zaterdag 8 januari 2011

Israel als een Schurkenstaat 318


"Tot binnenkort"

Ronny Naftaniel van het CIDI 32

Gisteren op Twitter:

Commissie in Knesset gaat financiering linkse en mensenrechten organisaties in Israel onderzoeken. Rechtse politieke partijen openen ...1)
6 Jan

... een soort heksenjacht op organisaties als Breaking the Silence en Betselem. Zij worden beschuldigd gelijk te staan aan Hamas cs. Absurd
6 Jan

@RonnyNaftaniel Heksenjacht? Hopelijk dan snel een verontwaardigd stukje op (PS verontwaardigd = niet vergoelijkend)
6 jan

...en 24 uur later:

CIDI wijst instelling Knesset commissie af

CIDI wijst de instelling van een Knesset Commissie die de financiering van Israelische mensenrechten groeperingen moet gaan onderzoeken, af. ... De directeur van het CIDI, Ronny Naftaniel, spreekt zijn afkeuring uit over de wijze waarop een aantal parlementariërs uit de regeringspartijen de Israëlische mensenrechten organisaties verdacht probeert te maken en zegt bang te zijn dat er hierdoor een heksenjacht wordt ontketend.

Het wachten is nu op de allereerste veroordeling in CIDI's 36-jarig bestaan van een Israëlische oorlogsmisdaad of mensenrechtenschending op een andere bevolking dan 'de zijne'.

Israel as a Rogue State 315

Israeli parliament launches McCarthyist witch-hunt against human rights groups
By Uri Avnery

8 January 2011

Uri Avnery views the alliance of racists and fascists behind a bill, recently adopted by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to investigate the funding sources of human rights and civil liberties groups but not the settler organizations that are financed by US evangelical sects and Russian mafiosi.

Good morning, Joe. At home in the US, your name is mud. But here in Israel you can really feel at home.

In your time, you succeeded in infecting all of the US with hysteria. You detected a Soviet agent under every bed. You waved a list of Soviet spies in the State Department (a list which nobody was ever shown). In a hundred languages around the world – including Hebrew – the name McCarthy, McCarthyism, has become a household word. Yes, you made your mark alright.

“It is easy to guess what such an investigation by a committee composed of politicians, appointed by the rightist-racist majority of the Knesset, will look like. The infamous Un-American Activities Committee will look distinctly liberal in comparison.”

But you were, after all, only a plagiarist. Before you, the House Un-American Activities Committee terrorized the country, destroyed careers, hounded people into suicide and tarnished the reputation of the US throughout the democratic world. It “investigated” intellectuals and artists and branded many of them as “anti-American”.

I doubt that Faina Kirschenbaum ever heard about this committee. She was not born in the United States but in the Stalinist Soviet Union, and that’s her spiritual homeland. Her attitude towards democracy reflects this background.

The meaning of her Germanic name is “cherry tree”. But the fruits of this tree are poisonous.

This week, the Knesset adopted a bill tabled by Kirschenbaum, a settler who is also the director-general of Avigdor Lieberman’s party. The bill calls for the appointment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry to investigate whether international funds or foreign countries are financing organizations that “take part in the campaign to delegitimize IDF [Israel Defence Forces] soldiers”. A parallel bill tabled by Likud member Danny Danon demands that the inquiry commission investigate whether foreign governments finance Israeli “activities against the State of Israel”.

It is easy to guess what such an investigation by a committee composed of politicians, appointed by the rightist-racist majority of the Knesset, will look like. The infamous Un-American Activities Committee will look distinctly liberal in comparison.

It is very interesting to see who voted for and who against this. Among the 41 who voted for, there were not only the usual fascists of the extreme right, headed by the declared Kahanist Michael Ben-Ari, but also the chief Orthodox representative, Jacob Litzman, the former army spokeswoman, Miri Regev, and the former army chief of staff, Moshe Ya’alon. Special mention must go to Matan Vilnai, who once almost became chief of staff, a leading member of the Labour Party, at present the deputy minister of defence in charge of settlements.

Among the 17 who voted against were, of course, the Arab MKs [Members of the Knesset] who were present and all the Meretz members. A pleasant surprise was provided by Yitzhak Herzog, a candidate for the Labour Party chairmanship; the former Likud and present Kadima member Meir Sheetrit; and the Likud member Michael Eitan. Eitan is the last remnant of the Revisionist movement of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, which combined an extreme nationalist agenda in foreign affairs with a very liberal attitude in local matters.

“...the financiers of the extreme right include some of the heads of evangelical sects, born anti-Semites, who believe that Jesus will return to Earth when all the Jews are concentrated in this country. Then – either the Jews get baptized or they will be annihilated to the last man and woman."

All in all, 58 of the 120 members of the Knesset took part in the vote. Where were the other 62? They were in hiding. Binyamin Netanyahu disappeared. Ehud Barak disappeared. Tzipi Livni disappeared. Even Eli Yishai disappeared. Presumably, they all have a doctor’s certificate to cover their absence.

There are votes whose significance is greater even than the matter itself – votes that characterize an era and are looked upon, in retrospect, as decisive. This may well have been such a vote.

The first thing about this law that stands out is that it does not apply to all political associations in Israel.

If such an even-handed law had been enacted, I would have welcomed it. I am very curious about the origin of the money that supports the settlers and the other extreme-rightist organizations.

