Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein ruled Sunday afternoon that pro-Palestinian activist Tali Fahima will remain in custody until the end of legal procedings against her.
In other words she'll go to jail until she's put in jail.
Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein ruled Sunday afternoon that pro-Palestinian activist Tali Fahima will remain in custody until the end of legal procedings against her.
The millions of Iraqis, as well as the UN electoral team and the Iraqi election commission staff, who did participate in the process despite the grave risk, deserve our respect. But it was a risk taken in vain. The election was illegitimate, and cannot resolve the rampant insecurity resulting from the occupation. The only way to stop the destruction of Iraq is to end the occupation and enfranchise the Sunnis, who are leading the resistance because they see the US as systematically excluding them from the role they deserve to play in Iraq.
Moshe Arens' 4/18 "Warsaw Ghetto - The Debt of Truth" condemns the refusal of the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, the Socialist-Zionist, Stalinist and Bundist underground, to unite with Betar's Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowi in their final battle. "ZOB considered Betar to be a semi-fascist movement."
He blames this on "fratricidal animosity ... between the Socialist Zionist parties and the Revisionist Zionist Party, headed by Zeev Jabotinsky." But all ideologies, Jewish or gentile, saw classic Revisionism as fascist.
Jabotinsky loved pre-Mussolini Italy and condemned him as a "head buffalo." However, he grasped that Britain wasn't going to set up a Zionist state, and wished for Rome as a substitute Mandatory. In New York's 4/11/35 Jewish Daily Bulletin, he implored readers to stop using "'Fascism' as a cuss word." It was"the official doctrine of ... one of those countries where Jews enjoy full equality.... It is very unwise to insist on antagonizing one of them by turning to abuse a term and an idea which is so highly cherished." Indeed, "the Permanent Mandates Commission which supervises Palestinian affairs has an Italian chairman .... Responsible leaders ought to take care."
The 3/36 issue of Revisionism's L'Idea Sionistica reported the establishment of a Betar squadron at Mussolini's naval academy:A triple chant ordered by the squad's commanding officer -- 'Viva L'Italia!, Viva IL Re!, Viva IL Duce!' resounded .... This year there are 49 cadets .... The majority are university students and 30 of them belong to the GUF. (Gioventù Universitaria Fascista - University Fascist Youth- LB)
London's 6/12/36 World Jewry reported an interview with Wolfgang von Weisl, Revisionism's financial director: "He, personally, was a supporter of Fascism, and he rejoiced at the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the White races against the Black."
Mussolini became Hitler's ally against the left in Spain and expelled his Betar fans. But as late as 1/40, Ha Dagel, their Harbin magazine, had photos of them on stage with Japanese, puppet Manchukuo and Zionist flags:
"The Third Congress of the Jewish Communities of the Far East welcomes the Great Empire of the Rising Sun's aspiration for the establishment of peace and a new order in East Asia .... The Third Congress ... calls on the Jewry of the Far East to actively participate in establishing the new order and in building East Asia, guided by the principle of struggle against the Comintern, in close collaboration with all nations."
Each ZOB constituent must be held accountable for its role in the 1930s and holocaust. But in 1943 they faced military defeat, with or without the ZZW, at the hands of Hitler, self-proclaimed disciple of Mussolini and Fascism. Historians will forgive them for refusing to sully their defense of Jewish honor, by accepting as comrades, adherents of their murderers' ideology.
Lenni Brenneris the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, and the editor of
51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis . He has also just edited
Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State: Writings on Religion and
Secularism (Barricade Books). He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com.
This measure has been reversed, 1/31, by order of the Attorney General's office. Are you going to carry THAT as an item as well, or are you just going to let the world--or at least your readers--continue to think that the Absentee Property Law has been extended to East Jerusalem as well?
See headheeb.blogmosis.com for reports on the intra-Israeli bureaucratic jockeying on this as well.
President Bush's 'freedom and democracy' rhetoric appears to have found a gullible listener in David Aaronovitch (Comment, last week). American governments of both parties have routinely supported convenient tyrants, using such rhetoric. They have not hesitated to overthrow democratic regimes (generally described as dangerously leftist) and install reactionary dictators (generally described as 'preparing for free elections').
