Gaza: Goldstone’s report

•21/09/2009 • Leave a Comment

by

Uri Avnery | avnery@actcom.co.il


Is there no limit to the wiles of those dastardly anti-Semites?

Now they have decided to slander the Jews with another blood libel. Not the old accusation of slaughtering Christian children to use their blood for baking Passover matzoth, as in the past, but of the mass slaughter of women and children in Gaza.

And who did they put at the head of the commission which was charged with this task? Neither a British Holocaust-denier nor a German neo-Nazi, nor even an Iranian fanatic, but of all people a Jewish judge who bears the very Jewish name of Goldstone (originally Goldstein, of course). And not just a Jew with a Jewish name, but a Zionist, whose daughter, Nicole, is an enthusiastic Zionist who once “made Aliyah” and speaks fluent Hebrew. All this in order to defame the most moral army in the world, fresh from waging the most just war in history!

The official Israeli reaction to the Goldstone report would have been amusing, if the matter had not been so grave.

Except for the “usual suspects” (Gideon Levy, Amira Hass and their ilk), the condemnation of the report was unanimous, total and extreme, from Shimon Peres, that advocate of every abomination, down to the last scribbler in the newspapers. Nobody, but nobody, dealt with the subject itself. Nobody examined the detailed conclusions.

The instinctive reaction in such a situation is denial. When a human being is faced with a situation which he cannot handle, denial is the first refuge. But with us it has been developed into an art form.

But a profound debate on the Goldstone report is going on. Not about its content, But about the one point that is really important: Was our government right in deciding to boycott the commission?

Why did the Israeli government boycott the commission? The real answer is quite simple: They knew full well that the commission, any commission, would have to reach the conclusions it did reach.

In fact, the commission did not say anything new. Almost all the facts were already known: The bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the use of flechette rounds and white phosphorus against civilian targets, the bombing of mosques and schools, the blocking of rescue parties from reaching the wounded, the killing of fleeing civilians carrying white flags, the use of human shields, and more. The Israeli Army did not allow journalists near the action, but the war was amply documented by the international media in all its details, the entire world saw it in real time on the TV screens. The testimonies are so many and so consistent, that any reasonable person can draw their own conclusions.

If the officers and soldiers of the Israeli Army had given testimony before the commission, it would perhaps have been impressed by their angle too, and the conclusions could have been somewhat less severe. But the main thrust would not have changed. After all, the whole operation was based on the assumption that it was possible to overthrow the Hamas government in Gaza by causing intolerable suffering to the civilian population. The damage to civilians was not “collateral”, whether avoidable or unavoidable, but a central feature of the operation itself.

Moreover, the rules of engagement were designed to achieve “zero losses” to our forces — avoiding losses at any price. That was the conclusion our army — led by Gabi Ashkenazi — drew from the Second Lebanon War. The results speak for themselves: 200 dead Palestinians for every Israeli soldier killed by the other side — 1400:6. Every real investigation must inevitably lead to the same conclusions as those of the Goldstone commission. Therefore, there was no Israeli wish for a real inquiry. The “investigations” that did take place in Israel were a farce.

So the worldwide Israeli propaganda machine will continue to defame the Jewish judge and the people who appointed him.

Not all the Israeli accusations against the UN are groundless. For example: why does the organization investigate the war crimes in Gaza (and in former Yugoslavia and Darfur, investigations in which Goldstone took part as chief prosecutor) and not the actions of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Russians in Chechnya?

Israel’s relations with the UN are very complex. The state was founded on the basis of a UN resolution. A year later, Israel was accepted as a UN member in spite of the fact that it had not allowed the (then) 750 thousand Palestinian refugees to return.

But this honeymoon soured quickly. David Ben-Gurion spoke with contempt about UM-Shmum (“Um” is the Hebrew for “UN”, the prefix “shm” signifies contempt). From then on to this very day, Israel has systematically violated almost every single UN resolution that concerned it, complaining that there was an “automatic majority” of Arab and communist countries stacked against it. This attitude was reinforced when, on the eve of the 1967 war, the UN troops in Sinai where precipitously withdrawn on the demand of Gamal Abdel Nasser. And, of course, by the UN resolution (later annulled) equating Zionism with racism.

Now this argument is raising its head again. The UN, it is being said, is anti-Israeli, which means (of course) anti-Semitic. Everyone who acts in the name of the UN is an Israel-hater. To hell with the UN. To hell with the Goldstone report.

