US Oil Companies Offered Five Million Dollar Bribes To Iraqi MP’s?

Dandelion Salad

ICH
31/01/08 “Roads to Iraq

Reported today on Akhbar Alkhaleej newspaper

An Iraqi MP preferred to remain anonymous told the newspaper that highly confidential negotiations took place by representatives from American oil companies, offering $5 million to each MP who votes in favor of the Oil and Gas law.

The amount that could be paid to pass the votes do not exceed $150 million dollars in the case of $5 million to each MP, pointing out that the Oil law requires 138 votes to pass, which the Americans want to guarantee in many ways, including vote-buying, intimidation and threats!

Focusing on the heads of parliamentary blocs and influential figures in the parliament to ensure the votes, the Americans guaranteed the Kurdish votes in advance but they are seeking enough votes to pass and approve the law as soon as possible.

Computer translation of original article.

http://www.akhbar-alkhaleej.com/arc_Articles.asp?Article=221558&Sn=WORL&IssueID=10903

Iraqi Deputy of the “Gulf News”

شركات أمريكية عرضت دفع خمسة ملايين دولار

American companies offered to pay five million dollars


رشوة لكل نائب عراقي مقابل تمرير قانون النفط

Each deputy bribe Iraqi oil-for-passing law

كشف نائب عراقي عن مفاتحات سرية قامت بها جهات تمثل بعض الشركات الأمريكية تتضمن عرضا أمريكيا بمنح النواب الذين يصوتون لصالح قانون النفط والغاز مبلغا قدره خمسة ملايين دولار.

A deputy from the Iraqi secret overtures by the views are some of the American companies include the granting of an American MPs who voted in favour of the law of oil and gas amount of five million dollars.

 وقال النائب العراقي الذي فضل عدم ذكر اسمه: إن المبلغ الذي يمكن ان يدفع للحصول على اصوات تسمح بتمرير قانون النفط والغاز لايتجاوز 150 مليون دولار في حالة تخصيص مبلغ خمسة ملايين دولار لكل نائب، وهذا المبلغ سيكون زهيدا مقارنة بالامتيازات التي ستحصل عليها الشركات الامريكية مشيرا إلى أن قانون النفط يحتاج إلى 138 صوتا لتمريره وهو ما تسعى الجهات الأمريكية للحصول عليه بوسائل كثيرة من بينها شراء الاصوات والترغيب والترهيب!

The deputy said the Iraqi, who preferred to remain anonymous said: The amount that could be paid for the votes of passing the law allow oil and gas to exceed 150 million dollars in the case of an amount of five million dollars to each deputy, and the amount would be negligible compared to the privileges given to American companies, pointing to the The petroleum law requires 138 votes to pass, which is seeking American actors to obtain many ways, including vote-buying, intimidation and carrots!

ورجح النائب العراقي أن تحصل الشركات الأمريكية على مبتغاها من بعض النواب الذين سيتعهدون بالتصويت لصالح القانون مقابل الحصول على المبلغ المذكور لكنه قال: إن بعض النواب لن يبيعوا اصواتهم بأي ثمن وتحت أي ضغط كان.

He favored Iraqi deputy to get what it wants American companies from some MPs who will vote in favour of the law in exchange for the said amount but said: that some deputies would not sell their vote at any price and under any pressure whatsoever.

وبيّن النائب العراقي أن المفاتحات الأمريكية التي احيطت بدرجة عالية من الكتمان تركزت على رؤساء الكتل النيابية وعلى الشخصيات المؤثرة في مجلس النواب لضمان الحصول على أكبرعدد من الاصوات، مشيرا إلى أن الأمريكان ضمنوا مسبقا اصوات القائمة الكردستانية لكنهم يسعون للحصول على اصوات تكفي لتمرير القانون وإقراره بأسرع وقت ممكن.

And the deputy Iraqi overtures that the American was highly confidential focused on the heads of parliamentary blocs and influential figures in the House of Representatives to ensure access to non of the vote, pointing out that the Americans guarantee existing Kurdish advance votes they are seeking enough votes to pass the law and approval as soon as possible.

 يذكر أن هناك كتلا نيابية مازالت ترفض باصرار التصويت لصالح قانون النفط والغاز فيما تطالب كتل أخرى بعرضه على الاستفتاء الشعبي العام لكونه يتعلق بمصير ثروة العراق النفطية وبقوت الشعب العراقي.