Genuinely free elections have often been seen as too dangerous, as when President Eisenhower in an unguarded moment said flatly that Vietnamese elections promised at Geneva had not been held as everyone knew that Ho Chi Minh would score a landslide.
Archbishop Romero pleaded with President Carter to stop supplying weapons to the Salvadoran death squads; days later he was shot down at the altar.
The US embassy in Honduras was headquarters for the war which President Reagan pursued against the elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Ambassador/Proconsul John Negroponte will now fly the flag of 'freedom' over the largest embassy in the world, in Baghdad.
No one is trying to ignore the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, but the suffering of a religious/ethnic group should not cause the world to forget the suffering of another nation or allow those who suffered persecution to do the same injustice to another nation.
After the end of the war in 1945, the Allies along with Zionist leaders began formulating strange conceptions about the killing of Jews at Nazi camps which a modern man can hardly accept. By conjuring up images of gas chambers, they are attempting to convey the idea that the Jews have undergone indescribable torture and that the world’s conscience should be awakened to this issue so that the Jews are not subjected to injustice again.
The revisionist historians have proven in two decades of study that if Hitler had carried out a systematic program to eradicate the Jews, it would have taken more time than the six years that the war lasted. They have also proven that such an act of ethnic cleansing through the use of the poison gas Zyklon-B, as the Zionists claim, was not possible at the time.
Norman J. Finkelstein, a Jewish professor at New York University critical of Zionist policies, has called the claim [that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis] the "Holocaust Industry", which is only meant to boost support for the government of Israel.
The [Babylonian] Talmud [the tractate of Berachot]says that when God is angry at the nations of the world for not aiding Israel - they want to evacuate, to disengage, to interfere in our affairs, He claps his hands, causing an earthquake.
There is a rise of fanaticism: Islamic, Jewish, European. It's American fundamentalism.
The Allies knew of the annihilation of the Jews and did nothing. Israel learnt that we can trust no one but ourselves. This phenomenon - of Jews defending themselves and fighting back - is an anathema [to] the new anti-Semites. Legitimate steps of self-defence which Israel takes in its war against Palestinian terror - actions which any sovereign state is obligated to undertake - are presented by those who hate Israel as aggressive, Nazi-like steps.
There are countless failures to learn from Auschwitz evident in the modern world. We have failed to build a community of shared security and vulnerability. America's war on terror has polarised groups across the Arab world. The atrocities in Sudan show that, in the face of mass crimes against humanity, the international community is unable to find a mechanism to protect people.
The view held by the MCB since the inception of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001 is that the subtext of the memorial day - 'Never Again' - is diluted by the exclusive nature of the event....
.....Not to acknowledge current and recent genocides would be to undermine the benefits of remembrance, deprecate lessons learnt from the Nazi Holocaust and call into question our commitment to prevent current and future inhumanity. The Nazi Holocaust began with a hatred of an entire people because of their religion and ethnic identity. To reflect a more tolerant and inclusive Britain, we believe that Holocaust Memorial Day ought to be renamed "Genocide Memorial Day" to make no distinction between genocides undertaken against people of other religions and ethnicity.
The memorial day would in our opinion be better served by covering the ongoing mass killings and human rights abuses in our world, and thus make the cry 'Never Again' real for all people who suffer, even now. We must do more than just reflect on the past. We must be able to recognise when similar abuses occur in our own time.
Israel, Taiwan and the Thirteen Colonies
It doesn't matter who is president, the U.S.will always take the other side against Israel because that's where their interest lies; and other essays
Will British residents still held in Guantánamo receive help from our government?
There are at least five other long-term residents who do not have UK passports being held at Guantánamo Bay. At least two have British wives and children. The UK government says the men's countries of birth must help them.
He singled out the coverage of the Israeli army assault on Jenin refugee camp in 2002, in which 58 Palestinians were killed, mostly armed men.
