portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

actions & protests | anti-racism | indigenous issues

Israeli soldier sorry for not shooting Arab

An Israeli soldier who three days ago mistakenly shot and seriously wounded a Jewish demonstrator in the northern West Bank has told interrogators he thought he was shooting a Palestinian, not a Jew. "I am sorry, I never thought I was shooting at Jews, I would never shoot a Jew," the soldier reportedly said.
Soldier who fired said he thought protesters were all Palestinians
Soldier who fired said he thought protesters were all Palestinians
Wednesday 31 December 2003, 10:03 Makka Time, 7:03 GMT

The Israeli victim, Gil Nima'ati, was protesting against the construction of the so-called separation wall near the northern West Bank village of Mis-ha north west of Nablus, along with hundreds of Palestinians and international peace activists.

Another protester, a woman from the US, was also lightly wounded in the shooting which sparked off widespread acrimony and recrimination in Israel because a Jew was shot.

The soldier who pulled the trigger - his identity has not been released - reportedly said he could not recognise the identity of the demonstrators, who were protesting against the construction of the "separation wall" in the northern West Bank.

"The army deals differently with the Palestinians... soldiers feel threatened by Palestinians and open fire when they feel threatened. This is not the same when soldiers deal with Jews"
-- Unnamed Israeli soldier

"I thought the protesters were all Palestinians and non-Jews."

On Tuesday, the Israeli chief of staff and other Israeli officials sought to give the soldier in question the benefit of the doubt, arguing that he would not have opened fire had he known he was shooting at a Jew.

"I am sure, the soldier didn't know he was shooting at a Jew," Moshe Ya'alon said in response to a question from a Knesset member.

Shooting Palestinians is "different"

However, when another Knesset member further asked Ya'alon if shooting a Palestinian would have been legitimate under the same circumstances, he sought to dodge the question, arguing that "the army deals differently with the Palestinians."

"Soldiers feel threatened by Palestinians and open fire when they feel threatened. This is not the same when soldiers deal with Jews."

Israeli occupation troops have shot and killed hundreds of Palestinians and a number of international activists in controversial circumstances, prompting human rights organisations to accuse the Israeli army of adopting a "shoot-to-kill" policy in the occupied territories.

Earlier this year, the Israeli Hebrew paper Ha'aretz, published a report showing up to 80% of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada, were either innocent civilians or people who played no role in the hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, the wanton killings of Palestinian civilians, journalists and international peace activists by the Israeli occupation army arouse little outrage in Israeli society.

Two days ago, a group of Israeli leftists demonstrated in the same area where Na'amati was wounded.
They carried placards reading "first, they shot the Palestinians, and we were silent... "


Aljazeera

GRINGO STARS found this article at;
 http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D342216D-4EA6-4327-9E39-886A10C88C26.htm
remember now...criticism of Isreal is not... 01.Jan.2004 07:15

anti-Semitism

we repost, you decide

-caveat Lector-  http://www.counterpunch.org/neumann12302003.html

December 30, 2003
There Are Much Larger Threats
Criticism of Israel is not Anti-Semitism
By MICHAEL NEUMANN

Jewish and non-Jewish commentators alike have deplored a recent upsurge in anti-Semitism. In Europe, journalist Andrew Sullivan says, "Not since the 1930s has such blithe hatred of Jews gained this much respectability in world opinion."

Yet, Jews like myself and the Israeli journalist Ran HaCohen feel quite differently. He writes in Antiwar.com: "It is high time to say it out loud: In the entire course of Jewish history, since the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC, there has never been an era blessed with less anti-Semitism than ours. There has never been a better time for Jews to live in than our own."

Why would a Jew say such a thing? What is anti-Semitism, and how much of a danger is it in the world today?

If both sides agree on anything, it's that the definition of "anti-Semitism" has been manipulated for political ends. Leftists accuse ardent Zionists of inflating the definition to include--and discredit--critics of Israel. Zionists accuse the left of deflating the definition to apologize for covert prejudice against Jews.

It's a sterile dispute. Even in this age of intellectual property, no one owns the word. But the definitional sparring does have its missteps and dangers.

The first tells against deflationists who claim that anti-Semitism is really hatred of Semites (including Arabs), not just Jews. This confuses etymology with meaning. You might as well say that, in reality, lesbians are simply those who live on the Greek island of Lesbos.

On the other hand, to inflate the definition by including critics of Israel is, if not exactly incorrect, self-defeating and dangerous. No one can stop you from proclaiming all criticism of Israel anti-Semitic. But that makes anti-Semites out of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, not to mention tens of thousands of Jews.

What then prevents someone from concluding that anti-Semitism must be, at least in some cases, justifiable, courageous, highly moral? Is this a message any prudent Jew or anti-racist would want to encourage?

Similar worries arise when Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, tells us: "The classic canards of 'Jews control,' 'Jews are responsible' and 'Jews are not loyal' continue to be peddled in America. While anti-Semites have usually been on the fringes of our society, today we find they and their views have made it into the mainstream."

Well, it might be anti-Semitic to hold Jews responsible for everything, but it would be bizarre to claim anti-Semitism whenever Jews are held responsible for anything. In a survey conducted by Steven M. Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 87% of American Jews said that Jews "have a responsibility to work on behalf of the poor, the oppressed and minority groups"; 92% said that Jews are obliged to help other Jews who are "needy or oppressed." What Foxman calls an anti-Semitic canard is deeply rooted in traditional and contemporary Jewish thought. A Web search will find dozens of rabbis attributing to Jews, generally, not just responsibilities but collective responsibility.

