SHIP 2 GAZA: 8 boats on their way 2 break the israeli illegal shoah blockade of Gaza

Ship to Gaza is an initiative of practical solidarity with the people in Gaza. As soon as it is economically and practically possible, we intend to send a ship with supplies that are in great demand from Scandinavia via ports in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea to Gaza. In the ports that are visited on the way, cultural and advocacy events will be organised in collaboration with local organisations. Upon arrival in Gaza, the aid will be administered by politically independent organisations.

Ship to Gaza

ISRAELI NUCLEAR BANALITY: how Israel offered to sell South Africa the bomb (When will we put sanctions on Israhell?)

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons

Exclusive: Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa‘s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of “ambiguity” in neither confirming nor denying their existence.

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.

They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials “formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal”.

Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.

The memo, marked “top secret” and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: “In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere.”

But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.

The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available.” The document then records: “Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice.” The “three sizes” are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.

The use of a euphemism, the “correct payload”, reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong’s memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.

In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.

Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel’s prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.

South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.

The documents confirm accounts by a former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union. After his release with the collapse of apartheid, Gerhardt said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called Chalet which involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with “special warheads”. Gerhardt said these were atomic bombs. But until now there has been no documentary evidence of the offer.

Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: “It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement… shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party”.

The agreement also said that neither party could unilaterally renounce it.

The existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme was revealed by Mordechai Vanunu to the Sunday Times in 1986. He provided photographs taken inside the Dimona nuclear site and gave detailed descriptions of the processes involved in producing part of the nuclear material but provided no written documentation.

Documents seized by Iranian students from the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 revolution revealed the Shah expressed an interest to Israel in developing nuclear arms. But the South African documents offer confirmation Israel was in a position to arm Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads.

Israel pressured the present South African government not to declassify documents obtained by Polakow-Suransky. “The Israeli defence ministry tried to block my access to the Secment agreement on the grounds it was sensitive material, especially the signature and the date,” he said. “The South Africans didn’t seem to care; they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime’s old allies.”

Ref: Guardian

Nuclear double standard

Israel’s nuclear capabilities

Israel ~ nuclear rogue state

Also read this:

The tragicomedy of Iran sanctions

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Chomsky ban: “An end to freedom”? – the end of Israel as a freedom-loving state of law

Noam Chomsky, the American academic barred from entering the occupied West Bank on Sunday night, has not been particularly outspoken about the incident.

He told Al Jazeera that the Israeli government was upset that his plans to speak at a Palestinian university were scuppered; he likened Israel to a “Stalinist regime” in a brief interviewwith Haaretz; but he has otherwise kept a low public profile.

In the US media, too, Chomsky’s expulsion attracted relatively little interest.

But the incident has sparked a debate within Israel, where a number of prominent journalists and writers questioned whether it’s part of a trend – of the Israeli government denying entry to people simply because of their political views.

The Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported that the decision to bar Chomsky came from an official in the Israeli interior ministry – and that he was barred for being a “leftist.”

Chomsky is hardly the first person barred from Israel on ideological grounds. Jared Malsin, the English editor of the Ma’an news service, was deported from Israel in January for his political views. And Ivan Prado, a Spanish clown, was deported earlier this year, also for his political views.

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel told the Jerusalem Post that people with left-wing views are routinely barredfrom entering Israel.

Oded Feller, an attorney for the group, said the Israeli interior ministry has not set out clear criteria for barring people from Israel, and that political considerations are often involved.

“There may be a million reasons, but try to find a single criterion for entry refusal and you’ll hit a blank wall,” Feller said.

“Dozens of people are refused entry to Israel every week and I’m sure that the interior ministry has great reasons for every refusal, but if you try to discern what the regulations that guide the decision to grant or refuse an individual’s entry to Israel are, you won’t find them.

“The interior ministry simply doesn’t publish them, this despite a court ruling that ordered them to do so.”

Boaz Okon, the legal affairs editor for the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, said the issue could mark “the end of Israel as a freedom-loving state of law”.