Sir: Like Jack S Cohen (Letters, 21 January) I deeply wish for Middle East peace. I take no side in the conflict; I do however find repulsive Mr Cohen's assertion that only Palestinian refugees who were born in Palestinian territory should be repatriated. The great influx of Jewish people into the region did not consist of people who had been born there, and yet they still claimed it was their homeland. On what grounds should people's immediate links with the land be rebuffed, as Mr Cohen would have it, when an ancient claim was given the firm backing of the West?
However, what is even more surprising than the fact that the piece got published, is that the paper did not receive any responses from readers or public representatives of the Russian community. It should be noted that the paper is one of two leading dailies of the Russian community in Israel.
Speaking at the first Hebrew language day, Sharon said: 'I don't understand why Israeli broadcasting networks call themselves foreign names like 'Hot' and 'Yes', and how that half-breed creature 'yalla, bye' was created instead of the beautiful word 'shalom'.'
Let's see. If the world now is operating according to Bush's pre-emptive philosophy, wouldn't Iran be justified in pre-emptively striking the US?
So, Charles Clarke is going to seek "memorandums of understanding" with Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan that they will not torture or execute their citizens on their return (Clarke pins hopes on deportation, January 20)? But all of these states already have laws forbidding torture. Indeed, there is no state in the world which has a law permitting torture. Why should any "memorandum of understanding" regarding torture be worth the paper it is written on, if the rulers of these states already allow their own laws to be breached? Wouldn't it be more honest if Clarke were to admit that in order to escape the embarrassment of the House of Lords judgment, he is happy to turn a blind eye to what happens afterwards?
The OU has no tolerance of religious or racist abuse and deplores the comments that were removed from this particular conference, but defends freedom of conscience and speech. The university has sent a full dossier to the Commons Home Affairs Committee to correct inaccuracies in the UJS report.
One way that Secretary Rice could facilitate a settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict would be to stop US payments to UNWRA, the peculiar UN agency that perpetuates the conflict.
Millions of Iraqis, under siege in many parts of their homeland, will be disenfranchised. While boycotting this undemocratic exercise, we strongly condemn all forms of violence against Iraqis participating in it. We, as exiles, are confident that the vast majority of Iraqis, at home and abroad, shall unite to end the US-led occupation and establish democracy, whatever their stance on participation.
Palestinians' right to run for elections to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, are also limited by their acceptance of the notion of the Jewish state. These limits are expressed in the Law of Political Parties (1992) and, in particular, the amendment of section7 A(1) of the Basic Law: The Knesset, which prevents candidates from participating in the elections if their platform suggests the "denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people". Under this section a party platform that challenges the Jewish character of the state, i.e., that challenges Zionist ideology and praxis by calling for full and complete equality between Jews and Arabs in a state for all its citizens, can be disqualified, as such non-Zionist lists have been in the past. The law prohibits Palestinian citizens from mounting a political challenge to the state's Zionist identity in a legal forum, the Knesset*.
In general, the most important function of the Zionist "pro-Palestinians" is to enforce two boundaries in the discourse:
1) the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state;
2) the illegitimacy of violence against Israelis.
Anyway, Arafat is now dead, we got what we wanted, and we are not happy.
On the contrary. Together with Arafat, Israel buried its best excuse for perpetuating the occupation. How long can you blame the dead for terrorism? How long can you refuse to negotiate with the dead, to meet with him face to face? Not very long. More than two months after Arafat's death, even anemic Europe understands: "the 'Arafat excuse' no longer exists" (Jean Asselborn, president of the European Union Council of Ministers, Ha'aretz, Jan. 18, 2005). And what is worse: the Palestinians have now got a new leader who was elected democratically (goodbye to "ruthless dictator"), and, on top of all that, a leader who consistently and openly – in English and in Arabic – renounces the armed struggle against the occupation. On the other hand, Abu Mazen still demands complete Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian lands, and an independent Palestinian state. This, of course, is in total harmony with international law, with UN Security Council resolutions, even with President's Bush Road Map: in short, it is totally unacceptable for Israel.
