Wednesday, 25 November 2009

No Way Through

Written and Directed by: Alexandra Monro + Sheila Menon Mentor: Jim Threapleton Music: The Thirst No Way Through highlights mobility restrictions imposed in the West Bank.

No Way Through highlights mobility restrictions imposed in the West Bank, that are limiting its habitants access to health care, thus violating a fundamental human right.

Take Action to help people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories get justice.

See here for actual photos of Israeli checkpoints

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Netanyahu Snubs Obama and the UN with Massive Settlement Expansion

Who is the most powerful person in the world? Last month, the President of the United States, Barak Obama repeatedly insisted that Israel must freeze the expansion of their illegal colonies in Occupied Palestine.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu says 'no' and the US President backs down. And when the Israeli government announced this week plans to build 900 more homes on Palestinian territory, the US administration is 'dismayed' and the French government expressed 'regret'. Will the US administration freeze the generous 'loans' which Israel uses to fund these colonies?  Of course not.No one it seems has the courage to take on the Israel Lobby.

So the hypocrisy continues, international law is ignored, and yet more Palestinian homes are demolished and yet more Palestinian land is stolen. If Israel will not accept the two state solution based on the June 1967 borders, then it is time to call for one state in Palestine. It is time for Palestinians to be given their civil rights. One man, one vote. Israel must choose between Zionism, Colonialism and democracy. It can have two and enjoy peace with its neighbours but not all three.

The BBC Report says,

Settlements on occupied territory are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.Mr Gibbs said: "We are dismayed at the Jerusalem Planning Committee's decision to move forward on the approval process for the expansion of Gilo in Jerusalem.
"Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations."

It is the second time in two months that the Obama administration has spoken out on settlements.In September the White House said it regretted reports that Israel planned to approve new construction in the West Bank.
The BBC's Paul Adams in Washington says the conventional wisdom in the US is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has successfully thwarted Barack Obama's first foray into the stalled Middle East peace process, rebuffing American calls for a complete settlements freeze.

State department spokesman Ian Kelly said the planning decision was dismaying
But some Washington observers say it's too early to write off the president's efforts, he says.
They believe Mr Obama is playing a long game and that the frosty relations between Mr Netanyahu and the White House could cause problems for the Israeli leader in the future, our correspondent adds.
Mr Ban's spokeswoman said the UN chief believed the Israeli action would "undermine efforts for peace and cast doubt on the viability of the two-state solution".French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said his government "regretted" the move, while Saudi Arabia said the approval was a "major obstacle" to the peace process..
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the planning approval was "yet another step that shows and proves Israel is not ready for peace".

Nearly 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built on occupied territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Israel threatens to demolish FIFA sponsored football stadium in West Bank

Israel has ordered construction work on an internationally financed football stadium being built for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to be halted.

Palestinian municipal authorities in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, have been told they lack the correct permit to build. This is because Israel has designated some of the plot for the planned stadium as under its exclusive control. If Palestinian officials do not comply with the order, Israel could demolish the arena.

The stadium's development has been financed by the world football's governing body, Fifa, as well as France, Germany and Gulf states.

Palestinians have said that Israel's issuing of the stop-work order is unreasonable and politically motivated.
Israeli officials have said they are working with their Palestinian counterparts to resolve the issue.

Source: BBC

See also 'Israel's war on Palestinian foorball'. Israel blocks, detains and bombs Palestinian football players

Friday, 20 November 2009

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali on Iranian Christians

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali welcomes very much the news that Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad have been released from Evin prison in Teheran, where they have been detained on charges of propagating the Christian faith.

Although they have been released without bail, they are still due to stand trial, and other Christians have been arrested in Iran because of their faith.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali says: ‘I am thankful that they have been set free without conditions of bail and pray that justice will be done for them and for others who are being held in Iran in due course.

‘At the same time it seems ironic that while Maryam and Marzieh have been released by the Iranian authorities, the Home Office in this country is proposing to deport an Iranian Christian.

‘Amir – not his real name – attends an Orthodox church in the north of England and is on the church committee. It seems clear that if he is deported he will face interrogation, arrest and possible imprisonment in Iran simply because he is a Christian.

‘I appeal to the Home Office to allow Amir to remain free and to continue living in safety in this country.
‘Iranian Christians, whether in Iran or the UK, strive to be good and loyal citizens, and we continue to pray that their fundamental liberties will be upheld.’

