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The...overall toll since the September 2000 start of the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, to 4,172:

3,176 Palestinians and 925 Israelis

according to an AFP count.

[Likudniks are damn evil people, and the U.S. parties--both Kerry & Bush--just rush to support THIS?? AND the internationally condemed Israeli wall?]

To take back America is to remove both Bush and Kerry.
Palistinian Davids meets the Likudnik Goliath...
Palistinian Davids meets the Likudnik Goliath...
Evidence Israel Using Chemical Warfare On Palestinians
By James Brooks
Contributing Writer

- James Brooks is a writer, activist, and volunteer webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.

Online Journal

"On June 10th, 2004, the two clinics in Al-Zawiya treated 130 patients for gas inhalation. The patients were children, women, old people and young men. Dr. Abu Madi related that there was a high number of cases of [tetany], spasm in legs and hands, connected to the nervous system. Pupils were dilated . . . Other symptoms included shock, semi-consciousness, hyperventilation, irritation and sweating." [1]

Thus reads a report by medical units serving the West Bank village of Al-Zawiya, where nonviolent resistance to Israel's impending wall has been extraordinarily resolute. According to the medical report (procured by the International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC), "the gas used against the protestors is not tear gas but possibly a nerve gas."

The following day, Israel's 'Peace Bloc,' Gush Shalom, began a press release with the following quote from Al-Zawiya: "What the army used here yesterday was not tear gas. We know what tear gas is, what it feels like. That was something totally different . . . When we were still a long way off from where the bulldozers were working, they started shooting things like this one (holding up a dark green metal tube with the inscription 'Hand and rifle grenade no.400' in English). Black smoke came out. Anyone who breathed it lost consciousness immediately, more than a hundred people. They remained unconscious for nearly 24 hours. One is still unconscious, at Rapidiya Hospital in Nablus. They had high fever and their muscles became rigid. Some needed urgent blood transfusion. Now, is this a way of dispersing a demonstration, or is it chemical warfare?" [2]

The incident in Al-Zawiya appears to be the tenth attack by Israeli soldiers using an "unknown gas" against Palestinian civilians since early 2001. We have photographs of the canisters. We have film of victims suffering in the hospital. We have interviews with Palestinian and European doctors who have treated the victims. And we presumably have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of survivors. But we know nothing of their fate. Despite the evidence, we have not inquired.

Though it is a state secret, Israel's development of chemical and biological weapons has been known and analyzed for decades. From the typhoid poisoning of Palestinian wells and water supplies in 1948 [3,4] to the conversion of F-16s into nerve gas 'crop dusters' in 1998 [5], Israel has always demonstrated a strong interest in developing CBW agents and methods for their dispersal.

In 1992 an El Al 747 flying nerve gas ingredients from the US to Israel crashed into an Amsterdam apartment building. [6] According to Salman Abu-Sitta, president of the Palestine Land Society, the respected Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad followed up the crash with an in-depth investigation of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), Israel's CBW complex in Nes Ziona. The paper reportedly found "strong links" with several US CBW and medical research centers, "close cooperation between IIBR and the British-American biological warfare programme," and "extensive collaboration on BW research with Germany and Holland." [7]

At IIBR, doctors publish world-class research in acetylcholine, the mother lode of nerve gas design. The Nes Ziona complex is reputed to have invented an "undetectable" poison-needle gun for "clean" assassinations. [8] In September 1997, two days after Jordan's King Hussein told Israeli PM Netanyahu that Hamas was seeking negotiations, Mossad agents in Jordan attempted to kill Hamas leader Khaled Misha'al with a lethal dose of fentanyl. [9]

For years, rumors persisted that Israel was using or testing unknown chemical agents on Palestinian civilians. The rumors began to reveal their substance February 12, 2001, when Israel began a six-week campaign of "novel gas" attacks in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. By chance, American filmmaker James Longley arrived in Khan Younis, Gaza in the middle of the first attack. That afternoon he began filming the victims. His award-winning film, Gaza Strip, documents the naked reality of Israel's chemical weaponryˇthe canisters, the doctors, the eyewitnesses, and the hideous suffering of the victims, many of whom remained hospitalized for days or weeks. [10]

