Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
If President Bush will not get control of NED and its progeny, or defund the rogues, or assume responsibility for them all, Congress must hold public hearings. At least let the people know who is steering us into a new Cold War with Russia and the "World War IV" that ex-Director Woolsey and his friends have in store for us.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Be sure to have a drink this New Year's Eve to toast the end of the American Republic and its Constitutional heritage and guarantees. Welcome to One-World Government and The New World Order.
Friday, December 24, 2004
The professional super-"patriots" and other "pro-American" neocons, who manage to get themselves worked up over accusations of "treason" – either real or imagined – and the alleged "betrayals" of our allies, have been strangely silent when it comes to Israel's apparent treachery.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
"A tip of the hat to Charles Krauthammer, Jewish neoconservative (not necessarily a redundancy, despite what many neocons claim) who last week lobbed a much-merited smack at the face of the anti-Christmas lobby. "
Parasites eventually kill their host. The neoconservatives won't be happy until Rummy's dried-up husk is left by the roadside, and their chosen replacement – Wolfowitz? Woolsey? neocon tool "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf? – marches triumphantly into Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and – eventually – Saudi Arabia.
Ever since he signed on with their Committee on the Present Danger in the 1980s, Rumsfeld had been a hero to neocons. In 1998, he signed Kristol's open letter to Clinton calling for war on Iraq, four years before 9-11. Named defense secretary, Rumsfeld brought in neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith as his No. 2 and No. 3, and let them fill the building with friends from Neocon Central, the American Enterprise Institute.
To neocons, this war was never about WMD or any alleged Iraqi ties to 9-11. That was merely to mobilize the masses for war. Their real reason was empire and making the Middle East safe for Israel.
Monday, December 20, 2004
What does Kristol recommend? "We could bomb Syrian military facilities; we could go across the border in force to stop infiltration; we could occupy the town of Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, which seems to be the planning and organising center for Syrian activities in Iraq; we could covertly help or overtly support the Syrian opposition."
In 2001, Perle and Wolfowitz championed Feith for undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon. In that post, Feith selected Perle as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory body with a mixed state-private character that gives its members access to classified information. (Perle resigned as chairman in March 2003 amid allegations of conflicts of interest, and from the board a year later.)
Friday, December 17, 2004
"The media campaign was launched last week when three analysts associated with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neo-conservative group that generally backs positions of Israel's right-wing Likud Party, published an article in the Washington Times titled 'Syria's murderous role: Assad aides [sic] Iraq's terrorist insurgency'. "
A battle is brewing within the ranks of neoconservatives in Washington. Public flashes of private quarrels are uncommon among this rarefied circle of uber-hawks, who have been unanimous in shaping and supporting the Bush administration's aggressive foreign policy. Yet they find themselves at odds over the most unlikely of issues: an Iranian terrorist group.
Those few neocons who have deigned to notice two raids in as many months on AIPAC headquarters have done nothing but apologize for and otherwise excuse and cover-up what is apparently a massive spy operation launched by Israel against the United States. The best our super- "patriotic" neocons can do is echo the complaints in the Israeli media that the whole thing is a "set-up" engineered by those notorious anti-Semites in the U.S. Justice Department.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The neo-conservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC) has just issued one of its rare policy statements demanding a tougher line on North Korea. Nicholas Eberstadt has expanded on this in a key article in the neocon Weekly Standard ("Tear Down This Tyranny", 29 November 2004).
Mark Dankof suggests a possible link and underlying significance. His recommendation to BATR readers is that of Christ in the Olivet Discourse: "Watch" (Matthew 24).
Mark Dankof's America
The Balkanization of the Arab and Muslim Middle East is a follow-up to the "divide and rule" of British colonialism. It's in the heart of the neo-con agenda. Arab nationalism has to be smashed. And Persian nationalism as well.