Source Pakistan Christian News

Dr Ilan Pappe on the Origins and Impact of Zionism

Dr Ilan Pappe on the Origins and Impact of Zionism from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.
Dr Ilan Pappe gave this moving presentation on the historical origins and destructive impact of Zionism at a conference for Anglican clergy in Winchester Diocese today.

Dr Ilan Pappe's website

Chris Arnot interviews Dr Pappe in the Guardian

See also The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Ambassador Warren Clark speaks at the Capitol Visitors Centre, Washington

Ambassador Warren Clark speaks at the Capitol Visitors Centre, Washington from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.
Ambassador Warren Clark is the Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). At this Executive Briefing sponsored by Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) Amabassador Clark speaks about the Israel-Palestine conflict and the role of the US Administration.

Dr Sami Awad speaks on Palestine at the Capitol Visitors Centre, Washington

Sami Awad speaks on Palestine at the Capitol Visitors Centre, Washington from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Dr Sami Awad is the Executive Director of the Holy Land Trust. This significant presentation on the future of Palestine was delivered at an Executive Briefing sponsored by Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) at the Capitol Visitors Centre, Washington. See

Monday, 16 November 2009

Exposing the Israel Lobby in Britain

The fall out from the Channel 4 Dispatches expose on the UK Israel Lobby is gathering momentum. The elephant in the room is now out in the open where it belongs. Peter Oborne and James Jones of Channel 4 wanted to investigate which groups make up the pro-Israel lobby, how they operate, and how they exert influence.

We discover that the Chairman of Britain's major pro-Israel lobby group, BICOM, has business interests in a large settlement in the West Bank east of Jerusalem. These settlements were described recently by Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, as 'illegal' and 'an obstacle to peace'.
We reveal opaque patterns of funding of MPs and candidates by members of a pro-Israel group in Westminster. We pick apart how these groups in Westminster operate and assess whether British foreign policy has been affected. We also speak to journalists about the pressure they face from groups in the UK and abroad.

We conclude that the pro-Israel lobby, in common with other lobbies, has every right to operate in Britain. But it needs to be far more open about how it is funded and what it does. The present obscurity surrounding the funding arrangements and activities of many of the lobby groups can paradoxically give rise to conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact.

See more here website
 Ian Black writing in the Guardian observes:
Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain look set to see their influence increase if the Conservatives win the next election, a film scrutinising the activities of a powerful but little-known lobby warns today.

At least half of the shadow cabinet are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), according to a Dispatches programme being screened on Channel 4. The programme-makers describe the CFI as "beyond doubt the most well- connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups". Inside Britain's Israel Lobby claims that donations to the Conservative party "from all CFI members and their businesses add up to well over £10m over the last eight years". CFI has disputed the figure and called the film "deeply flawed".

The programme also describes how David Cameron allegedly accepted a £15,000 donation from Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire who chairs Bicom (the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre). Zabludowizc, the film reveals, has business interests in an illegal West Bank settlement. He also gave £50,000 to Conservative Central Office. Zabludowicz says his contributions "are a matter of public record".
Two years ago a controversial study by American academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer explored the influence of the Israel lobby over US foreign policy. But Britain's pro-Israel organisations have been subjected to far less scrutiny.

"The pro-Israel lobby … is the most powerful political lobby," Michael Mates, a Conservative MP and privy councillor, told the film-makers. "There's nothing to touch them."

 Read more here Pro-Israeli lobby group bankrolling Tories

Jeffrey Blankfort on Mondoweiss asks whistfully,
How long before American journalists catch up with the frank discussion of the Israel lobby that is now beginning in England? The Guardian has a big piece on a report on the British TV program Dispatches which presented a documentary on the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the UK. Unlike the US where AIPAC throws all its politicians into one basket be they Democrat or Republican, the British Zionists have them broken down by party. So there is the Conservative Friends of Israel, Labour Friends of Israel, and Liberal Friends of Israel which was the first to break ground.
 See further here British leader promised lobby never to use word ‘disproportionate’

Real 'friends of Israel' recognise that one sided support for the illegal Jewish settlements and continued denial of Palestinian civil rights undermines the security for Israel.

Archbishop Duncan Refutes "Schism" Charge

Yesterday I attended a Sunday service at the historic Falls Church in Virginia near Washington. I felt very much at home. It was very similar to our own church, if considerably larger. Now part of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), they are taking a courageous stand for the gospel and paying a heavy price, uncetain whether they will be able to retain their buildings.

