The Middle East.

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Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians march for peace

For the first time in over 20 years, thousands of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists marched peacefully together on Friday to support the Palestinian drive for statehood expected to be endorsed at the UN General Assembly in September.

“Only a declaration of Palestinian statehood can prevent bloodshed,” said Hillel Ben-Sasson, a spokesman for the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, part of an alliance of left-wing civil society organizations that called for “marching toward independence.”

“Negotiations have been manipulated by [Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who’s doing everything in his power to bury any peace hope, not to advance peace,” the activist added.

Many demonstrators carried a poster that read “only free people can negotiate,” a paraphrase of Nelson Mandela’s words when the former South African president was the imprisoned leader of the anti-apartheid struggle. “If the UN recognizes an independent Palestine, then negotiations could restart from a completely different standpoint,” Ben-Sasson noted.

“You’d have peace negotiations between equals, not between occupied and occupier. That’s been the case till now, and it never succeeded.”

The half-mile-long procession snaked along the walls of the Old City, on the old no-man’s-land that used to divide Jewish West and Arab East Jerusalem before Israel occupied the oriental part of the city during the 1967 war.

The route taken by the demonstrators nowadays constitutes the symbolic, yet barely visible, seam that demarcates the Israeli-occupied part of the city which, since 1967, has been engulfed by a ring of Jewish suburban settlements, home to over 180,000 Israelis.

And for the past five years, an 8-meter-high security wall of concrete slabs, which both Palestinians and the Israeli radical left call the “apartheid wall,” separates East Jerusalem from its occupied West Bank heartland.

“Two cities for two people, independence for Palestine, one peace” read another placard carried by an international activist who’d managed to sneak through the police blockade at Israel’s international airport against last week’s “flytilla” attempt to break the Gaza blockade. The message itself carried the forlorn dream of a two-state solution. “It might already be too late,” acknowledged Galit Hasan-Rokem, an Israeli veteran activist.

The choice of Jerusalem as venue to celebrate Palestinian independence was no accident. “Jerusalem is not only the heart of the conflict, but also the core of a solution to the conflict,” said Ben-Sasson.

Indeed, beyond the declaratory display of good intentions, it was clear to all here that the celebration of Palestinian independence without sovereignty will remain in the realm of unfulfilled aspirations for now, and even after September.

After all, the demonstrators may aspire to declare Al Quds, the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem, as the capital of a sovereign state, but that state is also an aspiration at least as difficult to achieve in absence of negotiations and with the persistence of the occupation. Not to mention the assurance of a U.S. veto on Palestine at the Security Council.

But the march was also unique because, for the second time in 44 years and two generations of peace activism trying to correct the wrongs of the occupation, it brought together Israelis and Palestinians, even though most participants were Israelis.

Since the second Palestinian Intifadah uprising (2000-2005), Palestinian civil society organizations have been reluctant to participate in joint events. Fakhry Abu-Diab, a community activist from the embattled Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, which is home to a stronghold of ultra-nationalist settlers, explained that “co-existence of this kind condones and legitimizes Israel’s policies as it shows the ‘pretty face’ of the occupation.” Yet he was there, marching.

For Muhammad Abu-Ayyash, an activist from the joint Bereaved Families organization, if East Jerusalem Palestinians didn’t show up in big numbers, “it’s because we live under Israeli control. We fear we’ll suffer if we demonstrate our support for our state and against the occupation of our capital. Besides, West Bankers cannot come to Jerusalem without an Israeli permit. And permits are hard to get.”

The last time such peaceful and festive event took place in Jerusalem was in December 1989, in the midst of the first Palestinian Intifadah uprising (1987-1993). Then, over 20,000 Israelis and Palestinians had formed a 2.5-mile-long human chain for peace around the walls of the Old City.

Violence had burst briefly when a group of Palestinian youths had waved Palestinian flags, then an outlawed action, and hurled rocks. The police responded with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets at the crowd, injuring scores of Palestinians and a few Israelis. Tens of demonstrators were arrested. Yet the jolly human chain had gone unperturbed. You could see Palestinians handing flowers and olive branches, symbols of conviviality and peace, to Israelis.

During Friday’s demonstration, Palestinian flags were plentiful. Holding the red, black, white, and green banner is now tolerated.

