Dans le cadre de la Semaine de La Solidarité International
du 14 au 23 novembre Val de Marne/ Conseil Général Direction de la Jeunesse


Thème: "N'ayez pas peur, Venez rencontrer les états-uniens pour la PAIX"

Samedi le 22 novembre, 2008 à
IVRY sur Seine
Salle St. Just, 24 rue St. Just
10h à 22h
Métro: Mairie d'Ivry

Eric Schultz et le TENTET IVRY/VITRY le 22 novembre 2008

Matin : rencontre de public, dialogue
Après-midi :
  • CONCERT at 4pm,
  • Eric Schultz, conducteur avec le TENTET IVRY/VITRY
"Jazz dans la tradition africaine américaine" - Ensemble d'élèves en formation professionelle soutenu par les conservatoires d'Ivry et de Vitry: 6 soufflants, 4 section rythmique
  • Millane KANG, chanteuse de jazz
  • the Balsac Crew, US Beat Boxers
Soir: Buffet Campagnard pour AAW et leurs amis, PARTY TIME !!!!!
Cet événement est gratuit et ouvert au public

Leonard Peltier, Activist

Support Leonard Peltier

On Wednesday June 25 Agir Contre La Guerre (ACG) called to demonstrate in support of Leonard Peltier, indigenous rights activist imprisoned for 30 years after an unfair trial. He has been called a Native American Mandela.

Leonard Peltier, Activist

Leonard Peltier -- a great-grandfather, artist, writer, & indigenous rights activist -- is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota Nations who has been unjustly imprisoned since 1976.

A participant in the American Indian Movement, he went to assist the Oglala Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the mid-70s where a tragic shoot-out occurred on June 26, 1975. Accused of the murder of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Peltier fled to Canada believing he would never receive a fair trial in the United States.

On February 6, 1976, Peltier was apprehended. The FBI knowingly presented the Canadian court with fraudulent affidavits, and Peltier was returned to the U.S. for trial.

Key witnesses were banned from testifying about FBI misconduct & testimony about the conditions and atmosphere on the Pine Ridge Reservation at the time of the shoot-out was severely restricted. Important evidence, such as conflicting ballistics reports, was ruled inadmissible. Still, the U.S. Prosecutor failed to produce a single witness who could identify Peltier as the shooter. Instead, the government tied a bullet casing found near the bodies of their agents to the alleged murder weapon, arguing that this gun had been the only one of its kind used during the shootout, and that it had belonged to Peltier.

Later, Mr. Peltier’s attorneys uncovered, in the FBI’s own documents, that more than one weapon of the type attributed to Peltier had been present at the scene and the FBI had intentionally concealed a ballistics report that showed the shell casing could not have come from the alleged murder weapon. Other troubling information emerged: the agents undoubtedly followed a red pickup truck onto the land where the shoot-out took place, not the red and white van driven by Peltier; and compelling evidence against several other suspects existed and was concealed.

At the time, however, the jury was unaware of these facts. Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. He is currently imprisoned at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

AAW supports Czech hunger strikers

AAW supports Czech hunger strikers, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar, anti-USA missile site militants.

Americans Against the War has sent the following message to Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar militants who will be going on a hunger strike to protest the deployment of a U.S.A missile defense radar site in the Czeck Republic.

Scroll down to read Mr. Tamas's reasons for the hunger stike.

Dear Jan Tamas
Dear Jan Bednar

Please know that Americans Against the War - France totally supports your efforts to stop deployment of a U.S.A. missile defense radar site in the Czech Republic.

Hunger strike in the Czech Republic against US National Missile Defense project

Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 17:00:46 +0200

Dear friends,

We are writing to you to inform you of a very serious issue facing the
Czech Republic and Europe as a continent "EURO" the plan of the current US
administration to install two new military bases in Central Europe as
part of National Missile Defense system of the USA.

For nearly two years we have been involved in a non-violent struggle to
prevent our government from participating in this dangerous project.
However, in spite the fact that two thirds of Czechs oppose this project
our government continues the negotiations with the US government and is
nearing to signing the treaty at the beginning of June. In fact, the
treaty was supposed to be signed by US secretary of state Condoleezza
Rice and the Czech government on May 5. The date has now been postponed
by one month, but the plan remains the same.

Therefore with a couple of friends in the Humanist movement we have
decided to start a hunger strike against this plan. My friend Jan Bednar
and I have started the hunger strike on Tuesday May 13 and we would like
to ask for your support.

We know that there are many people, political parties and organizations
across Europe and the world who disagree with the armament projects of
the current US administration. We believe that you are one of them.
Therefore we would like you to join us in this nonviolent protest.

There are groups in Italy, Germany, Hungary, Spain, United States,
Netherlands, Australia, United Kingdom, Denmark and other countries
already holding events to support our hunger strike, to show solidarity
and to express their opposition to the US Missile Defense project. Most
of them have set up permanent tents where they are collecting signatures
under the online petition against the radar and some
are even on solidarity hunger strikes themselves. They are in touch with
local media and are informing them about their activity and the dangers
of the missile defense system.

We believe that by acting together we have a possibility to stop this
project. The position of our government is very weak and so strong
international opposition can make them change their position on this
issue. So your help is of importance.

If it is not possible for you to establish a permanent presence
somewhere in your town or city, but still want to support us, please
send us a letter expressing your support and please send letter of
protest to Czech embassy, your government, European parliament, etc.

It is very important that media gives space to our protest.

Thank you for any kind of support and letâEURO(tm)s stop this project together!

Jan Tamáš,, +420 776 785 839

Humanist movement
Czech Republic

PETITION: Support Jimmy Carter

Support Jimmy Carter: US Needs to Talk to Hamas

Former President Jimmy Carter, predictably, is being denounced for meeting with the exiled leader of Hamas in Syria on April 18, 2008.

Carter's critics are wrong. Talking to Hamas, which won the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, is a necessary part of creating peace. As Carter himself said, "There's no doubt in anyone's mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, that Hamas will have to be included in the process."

