LEBANON 2006 PHOTO EXIBITION الجمهوريّة اللبنانيّة

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En agosto de 2006, cuando las hostilidades del ejército que ocupa Palestina eran todavía un hecho habitual en territorio libanés, me propuse realizar un viaje de solidaridad, para tratar de participar en los trabajos de reconstrucción y distribución de ayuda humanitaria (descargar camiones de medicinas, alimentos y material de primera necesidad), con el doble objetivo de conocer y mezclarme con la población civil local, saber de su situación real, sus problemas y su modo de ver las cosas… documentar la situación y publicar una serie de crónicas que mostraran a la opinión pública occidental los verdaderos efectos de la agresión hebrea, sin censura ni falsa propaganda, aportando numerosas pruebas como abundante material fotográfico y la grabación de diversas entrevistas a líderes locales, combatientes, padres de familia, secuestrados, huérfanos.

Aquí, una pequeña selección del material gráfico.

Copyright: Jaume d’Urgell

A Clean Break: A New (Israeli) Strategy for Securing the Realm 2000

A Clean Break:
A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

Following is a report prepared by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ “Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.” The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy.

Israel has a large problem. Labor Zionism, which for 70 years has dominated the Zionist movement, has generated a stalled and shackled economy. Efforts to salvage Israel’s socialist institutions—which include pursuing supranational over national sovereignty and pursuing a peace process that embraces the slogan, “New Middle East”—undermine the legitimacy of the nation and lead Israel into strategic paralysis and the previous government’s “peace process.” That peace process obscured the evidence of eroding national critical mass— including a palpable sense of national exhaustion—and forfeited strategic initiative. The loss of national critical mass was illustrated best by Israel’s efforts to draw in the United States to sell unpopular policies domestically, to agree to negotiate sovereignty over its capital, and to respond with resignation to a spate of terror so intense and tragic that it deterred Israelis from engaging in normal daily functions, such as commuting to work in buses.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government comes in with a new set of ideas. While there are those who will counsel continuity, Israel has the opportunity to make a clean break; it can forge a peace process and strategy based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism, the starting point of which must be economic reform. To secure the nation’s streets and borders in the immediate future, Israel can:

+ Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, “comprehensive peace” to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power.

+ Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society.

+ Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West. This can only be done if Israel takes serious steps to terminate aid, which prevents economic reform.

This report is written with key passages of a possible speech marked TEXT, that highlight the clean break which the new government has an opportunity to make. The body of the report is the commentary explaining the purpose and laying out the strategic context of the passages.

A New Approach to Peace

Early adoption of a bold, new perspective on peace and security is imperative for the new prime minister. While the previous government, and many abroad, may emphasize “land for peace”— which placed Israel in the position of cultural, economic, political, diplomatic, and military retreat — the new government can promote Western values and traditions. Such an approach, which will be well received in the United States, includes “peace for peace,” “peace through strength” and self reliance: the balance of power.

A new strategy to seize the initiative can be introduced:

TEXT:
We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East. We in Israel cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. Peace depends on the character and behavior of our foes. We live in a dangerous neighborhood, with fragile states and bitter rivalries. Displaying moral ambivalence between the effort to build a Jewish state and the desire to annihilate it by trading “land for peace” will not secure “peace now.” Our claim to the land —to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years–is legitimate and noble. It is not within our own power, no matter how much we concede, to make peace unilaterally. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension, “peace for peace,” is a solid basis for the future.

Israel’s quest for peace emerges from, and does not replace, the pursuit of its ideals. The Jewish people’s hunger for human rights — burned into their identity by a 2000-year old dream to live free in their own land — informs the concept of peace and reflects continuity of values with Western and Jewish tradition. Israel can now embrace negotiations, but as means, not ends, to pursue those ideals and demonstrate national steadfastness. It can challenge police states; enforce compliance of agreements; and insist on minimal standards of accountability.