We hold groups responsible for things, good and bad, all the time: The Germans started World War II, the French opposed us in Iraq, the British supported us. The strongly pro-Israel columnist Jonathan Rosenblum states, "The Jews have built an advanced, industrial state, while the Palestinians have built nothing."

Clearly, it is not just anti-Semites who attribute responsibility to the Jews. And just as clearly, this is neither racist nor to be taken literally. Rosenblum does not mean that every last Jew, including children and the mentally disabled, built that state. He means that most adult Jews made some contribution to it.

If so, should definitional inflation be allowed to make anti-Semites out of all those who hold Jews responsible for Israel's actions and character? My childhood, in largely Jewish suburbs of New York and Boston, was full of Israel bond drives and calls to support Israel. Can't Rosenblum say that "the Jews," meaning a substantial majority of adult Jews, have some responsibility for what Israel has become? And can't Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch say that Israel has committed war crimes and violated human rights?

One might justly call it dangerous to conclude that Jews, generally, had some responsibility for war crimes and human rights violations. But to call it anti-Semitic seems just as dangerous, because in some loose, though not unreasonable, sense, the conclusion is hard to escape. That's why there are whole Jewish organizations, like Not in My Name, that exist to enable Jews to dissociate themselves from Israel's actions.

In short, you can't have it both ways. You can, if you like, inflate the definition of "anti-Semitism" to capture even Jewish political opponents of Israel. But you can't do this and keep "anti-Semitism" as a term of intense moral condemnation. Nor will the inflationary gambit successfully isolate the truly reprehensible anti-Semites.

The best way to reserve "anti-Semitism" as a term of condemnation is to define it as hatred of Jews, not for what they do but for what they are. It is to hate them just because they belong to a certain ethnic group. Foxman is right to suggest that you can be an anti-Semite without expressing any racist sentiments: Many anti-Semites confine themselves to expounding false claims about Jewish control. But you can also, without harboring anti-Semitic hate, criticize Israel and even the Jewish community for its failures. To suppose otherwise would be to suppose an inexplicable wave of anti-Semitism among both American and Israeli Jews, both of whom figure prominently among the critics.

But the touchiest question is not what anti-Semitism is, or whether it has increased. It is whether Jews are in significant danger. Isn't that what matters?

To put it personally: Anti-Semitism may be important to me, but is it important, period? The answer cannot be dictated by "Jewish sensibilities."

My background certainly predisposes me to regard anti-Semitic incidents with alarm. But time passes. Concentration camp survivors still alive deserve sympathy and justice, but they are few. Myself, I'd feel a bit embarrassed saying to a homeless person on the streets of Toronto, much less to the inhabitants of a Philippine garbage dump: "Oh yeah? You think you know suffering? My grandmother died in a concentration camp!"

We should indeed guard against a resurgence of European fascism, and Jewish organizations are oddly lax about this. The ADL, for instance, did not comment on last month's electoral gains of Croatian nationalists who trace their lineage directly back to some of Adolf Hitler's most savage and willing executioners. But we Jews live not in the past but in a brutal present that forces us to reassess our moral priorities.

An appropriately stark reassessment might involve counting up the dead and wounded in the ADL's list of anti-Semitic incidents in 2002 and 2003. Its surveys include two Al Qaeda attacks. This is questionable: Al Qaeda's war on the United States, Israel, the West and pretty much everyone else seems independent of sentiment in the countries in which the attacks occurred. Include these attacks and the number of Jews killed in that period seems to be nine. Exclude them, and it falls to one, in Morocco. Jews hospitalized or incurring serious injuries falls to about a dozen.

On March 14, the BBC reported that the Honduran government would investigate the killings of 1,569 street children in the last five years. The killers may well be "police or army personnel," according to Amnesty International, and there have been virtually no prosecutions. Not even the alternative left-wing press gave the story any coverage. In the Congo, 3 million have died in 4 1/2 years. Perhaps anti-Semitism is not, after all, a high priority.

Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. Professor Neumann's views are not to be taken as those of his university. His book What's Left: Radical Politics and the Radical Psyche has just been republished by Broadview Press. He is also a contributor to The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at:  mneumann@trentu.ca.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Isreal has cost USa $ 3 Trillion dollars... 01.Jan.2004 10:46

was it worth it?

repostings 4 u

-Caveat Lector-  http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=831

The Real Cost of US Support for Israel: $3 Trillion
By Christopher Bollyn

While it is commonly reported that Israel officially receives some $3 billion every year in the form of economic aid from the U.S. government, this figure is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many billions of dollars more in hidden costs and economic losses lurking beneath the surface. A recently published economic analysis has concluded that U.S. support for the state of Israel has cost American taxpayers nearly $3 trillion ($3 million millions) in 2002 dollars.

"The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion" is a summary of economic research done by Thomas R. Stauffer. Stauffer's summary of the research was published in the June 2003 issue of The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Stauffer is a Washington, D.C.-based engineer and economist who writes and teaches about the economics of energy and the Middle East. Stauffer has taught at Harvard University and Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Stauffer's findings were first presented at an October 2002 conference sponsored by the U.S. Army College and the University of Maine.

Stauffer's analysis is "an estimate of the total cost to the U.S. alone of instability and conflict in the region - which emanates from the core Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"Total identifiable costs come to almost $3 trillion," Stauffer says. "About 60 percent, well over half, of those costs - about $1.7 trillion - arose from the U.S. defense of Israel, where most of that amount has been incurred since 1973."

"Support for Israel comes to $1.8 trillion, including special trade advantages, preferential contracts, or aid buried in other accounts. In addition to the financial outlay, U.S. aid to Israel costs some 275,000 American jobs each year." The trade-aid imbalance alone with Israel of between $6-10 billion costs about 125,000 American jobs every year, Stauffer says.