The February 12 gassing of neighborhoods in Khan Younis presaged the attacks that followed. When the gas canisters landed, they began to billow clouds of either white or black, sooty smoke. The gas was non-irritating and initially odorless, changing to a sweet, minty fragrance after a few minutes. One victim recalled, "The smell was good. You want to breathe more. You feel good when you inhale it." The smoke often shifted to a "rainbow" of changing colors. [11, 12]

>From five to 30 minutes after breathing the gas, victims began to feel sick and have difficulty breathing. A searing pain began to wrench their gut, followed by vomiting, sometimes of blood, then complete hysteria and extremely violent convulsions. Many victims suffered a relentless syndrome for days or weeks afterward, alternating between convulsions and periods of consciousness, twitching, vomiting agony. Palestinians agreed: "This is like nothing we've ever seen before." [13]

Forty people were admitted to Al-Nasser Hospital "in an odd state of hysteria and nervous breakdown," suffering from "fainting and spasms." Sixteen gas patients had to be transferred to the intensive care unit. Doctors "reported the Israeli use of gas that appeared to cause convulsions." [14]

At the Gharbi refugee camp, 32 people "were treated for serious injuries" following exposure to the gas. Dr. Salakh Shami at Al-Amal Hospital reported the hospital receiving "about 130 patients suffering from gas inhalation from February 12." [15]

Bewildered medical personnel had "never seen anything..like the gas at Tufa." Victims were "jumping up and down, left and right, thrashing limbs around," suffering "convulsions . . . a kind of hysteria. They were all shaking." Others were already unconscious. An hour or two later, they would come to. And the convulsions and the vomiting and disorientation and pain would return. [16]

The following day, February 13, Israeli forces again deployed the strange new gas canisters in Khan Younis. Over 40 new gas victims, "including a number of children..from 1 to 5 years-old," arrived at Al-Nasser Hospital and the hospital of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. [17]

The news began to trickle out. "Palestinian security services have accused the Israeli army of using nerve gas during a gun battle yesterday," reported AFX News Limited, noting, "the army has strongly denied the charges." [18] The Voice of Palestine reported that "specialists believe that this is an internationally banned nerve gas." Those who inhaled the gas "suffered a nervous breakdown and vomited blood." [19]

The next day, Deutsche Presse-Agentur quoted Dr. Yasser Sheikh Ali from Al-Nasser Hospital: "Israel has been using a powerful type of tear gas against the Palestinians that causes convulsions and spasms." According to DPA, more than 80 Palestinians . . . reported that Israeli soldiers had used the white smoky gas, but Israel denied doing so." [20]

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that on February 15 three more canisters of the poison gas were fired at houses in the Khan Younis camp, and "another 11 Palestinian civilians, mostly children, suffered from suffocation and spasms due to gas inhalation." [21] British journalist Graham Usher wrote that Khan Younis civilians were "incapacitated" by "a 'new' form of toxic gas." [22]

PA President Yasser Arafat publicly "accused Israel of using poison gas." The IDF issued a second denial. Israeli Communications Minister Ben-Eliezer called reports of gas casualties in Khan Younis "incorrect and false." Senior PA minister Nabil Shaath said that a sample of the gas would be sent to "an international center for analysis." [23] The results, if any, were never divulged.

On February 18, Israeli soldiers near the Neve Dekalim settlement reportedly fired four poison gas canisters at Palestinian houses in Khan Younis. Later that afternoon, more canisters were fired, forcing Palestinians to flee their homes. PCHR reported that "41 Palestinian civilians, mostly children and women, suffered from suffocation and spasms." [24] By PCHR's count, 238 Palestinians were affected by poison gas attacks between February 12 and February 20. Twenty-seven of the victims were still hospitalized on the 22nd. [25]

On March 2, an unknown gas was used against civilians in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh. Israeli soldiers reportedly fired "canisters of a highly effective black gas similar to the one used in Khan Yunis three weeks ago." [26]