That is, however, a woefully short-sighted policy. The general public throughout the world is hearing about the report and remembering the pictures they saw on their TV screens during the Gaza war. The UN enjoys much respect. In the wake of the “Molten Lead” operation, Israel’s standing in the world has been steadily going down, and this report will send it down even further.

This will have practical consequences — political, military, economic and cultural. Only a fool — or an Avigdor Lieberman — can ignore that. If there is no credible Israeli investigation, there will be demands for the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Barack Obama would have to decide whether to veto such a resolution — a move that would cause grave harm to the US, and for which he would demand a high price from Israel.

Uri Avnery 200px-UriAvnery(Hebrew: אורי אבנרי‎, also transliterated Uri Avneri, born September 10, 1923) is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush ShalomIrgun as a teenager, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965-74 and 1979-81.[1] He was the owner of peace movement. A member of the HaOlam HaZeh, an Israeli news magazine, from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He is famous for crossing the lines during the Battle of Beirut to meet Yassir Arafat on July 3, 1982 — the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery is the author of several books about the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including
1948: A Soldier’s Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem (2008); Israel’s Vicious Circle (2008); and My Friend, the Enemy (1986).


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Abu Ghraib? Kabul? Gitmo?

•17/09/2009 • 1 Comment

Afghanistan — like Iraq — another magnet for corporate malfeasance

•17/09/2009 • Leave a Comment

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WMR has discovered from a private security company source who worked in Afghanistan additional details about RA International, the Dubai-based contractor for whom Terry Pearson, the British contractor who blew the whistle on lewd and homosexual-oriented drunken orgies engaged in by security guards at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, worked until he was forced to resign or face being fired.

Pearson was a supervisor in Afghanistan. He worked under a sub-contract that RA International had at Camp Sullivan where the U.S. embassy guards worked under a State Department contract awarded to ArmorGroup North America, now owned by Wackenhut.

WMR’s source described RA International, for whom he once worked, as a “total scam.” RA International’s chairman is Soraya Narfeldt, a Lebanese citizen born to a Scottish father and a Lebanese/West African mother. Narfeldt’s company has had contracts for UN peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone, Chad, Uganda, and Darfur, and, under a U.S. government sub-contract from ArmorGroup, in Afghanistan. RA International is a member of the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), the Washington lobbyist group that represents a number of private military contractors, including MPRI International, Dyncorp International, and Triple Canopy and seeks to expand their presence in U.S. and UN military operations around the world. Narfeldt’s husband is a former UN official stationed in Afghanistan and she was named by Arabian Business Online 90th in its ranking of the hundred most influential Arabs.

WMR was told by the ex-RA International employee that the firm received sweetheart contracts with Dyncorp in Afghanistan, as well as the British embassy, the German military missions, and other clients. The former employee stated that RA International employees had French, German, and British security contractors in Kabul who were usually under the influence of prescription drugs and maintained a “hooker house” in Kabul.

As previously reported by WMR, press-ganged young Chinese females serve as prostitutes in Kabul and, against their wishes, double as Chinese intelligence agents. WMR has learned from our former RA International source that a British senior RA International official in Kabul abused the Chinese sex workers on a regular basis. WMR has also learned that RA International routinely supplied weapons to its employees in Afghanistan without the permission of the Afghan government, permitted routine drug use by its employees, purchased food from local Afghan suppliers instead of from parties already under contract, and failed to provide security for personnel or provide secure vehicles for their use. The only security provided was for food storage compounds.

Another senior RA International official in Kabul is known to live in Kabul’s Light House brothel among Chinese prostitutes and is tied to a number of local Afghan crime gangs. Some members of President Hamid Karzai’s government have complained about the presence of the prostitutes in Kabul and RA International’s involvement with them with no response from the United States, Britain, or NATO.

The Department of State’s inspector general is reportedly investigating ArmorGroup’s security guards and RA International claims to be cooperating in that investigation.

