Tuesday, 25 October 2011

God's Chosen People

Giulio Meotti in "The new-old Jew hatred" published in Ynet this week insists the New Testament is anti-Semitic for teaching that the followers of Jesus are God's "Chosen people". He makes a further fundamental  theological error by equating chosenness with race. Personally, I have never used the phrase "Chosen Jews". The Hebrew scriptures, just as much as the New Testament insist that "chosenness" is defined by faith not race.
"Let no foreigner who is bound to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.”... And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants... these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer... for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”  (Isaiah 56:3-7)

From a Christian perspective, Jesus is the Chosen One and those who acknowledge him, whether Jewish or Gentile are God's "chosen people". Jesus means "anointed" or "Chosen one".
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations." (Isaiah 42:1)
The phrase "chosen people" is used exclusively of the followers of Jesus in the Christian scriptures.

The Apostle Peter quotes Moses, insisting membership of God's people is defined on the basis of faith not race:
"For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people." (Acts 3:22-23; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19).
The Apostle Paul similarly insists:
"A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code." (Romans 2:28-29)
To believe this is patently not anti-Semitic any more than to suggest those who deny Jesus is their Messiah are anti-British. Anti-Semitism is racism and must be repudiated just as much as Islamophobia.

To read what the New Testament actually teaches about God's "Chosen people" see Israel and the Church: Who are God's Chosen People?

For a simple introduction see:  Seven Biblical Answers to Popular Zionist Assumptions

Norman Finkelstein and John Mearsheimer on Greater Israel or Peace?

Scott McConnell of The American Conservative recently interviewed Norman Finkelstein and John Mearsheimer about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Scott McConnell: Have we come to the end of the Oslo process? Is a two‑state solution still a viable possibility?

Norman Finkelstein: The problem is the definition of terms. The Oslo process, contrary to what’s widely understood, was largely a success. It’s true now that it may be at an impasse, but as it was originally conceived, it was largely a success. The Israeli leadership was very clear about what it intended from the Oslo process.

Mainly, Rabin said—the former prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin—that if we can get the Palestinians to do the dirty work in the Occupied Territories, there’s going to be less pressure from human rights organizations. They wouldn’t cause as many problems if the Palestinians were doing the policing. And there was a military reason: namely, a large number of Israeli troops was bogged down in the Occupied Territories. That meant time taken away from military training.

The quid pro quo was, well, in 1990‑91 the PLO made what seemed to have been a tactical or strategic error by supporting Saddam Hussein, and they lost all of their funding from the Gulf States. And basically the United States and Israel threw them a life preserver, saying, “If you switch sides, you do what we want you to do, we’ll keep you alive.” That was the choice that the Palestinians made, or the Palestinian leadership made. But then a new problem arose, and that’s Hamas began to rise in power.

John Mearsheimer:
 The Israelis—and this was especially true of Rabin when the Oslo peace process got started—had no interest in giving the Palestinians a viable state. What they wanted was to restrict the Palestinians to a handful of Bantustans that were located inside of Greater Israel, and it could be called a Palestinian state. In a very important way, Oslo has been successful in that it has allowed the Israelis, working with the Palestinian Authority, to create a situation where the Palestinians have some autonomy in these Bantustans.
 A great interview. Read more here

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Contemporary Zionism and Biblical Truth

A couple of weeks ago I was in Bethlehem, and helped write the Seven Affirmations for the Christ at the Checkpoint conference. The 6th Affirmation states:
Affirmation #6: Messianic Jews
Messianic Jews are the brothers and sisters of all who follow Jesus or Yeshua. We are one family bound together in a fellowship of love. Although diversity in political opinions as well as theological emphasis inevitably exist, we refuse to allow these views to hinder our fellowship in Jesus.
The wording of this affirmation was mine and reflects my deep commitment to Messianic believers and unity within the Body of Christ between Jewish and Gentile believers.We are delighted the conference is bringing together Israeli, Palestinian and international believers who wish to find hope in the midst of conflict.

A day later, I spoke at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in Hammersmith. In answer to a question about the attitude of churches to the occupation, I was criticised for implying that I regard the Messianic churches as an abomination. I do not believe this. However, this sentence was seized upon by those wishing to undermine the Christ at the Checkpoint conference. I repeat, I was not making a statement about Messianic Jews in general, or criticising specific Messianic congregations in particular. I have no knowledge of their views on these matters.

