Category Archives: Israel

American Likudnik Knesset Punishes Palestinian Authority………

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The Palestinian leadership yesterday accused the US Congress of inflicting “collective punishment” upon its people by holding up almost $200m in aid earmarked for the West Bank and Gaza by the Obama administration. The freeze on funds earlier allocated for the financial year which ends today is the first concrete Congressional reprisal against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to light since he angered US legislators by pursuing his application for full UN membership last week. The unpublicised block has been in force since August and was imposed in response to the then planned UN recognition bid,………

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is often accused by its opponents of doing the bidding of the United States government and the Israeli Likud government. Apparently the PA felt that its authority over Palestinians was slipping, it had to do something to slow this trend. In a desperate move it applied for UN recognition. It did this just at the beginning of the U.S. electoral cycle and in a year when extreme right-wing Republicans control the U.S. Congress, with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a well-known right-winger and avid Likudnik, as head of the Foreign Affairs Committee. They might as well have elected Bibi Netanyahu as chairman of the committee. This is not a time when most politicians in Washington show any courage for peace, if ever.
Cheers
mhg



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Next Year in Jerusalem, Next Year in New York, Next Year at the U.N.………….

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Israeli officials: Palestinians routed, about to fold YNet News (Israel)

“French president Sarkozy says UN will not vote on Palestinian state this year, promises a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli impasse within a year” Reports

Yesterday it almost looked like the Palestinian “authority”, never known for its backbone, had surrendered again. Reports quoted American and French officials that ‘negotiations’ will resume to reach a solution within one year. Sounds familiar? Remember 2009, when the new and “extremely naïve” Obama administration started negotiations with Israelis and Palestinians with a solemn promise that they will solve everything within one year. At that time I wrote here “forgetaboutit”. One year? It is too short a time to reach never.
The Jewish people have a mantra that they repeated during their long Diaspora , especially at every Passover Seder: “Next year in Jerusalem”. It kept them focused on the promise and the goal, which they eventually achieved. Now the Palestinians will have to adopt a new mantra “Next year in New York” or maybe just “Next year at the UN”.

Except it won’t be next year, or the year after, or any other year after, as long as the Likud and its right-wing allies rule the roost.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Song of Lebanon: Oh Cluster Bombs, Oh Cluster Bombs…………..

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Lebanese Army General Mohammad Fahmy, chairman of the Lebanese Mine Action Center, knows by heart the names and types of cluster bombs and landmines scattered across southern Lebanon. They have killed over 3000 Lebanese. Since Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon, Fahmy has realized that the road to clearing the country from these weapons is a going to be a long and winding one………. Even though we have not yet achieved what we aspire to, we have made much progress in the past five years. At the very least, we are now able to give an approximate date for the completion of land clearance. We have worked for years to identify contaminated areas and have drawn up a comprehensive technical survey. We have divided the land into 1,277 sectors, of which 815 have been cleared so far. We prioritized areas of social and economic value for obvious reasons. The estimated number of landmines is 400,000. …………

They were dropped over ‘select’ parts of Lebanon, mainly in the south, and over ‘select’ parts of Beirut, mainly the Southern Suburb. They were clearly aimed at the Shi’a (Shi’ite) population centers exclusively, with a couple of forays into other areas just as warnings. The goal was to keep the Hariri and Phalange base content, as well as some of the Arab oligarchs (al Saud, Mubarak) who openly sided against the Lebanese. That was when Condi Rice stated that the explosions and screams were the “birth pangs of the New Middle East”. Of course she was wrong, and if there is a new Middle East it will not be created with cluster bombs. A new Middle East is in the process of being created now, with the people in the streets taking back their usurped rights from the despots, be they dictators or absolute kings.
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Tony Blair Frustrated on Palestine, a Nobel Prize in WMD, Hamas or Fatah………

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“I totally understand the frustrations the Palestinians have. We are all frustrated in this situation. We want to see progress toward peace, toward the two-state solution,” Blair told Reuters Insider in an interview marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 al Qaeda attacks on U.S. cities. “The problem is you have always got to say, well what happens the day after (a bid for U.N. recognition)?'” the former British prime minister said. “Any gestures that are done by way of unilateral declaration, they are expressions of frustration and they may be understandable for that reason but they don’t deliver a Palestinian state,” he said………

