Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hezbollah leader coming to UK

According to today's Jerusalem Post the UK is allowing Hezbollah official Ibrahim Moussawi into the ocuntry to address a seminar being held at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

Britain on Thursday approved the visit to the country of Hizbullah official Ibrahim Moussawi to address a seminar on political Islam at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies on March 25. Recently the UK announced it would open talks with Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance organisation.

I think we can take this as yet another sign of the strategic defeat of Israel in both Lebanon and Gaza.

Israel suffered 'strategic defeat' in Gaza war

An article on Ynetnews today reveals the extent of the strategic defeat suffered by Israel in its 22-day war against Gaza.

The fact that the recent rocket barrages by Islamic Jihad have seen the use of 'enhanced' Grad missiles means Israel failed in its central objective of stopping the missile fire and its repeated strikes on the tunnels failed to stop the weapons getting into the strip, assuming that was the main route of transit.

Israel also failed to secure the release of its prisoner of war Shalit and this has created something of a political crisis for Olmert, with his parents camped outside his office and for any incoming government.

But the worst aspect of the defeat, and in this regard the similarities with the US invasion of Iraq are striking, is on the diplomatic front - what the New York Times referred to as the the weapon of world public opinion when trying to explain the isolated position of the UK and US in Iraq.

Israel has seen support ebb away from among one-time core supporters in the Jewish population of places like the UK and US.

This is how Israeli commentator Martin Sherman laments the fallout:

"But perhaps worst of all, both in Lebanon and in Gaza, was the calamitous diplomatic defeat that Israel sustained, and the grave blow - of potentially strategic significance - which its international standing and image suffered."

And Sherman, bemoaning the lack of a 'decisive victory' - namely the visible destruction of Hamas - now fears that the pressure on Israel will intensify, and could eventually lead to the lifting of the siege.

Well done Hamas, your steadfastness has rattled the Israeli war machine.

See article on ynetnews

Hamas urges end to Islamic Jihad rocket fire

In a possible sign of warming relations between Hamas and Fatah at this week's talks in Egypt, Hamas has distanced itself from the rocket firing by Islamic Jihad and has called for a cessation.

It is extremely unusual for Hamas to condemn other resistance factions retaliating against Israeli air strikes.

The move by Hamas negotiators is in response to calls by Abbas for an end to the attacks on Israel and Hamas's flexibility on the issue may indicate a willingness to do a deal to form a national unity government and a united front in the face if the Israeli occupier.

See a report at Haaretz

Shoe thrower gets 3 years in prison - so much for Iraqi democracy

Muntazer al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush, has just been given three years in prison by a judge in Iraq. This is just so outrageous. So much for democracy in Iraq.

Is our government going to protest about this given that tit is a puppet government of the west so you would have thought there might be some leverage that could be be brought to bear. But then again maybe the invasion and occupation had absolutely nothing to do with democracy and free speech.

We need international demonstrations to demand his release immediately. Hopefully Stop the War will be including it in the demands around the G20 demonstration.

It's even more appalling when you consider that the war criminals Bush and Blair are still walking the Earth after being responsible for the deaths of 100,000 of people and the displacement of millions.

In the time that he has been held since the incident he has been beaten and tortured by Bush and Blair's freedom loving buddies in Iraq.

Israel trying to destroy Gazan fishing industry - UN

A combination of damage to fishing resources caused by the Israeli offensive, and a restriction on the zone in which Gazans are allowed to fish is reducing catches and adversely affecting people’s diets in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA.

In January 2009 the Israeli authorities reduced the area in which fishermen can fish from six to three nautical miles from Gaza’s coastline.

In Rafah (southern Gaza) fishing has almost completely stopped due to the damage inflicted on fishing gear and boats during the 22-day war which ended on 18 January.

Fishing nets, rope, twine and gas mantles are in short supply due to the Israeli blockade of Gaza since June 2007, according to OCHA, along with engines and spare parts. More here

Callous Israel uses food blockade play to games with children's lives in Gaza

The collective punishment being inflicted on the Palestinians knows no bounds. Unbelievably the Israelis are refusing to allows toilet paper and soap into Gaza. This, as with all the other restrictions, has nothing at all to do with preventing the manufacture of weapons, but has everything to do with humiliating the Palestinian population and destroying what little quality of life the people of Gaza have left.

Chick peas, that other 'weapon of mass destruction' used by Palestinian 'terrorists' have also been blocked. They are a staple food of the region and the refusal to allow for this food donated by the World Food Programme is nothing short of an attempt to slowly but surely increase the already horrendous levels of malnutrition in Gaza. Only last week the Lancet reported on the stunted growth of up to 30% of the children in Gaza.

But let's not worry too much because the US is coming to the rescue - they are asking 'questions' of the Israeli criminals, as Reuters reports: "We're certainly asking the Israelis questions about this," a U.S. official said.

The Israelis are deliberately changing the list of food stuff that is allowed in, creating a logisitcal nightmare for aid groups and NGOs. One day jam is okay, the next it isn't. A western diplomat gave the example of pasta:
"It is totally surreal," one European diplomat said of Israeli decision-making. "One day we had 600 kg (1,300 pounds) of pasta at the Kerem Shalom crossing but they said, 'Today, pasta can't go in'."
This is worse than surreal - it is a crime.

Reports by By Adam Entous for Reuters

Galloway and Haneyya's bond of solidarity

Ismail Haneyya, the PA premier in Gaza, has met with George Galloway for discussions on the latest Palestinian political developments and living conditions in Gaza.

Haneyya thanked Galloway for his visit and for heading the lifeline convoy that came from Britain to the Gaza Strip with truckloads of medicine and relief material in addition to a number of ambulance vehicles.

The premier handed Galloway and the accompanying delegates symbolic gifts.
Thanks to the Palestine Information Center

The Jerusalem Post says the meeting was at a secret location - which is just as well or the Israeli state would no doubt have tried to muder both of them. Haneyya presented GeorgeG with a symbolic Palestinian Passport. Haneyya has kept out of sight since Israel's 22-day war against the people of Gaza.