Wednesday, March 7, 2012

125 Abbas defers adoption of Goldstone report by UN Human Rights Council

(1) Abbas defers adoption of  Goldstone report by UN Human Rights Council
(2) PLO Leadership Blackmailed By Israel?
(3) Swedish journalist who wrote article on Israeli organ theft has been receiving death threats
(4) Israelis flatten Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
(5) Blockade Deprives Students of Paper, Pens, Textbooks
(6) Vigilantes Patrol for Jewish Women dating Arab Men
(7) Murdoch vs Google
(8) Rupert Murdoch Wants Search Engines To Pay For Content
(9) ABC (Australia) defends free online News
(10) Waning love between American Jews and Israel - because Haaretz opens their eyes

(1) Abbas defers adoption of  Goldstone report by UN Human Rights Council

From: WVNS <>  Date: 11.10.2009 04:46 PM
Subject: [wvns] Khalid Amayreh: Abbas must go

Abbas must go

by Khalid Amayreh


Palestinian Information Center

Mahmoud Abbas's decision to defer the adoption of the Goldstone report by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week was more than an innocent diplomatic error or classical example of political misjudgment.

It was rather a brazen act of national irresponsibility bordering on breach of trust or outright treason. ...

(2) PLO Leadership Blackmailed By Israel?

U.S. Strategy in Doubt as Abbas Loses Popular Support

By Helena Cobban

October 10, 2009 -- WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (IPS) - Just two months ago, many western commentators were jubilant that Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S.-supported head of both the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the interim Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), was making a comeback and reducing the influence in Palestinian society of the Islamist movement Hamas.

But a series of events in recent weeks has sent Abbas's level of support from his people into a nosedive. The most serious has been the reaction among Palestinians to a decision Abbas or someone close to him made to postpone any further U.N. action on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report into the atrocities committed during last winter's Israel-Gaza war.

Richard Goldstone, a very distinguished South African jurist and war-crimes prosecutor, presented his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on Sep. 29. It contained a recommendation that the HRC forward the report's lengthy and detailed findings regarding wrongdoing by both sides to the Security Council for possible further action.

But when the HRC discussed Goldstone's report on Oct. 1, the PLO's representative requested that the HRC sit on the report until next March before doing anything further.

Most Palestinians, both within and outside their historic homeland, were outraged. They demanded to know who took that decision, and why. Suspicion rapidly settled on Abbas himself- and it was not allayed by his speedy declaration that the Fatah movement, which he heads, would set up its own internal investigation into how the decision had been made.

Palestinian media came out with two, perhaps overlapping, explanations of what had persuaded Abbas - or someone very close to him - to block any speedy action on the Goldstone Report.

One focused on economic incentives that Israel held out to a well-connected Palestinian company eager to acquire the bandwidth that it needs to set up a new cell-phone service.

The other report, from Shahab news agency, concerned a different, even more insidious form of Israeli blackmail.

Shahab reported that PA/PLO representatives here in Washington were persuaded to drop their support for speedy action on Goldstone after they were played a videotape and an audiotape, reportedly recorded during last winter's war, in which Abbas and a key security aide, Tayyib Abdul-Rahim, both urged Israel's leaders to continue and even escalate their attack on Gaza.

Those allegations struck a chord with many Palestinians who, during the war, had noted the refusal of most members of the PLO's far-flung diplomatic corps to say or do anything to oppose Israel's lengthy and very harmful pounding of Gaza's overwhelmingly civilian population.

Inside the West Bank, meanwhile, the PA's security forces (commanded in part by Abdul-Rahim) suppressed many of the demonstrations that erupted against the war, and arrested scores of Gaza solidarity activists.

It is not clear whether the Israeli government sees the political pummeling Abbas has taken as a result of his Goldstone decision as welcome, because it reduces his ability to negotiate peace in the name of the whole Palestinian people, or as regrettable, given the strength of his opposition to Hamas; but nonetheless necessary, as a way for Israel to ensure the blocking of the process Goldstone recommended. ...

*Helena Cobban is a veteran Middle East analyst and author.

(3) Swedish journalist who wrote article on Israeli organ theft has been receiving death threats

From: N. Chalhi <> Date: 13.10.2009 03:00 PM

Nordien Chalhi
The Hague, Netherlands.

Israel organ theft article, source of 'death threats'
Sun, 11 Oct 2009 17:28:01 GMT

The Swedish journalist who caused a controversy by accusing Israeli forces of stealing and selling Palestinian organs says he has been receiving death threats.