The neo-con dream is a stable Iraq by the end of 2005 so the US can concentrate on attacking Iran. With the US still bogged down in a dreadful Iraqi quagmire, the well-oiled neo-con propaganda machine is already full speed ahead manufacturing its trademark brand of fear: Iranian nukes are coming to get us unless we pre-emptively attack (echoes of Ronald Reagan's "Nicaraguan Sandinistas about to invade Texas" come to mind).
To the administration's neoconservative boosters, Bush represents a synthesis of the wisdom of the two presidents – the Republican realist and the Democratic idealist – who are among the most beloved in the generally hazy historical memory of the nation.
But according to the The Folly of Empire, a book published this fall by John Judis, this interpretation of history is nonsense.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
So I'm not sure why I was even remotely shocked to see Canadian serial sexual stalker Rachel Marsden play parrot to Bush booster Dennis Miller on his little-watched CNBC chatshow. (She was billed as a conservative "political columnist.")
This is what Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative, meant by "a vulgarized neoconservatism" (I can think of a better adjective for its gynocentric permutation). No doubt, the women of the neoconnerie have been instrumental in keeping their fans tuned-out, turned-on, and hot for war.
But the neos couldn’t care less – opportunity in adversity, right? If Wall Street tanks, there will be plenty of rich pickings for the private equity specialists like the Carlyle Group, one of whose directors is George H.W. Bush, to pick up.
While there is no shortage of neocon war plans for a Pax Americana, President Bush is bumping up against reality – a U.S. Army tied down and bleeding in Iraq, the rising costs of war, soaring deficits, a sinking dollar and an absence of allies willing to fight beside us or even help. He is facing the Vietnam dilemma.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Israel's rightwing Likud Party regards Feith as one of its own. The Jerusalem Post described Feith as "a staunch supporter of Israel" (Dec. 12). In an exclusive interview Feith told that paper that despite the intercession of Britain, France, Germany and the IAEA against a US attack on Iran, the Bush administration has not ruled out taking military action against Iran.
It`s clear enough the neo-cons and the news outlets that do their bidding are behind the "scandal" story.
In the Times account, Richard Holbrooke, the ambassador to the United Nations under president Bill Clinton and an Annan backer, said: "The danger now is that a group of people who want to destroy or paralyse the UN are beginning to pick up support from some of those whose goal is to reform it."
Sunday, December 12, 2004
What became of the realists? Like the neocons, they are only policy intellectuals and bureaucrats, dependent on the politicians who appoint them. Among educated Americans, they won the foreign-policy debate decisively. No one doubts it. There are scores of bright people from George Will to William F. Buckley to Kenneth Pollack who are born-again realists; no one has recently converted to neoconservatism. But the realists did not win the debate inside Bush’s brain—indeed, there is no sign at all that the president was aware that there was a foreign-policy debate going on. Instead a 51-48 percent victory, a pitiful margin for an incumbent during wartime, is treated as a landslide of Reaganesque proportions and a mandate for the president to promote those whose foreign-policy advice has proved egregiously wrong.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Neo-conservatives around George W. Bush remain obsessed with extending U.S. military power around the world but seem oblivious to the emerging economic crisis facing this country. Last month alone, the federal deficit reached $55 billion and the U.S. Congress approved a new national debt level of $8 trillion. How long can this legacy of Teddy Roosevelt’s imperialism, this internal contradiction of empire, endure? Only time will tell.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
The neo-con imperial strategy towards the Arab world is distinctive. It basically involves--at least in the mind of its American Likudnik designers-- fighting a proxy war for Israel in the Mideast. This has been the dream of Israeli Likudniks since Oded Yinon first articulated it in 1982, as discussed in Ralph Schoenmann's book The Hidden History of Zionism. Instead of working with "friendly" Arab regimes they will be overthrown, one by one. This is all articulated in the writings of American neo-cons. Israel will be the hegemon of Middle East. How can Bush do this with resources strained in Iraq? They'll find a way. The prologue will be a new propaganda build-up with perhaps another Pearl Harbor attack within the US. Then there will be the institution of a draft, of course.
