Friday, January 16, 2009


Sheera Frenkel
Times Online

Remnants of an Israeli white phosphorus shell, identified by the marking on the outer casing - M825A1 - have been found in the village of Sheikh Ajilin in western Gaza.

Witnesses in Gaza said that the shell was fired on January 9 and was taken indoors as evidence. They recalled seeing thick smoke and smelling a strong odour in keeping with the garlic-like smell associated with white phosphorus.

Hebrew writing on the shell casing reads “exploding smoke” - the term the Israeli army uses for white phosphorus. Doctors who examined the shell said that it appeared to include phosphorus residue.

Residents said that they suffered burns on their feet when they walked where the shelling had taken place.

A suspected phosphorus victim was taken from Gaza across the border into Egypt yesterday. Abdul Rahman Shaer, 16, was transferred to an Egyptian hospital from Rafah. He was suffering from severe chemical burns to his face and body. Paramedics from Gaza said that doctors at the hospital were sure the chemical agent was phosphorus.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reiterated that they would not comment on specific weaponry being used in Gaza but added that any ammunition used by the IDF was “within the scope of international law”.

The Geneva Treaty of 1980 stipulates that white phosphorus should not be used as a weapon of war in civilian areas but there is no blanket ban under international law on its use as a smokescreen or for illumination.

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JAKARTA, Jan 15 (Bernama) - The Asian Parliamentary Association (APA) will haul Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICI) for war crimes, said APA president Agung Laksono on Thursday.

He said the move was in line with the resolution at an emergency meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (PUIC) member states in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday.

"Speakers of Asian parliaments will bring the guilty to the ICI as war criminals," said Agung, Speaker of the Indonesia parliament, as reported by Antara, the Indonesian news agency.

He said if the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, who was accused of killing 168 people could be sentenced to death, then Israel's atrocities in Gaza must be investigated and the individuals responsible brought to justice. - BERNAMA

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


By Patrick Martin

Front-page reports in two leading US newspapers Sunday signal a ratcheting up of US pressure on Iran and the preparation of American public opinion for a new round of US military aggression.

The New York Times published a lengthy article by its chief diplomatic correspondent, David Sanger, a long-time conduit for the concerns of the Pentagon and State Department, purporting to detail discussions between the Bush administration and Israel over the past year about possible air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Washington Post carried a shorter but equally prominent article, written by correspondent Joby Warrick, recounting efforts by Iran to obtain electrical components from US and European suppliers, allegedly for Improvised Explosive Devices to be used against American forces in Iraq.

The provocative character of the Post article is demonstrated in its sensationalistic first sentence, which reads: “The Iranian businessman was looking for high-quality American electronics, but he had to act stealthily: The special parts he coveted were denied to Iranians, especially those seeking to make roadside bombs to kill US troops in Iraq.”
Other than the florid prose, the Post article adds little to the public record provided by a federal court filing last fall in Miami in which the US Department of Justice charged four companies, based in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, with acting as purchasing agents for the Iranian government. The principal company involved, Mayrow General Trading, was shut down by Dubai authorities in 2006.

As for the Times article, it provides new details about US-Israeli relations, as well as about US covert operations against Iran, which reportedly involve efforts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear enrichment program by supplying faulty equipment through third parties and also through the practice of cyber-warfare against Iranian computer systems.



KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 (Bernama) - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Monday tabled a motion in the Dewan Rakyat calling on the United Nations to immediately set up a war crimes tribunal to investigate and prosecute Israelis suspected of committing war crimes against Palestinians.

The prime minister, who tabled the motion at a special parliament session on Gaza also proposed that the resolution be conveyed to the legislative bodies concerned, in particular the United States Congress, British Parliament and the European Parliament.

Speaking when tabling the motion on "condemning Israel's Zionist regime's attack on Gaza", Abdullah said, the bombardment and devastation in Gaza should be condemned by the world as it violated the international law.

"The attack on the Palestinian territory in Gaza violates international law, human rights law, international human rights law, the UN's charter, and is a war crime as it violates the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war," he said.

