Wednesday, March 7, 2012

135 Spy to FBI agent posing as Mossad agent: "I thought I was working for you already"

(1) Bible Translations: LXX, MT & King James Version
(2) Bible Translations: Christianity grafted onto Judaism
(3) Bible Translations: Eastern Orthodox Bible is based on the LXX
(4) FBI traps Israeli spy who worked for NASA & National Space Council
(5) Spy to FBI agent posing as Mossad agent: "I thought I was working for you already"
(6) Israel spying devices found by UN; Buried devices blown up remotely by Israel
(7) Secret 1969 White House Memo on `Dangers' of Israel Nuclear Weapons
(8) ADL Campaigns to Train Hate Prosecutors
(9) Russia defies Israeli pressure over Goldstone Report - Shamir
(10) Human Rights Watch founder turns on HRW over criticism of Israel
(11) Palestinian Farmers - Not Much Of An Olive Branch

(1) Bible Translations: LXX, MT & King James Version

From: Sandhya Jain <> Date: 20.10.2009 01:19 AM

Can you explain what the differences are and how they impact on politics in the way hinted by Shamir?

Reply (Peter M.):

I had never paid attention to the differences between translations before Shamir's article. But now, various things click.

The Zionist movement relies on gullible Protestants to lever the US & British Governments to do its bidding.

Protestantism is the most Jewish branch of Xty. Now, it turns out that their KJV Bible is based upon the Jewish MT text, instead of the Christian LXX.

(2) Bible Translations: Christianity grafted onto Judaism

From: Peter Sault <> Date: 20.10.2009 07:08 PM

Shamir is beginning to show his true colours. Not only was Judaism (i.e. the 'Tanakh') artificially and falsely grafted onto Christianity (the genocidal, racist, tribal totem of Moses and the god of Melchizedek were never the same) but what we urgently need is an end to both. Shamir is just one more Jew, in his case dressed up as a Christian, trying to drag us back to the 6th Century BC.

Reply (Peter M.):

Give him some credit. His article on the difference between the LXX and the MT expoosed the background of the KJV and modern translations. If you corrall all Jews together, you'll drive the good ones away.

(3) Bible Translations: Eastern Orthodox Bible is based on the LXX

From: Iskandar Masih <> Date: 20.10.2009 09:10 AM

Also of interest is the new Eastern Orthodox Bible, an English translation based on the LXX and Patriarchal texts.


EOB stands for Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bible.

It is complete Orthodox translation of the Holy Scriptures:

The Old Testament (in progress) is based on the Greek text of the Old Testament (Septuagint / LXX) with all major Masoretic and Dead Sea Scroll variants documented in the footnotes. See Zephaniah (Sofonias) as a sample. For reasons documented in the comprehensive introductory section, the EOB also provides the Hebrew / Masoretic versions (WEB) of Job, Jeremiah and Esther.

The New Testament (completed and available) is based on the official ecclesiastical text published in 1904 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (again documenting all significant variants to the Critical Text, Majority Text and Textus Receptus). It also provides extensive footnotes and Appendices dealing with significant verses such as Matthew 16:18; John 1:1,18; John 15:26. The Patriarchal text was selected on Mount Athos from among a large number of reliable ecclesiastical manuscripts and appears to be identical or similar to Minuscule 1495 (KR subgroup).

Unlike other versions, the EOB provides over 200 pages of introductory material and appendices, including articles by the late Rev. Protopresbyter George Florovsky and Pr. Miltiades Konstantinou of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica.

The main purpose of the EOB is to provide an accurate and easy-to-read English text of the Holy Scriptures that is suitable for use by Orthodox Christian communities and individuals, while providing an outstanding text for scholars.

Because it is controlled and updated within the Orthodox community, it is independent from non-Orthodox commercial publishers and can benefit from constant input from Eastern Orthodox scholars and theologians.

(4) FBI traps Israeli spy who worked for NASA & National Space Council

From: ReporterNotebook <> Date: 20.10.2009 06:11 AM

Scientist who worked for gov't accused of spying

By LARRY MARGASAK and DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writers

Mon Oct 19, 9:29 pm ET

WASHINGTON – A scientist credited with helping discover evidence of water on the moon was arrested Monday on charges of attempting to pass along classified information to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer.

Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Md., was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information, the Justice Department said.

Nozette was arrested by FBI agents and is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Washington on Tuesday. Law enforcement officials said Nozette did not immediately have a lawyer.