Donald Bostrom's article was published in Aftonbladet daily in August and caused a diplomatic row between Sweden and Israel. On Sunday, he told a press conference in Damascus, Syria, that he has been receiving threats on his life ever since.

In the article, which he claims is based on the testimonies of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, he paints a grotesque picture of the conflict. It claimed that Israeli forces for the past 17 years had murdered Palestinian youths for their organs.

The piece also highlighted a current case of an American Jew charged with trafficking kidneys of Palestinians.

Bostrom maintains that Palestinian youths are not the sole victims of the smuggling racket and that some Israeli firms have been behind such enterprises for much longer.

Israeli officials on Saturday revealed that they were mulling whether or not to recall the ambassador to Stockholm in view of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's refusal to condemn the report, which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman branded as anti-Semitic.

Sweden says it respects freedom of speech as part of its Constitution.


(4) Israelis flatten Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 13.10.2009 12:58 PM

Israelis flatten Palestinian home, BBC News, October, 12, 2009    

Israel has demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes built without permits

Israeli authorities have demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem, in defiance of international calls to stop such actions.

Palestinian reports say a family of five was forcibly evicted from their home in the Beit Hanina district before the building was demolished.

Israeli bulldozers then destroyed the foundations of another building nearby.

UN officials say such demolitions violate international law and raise serious humanitarian concerns.

Israel says buildings subject to demolition orders have been built without permits.

Palestinians say it is virtually impossible to obtain the necessary approval from Israel's municipal authorities in Jerusalem.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem , says the authorities have demolished about 420 Palestinian-owned houses in East Jerusalem since 2004 saying they were built without permits.

Israel occupied the territory in the 1967 war and annexed it soon afterwards in a move that has not been recognised internationally.

(5) Blockade Deprives Students of Paper, Pens, Textbooks
From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 13.10.2009 12:58 PM

Human Rights Watch

October 11, 2009,

(Jerusalem) - Israeli authorities should immediately lift restrictions that have left students in Gaza's public schools without textbooks and the most basic school supplies, such as notebooks and pens, Human Rights Watch said today. Israel severely limits imports into Gaza of a wide variety of basic goods, from food to construction materials.

More than a month into the school year, the Israeli restrictions have caused severe shortages that leave students unable to afford supplies such as notebooks. Students are obliged to share or take turns studying from used textbooks and workbooks. Some did not receive any books for this year's classes. Supplies smuggled through tunnels underneath Gaza's southern border with Egypt have failed to make up for the shortages caused by Israel's arbitrary restrictions on imports of educational materials.

"Israel's blockade affects every aspect of life in Gaza, and is even preventing students from having basic school supplies," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "What possible justification can there be for blocking school supplies, which effectively deprives children of their right to an education?"……..

Falah Lubbad is one of 20 or 30 Gaza importers who deal with stationery. "I used to get notebooks from a factory in Hebron, but we can't import from the West Bank now," he told Human Rights Watch. Notebooks smuggled from Egypt cost 70 percent more to import, he said, making them unaffordable for many students. "I didn't try to import through the tunnels because the notebooks are too expensive and poor quality, and many are torn when they arrive. I'm also out of pens, erasers, and stationery for university students." Lubbad said he was paying storage fees for 15 truckloads of stationery in Israel that had not been granted approval to enter Gaza; eight of the truckloads had been held up since September 2008.

UNRWA has been unable to print 10 percent of required textbooks because Israel has not approved the necessary ink and paper imports, Aidan O'Leary, an agency official who oversees school programs, told Human Rights Watch. Israel has also not approved imports of 5,000 school desks for UNRWA students, and 4,000 tables and chairs for teachers in classrooms.

The United States, Israel's largest foreign donor, pledged US$300 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza in March at a donor's conference on post-war aid to Gaza in Egypt. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said at the conference, "A child growing up in Gaza without shelter, health care, or an education has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in your country or mine." In a letter to Clinton, Human Rights Watch called on the United States, as Israel's most important political, military and financial backer, to dissociate itself from the blockade and to speak out against it.

"Children in Gaza are suffering from punitive restrictions while the United States and other allies of Israel have failed to take a firm stand against this policy, prolonging the effects of the war," Whitson said.

