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Sunday, December 31, 2006


Brass Crescent Awards Tarnished by Award Recipient

Which blog written by a non-Muslim is most respectful of Muslims and seeks genuine dialogue with Muslims?

In this category a Zionist blog, On the Face, won a Brass Crescent Award, sponsored by alt.muslim. The Brass Crescent Awards purport to honor "the best of the Muslim web."

According to the Brass Crescent website blogs are nominated by readers, a panel of judges narrows the nominees to five, and then voting commences. One might excuse this selection if the winner was determined solely by readers since bloggers are notorious for seeking votes in contests of this sort, but please note that the nominees were narrowed down to five by a panel of judges.

It's evident from reading On the Face that it's unabashedly Zionist. Included on its blogroll is this bigoted illegal settler from the US who calls for the destruction of entire Palestinian neighborhoods:

Starting today. Right this very minute... for every rocket that falls, a Palestinian city in Gaza should be firebombed. Burned to the ground. No warning... no mercy.

On BBC's Have Your Say a Lebanese blogger Rania El-Masri, in an exchange with the On the Face blogger wrote:

To live in peace, it has to start with recognizing the rights of the other. It has to start by at least recognizing the asymmetry of the war; in your email, you make it seems as if there has been equal death and destruction on both sides -- which, as you know, is completely not the case. The vast majority of Israelis killed have been soldiers killed on the battlefield; the vast majority of Lebanese killed have been families in their homes.

The awardee's response most assuredly must have been overlooked by the judges:

When the Israeli Air Force bombed Dahiyeh and various Hezbollah villages during the first two days of the conflict, many Lebanese Christian and Sunni bloggers were quite happy. Some of them told me so directly. They did not even consider Dahiyeh to be a part of Beirut, but rather an ugly, frightening place they were forced to pass on their way to and from the airport. They wanted to get rid of Hezbollah and they hoped that Israel would do the job for them.

It's typical of this blogger to speak on behalf of Arabs and Palestinians and to never miss a photo opportunity with "her" Arabs, and this may be the reason the judges were taken in by her.

And, you might consider asking Professor Rania El-Masri to sit on your panel of judges next year. She offers a reasoned and factual counter to Ms. Goldman's Zionist spin. In part:

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for clarifying the image of peace in your eyes. I had wished it would have been otherwise. Your email reminds me of the logic used by segregationists in the southern states of the US.

I spoke to you of occupation, and you responded by ignoring occupation completely. I spoke to you of discriminatory policies against Palestinian-Israelis, and you responded by referring to the courts available to them.

I spoke to you of the need to include justice when talking of peace, and you responded by attempting to justify the destruction of residential homes and the killing of families in Lebanon.

Reading your email, after having initially read an email from you in which you spoke of your desire for peace, left me feeling quite sad.

Regarding Palestinians with Israeli citizenships, I am glad you agree that there is discrimination against them in Israel. However, Lisa, it is not merely 'social discrimination' as you refer to it, but institutionalized discrimination against them because they are not Jewish. Look at the way that Palestinian-Israelis were treated in this latest war. Look at the numerous institutionalized forms of discriminations, including The Nationality and Entry into Israel Law. While Israeli citizens are granted the right to family reunification with their foreign spouse, this law denies this same right to Israeli citizens married to Palestinian residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. (Source: Adalah, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and B'tselem).

Israel has practiced systematic and institutionalized discrimination against its Palestinian citizens in most areas - land possession and allocation, education, language, economics, and political participation. There are more than 20 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel (according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel).

The most important immigration laws, The Law of Return (1950) and The Citizenship Law (1952), allow Jews to freely immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship, but excludes Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes in 1947 and 1967. Furthermore, since its inception in 1948, Israel has maintained a discriminatory policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights within Israel. In 1965, the National Planning and Building Law retroactively re-zoned lands on which many Palestinian villages sat as "non-residential."As a result, despite the existence of these villages prior to the establishment of Israel, they were afforded - and continue to possess - no official status. These "unrecognized" Palestinian villages receive no government services, and residents are denied the ability to build homes and other public buildings. The authorities use a combination of house demolitions, land confiscation, denial of basic services, and restrictions on infrastructure development to dislodge residents from these villages.

Again, these are the policies within Israel. The levels of institutionalized discrimination against Palestinian-Israelis are three-fold: direct discimination against non-Jews within the law itself; indirect discrimination through "neutral" laws and criteria which apply principally to Palestinian-Israelis; and institutional discrimination through a legal framework that facilitates a systematic pattern of privileges. Again, the similarity with the US during the powerful segregationist is quite strong.

Just as we opposed it in the US, we should oppose it in Israel, and work towards a system where one's religion is a private matter, and one's legal and natural rights are equal, regardless of one's religious affiliation.(For more information, refer to the excellent series by Guardian writer Chris McGreal entitled 'Worlds Apart')

And, yes, Lisa, I agree with you: Palestinians in Lebanon are treated outrageously, and there is no justification to it at all. Period. I am against the way that Palestinians are treated in Lebanon. Simply because they are mistreated in Lebanon, does not justify their mistreatment elsewhere. We need to stand against all acts of discrimination - period.

Let me remind you again: I spoke to you of the road to peace quite clearly when I stated: End the Occupation of Palestinian Lands. It is critical when we speak of peace that we speak of the roots of the conflict, and one undeniable problem is the continual, 39 year old illegal, Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands. Do you support peace activists around the world and the UNSCR 242 in calling for the immediate, unconditional end to this occupation? (and let us not forget the continual occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Cheba'a Farms.)

You write: "When the Israeli Air Force bombed Dahiyeh and various Hezbollah villages in southern Lebanon during the first two days of the conflict, many Lebanese Christian and Sunni bloggers were quite happy. Some of them told me so directly. They did not even consider Dahiyeh to be part of Beirut, but rather an ugly, frightening place they were forced to pass on their way to and from the airport." I read these lines several times in an attempt to understand what you were trying to say. Are you excusing the bombing of the residential areas in the southern district of Beirut and in the besieged south of Lebanon because some in Lebanon view them as "ugly" and "frightening"? Would it then be acceptable to stand with racist members of the KKK in the US who find African-American neighborhoods to be "ugly" and "frightening" and thus to support the destruction of those neighborhoods?

