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Gaza is not a military power that attacked its tiny, peace-loving neighbor, Israel. Gaza is a territory

that Israel occupied in 1967, along with the West Bank. Its residents are part of the

Palestinian people, which lost its land and its homeland in 1948.



Book by John Maxwell

How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalist and Journalists

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. . . and Olmert Smote the Philistines

By John Maxwell


It’s a time-tested method used for more than four thousand years; people always get killed but nothing is ever settled. God confided to Moses that he was giving the Israelites title to the land of Canaan. There was one small problem: lots of other people were already living in Canaan and had been for ages. So, in order to enforce the Israelites’ title, Joshua had to clear the land.

The book of Joshua tells of the labours of the hero and the Israelites as they laid claim to their divine endowment smiting cities and their rulers right left and centre …       ‘So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.

And finally, “. . . Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.”

Palestine did not long rest from war. The first kingdom of Israel lasted a few generations before splitting in two, largely owing to the arrogance of Rehoboam, a precursor to Ariel Sharon. Sharon also came a cropper trying to exterminate the Palestinians and has lain comatose now for most of a decade.

Before his unfortunate seizure Mr Sharon’s government had been accused –  by the International Committee of the Red Cross –  of war crimes against the Palestinians. In 2001 the Red Cross condemned Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as equivalent to war crimes under international law. “The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories is ... an illegal move and qualifies as a grave breach," said ICRC's René Kosirnik at a press conference in Tel Aviv … equal in principle to war crimes."

Condoleezza Shamed

Later, when Mr Sharon was attempting to pulverise the Palestinian Authority and Yasser Arafat, Sharon’s soldiers targeted not only journalists, but Red Cross and Red Crescent ambulances, doctors and nurses, women and children as well as Palestinian policemen and  Arafat himself.

Since Mr G.W Bush was at that time trying to  assemble support within the Arab world for a posse to  go after Saddam Hussein the US President did not find Sharon’s behaviour ‘helpful’.  Then as now, the Israeli government demonstrated a contempt for its patron the US, and Mr Bush was very upset. He was sufficiently upset not only to withhold $800 million in aid promised to Israel by the outgoing  Clinton administration, he decided to support  a Security Council resolution which spelled out, for the first time , the right of Palestinians to their own  independent state. This commitment got lost somewhere between Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

The political nous and social evolution of Sharon’s successor may be gauged by a tale told by Mr Olmert himself. In the Israeli leader’s  version of why the US had abstained on a UN resolution attempting to get Israel to play by the rules, Mr Olmert gave himself a starring role.

"When we saw that the secretary of state, [Condoleezza Rice] for reasons we did not really understand, wanted to vote in favour of the UN resolution . . . I looked for President Bush and they told me he was in Philadelphia making a speech," Olmert said .

"I said, 'I don't care. I have to talk to him now.' They got him off the podium, brought him to another room and I spoke to him. I told him, 'You can't vote in favour of this resolution.' He said, 'Listen, I don't know about it, I didn't see it, I'm not familiar with the phrasing.'

"He gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favour of it - a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged."

Now! Aint that Sump’n !

Or, as they say in Peoria – WOW!!!

Mr Olmert does not perhaps know that waiting to succeed Miss Rice is a woman who is not partial to being kneecapped by a self-important, obnoxious, sexist, Middle Eastern potentate, and we may credibly suspect that Mrs Clinton and her boss and the entire Obama Cabinet may soon be itching to put Israel in its place.

Successes of the Blitzkrieg

What has Israel achieved in nearly three weeks of its Gaza blitzkrieg?

• As the Guardian says “The extraordinary number of civilian deaths, and of children in particular, is for many a defining and shocking feature of this 18-day offensive. The figures are stark. At least 910 Palestinians are dead, among them 292 children. At least 4,250 are injured, among them 1,497 children. Many have injuries that will leave them permanently disabled and facing more operations and months or years of rehabilitation therapy”

More than half of Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants are children.

• Israel has reduced to rubble the physical infrastructure of Gaza, destroying, schools, community centres, homes and apartments as well as farms, shops, factories, and places where people might seek shelter in emergencies.