The motion also urged the UN Security Council to compel Israel to immediately cease its aggression in the Gaza Strip through a ceasefire, and for the world body to deploy peacekeeping forces to enforce the ceasefire. – BERNAMA

Friday, January 9, 2009


Special Parliament Session On Gaza Next Monday

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 7 (Bernama) -- The Cabinet today agreed that Parliament holds a special session on the Gaza onslaught next Monday, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

The government as well as opposition Members of Parliament had been reported condemning the Israeli aggression and called for a ceasefire and an end to the crisis which began on Dec 27.

The government had also called for an Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly to address the issue. - BERNAMA

Israel Must Be Forced Out Of Gaza, Says Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 (Bernama) -- Any resolution passed by the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York Friday morning must ensure that Israel is forced out of Gaza, said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

While thanking UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the convening of the Special Session which Malaysia and several other countries had urgently called for, Abdullah said the United States should also not oppose whatever resolution that would touch on Israel, which is on a military offensive in the Gaza Strip since Dec 27. - BERNAMA

Israel Should Be Subjected To Sanctions, Says Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today Israel should be subjected to international sanctions because of its brutal onslought on Gaza which had killed many people.

He said the world would be a better and more peaceful place if ethics and morality were given due weight in the conduct of international relations.

"Perhaps, the international community should include outrageous breaches of basic moral standards in the list which must be subjected to international sanctions. The point is, we should shift moral purpose from the sidelines of international conduct to centre stage. The escalating crisis in the Middle East is a case in point. It is absolutely immoral for Israel to continue inflicting upon the people of Gaza an entirely disproportionate and excessive deployment of its military power," Abdullah said. - BERNAMA

Wednesday, January 7, 2009



PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has contacted the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, and the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, to hold a UN special assembly.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, in announcing this, said the assembly was necessary after the UN Security Council failed to reach a decision to stop the Israeli aggression on Palestine.

He said Abdullah would also get in touch with all the heads of governments under the auspices of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), ASEAN and several other international organisations to press for the special assembly to be held as soon as possible. – BERNAMA


PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 (Bernama) -- United States' President-elect Barack Obama is not expected to change his country's stand with regard to support for Israel although the Zionist regime had clearly acted brutally against Palestine, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Monday.

He said a major power like the United States needed Israel to support certain policies which the former implemented and turning away from the regime would mean losing the much-anticipated support.

"Although the United States' Congress consists of learned individuals, it condones terrorism. We see Israel as having no restriction and Israel actually rules the world through its proxies because no US presidential candidate, including Barack Obama, is bold enough to state that the United States does not support Israel.

"In fact, Obama's right-hand man (vice president-elect) Joseph Biden has openly declared that he is a Zionist. So, you can imagine Obama's foreign policy in the future," he said at a news conference called to condemn Israel's ongoing brutality against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here. - BERNAMA


JOHOR BAHARU, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- Islamic countries that have bilateral ties with Israel should cut off diplomatic ties immediately to protest against the cruelty inflicted by the Jewish state's regime on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

Former Malaysian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Datuk Syed Hussein Al-Habshee said Muslims could only protect themselves effectively from any form of cruelty and oppression through education as was done by the Jews. – BERNAMA


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- The Council For Ex-Members of Parliament and State Assemblies, Federal Territory, on Monday joined scores of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals in calling for the boycott of Israeli and Israeli related goods and services as a mark of protest against the regime's invasion of Gaza.

Its president, Aziz Yassin, said in a statement that this was the least Malaysians of all races could do to register their sympathy towards the Palestinians who had been suffering endlessly at the hands of the Zionists for the past 50 years. - BERNAMA


Jennifer Loewenstein
Counter Punch January 1, 2008

Israel Has No Intention of Granting a Palestinian State

Let us get one thing perfectly straight. If the wholesale mutilation and degradation of the Gaza Strip is going to continue; if Israel’s will is at one with that of the United States; if the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and all the international legal agencies and organizations spread across the globe are going to continue to sit by like hollow mannequins doing nothing but making repeated “calls” for a “ceasefire” on “both sides”; if the cowardly, obsequious and supine Arab States are going to stand by watching their brethren get slaughtered by the hour while the world’s bullying Superpower eyes them threateningly from Washington lest they say something a little to their disliking; then let us at least tell the truth why this hell on earth is taking place.