This is the logic used by racists throughout history, and it is a logic that Jews themselves should be quite sensitive to and not so readily accept.

Simply because a minority in Lebanon have their hearts filled with racism and classism that they seek to excuse the deaths of others, does not in anyway excuse their killing. I have been to the Dahiyeh during the war.

Entire neighborhoods have been turned to rubble. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed. It makes no difference if some Lebanese bloggers are "happy" about that destruction. If a racist is happy, does that excuse the crime? Is this the peace you envision, Lisa? Is this the olive branch that you were extending in your earlier email? To kill one community in Lebanon? You then write about the targeting of civilians by Hezbollah. Let's look at the numbers, Lisa, and not at our own emotions to best answer this question.

How many Israelis were killed in this war, and how many of them were soldiers? How many Lebanese were killed in the war, and how many of them were civilians? The vast majority of the Israelis killed were soldiers, yet the vast majority of the Lebanese killed were civilians (and 30% of the Lebanese killed were children). So, please, look at the numbers, look at the facts on the ground before you throw your accusations. It is as clear as the destroyed homes in Lebanon that it was Israel that succeeded in deliberately and massively targeting civilians, including refugee convoys, ambulances, hospitals, farmers, ... Please, Lisa, read the article, 'Morality is not on our side' by Israeli professor Ze'ev Maoz, published in the Ha'aretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/742257.html)

Lisa, you have a knack for claiming "undisputed facts" when, in fact, the statements you claim are false. You write, "The undisputed fact is that Hezbollah has attacked Israelis on many occasions since the withdrawal of 2000." Once again, I refer you to published articles. Read this piece by George Monbiot in The Guardian, "Israel responded to an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah, right? Wrong."


"Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, there have been hundreds of violations of the "blue line" between the two countries. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) reports that Israeli aircraft crossed the line "on an almost daily basis" between 2001 and 2003, and "persistently" until 2006. These incursions "caused great concern to the civilian population, particularly low-altitude flights that break the sound barrier over populated areas.

"On some occasions, Hizbullah tried to shoot them down with anti-aircraft guns. In October 2000, the Israel Defence Forces shot at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators on the border, killing three and wounding 20. In response, Hizbullah crossed the line and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers."

And then there is this article in the Christian Science Monitor (Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon, http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0801/p09s02-coop.html).

"Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern. In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians. This past February, for instance, 15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon. Israel has assassinated its enemies in the streets of Lebanese cities and continues to occupy Lebanon's Shebaa Farms area, while refusing to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended. What peace did Hizbullah shatter?"

You write: "And what in the world does Hezbollah, a Shi'a organization, have to do with the Palestinians, who are Sunni and Christian? I fail to see the connection."

The connection has nothing to with religious/sectarian affiliation, and everything to do with context. I was speaking to you of the road to peace, and the need, the urgent, undeniable need, for there to be an implementation of justice if we ever want to achieve peace. We cannot speak of justice without speaking of the 39-year military occupation of Palestinian lands.

Furthermore, Hezbollah is not a Shi'a organization; Hezbollah is a Lebanese organization whose membership consists primarily of Shi'a. There is a difference. Hezbollah is a national liberation movement that was born as a direct result of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. In direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 425 (passed in 1978, from an earlier Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon), Israel continued to occupy significant portions of Lebanon until May 2000, when it was forced out of the majority of Lebanese lands by the national liberation movement of Hezbollah.

But, truly, your fantastic statement was left to the end when you write:"But the undeniable fact is that Hezbollah has chosen Israel as its enemy for absolutely no reason." Do you truly believe that, Lisa, or are you now engaging in political propaganda? No reason? Need I remind you of the 1978 Israeli invasion and occupation, the 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation, the 1993 massive bombardment of Lebanon by Israel, the 1996 massive bombardment of Lebanon by Israel, the Israeli occupation of significant parts of Lebanon from 1978 until May 2000? (The Lebanese Cheba'a Farms is still occupied by Israel.) Come on, Lisa, try to at least be realistic in your accusations. The fighters in Hezbollah are the children of previous Israeli massacres committed against Lebanese.

Lisa, despite your words, and despite the massacres, I still believe in the possibility of real peace between us. A real peace - not a surrender, not one side conquering the other, but a real peace embedded with justice. I believe in the vision outlined in the article


(N. and the Memory Wall), when the refugee camps will be emptied, the walls torn down, the laws look upon all individuals as equal regardless of religious affiliation, when greed is overcome by ease, and when the fighter jets and the bombs are all recycled into something productive.

Rania Masri


Eid Mubarak

Friday, December 29, 2006


Israel's False Pretenses of Goodwill

It is very hard to believe that a morally spent system of military occupation can respect anyone’s religious beliefs or understand the spirituality of Christmas and the Christian faith, in this specific instance. It is laughable that the Israeli authorities actually think that they are being religiously tolerant by letting people in and out of their hideous terminal at the entrance to Bethlehem when it should be a given right; the presence of the towering concrete wall encircling the desolate town only serves to reinforce all false pretenses of goodwill. Margo Sabella
Bethlehem women at home around ninety years ago.
Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora

Thursday, December 28, 2006


The Nakba Archive: a documentary report (excerpt)

Since 2002, the Nakba Archive has recorded over 450 eyewitness testimonies with Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. This unique collection of interviews reconstructs through personal memories the social, cultural and political life in Palestine prior to 1948, the period that has come to be known as al-Nakba ("the catastrophe"), and documents the events that led to the expulsion.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


The picture above is at least seventy years ago and is from Walid Khalidi's, Before Their Diaspora. The woman wears a traditional Bethlehem headdress.