Huge sums, tens and hundreds of millions, are flowing to these bodies – many times more than the comparatively pitiful amounts received by the human rights and peace associations. Some of the recipients are devoted to the expulsion of Arabs from East Jerusalem. They offer Palestinian home-owners astronomical prices for their property and promise them new identities in the US so they can live there happily ever after. They use hired straw men, mostly Arab. The weak succumb to the temptation. That costs a lot of money, and one of the well-known donors is a famous billionaire who made his money as an owner of casinos. In Israel, incidentally, owning a casino is a felony.

It is known that the financiers of the extreme right include some of the heads of evangelical sects, born anti-Semites, who believe that Jesus will return to Earth when all the Jews are concentrated in this country. Then – either the Jews get baptized or they will be annihilated to the last man and woman. These adherents of the really-final solution are the main source of the money that finances many rightist associations.

This money nurtures openly fascist associations as well as more discreet ones, who advocate the dismissal of “leftist” professors from the universities, organize networks of student-spies who inform on their lecturers (another way of earning money for their studies). Some organizations monitor the media in order to cleanse them of people suspected of such misdemeanors as striving for peace. There is also a huge apparatus that combs all TV, radio and print media throughout the Arab world and provides our “correspondents for Arab affairs” (almost all of them army intelligence and Shin-Bet alumni) choice pieces, like something about a crazy Muslim preacher in Yemen or a particularly nasty statement in a Cairo salon. They are very successful in poisoning the wells of peace.

“That is one of the great scandals: the US government is financing many of the settlements ... settlements that are illegal even in the official policy view of the US government."

If a serious inquiry committee investigates the financing of the extreme right, it will discover that much of it comes straight from the pocket of the American taxpayer. That is one of the great scandals: the US government is financing many of the settlements. For dozens of years, it has turned a blind eye to the American organizations that are providing funds to the settlements – settlements that are illegal even in the official policy view of the US government. In the US, one can donate tax-free money for humanitarian purposes – but not for political purposes. Almost all the money flowing to the extreme right in Israel is officially marked as devoted to humanitarian purposes.

And what about the Russian mafiosi, who are intimately connected with the Israeli right? What about the various dictators in fragments of the former Soviet Union? Where does Lieberman, whose connections with these countries are well-known, get his money from? Police investigators have been trying for years to unravel this mystery, with no concrete results so far.

All this could keep several inquiry committees busy for years to come – and the initiators of the bills know this perfectly well. They are adamant: inquiry into leftist associations only, most definitely not rightist ones. (Rather like the lady who cried out in the darkness of a cinema: “Take your hands of me! Not you, YOU!”)

The initiators of the bills did not hide the identity of the associations they want to “investigate”. The list includes:

B’Tselem (“In the Image”), a veteran outfit that monitors events in the occupied territories and is treated with respect even by the army;
Shovrim Shtika (“Breaking the Silence”), a group of former soldiers that collects testimonies from soldiers;
Yesh Din (“There is a Law”), which is active in matters of land ownership in the occupied territories as well as overseeing the military courts;
Yesh Gvul (“There is a Limit”), which defends soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories;
Machsom Watch (“Checkpoint Watch”), an organization of female volunteers who oversee what’s happening at the roadblocks;
“Physicians for Human Rights”, who have just been awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize in Stockholm for activities in service of the sick in the occupied territories;
Association for Human Rights, the New Fund, IR Arim (“City of Peoples”), which conducts legal fights against the penetration of settlers into East Jerusalem; and
Shalom Achschav (“Peace Now”) for its important activities monitoring the building in the settlements...
There is nothing wrong with receiving funding from international governmental sources that are active in the field of human rights around the world. The Breaking the Silence group did not hide the fact that its recent book, a collection of the testimonies of 183 soldiers, was financed by the European Union. They boasted about it on the cover of the book.

“I am waiting now for a decent Israeli citizen to seal the open sewer in the Knesset that is threatening to submerge the entire country.”

Especially reprehensible is the pretence of the racists to be acting on behalf of the soldiers. They do not speak about the delegitimization of the settlers, or of the fascist right, or of the racist policies of our government – only about the “delegitimization of the IDF soldiers”.

That is a classic tactic of all fascist movements in the world. They wrap themselves in the flag of patriotism (“patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”) and claim to defend “our troops”.

Our troops come from all segments of society. They include rightists and leftists, the religious and the secular, settlers and the informants of Breaking the Silence. Who appointed this peddler of poisoned cherries to speak for “our troops”? Woe to the army that needs defenders like these!

The career of Joe McCarthy was suddenly cut short. It was buried under one sentence that made history.

Joseph Nye Welch, a respected lawyer representing the US army, who appeared before the McCarthy committee, was shocked by his tactics and cried out: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

The audience in the hall burst out in spontaneous applause. These few words electrified the American public. Suddenly the wheel turned. The McCarthy era ended, the public regained its sanity and since then, McCarthyism is remembered only as something to be ashamed of.

I am waiting now for a decent Israeli citizen to seal the open sewer in the Knesset that is threatening to submerge the entire country.

Mr Binyamin Netanyahu, sir, have you no sense of decency left?