Please sign our petition -- co-sponsored by "A Just Foreign Policy" -- to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain asking them tosupport former President Carter and support talks with Hamas:


Please join AAW and ~80 national and international organizations demonstrating to free Mumia on
Saturday April 19, 2008 at 2:30 pm at
the Place de l'Hotel de Ville,Paris.
Metro Hotel de Ville

The Mumia trial update. April 14, 2008
On March 27, 2008 the U.S. appeals court in Philadelphia reaffirmed the conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman but stated that he should have a new sentencing hearing. Thus, while the former Black Panther Party spokesman and death row inmate for 25 years has been removed death row for today, this decision makes it possible for him to return.
After previously rejecting his request to present evidence of his innocence, the Court turned down Mumia's request for a new trial thus upholding the 2001 ruling by a federal district judge who ordered a new hearing on the sentence, but limited the choice to life imprisonment without parole ... or execution.
His original 1982 trial and 1995 appeal hearing were such grotesque shams that many in the United States and abroad rallied to support a new trial for the world-renowned radical journalist who has become the symbol of the struggle against the racist legal system which still rages in the United States.
Jeff Mackler of the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal declared that the March 27th decision was a travesty of justice, adding that they'd been hoping that the Third Circuit would order an entirely new trial based on the claim of racial discrimination in jury selection.
Americans Against the War - France. www.

le Samedi 19 Avril à 14:30
Place de l'Hotel de Ville

Venez nombreux au ressemblement pour reclamer la liberation de Mumia Abu Jamal, ex-porte parole de Black Panthers, condané par une justice raciste, prisonier dépuis 25 ans dans les couloirs de la mort des Etats Unies, symbole et hero d'un peuple qui n'a jamais baissé les bras malgré l'esclavage et l'injustice subie dans un systeme qui s'apparante en cruauté et exploitation de l'etre humain à celui de l'appartied Sud Africain.
Les Americains Contre La Guerre - France
Dernieres nouvelles du Process de Mumia par le Collectif Unitaire National de Soutien à Mumia Abu-Jamal.

"La Cour d'Appel Fédérale de 3ème circuit (Philadelphie - Pennsylvanie - USA) vient de rendre son jugement : le procès de 1982 à l'issue duquel Mumia Abu-Jamal a été condamné à mort était entaché de racisme. La Cour reconnaît ainsi que les droits constitutionnels de l'accusé n'ont pas été respectés. De ce fait, elle annule sa condamnation à mort mais confirme sa culpabilité.
Les juges, par deux voix contre une, se prononcent pour un autre procès avec constitution d'un jury qui devra à nouveau statuer sur la sentence. Contrairement à ce qu'annonce de nombreuses dépêches de presse, Mumia Abu-Jamal n'est toutefois pas définitivement à l'abri d'une nouvelle condamnation à mort, ni d'un enfermement à vie.
Et dans l'attente, il ne quittera pas le couloir de la mort !
L'avocat de Mumia Abu-Jamal, Maître Robert R. Bryan, nous a déclaré que cette décision était une demi-victoire qu'il fallait, par la mobilisation internationale, transformer en victoire en rendant justice et liberté à son client.
Dans cette situation, le Collectif Unitaire National (80 organisations françaises) appellent à l'organisation de manifestations de soutien dans toute la France, et ce sous toutes les formes"

A CALL FOR JUSTICE: Monsanto & Co must pay

A CALL FOR JUSTICE: Monsanto and Company must pay

Seven European associations have signed a statement in support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and their association VAVA. Several other organizations are joining the appeal and the Danish Vietnamese association has adopted a parallel statement.

We the undersigned in calling for justice for the victims of the chemical Agent Orange, adopt the statement made by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin 25 February 2008.

On February 22nd, 2008, in New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the March 19, 2005 judgment of the U.S District Court dismissing the lawsuit of Vietnam's Agent Orange victims against the companies who manufactured this deadly chemical.

This is an irrational, biased and unfair decision which does not respond to the reality faced every day by the Vietnamese victims whose suffering is caused by Agent Orange/Dioxin.
The U.S. chemical companies' production and supply of toxic chemicals for U.S forces' use in the Vietnam War continues to cause deadly and long lasting consequences to human health and ecosystems in Vietnam. The U.S chemical companies knew very well that their products were harmful to human health before they were used in Vietnam.

They have ignored the truth and evaded liability for their crimes committed not only against Vietnamese victims, but also against victims in other countries involved in the Vietnam War.
The demands of the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin are completely legitimate. The Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin have no other option than to continue their fight for justice, and we support their appeal to the U.S Supreme Court. Meanwhile we shall campaign to gain stronger support from the whole human community,, including that of the American people.
We ask people of conscience the world over to stand side by side with us in demanding that the producers of these lethal poisons fulfil their legal, spiritual and moral responsibilities for the consequences that they have caused.

The pain suffered by the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam is the common pain of humanity.
The struggle for justice must prevail.

Signed by:
Association Belgique- Vietnam (Belgium)
Association d’amitié franco-vietnamienne–AAFV (France)
Associazione Nazionale Italia-Vietnam (Italy)
Association Suisse- Vietnam-Vereinigung Schweiz-Vietnam (Switzerland)
Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society (United Kingdom)
Freundschaftsgesellschaft Vietnam (Germany)
Al Burke, Stockholm 2002 Conference co-ordinator (Sweden)

Other endorsments (first list, France ):
Americans Against the War-France (AAW)
Association Républicaine des Anciens Combattants (ARAC)
Comité français du village de Van Canh
Enfants du Monde-Droits de l’Homme
Echanges Provence Asie du Sud-Est Vietnam (EPASEV)
Mouvement de la Paix-France
Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitié entre les Peuples (MRAP
Union générale des Vietnamiens de France (UGVF)
Union générale des jeunes Vietnamiens de France (UJVF
Union générale des Etudiants vietnamiens en France (UEVF)

STOP THE WAR Results of five years of War on Iraq:

Results of five years of War on Iraq:

1,173,743 Estimated number of Iraqis killed by US troops :
3,970 Official number of U.S. military personnel sacrificed

Iraqi War Refugees
2.2 million Iraqis have fled mainly to Syria and Jordan. Another
2.2 million are displaced within Iraqi borders. According to the U.N., this is the highest number of displaced persons the Middle East since 1948 when Israel occupied Palestine.

Ordeal of Iraqi children
Estimations published by The United Nations Children's Fund in 2007:
2 million Iraqi children lack adequate nutrition and face serious illnesses
One third of children are cut off from outreach health services.
60% of children lack reliable access to safe drinking water.
Hundreds of children have lost their lives to violence.
Thousands have fallen into poverty after losing their main family wage-earner.

An estimated cost of at least $1.2 trillion
Higher taxes, drastic cuts in social services and recourse by banks to quick-money, sub-prime, real estate ventures are some of the ways the cost of this war has impacted the American people.

Americans Against the War-France /

Arrêtez la Guerre

Les conséquences de cinq années d'occupation de l'Irak:

1 173 743: nombre estimé d'irakiens tués,
3 970: nombre officiel de soldats étatsuniens.

Réfugiés irakiens
2,2 millions principalement en Syrie et en Jordanie et
2,2 millions déplacés en Irak. D'après l'ONU, c'est le plus grand déplacement de population depuis l'occupation Israélienne de la Palestine en 1948.