Nozette worked in varying jobs for the Energy Department, NASA and — in 1989 and 1990 — the National Space Council in the president's office. He developed the Clementine bi-static radar experiment that is credited with discovering water on the south pole of the moon. He also worked at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he designed highly advanced technology, from approximately 1990 to 1999.

At Energy, Nozette held a special security clearance equivalent to the Defense Department's top secret and "critical nuclear weapon design information" clearances. DOE clearances apply to access to information specifically relating to atomic or nuclear-related materials.

Nozette also held top offices at the Alliance for Competitive Technology, a nonprofit corporation that he organized. Between January 2000 and February 2006, Nozette, through his company, had several agreements to develop advanced technology for the U.S. government.

An affidavit suggests why FBI agents posed as agents of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to conduct the sting operation.

From 1998 to 2008, the complaint alleges, Nozette was a technical adviser for a consultant company that was wholly owned by the Israeli government. Nozette was paid about $225,000 over that period, the court papers say.

Then, in January of this year, Nozette allegedly traveled to another foreign country with two computer thumb drives and apparently did not return with them. Prosecutors also quote an unnamed colleague of Nozette who said the scientist said that if the U.S. government ever tried to put him in jail for an unrelated criminal offense, he would go to Israel or another foreign country and "tell them everything" he knows.

The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf violated U.S. law. In Jerusalem, Israeli government officials had no immediate comment.

The affidavit by FBI agent Leslie Martell said that on Sept. 3, Nozette received a telephone call from an individual purporting to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The caller was an undercover FBI agent.

Nozette agreed to meet with the agent later that day at a hotel in Washington and in the subsequent meeting the two discussed Nozette's willingness to work for Israeli intelligence, the affidavit said.

Nozette allegedly informed the agent that he had, in the past, held top security clearances and had access to U.S. satellite information, the affidavit said.

The scientist also allegedly said that he would be willing to answer questions about this information in exchange for money. The agent explained that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, would arrange for a communication system so Nozette could pass on information in a post office box.

Nozette agreed to provide regular, continuing information and asked for an Israeli passport, the affidavit alleged.

According to the court papers, Nozette and the undercover agent met soon afterward in the same hotel, where the scientist allegedly said that while he no longer had legal access to any classified information at a U.S. government facility, he could, nonetheless, recall classified information by memory. Nozette allegedly asked when he could expect to receive his first payment, saying he preferred cash amounts "under ten thousand" so he didn't have to report it.

Nozette allegedly told the agent, "Well, I should tell you my first need is that they should figure out how to pay me ... they don't expect me to do this for free."

About a week later, FBI agents left a letter in the designated post office box, asking Nozette to answer a list of questions about U.S. satellite information. The agents provided a $2,000 cash payment. Serial numbers of the bills were recorded.

Nozette was later captured on videotape leaving a manila envelope in the post office box. The next day, agents retrieved the sealed envelope and found, among other things, a one-page document containing answers to the questions and an encrypted computer thumb drive.

One answer contained information classified as secret, which concerned capabilities of a prototype overhead collection system. Nozette allegedly offered to reveal additional classified information that directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, and other major weapons systems.

Agents left a second letter in the post office box with another list of questions about U.S. satellite information. The FBI also left a cash payment of $9,000. Nozette allegedly retrieved the questions and the money the same day.

Again, authorities say, Nozette was videotaped leaving a manila envelope in the post office box. FBI agents retrieved it and found a second set of answers. The responses contained information classified as both top secret and secret, on U.S. satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information, and major elements of defense strategy.

Nozette performed some of this research and development at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

(5) Spy to FBI agent posing as Mossad agent: "I thought I was working for you already"

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <>  Date: 22.10.2009 05:32 PM

October 21, 2009

The Scientist Who Mistook Himself for a Spy

By Robert Mackey, NY Times

A lawyer for the Justice Department said in court on Tuesday that Stewart Nozette, a scientist who worked for the United States government for decades before being arrested on Monday on espionage charges, had been willing to sell some of America’s “most guarded secrets” to a man he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer.

What Mr. Nozette did not know was that the man who told him over lunch in a Washington hotel in September, “I wanna clarify something from the start. And I don’t say it very often, but um, I work for [the] Israeli intelligence Agency known here as Mossad,” was in fact an undercover F.B.I. officer.

Recently, Mr. Nozette has been working with NASA, on a collaboration with India’s space agency to search for water on the moon, but over the past two decades he has worked for several government agencies, primarily on defense technology. A news release from the Justice Department announcing his arrest on Monday said, “From 1989 through 2006, Nozette held security clearances as high as Top Secret and had regular, frequent access to classified information and documents related to the U.S. national defense.”