It is noteworthy that their Technology parliamentary still resolutely refuses to vote in favour of the law of oil and gas blocks other calls by submitting it to popular referendum because it regards the fate of Iraq’s oil wealth and the Iraqi people food.

Original Article

شركات أمريكية عرضت دفع خمسة ملايين دولار
رشوة لكل نائب عراقي مقابل تمرير قانون النفط

كشف نائب عراقي عن مفاتحات سرية قامت بها جهات تمثل بعض الشركات الأمريكية تتضمن عرضا أمريكيا بمنح النواب الذين يصوتون لصالح قانون النفط والغاز مبلغا قدره خمسة ملايين دولار. وقال النائب العراقي الذي فضل عدم ذكر اسمه: إن المبلغ الذي يمكن ان يدفع للحصول على اصوات تسمح بتمرير قانون النفط والغاز لايتجاوز 150 مليون دولار في حالة تخصيص مبلغ خمسة ملايين دولار لكل نائب، وهذا المبلغ سيكون زهيدا مقارنة بالامتيازات التي ستحصل عليها الشركات الامريكية مشيرا إلى أن قانون النفط يحتاج إلى 138 صوتا لتمريره وهو ما تسعى الجهات الأمريكية للحصول عليه بوسائل كثيرة من بينها شراء الاصوات والترغيب والترهيب!

ورجح النائب العراقي أن تحصل الشركات الأمريكية على مبتغاها من بعض النواب الذين سيتعهدون بالتصويت لصالح القانون مقابل الحصول على المبلغ المذكور لكنه قال: إن بعض النواب لن يبيعوا اصواتهم بأي ثمن وتحت أي ضغط كان. وبيّن النائب العراقي أن المفاتحات الأمريكية التي احيطت بدرجة عالية من الكتمان تركزت على رؤساء الكتل النيابية وعلى الشخصيات المؤثرة في مجلس النواب لضمان الحصول على أكبرعدد من الاصوات، مشيرا إلى أن الأمريكان ضمنوا مسبقا اصوات القائمة الكردستانية لكنهم يسعون للحصول على اصوات تكفي لتمرير القانون وإقراره بأسرع وقت ممكن. يذكر أن هناك كتلا نيابية مازالت ترفض باصرار التصويت لصالح قانون النفط والغاز فيما تطالب كتل أخرى بعرضه على الاستفتاء الشعبي العام لكونه يتعلق بمصير ثروة العراق النفطية وبقوت الشعب العراقي

http://www.akhbar-alkhaleej.com/arc_Articles.asp?Article=221558&Sn=WORL&IssueID=10903

NOTE

How accurate is this source? Answers.com says that
Akhbar Al Khaleej is a Bahraini daily with a Left wing/Arab nationalist slant. It’s editor in chief is Anwar Abdulrahman and is the sister paper of the English language, Gulf Daily News. The paper is known to be close to Bahrain’s main leftist opposition party, National Democratic Action and its columnists include some of the country’s most prominent leftists such as Sameera Rajab and Mahmood Al Gassab, who is a leading member of the Jami’at al-Tajammu’ al-Qawmi al-Dimuqrat, one of the four opposition societies to the government.

With its Arab nationalist stance, the newspaper has led condemnation of the United States’ invasion of Iraq, and has been particularly critical those Iraqis who have cooperated with the American backed political order: Samira Rajab in 2005 dismissed Iraqi Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as an ‘American general’. This resulted in death threats towards Ms Rajab from Shia Islamists – who hold the Iraqi cleric in high regard – and brought to the surface political fissures in the alliance of Shia Islamists and ex-Marxists that had come together to oppose the 2002 Constitution.

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Ben Bernanke: Supernanny? By Dean Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 28 January 2008

We all know the story of the “nanny state.” That is what conservatives call a government that ensures people have basic necessities like decent childcare and decent health care. Conservatives deride the idea the government should have to provide such services to people, because people really should be able to look out for themselves. In the view of conservatives, people don’t need the government to act like a nanny to ensure they are protected.

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Statement on Edwards’s Dropping Out by Mike Gravel

Dandelion Salad

Gravel for President ‘08 (Former US Sen. D-AK)

by Mike Gravel
Mike’s blog post
January 31, 2008

It saddened me greatly to hear yesterday that John Edwards had decided to drop out of the race. We may have had our differences on some issues, such as supporting gay marriage and ending the war on drugs, but clearly he was a better choice for America than the two remaining so-called top-tier Democratic candidates, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Edwards and I agreed more than we disagreed on many vital issues, such as ending the war in Iraq, cutting the military budget and fighting the culture of corruption in Washington.