Le Calvaire des enfants irakiens
Estimations de L'UNICEF pour l'année 2007:
2 millions d'enfants souffrent de malnutrition et de maladies graves.
Un tiers des enfants est privé de soins sanitaires et médicaux.
60% d'enfants sont privés d'eau potable.
Des centaines d'enfants sont morts à la suite d'actes de violence et
Des milliers d'enfants se trouvent dans la misère après la perte des parents.

Un coût estimé à au moins $1,2 billion (1.200,000,000,000)
L' augmentation des impôts et une dégradation systématique des services sociaux font parties des lourdes conséquences subies par la population des Etats-Unis

Américains Contre la Guerre-France

Cinq Ans de Trop [Five Years Too Many APJ

Cinq Ans de Trop
Five Years Too Many

Alertés en 2002 par les agissements militaires des Etats-Unis en Afghanistan, et
consternés par l’imminence d’une incursion armée en Irak, plusieurs états-unisiens de Montpellier et ses alentours se sont associés pour fonder “Les Américains pour la Paix et la Justice” (APJ).

Le samedi 15 mars, l’APJ sera présente sur la Comédie pour une veillée de
protestation à l’occasion de la cinquième année de la guerre et l’occupation de l’Irak.

L’aggression illégale déclenchée par l’administration Bush a pu s’amplifier grâce aux membres du Sénat et de la Chambre de Répresentants qui se sont pliés à cette politique au nom de la “guerre contre le terrorisme”. A présent, la grande majorité des citoyens se prononce contre la guerre, et certains candidats à l’office de Président en prennent leurs distances.

En tant que citoyens et électeurs, les membres de l’APJ sont déçus de la politique affichée par les candidats Démocrates, Mme Hillary Clinton et M. Barack Obama. Nous avons formulé un appel à ces aspirants de bien vouloir préciser leur politique, de se rendre compte de la dévastation faite au peuple et au pays d’Irak, de s’engager dans un plan de retrait avec un calendrier, de penser aux réparations, et d’assurer des soins aux jeunes conscrits américains éprouvés physiquement et moralement par ce service militaire.

La guerre s’enlise et se répand en dépit de la désapprobation croissante aux Etats-Unis et partout dans le monde, y compris - dès le début - la France. Espérons que cette cinquième rassemblement “Non à la Guerre en Irak” puisse être le dernier.

De 15h à 18h, Place de la Comédie, Montpellier
Les Américains pour la Paix et la Justice
Contact: 04 67 60 35 16

Israel unleashes terror on Gaza

Israel unleashes terror on Gaza
by Matthew Cookson

Israel unleashed terror on the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip last week, when it launched a military operation including airstrikes.

It claimed it was attempting to stop the Hamas Islamist movement firing rockets into Israel, but its real aim is to crush the Palestinian people’s resistance to their oppression.
Israel murdered over 100 Palestinians, the majority civilians, in the five day assault and injured over 350 people. In contrast, only three Israelis died, including two soldiers and one civilian.

As Israel “withdrew” from Gaza on Monday of this week – just as US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was about to arrive for a two-day visit – its leaders were already pledging further attacks on Gaza.

Prime minister Ehud Olmert said, “We are in the midst of a combat action. What happened was not a one off event.”

Amjad Shawa, Palestinian NGO network coordinator for Gaza, and Mona el-Farra, a doctor at Al Awda hospital in Jabalia refugee camp, spoke to Socialist Worker on Monday of this week.
“These have been very difficult days,” said Amjad. “A huge number of people have been killed, including women, children and disabled people. Many NGOs have been destroyed, such as those that supply medical relief.

“It was a massacre, with no mercy shown towards the children. They were killing our beautiful youth every day. “People went three days without water during the attack. The 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip were already suffering from the Israeli siege that began in 2006. Fuel shortage
“Now it’s getting worse. We are spending most of the day without electricity. There is a shortage of fuel to operate water wells and run ambulances.

“Any new military operation will increase our problems. The Palestinians are facing a catastrophe.”

Mona said, “Last Saturday the hospital received 69 injured people. These casualties were more than the capacity of the hospital’s beds and two operating theatres. Many of the injured had to lie on the floor. We had to evacuate some of the injured people to another hospital. Some were left to bleed until they died because of a lack of resources.
There is little electricity in the Gaza Strip – blackouts are now the rule. The ministry of health is advising people to boil drinking water, as there is no chlorine to treat it. The health of people is deteriorating. On Monday everyone in Gaza went to funerals of those killed in the assault. The Israeli operation did not stop.”

The attack on Gaza is the latest part of the US and Israel’s plans to destroy Hamas. This month’s issue of Vanity Fair magazine reveals how George Bush was outraged when Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006.

He launched a plan to get the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement to prepare a coup against Hamas. This was foiled after clashes that led to Hamas taking control of Gaza in June last year.

“It looks like what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted by Hamas before it could happen,” said David Wurmser, a former adviser to US vice-president Dick Cheney.

“Israel uses the excuse of Palestinian rocket attacks,” said Mona. “But it is trying to hide the fact that the occupation is continuing. Israel stopped directly occupying Gaza in 2004, but it is still controlling our lives by remote control.

“This is a disproportionate war between an army and a people’s resistance. It is the Palestinian people’s right to resist occupation.”

Amjad said, “Israel killed children in its attack. Were they firing rockets from Gaza? No – they were killed because they were Palestinian, because of their identity and nationality.”

Amjad and Mona are both calling for people in Britain and other countries to show solidarity with the people of Gaza by joining protests, such as the 15 March World Against War demonstrations.

Amjad said, “We are hoping that the people who value justice will act to help us. We need help to get hope for those who are losing some of it every day. People in the prison of Gaza feel alone. And we need to feel that people in Britain are with us.

“Please show your solidarity with the people in Palestine by joining protests in your country. Show Israel that the Palestinians are not alone and that you are against its crimes. Protest for our children and infants.”

Mona said, “Protests against Israel’s attacks are important. They make us feel that we are not alone.”



Remember 2003? The US, hell bent on war, concocts the lie that Iraq is a "threat", insisting that it possesses weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's denials are ignored by the US, knowing that Iraq cannot do the impossibleand prove a negative. France, represented by President Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, is admired around the world for upholding the UN Charter and condemning the drive to an unprovoked war of aggression.

It is now four and a half years into a brutal US occupation, the horror of which continues today. Years of US bombings, mass slaughter, torture, rape, suffering and misery. One million dead Iraqis. Four million refugees. No weapons of mass destruction.