Yesterday, Charles Price, writing in the National Post, interviewed Archbishop Bob Duncan while visiting Ontario. The Archbishop emphatically rejected the term “breakaway” to describe the faction of orthodox Anglicans he now leads.
"He argues, instead, that the more than 700 orthodox Anglican parishes in Canada and the United States that have left their national churches behind represent where the vast majority of Anglicans in the world are — and where the rest of the Anglicans will soon be.
Archbishop Duncan, visiting Canada last week for the first time since he became head of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the first Anglican jurisdiction that crosses national boundaries, earlier this year, says it is the national churches in Canada and the United States — the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church USA — that are the real schismatics, trading in the Bible and orthodoxy for a trendy form of Christianity that is trying to be popular instead of faithful.
Those institutions have “turned so far to the left” they are now on the road to virtual oblivion, he said, pointing to such innovations as the blessing of same-sex marriage.“They’ll become irrelevancies,” he said during an interview with the National Post. “People who are looking for a saviour who can save.They are really looking for how they can shape their lives and what they can trust in. And what the [national churches] are offering is Jesus lite. Folks don’t need a Jesus lite.”

The group faces a series of ugly court battles with the respective national churches over who owns church property. It will likely mean that many conservative Anglicans will have to leave behind church buildings their families attended for generations. But Archbishop Duncan, who is based in Pittsburgh, said in the end it will be the conservatives that will win.

“People will turn to what’s true,” he said while attending an ACNA synod in St. Catharines. “And we’ll have the souls and they’ll get the stuff. We’ll get the future, they’ll get the past. I’d rather have the souls and the future.”

He believes that what is going on in Anglicanism right now is nothing short of a new Reformation, similar to what Luther kicked off in Germany five hundred years ago. For the Anglican Church worldwide, he said, it will be mean a complete shift in orientation away from Canterbury, the historical spiritual home of Anglicanism, to Africa, the faith’s new spiritual home.

“In the year 2000 the Archbishop of Canterbury was second most important Christian leader in the world. In a short space of time that office has utterly been diminished. It shows that the British model of Anglicanism has failed.”

He fully expects either a new “Canterbury” to emerge in Africa, or that the old seat of Anglicanism will remain where it is, but future archbishops will come from the Global South — and be black and brown.

Last week, Rowan Williams, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the future of the worldwide Anglican Church looked chaotic and uncertain. He was reacting specifically to an invitation by Pope Benedict that was made to disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church.

Many conservative Anglicans feel that Pope Benedict would not have made the offer if the structure was not already weakened. Archbishop Duncan, however, said he appreciated the gesture by the Pope because it was an acknowledgement that orthodox Anglicanism is a legitimate part of the ancient Church.

He made it clear that ACNA wants to remain faithful to Anglicanism but there will be a small minority of Anglicans with Catholic leanings that will seek a home in Rome. He also noted that the Anglicanism of the future could learn from the Catholic Church.

“In the 20th century they began to rise to true global leadership. They made extraordinary choices in John Paul II and Benedict who are building a Church for the future. The British system has not produced leaders as capable.”
Read more:

Maryam and Marzieh are due to be released tomorrow

Maryam and Marzieh are due to be released tomorrow, Monday November 16th, 2009. After their release they might have to attend court hearings. Great news - and a testimony to our faithful and loving father!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Middle East Executive Briefing on Capitol Hill

This week I am in Washington DC for the Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) Executive Briefing on Israel/Palestine and a presentation on Christian Zionism for the Capitol Hill Faith Forum at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

Speakers at the EMEU Executive Briefing included Dr Sami Awad, Executive Director of the Holy Land Trust, Dr Raymonf Bakke, Chancedllor of Bakke Graduate University, Seatle, Ambassador Warren Clark, Eexcutive Diector of Churches for Middle East Peace, Michael Rosenberg, Director of Policy Analysis for the Israel Policy Forum, Washington DC and Dr Bob Roberts, Founder and Senior Pastor, Northwood Church, Keller, Texas.

I gave a paper on the Theology of the Land based on a chapter of my book Zion's Christian Soldiers.

At the Capitol Visitors Centre, Congressman Warren Clark spoke and the audience viewed an exclusive preview of a new film 'With God on our Side' which exposes the flawed theological basis and destructive political agenda of Christian Zionism.