To his credit, Edwards has shown great moral strength and integrity by admitting that his original support for the war in 2002 was “a mistake.” Now, he advocates ending the war in its entirety, something that Clinton and Obama have not done. Clinton and Obama have the power to stop the violence, but neither one has stepped forward to show true leadership in the Senate by confronting Bush and the military-industrial complex on Iraq and the widening war on terror.

And when the mainstream media and the Democratic Party leadership conspired to drop me from the national debates, it was Edwards who kept the pressure on Clinton for her vote in favor of war with Iran.

Let’s not forget that Clinton has raised more money from the military-industrial complex than any other candidate – including even the Republicans! Her ties to corporations like WalMart, her legislation that benefits defense firms like Northrop Grumman and her pro-war voting record – let’s just say we shouldn’t be expecting her to cut the military budget and reinvest the money domestically where it is needed most.

As for Obama, where’s the change? He votes like Clinton, and his endorsement of military spending increases and his Wall Street backing make him yet another corporate-backed Establishment candidate.

Every day now, we hear pundits speculating on who is going to drop out of the race next. In their myopic view, however, they do not understand what we do. Winning the nomination isn’t the only reason some of us run for the highest office in the country. We persevere because we care deeply for our country, and we subject ourselves to the grueling schedule and the often unflattering media spotlight because we believe in the importance of the issues that we bring to the table.

It is these issues where John and I agree that I hope will bring us all together in support of real change – not the safe, focus-group-tested solutions proffered by media-friendly candidates.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see
MoveOn.org left Mike Gravel’s name off in their online poll

Mike Gravel on Russian TV (video)

Dennis Kucinich’s Brave Voice by Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel For President 2008

Gravel-Mike

Life in Occupied Gaza by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, January 31, 2008

Life in occupied Gaza was never easy, but conditions worsened markedly after Hamas’ surprise January 2006 electoral victory. Israel refused recognition along with the US and the West. All outside aid was cut off, an economic embargo and sanctions were imposed, and the legitimate government was isolated. Stepped up repression followed along with repeated IDF incursions, attacks and arrests. Gaza’s people have been imprisoned in their own land and traumatized for months. No one outside the Territories cares or offers enough aid. Things then got worse.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, in league with Israel and the US, declared a “state of emergency last June 14 and illegally dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his national unity government. On June 15, he appointed former IMF and World Bank official Salam Fayyad prime minister even though his party got only 2% of the votes in the 2006 election. On June 17, Abbas swore in a new (illegitimate) 13 member “emergency” cabinet with plans for future elections, excluding Hamas.

Israel and the US showed gratitude. The West Bank embargo ended, Israel began releasing frozen Palestinian tax funds, and the US and European Union (EU) resumed aid to the PA but continued isolating Hamas in Gaza that since 1995 has been designated a terrorist organization. After passage of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the State Department included Hamas among the first 30 groups designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) in October 1997. It makes it illegal to provide funds or other material support. It also ignores how Israel once embraced Hamas in the 1980s.

It’s name means courage and bravery, and it’s also an abbreviation of Islamic Resistance Movement in Arabic. It grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood (that had roots in Egypt) and was formed in 1987 during the first Intifada. At the time, Israel offered support and used Hamas to counter the PLO’s nationalist threat under Arafat. Ever since, it’s been an effective resistance movement against repression, occupation and much more. It provides essential social services like medical clinics; education, including centers for women; free meals for children; financial and technical help to Palestinians whose homes Israel destroyed; aid to refugees in the camps; and youth and sports clubs for young people.

Hamas is also a formidable defender, and that gets it in trouble. It established the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, an elite military wing, and other security forces like its Tanfithya Executive Force for self-defense and law enforcement. Washington and Tel Aviv call it “terrorism” because Hamas wants the occupation ended, won’t surrender its sovereignty like Fatah did under Arafat and Abbas, is willing to recognize Israel (though that’s never reported), but only if Palestinians get equal recognition and what’s rightfully theirs – an independent homeland inside pre-1967 borders or one “state for all its citizens,” Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and others.

Instead, Hamas got isolated, hammered and called a “hostile entity” by Israel’s security cabinet. It was announced on September 19, sanctions on Gaza were tightened, and it was decided to “reduce the amount of megawattage provide(d) to the Strip, and Hamas will have to decide whether to provide electricity to hospitals or weapons lathes.” There was more as well – cutbacks in fuel, food, other essentials and even tighter border crossing restrictions.