September 2007. The US, hell bent on war, concocts the lie that Iran is a "threat", insisting that it wants to make a nuclear weapon. Iran's denials are ignored by the US, knowing that Iran cannot do the impossible and prove a negative. The similar feature of this latest manufactured "crisis" is that Iran is portrayed as a villain and a threat, based on no evidence, while the US brandishes its own real weapons and openly threatens Iran with attack.

Unlike the US, Iran has attacked no other country. Iran has occupied no
other country. Iran has threatened no other country. Iran is not bombing
and killing civilians daily. Iran does not think it has the right to dominate the world. The US insists that Iran should stop all uranium-enrichment, despite the fact that Iran's right to engage in this activity is guaranteed under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Teheran insists it only wants to master nuclear technology in order to produce electricity, but Iran is not to be permitted to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes because that does not meet with the approval of the US, an aggressive superpower getting away with both hypocrisy and murder on a global scale.

On 27 August, sixteen days only after his hot-dog lunch with George W. Bush, the newly-minted President Sarkozy declared "there is a catastrophic choice – between an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran". This utterly false "choice" not only is devoid of morality but also ignores the fact that there is no legal reason whatsoever to attack Iran. Rather than confronting the real threat of war by the aggressor, the United States, the French president accepts a future bombing of Iran, the victim, as legitimate. On 16 Sept, the Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, spoke in the same vein by saying "We must prepare for the worst – the worst is war".

It is astonishing that these repugnant statements should have been made in the name of France, the nation which gave the world the declaration on the rights of man, the nation which not so long ago took a moral and independent stand against aggression.
If the possession of nuclear weapons is what truly concerns Nicolas Sarkozy and Bernard Kouchner, they do not explain why they speak of the non-existent nuclear capacity of Iran but remain mute about (1) the existing nuclear arsenal of the US, the most militarily aggressive state in the world; (2) the existing nuclear arsenal of Israel, the most rapacious state in the world, and (3) the existing nuclear arsenal of Pakistan, the most unstable state in the world. The absurdity and hypocrisy is there for all to witness. One may legitimately conclude that their concern has nothing, in fact, to do with nuclear weapons, but everything to do with stepping into the shoes of Tony Blair and his former foreign minister Jack Straw, George W's two ex-poodles.

The world remembers with admiration the moral courage displayed by President Chirac and Dominique de Villepin when they so fully represented the French people's abhorrence of war by refusing to endorse the US attack on Iraq. Some observers had predicted a change in French foreign policy with the arrival of a new president, but few imagined that the change would be so extreme and so noxious.

It is both tragic and deeply disturbing that France, the nation reputed for its tradition of commitment to human rights, should now be aligning itself with the most warmongering US administration in history.

19 September 2007

Americans Against the War - France


This is a a rebuttal written by one of our active AAW members to which AAW gives it's stamp of approval:

I note that nowhere does Kouchner use the word "occupation" preferring, as he does, "the American presence". The US/UK attack on Iraq was an "intervention".

Some of his statements:
"What can be said about Iraq today? It is a "democratic" country..." Why the quotation marks around "democratic" - Freudian slip?

"Iraq is being ripped apart by a storm of hatred and violence". No, it WAS ripped apart in 2003 by a storm of hatred and violence.

"I went to listen to the candid views of its people ... in order to get a feel for what they think." Not the reason for his visit. Are we to believe that the French Foreign Minister was sitting in the quai d'Orsay scratching his head, wondering how the people felt? and had to go there to get a "feel"?

"The Iraqis have been isolated for too long and feel abandoned by the international community." Seeing as the "international community" means the US and those who support its actions, one can hardly look upon F-16 bombings, mass slaughter, torture, rape, imprisonment and all the rest as isolation and abandonment. The Iraqis would no doubt welcome a bit of the latter.

"I also went to Iraq because I wanted to mark France's return to a place that is vitally important to our future and to that of our children." OUR future and OUR children. No comment.

"Although the invasion ended a brutal dictatorship, the methods used to build a secure and democratic Iraq have failed." Kouchner knows that the aim of the invasion had nothing to do with security or democracy. And the "methods" being used to force the Iraqis to submit to US control were and are of the most brutal kind.

"Yes, France can help to provide a fresh look. ... it can do so because we are the allies - sometimes troublesome, as true friends are - of the Americans." No need for "a fresh look". As such a good ally, Kouchner can push his friends to end the occupation.

"France can help by working with the United Nations and the European Union in the cause of peace." Just as France, together with the UN and EU, are all working for peace in Palestine and Lebanon.

"Iraq's neighbors must also play a credible part in the search for a solution." diplomese for the US line: it's the fault of Syria and Iran.

"The process begun in May in Sharm el-Sheikh is positive; the practical arrangements it provides for must be implemented right away, especially the three working groups that will be dealing with the crucial issues of energy, refugees and security." In that order.

"The dream of an Iraq at peace with itself is not beyond reach. Much effort, clear-headedness and conviction can make it a reality - provided we all have the courage to get the job done." Get the job done. Kouchner knows what "the job" really means but he'll never spell it out, any more than US politicians will.

"If we shy away from this, we can expect the worst." The worst for whom??? It's already the worst for the Iraqi people.

Too many absurdities here - far too many to cover in one letter.

Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday August 28, 2007

Go to original here

The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.

The paper, "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" – written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament – was exclusively provided to RAW STORY late Friday under embargo.

"We wrote the report partly as we were surprised that this sort of quite elementary analysis had not been produced by the many well resourced Institutes in the United States," wrote Plesch in an email to Raw Story on Tuesday.

Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.
Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact.

US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.

US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.

Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.

Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.

Israel is determined to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons yet has the conventional military capability only to wound Iran’s WMD programmes.

The attitude of the UK is uncertain, with the Brown government and public opinion opposed psychologically to more war, yet, were Brown to support an attack he would probably carry a vote in Parliament. The UK is adamant that Iran must not acquire the bomb.

The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.
When asked why the paper seems to indicate a certainty of Iranian WMD, Plesch made clear that "our paper is not, repeat not, about what Iran actually has or not." Yet, he added that "Iran certainly has missiles and probably some chemical capability."

Most significantly, Plesch and Butcher dispute conventional wisdom that any US attack on Iran would be confined to its nuclear sites. Instead, they foresee a "full-spectrum approach," designed to either instigate an overthrow of the government or reduce Iran to the status of "a weak or failed state." Although they acknowledge potential risks and impediments that might deter the Bush administration from carrying out such a massive attack, they also emphasize that the administration's National Security Strategy includes as a major goal the elimination of Iran as a regional power. They suggest, therefore, that:

This wider form of air attack would be the most likely to delay the Iranian nuclear program for a sufficiently long period of time to meet the administration’s current counterproliferation goals. It would also be consistent with the possible goal of employing military action is to overthrow the current Iranian government, since it would severely degrade the capability of the Iranian military (in particular revolutionary guards units and other ultra-loyalists) to keep armed opposition and separatist movements under control. It would also achieve the US objective of neutralizing Iran as a power in the region for many years to come.