For the benefit of friends at Rosh Pina Project who seem to need things in black and white, I apologise unreservedly. I spoke under duress and did not think through the implications of how my sentence would be interpreted, especially by critics. I withdraw the statement. We are blessed to have Messianic believers within my own church family and also circle of friends.

Let me be explicit, however, about what I do believe.

I do believe it to be very wrong when Christians give unconditional support to policies of the Israeli government regarded as war crimes in international law. Examples include the use of live ammunition against civilians, targeted assassinations, the use of torture and imprisonment of children, and collective punishment, (all carefully reported by B’Tselem).

I do believe it is evil when people justify apartheid and segregation.

I do believe the theft of land, the theft of water, the demolition of homes, the destruction of olive trees and imposition of military rule resulting in the denial of the fundamental human rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is evil.

The Bible is very clear.
"Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan." (Exodus 22:2)

"Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits." (Exodus 23:6)

"Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge." (Deuteronomy 24:17)
"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 82:3-4)
"The LORD enters into judgement against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?' declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 3:14-15)
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" (Isaiah 58:6-7)
" So I will come near to you for judgement. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud labourers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,' says the LORD Almighty." (Malachi 3:5) 
I do believe that to try and justify from the Bible, throwing people out of their homes, stealing their land and confiscating their property is evil.

I do believe that to ignore the plain teaching of Scripture and then justify the colonisation of stolen land, the building of roads for the exclusive use of the colonisers and the construction of a giant wall on other people's property is evil.

It is a clear repudiation of the Mosaic law, the Hebrew prophets, the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament gospel. It is therefore an abomination (Galatians 1:9). I make no apology for saying so.

I deeply regret any church, whether Gentile or Messianic, that justifies these practices.

In the words of John Stott, "I myself believe that Zionism, both political and Christian, is incompatible with biblical truth."

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Seamus is going to the Holy Land

Seamus is getting a good night's sleep tonight because early tomorrow morning he is going on holiday to the Holy Land. Keep up with Seamus's adventures first hand, exclusively on this blog.

Read about his earlier adventures here and his photo album here and on Flickr here

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Why Hamas should have released Shalit unconditionally five years ago


I am glad Gilad Shalit has been released. I am also glad that Israel is releasing 1,027 Palestinian political prisoners including 27 women.

Not withstanding the provisions of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war, and similar Islamic teaching, I wish Hamas had released Shalit unconditionally when first captured to provoke Israel into doing the same.
 "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." (Proverbs 25:21-22)
"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:44-45)
It is sad that all the media attention is focussed upon one person and not the 7,400 Palestinians which the Guardian says are currently being held in Israeli jails, nearly 400 of them without charge.

I once met a spokesman for Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon who asked me "what would you advise Hezbollah?". I said "Release the Israeli captives. Show them compassion and mercy. Show them you are magnanimous." 

What this conflict needs is radical and unconditional acts of compassion and mercy, not bartering as if human beings were like animals to be traded.
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse... Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:14, 17, 21)

Monday, 17 October 2011

The New Defence Secretary: Philip Hammond MP



The new Defence Secretary is Philip Hammond. I am delighted that Philip has been appointed as he is also our local MP. I have known Philip for many years and we have met at civic functions in Runnymede on numerous occasions. However, I confess that I have not kept a record of our meetings and I can give categorical assurances that, however much I might wish to, I will not be one of his advisers, officially or unofficially.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Christ in all the Scriptures

For many people the Old Testament is a closed book, rarely read, even less understood. A. M. Hodgkin's book, Christ in all the Scriptures, reveals how Jesus is central to every book of the Bible.