Tony Blair is consistent in his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace. He believes in a four track policy to achieving that peace: (1) keep him as the special envoy (btw: whose envoy is he?), (2) stop attempts at UN to declare a Palestinian State, (3) resume negotiations, and (4) start a war against the Iranian mullahs (wtf). I am not sure how another Western war in the Middle East will help the peace process, but Tony is strongly for it and often mentions it. Maybe because it pleases his Middle Eastern benefactors and friends, or maybe he has always had a love-hate, poodle-banshee relationship with George W. Bush and the American neoconservatives. Maybe it is a New Labor thing.
Tony has now joined the Western campaign to stop a United Nation action on a Palestinian state, although he doesn’t say at whose behest. I suspect Tony is also angling for a Nobel Prize (in Peace not in WMD). If the Palestinians, all of them, and the Israelis, all of them, reach a real peace deal, not a half-assed one like in the past two decades. Why, Tony will finally step out from the shadows of W, finally become his own poodle, so to speak.
But he won’t get it, even in the highly unlikely event of a peace deal between the Jewish fundamentalists of Likud and the Muslim fundamentalists of Palestine. (I bet some of you did not know that the PA of Fatah is on its way out, to be replaced with more Hamas types. It is an unfortunate byproduct of the current Arab turmoil. Not that I’ll miss the corrupt schmucks of Fatah anymore than I like the fundamentalist quasi-theocrats of Hams).

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Kim Jong Qaddafi, Kim Jong Iraq, Kim Jong Iran………

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Such sweet deals are no longer to be had in a world where all worker bees, even those wearing medals and epaulettes, with secret police at their disposal, get discarded like used tissue paper after their cost-benefit balance tips to the former. Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega languished in an American prison on trumped-up drug charges for 20 years before being extradited to France; Saddam got dropped down a trap door to the howling jeers of his rivals. One can easily imagine a call from North Korean tyrant Kim Jung-Il to Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi a few years back: “Don’t disarm, Muammar. Just you wait! The second you give up your nukes the Americans will take you out. Saddam disarmed in 1991; now he’s in a tacky grave in Tikrit. What did Milosevic get for attending the Dayton peace conference? A war crimes trial. Look at me. I don’t cooperate. I don’t give in. Sure, they hate me. But I’m holding tight. Living large. Cooperation with the Americans is a mug’s game!“…………..

Raises a good point, n’est-ce pas. Saddam gave up his weapons of WMD, and where is he now? So did Qaddafi, and he is gone somewhere. Meanwhile Kim Jong-Il, Pakistan, Israel, India, etc have nuclear weapons and nobody is touching them. Is there a message in here somewhere for the Iranians?
(Okay, Israel doesn’t count here, since Israel is a “white” power).
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Abrams Pissed at Qatar, When in Rome and Carthage………

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Qatar has acquired a reputation for sharp, quick responses to crises in the Arab world and for modern and unorthodox thinking. It is undeserved. Qatari diplomatic activity is designed to advance the interests of the tiny country and of its ruling family. Its adoption of the Libyan opposition, for example, is not based on any principle (such as liberty, democracy, or free elections), for the Qatari government and its TV station, Al Jazeera, have been notably silent about the crisis in Bahrain. There, they have backed the royal family and the Saudi-led GCC armed presence………Backing the royal family in Bahrain, supporting Hamas but then giving some money to the PA, and financing the rebels in Libya shows Qatari flexibility, but not courageous leadership. What does Qatar seek, beyond influence? Influence for what? ……………..”

Abrams sounds truly pissed at the Qatari oligarchy, but he is right overall about the hypocrisy. I have to agree with him on this one, although it is the Palestinian statehood thing that riles him up the most.
Abrams asks: Influence for what?” He forgets all about Rome. Long ago, in this galaxy, a small farming community around the upstart town of Rome gained influence and power gradually as it beat regional rivals. Within a couple of centuries, the Roman upstarts defeated Carthage in three (Punic) wars and became undisputed masters of the Mediterranean and half the known world (from Spain to the Euphrates River). Is it possible the Qatari dynasty is seeking to take over the (Persian-American) Gulf? Or maybe they just want to merge with Bahrain (minus al-Khalifa and the Saudi occupation forces, of course). Is it possible they want to conquer the known world? Ich weiss nicht.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Reverse Tea Party of Tel Aviv, the Cleric against the World Plot………..

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Haaretz reports that about 300,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv, 20,000 participated in Jerusalem, 3,000 in Kiryat Shmona, 5,000 in Modi’in,1,000 in Hod Hasharon and 1,000 in Eilat. However, those close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the media had inflated the numbers of participants in the protests. Mr Netanyahu claimed that the numbers are vastly exaggerated, that perhaps only 290,000 were involved in Tel Aviv instead of 300,000. This is sort of a reverse Tea Party: in the United States it is noted that only the extreme right-wing can mobilize huge numbers these days, mostly from among the Tea Party foot soldiers (also known as political cannon fodder).
Now we await a new verdict from the Saudi clerics who earlier condemned Arab protests (outside Libya) as anti-Islamic. They did not specifically ban Jews from protesting. Yet they can use this as proof that world Jewry are behind the popular Arab uprisings against oppression and corruption of their rulers. Just as they used to advise that Communism (remember communism?) was part of a Jewish plot to misguide the faithful and take over the whole world.
Cheers
mhg




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Nuclear Theocratic Powers of the Middle East and Beyond…….