The largest single element in the costs has been the series of oil-supply crises that have accompanied the Israeli-Arab wars and the construction of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. "To date these have cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion (2002 dollars), excluding the additional costs incurred since 2001," Stauffer wrote.

The cost of supporting Israel increased drastically after the 1973 Israeli-Arab war. U.S. support for Israel during that war resulted in additional costs for the American taxpayer of between $750 billion and $1 trillion, Stauffer says.

When Israel was losing the war, President Richard Nixon stepped in to supply the Jewish state with U.S. weapons. Nixon's intervention triggered the Arab oil embargo which Stauffer estimates cost the U.S. as much as $600 billion in lost GDP and another $450 in higher oil import costs.

"The 1973 oil crisis, all in all, cost the U.S. economy no less than $900 billion, and probably as much as $1,200 billion," he says.

As a result of the oil embargo the United States created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to "insulate Israel and the U.S. against the wielding of a future Arab 'oil weapon.'" The billion-barrel SPR has cost U.S. taxpayers $134 billion to date. According to an Oil Supply Guarantee, which former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger provided Israel in 1975, Israel gets "first call" on any oil available to the U.S. if Israel's oil supply is stopped.

Stauffer's $3 trillion figure is conservative as it does not include the increased costs incurred during the year-long buildup to the recent war against Iraq in which Israel played a significant, albeit covert, role. The higher oil prices that occurred as a result of the Anglo-American campaign against Iraq were absorbed by the consumers. The increase in oil prices provided a huge bonus for the leading oil companies such as British Petroleum and Shell, who are major oil producers as well as retailers. The major international oil companies recorded record profits for the first quarter of 2003.

The Washington Report seeks to "provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states." The monthly journal is known for keeping close tabs on the amount of U.S. taxpayer money that goes to Israel and how much pro-Israel money flows back to Members of Congress in the form of campaign aid.

The journal's website, www.wrmea.com, has an up-to-date counter at the top that indicates how much official aid flows to Israel. While the counter currently stands at $88.2 billion, it only reflects the minimum, as it does not include the many hidden costs.

"The distinction is important, because the indirect or consequential losses suffered by the U.S. as a result of its blind support for Israel exceed by many times the substantial amount of direct aid to Israel," Shirl McArthur wrote in the May 2003 issue of Washington Report.

McArthur's article, "A Conservative Tally of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: $97.5 Billion - and Counting" tallies the hidden costs, such as interest lost due to the early disbursement of aid to Israel and funds hidden in other accounts. For example, Israel received $5.45 billion in Defense Department funding of Israeli weapons projects through 2002, McArthur says.

Loans made to Israel by the U.S. government, like the recently awarded $9 billion, invariably wind up being paid by the American taxpayer. A recent Congressional Research Service report indicates that Israel has received $42 billion in waived loans. "Therefore, it is reasonable to consider all government loans to Israel the same as grants," McArthur says.

Support for Israel has cost America dearly - well over than $10,000 per American - however the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been extremely costly for the entire world. According to Stauffer, the total bill for supporting Israel is two to four times higher than that for the U.S. alone - costing the global community an estimated $6 to $12 trillion.

Finis
Courtesy Rumor Mill News Agents Forum

when will they ever arrest the murderer of 01.Jan.2004 10:50

the late-Rachel Corrie...they will, won't they????

we repost, you decide

-Caveat Lector-  http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/12/31/israel.arrest/index.html

Israeli soldier arrested for shooting activist

Wednesday, December 31, 2003 Posted: 2141 GMT ( 5:41 AM HKT)

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israeli army arrested a soldier this week for shooting and seriously wounding a British activist in April, the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday.

The Israeli soldier, whose name was not released, was brought before a military court, the IDF said.

Tom Hurndall, 22, an activist with the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement, was shot in the head in Rafah on April 11. He remains in a vegetative state in a London hospital.

The soldier who shot him "originally said he returned fire at a man armed with a pistol," the IDF statement said.

"However, following an intensive investigation" by military police, the soldier "admitted to shooting in proximity of an unarmed civilian in order to deter him," the statement said. "The criminal investigation of the incident is still continuing."

British diplomats are being kept informed of the developments, the statement said.

"The IDF views this incident very seriously and will continue to act to fully investigate the circumstances surround the event," it said.

The International Solidarity Movement said Hurndall was shot as he was trying to help a child move out of the path of Israeli soldiers.

Members of ISM have volunteered to act as "human shields" in the region, placing themselves between Israeli soldiers and suspected terrorists.

The Israeli government has accused ISM members of breaking the law and assisting terror groups. The group says it supports nonviolent protest. (Full story)

Three weeks before Hurndall was shot, an American woman working with the ISM was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while protesting the destruction of Palestinian houses in Rafah. (Full story)

Rachel Corrie, 23, who was a senior at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, died March 23.

There was some dispute about exactly what happened, but an Israeli military source at the time called it a "very regrettable incident."

which is more popular? 01.Jan.2004 11:07

GRINGO STARS

Anti-Jewish sentiment or anti-Arab sentiment: Which is more popular? Polls show, overwhelmingly, that anti-Arab sentiment is at an all-time high. Anti-Arab violence is at an all time high as well.

Which is more dangerous? To walk down the street in a yarmulka or to walk down the street in a turban?

Especially since 9-11, Arabs have been reviled as never before. Even in Europe, anti-Arab sentiment is far more popular than anti-Jewish sentiment.