We have been using the book as the basis for a sermon series at Christ Church, Virginia Water. You can read the text or watch the videos here:
 
  Judges and the Angel of the Lord (Judges 6)
  Joshua: Joshua and the Commander of the Lord’s Army (Joshua 5)
  Deuteronomy: Moses and the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18)
  Numbers: The Bronze Serpent (Numbers 21)
  Leviticus: The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16)
  Exodus: The Passover Lamb (Exodus 12)
  Genesis: The Sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22)

Israeli and Iranian Lives in the Balance




Richard Silverstein reports a senior Likud MK Carmel Shama HaCohen
At the beginning of the current government’s term three chief objectives were set: ending the economic crisis, returning Gilad Shalit, and eliminating the Iranian nuclear [program]. We’ve exited the economic crisis for some time, Shalit comes home Tuesday alive and well…
Silverstein comments,
Two outa three ain’t bad. But this MK is telling his Facebook audience that Bibi’s goin’ for the Trifecta. The ellipsis after the word “well” says it all. And in case you have any doubt about the meaning of the word used in Hebrew (chisul) which I’ve translated as “eliminate,” it can also mean “liquidate” or “assassinate.” You get the idea.
Read the rest of Silverstein's disturbing article here.

Is this part of an coordinated campaign to prepare us for another war?

Saudis say Iran must 'pay the price' for alleged plot as US resists retaliation

US accuses Iran of bomb plot to kill Saudi ambassador in Washington

Alleged plot reflects Middle East rivalries



Lives in the Balance.

I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs
On the radio talk shows and the t.v.
You hear one thing again and again
How the u.s.a. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends--
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the president the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Jewish extremists storm Al-Aqsa mosque

The Palestine Telegraph is reporting Jewish extremists storm Al-Aqsa mosque
Groups of Jewish extremists on early Sunday entered Al-Aqsa mosque and started roaming the courtyards and facilities under protection of Israeli forces.

Local sources said that successive numbers of Jewish extremists guarded by Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa mosque from Al-Magharbi gate and provocatively roamed in courtyards and facilities of the mosque.

At the same time, Israeli police stationed at the outer gates of Al-Aqsa mosque tightened restrictions to prevent Palestinian from accessing the mosque specially the young ones and hold their identity cards.

Jewish extremists called to storm Al-Aqsa mosque on Sunday in order to mark their holidays, while Jerusalemite citizens gathered to defend their most holy place.
A similar event took place last Monday Ultra-orthodox Jews break into the Aqsa Mosque  

Middle East Monitor reported similar incursions in August: Jewish "extremists" enter Al-Aqsa with police support, and in June Jewish extremists drink wine in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Worryingly, what all these reports have in common is the fact that Israeli police provide protection for the extremists.

Mossad's 'Useful Idiots'

News that was circulating on the web last week has finally broken in the mainstream Independent on Sunday
Adam Werritty, the man at the centre of the Liam Fox cash-for-access scandal, has been involved in an audacious plot to topple Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it was claimed last night.
The self-styled adviser to Mr Fox, whose close personal friendship with the former defence secretary led to Mr Fox's downfall, has visited Iran on several occasions and met Iranian opposition groups in Washington and London over the past few years, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.
Mr Werritty, 33, has been debriefed by MI6 about his travels and is so highly regarded by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad – who thought he was Mr Fox's chief of staff – that he was able to arrange meetings at the highest levels of the Israeli government, multiple sources have told The IoS.
Read more here

This from Craig Murray, a former UK Ambassador:The Real Werrity Scandal
... Werritty is paid by representatives of far right US and Israeli sources to influence the British defence secretary. It has been discussed within the MOD whether Werritty is being – knowingly or otherwise – run as an agent of influence by the CIA or Mossad. That is why the chiefs of the armed forces are so concerned, and why there is today much gagging at the stitch up within the Cabinet Office.

This has parallels to the Christine Keeler case but is much, much worse.

That the British Defence Minister holds frequent unrecorded meetings in the Ministry and abroad with somebody promoting the interests of foreign powers is much, much worse than a little cash-grubbing. That the person representing the foreign powers is actually present, apparently to all as a ministerial adviser, at meetings of Fox with important representatives of foreign nations is simply appalling. 
See also Craig Murray,  Guardian Confirms Mossad Fears
As I have been explaining, the real issue here is a British defence secretary who had a parallel advice structure designed expressly to serve the interests of another state and linked to that state’s security services. That is not just a sacking offence, it is treasonable.
This from Jews for Justice for Palestinians Israel’s military policy wonks want Liam Fox to speak to them
Fox’s involvement in Israeli politics was evident in 2009 when, as Shadow Defence Secretary he was invited to speak at Israel’s principal ‘security’ conference at Herzliya. http://www.herzliyaconference.org/eng/_Uploads/2165executivesummary09.pdf
This is the place to meet the movers and shakers in US/UK/Israel military circles. Both equipment and strategy are discussed, including Iran’s nuclear threat. Dr Fox spoke on ‘Can European-Israel relations be decoupled from the Palestinian issue?’ (Europe being seen as out of step with the US and Israel in the greater place it gives to Palestinians in foreign policy.)
The Daily Mail has a piece with a rather long title that just about says it all...