Twenty-four days later, Israeli forces east of Gaza City used a gas that "left symptoms different from those of the..gas used first.. in Khan Yunis starting from February 12..," although several similarities also appeared. In this attack the onset of abdominal pain seemed to be delayed. [27]

On March 30, medical professionals in Nablus reported Israeli soldiers using the new poison gas against Palestinian demonstrators. [28]

British journalist Jonathan Cook reported a March gas attack on the schoolyard of Al-Khader village, near Bethlehem. Thirteen year-old Sliman Salah was playing when a gas canister landed next to him, "enveloping him in a cloud of gas described by witnesses as an unfamiliar, yellow colour." Large doses of anti-convulsants were required to control the boy's seizures and maintain consciousness. His symptoms "were finally brought under control five days after his exposure to the gas. But Salah's father says the boy is still suffering from stomach pains, vomiting, dizziness and breathing problems." [29]

In its March, 2003 special report, Israel's Secret Weapon, BBC Television reviewed this series of gas attacks, noting, "The Israeli army has used new unidentified weapons. In February 2001 a new gas was used in Gaza. A hundred and eighty patients were admitted to hospitals with severe convulsions. . . . Israel is outside chemical and biological weapons treaties and still refuses to say what the new gas was." [30]

In my amateur analysis of the reported comments of victims, eyewitnesses and medical professionals regarding this series of attacks, I identified 33 distinct symptoms attributed to the unidentified gas. All but three of these symptoms appear to be typical of nerve gas poisoning. [31] Tareg Bey, a chemical warfare expert at the University of California-Irvine, told the Chicago Reader that the symptoms described to him "all fit really well to nerve gas," though he was puzzled by the reported fragrance and skin rashes. [32]

In an October 9, 2003 article, Jennifer Loewenstein and Angela Gaff asked, "What gas is Israel using?" They reported the story of Mukhles Burgal, a Palestinian prisoner caught in a brutal attack inside Israel's Ashkelon prison. The "guards forced their way into the crowded cell, spraying two canisters of some type of gas. Some of the 14 prisoners passed out . . . The effects of the gas were severe muscle spasms and an overwhelming sensation of not being able to breathe." [33]

Two days later, Palestine Monitor reported that Israeli forces in Rafah were allegedly "firing gas grenades containing a black gas believed to be adamatite [adamsite?]ˇthe use of which is forbidden according to international law. Medical authorities urged people to avoid the gas at all costs, as it not only causes difficulty in breathing but seriously affects the nervous system." [34] For some reason, PCHR's press release from the same day, an apparent source of these reports, is no longer available. [35] On the 14th, eyewitness Laura Gordon wrote, "The army used some kind of nerve gas for the first time in Rafah, leaving people in convulsions for days." [36]

Following the recent gas attack in Al-Zawiya, town officials reportedly told Al Ayyam newspaper, "the Israeli occupation troops were using an illegal substance that caused nerve spasms and that several cases had been transferred to Nablus hospitals." [37]

The PA's International Press Center reported that "official and public sources in Al-Zawya.asserted that those who have inhaled the tear gas IOF troops fired at them four days ago are still suffering from the effects of the gas . . . a number of those citizens have already had amnesias or partial memory loss, in addition to cramps . . . in addition to strange cramps every three hours . . . those who inhaled the gas are still suffering severe pains in the joints and nausea for four days now. Eyewitnesses recalled that the Israeli soldiers were keen on picking the empty tear gas canisters.." Journalists told IPC "that the gas was in different colors they have never seen coming out of a tear gas canister before, and that some gases had an unrecalled smell." [38]

According to IMEMC, .."tens of demonstrators who inhaled this gas had partial memory loss. Dr. Bassam Abu Madi told IMEMC that the some of those who inhaled the gas had severe choking and some contraction in their feet and arm muscles. Eyewitnesses said the gas has a strange smell and a reddish-brownish color." [corrected copy] In a follow up story, IMEMC concluded that "protesters were attacked with gas that is not like the tear gas. Those who inhaled the gas suffered some memory loss while others had other symptoms of a nerve gas. Yet this was not medically confirmed for lack of laboratories to inspect the gas canisters collected from the scene." [39]