Securing the Northern Border

Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

+ striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.

+ paralleling Syria’s behavior by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

+ striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper.

Israel also can take this opportunity to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a “Brotherhood Agreement” in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignty. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.

Under Syrian tutelage, the Lebanese drug trade, for which local Syrian military officers receive protection payments, flourishes. Syria’s regime supports the terrorist groups operationally and financially in Lebanon and on its soil. Indeed, the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon has become for terror what the Silicon Valley has become for computers. The Bekaa Valley has become one of the main distribution sources, if not production points, of the “supernote” — counterfeit US currency so well done that it is impossible to detect.

Text:
Negotiations with repressive regimes like Syria’s require cautious realism. One cannot sensibly assume the other side’s good faith. It is dangerous for Israel to deal naively with a regime murderous of its own people, openly aggressive toward its neighbors, criminally involved with international drug traffickers and counterfeiters, and supportive of the most deadly terrorist organizations.

Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan “comprehensive peace” and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting “land for peace” deals on the Golan Heights.

Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy

TEXT:
We must distinguish soberly and clearly friend from foe. We must make sure that our friends across the Middle East never doubt the solidity or value of our friendship.

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria’s regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the ‘natural axis’ with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.

Since Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein.

Changing the Nature of Relations with the Palestinians

Israel has a chance to forge a new relationship between itself and the Palestinians. First and foremost, Israel’s efforts to secure its streets may require hot pursuit into Palestinian-controlled areas, a justifiable practice with which Americans can sympathize.

A key element of peace is compliance with agreements already signed. Therefore, Israel has the right to insist on compliance, including closing Orient House and disbanding Jibril Rujoub’s operatives in Jerusalem. Moreover, Israel and the United States can establish a Joint Compliance Monitoring Committee to study periodically whether the PLO meets minimum standards of compliance, authority and responsibility, human rights, and judicial and fiduciary accountability.

TEXT:
We believe that the Palestinian Authority must be held to the same minimal standards of accountability as other recipients of U.S. foreign aid. A firm peace cannot tolerate repression and injustice. A regime that cannot fulfill the most rudimentary obligations to its own people cannot be counted upon to fulfill its obligations to its neighbors.

Israel has no obligations under the Oslo agreements if the PLO does not fulfill its obligations. If the PLO cannot comply with these minimal standards, then it can be neither a hope for the future nor a proper interlocutor for present. To prepare for this, Israel may want to cultivate alternatives to Arafat’s base of power. Jordan has ideas on this.

To emphasize the point that Israel regards the actions of the PLO problematic, but not the Arab people, Israel might want to consider making a special effort to reward friends and advance human rights among Arabs. Many Arabs are willing to work with Israel; identifying and helping them are important. Israel may also find that many of her neighbors, such as Jordan, have problems with Arafat and may want to cooperate. Israel may also want to better integrate its own Arabs.

Forging A New U.S.-Israeli Relationship

In recent years, Israel invited active U.S. intervention in Israel’s domestic and foreign policy for two reasons: to overcome domestic opposition to “land for peace” concessions the Israeli public could not digest, and to lure Arabs — through money, forgiveness of past sins, and access to U.S. weapons — to negotiate. This strategy, which required funneling American money to repressive and aggressive regimes, was risky, expensive, and very costly for both the U.S. and Israel, and placed the United States in roles is should neither have nor want.

Israel can make a clean break from the past and establish a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership based on self-reliance, maturity and mutuality — not one focused narrowly on territorial disputes. Israel’s new strategy — based on a shared philosophy of peace through strength — reflects continuity with Western values by stressing that Israel is self-reliant, does not need U.S. troops in any capacity to defend it, including on the Golan Heights, and can manage its own affairs. Such self-reliance will grant Israel greater freedom of action and remove a significant lever of pressure used against it in the past.