Other than contributing to Israel's growing isolation, the main impact of the Israeli raid came in Washington, where Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and other Neo-Conservatives took it as their leitmotif. If you have power, use it. And if you see a threat down the road, strike now. Don't wait. Pre-empt.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
One of the prime motives for the intervention in Iraq was to test the neo-conservative theory of democratic transformation in the Middle East. This theory's chance for success was questionable from the very beginning, since there are few historical examples of an outside power intervening in a country with vast cultural differences and successfully implementing a market democracy there. Additionally, Iraq was a very poor choice for the execution of this theory to begin with, considering that the country has never settled the question of how power will be shared between its three main ethnic/religious groups (Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurd); creating a power vacuum in such a state is a sure way to pull the intervening power into the center of civil strife and potential civil war.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Donald Rumsfeld will continue as defense secretary, and as long as he stays the neoconservatives who dominated the first term will hold sway over foreign policy.
Whither the neocons was the great question of the Bush campaign. And it was, perhaps, the most important question of the entire 2004 election, because it would define Bush's doctrine of preemption. But it was not answered until last weekend, when Rumsfeld confirmed that he was keeping his job.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Sunday, December 05, 2004
To the Republicans’ and neocons’ incessant complaining about how liberals should give their support and respect to our current president, who by the way won election by just a mere, non-mandate and non-runaway 2-plus percent of the popular 2004 vote, let’s not forget that both wins by William J. Clinton were by much greater margins against his rivals.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
The Conservative Movement documents the extent of neoconservative malice and mischief. And it did predict in 1992 the fated success of what Claes Ryn calls "the new Jacobins’ in grabbing hold of the rudder of government and then pushing the U.S. into foreign crusades for "democracy."
However, the neocons know that the public at large isn't nearly as gung-ho about global supremacy as they are. Americans do not want America to use its power to increase and entrench its global control.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
But that threat to Israel is what accounts for the support of such neocons/Zionists as Norman Podhoretz . . .
Monday, November 22, 2004
Sunday, November 21, 2004
At the National Security Council, Elliott Abrams – the ultimate second-generation neoconservative, son-in-law of proto-neocons Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz – has been hugely influential in pushing the United States into the corner of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Thus diplomacy - albeit aggressive and possibly not very diplomatic - will probably be the primary means of promoting vital US interests in the near future.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
The neoconservatives candidate for defense secretary is former CIA Director James Woolsey, also a Democrat.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Monday, November 08, 2004
The American people have given a most unconservative philosophy a truly conservative mandate. It’s to be hoped that it’s used, and a really good place to start would be sustained attempts to close the abortuaries – something that, as Governor of Texas, the President never really got round to.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Friday, November 05, 2004
To American Liberals Upon Bush's Victory - "We no longer have the right not to be radicals." by Asad Haider
"The world saw this as a referendum on the Bush doctrine, and I think the world was right," said Charles Krauthammer, a neoconservative columnist.
Kenneth R. Weinstein, chief operating officer of the neoconservative Hudson Institute, was more cautious "Certainly," he said, "we have avoided the blood bath in the Republican Party that would have taken place if Mr. Bush had been defeated."
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
Second, Bush's wars in Iraq -- which has caused 100,000 civilian deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University study -- and Afghanistan are already lost. Not on the battlefield, but on the strategic level.
What this latest video visitation proves beyond doubt, however, is that bin Laden is not only a rational actor, but also a master strategist and politician. He is focused on waging a war for limited, quite specific, and often enunciated objectives, which all boil down to ending U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, especially via Israel.
Friday, October 29, 2004
So, not only did a bloodthirsty cabal of psychopaths inside and outside our government mastermind 9-11, they also created the fall-guy (Osama bin Laden), and covered-up their tracks via a cowardly corporate mainstream media and the 9-11 Investigative Committee. Let’s face it, folks; we got duped yet again, and John Lehman was one of the primary bamboozlers.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Monday, October 25, 2004
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
In this respect, they may indeed be Brownshirts. Or Trotskyites. Or Neocons. Those who sent Roberts the hate-mail that caused Townhall.com to pull his column claimed to be conservatives, but are not that – something else, but not that.