However, it is the option that contains the greatest risk of increased global tension and hatred of the United States. The US would have few, if any allies for such a mission beyond Israel (and possibly the UK). Once undertaken, the imperatives for success would be enormous.
Butcher says he does not believe the US would use nuclear weapons, with some exceptions.

"My opinion is that [nuclear weapons] wouldn't be used unless there was definite evidence that Iran has them too or is about to acquire them in a matter of days/weeks," notes Butcher. "However, the Natanz facility has been so hardened that to destroy it MAY require nuclear weapons, and once an attack had started it may simply be a matter of following military logic and doctrine to full extent, which would call for the use of nukes if all other means failed."

Military Strategy

The bulk of the paper is devoted to a detailed analysis of specific military strategies for such an attack, of ongoing attempts to destabilize Iran by inciting its ethnic minorities, and of the considerations surrounding the possible employment of nuclear weapons.

In particular, Plesch and Butcher examine what is known as Global Strike – the capability to project military power from the United States to anywhere in the world, which was announced by STRATCOM as having initial operational capability in December 2005. It is the that capacity that could provide strategic bombers and missiles to devastate Iran on just a few hours notice.

Iran has a weak air force and anti aircraft capability, almost all of it is 20-30 years old and it lacks modern integrated communications. Not only will these forces be rapidly destroyed by US air power, but Iranian ground and air forces will have to fight without protection from air attack.

British military sources stated on condition of anonymity, that "the US military switched its whole focus to Iran" from March 2003. It continued this focus even though it had infantry bogged down in fighting the insurgency in Iraq.
Global Strike could be combined with already-existing "regional operational plans for limited war with Iran, such as Oplan 1002-04, for an attack on the western province of Kuzhestan, or Oplan 1019 which deals with preventing Iran from closing the Straits of Hormuz, and therefore keeping open oil lanes vital to the US economy."

The Marines are not all tied down fighting in Iraq. Several Marine forces are assembling in the Gulf, each with its own aircraft carrier. These carrier forces can each conduct a version of the D-Day landings. They come with landing craft, tanks, jump-jets, thousands of troops and hundreds more cruise missiles. Their task is to destroy Iranian forces able to attack oil tankers and to secure oilfields and installations. They have trained for this mission since the Iranian revolution of 1979 as is indicated in this battle map of Hormuz illustrating an advert for combat training software.
Special Forces units – which are believed to already be operating within Iran – would be available to carry out search-and-destroy missions and incite internal uprisings, while US Army units in both Iraq and Afghanistan could mount air and missile attacks on Iranian forces, which are heavily concentrated along the Iran-Iraq border, as well as protecting their own supply lines within Iraq:

A key assessment in any war with Iran concerns Basra province and the Kuwait border. It is likely that Iran and its sympathizers could take control of population centres and interrupt oil supplies, if it was in their interest to do so. However it is unlikely that they could make any sustained effort against Kuwait or interrupt supply lines north from Kuwait to central Iraq. US firepower is simply too great for any Iranian conventional force.
Experts question the report's conclusions

Former CIA analyst and Deputy Director for Transportation Security, Antiterrorism Assistance Training, and Special Operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism, Larry Johnson, does not agree with the report’s findings.

"The report seems to accept without question that US air force and navy bombers could effectively destroy Iran and they seem to ignore the fact that US use of air power in Iraq has failed to destroy all major military, political, economic and transport capabilities," said Johnson late Monday after the embargo on the study had been lifted.

"But at least in their conclusions they still acknowledge that Iran, if attacked, would be able to retaliate. Yet they are vague in terms of detailing the extent of the damage that the Iran is capable of inflicting on the US and fairly assessing what those risks are."

There is also the situation of US soldiers in Iraq and the supply routes that would have to be protected to ensure that US forces had what they needed. Plesch explains that “"firepower is an effective means of securing supply routes during conventional war and in conventional war a higher loss rate is expected."

"However as we say do not assume that the Iraqi Shiia will rally to Tehran – the quietist Shiia tradition favoured by Sistani may regard itself as justified if imploding Iranian power can be argued to reduce US problems in Iraq, not increase them."

John Pike, Director of Global Security, a Washington-based military, intelligence, and security clearinghouse, says that the question of Iraq is the one issue at the center of any questions regarding Iran.

"The situation in Iraq is a wild card, though it may be presumed that Iran would mount attacks on the US at some remove, rather than upsetting the apple-cart in its own front yard," wrote Pike in an email.

Political Considerations

Plesch and Butcher write with concern about the political context within the United States:

This debate is bleeding over into the 2008 Presidential election, with evidence mounting that despite the public unpopularity of the war in Iraq, Iran is emerging as an issue over which Presidential candidates in both major American parties can show their strong national security bona fides. ...

The debate on how to deal with Iran is thus occurring in a political context in the US that is hard for those in Europe or the Middle East to understand. A context that may seem to some to be divorced from reality, but with the US ability to project military power across the globe, the reality of Washington DC is one that matters perhaps above all else. ...

We should not underestimate the Bush administration's ability to convince itself that an "Iran of the regions" will emerge from a post-rubble Iran. So, do not be in the least surprised if the United States attacks Iran. Timing is an open question, but it is hard to find convincing arguments that war will be avoided, or at least ones that are convincing in Washington.
Plesch and Butcher are also interested in the attitudes of the current UK government, which has carefully avoided revealing what its position might be in the case of an attack. They point out, however, "One key caution is that regardless of the realities of Iran’s programme, the British public and elite may simply refuse to participate – almost out of bloody minded revenge for the Iraq deceit."

And they conclude that even "if the attack is 'successful' and the US reasserts its global military dominance and reduces Iran to the status of an oil-rich failed state, then the risks to humanity in general and to the states of the Middle East are grave indeed."

Larisa Alexandrovna is managing editor of investigative news for Raw Story and regularly reports on intelligence and national security stories. Contact:

Muriel Kane is research director for Raw Story.

Middle East Peace Process by Clare Short

Middle East Peace Process
Clare Short, Birmingham, Ladywood

26th June 2007

at Westminster Hall

I tabled this debate because I visited recently the Palestinian occupied territories with a
delegation organised by War on Want. It consisted of War on Want
staff, myself, and Rodney Bickerstaffe, the former general secretary
of Unison. I am grateful for the opportunity to report on our
findings, and I hope that the Minister will take account of them.