The state terror unleashed from the skies and on the ground against the Gaza Strip as we speak has nothing to do with Hamas. It has nothing to do with “Terror”. It has nothing to do with the long-term “security” of the Jewish State or with Hizbullah or Syria or Iran except insofar as it is aggravating the conditions that have led up to this crisis today. It has nothing to do with some conjured-up “war” – a cynical and overused euphemism that amounts to little more the wholesale enslavement of any nation that dares claim its sovereign rights; that dares assert that its resources are its own; that doesn’t want one of the Empire’s obscene military bases sitting on its cherished land.

This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace. It is not about Mahmoud Zahhar or Khalid Mash’al or Ismail Haniyeh. It is not about Hassan Nasrallah or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are all circumstantial players who have gained a role in the current tempest only now that the situation has been allowed for 61 years to develop into the catastrophe that it is today. The Islamist factor has colored and will continue to color the atmosphere of the crisis; it has enlisted the current leaders and mobilized wide sectors of the world’s population. The primary symbols today are Islamic – the mosques, the Qur’an, the references to the Prophet Muhammad and to Jihad. But these symbols could disappear and the impasse would continue.

There was a time when Fatah and the PFLP held the day; when few Palestinians wanted anything to do with Islamist policies and politics. Such politics have nothing to do with primitive rockets being fired over the border, or smuggling tunnels and black-market weapons; just as Arafat’s Fatah had little to do with stones and suicide bombings. The associations are coincidental; the creations of a given political environment. They are the result of something entirely different than what the lying politicians and their analysts are telling you. They have become part of the landscape of human events in the modern Middle East today; but incidentals wholly as lethal, or as recalcitrant, deadly, angry or incorrigible could just as soon have been in their places.

Strip away the clich├ęs and the vacuous newspeak blaring out across the servile media and its pathetic corps of voluntary state servants in the Western world and what you will find is the naked desire for hegemony; for power over the weak and dominion over the world’s wealth. Worse yet you will find that the selfishness, the hatred and indifference, the racism and bigotry, the egotism and hedonism that we try so hard to cover up with our sophisticated jargon, our refined academic theories and models actually help to guide our basest and ugliest desires. The callousness with which we in indulge in them all are endemic to our very culture; thriving here like flies on a corpse.

Strip away the current symbols and language of the victims of our selfish and devastating whims and you will find the simple, impassioned and unaffected cries of the downtrodden; of the ‘wretched of the earth’ begging you to cease your cold aggression against their children and their homes; their families and their villages; begging you to leave them alone to have their fish and their bread, their oranges, their olives and their thyme; asking you first politely and then with increasing disbelief why you cannot let them live undisturbed on the land of their ancestors; unexploited, free of the fear of expulsion; of ravishment and devastation; free of permits and roadblocks and checkpoints and crossings; of monstrous concrete walls, guard towers, concrete bunkers, and barbed wire; of tanks and prisons and torture and death. Why is life without these policies and instruments of hell impossible?

The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders. It had no intention of allowing it in 1948 when it grabbed 24 per cent more land than what it was allotted legally, if unfairly, by UN Resolution 181. It had no intention of allowing it throughout the massacres and ploys of the 1950s. It had no intention of allowing two states when it conquered the remaining 22 per cent of historic Palestine in 1967 and reinterpreted UN Security Council Resolution 248 to its own liking despite the overwhelming international consensus stating that Israel would receive full international recognition within secure and recognized borders if it withdrew from the lands it had only recently occupied.

