The illegal war on Iraq, Switzerland bans minarets, Obama escalating Afghan war, Avnery, Honduran “elections”, Fiji and Video of the NT (sham) consultations

Dvir Abramovich complains that Family Guy is anti-Semitic. Really, this guy seems to spend his time looking for ways to be offended about those who don’t spend as much time being solemn about the Holocaust as him.

Blair was warned in advance that the war on Iraq was illegal, and the memo is now public. It was leaked to the Daily Mail. Yes, I know, they’re a terrible paper. Fortunately, Blair is from Labour, so they’re happy to beat him with whichever stick is available.

Switzerland bans minarets. The things that go on mosque buildings. This is unbelievable. They got 57.5% of the vote.

Obama is apparently going to send 30 000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Uri Avnery has a go at Thomas Friedman.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, the New York Times columnist, has an idea. That happens to him quite often. One might almost say – too often.

It goes like this: The US will turn its back on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The entire world will follow. Everybody is fed up with this conflict. Let the Israelis and the Palestinians sort out their problems by themselves.

Sounds sensible. Why must the world be bothered with these two unruly children? Let them kick each other as much as they like. The adults should not interfere.

But in reality this is an outrageous suggestion. Because these two children are not of equal strength. When an adult sees a 14-year old mercilessly mistreating a 6-year old, can he just look on?

Israel is materially a hundredfold, indeed a thousandfold, stronger than the Palestinians. The fourth strongest army in the world (by its own estimate) dominates the life of a helpless people. The Israeli economy, with some of the most advanced technologies in the world, dominates a people whose resources are next to nil. A 42-year old occupation dominates every single corner of occupied Palestine.

This did not come about by a miracle. The huge gap between the strength of the two peoples has also been created by the support of the US for Israel. Israel would not be where it is today without this political, economic and military underpinning. Billions of dollars in annual aid, access to the most advanced weaponry in the world, the political immunity assured by the US veto in the Security Council and all the other forms of assistance have helped successive Israeli governments to maintain and intensify the occupation.

Friedman does not propose ending this support, which itself is a massive intervention in this conflict, and is given to the stronger side. When he suggests that the US withdraw from the conflict, he is actually saying: let the Israeli government do what it is doing – continue the occupation, set up new settlements, withdraw the land from under the feet of the Palestinian people, go on with the murderous blockade that denies the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – men, women and children –almost all the necessities of life.

He also provides a timely reminder of previous promises extracted from Israeli governments: “Even George Bush managed to extract from Ariel Sharon an undertaking to dismantle all settlements set up after March 2001 (needless to say, not a single one was dismantled).”

Barak claims that there will be 40 more inspectors of settlements. I don’t know why, it’s just been admitted they’ve approved new settlement buildings a few days after the announcement.

However, Netanyahu’s offer has angered Israeli hardliners, including members of his own Likud Party, which has traditionally supported the settlement movement.

Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, a top Likud official, said the freeze had failed to renew negotiations with the Palestinians. He said settlements had always been a central part of Likud ideology and now settlers felt alienated.

“The settlers are confused, the settlers are afraid, the settlers feel threatened,” Shalom said.

In the wake of Netanyahu’s announced freeze, the military issued orders to suspend construction in the West Bank over the weekend.

The Yediot Ahronot daily reported Sunday that a councilman in the settlement of Ariel ripped up the order in front of military officials and said he would not accept it

Yishai Hollander, a spokesman for the settlers council, told The Associated Press there would be festive cornerstone ceremonies for new neighborhoods in multiple settlements in the next few days.

Shalom is the guy coming to Sydney in a few days.

Meanwhile, the vote in Honduras went ahead. What a disgrace. Of course, the US will recognise its legitimacy, in effect supporting the coup.

Fiji by McGeough

When asked about the 40-plus per cent of Fijians living in poverty, he berated the businessmen, demanding they share in the burden. “I fully expected him to push the issue of poverty under the carpet,” Barr said.

As co-chairman of the Wages Council of Fiji, Barr also discovered Bainimarama responds to business lobbying. When business got Bainimarama to defer the last wage rise for six months, ”I was so angry I went on TV and criticised him.” Called to the dictator’s office two days later and expecting the sack, Barr instead found Bainimarama, head in his hands, saying ”sorry, sorry, sorry”.

Video of the consultations in three NT communities (who supposedly love the intervention according to Macklin)


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