I have previously visited the west bank and Gaza on a number occasions
in the late 1980s and early 1990s, at the time of the first intifada—a
Palestinian uprising involving peaceful disobedience or, at worst,
children throwing stones at soldiers. Despite the injuries inflicted
on children by the Israeli army, the intifada was full of hope, and it
led to the negotiation of the Oslo peace accord and the return of
Yasser Arafat to Palestine. I was hopeful at that time that a
two-state peace—Israel and Palestine—was possible, that the new
Palestinian state would be based on 1967 boundaries with East
Jerusalem as its capital, and that there would be a negotiated
settlement on Palestinian right of return. Those are the three
essential components of a negotiated peace. I was hopeful; but it is
now impossible to believe that there will be such a peace. Instead, I
fear that unless we change policy, we face the prospect of years and
possibly decades of bloodshed and conflict.

I have followed developments in the middle east carefully over many
years, and I was well aware before my recent visit how bad things are
for the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, I was deeply shocked by
Israel's blatant, brutal and systematic annexation of land, demolition
of Palestinian homes, and deliberate creation of an apartheid system
by which the Palestinians are enclosed in four bantustans, surrounded
by a wall, with massive checkpoints that control all Palestinian
movements in and out of the ghettos.

The Israelis are clearly and systematically attempting to take the
maximum amount of land with the minimum number of Palestinians. As
things stand, Israel has taken 85 per cent. of historical Palestine,
leaving the remaining 15 per cent. for Palestinian ghettos. More
shocking than that is that the international community, including the
UK and the EU, does nothing to require Israel to abide by
international law, despite all the claims made about European support
for human rights and international law.

During its visit, the delegation spent a day with the UN Office for
the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which is the agency
responsible for humanitarian emergencies. It briefed us on the way in
which the wall, the closures, the settlements and the separate system
of settler roads were imprisoning the Palestinians. It published a map
in the Financial Times to mark the 40th anniversary of the occupation,
which is available for all to see.

The delegation spent the second day of its visit with the Israeli
Committee Against House Demolitions, an organisation that I greatly
admire. The committee took us on a tour of East Jerusalem and showed
us how the combination of formal and informal settlements, and
systematic house demolition, was encircling East Jerusalem and how
that constrained, displaced and ethnically cleansed the Palestinian
population. When we were with ICAHD, we witnessed a house demolition.
A massive machine with "Volvo" emblazoned on its side destroyed a
substantial house that was built by a Palestinian family on their own
land and in territory that belongs to the Palestinians under
international law—formally, it is occupied territory.

Women relatives of the occupants quietly wept at the side of the road.
Later, a young man was held back by his friends—he wanted to throw
himself at the soldiers who were protecting the demolition, to do
something about the destruction of his family home. The representative
of ICAHD, a young Israeli, said that the demolition was, of course, a
war crime. The point about that is that under the Geneva convention,
an occupying power is not entitled to impose new laws or to settle in
occupied territory. Houses are being demolished because Palestinians
do not have permits to build, even on their own land. However, Israel
is not entitled to introduce such a permit system. It never gives a
permit to build a house, or after a house has been built. When
Palestinian families expand, they must live somewhere, but Israel will
never issue a permit because of its determination to drive
Palestinians out of East Jerusalem.

According to ICAHD, Israel has demolished 18,000 Palestinian homes in
the way I described since 1967. Each demolition was a war crime. More
shocking than that is the fact that no action is taken to force Israel
to adhere to international law. Later, the delegation visited a family
whose house had been demolished and rebuilt by volunteers from
ICAHD—Israelis and Palestinians worked together to rebuild a home for
a Palestinian family. ICAHD is committed to acts of peaceful civil
disobedience in order that international law is upheld. The family
said how grateful they were to once again have a home. A Palestinian
who works for ICAHD said that his house had been demolished four
times. He said that most Palestinian homes in Jerusalem were subject
to demolition orders, so everyone lives with the fear and insecurity
that when they arrive home, they might find that their home has been
destroyed. He said that when the Israelis arrive to demolish a
person's house, they give them 15 minutes in which to collect their
family and belongings.

Normally, people refuse to co-operate. The ICAHD worker told me that
in such a situation, the demolition people use tear gas. He told me
that he stood there, with his wife fainting and his children crying
while their property was being thrown out of their house on to the
ground. He said that it made him feel like a useless man who could not
even protect his family in their home, and that three possible courses
of action passed through his mind. First, full of hate and anger, he
thought about obtaining a suicide vest and destroying his own life and
that of others. Secondly, he thought about whether he could get out of
Palestine and Jerusalem, being unable to bear the pressure being put
on him and his family, but that would be to co-operate in the
ethnic-cleansing that he opposed. Thirdly—he said that this kept him
sane—he said he thought about working for ICAHD to rebuild the
demolished homes in peaceful civil disobedience.

I understand that ICAHD has given a pledge to rebuild all the
demolished homes in this, the 40th year of the occupation, and
that—poignantly—an American holocaust survivor is funding the work. I
hope that all people of good will will support ICAHD financially and
politically in that endeavour. Importantly, the organisation brings
radical Israelis and Palestinians together and creates a space for
hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.

The delegation's third day was hosted by the Grassroots Palestinian
Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, which is War on Want's partner in
Palestine. We were briefed about how the closures have destroyed the
Palestinian economy—that has subsequently been underlined by a World
Bank report—and also how more and more Palestinians are forced to work
for the Israeli settlements to produce agricultural products and other
goods that are exported largely to the European market, to which trade
agreements give Israel privileged access. Illegal settlements using
Palestinians as cheap labour is another element of the new apartheid
system in which the EU and the UK fully collude.

The delegation went to visit the Jordan valley with a representative
of the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. The
situation there is truly terrible. All fertile land near the river has
been confiscated by Israel, supposedly for security purposes under the
Oslo peace accords. In the remaining territory, there are occasionally
settlements, some of only one person, which lead to Palestinian
families being removed from their land for security reasons. There are
acres of plastic greenhouses that are organised and worked by settlers
and which are strategically located over water sources. They grow
organic herbs and other agricultural produce for the European market
and yet, when we visited a totally impoverished nearby Palestinian
village, we found that there was no school and, that day, no water—the
one tap in the village gave no water. The impoverished Palestinians
must buy water by the bucket from the settlers.

