AUSTRALIANS AT WAR

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR
THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

BENAZIR BHUTTO – POPULAR LEADER BUT TOO WEAK TO RISK GOVERNING A NUCLEAR-ARMED ISLAMIC NATION.

By making an enemy of the Islamic world the West has created a rod for its own back. Rather than making the world a safer place, the West has put the world at even greater risk than ever it was during the Cold War.

The death of Benazir Bhutto has only served to increase that risk. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the chances of this assassination having been carried out by ‘al Qaeda’ or some other ‘terrorist’ organisations are much less than the chances of it having been carried out under the auspices of Musharraf’s Western supporters, the US and the Israelis, who have a vested interest in ensuring that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stay firmly under the control of a leader they know and trust.

Benazir Bhutto, while an extremely popular and pro-western Pakistani political leader, has a history of being weak inasmuch that she never seemed to be able to hang to power for very long. She seemed to always be being ousted from power or involved in some corruption scandal or being sent off into exile – yet again. This is not the sort of leader that the US and Israel could afford to have as the leader of Pakistan even under some power-sharing arrangement. The risk of having such power usurped from her by Islamic fundamentalist politicians and activists was just too much for the US and the Israelis to accept.

If, indeed, it were the Western powers that were behind her death, a proposition that, despite the Western propaganda and rhetoric to the contrary, seems most likely, then the upshot is likely to be success for them. Musharraf is likely to weather the storm and will do it with US help even if it means the US sending troops to Pakistan to help Musharraf maintain control. It’s telling that George Bush has called for the Pakistani elections to go ahead but carefully neglected to mention that it should stick to the 8 January 2008 timetable. The omission buys both himself and, more importantly, Musharraf, more time to reconsolidate their positions.

The turmoil following Benazir Bhutto’s death was a risk, it seems, they were willing to take. For the US and Israel the looming Pakistani election was far more of a risk than the aftermath of murdering a popular but weak political leader who could very easily have been toppled by other far more anti-US and Israeli elements within Pakistan who would then have control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

The mainstream media has talked up the risk of civil war in Pakistan but the reality is this; Pakistan is a nation with a massive population of some 165 million people, the vast majority of whom, while upset at what has happened, are far more concerned with just day to day survival in relatively peaceful times than trying to do the same thing while fighting each other in a civil war. There may well be considerable violence in the aftermath of her death but there is unlikely to be any civil war.

Benazir Bhutto’s death is likely to have the desired outcome for the US and Israel. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will remain in the hands of the leader who the US and Israel have sponsored ever since 9/11. The risk of having a weak leader voted into power in a popular election has been averted. Having a strong man who would in all likelihood concede to allowing US troops on Pakistani dirt is just what the US and Israelis need.

I doubt there will be too many tearful eyes in the White House, the Knesset or the offices of the AEI over Benazir Bhutto’s death.

Friday, December 28, 2007

NEOCONS AND THE WEST TOO QUICK TO BLAME ‘AL QAEDA’ AND ‘TERRORISTS’ FOR BHUTTO ASSASSINATION.

Whenever turmoil is created in our world, such as assassination and bombing, and the neocons rush to point the finger of blame at ‘al Qaeda’ or some other associated ‘terror’ organisation, one can be reasonably sure that what the world has witnessed is yet another false flag operation perpetrated by a group or groups that have some ulterior, political, or even pecuniary motive or motives for creating such turmoil. And such is the case with the assassination yesterday of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto.

Pakistani politics has always been volatile and every election is guaranteed to bring about the deaths of scores of people from political violence during election campaigns. Political assassinations also have always been a part of political life, not just in Pakistan but across the entire sub-continent, ever since the end of British rule. In the past, such political violence has always been home-grown and committed by domestic political players for purely domestic political reasons. However, the death of Benazir Bhutto has repercussions and consequences that extend far beyond Pakistani domestic politics and it is for this reason that one should be sceptical about who the finger of blame is being pointed at. More importantly, one should also look at the political gain that those who are doing the finger pointing could expect to receive as a result of making such accusations.

When blame is apportioned in the mainstream western media there is a tendency for it to stick. For many, that same mainstream western media is all they have to rely on to provide them with their information about events in the world, so when journalists and commentators write their ‘news’ and vent their opinions in the mainstream media it becomes difficult to refute or argue with and any attempts by those that have other ideas about what may really have happened are usually dismissed as conspiracy theorists. In order to ensure that the right ‘message’ gets across, therefore, it is imperative that when events – like the assassination of Benazir Bhutto – happens that the finger of blame gets pointed as quickly as possible and that such blame is made well-known via as much of the mainstream media as possible before any other options could be placed into the collective world mind.

The question then is; who indeed did murder Benazir Bhutto? In the absence of any direct evidence from any quarter, one can only start by asking who had the most to gain by her murder. According to President Bush the “cowardly” attack was carried out by “…by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy”. The first thing one feels compelled to ask is; what democracy? Pakistan is governed by a dictatorship headed by President Musharraf who came to power via a coup and has been supported by the US ever since 9/11. Elections that bore some semblance to ‘democracy’ and were likely to see the demise Musharraf as President are scheduled for 8 January 2008. These are now in doubt, so Musharraf, it would seem, would have much to gain from Benazir Bhutto’s murder. But what would ‘al Qaeda’ have to gain from her death? To be sure, to most fighters who are defending fundamentalist Islam from the onslaught of the West, she was just another western-inspired and educated politician intent on power in Pakistan but she was no more a threat to ‘al Qaeda’ than any other politician in Pakistan looking for power. They certainly would have no reason to kill her – at least not just yet – though no doubt they would be quite happy about the fact that she is gone.

For the US and her allies, particularly Israel, it is essential that Musharraf retains power. Both the US and Israel are very sensitive to the fact that Pakistan does have nuclear arms and that it is a predominately Muslim nation and that there is a large element of Islamic fundamentalists within the nations political ranks who it would be reasonable to assume have a very strong chance of gaining or seizing power in Pakistan and who would have the Taliban of Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan as an ally rather than as an enemy as they are now of Musharraf. Power passing to Benazir Bhutto via an election would have been much easier to seize by Islamic fundamentalists than from Musharraf if that is their intention – another reason why it would not be in their interests to assassinate her.

In early November of 2007, shortly after the earlier unsuccessful attempt on Benazir Bhutto’s life, British current affairs presenter David Frost interviewed her. She told Frost that she had suspicions that members of the Pakistan security services were behind the assassination attempt and had even written a letter to President Musharraf explaining her suspicions. In the same interview Benazir Bhutto also told Frost in a very matter of fact way that Osama bin Laden had been murdered by the same forces that wanted her dead; a man she named as none other than Omar Sheikh, the man convicted of the murder of American Daniel Pearl! It may well be that she was killed simply because she knew too much but much more likely because she was a threat to the current western international status quo who saw her gaining power as a massive risk that the US and their allies could not afford to take; though, most likely, she was killed for all of the these reasons.

Musharraf is the devil the US and the Israelis know. Benazir Bhutto has had power before and lost it; she was popular but she was not strong. Pakistani political power, as far as the US and the Israelis are concerned, should remain in the hands of the devil they have already paid for. The death of Benazir Bhutto may well ensure that power stays with Musharraf and pointing the finger of blame for her death at ‘al Qaeda’ merely strengthens the perception in the West for there to be a strong Pakistani leader and further demonises ‘al Qaeda’ generally into the bargain thus perpetuating the myth of its continued existence.


UPDATE

And, of course, right on cue, ‘al Qaeda’ has ‘confessed’.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

HAMAS UPSETS ISRAEL’S GAME PLAN – BY OFFERING A TRUCE!

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, may well have upset Israeli plans for their take-over of the Gaza Strip by offering the Israelis a truce to the tit-for-tat violence that has dominated life in the Gaza ever since Hamas ousted the corrupt elements of Fatah and took control there. Haniya has offered to halt the launching of rockets into Israel from the Gaza if the Israelis stop killing Palestinians and open up the borders to allow the Gaza to begin functioning again.

The propaganda and rhetoric Israel has used to justify their targeted killings of Gazan fighters and the closing of the borders to trade and other essential goods has been that they wanted to pressure Hamas into halting the rocket attacks against Israel but now that Hamas have actually made an approach to negotiate a cease-fire, the Israelis, particularly the extreme right-wing Zionists, are pouring cold water onto the suggestion.

Clearly, the Israelis have other motives in wanting to continue their war against the Palestinian people, particularly Hamas in the Gaza and the Gazan people. Israeli hopes were that Hamas, instead of offering an olive branch to the Israelis in an effort to stop the Israelis killing Palestinian fighters and innocent civilians, would rather be so enraged at the Israeli killings that Hamas would actually increase their actions against the Israelis which, in turn, would provide the Israelis casus belli to invade the Gaza Strip. The plan essentially was not to force Hamas to capitulate but rather to provoke Hamas into actions that would provide justification for an Israeli invasion of the Gaza. Once having invaded the Gaza the Israelis would then have the opportunity of eliminating Hamas either by mass arrests or even killings in what they would tell the world were ‘combat clean-ups’ of Hamas resistance pockets.

The Hamas offer has come as shock to the Israelis. Israeli President Shimon Peres’ immediate response was that the Hamas offer was a “…pathetic and misleading attempt to divert international attention away from the crimes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad”. The statement is classic Zionist double-Chutzpah whereby the Israelis blame their enemies for forcing Israel into taking certain actions that are in themselves criminal in an effort to divert international attention away from the reality of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

Peres went on to say: “If Hamas and Islamic Jihad stop firing rockets at our women and children, Israel will immediately hold its fire, so there is no need for negotiations”. He couldn’t very well say anything different but was careful not to mention that the Hamas offer was conditional not just on a cease-fire against the Gazan people but also an opening up of the borders to allow essential goods to flow into the Gaza and some semblance of trade also to return. But most importantly Peres has cleverly avoided saying ‘no’ to negotiations but, at the same time, has made it clear that there will not be any.

For the Israelis, a cease-fire doesn’t solve their problem. Their problem is not really the rocket attacks against Israel, that’s just the propaganda and rhetoric; their problem is Hamas. A cease-fire doesn’t rid the Israelis of Hamas.

With much of Fatah having now capitulated to Israeli demands, Hamas is now the only stumbling block within the Palestinian territories to the long term goal of Israeli annexation of what is left of Palestine, including the West Bank and the Gaza, in order to create a Greater Israel, still the dream of right-wing Israeli Zionists. But while Hamas exists there will never be a Greater Israel which is why it is essential for the right-wing Israeli Zionists to be at war with Hamas; because that is the only way it can be destroyed.

The Israelis will not be taking up Hamas’ offer of a cease-fire – it’s not part of their game plan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

RUSSIAN NUCLEAR FUEL DELIVERY TO IRAN WON’T CHANGE THE ISRAELI GAME PLAN.

The delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran from Russia is a turning point in the saga of Iran’s relations with the US and Israel over Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program but is unlikely to change Israel's ultimate goal of regime change in Iran.