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_5125.shtml

Knock’n on “heavens” door

•10/09/2009 • 1 Comment

It’s sickening the way asylum seekers and refugees are treated whether entering Europe, USA, Australia or anywhere else they might be able to make a home for themselves. The UK and the rest of Europe have inhumane “detention centers” where innocent victims of poverty and political/religious prosecution are detained in what can only be referred to as a prison. Barbed wire fences, high walls and only allowed out for 30 mins a day to exercise is similar to what high level security prison inmates have to face. The only difference is that the latter have killed or committed serious offences which pose them as a threat to the rest of society. The former on the other hand only want to create a better life for themselves and their families. If only the colonists had been shackled and cajouled into “detention centers” in India or Africa when they crossed the seas for a better life. Finger printed, labled and numbered and left to rot in cells.

A child's drawing of life inside an asylum detention center, Australia

A child's drawing of life inside an asylum detention center, Australia

Ministers under fire for locking up immigrant children

Ministers were facing accusations today that hundreds of children are being held unnecessarily in immigration detention centres as official figures revealed, for the first time, that 470 minors were being detained with their families. The figures, made public following pressure from children’s rights groups and MPs, showed most were under five. Many were from troubled countries such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Democratic Republic of Congo. The UK has one of the worst records in Europe for detaining children, but accurate figures on how many are held, or for how long, have remained elusive. While the Home Office has not divulged the length of detention, it provided a “snapshot” picture of those held on a single day: 30 June 2009. This shows that almost a third of children were held for longer than 28 days, which means that in each case an immigration minister had to sign an authorisation for their continued detention. The figures also show that out of 225 children released from detention in the second quarter this year, only 100 were removed from the UK. Yesterday, MPs and children’s rights groups called for an end to the “national scandal” that has allowed children to be locked up unnecessarily. Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the children’s commissioner for England, welcomed the publication of the figures, but said they raised important questions. He said: “If they were allowed to stay at the end of their release, why did they have to go through the detention process in the first place?” He described the fact that one in three had been held for longer than 28 days as “extremely worrying”. Earlier this year, Aynsley-Green published a critical report into Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire which found the average stay for children had increased, and the decision to detain for longer than 28 days failed to take into account any welfare concerns raised. Damian Green, shadow immigration minister, described the government’s attempts to find alternatives to detention for families as “feeble”, adding: “It would be better and cheaper if we don’t have to lock up young children for weeks and sometimes months. Other countries seem to do better than we do at finding alternatives.” The average cost of holding someone in an immigration detention centre is £130 per day. The Guardian has spoken to three families held at Yarl’s Wood for between 19 and 71 days. One of the children has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while another, Ibrahim Ssentongo, four, remains traumatised seven months after his detention. Ibrahim’s father, Stephen Ssentongo, 35, from Uganda, said: “When he sees people in uniforms of white shirts and black trousers, like bus drivers or security guards in shopping centres, he stops. He wants to hold your hand or to stand in front of you, so that you will hold him. He is scared.” Sheila Melzak, a consultant child psychotherapist who has worked with families in detention, said Ibrahim’s trauma was far from unusual. “All the young people I have been talking to have lingering effects, after months and even after years” she said. “It is frightening for children to see their parents in tears. They see adults in a high state of stress, they hear a lot of shouting and crying. It is a highly institutionalised environment and that leads to problems with eating and sleeping and learning.” Bethlehem Abate, 12, from Ethiopia, described the day she and her mother were seized in an early morning raid as “one of the worst days I ever had to experience”. The schoolgirl, who has been living in Leeds for four years after fleeing her home country to seek asylum, said she was disillusioned by the British government, because she felt sure “they would understand our situation and help us”, but instead they have “turned everything around.” Family and children’s support groups said the statistics showed the UK Borders Agency was failing in its duty to detain children only “as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”. Amanda Shah, of Bail for Immigration Detainees, said: “Fifty-six per cent of detained children were released back to their communities in the UK, their detention having served no purpose other than wasting taxpayers’ money and traumatising the children involved. Children we have supported have suffered depression, weight loss, bedwetting and even self-harm as a result of their detention – that is the human reality behind the statistics.” Lisa Nandy, policy adviser at the Children’s Society, said children were being detained unnecessarily because the asylum system was “chaotic” and because the UK Border Agency and private contractors who work for them often targeted families to increase their removal rates. The Home Office said today : “UK Border Agency fully recognises its responsibilities towards children but these responsibilities have to be exercised alongside our duty to enforce the laws on immigration and asylum. If a family decide to appeal against the courts decision while being detained the removal process is halted. If a judge agrees that there are fresh grounds for an appeal the family are usually returned back to the community until the case has been reviewed.” 276608

Running from hunger and poverty to be locked up and forgotten

•10/09/2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s sickening the way asylum seekers and refugees are treated whether entering Europe, USA, Australia or anywhere else they might be able to make a home for themselves. The UK and the rest of Europe have inhumane “detention centers” where innocent victims of poverty and political/religious prosecution are detained in what can only be referred to as a prison. Barbed wire fences, high walls and only allowed out for 30 mins a day to exercise is similar to what high level security prison inmates have to  face. The only difference is that the latter have killed or committed serious offences which pose them as a threat to the rest of society. The former on the other hand only want to create a better life for themselves and their families.

If only the colonists had been shackled and cajouled into “detention centers” in India or Africa when they crossed the seas for a better life. Finger printed, labled and numbered and left to rot in cells.

A child's drawing of life inside an asylum detention center, Australia

A child's drawing of life inside an asylum detention center, Australia

Ministers under fire for locking up immigrant children

Ministers were facing accusations today that hundreds of children are being held unnecessarily in immigration detention centres as official figures revealed, for the first time, that 470 minors were being detained with their families.

The figures, made public following pressure from children’s rights groups and MPs, showed most were under five.

Many were from troubled countries such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UK has one of the worst records in Europe for detaining children, but accurate figures on how many are held, or for how long, have remained elusive.

While the Home Office has not divulged the length of detention, it provided a “snapshot” picture of those held on a single day: 30 June 2009.

This shows that almost a third of children were held for longer than 28 days, which means that in each case an immigration minister had to sign an authorisation for their continued detention.

The figures also show that out of 225 children released from detention in the second quarter this year, only 100 were removed from the UK.

Yesterday, MPs and children’s rights groups called for an end to the “national scandal” that has allowed children to be locked up unnecessarily.

Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the children’s commissioner for England, welcomed the publication of the figures, but said they raised important questions.

He said: “If they were allowed to stay at the end of their release, why did they have to go through the detention process in the first place?”

He described the fact that one in three had been held for longer than 28 days as “extremely worrying”.

Earlier this year, Aynsley-Green published a critical report into Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire which found the average stay for children had increased, and the decision to detain for longer than 28 days failed to take into account any welfare concerns raised.

Damian Green, shadow immigration minister, described the government’s attempts to find alternatives to detention for families as “feeble”, adding: “It would be better and cheaper if we don’t have to lock up young children for weeks and sometimes months. Other countries seem to do better than we do at finding alternatives.”

The average cost of holding someone in an immigration detention centre is £130 per day.

The Guardian has spoken to three families held at Yarl’s Wood for between 19 and 71 days. One of the children has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while another, Ibrahim Ssentongo, four, remains traumatised seven months after his detention.

Ibrahim’s father, Stephen Ssentongo, 35, from Uganda, said: “When he sees people in uniforms of white shirts and black trousers, like bus drivers or security guards in shopping centres, he stops. He wants to hold your hand or to stand in front of you, so that you will hold him. He is scared.”

Sheila Melzak, a consultant child psychotherapist who has worked with families in detention, said Ibrahim’s trauma was far from unusual.

“All the young people I have been talking to have lingering effects, after months and even after years” she said.

“It is frightening for children to see their parents in tears. They see adults in a high state of stress, they hear a lot of shouting and crying. It is a highly institutionalised environment and that leads to problems with eating and sleeping and learning.”

Bethlehem Abate, 12, from Ethiopia, described the day she and her mother were seized in an early morning raid as “one of the worst days I ever had to experience”.

The schoolgirl, who has been living in Leeds for four years after fleeing her home country to seek asylum, said she was disillusioned by the British government, because she felt sure “they would understand our situation and help us”, but instead they have “turned everything around.”

Family and children’s support groups said the statistics showed the UK Borders Agency was failing in its duty to detain children only “as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”.

Amanda Shah, of Bail for Immigration Detainees, said: “Fifty-six per cent of detained children were released back to their communities in the UK, their detention having served no purpose other than wasting taxpayers’ money and traumatising the children involved. Children we have supported have suffered depression, weight loss, bedwetting and even self-harm as a result of their detention – that is the human reality behind the statistics.”

Lisa Nandy, policy adviser at the Children’s Society, said children were being detained unnecessarily because the asylum system was “chaotic” and because the UK Border Agency and private contractors who work for them often targeted families to increase their removal rates.