Moshe Katsav

De Groene Amsterdammer bericht:

Tel Aviv - Israël is nog nooit zo trots geweest op zijn rechtssysteem als de afgelopen week. 'Het is een voorbeeld van democratie en juridische gelijkheid voor de hele wereld', zei een nieuwslezer, 'dat een president veroordeeld wordt als een gewone burger.' Het hof stelde vast wat de meeste Israëliërs al wisten, namelijk dat Moshe Katsav een serieverkrachter en een leugenaar is.
Het wachten is nu op de straftoemeting. Vrouwenorganisaties wrijven zich in de handen. Dat wordt zeker acht jaar brommen en politieke exit voor de ex-president, ex-minister en ex-burgemeester. Dat Katsav een maandelijks pensioen krijgt van (omgerekend) tienduizend euro en driehonderdduizend euro voor bureaukosten en de salarissen van zijn drie secretaressen, gedeeltelijke betaling van zijn huishouden, vergoeding voor zijn Audi met chauffeur, telefoon, alle kranten en bodyguards, en dat al die vergoedingen blijven doorlopen na zijn veroordeling, is vervelend. Maar dat moet je als een soort oprotpremie zien voor een president, redeneert het Israëlische volk.
In 2006 heeft de financiële commissie van de Knesset, die verantwoordelijk is voor de renumeratie van presidenten en premiers, bepaald dat vergoedingen voor presidenten moeten worden beperkt tot zeven jaar na ambtsafloop. Destijds was Katsav nog president en zag hij de bui al hangen. Hij traineerde het commissiebesluit tot na zijn ontslag; zijn uitkeringen zijn daarom levenslang. Chaim Oron, lid van die commissie namens de linkse Meretz-partij, probeerde te redden wat er te redden viel en stelde voor om de vergoedingen van Katsav gedurende zijn proces te bevriezen. Maar de meeste Knesset-leden huldigen het adagium Hodie mihi, cras tibi, ofwel: vandaag is Katsav aan de beurt, morgen misschien een andere politicus. Zij wezen het voorstel af.
Israël is trots op zijn democratie. Klassenjustitie kent het niet. De oud-president moet brommen. Maar hij doet dat wel in een gouden kooi met secretaressen voor het gerief, bodyguards tegen handtastige celgenoten, telefoon- en schoonmaakkosten. De uitnodigingen voor officiële openingen, ceremonies voor Onafhankelijkheidsdag en staatrecepties, waarop hij een wettelijk recht heeft en samen met de huidige president en premier moet worden ontvangen, zal hij waarschijnlijk tijdelijk moeten afslaan vanwege bezigheden buitenshuis.

Israel als een Schurkenstaat 317

Door community (initieel P.uncia), Op vri 7 jan 2011 18:50, 0 reacties   

Het Israëlische beleid van separatie ontwikkeling

Amira Hass, een Israëlische, vertrok naar de Gazastrook om voor het oudste dagblad van Israël, Ha'aretz, verslag uit te brengen van de Palestijnse kant van het vredesproces. Zij wijst erop dat Israël in de afgelopen 20 jaar de Palestijnen onder strenge en complexe bewegingsbeperkingen heeft geplaatst en dwong hen te leven in afgescheiden en verstopte enclaves met beperkt zelfbestuur.

Waargenomen door veel Israëli's (en zelfs de Palestijnen) als een toevallig proces van ad hoc maatregelen tegen het terrorisme, heeft ze ontdekt dat er een patroon is dat op gespannen voet staat met zowel de Oslo akkoorden als veiligheidsoverwegingen.


vrijdag 7 januari 2011

Israel as a Rogue State 314

At the height of McCarthyism, Edward R. Murrow boldly confronted the climate of fear that grossly distorted the soul of American democracy: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty … We are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”  These words continue to inspire civic activists throughout the world, despite dark times in which freedom of speech, the hallmark of democracy, is threatened.
On Wednesday, Israel witnessed a further step in the erosion of democratic principles, as the Israeli Parliament resolved to create a committee to investigate the funding of the nation’s human and civil rights groups.
The bill was approved by a vote of 47 to 15, establishing a panel of inquiry into specific organizations, including B’Tselem, ACRI (The Association for Civil Rights in Israel), Physicians for Human Rights, Breaking the Silence and the Public Committee Against Torture.
The right to dissent is the foundation of democracy, a right for which these 47 members of Knesset showed little respect.  B’Tselem seeks to preserve the moral integrity and democratic nature of the Israeli state through constant vigilance and advocacy for human rights throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
The critical nature of this work is recognized by parliamentary dissenters, such as Member of Knesset Nitzan Horowitz, who declared: "Human rights and citizens rights group save the honor of Israel in the world and maintain its character as a democratic state."  The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), called the proceedings “a showcase trial,” exhibiting an extremism which further damages Israel’s image abroad. He harshly criticized his party members for voting for this bill, and called upon the Prime Minister and the faction leaders to stand against this action.
In a public statement on Wednesday, we, at B’Tselem, decried the “witch hunt,” reiterating the legality and transparency of our research and the essential role of criticism within a healthy democracy.  We proudly invite the Israeli Knesset to examine our research and bring these legitimate human rights concerns to the attention of Israeli politicians and public alike.

Edward R. Murrow bravely spoke out during a dark period of American history.  Please support B’Tselem as we follow in this tradition.  Your voice can help to strengthen ours.
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Afghanistan 8

Weten de Nederlandse politici dit niet, of wil men dit niet weten? Waarom wil men het geweld in Afghanistan laten doorgaan? We hebben er niets te zoeken, verstoren er alleen maar de situatie.