Since so many critics of Israel are Jews, and even Rabbis and Grand Rabbis, there is real legitimacy in criticizing a nuclear regime with one of the worst human rights abuse records on the planet. In Israel there are two standards of citizenship, where only someone of the Jewish faith can claim the higher form of citizenship;
 http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0190/9001020.htm
This is one of the definitions of a theocracy. As evidenced by the original post, there are two standards by which the government treats the people it governs; one standard for Jews and another standard for non-Jews.

Zionists are not Jews, even though they falsely claim to be. Zionists give Jews a bad name worldwide, with their racial supremicism and their genocide against Arabs in Israel. Zionists give lie to anti-Jewish sentiment everywhere, inspiring every mouth-breathing neo-Nazi by acting the villains.


"The entire existence of the tumei regime [the Zionist "State"] is in opposition to our holy Torah in a manner that has not been precedent... and anyone who possesses even a thought that there is necessity for [the existence of] their "State", this constitutes acquiescence to idol worship without a doubt... and there is no doubt in my mind that we would already be in the period after the Messiah's arrival if not for this tzureh [Zionism] prevalent in the world."
-- Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum

"The Zionists have attacked the center point of Judaism."
-- Rabbi V. Soloveichik

"Not via our desire did we leave the land of Israel, and not via our power will we come back to the land of Israel."
-- Rabbi S.D. Schneerson

"[The Torah] forbids us to strive for the reunion or possession of the land by any but spiritual means"
-- Rabbi S. R. Hirsch


So are these Rabbis and Grand Rabbis Jew-Haters?
They are strongly against Zionism. They do NOT support Israel.

There are many organisations of Jews against Zionism. To list just a few:

JEWS NOT ZIONISTS
 http://www.jewsnotzionists.org/

JEWS UNITED AGAINST ZIONISM
 http://www.natureikarta.org/

JEWS AGAINST ZIONISM
 http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/

RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
 http://www.rhr.israel.net/overview.shtml

And besides these groups, there are well over a hundred JEWISH groups for a free Palestine. Links found at:
 http://www.eccmei.net/~eccmei/j/orgs.html
Montreal Rabbis strongly oppose Israel
Montreal Rabbis strongly oppose Israel

Isreali's are derailing peace talks... 02.Jan.2004 00:03

how come, aren't they "peace-lovers"?

reposting
-Caveat Lector-  http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=477262

New Golan Heights settlement plan derails peace talks
By Justin Huggler in Jerusalem
01 January 2004

In another blow to the prospects of peace in the Middle East, the Israeli government has approved plans to double the number of Jewish settlers living in the occupied Golan Heights within three years.

The details of the $56m (31.4m) project to expand settlements on the Golan Heights emerged yesterday, just weeks after Syria's President, Bashar Assad, called for new peace talks with Israel. The settlement project could now put any talks in jeopardy. "The goal is for Assad to see from the windows of his home the Israeli Golan thriving and flourishing," the Israeli Agriculture Minister, Yisrael Katz, who is responsible for the new scheme, said yesterday.

"The government resolution is a response to the initiative posed by Syria, which on one hand announces that it is interested in peace, and on the other hand openly supports Palestinian terror," he told the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

But Israeli officials close to the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, tried to play down Mr Katz's comments, insisting the new project was planned before President Assad's comments, and was not a reaction to them.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. The area has been under occupation ever since. Unlike the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were also captured in 1967, Israel has since annexed the Golan Heights and claims they are part of Israel. The annexation is considered illegal and not recognised by governments around the world.

Syria has consistently said that it will only make peace with Israel if all the occupied Golan Heights are returned. The Golan is populated by several thousand Druze - an offshoot of Islam - many of whom consider themselves Syrians living under Israeli occupation. But thousands of Jewish settlers have also moved to the Golan since the Israeli occupation, just as thousands have settled in the West Bank and Gaza to stake a claim to the land as Israeli.

The aim of the new settlements plan for the Golan is to establish an Israeli presence on the ground ahead of any peace talks with Syria, saidYedioth Ahronoth, which revealed the existence of the project.

"The Golan is ours and we do not intend to give it up," Mr Katz told the newspaper. "It is time to put the Golan on the map as part of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel."

Syria called the plan a "flagrant expression of opposition to peace". It "blocks the way to any inclination or initiative to push matters in the direction of achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region" a government spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

It appeared that Mr Katz had broken ranks with Israeli government ministers - and angered Mr Sharon - by speaking so openly about the project. "This was not intended as a message to Syria. This programme has been misused and slanted and twisted, taken out of context for internal political purposes," said a government spokesman close to the Prime Minister. Other government sources were quick to disown Mr Katz's statements.

Government spokesmen denied Yedioth Ahronoth's report that nine new settlements were planned in the Golan, and said that only existing settlements would be expanded. Most of the money to finance the scheme is to be raised from the private sector and the project also includes plans to develop tourism in the Golan.

"Mr Sharon and his government have revealed another stage in their road-map for liquidating peace in the region," said Dalia Itzik, an Israeli opposition Labour MP. "After strewing mines in the negotiations with the Palestinians, it is time to mine the road to negotiations with Syria," she said.

interested in what DEBKAfile has to say on... 02.Jan.2004 00:10

Saddam's capture...well, read here>>>>

reposting
-caveat Lector-

Those going to this site will find an unsubstantiated warning about New
York being a target in February. If you want to know what Jews are
talking about, go to a Jewish site.

