Nov 29, 2013

Geopolitical shifts

(below this commentary are two key actions to support for November 30 and December 5-6)

We are in the middle of major, some say tectonic, changes.  We see realignments going left and right that will change the geopolitical reality in Western Asia (the Euro term is “Middle East”) and even beyond.  Hamas abandoned Syria/ Hizbollah/Iran/Russia (SHIR) axis some two years ago and tried to accommodate the Zionist/US/Gulf monarchies (ZUG) axis.  It is now trying to shift back (but Iran does not seem in a Rush to accept the Hamas overtures).  Declassified 1970s documents showed that Fatah leaders o the ZUG axis nearly 30 years ago though Arafat kept his options open and was killed for his “noncommittal”.  Mahmoud Abbas interviews with Israeli and Egyptian TV tried to assure his commitments to this disastrous course that has strengthened Zionism and weakened the Palestinian struggle.   

After the Iran deal with the 5+1 countries on its nuclear program, Iran is moving confidently to forge even stronger alliances with Turkey, Russia, and China while also assuring gulf monarchies that Iran has no intention to harm Arab countries interests.  The only constant Iran emphasizes is that it is not going to normalize with the Apartheid state of Israel. At one thinks almost in the same level as the US government is committed to defend the apartheid state of Israel. But then I saw evidence (from public discourse, private conversations, leaked documents etc) that the US itself maybe in the process of rethinking its self-destructive subservience to Zionist lobbies.

Perhaps that explains the Iran agreement and now the agreement to go to an International conference in January on Syria (which clearly is not making Israel happy).  Turkey (a major country ) has also reevaluated its direct support for the fighting against the Syrian government.  As the Syrian government with help from Hizbollah is cutting off armed supplies from Lebanon, now the only remaining support is via the monarchies and through Jordan-Syria border but even here signs of hesitation is coming.  Jordan and the gulf monarchies are beginning to feel that there will not be a PAX Americana made in Tel Aviv imposed in the Middle East.  Hence the importance of the tentative dance between gulf monarchies and Iran and Russia and Turkey.  Perhaps the US administration will indeed move in to the idea of multilateralism and a bit away from Zionism.  These trends are worth studying and analyzing especially by Palestinians.  Is there any sign to suggest that Mahmoud Abbas and the self contained Ramallah bubble around him is about to get connected to the changing reality?  Time will tell soon if this too will change (hopefully with people pressure). There si a movement now of Palestinian intellectuals and activists to demand such real and significant change away from the disastrous path that has gone on now for three decades (since 1974). Those interested, please email me.

November 30 is an international day of action against the "Prawer Plan" a plan to ethnically cleanse nearly 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins of the Naqab/Negev in an attempt to Judaicize the area. Please act and publicize in your city. The central rally for  Day of Rage will be held Saturday, 30th of November at 3:30 pm at the Hura Junction on Route 31 in the Naqab (map at

Critical conference: Since Israel will not come to Helsinki conference on eliminating WMD in the Middle East, we bring it to Israel. “For a Middle East Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction”. conference in Haifa, December 5-6, 2013. More details here:

Zionist lobby suffers major defeat in France: BDS activists vindicated in French courts

Oslo’s roots: Kissinger, the PLO and the Peace Process

What's behind Israel's biggest economic boom? The occupation.  By Dr. Assaf Oron
The period of Israel’s history that by far saw the largest economic growth, more than any other, was the six years following the Six Day War. And what agricultural, industrial, or hi-tech breakthroughs took place around 1967-1973? None worthy of mention. More than any other single factor, it was the establishment of the Occupation-Settlement Enterprise.

Palestinians set animal traps to protect lands from settler raids

What is Normalization?
….political, cultural and economic tool that allows Israel to dispense with the historical causes of the conflict and make its resulting realities seemingly banal. The most dangerous dimension of normalization policies is that Israel presents them as peace deals in themselves

At Tuwani- On the afternoon of October 17, Palestinians discovered 106 olive trees destroyed alongside Bypass Road 317, in a field located between the Israeli outposts of Avigayil and Mitzpe Yair, in the South Hebron Hills. Pictures at

From the camera of an occupation/apartheid soldiers operating in the middle of Bethlehem

Nov 16, 2013


We just concluded a conference “Euro-Arab dialogue in the twenty first century: Towards a common vision.” Some 350 representatives from 52 countries were there: government ministers, politicians, writers, academics, journalists, and only a handful of grass-root activists. The opening session was at the European Parliament headquarters in Bussels. The second day was in a fancy hotel.  The sponsoring foundation was Al-Babtain Foundation which was established by Arab businessman and poet Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain. Al-Babtain has a number of philanthropic activities and tries to involve Arabs of varied backgrounds.  The spokeswoman on behalf of the EU Parliament welcomed us and indicated the importance for dialogue to advance democracy, understanding and peace. 

The foundation gave an award to Avi Shlaim an Israeli British academic who was born in Iraq and is one of the group of new historians who showed that the Zionist version of the Nakba of 1948 is certainly mythology. We benefited from useful discussions outside of the formal presentations.  The formal presentations had some good speakers (for example the previous foreign minister of Malta Mr. Michael Frendo) and some not so good (e.g. an EU person who gave an condescending lecture and a Lebanese who blamed our ills not on Israel but on Iran!).  The old orientalism ideas are expected but it is more disappointing to hear Arab defeatist subservience on occasion reinforcing Sykes-Picot and other colonialist ideas of divide and conquer.  But there were many decent good voices including from the sponsors.  The elephant in the room that could not be ignored was Israel despite attempts to deflect this by talking about Iran.  I was pleased that many people (though not many current politicians) voiced strongly the fact that  the key to peace in the Arab world and in Europe is justice for the Palestinian people.

The hospitality was superb at the conference and the food was excellent.  We did have time to network with some important intellectuals and to visit a few key other landmarks in this amazing and beautiful city. I had time to visit the natural history museum and network with colleagues on issues of biodiversity. I wished we met in a less fancy place and saved the money to help needy people.  Syrian refugees for example are reported to be selling their kidneys so that they can survive.  Gaza was not mentioned in any of the speeches even though the news is that the electricity cut off is plunging 1.6 million people into the Middle Ages and in some places sewage is now filling streets. Israeli occupiers also continue attacks on Palestinians and on  holy sites especially Jerusalem (one of the most important cities in the Arab world). Some of the attendees were concerned as we talked to them. From Palestine itself, it was me and the minister of culture Dr. Anwar Abuaisheh (a humble decent man, different from many other Palestinian authority figures).

Now back in Palestine, I am amazed at the number of delegations visiting here.  I am speaking to two or three visiting delegations every day. Good people who will go back to their countries to work for peace with justice.

In photos: Gaza Strip plunged into darkness as fuel runs out
….A major waste water treatment plant in al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City failed on Wednesday, leading sewage to flood the streets of the neighborhood and blocking passage for residents through the city's darkened alleyways.

Someday - Song for Palestine: Music and Lyrics By Finian Cunningham - Video produced by Debbie Menon at MyCatBirdSeat. This video and song pays tribute to the incredible resilience and steadfastness of the Palestinians in their struggle for justice and end to apartheid and occupation of their homeland.

Uri Avneri, a seasoned Israeli politician on the assassination of Yasser Arafat

The choice is revealingly simple. Stop funding genocide in the Middle East or start feeding Americans.

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