Palestine's Resiliant, Dignified, and Courageous Voices

As we approach the sixtieth year of Israel's occupation of Palestine and its fortieth year of occupation of Gaza and the West Bank let these voices of resiliance, courage, and dignity inspire us as we continue to demand respect for Palestinians' human rights and implementation of their inalienable right to return to their homes from which they were ethnically cleansed by Eastern European and American foreigners.

"Eighty year old Mohammad Issa was wearing a coat and head cover to protect himself from the bitter cold. He leaned on a stick and cheered on the others to resist, encouraging citizens to not back down, to 'move forward into the face of Israeli forces that aim only to destroy.'"

"I became a refugee at the age of 10, when strange European Zionist settlers invaded my country, destroyed my home and made me a refugee. I spent all my adult life wondering why this enemy destroyed my life. I tried to put a face to this invisible enemy – for I have never seen one before. Like millions of Palestinians, I started, then in 1948, on the long trek to return home, The trajectory of expulsion propelled us to the four corners of the earth but our compass was always directed towards our home. In unison and in unbelievable resilience, we vowed: We shall never rest until we return home." Dr. Salman Abu Sitta

Your people, Bir'im have not died
And will not forsake a grain of sand from you
As long as you have men like these
As long as you have men like these
Who continually strive for justice
they do not care what others may say
And they always say to the oppressor
Our Bir'im is more precious than money.
And the return will never disappear
We will return contented
We will forget the bitter days. Refugee from Birim

“I do not believe that there is a single Palestinian or a single Arab who is willing to accept giving up Al-Quds, the right of return or any other of the legitimate rights of our people”. He said: “No… and a thousand times… No! to the peace projects of surrender that they want to impose on us, without us receiving anything in return." Archbishop Ata Allah Hanna

"I find it interesting that most people refer to 'Palestinian refugee' without contemplating on what it means to be a refugee. As a Palestinian refugee who has been forced to live in another country all my life, I have EVERY right to go back to the place where I belong. It is my God given right, it is my right that is mandated by all international treaties, UN charter and all western laws... I am a Palestinian refugee. All I want is my God-given and basic human right to go back to my home country." Yassine

"Sabah mentions the hardships of the first years in the refugee camp. The horrendous journey across the broken bridge and the raging waters and the terrorism of Israeli soldiers pales in contrast to the hardships of life on a crowded cold muddy plain without food or shelter. She is haunted by sudden wild shock in the absence of a home. 'It was cold and muddy and it was my duty to bring drinking water in buckets from far away. I was twelve. My boots sank in the mud every painful step.' We returned, she and I, to Bak'a camp to visit the orphanage she helped to build.

"Sabah struggled to survive in the camp, to rebuild the disrupted social relations, to find work, and to preserve her optimism. From the years of activism she remembers her love. Her face becomes beautiful. This beauty is a jewel embedded in the harshness of the camp. The birth of her daughter, Sanabel, focused all the loss into one moment. Sabah suffered a stroke. Her life is the other side of privelege -- Israelis privileged to steal her home, her land, and burden her life. She and her husband, workers, worked hard and moved out of the camp." Samia Halaby

Monday, December 25, 2006


Laylat al-Milad

Enjoy a traditional Arabic Christmas Carol, "Laylat al-Milad," Night of Christmas, sung by the Bethlehem Star Choir of International Center of Bethlehem.

Click here to listen:


English translation:


On the night of Christmas ... Hatred will vanish
On the night of Christmas ... The Earth blooms
On the night of Christmas ... War is buried
On the night of Christmas ... Love is born

Verse 1
When we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person, we are in Christmas
When we clothe a naked person with a gown of love, we are in Christmas
When we wipe the tears from weeping eyes, we are in Christmas
When we cushion a hopeless heart with love, we are in Christmas

Verse 2
When I kiss a friend without hypocrisy, I am in Christmas
When the spirit of revenge dies in me, I am in Christmas
When hardness is gone from my heart, I am in Christmas
When my soul melts in the Being of God, I am in Christmas

The photo above is from Naseeb Shaheen's, A Pictorial History of Ramallah.
It is from January 4, 1958 (Orthodox Christmas). The girl guides from Ramallah put on a Christmas party for the patients at the Muttala' Hospital in Jerusalem.


O Holy Night

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Bethlehem girls sometime before 1917 from Walid Khalidi's Before Their Diaspora and Church of the Nativity (thanks Gianluca).

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Zionists Systematically Destroy Cultural Traditions

The Israeli-built wall is “a sign of all that is wrong in the human heart.” Archbishop of Canterbury

left: Pilgrims in Bethlehem over ninety years ago prior to the Zionist genocide on Palestinian culture (Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora).

What's particularly smarmy about Zionists is that they kill, maim, dispossess, and then lie about it. Ignorant journalists even let them explain Palestinians, for example in the Chicago Tribune Daniel Rossing, former director of the department for Christian communities in the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs is quoted for his 'knowledge' about Palestinian Christians:

"They are viewed by [Israeli] Jews as part of the vast Arab world, and viewed by their Muslim neighbors as suspect because of their Western connections," Rossing said.

I'm not sure why an Israeli government official, a government which is systematically destroying Palestinian cultural traditions that have existed for millenia, is the last word on Palestinian Christians.

Christians in Palestine are living links to the earliest Christians. No longer are Christians from Bethlehem able to pilgrimage on Palm Sunday to Jerusalem. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, one diocese, has been severed by the Wall. Seventy-two out of eighty shops on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Road have closed.

The economic strangulation as a result of the Apartheid Wall has seen the flight of many Christian families from Bethlehem.

But Zionist equivocators, like the odious American Zionist Justus Weiner, who actually published a hideous book asserting that Edward Said wasn't a Palestinian, are offered up as experts on Palestinian Muslim-Christian relations while Har Homa, the illegal Jews only settlement on Bethlehem land, is setting up a tourist village to accommodate visitors to Bethlehem, so that the Zionists can cash in on the tourist trade. Zionists are also set to annex the land on which Bethlehem's aquifer sits.