Was Mossad using Fox and Werritty as 'useful idiots'? Ex-Ambassador reveals how links made by 'advisers' set alarm bells ringing

UPDATE: Richard Silverstein has written a more comprehensive analysis here Besieged Former UK Defense Minister’s Buddy Funded by Pro-Israel Lobby, Linked to Mossad
 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Connecting with the Palestinian Church


Stephen Sizer on Connecting with the Palestinian Church from Christ at the Checkpoint on Vimeo.

A short video made to promote the international conference Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 and my burden to see the Church worldwide connect with the Palestinian and Messianic church to work toward justice and reconciliation in Israel and Palestine.

Please also read the Seven Affirmations of the conference organisers which reflect our motivation and hopes.

See more Christ at the Checkpoint videos here.

Conference package deals are now available for participants traveling from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada! These packages will provide reduced airfare, accommodation rates, and tour package options for conference attendees.

Participants from the United States can view tour package options via our Stateside partner, Harmony International. Participants from the United Kingdom can view tour package options via our British partner, Christian Travel. Participants from Canada can view tour package options via our Canadian partner, HOPE Outreach.

For more details on package deals and registration information, please visit the Registration page.

Jerusalem Under Threat



A presentation given for the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign at Rivercourt Methodist Church, Hammersmith.

Here is an article The Battle for Jerusalem drawn from my book Zion's Christian Soldiers and a sermon on the same theme  The Battle for Jerusalem?

See also Seven Biblical Answers to Popular Zionist Assumptions.


 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Swedish academics call for boycott of Israeli institutions






"More than 200 professors and students from Sweden have signed on to a call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

The boycott petition was initiated by the Action Group for the Boycott of Israel at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

According to the petition, "Israeli academic institutions are deeply complicit in Israel's occupation of Palestine. They cooperate closely with the security-military establishment. They offer advice to military intelligence and assist in developing weapon technologies for the Occupation forces. So far, none of the Israeli academic institutions have dissociated themselves from the occupation regime, or condemned the entrenched system of discrimination of Palestinians."

The petition adds that the boycott is not aimed at individuals but against institutions. It calls on the Swedish academics to refuse to participate in collaborations with Israel universities; to refrain from attending academic activities at Israeli universities; to suspend all funding to Israeli universities; to promote divestment from Israel by academic institutions; and to foster initiatives that support Palestinian educational institutions"

Read more here

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

President Rebuffs Maronite Leader

September 30, 2011

Dear Mr. President:

I am terribly disappointed with the rebuff of Patriarch Bechara Peter Rai who is the Catholic leader of the Maronites worldwide and one of the most respected Christian leaders in Lebanon and the Middle East. The motto of his coat of arms reflects his personality and is call for "communion and love." He has been trying to achieve what no other Middle Eastern political or a religious leader has been able to do: meet others with respect and love, not take sides, and build bridges to a future that will hopefully lead to peace and happiness for all people in the Middle East.

Muslim and Christian groups have all found in him a real father, a Patriarch. Because he has spoken out expressing his concern for the future of Christians in the Middle East, he has been rebuffed by you and your Administration. It is pure hypocrisy for the leader of the free world to refuse to meet with Patriarch Rai especially since the Prime Minister of Israel can come and completely disregard essential parts of a peace plan and still be given a warm welcome, and the King of Saudi Arabia, where Christians have no freedom whatsoever, can be received with highest honors. 

Mr. President, you are ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle East!

Patriarch Rai's warning about the future of Christians in Syria is not taboo. Christians are in a state of peril in the same way that Christians of Iraq were a few years ago when two thirds of them migrated out of the country and are still not protected to this day. To say the Patriarch supports dictators and sides with terrorists is pure nonsense. With his own unique charisma, Patriarch Rai has reached out to all Lebanese with whom he has to live side-by-side. It is a beautiful outreach, one that is uniquely his, without having to be beholden to anyone. He speaks with love and tempers the divisive, hateful talk of many. He gives hope A new day is dawning in the Middle East.