We visited farming families whose relatives had lived on the land in
the Jordan valley for generations to grow crops, herd sheep and goats,
and to make cheese. They were being threatened and moved constantly as
new settlements of only one or a few people brought in the army, which
claimed that they had to move for security reasons. We stopped to talk
to another family who had a compound at the side of the road. A house
bought for their son and his family on their own land had been
demolished, and their aubergine crop was rotting in a heap in front of
the house because they could not get it to market.

There is terrible poverty and abuse of human rights in the Jordan
valley. The people there are being grossly neglected. I appeal to the
Minister, the Department for International Development and all the
humanitarian and non-governmental organisations to do more in the
Jordan valley—it is in a terrible situation, and more could be done to
bring instant relief.

My conclusion is pessimistic, and the prospect of a two-state solution
is being destroyed. Instead, we are allowing a new, brutal apartheid
regime to be created with the Palestinians being confined to ghettoes
and used as cheap labour by the settlers. The Hamas takeover in Gaza
is not the cause of the problem, but the consequence of it. The
refusal of the UK and the EU to provide aid to the Palestinian
Authority following the Hamas election victory has helped to create
the problem. The arming of Fatah by US and Israeli forces to enable it
to fight Hamas in Gaza made the takeover inevitable. Now it seems that
efforts are to be made to offer money and inducements to President
Abbas to accept the monstrous ghettoes as the promised Palestinian
state. As Uri Avnery, the great Israeli peace campaigner, said, they
want him to act as a quisling, and that will not bring peace.

In conclusion, the situation in the Palestinian territories is deeply
distressing and depressing, and the Government and the EU are
colluding in that oppression and the building of a new apartheid
regime. In particular, Israel has privileged access to the EU market
under a trade treaty that, like all EU trade treaties, contains human
rights conditions. I hope that the Minister will explain why those
conditions are not invoked to insist on Israeli compliance with
international law. That is a big lever, and Israel would be frightened
of losing access to the EU market. I wish that we would make use of
that for everyone's benefit.

I fear continuing bloodshed and suffering, and further destabilisation
of the middle east. The situation in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian
territories is fuelling the anger of the Muslim world, which is acting
as a recruiting sergeant for the ugly ideology of Osama bin Laden and
those who advocate similar ideas.

It is in the interests of the people of Israel, the Palestinians and
the wider middle east that there should be a two-state solution to
bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that possibility
is being thrown away by Israel, which is determined constantly to
expand its borders in total breach of international law. The UK and
the EU are, sadly, colluding in that, and the consequences are causing
terrible suffering, and endangering the future. I truly hope that our
new Prime Minister will reconsider that policy, and that the
Opposition parties will reconsider and bring pressure to bear to bring
the situation back from the brink and to ensure that the centrepiece
of UK policy is a just peace and Israeli compliance with international

The Minister for the Middle East (Dr. Kim Howells): I thank the right
hon. Lady for initiating this debate and for her comments. I also
thank her for her eye-witness account of the illegal activities of the
Israeli defence forces and others in demolishing houses along the
route of the wall, the barrier or fence, where it incorporates
Palestinian land illegally. I agree entirely with the right hon. Lady
that that not only breaks international law but generates huge
resentment, not just in Palestine but throughout the region. We have
constantly urged the Israelis not to do that, and it is ironic that
lawyers in Israel have given Palestinians their redress only about the
route of the wall. Sometimes that route has been altered as a
consequence of legal action that Palestinians have taken, especially
in and around Jerusalem.

The right hon. Lady's point about generating sympathy for Osama bin
Laden and al-Qaeda is prescient, and we ignore such warnings at our
peril. I take her message about the Jordan valley needing the
attention of the Department for International Development. I, too, was
shocked when I saw the extent to which so much of the Palestinian
economy on the west bank has collapsed. I shall come to Gaza in a

This is one of those times in history when, from an appalling tragedy
of Palestinians killing Palestinians in Gaza, one hopes that the
Israelis and everyone else will take a real step forward, remove the
barriers on the west bank, and allow people to trade properly. The
right hon. Lady referred to a crop of aubergines that were rotting in
the field, and we have heard such stories so many times.

I understand, as I am sure can everyone, why Israel has built
barriers, and I know why it has built the wall. On my last visit but
one, I went to see some old lefties—I do not know how to describe
them—in a kibbutz up on the old Jerusalem road. Very reluctantly, they
told me that life had become easier since the barrier was built
because they were not worried about their kids going out, as suicide
bombers were finding it much harder to come in from Nablus and other
towns. I tried to argue then, and I argue now, that they will find
ways of getting in and killing innocent citizens, because resentment
will continue to build up unless the core issue is tackled.

Clare Short: I simply want to say that, ugly and regrettable as the
wall is, if it were on the 1967 boundary it would be one thing, but it
is taking great swathes of Palestinian land and dividing communities
from their land. That was found to be illegal by the International
Court of Justice, and there is no excuse for it.

Dr. Howells: The right hon. Lady is absolutely correct. I was quite
shocked even to discuss with Labour Ministers in Israel some time ago
their unwillingness to build tunnels, for example, to join cantons
together. It is hard to believe that a viable state, albeit small,
could emerge from such a geographical configuration. It is difficult
to see how it could work. We must keep pressing the Israelis.

I do not agree with the right hon. Lady about sanctions—she did not
refer to sanctions, but I have heard people talk about them. She
referred to withdrawal of the preferential trade agreement with the
EU. It is a fair subject for debate, although I am sceptical about
making such moves, but that is my subjective assessment. It is a
subject that should be discussed, and it is widely discussed
throughout Europe. I tend to feel that there is already so much
tension and there are so many difficulties that I am not sure that
that would advance the cause of peace.

If the right hon. Lady will allow me, I shall say something about
Gaza, because we share her deep concern about what has happened there.
It is a tragedy, and it underlines the urgent need to maintain
international engagement and the current political processes.

We are also concerned, as is the right hon. Lady, about the welfare of
Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist, whose family must be going through
the most dreadful time. We condemn the release of the latest video,
which can only add further distress to his family and friends. We urge
his captors, as I know does the right hon. Lady, to release him
immediately. There should be a general release of captives on both
sides— Corporal Shalit, the soldiers who were kidnapped by Hezbollah,
the councillors and elected parliamentary representatives of the
Palestinian people. Now is the time to make such moves, and I hope
that after the disaster in Gaza there will be a sense that this
historic opportunity should not be missed, and that misery should not
be heaped on the existing misery.