Italian Il Giornale: Al Qaeda Threatens to Nuke New York on February 2
31 December
 http://www.debka.com/

Indications Saddam Was Not in Hiding But a Captive
DEBKAfile Special Report
December 14, 2003, 6:55 PM (GMT+02:00)

A number of questions are raised by the incredibly bedraggled, tired and
crushed condition of this once savage, dapper and pampered ruler who was
discovered in a hole in the ground on Saturday, December 13:

1. The length and state of his hair indicated he had not seen a barber
or even had a shampoo for several weeks.

2. The wild state of his beard indicated he had not shaved for the same
period

3. The hole dug in the floor of a cellar in a farm compound near Tikrit
was primitive indeed - 6ft across and 8ft across with minimal sanitary
arrangements - a far cry from his opulent palaces.

4. Saddam looked beaten and hungry.

5. Detained trying to escape were two unidentified men. Left with him
were two AK-47 assault guns and a pistol, none of which were used.

6. The hole had only one opening. It was not only camouflaged with mud
and bricks - it was blocked. He could not have climbed out without
someone on the outside removing the covering.

7. And most important, $750,000 in 100-dollar notes were found with him
(a pittance for his captors who expected a $25m reward)- but no
communications equipment of any kind, whether cell phone or even a
carrier pigeon for contacting the outside world.

According to DEBKAfile analysts, these seven anomalies point to one
conclusion: Saddam Hussein was not in hiding; he was a prisoner.

After his last audiotaped message was delivered and aired over al
Arabiya TV on Sunday November 16, on the occasion of Ramadan, Saddam was
seized, possibly with the connivance of his own men, and held in that
hole in Adwar for three weeks or more, which would have accounted for
his appearance and condition. Meanwhile, his captors bargained for the
$25 m prize the Americans promised for information leading to his
capture alive or dead. The negotiations were mediated by Jalal
Talabani's Kurdish PUK militia.

These circumstances would explain the ex-ruler's docility - described by
Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as "resignation" - in the face of his capture by
US forces. He must have regarded them as his rescuers and would have
greeted them with relief.

From Gen. Sanchez's evasive answers to questions on the $25m bounty, it
may be inferred that the Americans and Kurds took advantage of the
negotiations with Saddam's abductors to move in close and capture him on
their own account, for three reasons:

A. His capture had become a matter of national pride for the Americans.
No kudos would have been attached to his handover by a local gang of
bounty-seekers or criminals. The country would have been swept anew with
rumors that the big hero Saddam was again betrayed by the people he
trusted, just as in the war.

B. It was vital to catch his kidnappers unawares so as to make sure
Saddam was taken alive. They might well have killed him and demanded the
prize for his body. But they made sure he had no means of taking his own
life and may have kept him sedated.

C. During the weeks he is presumed to have been in captivity, guerrilla
activity declined markedly - especially in the Sunni Triangle towns of
Falluja, Ramadi and Balad - while surging outside this flashpoint region
- in Mosul in the north and Najef, Nasseriya and Hilla in the south. It
was important for the coalition to lay hands on him before the epicenter
of the violence turned back towards Baghdad and the center of the Sunni
Triangle.

The next thing to watch now is not just where and when Saddam is brought
to justice for countless crimes against his people and humanity -
Sanchez said his interrogation will take "as long as it takes - but what
happens to the insurgency. Will it escalate or gradually die down?

An answer to this, according to DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources, was
received in Washington nine days before Saddam reached US custody.

It came in the form of a disturbing piece of intelligence that the
notorious Lebanese terrorist and hostage-taker Imad Mughniyeh, who
figures on the most wanted list of 22 men published by the FBI after
9/11, had arrived in southern Iraq and was organizing a new anti-US
terror campaign to be launched in March-April 2004, marking the first
year of the American invasion.

For the past 21 years, Mughniyeh has waged a war of terror against
Americans, whether on behalf of the Hizballah, the Iranian Shiite
fundamentalists, al Qaeda or for himself. The Lebanese arch-terrorist
represents for the anti-American forces in Iraq an ultimate weapon.

Saddam's capture will not turn this offensive aside; it may even bring
it forward.

For Israel, there are three lessons to be drawn from the dramatic turn
of events in Iraq:

First, An enemy must be pursued to the end and if necessary taken
captive. The Sharon government's conduct of an uncertain, wavering war
against the Palestinian terror chief Yasser Arafat stands in stark
contrast to the way the Americans have fought Saddam and his cohorts in
Iraq and which has brought them impressive gains.

Second, Israel must join the US in bracing for the decisive round of
violence under preparation by Mughniyeh, an old common enemy from the
days of Beirut in the 1980s. Only three weeks ago, DEBKAfile's military
sources reveal, the terrorist mastermind himself was seen in south
Lebanon in surveillance of northern Israel in the company of Iranian
military officers. With this peril still to be fought, it is meaningless
for Israelis to dicker over the Geneva Accord, unilateral steps around
the Middle East road map, or even the defensive barrier.

Third, Certain Israeli pundits and even politicians, influenced by
opinion in Europe, declared frequently in recent weeks that the
Americans had no hope of capturing Saddam Hussein and were therefore
bogged down irretrievably in Iraq. The inference was that the Americans
erred in embarking on an unwinnable war in Iraq.

This was wide of the mark even before Saddam was brought in. The
Americans are in firm control - even though they face a tough new
adversary - and the whole purpose of the defeatist argument heard in
Israel was to persuade the Sharon government that its position in
relation to the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat is as hopeless as that of
the Americans in Iraq. Israel's only choice, according to this argument,
is to knuckle under to Palestinian demands and give them what they want.
Now that the Iraqi ruler is in American custody, they will have to think
again.

b14 December

Commander of US ground forces in Iraq, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, said at the
dramatic news conference in Baghdad (Bremer: We Got him!), that Saddam
Hussein was discovered in a "spider hole" 6-8ft deep behind a mud hut in
a walled farm compound in Adwar, a town 15 km from Tikrit, eight months
after his regime was toppled.