Al Jazeera reported the opinion of Awni Khatib, a professor of chemistry at Hebron University; "the new symptoms˝particularly the violent convulsions experienced by some Palestinian protesters outside the village of Sawiya [Zawiya], southwest of Nablus˝suggest..that the Israeli army may be using a new class of chemicals that lie somewhere between normal tear gas and chemical weapons." [40]

Israel's repeated use of highly toxic unknown chemicals against Palestinian civilians is now an open secret. We can expect these attacks to continue until a concerted effort is made to determine the facts and hold Israel accountable. So far, the international human rights community has steadfastly ignored the mounting evidence.

When will professional investigators begin to retrieve and test the gas canisters? Why has no one but James Longley bothered to document interviews with victims, doctors, and other eyewitnesses? In a world in which one country's mere possession of chemical weapons can be an excuse for international retribution, how another country's use of chemical weapons against civilians be dismissed as a "regrettably excessive" tactic of crowd control?

Our silence is poisoning Palestine.


1. One Israeli, one Palestinian arrested and 40 wounded in anti-wall protest, International Middle East Media Center, 6/14/2004.  http://www.imemc.org/headlines/2004/june/week2/061404/al-zawiya-protest.htm

2. Sharon Praised While Wall Construction Continues, Gush Shalom, 6/11/2004.  http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0406/S00152.htm

3. The Jews of Iraq, by Naeim Giladi, The Link, April-May, 1998, American Middle East Update.  http://www.ameu.org/uploads/vol31_issue2_1998.pdf

4. Traces of poison, by Salman Abu-Sitta, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 27 Feb. - 5 March 2003.  http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/627/focus.htm

5. Israeli WMD - Israel's Weapons of Mass Destruction, by Neil Sammonds, ZNet, 10/11/2002.  http://communication.ucsd.edu/911/massdestruction.html

6. ibid.

7. Traces of poison by Salman Abu-Sitta, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 27 Feb. - 5 March 2003.  http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/627/focus.htm

8. Israel's Anti-Civilian Weapons by John F. Mahoney, January - March 2001.  http://www.ameu.org/uploads/vol34_issue1_2001.pdf

9. Diplomatic Struggle Follows Bungled Assassination Attempt in Jordan, New York Times, October 15, 1997.  http://www.payk.net/mailingLists/iran-news/html/1997/msg01333.html

10. Gaza Strip, James Longley, producer 2001.  http://www.littleredbutton.com/gaza/

11. The Israeli Poison Gas Attacks: A Preliminary Investigation, James Brooks, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, January 8, 2003.  http://www.vtjp.org/report/The_Israeli_Poison_Gas_Attacks_Project.htm

12. Selected Interviews, Gaza Strip by James Longley.  http://www.littleredbutton.com/gas_interviews/interviews.pdf

13. ibid.

14. Israelis Kill 14-year-old, Assassinate Arafat Bodyguard, IANA Radionet, Islamic Assembly of North America, February 13, 2001.  http://www.ianaradionet.com/E_newstext/2001/Feb/2-13ME.htm

15. Israeli Army Fires Highly Toxic Quantities of Tear Gas at Civilians in Khan Yunis, Gaza, Palestine Monitor, February 15, 2001.  http://www.palestinemonitor.org/eyewitness/Gaza/Israeli_army_fires_tear.htm

16. Selected Interviews, Gaza Strip by James Longley.  http://www.littleredbutton.com/gas_interviews/interviews.pdf

17. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Feb. 8 - 14, 2001.  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/15-02-2001.htm

18. AFX News Limited, AFX European Focus, February 13, 2001.

19. Selected Interviews, Gaza Strip by James Longley.  http://www.littleredbutton.com/gas_interviews/interviews.pdf

20. ibid.

21. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, February 15 - 21, 2001,  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/22-02-2001.htm

22. Unprepared for the worst, by Graham Usher, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, Feb. 15 - 21, 2001.  http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/2001/521/re1.htm

23. Arafat accuses Israel of using poison gas, CNN Asia, February 16, 2001.  http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/02/15/arafat.gas/

24. PCHR Weekly Report, Feb. 15 - 21, 2001.  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/22-02-2001.htm

25. ibid.

26. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 1 - 7, 2001 (contains typographical error incorrectly listing incident as occurring "Friday, February 22").  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/07-03-2001.htm

27. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 22 - 29, 2001.  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/29-03-2001.htm

28. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 29 - April 4, 2001.  http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/05-04-2001.htm

29. Vale of tears: Tear or poison gas? by Jonathan Cook, Al-Ahram Weekly On-line, 5 - 11 April 2001.  http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/2001/528/re3.htm

30. Israel's Secret Weapon, transcript, BBC, March 17, 2003.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/programmes/

31. Symptoms - The Israeli Poison Gas Attacks: A Preliminary Investigation by James Brooks, VTJP.  http://www.vtjp.org/report/Symptoms.htm

32. Gas Attack/What Was It?/News Bites, by Michael Miner, Chicago Reader, August 23, 2002 Reader ArchiveˇArticle: 2002/020823/HOTTYPE

33. What gas is Israel using? by Jennifer Loewenstein and Angela Gaff, Electronic Intifada, 10/9/2003.  http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1796.shtml

34. UPDATE: Israeli invasion of Gaza refugee camps leave 7 dead and 65 injured meanwhile strict lock down of Palestinian territories continues, Palestine Monitor, 10/11/2003.  http://www.palestinemonitor.org/updates/invasion_of_rafah.htm

35. PCHR press release index 2003.  http://www.imemc.org/opinion/october/laura-gordon.htm

36. Eyewitness account of the invasion of Rafah by Laura Gordon, International Middle East Media Center, 10/14/2003.

37. "This damned, racist wall" by Omar Karmi, Palestine Report, 6/16/2004.  http://www.palestinereport.org/article.php?article=398

38. Israeli Sources: IOF Uses Chemical Weapons Against Palestinian Demonstrators, International Press Center, 6/13/2004 [erroneously refers to Gush Shalom as "Peace Now"].  http://www.ipc.gov.ps/ipc_e/ipc_e-1/e_News/news2004/2004_06/077.html

39. Nonviolence Protestors managed to halt the construction, International Middle East Media Center, 6/16/2004.  http://www.imemc.org/headlines/2004/June/week3/061604/iskaka-wall.htm

40. Palestinian resistance leaders killed, Al Jazeera, June 26, 2004.  http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D85E4012-

- James Brooks is a writer, activist, and volunteer webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.



Israelis Shoot 16 Year Old Palestinian Girl To Death

(AFP) - 16-year-old Palestinian girl was killed by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.

Halima Udeh Abu Samahdaneh took a bullet to the head when troops opened fire in the Shabura district of the impoverished town close to the Israeli-controlled border with Egypt, Palestinian medics and witnesses said Saturday.

Witnesses said it was unclear why the Israeli troops had fired as there were no clashes under way at the time of the shooting.

An Israeli military source said he was unaware of the shooting, but acknowledged that troops had opened fire elsewhere in Rafah after the detonation of a roadside bomb.

The death brought the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, to 4,172, including 3,176 Palestinians and 925 Israelis, according to an AFP count.


Kerry's Jewish brother to visit Israel

By Aluf Benn

Cameron Kerry, the younger brother of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in the United States, Senator John Kerry, is expected to visit Israel next week. He is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, the director of the Prime Minister's office, Dov Weisglass, head of the opposition MK Shimon Peres, and others. Accompanying Cameron Kerry on his tour of the country will be Senator Kerry's adviser on Israel affairs, Jay Footlik.

Cameron Kerry converted to Judaism when he married Kathy Weinman of Michigan, and later learned that his paternal grandparents were Czech Jews who had converted to Christianity before immigrating to the U.S.