So, times are changing, but the conditions on the ground are not — so long as the ingrained reality is one of exclusive national dreams, and mutual suppressions of such dreams, by spoilers on both sides.

The atmosphere was both lively and anachronistic, a carnival for statehood and independence… on paper and banners — with drummers rapping out their samba beat, accentuating the “free, free Palestine” chanted at full throat, in one voice.

“Sure, it’s not peace yet, but we carry the seeds of peace,” admitted Abu-Ayyash while the march stopped at the final station, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, another of the city’s flashpoints. In 2009, four Palestinian refugee families were forcibly evicted from their homes while settlers moved in their stead.

“But we want them to hear that that there are Israelis who recognize our rights to a state,” Abu-Ayyash said as young Sheikh Jarrah settlers waving the blue and white Israeli flag chanted “Israel, Israel.” “Inshallah, God willing, it’d be great if Israel accepted Palestine before any other state in the world.”

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Indian print media widely cover Iran’s military exercises

New Delhi, June 29, IRNA -- Leading Indian newspapers on Tuesday massively cover Iran’s military exercises.

Indian print media widely cover Iran’s military exercises
“Iran on Monday unveiled underground silos that can carry missiles capable of hitting Israel and US bases in the Persian Gulf as it kicked off 10 days of war games, the country’s latest show of military force amid a standoff with the West over its nuclear program,” India’s leading English daily said.

“The Times of India” wrote under the title 'Our missiles can reach US bases: Iran'.

The daily further wrote that State TV broadcast footage of deep underground silos claiming that medium and long-range missiles stored in them are ready to launch in case of an attack on Iran. Silos are viewed as a strategic asset for Iran in the event of a US or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities.

“The silos “function as a swift-reaction unit”. Missiles, which are permanently in the vertical position, are ready to hit the pre-determined targets,” English daily wrote quoting Col. Asghar Qelichkhani, a spokesman for the military.

Another leading English daily “The Asia Age” quoting IRNA wrote: “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards tested 14 missiles on Tuesday, the second day of war games intended as a show of strength towards the Islamic Republic’s enemies Israel and the United States. The Iranian made surface-to-surface missiles, with a maximum range of 2000 km, were fired simultaneously at a single target, it said.

The daily further wrote that Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace unit, emphasized Iran’s preparedness to strike Israel and US interests in the event of any attack on the Islamic Republic.

The range of Iran’s missiles has been designed based on American bases in the region as well as the Zionist regime,” Asian Age wrote quoting Hajizadeh.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday fired nine Zelzal missiles, two Shahab-1, two Shahab 2s and one upgraded Shahab-2 missile, outside the city of Qom, a city of Iran.

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Netanyahu: Israeli Army Ready For Anything!

“To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General (of the 33rd degree), we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd , 31st and 30th degrees – The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian doctrine. … Yes, Lucifer is God … “ Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1871 (blasphemy)

Who does Freemason Netanyahu serve? The God of the Bible? I don’t think so! FreeMasonry has its roots in the Jewish Cabala, Jewish mysticism. Of course, calling it Jewish is an insult to Jacob. Modern Judaism is not the religion of the Bible. It is mainly Babylonian Talmud and the Cabala. These form the basis of modern Satanism. Higher order FreeMasons ie. 30th and above are all willing/knowing Luciferians.

Freemason Israel Prime Ministers, 1948-2008
… A total of thirteen different people have served as Prime Minister of Israel. [including "acting" PM's] Four of those people have served on two non-consecutive occasions. Of these 13 people, documentation and/or references found thus far indicate at least eight (8) of these people are (were) Masons:

David Ben-Gurion – Freemason
Moshe Sharett
Levi Eshkol
Yigal Allon
Golda Meir – Co-Mason
Yitzhak Rabin – Freemason
Shimon Peres* – Freemason and Jesuit (Roman Catholic) trained
Menachem Begin
Yitzhak Shamir
Benjamin Netanyahu – Freemason
Ehud Barak – Freemason
Ariel Sharon – Freemason
Ehud Olmert** – Freemason