According to a former colleague interviewed by The Associated Press, Mr. Nozette did a stint at the Defense Department, working on the Strategic Defense Initiative — the so-called “Star Wars” program that aimed to build an antimissile shield in space. The A.P. reported that some of Mr. Nozette’s subsequent work for NASA was “essentially a nonmilitary application of Star Wars technology.”

He also worked at the Department of Energy in the 1990s, where he held a special security clearance described in the criminal complaint against him (.pdf) as “equivalent to the Defense Department’s Top Secret and Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information clearances.”

Since Mr. Nozette’s arrest on Monday, journalists and bloggers have been trying to fill in a couple of intriguing blanks in the criminal complaint.

The first one is the identity of the unnamed “foreign company” mentioned in the complaint. According to the government, for most of the past decade Mr. Nozette “acted as a technical consultant for an aerospace company that was wholly owned by the Government of the State of Israel.” On Tuesday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Mr. Nozette had been employed as an outside consultant by Israel Aerospace Industries. Haaretz reports that the company is “Israel’s largest exporter of defense and aerospace technology.” Nozette was videotaped leaving a manila envelope in the post office box. FBI agents retrieved it and found a second set of answers. The responses contained information classified as both top secret and secret, on U.S. satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information, and major elements of defense strategy.

Nozette performed some of this research and development at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

As Politico’s Laura Rozen pointed out on her blog, when he took on this consulting work Mr. Nozette apparently concluded that he had effectively become a spy. According to the transcript of Mr. Nozette’s conversation with the undercover officer posing as a Mossad recruiter, the scientist said:

I thought I was working for you already. I mean that’s what I always thought, [the foreign company] was just a front.

The Justice Department said on Monday that “the complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.” But the complaint does mention that when Mr. Nozette traveled to “a different foreign country,” identified only as “foreign country A,” in January, he returned without two thumb drives found in his luggage when he left the United States. In a post on Talking Points Memo, Justin Elliott examined the possibility that “country A” could be India.

Mr. Nozette’s most recent work has been on a collaboration between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), in which instruments on board India’s Chandrayaan-1 satellite were used to discover water on the Moon. As Mr. Elliot notes:

One of the ways Nozette passed information to the “Mossad” agent in September was on a computer thumb drive. He also offered information on nukes and other weapons systems.

But before that, according to the complaint, Nozette in January traveled to Country A, taking two computer thumb drives along, but returning without them. [...]

According to the complaint, Nozette also told a colleague sometime before the January trip that, if the government tried to “put him in jail” in an unrelated case involving his non-profit, Nozette would move to Israel or Country A and “tell them everything” he knew. In Jerusalem, Israeli government officials had no immediate comment.

(6) Israel spying devices found by UN; Buried devices blown up remotely by Israel

From: Kristoffer Larsson <> Date: 21.10.2009 04:33 AM

Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 14:42 UK

Israel spying devices found by UN

Israeli spying devices that were planted during the 2006 war with Hezbollah have been discovered in southern Lebanon, the UN has said.

UN peacekeepers discovered the buried devices when they were blown up by remote control by Israel on Sunday.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Israel of blatantly violating the UN Security Council resolution that led to the end of fighting.

Israel has declined to comment directly on the matter.

Mr Siniora said an Israeli plane flying above peacekeepers and Lebanese troops investigating the blasts constituted further violation of the resolution.

The incident comes at a time of increased tension between the Lebanese authorities and Israel.

Earlier in October the Israeli army released a video which it said showed Hezbollah removing munitions from the scene of an explosion near the city of Tyre.

Under the same UN Security Council resolution, there should be no weapons south of the Litani river except in the hands of regular Lebanese forces and peacekeepers.

Hezbollah subsequently broadcast its own video which it said disproved the claims.

It also says overflights by Israeli spy-planes violate the resolution.

The war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006 lasted 33-days during which time Hezbollah fired a hail of rockets into Israel and the Israelis bombed carried out a huge bombing campaign across Lebanon and a large ground incursion.

More than 1,125 Lebanese died during the conflict, as well as 119 Israeli soldiers and 40 Israeli civilians.

Israel made little headway in ground operations and the war ended inconclusively with Hezbollah's military wing largely intact.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1701 (2006) calling for the end of hostilities, the demilitarisation of the south of Lebanon and a mandate for a UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to oversee the implementation of the resolution.