At the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill, for the Capitol Hill Faith Forum, I gave an overview of the historical roots and theological basis of Christian Zionism based on my book Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? The event was co-sponsored by the Midde East Working Group, Metro DC Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Dr Mark Braverman responded and we had a constructive and open dialogue on Christian and Jewish perspectives regarding the Land. Mark has just published his book Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews and the search for Peace in the Middle East and will be speaking at the Faith Forum in December.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Maryam & Marzieh on Apostacy Charges

On August 9 two Christian women, Maryam and Marzieh appeared before an Iranian judge who asked them to deny their faith and return to Islam. The women have been held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran since March 5. When both women refused to recant their faith, the judge sent them back to their prison cells “to think about it.”

The women re-appeared in court on Oct. 7. The anti-state charge was dropped but they still face “apostasy” and “propagation of the Christian faith” charges. Also, the women have undergone intense interrogations which have reportedly included sleep deprivation and other psychological pressure. They share a cell with over 20 other women and both have deteriorating health. Marzieh suffers from spinal pain, an infected tooth and intense headaches and is especially in need of medical attention, which has not been provided. Evin prison has received criticism for its human rights violations and executions in recent years.

On Oct. 26, the U.S. State Department designated Iran, along with seven other countries, as “Countries of Particular Concern” for their religious repression. The Islamic Republic reportedly imprisoned, harassed and intimidated people based on their religious beliefs, while government-controlled broadcast and print media intensified negative campaigns against religious minorities, the report said. Iran is ranked No. 3 on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution.

The Open Doors USA advocacy department is launching a campaign asking people to send a respectful message to Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, who is Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York City. The email messages will be sent to the government in Iran as well. The letters will ask for the immediate release of Maryam and Marzieh.

A sample email letter to send is located at the Open Doors USA website at

Source Open Doors and Elam

See details of their imprisonment August 2009  and April 2009

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Goldstone Report: Does the UN Respect Human Rights or Rogue States?

The Goldstone Report at the UN General Assembly: States Must Ensure Victim’s Rights and Not Compromise the Rule of Law

Adalah – Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel * Addameer  * Al Dameer Association for Human Rights * Al-Haq – Law in the Service of Man * Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights * Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights * Defence for Children International-Palestine Section * Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy * Jerusalem Legal Aid Center * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling

Today, 4 November 2009, the General Assembly will meet to discuss the Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission  on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report). A draft Resolution has been presented to the General Assembly for debate, and it is evident that those who claim to speak on behalf of human rights and international law are failing in their mandate. The draft Resolution is a politically motivated compromise, intended to obtain support for a Resolution without substance, one which fails to protect victims’ rights or to pursue accountability. While the draft addresses certain demands, it does not explicitly include operational steps for the implementation of the Recommendations of the Goldstone Report, and absolutely fails to bring remedy and redress to victims.

There can be no compromise on the fundamental principles of human rights and international law. If international law is to prove capable of protecting civilian populations and of averting future atrocities, then it must be enforced. Each individual’s basic human right to equal protection of the law and to an effective judicial remedy must be ensured. Those accused of committing international crimes must be investigated, tried, and prosecuted.

In supporting this draft the PLO are following the traditional policy of attempting to secure a Resolution by consensus. Too often have the rights of Palestinians been negotiated away in order to provide the appearance of political progress, and too often has progress manifested itself as mere maintenance of the status quo, which for decades has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights.

Impunity must not be allowed to prevail. It is unacceptable that international law be subject to the whim of powerful States in order to deny populations throughout the world their fundamental human rights. As Palestinians and representatives of the victims we demand justice, and the possibility of a peaceful future.

The General Assembly must request that the Security Council not only consider the Goldstone Report, but also implement its recommendations. Domestic investigations are essential; however, if these are not conducted credibly and in accordance with international standards – as past experience would suggest is the likelihood – then the consequences must be clear. Should attempts be made to shield alleged war criminals from justice, then the Security Council must take appropriate action, and the situation must be referred to the International Criminal Court.

It is also essential that, as recommended in the Goldstone Report, the General Assembly act now to ensure reparations for the victims of Operation Cast Lead. It is unacceptable that the illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip continues to this day and that reconstruction and recovery have been denied. The General Assembly must establish an escrow fund to handle reparations owed to the victims by Israel, and act to end this illegal blockade. The continued suffering of innocent civilians cannot be condoned by the United Nations.