Illuminati (Freemasons) in control of Israel
Masons: Masters of Israel and the World
“The rise of Masons to political power in Israel dates back to 1948 and to Israel’s founding as a modern-day nation. David Ben-Gurion, its first Prime Minister, was both a Mason and an avowed Marxist-Leninist and Communist. Since that time, every single Prime Minister has been a high-level Mason, including Golda Meier, who was a member of the women’s organization, the Co-Masons.”
“Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated (see the Israeli publication Shishi, Spring 1994) that he was initiated into the Masonic Lodge while in the United States. The La Republica newspaper stated that Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin was active in Masonry and estimated there are 4,000 Israeli Freemasons, divided into 76 lodges. Most Israeli judges and religious figures are Masons. Rothschild-supported Hebrew University in Israel has erected an Egyptian obelisk, symbol of Freemasonry, in its courtyard, and inside the new Israeli Supreme Court building is a law library architecturally designed in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid.”

Netanyahu is an Illuminati FreeMason. He is simply playing his ‘ordained’ role to foment fear and hate in Zionist Israel. To gear Zionist Israel for the coming great blood sacrifice in Palestine. Zionist Israel will be destroyed in this coming Satanic Greater Middle East War: Zionist Israel vs Muslim World. But before it is destroyed, it will be used (as useful idiots) to destroy the Muslim world.

“The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the “agentur” of the “Illuminati” between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. …. Albert Pike, Satanic World War 3 Plan.

Here is my advice again to all Israelis: renounce your citizenship, burn all Satanic Hexagram(Star of David), denounce genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and leave Palestine!

Netanyahu: Israeli army ready for anything
February 14, 2011
JERUSALEM (AFP) — The Israeli military is “ready for all eventualities” as the Arab and Muslim world undergoes “an earthquake,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday just days after Egypt’s regime collapsed.

“An earthquake is shaking the whole Arab world and a large part of the Muslim world and we don’t yet know how these things will turn out,” the premier said at a swearing-in ceremony for new army chief Major General Benny Gantz. “We are ready for all eventualities because we know that the foundation of our existence, and our capacity to convince our neighbours to live in peace with us, is based on the Israeli army,” he said during a ceremony at his Jerusalem office.

Gantz takes over the post as Israel’s strategic stance in the Middle East undergoes a shakeup in the wake of a popular revolt in Egypt which ousted president Hosni Mubarak after three decades in power. Israel has reacted cautiously to the overthrow of Mubarak, an ally who was involved in years of Middle East peace negotiations.

But it welcomed a statement by Egypt’s new military ruling council that Cairo remains committed to all its treaties, including its landmark 1979 peace deal with Israel.
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Barenboim to conduct 'peace concert' in Gaza

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will on Tuesday lead an orchestra of European musicians in a peace concert in Gaza, in the first-ever performance there by such a prestigious international ensemble.

The rare concert, which will take place at lunchtime at the Al-Mathaf Cultural House, was announced on Monday by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process (UNSCO).

It will be the first time that Barenboim, an outspoken proponent of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, has visited the coastal territory, a spokeswoman for the chamber orchestra told AFP.

"It is the first time," Judith Neuhoff confirmed, saying that the ensemble, which is made up of 25 musicians and known as the "Orchestra for Gaza," had been put together especially for the visit.

In a statement released by UNSCO, Barenboim said he was "very happy" to be coming to Gaza. "We are playing this concert as a sign of our solidarity and friendship with the civil society of Gaza," he said.

The musicians, who belong to five prestigious European orchestras, were expected to enter Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday, via the southern Rafah border crossing, a UNSCO spokesman said.

They will travel directly to the venue where they will play a programme of pieces by Mozart including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the G minor symphony to an audience of between 300 to 400 people, which will include music students and other members of Gaza's civil society.

"The concert is to try and bring something to the people of Gaza," he said. "It is not a political event in any sense."

Ibrahim al-Najjar, director of Al-Qattan Music School, the only such establishment in Gaza, told AFP that he and a group of his students would greet the 68-year-old maestro and his delegation, which numbers around 50 people, at the Rafah border.

"This visit is very important to us for many reasons, both cultural and civil," he told AFP.

Although a handful of musicians had visited Gaza in recent months to support the school and to teach classes, it was the first time such a large group of so many prestigious players was coming, he said.

The ensemble includes players from the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, the Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and the Orchestra of La Scala di Milano.