Regarding a Church Times newsletter which stated "local Christians are adversely affected by living as a minority within a Muslim society," Palestinian Bishop Riad Abu El Assal in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury recently wrote:

"To us, the gentle coexistence of Christians and Muslims is a source of strength; indeed, we regard ourselves as a beacon to the wider Middle East and, through it, the rest of the world. The crisis facing Christians here is entirely due to the Israeli occupation, which, in recent years, has seen entire communities imprisoned behind the Israeli-built wall."

Yet, in today's Church Times (UK subscription only), a Reverend Tim White, obviously more concerned with promoting a very racist, land grabbing, water hoarding genocidal Zionism, rather than defending the few "original stones" left in Palestine disputes Bishop Riad:

"The Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal is in a state of denial when he attributes to Israel sole and exclusive responsibility."

While the Palestinians deal with a very physical wall cutting them off from their farmlands, cutting them off from basic services, cutting them off from their families, we in the west must continue to battle the wall of ignorance.

According to a recent survey, only fifteen percent of Americans even know that Bethlehem is a Palestinian city. No wonder, then, that a headline in the December 21 European Stars and Stripes (full electronic print version) read "Ramstein group traces footsteps of Jesus in Israel."

In the same issue a full page is devoted to "the meaning and traditions of Hanukkah, on which Protestant Women of the Chapel and also Military Council of Catholic Women in Naples, Italy, were enlightened by the Jewish Chaplain.

"'I love the Jews, for they are God's chosen people,' said Army Sgt. Maj. Rozenia Carter, a member of the group. 'I'm here because I heard the rabbi was speaking and I wanted to understand more about their culture. What a belssing it was to light one of the menorahs...It was truly awesome.'"

I am sure that Sgt. Maj. Carter, of the Protestant women, has no clue about the plight of her fellow Christians in Palestine or about the five hundred mixed Christian and Muslim villages that were destroyed in 1947-48. I have an idea that Sgt. Maj. Carter, of the Protestant women, may be one of the eighty-five percent of Americans who doesn't even know that Bethlehem today is a mixed Muslim and Christian town, with a sixty percent unemployment rate.

She probably doesn't know that some of her poor fellow Christians in Bethlehem whose houses were subsidized by the Greek Orthodox Church are facing demolition orders.

She also probably doesn't know that Hanukkah is a very minor holiday, and it probably hasn't occurred to her why it's so highly publicized and feted in the US.

She probably doesn't know that Sis Levin, wife of former CNN correspondent Jeremy Levin, who was also a hostage in Beirut, organized a Palm Sunday procession for the Christian Children of Bethlehem from Bethlehm to Jerusalem, but they were turned away at gunpoint by God's chosen people.

Most likely, the Sgt. Major doesn't know any of this because she grew up in a country that's so Zionised that if we say "Merry Christmas," it's akin to an expletive.

So right now I just don't feel very merry. I was in Bethlehem in the early seventies. I still vividly recall the Israeli sniper on top of the Church of the Nativity I could see from my friend's house.

We Palestinian-Americans have no one to blame but ourselves for the appalling lack of ignorance about Palestine in our society. It is very hard to make inroads in a society that's so Zionised that only fifteen percent of Americans know that Bethlehem is a Palestinian town.

The alternative, however, is to sit back and watch the completion of the destruction of Palestine's cultural traditions. Let ignorant Catholic, Protestant, and maybe not so ignorant Jews light a menorah and delude themselves that this is real multi-culturalism rather than just another exercise in heralding Israel. Palestine was once multi-cultural; it is now Jews preferred and privileged in every way.

In this holy season, let us increase our efforts to de-Zionize the country that our fathers and mothers adopted.

Much of the information here comes from Open Bethlehem. Much more is available at Open Bethlehem. The powerpoint presentations on the site are very informative regarding the effects of Israel's systematic attempt to grab the land and force the indigenous residents out.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Imaginary Hugs in Palestine


by Rami Almeghari

I am writing this piece with tears falling from my eyes. You know I am a Palestinian, you must know my friends from the West Bank are Palestinians as well. But you also must know, we have never seen each other. You know we are from the same country, but we have not met. And you know we have just talked over the phone.

I hope you know that we have gotten to know each other and become friends over the last couple of years, and you know we have contributed many articles to IMEMC.org. You know that we have smiled, cried and sighed together.

But today I am crying alone. My friends Saed from Beit Sahour and Jenka (a very good American woman) are leaving for the States, where Jenka is living. The young couple have decided to leave Palestine, seeking a new life with no military occupation, no Apartheid Wall, no checkpoints, no bypass routes, no restrictions on roads.

Saed, Jenka and myself have never seen or met each other in person since we began working together for the past couple of years, even though we all live in the same country, Palestine. But unfortunately for our friendship, the young couple is based in the West Bank and I am in the Gaza Strip.

You might ask us, why have you never met? Surely, you could have traveled by car, by bus or by train or even by airplane, so you could have met -- the distance between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is really not far at all. I would answer very simply, no; neither my friends or I could have done so. Not because we are living in a desert -- Palestine is a beautiful place, with a beautiful landscape, a beautiful beach and beautiful mountains with snow.

It might come to your mind that perhaps we could not afford tickets for travel, I would answer simply, no, that too is not the case.

Then what’s the problem with you, you ask. I answer again very simply, the problem is that the Israeli occupation that has disengaged from the Gaza Strip unilaterally and remained omnipresent at all border crossings, controlling the movement of any single object, even that of a cat.

I am stuck in the world’s biggest jail, while my friends are enclaved by an Apartheid Wall that is equipped with surveillance cameras, so they cannot travel even to nearby West Bank towns unless they take hours to pass through Israeli military checkpoints.