Afghanistan, the TAPI Pipeline, and Energy Geopolitics

As Western powers look for an end game in Afghanistan, that country’s role as a planned transit route for natural gas from Turkmenistan deserves scrutiny. The long-planned pipeline, named TAPI after the initials of the four participating countries (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India), has been prominently discussed in the Asian press but rarely mentioned in the West. The TAPI pipeline is geopolitically significant, but has major challenges that have not been widely discussed.
A Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement, signed by representatives of the four participating nations on April 25, 2008 in Islamabad, envisaged construction to start in 2010, supplying gas by 2015. The announced 1,000-mile route would follow the ancient trading route from Central to South Asia, extending from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan along the highway through Herat, Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan, to Quetta and Multan in Pakistan, and on to Fazilka in India. Participating countries have held numerous high-level planning meetings during the past eight years, with Asian Development Bank (ADB) sponsorship and multilateral support. When construction will start is uncertain because security in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan remains a problem.
Proposed TAPI Gas Pipeline
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Afghanistan and the TAPI pipeline
The TAPI project has been documented at major conferences on Afghanistan. In 2006, at a donor meeting in New Delhi, countries promised to accelerate planning of the pipeline and to help Afghanistan become an energy bridge. In 2008, at a meeting in Paris, Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy (2009-2013) was presented to donors. This strategy mentions ongoing planning for the TAPI gas pipeline and Afghanistan's central role as a land bridge connecting energy-rich Central Asia to energy-deficient South Asia. In 2009, the Afghan government referred to the proposed pipeline again in documents relating to the First Afghan Hydrocarbon Bidding Round. The invitation to foreign companies to bid for exploration in the north of the country stated that “the TAPI project ... could be one of the export routes.”
The ADB completed a feasibility study in 2005 that was updated in 2008. Details were outlined at the April 2008 meeting of the four participating countries. The ADB reported that the estimated capital cost was $7.6 billion, and said it would consider financing for the project. Turkmenistan promised independent certification of the gas available for the pipeline. Plans called for the line to be built and operated by a consortium of national oil companies from the four countries. A special-purpose financial vehicle would be floated, and international companies would likely join in laying and operating the pipeline. According to press reports, the Afghan delegation informed the meeting that more than 1,000 industrial units were planned near the pipeline route in Afghanistan and would need gas for their operation. They said 300 industrial units near the pipeline route had already been established, and the project's early implementation was essential to meet their requirements.
Several bilateral meetings took place in 2009. In April, a Pakistani delegation visiting Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, suggested a new TAPI route that would skirt the war-torn area and add a spur to Gwadar, a Pakistani deep-water port. Turkmen officials stated they would offer gas from the Yasrak field, instead of the planned  Dauletabad field, and they provided a reserves certification for Yasrak. In September 2009, the foreign minister of India, S M Krishna, visited President Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan for discussions that included terms of the TAPI pipeline project.
If the pipeline goes ahead successfully, it could be Afghanistan's largest development project. According to the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Canada, transit revenue could amount to US$300 million per year. That would represent about one-third of the domestic revenue (US$887 million in 2008/09) budgeted for development efforts. Transit fees could help pay for teachers and infrastructure. Even so, Afghanistan's domestic revenue is dwarfed by aid. Foreign donors contribute about 90 percent of total funding for the development budget, and they call the shots. 
TAPI is expected to boost the economies of all four countries. In 2008, Pakistan's Prime Minister described the pipeline as a vital project for the development and progress of the region. Further, pipelines are potentially good for peace. As President Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan said: “The pipeline between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will be a weighty contribution to the positive cooperation on this continent.”   
US policy recognizes the importance of Central Asia’s energy resources and the economic possibilities they offer in world markets and in the region itself. Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan,” and to link South and Central Asia “so that energy can flow to the south.” In December 2009, George Krol, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, told Congress that one US priority in Central Asia is “to increase development and diversification of the region’s energy resources and supply routes.” He said, “Central Asia plays a vital role in our Afghanistan strategy.”
The TAPI Pipeline: Long in Planning
The US has promoted the TAPI pipeline since the 1990s. When the Taliban was governing Afghanistan, two consortia vied for the right to take on the project, one led by Unocal (an American firm) and the other by Bridas (an Argentinean firm). The US government supported the Unocal consortium. US negotiators participated in the Six-plus-Two conferences (the six countries bordering Afghanistan plus the US and Russia) from 1997 to 2001. The aim was to convince the Taliban to form a government of national unity.  