While it had always been part of the plan for Russia to supply fuel to the Bushehr facility, the delivery at this time has come as a complete surprise to both the US and Israelis who had hoped to muster support for increased sanctions against Iran via the UN before the delivery took place. This latest development would seem to preclude Russia from any such endorsement at the UN meaning that there is no longer any likelihood of any further UN sanctions against Iran. This, coupled with last weeks release of the NIE saying that US intelligence agencies have no evidence of any Iranian nuclear program since at least since 2003, has meant that Israel will have to reconsider its position with regard to any possible attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Since the nuclear fuel has been delivered to the Bushehr nuclear facility in Iran’s south-west, an Israeli attack on the plant will now not be possible due to the risk of radio-active contamination and the proximity of the facility relative to Iraq and Kuwait and the Gulf region generally. While the Iranians have guaranteed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can have access to the facility to ensure the proper use of the Russian supplied fuel, it is unlikely to deter the Israelis from casting their eyes toward Irans other facilities which are designed to produce Iranian nuclear fuel which the Israelis allege is for a nuclear weapons program.

Meanwhile, Bush has been quick to spin Russia’s supply of nuclear fuel to Iran arguing that it proves that Iran has no need to enrich uranium itself. Iran has insisted, however, that, under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it has the right to produce its own nuclear fuel. While Russia has suggested to the Iranians that, for the sake of placating the demands of Israel and the US, that it does not pursue enriching its own uranium, Russia has not insisted that Iran cease its enrichment program and, clearly, have certainly not made any fuel deliveries from Russia conditional upon ceasing their enrichment program.

So, where does this leave the Israelis? Basically the Israeli position will remain essentially unchanged. They will continue to argue that Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program and they will continue to plan for their destruction – now excluding the Bushehr plant, of course. The endgame for the Israelis has never changed; their real goal is not stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program – they know full well, just as the IAEA do, that Iran doesn’t have one – but to destroy the power of the Iranian Islamic state and change the regime. This, in turn, will allow the Israelis to deal with their enemies on their doorstep, Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas, who they hope will capitulate to Israeli demands thus allowing the Israeli Zionists to fulfil their dream of a Greater Israel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

SO WHO KILLED LEBANESE GENERAL FRANCOIS AL-HAJJ?

The Reuters report that appeared in Ha’aretz today speculates on three possibilities as to who may have been responsible for the assassination of Lebanese General Francois al-Hajj who was killed by a car bomb on Wednesday.

First, the report suggests, ‘perhaps it was al Qaeda-type militants striking in payback for Hajj's role in the army's summer onslaught on fighters based in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.’

Then again, could it have been ‘Syria warning the army not to tilt toward the United States or end its tolerance for the armed activities of the Shi'ite Hezbollah group?’

Or ‘maybe it was forces unwilling to see the army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader.’

Option three is interesting, though not unsurprisingly, rather vague. Now, an ‘army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader’ could only pose a problem for one entity that would have the wherewithal and the actual temerity to do something about it; a nation that has not baulked in the past at either covertly or overtly assassinating its enemies and potential enemies and, at the same time, make political capital out of the assassination by making it seem as though it was carried out by another of its enemies; a nation who, specifically, has an organisation whose predecessors virtually invented the art of the modern car-bomb back in 1947.

The fact is, Syria does not at all benefit by this mans death; indeed, Syria is unlikely to be involved if for no other reason than it is very much aware that the Western finger of blame is likely to be pointed to them whenever anyone in the Lebanese hierarchy is assassinated regardless of whose ‘side’ they are on.

Fatah al-Islam, the al Qaeda-type militants referred to in the first possibility, would not have the expertise in logistics or materials needed to mount such a sophisticated operation.

That just leaves those ‘forces unwilling to see the army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader’. Would such an assassination be of benefit to the cause of deliberate destabilisation of a nation that harbours an enemy on its doorstep? Could such destabilisation lead ultimately to a confrontation with the ultimate enemy of Israel and the US?
A conspiracy theory, one might ask? Well, yes. A conspiracy to assassinate, an assassination that succeeded, it definitely was. A theory? Yes again, but then so are the other two possibilities.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

THE U.S. COULD STILL STRIKE IRAN BUT IT IS NOW UP TO ISRAEL TO STRIKE THE FIRST BLOW.

As many commentators have observed, even some frustrated neoconservative writers, the release of the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has effectively precluded the US from making a first strike against Iran over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

However, while the NIE has effectively precluded the US from making the first strike, it has also achieved two other important and related potential consequences. One is that it has also now removed any lingering doubts that Russia or China may have had about not supporting any further UN sanctions against Iran while, at the same time, and because of that lack of support in the UN from the Russians and the Chinese, has placed the onus on a first strike against Iran on Israel who now seem more determined than ever to take on the task.

But it is not a task the Israelis would take on lightly. They are acutely aware that, unlike their attack on the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak in 1981, any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will require substantial help and support from the US. There is no doubt that any planning for such a raid by the Israelis will need to include US collusion and, once the initial strike by the Israelis has been made, Israel will need to rely on overt and direct US military support to prevent any counter-attack probability by the Iranians.

Clearly, the latest NIE has been deliberately released in order to allow Israel to plan on the basis that Israel will make the initial strike while the US provide all support instantly after the first strike has been made. In other words, the NIE has created a fait accompli for Israel to have no option, if it so decides, but to make the first strike. The only alternative is for Iran to be left alone since neither Russia or China are likely to support further sanctions against Iran in the light of the NIE.

One should bear in mind that Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program is merely a casus belli to promote Israel and the US administrations real aim which is regime change in Iran.

In the end the NIE has changed nothing in terms of the endgame for both the US and Israel who want regime change in Iran. What it has done, in fact, is simply made it easier for Israel to take the decision to do the job. There is no more procrastination.

The world is a step closer to possible disaster.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

IRAN’S ‘NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM’: HEAVY ON PROPAGANDA AND RHETORIC BUT STILL NOT A SKERRICK OF EVIDENCE.

Benjamin Netanyahu was telling his new chum the French President Nicholas Sarkozy that the “Iranian missile and fissile activity continues with great momentum, so pressure must be intensified.” Meanwhile, the new Israeli ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosser, was telling a British newspaper: “At the current rate of progress Iran will reach the technical threshold for producing fissile material by 2009”. Tzipi Livni, at a NATO Foreign Ministers conference in Brussels last Friday told her audience that: “Tehran is close to crossing the technological threshold, after which it will be able to secretly produce nuclear weapons without supervision”.

In not one of the above mentioned instances was there any evidence whatsoever to support any one of the claims.

The world’s foremost authority on Iran’s nuclear status, the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), has not been able to find any evidence at all that concurs with any of Israel’s claims. How does Netanyahu not trust the IAEA enough to tell them how he knows that ‘Iranian missile and fissile activity continues with great momentum’? Does Prosser know something that the IAEA doesn’t when he asserts that ‘at the current rate of progress Iran will reach the technical threshold for producing fissile material by 2009’? And is Livni holding out on the IAEA when she says ‘Tehran is close to crossing the technological threshold’?

The war against Iraq was instigated on exactly the same kind of claims. Is it not time the world asked; where is the evidence? It seems the mainstream media aren’t game to ask despite having been made complete fools of last time. Yet again the mainstream media is allowing itself to be the propaganda medium for warmongers.


SO WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE!!

Outgoing Israeli National Security Council head, Ilan Mizrahi, has told the Jerusalem Post that ‘Israel had concrete evidence that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon’. He went on to say ‘that Israel's evidence that Iran was developing nuclear weapons demonstrated the urgency of stopping the country's nuclear program as soon as possible’.

One has to keep asking; WHAT EVIDENCE?

Why hasn’t this evidence been handed over to the IAEA? Could it be that IT SIMPLY DOESN’T EXIST?

Monday, December 10, 2007

ISRAEL’S HYPOCRISY OVER IRAN’S ‘NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM’.

Despite the total lack of evidence, Israel is stepping up the propaganda and rhetoric of the myth of an Iranian nuclear weapons program in its effort to overcome the disappointment of the latest US National Intelligence Estimate which told the world that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Yesterday, according to Ha’aretz, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his government ministers that Israel ‘would continue to work alongside the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to expose covert Iranian activities and investigate its military program to develop nuclear weapons’.

The problem with this piece of blatant propaganda is that the IAEA aren’t out to ‘expose covert Iranian activities’ on behalf of Israel. The IAEA exists solely to monitor the nuclear programs, weapons or power generating, of all nations that the UN have an interest in on behalf of the UN. The IAEA doesn’t exist for the sole purpose of rubber stamping the accusations and allegations of Israel and the US simply so that a casus belli for war can be found. The US and Israel tried that exact same stunt in the lead up to war against Iraq. It didn’t work then inasmuch that the IAEA didn’t bend to US and Israeli demands, accusations and allegations of Iraqi nuclear weapons – not that that stopped the US from invading anyway – and it is unlikely to work now.

Time and time again the IAEA have gone into Iran and found absolutely nothing to even suggest that Iran is pursuing nuclear technology for any purpose other than power generation. For all the well-known resources of the Israeli intelligence organisation, Mossad, no evidence has been found by the Israelis to suggest anything different; and one can be sure that if they had they would quickly be telling the world about it.

But, for all the propaganda and rhetoric, what is really sticking in the throat of the rest of the Arab nations of the region is not so much whether or not Iran may be pursuing nuclear weapons, but the hypocrisy of Israel’s claims about Iran’s nuclear program. Israel is the number one nation that is jumping up and down about Iran’s supposed obfuscation over its nuclear program when Israel itself cannot even be honest about its own nuclear program. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates while at a recent conference in Bahrain was asked whether he thought Israel's nuclear program posed a threat to the region, Gates replied: "No, I do not." The remark was greeted with howls of laughter from the Arab leaders and officials assembled.

Never mind that it is the US and Israel that do actually have nuclear weapons and never mind that it is the US that has openly said that it would pre-emptively use nuclear weapons, even against a non-nuclear weaponed state, and never mind that, considering the closeness of the Israel-US alliance, that Israel would likely adopt a similar stance if it felt it needed to.

But the world should not lose sight of the real motives behind the US and Israeli propaganda and rhetoric about Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’. The real reason for their stance against Iran is to promote the idea of ‘regime change’. Even if Iran gave up entirely its nuclear program, Israel and the US would then need to search for some other casus belli to promote regime change. Both Israel and the US know that regime change is not going to come from within Iran and that the only way to affect regime change is to either neutralise the current regimes power or obliterate it entirely. Without regime change in Iran, Israel is unable to move forward in its plans to create a Greater Israel by crushing all resistance to it. It is Iran’s support of Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas that are thwarting all that the Israeli right-wing are seeking to achieve.

The Israelis and the US believe that if Iran capitulates, then so will all the other enemies of Israel that are supported by Iran.

The neocons and warmongers of the US are willing to risk the nuclear annihilation of some nations in order to create a Greater Israel that has hegemony over the Middle East. One can rest assured, however, that, if any nation gets destroyed by nuclear weapons, it will not be Israel or the US.

Therein lies the ultimate hypocrisy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

THE NEOCONS ARE IN A FRENZY OVER THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE REPORT: THEY THINK IT’S A C.I.A. PLOT AGAINST BUSH!

The recently released National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear ambitions has sent the neoconservatives into a frenzy of disbelief and recrimination against the CIA suggesting even that the CIA are plotting to undermine President George W. Bush and his stance against Iran.