For me as a Gazan, my movement to the other part of the occupied territories (the West Bank) is extremely restricted under the Israeli authorities’ military regulations and security measures. The only outlet that I could possibly use to travel to Beit Sahour in the West Bank would be the Erez checkpoint, which would take me through Israel -- something few Gazans ever get permission from Israel to do. Erez, which used to be a busy commercial and passenger crossing, has this year become a passage only for emergency medical cases from the Gaza Strip into Israeli hospitals (and even those cases are severely restricted). I am living in a big jail – and not only myself, but the rest of the population of Gaza as well, which numbers 1.4 million people.

Tonight, I had to use the phone to say farewell to my good friends in the West Bank, and I don’t even know whether the phone is also controlled by the Israeli occupation authorities. But don't worry, please don't worry. Saed and I imagined we were shaking hands and hugging. You can ask Saed.

Rami Almeghari is a freelance journalist and translator in the Gaza Strip. He may be reached at rami_almeghari@hotmail.com.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Israel's Nuclear Bombs: The Biggest Threat to World Peace

© By Khalid Amayreh, for thepeoplesvoice.org


On 12 December, 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert listed Israel among the world’s nuclear powers. Olmert argued that Iran had no right to emulate nuclear powers such as Israel, the US, France and Russia, since these nuclear powers “never” threatened to attack other nations with nuclear weapons.

This is of course a blatant lie. The US, as we all know, dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945, killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese. The US dropped tons of depleted uranium on Iraq during the 1990s and early 2000s, killing or causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly innocent civilians. France also recently indicated that it might resort to using nuclear weapons against “terrorists.

As for Israel, the Israeli leaders (including Shimon Peres, the presumed father of Israel’s atomic bomb) have on several occasions threatened to annihilate Iran in case the latter attacked Israel. In 1973, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir also reportedly contemplated resorting to the “Samson option,” an allusion to nuclear weapons to stop the coordinated Egyptian-Syrian onslaught aimed at recovering their respective occupied territories of the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.

Olmert said nothing new with regard to Israel being a nuclear state. Everybody in the world, including my 4-year-old son, knows that Israel has a sizable arsenal of atomic and hydrogen bombs and warheads, along with their delivery systems, including F-16 fighter Jets as well as inter-continental ballistic missiles with a range of thousands of miles. These nuclear missiles and warplanes with nuclear warheads could attack cities and countries far away from Israel -including Rome, Greece, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, as well as the vast bulk of sub-Saharan and North African countries.

Hence, the real issue here is not whether Israel possesses nuclear weapons or not. Indeed, one would have to be mentally retarded or imbecile to believe Israeli leaders’ mendacious assertions that the apartheid regime will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East.
In truth, Israeli leaders have been lying and lying and lying in this regard from day #1. Israel itself, one can safely argue, is an ugly embodiment of big lies, glorified by the Zionists and sanctified by the West, thanks to the powerful impact of Zionist-controlled and Zionist-influenced media.

In fact, the introduction by Israel of nuclear bombs to the Middle East took place probably nearly forty years ago, which was later confirmed by the Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

The Israelis know it, the Europeans know it and, of course, the Americans know it very well. Earlier this month (December 2006) America’s own Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in testimony to a Senate committee, identified Israel as a nuclear power.

So, why has virtually everybody, including the virtually emasculated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), been silent about this most serious threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and the world at large?

The answer is clear. Israel’s arsenal of nuclear bombs and warheads is the west’s illegitimate child. And the reason the West has been silent about it is the same reason the West has been silent about Israel’s brutal behavior and treatment of the Palestinian people and other peoples of the Middle East ever since Israel’s misbegotten birth in 1948.

In other words, the West, particularly the US, Britain and France, have been real accomplices in this ongoing scandal. Thus any Western pretense of surprise, let alone ignorance in this regard (the EU has called on Israel to clarify Olmert’s remarks), is nothing short of a shameless exercise of public hypocrisy.

More lies
To augment its policy of “nuclear ambiguity” (which is a mere euphemism for lying to and misleading the world), Israel has been making all kinds of evasive claims and arguments, aimed at diverting and deflecting attention away from the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
Thus, Israel leaders and pundits on every occasion would defend Israel’s “right” to possess nuclear weapons by arguing that Israel is a democracy and as such would never use these weapons “irresponsibly.”

Well, to begin with, Israel is not a true democracy. A country that practices military occupation and aggression and systematically discriminates and maltreats its non-Jewish citizens and subjects in ways resembling Third Reich behavior can’t be considered a true democracy.
Moreover, who says that a democracy is not capable of behaving like a Nazi-cracy?

Well, didn’t democratic America kill millions of innocent people in the course of its numerous wars of aggression in many parts of the world? How about France in Algeria? Russia in Chechnya? Britain in its former colonies across the world? -And it was Britain who forcibly introduced the Zionists' presence in the area over the heads of the Palestinians, remember?
In fact, the vast bulk of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocides and ethnic cleansings were perpetrated by so-called “democratic and civilized people.”

Indeed, one of the most prominent Western intellectuals, Samuel Huntington, has argued convincingly that the West prevailed not because of the excellence of its ideas, ideals or even religions, but rather because it excelled in applying organized violence against weaker nations.

Toward Talmudic theocracy

Today, there are strong signs that Israel is moving slowly but steadily toward Talmudic chauvinism and religious bigotry. According to consistent opinion polls in Israel in the past six years, a strong plurality or majority of Israeli Jewish citizens object to equal rights for non-Jewish citizens, with more than 40% advocating government measures and legislations that would encourage Israel’s Arab citizens to emigrate.

Moreover, this trend, of viewing non-Jews as lesser citizens and even lesser human beings, is becoming very obvious in both government and army.

In government, Israeli officials, such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, declare openly that Jews are more important than non-Jews. Moreover, the fact that successive Israeli governments during the past three decades included clear-cut fascists espousing Nazi-like ideologies and doctrines speaks volumes. Indeed, the list of ostensibly fascist or explicitly fascist lawmakers and cabinet ministers in Israel is really long.

