All posts for February 2007

Please spare me the word ‘terrorist’

February 4th, 2007 | Posted in Imperialism, Other, Repression

The Independent: Robert Fisk:

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Lebanon is a good place to find out what tosh the ‘terror’ merchants talk

So it was back to terror, terror, terror this week. The “terrorist” Hizbollah was trying to destroy the “democratically elected government” of Fouad Siniora in Lebanon. The “terrorist” Hamas government cannot rule Palestine. Iranian “terrorists” in Iraq are going to be gunned down by US troops.

My favourite line of the week came from the “security source” – just how one becomes a “security source” remains a mystery to me — who announced: “Terrorists are always looking for new ways to strike terror… There is no end of the possibilities where terrorists can try to cause terror to the public.” Well, you could have fooled me.

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The ‘Toys’ That Kill in Lebanon

February 4th, 2007 | Posted in Imperialism, Repression, War and Terror

Time Magazine: Written by By Nicholas Blanford/Marakeh.

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Lebanon. Friday, Feb. 2nd, 2007

To 17-year-old Rasha Zayoun, the small metal canister with a ribbon attached to the top looked like a toy. Her father, Mohammed, had found it while harvesting wild thyme in a field near her house in the southern Lebanese village of Marakeh, and had taken it home in his bag of herbs.

One evening four weeks ago, Rasha picked up the strange object and played with the ribbon, wondering what it was. “Then I felt a tingle of electricity,” she says. “I threw it from me and it exploded before it hit the floor.”

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Lebanon: Download UN Film on Cluster Bombs

February 3rd, 2007 | Posted in Repression, Resistance, Solidarity

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Download / View a film outlining the current effects of cluster bombs in Lebanon produced in late 2006 by IRIN news office of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

To download the film in English click HERE to view the film in Arabic click HERE.

Tadamon! Weblog of Cluster Bomb Incidents in Lebanon:

Since the U.N. brokered ceasefire Tadamon! Montreal has maintained an online record of cluster bomb incidents in Lebanon. The guns may be more silent, but hundreds of thousands of cluster bomblets sprayed over south Lebanon in at least 770 Israeli strikes still pose a deadly danger to humans and animals. Since the ceasefire on August 14, 156 persons [as of October, 2006] have become victims of cluster munitions, 90% of which were civilians, one third of which are under the age of 18 years.

Instability in Iraq and Lebanon generating regional mass-exodus

February 3rd, 2007 | Posted in Economy, Politics

Reuters, Report:

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Beirut & Baghdad – Violence in Iraq and instability in Lebanon are driving hundreds of thousands of people abroad in an upheaval not matched in the Middle East since the exodus of Palestinian refugees when Israel was created in 1948.

While Lebanese usually migrate legally to countries of their choice, Iraqis are fleeing across borders in distress to escape the bombings, death squads and sectarian cleansing that have savaged their country since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Most of the Iraqis are ending up in countries that already host large Palestinian communities drawn from the 4.3 million Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations. The carnage in Iraq has also uprooted about half the 30,000 Palestinian refugees who lived there in Saddam Hussein’s time, forcing them into a second exile or stranding them in limbo.

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Blowback in Lebanon

February 3rd, 2007 | Posted in Repression, Solidarity

by Mohamad Bazzi, the Nation

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It’s remarkable how quickly everyone remembered the patterns set during Lebanon’s long civil war. When violence suddenly erupted in Beirut on the afternoon of January 25, people rushed to stock up at grocery stores, businesses quickly shut their doors and traffic was snarled throughout the city as everyone hurried home.

While most people prepared for a siege, others were intent on causing trouble: Bands of young vigilantes roamed the streets, armed with wooden clubs and metal pipes, eyeing passing cars for any strangers. The fighting started in the cafeteria of Beirut Arab University between Shiite and Sunni students. In less than an hour, it spread to the surrounding neighborhood of Tariq Al-Jadideh, a Sunni stronghold. Snipers took up positions on the roofs of residential buildings, firing at protesters and Lebanese soldiers trying to break up the melee. Bands of Sunnis and Shiites–some wearing blue and red construction helmets–fought running street battles with rocks and clubs. Armed men roamed through the crowds. Rioters set fire to cars and trash dumpsters, sending plumes of black smoke over the neighborhood.

By the time it was over, four people were killed, more than 150 were injured and the Lebanese army had imposed a curfew on Beirut for the first time since 1996. Rumors circulated wildly, evoking memories of the civil war. The most disturbing news was broadcast on Lebanese television stations shortly before the curfew: Armed vigilantes had set up a checkpoint on the highway linking south Lebanon to Beirut. They were asking people for their identity cards.

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Palestine 2007: Genocide in Gaza, Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank

February 2nd, 2007 | Posted in Palestine, Imperialism, Repression

Article by Ilan Pappe, January 11th, 2007
This article originally appeared on the Electronic Intifada. Images from MaanImages

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On this stage, not so long ago, I claimed that Israel is conducting genocidal policies in the Gaza Strip. I hesitated a lot before using this very charged term and yet decided to adopt it. Indeed, the responses I received, including from some leading human rights activists, indicated a certain unease over the usage of such a term. I was inclined to rethink the term for a while, but came back to employing it today with even stronger conviction: it is the only appropriate way to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip.

On 28 December 2006, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem published its annual report about the Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories. Israeli forces killed this last year six hundred and sixty citizens. The number of Palestinians killed by Israel last year tripled in comparison to the previous year (around two hundred). According to B’Tselem, the Israelis killed one hundred and forty one children in the last year. Most of the dead are from the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli forces demolished almost 300 houses and slew entire families. This means that since 2000, Israeli forces killed almost four thousand Palestinians, half of them children; more than twenty thousand were wounded.

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US inquiry into use of cluster bombs

February 2nd, 2007 | Posted in Repression, War and Terror

Jan. 31st 2007, IRIN [Integrated Regional Information Networks]:

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Israel may have violated agreements regarding the use of American-made cluster bombs during its war in Lebanon in July 2006, the US State Department said on Monday.

Spokesman Sean McCormack did not give details about the possible violations but said the results of a preliminary investigation were being forwarded to Congress.

During the war, Israel used cluster munitions, possibly dropping one million such bombs, including in civilian areas.

Many of the munitions – according to the United Nations, up to 40 percent – did not explode and now pose a hazard to residents of south Lebanon. Unexploded ordnance has killed at least 27 people and injured more than 143 since the war ended.

Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, in an intentionally imprecise manner, when they explode.

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Canadian Foreign Minister in Israel and Palestine

February 1st, 2007 | Posted in Palestine, Repression, Resistance, War and Terror

What the Canadian Foreign Minister did not see or discuss during his visit

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GAZA CITY, GAZA: Despite the impression cast by corporate news coverage, there is never anything like “calm” here in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The casualty count for 2006 released by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports that Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians, while 17 Israeli civilians were killed, 13 of them in the West Bank. The violence is often spectacular, as during the summer and fall siege operations in Gaza that killed more than 450 Palestinians under withering aerial bombardment, artillery barrages and two major ground invasions. But, as an unusually frank headline in the current edition of the Economist rightly stated, “It’s the little things that make an occupation.”

When Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay visited Israel this week, it was these “little things” that he missed–like the more than 530 fixed checkpoints and roadblocks identified in a joint UN-IDF count in the occupied West Bank. These obstacles make simple travel between neighbouring Palestinian villages often impossible, particularly when added to the more than 7,000 “flying checkpoints” that spring up at the whim of the Israeli army, anywhere and at anytime. As the Economist pointed out, “arbitrariness is one of the most crippling features of these rules.”
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