His capture was achieved without a shot fired and no injuries. He was
emaciated, tired and unkempt and had grown a gray beard. The initial
medical examination was videotaped and aired. He was then shaved for
identification. Found with him were two AK-47 assault rifles and
$750,000. Two associates were detained with him. A ventilator enabled
them to stay underground. The hole in which Saddam was hiding was
camouflaged with bricks and dirt.

Operation "Red Dawn" was carried by 4th Infantry Division and coalition
special forces - 600 men. It was made possible by a great deal of human
intelligence and the interrogation of captives.

Gen. Sanchez reported the deposed Iraqi ruler, discovered Saturday,
December 13, at 8.30 pm local time, showed no resistance and appeared
resigned to his fate. He was "talkative and cooperative" while being
taken to a secure place. The interrogation will "take as long as it
takes."

US administrator Paul Bremer called on the Iraqi people to turn to
reconciliation and Saddam's followers to lay down their arms.

US troops poured into Baghdad and blocked the road-bridges into the
capital as soon as word spread, in anticipation of violence from Saddam
fedayeen or foreign terrorists fighting the US-led coalition presence.
Baghdadis fired guns in the air to celebrate the capture of the man who
ruled the country with an iron fist for 23 years. Kurdish and Shiite
towns filled with dancing and jubilation. Iraq officials demand Saddam
be handed over to the new Iraqi war crimes tribunal to be judged for the
murder of 300,000 Iraqis.
related articles:

Will Saddam Trade His WMD Secrets for His Life?

Top Bush Team Divided over Next Iraq Moves

The Stryker: US Military`s Great White Hope against Iraqi RPGs

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------
Headlines

One of three British Airways London-Washington flights cancelled
following "security advice" from UK government. Previous Thursday BA
flight delayed for hours on Dulles tarmac for questioning of all
passengers

Aeromexico's New Year's Eve flight to Los Angeles also cancelled earlier
for fear it was targeted by al Qaeda. Suspicion arose from same
intelligence that led to cancellation of six Air France flights five
days ago.

Egyptian presidential adviser al-Baz finds disintegrating Palestinian
Authority in Ramallah. He meets Arafat Thursday amid Fatah breakup in
most West Bank and Gaza towns. Read more in DEBKAfile Special Report in
box below

DEBKAfile reveals: Washington restricts sales of satellite images of
Israel to Arab and Islamic terrorists and other potentially hostile
customers

Read about new rules in DEBKAfile Military Exclusive below

Number of dead in restaurant car bomb blast on New Year's Eve in Baghdad
has risen to 8, with 30 injured including three Los Angeles Times
journalists. The Nabil restaurant in upscale Arasat district was crowded
with revelers when bomb went off.

Italy's Il Giornale reports from Washington: Al Qaeda publishes new
threat to "annihilate New York" on February 2. Read more in box below
Paper cites purported al Qaeda video clip threatening nuclear attack on
city, claims FBI removed website carrying video clip. Authenticity of
clip and web site has not been officially confirmed

wow! it's getting all the worst... 02.Jan.2004 00:14

Israel Army action breeds fresh hatred...surprised?

reposting
-Caveat Lector-  http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1112055,00.html

Family waits to bury boy, 7, as camp scorns Sharon's 'propaganda'

Israel Army action breeds fresh hatred

Conal Urquhart in Balata refugee camp
Tuesday December 23, 2003
The Guardian

Mohammed was eating beans and bread when he heard the soldiers outside. He stood up and ran to close the door, but stopped and turned back when he saw the soldier. It is not clear what threat the soldier identified from the seven-year-old, but he fired and Mohammed fell dead, still clutching his piece of bread.

Yesterday Balata was waiting to bury Mohammed and two other casualties of the Israeli army's week-long incursion into the West Bank's largest refugee camp, but troops continued to patrol the streets, confining everyone to their homes.

While analysts ponder the words of Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, in which he promised to unilaterally "disengage" from the Palestinians, the 40,000 residents of Balata have been feeling the actions of the army on the ground. Mr Sharon said: "Israel is taking steps to significantly improve the living conditions of the Palestinian population. Israel will remove closures and curfews and reduce the number of roadblocks. These measures are aimed at enabling better and freer movement for the Palestinian population not involved in terror."

His words were met with incredulity in Balata.

The army moved in on Monday last week and has not yet left. A tank watches over the camp from the road above, its cannon pointed at the heart of the settlement. Army jeeps drive from one side of the camp to the other, exerting their control, but often being bombarded by rocks. In other areas, troops search houses and arrest young men.

Abu Ziad Sharia, 36, said: "What people see on the television and read in the newspapers is one reality. We have quite a different reality here. Sharon says he will disengage from the Palestinians and you can see here we cannot move for soldiers."

An army spokeswoman said the military had been carrying out operations against the "terrorist infrastructure" in the Nablus area, which includes Balata. "This infrastructure has attempted 18 suicide attacks since October."

Asked about Mohammed"s death, she said: "During operations yesterday, a group of youths threw rocks and molotov cocktails at soldiers. From that group a pipebomb was thrown and the soldiers returned fire. We are still investigating the death."

At Mohammed's house, his mother, Shaiara, sat among 50 women on the floor with their backs to the walls. The men of the family were waiting in Nablus to bring the boy's body home for burial.

The women looked sombre and one said: "Anything that comes from God is good." But Mohammed's sisters were seething with rage by the spot in the hallway where he died. "Who are the terrorists - the people who kill a boy as he is eating?" said Aya, 17. "All Palestinians should join the resistance, because it does not matter whether you are holding a bomb, a stone or a piece of bread, they will still kill you.

"May God give us vengeance against the Jews."