Even before the latest crisis, Gaza was devastated. Its industrial production was down 90%, and its agricultural output was half its pre-2007 level. In addition, nearly all construction stopped, unemployment and poverty topped 80%, and by now it may be 90%. After September 19, it got worse when shops began running out of everything. Israel allows in only nine basic materials, their availability is spotty, and some essentials are banned, like certain medicines, and others restricted like fruit, milk and other dairy products. Before June 2007, 9000 commodities could be imported. Today, it’s down to 20, people don’t get enough food, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was unusually blunt in its criticism. In a November 2007 report called “Dignity Denied in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” it said:

“….Palestinians….face hardship (in) their (daily) lives; they are prevented from doing what makes up the daily fabric of most people’s existence. (They) face a deep human crisis, where millions of people are denied their human dignity. Not once in a while, but every day (and the people of Gaza are) trapped (and) sealed off.” The “humanitarian cost (is) enormous,” people can barely survive, “families unable to get enough food increased by 14%, (and) Palestinians (are) being trampled underfoot day after day. (In) Gaza (under siege, Palestinians) continue to pay for conflict and economic containment with their health and livelihoods. Cutting power and fuel further compounds their hardship.”

Let ’em eat cake, walk, and live without light or heat is apparently Israel’s solution, and noted Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, took note. He calls it “genocide….to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip.” Knowing the facts, who can disagree.

Then there’s the matter of energy. With electricity restricted and fuel supplies reduced, Israel went further. It sealed its borders and cut all fuel shipments in response to Palestinian rocket attacks in and around the border town of Sderot. They’re fired in self-defense and used in response to repeated Israeli attacks that in the week of January 17 – 23 alone:

— killed 19 Palestinians along with three others from previous IDF-inflicted wounds;

— extra-judicially executed seven of the victims, including two women;

— wounded 71 Palestinians, including 24 children and three women;

— made 33 IDF incursions in the West Bank and five in Gaza;

— arrested 58 Palestinian civilians, including seven children, in the West Bank, and 32 in Gaza, including 3 children;

— destroyed five homes and razed agricultural land in Jabalya in northern Gaza;

— allowed further settler attacks against civilians and property in Hebron.

The same pattern continued the following week through Janauary 30 with more Israeli incursions, attacks and arrests. In the West Bank:

— Nablus was targeted and several Palestinian civilians arrested; several homes were also searched and ransacked in the villages of Kufer Kalil, Beit Dajan and Beit Fourik;

— the IDF seized six Palestinians in Jenin in a pre-dawn invasion; another followed theire several days later, the Israeli army opened fire randomly, one civilian was injured, four others arrested and a home was ransacked; several civilian homes were attacked and ransacked in the town of Qabatiya and village of Abu Da’eif in the northern West Bank; local sources reported unprovoked random gunfire by heavily armed troops in civilian neighborhoods;

— the IDF invaded Bethlehem, killed one civilian, arrested another, and injured seven others; eyewitnesses reported that local journalists were prevented from witnessing and documenting the incursion;

— several other West Bank cities were targeted and six civilians arrested: the Al Toor neighborhood in northern Jerusalem; the village of Beit Rima near Ramallah; Tulkarem city and the nearby Nur Shams refugee camp; and Jenin city.

These are malicious acts of aggression, abductions and wanton killing. Mostly civilians are targeted, and when Palestinians respond with crude Qassam rockets and children throw rocks, it’s called “terrorism.” Israel’s response – fiercer attacks and incursions in the Territories on any pretext or none at all and further tightening of its medieval siege on Gaza.

Its border crossings have been closed since June 2007, and severe restrictions were imposed on movement. Finally, food and fuel supplies were cut. Gaza’s power plant exhausted its supply, shut down, and the Strip went dark on January 20. Israel remained defiant, and Prime Minister Olmert announced….”as far as I am concerned, every resident of Gaza can walk because they have no gasoline for their vehicles,” and Foreign Ministry spokesman, Arye Meckel, told AP the blackout was “a Hamas ploy to pretend there is some kind of crisis to attract international sympathy.”