Israel can live with only two kinds of Palestinian leaders. It can live with a puppet who accepts Israel's sovereignty over the Palestinian territories (we may give him some "autonomy" in return), who is ready to give up 60 percent of the West Bank for Israeli settlements and apartheid walls (we may temporarily remove a checkpoint or two in return), who is willing to forget the Palestinian refugees (we may not insist on his conversion to Judaism in return). Israel has made several attempts to find or tame such a Palestinian poodle, but so far failed.
Alternatively, Israel can live with a fanatic, terrorist Palestinian scarecrow, with a murderous, uncompromising hardliner. The settlers often say it aloud: we prefer the Islamic Jihad, who want to throw us all to the sea. It is very easy to deal with such a leader, both nationally and internationally.
In stark contrast to what Israel has claimed, and the media have reported, the ICJ case was not about Israel’s right to protect itself through a fence, or barrier, or wall, which it is entitled to do as a sovereign state. Rather, the case was about the course, or the route, of the Wall, running for 99% outside recognized Israeli borders and inside Palestinian territory. For this reason, the Wall is an illegal measure purportedly to protect Israelis against suicide bombings. Those suicide bombings rightly were condemned, in no uncertain terms, in not one but two paragraphs of Palestine’s written statement to the ICJ, and again during Palestine’s oral intervention before the Court.
At Tel Aviv airport I face tough questioning: who am I here to meet? Where am I staying? Before I left London I was told that in the past two years, 85 Palestinian Authority guests have mysteriously 'lost' their luggage here after saying they were visiting the West Bank or Gaza.
Sure enough, my suitcase disappears, along with all the bags belonging to a group of guests of the Palestinian Women's Union. Their luggage materialises that evening. Mine doesn't.
go beyond those cliched images...urchins throwing stones at tanks; fatigue-wearing, baby-killing extremists; women in traditional dress wailing over dead children; and Arabic men shouting in broken English. It's an image that has never fared well in the West.
I would like to bring my family here so they can meet these generous, clever people.
Tony Blair said he was 'delighted' by the MP's decision. 'He is a decent, fair-minded and dedicated public servant, respected across the House of Commons, who will be warmly welcomed by Labour MPs and members,' the PM said.
* Professor Jacqueline Rose Writer and presenter of "Dangerous Liaison - Israel and America", Channel 4 (2002) and author of "The Question of Zion" (Spring 2005).
* Professor Avi Shlaim Professor of International Relations and Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World'.
* Amira Hass Correspondent of Ha’aretz Daily in the occupied territories, living for the last 10 years in Ramallah. She is the author of "Reporting from Ramallah".
Speakers against the motion:
* Melanie Phillips Daily Mail columnist, panellist on Radio 4's The Moral Maze and author.
* Shlomo Ben-Ami Former Israel Foreign Minister during the last phase of the peace negotiations. He has written extensively on Israeli affairs, and has just completed a book on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
* Professor Raphael Israeli Professor of Islamic, Middle Eastern and Chinese history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
It's called the grey fallacy. One person says white, another says black, and outside observers assume gray is the truth. The assumption of grey is sloppy, lazy thinking. The fact that one person takes a position that is diametrically opposed to the truth does not then skew reality so the truth is no longer the truth. The truth is still the truth.
I find it disconcerting that the "outraged", and presumably anti-racist, media commentators seem to have focused on a single theme when denouncing Harry's odious choice of outfit (Royal family caught up in Nazi row, January 13). As an African Briton, I am appalled that both princes attended a party themed "native and colonial".
Ideologically there is very little difference from the party being themed "Aboriginal and Australian" or, of course, "Jewish and Nazi". The fact that Prince William chose to parody African people in what has been described as a Tarzanesque "lion and leopard" outfit is equally as contemptible as Harry wearing the uniform of the German Afrika Korps which brutally murdered thousands of African people belonging to the Herero and Bondelswarts tribes in Namibia in 1904-06.
The Ligali Organisation
Today we think of Fallujah as the site of ongoing battles between courageous American forces and assorted enemy fighters.
But back on the last day of March of this year, Fallujah was briefly known for the manifestly unheroic behavior of its Arab/Islamic combatants. Then it was the place where Islamic insurgents openly dramatized their long-cherished practice of desecrating the dead.