The Home Office said today : “UK Border Agency fully recognises its responsibilities towards children but these responsibilities have to be exercised alongside our duty to enforce the laws on immigration and asylum. If a family decide to appeal against the courts decision while being detained the removal process is halted. If a judge agrees that there are fresh grounds for an appeal the family are usually returned back to the community until the case has been reviewed.”

276608

Censorship in Israel by By Yuval Azoulay

•22/07/2009 • Leave a Comment

Books originating in Syria or Lebanon – the biggest publisher in the region of Arabic books – are illegal in Israel. The draft bill by MK Yuli Tamir (Labor), would change the embargo. But in the meantime, readers of Arabic in Israel will have to encounter roadblocks.

Two days ago Mariam Kassis, a resident of the village of Mi’ilya – near Ma’alot in the north of the country – returned from a visit to Amman. When she sent her bags through the x-ray machine at the border crossing between Israel and Jordan, the Israeli customs inspectors spent time checking a dozen volumes that she bought for her father in the Jordanian capital, all from the series “Qawlun ala Qawl” (“Saying on a Saying”), written by Arab radio personality Hasan Karmi.

The series of books written by Karmi are in effect transcripts of selected conversations from an international radio program that he presented on the BBC Arabic service in the 1950s.

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“People used to call this program from all over the world and the listeners conducted discussions with the moderator about literature, art, songs, folklore and anecdotes,” Kassis explained yesterday, still upset by the incident at the border crossing. “My father has had the series of volumes for several years, so I read them and he read them and we enjoyed it. Before my trip to Jordan he asked me to buy a copy of the series as a gift for my brother, who is planning to visit here from the United States.”

But then, said Kassis, “one of the border inspectors checked the books, passed them through the X-ray machine, flipped through the pages to see if I had smuggled anything – and handed them over for perusal to one of the customs officials. He doesn’t know how to read Arabic, he doesn’t speak Arabic and he didn’t understand what kind of books I wanted to take home with me. He only decided that I couldn’t bring them into Israel. When I asked him why, he replied that this was a type of ‘trading with the enemy,’ because the books were published in Beirut, and that Israeli law forbids it. I tried to explain to him with a smile what kind of books they were, but I’m an Arab woman – so he and his friends didn’t believe me.”

A customs official declared the books a “confiscated asset.”

“I’m an attorney and I know when an asset is confiscated: Only when there’s a criminal procedure and confiscating it is meant to ensure that a monetary debt is covered,” she said. “All my pleas were in vain.”

With tears in her eyes Kassis ended her trip to Jordan and returned embittered to her home village.

“I’m determined to get those books and I have no intention of giving in. I plan to fight to have the books returned to me. It’s not because they cost me $100 and not because there’s anything in them that I haven’t read. It’s a matter of principle,” she said yesterday.

At the request of Haaretz the Tax Authority began to examine the circumstances of the incident, and they said that “this incident does not represent the policy and the law and is an incident stemming from a misunderstanding. The customs workers thought that there were 12 boxes rather than 12 books.”

The Tax Authority said that the books that were confiscated from Kassis will be returned to her, and also apologized to her and said that in any case – bringing 12 books into Israel does not constitute “trade.”

But when Kassis told attorney Haneen Naamneh from Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the details of the case were not unfamiliar to her.

“There are many such cases, it happens with private citizens who visit Egypt or Jordan and want to bring books into Israel that were written, published or translated in Lebanon or Syria – and they are not allowed to bring them into Israel because they were produced in an enemy country. In terms of Israeli law, it’s trade with an enemy country. It has no connection with the contents of the book. It’s simply prohibited,” said Naamneh.

About half a year ago Naamneh, together with her colleague attorney Hassan Jabareen, petitioned the High Court to force the government to allow an importer of books from Arab countries, who lives in Haifa and runs Kol-Bo Sefarim, to continue importing books originating in Lebanon and Syria to Israel.

This was in the wake of a notice the bookseller received from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry that the import license he has had for years would not be renewed.

The importer, Saleh Abassi, is considered the largest supplier in Israel of Arabic-language books. He purchases the books from agents who work in Egypt and Jordan, countries with which Israel has commercial ties.

The books he imports are supplied to Israeli educational institutions, including colleges and universities.