It had no intention of acknowledging Palestinian national rights at the United Nations in 1974, when - alone with the United States - it voted against a two-state solution. It had no intention of allowing a comprehensive peace settlement when Egypt stood ready to deliver but received, and obediently accepted, a separate peace exclusive of the rights of Palestinians and the remaining peoples of the region. It had no intention of working toward a just two-state solution in 1978 or 1982 when it invaded, fire-bombed, blasted and bulldozed Beirut so that it might annex the West Bank without hassle. It had no intention of granting a Palestinian state in 1987 when the first Intifada spread across occupied Palestine, into the Diaspora and the into the spirits of the global dispossessed, or when Israel deliberately aided the newly formed Hamas movement so that it might undermine the strength of the more secular-nationalist factions.

Israel had no intention of granting a Palestinian state at Madrid or at Oslo where the PLO was superseded by the quivering, quisling Palestinian Authority, too many of whose cronies grasped at the wealth and prestige it gave them at the expense of their own kin. As Israel beamed into the world’s satellites and microphones its desire for peace and a two-state solution, it more than doubled the number of illegal Jewish settlements on the ground in the West Bank and around East Jerusalem, annexing them as it built and continues to build a superstructure of bypass roads and highways over the remaining, severed cities and villages of earthly Palestine. It has annexed the Jordan valley, the international border of Jordan, expelling any ‘locals’ inhabiting that land. It speaks with a viper’s tongue over the multiple amputee of Palestine whose head shall soon be severed from its body in the name of justice, peace and security.

Through the home demolitions, the assaults on civil society that attempted to cast Palestinian history and culture into a chasm of oblivion; through the unspeakable destruction of the refugee camp sieges and infrastructure bombardments of the second Intifada, through assassinations and summary executions, past the grandiose farce of disengagement and up to the nullification of free, fair and democratic Palestinian elections Israel has made its view known again and again in the strongest possible language, the language of military might, of threats, intimidation, harassment, defamation and degradation.

Israel, with the unconditional and approving support of the United States, has made it dramatically clear to the entire world over and over and over again, repeating in action after action that it will accept no viable Palestinian state next to its borders. What will it take for the rest of us to hear? What will it take to end the criminal silence of the ‘international community’? What will it take to see past the lies and indoctrination to what is taking place before us day after day in full view of the eyes of the world? The more horrific the actions on the ground, the more insistent are the words of peace. To listen and watch without hearing or seeing allows the indifference, the ignorance and complicity to continue and deepens with each grave our collective shame.

The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. Those dreaming of one state must be forced to ask themselves what Israel would do to a population of 4 million Palestinians within its borders when it commits on a daily, if not hourly basis, crimes against their collective humanity while they live alongside its borders? What will suddenly make the raison d’etre, the self-proclaimed purpose of Israel’s reason for being change if the Palestinian territories are annexed to it outright?

The lifeblood of the Palestinian National Movement flows through the streets of Gaza today. Every drop that falls waters the soil of vengeance, bitterness and hatred not only in Palestine but across the Middle East and much of the world. We do have a choice over whether or not this should continue. Now is the time to make it.

Jennifer Loewenstein is the Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be reached at

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Chetan Upadhyaya – Sify, December 31, 2008

A war between India and Pakistan is unthinkable, believes Shah Zaman Khan, Minister, Press, at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

The war hysteria in both nations is being fuelled by “one common enemy that does not want India and Pakistan to be friends,” the senior Pakistani diplomat asserts. “What we have seen in Mumbai is altogether a third party conspiracy.”

Khan, who has a Master’s Degree in Economics, joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1978, and has served as Joint Secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in Islamabad and Director General of the troubled North West Frontier Province before being posted to New Delhi in late 2007.

“The media has created all these clouds and in a week or two, all these clouds of war are expected to vanish,” Khan told Chetan Upadhyaya of the Satya Foundation in an exclusive interview. Khan also answered two other questions from people who phoned in during this interview.


The war of words between India and Pakistan is at its peak. Media reports warn about heightened tensions and a possible war between the countries…

In my opinion, neither the public nor the leadership in India and Pakistan want any war. Whatever talks we are hearing about the war, it is all due to the media hype. The media has created all these clouds and in a week or two, all these clouds of war will vanish completely. And once again, India and Pakistan will hopefully resume the normal dialogue and talk process.