To reinforce this point, the Prime Minister can use his forthcoming visit to announce that Israel is now mature enough to cut itself free immediately from at least U.S. economic aid and loan guarantees at least, which prevent economic reform. [Military aid is separated for the moment until adequate arrangements can be made to ensure that Israel will not encounter supply problems in the means to defend itself]. As outlined in another Institute report, Israel can become self-reliant only by, in a bold stroke rather than in increments, liberalizing its economy, cutting taxes, relegislating a free-processing zone, and selling-off public lands and enterprises — moves which will electrify and find support from a broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Israel can under these conditions better cooperate with the U.S. to counter real threats to the region and the West’s security. Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state. Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel’s survival, but it would broaden Israel’s base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense. Such broad support could be helpful in the effort to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

To anticipate U.S. reactions and plan ways to manage and constrain those reactions, Prime Minister Netanyahu can formulate the policies and stress themes he favors in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the Cold War which apply well to Israel. If Israel wants to test certain propositions that require a benign American reaction, then the best time to do so is before November, 1996.

Conclusions: Transcending the Arab-Israeli Conflict

TEXT: Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them.

Notable Arab intellectuals have written extensively on their perception of Israel’s floundering and loss of national identity. This perception has invited attack, blocked Israel from achieving true peace, and offered hope for those who would destroy Israel. The previous strategy, therefore, was leading the Middle East toward another Arab-Israeli war. Israel’s new agenda can signal a clean break by abandoning a policy which assumed exhaustion and allowed strategic retreat by reestablishing the principle of preemption, rather than retaliation alone and by ceasing to absorb blows to the nation without response.

Israel’s new strategic agenda can shape the regional environment in ways that grant Israel the room to refocus its energies back to where they are most needed: to rejuvenate its national idea, which can only come through replacing Israel’s socialist foundations with a more sound footing; and to overcome its “exhaustion,” which threatens the survival of the nation.

Ultimately, Israel can do more than simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict though war. No amount of weapons or victories will grant Israel the peace its seeks. When Israel is on a sound economic footing, and is free, powerful, and healthy internally, it will no longer simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict; it will transcend it. As a senior Iraqi opposition leader said recently: “Israel must rejuvenate and revitalize its moral and intellectual leadership. It is an important — if not the most important–element in the history of the Middle East.” Israel — proud, wealthy, solid, and strong — would be the basis of a truly new and peaceful Middle East.

Participants in the Study Group on “A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000:”

Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader

James Colbert, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Johns Hopkins University/SAIS
Douglas Feith, Feith and Zell Associates
Robert Loewenberg, President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Jonathan Torop, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
David Wurmser, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Meyrav Wurmser, Johns Hopkins University

Ref: Israelieconomy

The Prisoner Swap: Media Manipulations

One of today’s main articles on the Guardian reads ‘Israel exchanges Lebanese murderer for bodies of two captured soldiers’.

When anyone in the English reading world sees this title and what follows in the article, he or she would immediately think that one of the persons mentioned is a vicious murderer while the others are innocent persons. This is a good example of media manipulation and steering of the public views, aiming to charge the public to hate one side and to sympathize with the other.

The story is about the swap of the oldest Lebanese prisoner in Israel, Samir Kuntar, in return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who died inside the Lebanese territories while on a military mission.

What were the two soldiers doing on another sovereign country’s land, and why did they sneak there? Of course describing them as soldiers, one would think they were working inside the borders of their own country when they died, defending their soil. Calling someone a soldier is something totally different of calling him a fighter or a criminal, or even a militant.

These double standards are all over the press each and every day. Such titles even strip the reader of his own point of view: he is told from the very beginning who he should think of as a killer and who should be remembered with dignity even before reading the article.

The newspapers are practicing guardianship over the readers, regardless of their ages or knowledge. The newspaper has made up its mind that Kuntar is a murderer, but two Israeli persons, fully armed inside the borders of another country are not, and that what we are supposed to believe.