“When freedom disappears – it comes first of all at the expense of the weak, the marginal groups or the minorities. But it does not end there. Now it is also reaching intellectuals with a worldwide reputation.

“Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the decision to shut up Prof. Chomsky is an attempt to put an end to freedom in the State of Israel,” Okon wrote.

Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times, reported on the debate within Israel, where one conservative member of the Knesset said barring people with Chomsky’s viewswas a decision “to protect our existence.”

Israel’s interior ministry has characterized the incident as a “misunderstanding,” and there’s some speculation in the Israeli press that Chomsky will be allowed to enter the West Bank in the coming days.

If you missed it, here’s the video of Chomsky’s interview with Al Jazeera on Sunday night:

Ref: Al Jazeera

Israel imposes a 10-year ban on American critic of Israeli policies

ISRAELI “DEMOCRACY”: Israel stops US academic at border (democracy for the few white zionist)

Quiz Yourself on ‘Israeli Democracy’

  • For Israel to become a “Jewish majority” it opted to expel and dispossess the two-third Palestinian majority?
  • 80% of the Palestinian people were dispossessed from their homes, farms, and businesses and have been kept out for the past 54 years?
  • 95% of Israel’s lands (which is mostly owned by Palestinian refugees) is open for development to Jews only?
  • Only one of the 45 Zionist Jews who sign the Israeli “declaration of independence” on May 14th, 1948 was born in Palestine. The other 44 were mostly Jewish refugees who escaped their anti-Semitic Europe countries, such as Tsarist Russia, Germany, and Poland.
  • Israeli-Palestinian citizens live almost in segregated communities (or ghettos) because development is strictly limited outside their villages? Ironically, the word “ghetto” was invented to describe the living conditions of Eastern European Jews in Tsarist Russia!
  • For just being “Jewish” you gain an automatic citizenship in Israel? Plus tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies too.
  • Palestinian Muslims or Christians refugees, who were born in the country and later expelled, cannot gain Israeli citizenship? Of course, unless they convert to Judaism first!
  • Pretending to be Jewish in Israel is punishable by law with up to one year’s imprisonment? On the other hand, if you pretend to be a Muslim or Christian the law does you no harm!
  • When the Palestine problem was created by Britain in 1917, more than 92% of the population of Palestine were Arabs and there were at that time no more than 56,000 Jews in Palestine? That Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians at that time lived in peace with each other?
  • Palestinians in the early 20th century owned 97.5% of the land, while Jews (native Palestinians and recent immigrants together) owned only 2.5% of the land?
  • Close to 4 million Palestinian Muslims and Christians are being subjected to Israeli laws that are different than the laws governing the 4.5 million Israeli Jews? Is this a “democratically” elected apartheid, or not, that is the question?
  • In the occupied West Bank there are “Jewish Roads” and “Non-Jewish Roads”?
  • Israel issues national identify cards where the religion of the card holder is clearly shown in bold type?
  • Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza drive vehicles with license plates that have different coloring than the cars driven by Israeli settlers?
  • Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza hold ID cards that are of different colors than the cards held by Israeli settlers?
  • The only form of Judaism recognized by the “Jewish state” is Orthodox Judaism, so most US Jews could not get married in Israel. Furthermore, the only conversion to Judaism recognized is Orthodox, so most US converts aren’t Jewish enough.
  • The U.S. funneled into the Israeli economy over 130 billion dollars, which is almost twice the amount devoted to rebuilding Western Europe after WW II!
  • Israeli democracy is a facade for “Jewish Democracy?”
  • Israel has nuclear weapons, and it was close to dropping one on Cairo in 1973?
  • Israeli soldiers use human shields in battle to minimize their casualties?
  • Israel killed over 20,000 Lebanese and Muslims (90% of whom are civilians) with American made and paid for weapons?