At the time, the Taliban controlled 90 percent of Afghanistan but not the area held by the Afghan Northern Alliance. Unocal testified to Congress that the pipeline "cannot begin construction until an internationally recognized Afghanistan government is in place. For the project to advance, it must have international financing, government-to-government agreements and government-to-consortium agreements." The Bush Administration urged the Taliban regime to form a government of national unity that would include the northern tribes. Bridas took a different approach—they negotiated separately with different tribes. The president of Bridas spent eight months visiting tribes along the pipeline route and reportedly had secured their cooperation for the venture.
Negotiations with the Taliban broke down in July 2001, just before the attacks of September 11. In October, the US ousted the Taliban, with the assistance of the Northern Alliance. The Pashtun—roughly 40 percent of the population—are a major source of Taliban insurgents, and the pipeline route goes through the Pashtun area in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are about 30 million Pashtuns on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. It’s an artificial border—the so-called Durand Line that was imposed by British India in 1893. It was drawn intentionally to break up the Pashtun tribes. In fact, Pashtuns in Kandahar were independent from Kabul for ages, and, until recently, Pashtuns in Pakistan were relatively independent from Islamabad.
After the 2001 invasion, planning of the pipeline continued. Interim President Karzai met with President Musharraf in Islamabad in February 2002, where they announced their agreement to cooperate on the proposed pipeline. In May 2002, the heads of state of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to cooperate on the project, and a steering committee of oil and gas ministers was established to oversee project development. In July 2002, the steering committee requested the ADB to finance project-related studies through the provision of regional technical assistance. In subsequent years, steering committee meetings were held at frequent intervals. India participated in the tenth meeting in 2008, and the four countries signed the Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement.
The next steering committee meeting was scheduled for November 2008 in New Delhi. The agenda was important. Price negotiations were to be advanced. Afghanistan was to report on physical security along the pipeline route, including the clearing of landmines and Taliban activity. Turkmenistan was to present the gas reserves certification. However, the meeting’s timing coincided with the Mumbai bombing, and  was thus postponed. It was rescheduled for April 2009, though there was no subsequent press announcement to show it took place. This was hardly surprising, with the US surge underway in Afghanistan and animosity prevailing between India and Pakistan.
Turkmenistan: How Much Gas?
Understanding the significance of the TAPI pipeline requires shining the spotlight on Turkmenistan, the source of the gas. Turkmenistan is one of five Central Asian states that became independent in 1991 when the Soviet Union broke up.
Disagreement exists on how much gas the country actually holds. According to the BP Statistical Review 2009, Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas, 7.94 trillion cubic meters (TCM), exceeded only by Russia, Iran and Qatar. Turkmenistan’s 2009 ranking represents a sharp upgrade from 2008 (2.43 TCM). The new estimate follows the 2008 audit of the huge South Yolotan-Osman field in western Turkmenistan, conducted by the UK auditing firm Gaffney, Cline & Associates. The audit estimated the reserves of this field alone to be between 4 and 14 TCM of gas, making it the world's fourth or fifth largest field.
Other fields remain to be audited, and Turkmen officials predicted in 2008 that the final results would be much higher. Since then, two publications have cast doubt on the audit results, relying on information obtained from unnamed Russian and Turkmen sources who suggest that Turkmen officials may have provided false data to exaggerate the size of the reserves. Gaffney, Cline & Associates refutes these allegations. Meanwhile, President  Berdymukhamedov has dismissed various top energy officials. Whatever the truth of the matter, Turkmenistan’s gas reserves are huge and there is a titanic struggle underway. The geopolitical stakes are high.  
Turkmenistan and Pipeline Politics
Turkmenistan is far from the world’s oceans, so it must rely on pipelines to get its gas to market. Like railway lines in the 19th century, pipeline routes are important because they connect trading partners and influence the regional balance of power. Until recently, Turkmenistan’s gas flowed only north through Russia. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, competing world powers have vied to move the gas in other directions. The rivalry is sometimes called the New Great Game, an update of the 19th century Great Game in Central Asia between the Russian and British Empires. Turkmenistan offers a hub for pipelines to export natural gas in all directions. President Berdimuhamedov is committed to multiple export routes: north to Russia, east to China, south to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan, and possibly west to Europe via the Caspian Sea. Significantly, in April 2008 at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania, he met with President Bush to discuss gas export policy, and with President Karzai to review the TAPI project. 