Bush and his Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, have been insisting that Iran has been developing production facilities for enriching uranium to the levels needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Bush and Rice have also been insisting that the world can stop Iran enriching uranium by using diplomacy via the UN but have not, however, taken the military option ‘off the table’. Meanwhile, Vice-President Cheney has been saying that diplomacy is not going to work inferring that the only option is to militarily destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. Cheney is backed up by neoconservatives both inside the administration and in the think-tanks and commentariat.

The neoconservatives have been the most ardent supporters of military action against Iran. In June of this year arch-neoconservative theorist, Norman Podhoretz, wrote his now well known article, ‘The Case for Bombing Iran’ in which he called, indeed prayed, for the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities. He felt sure that Bush “…will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel.” The NIE report, therefore, has come as a blow to Podhoretz. In his latest commentary Podhoretz accuses the CIA of plotting against Bush. He writes: “But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations.”

Podhoretz is not the only neocon that is furious over the report. Ultra neocon warhawk Michael Ledeen, the so-called ‘Resident Scholar of the Freedom Chair’ at neocon headquarters, the American Enterprise Institute, finds the report simply unbelievable and can barely contain his seething cynicism and contempt of the ‘Intelligence Community’.

Max Boot, meanwhile, writing in the Wall Street Journal tries desperately to hide his disappointment of the implications of the report by reiterating the usual propaganda and rhetoric that the neocons have been spouting ever since the ousting of Shah and adding that he believes that many of the Arab states in the region wouldn’t mind seeing Iran attacked in order to ensure that Iran doesn’t become a regional nuclear power.

One of the most hawkish of all of the neocons, John Bolton, has also waded into the argument saying, predictably, that the report is simply wrong and the Intelligence Community “…is engaging in policy formulation rather than "intelligence" analysis, and too many in Congress and the media are happy about it.”

Bolton begrudgingly concedes, however, that: “While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this ‘intelligence’ torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were.”

Certainly, short of some other startling evidence surfacing that contradicts the NIE report, or, alternatively, some other ‘event’ happening that can be blamed on Iran, the NIE report has effectively put an end to the notion that the US will unilaterally and pre-emptively attack Iran. But, as I and others have already written, the NEI report would not preclude the US from covertly supporting an initial attack on Iran by the Israelis and then overtly attacking the Iranians immediately after an Israeli initial attack in order to prevent an Iranian counter attack.

The NIE report has pushed the neocons further now into the Israeli right-wing Zionist camp because it is now only the Israelis that will be able to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.

But then, isn’t that what the neoconservatives wanted in the first place? An attack against the Iranians for the sake of Israel’s quest for a Greater Israel? And doesn’t it almost get Bush and the not-quite-as-hawkish members of his administration of the ‘warmonger’ hook – a call American public opinion is unlikely to tolerate?

So where does the NIE report now leave us?

Essentially, all it has done is put a slightly new slant on the propaganda and rhetoric against Iran. Since the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions is merely a smoke screen for Israeli and neocon calls for ‘regime change’ generally, the NIE report has simply moved the onus of effecting ‘regime change’ from the US to Israel.

Just as an aside, while the NIE report says that Iran stopped its ‘nuclear weapon program’ in 2003, the inference is that Iran had a nuclear weapon program prior to 2003. The reality is that there is still not a skerrick of evidence to suggest that Iran had a nuclear weapon program before 2003.


ISRAEL WARNS IRAN TO CO-OPERATE OR ‘PAY THE PRICE’

In a follow up to the above report, it seems Israel has been quick to warn Iran of military action telling Iran to “…co-operate or pay the price”. Since Iran has actually nothing to ‘co-operate’ about, especially in the light of the NIE report, one can expect that Israel will take military action.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

IS THE THREAT OF ATTACK AGAINST IRAN OVER OR IS IT MORE LIKELY THAN EVER?

The Likudniks and right-wing Zionists of Israel are furious as are Vice-President Dick Cheney and his band of neoconservative cohorts both within the administration and in the think-tanks. The recently released National Intelligence Estimate has effectively put a huge dent in their plans to use Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions as a casus belli to attack Iran in order to effect ‘regime change’ since the report says that Iran had shelved its nuclear weapon ambitions since 2003. But does this really get Iran off the hook as far as a preemptive attack by either Israel or the US or both is concerned?

The report only states that Iran’s nuclear weapons plans have been on hold since 2003. However, Iran still continues to enrich uranium for use in its planned nuclear powered electrical energy generation program and it is this that now seems to dominate Israeli concerns causing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to continue the drive for further sanctions against Iran. The problem for the warhawks in continuing to press their case for sanctions against Iran is that their earlier, and successful, calls for sanctions against Iran in order to get Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment, even that which only enriched uranium for use in power generation, was based on the premise that Iran did have an active and ongoing secret nuclear weapons program.

Both Olmert and his Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, despite the NIE report, which they became aware of at the Annapolis meeting of last week, maintain that Iran has reactivated their nuclear weapons program though, as usual, the Israelis are unable to provide any evidence of this.

The upshot of the NIE report is that, while it has made a dent in US plans to pre-emptively attack Iran since the administration would now find it difficult to get congressional or public support for such an attack, it would not prevent the Israelis from attacking Iran’s scattered nuclear facilities. Such an attack would be covertly supported by the US up to the point of an actual raid by the Israelis and then openly supported with, most likely, US military action against Iran to pre-empt any Iranian counter-attack against Israel.

The bottom line is; the NIE hasn’t really made any difference to the warhawks desire for regime change in Iran but it has put the onus back on to Israel to open such an attack against Iran. This may be done either directly with Israel simply springing a surprise attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities or they may try, as they have done in the past, to provoke Iran into showing its hand by attacking Hamas in the Gaza and possibly Hizbollah in south Lebanon as well. Another possible scenario would be for Israel to simultaneously attack Hamas, Hizbollah and Iran and maybe even Syria as well, and then pull back their attack on Iran leaving the US to handle Iran while Israel deal with Hamas, Hizbollah and Syria. It’s an ‘all or nothing’ final confrontation scenario but it may well be the last opportunity the US and the Israeli warhawks get this side of the 2008 Presidential Election, assuming there is one – but that’s another story…


THREAT OF FULL-ON INVASION STILL HANGS OVER THE GAZA

Israeli Defence Minister has said that he is holding off from ordering a full-on invasion of the Gaza for the time being but has warned that it is “time to kill those that carry out attacks against Israelis”.

Disgusting remarks like this seem to be totally ignored by the Western media yet one can imagine the furore from the West if Hamas or Hizbollah said: ‘It is time to kill those that carry out attacks against the Palestinian people’. The reality is that Israelis are already killing those that are carrying out attacks against Israel – and also a lot more that aren’t. Palestinian fighters, particularly in the Gaza, are firing shells and rockets into Israel in an effort to get the Israelis to desist from attacking Palestine and the Palestinians yet the Israelis are making it seem as though they are the ones that are suffering.

The Israeli Zionists should be reminded that it is they that are on real estate that does not belong to them and it is they that have created the Gaza Ghetto. The Palestinian people have every right to defend themselves against aggression, persecution and occupation.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

ANNAPOLIS PEACE PROCESS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE FIRST BASE; INVASION OF THE GAZA NOW IMMINENT.

The first sign of even the slightest possibility of any international accommodation of the Palestinians via the UN and the Zionist Israeli government backs off. The US have pulled the plug on a UN resolution endorsing an agreement to talk about a plan to end conflict by the end of 2008 at the behest of the Israelis.

Not only has the peace process not been able to make to first base at the UN but the Israelis are now waiting patiently for the excuse they need to invade the Gaza Strip. Israeli Terrorist Chief Ehud Barak has said that “…every passing day brought Israel closer to a major operation in the Gaza Strip.

Already Israeli IAF terrorists have killed four Palestinians which they attacked early Saturday morning as they went about their legitimate policing duties in the Gaza. Barak is now only awaiting an excuse to launch a major offensive that could herald the full-on ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip. As usual, the Israeli Zionist terrorists are looking for a casus belli to begin their operations.

And the world sits back and watches the whole disaster unfold before their eyes with barely a murmur of protest.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

THE FARCE OF ANNAPOLIS: A TRAGEDY FOR THE PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI PEOPLE.

Israel, yet again, has managed to defer any positive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite the propaganda and rhetoric of the pomp and ceremony of Annapolis that was aimed at raising the hopes of peoples around the world yet in reality did nothing to impress the peoples of Israel or Palestine. All that the parties agreed to in the end was to keep discussing the idea of peace and hope that something comes out of it by the end of next year. Both sides, however, know full well that peace will be no closer by the end of next year than it is now.

The talks have effectively doomed the Palestinian people to at least another year of oppression and persecution, particularly in the Gaza Strip where already there are plans afoot for the Israelis to invade and oust the Hamas government there and hand power over to Abbas, a move that is likely to alienate the Gazan and West Bank Palestinians even further from the Abbas Fatah camp.

The fact is there is little left of Palestine out of which a sovereign Palestinian state can be created. The Israelis have succeeded over the years to so fragmentise what little there was of the West Bank portion of Palestine and to isolate the Gaza that there is nothing the Palestinian people can see that a state can be built from. The extreme right-wing Zionists of Israel are not going to budge from their settlements in the West Bank nor will they hand back the Golan Heights to Syria, another bone of contention that prevents peace coming to the region. Nor will the right-wing Zionists of Israel ever allow the Gaza Ghetto to become part of any Palestinian state; a physical impossibility anyway even with the very best of intentions. For the extreme right-wing Zionists of Israel there will be no return to the 1967 borders. For them there will never be a Palestinian state of any kind.

Bush, Olmert and Abbas have condemned both the Israeli and Palestinian people to more of what they have been giving each other for the last sixty years and they have done this under the banner of false hope.

There is now only one way forward – toward the binational one-state solution, a solution that all the peoples of the world should unite for to bring an end to the lunacy of constant war throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PRESIDENT SIGNS DOCUMENT EFFECTIVELY MAKING IRAQ A COLONY OF THE U.S.

I’m not sure that I’ve read a more sickening document than the one that was released by the White House yesterday entitled ‘Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America’. Encapsulated in this document is the geo-political reality of what the Bush/Cheney administration and their neoconservative and Likudnik supporters had set out to achieve since the day George W. Bush became President of the US.

Far from ‘liberating’ the Iraqi people from the ‘yoke of tyranny’ for them to become a ‘free and democratic’ model to which all other Middle Eastern states could aspire, which was the propaganda and rhetoric used by the neoconservatives that convinced the Coalition of the Willing that Iraq was a ‘noble and righteous cause’, the declaration instead condemns Iraq to an endless occupation designed to enhance the power of the elite puppets of Iraq, and to ensure that Iraq’s resources remain firmly under American control and enriching American controlled oil companies. In short, the document is the instrument by which Iraq has effectively become a colony of the US.

There are several iniquitous points made in the document that betray the real intent of the administration but, in particular, point five of the second principle relating to ‘the economic sphere’ which says: “Facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments, to contribute to the reconstruction and rebuilding of Iraq,” and point eight which says: “Supporting the Republic of Iraq to obtain positive and preferential trading conditions for Iraq within the global marketplace including accession to the World Trade Organization and most favored nation status with the United States,” says it all.