Israeli Democracy Or Hypocrisy

Throughout history, regimes rhetorically embraced democracy as cover for more despotic policies, no different today throughout the world in countries like India, Pakistan, America and Israel practicing what Michael Parenti calls “democracy for the few,” (the) “shadier sides of US political life (in which) proponents of the existing social order have tried to transform practically every deficiency into a strength.

Israeli Democracy – Fact or Fiction?

Israel’s bulldozing of 62 shops in the village of Nazkt Issa, north of Tulkarem next to the West Bank line with Israel on Tuesday and its refusal to allow International and Israeli peace activists to witness the devastation illustrates the total control of the military in what is supposed to be a democratic state. Americans saw and heard little of this action except that it was caused by the illegal establishment of the shops by Palestinians. In a democratic state, the alleged “illegality” would be dealt with in a court of law, not by an army protecting bulldozers from citizens throwing stones. But Americans hear only what Sharon allows the corporate media in America to receive from his minions as he prevents outsiders from witnessing the demolition.


William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, will be published by Mellen Press in January. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU

REf: counterpunch

Isn’t true that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East? Maybe if more countries as democratic as Israel, peace might happen in no time

There is no denying of the fact that the Middle East is mostly ruled by autocratic, oppressive, and undemocratic regimes. On the other hand, the majority of these repressive regimes were mostly founded and funded based on Israeli and American wishes. It should be noted that the most popular revolts in the Middle East have been ruthlessly crushed by American puppet regimes (whom the West often refer to by “Moderate regimes”) in the area. The regimes in Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Hashemite Kingdom, Lebanon (before the civil war), Arab Gulf States, Morocco, Iran (prior to the Islamic revolution), Turkey, … etc., were all funded and directed by the United States of America; the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, many of the so called “moderate regimes” are ten times more accountable to Uncle Sam than to their own public. Ironically, if democracy truly shall serve Israel’s national interests in the region, then maybe it should direct its powerful lobby in Washington, AIPAC, to start lobbying on behalf of the oppressed in the Middle East; after all promoting “democracy is the key” to a lasting peace in the Middle East?

ANALYSIS: Boycotting the boycotters (Israeli exceptionalism and banality)

While the international boycott against apartheid South Africa is credited with leading to the regime’s downfall, here it is considered irrelevant and unworthy of comparison.

By Gideon Levy

Most people here are appalled at the notion that anybody beyond Israel’s borders would think to boycott their country, products or universities. Boycotts, after all, are viewed in Israel as illegitimate. Anyone who calls for such a step is perceived as an anti-Semite and Israel-hater who is undermining the state’s very right to exist. In Israel itself, those who call for a boycott are branded as traitors and heretics. The notion that a boycott, limited as it may be, is likely to convince Israel to change its ways – and for its own benefit – is not tolerated here.

Even an obvious, logical step – like the Palestinian Authority’s boycott of products made in the settlements – is viewed by hypocritical Israeli eyes as provocative. Moreover, while the international boycott against apartheid South Africa is credited with leading to the regime’s downfall, here it is considered irrelevant and unworthy of comparison.

It would be possible to identify with these intolerant reactions were it not for the fact that Israel itself is one of the world’s prolific boycotters. Not only does it boycott, it preaches to others, at times even forces others, to follow in tow. Israel has imposed a cultural, academic, political, economic and military boycott on the territories. At the same time, almost no one here utters a dissenting word questioning the legitimacy of these boycotts. Yet the thought of boycotting the boycotter? Now that’s inconceivable.

The most brutal, naked boycott is, of course, the siege on Gaza and the boycott of Hamas. At Israel’s behest, nearly all Western countries signed onto the boycott with inexplicable alacrity. This is not just a siege that has left Gaza in a state of shortage for three years. Nor is it just a complete (and foolish ) boycott of Hamas, save for the discussions over abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. It’s a series of cultural, academic, humanitarian and economic boycotts. Israel threatens nearly every diplomat who seeks to enter Gaza to see firsthand the unbearable sights.