About two-thirds of the territory's 1.5m people have no electricity; the rest have only an intermittent supply, the UN says. Hospitals are overloaded with the injured, and 500,000 Gazans still have no access to running water. "Israeli bombardment is causing extensive destruction to homes and to public infrastructure throughout the Gaza Strip and is jeopardizing water, sanitation and medical services."

•The indiscriminate  destruction is not only intended to terrorise and intimidate, it is clearly also, maliciously intended to destroy social capital, to maim the society’s ability to recover and to take care of itself. It is punishment of people,as human beings, innocents with no argument with anyone and to make sure that, as after a ferocious natural cataclysm, a tsunami, a Katrina, there is not only enormous material loss but deep emotional scarring and wounds that may never heal.

• The blitzkrieg has destroyed Fatah and all Palestinian opposition to Hamas. In the West Bank strongholds of Fatah everyone is now for Hamas. In the Egyptian Hospitals outside Gaza news agencies are reporting that people who are wounded, people who were never politically active, want to go back to Gaza to fight for Hamas. The conversion rate is quite remarkable and even more so on the Arab street in places like Cairo, Damascus, and Jerusalem.

•Despite public vows by Israeli politicians to destroy Hamas's military capability, Israeli officials said Tuesday that the movement had lost only a fraction of its fighters and retained a large stockpile of rockets and other armaments. A "few hundred" Hamas fighters have been killed, out of a total force of 15,000, according to a senior Israeli military official.

To say  that the government of Israel may be wrong or evil, is interpreted not as a political judgment but as an expression of racist prejudice. Criticising Israel is attacking Jews and Jewishness and is therefore anti-semitic.

‘ … those countries that count’

The Israeli  government’s attitude to external criticism may be gauged from the following quotation:"The tone of the criticism is moderate, restrained, more balanced, at least in the case of those countries that count," a senior government official said. 

Such extreme positions have provoked a backlash inside and outside of Israel. Some of he world’s most prominent Jews have publicly condemned the actions of the Israeli government and one of the best known – journalist Naomi Klein has joined other people, Jews and Gentiles, in calling for an economic boycott of Israel.

 As the Guardian, no enemy of Israel said on Tuesday: “That is why the talk elsewhere is now of boycotts, of arms embargos, of revoking trade agreements, withholding financial support and cancelling export credit guarantees. These are not all appealing options, nor should they be yet necessary. But a country which truly rejects the collective concerns of the international community leaves its friends, never mind its enemies, running out of road.” (my italics)

That such a situation should come about is remarkable sinceis almost impossible for Hamas to have its case presented fairly. In the great western world where the press is free it seems impossible to find any big news agency which conveys the real grievances and arguments of the PALESTINIANS, let alone Hamas. As Mark Levine points out in the Huffington  Post: The claim that Hamas will never accept the existence of Israel has proved equally misinformed, as Hamas leaders explicitly announce their intention to do just that in the pages of the Los Angeles Times or to any international leader or journalist who will meet with them.Levine:

 What has changed has much to do with the arrogance of Israel. By banning independent journalistic coverage of the blitzkrieg the Israelis have eliminated much of the usual spin that favours Israel and demonises the Palestinians. When the public and the press have to depend almost entirely on video,  photographs and statistics, the truth has a better chance of surfacing.

Amira Hass, a journalist and daughter of Holocaust survivors writes:

“History did not begin with the Qassam rockets. But for us, the Israelis, history always begins when the Palestinians hurt us, and then the pain is completely decontextualized.

‘ …Gaza is not a military power that attacked its tiny, peace-loving neighbor, Israel. Gaza is a territory that Israel occupied in 1967, along with the West Bank. Its residents are part of the Palestinian people, which lost its land and its homeland in 1948.

In 1993, Israel had a one-time golden opportunity to prove to the world that what people say about us is untrue - that it is not by nature a colonialist state. That the expulsion of a nation from its land, the expulsion of people from their houses and the robbery of Palestinian land for the sake of settling Jews are not the basis and essence of its existence.  -

Silent Spring?