The Israeli soldiers mentioned were trespassing on the same land that witnessed in the 80s the Sabra and Chatilla massacre by the same Israeli army among many other massacres and attacks done by ‘soldiers’. And it is the same country that the IDF commander has admitted firing more than a million cluster bombs within it.

The Guardian even mentioned the ages of the two dead Israeli soldiers to gain more feelings of sympathy for them, by getting the reader to come closer to their human side. ‘The soldiers Eldad Regev 27, and Ehud Goldwasser 32’, was the text that they had chosen.

Such method of writing is to drive the readers to sympathize with these particular individuals, yet, the writer never cared to touch the human side of Kuntar, who has spent 30 years in Israeli jails. As a matter of fact, he was imprisoned at the age of 16. Which means he was a child. He might have been driven by the same anger of any teenager who witnesses a group of people massacring his own, he was not as responsible as the adult Israeli soldiers who knew exactly what they were doing.

The Guardian then says, ‘Israel was due last night to pardon the Lebanese prisoner, Samir Kuntar’…how very thoughtful of Israel. One would hear the word Pardon and think of goodness and forgiveness, such idea is far from true. Imprisoning a 16 year old for 30 years and going through years of negotiations should not be described with a word like ‘pardon’.

The Guardian never forgot to describe in detail what Kuntar might have done to deserve the prison sentence, but it did not mention any of the Israeli soldiers’ atrocities against the Lebanese and the Palestinians. Such method of writing is to charge the readers with hate against one side, while adding a peaceful innocent victim mask on the other.

Another interesting sprinkle of sympathy is inserted within the article mentioning that Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, who is supposed to sign the ‘pardon’, has said, “It’s not a happy choice. On one hand; we have the most terrible murderer. On the other hand, we have our commitment to our ‘boys’ who were ‘sent’ to ‘fight for their country’.”

So, Kuntar is a terrible murderer, but the Israeli soldiers are not. They were ‘boys’ even though they were on a military mission by the ages of 27 and 32. While Kuntar, who was 16 when he went for his own individual mission, was described as a ruthless murderer.

Peres says, ‘they were sent to fight for their country’. For God’s sake, don’t they feel ashamed even of mentioning that? The soldiers were sent to attack inside the borders of a sovereign country, and still they say they are sent to fight for their country. Fight who? The Israeli attack on Lebanon was witnessed by millions of people all over the world. It was an attack on families, children, women, and old people … all civilians. It seems that the Guardian reporters has lost touch with their human and professional side when they have forgotten to mention millions of cluster bombs used by Israeli soldiers aimed at the Lebanese children.

Of course the emphasis on the human side continues in the Guardian report, it says that Isaac Herzog, a cabinet minister, said, “Clearly we opted for a resolution that fulfils our prime rule since the creation of the state of Israel, and this is to bring our sons home, despite the toll.” … So… the matter is ‘bringing sons home’ – how very touching. Of course nothing was mentioned about Kuntar in this tone, it seems he was a cabbage kid, no one is eager to bring him back home, and he is no son of anyone.

The article is an example of a biased portrait as usual; there are lots of words I would classify as sneaked in, deliberately to make of one side a villain and the other an angel or a victim. This is an example of how the press can steer people’s emotions.

People usually scan the titles of newspapers, not many read the rest of the article. And after a few headlines of this kind, you can’t help but to swallow a ready canned lie, and consider one side guilty and the other innocent. One wonders whether the ethics of journalism has disappeared, or just lost its way.

Ref: Palestinian Chronicle
– Iqbal Tamimi is a Palestinian journalist and poet from Hebron. She is currently the Press Freedom Desk Officer at Exiled Journalists’ Network in the UK. (Originally published in PalestineThinkTank.com. Republished in PalestineChronicle.com with permission.)

World leaders see prisoner exchange as positive step

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is encouraged by an exchange of prisoners that took place between Israel and Lebanon’s Hizbullah on Wednesday. Ban said at a news conference in Berlin that he hoped it will be the beginning of many to come.