In addition, Israel bars entry to anyone who wishes to lend humanitarian aid. We should note that the boycott isn’t just against Hamas, but against all Gaza, everyone who lives there. The convoy of ships that will soon sail from Europe to try to break the siege will carry thousands of tons of construction material, prefab houses and medicine. Israel has announced that it plans to stop the vessels. A boycott is a boycott.

Doctors, professors, artists, jurists, intellectuals, economists, engineers – none of them are permitted to enter Gaza. This is a complete boycott that bears the tag “Made in Israel.” Those who speak about immoral and ineffective boycotts do so without batting an eye when it comes to Gaza.

Israel is also urging the world to boycott Iran. But it’s not just Gaza and Iran that are at issue here, because entry into Israel and the West Bank is being affected by the recent frenzy of boycotts. Anyone who is suspected of supporting the Palestinians or expressing concern for their lot is boycotted and expelled. This group includes a clown who came to organize a conference; a peace activist who was due to appear at a symposium; and scientists, artists and intellectuals who arouse suspicions that they back the Palestinian cause. This is a cultural and academic boycott on all counts, the type of boycott that we reject when it is used against us.

Yet the anti-boycott country’s list of boycotted parties does not end there. Even a Jewish-American organization like J Street, which defines itself as pro-Israel, has felt the long arm of the Israeli boycott. It is permissible to boycott J Street because it champions peace, but we can’t tolerate a boycott of products made in settlements that were built on usurped land. Denying a visiting professor entry into Gaza for an appearance at a university does not qualify as a boycott, but cutting off ties with Israeli institutions that provide fast-track degree programs for army officers and interrogators in the Shin Bet security service – people who are often viewed around the world as complicit in war crimes – is viewed as verboten.

Yes, an Israeli who lives in Israel will have a hard time preaching to others about the virtues of a boycott when that person does not boycott his or her own country or university. But it is his right to believe that a boycott could compel his government to end the occupation. As long as the Israelis don’t pay any price, there won’t be a change.

This is a legitimate, moral position. It is no less legitimate or moral than those who claim that a boycott is an immoral, ineffective tool while exercising that same option against others. So you oppose a boycott against Israel? Then let’s first do away with all the boycotts we have imposed ourselves.

REF: haaretz

CrossTalk: Norman Finkelstein vs. Israel (ISRAEL IS A NATIONAL PARK!!!)

Israel’s Disgrace in Gaza

Jewish girl tries to criticise Dr. Norman Finkelstein

Israel’s Operation Imam – Islamic Posts Filled by Secret Police

ob interviews for the position of imam at mosques in Israel are conducted not by senior clerics but by the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, a labour tribunal has revealed.

Sheikh Ahmed Abu Ajwa, 36, is fighting the Shin Bet’s refusal to approve his appointment as an imam in a case that has lifted the lid on Israel’s secret surveillance of the country’s Islamic leaders.

At a hearing last month, a senior government official admitted that 60 undercover inspectors were employed effectively as spies to collect information on Muslim clerics, reporting on political opinions they expressed in sermons and relaying gossip about their private lives.

Sheikh Abu Ajwa took his case to the tribunal after the Shin Bet rejected him three years ago as the imam of a mosque in Jaffa, next to Tel Aviv, despite his being the sole candidate. He was told after a security clearance interview that his views were “extremist” and too critical of Israel, even though an imam is not officially defined as a security-related position.

“During one interview with the Shin Bet, they told me they had been collecting information on me since I was 15,” Sheikh Abu Ajwa said.

“I am the first imam ever to challenge the Shin Bet’s role in our appointments. It’s important to win a precedent-setting ruling from the courts to stop this kind of interference.”

Michael Sfard, a human rights lawyer representing Sheikh Abu Ajwa, said that, as far as it could be determined, no similar vetting of rabbis took place before their hiring.

“This sort of surveillance relating to a non-security position like an imam comes straight out of the era of the Stasi police in East Germany or the McCarthy period in the United States,” he said.

The traditional independence of the local Islamic authorities was removed at Israel’s creation in 1948, when the government confiscated almost all waqf property — endowments of land and property used for the benefit of the Palestinian Muslim community — removing the main source of income for clerics, the Islamic courts and charitable services.

