stop an agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Israel’s Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett has recently met with a number of congressmen in Washington in order to persuade them to oppose a diplomatic deal with Iran.

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel to lobby US against possible Iran nuclear deal


Press TV – November 10, 2013

As the prospect of a nuclear deal between Iran and the group of six major world powers grows stronger, Israel strives to lobby the US Congress to prevent any possible agreement.

“Before the talks resume, we will lobby dozens of members of the US Congress to whom I will personally explain during a visit beginning on Tuesday that Israel’s security is in jeopardy,” Israeli’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday.

The remarks come after Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, France, China, Russia and the US – plus Germany concluded three days of intense negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear energy program early on Sunday.

Iran and the six world powers have agreed to continue negotiations on November 20 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Although an agreement was not reached in the nuclear negotiations, both sides said significant progress had been made and expressed optimism about the prospect of achieving a deal.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an interview with the BBC later on Sunday that, “On the question of will it happen (a deal will be reached) in the next few weeks, there is a good chance of that.”

“A deal is on the table and it can be done. But it is a formidably difficult negotiation, I can’t say exactly when it will conclude,” he added.

Israeli ministers, however, have voiced strong opposition to any possible deal between Iran and the world powers, with Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon describing an agreement with Iran as a historic mistake.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also rejected a possible nuclear agreement with Iran as “a very bad deal” before meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu’s office had also launched a Twitter campaign against the Islamic Republic in which several photographs including the one of the Iranian students marking the 34th anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the former US embassy in Tehran were shown. The images were re-tweeted by a few Israeli officials.

November 10, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Maximum Land with Minimum Palestinians: The Annexation of Area C

In the vast majority of Area C Israel denies Palestinians any opportunity to build or develop.

In the vast majority of Area C Israel denies Palestinians any opportunity to build or develop.
By Sam Gilbert | Palestine Chronicle | June 29 2013

Early this month Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem published a report on Israel’s policy in Area C and its implications for the population of the West Bank. Less then a week later Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, in the midst of Kerry’s attempts to start the stalled peace talks, reiterated his plan to annex all of Area C to the Israeli state, bringing with it the 350,000 some od settlers as well as 62% of land of the West Bank.

In a conference held by the settler Yesha Council Bennett said “the attempt to establish a Palestinian state in our land has ended … That we need to Annex area C of the West Bank now because the idea of creating a Palestinian state there is over.”

Bennett’s comments were met with international condemnation, the timing of his words seen as purposefully undermining Kerry’s attempt to restart the stalled peace negotiations. These comments, along with others from the Israeli right, have been presented as marginal within the mainstream Israeli political discourse. However the substance of Israeli policy and practice in the West Bank requires that these ideas been taken seriously.

Bennett’s Israel Stability Initiative published in 2012 lays out his plan for annexation, while B’tselem’s Report on Area C outlines the application and effect of Israeli Policy in Area C from 1995 till today.  Each report has fundamentally different political objectives yet both provide a window into Israeli politics and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt).

The Israel Stability Initiative

In 2012 Naftali Bennett presented a 7-point plan for managing the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Judea and Samaria, the biblical term for the West Bank.  The Israel Stability Initiative outlines a plan whereby Area C, the territory that Israel maintains full security and planning control after the Oslo agreement, would be annexed to Israel and the Palestinian State would be created in the disconnected cannons of areas B and C. Bennett’s plan would naturalize the 50,000 Arab residents (official number at 180,000), along with the 350,000 Israeli settlers. No Palestine refugee would be allowed to return to the west bank or Israel, and Gaza would be left to fend for itself.

The PA would be granted, “Full autonomy in areas A and B” while Israel would maintain a “full security umbrella for all of Judea and Samara.” The IDF would maintain a strong presence and complete security control over all of Judea and Samaria.”

While this proposal might seem especially partial to Israeli interests, B’tselem’s recent report on Area C shows how Bennet’s plan is in essence the institution of permanence for something has already become the de-facto reality in the west bank today.

B’Tselem Report

Earlier this month B’Tselem published a 111 page report titled “Acting the Landlord: Israeli Policy in Area C, the West Bank. The report presents Israel’s policy in Area C and explores its implications for the population of the West Bank as a Whole.

Area C is a product of the Oslo accords, an interim agreement that was supposed to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel.  In 1995 the interim agreement went into effect in West Bank and the region was divided into three administrative categories A, B and C. “Area A: Under full control of the Palestinian Authority, comprising 18 percent of west bank including most Palestinians cities and population center. Area B, 22%: Israel retains military control while PA controls civil matters. Area C, 60 percent: Israel controls security and land related matters, including land allocation, planning and construction, and infrastructure.”

These divisions were based on demography not geography, with A and B subdivided into 165 disconnected cantons with no territorial continuity and surrounded by area C.  Area C on the other hand is territorially contiguous, and comprises all the settlement and settlers in the west bank (350,000) along with some 180,000 Palestinians.

Area C contains the vast majority of the West Bank’s natural resources (water, agricultural, mineral) and nearly all of the development potential for a future Palestinian state. Area C lands surround all areas of A and B stifling growth in these already built up areas, and disconnecting the regions from one another

Legalizing the Norm

Claim to the greater land of Israel (Eretz Israel), has been a common thread in Israeli politics since the state’s inception and before. Bennet’s proposed plan to annex all of Area C (a modified two state solution) is interesting in that it simply cements the reality on the ground today, extending it to a final solution to the conflict.

B’Tselem’s report underscores how Israel’s policy in area C is anchored in the perception of the area as meant above all to serve Israel’s Own Needs in favor to those of the Palestinians by restricting Palestinian construction and development throughout.

