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Middle East Conflict

Bethlehem News Updates Volume 10, January 3, 2009

Here is today's news update from Maggie Coulter and Patricia Daugherty, two longtime anti-war and Palestinian solidarity activists from Sacramento now staying in Bethlehem, Palestine. Israeli ground troops have invaded Gaza and urgent action is needed to stop the genocide.

Bethlehem News Updates Volume 10, January 3, 2009
In this update:
- Gaza briefing. As we send this, Israel has begun a ground invasion.
- Bethlehem brief
- Visiting Villages of '48
- Boycott L'Oreal Products
- Contact information of elected officials

As we send this, Israel's genocidal assault on the people of Gaza continues; ground troops have invaded. There are eight International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers on the ground in Gaza. They all came on the Free Gaza Boats ( We urge you to read their eyewitness reports at: A particularly powerful one from the Italian volunteer is at:
Look for our report in the upcoming January 8 Sacramento News and Review.

Norman Solomon on Christine Craft tonight at 7pm

Christine Craft will have Norman Solomon and Professor Hatem Basian on KGO radio this Saturday from 7:00pm through 8:30pm for a different analysis of the events in Gaza, and related history, than what comes from mainstream news.

Christine will also be encouraging listeners to call in!

KGO is at 810 on the AM dial or you can listen live online.

Listen live online:

How Not to Make Peace in the Middle East

How Not to Make Peace in the Middle East
by: Hussein Agha, Robert Malley, The New York Review of Books

A Jewish schoolboy in Iran holds a sign saying Peace in Hebrew, Arabic and English. (Photo: AFP / Getty Images)

Thursday 15 January 2009 Issue

The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace
by Aaron David Miller, Bantam, 407 pp., $26.00.

Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East
by Daniel C. Kurtzer and Scott B. Lasensky, United States Institute of Peace Press, 191 pp., $16.50 (paper).

Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East
by Martin Indyk, Simon and Schuster, 494 pp., $30.00.


Foreign affairs had no more than a small part in Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and the Middle East peace process only a fraction of that. Yet the sorry prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians make a break with past US policy on this matter imperative, regardless of the new administration's priorities.

The need for a move away from the lethal mix of arrogance and ignorance characteristic of George W. Bush's presidency is hard to dispute. That is not all that needs breaking away from. Some observers have welcomed the past year's surge of older-style US diplomacy, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's multiple visits to the region, efforts to build Palestinian institutions and security forces, and negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians over a final status agreement. Yet spin aside, these efforts hardly can be deemed successful. Realities on the ground - from settlement construction to deepening divisions within Palestinian and Israeli societies to growing disillusionment with a two-state solution - render the possibility of a peace accord increasingly remote.

Israeli Navy Attacks Civilian Mercy Ship with Cynthia McKinney on Board

Israeli Navy Attacks Civilian Mercy Ship


    (CNN) -- An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli officials said.

    CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the contact occurred. When the boat later docked in the Lebanese port city of Tyre, severe damage was visible to the forward port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.

    The Dignity was carrying crew and 16 passengers -- physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement -- who were trying to reach Gaza through an Israeli blockade of the territory.

    Also on board was former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

    Penhaul said an Israeli patrol boat shined its spotlight on the Dignity, and then it and another patrol boat shadowed the Dignity for about a half hour before the collision.

    One patrol boat "very severely rammed" the Dignity, Penhaul said.

    The captain of the Dignity told Penhaul he received no warning. Only after the collision did the Israelis come on the radio to say they struck the boat because they believed it was involved in terrorist activities, the captain said.

    But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor denied that and said the patrol boat had warned the vessel not to proceed to Gaza because it is a closed military area.

    Palmor said there was no response to the radio message, and the vessel then tried to out-maneuver the Israeli patrol boat, leading to the collision.

    The captain and crew said their vessel was struck intentionally, Penhaul said, but Palmor called those allegations "absurd."