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Particularly worrisome in the Saudi case is the potential departure from the Gold Standard established by the UAE 123 agreement. If, as has been suggested, the Saudi agreement is concluded without an accompanying commitment to abjure reprocessing and enrichment technologies, there could be profound consequences for the administration’s nonproliferation objectives and for the long-term stability of the Middle East. Although Saudi Arabia has not previously been judged to be a proliferation threat, as it “lacks the technological expertise, industrial base, and disciplined commitment required to develop an indigenous weapons capacity,” recent developments may have altered this assessment. The alacrity with which the United States dispensed of its long-standing support for the regime of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak no doubt gave pause to the House of Saud, which continues – 30 years later – to be troubled by American abandonment of the Shah on the eve of the Iranian revolution. Nor is Saudi threat perception likely to be relieved by the regional meddling of its frequent ideological competitor. This is to say nothing of the Kingdom’s concerns regarding Iranian weaponization. Indeed, Saudi Arabia appears increasingly unnerved by the trajectory of the Iranian program, a trend that can be seen in the country’s shifting characterizations of its own nuclear ambitions. ……..

  • There are fears that Saudi Arabia may try and shift any nuclear program toward military use. In fact that is exactly what Prince Turki al-Faisal warned about last month. There is now this fear, but the difference is that the Saudis will need American (and maybe other) help in any nuclear plan they have.

  • There are, there have been, fears of the Iranian nuclear program. These fears are based on possibilities that the Iranian may be trying to either build nuclear weapons or, more likely, reach the point ehre they can build nuclear weapons.

  • Then there is Israel. Everyone knows that Israel has many nuclear warheads, although no one can prove it. Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), hence it is not under any Western pressure to allow international (IAEA) inspection.
  • Pakistan has several nuclear weapons, and it is not an NPT signatory either. Pakistan was created as a quasi-theocratic state: it was carved up as an Islamic state from parts of India. The country has been veering toward fundamentalism and back over its history. It may be closer now than at any other time.


What do all these West and South Asian countries have in common? No, not the geographic proximity. They are all either declared theocracies, undeclared theocracies, quasi-theocracies, or threatened theocracies. They are all within one of these categories I noted above. Scary, no? (The United States is not a theocracy, although the Tea Party and other elements would like it to be and try to push it that way).
Cheers
mhg




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Rabbinical Court: Look who Almost Got Stoned in Israel………

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A Jerusalem rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a dog it suspects is the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who insulted the court’s judges 20 years ago, Ynet website reported Friday. According to Ynet, the large dog made its way into the Monetary Affairs Court in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, frightening judges and plaintiffs. Despite attempts to drive the dog out of the court, the hound refused to leave the premises. One of the sitting judges then recalled a curse the court had passed down upon a secular lawyer who had insulted the judges two decades previously. Their preferred divine retribution was for the lawyer’s spirit to move into the body of a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism. Clearly still offended, one of the judges sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children. The canine target, however, managed to escape………

As far as I know all cases of being stoned in Israel have been of the, well, weedy, greeny, cannabis kind, or worse (a value judgment here). This is a first sentence of actual stoning, with real rocks. This dog missed an opportunity to become a cause célèbre, a la poor Sakinah Ashtiani of Iran.
Occasionally some of these Jewish rabbis act as if totally stoned out of their minds, just like many Muslim ones, almost. Some Muslim clerics have issued fatwas for the elimination of man’s best friend, but none has recommended that they be stoned. As far as I know.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, Christians in Europe have for centuries sentenced and executed innocent four-legged animals on various suspicions. They probably don’t do it anymore.
Cheers
mhg




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What some Arabs Saw in the US Congress, Bibi….

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Some Arab media headlines after the Netanyahu speech to a joint session of the US Congress:

“Eulogy for a Hezbollah-controlled’ Lebanon”

“Netanyahu in Congress: America falls on her knee before Israel”

“US Congress looked like a third world parliament heaping accolades on the Great Leader”

“Netanyahu speech was a speech of fear” (Saudi Asharq Alawsat, one of the few that tried to put a somewhat positive face on it)

Some of my own (ArabiaDeserta) live tweets (the last are first):


“Shit! some of these guys are gushing, you’d think they’re shaking hands with John the Baptist hisself…” Me

“Okay, I know the Dome of the Capitol is covered with a thick layer of bull, a lil more than in a normal session…” Me

“There may be some health reasons for all these “standing” ovations (how do you spell r-e-l-i-e-f)..” Me

“Hmm.. Did he just lie? didn’t the Ottomans and British allow freedom of worship in Jerusalem?….” Me

“Now the ijits clapping for annexation of East Jerusalem…..” Me

“I think Congressmen who stood for the “Judea and Samaria” remark wanted to give their brains a rest from the weight…” Me

“Clever #Netanyahu, stupid #Congress: he quickly changed the subject from Palestine to #Iran….” Me
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com