The Director of Gaza’s main Shiffa hospital, Dr. Hassan Khalaf, had a different view. He described the situation as “potentially disastrous.” Already Israel’s siege was directly responsible for 45 deaths, and he said cutting hospital power would cause 30 premature babies to die immediately. The World Health Organization was also alarmed. It said insufficient electricity “disrupt(s)….intensive care units, operating theatres, and emergency rooms (and) power shortages have interrupted refrigeration of perishable medical supplies, including vaccine.”

To operate at full capacity, Gaza needs 230 – 250 daily megawatts of electricity. Its only power plant supplies around 30% of it, but people in central Gaza and Gaza city are totally dependent on what can’t be supplied if industrial diesel fuel the plant depends on is cut off. The result is critically ill people are endangered, bread and other baked goods can’t be produced without electricity to power ovens, food is already in short supply, so is fresh water, and sanitation conditions are disastrous.

Michele Mercier of the International Red Cross said hospital medications were running out and wouldn’t “last for more than two or three days.” In addition, allowable food shipments are endangered according to UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman, Christopher Gunness. He explained that the agency would have to suspend distribution to 860,000 people because of a fuel and plastic bags shortage.

Israel was unapologetic with Internal Security Minister, Avi Dichter, saying the IDF must “eliminate the rocket fire from Gaza, irrespective of the cost to Palestinians.” Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, added: “We are impacting the overall quality of life in Gaza and destroying the terror infrastructure.” He meant civilians as did Ehud Olmert claiming: “We are trying to hit only those involved in terrorism, but also signaling to the population in Gaza that it cannot be free from responsibility for the situation.”

Israel makes no distinction between civilians (including women and children) and resistance fighters, and B’Tselem stated that Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), “defines every Palestinian killed in the Gaza Strip as a terrorist,” including small children and the elderly infirm. The world approves, the Security Council debates and abstains, the dominant media is silent, and innocent Palestinians suffer and die – over 75 killed in January and several hundred injured. Who cares and who’s counting. They’re just Arab Muslims.

They’re also needy human beings, now desperate, and on January 23 they responded courageously. No help is coming so Hamas acted preemptively. It destroyed 200 meters of metal barrier separating both sides of Rafah that was divided in 1982 as part of Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt. About 40,000 people live in Egypt and another 200,000 in Gaza in the original town and an adjacent refugee camp. Until the outbreak of the second Intifada in September, 2000, crossing both ways was uncomplicated. That ended as violence increased, and Israel erected a barrier. Now it’s breached, Gazans took advantage, and some called it a “jail break.” Hundreds of thousands entered Egypt for needed essentials unavailable at home. Finally, the media noticed.

On January 24, The New York Times tried to have it both ways. It called Hamas’ border breach “an act of defiance” and continued indifferently. Unmindful of an 18 month siege, mass impoverishment, a humanitarian crisis and daily killings, correspondent Steven Erlanger made things seem festive in his report. Almost flippantly he said “Tens of thousands of Palestinians…. crossed the border for a ‘buying spree’ of medicine, cement, sheep….gasoline, soap and countless other supplies that have been cut off.”

Most Gazans can barely afford food and essentials and struggle daily to survive. Yet, Erlanger said they stocked up on “Coca-Cola, Cleopatra and Malimbo cigarettes, and satellite dishes” and on January 25 added “televisions (and) washing machines.” It was a party, “Egyptian merchants greeted them with a ‘cornucopia of consumer goods,” and Hamas joined the festivities by “mak(ing no) visible effort to control or tax” purchases. Those who could afford it indeed took advantage. Merchants bought items for resale at lower Egyptian prices. Most Palestinians, however, bought essentials – food, fuel, medicine if available and various household items.

Earlier on January 21, Israel relented to international pressure and a PR disaster impossible to ignore. Haaretz highlighted it in a January 26 editorial headlined “The siege of Gaza has failed.” Hamas ended it “via a well-planned operation and simultaneously won the sympathy of the world, which has forgotten the rain of Qassam rockets on Sderot, (and Israel looks foolish) entrenching itself in positions that look outdated.” Only a week ago, the government was crowing. Triumphantly, it claimed its policy was “bearing fruit.”

Today, it’s all bitter with Olmert in denial. In a speech at the January Herzliya Conference, he said: “Mistakes were made; there were failures. But in addition, lessons were learned, mistakes were corrected, modes of behavior were changed, and above all, the decisions we have made since then have led to greater security, greater calm and greater deterrence than there had been for many years.” Haaretz had another view, and it was harsh. It stated events in Gaza “completely (contradict) his statements. If that is what learning lessons looks like, if that is what deterrence means, the Olmert government has precious little to boast about.” So it acted.