The March 31 Iraqi atrocities against American civilians stemmed from the same cultural mindset as Palestinian atrocities against Israelis. Moreover, Iraqi suicide bombers have learned a great deal from their Palestinian cousins. Witnessing that Palestinian crimes against humanity have led both Israel and the United States to move closer toward accepting the creation of a Palestinian state, certain Iraqis can now conclude quite rationally that mutilating Americans is far more than a convenient way to let off steam. It is also a purposeful way to end the U.S. "occupation" and to reinstall a genocidal regime.
As the events in Fallujah essentially reproduced those in Ramallah, so too would a state of "Palestine" quickly resemble and export the chaotic conditions of present-day Iraq.
Moreover, as a fully sovereign state unencumbered by any outside military forces, its predictable preparations for new spasms of war and terror would proceed with utterly no constraint or inhibition. In time, "Palestine" would surely become the launching point for direct WMD attacks upon neighboring Israel and, indirectly, for WMD terror against certain parts of Europe and the United States.
Everywhere in the Arab/Islamic world, the post-Holocaust concentration of Jews in Israel is taken as decisive proof of Allah`s plan for another Jewish genocide. Ironically, for this world, the state created to prevent a second Holocaust has been allowed only to make further Jewish annihilation distinctly practicable.
Tali, who voted for Sharon at the last election, has no history of involvement with protest groups or anti-occupation activity. However, with the intensification of the Palestinian Intifada, she did the almost unthinkable in Israel. Instead of accepting the daily propaganda lies about Arab blood lust, she decided to find out for herself why so many Palestinians were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to strike a blow at Israel. So she phoned Zakiriya Zbeidi., commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, to ask him. This conversation led to the first of several visits to Jenin, where she was astonished to be accepted as an honoured guest, and began to see the Palestinians as a people struggling against oppression, rather than the inhuman and unreasoning mass they were portrayed as in the Israeli media.
Voting is said to be brisk in Gaza and the West Bank, but in Jerusalem hundreds of voters were turned away from an Israeli-run polling station.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, who was monitoring the poll at the station, said he was unhappy with the incident.
Somewhere in the United States government is the person who came up with the idea of fusing the wail of an infant with the incessant meow from a cat food commercial so as to torment detainees at Guantanamo. Detainees were also subjected to popular songs by the likes of Eminem and Rage Against the Machine. What Liberace would have done to an observant Muslim, I can only imagine, but it is a mad genius who realized that ordinary American culture can, with repeated exposure, be nearly lethal. God help us all.
calling suicidal terrorists "cowards," naming a constriction of civil liberties the Patriot Act and, of course, wringing all meaning from the word "torture."
The Bush administration has fused Orwell with Kafka in the same way someone fused the cry of an infant with that of a cat from the Meow Mix television commercial. The upshot is Gonzales, ticketed maybe for the Supreme Court because he winked at torture and yessed the president. He's Kafka's man, Orwell's boy and Bush's pussycat. Know him for his roar.
[s]ingling out anti-Semitism as a special form of racism.......if only because it dissociates it from racism and makes it something "special" — something that will fuel the arguments of the anti-Semites. Highlighting anti-Semitism like this also exaggerates the phenomenon. In the case of the Arab world, where anti-Semitism is admittedly rife and occasionally gets violent, as it did in Morocco in 2003 or in Tunisia in 2002, it will compound a common misperception that anti-Semitism is the biggest form of discrimination taking place.
A&L owes Palestinian campaign group an explanation for closing bank account
By Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Gilmour
Published: January 8 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 8 2005 02:00
From Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar, Victoria Brittain and Jeremy Corbyn MP.
Sir, We are patrons of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a voluntary organisation established in 1982 to seek justice for the Palestinians. Since 1996 we have held a bank account with the Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank. Our account has always been in credit and we have never had any query or complaint from the bank concerning its conduct or our business.
In July 2004 we received a letter out of the blue from the bank giving us 30 days' notice to close the account. The only reason offered was that the bank was "no longer able to provide banking facilities to certain clubs and societies". We wrote back protesting, asking for an explanation for this abrupt action and for the bank to let us know which other clubs and societies had been treated similarly.