Iraq’s puppet leaders have signed over Iraq to the US.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A NEW CLOCK IS TICKING IN AUSTRALIA.

Despite its prosperity, Australians on Saturday finally woke up to the fact that there are many things that are more important for the future of the world and Australia than merely filling up ones wallet with as many credit cards as possible. Australians clearly seem comfortable with the fact that wealth creation and the maintenance of wealth is something that can be achieved without the likes of Howard and his cronies who seemed to think that wealth creation was the be all to end all for those that have the wherewithal to actually achieve success. Little consideration was given to the myriad of Australians that weren’t, many of whom were left behind unable to keep pace with rising interest rates, rising prices and diminishing incomes as their protections were eroded from beneath them.

Prosperity, like familiarity, can often breed contempt; contempt of those others unable to become or have failed to become prosperous. Those that succeed then become totally focussed on maintaining their wealth often to the exclusion of all other considerations. This led to the several successive re-elections of Howard to government. It was based solely on the false fears of loss of wealth. People were prepared to overlook Howard’s lies and arrogance provided he could continue to look after their wealth.

Finally, however, the people of Australia have woken up. They have realised that it was not Howard that created our prosperity, it was the people themselves. Australians were able to create wealth before Howard’s workplace laws came into effect. The workplace laws were seen to be a hindrance to wealth creation for most working people and were seen to only benefit businesses. The drought brought home the importance of considering climate change, water conservation and the urgent need to find new ways of creating energy resources, all of which had been all but ignored by Howard and his fixated corporatist, wealth creating government.

Howard has ignored the indigenous people of Australia, he has ignored those who don’t have the skills and ability to create their own wealth, he has ignored the calls of great swathes of Australian people who do not want to be involved in wars for America and Israel against peoples that are not a threat to us, he has ignored the plight of those that seek refuge in Australia from the wars that Howard has involved Australia in and he has ignored the future of a world that will have to cope with the environmental consequences of the processes that were involved in creating our prosperity.

Now he has paid the ultimate price. The policies of arrogance, greed and short-sightedness in the pursuit of wealth has been rejected by Australians who can at last see that creating vast wealth today does not in any way guarantee the world a prosperous future for the long term. Howard’s attempt to build a self perpetuating pseudo-democratic corporatist fascist state based on financial elitism and regional hegemony has also been rejected. Australia can now become a member of the regional community based on sharing and understanding and not threats of military intervention or being cut off from aid.

Howard’s time is up. The clock is now running in a race against time to get the world fixed up. We’ve got one shot at it before time runs out altogether. It is up to us to ensure that our new government do what is necessary to get it right for everyone – not just in Australia and the region but for the well-being and future of the entire world.

Friday, November 23, 2007

TIMES UP IN AUSTRALIA! WILL THE REST OF THE WORLD FOLLOW?

There is a palpable sense emerging around the world that, despite the on-going violence in Iraq and the slow strangulation of the Gazan people by the racist Zionist Israeli government and the continuing on-again off-again threat of attack against Iran, that there is a glimmer – just a glimmer mind – of light that can be vaguely seen at the still distant other end of a long and still deadly tunnel.

A cynic might suggest, perhaps even quite rightly, that that’s easy for me to say being in Australia on the eve of an election that is likely to see the rejection of Prime Minister John Howard’s nearly twelve year old attempt to build the worlds first pseudo-democratic corporatist fascist state. Hopefully, however, Howard’s political demise will be the beginning of the end of extreme right-wing dominance over the western world. Next year President George W. Bush and, more importantly, Vice-President Cheney, will be gone and, if a Democrat becomes president, Bush and Cheney’s neoconservative entourage will be gone with them.

The upcoming farce at Annapolis will further highlight to the world the failure of Western right-wing governments to resolve the sixty year-old conflict that has been the root cause of virtually all of the crises of the Middle East during that period. The people of the Middle East, and particularly of Israel and Palestine, are beginning to reach the end of their tether with their tolerance of their political leaders that have failed time and time again to bring them peace and the people are now looking for alternative more viable answers to their problems including the possibility of the once not even dared to dream of idea of a binational one-state solution now increasingly being seen as the only viable alternative.

Perhaps by the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century the peoples of the world would have seen off the extremists of the West whose actions have given us the extremists of Islam. Perhaps the world will have woken up to the fact the extremists of Islam exist because of the arrogance and self-righteous hypocrisy of the Western extremists that want that which is not theirs but belongs instead to those of another faith and culture.

We, the people of the world, might never be able to rid the world of racists and fascists but at least we can take their power away from them. It is too late for those that have been killed and have lost their homes in the struggles against the West in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere but now perhaps the beginning of the end really is in sight.

It’s been sixty years for the people of Israel and Palestine and it’s been nearly twelve years for those that have had to suffer because of Howard’s extremist policies and its been seven years for those that have had to suffer because of Bush and Cheney’s extremist policies.

Their time is nearly up. It’s better late than never.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

THE BINATIONAL ONE-STATE SOLUTION GRADUALLY BECOMING SEEN AS THE ONLY SOLUTION.

Increasingly, the one-state binational solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict is becoming seen as the only solution that has any long-term viability.

After sixty years of conflict peoples of both sides are beginning to see the logic of living together in peace and harmony – just as they did for hundreds of years before Zionists from Europe moved in and stole the lands from the Palestinians with the help of a racist (anti-Arab) and guilt-ridden victor-dominated United Nations.

While the concept is not exactly new, the idea of a binational one-state solution has taken on increasing vigour of late due mainly to the inability of the extremists to otherwise resolve the conflict. Since it has always been left to the extremists to attempt a resolution via the use of a two-state solution and ignoring the idea of a one-state binational solution, it is has now been left to the moderates among both Israelis and Palestinians to put forward such a suggestion.

The problem at the moment with such a solution is that it is seen as a ‘radical left-wing’ solution. The reason for that is that all the other suggested solutions have only ever been put up by the right-wing of either side and so any solution that does not conform with elements of previous suggestions are seen as ‘radical left-wing’. The reality, however, is that, far from being a ‘radical left-wing’ idea, it actually conforms perfectly with the modern concept of a nation-state that is a secular, democratic, multi-cultural player in a world where secular, democratic, multi-cultural nation-states are held up as the ideal in a modern global community. It is exactly what the US and its allies claim they went to war in Iraq for. The very picture painted by the neoconservatives of what they wanted a post-Saddam Iraq to look like is the same one that is now being put forward by the one-state solution advocates yet is being criticised for being ‘radical left-wing’.

Last weekend a conference on the one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was held in London. The conference attracted some 300 delegates both Israeli and Palestinian as well as other non-Israeli and non-Palestinian supporters from around world of the binational one-state solution. The two day conference was attended by the leading Israeli and Palestinian advocates, most of whom are academics, who discussed a whole gamut of ideas that ranged from creating a state that was all-inclusive and included the return of the Palestinian refugees to discussing the idea of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation.

Apart from the importance of the conference itself, it has also succeeded in getting the idea of a binational one-state solution into the mainstream media, albeit slightly negatively in Ha’aretz. Nonetheless, the idea has at least generated some debate and heated discussion which, in turn, produces awareness, if the 300 plus comments to the Ha’aretz article is anything to go by.

Since the binational one-state solution has now been brought to the attention of the mainstream media at a time when further talks on a two-state solution are imminent in Annapolis, talks which both sides admit are doomed to failure before they even start, the idea of a binational one-state solution is already being talked of as the only alternative solution with the right-wing ‘Jerusalem Post’ suggesting that this may be the call from around the rest of the world in the likely event of failure of further two-state solution negotiations.

From where the Israelis and the Palestinians are at the moment, the idea of a binational one-state solution seems very far away. However, it is also beginning to look like the two-state solution, having been talked about for decades without any meaningful resolve whatsoever, is looking even further away – especially if the forthcoming talks in Annapolis once again demonstrate the utter futility of discussing a viable two-state solution.

Monday, November 19, 2007

IS A NEOCON WAR AGAINST PAKISTAN MORE URGENT THAN A NEOCON WAR AGAINST IRAN?

If we listen to Frederick Kagan, master neocon at neocon HQ, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Michael O’Hanlon, a warmongering neocon at the Brookings Institution, it would seem that it is. Iran might have to go on the back burner while the US sorts out the Pakistan crisis.

Of course, for Messrs Kagan and O’Hanlon, the best way to sort out any problem on the planet is to use US military might and, according to their piece in the New York Times yesterday, the Pakistan crisis is no exception.

The nature of the urgency is obvious; Pakistan actually does have nuclear weapons whereas Iran actually doesn’t. The fear is that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons may fall into the hands of Pakistani Islamists in the event of turmoil or, worse, if the Islamic fundamentalists were able to take power in Pakistan.

The problem, however, is that ‘US military might’ is largely a myth – they’ve been in Iraq nearly five years now and are nowhere near having any more control over the country than they did on the day they invaded it. Furthermore, the entire Iraqi quagmire has bogged down the US military to such an extent that it is totally incapable of putting troops on the ground anywhere else in the world in any numbers that could possibly make a difference, especially in a place the size of Pakistan that has a population of some 160 million people, the vast majority of whom are not exactly US friendly and certainly wouldn’t be if US troops decided to turn up on their doorstep. Massive bombing, which the US is very much capable of doing, is out of the question for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the US do not know where Pakistan keeps its nuclear weapons and even those Pakistanis that are pro-US that do know are hardly likely to tell the US if they know that the US are going to attempt destroying them.

Kagan and O’Hanlon are aware of these problems but become vague about how to overcome them. They write: “One possible plan would be a Special Forces operation with the limited goal of preventing Pakistan’s nuclear materials and warheads from getting into the wrong hands. Given the degree to which Pakistani nationalists cherish these assets, it is unlikely the United States would get permission to destroy them. Somehow, American forces would have to team with Pakistanis to secure critical sites and possibly to move the material to a safer place.”

This is all wishy-washy stuff. There is no plan; there are just some very vague ideas, none of which have any merit. The problem with neocons is that, because they have concentrated so hard on military might style foreign policy, they have forgotten entirely that there is such a thing as diplomacy and that it is something that should be used always as a first resort and not, as neocons seem to think, as a last resort.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the neocons will attempt to use the Pakistan crisis to change their propaganda tack on Iran away from the now discredited rhetoric of accusing Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons for themselves to a rhetoric that now more urgently seeks regime change in Iran through fear of a radical Islamic regime gaining power in Pakistan and then supplying nuclear weapons to an Islamic Iran.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ISRAELI DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ACCUSES IAEA’S EL BARADEI OF LYING!

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Majalli Whbee, has told AFP that the latest IAEA report “…fails to expose (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad's intentions that are well known to the IAEA and its chief Mohamed ElBaradei". The ultra right-wing Zionist racist, Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, even accuses ElBaradei of being pro-Iranian.