Somewhere near the beginning of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring she has a wonderful paragraph about what she calls ‘biocide’ –  the indiscriminate broad spectrum war against insects and other “pests” that, she warned us – nearly a half-century ago – was doomed to failure. This was because the barrage of pesticides was not only poisoning us but simultaneously, accelerating the forced evolution of many life forms.   In what she called a triumphant affirmation of Darwin’s thesis of natural selection she predicted what we have since  seen happening – the evolution of super pests, insects, bacteria and diseases,  making inconsequential our efforts at  pest extermination..

The Israeli government is the only government  I know of with a state policy of targeted assassination. While the government did not declare that assassination of Hamas leadership was a priority in Gaza, it clearly was, as the attacks on the homes of leaders demonstrated.

Sharon tried to exterminate Fatah and got Hamas.

Has Israel already found its next Rehoboam? Its next exterminator?

(Endnote: Democratic Israel has banned from contesting elections two small Arab political parties. Will any notice be taken by the free world’s press? Stay tuned)

Copyright ©2009 John Maxwell

posted 18 January 2009

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95 Palestinian fighters killed in Gaza war—A Palestinian human rights group has revealed that only 95 resistance fighters were killed in the 23-day Israeli offensive into Gaza.

From the 1194 Gazans officially registered as killed in Israeli attacks from December 27 to January 17, a whopping 1099 were civilians, the Gaza-based Palestinian center for human rights reported on Sunday.

Only 95 of those killed were resistance fighters. . . . The Israeli onslaught on Gaza has cost the Palestinian economy at least $1.6 billion. A governmental report on the war revealed on Monday that Israel reduced some 4,000 residential buildings to rubble and damaged 16,000 other houses during the conflict.

Since the cessation of the hostilities, at least 100 bodies have been recovered from the rubbles. The number of those killed in Israeli attacks has been put at around 1,300, according to the latest statistics. Nearly 6,000 Gazans have been injured in the attacks. PressTV

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Mapping an Occupation--WestBank

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

A film directed by Gini Reticker

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a captivating new film by director Gini Reticker. It exposes a different story angle for the largely forgotten recent events of the women of Liberia uniting to bring the end to their nation's civil war. This film is amazing in the way it captivates your attention from the earliest frames. It doesn't shy away from showing footage of the violent events that took place during the Liberian civil war. But the main story of the film is that of Leymah Gbowee and the other women uniting, despite their religious differences, to force action on the stalled peace talks in their country. Using entirely nonviolent methods, not only are the peace talks successful, but Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, is forced into exile leading to the first election of a female head of state in Africa. The women of this film are truly an inspiration and no one can fail to be moved by the message of hope that comes through clearly in this film. These are heroes that deserve to be remembered and with Pray the Devil we are able to do that, gaining both a knowledge of the history we are ignorant of through archival footage and an understanding of the leaders of this movement through close-up interviews with the many women who lead it. The film also offers a great soundtrack & inspirational song- "Djoyigbe" by Angelique Kidjo & Blake Leyh.Amazon Reviewer

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books  / Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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Book of Sins

By Nidaa Khoury

Khoury's poetry is fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when many of us feel unreal and often spiritually hollow.—Yair Huri, Ben-Gurion University 

Written in water and ink, in between the shed blood. Nidaa Khoury's poems take us to the bosom of an ancient woman  . . . an archetype revived. The secret she whispers is 'smaller than words.'—Karin Karakasli, author, Turkey

Nidaa Khoury was born in Fassouta, Upper Galilee, in 1959. Khoury is the author of seven books published in Arabic and several other languages, including The Barefoot River, which appeared in Arabic and Hebrew and The Bitter Crown, censored in Jordan. The Palestinian poet is studied in Israeli universities and widely reviewed by the Arab press. The founder of the Association of Survival, an NGO for minorities in Israel, Khoury has participated in over 30 international literary and human rights conferences and festivals. Khoury is the subject of the award-winning film, Nidaa Through Silence. Currently a senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, Khoury's poem Portal to the Orient is being produced by Sarab for Dance for performance in Palestine. Book of Sins introduces this important Middle Eastern poet to the Caribbean and the Americas.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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