We claimed nearly £4,000 compensation of which half represented the out-of-pocket expenses for notifying our members and subscribers (some 2,750), stationery, printing and postage. The bank replied: "On this occasion we reserve our right not to disclose our reasons." It declined to comment on the status of other people's accounts and refused any compensation. The only concession was to extend our notice period from 30 to 60 days.
We took our complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (the Ombudsman). We wrote: "We feel we have been treated with contempt by the bank and that we deserve an explanation for why this action is being taken . . . we cannot understand why a bank which claims to wish to advance good community relations should behave with such utter lack of regard towards an organisation which is committed to seeking international justice and human rights and is based on cross-faith co-operation (we have Muslim, Christian and Jewish members as well as members of no religion)".
The Ombudsman's terse response was that " . . . your complaint does not appear to be one we could deal with because it is solely about the firm's legitimate use of its commercial judgment". Although the Ombudsman said it could deal with "maladministration" and "improper discrimination", its refusal to intervene in our case shows how supine a regulatory body it is.
The Alliance & Leicester claims to be "the UK's most customer-focused financial services organisation - bar none" and that "earning and retaining the trust and confidence of our customers must be a high priority for us". In its business relationships it says it seeks "fair dealing and high standards of business integrity". These claims ring hollow when set against the experience we have suffered at the hands of the bank.
As no credible, indeed any, explanation has been offered by the bank for the manner in which we have been treated, the inevitable suspicion is that the bank has succumbed to political pressure. Be this as it may, we believe the public deserves to be enlightened on how one of the country's leading high street banks chooses to operate and on the cavalier way in which the Ombudsman interprets its remit in handling complaints.
Ian Gilmour, Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, London WC1N 3XX
Like Melanie Phillips, I, too, gave a talk at Limmud on the subject of American neo-conservatives, and I would like to ask her the following questions:
What is "extremely moral" about the neo-cons' support for right-wing dictatorships in central and South America during the 1970s and 1980s for the illegal Iran-Contra affair, and for apartheid in South Africa?
What is "Jewish" about their alliance with the religious right and its project to Christianise America? And, from what Jewish sources do they derive their uncritical and unequivocal backing for the abolition of abortion?
(DR) NATHAN ABRAMS
LECTURER IN HISTORY, SCHOOL OF DIVINITY, HISTORY & PHILOSOPHY, COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, ABERDEEN.
So, according to Melanie Phillips, "neo-conservatism is a quintessentially Jewish project".
Funnily enough, I had never realised that redistributing wealth form the poor to the rich, energetically destroying the environment and refusing to accept the rule of law both at home and abroad were so integral to Judaism.
I'd always thought that rabbinic hostility to violence and oppression should lead Jews to oppose empire rather than celebrate it, and that the notion of tzedakah as justice should lead us to give to those in need rather than cut their benefits on the grounds of "encouraging enterprise".
Does Melanie Phillips really think that intelligent people can accept that the neo-cons are the "front-line" in the defence of Jewish and western values?
The novelist Sara Paretsky, writing this week in the Guardian, relates how her late grandmother escaped from the pogroms of Eastern Europe in in 1911 to settle in the USA to "come home" to freedom.
Now, as Sara Paretsky observes, opinion, in the once so-admired land of freedom, views such practices as imprisonment without trial as a necessary price to pay for protection against terrorism. This echoes the view that teh torture of Jews, Communists and others was a "necessary price" to pay for moving Germany in a better direction.
How much worse is the situation today now that secular humanism - along with its offshoot, post-modernism - has shown that its vision of the kingdon of heaven on earth unfortunately does not include the existence of a Jewish national home.
Palestinian reform is only part of the equation. The heavy emphasis placed on responsible Palestinian government by leaders such as George W. Bush and Tony Blair has raised questions in Palestinian minds about their and the Sharon government's longer term intentions. Put another way, the Bush administration has put pressure only on the Palestinians - much the weaker party in the dispute - while, as the Washington-based Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy points out, encouraging Mr Sharon and his allies "to believe they will not need to make major concessions on the West Bank".