Despite maintaining a low profile, Cameron Kerry is considered very close to his brother and heavily involved in his election campaign.

Kerry's visit to Israel aims to strengthen ties between the Democratic candidate and Israel. Senator Kerry had asked to meet Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during his visit to Washington last April, but Sharon did not agree to the meeting, citing a scheduling conflict. At the time, Sharon was visiting Washington in order to receive assurances of U.S. President George Bush's support for Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan.

Sharon promised to schedule a meeting with Bush's rival in May, when a visit to Washington had been planned, but that trip was canceled.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said yesterday the prime minister does not plan a visit to Washington before the November presidential elections. This means that Kerry will not have a photo opportunity with the prime minister prior to the elections.

During his speech on Sunday, during July 4 celebrations at the residence of U.S. ambassador Dan Kurzer, Sharon commended Bush for his friendship to Israel, and his leadership in the war against terror.

Sharon's office, like others in Israel, are in contact with Kerry's Israel adviser, Footlik, who lived in Israel in the past and worked at the Peres Center for Peace.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who returned to Israel last night from the U.S., did not meet with anyone affiliated with Kerry's campaign.

A visit to Israel by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge scheduled for next week was canceled, but diplomatic sources said the reasons for the cancellation were unclear.

Steve Hedley and Elliot Abrams, White House advisers, will arrive in Israel for what has been described as "maintenance" talks with prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ahmed Qureia.

Weisglass met last night with Abrams's deputy Rob Denin, who was accompanied by David Sutherfield of the State Department. The latter met with the heads of the Shin Bet Security Services and Military Intelligence as well as senior Defense Ministry officials.



Israel Mocks World Court
Banning Of Sharon's 'Wall'

(AFP) - Israel said it has no intention of halting work on its West Bank barrier as the world court was set to rule it contravenes international law and that parts built on Palestinian land should be dismantled.

"Israel has no reason to submit to a plainly absurd decision which pays no account to the role of the security fence in the fight against terrorism," a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity as leaked copies of the verdict were widely published on the Internet.

The court said in a ruling, that is merely advisory, that "the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power, in the occupied Palestinian territory" was "contrary to international law", according to the leaks.

"It (Israel) is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, (and) to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated."

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN's highest legal body, also said in the much-anticipated verdict that Israel should pay compensation to Palestinians whose property had been damaged by the construction work.

"Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem," it said.

It also called for the UN General Assembly and Security Council to take action to halt the construction work.

"The United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall."

Even before reports of the verdict emerged, the Israeli government had made clear it had no intention of halting construction work which is due to be completed by the end of next year and should eventually stretch for some 700 kilometers (430 miles).

While the Palestinians say its route -- which often juts deep into the West Bank -- shows its real intent is to pre-empt the borders of their promised future state, the Israelis point to a marked downfall in suicide attacks as proof of its success so far.

Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner said the ICJ had "no jurisdiction" to rule over the barrier and said that it should only come up for debate after Israel's planned pullout of the Gaza Strip is completed next year.

"It will be up to us and the Palestinians, together, as part of an agreement that I hope will come after the withdrawal from Gaza to discuss all questions, including this anti-terrorist barrier," he told Radio France Internationale.

Justice Minister Tommy Lapid told reporters that "the only decision that matters for the government is the verdict of the supreme court".

Judges at Israel's highest court ruled last month that part of the barrier -- a montage of electric fencing, barbed wire and concrete wall -- should be rerouted north of Jerusalem because it infringed the rights of some 35,000 Palestinian inhabitants.

But the supreme court also confirmed in effect the government's right to build the barrier on security grounds.

A senior Palestinian official, who also requested anonymity, expressed delight at the prospect of the world court's verdict which he said represented "a great victory for the Palestinians".

The ICJ said in a statement that it was aware that "various documents are being disseminated on the Internet by a number of organizations regarding the advisory opinion which the court is to render on Friday", and emphasized that "the only authentic text is the official text issued by the court".

