Saturday, August 05, 2006

Update on US/Israeli Aggression & Worldwide Resistance

PANW Editor's Note: Over 2,000 people marched through downtown Detroit today in solidarity with the peoples of Lebanon and Palestine against Israeli military aggression. The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) organized the demonstration with the support of the Lebanese and Palestinian communities of metro Detroit.

The event was held in conjunction with the National Days of Action Against Israeli Aggression, Aug. 4-6, where demonstrations are being held in dozens of cities throughout the United States and the world.

Speakers at the Detroit demonstration included: Hassan Newash of the Michigan Palestine Office; Jerry Goldberg of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice; Elena Herrada of the Latinos United; Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire; Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality; Ignacio Meneses of the Justice for Cuba Coalition; Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization; Rev. Edwin Rowe, Pastor of the Central United Methodist Church among others.

The march began at the Windsor/Detroit tunnel entrance on East Jefferson and Randolph and continued down Woodward ave. People chanted slogans calling for an immediate ceasefire and for the defense of the Lebanese and Palestinian people. The march concluded at Grand Circus Park where a rally was held.

This demonstration was the first one held outside the Arab-American community within Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit. MECAWI organizers felt it was important to hold a march through downtown Detroit to illustrate the widespread sympathy in the region for the halt to Israeli aggression, the liberation of Palestine and the sovereignty of Lebanon.

For more information log onto the MECAWI website at:

Dozens killed in Israeli air raids

Friday 04 August 2006 3:38 PM GMT

Israel also bombed four bridges that connect Beirut to the north

Israeli air raids have killed more than 40 people in Lebanon while two Hezbollah rockets have struck 80km into Israeli territory, the deepest attacks since fighting began.

In the deadliest attack on Friday, 33 people were killed and 20 injured when an Israeli strike hit a farm near Qaa, close to the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley where workers, mostly Syrian Kurds, were loading plums and peaches onto trucks.

Television footage showed bodies of what appeared to be farm workers lined up near the ruins of a small structure in fruit groves. Strewn nearby were fruit baskets.

Mohammad Rashed, one of the wounded, said: "I was picking peaches when three bombs hit. Others were having lunch and they were torn to pieces."

Syria's official news agency said 17 of the dead were Syrian workers, five of them women.

A spokesman for the Israeli army said the strikes had targeted two buildings that military intelligence showed were used by Hezbollah to store weapons transported from Syria.


Meanwhile, police said more than 200 rockets landed in Israel on Friday with three people killed by one barrage, raising the number of civilians killed by rocket fire to 30 since the offensive began.

Two rockets landed near the city of Hadera, 80km from the Lebanese border. No casualties were reported but the strikes are the deepest attacks into northern Israel yet.

Hezbollah's leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, had threatened to fire longer-range missiles into Israel at the city of Tel Aviv, located 130km from Lebanon, if the Israeli army attacked deeper areas in Lebanon.

Hezbollah fighters also killed three Israeli soldiers on Friday in heavy fighting in southern Lebanon. The Israeli army has launched several incursions there in what it says is a bid to push the armed group further north and stop its rocket strikes.

An army spokesman said Israeli forces hit at least seven Hezbollah fighters during the battle in the Lebanese town of Markaba. Israeli media said the seven had been killed.

Israel also bombed bridges and other targets in the north and south of the country on Friday.

Outbreak fear

Israeli bombardment of a house in the frontline Taibeh village in south Lebanon killed seven civilians and wounded 10, a Lebanese security source said.

Warplanes struck four bridges along Lebanon's coastal highway that connects the capital with the north of the country, destroying the main bridge near the Casino du Liban in the Christian port of Juniyeh, as well as two others along the same road.

At least five people were killed in the strikes and more than 10 injured, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.

The bridges were practically the only useable roads leading out of the country after Israel's bombardment of roads to border crossing points east of the country and relief agencies warned their destruction would make the distribution of food and medical supplies much harder.

"It's really a major setback because we used this highway to move staff and supplies into the country," said Astrid van Genderen Stort of the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.

"If we don't have new material coming in, we will basically be paralysed."

The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) said that south Lebanon faced dire drinking water and fuel shortages which threatened the outbreak of epidemics if Israel continued bombarding the country.

"The situation is getting desperate. If shortages continue we may be witnessing outbreaks," Paul Sherlock, a Unicef adviser, said on Friday.