If two Germanys can reunite, why can't India and Pakistan? We were separated just 61 years ago, and the wounds and pain still linger. So many explosions in Pakistan and in India. Do you think that the time has come when we promote the concept of no boundary and no guns and bombs?

In my opinion, India and Pakistan can stay as two different entities, but in a dignified way. They can present an example of two friends who live separately, but harmoniously. The border is a geographical reality, and we cannot deny its existence. Every country has its own sovereignty and independence. We can maintain the individual existence and still maintain peace, friendship and brotherhood. We can live like good friends. What we have seen in Mumbai is altogether a third party conspiracy. There is one common enemy that does not want India and Pakistan to be friends. It is very necessary to remove that common enemy and that is possible only when we have mutual cooperation and trust and India and Pakistan help each other in eradicating this common enemy. Let the two countries not exploit each other’s weaknesses rather help each other in these trying conditions.

All this is the result of an international conspiracy?

Yes, it is all their game and both of us are suffering. It is high time that both India and Pakistan start accepting the reality and unite against international conspiracies. Let’s not be exploited by others. We must not allow ourselves to play in the hands of others.

Could you elaborate?

In order to promote their arms and ammunition, some powers are trying to ignite war between India and Pakistan. The arms lobby is forcing these powers to go with the “divide and rule” policy. This will stop only when India and Pakistan start realising that they are 'lost' brothers. The majority of us love each other. Only few rotten fish cannot continue to pollute the entire pond...! We must fight the terror collectively, without falling prey to the negative elements, which want both India and Pakistan to be broken into pieces. We all want peace and silence. The whole region is sick of the bloodshed and mayhem. After all, who knows the plight of terrorism more than Pakistan? We lost so many leaders and common men and women and innocent children. So many of our women became widows. If there are no wars, both India and Pakistan can spend more money on education, agriculture, industry, environment and employment. If we stand collectively, Pakistan and India together can show to the world that two brothers can finish the terrorism together and ensure complete peace... We are determined to give fatal blow to terrorism.

There are many organisations in South Asia that want a 'Mahasangh' of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China. What do you think?

I agree with you that there should be openhearted dialogue and discussion between the people of these countries. The thoughts and emotions should find an expression. And the conspiracy of the ‘superpower’ should be exposed properly. I will not speak for the merger. All countries have their own sanctities and sovereignties and without disturbing the natural makeup of the countries, we can still go forward in the direction of complete peace and brotherhood. We must promote the political, social, cultural and economic collaboration between these countries so that there is no more bitterness and fighting amongst us. Only this way can we can develop together and create a world where there is no forward and no backward. Everyone will get equal opportunities for expansion and growth without disturbing the peace and tranquility of others. And when there is equal progress at the economic and political levels, the borders get weakened automatically. If you travel in Europe, you never come to know where is the beginning or end of the boundary of one country. You don’t need permission to go from one place to another. The same situation can come here if we can make progress in political, social and economic fields. We must start seeing each other’s progress in correct light and with a positive state of mind. We must take pride in each other’s progress. With changed state of mind, the concept of border will change and we will witness a new world.

In a recent interview with, the RSS chief, Mr. K.S. Sudarshan, said that there are good people in every religion and society and it is our duty to live in mutual harmony with each other. He also said that terrorism should not be linked to any particular religion. How do you see this?

I fully agree with Mr. Sudarshan that terrorists have no religion. They are mindless people who have actually no association with any one nation or religion. I also fully agree with his statement that there are good people, both in India and Pakistan. And as a result, we have witnessed so much of dialogue and the wave of mutual cooperation and peace process in the past few years. If one can remember, just before the Mumbai crisis, there was an atmosphere of goodwill and talks at the senior level. We believe that good people on both sides of the border are doing exemplary work for good relations and will continue with this for peace and tranquility. Let me say it categorically that this is only a temporary phase of tension, which will defuse very soon.

Chetan Upadhyaya is a journalist and holistic healer who contributes extensively to various newspapers/magazines. He also conducts programmes and workshops for Stress Management and total awakening of mind through music, meditation, yoga and natural lifestyle under the guidance of his Guru, Yogi Shri Ashish Chatterjee. He can be reached at: