|Southwest Asia News Digest
Obama Gave 'Bunker-Buster' Bombs to Israel
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)Two years ago, President Obama secretly approved the transfer of 55 "bunker-busters" to Israel, Newsweek magazine reports in its upcoming Sept. 26 issue. Israel had asked President George W. Bush for "bunker-busters" in 2005, but the Bush Administration refused the request at the time, and then, reportedly, Bush later promised them in 2009 or 2010. According to various reports of the Newsweek account, U.S. and Israeli officials say that the GBU-28 type bombs, which could potentially be used in an attack on Iran's nuclear sites, were transferred to Israel in 2009, shortly after Obama took office.
According to Politico, the Newsweek piece also describes additional measures taken by Obama to assist the Israeli military. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) told Newsweek that Obama issued orders to the U.S. military "to ratchet up the cooperation at every level with Israel."
As context for the disclosures, it should be noted that about two weeks ago, Dick Cheney told Newsmax that Israel is likely to attack Iran's nuclear facilities if deems it necessary in order to prevent Iran from acquiring WMD. "I think Iran represents an existential threat, and (Israel) will do whatever they have to do to guarantee their survival and their security," Cheney said, as reported by the Israel website Y-Net.
Blair Out of Control; Lining His Pockets in the Middle East
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)Britain's Channel 4's Dispatches exposes how former Prime Minister Tony Blair blurs his role as Special Middle East Envoy, by lining his pocket with millions of dollars in contracts and fees, according to a report in the Independent.
Blair has a £2 million-a-year consultancy with the U.S. investment bank JPMorgan, advising the insurance group Zurich Financial, while his company Tony Blair Associates, signed a reported £27 million deal advising the Kuwaiti government. This son of a church minister and former prime minister now has accumulated a fortune of £20 million since leaving office in 2007.
A senior French diplomat, Anis Nacrour, who advised Blair on security for three years, is spilling the beans on Blair, saying he applies no code of conduct to himself in his capacity as special envoy for the coordinated economic aid to the Palestinians on behalf of the so-called Quartet, which represents the U.S., the UN, the EU, and Russia in the Middle East.
"I think he makes his own rules depending on the experience he has as a former Prime Minister for over 10 years," Nacrour told the program.
Jewish Scholar Answers: 'Is Zionism a Positive Expression of Jewish Nationalism?'
Sept. 26 (EIRNS)Historian Norton Mezvinsky, president of the International Council for Middle East Studies (ICMES) has recently published a brief but thorough discussion of Zionism titled "Is Zionism a Positive Expression of Jewish Nationalism?" Dr. Mezvinsky has been a scholar of Middle East studies, and an activist for Palestinian rights for more than 48 years. Among his closest collaborators were the late Israel Shahak and Maxim Ghilan, two of Israel's most heroic peace activists and intellectuals.
A portion of the article is excerpted here:
"David Ben-Gurion in his book, Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, confirmed much of the above by candidly writing: Until the British left (May 15, 1948) no Jewish settlement, however remote, was entered or seized by Arabs, while the Haganah captured many positions and liberated Tiberias and Haifa, Jafa and Safad so on the day of destiny, that part of Palestine, where the Haganah could operate was almost clear of Arabs (p. 530).
"The ethnic cleansing mission was completed in six months. More than one-half of the then indigenous Palestinian population, nearly 800,000, were uprooted, 531 villages were destroyed and eleven urban neighborhoods were emptied of inhabitants. Such ethnic cleansing is today regarded under international law as a crime against humanity. The massacres of Palestinians by Jewish militants, also well documented in both Arab and Israeli sources and written about in some detail by Arab and Jewish historians, make the case even against this Zionist endeavor even more horrible.
"The traditional Israeli Zionist version of what happened underplays the massacres of Palestinians and argues that Palestinians voluntarily left their homes and properties. They were allegedly often pushed to do so by Arab governments, in order to allow Arab armies to invade and presumably destroy the Jewish state shortly after its establishment. Walid Khalidi and other Arab historians refuted this Zionist case convincingly from Arab sources before the 1980s. Beginning in the mid-1980s, a group of Israeli Jewish scholars, known as the new Jewish historians, were able to study Jewish militant and Israeli sources in the recently opened Israeli State Archives. These Israeli historians with Israeli State Archive sources and Arab sources have disproven the traditional Zionist version. Even Benny Morris, one of these new Jewish Historians, who disregarded Arab sources showing the horrible treatment of Palestinians by Jewish forces and has in the past few years argued that in 1948 more Palestinians should have been moved out of what became the state of Israel, clearly documented from Israeli sources that the argument of Palestinians leaving their lands and homes voluntarily is a myth."
Mezvinsky's essay is posted on the web, and can be read in full at http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_ tyrannis/2011/09/is-zionism-a-positive- expression-of-jewish-nationalism-.html#more
Palestinian Leader Ashrawi Blasts U.S. Policy at UN
Sept. 25 (EIRNS)Longtime Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, when asked about negotiating between the Palestinians and Israelis, on ABC's "This Week," responded that this [negotiating] is what "we've been doing for the last 20 years ... negotiating ad nauseum with a process that had no relationship to reality ... if you negotiate and you buy Israel time to create unilateral facts, to build more settlements, to steal more land, it is in danger of destroying not just peace process, but the prospects of peace."
As to the "Jewish state," Ashrawi said: "We recognized Israel in '93. If Israel wants to change its name, it has to go to the Security Council or whatever and ask everybody that's recognized it to recognize it again as a Jewish state. We want a Palestinian state that is pluralistic, inclusive, and tolerant. I don't want an Islamic state or a Christian state. Why should I want a Jewish state? But at the same time, look, in Israel, there are Palestinians who are Christians and Muslims. And when we say Jewish state, it means not only are they legitimately discriminated against, but that the Palestinian refugees have no right to return.... Now, if Israel wants to call itself a Jewish state, then it has to go through the proper procedures to change its name."
Ashrawi has been elected numerous times to the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, is a prominent human rights activist, and was the first woman elected to the Palestine National Council.