He praised the “leadership and initiative” of a UN-appointed mediator, Gerhard Konrad, who shuttled between the sides for 18 months to mediate Wednesday’s exchange.

Ban said he also hopes for progress in the case of an Israeli soldier seized by Palestinian gunmen affiliated with Hamas. He said he hoped Sergeant Gilad Schalit would be released as soon as possible.

The Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas said the Wednesday prisoner swap was a “victory for the resistance.”

“Hamas considers the exchange of prisoners between Hizbullah and the Israeli occupation to be a great victory for the resistance and Hizbullah,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

“It proves that a useful way to liberate prisoners from the jails of the occupation is to capture Zionist soldiers, since the occupation refuses to release prisoners and keeps arresting more of them,” it added.

The reaction came as Israel and Hizbullah were in the process of exchanging the remains of two Israeli soldiers captured in 2006 for five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters.

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner also commented on Wednesday’s exchange of prisoners between Hizbullah and Israel.

“I am satisfied that this exchange of prisoners finally takes place. We have called for this on many occasions during the past two years and now it becomes a reality,” she said in a statement released by the European Commission in Beirut on Wednesday.

“First and foremost this is a positive step taken by both sides,” Ferrero-Waldner added.

She said the families of all persons missing have a right to know about the fate of their beloved relatives, irrespective of how painful this news might be.

“And I do think that those whose loved ones have died deserve to receive the remains for burial,” she added.

Waldner said Wednesday’s exchange was also a step toward the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and therefore contributes to regional stability. “I commend the UN and all those who contributed for their role played in making this exchange of prisoners possible,” she added.

“I do hope that we will see further steps in this direction as this region and its people deserve to be able to live in peace and stability,” Waldner added. –

Ref: Daily Star

Hizbullah will keep on winning until Israel plays by a new set of rules

Hizbullah did more than honor a promise when it wrapped up its exchange of prisoners and bodies with Israel on Wednesday: The resistance movement also closed yet another chapter in the long history of its struggle with the Jewish state – and, again, did so in a manner that prevented the Israelis from dictating the outcome. The only issues still outstanding are ones of real estate, and here the potential for Hizbullah and the Lebanese state to work in concert is considerable. There is a good chance that now, having repeatedly been bested in a game whose rules they authored, the Israelis will be more susceptible to the genuine diplomacy that their governments have traditionally disdained. That may or may not entail negotiations of some sort, but it must include a retreat from the logic of force and, therefore, compliance with multiple UN Security Council resolutions by withdrawing from Lebanese territory it still occupies.

President Michel Sleiman has begun to lay the groundwork for this next stage by meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, in Paris. Coordination with Damascus is a virtual prerequisite for any effort to regain the Shebaa Farms, for instance, and both the Lebanese and the Syrian bargaining positions would be strengthened if the two countries were acting in unison. Several Hizbullah leaders have stated that although they have little confidence in the likelihood that diplomacy can end the occupation of Lebanese soil, the party is willing to let others try to accomplish the task.

The unspoken corollary, of course, is that the resistance will remain in reserve as a proverbial stick to prod the Israelis if they refuse to take the carrots tacitly offered to them by the Lebanese government. There are those who are so blinded by hate that they cannot see the opportunities at hand and would still like to see Hizbullah and its supporters exterminated by the Israelis, but larger minds know better. These will recall that during the 1990s, when the Israelis still held their occupation zone in South Lebanon, the partnership between the state and the resistance was greater than the sum of its parts. Nonetheless, because the scope and the nature of the struggle have been profoundly altered – again, thanks to Hizbullah, and at a terrible cost to Lebanese civilians and their economy – the emphasis of the partnership must change too.