The Israelis have been complaining for years that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons and over the past few years since the invasion of Iraq they and their neoconservative supporters in the Bush administration have been pushing the US to attack Iran in order to prevent nuclear weapons being produced. As we know, however, Israel has ulterior motives for wanting Iran attacked. It has nothing to with Iran’s so-called pursuit of nuclear weapons and a lot more to do with Israel wanting regime change in Iran so that Irans support for Israel’s direct enemies, Hizbollah who are preventing Israel from pushing northward into south Lebanon, and Hamas who are resisting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, who are standing in the way of the Israeli Zionists creating their dream of a Greater Israel. The Israelis believe that once Iran has been ‘turned’ then Hizbollah and Hamas resistance will crumble. They believe that Syria, heavily reliant on Iranian support, will also be unable to support Hizbollah and Hamas.

The problem, however, despite Israel’s persistent cry of ‘Wolf!’, is that they are as good as calling the IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, a liar but in doing so, are hoping that nobody actually notices that the Israelis don’t have one iota of proof to support their claims. They say that they know that ElBaradei knows Iran has a weapons program and that ElBaradei is holding out on UN about it.

This, of course is complete nonsense. Apart, perhaps, from the Russian technicians that are working on Iran’s nuclear energy program, there is no one better placed than ElBaradei to know whether or not Iran actually has a facility to enrich uranium to the kind of purities need to build a nuclear weapon. Israel says it knows better. They say that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons.

Now, if the Israelis are so sure that the Iranians are trying to build nuclear weapons then surely they would have proof of this. If they have, then why wait for ElBaradei to come up with the evidence? Why not produce the evidence themselves if they claim that they know for sure that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons? How do they know for sure?

The bottom line is: WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE?
The answer, as the entire world knows, there simply isn’t any. Every accusation is based on hearsay and perpetuated by propaganda and rhetoric. Not a skerrick of any of the accusations are supported in any way whatsoever by hard evidence.

Friday, November 16, 2007

MORE INSANE CHUTZPAH FROM ISRAEL

How’s this for unbelievable Chutzpah from the loonies that run Israel.

They threaten to turn off the electrical power to the Gaza Strip in order to collectively punish the Gazan people (a war crime) for allowing a few of their fighters to lob missiles into Israel as a deterrent to the missiles that the Israeli terrorists use to kill selected Palestinians in the Gaza together with assorted and innocent passers-by.

But, there’s little point in turning off electricity at the mains if the system is so badly damaged that the power isn’t getting through to a lot of the Gazan people anyway. So… what do the Israeli’s do so that they can inflict their punishment on the Gazan people? They fix the power system so it does start coming through… then they can turn it off!

It gets worse.

The Israelis don’t actually fix the system themselves; they get Palestinian linesmen to do the job. The Israelis supply the tools and show them how to do it but they don’t actually do it themselves.

But wait, there’s more!

Now the Israelis make a big propaganda scene out of this amazing piece of Chutzpah by telling the world on TV and their news media about how kind they are in fixing up the power system for the Gaza – a system that they actually destroyed in the first place.

Now that’s Chutzpah.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AUSTRALIA FRIENDS OF PALESTINE ASSOCIATION (AFOPA) TO HOLD SECOND PUBLIC MEETING IN ADELAIDE

For the benefit of those that missed the first public meeting about the plight of the Palestinians and how it relates to the Australian government a few weeks ago, the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) will hold a second public meeting at the Burnside Community Centre, Burnside, South Australia, to begin at 5.00pm on Saturday 17 November 2007.

Speakers again will be Mr. Paul Heywood-Smith QC and Dr. David Palmer, senior lecturer in American Studies at Flinders University, South Australia. Mike Khazam from the NOWAR Coalition will also speak. All speakers will be available to answer questions. The aim of the public seminars is to increase public awareness in the community of the history and plight of the Palestinian people and to dispel many of the myths and rumours that have evolved over the years.

The meeting is being held at Burnside specifically because it happens to be in the Sturt seat of Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne MP, who has an appalling record of supporting Israeli policies that are detrimental to the Palestinians.

If you are in South Australia, why not come along. You’d be quite welcome.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

SARKOZY: BUSH’S NEW EUROPEAN LAPDOG. BUT WILL THE FRENCH PEOPLE SUPPORT HIM IN ATTACKING IRAN?

It looks like Bush has found a new European lapdog to replace Tony Blair. According to a Reuters report in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald today, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday that his country would ‘stand by Washington in the fight against nuclear proliferation in Iran and terrorism in Afghanistan’. Sounds familiar? It should do, Blair used virtually the same words back in 2002 with the only difference being just one letter; instead of ‘Iran’ Blair was talking about ‘Iraq’.

The French people may have voted Srakozy in for whatever reason but did they really give him a mandate to be Bush’s lapdog? Will the French people go as far as to support Bush in an attack on Iran? The French people have never been backward in coming forward when it comes to taking their displeasure on to the streets. It could well be that Sarkozy by becoming Bush’s lapdog could inadvertantly be triggering the backlash needed to get the rest of world out on to the street to tell our 'leaders' that war against Iran will not be tolerated.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

U.S. NEOCON AND ISRAELI RIGHT-WING ZIONIST PROPAGANDISTS ARE GETTING DESPERATE

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post “The International Atomic Energy Agency is not only neglecting its duties of preventing nuclear proliferation, but acting as an obstacle to those trying to preserve the status quo, the Foreign Ministry's Director-General Aharon Abramovitch said on Monday.”

By ‘status quo’ Abramovitch means that Israel does have nuclear weapons and that no one else in the region should therefore be allowed to have nuclear weapons. There’s a sort of triple arrogance imbedded in Abramovitch’s remark that belies a very carefully crafted piece of propaganda. The problem is the propaganda has become utterly transparent which is what makes it so desperate.

The main implication is that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is not being subservient to Israeli and US expectations with regard to Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons ambitions. As part of the rhetoric designed to influence public and political opinion in favour of backing an attack against Iran for the purpose of radical regime change in Iran, both the US and the Israeli governments claim that there is evidence that Iran is enriching uranium to such purity that it can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

There are five fundamental flaws to the US/Israeli claims. First, the Iranians deny that they are enriching uranium beyond that which is required for use in an electrical power generating reactor, a quite legal activity. Second, the IAEA have found no evidence whatsoever that would support US/Israeli claims. Third, the US/Israel has produced absolutely no evidence at all that rebuts the IAEAs claim that the Iranians are behaving as they claim, nor any evidence to show otherwise. Fourth, the Russians, who are helping the Iranians build their nuclear reactor, would not be helping the Iranians if they thought that the Iranians were going to enrich uranium beyond that required for electricity generation. Finally, of course, there is the question of US/Israeli credibility regarding the veracity of their claims when one considers that they are the same kind of claims that both the US and Israel laid against Saddam Hussein prior to invading and occupying Iraq.

It is mainly from these factors that Abramovitch’s arrogance is derived. The most obvious is, as I’ve said, Israel’s insistence that it be the only Middle East nation allowed to have nuclear weapons. Then there is the inference that somehow the IAEA is working for or playing into the hands of the Iranians thus denying the US/Israel an opportunity to enhance their propaganda against Iran in a lead-up to an attack, and, finally, there is the arrogance of expectation, the expectation that the peoples of the world are actually going to fall for this obvious deceit again.

The reality is that all of this is totally for the benefit of a dumb and gullible public who the US/Israel need in order to support an attack on Iran for the purpose of regime change. It has nothing to do with Irans ‘nuclear weapons’; it has everything to do with regime change. There will never be any ‘negotiations’ over Irans ‘nuclear weapons’ because there is simply nothing to negotiate over.

One hopes that the world will wake up to this before it is too late – again.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

AUSTRALIAN FRIENDS OF PALESTINE ASSOCIATION: PUBLIC MEETING HELD IN THE SEAT OF STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

TEXT OF SPEECH BY DR. DAVID PALMER
Burnside Community Centre
Wednesday, 31 October 2007.

Australian foreign policy, the current election, and the issue of justice for the Palestinian people.


Tonight I would like to focus on the importance of foreign policy in the current Australian election, and in particular the issue of Palestine, Palestinians, and Israel.

It is curious – isn’t it? – that foreign policy is hardly an issue for either the ALP or the Liberals at the moment. We hear nothing about the US-led war and occupation in Iraq; and nothing really on the horrendous treatment of Palestinians on the West Bank, where the illegal “wall” is being built, or the Gaza Strip, where people are going hungry and are threatened with having electricity and water cut off by the Israeli government.

The war in Iraq is immensely unpopular in the United States, and even service personnel – some of whom I know quite well – believe it is a war for oil profiteers and opportunistic politicians. Lebanon had a thriving economy at the beginning of last year, but it was completely ruined by Israeli bombing by mid-year, with support from the US State Department and US military aid. Combatants had been captured on both sides, but the Israeli government decided to wreck vengeance on the Lebanese people, killing some 3,000 civilians and displacing almost half a million from their homes.

President George W. Bush has called regularly for democracy in the Middle East, but when the Palestinian people held their elections in the territories last year they elected the wrong people – a majority Hamas government. The US and its allies, however, refused to accept the democratic verdict of the Palestinian people, even though Hamas agreed initially to end violence. Democracy, then, must mean those approved by President Bush, so perhaps the word “democracy” has a new meaning in this strange new century.

The reality is that for the majority in the world, international issues like these ARE important. Even in one of the most conservative countries in the world – Japan – the people in the last few months ended the LDP majority in the upper house because of LDP support for US naval operations linked to the Asian wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But in Australia – even though a majority here has long disagreed with the US-led war in Iraq – we have a foreign policy that basically could have been written in the US State Department by Condoleeza Rice. And the same goes for uncritical support for Israel and refusal to recognize Palestinian rights.

Now the US wants to attack Iran, with George Bush claiming that Iran soon will be able to send missiles with nuclear weapons to attack cities in Europe and America. Haven’t we heard this before? Why does anyone take this absurd rhetoric seriously? If the State Department’s Christopher Hill can get the US to work with China, Russia, and South Korea to negotiate with North Korea, then why can’t the US and its allies – including Israel – negotiate with Hamas? Hamas was democratically elected – the dictatorship of Kim Jong-il was not – but Hamas is branded as “terrorist” while Kim and his coterie are recognized as negotiating partners.

This same hypocrisy is evident with regard to Iran. Yes, Iran may supply aid to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories – but this aid is miniscule compared to US aid to Israel. Israel, as I’m sure most of you know, is the largest recipient of US aid in the world. Israel is a nuclear power with missile delivery capacity, yet it has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The US demands that Iran allow for inspection of nuclear sites, but makes no such demand on Israel.

Why does Australia support US policy and in particular the policies of the current Bush administration? Why, instead, does Australia not act as a broker – a negotiator – for peace in the Middle East? Why is the current Australian government so fanatically pro-US and pro-Israel, instead of assuming an independent stance – against any violence directed at civilians, whether Palestinean or Israeli?

The Liberals will lose government on November 24 – regardless of what the Murdoch press trumpets daily in The Australian with Newspoll claiming Howard is clawing back. Howard will go and Labor will form a new government. To vote for Christopher Pyne in this seat is to vote for a government that will be turfed out – in essence it is a waste of your vote. The Liberals, too, offer nothing in terms of peace in the Middle East or Iraq. And they offer nothing in terms of justice for Palestineans or security for Israelis. Labor may appear to be the same, but they are not. The differences are very important.