At the Human Rights Council in September, the political vacillation of the PLO, the anti-accountability agenda of some of the most powerful UN member states, and a callous disregard for the victims of Operation Cast Lead saw the first attempt to bury the Goldstone Report. As the representatives of the Palestinians at the UN the PLO must ensure a second attempt is not successful, and must re-focus its efforts towards ensuring that a Resolution fully endorsing the Goldstone Report and its detailed recommendations be adopted by a majority of the General Assembly; a ‘consensus’ Resolution will effectively nullify the decision of the Human Rights Council’s Special Session, repudiate the rule of international law, and implicitly endorse further impunity for those who target civilians.

Palestinians do not want to be part of a consensus that buries the Goldstone Report, and denies victims’ legitimate rights. Palestinians should neither be forced to negotiate on the Recommendations of the Goldstone Report, nor to compromise their fundamental rights under international law. It is essential – at the risk of condoning impunity and the commission of future international crimes – that the General Assembly:

a)       fully endorse the Report of the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict;

b)      urge the Security Council to endorse the Report, and to expeditiously pursue all accountability mechanisms presented therein; particularly a referral to the International Criminal Court under Chapter VII in the absence of good faith investigations by the parties to the conflict;

c)       demand that credible internal domestic investigations and prosecutions be carried out by the parties to the conflict in accordance with international standards of impartiality, independence, promptness and effectiveness;

d)      remain fully appraised of the matter until appropriate action is taken at the domestic or international level in order to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators;

e)       establish an escrow fund for the purpose of compensating the victims of violations of international law committed during Operation Cast Lead;

f)        request Switzerland to convene a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure its respect;

g)       promote an urgent discussion on the use of munitions such as white phosphorous (as mentioned in the Report), and a moratorium on their use by Israel.

Source: PCHR

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

EMEU Hosts Executive Briefing in Washington DC

Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding are hosting an invitation only Executive Briefing for pastors and Church leaders in Washington 12-13 November.

You can download a brochure here

Presenters include:
  • Sami Awad, Executive Director of Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem, Palestine
  • Keith Ellison, Minnesota Congressman, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Bob Roberts, Founder and Senior Pastor NorthWood Church, Keller, Texas
  • M.J. Rosenberg, Director of Policy Analysis, Washington, D.C. 
  • Stephen Sizer, Senior Pastor Christ Church, Virginia Water, England
  • The Rev. Bart Tarman, Washington D.C.

Ultra-Orthodox confesses to Ortiz bombing

Tim Morgan, in Christianity Today, writes about recent ultra-orthodox attacks against Messianic Jews in Israel.
A former US Marine who is now an ultra-Orthodox activist in Israel has confessed to security services inside Israel to a bombing that nearly killed Ami Ortiz, son of a Messianic pastor.
See: US-born Jewish terrorist suspected in series of attacks over 12 years.
Ami Ortiz writes,
It's been a year and a half since the unthinkable. The attempted murder of an innocent 15 year-old Messianic Jewish boy in Ariel, Israel. He and his family are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) the Jewish Messiah. The Israeli police has deliberately not taken interest in helping to investigate this inhumane crime nor have they made legitimate efforts to capture and bring the terrorists of this atrocity to justice. Why? Who did it? Is it the usual suspects...or not? If the truth came out would there be mass public outrage on the streets of Israel? Will these terrorists strike again? Will there be a next victim? If so, when? Who? You?...Did you look closer? The Israeli police can take that much of a closer look at the evidence and take action, but they won't. For a country that was founded on the basis of escaping religious persecution, why do they allow never to happen again?

Find out more about this very mysterious crime which the Israeli police priorly had on media black-out status. This true story has caught the world's attention by storm. If this had happened to a 15 year-old Orthodox Jewish boy in Israel, the case would have been solved in a matter of days or weeks and the criminals brought to swift justice immediately. What makes this case different? Why has the Israeli police and government chosen to turn the other way from this heinous anti-semitic crime?