    "There is no intention on the part of the Israeli navy to ram anybody," Palmor said.

    "I would call it ramming. Let's just call it as it is," McKinney said after the boat docked in Lebanon. "Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side.

    "Our mission was a peaceful mission to deliver medical supplies and our mission was thwarted by the Israelis -- the aggressiveness of the Israeli military," she said.

Articles on current attacks on Gaza

UPDATE: Click here to see some photos of the massacre (caution: some are graphic).

To get up-to-speed on this issue, here are some recent articles that you should read (and probably won't find in your local paper).

* The neighborhood bully strikes again By Gideon Levy
* 'Gaza strike is not against Hamas, it's against all Palestinians' By Amira Hass
* Israelis Get Truth About Gaza Attack - by Ira Chernus
* Marty Peretz and The American Political Consensus on Israel - by Glenn Greenwald
* Gaza: The Logic of Colonial Power - by Nir Rosen
* A Hundred Eyes for an Eye - by Norman Solomon
* Kucinich Calls For Independent UN Inquiry on Gaza

Speak out against Israeli attacks on Gaza

Protest the Massacre in Gaza!

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest near the Israeli Embassy in London Dcember 28, 2008, against the Israeli strikes on Gaza. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

From Debra Reiger...

The news on the Gaza attacks is just unspeakable. It is vital that we stand together to say "NO!" and we must do this quickly. I am forwarding information of what I have heard so far about actions in Sacramento and San Francisco for Monday and Tuesday.


TUESDAY, DEC. 30, 2008 4 - 6 PM


Stop the Massacre of Palestinians!

Be visible for Peace.

Bring your own protest signs and/or use ours.

You can also - Visit Doris Matsui's office any time today and leave a written or verbal message. I think she is still in town for the winter break; try asking to see her. Make sure that they log your visit and the reason for it. Her office is at 5th and I in the Federal Building. 501 I St., Suite 12-600.

- Make your expectations clear. Suggested message: Israel's continuing attacks on the people in Gaza are immoral and wrong. The US must not support these attacks by word or act, and Congress must stop funding Israel's military. People are dying as we speak.

- If you can't make it to her office, you can call 916-498-5600 and leave a message. Her DC office number is 202-225-7163. Keep visiting and keep calling on other days.

Urgent Action Alert: Bethlehem Update on Gaza

Urgent Action Alert: Bethlehem Update on Gaza

Patricia Daugherty and Maggie Coulter, two Sacramento residents now staying in Bethlehem, are urging everybody to take action locally to protest the Israeli massacre of the people of Gaza.

"The Christmas lights are off in Bethlehem," they said. "The shops are closed. Some people are at church, some at the mosque, some are in the streets demonstrating solidarity with the people of Gaza."

Here is today's action alert from them.


Dear friends and family,

The Christmas lights are off in Bethlehem. The shops are closed. Some people are at church, some at the mosque, some are in the streets demonstrating solidarity with the people of Gaza. People don't talk about Hamas or Fattah, only of Palestinians dying. The mood is very sad. People are watching the horrific events in Gaza on TV - and when they aren't, they can't get the images of suffering and dying out of their minds. They fear the worst and can't think of much else. They have dealt with Israel for too many years to even hope that Israel will show concern for Palestinian life.

The checkpoints are closed now. Trapped, inside the Wall, The Palestinians inside the West Bank are as the Israelis want them to be – controlled, not seen, and not heard. They are limited in what they can do for their sisters and brothers in Gaza. But you are not.

The Tyranny of Oil

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In October 2008, Antonia Juhasz visited Davis and Sacramento, CA. She discusses her latest book, "The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do To Stop It"

Her book answers the questions:

  • Why did oil and gasoline prices rise (and fall) so quickly?
  • Where will prices go in the future?
  • Who’s really controlling those prices?
  • How much oil is left?
  • How far will Big Oil go to get it?
  • And at what cost to the economy, environment, human rights, worker safety, public health, democracy, and America’s place in the world?

Antonia Juhasz, an analyst with Oil Change International, a watchdog group, is the author of “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time.”

Click here to download or listen to mp3 Duration 1:02:18.

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism

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From Anti-War Radio, Scott Horton Interviews Robert Pape.

Robert A. Pape is an American political scientist known for his work on international security affairs, especially strategic air power and suicide terrorism. He is currently a professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

He is the author of "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism" which has earned praise from Peter Bergen, who conducted the first television interview with Osama Bin Laden in 1997. The book earned praise from Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas). The book earned praise from Michael Scheuer, former CIA Chief of the ben Laden unit. The book earned praise from Noam Chomsky, who is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, political activist, author, and lecturer. Duration about 52 minutes.

Click here to download or listen to mp3 Total Duration 1:46:39.

Inside The Bush Administration

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From Anti-War Radio, Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, U.S. Army (Ret.), was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005. Since his retirement Wilkerson has on several occasions spoken out against the poor planning and execution of the Iraq War as well as the global politics leading up to and following it. In particular he has denounced the decision-making process of the Bush Administration and Vice President Dick Cheney's and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld's part in it. Duration about 53 minutes.

Click here to download or listen to mp3 Total Duration 1:46:39.

Witness in Palestine

Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories. Presentation by engaging and informative author Anna Baltzer, a three-time volunteer with the International Women's Peace Service. Recorded on Aug 12th, 2008 in Davis, CA. Duration 1:10:00.

Click here to download or listen to mp3 Total Duration 1:46:39

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More on Anna Baltzer and Witness in Palestine at

Olmert Advocates Returning Land Seized in 1967 to Win Peace

I'm not sure what "almost all" of the land means, but it sounds like a good start. I hope they don't try to keep all of the settlements that are located over the water aquifers. I bet the Olmert corruption charges will move full steam ahead now as the Israeli right-wingers must be furious at Olmert for stating the obvious.

Olmert Advocates Returning Land Seized in 1967 to Win Peace
Monday 29 September 2008 - by: Mark Mackinnon, The Globe and Mail

Jerusalem - Israel's departing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that his country will have to withdraw from "almost all" of the land it seized in a 1967 war if it wants to have peace with Syria and the Palestinians.

In an interview published in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper yesterday, a week after his formal resignation, Mr. Olmert said that Israelis need to make a "supremely difficult" decision about whether or not they really want to have peace with their neighbours. If the answer is yes, he said, Israel will have to withdraw its soldiers and settlers from the Golan Heights and nearly all of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Mr. Olmert said that peace is within reach on both fronts if Israel is willing to accept the necessary sacrifices. He said that he will continue to pursue peace agreements as long as he remains in office and suggested that his presumptive successor, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, will continue on the same path.

Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2008, 7pm, Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories. Presentation by engaging and informative author Anna Baltzer, a three-time volunteer with the International Women's Peace Service. Davis Friends Meeting, 345 L St. Davis. 530-753-6808, For more information about Baltzer, go to

James Whitaker speaks about the real Iran

Hear James Whitaker on the real Iran

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Jim Whitaker is an American who spent most of his life in the Middle East. He's kept silent about his experiences and observations until recently. He decided to go public and discuss Iran and the Middle East with the Sacramento UN Association in May, 2008.

Duration 1:07:48

Antiwar Radio: Charles Goyette Interviews William Hartung

William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. He discusses the companies that make up the American Military-Industrial-Complex. He is the author of "How Much Are You Making on the War Daddy?: A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration."

Duration 13:02

Protests from the Salute To Israel

Protests from the Salute To Israel
from California State Capitol event on 5-11-08

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James Harris Interviews

Paul Krugman.

James Harris of Truthdig interviews Paul Krugman. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman brings his liberal conscience and economic expertise to bear on the housing crisis and he sheds light on the dirty secret behind many political victories by conservatives, race. Duration 8:44