Well, Wolfowitz's exfiltration route west to Jordan is extremely important to the neocons as a whole, requiring a massive diversion that will pull Republican Guard fighters in from as far away as Ar Ramadi and Fallujah, thereby minimizing the risks to a very special convoy leaving Baghdad for Israel, via Jordan.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
Sunday, October 17, 2004
The Bush administration's failure to push its "road map for peace" stems in part from fear of alienating Jewish voters in an election year. But some experts say it is also because Bush doesn't want to anger a key Republican constituency: evangelical Christians.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Says Buchanan: The Iraqi war was the neocons' "class project." He goes on, "I believe they imposed it upon the president." (His quotes are from a Sept. 5 interview on Meet the Press.)
Friday, October 15, 2004
CNN's Miles O'Brien, Eason Jordan, Catherine Callaway, Paula Zahn, Kyra Phillips, Arthel Neville, and Fox News' David Asman and John Gibson portrayed Ritter as a disloyal American, a Ba-athist stooge on the take from Saddam Hussein, and compared him to Jane Fonda in North Vietnam.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
Installing a puppet regime in Iraq and constructing a dozen or more permanent US military bases in Iraq, as the US is doing, opens a field of conquest to Israel.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Friday, October 08, 2004
He called Israeli tactics in the occupied territories a "model for how to fight this kind of war," and asserted that "Iran is unquestionably on the agenda" of a second Bush administration.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
"Starbucks has been doing a great job at covering their tracks when it comes to evidence leading to their financial support for Israel and the Israeli army. The company logo used to be featured on many Israeli organization websites and after the Boycott emerged, Starbucks has asked these Israeli organizations not to use the Starbucks logo and basically asked them to not publicly declare any Starbucks donations.
"Howard Shultz, the chairman of Starbucks is an active Zionist. In 1998, he was honored by Israel with "The Israel 50th Anniversary Tribute Award" for his services to the Jewish state. His work as a propagandist for Israel has been warmly praised by the Israeli Foreign Ministry as being vital to Israel’s long-term public relations success."
Indeed, the only thing more dangerous than electing John Kerry president of the United States would be to re-elect George W. Bush.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
According to Kerry, we must flatten Fallujah, and any other Iraqi city that dares to defy us. We need to think about how to "win" rather than entertain the possibility of declaring victory and withdrawing. We must grab the Saudis by the throat and don't let go until they comply with our edicts. And, if Barack Obama, the young rising star of the Democratic party, is the wave of the Democratic future, then we ought not be surprised to see U.S. military action against Iran if they fail to bow to our demands.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
The oil and natural gas in the Middle East and former southern republics of the now-defunct USSR (the Caspian Sea area, especially) are our "vital interests" and part of our national security (see The Carter Doctrine http://www.fact-index.com/c/ca/carter_doctrine.html) and our way not only of exerting leverage there, but also over Russia, China, India, and Japan, all of which will need more oil and natural gas in the 21st Century and all of which will compete with the US economically for the rest of this century.
The neocons, working in tandem with a similar staff in the office of Prime Minister Sharon of Israel, have a three-part agenda for the first part of Bush's second term: first, oust Yasser Arafat; second, overthrow the secular Baathist al-Assad dictatorship in Syria; and, third, eliminate, one way or another, Iran's nuclear facilities.
Dear Mark [Dankof],
Thank you very much for your message. It would be wonderful if Nablus/Palestine's story could get to a wider audience - especially the American Right. Here is the link to the full text of my op-ed on al-Ahram: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/708/re2.htm
and I'm also pasting in the full text below.