According to experts, as much as a fifth of Palestine’s cultivated land was waqf property before 1948. Israel passed most of it to Zionist organisations like the Jewish National Fund or sold it to developers.

Responsibility for hundreds of mosques, cemeteries and other holy sites, meanwhile, was handed either to the religious affairs ministry or to Islamic boards of trustees appointed by the government.

Today, most imams and all Islamic judges must submit to a security clearance interview before being awarded a state salary.

Israel’s Arab minority, one fifth of the population, have long charged that many of its Muslim leaders are little more than government placemen, whose Islamic learning takes second place to their co-operation with the authorities.

Sabri Jiryis, a historian of Israel’s early years, has noted that the boards of trustees repeatedly rubber-stamped government decisions to sell off Islamic property to developers. Most notoriously Jaffa’s board approved in 1971 selling an Islamic cemetery in Tel Aviv on which the Hilton hotel was built.

Sheikh Abu Ajwa said: “In Jaffa, the government appointed many clerics because they had proved their loyalty, though not to other Muslims. They sold off our property — but you can’t sell what belongs to Allah.”

Jaffa, which was once the commercial capital of Palestine, today has a population of nearly 50,000 residents, of which two thirds are Jewish and the rest Muslim.

The sheikh has been preaching at the seafront Jabalya mosque, one of six in the town, since he was 19, making him reportedly the youngest person to serve as an imam in Israel’s history. He qualified as an imam at an Islamic college in the Israeli Arab city of Umm al Fahm in 1998.

The local community universally backed him as the new imam when his predecessor retired three years ago, but he cannot be officially recognised, and is ineligible for a salary, without the interior ministry’s approval.

As part of his application, he was interviewed by a Shin Bet officer named “Dror” who, he said, waved at him a folder of confidential information collected by undercover inspectors. “We will decide who is the next imam,” Dror told him, according to Sheikh Abu Ajwa. The sheikh was asked mainly about his political opinions and demonstrations he had attended.

The Shin Bet’s assessment, revealed to the tribunal, was that Sheikh Abu Ajwa’s appointment “may jeopardise security and peace in Jaffa”. In addition, the agency told the Haaretz newspaper that the sheikh “has had a long involvement in hostile activity, which manifested itself in incitement against the state and its Jewish citizens”.

Sheikh Abu Ajwa said this was a reference to his position as the leader in Jaffa of the popular northern wing of the Islamic Movement. Its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, has raised the hackles of Jewish officials both by running a campaign warning of Israel’s intentions to take over the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and by promoting a boycott of parliamentary elections.

The head of the Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, warned in 2007 that his agency’s role was to prevent any activities, including democratic ones, that worked against the interests of a Jewish state.

Yaakov Salameh, the head of the religious minorities department at the interior ministry, told the tribunal last month that his inspectors collected information on Muslim religious leaders, including rumours about their private lives, such as whether they had had an affair or beat their children. The information was then handed to the Shin Bet, which assessed whether they were suitable to be appointed.

Mr Sfard said it was an “extraordinary” admission, given that under Israeli law the criminal records of candidates for religious appointments could only be considered if the applicant agreed to the information being handed over.

David Baker, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office, which is responsible for the Shin Bet, refused to comment on whether the appointment of rabbis followed the same procedures as those for imams.

Sheikh Abu Ajwa observed that many rabbis, particularly those in the settlements, said “very extreme things but no one spies on them. In fact, they have full government support.”

He admitted he was outspoken in his sermons, but said he had never broken any laws and never advocated violence. “I talk about our Palestinian identity and criticise the policies of the state in its treatment of us as a minority,” he said. “These are very sensitive things that they want to prevent us from talking about.”

During one Shin Bet interview, he said, he had been told: “We know everything about you, we are always watching you.”

The goal of such interviews was often to recruit Muslim clerics to become informers themselves, he added.

REf: Counterpunch

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.