 Proposed Central Asian Gas Pipelines
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Turkmenistan is concerned about pipeline security. It co-sponsored a Resolution on Reliable Energy Transit (63/210) that was passed by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2008. The Resolution recognized the need for international cooperation to ensure “the reliable transportation of energy to international markets through pipelines and other transportation systems.”  In April 2009, Turkmenistan convened a high-level conference on the topic, where President Berdimuhamedov re-iterated his position on multiple export routes.
Russia remains a key player today. In 2007, it signed an agreement with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to build a new gas pipeline that would parallel an older one and add to its pipeline network. Russia is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and is a major supplier of gas to Europe. Currently, Russia is building pipelines (South Stream and North Stream) that would link its network to various points in Europe. From Russia’s viewpoint, they provide diversity, adding to the existing pipeline through Ukraine.
In December 2009, China tapped into Turkmenistan’s gas reserves, opening a new pipeline from Turkmenistan that travels 1,833 km through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to reach western China. There it connects with the Chinese line east to Shanghai. Pipelines allow Turkmenistan’s gas to flow all the way to western Europe via Russia and east across China to Shanghai—enormous distances. 
The US and European Union support Turkmenistan’s policy of multiple export routes. They promote a pipeline project under the Caspian Sea to bring Turkmen gas west to Azerbaijan, where it would connect with the recently-built South Caucasus pipeline to Turkey. In Turkey, it would link with Nabucco, a planned pipeline to Austria. Russia, a littoral country on the Caspian Sea, objects to construction of the trans-Caspian link. Since Azerbaijan doesn’t have enough gas to fill the Nabucco pipeline, Turkey is exploring alternatives, including gas from Iran. The US objects to supplies from Iran.
Iran has its own interest in gas from Turkmenistan. It imports Turkmen gas into northern Iran to supply local markets that are far from its own gas fields. In 2009, a second pipeline was completed to augment existing imports. That raises the question: Could this pipeline be used to route gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey—and on to Europe through the Nabucco line? 
Iran Offers an Alternative to TAPI
For several years, India and Pakistan have been negotiating with Iran for another pipeline project to bring Iranian gas to their countries. With an estimated capital cost of $7.5 billion, the pipeline would be similar in cost to the TAPI project. Petroleum ministers of India and Pakistan met in Islamabad in April 2008 (just after the TAPI meeting) to resolve a pricing issue and clear the way for signing agreements; and President Ahmadinejad of Iran visited Islamabad and New Delhi the following week for talks on the pipeline. Since then, India has oscillated on the project and has stayed largely on the sidelines following a period of tense India-Pakistan relations. However, in December 2009, India’s petroleum minister, Murli Deora, said his country was discussing important issues relating to the pipeline with other participating countries.
Proposed Iran-Pakistan-India Pipeline
In May 2009, Iran and Pakistan went ahead and signed an initial agreement, without India. Russia’s Gazprom expressed willingness to help build the line, most recently in January 2010. The same month, US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke met with Pakistan’s petroleum minister Syed Naveed Qamar, and, according to a Pakistani newspaper, he offered incentives to Pakistan to abandon the Iranian project. Subsequently, the petroleum minister told journalists that Pakistan and Iran would sign a technical agreement soon; he had met with the US ambassador and officials of US Overseas Private Investment Corporation who had expressed no objection to the project. 
In 2008, Iran and Pakistan proposed that China join the project. The foreign minister of China, Yong Jiechi, informed Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, that China was seriously studying this proposal. Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, affirmed in February 2010 that China is keen to join the project.
The demand for energy imports is strong and the stakes are high. Moves by various countries to gain access or control are closely watched—The Grand Chessboard, as Zbigniew Brzezinski called it. 
TAPI and Security Concerns
After the TAPI agreement was signed in April 2008, the Afghan government reportedly told the steering committee that, within two years, the pipeline route would be cleared of landmines and Taliban influence. Whatever may have been anticipated then, the planned route remained insecure at the beginning of 2010. Companies are unlikely to make investments within a war zone. The prospect of building the pipeline under armed guard and then defending it for decades is formidable, in terms of both manpower and cost. How many NATO countries would be willing to make long-term commitments to support pipeline security in Afghanistan?
In Western countries, official comments on the TAPI pipeline are few. One exception is Canada. In June 2008, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report entitled “A Pipeline Through a Troubled Land: Afghanistan, Canada and the New Great Game.” The report received widespread attention, including front-page headlines in the Globe and Mail newspaper. Reporters followed up by asking questions about the role of Canadian forces in Afghanistan. A senior government official—who spoke on the condition of anonymity—told The Globe and Mail that Canada broadly supports the Afghan effort to build a legitimate and stable economy, including projects like the TAPI pipeline, but “Canada has not been promoting the pipeline as part of a broader geopolitical agenda, as the Americans have.”
Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, observed that Canadian troops were “not there specifically to protect a pipeline across Afghanistan,” but added, “If the Taliban were attacking certain places in the country or certain projects, then yes we will play a role.”
In January 2009, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, then NATO Secretary General, said, “Protecting pipelines is first and foremost a national responsibility. And it should stay like that. NATO is not in the business of protecting pipelines. But when there's a crisis, or if a certain nation asks for assistance, NATO could, I think, be instrumental in protecting pipelines on land.” These comments suggest that NATO troops could be called upon to assist Afghanistan in protecting the pipeline. Since pipelines last 50 years or more, this could auger a very long commitment in Afghanistan.
In 2008, when the pipeline came to light in Canada, the Afghan Ambassador, Omar Samad, asserted that TAPI is a project of the four participating countries, and is not seen as falling within the framework of the Canadian mission to his country. His statement ignores the reality that several countries with troops in Afghanistan—including the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Norway—are also active members of the Asian Development Bank, the sponsor of the TAPI project. Any Bank financing for the project would require the approval of member countries, and a project as sensitive as this would require the early blessing of the US and Japan, the two major shareholders. As well, with such a heavy military presence, US/NATO influence on Kabul is obvious. Discussions of NATO support for TAPI pipeline security raise questions about the links between military and development decisions.   
While the focus has been on whether NATO countries are willing to support pipeline security in Afghanistan, an equally valid question is: Are the Afghan people willing to have foreign troops in their country in perpetuity? Development cannot take place at the end of a gun. As a noted Canadian, Claude Castonguay, observed: “No society changes because of an outside pressure, and certainly not by force of arms.” Conventional thinking around the pipeline may include long-term US bases in Afghanistan, and assistance in training the Afghan National Army to defend the pipeline route. Is the Afghan National Army a viable protection force inasmuch as 70 percent of its officers are Tajik and most of its troops are northerners? It too may be seen by the Pashtun as a “foreign” army. Indefinite occupation is a recipe for ongoing bloodshed and disruption in a country that has long been hostile to occupiers. 
Geopolitical Significance
The planned TAPI pipeline offers benefits to all four participating countries and would promote cooperation. For Turkmenistan, it would provide revenue and diversification of export routes. For Pakistan and India, it would address energy deficits. In Afghanistan, it would provide revenue for development and gas for industrial enterprises. The potential for export to other countries through the Pakistani port of Gwadar is a further advantage. TAPI is consistent with the US declared policy of linking Central and South Asia and diversifying export routes for Turkmen gas. For a number of countries, TAPI could provide business opportunities in construction and operation of the pipeline.
Since the TAPI route passes through areas with major insurgencies, security is clearly an issue. In both Afghanistan and the tribal area of Pakistan, people along the route have long histories of independence from central and foreign powers. Unless their cooperation is sought and the benefits to them are clear, pipeline security will be an expensive nightmare for years to come.
Peace is essential. Pipeline construction cannot begin until the killing stops and all stakeholders, including the Pashtun, participate in the project. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are complex countries. Their mix of ethnic groups, long-standing tribal traditions, and history of minimal governance create major challenges. Such challenges require political, not military solutions. The strategy of national reconciliation offered at the London conference on Afghanistan in January 2010 is a beginning. TAPI is geopolitically significant, but encumbered with many difficulties that will challenge all participants in the years ahead.
John Foster is a Canadian energy economist with worldwide experience in energy and development. He has held posts with the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, British Petroleum and Petro-Canada.