With best wishes,
Anne Gwynne, Journalist
Too Much to Atone for on Yom Kippur
by Anne Gwynne*
At 8:30am yesterday, the newsreader on Pacifica Radio’s Morning Show told us of Shaul Mofaz’s latest announcement that “Israel has locked down the West Bank and Gaza Strip until the Jewish holiday season ends in October…from fears of Palestinian attacks.”
But what will prevent Israeli attacks? And what about the very real fears of Palestinians?
Unbelievable. Are we to infer that the news editor just accepts this as though it were normal? It is not normal to imprison a whole nation and keep from them every necessity of life. But it is certainly a novel way of celebrating Holy Days! And it serves the Zionist purpose very well – it reinforces the Jewishness which has been imposed upon Palestine since 1947. For many people, Yom Kippur this year will be marked not by penance and devotion, but by this vicious reassertion of Jewish dominance.
As a result of the ethnic cleansing of the Christian population by the Jewish colonizers since 1948, Palestine is now largely Muslim: on Muslim Holy Days Israel celebrates by unleashing the full might of its state terror, launching deadly military assaults upon the Palestinian people.
Now, for the Jewish holy season when Jews around the world celebrate their New Year and Day of Atonement, the whole of a country, Palestine with its 3.5 million people, will be ‘hermetically sealed’ by the Israeli military under the kind of “lockdown” not experienced anywhere else on earth – it’s a concept without equal or precedent, and it is devastating to every tiny aspect of life.
The United Nations has repeatedly asked Israel for implementation of the Geneva Conventions for the protection of the civilian population in the Occupied Territories (where, in any case, Israel has no legitimacy) against the arbitrary actions of the occupying state - without a single positive response: Israel has decided that it is outside the Law.
Lockdown, the latest, extreme violation, is just a continuation of Israeli actions over 37 years and more, and grows from its policy of curfew and closure. Indeed, it is an intensification of closure, and actually combines the horrors of closure with the terror of curfew.
Let me now tell you what it means for the populace which is to be ‘locked down’: each heading is a Human Right enshrined in a 100-year long body of Law and Custom (see endnote).
Freedom of Movement
Closure is not easy to explain: it is a terrible thing; it is illegal and it has been a fact of life for Palestinians for two generations. It has nothing to do with the pretext of ‘security’ and it is not an action in response to Resistance – it is a strategic instrument whose purpose is to fragment the Palestinian society. The intent is to dislocate people from their land, from their family, and from their jobs. It dislocates children and students from their education, doctors and patients from their hospitals, and the devout from their mosques. Thus its purpose is to destroy all coherence – social coherence, health coherence, political coherence, economic coherence.
Since the beginning of the Madrid and the Oslo ‘talks’, and during the duplicitous prevarications of the Clinton regime, Israel has continued to create facts on the ground which, by now, have left only 12% of historic Palestine for the Palestinians, and has continuously escalated and intensified its vicious tactic of ‘closure’ to facilitate its land grab. The Israeli army controls all movement of people and goods, paralyzing the economy with its restrictions.
Nothing and no one may enter or leave a closed area except on the say-so of a teenage soldier. No Ambulance carrying a dying child or a woman bleeding to death may move between population centers, workers cannot reach their jobs and are without earnings, doctors and nurses cannot reach their hospitals, teachers and students cannot reach schools and Universities. Those who last month were lucky enough to get some supplies of water and electricity, now find themselves without either.
Today some 754 roadblocks, trenches, earth-mounds, sewage-filled moats, gun emplacements, walls and electrified razor-wire isolate each of the 300 or so small enclaves into which they have separated Palestine (UN latest count). It’s a thoroughly evil concept.
Israel maintains this iron grip on the pretext of security. This is rubbish masquerading as truth, and visiting this kind of collective punishment upon an innocent population is absolutely illegal, with no exceptions under the law. To put it another way: Timothy McVeigh’s neighbourhood was not bombed to rubble, his family was not murdered and his state was not besieged for his crime (McVeigh was not, of course, a member of a country’s legal resistance); and, during the 33 years of ‘the Troubles’, the UK did not bomb Dublin or Belfast nor murder the families of IRA fighters, despite suffering more than 300 bombings on the mainland.