The opinion was scheduled to be read at a public hearing in The Hague at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT), and was then to be posted on the ICJ's website.

The verdict comes after three days of hearings into the barrier's legality back in February that were boycotted by the Israelis.

On the domestic political front, opposition leader Shimon Peres said Friday he would insist the pullout from Gaza be coordinated with the Palestinians as his price for joining a new coalition government.

"We are going to demand that the withdrawal be accelerated and that it must be done in coordination with the Palestinians," Peres told public radio.

His comments come after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed in a speech late Thursday that he had "scheduled a meeting with Shimon Peres for Sunday in order to discuss the possibility of widening the coalition."

In the latest violence, a suspected Palestinian militant was shot dead in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Friday by Israeli soldiers who had come to arrest him, military sources said.


Kerry Would Rather Lose Than Oppose the War
by Anthony Gregory
by Anthony Gregory

We're coming close to national election time, and voters should consider the following platform plank of the opposition party, promoting a different approach to US foreign policy:

"The Administration's Iraq policy has failed - militarily, politically, diplomatically, and with relation to our own people.

"We condemn the Administration's breach of faith with the American people respecting our heavy involvement in Iraq... . The Administration's failure to honor its own words has led millions of Americans to question its credibility... .

"We pledge to adopt a strategy relevant to the real problems of the war, concentrating on the security of the population, on developing a greater sense of nationhood, and on strengthening the local forces... .

"We pledge a program for peace in Iraq - neither peace at any price nor a camouflaged surrender of legitimate United States or allied interests - but a positive program that will offer a fair and equitable settlement to all, based on a principle of self-determination, our national interests and the cause of long-range world peace."

Vague, isn't it? Does the statement advocate a withdrawal of US forces, or simply describe a shell game akin to the new "sovereignty" in Iraq, whereby the US government still maintains a heavy presence and fighting between US troops and insurgents will continue or even escalate?

This platform plank sounds a lot like the vague, non-committal positions of John Kerry and the Democrats, but actually it's an excerpt from the 1968 Republican Party platform, with the word "Vietnam" replaced by the word "Iraq" in every instance.

In 1968, many Americans, fed up with Lyndon Johnson's murderous Vietnam War and his lavishly irresponsible fiscal policies, voted for Richard Nixon, and against Democrat Hubert Humphrey. Nixon won, and the war and lunatic spending continued unabated.

On a certain level, most Americans realize that John Kerry will likely send more troops to Iraq and drag America further down the bloody road of empire. Yet many "antiwar" leftists, as Justin Raimondo points out, will shirk their most admirable principles and eagerly vote for Kerry. Even the Green Party Vice Presidential candidate said she might vote for him.

Kerry would probably have to call for the nuking of Iran to lose a lot of his supporters, many of whom deplore the war, recognize he won't stop it, but are so fed up with Bush that they'd do anything to help unseat the current president.

On the other hand, there are many libertarians, conservatives, moderates, and others who correctly fail to see a dime's worth of difference between Bush and Kerry, and yet who agree with much of Kerry's constituency about the disastrous Iraq war. Walter Block typifies such a frustrated American non-Leftist, and even says that he would happily tolerate Kerry's most horrid socialist domestic policies, and even root for the Democrats in November, if only Kerry would promise to "stop this mass murder of innocents in the Middle East."

The last poll I've seen shows Kerry and Bush neck and neck, each with 45% of the electorate behind him. On the war itself, a majority of Americans finally have come around to opposing the madness. If Kerry came out strongly in favor of peace, all his remaining agenda aside, he would probably win more additional votes than he would lose. Few of his current supporters would refuse to vote for him if he embraced a more restrained foreign policy, and yet such a shift would likely win accolades and votes from fed-up Republicans and moderates who want to see the war end.

Imagine if, instead of mimicking Nixon from 1968, Kerry dusted off the 1972 Democratic Party Platform, and substituted a couple words to bring it up to date:

"We believe that the war is a waste of human life... that has divided us from each other, drained our national will and inflicted incalculable damage to countless people. We will end that war by a simple plan that need not be kept secret: The immediate and total withdrawal of Americans from the Middle East." (Emphasis mine: what a great jab at Nixon's "secret plan!")