(7) Secret 1969 White House Memo on `Dangers' of Israel Nuclear Weapons

From: IHR News <>  Date:  09.10.2009 06:20 PM

Nixon Presidential Library and Museum - pdf document

In this secret internal memo of July 19, 1969, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger explains to President Richard Nixon the "dangers" of Israel's nuclear weapons program. Kissinger notes that Israel had broken its pledge to the US not to "introduce" nuclear weapons in the region. He also notes that if the US tries to force Israel to live up to its commitment by withholding delivery of US warplanes, "enormous political pressure will be mounted on us." This memo, declassified in 2007 after being "sanitized," lays out US policy regarding the Zionist state's nuclear arsenal: "While we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact." ...

(8) ADL Campaigns to Train Hate Prosecutors

From: IHR News <>  Date: 17.10.2009 05:56 PM

Rev. Ted Pike

11 Oct 09

For the past ten years, the Anti-Defamation League has introduced its federal hate crime bill into Congress five times – and lost. ADL claims to have the purest intentions---concern that federal power is needed if a state does not have a hate crimes law or is unwilling or unable to punish a hate crime. ADL insisted passage of a federal hate crimes law would change little: the vast majority of prosecutions of hate crimes will be initiated by states.

But in its exultant press announcement yesterday, ADL reveals the real reason it has never given up its struggle to make its hate bill the law of the land: ADL wants an army of "anti-hate" prosecutors who can go after those ADL considers guilty of bias-motivated crimes. Giving itself credit as chief architect of hate crimes laws on the state and federal level, ADL says:

The end of the legislative path for the hate crimes bill also marks the beginning of the next campaign – training prosecutors and law enforcement officials about the new law. ADL stands ready to help lead that continuing effort.

ADL is clearly beginning a second phase – to train lawyers and law enforcement nationwide on prosecuting hate criminals. In ADL-speak, “haters” are those who oppose homosexuality, allege Jews dominate media, government, finance, or are guilty of “strong” criticism of Israel or its leaders.

ADL is already the primary source for hate crimes education for the US Justice Department, FBI and all local law enforcement. In 1990, through passage of its Hate Crimes Statistics Act, ADL granted itself such empowerment. But ADL wants much more. ...

(9) Russia defies Israeli pressure over Goldstone Report - Shamir

From: Israel Shamir <> Date: 20.10.2009 11:44 AM

Russia’s Daring Vote

Israel Shamir

Russia's vote to endorse the Goldstone Gaza report in the United Nations Human Rights Council last Friday was an important, milestone event both for Palestine and for Russia. For Palestine, this vote opened a way to try and sentence Israeli mass-murderers, and thus ushered Israel into a new era of responsibility after a long period of Wild West-style, Colt-45 justice. For Russia, this vote has proved to its own country and to the world that it is free from American and Zionist diktat and able to navigate its own policy. ...

The Fatah chairman, Ramallah PNA ruler Mahmud Abbas, was ready to do anything in order to remain in power after his electoral defeat. Netanyahu threatened him with taking away the broadcasting frequency for a second mobile phone provider – Abbas promptly called his representative in Geneva and ordered him to put the Goldstone report on a slow, very slow burner. Popular indignation was furious; he was called ‘traitor’ and worse. Facing revolt and sure political demise, Abbas u-turned once again and ordered his ambassador to proceed at full speed. Thus Bibi undermined and delegitimised his agent Abbas, while the report made its way to the council anyway.  ...

Israel was infuriated by this development. The Jewish State considered itself invulnerable behind the triple defence of the Sixth Fleet, the US Senate and the Holocaust Museum. President Obama’s soft request to freeze the settlement building was met in Tel Aviv by what Internet chat calls “lol”. Worse, the Zionists then declared open season on Obama and his health care reform. He was ridiculed. Ehud Barak and Bibi Netanyahu even sped up their building plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to show that they could not care less. And now, all of a sudden, Jewish ministers of state are going to be judged as if they were Serbs or Sudanese.

Israeli leaders activated their main reserves, the US State Department and the Lobby. A few days ago I spoke with Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Tel Aviv, and he confirmed that the US State Department will do all it can to stop the Goldstone report before it gets to the Security Council. Another American veto would not look good. Worse, an insulted and hurt Obama might just forget to veto an anti-Israeli decision.

Israel began courting Russia, hoping to build bridges and to enlist Moscow in its cause. Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Moldova-born Foreign minister, met ten times with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov; Netanyahu flew to Moscow on a “secret mission” for a talk with Medvedev, and President Peres met with Medvedev in Sochi. They wanted Russian support for Iran sanctions and for silencing the Goldstone report. ...