Here is a partial list some of the fascist leaders of Israel: Meir Kahana, Rahbaam Ze’evi, Mechael Kleiner, Uzi Landau, Yitzhak Levy, Beny Elon, Eifi Eitam, Michael Eitan, Geula Cohen, Ariel Sharon, Moshe Ya’alon, Amos Yaron, Yitzhak Shamir, Avigdor Lieberman, etc and etc. Needless to say, these bona fide racists are not marginal figures in Israel. They have hundreds of thousands of followers, otherwise they wouldn’t be represented in government and parliament.

More importantly, it is increasingly clear that the Israeli army is more or less dominated by messianic soldiers and officers, many of whom graduates of Talmudic schools. Needless to say, these schools teach that the Jewish Messiah or redeemer will not appear unless there is bloodshed on a very gigantic scale. In other words, redemption and salvation for the Jews depend on the occurrence of genocide.

Indeed, when a group of Jewish settlers seeking to blow up Islamic holy places in Jerusalem were arrested by the Shin Beth in the late 1970s, they told interrogators that they only wanted to trigger a state of turbulence and violence all over the Middle East because a great event like this would induce the appearance of the Messiah.

Hence, it is far from unlikely that a Talmudic junta of generals and officers, acting on instructions from their rabbis, would decide to attack a neighboring Arab or Islamic country with nuclear bombs especially in the absence of a credible deterrence.

Anybody thinking that this scenario is far fetched should just examine the ideology of messianic Jewish fundamentalism. These people are more than just nuts. They are very dangerous, especially if and when they are allowed, even through democratic means, to gain authority over Israel’s atomic bombs.

A few months ago, I spoke with a prominent Israeli journalist, Pinhas Inbari, and asked him if fears that the Israeli nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of a Talmudic government or Talmudic army junta.

Inbari said that for the “time being” and probably “for the next ten years,” the Israeli nuclear arsenal would remain in “secure and secular hands.”

“This society, the so-called community of secret bearers or secret keepers are actually a state within a state and don’t allow anybody they don’t trust to even get close to them.”

He describes the prospect of a Jewish fundamentalist takeover of the Israeli government as “remote at least for the next ten years.”

“After ten years, God knows what will happen.”

Well, very few people had known that Hitler would become Germany’s chancellor ten years before he actually sat down at the helm of the Third Reich.

Nuclear holocaust

There is no doubt that the people of the Middle East, including Turkey, Iran and Arab countries, are the potential target of Israel’s nuclear weapons. (This is unless Israel is contemplating bombing Germany with nuclear bombs to avenge the holocaust). Hence, it is very important that the governments of Muslim countries in this part of the world take note of this “most direct strategic threat” to the very physical survival of hundreds of millions of Turks, Iranians, and Arabs.

We must never allow ourselves to continue to live in the shadow of Israel’s 300 nuclear bombs and warheads.

Who shall shield us from this danger? We know America is tightly controlled by the Zionist lobby. Here politicians, media and even armed forces are also more or less controlled by the Zionists. So, let no Muslim or Arab deceive himself because the price of inaction could be more than disastrous.

Only a credible nuclear deterrent would make Israel think twice before effecting a nuclear holocaust against our people and our children.

I know some people might be prompted to dismiss my ideas as phobic or even hysteric. Well, I hope they will be proven phobic and historic. However, in a life-or-death situation, nations don’t take any chances.

We simply can’t rely on Israel’s good intentions. Israel is a deceitful and sinister entity that thinks the holocaust gives her every right and justification to murder and attack and exterminate by merely invoking the mantra of “Never Again.”

I am not suggesting that Israel will drop ten nuclear bombs on Damascus or Cairo tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

However, I am a million per cent sure that Israel will continue to use the specter of its nuclear bombs to threaten us, blackmail us, bully us and coerce us into perpetual submission and inferiority.

Are we prepared to live in perpetual submission and inferiority vis-à-vis Israel?
In brief, Arab and Muslim nations in the Middle East (such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran) have only two choices with regard to how they should relate to Israel’s nuclear arsenal: Either they allow Israel to spread its Talmudic hegemony all over the region and create a Jewish empire extending from the Nile to the Euphrates, or seek expeditiously to possess a nuclear deterrent.

During the years of the cold war between the West and former Soviet Union, a Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) kept the peace, more or less. This MAD worked even during the most dangerous crisis between the US and USSR, namely the Cuban missile crisis in 1961. At least neither Russia nor America rocketed each other with nuclear warheads.
It can work in the Middle East.

I truly wish the Middle East, indeed the whole world, would get rid of these hellish and satanic weapons and make them a thing of the past. However, we must live in reality and relate to it realistically.

The post 9/11 world looks very much like a jungle. If you are weak, you will be crushed. It is as simple as that. We saw how Israel recently ravaged and savaged Lebanon and Gaza with its state-of-the-art death machine while the leaders of the biggest Western democracies cheered the war criminals in Tel Aviv for mass-murdering Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and destroying their homes and villages.

On the other hand, we saw how the Pakistani nuclear deterrent forced India to show self-restraint and eventually negotiate a peaceful solution to their showdown a few years ago. This is the same India that had invaded and humiliated Pakistan in two previous wars, very much like Israel did to the Arabs in 1967. Pakistan is one of the poorest Muslim countries, as we all know. However, in the mid seventies of the past century, its leader Zul Fikar Ali Butto, declared that “we will have the bomb even if we are forced to eat the grass of the earth.” And they got it.

So, if poor Pakistan where the per capita income doesn’t exceed a few hundred dollars could do it, why can’t “Ummu Donya” (Egypt) do it? Why can’t Saudi Arabia which this year alone (2006) earned more than $250 billion dollars from oil sale? It is a real shame how these failed and impotent leaders can look their citizens in the eye? Have they lost every sense of national dignity and morality? Has America transformed them into completely submissive robots? Shame on them!

Today, Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons that are trained at our cities and population centers. Mekka and Medina are not out of danger. Let us be clear about this, and if you don’t believe it, just read and examine what Zionist and neocon fanatics are saying in their newspapers and on their internet sites.