The Right to Health
Denial of Medical Access is always illegal under all International Law and it violates the Standing Orders to soldiers which the Israeli Occupation Forces are supposed to observe. However, under the closures, every day one or more patients is denied the care he needs and many more will die this week to add to the 110 adults and 33 newborns we know of who have died as a result of denial of medical care.
Ordinary, treatable conditions - heart attack, kidney failure needing dialysis, hypo-glycaemia, haemorrhage, or burst appendix – here can be a death sentence, for delay means death.
Sometimes a brave medic, such as Feras al-Bakri who, over several months allowed me to ride in his ambulance to see the daily crimes for myself can, with his fluent Hebrew, persuade the largely-monoglot IOF soldiers to ‘allow’ an injured or seriously sick patient access to the Ambulance. But without transport, the transfer will involve carrying the injured or sick patient across one mile of land from home to waiting ambulance and, mercifully, to the hospital – well not quite, for that may not be the end of the ordeal. These sadistic ‘soldiers’ can decide to keep you waiting for an hour or more whilst your patient becomes critical, before ‘allowing’ you to go. Or they may simply change their mind and send the patient home. Or they might break the legs or arms of the driver, or beat him up and trample him in the mud, or injure him with a bullet (Feras has suffered all of these more than once).
Whenever there is sealing off of Palestine, the sadistic violence from the soldiers increases exponentially. More doctors and medical staff will be beaten and humiliated by being stripped of every stitch of clothing and then forced either to unload the ambulance before dozens of people, bark like dogs, insult Islam, sing songs glorifying Israel or crawl through the checkpoint while the Israeli thugs laugh uproariously and dance around waving their guns above their heads.
This is a professional army? This is security? No, all this is just to cruelly cause death and compromised health as part of the long-term plan of genocide.
The Right to Free Movement
Under closure there is no movement, free or otherwise. You cannot visit a daughter in another village or help your aged parents in a nearby town. You cannot go to al-Aqsa Mosque to pray or cross the bridge to Jordan for al-Hajj , the great pilgrimage. You cannot go to Jerusalem 45 miles away, you cannot shop in Ramallah for items not available in the village store, nor can you go to another village for your marriage ceremony. Neither can anyone outside the roadblock come to your wedding: several marriages have been solemnized at Huwarra roadblock. On occasion the soldiers are filled with so much hatred that they will separate a husband and wife if they are from neighbouring villages. You can not attend the funeral of your parent or your child whom the IOF may have killed in another village, nor can you bring the body home for burial. You can not go to a specialist hospital for treatment and you cannot receive a friend from another place. Even, or perhaps especially, the Palestinian Police are daily prevented from attending at their place of work by being refused at the roadblocks and they, together with businessmen, lawyers and civil servants are obliged to stay in Nablus for a month at a time, missing their families terribly in the evenings. Farmers cannot take their world-famous and prized olive oil, or any other cash-crop, to the marketplace, or livestock to the butcher. And Palestine is the only place on earth whose inhabitants are not permitted to drive to anywhere in their own land.
The worst thing I think is at the moment of closure, when you can find yourself trapped, unable to move forward to home or back to where you came from, and you can also be detained at the roadblock for hours or days or summarily be ordered to go ‘back’ to a town where you didn’t come from and where you don’t live. After 10 hours you are ordered to ‘… go back to Jerusalem’, when you live in Nablus. Anyway, there is no transport because we are under closure!
Under the horrific lockdown which is now announced, many more mothers with a new-born baby on one arm and a bag on the other, will have to walk home from hospital only to be told at Beit Fouriq to ‘go back to Nablus’ which is not home. Farmers with panniers of Palestinian Olive Oil on their little donkey, will have to stand by helplessly and watch the precious, life-giving oil cascade down into the soil after an IOF soldier shoots holes in the panniers, and grandparents with small children and animals will be refused entry to their villages and have nowhere else to go at nightfall with marauding, trigger-happy soldiers everywhere.