For the Israelis Wednesday had to have been a humiliating experience. They slaughtered more than 1,200 Lebanese, the vast majority of them civilians, after Hizbullah ambushed a patrol and carried off two Israeli troops on July 12, 2006. They dishonored themselves, betrayed their faith, and violated the norms of civilized warfare by venting their frustration on innocent women and children. They added insult to injury by littering the South with millions of cluster munitions that continue to kill and maim. In the end, however, they did precisely what Hizbullah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said they would. Hopefully, when the humiliation wears off, they will have learned a valuable lesson

Ref: Daily Star

‘War scrap is a resource like wood or bamboo’ – At last, a ban on cluster bombs

More than 100 countries, gathered in Dublin, agreed on 28 May to ban cluster bombs in what campaigners called the most significant disarmament treaty for a decade. The signatories, who agreed the text for the treaty to be signed in Oslo in December, include some of Europe’s biggest traditional users and stockpilers of the weapons, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Some of the world’s main producers and stockpilers – including the United States, Russia and China – oppose the move to ban cluster munitions. A statement from the US, which boycotted the Dublin conference, said:”While the United States shares the humanitarian concerns of those in Dublin, cluster munitions have demonstrated military utility, and their elimination from US stockpiles would put the lives of our soldiers and those of our coalition partners at risk.”

Cluster bombs have been used in battle for more than 40 years, in 30 countries. Landmine Action says they pose the gravest dangers to civilians since antipersonnel mines, which were banned in 1997. In Kosovo, Nato aircraft dropped around 290,000 sub-munitions over a 10-week period in 1999. Cluster bombs were also used in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, and over 10,000 were used in Iraq during the US invasion in 2003. During the five weeks of the 2006 war in Lebanon, Israel spread 4m sub-munitions across the country’s southern regions, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They resulted in more than 200 civilian casualties.

The new treaty prohibits the use, production and trade of cluster munitions, and establishes a six-year deadline for the destruction of all existing stocks. It also goes beyond the ban by requiring the clearance of contaminated areas – with a deadline – as well as assistance to victims and affected communities.

Simon Conway, from the Cluster Munitions Coalition, a network of civil society and rights organisations engaged with the ICRC to secure a ban on the weapons, says there will now be “massive” pressure on the US. “We think now that all of America’s key allies have just renounced the weapon it will be very difficult for the US to engage in operations with countries who have banned this weapon and continue to use them.”

Ref: Le Monde

Norman Finkelstein – Hezbollah, the Honour of Lebanon (Memritv propaganda in action)

Following are excerpts from an interview with American Political Scientist Norman Finkelstein, which aired on Future TV on January 20, 2008. The questions were posed in Arabic, and Finkelstein’s responses are in English. EMRI Nazis

Editor’s note: MEMRITV.org’s video clips are hosted by CastUp.net, a company whose clients also include:

* Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs * Israeli Broadcast Authority
* Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive * Taglit – Birthright Israel
* Israel Youth Movement

How MEMRI presents itself

[From the MEMRI website:]
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region’s media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East. Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501 (c)3 organization.

The truth about MEMRI

MEMRI is a main arm of Israeli propaganda. Although widely used in the mainstream media as a source of information on the Arab world, it is as trustworthy as Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer was on the Jewish world.

The evidence

MEMRI recently posted what it alleged was an interview I did with Lebanese television on the Nazi holocaust. The MEMRI posting was designed to prove that I was a Holocaust denier. Below I juxtapose the MEMRI version of my interview (both the actual broadcast version as well as the transcript it prepared) against what I actually said in the interview.

Footnotes

1. Streicher was sentenced to death at Nuremberg.

2. “When the true history of this era is written…the dispatches of MEMRI will be copiously represented in every true scholar’s footnotes” – Martin Peretz, Editor and Publisher, The New Republic. (Another of Peretz’s notable predictions back in 1984 was that Joan Peters’s From Time Immemorial “will change the mind of our generation. If understood, it could affect the history of the future.”)

Ref: Norman Finkelstein