I also extend our thanks to the Egyptian Government for initiating the
meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday between President Mubarak and
King Abdullah of Jordan, whom I had the privilege of speaking with
just last week. He brought to the situation a sharp series of
observations, which the right hon. Lady complemented today, and he
understands the gravity of the situation. If the west bank
statelet—that group of cantons—fails, one wonders where the conflict
will spread to next. Jordan, with its huge Palestinian population,
would be in grave danger, and King Abdullah is well aware of that. He
was at Sharm el-Sheikh, as were Prime Minister Olmert and President

We welcome Prime Minister Olmert's statement that he will work, with
President Abbas as a true partner, towards the establishment of a
two-state solution and the implementation of the road map. There are
some positive aspects, but I agree with the right hon. Lady that it is
a pretty bleak picture. It is as bleak as I can ever remember it, but
the decision by Prime Minister Olmert to transfer the withheld
revenues is probably a positive step forward, and we look forward to
the implementation of the commitments to increase freedom of movement
and expand trade connections in the west bank. Such actions are not
rocket science; they can easily be done and they could make a big
difference, if only to that family about whom the right hon. Lady
spoke, with their crop of aubergines.

Such actions are vital to the Palestinian people, and they have helped
to improve the humanitarian and economic situation, which is critical.
We welcome Prime Minister Olmert's pledge to ensure the continued
supply of humanitarian aid to Gaza. As the right hon. Lady knows, we
have earmarked funding for that project. It does not address the
central issue that she has raised today, but there is an immediate
humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which the international community must
address. It is important that the international community works
together to help all Palestinian people.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad's Government have our full
support, and we share their aim of restoring security and improving
the economic and humanitarian situation. We continue to work with all
people, including President Abbas, who are dedicated to a peaceful
resolution of the conflict.

The right hon. Lady did not mention this point, because time is always
limited in such debates, but President Abbas, among others, has said
that there ought to be an international peacekeeping force in Gaza
certainly, if not on the west bank. I can see the right hon. Lady
shaking her head, and one cannot imagine who would donate the troops
to such a force. They would have to fight their way in, there would be
bloodshed and mayhem on a huge scale, and quite frankly, I cannot see
the idea coming off.

To reinforce what the right hon. Lady said, we must understand the
gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, address it and at the same
time, urge Israel as
hard as we possibly can to think again about its policy of
incorporating Palestinian villages and land within the confines of
that wall. As she said, the Israelis have a perfect right to defend
themselves, and if they want to build a wall, it is up to them, but it
ought to be along the agreed frontier—such as it is—that was defined
in 1967. It ought not to encroach on Palestinian territory.

It is important that we receive such reports in the House. In so many
ways, that is what such debates are for—so that we are reminded
constantly of the reality of what can sometimes look like great,
strategic trends and events on the world stage. However, for the
family whom the right hon. Lady described so vividly, the reality is
that their lives have been shattered. Many other families' lives have
been, too. I have always considered myself to be a friend of the
Palestinian people and the Israeli people. I was brought up in a home
in which the dreams of everybody who was interested in the subject
were about people living alongside each other peacefully, not even in
separate states.

I shall not apportion blame; I have been around too long for that. I
have seen the successive invasions of Israel, and what the Israelis
have done in an attempt to head off what they perceive as threats to
the Israeli heartland, which has usually meant extending territory. My
message to the Israelis is simple; if they are to live in peace side
by side with their neighbours, the Israelis must help them become
viable states with economies that can live in a competitive world.
They need the education, skills, infrastructure and wherewithal to do
all that, but most important, they need the self-respect and dignity
that we enjoy as members of sovereign states.

Clare Short: May I press the Minister to reconsider his view on
Israeli access to the EU market? If we invoked the human rights
conditionality in that treaty, we would have a lever with which to
press Israel to do what he calls for. Does not our failure to use that
leverage mean that we are colluding in the breach of international
law? Will he reconsider his position on that point?

Dr. Howells: I certainly do not believe that we are colluding in any
shape or form. I was going to come to that point, but with respect to
the right hon. Lady, "colluding" is certainly the wrong word to use. I
know that she chose that word very carefully, but I do not think that
it is the right one. I can speak only subjectively from my meeting
with other European Ministers. She, too, met her counterparts from the
EU and other nations many times. There is at one extreme a sense of
hopelessness, which she also described today in a very grim analysis
of the situation. I am at the other extreme. I keep telling myself
that we have material to work with, and that it is a very small part
of the world. What is Gaza? Ten miles wide, and at the most, 35 to 40
miles long. It has a wonderful beach on the Mediterranean, and I
remember vividly the first time I ever walked on it, thinking, "Why is
this a poor part of the world? Why haven't people here got any jobs?"
It seemed mad to me.

The right hon. Lady expressed the hope that my right hon. Friend the
new Prime Minister would take the issue by the scruff of the neck and
try to do something with it. She knows that he has been very
interested for a very long time in trying to work with the Israelis
and the Arab countries in the area to do something about that economy
and that infrastructure. I disagree with her about the effect of that
general sense of good will towards Israel and Palestine—the desire
throughout Europe that there should be a good outcome, and peace and
prosperity in the future. In the end, we disagree about whether
applying a screw to the Israelis on the question of human rights
compliance would achieve a great deal.

We should at every possible opportunity engage the Israelis on human
rights and on compliance with their undertakings, which, as a
consequence, enable them to enjoy access to the European market. We
should talk to them about that, but I have a feeling that there are
already far too many strictures on all sides to add another one. It
would just create more tension, and we should try to build on what we
have, aim for the high ground and figure out how we can get there by
engaging with both sides.


DEMOCRATS ABROAD );;;;;;;;;;;;;;;



Samantha Timmerman


Meredith Wheeler


Susan Vaillant


Chair Joe Smallhoover
Vice-Chair Connie Borde
Vice-Chair Anna Marie Mattson
Tom O’Neill
Secretary Katharine Chassaing

Counsel Meredith Gowan Le Goff
Voter Registration Louise Meyers
Young Dems George Shanztek
Press Coordinator Anna Marie Mattson


Country Officers

Chair - Anthony Sistilli

Vice Chair - Jo-Ann White

Secretary - Maria Lassila

Treasurer - Randall Abney

Counsel - Peter Alegi

Chapter Chairs

Rome Chair - Lisa Finerty

Milan Chair - Maria Lassila

Bologna Chair - Liz Kaplan

Florence Chair - Jo-Ann White







DA Germany Officers

Vice Chair: Susan Haug
Secretary: Shari Temple
Treasurer: Ron Schlundt
Council: Andy Hoffman

Berlin Chair: Michael Steltzer
Frankfurt Chair: Beverly Seebach
Goettingen Chair: Ben Sandidge
Heidelberg Chair: Charles Keene
Kaiserslautern Chair: Sudie Nolan-Cassimatis
Munich Chair: Randy Caldwell
Stuttgart: Dennis O'Donohue