At this point, when you find yourself under lockdown, alone on a mountain-top or in a city street, it is pretty terrifying because - well, just try and take this in – I know the situation is almost too bizarre to comprehend, really: although you are told by the IOF to “…walk or I shoot you dead,” or “…no, you not go to Nablus,” or “… go back, it is closed military zone” – you cannot do any of these things because it is forbidden to move at all, you cannot go anywhere! You just hope that they are too busy terrorizing the lines of people to take aim at you.
It is quite unprecedented and barbaric brutality. You can be shot or beaten if you attempt to remonstrate with them about the utter illogicality of the whole thing. This has one purpose - simply to destroy economic life, and to wipe-out the potential of the future Palestinian state.
The Right to Education
Since October 2000, children and students have had their education severely disrupted by the endless sealing-off of buildings and institutions with, for example, lakes of sewage as happened to Bir Zeit University, the wholesale shelling and bombing of schools, and endless orders to close. Palestine has lost more than one-third of its schooldays so far, and during the “Jewish holiday season” now all schools, universities and colleges may be closed and children will run the risk of being shot and killed or injured, arrested and imprisoned. Some 400 children are incarcerated now and over 700 have been murdered.
Transfer your thoughts to the US or UK and just imagine the outcry if some rampaging, psychotic gunmen in Washington or London were targeting children and teachers and had murdered 700, injuring over 10,000 in the process. In the UK it would be probably argued that such gunmen were psychotic and therefore they ‘couldn’t help it and need treatment’. But what is the excuse when these gunmen, who commit hundreds of thousands of crimes in Palestine, are soldiers of the world’s fourth-largest and most modern military, of the self-styled ‘only democracy in the region’?
The right to education will be denied to thousands more over the next weeks and some will die: it is outrageous that a child can be shot through the little school bag on his back as he walks to school down a country lane or along a city street – in his own land – and no one is, in the current US jargon, ‘brought to book’ for the crimes. Not only is no one ever charged, but the world stands by and does nothing.
To enhance the cruelty of ‘closure’ the Israelis add another of their horrors – the curfew. I guess that to many readers, especially in the US, curfew doesn’t sound too bad does it? Isn’t it a sort-of ‘family thing’ where parents who are ‘being cruel to be kind’ put their children under some kind of restriction which they term ‘curfew’ for a transgression – a child might have to be in at, say, 9 pm every night for a week. I wonder what the penalty is for non-compliance! I doubt it can match the Israeli one.
Like all the Israeli actions, the curfew is not only brutal and sadistic but it is, you’ve guessed it, illegal and arbitrarily imposed upon a street, a town, or a village, on the whole countryside or, upon the whole of occupied Palestine. Just try, please, to understand what is being done here. Imagine your street, village or neighborhood completely deserted, shops closed, no taxis or cars, no schools open, hospitals ringed by tanks and APC’s so no possibility of taking a desperately-sick child to the doctor. You are all frozen at a moment in time like a snapshot. Do not open a door, or look out of the window – snipers are with every Israeli platoon, scanning for prey, especially children. In the Old City in February we watched a boy and his grandfather as they bled to death, shot at their window.
You are ‘frozen’ and ‘forbidden’ for as long as the Zionists say so. People will not be able to get food, unless the Ambulance crews work all night bringing bread, flour, milk, baby formula and vital medicines. Even the drinking water will have been turned off so the ambulances must bring that too.
Under curfew, you will not be able to go to work even in the next street, open your shop or drive your taxi. No income for anyone, as long as the curfew lasts. Not only can you not get medical attention, you will not be allowed to the bedside of a dying child in hospital, and worse, you will not be allowed to bury the little body. From the moment of its imposition everything stops and you have to stay where you are at that moment. If you are between checkpoints – that’s too bad – you cannot move back to where you came from nor go on to your destination and you spend the night in no-man’s land.