She pointed to Adnam, Mohammed's red-haired friend, who said as if coached: "I am going to kill Sharon."

Outside the house, people tried to get on with their lives. They scurried from shelter to shelter, and a few merchants pushed trolleys around the back streets. Volunteers in fluorescent vests helped children home from school; it was the first time they had gone to classes in a week.

The funerals, the curfews and the blockade have been regular occurrences in Balata for three years. The past week has been just a continuation of the cycle of violence that has made its youths willing suicide bombers and martyrs, contemptuous of the political processes in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Ibrahim Sharia, a clan leader and former teacher, said the past three years had destroyed the people of Balata: "Sharon deludes the world with his political propaganda. He has put us in a cage and it is only natural for people to try and free themselves and defend themselves."

so!...the truth is out... 02.Jan.2004 00:20

Israeli MPs "cheated on IQ test"...it all makes sense now!

reposting
-Caveat Lector-  http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story.jsp?sectionid=1274&storyid=703396

Israeli MPs 'cheated on IQ test'
From correspondents in Jerusalem
December 31, 2003

MEMBERS of the Israeli parliament finished in the middle of the pack in a televised IQ test against groups like models and lawyers - and that was after they cheated.

Yesterday's segment of the reality-TV series Test of the Nation had the groups taking the IQ test simultaneously, as viewers joined in from their homes.High school students, tax collectors and lawyers finished first, models and bodybuilders near the bottom and the members of parliament in between.

But today, Haim Katz, a member of parliament from the ruling Likud Party, admitted that his six-person team cheated, sharing answers with each other.

"Like children, we want to succeed, (because) the whole country is watching," he told Army Radio.

Katz likened the behaviour to tests in Israeli schools, where such cheating is endemic.

The image of Israel's parliament has suffered in recent years because of scandals, investigations and questionable election practices, added to the decades-long practice of conducting shouting matches, complete with curses and epithets, during floor debates.

The present group, elected this year, has scaled new heights, with several members facing police inquiries for voting twice on a budget bill, another for bribery during a primary campaign, and prime minister and his son - also a member of parliament - under investigation for election irregularities.

Members of parliament who did not take part in the TV show scoffed at the affair.

"These days it appears that you have to add the IQs of all the members of parliament together to get a good result," quipped Ronni Bar-On of Likud.

AP

this informs USa the truth about Iraqi War in 2003... 02.Jan.2004 00:41

...A WAR Inspired by and Made for ISRAEL

reposting
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IF you don't get MER, you just don't get IT!
Expert Exclusive Truly Important Insights, Information, and Analysis Available Nowhere Else
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2003: A WAR Inspired by and Made for ISRAEL

"It was seen as a second Palestine, not so much because it was a
foreign conquest of another Arab country, but because, via the
Bush administration's neo-conservative hawks, it was at least as
much Israeli in inspiration and purpose as it was American. The mighty
blow struck in Baghdad would so weaken other Arab regimes that the Palestinians,
more than ever bereft of Arab support, would submit to that full-scale Israeli
subjugation and dispossession of all but a last pitiful fragment of their original homeland."

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 31 December 2003: The year 2004 is now likely to be a year of even greater danger, bloodshed, hate, and revenge, than the year just about to conclude. But we'll return to the still-growing dangers, the rampaging American forces of neo-imperialism, the unconscionable Israeli neo-apartheid schemes, and the corrupt inept Arab regimes, after a very brief respite...difficult as it is to 'celebrate' the New Year under the circumstances the Israelis and their neo-con associates in Washington are most responsible for creating. Right now...this powerful reflection on the year ending by one of the best Middle East journalists of our time. His important book THE GUN AND THE OLIVE BRANCE by the way has just been republished -- it is now a classic which does indeed, as the cover suggests, go to 'the roots of violence in the Middle East'.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bush has thrown open Pandora's box in a paradise for international terrorists
2003 has been a crucial year for the Middle East, with war in
Iraq and the continuing intifada in Israel. The Guardian's
acclaimed commentator on the region assesses what
happened, what it means, and where it might lead next year

By David Hirst
The Guardian, UK, December 23, 2003 - This was the year the Middle East became the undisputed, tumultuous centre of global politics. When, at dawn on March 20 the US and its British ally went to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, they were intervening in the region on such a scale that Arabs everywhere compared the invasion, in its potential geopolitical significance, to that seminal upheaval of the last century: the collapse of the Ottoman empire. That led to the arbitrary carve-up of its former Arab provinces by the European colonial powers and, in 1948, to the loss of one of them, Palestine, to the Israeli settler-state.

In Arab eyes, it was a final mortal blow to the so-called "Arab system" through which the component parts of the greater Arab "nation" collectively strove to protect the territorial integrity and basic security of the whole. To the disgust and shame of the Arab peoples, it was not merely incapable of preventing the conquest and occupation of what, properly governed, would have been one of the most powerful and prosperous Arab lands, it was largely complicit in it.

It simply stood and watched as the world's only superpower embarked on its hugely ambitious, neo-colonial enterprise: to make Iraq the fulcrum for reshaping the entire region and, with regime change and "democratisation", cure it of those sicknesses - political and social oppression, religious extremism, corruption, tribalism and economic stagnation - that had turned it into the main threat to the existing world order. It did not formally envisage a full-scale redrawing of state frontiers, but it looked as though by an inexorable momentum that might come to pass.

It was seen as a second Palestine, not so much because it was a foreign conquest of another Arab country, but because, via the Bush administration's neo-conservative hawks, it was at least as much Israeli in inspiration and purpose as it was American. The mighty blow struck in Baghdad would so weaken other Arab regimes that the Palestinians, more than ever bereft of Arab support, would submit to that full-scale Israeli subjugation and dispossession of all but a last pitiful fragment of their original homeland.