I know libertarians and conservatives who voted for McGovern in 1972, because they realized the central importance of the Vietnam War, and they also recognized that Nixon's wage and price controls, destruction of the gold standard in international relations, and other interventions in the economy were about as socialist as McGovern's domestic agenda.

Just as McGovern's socialist rhetoric was not much worse than Nixon's actual domestic policies, Kerry's socialism can't possibly be too much worse than Bush's. In fact, on domestic matters, Republicans in Congress might provide gridlock, preventing President Kerry from getting away with what Compassionate Conservative Bush already has. On foreign policy, however, the president will have his way. Not wanting to appear unpatriotic, most congressional Republicans would unlikely resist a Democratic president's drive toward war. That was certainly the case with the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, anyway.

So if Kerry became the new George McGovern - as his conservative talk radio critics often and wrongly accuse him of being - he would clearly be the better candidate, and antiwar Americans from across the political spectrum could have a Democrat for whom to cheer, for more than the aesthetic and superficial reason that he happens to be someone who is not George W. Bush.

Instead, millions of peace-loving Americans will either stay at home, or vote for a third party contender who does oppose the war. Almost all the third parties have better ideas about US foreign policy than the Democrats and Republicans. Most radical is Libertarian Michael Badnarik, who wants to see the entire US empire dismantled.

But many voters - and nonvoters - would enthusiastically put all their differences with Kerry aside and pull the Democratic lever in November, if he represented a real alternative to Bush's warmongering.

Why doesn't Kerry change his position, even if it would likely win him the White House?

My guess is that Kerry has no interest in winning on a pro-peace platform, simply because it would diminish his mandate to make war once elected. He approves of Bush's imperial presidency, voted for Bush's imperial actions, and now wants the job of Emperor himself. He admires and seeks the power to drop bombs and deploy armies all over the globe, and he would rather risk losing the election than win a landslide victory, if winning meant he'd have a hard time rallying the nation behind his own ambitions to rule the world.

Even when the majority wants peace, the two major parties pursue war. So we see yet another failure of democracy to maintain a peaceful America.



Bush Administration Dismisses World Court Ruling On Israel's Wall; &
NY Dem's Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer to deliver statements against International Court's decision

By Haaretz Service
and Reuters

The White House on Friday brushed aside a ruling by the International Court of Justice on the West Bank separation fence, saying it didn't think it was the right forum for addressing the issue.

"We do not believe that that's the appropriate forum to resolve what is a political issue. This is an issue that should be resolved through the process that has been put in place, specifically the road map," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said aboard Air Force One as President George W. Bush was en route to a campaign tour in Pennsylvania.

"We certainly recognize the need for Israel to defend itself and protect the people of Israel. It's also important that they allow the Palestinian people to move freely within that region," McClellan told reporters.

New York senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer announced that they will deliver statements against the International Court's decision in front of the United Nations building in New York City.

The European Commission said that the court appeared to have confirmed the European Union's view that the fence is illegal and urged the Israelis to remove it from occupied territory.

"The European Union continues to call on Israel to remove the barrier from inside the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem," European Commission Spokesman Jean Christophe Filori said.

The National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, said, "We though for a moment the court would rise above prejudice, but as it turns out, it didn't."

The ruling was meant to be a critical moment not only for Israel but also for the court's legitimacy, Foxman added.

Jordan, a key litigant before the ICJ, hailed the ruling, saying it carried "large legal, ethical and political weight."

"The ICJ's ruling, that was adopted with a large majority of 14 judges out of 15, represents a large legal, ethical and political weight which Israel cannot ignore," Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said.

"The decision indicates that the tribunal has accepted all Jordanian arguments and rejected all pretexts cited by Israel, which alleged the construction of the wall was a strategic requirement necessitated by security considerations," he added.

Muasher said that his government was "appraising the implications of the decision with a view to taking all necessary steps to urge Israel to implement the ruling."