This weekend the Palestinians are to be given the right to elect a new leader, they say, for a change. However, if peace-making is to be resumed and if Israel is to agree to talk to the Palestinians, they can only choose Mahmoud Abbas - hence the international pressure to eliminate the popular Marwan Barghouti from the race. The fact that many Palestinians do not see Abbas as representative of their aspirations or willing to defend their rights does not matter to Israel or its western allies. Nor is it of any concern to the US and the EU that Hamas has increasingly strong support among Palestinians (as highlighted by their recent performance in municipal elections); they still will not talk to its representatives. It is fully acceptable for Israelis to elect whomever they deem fit to lead them, even a war criminal like Ariel Sharon. No Arab people are allowed the same luxury.
After a traumatic 2 weeks, supporters of Friends of Al-Aqsa will be pleased to hear that the Royal Bank of Scotland has apologised and withdrawn its demand to close the bank accounts of Friends of Al-Aqsa and its chairman.
Lieutenant Avi Levy, the area army commander, gave a guarded apology. "If we hit innocent Palestinians, I’m sorry for that," he said. "You have to remember that the (militant) groups fire from the cover of these heavily populated civilian areas."
If the Palestinian diaspora are to be allowed to vote in the Palestinian elections, which I would support (Letters, January 3), perhaps it is time we Jews in the diaspora, whom the Israeli government keeps purporting to represent, should have a vote in Israeli elections.
Although they are an integral part of the Palestinian people, the millions of refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the wider diaspora are not to vote in the presidential, legislative or local elections for "technical reasons".[but see a response to this by Roland Rance]
reports of the continued harassment by the Israeli Defence [sic] Force of candidates other than the west's favoured Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian presidential elections. These were capped by the announcement that the Ariel Sharon government was effectively going to disenfranchise the 120,000 Palestinian citizens living in Jerusalem.
Two British organisations set up to help the Palestinian people have had their bank accounts abruptly closed without explanation, the Guardian has learned. Neither is proscribed by the government, and both claim that their targeting is political.
The groups, Friends of Al-Aqsa (FoAA) [Royal Bank of Scotland] and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign [Alliance and Leicester], have been asked to find alternative banking arrangements, even though neither appears on watch lists held by the Home Office or the Bank of England. The head of FoAA has also had his personal and business accounts closed.....
The PSC has written to its members asking them to transfer their standing orders, but so far only half have done so.
FoAA estimates that it will cost more than £10,000 in lost subscriptions and reprinting costs.
In his potted history of events surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948, Martin Gilbert makes some crucial omissions.
When the UN voted to partition Palestine it awarded 55 per cent of the land to 30 per cent of the population - the Jewish population. The area to be under Jewish control was itself 50 per cent Arab. In the same month of the UN vote, November 1947, Britain declared that it was leaving Palestine. Immediately the Zionists began ethnically cleansing the Arabs from the Jewish areas and moved to secure land beyond the UN-allocated boundaries.
By the time Britain left and the Arab states mobilised, around 300,000 Palestinian Arabs were already refugees.
I agree with Martin Gilbert that there were failures of Arab leadership, not least the fact that Jordan was collaborating with Israel, but to suggest that Israel's conduct was above reproach at that time is, at best, economical with the truth.
Apropos Catholic 'secret society' gains power foothold by Jamie Doward (News, last week): as a member of the Labour Party I am alarmed by the fact that our erstwhile Home Secretary saw fit to carry on a close relationship with the editor of such a Tory mouthpiece as the Spectator and that a formerly Tory millionaire is appointed to lead our general election campaign for a third term.
Nevertheless, I was shocked to read that the recently appointed Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, is a member of, or 'even merely in touch with' such a far right organization as Opus Dei. If you think the 'far right' adjective too strong, Google Opus Dei. You will find out that it is against stem cell research, women's right to choose whether to have an abortion, and contraception, but for faith-based schools, hierarchy and unquestioning obedience to the leader of the organization. It also has a track record for politically promoting its semi-fascist aims.
Balazs L Gyorffy
Cotham Branch of Bristol West CLP