The Arab Spring is happening with little vision for the summer that will ensue.  Mr. President, you do not have to agree on everything with Patriarch Rai, but there is no need to avoid or rebuff him. By doing so, you are showing your disrespect for him and for all Christians of the Middle East

+ Gregory J Mansour
Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Balfour Project



2017 will mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

The British Government issued the Declaration in 1917, promising to support a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and to safeguard the rights of the non-Jewish people of Palestine. We have fulfilled the first part at the cost of the second, thus condemning both sides to endless conflict. We want to work with all - British, Israeli and Palestinian - who recognise that the way we can best advance peace in that region is to focus attention on the second part of the Declaration. 

Mindful of the responsibility of Britain, the Balfour Project will encourage understanding of what led to the Balfour Declaration, and what flowed from it.

The Balfour Project seeks to contribute to justice and peace in the Middle East, and in particular the resolution of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Balfour Project will facilitate a network of educational, political, religious and humanitarian groups who share this vision.

The Balfour Project network hopes to produce a wide range of multimedia resources suitable for children and adults, and promote a series of international conferences and cultural exchanges to enable participants to engage with empathy those who have been impacted by the Balfour Declaration.

For more information contact info@balfourdeclaration



The Partition Plan of 1947 sought to extricate Britain from Palestine and deliver on the promises made to the Jews and Arabs in the Balfour Declaration.




Friday, 7 October 2011

When United Means Divided


The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem is promoting a provocative short video about the exclusive Zionist claim to Jerusalem. They show no compassion for the people who have lived in Jerusalem for generations and whose homes are being demolished, whose land is being confiscated and future hopes destroyed in neighbourhoods such as the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.

The Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem have made a definitive Statement on Christian Zionism which repudiates this kind of religion as apostasy:
Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.

We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!
Read more here

The Apostle Paul has even stronger words to describe those who distort the Christian message in this way.


And, if you haven't spotted it already, take a long hard look at the image and notice what is missing. Is this a clue to their apocalyptic 'end time' theology?

New legislation fails to give Tzipi Livni protection from War Crimes arrest

Frank Barat writes on Middle East Monitor New legislation fails to give Tzipi Livni protection from arrest. The Director of Public Prosecution admits he has been blocked by the Foreign Secretary from issuing an arrest warrant. It is a sad day for British justice when politicians interfere with the due process of the law, especially our obligations under international law and the fact that an arrest warrant had previously been issued. 
In advance of Ms. Livni's current visit, a Palestinian civilian war crimes victim, represented by lawyers from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and Hickman & Rose Solicitors, invited the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to authorise the arrest of Ms Livni to enable an urgent decision to be made by the Attorney General to charge her for war crimes. Alternatively, the victim requested the DPP's permission to apply to a judge for an arrest warrant for Ms. Livni

At lunchtime today, the DPP made a statement that he has been blocked from any arrest decision or giving his consent to an application for the issue of an arrest warrant - BUT NOT on the basis of a lack of evidence. The only reason given by the DPP is the retrospective grant of diplomatic immunity to Ms Livni by the British Foreign Secretary on the basis of a ‘Special Mission' (which is not accepted by the victim).

Ms Livni and the Foreign Secretary have claimed this week that the recent change in the British law on arrest warrants (requiring the consent of the DPP before a magistrate could issue a warrant) has spared Ms Livni from arrest. If that were true then no certificate was needed from the Foreign Secretary. Rather, it was the issue of a certificate of diplomatic immunity that allowed a war crimes suspect, Ms Livni, the subject of a previous arrest warrant, to escape due process. 

Mr Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestine Centre for Human Rights said:
"This decision is a clear abuse of process and of law. The U.K. Government has granted Tzipi Livni immunity despite clear evidence indicating her responsibility for the commission of international crimes, which should have been tested in court. With this illegitimate decision the UK sends the clear message to civilian victims of war crimes that international law is purely an academic exercise, and is not intended to protect them in practice. This decision must be challenged, in the name of universal justice, and victims' fundamental rights."
Read the full article here

See also British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni
 
 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Protest against Tzipi Livni visit to the UK



Just flew back from Tel Aviv on the same flight as Tzipi Livni this evening. Unlike me, she got an armed police escort off the plane at Heathrow.

