29 December 2008

* Can there be any doubt who the real terrorists are?

US definition fits perfectly

Stuart Littlewood calls on Western leaders to pull the plug on Israel until it conforms to international law and the will of the United Nations, pulls back behind the 1967 border and strictly observes the principles of universal human rights. Otherwise, they “risk a mighty moral backlash from ordinary people, who are beginning to learn the awful truth”.

The patience of all decent men must surely be exhausted.

Today’s [27 December] slaughter of innocents in Gaza, with at least 230 reported killed in raids on “Hamas terror operatives” (as the Israeli military put it), amounted to “a mass execution”, said Hamas.

Can there now be any doubt who the real terrorists are?

The killing spree couldn’t have happened without the tacit approval of America, Britain and the European Union. The political pea-brains that direct the pro-Israel Western alliance were partying, gorging themselves on Christmas fare or binge-shopping while this massacre of hungry women and children and their despairing menfolk in Gaza was being planned and executed. 
According to the US's own definition of terrorism Israel is squarely in the frame. Under Section 3 of Executive Order 13224 "Blocking Property and prohibiting Transactions with Persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support Terrorism", the term “terrorism” means an activity that:
(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended 
  • to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
  • to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
  • to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
 The order and its definition of terrorism, signed 23 September 2001 by George W. Bush, is used to outlaw and crush any organization, individual or country the US doesn’t like. The Israeli regime’s "amoral thugs", as a British MP branded them, have plainly been terrorizing the Palestinians for the last 60 years.
The long drawn-out siege and blockade of Gaza, and the numerous military assaults on its people and their legitimate government, are only the latest crimes in a catalogue of torment and terror. They are clearly attempts to "intimidate and coerce", while the mass destruction of Gaza's infrastructure, the withholding of humanitarian aid, the assassinations, the abductions, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, and the many violent and dangerous acts, including indiscriminate bombing and shelling (and the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon), ensure Israel’s ugly head is a perfect fit for America’s terrorist hat.

How does the world feel about Obama pledging to “forge an unshakeable bond” with the "miracle" of terrorist Israel?

How do we feel about the EU rewarding Israel for its terrorist acts with enhanced benefits under the EU-Israel Association Agreement?

How do we Britons feel about our Intelligence and Security Committee being chaired by a Friend of Terrorist Israel and 5 out of its 9 members also being the Zionist regime’s devoted Friends? How do we feel about our Foreign Affairs Committee being chaired by a Friend of Terrorist Israel – and our Defence Committee too?

Britain’s prime minister, Gordon Brown, and his predecessor, now peace envoy Tony Blair, both self-confessed Zionists, have given their undying support to a terrorist state and steered Britain’s foreign policy on a course that has earned the opprobrium of civilized people.

The best Brown could do today was urge “restraint”. He called on Gazan “militants” to “cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately”, but didn’t urge his bosom pals to end the siege and their illegal occupation which, as every sane person knows, are the cause of the strife. Our Foreign Office went so far as to say they were “deeply concerned” then spouted the mantra: “The only way to achieve a lasting peace is through peaceful means”.

The only peaceful means of achieving a lasting peace is for Western leaders to pull the plug on Israel until the regime conforms to international law and the will of the United Nations (without whose misguided generosity there would never have been a state of Israel), pulls back behind the 1967 border and strictly observes the principles of universal human rights.

If they don’t shoulder their responsibility, they risk a mighty moral backlash from ordinary people, who are beginning to learn the awful truth. 



(redress)



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Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.