Egypt meeting

On the diplomatic front, the US and France inched closer to a deal on a UN resolution calling for an end to the fighting.

"There are still some issues that we have not resolved, but I think we have come a little bit closer this morning. We will keep working on it," John Bolton, the American ambassador said.

Arab foreign ministers are planning to hold an emergency meeting in Beirut on Monday to press for a ceasefire, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Friday.

Arab nations have repeatedly called for a ceasefire since hostilities began last month. However, Israel and the US have so far resisted, saying they want a more long-term agreement for the future of Lebanon.

You can find this article at:

Cuban interview with Iranian Vice Foreign Minister

August 3, 2006

Israel and US Want to Totally Americanize the Middle East
Interview with Iranian Vice Foreign Minister Manucher Motaki
by Elson Conception Perez

The timing was perfect. Granma was interviewing Manucher Motaki, vice minister of Foreign Relations of Iran, the same day that the UN Security Council was passing a resolution demanding that Teheran stop production of enriched uranium, a vital element for the development of its peaceful nuclear energy program.

What will Iran do now?

Besides being illegal, the resolution is not practical. It is just more pressure that the US and its European allies want to exert on us, to keep Iran from exercising its legitimate right to access a technology that is necessary for its peaceful nuclear program.

It is a big mistake by the United States and the European countries, since the latter had come up with a package of proposals that Iran was studying. With this UN Resolution we feel discouraged to give an answer to those proposals.

Moreover, the current aggression against Palestine and Lebanon forces us to be very cautious and prudent in the revision of those proposals.

In any case, we have said that on August 22 we will answer those proposals.

While the UN Security Council has approved a resolution against Iran, it has been unable to come up with a statement on the Israeli aggression on Lebanon and Gaza. What is your opinion on this supposed UN mechanism for peace?

Unfortunately, the UN Security Council has become a council of
insecurity, only willing to act according to the interests of the United States and the West. That is why, while it punishes Iran for its peaceful programs, it is unable to condemn Israel for its crimes.

It is a place where the big powers do whatever they feel like.

While people are being massacred in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq and the UN cannot do anything about it, it comes up with a resolution against Iran.

This is a real setback for the institution, for the level and the status that the UN and the Security Council should have onto public opinion and the international community.

Do you believe that the massacres in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon could be part of a larger US scheme that might include Syria and Iran?

The fact is that Americans and Israelis are very angry and worrie about the awakening of the peoples of the region, the Syrian people, the peoples of Iran, Lebanon and others.

They want to turn this region into a totally Americanized Middle East. That is the overall goal.

If they have launched attacks against Afghanistan and Iraq, and they are now doing the same against Palestine and Lebanon, it is because they want to achieve their master plan for the Middle East in order to control the abundant resources available in the area.

From the arrogant US perspective, no people's resistance is
justified. But it is very interesting that for every step they take in their aggression, more obstacles are laid on their path and it is well known that they are doomed to failure.

The Muslim peoples in the Middle East, like the peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean, have awakened and are resisting. They do not want to remain under the boot of the arrogant.

They US attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, and now those countries have become graveyards for the aggressors. In Lebanon no other fate awaits them.

If they want to make the same mistake regarding Syria and Iran, I can assure you they will then need a huge cemetery for their soldiers and hegemonic plans.

Venezuela pulls out Israel ambassador

Friday 04 August 2006 12:34 AM GMT

Chavez expressed his 'indignation' at Israel's offensive in Lebanon

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said he had recalled his country's ambassador to Israel to show his "indignation" over the military offensive in Lebanon.

In a televised speech on Thursday, he called the Israeli attacks "genocide".

He said: "It really causes indignation to see how the state of Israel continues bombing, killing ... with all of the power they have, with the support of the United States."

Chavez has repeatedly criticised the Israeli offensive.

He said: "It's hard to explain to oneself how nobody does anything to stop this horror."

His government has until recently said it had good relations with Israel.

During a recent visit to Iran, Chavez called Israeli attacks on Lebanon a "fascist outrage".

He said: "The Israeli elite repeatedly criticise Hitler's actions against the Jews, and indeed Hitler's actions must be criticised, not just against the Jews but against the world. It's also fascism what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people ... terrorism and fascism."

Venezuela has both Arab immigrant and Jewish communities and Venezuelan officials have insisted that the government will continue to fully respect the Jewish community despite its strong opposition to Israel's war in Lebanon.