In the vast majority of Area C Israel denies Palestinians any opportunity to build or develop. In fact since 1967 only .6 percent of the entire area C has been allocated to Palestinians by the Civil Administration, while 31 percent has been allocated to pseudo governmental World Zionist Organization (which develops settlement), 8 percent to Settlement Authorities, 12% to government ministries with an additional 30 percent designated as Military Firing Zones.

According to international law, planning and construction policy for Area C should rely on Jordanian planning law, but this has been altered by order of the Israeli military to serve the state’s purposes. One outcome has been the refusal of Civil Administration to plan villages, approving Mandatory Plans for only 16 of 180 villages in Area C. Since all construction in Area C requires approval of Civil Administration, the prospect for receiving a building permit without a master plan is negligible. In fact between 2000-2010 of the 3050 application for permits only 6.5% were approved. Many are forced to build without permits, at constant risk of demolition (660 a year since 2000).

Yet “in contrast to the restrictive planning policy followed for Palestinian communities, the Israeli settlements, also in Area C, enjoy expansive allocation of land, detailed planning, connections to advanced infrastructure and a blind eye regarding illegal construction.”

In 75% of the settlements, building was carried out without the appropriate permits, legalized retroactively by government and military. Between 2000-2007, 91 building permits were issued for Palestinians, same period 17,000 residential units were built in settlements. While Palestinians in area C are isolated from areas A and B, Jewish settlements are connected to one another and to Israel proper by Jewish only bypass roads.

The international community has time and again confirmed the illegality these actions under International Humanitarian Law. Yet insufficient international pressure (particularly from the U.S.) has led to a situation where Israel strengthens it hold on Area C and “preserves a de-facto annexation of area C and creates circumstance that will help perpetuate this state and influence the final status of the Area.”

The Party Line

Bennet’s Ideas about area C reflect a broader hostility within the Knesset about Palestinian statehood and the need to annex all or most of West Bank. In a Times of Israel interview, Deputy minister of Defense Danny Dannon spoke about the sentiment within the coalition government: “there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution… and nobody will bring it to a vote, it’s not smart to do it — but if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it.”

Numerous quotes from current cabinet minsters confirm this position:

 “The essence of Zionist existence in Israeli settlements across the country.” – Moshe Ya’allon:  Defense Minister.

“The real solution is to extend Israeli sovereignty over the settlements in Judea and Samaria.” — Danny Dannon, Deputy Defense Minister.

“We will try to apply sovereignty over as much as we can at any given moment.” — Ze’ev Elkin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Israel should announce the annexation of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.” — Gilad Erdan, Minister of Communication and Home Front Defense.

 “Israel will need to take unilateral steps to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.” — Yisreal Katz Minister of Transportation.

Annexation: The Final Solution

The vocal support of annexation has been attributed to the right wing shift in the government in Israel, yet its mainstream credentials are exposed with even a cursory glance at policy and practice in the west bank through Israeli history.

Every Israeli president since Menachem Begin in the 70’s has publicly espoused a two state solution based on Bilateral U.S. brokered negotiations, while simultaneously doing everything in their power to undermine its physical viability on the ground.

Netanyahu’s most recent statements, considered “moderate” in comparison to Bennet’s, nonetheless betray the administration’s position to undermine the two state solution, as noted in Peace Now’s report on settlement construction under the current administration. In response to the proposed peace talks Netanyahu said that Israel would continue to build and that “construction in major settlement blocks does not substantially affect Israel’s ability to come to an agreement.” He went on to say that “We will continue to live and build in Jerusalem, which will always remain united under Israeli sovereignty,” as published by the Israeli daily, Isreal Hayom and Haaretz.

Considering East Jerusalem is the internationally recognized future capital for the Palestinian state, and that settlement expansion is the number one obstacle to peace, these comments say much about the prospects for a future agreement. Furthermore, the proposed state Netanyahu supports is one that according to him “would have to be demilitarized and with arrangements that rely fully on the Israel Defense Forces for security.” A state that doesn’t control its borders or security and whose army is the occupying power is not an autonomous state, but the “state” of Palestine today.

Netanyahu’s position toward the Palestinians in consistent with the low ceiling allowed for Palestinian aspirations since the onset of the peace processes. Oslo, the basis of the most current arguments about annexing area C, provides a telling example. As scholar Rashid Khalidi, one of Yassar Arafat’s key advisers during the Oslo negotiations, states, “It (the Oslo agreement) was never designed to achieve independent Palestinian statehood.  It was never designed to end the occupation. It was really designed, of all people, by Menachem Begin, to make permanent Israeli control over the occupied territories. And that is what has succeeded until now.” Indeed it has. Since the signing of the Oslo agreement settlement population in West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) has tripled from 110,900 to nearly 350,000, according to B’Tselem.

Palestinian author Naseer Aruri notes the occupation was never designed to be temporary, but has been used to create the illusion of a two-state solution when that option has never been on the real agenda. Madrid, Oslo, Camp David all have been used as diplomatic cover as Israel has consolidated and even extended its illegal occupation.

B’Tselem’s report exposes the fact that Israeli policy gives every indication of permanence. “Israel preserves a de-facto annexation of area C and creates circumstance that will help perpetuate this state and influence the final status of the Area.” If we acknowledge Israeli policy in tandem with territorial usurpation, then comments like Bennet’s need not be viewed as extreme. It is time the International community, the U.S. and those moderates in the Israeli Knesset acknowledge that what Bennett’s is arguing for is not on the margins of Israeli political thought but the ideological underpinning of Zionism as practiced in the oPt. And in area C the Zionist goal of maximum land with minimum Palestinians is on full display.

– Sam Gilbert is a journalist living in Ramallah.

June 30, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Maximum Land with Minimum Palestinians: The Annexation of Area C