AP reported on January 21 that authorities “agreed today to ship diesel fuel and medicine into Gaza on a one-time basis,” easing its blockade, but it wouldn’t continue unless rocket firings stopped. Everything then changed on January 27.

Aljazeera, The New York Times, Haaretz and other sources reported that the Olmert government relented. It agreed to resume fuel shipments to Gaza, easing its blockade. The decision came on the same day Israel’s Supreme Court addressed the petition of 10 human rights organizations to order a resumption and prevent a humanitarian disaster. No decision was rendered, but state authorities acted anyway.

They agreed to supply 2.2 million weekly liters of industrial diesel fuel, the minimum amount needed to power central Gaza and Gaza City, but it’s not enough overall according to Rafiq Maliha, the project manager at An-Nuseirat’s power plant location. It’s only two-thirds the amount needed, a mere fraction was delivered the first day, and Maliha said Gaza’s gas companies would strike and resist this “Israeli plot” masquerading as humanitarian aid. His doubts are well-founded. On the same day fuel shipments resumed, Israeli warplanes struck northern Gaza in two separate raids. Hamas sources said two missiles hit a Palestinian car and others targeted a Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades position causing four injuries.

Human rights groups are also dismissive. They noted previous promises made, then broken, and the GISHA group (the Israeli NGO for freedom of Palestinian movement in the Territories) spokesperson said that Israel “repeatedly promised that it would ship 2.2 million litres (of fuel) a week into Gaza and has repeatedly broken that promise.” Why believe authorities now, and with events so fluid it seems every day, a new policy.

At the same time, Hamas and Egyptian security forces are cooperating to close the border eight days after it was breached. On January 28, Haaretz reported that openings were being sealed by barbed wire, but not entirely as some two-way traffic continues as of January 30. Hamas and Egyptian forces now man the main Salah Eddin gate, most cars and trucks aren’t passing through, but pedestrians still in Egypt “scoured (nearly) empty stores for food and consumer products to take back to the Gaza Strip….in fear of an imminent border reclosing.”

What’s next is anyone’s guess, but Israel’s Supreme Court will affect it. On January 30, it upheld the government’s Gaza sanctions and its right to restrict fuel and electricity. In its statement, the three-judge panel left no doubt where it stands. It wrote:

“We emphasize that the Gaza Strip is controlled by a ‘murderous terror group’ that operates incessantly to strike the state of Israel and its citizens, and violates every precept of international law with its violent actions.” Israel, nonetheless, will supply enough fuel and electricity to “fulfill the vital humanitarian needs of the Gaza Strip at this time.”

Israeli human rights petitioners were quick to respond, and their message was clear and harsh. For its part, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights called the ruling a “dangerous legal precedent that allows Israel to continue to violate the rights of Gaza residents and deprive them of basic humanitarian needs in violation of international law.” Hamas spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum, was equally pointed. He added: The High Court’s decision “reflects the criminal, ugly face of the occupation.”

Things are now back to square one, Israel’s siege has been sanctified, and an unworkable 2005 security arrangement remains in place. Hamas wants it replaced with a new one and demands justice for Gaza’s 1.5 million people. Its main objection is Israel controls all movement and monitors it with cameras and computers to track everyone entering and leaving Gaza. On January 27, Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said: ‘We don’t accept a continued Israeli veto on the movement, the exit and entry through Rafah.” It’s time for a new system.

Getting one is another matter, according to Israeli officials. They commented on January 28 saying “Israel will not allow the continuation of the current state where its security interests are being compromised,” and Olmert and Abbas met on January 27 to discuss it. Initial reports were that Israel wanted Egypt to control the border, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wants Abbas to do it, he, in turn, agrees to anything Olmert and George Bush want, and they at first rejected putting Abbas in charge, but that’s now changed according to Haaretz.

On January 29, it reported “Israel does not plan to block….Abbas from assuming control of Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt (if Cairo agrees).” Abbas, in turn, says it does as well as the EU, Arab League and Condoleezza Rice. Hamas reacted angrily through its spokesperson, Sami Abu-Zuhri. He called the plan an “Israeli-led international conspiracy (against the legitimate government) with the participation of some regional parties. We tell all parties that we will not allow the return of old conditions at the crossing.”