More to the point, there is no guarantee that Israel wouldn’t use these weapons of mass extermination and mass destruction. Does anyone really believe Olmert when he says that Israel won’t be the first to introduce nuclear bombs to the Middle East?

Well, it is either we are stupid ignoramuses or the man is lying through his teeth.

Indeed, deception and lies represent the main defining features of the entire Israeli discourse, past and present.

Moreover, we should never ever count on America. America is a country that is enslaved and controlled by Zionist Jews. It is a country that lost its free-will a long time ago and became a mere tool in the service of Zionist bellicosity and hegemony.

We have seen how America cast one veto after the other at the UN Security Council whenever the poor Palestinians sought redress there. So, what could we possibly expect America to do in case Israel attacked us with nuclear weapons? Well, I am sure that at the very most America would call on both sides to show self-restraint. -Sorry, but for the rest of us this simply isn't good enough.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Damage Limitation and more...

No time for an intro to do the stories below justice; check out the new English issue of Al-Ahram: two stories by Khaled Amayreh and two from Jonathan Cook.

Damage Limitation by Khaled Amayreh

Beyond Imagination by Khaled Amayreh

We Didn't Disappear by Jonathan Cook

Still Jews Only by Jonathan Cook, which, in addition to its excellent thesis, is a classic essay with a clear focus, a real textbook example of establishing a clear focus and supporting it with documentation (I can't help it; I'm a school marm).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Advent Pilgrimage Supports Open Bethlehem

Many Advents ago in Ramallah.

UK church leaders are making an advent pilgrimage to Behlehem. Laila Sansour of Open Bethlehem comments:

"The need to open Bethlehem to the world has never been more important. Bethlehem is witnessing serious waves of emigration due to the economic hardship imposed by the system of closure and the practices of Israeli occupation. The emigration is particularly pronounced among the Christian community. Our failure to act now will have a devastating effect on the cause of open democracy in the Middle East and on Christianity worldwide. We want to remind the world that all of us are citizens of Bethlehem. In the New Year, we urge everyone to follow in the footsteps of these distinguished pilgrims and take up their citizenship by visiting our town."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Murderous Army

By Khalid Amayreh
Dec 4, 2006, 19:18

There is no doubt that the Israeli occupation army is trying very hard to kill the de facto ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. (The term ‘ceasefire’ is itself misleading to a large extent since it implies a false impression of parity between the Israeli occupiers and the Palestinian victims of occupation). And the chief means to do so is by continuing to murder Palestinian civilians, raid Palestinian homes, abduct Palestinian political activists and officials and terrorize ordinary people in the West Bank.

On Sunday, 3 December, Israeli occupation soldiers shot and killed a 14-year-old boy at the Askar refugee camp near Nablus . According to the Israeli army, the young boy, Jamil Abdul Karim, threw a stone on an armored Israeli vehicle and had therefore to be executed. Another Palestinian teenager was also executed in similar manner at Beit Inun near Hebron over the weekend.

Well, I really don’t understand what kind of an army is that which orders soldiers to shoot children right in the head for throwing a stone toward thoroughly protected and heavily armed soldiers?

This is certainly not an army of professional soldiers, but an army of thugs, hoodlums and common criminals.

I equally can’t understand why Jews are proud of such an army. Well, maybe I am being naïve. After all, humans can stoop to unimagined levels of moral stagnation and bestiality. Weren’t Germans proud of their Gestapo, SS and Wehrmacht? I bet they were. So, if Germans could stoop to the lowest level of national cannibalism, why can’t Jews? After all the “master race” is no more superior than the “chosen people”!!

Of course, Israeli leaders, especially when talking to Western media, would argue forcefully that Israel is sincere about maintaining the ceasefire and is showing restraint in the face of Palestinian provocations.

But what restraint are those liars talking about? Is it the daily rounding-up of dozens of innocent Palestinians to be used as hostages and bargaining chips to blackmail the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-led government? Or is it the routine forays and incursions into Palestinian population centers in Nablus , Jenin, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Hebron ?

I listen to the Israeli public radio regularly, and not a day passes without a fresh spate of arrests of innocent people obscenely referred by the Israeli media as “fugitives”! !The truth of the matter is that the Israeli occupation army, which is dominated by Talmudic fanatics who only understand the language of murder, assassination, and pornographic bloodshed, is anti-peace, anti-calm, anti-truce and anti-human decency.

This Nazi-like bellicosity has very little to do with actual Palestinian behavior. Indeed, the thoroughly tormented Palestinians have no interest to provoke Israel to commit fresh massacres such as last month’s carnage in Beit Hanun.

The real reasons have to do with the brutal ugliness of the Israeli army mentality which resists every effort that would portray Palestinians as dignified and equal human beings, ordinary people with human and political rights, like the rest of humanity.

It is an army that grew up viewing all Palestinians as scum, vermin and dirty animals that ought to be exterminated. It is an army that views Palestinian lives as insignificant, expendable and cheap. In fact, one exaggerates very little by saying that the Israeli perception of Palestinians is more or less similar the way the Gestapo and Wehrmacht viewed Jews.

So, these powerful soldiers, officers and generals, who think they are avenging the holocaust by slaughtering Palestinian women and children at will in Beit Hanun and Nablus , are always prone to resist any effort at creating a semblance of even human parity between imperial Israel and the nearly vanquished Palestinians.

That is why they are vehemently opposed to extending the ceasefire in the West Bank . Well, isn’t it ironic to even talk of ceasefire in the West Bank ? Where is the Palestinian “fire” there? Where is the Palestinian army there?

As a inherently racist army, the Israeli occupation army is also vehemently opposed to any alleviation of Palestinian suffering, such as reducing the number of humiliation stations, otherwise known as roadblocks and checkpoints, or relaxing the draconian restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and flow of goods and services throughout the West Bank.

So, they simply want to keep millions of Palestinians in the West Bank in a constant state of unmitigated suffering and persecution since relaxing the suffering would allow a degree of mental equanimity among Palestinians which could enhance overall Palestinian steadfastness and resilience. And that is not good for Zionism.