“After the importer receives a license to supply the books he sends the list of books for approval by the military censor. Upon receipt of the censor’s approval the books are sent to the border crossings and get through without any problem. It has never happened that the books imported by Abassi were confiscated by the censor. The importing is done with licenses,” claimed the Adalah petition to the High Court.

Attorneys Naamneh and Jabareen said in the petition that in early August 2008 Abassi received a notice from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry that as a result of an updated legal opinion of the Finance Ministry, which is in charge of commerce with enemy countries, licenses would no longer be given to import books written or published in Syria or Lebanon, even if they were purchased in a third country.

“What is even stranger in this situation is that the government is not willing to explain why it objects to such imports,” Naamneh said.

Adalah says that 80 percent of the books used by the Arab-speaking population in Israel originate in publishing houses located in Syria and Lebanon.

“The government’s decision not to renew the import license for these books undermines basic rights, some of which have been recognized as constitutional rights; it undermines Abassi’s freedom of occupation, the access of Israel’s Arab population to education and culture in their mother tongue, the academic freedom of the institutions of higher learning in Israel, and the principles of freedom of expression, chief among them the right to exchange information, culture, literature and language,” read the petition.

Lebanon is presented in the petition as the only country whose book industry meets the needs of Arab children, since it is the only country with publishers that translate children’s literature from English into Arabic.

Among the books translated into Arabic are “Pinocchio” and “Harry Potter.”

“These books are vital for the development of the child’s personality and his education for values of humanism and critical thinking,” claimed the petition.

Marwan Dawiri, an expert in educational psychology, emphasized in the opinion that research has clearly demonstrated the importance of exposing children to kids books in their mother tongue during the various stages of their development.

“A shortage of children’s literature will damage the child’s vocabulary, his critical thinking, his imagination and his creativity. Exposure to children’s literature in the child’s mother tongue is essential for forming universal values, self awareness, and empathy and for consolidating the child’s ability to deal with various life situations,” Dawiri wrote.

Meanwhile the High Court has not yet had its say regarding this petition. But the government authorities responded to Abassi’s pleas and granted him a temporary license, until next April, to continue importing books originating in enemy countries.

In light of the border difficulties experienced by Israeli Arabs who want to bring in high quality literature that originates in enemy countries, MK Yuli Tamir recently formulated a draft bill – based on a 1939 Mandatory law – that will solve the distress of Arabic speakers once and for all.

The draft bill for the import and translation of books, which Tamir advanced Monday, says that “the aim of the law is to enable the import of books from any country and to allow their translation into any language in order to guarantee exposure to a large inventory of written literature and to expand the citizen’s right to a rich cultural life in his mother tongue.”

Tamir’s proposal gives security authorities leeway in determining whether to ban the import of a book or periodical containing harmful content and incitement, such as Holocaust denial; encouragement or instructions for terror activities and bomb-making instructions.

“Passing the law will turn Israel into part of an open and global literary world, and will remove sweeping restrictions imposed on the import of books from enemy countries, which are archaic now,” explained Tamir. “Today in any case anyone who so desires is directly exposed to varied and up-to-date literature and information originating in the Arab countries, because of the widespread use of the Internet.”

Tamir hopes her proposed law will benefit broad swaths of Israeli society, including Jews of Iranian origin, members of the Druze community and Israeli Arabs.

“This law will definitely prevent a situation in which the creative and cultural life of these sectors of Israeli society are undermined, while preventing a continuation of the direct harm to rights anchored in a law such as the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom,” she said.

The treasury said yesterday that “it is forbidden to trade with countries included in this order, which constitutes a part of overall legislation such as the Prevention of Infiltration Law, the prohibition against contact with a foreign agent from enemy countries, and refers to the commercial ties themselves, without differentiating among the types of banned products from these countries.

“The order regarding commerce with the enemy is Mandatory in origin but constitutes a part of overall legislation. But it enables anyone interested in doing so to submit to the finance minister a request for special permission to trade with the enemy, taking into account the special circumstances and the specific conditions of the request. In the past, permits were issued to the Maronite and Catholic churches to import religious books and to Unicef to import books from Lebanon for Palestinian children; permits were also given to export apples from Israel to Syria.”

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1102048.html

Map of Uyghur region 1800s and today

•12/07/2009 • 1 Comment

w-uy-reg-map

1892 map
1892 map