"We love culture, and music is a way of expressing peace and showing that we Palestinians are civilised," Najjar said, adding that it was important that people had a chance to meet the orchestra and get to know different musical instruments.

"And from a political perspective, it is important to show that Gaza is a safe place," he said.

Israelis are forbidden by law to venture into Palestinian territory. Barenboim has previously been refused entry to Gaza by the Israeli army -- most recently in April 2010 -- meaning the only way for him to enter the Hamas-run territory is via Rafah.

The legendary conductor, who lives in Berlin and holds Argentine, Israeli and Spanish citizenship, also accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship in 2008, saying he hoped the move would be an example of the "everlasting bond" between Israelis and Palestinians.

He has long used his fame as a conductor and pianist to promote the cause of peace between Israel and its neighbours, and in 1999 co-founded a "peace orchestra" with his friend Edward W. Said, a Palestinian-American scholar who died in 2003.

Known as the East-West Divan orchestra, it brings together Israeli, Arab and international musicians, and in 2005 it performed in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Barenboim performs regularly in the West Bank, but has never performed in Gaza, which has been subjected to a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006, which was eased somewhat last year following international pressure.

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Russia sentences Israeli to 18 years for sex trafficking

Rape victim - Aug. 8, 2009 - Tomer Neuberg

An Israeli citizen was sentenced yesterday to 18 years in prison by the Moscow military court, for organizing a vast network of sex trafficking. According to the court, from 1999 to 2007, when most of the network's agents were arrested, Avi Yanai and his accomplices sold hundreds of women for prostitution to Israel, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and other countries. The minimal official estimate stands at 129 women, but some of the states still investigating the network put the number at several hundred. The women were lured from Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Uzbekistan.
Aside from Yanai, 83 people were arrested across Europe, 14 of them in Russia. The network is suspected to have produced tens of millions of dollars in profits for its operators, and some of the women trafficked may have been murdered by the Albanian mafia.
"Some people, using false documents, registered fictitious companies in Russia promising people legal work abroad, mostly in Western Europe," a senior Russian Federal Security Service investigator, Vitaliy Danilov, told the Izvestia newspaper. "They put out advertisements and people came in, bringing documents and pictures. By the time they came back to pick up their documents, work permits and Schengen-zone visas, the companies would be gone. Nobody, including the police, had any clue about why these documents were stolen." Some 2,500 passports were stolen in all. The man in charge of the passports and visas for the network was an officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dmitri Strikanov, who was sentenced by the same military court to 12 years in prison, after prosecution did not manage to prove he knew the forged documents would be used for women trafficking.
The network then recruited women with promises of legitimate work as dancers or waitresses. The women paid 3 to 5 thousand Euros, and received the passports stolen earlier with their pictures. In some cases, fake stamps were used.
"Once they got abroad, the women would end up in real slavery," Danilov said. "Sexual slavery. They didn't get any money, their passports were usually taken and there was no way home. The Albanian pimps were particularly cruel, beating them bloody for any attempted escape. From what we've heard they may have killed at least one woman."
Russian media reported Yanai was the brains behind most of the operation. Yanai, who moved to Russia in 2001, was arrested in May 2007, over a month after the rest of the group. His attorney, Karen Nersisyan, insists that his client was completely engrossed in running a legitimate business - a small filters factory - and had not broken any law.
The court refused Yanai's request to be released on a million dollar bail. The Russian media coverage was not without anti-Semitic undertones: "The Israeli Avi Yanai marched down the hall, concealing the face of a Jewish patriarch and clutching a Torah," website reported at one stage. The Israeli has previously been arrested in Israel on suspicions of trafficking in women. He was released under bail and had his passport confiscated, but in May 2001 managed to get the passport back under a bail of 30,000 shekels. In the six months since his arrest the Israeli prosecutors did not produce an indictment or even an indictment deadline.
His lawyer and family, however, protest his innocence. Nersisyan said that if Yanay was an organized crime boss he would have vanished in the month and a half that elapsed between the arrests of the other operatives and his own. Yanai's daughter, Limor Yanai, alleged "absurd" behavior on the part of the prosecution and accused the court of censorship. The Russian prosecutors said that Yanay would frequently accompany the women he sold to Israel, to personally present them to local mobsters. They said he would use a foreign passport on these trips.
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