Please stand with us in prayer that this case will be solved and the terrorists of this inhumane crime will be found and brought to justice. There are many ways you can get involved today. Find out more here.
Here are additional details from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, a legal defense organization:
The Jerusalem Institute of Justice would like to congratulate the Israeli Police and the General Security Services for their successful apprehension of Yaacov "Jack" Teitel, the self-described "anti-missionary" activist, who confessed to the bombing of Ami Ortiz on April 20, 2008. Besides his violent activities against Messianic Jews, Teitel a 37 year old former US Marine turned ultra-orthodox, admitted to carrying out several other crimes, including the murder of at least two Palestinian Arabs and the bombing of Israel Prize Laureate Prof. Ze'ev Sternhall.
This religious hate crime is the direct result of the daily incitement which is spread without interference by ultra-orthodox extremists against minority groups in Israel, solely because of their faith and religious affiliation. These same extremists, who do not view Israel as a legitimate state because it is not a rabbinical theocracy, purposefully incite violence and persecute innocent citizens simply because these minorities do not fit into their warped definition of who is a Jew. Indeed, the prosecution of Jack Teitel is an important milestone for Israeli democracy.
The sad reality is that shortly before this religious hate crime in Ariel, posters were spread throughout the neighborhood inciting hatred against the Ortiz family, an act which was ignored by the local law enforcement authorities. It is impossible to overlook the fact that Jack Teitel probably received his evil motivation to murder the Ortiz family from those same posters.
For latest updates see Ami Ortiz

See also:

Haaretz U.S.-born Jewish terrorist suspected of series of attacks over past 12 years

BBC News Israeli settler held over attacks
Mr Teitel is also said to have confessed to sending a booby-trapped gift basket in March that year to a family of Messianic Jews, who believe in Jesus as a saviour. The blast seriously wounded the family's 15-year-old son.Video footage released on Sunday purportedly shows him leaving the bomb outside the Americans' home in the settlement of Ariel.He was also suspected to attempting to bomb Israeli police stations and patrols because they provided security for gay pride parades, but not for the attack on the gay youth club, police said. Responding to the arrest, Mr Sternhell said: "I hope the system deals with this terrorist as it deals with all other terrorists, Jewish and Arab alike.
"Leah Ortiz, one of the Messianic Jews whose home was bombed last year, said she was "horrified by the fact that there are elements of Israeli society, Jews who feel justified in taking the lives of other Jews because of their beliefs".

Monday, 2 November 2009

America is endangering Israel

In an unusually frank article in yesterday's Haaretz, Gordon Levy berates the US administration for 'sucking up to Israel'. America, stop sucking up to Israel.  Isn't it ironic that unlike their American counterparts, Israeli citizens enjoy a media that can debate the nature of their 'special relationship'. Levy begins,
Barack Obama has been busy - offering the Jewish People blessings for Rosh Hashanah, and recording a flattering video for the President's Conference in Jerusalem and another for Yitzhak Rabin's memorial rally. Only Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah surpasses him in terms of sheer output of recorded remarks.

In all the videos, Obama heaps sticky-sweet praise on Israel, even though he has spent nearly a year fruitlessly lobbying for Israel to be so kind as to do something, anything - even just a temporary freeze on settlement building - to advance the peace process...
 Of Barak Obama, Levy has his strongest criticism.
He decided to address Israelis by video, but a persuasive speech won't persuade anyone to end the occupation. He simply should have told the Israeli people the truth. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived here last night, will certainly express similar sentiments: "commitment to Israel's security," "strategic alliance," "the need for peace," and so on .

Before no other country on the planet does the United States kneel and plead like this. In other trouble spots, America takes a different tone. It bombs in Afghanistan, invades Iraq and threatens sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Did anyone in Washington consider begging Saddam Hussein to withdraw from occupied territory in Kuwait?
 What do Israeli's think about all this? Levy explains that for all the 'sucking up' Obama approval rating in Israel is bertween 6% and 10%. Is that because Israeli's are so ungrateful or rather astute?
But Israel the occupier, the stubborn contrarian that continues to mock America and the world by building settlements and abusing the Palestinians, receives different treatment. Another massage to the national ego in one video, more embarrassing praise in another...
Of Israel, Levy says,

It is true that unlike all the world's other troublemakers, Israel is viewed as a Western democracy, but Israel of 2009 is a country whose language is force. Anwar Sadat may have been the last leader to win our hearts with optimistic, hope-igniting speeches. If he were to visit Israel today, he would be jeered off the stage. The Syrian president pleads for peace and Israel callously dismisses him, the United States begs for a settlement free ze and Israel turns up its nose. This is what happens when there are no consequences for Israel's inaction...

Uncritical and one sided support for Israel is, Levy insists, endangering not only Israel but the entire Middle East.
Israel of 2009 is a spoiled country, arrogant and condescending, convinced that it deserves everything and that it has the power to make a fool of America and the world. The United States has engendered this situation, which endangers the entire Mideast and Israel itself. That is why there needs to be a turning point in the coming year - Washington needs to finally say no to Israel and the occupation. An unambiguous, presidential no.  
Read the full article here

Sunday, 1 November 2009