Afghanistan 7

Afghanistan: Will TAPI Pipeline Be Able to Beat Back the Taliban?

afghanistan 6

goed lezen en dan oordelen.
Meer informatie over de honger,drugs en instortende scholen die door buitenlandse regeringen zijn opgebouwd.
Willem van der Put van healthnettpo ,verstandige man met goede kritiek op een politie missie.

In January 2009, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, then NATO Secretary General, said, “Protecting pipelines is first and foremost a national
responsibility. And it should stay like that. NATO is not in the business of protecting pipelines. But when there's a crisis, or if a certain nation asks for assistance, NATO could, I think, be instrumental in protecting pipelines on land.” These comments suggest that NATO troops could be called upon to assist Afghanistan in protecting the pipeline. Since pipelines last 50 years or more, this could auger a very long commitment in Afghanistan.
In 2008, when the pipeline came to light in Canada, the Afghan Ambassador, Omar Samad, asserted that TAPI is a project of the four participating countries, and is not seen as falling within the framework of the Canadian mission to his country. His statement ignores the reality that several countries with troops in Afghanistan—including the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Norway—are also active members of the Asian Development Bank, the sponsor of the TAPI project. Any Bank financing for the project would require the approval of member countries, and a project as sensitive as this would require the early blessing of the US and Japan, the two major shareholders. As well, with such a heavy military presence, US/NATO influence on Kabul is obvious. Discussions of NATO support for TAPI pipeline security raise questions about the links between military and development decisions.
Sorry voor de lange teksten en de links die ik bijgevoegd heb.

Arnold Heertje 3

In zijn tamelijk onsamenhangend betoog in de NRC stelt Arnold Heertje 'dat sommige mensen altijd voor Joden in de bres zijn gesprongen,' zonder erbij te vermelden dat bijvoorbeeld de 'communisten,' die hij overigens wel noemt, dit deden vanuit humanitaire opvattingen. In tegenstelling tot de overgrote meerderheid van de christenen, liberalen en sociaaldemocraten gold voor de Nederlandse communisten tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog dat men niet lijdzaam de andere kant op kon blijven kijken terwijl joodse Nederlanders en joden die hier onderdak hadden gevonden gedeporteerd werden. Per slot van rekening kan er op grond van humanitaire opvattingen geen onderscheid worden gemaakt in burgerlijke rechten. Daarom is het ook buitengewoon verwerpelijk dat professor Heertje doceerde in Tel Aviv. In Israel wordt namelijk wel een onderscheid gemaakt tussen Palestijnse en Joodse Israeli's. Het had Heertje gesierd wanneer hij het zionistisch bewind niet had gesteund maar voor Palestijnen 'in de bres' was gesprongen. Het is wonderlijk dat een ontwikkeld iemand zo duidelijk met twee maten kan meten. Waar zou deze schizofrenie toch op berusten?

donderdag 6 januari 2011

Israel as a Rogue State 313

06 January 2011
URGENT APPEAL - Children of Silwan

76% of children arrested in Silwan tell DCI they suffered some form of physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation.

Incident: Arrest of children – Violation of rights 
Location: Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem 
Date of incidents: October to December 2010 
Number of incidents: 24 (cases documented by DCI-Palestine) 
Ages: 7 to 17 years 
Accusation: Stone throwing 
Date of issue: 6 January 2011 

Muslim O.  – On 18 October 2010, a 10-year-old boy from 
Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reports being grabbed and 
beaten by three men in civilian clothes, and taken to Al- 
Mascobiyya interrogation centre for questioning. Under Israeli 
law, a child below the age of 12 should not be interrogated. 

 Mohammad G. – On 25 October 2010, a 12-year-old boy 
from Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reports being 
grabbed and beaten by a policeman on his way to school, and 
taken to Al-Mascobiyya interrogation centre for questioning.  

Adam R. – On 24 November 2010, a seven-year-old boy from 
Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reports being beaten by 
soldiers on his way to school. The experience has made Adam 
fearful of leaving his home. 

Background information 

The neighbourhood of Silwan is situated just outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem, located in the 
occupied east of the city. Approximately 16,500 Palestinians live in the central section of the 
neighbourhood. Although accepted as occupied territory under international law, Israel purported to 
annex the east of the city after occupation in 1967, and applies its own domestic law to the territory. The 
annexation has no legal validity under international law, and is not recognised outside Israel. According 
to the UN, Silwan has become one of the main centres of Israeli settlement activity and is currently home 
to 380 settlers, who live in properties taken over by various means from their original Palestinian 
residents.  According to the UN, Palestinian residents of Silwan report harassment and intimidation by 
 the settlers and their security guards, and clashes between residents and soldiers and police are frequent. 
On 21 June 2010, the Jerusalem Municipality’s Planning and Building Committee approved a plan to 
demolish 22 Palestinian houses in Silwan to make way for an archaeological garden. 

In 2010, reports of a sharp increase in the number of children being arrested from Silwan and East 
Jerusalem have been recorded. According to Israel Police figures, between November 2009 and October 
2010, the Jerusalem District opened 1,267 criminal files against Palestinian children living in East 
Jerusalem who were accused of throwing stones. During the same period, the Israeli NGO, B’Tselem 
reports that 81 children from Silwan have been arrested or detained for questioning, mostly on suspicion 
of stone throwing.  

On 24 November 2010, 60 prominent Israeli professionals wrote to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and other 
senior officials raising their concerns about the violent treatment of Palestinian children in occupied East 
Jerusalem. The letter states that ‘children and teenagers related that they had been dragged out of their 
beds in the middle of the night or arrested in their neighbourhoods by undercover detectives and special 
security forces; taken in for questioning while handcuffed and unescorted by their parents; in certain 
cases, the families were not notified of the arrest in real time; minors were asked to give names and 
incriminate friends and relatives as a condition of their release; were threatened and humiliated by their 
interrogators; and some of them were even subject to physical violence while taken in for questioning 
and under interrogation.’  