In Palestine, curfew is a matter of life and death, especially for children, who don’t carry a radio or a mobile phone to receive news of the curfew. This is the penalty here: anyone seen by soldiers on the street during curfew will be shot. This has happened to dozens of children and it was particularly poignant in Beit Lahim (Bethlehem) at Christmas when several children were murdered this way. You can be watching children running to safety, and in a moment they are bleeding on the road. What is extraordinary is that the military can justify this murder on the grounds that there is curfew. A child is killed because he is on the street at a forbidden moment. Can anyone feel that this penalty is proportionate?
The response to any protest at their actions is rote-learned – a shrug, a sneer and a snarled - ‘Not my problem’.
The hermetically-sealed lockdown which is now the declared intention of the Jews of Israel – until the end of their holiday season - will be an extension and intensification of curfew and closure.
Lockdown combines all the terrorism of closure and curfew into a new horror. Not only is every person hermetically sealed into the smallest unit, the home, within Palestine, but the country itself is hermetically sealed off from the world. It means that no one from outside can enter the country for any reason. For example, no Palestinian who is normally resident in Palestine can return home; no one may come from Jordan, to visit a friend or a relative no matter how urgent the cause. It has never happened before, anywhere.
The 100 day nightmare which Nablus suffered in the summer left people thin and very hungry, but the families emerged intact, affectionate and united, stronger than ever and without any sign of the violence which plagues our societies at the first sign of trouble. With no sign of hand-wringing, whingeing, or victim-hood, but with dignity and determination, they are ready to face with continuing courage the worst the Israelis can do.
The beautiful land of Palestine is now a ‘ghost-country’ and most of its cities are ‘ghost-cities’. I remember sending a live broadcast to ‘Flashpoints’ one evening after a terrible day of carnage, when we were under a protracted lockdown. I asked people just to listen to the sounds of life in this great city. There was nothing. There was not a sound in a city of 189,000 good people. I don’t mean it was quiet, I mean there was not a sound. Nowhere else on earth does this kind of unbridled hatred and sadistic violence not only go unchecked and unpunished on the orders of a government elected by 80% of the voters but, much more sinister, nowhere else on earth would the UN allow it to happen.
I hope that readers will now have some idea of what the newsreader’s casual words actually mean for real people on the ground, who have suffered more than seems humanly possible, more than any other people in history, under 57 years of sustained and relentless terror since 1947.
Palestine under lockdown is, indeed, suffering unimaginable pain and misery. And it is going to get worse. Yet, despite the high level of stress people are extraordinarily resilient in the face of the terror and families face the deprivation with strength and mutual love. How do they do it and how can we account for this special courage which is beyond human endurance? What is its wellspring?
And how can we answer this question – “What kind of a people can announce that they will be celebrating their season of Holy Days by imposing misery, starvation and death on three and a half million people, unleashing greater terror than usual on so many? What kind of monster will look back at them from the mirror?
If you have understood something of the suffering, then I beg you to call or e-mail your government representative. Do not hesitate to contact the ‘Triumvirate of Terror’ – Bush/Kerry, Blair, and Sharon - and/or write a short note to a newspaper or radio station, especially the BBC, NPR, and Pacifica, protesting at the casual words which are used to report Israeli terror. Their reporting looks very like complicity and approval to ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’ – the British legal phrase meaning any reasonable person.
Anne Gwynne is a 65-year-old grandmother and retired bank manager from Wales. She has worked with the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees in Nablus, from where she has reported for Pacifica Radio’s Flashpoints program. Anne can be reached at email@example.com
Some of the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws Applying:
The Hague Regulations – 1907
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
The Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions – 1949
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - 1966
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – 1966
The Convention on the Rights of the Child – 1989
Customary International Law, recognised by all States as applying to everyone -
Some examples of UN Resolutions concerning Israel’s violations of International Law
1988 – Res/53/54; 1999 – Res/54/77; 2000 – Res/55/131; 2001 – Res/56/60.