So the beat goes on. Nothing has changed, and unconsidered is what Palestinians want, need and deserve. After decades of abuse, forces they can’t control continue buffeting them, yet they persist and endure.

Now there’s the latest crisis, and consider Haaretz’s January 27 report. It was after Olmert and Abbas met “for a two-hour tete-a-tete….in Jerusalem” at which Olmert again made promises. He said Israel wouldn’t let a humanitarian crisis develop in Gaza, when, in fact, one has existed for months, his government caused it, and it’s accompanied by daily attacks, killings, arrests and a vast array of human rights abuses against an isolated population barely hanging on.

On January 23, various Palestinian factions met in Damascus with plenty to say. With little hope of being heeded, they called on Abbas to end the “ridiculous” negotiations he insists must continue with Olmert. Among those attending were Khaled Meshaal of Hamas and Ramadan Shallah of Islamic Jihad. Their message was strong: “I want to ask our brothers in Ramallah (Fatah headquarters), what exactly are you waiting for?” While you’re talking, Palestinians in “the biggest prison in history (are) being massacred.”

Even Abbas supporters are dubious, and Palestinian writer, Hani Al-Masri, expressed their view: “It doesn’t make sense for negotiations to continue while Israel is changing facts on the ground and undermining the chances for a just and acceptable solution.” The Arab League also responded, but not with teeth. It denounced Israel’s siege, but does nothing to end it. That’s Hamas’ view with Khaled Meshaal saying the League could force change but instead prefers words, meetings, resolutions and more meetings in Arab capitals.

Still more are planned. Cairo is involved. So are the Saudis, but most of all Washington and Tel Aviv. They control everything and will decide what’s next with one thing assured. Gazans are isolated, locked in the Territory, children and the elderly are dying, so are the sick without medical care, daily attacks kill others, and no end is in sight.

The plight of Palestinians won’t change as things continue lurching from one crisis to another the way they have for decades. It won’t end until world leaders buckle to growing world sentiment that no longer will injustices this grave be tolerated. How much more suffering must be endured, how many more deaths are acceptable, when will justice finally be served? People of conscience want answers. It’s about time they got them.

Global Research Associate Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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This is Not Who We Are by Jennifer

Jennifer Wants Justice and Peace

by Jennifer
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Jennifer’s blog
Justice and Peace
Feb. 1, 2008

This is Not Who We Are

The future belongs to the people, and gradually, or in one strike, they will take power, here and in every country.

~Ernesto Che Guevara

Shortly after my first protest, a friend and I were having a discussion on the consequences of invading Iraq. He told me that the UN had estimated that close to 500,000 could be displace internally, and that they were bracing for the worst. This conversation, of course took place pre-invasion. I did what I could to raise money for organizations I knew would be working in the country. To me, the thought of 500,000 fleeing their homes was more than I could handle. With a daughter barely four months old, I thought of Iraqi women with infants and placing myself in their shoes, I knew I could not sit by and allow my country’s actions to harm them. The idea of losing medicine, shelter or food, during this vulnerable time sent shivers down my spine. I knew that if I were in Iraq at that time, I would hope above all else that someone somewhere would do something to help me.

Years later, I find myself constantly frustrated at the lack of dialog in this country regarding that same refugee crisis the UN was  bracing itself for. Even the UN could not imagine the grand scale of the displaced in Iraq, and grossly underestimated the number by 3.5 million. Oddly, Americans go about their daily lives acting as if we have not destroyed the lives of over 4 million people. Adding insult to injury, these 4 million people have been left homeless and without food or medicine for phantom weapons of mass destruction, a democracy that never took place, and the theft of all their natural resources.

As an American, this is not who I am. This is not what I believed about my country nor was it the image that so many in the world had set their hopes and dreams on. Few in American politics have bothered to mention this issue or to make an attempt to address it. Sad, but not unexpected, President George Bush made no mention of this crisis during his State of the Union address and neither did any of the responses. Unfortunately, this crisis rarely, if ever, finds its way into America’s living rooms.

This is not who we are. As a people, Americans understand the ideals of justice and if given the right information, I am of the opinion they will act. It is time for us to do what our leaders have refused to do, show the Iraqi people we are compassionate, caring people. We simply must tell their stories, give them back their humanity, and let them know we are not our government, we are a people that believes in democracy and justice for all. I am asking all of you to join me, to join us, in fighting to fix the wrongs of our government.

Please click the banner below, donate what you can, and help us to give Iraqi refugees a voice.

peace through justice