Under international humanitarian law, Israel remains the occupying power in Gaza, even though it withdrew its permanent military forces and settlers in 2005, because it continues to exercise effective day-to-day control over most aspects of life in Gaza. In addition to its effective control over Gaza's land, air, and sea borders, Israel controls most of the territory's electricity, water, and sewage capacity, as well as its telecommunications networks and population registry.

Israel's blockade violates its duty as an occupying power to safeguard the basic health and welfare of the occupied population, a form of collective punishment against civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. The International Committee of the Red Cross, in its authoritative commentary on the Geneva Conventions, states that "[t]he concept of collective punishment must be understood in the broadest sense: it covers not only legal sentences but sanctions and harassment of any sort."

(6) Vigilantes Patrol for Jewish Women dating Arab Men

From: Henry Norr <>  Date: 12.10.2009 10:16 PM

Story aired on today's Morning Edition on National Pubic Radio in the US. The transcript isn't up yet (should be later today), but the audio clip is at , with the following teaser text:

    Throughout Israel, young Jewish men are forming vigilante groups to end interracial relationships between Arab men and Jewish women, which are occurring with increased frequency as Jewish settlements dig deeper into Arab territory. The vigilantes say Arabs lure Jewish women with money and "bad boy" personalities.

(7) Murdoch vs Google

Internet's philistine phase almost over, says Murdoch

By China correspondent Stephen McDonell for AM

Posted October 10, 2009 10:45:00

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has used the unlikely stage of Beijing's Great Hall of the People to attack online companies like Google. ...

But the News Corporation chief had one clear target in sight. He sees online entities like Google as parasites.

His argument is that they take their material for free from traditional media companies and make money from it. Mr Murdoch thinks the time has come to put an end to this.

"The philistine phase of the digital age is almost over," he said.

"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content."

"But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid-for content, it could be the content creators - the people in this hall - who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph."

Other media executives, like the president of Kyodo News, Satoshi Ishikawa, echoed these sentiments.

He said the world's media bosses need to find a comprehensive strategy to fight the problem of stolen content on the internet.

But nobody is predicting that this media summit will come up with any type of agreed solution.

(8) Rupert Murdoch Wants Search Engines To Pay For Content

10 October, 2009, by Desire Athow

News Corp head Rupert Murdoch has accused leading search engines including the likes of Google and Yahoo of using his company’s content without paying any charge and has even labelled them as "content kleptomaniacs".

Expressing his views on the subject Mr Murdoch mentioned "The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content".

The statements from Mr Murdoch came while he was speaking at the World Media Summit which is currently being held at Beijing and he even got support from some fellow delegates like Tom Curley, the chief executive of Associated Press.

Though there has been a difference of opinion between news providers and search engines for some time now, the strong statements from Mr Murdoch seem to suggest that news providers believe that they are losing money.

However the issue is not as simple as it sounds since Google and other search engine just link to stories provided by news providers and if a person clicks on the link, he is taken to news provider’s website.

Moreover a news provider can choose to block search engines from accessing their site and hence it is slightly difficult to accuse the likes of Google of co-opting content.

(9) ABC (Australia) defends free online News

Scott to hit back on criticism of ABC's internet space,25197,26195756-7582,00.html

Geoff Elliott and Simon Canning | October 12, 2009

ABC managing director Mark Scott will this week attempt to hit back at mounting criticism of the public broadcaster's role in the internet space which commercial media companies say is threatening their business models.

The debate is heating up after Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation (owner of The Australian), again urged media companies to adopt online payment platforms for news at the World Media Summit in Beijing.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to creating a new model is taxpayer-funded content appearing free on wesbites such as those of the ABC and BBC.

On Wednesday Mr Scott will deliver the A.N. Smith memorial lecture at the University of Melbourne which is being touted as an examination of where media is heading after the "fall of the great media empires".

Mr Scott is expected to argue that quality journalism is under threat in an online fee system, saying its "reach and audience will be limited".

Proprietors such as Mr Murdoch, however, say that what is threatening quality journalism is blatant rip-offs of content from the likes of News Corp in the internet space.

In Beijing, Mr Murdoch warned that the era of the free content aggregators was coming to an end.

"We find ourselves in the midst of an information revolution that is both exciting and unsettling," Mr Murdoch said.

"It is a digital revolution turning traditional business models upside down, traversing geographic, industrial and media boundaries and creating a new source of wealth -- material and social -- around the world.

"The presses are now silent at some of the world's most famous newspapers -- they were supposed to report on their societies, but somehow failed to notice that those societies were changing fundamentally.