Labor has supported a negotiated settlement to the North Korean nuclear crisis – it did in the past and it will in the future. The US once did, then opposed real negotiations under Bolton’s role in State, but now has been compelled to reverse course under Hill. An Australian Labor government should advocate the same multilateral approach – negotiations with all parties, a just settlement, and opposition to military aggression and occupation – on the Palestinean issue. There is no point to continuing to back US policy in support of militarized Israel. Yes, Kevin Rudd is an ardent supporter of Israel and seems to support its militarism – but the ALP is bigger than just Rudd – and Rudd was a key figure in the initial policy of engagement with North Korea in the Keating years. Perhaps I’m na├»ve, but I believe that potentially things can change under a different government here in Australia.

There is another political reality that Australian politicians – from all parties – will soon need to face. A majority of Australians oppose the war in Iraq. Many in this majority understand that there is a link in all the US-led and backed wars that have occurred and may yet occur in the Middle East and western Asia – whether in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, or Palestine. A large part of Australia’s ethnic groups – those from Arab countries and Iran – feel the same way, as do many in Australia’s large Muslim community from countries stretching half way across the globe, from Indonesia and Malaysia to Africa.

However, there also is another constituency that needs to be heard, however, and its numbers are presently very small in Australia compared to America. These are Jews who disagree with current Israeli policy – people like Antony Lowenstein, author of My Israel Question. Australians need to understand that “Israel” does not equal “Jews” – they are not the same. To criticize Israeli policy toward the Palestineans, also, is not to “deny” the Holocaust – but in fact to fully recognize it and not repeat it against others. The Holocaust included theft of property, ethnic cleansing, persecution based on race and religion, and denial of all legal rights. The slogan “never again” applies to the Holocaust under fascism, but also in other places. I have heard it too from atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki where I have conducted interviews and research. Certainly we can apply this most basic human right to the Palestineans as well – and support justice for them.

In the United States, former President Jimmy Carter has spoken out for a just settlement of Palestinean rights and was invited by students to speak at Brandeis University – the premier non-sectarian Jewish university in the US – earlier this year. As a Ph.D. history graduate of Brandeis, I was proud that my alma mater took this courageous stand, which has been very unpopular with some older donors who have lost the deep sense of social justice that has long been a Jewish tradition. I am proud that finally these younger people took their stand – in that tradition and despite fierce opposition.

We need to take this stand in Australia also. Your vote in the upcoming election can make a difference – for peace in the Middle East – but only if you also involve yourself in speaking to your MP – an MP who is part of the new government, not the old one that will soon be gone – for justice on this major issue.


TEXT OF SPEECH BY PAUL HEYWOOD-SMITH QC
Burnside Community Centre
Wednesday 31 October 2007

Welcome to all. You are participating in the democratic process. It has been said recently that democracy in this country has been hijacked. The parties and the media control the debate.

We are here tonight to say. The people can raise an issue.

Let me commence by acknowledging that there will be people here this evening who are strong supporters of Israel. To you I also say, “Welcome”. My Association is mindful of the interests of Jewish Israelis. Our view is that Israel has been taking the wrong path. It’s interests are dependant upon it reaching a just accommodation with it’s Arab neighbours.

Let me also make it absolutely clear from the outset that AFOPA is totally opposed to racism of any sort –whether that racism is directed against people of the Jewish faith, Arabs, Muslims, Australian aborigines, Sudanese – any racial, ethnic or religious group. We hold no truck with White Supremacists, Holocaust deniers, whoever. In fact we consider ourselves – in World terms – as totally mainstream. It’s because we believe that the Australian government is out of step on this issue, that we are raising it.

Christopher Pyne – in one sense he’s a little unlucky. If AFOPA was based in Melbourne we might have brought this campaign against Michael Danby, Labor MP for Melbourne Ports. But we are not. We are based in Adelaide. Even in Adelaide, we could have based it on the seat of Mayo. Heaven knows Alexander Downer deserves it. But no, Sturt is more accessible and has a lesser margin and Christopher Pyne has stuck his neck up there and been vocal and has invited this challenge. But it’s not a personal campaign. All we wish to do is to raise this issue as an issue. Neither major party, indeed no party, seems to be particularly interested in foreign affairs. We are here to say to the Australian electorate: “Hello, there is a major issue here”. “Perhaps you should be interested in what is happening in Palestine”. “Perhaps there is some connection between it and what happens each time you are forced to take your shoes off when you go through a security screen at an airport. Perhaps there is some connection between it and your disquiet when your son or daughter goes off for a holiday in Bali, or Malaysia, or Lebanon or Egypt. Perhaps there is some connection when your son is sent off to Iraq in the Armed Forces”.

I have given many speeches on this topic.

What I have learnt? Any speech on this topic must start at only one place…the history.

I intend to spend about a half hour on the history – necessarily truncated. David Palmer will then address us on Australian foreign policy and the need for it to be independent.

Before I commence I want to say that what I here assert comes essentially from mainstream history texts, including by Israeli historians, and recognized contemporary commentators.

Humans have lived in Palestine continuously for thousands of years. The Zionist catch–cry, “A people without a land, for a land without a people”, was, when it was first uttered in the 19th Century as it is today, a palpable falsity and an insult to any adult’s intelligence. As too is the suggestion that “God gave us this land”.

“I give this country to your posterity from the river of Egypt up to the Great River, Euphrates”: Genesis XV, verse 18.

“For the Jews this is the origin of their right to the Promised Land. However the “posterity” includes the descendants of Ishmael since he was the son of Abraham by his concubine Ketivah, and the ancestor of all the Arabs, Christian or Muslim”.
(I.F.Stone: “Holy War”).

In biblical times people of the Jewish faith and others, people who we today call Arabs, lived in Palestine which was part of the Roman Empire. It had become part of the Roman Empire in 63 B.C. For something approaching 80 years prior to that time there had been what might be described as an independent Jewish state in part of what we know as Palestine. Are we seriously being asked to give any weight to that as a claim by the Jewish peoples to Palestine?

As with so many other defeated peoples in Roman times, many Jews were taken to Rome as slaves. Gradually they dissipated. Some communities of Jewish people remained in what we now call the Middle East but as the centuries passed the Jewish religion lost its driving power there.

With the fall of the Roman Empire Palestine came to be ruled by Persia and Byzantium. In 638 AD Jerusalem surrendered to the Arab Caliphate. From that time until today whilst Muslims, Jews and Christians have all resided in Palestine, there can be no doubt that the overwhelming majority were Muslim and Arab.

From the 10th Century onwards, the majority of the World’s Jewry was settled in Europe, and became, decisively, a European, as opposed to an Oriental people. This is critical, because it meant that when the Jews returned at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries, they did so as colonizers.

By the 1880’s Palestine’s population was 650,000. No more than 50,000 were Jewish.

Anti-Semitism in Europe at this time prompted the creation of a Zionist movement to create a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Some might say a noble goal, but for the fact that the plan, as evidenced by Herzl’s diary, was that it was to be at the expense of the native population who were to be spirited out of the country and their land expropriated.

The Zionist movement commenced to buy Arab land in Palestine. The Jewish National Fund, established in 1901, laid down that all land which it acquired was to remain inalienable Jewish property that could not be sold or leased to others. Moreover only Jews should work the land that Jews acquired.

The Balfour Declaration in 1917 occurred whilst Britain was at war with the Ottoman Empire and after Britain had been flooded with Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe, causing riots and demonstrations against them in the streets of London.[1] The Balfour Declaration called for a home for Jewish people in Palestine but added “…nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

The Balfour Declaration was of course internally inconsistent. It was not possible for there to be a ‘home’ as contemplated and for that ‘home’ not to prejudice the non-Jewish communities. At the start of WWI Kitchener promoted the Arab Revolt (against the Turks), promising: “If the Arab nation assists England in this war England will guarantee that no intervention takes place in Arabia and will give Arabs every assistance against external foreign aggression”. That the Arabs believed that they were betrayed by the British is totally understandable.

That betrayal in my view derived from a deep seated British racism towards the Arabs. Peter Mansfield in his book The Arabs notes:

It is scarcely necessary to go any further than this to find justification for the Arab’s sense of betrayal by the West and their special bitterness over Palestine. If the West has a feeling today that the Arabs are taking their revenge it should be easy to understand the reasons.

That book was written by Mansfield in 1978. How prophetic was it to become?

A British census of 1918 gave an estimate of 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews. This was a significant population. The land mass of Palestine is half the size of Tasmania. Tasmania’s population today is less that $500K. No “land without a people” there.

It is the tragedy of the Palestinians that the Balfour Declaration occurred at a time when President Wilson was advocating self-determination of subject peoples following the Great War and it is illuminating to consider what happened to the balance of the Arabian part of the Ottoman Empire. All, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf Sheikdoms and Yemen (including what was to become Saudi Arabia in 1926) had either full independence or sufficient to control immigration by at latest 1936 – most much earlier. The indigenous people of Palestine, however, the most socially, culturally and economically advanced, were not considered fit for independence at any time prior to when it was too late, in 1948.

The Palestinian Arabs provided bitter resistance from as early as 1921, even when immigration was relatively small. After 1933 their alarm turned to despair, as they saw large numbers of Jews coming into their country and buying up the land and utilizing it to the exclusion of all Arabs. The Arabs may well have absorbed significant Jewish immigration but for the totally inadmissible premise that the Zionists planned to make their culture the only one in the country. They insisted on Hebrew, separate schools and hospitals, self segregation, and the expulsion of Arabs from every institution they established. Theirs was undoubtedly a racist agenda.

In 1939, when the Jewish percentage of the total population was approaching one-third, Britain purported to stop further Jewish immigration.[2] This decision remained in force until after World War II. The revelations of the Holocaust, however, made it difficult for Britain to stop immigration both officially and via the Zionist underground. In August 1945 President Truman endorsed the Zionist demand that 100,000 Jews should be allowed immediately into Palestine. By late 1947 the official UN estimates for Palestine were: Arabs, 1.3 million; Jews, 600,000.

In 1947 the United Nations voted 33:13 (with 10 abstentions) to partition Palestine. The 33 chose to give another nation’s land (some 54% of it) to the Jewish people. An Arab proposal to ask the International Court of Justice to judge the competence of the General Assembly to partition a country against the wishes of a majority of its inhabitants was only narrowly defeated. (It is hardly necessary to point out that no such resolution could conceivably be passed today, or even ten years after 1947, after the addition of many Afro-Asian countries to the General Assembly.)

It is of interest to note the views of prominent Australians at the time. Australia of course voted for partition. However Australia had two quite senior officials in the UN Secretariat. The most senior was Sir Raphael Cilento who served in the UN Secretariat from 1946 to 1951. The most senior Australian official in the Secretariat after him was Sir Walter Crocker, to become Australia’s High Commissioner for India in 1951 and later, for many years, the Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia. Crocker delivered a paper on Cilento in 1984 entitled “The Role of Sir Raphael Cilento at the UN”. In 1948 Cilento was Director of Relief Projects based in Beirut in which post he had much to do with Palestine.