There is no doubt that the bulk of the right-wing political-military establishment in Israel is not enthusiastic about any extended ceasefire with the Palestinians for fear that the subsequent positive atmosphere could conceivably eventually lead to some sort of peace or extended calm. And peace, as we all know, is anathema for Israel and Zionism.

In fact it is not inconceivable that the right-wing military establishment might at one point carry out a coup against the Israeli government if the latter dared reach a peace accord of some sort with the Palestinians.

Such a possibility (reaching an accord with the Palestinians), remote as it is, would be a red line for tens of thousands of Israelis whose careers are tightly and closely entwined with the unending war on the Palestinians.

Indeed, as the Nazis made a living out of killing Jews and others, many, actually too many, Israelis are also making a living and prosperous careers out of killing Palestinians, destroying their homes, stealing their land and keeping them in perpetual subjugation.

This is the main reason why the Israeli military establishment is against a genuine ceasefire with the Palestinians.

© Copyright 2003 by palestine-info.co.uk

Monday, December 04, 2006


Abbas's Shameful Behavior

© By Khalid Amayreh, for thepeoplesvoice.org


Standing alongside Condoleezza Rice, the American Secretary of State, during their joint press conference in Jericho, Thursday, 30 November, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, declared that efforts to form a national unity government with Hamas reached a dead-end.

He added in a threatening tone that he would soon take measures toward the formation of a new government, in lieu of the present one headed by Ismael Haniya, whose main task would be the lifting of the American-led, Israeli-enforced financial and economic blockade on the Palestinians.

But Abbas’s really scandalous behavior was his reported reference to a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in southern Israel a few days earlier as “positive.”

In that largely theatrical speech, already dismissed by the bulk of the Israeli press as a “spin” Olmert said Israel would withdraw from “much territories,” “free many prisoners” and release Palestinian customs money withheld by the Israeli authorities for the purpose of punishing Palestinians for electing a government not to Israel’s liking.

And all this Zionist charity would be given only if the Palestinians agreed to give up the paramount right to return, stop armed resistance to the Israeli occupation army and accept other Israeli demands.

I really don’t understand why any Palestinian, let alone the Chairman of the PA , would view this speech as positive?

To be sure, Olmert didn’t say anything that can be construed as suggesting a departure from erstwhile Israeli polices which are based on perpetuating the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.

In fact, the opposite is true, as Olmert indicated that Israel would retain much of the occupied West Bank, keep the bulk of the settlements intact and never return East Jerusalem to its rightful owners.

And on the top of all of this, he urged Palestinians to forget about the right of return for millions of tormented refugees awaiting for decades to be repatriated to their homes and villages in what is now Israel.

Well, what kind of a final peace settlement would this look like? Are we talking about a modern version of a Kafkaesque metamorphosis?

So what does Mr. Abbas see as positive in Olmert’s speech that we don’t?

It is really shameful that the Palestinian leader stood silent while Rice was babbling the same affronting nonsense about “restarting the peace process,” “confidence-building measures” and the “viable and geographically- continuous state.”

We have been hearing these mendacious words for many years, while the occupation and the land theft continued unabated with American knowledge and acquiescence.

Last week, the Peace Now Movement, quoting Israeli army records, revealed that up to 40% of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank were built on privately-owned Palestinian land.
Interestingly, not a single Bush Administration official said anything about this huge land theft by the “only true democracy in the Middle East.”

Why? Because the American policy on Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank is actually a reflection of the Israeli policy. Indeed, if silence is approval, this is the only conclusion any honest person would read in this regard.

As to Rice’s assertions that the settlements wouldn’t prejudice the outcome of any final-status settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, one doesn’t have to be a great authority on American foreign policy to realize that these assertions are nothing but a hogwash aimed at deceiving gullible Palestinian and Arab leaders who would interpret any smile or nice word from an American official as indication that America is finally embracing a new policy based on morality and justice and international law.

I really really wonder why Mr. Abbas didn’t take Rice to task by asking Rice to condemn the huge land theft and declaring it to be null and void? Doesn’t he know how to communicate his people’s grievances to foreign visitors? Can’t he speak up in defense of his people’s rights?

Indeed, what is a “president” for if he doesn’t or can’t do what he is supposed to do?

It is amply clear by now that Abbas is failing to carry out his duties as President of Palestine!! (the title itself is fake to a large extent since there is no Palestinian state and it is not in the Palestinian people’s interest to pretend that there is one when there none).

Why didn’t he remind the visiting former Kremlinologist, whose knowledge of the vicissitudes of the Palestine issue is mediocre at best, that there would never be a true, lasting peace in Palestine, indeed in the entire Middle East, until Israel ended its occupation of “ALL” Arab lands occupied in 1967 and allowed a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee plight in accordance with UN resolutions 194? Isn’t that after all the ultimate legal reference upon which all peace efforts are supposed to be based?

Why didn’t he say so? Was he afraid of upsetting the feelings and mental equanimity of the black lady? Was he worried that voicing his people’s grievances in a forceful manner would make him lose his American certificate of conduct?

In truth , Abbas and other Palestinian leaders should never ever seek certificates of good conduct from America and Israel, the tormentors of the Palestinian people, or even from Europe, especially , as is often, when such a certificate happens to be at the Palestinian people’s expense.

We all know that in the Middle East receiving an certificate of good conduct from America is often a mere euphemism for alienating the people.

As to the subject of the national unity government with Hamas, it is really sad that Abbas chose to lambaste and castigate Hamas while in the company of Rice?

Did the man want to tell her that he was more faithful to his subservience to the White House than to Palestinian national interests.?

I am afraid that there are already worrying signs that Abbas is becoming another American puppet in the region very much like Qarazai of Afghanistan and Maliki in Iraq.

He may of course claim to be doing all of this in the hope that the Americans would force the Israelis to give him something.

But this is wishful thinking, as Arafat’s bitter experiment amply showed.

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