You can find this article at:

Israel kills three in Gaza air raids

Friday 04 August 2006 4:58 AM GMT

Over 160 Palestinians have been killed since June 25

Three Palestinians, including a brother and sister, have been killed by the latest Israeli air raids in the Gaza Strip.

Medics said missiles hit the front of a house in the town of Rafah early on Saturday

A 16-year-old girl, Kifah Natour, and her brother Amar, 15, were killed by the blast, according to Dr Ali Musa, the director of the local hospital.

Two children were among five civilians wounded in the attack.

The strikes came as Israeli troops moved closer to a refugee camp in the Rafah area.

An Israeli army spokesman denied the attack, saying the only strikes the military had carried out in Gaza close to the time of the attack took place about 2km away from Rafah, in which two groups of Palestinian fighters were targeted.

Ground incursion

Another Israeli air strike in Rafah killed a fighter from the Islamic Jihad group, Palestinian medics said. The Israeli army confirmed the second attack.

Israeli forces moved into the Rafah area on Thursday to destroy what the army called "terrorist infrastructure" as part of a wider offensive against fighters, launched after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was seized in a cross-border raid on June 25.

The kidnapping of Shalit sparked a fierce Israeli offensive in the Palestinian territory which has killed at least 162 people.

In public Israel has rejected the Palestinian demands for a prisoner exchange but on Friday the Lebanese Arabic daily Al-Nahar reported that Egypt was mediating a deal between the two sides.

Al-Nahar said the Israeli soldier might be released in return for freeing Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.

Further deaths

"Israel has accepted the principle of a prisoner exchange," Al-Nahar quoted a member of Hamas' politburo in Damascus, Mohammed Nazal, as saying.

"The groups that kidnapped the Israeli soldier are asking that 1,000 Arab and Palestinian prisoners be released but differences remain as to this number and the names [of the inmates]," Nazal said.

Medics and witnesses said two Palestinian men were killed and another was wounded when a tank shell landed near a house in Rafah shortly after daybreak on Friday.

A Hamas fighter was also killed on Friday in a separate Israeli air raid, medics said.

Troops backed by armoured vehicles have since taken over a 3-5 km area, carried out house-to-house searches and destroyed greenhouses and chicken farms.

Twelve people have been detained in the incursion since Thursday.

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Iraq's Shia in 'million man march'

Thursday 03 August 2006 12:18 PM GMT

Al-Sadr's call is being heeded

Shias from southern and central Iraq have begun travelling to Baghdad in answer to Muqtada al-Sadr's call for a "million man march" in support of Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Waving Iraqi flags and chanting "Death to America! Death to Israel", the demonstrators mounted convoys of buses and headed for the capital on Thursday, some of them wearing white shrouds symbolising their readiness to accept martyrdom.

The demonstration is to be held following Friday prayers in the teeming Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, home to some two million people, and comes at a tense time for the capital.

Sahib al-Ameri, general director of the Foundation for God's Martyrs, part of Sadr's movement said: "Thousands of Najaf people have set off for Baghdad as a response to Moqtada al-Sadr's invitation to take part."

Anger over Israeli attacks on Lebanon - which target Hezbollah but have caused widespread civilian casualties - has raised passions in Iraq, where Shia militias have an uneasy relationship with the US-backed government.

US forces have visibly tightened security around Sadr City, a working class Shia district where Sadr's supporters are openly armed.

"Fifteen-hundred of Sadr's followers from Basra have arrived to take part in the demonstration that had been called in Baghdad," said Sadr spokesman Akil al-Bahadli.

Blast kills 9

Meanwhile, a roadside blast has killed at least nine people in al-Amin, an eastern district of Baghdad, a police source says.

The powerful blast, which also left 14 wounded, hit Shorjah market in an area selling electrical appliances, sending a dirty plume of yellow dust up over the city skyline.

The attack near Rusafi Square in the shopping area of Rashid Street apparently targeted vendors and commercial stalls, said police Lt Ahmed Mohammed Ali.

He said the bomb was hidden in a parked motorcycle.

Another police source said casualties appeared to be civilians, rather than members of the security forces.

The attack occurred as Taro Aso, the Japanese foreign minister, was visiting Baghdad.

Violence in Iraq's capital and other restive areas is claiming around 100 lives every day.

Thursday's attack followed a bomb blast in Baghdad on Wednesday evening next to a soccer pitch which killed 12 and wounded 13, most of whom were players and spectators.

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