"But that very same threat is a remarkable opportunity for others."

He also levelled a broadside at content aggregators such as Google, calling them kleptomaniacs.

"The Philistine phase of the digital age is almost over.

"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content," he said.

His comments follow those of his son James Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp Europe and Asia, who last month attacked the BBC for threatening the future of independent journalism thanks to its free content and its scale.

Mr Scott launched a vigorous defence of the BBC in a speech in London just days after and added: "I do not want the ABC to go down the path where we take an aggressive commercial line, including advertising, to fill our coffers and fund our ambitions."

Chris Wharton, the chief executive of West Australian Newspapers, which is also examining online charging for its news, said the ABC was "the elephant in the room in this debate".

But he added that WAN was watching News Limited because "if anyone can do it, it is News and Mr Murdoch".

Mr Murdoch said if media companies "do not take advantage of the current movement towards paid-for content, it will be the content creators, the people in this hall, who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph".

Tom Curley, president and CEO of Associated Press, echoed Mr Murdoch's sentiments, saying news organisations had to be able to earn from the content they created. "Free-riders and pirates are claiming they're entitled to our property."

(10) Waning love between American Jews and Israel - because Haaretz opens their eyes

From: Josef Schwanzer <>  Date: 11.10.2009 02:23 AM

Web helps U.S. Jews lose that loving feeling, says historian

By Raphael Ahren

Israeli news Web sites in English contribute in part to the waning love between American Jews and Israel, a prominent U.S. historian asserted this week, adding that Anglos in Israel can help counter the trend. Since the advent of the Internet and exposure to more critical coverage of Israel, the once-utopian view of Israel Americans held has eroded, according to Jonathan Sarna, who teaches American Jewish history at Brandeis University and is currently on sabbatical in Jerusalem.

In an article appearing in today's Forward and released this week on the paper's Web site and on, Sarna quotes sociologist Steven M. Cohen, who recently warned of "a growing distancing from Israel of American Jews." Sarna, 54, argues that while this trend is worrisome, another sociologist, Ted Sasson, believes American-Jewish love for Israel is not vanishing but transforming.

"Sasson maintains that what we have today is not as much tension between American Jewry and Israel, but American Jews reflecting some of the same opposition [to Israeli policies] that you find in Israel. Indeed, many of them are reading Israeli Web sites and are influenced by them," Sarna told Anglo File Tuesday in his Jerusalem apartment. He referred specifically to, which he says often publishes articles critical of Israeli policies.

"The Internet has made it possible for multiple voices to be heard," Sarna said. He says that in the days when their sole source of news was the local Jewish paper, the "Jews of America spoke with one voice, mainly [belonging to] the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish organizations - which basically followed the Israeli government's line." Aware today of the full range of views expressed in Israel, he says American Jews no longer buy into the notion that "in Israel we're critical but out of Israel we're supportive."

Until recently, American Jews grew up with a utopian notion of Israel, Sarna says. "Everybody [in Israel] was happy, people were building a new state, people were in some ways more equal and egalitarian," he recalled of his own education. "Israel was going to be that Little America in the Middle East, a country that shared the same values, a true commonwealth. Israel was like America, only better."

Yet over time, American Jews discovered their idealized perception of Israel was at odds with reality, seeing, for example, the lack of a true separation of church and state and the plight of minorities. "Gradually the utopian vision that had so exited the community was transformed into a more realistic Israel," Sarna said.

Sarna, whom the Forward in 2004 named one of America's fifty most influential Jews, said the key to repairing the relationship between Jews in America and Israel lies in education. "Once upon a time Jews felt responsible for and related to one another. This feeling of "Klal Yisrael" [Jewish unity] has greatly declined. That a Jew in America should feel the pain of a Jew in Israel who is taken prisoner - is strange to some American Jews. There is a lot of evidence that roughly half of American Jews don't quite feel the same sense of connectedness to all Jews that once they did."

If the concept of "Klal Yisrael" were more emphasized in American Jewish schools, Sarna said, it would be much easier to communicate the idea that Israeli and American Jews are brothers and therefore it is beneficial to support the one another. Israel's Anglos have a special role in this endeavor, Sarna added.

He believes that Anglos who oppose Israeli policies can "help their relatives and friends in America to understand why they still love Israel, why they remain in Israel, why they still serve in the army, notwithstanding their dissent. After all, Americans Jews often dissent from the policy of their government and still love America."

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