This grandiose enterprise began well enough. The rottenest regime of a rotten Arab order collapsed swiftly as expected. Within three weeks the Americans were in Baghdad and an American tank teamed up with a jubilant crowd in the symbolic act of toppling Saddam's statue in Firdaous Square. On May 1 a triumphant, flight-suited George Bush strutted aboard an aircraft carrier to declare major combat operations at an end.

Fateful

But America was to find no weapons of mass destruction, demolishing the prime official war aim. More seriously, the goodwill it had earned from most Iraqis for overthrowing the despot soon began to dissipate amid the evidence of just how ill-equipped the US was for the "nation-building" that was to follow. There developed a competition, fateful for the success or failure of the whole enterprise, between a majority of Iraqis, who for all their growing exasperation with the occupation wanted it to remain until a healthy, independent Iraqi order could take its place, and a minority who wanted to end it by any means.

By June the first American soldiers began to die. The resistance begun by Saddam loyalists widened to other groups, overwhelmingly Sunni, until by October the CIA concluded that 50,000 people were active in it. The US military responded with drastic methods - collective punishments, massive firepower, demolitions and razings - that could not but incite a greater militancy.

In the wider Arab world, a virulent anti-Americanism was not offset, as it was for the Iraqis, by a hatred of Saddam and the fear of his possible return. So it warmed to the Iraqi resistance more than most Iraqis did - and spawned militants of its own who were drawn to this new arena from which to conduct their jihad against the enemy of Islam and Arabism.

As they struck at almost any target, Iraqi, American or foreign, military, civilian or philanthropic, the itinerant suicide bombers also exploded another pretext for the war: that Saddam had been a partner with Osama bin Laden, and that overthrowing him would deal a critical blow to international terror.

"By pretending that Iraq was crawling with al-Qaida," the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd put it, "Bush officials created an Iraq crawling with al-Qaida." And not just Iraq: since the invasion the terrorists have struck in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Turkey, mostly at the expense of other Muslims.

Nor was there any sign of the beneficent effect which such radical intervention in one great zone of Middle East crisis was supposed to have on the other one. The long-established linkage between Iraq and Palestine reasserted itself but with the new occupation interacting with the old one in ways that further complicated the whole neo-imperial grand design.

Ariel Sharon staged Israel's first air raid on Syria in 30 years. Ostensibly it was retaliation for a particularly atrocious Palestinian bombing, but it was also a blatant bid to cast Israel as an operational ally of the US in the "reshaping" of the region and the punishing of that other Ba'athist dictatorship which, in the neo-conservative scheme of things, was next in line for the Saddam treatment.

Then it was revealed that in Iraq US forces were adopting counter-insurgency techniques the Israelis had taught them. This could only deepen the Arab and Muslim conviction that what the American soldiers were now doing to Iraqis was what the Israelis had been doing to Palestinians for the past 50 years. Resistance in one place could only inspire and reinforce it in the other.

Fiasco

In this unfavourable climate Mr Bush sought to launch the long-stalled "road map" for peace, but only at the price of casting the noblest of his official war aims - "democracy for Arabia" - in a very curious Israeli-tinted light. To try to supplant Yasser Arafat with the Palestinians' new prime minister, the hapless Abu Mazen, was actually to subvert democracy in one of the few Arab societies whose leader was, more or less, its authentic electorally proven choice. This short-lived fiasco foundered on Mr Arafat's obduracy, Mr Sharon's intransigence, renewed suicide bombings by Hamas and the partisanship of the most pro-Israeli US president ever, who was not going to risk the wrath of his Jewish and rightwing Christian constituencies in the run-up to next year's presidential election.

Likewise, on the Iraqi front, becoming as it was the greatest potential threat to Mr Bush's prospects of a second term, exalted foreign purpose fell suddenly and flagrantly prey to the expediencies of domestic politics. The capture of Saddam was indeed a timely public relations triumph. But it seemed as likely to broaden the anti-American insurgency as to diminish it, and thereby amplify the growing murmur that here was a new Vietnam in the making.

In the closing weeks of 2003 Mr Bush and his lieutenants kept swearing that America would stay the course "till the job is done", even as they began casting about for plausible exit strategy. With the dexterity that has marked the whole ideologically driven Iraqi enterprise from the outset, they suddenly decided they would end the occupation and transfer authority to an Iraqi government by next summer, reversing the order of events they had formerly envisaged - giving real power to the Iraqis only when they were truly ready for it.

This new Iraqi order would be sovereign and democratic, but the first thing it would do would be to ask American troops to stay on to preserve that sovereignty and democracy.

With this subterfuge, Mr Bush might just, as he apparently plans, manage to declare "mission accomplished" on the eve of the presidential election. But it would be remarkable if such an essentially US-installed government, presiding over a hastily reconstructed army and police, was able for long to master the maelstrom of colliding passions and political interests which the removal of the tyranny has unleashed.

An Iraq at loggerheads with itself, and a paradise for international terrorists, would spare none of the principal actors in this geopolitical drama. Not the US, confronted as it then would be with the classical colonial dilemma of whether to pull back or plunge yet further in. Not the Arab world, whose regimes in their people's eyes only differ from Saddam's in the degree of their degeneracy, nor Israel.

The danger is what Arab commentators habitually call "Lebanonisation" - first of Iraq and then, by an inevitable contagion, the rest of the eastern Arab world. Hizbullah, that most successful of anti-Israeli insurgencies, grew out of a single failed and fratricidal state. What might an entire failed region throw up?

www.MiddleEast.Org