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Charge the lobby

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 CHARGE THE LOBBY

By Ramzy Baroud

One cannot emphasize enough the stranglehold Israel’s lobbying infrastructure has on US foreign policy. The36of recent weeks undoubtedly attest to this. "The special relationship" that has been historically fostered between the US and Israel in fact, is often a relationship of leverage, manipulation and intimidation, and often leads to the US supporting actions or resolutions that stand at complete odds with the interests of the American people.

The promise of change echoed the world over as people from all corners anticipated the magic moment Obama could actually change the devastating reality in which we live today. But just weeks before his inauguration, Israel unleashed the most barbaric attacks on defenseless Palestinian civilians since 1948. Civil societies expressed outrage and called for Israeli leaders to be tried for war crimes and genocide. Other nations cut diplomatic ties completely with the Jewish state. But the man of change did absolutely nothing. For weeks he was completely silent. Even in his first days in office, Obama made no mention of the Israeli genocide in Gaza. So, what of this change that he promised? What kind of hold does Israel have to silence the President of the United States?

 

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Give me liberty or day shopping jenins model of economic peace

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Give Me Liberty … or Day Shopping
Jenin’s Model of "Economic Peace"
By JONATHAN COOK

Jenin.

The reality of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promises of "economic peace" for the Palestinians is nowhere under greater scrutiny than in Jenin, the northern West Bank city being aggressively promoted as a potential model of co-operation with Israel.

Once known as the City of Martyrs for the high number of suicide bombers it despatched into Israel, Jenin was the site of a savage fight in 2002 as the Israeli army reoccupied much of the West Bank.

Israelis find it hard to forget that this was where they suffered the biggest loss of life in a single battle — 23 soldiers killed retaking the city. Palestinians find it hard to forgive the bulldozing of Jenin’s large refugee camp, and the killing of 56 inhabitants in a few days.

But today Jenin, the first Palestinian city to be sealed behind Israel’s separation wall, is being feted — at least by Israel — as a successful experiment in peacemaking.

The Palestinian gunmen who once roamed the streets are gone, replaced, by day, by lightly armed Palestinian security forces trained in Jordan by a US general, Keith Dayton.

Israeli soldiers, meanwhile, have unfettered access to the city between midnight and dawn, though nowadays, say local people, the army rarely makes incursions.

For Mr Netanyahu, Jenin represents his best hope of persuading Washington that an "economic and diplomatic peace", as he referred to it at the cabinet meeting on Sunday, rather than full statehood, will satisfy the Palestinians.

The process of easing restrictions began before Mr Netanyahu’s tenure in March. Last year, Ehud Barak, then as now the defense minister, called Jenin a "great success" in what was widely interpreted as a test of Palestinian readiness for limited statehood on Israeli terms.

Palestinian security forces were allowed into the city in May last year. Since then Israel has removed several of the checkpoints that cut Jenin off from the rest of the West Bank in a bid to boost trade.

Last week, Israel extended that policy by announcing that the King Hussein Bridge, the Palestinians’ only connection to Jordan and the Arab world, would be open 24 hours a day.

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Israeli settlers terrorise palestinian villagers

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 Israeli Settlers Terrorise Palestinian Villagers

By Mel Frykberg

AT TUWANI, West Bank, Mar 9 (IPS) – "I couldn’t run. My pregnancy was too far advanced and there was nowhere to hide," said Amna Salman Rabaye, 31, as she recalled the terrifying incident several months ago.

Rabaye from the Palestinian Bedouin village of At Tuwani in the southern West Bank was grazing her sheep when she was assaulted by a security guard from the adjacent illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’on.

"We saw a group of masked Israeli settlers armed with sticks and chains heading towards us. The younger shepherds ran and managed to escape, leaving me with the flock of sheep," Rabaye told IPS.

"It was physically impossible for me to run and I also didn’t want the settlers to kill or steal my sheep. The security guard pushed me over but I was not injured," recalled Rabaye who was then seven months pregnant.

At Tuwani was established over 300 years ago by nomadic tribes of Bedouin who first moved into the area seeking shelter in the nearby caves. However, Israeli settlers built the adjacent Ma’on settlement in 1982. The nearby illegal outpost of Havot Ma’on was built at a later date.

Outposts normally comprise small settlements ranging from a few caravans, which are sometimes connected to water and electricity, to slightly larger settlements. They are referred to as outposts by the media as they are generally not recognised by the Israeli government.

The settlements, however, which are legal under Israeli law can number from several hundred residents to small towns with thousands of inhabitants, and all the associated infrastructure.

There are nearly 300,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and nearly 200,000 in East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli information centre for human rights B’Tselem.

Under international law, including various UN Security Council resolutions, the settlements are built illegally on Palestinian land.

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