Crocker records his own perceptions of the creation of Israel:

At the seat of the UN at Lake Success, day after day, week after week, month after month, the public galleries, the lobbies, the corridors, the cafeteria, were filled with Zionists and other Jewish zealots, pushing and persistent. Not a few were fanatical, not a few were arrogant, all were increasingly self-confident. They were given over to the dream of turning Palestine into Israel. Their dedication was admirable.

But, unfortunately, the fact that Arabs already were inhabiting Palestine, and had done so for centuries, had no relevance for the zealots. The Arabs had no rights: they were to be torn up from their land to make way for the Jews. The self-centeredness on this point was absolute and it was not admirable.

What the Zionists later referred to as “the miracle of Lake Success” could indeed scarcely have happened except in that place and at that time. In the name of internationalism a form of extreme nationalism was carried to victory, and in the name of the rights of small nations to independence… a minority in Palestine, the Jews, took by force of arms the home of the indigenous majority, the Arabs.

Crocker records Cilento’s belief that the creation of Israel and the manner of its creation, made wounds that were unlikely to heal and further, that the Palestinian Arabs were condemned to degradation if not genocide. How prophetic was that. Cilento was charged with anti-Semitism and like others his career at the UN ceased; moreover, despite his incredible career to that point in time, following his return to Australia in 1951 (aged only 58), he never held another official post. But as Crocker records, to charge Cilento with anti-Semitism was “as unfair to Cilento as was charging all Jews with the values of the Zionists.” What Cilento questioned was Zionist imperialism and in that he was joined by the Vatican, by leftwing papers like the Guardian, and others.

But let us return to the story. In 1948 on the withdrawal of British forces the Palestinian peoples, along with their Arab neighbours resisted what they saw, not surprisingly, or unreasonably, as the stealing of their country.

In the war which resulted, Israel occupied some 80% of the land (26% more than allocated to it by the UN). The Israelis occupied over 500 Arab villages and towns and destroyed some 380, so that the inhabitants could not return. I quote from Tanya Reinhart’s work “Israel/Palestine”. Tanya Reinhart was an Israeli (Jewish) scholar and journalist. She delivered the Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the University of Adelaide in October 2006 and later addressed a number of our federal parliamentarians in Canberra. I was privileged to be at both events. She wrote:

“During the war of 1948, more than half of the Palestinian population at the time – 1,380,000 – were driven off their homeland by the Israeli Army. Though Israel officially claimed that a majority of the refugees fled and were not expelled, it still refused to allow them to return, as a UN resolution demanded shortly after the 1948 war. Thus the Israeli land was obtained through ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants”.

Tanya Reinhart passed away in New York earlier this year.

The Palestine War and the harsh injustices that it caused the indigenous inhabitants left a legacy of bitterness among all the Arabs against Israel and the two Western Powers most responsible for its creation – Britain and the U.S. It has been the single most powerful factor behind the bitterness of the Arab and ultimately Muslim worlds and the growth of anti-Western feeling over the past six decades.

In 1950 the Israeli Knesset passed the Law of Return that “every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel”. No such right was afforded, however, to the true inhabitants who now resided in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

Immediately after the 1967 war in which Israel occupied the remaining 20% of Palestine, Israel encouraged settlers to go into the occupied territories and take the land.

In 1988 an Intifada Meeting of the Palestinian National Council called for partition of historical Palestine into two independent States … along the lines of the ’67 borders, as determined by the UN Resolutions 181, 242 and 338. This is significant. Israel justified its settlement activity on the basis of a need for security given that the Arabs wanted to push Israel into the sea. Here was the white flag (and most unfortunate it was for Israel) for Israel cannot afford peace, for peace means boundaries, confinement, and the loss of the dream of a Greater Israel.

Henry Siegman, writing in the London Review of Books, in August of this year, quotes the commentator Geoffrey Aronson, who has monitored the settlement enterprise from its beginnings, thus:
Living without a solution, then as now, was understood by Israel as the key to maximising the benefits of conquest while minimising the burdens and dangers of retreat or formal annexation. This commitment to the status quo, however, disguised a programme of expansion that generations of Israeli leaders supported as enabling, through Israeli settlement, the dynamic transformation of the territories and the expansion of effective Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan River.

1993: the Oslo Accords – whereby the Palestinians re-committed to the idea of two states, involving giving up nearly 80% of the historical Palestinian homeland. Nothing was to come of it. Instead Oslo has been used by Israel as a cover to extend and consolidate its illegal occupation and to double if not treble the settler population. The attitude of the Likud government is best illustrated by Sharon, then foreign minister, in 1998: “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”

2000: Camp David Summit at which Arafat was said to have refused a most generous offer giving to the Palestinians some 95% of the West Bank and Gaza and Jerusalem as its capital. This presentation was put out to people around the World to encourage them to abandon any interest in the Palestinians that they might have had. It was of course a fraud. It was a slander on the Palestinian people. It is an indictment of the Western press that allowed the Israeli publicity machine to put it across. It is a monument to the power of constant repetition, that such repetition raises the lie to objective truth.

The truth started to come out when a U.S. official who was present became too disgusted by the hypocrisy after putting up with it for a year. Robert Malley published a series of articles in the New York Times. And what came out of them was this.

Israel withdraws from 90 – 95% of the Occupied Territories retaining 130 settlements in the 5 – 10%. Included in the Palestinian lands would be 50 additional settlements which would entail 40 – 50% of the newly created State that Palestinians would have no access to. The 5 – 10% making up settlements retained in Israel was occupied by 120,000 Palestinians, but they would not become Israeli citizens since they would vote in the Palestinian elections. Thus Israel could annex the land without giving any rights to Palestinian residents. The small village of Abu-Dis on the outskirts of Jerusalem would be re-named Al-Quds, the Arab name for Jerusalem thereby enabling Israel to present to the World that it was dividing Jerusalem. The Arab inhabitants of East Jerusalem (to become part of Israel) would not become Israeli. Israel ‘agreed’ that Palestine would have the privilege of providing health, education and welfare to them; but they could not have citizenship, nor, the right to vote in Israeli elections. Barak’s unofficial map allowed no external borders with any other country for the Palestinian State.

That was the Israeli idea of sovereignty. That was the most generous offer that was refused
.

The ME peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is “to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people”.

September 2000: Sharon announces that he intends to exercise his “elementary right” to visit “our holy site” (Temple Mount) thereby provoking the second Intifada.

2001: Sharon is elected. Military rule in the territories is re-established. The Palestinian Authority’s infrastructure is destroyed. Life is made totally unbearable for the Palestinians in the hope that they will just leave. In December 2001 the Israeli Army raids the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in Ramallah, destroying and confiscating computers and documents. In the words of Edward Said: “They were effacing virtually the entire record of collective Palestinian life”. It does not take much imagination to see how important it is that if there is to be systematic ethnic cleansing that the less records there are to verify that people actually lived in a particular place the better.

2003: In April a “Roadmap” for resolving the conflict is announced by Kofi Annan on behalf of the US, the UN, Russia and the EU (the Quartet)…The Palestinians accepted the road map in its entirety but Israel announced 14 caveats and prerequisites that would preclude any final peace talks and thus ensured the initiative’s failure.

2003-6: Apart from all of the other destruction that it does one clear purpose of the Wall is the destruction of Palestinian history. Ancient buildings are bulldozed to create the Wall and settler roads. The purpose is to Judaize Palestine. By targeting historical Arab sites Israel plans to destroy Palestinian cultural heritage. Its a form of genocide. It is happening particularly in Hebron and Nablus. It is in direct contravention of the Hague Conventions.

There is of course a certain attraction to the wall, because it shuts in as well as shuts out. Those who have felt for the Palestinians first asked themselves: is this something positive? Is this going to give the Palestinians respite from the creeping annexation?

But when it became apparent where the wall was being built, and how, it became clear that this was just another tool in the oppression of these poor people. If the Israeli Government had set about building a wall on the ’67 borders, on the Green Line, rather than on occupied Palestinian land, I rather suspect many people would have said: “This is good”. But of course if the Israeli government was prepared to do that they wouldn’t need a wall. There would be no suicide bombers. A great yoke would have been lifted off the shoulders not only of the Palestinians, but of the Israelis, and, ultimately, of us.

But no the wall as envisioned contemplates three Bantustans. These are Gaza, and two West Bank areas all totally encircled by Israel. No external borders. No right of free passage. No independent economy. This is what Sharon had in mind when he spoke of a Palestinian State.

The sole consideration that dictates the path of the Wall is the settlements, and assuring that they remain on the western side of it. But it catches Palestinian villages as well – leaving them on the western side of the Wall. There is a stench associated with these villages. It is the stench of transfer. That is, transfer “out”. For what choice do the Palestinians have caught on the West of the Wall. They cannot move. They cannot find a livelihood. Similarly other Palestinian villages are left on the East of the Wall but their agricultural lands are placed on the West. One of the purposes of the Wall, without a doubt, is to make the lives of the inhabitants Hell, in order to convince them by and by to go away, to become, with their brothers and sisters of 1948 and 1967, refugees.

I should mention the International Court of Justice? On 8 December 2003 the UN General Assembly voted to request an Advisory Opinion from the ICJ with regard to the legality of the construction of the wall, and whether Israel was under a legal obligation to remove it.

This was a significant development. This was the first time the World Court had been drawn into the dispute. The vote to request the Advisory Opinion was passed with 90 states in favour and eight opposing: Australia, the USA, Israel, Ethiopia, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Good company. 74 states, including the European Union, abstained. The US in opposition to the request to the ICJ expressed the view that “giving an advisory Opinion … risks undermining the peace process and politicizing the court”. Australia, or at least the government of which Christopher Pyne is a part, took a similar position saying that the decision might “complicate the work of the international quartet or jeopardise the implementation of the Road Map”. Hello, what work, what Road Map?

On 9 July 2004, the court handed down its Opinion, that the construction of the wall by Israel is in breach of international law and that it violates principles of the UN Charter and norms that prohibit the threat or use of force and the acquisition of territory. The construction of the wall was also found to be inconsistent with the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. More significantly, the court also said that all states should not recognise “the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall”. The Court was composed of 15 eminent Justices. The ruling was 14:1. The one was a US judge.

In the immediate aftermath of the publication of the Opinion, Israel declared that it would seek the support of the US to veto any Security Council resolution relating to the Opinion and the wall and the US did indeed indicate that it would veto attempts by the Council to adopt a resolution on the issue. On 20 July 2004 the Tenth Emergency Session of the General Assembly resumed to consider the Opinion. It adopted Resolution GA10248 condemning Israel’s construction of the wall and calling on it to dismantle the structures and abide by the court’s Opinion. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 150 states in favour, ten abstained, while Australia joined five other countries (the USA, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau) in voting against the resolution. Good company again. Well done Christopher Pyne. That’s why were here.

2005 – and the withdrawal from Gaza. Gaza, the evacuation of whose settlements was so naively hailed by the international community as the heroic achievement of a man newly committed to an honourable peace with the Palestinians, was intended to serve as the first in a series of Palestinian Bantustans. Gaza’s situation today shows us what these Bantustans will look like if their residents do not behave as Israel wants.

UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 of 1947, which established the Jewish state’s international legitimacy, also recognized the remaining Palestinian territory outside the new state’s borders as the equally legitimate patrimony of Palestine’s Arab population on which they were entitled to establish their own state, and it mapped the borders of that territory with great precision. Resolution 181’s affirmation of the right of Palestine’s Arab population to national self-determination was based on normative law and the democratic principles that grant statehood to the majority population. (At the time, Arabs constituted two-thirds of the population in Palestine.) This right does not evaporate because of delays in its implementation.

In the course of a war launched by Arab countries that sought to prevent the implementation of the UN partition resolution, Israel enlarged its territory by 50 per cent. If it is illegal to acquire territory as a result of war, then the question now cannot conceivably be how much additional Palestinian territory Israel may confiscate, but rather how much of the territory it acquired in the course of the war of 1948 it is allowed to retain. At the very least, if “adjustments” are to be made to the 1949 armistice line, these should be made on Israel’s side of that line, not the Palestinians”.

Suicide bombers

Let us start by considering the position of the Palestinian today.

The position of the Palestinian is seemingly hopeless. He watches (as he has done for 40 years) and sees the Israelis or Jewish people from the Bronx, or Melbourne, come on to his land and build a settlement. The settlers either uproot the olive trees that he tended with his father and grandfather as a child, or confiscate them to themselves. This is easily done. They simply say that they are a security risk – snipers could hide in them. He has no job, he lives in poverty. He watches the bulldozer come in and bulldoze his house. If he resists the Israeli Government screams “terrorist”, but more painful than that, the U.S., and World’s media calls him a terrorist. By so labelling him, Israel and the West systematically suppress the reality of the Palestinian experience of dispossession and make it possible to ignore the Palestinians’ undeniable claims to the land. The Palestinian is in despair; he has been rendered peripheral; he is isolated; his sense is only of displacement and loss. He probably feels how a Jew in 1930’s Germany felt.

In January 2004 Gideon Levy, a highly respected Israeli journalist, described a recent visit to Nablus. He writes:

“One sees Nablus declining relentlessly into its death throes…
An hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, a great Palestinian city is dying, and another of the occupation’s goals is being realized. It’s not only that the splendid homes have been laid waste, not only that such a large number of the city’s residents, many of them innocent, have been killed; the entire society is flickering and will soon be extinguished. A similar fate has visited Jenin, Qalqilyah, Tul Karm and Bethlehem, but in Nablus the impact of the death throes is more powerful because of the city’s importance as a district capital and because of its beauty… But the true wound lies far deeper than the physical destruction: an economic, cultural and social fabric that is disintegrating and a generation that has known only a life of emptiness and despair.

Joseph Weitz was from 1932 the director of the Jewish National Land Fund. In 1965 his diaries were published in Israel. On 19.12.1940 he wrote:

“It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country…the only solution is Eretz Israel, or at least Western Eretz Israel, without Arabs. There is no room for compromise on this point!…there is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer them all; except maybe for Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem, we must not leave a single village, not a single tribe. And the transfer must be directed to Iraq, to Syria, and even to Transjordan.

Today the settlers, generally Jewish fundamentalists, and their supporters regard ethnic cleansing of the Arabs as an imperative, even a commandment from God. Jewish fundamentalists are thought to account for some 20-25 per cent of the Israeli population, higher than the number of Muslim fundamentalists in Iran. Jewish fundamentalists are of course embarked on a process of genocide; witness Baruch Goldstein’s murder in 1994 of 29 Muslim worshippers in Hebron’s Mosque. This act was praised by many rabbis and Goldstein elevated to the status of martyr. Witness the attempts today to have the assassin of Yitzak Rabin released from prison.

Tanya Reinhart, of whom I spoke earlier, notes the statistics pertaining to Palestinian injuries. She notes the standard IDF assertion that some Palestinians were injured by ‘stray bullets’. She questions how it can be that ‘stray bullets’ have a remarkable tendency to overwhelmingly strike eyes, the head, or knees. Reinhart makes this allegation:

“Israel’s systematic policy of injuring Palestinians cannot be explained as self-defence, nor as a spontaneous reaction to terror. It is an act of ethnic cleansing – the process through which an ethnic group is driven from a land that another group wishes to control. In a place so closely observed by the world as Israel/Palestine, ethnic cleansing cannot be a sudden act of massive slaughter and land evacuation. Rather, it is a repetitive process by which people are slowly forced to perish or flee.”

For years I have been advocating ‘justice in Palestine’. Many times people have said to me, “Oh, yes, but how can you possibly defend those suicide bombers?”. There is a fallacy there. It is that to promote Palestinian rights is to condone suicide attacks. The Israelis turn the fallacy on its end. If you remove the constraints on Palestine, if you open a roadblock, or remove soldiers, or, dare I suggest it, lift the occupation, you would be rewarding terrorism – rewarding suicide bombers. The best response to suicide bombers is justice, not more repression. Justice, or the giving of it, should not be seen as giving in to terror. Justice is justice. It stands apart, and on its own feet.

You and I live in a free and secular society. We can vote in a Federal election. We naturally are offended by and lament the methods of the suicide bombers. But it is appropriate to attempt to understand them. It is not difficult to understand them.

Let me also say this. Palestinian atrocities come, after all, in the service of what the World regards as a legitimate purpose, the ending of occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that occupied peoples have the right to fight for their liberation. Israeli atrocities come in the service of an illegitimate purpose, that occupation’s perpetuation. It was Herzl who said: “He who desires the end desires the means”.[3] But in proposing such an end – a Jewish state in Palestine – and such means, he was proposing a great deception, and laying open his whole movement to the subsequent charge that in any true historical perspective the Zionists were the original aggressors in the Middle East, the real pioneers of violence, and that Arab violence, however fanatical it might eventually become, was an inevitable reaction to theirs.

In July and August 2006 we witnessed an atrocious event – the 6th Lebanon War. Zionism rests on the fundamental belief that Jews have superior rights to the land. Such belief excludes any possibility of true democracy or equality of peoples. Israel’s destructive rampage in Lebanon is merely the next step in the evolution of that ideology. At the end of that War the World had an immediate expectation. That there would be, within as short a time as possible, an International Conference to address the issue of the festering disputation: primarily between Lebanon and Israel; the Shebaa Farms; but also between Israel and Syria; the Golan Heights; and also between Israel and the Palestinians.

We shouldn’t have held our breath. Within days it was business as usual. Our National Press largely dropped the issue. Our politicians did the same. Christopher Pyne had this to say about it in the first week of August 2006 at the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation:

We’re here tonight to support Israel. I can’t know what it is like to be a Jew right now in the world, not being of the Jewish faith. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a Jew sitting here in the synagogue, or a Jew in Israel, or a Jew anywhere else in the Diaspora, thinking about the War of Independence in 1948, the Suez Crisis, the Six Day War, Yom Kippur, the 1982 offensive in Lebanon, the Intifada’s that have occurred since that time, the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and now to be back again in Lebanon in 2006.

The only thing that I can imagine that Jewish people around the world must be thinking is: “When will this end?” And it is a very good question. …….

Nobody believes or wants Israel to be involved in war, but it is not true to say that there is a moral relativity between the actions of Hezbollah and the actions of the state of Israel. It is not true to say that the terrorism of Hamas or the desire of Iran to wipe Israel off the map, or Syria to support Hezbollah or Hamas are somehow morally relative to the right of Israel to protect itself and its people. This is a debate which we have been having for ten – twenty – or more years. In my experience I’ve been having this debate for thirteen and a half years as the Member for Sturt. And again in the last two weeks we hear that there is fault on both sides: Israel is as much to blame as Hezbollah, or Syria, or Iran, or Hamas.

It is not true, and we have to say it is not true.

We agree its not true Christopher – Israel is totally to blame by reason of it having maintained an illegal occupation for 40 years.

But this is an issue that must be urgently re-instated. It is an issue which is poisoning our lives. Consider the London bombings in July, 2005. Journalists and commentators had a field day in addressing the war on terror.

Why do young British people, of Arab and Muslim extraction, with everything to live for, become suicide bombers? Let me tell you. It is not because they are upset over poverty in Africa, nor that they have concerns over globalisation. And neither are they radicalised by global warming, or even the reliance by the West upon oil. From my reading of history, nor does it appear to me that militant Islamists are intent on converting Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists or whoever, to Islam. Islam has in fact been a religion of tolerance throughout its thirteen centuries, unlike, at particular times, what might be said of others.

Some of these issues might get the odd Muslim excited, even angry. They do not cause an 18 year old Leeds boy to blow himself up and hope in doing so that he will take as many of his fellow citizens with him as he can.

No, it is none of these things. It is something far more personal than that. It is racism practiced against his fellow Arabs and Muslims, if not himself. It is injustice on a mammoth scale. It is humiliation daily thrust upon his brothers – a humiliation of ninety years standing which continues today as strongly as it commenced during the British Mandate. It is Palestine.

That is not to say that it is only Palestine. There is Chechnya. There is Kashmir. There is the arrogance of the West in Iraq, and Iran, and Syria. But Palestine is where it started. And Palestine is where it continues, and is at its heart.

And Palestinians’ brother Arabs, and brother Muslims know this. They feel the same pain, the same humiliation. They have felt the same pain, and the same humiliation for sixty years. That pain and humiliation does not dissipate, because the injustice continues. The injustice has never been addressed. The parents and grandparents of many Arabs were expelled from their homes, and the homes of their ancestors, in Israel in 1948 and never compensated. They lived their miserable lives in refugee camps in Lebanon and Gaza, Jordan and the West Bank. They died without compensation. Their children remember them, and it’s their time to act.

As I have indicated, it is not only Palestine. But Iraq is a convenient extension. War is made the easier because the inhabitants of Iraq are Arab and hence inferior. And who implements the war? The answer is the usual suspects – Britain and the U.S. They are aided by their Anglo-Saxon cousin, Australia. These are the rulers, and the Iraqis, like the 1917 and 1947 Palestinians, are the ruled.

As if it is not bad enough that these rulers invade and occupy, but they must praise themselves as bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. And if you think that these views might exaggerate the position, consider that young Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, Saudis, Egyptians and Iraqis may not think so. Their Muslim brothers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia might just agree with them. They might just have a feeling that history might be repeating itself. They are aware of one occupation that has been continuing now for nearly forty years – that in the West Bank and Gaza. They may not want another. And when they hear Bush and Blair and Howard, and Pyne, assert that the insurgents are foreign terrorists, they really hear them saying: “These people are of such an inferior culture and state of development that they simply couldn’t want to just have their own country back”. In other words, they recognize inherent racism when they see it.

Terrorism and suicide bombing will thrive wherever there is injustice and illegitimate occupation. And it will thrive all the more the longer that injustice and occupation continue.

Thank you for your attention. I invite you to listen to my colleague David Palmer. I hope that you will start demanding something from your politicians. I hope that your first step will be to send a message. A message that results from the dis-election of Christopher Pyne.


ENDNOTES

[1] David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch. (Nation Books, 2003.) p. 159.
[2] After the receipt of the MacDonald White Paper, the Government asserted that it was “not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish state, that 75,000 Jewish immigrants should be admitted over the next five years, but no more after that without the approval of the Arabs.”
[3] Hirst, p. 139.