In the three months between October and December 2010, DCI-Palestine has investigated 24 cases from 
Silwan, and collected 18 sworn affidavits, 15 of which were taken from children. In two out of the 15 
cases, the children were not arrested. In one of these cases, the child was beaten and then immediately 
released by soldiers, and in the other case, an 11-year-old boy was struck in the head with a rubber 
coated steel bullet. The ages of these children range from 7 to 17 years. 

Specific violations 
Based on the evidence collected by DCI-Palestine, the violations against the children of Silwan include, 
but are not limited to, the following: 

Interrogation of children under 12 years - (8 percent):- Under Israeli law which is applied to 
occupied East Jerusalem, children under the age of 12 are not held criminally liable for their actions 
and must not be detained. Out of the 13 cases in which DCI-Palestine collected sworn affidavits from 
children who were arrested, one child (8 percent) was under 12. Since the beginning of 2010, 
B’Tselem, has documented the detention of four children below this age. 

Violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation (76 percent):- The types of violence reported to 
DCI-Palestine includes, punching, slapping, kicking, beating with a rifle, and in one case, throwing a 
pen at a child’s head during interrogation. 

 „A soldier started hitting me on the back with the barrel of his rifle and I screamed out in pain and 
said to him: “I didn‟t do anything.” But he kept hitting me for about a minute when my mother came 
and started shouting: “Leave him alone, he must go to work.” But one of them pushed her really 
hard and knocked her down.‟ (A. G. – 16 years) 

 „They put me inside the jeep and one of them started kicking me all over my body and slapping me 

until we arrived at Al Mascobiyya.‟ (B. R. – 13 years) 

In total, out of the 13 cases in which DCI-Palestine collected sworn affidavits from children who 
were arrested, 10 children (76 percent) reported some form of physical violence during their arrest, 
transfer or interrogation. Violence in similar circumstances has also recently been reported by 

Painful hand ties (61 percent):- Under section 10B of the Youth (Trial, Punishment and Modes of 
Treatment) Law, alternatives to restraints should always be considered and they should not be used 
beyond what is strictly necessary. Restraints should only be used to prevent escape or to prevent 
harm to others. 

„The interrogator left me alone in the room with my hands still tied behind my back. I was feeling 
pain because the ties were very tight. I kept trying to move my fingers so that the blood could run 
through them. I stayed alone in the room for about three hours and no one came in or brought me 
food or water.‟ (I.O. – 17 years) 

In total, out of the 13 cases in which DCI-Palestine collected sworn affidavits from children who 
were arrested, eight children (61 percent) reported having their hands tied. These figures are similar 
to data collected by B’Tselem, in which 14 out of 22 children (63 percent) reported having their 
hands tied. Many children report pain and swelling in their hands from the use of restraints. 

Interrogated in the absence of a parent (53 percent):- Under Israeli law which is applied to 
occupied East Jerusalem, parents are entitled to be present during the interrogation of their children, 
except in special limited cases. Out of the 13 cases in which DCI-Palestine collected sworn affidavits 
from children who were arrested on suspicion of throwing stones, five children (38 percent) were 
interrogated in the absence of their parents, and a further two children (15 percent) were questioned 
without their parents being present for at least part of the interrogation. In one such case, a 12-year- 
old boy reported as follows: 

„When my father left the office, I felt scared and focused my eyes on the floor. “You think the Israeli 
intelligence is joking here? I‟ll lock you up and you‟ll never see your family ever again,” the 
interrogator shouted at me. He got up, approached me, and slapped me across the face and I kept my 
head down, while placing my hand over my face so that he wouldn‟t slap me again.‟ (M. O. 12 

In total, out of 13 cases, seven children (53 percent) were interrogated for some time in the absence 
of their parents, during which time they report being threatened, and in some cases, assaulted. The 
interrogation of children in the absence of their parents has also recently been reported by B’Tselem.  

Threatened during interrogation (53 percent):- The types of threats reported to DCI-Palestine 
typically involved a threat to imprison the child for a long time. 

„“It‟s better you talk or I‟ll slap you and knock you down,” he said.‟ (I. M. 12 years) 

“Listen, I‟ll put you in jail for a long time if you don‟t confess and you‟ll never see your family ever 
again, what do you think of that?” he said.‟ (Y.J. – 14 years) 

„The interrogator didn‟t read me my rights. He interrogated me in Arabic. “Why did you throw 
stones at Jews in Silwan?” he asked. “Because they want to take our house,” I said. “Who was with 
you?” he asked. “I don‟t know them,” I said. “Then we‟ll put you in jail for a long time,” he said. 
“Do whatever pleases you,” I said.‟ (A.H. – 14 years) 

In total, out of 13 cases, seven children (53 percent) reported being threatened during interrogation. 
This figure corresponds exactly with the percentage of cases in which children were interrogated in 
the absence of their parents. 

Recommended action 
Please send Urgent Appeals in relation to the arrest and detention of children in Silwan, occupied East 
Jerusalem, urging the following: 

1. The immediate end to the use of violence by the Israeli army and police during the arrest of children; 

2. No child should be interrogated in the absence of their parents; 

3. All credible allegations of ill-treatment must be thoroughly and impartially investigated and those 
found responsible for such abuse be brought promptly to justice; and 

4. The immediate removal of all Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem as they violate 
international law and are a source of constant tension. 
Appeals to: 

Your elected representatives; and 

The Israeli embassy in your country [list of Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide]. 

Please inform DCI-Palestine if you receive any response to your appeals and quote the UA number at the top of this document –