“The war for the house”

Dorothy Naor writes:

..today’s political cartoon in both the Hebrew print and electronic editions of Ha’aretz (absent from the English on-line edition)–so apt to the situation and to Gideon Levy’s article that follows. [The war for the house] [Hebrew Title: A small contribution to the Security of Israel]. In the cartoon the TV is showing scenes in Gaza of men carrying stretchers of wounded/dead. At the other end of the room, with back to the TV, the man, holding the newspaper from which he is reading and completely oblivious to the TV and probably to Gaza itself, says to the woman “Poor Monks in Burma.” [Read more]

Avi Katz writes:

The cartoon is Daniella London-Dekel’s personal message, and she deserves a credit as much as Gideon Levy.

Twilight Zone / The children of 5767

By Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz, 28 September 2007

It was a pretty quiet year, relatively speaking. Only 457 Palestinians and 10 Israelis were killed, according to the B’Tselem human rights organization, including the victims of Qassam rockets. Fewer casualties than in many previous years. However, it was still a terrible year: 92 Palestinian children were killed (fortunately, not a single Israeli child was killed by Palestinians, despite the Qassams). One-fifth of the Palestinians killed were children and teens – a disproportionate, almost unprecedented number. The Jewish year of 5767. Almost 100 children, who were alive and playing last New Year, didn’t survive to see this one.

One year. Close to 8,000 kilometers were covered in the newspaper’s small, armored Rover – not including the hundreds of kilometers in the old yellow Mercedes taxi belonging to Munir and Sa’id, our dedicated drivers in Gaza. This is how we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the occupation. No one can argue anymore that it’s only a temporary, passing phenomenon. Israel is the occupation. The occupation is Israel.

[Read the report]

For Gaza’s young at play, fields can be deadly
Steven Erlanger, The New York Times, 26 September 2007

The three Abu Ghazala fathers were in mourning, in the Palestinian way, sitting with their relatives recently in a shaded courtyard, open to the fields of watermelon and eggplant in which their children had died.

The children — Yehiya, 12, Mahmoud, 9, and Sara, 9 — were tending goats and playing tag on Aug. 29 when an Israeli shell or rocket blew them apart. “They went up to that palm tree,” said Ramadan Abu Ghazala, Yehiya’s father, pointing 300 yards away. “They went there every day.”

As the fathers, all farmers, talked, an Israeli blimp, with cameras, hovered in the sky above Beit Hanoun on the northern edge of Gaza, an Israeli drone buzzed in the air and an Israeli watchtower loomed over the nearby border. It was the blimp or the drone, presumably, that first identified the target.

[Read the report]

The Militancy of Mahalla al-Kubra

By Joel Beinin, Middle East Report Online, 29 September 2007

(Joel Beinin, a contributing editor of Middle East Report Online, is director of Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo.)

For background and profiles of strike leaders Sayyid Habib and Muhammad al-‘Attar, see Joel Beinin and Hossam el-Hamalawy, “Egyptian Textile Workers Confront the New Economic Order,” Middle East Report Online, March 25, 2007.

See also Joel Beinin and Hossam el-Hamalawy, “Strikes in Egypt Spread from Center of Gravity,” Middle East Report Online, May 9, 2007.

Hossam el-Hamalawy’s blog, 3Arabawy, is a clearinghouse for Mahalla strike and other Egyptian labor news.

For the second time in less than a year, in the final week of September the 24,000 workers of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla al-Kubra went on strike — and won. As they did the first time, in December 2006, the workers occupied the Nile Delta town’s mammoth textile mill and rebuffed the initial mediation efforts of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Yet this strike was even more militant than December’s. Workers established a security force to protect the factory premises, and threatened to occupy the company’s administrative headquarters as well. Their stand belies the wishful claims of the Egyptian government and many media outlets that the strike wave of 2004-2007 has run its course.

Most importantly, if the promises made by the government are kept, the Mahalla workers have scored a huge victory that will likely have reverberations throughout the Egyptian textile industry, if not beyond. After halting production for less than a week, they won a bonus equivalent to 90 days’ pay, payable immediately. A meeting of the company’s administrative general assembly to be convened soon will increase this to at least 130 days’ pay. In addition, a committee will be formed immediately in the Ministry of Investment to negotiate increases in extra compensation for the hazardous nature of their work and clothing allowances. Incentive pay will be linked to basic pay and subject to a 7 percent annual increase. The executive board of the company will be dissolved and CEO Mahmoud al-Gibali will be sacked. The days of the strike will be considered a paid vacation.

[Read the report]

Audio: Raiding homes in Iraq, refusing to return

Courage to Resist
28 September 2007

An interview with Mark Wilkerson by Aaron Glantz, co-produced by Sarah Olson, for KPFA Radio August 18, 2007. 19 min. audio edited by Courage to Resist (transcript here). Live broadcast available here.

Following his presentation at the Courage to Resist hosted workshop at the 2007 Veterans for Peace National Convention in St. Louis, Mark sat down with Aaron Glantz and David Cortright, author of “Soldiers in Revolt”.

Mark was a Army MP in Iraq. He talks about joining the military, the reality of the Iraq occupation, his five months in the Fort Sill brig, and how people can better support today’s GI resisters. At the time of this interview, Mark had just been released from the brig only days earlier.

[Read transcript/Listen to 19 min. audio]

“Let’s say we just storm the Capitol now..

..with our scythes and pitchforks and be done with the lot of ’em.”

The quote is the first comment here, a response to the news that today the Senate passed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment by a vote of 76-22.

ThinkProgress on the final edits:

UPDATE Before the vote today, changes were made to the original amendment, with paragraphs three and four taken out completely. This paragraph was also added at the end:

“Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated on September 16, 2007 that “I think that the administration believes at this point that continuing to try and deal with the Iranian threat, the Iranian challenge, through diplomatic and economic means is by the preferable approach. That the one we are using. We always say all options are on the table, but clearly, the diplomatic and economic approach is the one that we are pursuing.”

Read the full marked up amendment here.

Two more paragraphs were also added, prior to section b, that I assume were inserted as comic relief for sociopaths and other deranged sorts who would appreciate the humour.

Updated 26 September, hat tip to the same My Left Nutmeg comment section:
Senate Endorses Biden Plan To Partition Iraq
By Eric Kleefeld – September 26, 2007, 1:52PM

Joe Biden won a victory in the Senate today, with the chamber voting 75-23 for a non-binding endorsement of his plan to partition Iraq into three separate states with Baghdad as a federal capital.

Nearly all Democrats voted for the measure, with only two exceptions: Barack Obama missed the vote, and Russ Feingold voted against it. The Dems were joined by 26 Republicans voting in favor of the plan.