Archive for the 'Israel & Palestine' Category

Malaysian groups criticise plans for Chelsea’s summer visit

Malaysian Muslim groups have called for protests when Chelsea football club visits in July because the coach, Avram Grant, and a player are Israeli.

An alliance of 21 Muslim groups is angry the Malaysian authorities have given permission for the Israelis to visit the country with the London club.

Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with Israel, and the Malay Muslim majority is strongly pro-Palestinian.

Malaysian citizens are banned by their government from visiting Israel.



Pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby launched

J Street, a new ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ lobby, has been launched in the US.

The goal of the lobby is to “promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israel conflicts peacefully and diplomatically” and a “new direction” in American foriegn policy. It is an attempt to counter American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and to give a voice to what most American Jews think about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

J Street has prominent American and Israeli supporters and Prospect Magazine has some more background.

Israeli settler fanatics vow to steal more Palestinian land as revenge for Jerusalem killings

Israel’s far-right settler movement has set itself on a renewed collision course with the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, declaring that last week’s massacre in a Jewish religious school had targeted them directly and vowing to build a new illegal outpost in the West Bank for every one of the killed students.

Amid a sense of spiralling crisis in Israeli and the Occupied Territories – which has stemmed from the impression that both Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are rudderless amid the climbing violence – Abbas performed yet another policy U-turn, calling for new talks with Israel after having earlier appeared to back away from peace talks.

The latest moves follow the killing on Thursday by a Palestinian gunmen of eight Jewish seminary students, the bloodiest attack in Israel in two years. Hamas, which had vowed to avenge the more than 125 Palestinians killed in a recent Gaza offensive by Israel, at first claimed responsibility, then backtracked.

Hamas’s claim came as the spokesman for Israel’s right-wing settlement movement said that he believed the attack on the religious college was aimed at his movement. Dani Dayan, the chairman of the Yesha Council, said yesterday that the attacker deliberately targeted Mercaz Herav yeshiva, known for its messianic, national religious Zionism. ‘Of course it wasn’t a coincidence or by chance,’ Dayan said.

Israel has been under increasing pressure from the United States, its main ally, to stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank but the government has struggled to curtail the expansion because the settlers wield considerable electoral power.

Olmert needs the religious right in his governing coalition to maintain his fragile grip on power.

The religious right opposes the US-backed Annapolis peace talks and this latest attack will further undermine Olmert’s authority. Dayan said the peace talks were ‘leading nowhere’. ‘They have raised expectations that everyone knows can’t be fulfilled by Olmert or Abbas,’ Dayan said. ‘In this part of the world, when your raise expectations and can’t fulfil them, you get violence.’


Israel ‘responds’, Palestinians ‘massacre’

Here is how Open House, the Independent’s main blog, phrased its Have Your Say thread on the murder of Israelis at a seminary in Jerusalem:

Notice how the killings were an atrocity and portrayed as a threat to the ‘peace process’ by the Open House blogger(s).

And here is how Open House reported the 100+ Palestinian deaths (which included many civilians and children) at the hands of Israel’s military:

Notice the neutral language: Israel was merely ‘responding’ to attacks from Palestinian groups. There is no sign of whether the Open House blogger thought these deaths at the hands of Israel threatened ‘peace’.

Con Coughlin: moron

Con “45 minutes” Coughlin is at it again:

[S]ay what you like about Arafat, he knew how to keep order, and it is unlikely Hamas would have been able to establish its own self-contained fiefdom in Gaza were he still alive. Arafat, the veteran of many minor civil wars between rival Palestinian groups, took a dim view of people who challenged his authority, and would have dealt harshly with the Hamas upstarts.

Coughlin is meant to be the Telegraph’s executive foreign editor, yet he makes no mention of one of the biggest news foreign news stories this past week: the leak of confidential papers and insider information that showing US backed a Fatah coup, which in turn was preempted by Hamas in Gaza. No where, while blaming the Palestinians, does Coughlin show his readers that things are a little more complicated than they appear.

And this man is the Telegraph’s executive foreign editor?

Seriously, what are the Telegraph paying this man? He’s absolutely rubbish.

Iran-Contra meets the Bay of Pigs in Palestine: how the US backed Fatah

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.


Heroic Israeli Defense Forces show their might by murdering Palestinian teenagers

Palestinians described yesterday how civilians were killed while hiding in their homes as Israeli ground troops stormed through northern Gaza suburbs this weekend searching for Hamas militants.

Raad Abu Seif held his 12-year-old daughter in his arms as she died after she was shot in the stomach as she stood several metres from a window.

“I stroked Safa’s hair,” said Mr Abu Seif, his voice hoarse. “And then her eyes rolled backwards in her head.”

“I tried to massage her heart for a minute, two minutes, three minutes, I don’t remember. And then I felt there was nothing.”

Mr Abu Seif, 40, described how his extended family had bunkered down inside their home in the Zimo Square area of Jabaliya when it was infiltrated by Israeli ground troops supported by tanks in the early hours of Saturday.

Mr Abu Seif, who used to work in a car paint shop, and his wife, Sama, 38, told their seven children to stay down and avoid looking out of the windows. But in the afternoon Safa had grown in confidence and decided to go upstairs, where her uncle and his family were also waiting for the fighting to stop.

“She was just at his front door when there was an explosion outside and the windows were blown in,” Mr Abu Seif said. “She was still about four metres from a window and up on the first floor but there must have been an Israeli sniper on a rooftop because he fired one shot and hit her in the stomach.”

The girl’s family had called an ambulance but it came under fire and was not able to reach the house.

When he tried to carry the girl out of the house, under a white flag, he said troops in an Israeli tank fired warning shots above their heads forcing them to dive for cover. Shortly after that Safa died in her father’s arms.

The young girl was one of more than 100 Palestinians killed in the past five days of intense fighting as Palestinian militants have fired around 150 rockets into Israel. One Israeli civilian and two Israeli soldiers have died.

Despite international criticism and calls for restraint on both sides, Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, said yesterday that an even broader Gaza operation was possible, aimed at crushing militant rocket squads but also to “weaken the Hamas rule, in the right circumstances, even to bring it down”.

But many Palestinian families described an Israeli army on the rampage in various suburbs of Gaza and claimed that Israeli snipers had shot people inside their homes.

Hatem Abu Shbek described how his nephew, Eyad, 16, and niece, Jacqueline, 17, were shot in his sitting room.

He insisted the distance to the window was several metres and said that Israeli snipers must have been targeting them.

Another Palestinian teenager said he was shot three times when he approached the Zimo Square area to see what was happening.

Ahmed Abu Radwan, 18, was speaking from a hospital bed at Kemal Adwan hospital. He said his neighbour, Jihad Abu Hilayel, also a teenager, was killed.



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