Notwithstanding, the Russians disregarded the US and Israel’s overtures and stalwartly voted to endorse Goldstone’s report. They were joined by their three allies, China, India and Brazil, together representing the lion’s share of mankind’s human resources – of oil, of industry and apparently of conscience as well. These countries are free from Zionist diktat. ...

Now Russia is coming under tremendous pressure from the US and other Zionist-led groups and states. We should pray she will withstand it and maintain her and our dignity.

Edited by Ken Freeland, Texas

(10) Human Rights Watch founder turns on HRW over criticism of Israel

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 21.10.2009 03:57 PM

responses to The Editor, NY Times at

October 20, 2009

Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast


AS the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps.

When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.

Nowhere is this more evident than in its work in the Middle East. The region is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.

Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields. They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism.

The organization is expressly concerned mainly with how wars are fought, not with motivations. To be sure, even victims of aggression are bound by the laws of war and must do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties. Nevertheless, there is a difference between wrongs committed in self-defense and those perpetrated intentionally.

But how does Human Rights Watch know that these laws have been violated? In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes. Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers. Significantly, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert on warfare, has said that the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

Only by returning to its founding mission and the spirit of humility that animated it can Human Rights Watch resurrect itself as a moral force in the Middle East and throughout the world. If it fails to do that, its credibility will be seriously undermined and its important role in the world significantly diminished.

Robert L. Bernstein, the former president and chief executive of Random House, was the chairman of Human Rights Watch from 1978 to 1998.

(11) Palestinian Farmers - Not Much Of An Olive Branch

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 22.10.2009 12:45 PM

By Al-Mughayir, The Economist (UK) - October 17, 2009

The plight of rural Palestinians on the West Bank is as grim as ever

 "What did the trees do?" says Muhammad Abu Awad, a retired teacher of agriculture as he looks gloomily at his ravaged field. Twisted, silvery stubs are all that remain of a lush grove that once offered up a yearly abundance of fat green olives.

The vandals came at night from Adei Ad, a Jewish settlers' outpost deemed "illegal" even by the Israeli government, near Shvut Rachel, an established West Bank settlement that is judged illegal in international but not Israeli law. Working fast, unnoticed by Palestinian landowners in the nearby Arab village of al-Mughayir, the settlers cut down nearly 200 olive trees, of which 70 belonged to Mr Abu Awad. As a result, he reckons to have lost income worth around $3,400 that he would have earned from this year's harvest. But that is not all. "I planted these trees with my own hands 35 years ago", he says, wistfully touching the stumps, now wrapped in sackcloth to protect them from the sun. Mr Abu Awad hopes his trees will recover and one day bear fruit again.

The olive tree deeply stirs the emotions of Palestinians. It is a symbol of their struggle and a vital part of their rural economy. According to their ministry of agriculture, nearly 500,000 olive trees have been bulldozed, burnt down or uprooted in the territories since the second intifada (uprising) began in 2000. Israel's army has cleared swathes of groves to create open areas in the Gaza Strip and along the security barrier being built on the western side of the West Bank, often taking big bites out of Palestinian land. The Israelis have also cut down thousands of trees near the Jewish settlements. Palestinians and human-rights groups have repeatedly castigated the Israeli army for failing to stop such destruction. The settlers say terrorists hide among the trees.

In recent years the Palestinians have usually been able to pick their olives under the protection of the Israeli army and police. Charities that help the farmers say the army has been taking this job seriously, letting the Palestinians harvest without being harassed by the settlers. But they criticise the soldiers for hectoring the farmers into rushing the picking and say the soldiers could do more to protect the trees before the harvest begins, especially in hot spots near ideologically extreme settlements.

Many of the settlers pursue a "price-tag policy", deliberately instigating violence and mayhem so that the Israeli military and political establishment is loath to take action, such as evacuating the 100-plus "illegal" settlements, for fear of further violence. As international criticism has mounted, even in America, several Israeli governments have promised to dismantle the outposts but so far little has been done. The settlers are generally against the peace process, because it could mean their expulsion. So whenever there are signs of negotiation, they increase their attacks-among other things, on olive trees. They want to show who controls the land.

Binyamin Netanyahu's right-wing Israeli government has plainly emboldened the settlers. "Now they fear no one," says a Palestinian villager in al-Mughayir. When the ruling politicians seem to back the settlers, the Israeli soldiers feel less obliged to protect the Palestinian farmers.

Mr Abu Awad says he is determined to fight to keep his land. "I'll sleep on my land to protect it," he says. "I tell my children: if I die, they should bury me where my blood was spilled. I'm in love with my land."

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