You're welcome to come and see her though at 5pm today, Thursday, 6th October, outside Downing Street, Whitehall, London, SW1

Tzipi Livni, who faced an arrest warrant in the UK in 2009 over war crimes committed during the so called "Operation Cast Lead", feels she now can visit the UK because our Government – with the support of the Opposition party – has just changed the law on universal jurisdiction.

According to The Guardian:

The former Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, will meet the foreign secretary, William Hague, in Britain on Thursday in the first test of a new law governing arrest warrants for war crimes.

For a commentary on the change of UK law to appease Israeli war criminals see  Electronic Intifada.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I am from Nabi Saleh



Nabi Saleh is just one of hundreds of West Bank villages suffering state sponsored violence under the Israeli occupation. The intention is clear - the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to create a land with no indigenous people for a colonialist people who want more.

For more videos of the protests in Nabi Saleh see YouTube

The Dark Side of the Settler Violence

Richard Silverstein has just posted a horrific report of settler violence in Anatot which uncovers the truly dark side of the settler movement. Anatot Pogrom Victims Suffered Sexual Abuse

Check out the report to read the eye witness reports of those injured and sexually abused by settlers.
Landau interprets the language of the settlers as their means of revenge and redemption of their self-respect.  Through rape, sodomy and other physical and verbal acts the honor of the tribe is upheld.  It’s primitive, brutal, bestial, but alas all too human.  We think we are Jews, that we don’t do such things, that we are civilized, that we have our sacred books and traditions that raise us above such brutalism.  Alas, violence like this reminds us that we are only those things in our best moments.  In our worst, we are no different.  And when we are no different, we have betrayed those traditions which we like to think set us apart or above the worst humanity has to offer.
What makes the article chilling is the claim that the majority of settlers in Anatot are police officers:
So far, not a peep from the Israeli government about an investigation of this incident or prosecution of the criminal acts that took place.  Really, they can’t.  70% of the residents of Anatot are police officers.  Can they try ten or fifteen police officers for serious crimes without the entire national police force rising up as one in protest?  These criminals are, in effect, the state.  Can the state arrest and try itself?
Please read the full article here

Monday, 3 October 2011

Living in Ghetto Bethlehem in Occupied Palestine

Two sisters, Arlette and Claire share what it is like to live in Bethlehem today. Their home is surrounded by the Israeli apartheid wall on three sides, cutting them off from family and work.





If you want to view these videos, email me with your name and address.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

US Block Aid to Palestinian Authority

Donald Macintyre reports in the Independent that, Abbas is punished by $200m cut in aid from US
The United States Congress has blocked nearly $200m in aid for the Palestinians, threatening projects such as food aid, health care, and support for efforts to build a functioning state.
The decision to delay the payments runs counter to the wishes of the Obama administration and reflects Congressional anger at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's so far unrealised pursuit of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and statehood recognition at the UN.
Perhaps the money will go instead to provide American pioneers with 1,000 or more new homes in the Gilo Settlement or perhaps in the Negev where another 30,000 Bedouin are to be 'transferred'

The positive side of the decision  to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority, is that Israel will have to administer the Occupied Territories instead of subcontracting it out to the PA. One wonders if the US Administration learnt the lesson in Iraq when it disbanded the security forces and civil administration.

At least the US is giving up the pretence of being committed to a two-state solution (now dead as a parrot) or being an 'honest broker' between the Israelis and Palestinians. Macintyre notes,
 Former President Bill Clinton, among others, this month warned legislators to leave the issue of aid to the administration, adding: "Everybody knows the US Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world. They don't have to demonstrate that."
 As Mark Braverman said recently at the Kairos Palestina conference in Amsterdam,
"Asking the US administration to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians is like asking Herod to mediate between the Roman Empire and the persecuted church."

Its perhaps time Tony Blair realised that too, although his role is more like that of Judas.
The Palestinian leadership has stepped up its attack on Tony Blair in his role as envoy of the Middle East Quartet, saying that his "parroting" of Israeli demands casts doubt on his credibility.. "He was parroting exactly what the Israelis wanted," said Shaath..
See: Channel 4 Blair Role in Palestine
Daily Telegraph Tony Blair Job in Jeopardy
Guardian Palestinian leaders renew attack on Tony Blair over Israel