Tariq Ramadan, "The US blacklisted me. Lets talk.": Living in a democratic society that grants an individual's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the cherished privilege and pride of Western citizenry and the dream longed for by the rest of the world. Countless have fought and died to secure these rights in the West, and millions the world over are dying for them today – dying to be free to worship, free to associate, free to speak, free to participate in the governance of their own countries. But the struggle for the protection of rights and civil liberties in the West is not a finished chapter in our history. The constitutions of Western democracies and the rights they enshrine do not protect themselves. The preservation of these liberties requires a vigilant, critical, and courageous citizenry that can be neither complacent in times of security nor compromising in times of fear and insecurity – citizens who understand that the violation of the basic rights of one is a violation of the rights of all. Loyalty to country and constitution demands that we speak up against injustice, uphold our ideals, and hold our leaders accountable.
Peter Hirschberg, "Replying to rockets, Israel chokes Gaza": Israel has begun limiting fuel supplies to Gaza as part of punitive measures it is implementing in an attempt to stem the firing of rockets by militants from the coastal strip into Israel. But Palestinian leaders and human rights groups are warning the move could spark a humanitarian crisis. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed that there was a reduction this week in the fuel supplies coming into the narrow strip, which is home to some 1.5 million Palestinians. Ahmed Ali, the deputy director of Gaza's Petroleum Authority, confirmed that shipments of diesel fuel and gasoline were 30 percent smaller than regular deliveries. Israeli officials said the reduction was smaller.
The Impact of Closure: An Interview With Taghreed El-Khodary
Charles Levinson, "Olmert must justify palestinian fuel blockade": Israel's supreme court ordered the government last night to justify its stranglehold on the Gaza Strip amid concern that Palestinian civilians will face dire humanitarian consequences due to punitive energy cuts. The intervention came as the administration of Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, was accused by the European Union of inflicting "collective punishment" on the territory's civilian population by cutting fuel and electricity supplies.
AFP: "Gaza offensive could exact heavy price"; Rami Khoury, "The Israel Lobby has its sigth ion Iran"
Joe Macaron, "Rice back in the Middle East carying many hopes and few trumps": US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice travels on Thursday to the Middle East on her third mission to the region in two months amid dim hopes on resolving Palestinian-Israeli quandary ahead of upcoming Annapolis meeting. "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are engaged in an effort to produce a document that could serve the foundation for a serious negotiation for the establishment of a Palestinian state," said a senior State Department official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
Shmuel Rosner, "Summit of Fear"
Hilla Medalia, "In Humanity lies hope for peace": DELEGATES FROM Israel and a consortium of Arab states will meet in the United States this month with the hope of devising an agreement - or at least the DNA of an agreement - that will lead to the formation of a Palestinian state and, theoretically, stability in the Middle East. It is the first such US-led summit in years, and regardless of the outcome, it will be a historic event. History, unfortunately, has not favored success when it comes to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The road to peace is littered with numerous failed plans that have left in their wake a sea of bitter cynicism, and a resignation that this is a road that will forever stretch beyond the horizon. One can't be blamed for believing this summit will be no different.
Jim Lobe, "From Generation to Generation": Worth noting this past week is an op-ed published on National Review Online by David Feith and Andrew M. Steinberg on why the recent appeal by “some giants of the American political establishment” — namely, “Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton, and other former high-ranking officials” — for the U.S. to engage in “genuine dialogue” with Hamas was a “risky, bloody proposition.” The letter, which was sent to Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, did not actually call for a direct U.S.-Hamas dialogue; rather it urged that the UN and/or the Middle East Quartet special envoy begin talking with Hamas. But what interested me more was the authorship of David Feith, currently a junior at Columbia University and the second son of former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2001-2005), Douglas Feith. (That the article’s publication came amid a brief debate over whether John Podhoretz’ appointment as the new editor of Commentary Magazine, a position held by his father for most of the latter half of the 20th century, constituted nepotism was completely coincidental.) Particularly striking was not only the fact that he had such easy access to the National Review (as Simone Ledeen, daughter of Michael, has had), but also the way the substance article illustrated the generational continuity of views — in this case, the hostility to engagement with Palestinians — that appears so remarkable among a number of prominent neo-conservative families.
Daniel Levy, "Bipartisan foreign policy leaders on Annapolis conference"
Seuas Milne, "The siege of Gaza is going to lead to a violent escalation": There is, it seems, an unbridgeable gap between the western world's apparent recognition of the dangers of Palestinian suffering and its commitment to do anything whatever to stop it. This week the collective punishment of the people of Gaza reached a new level, as Israel began to choke off essential fuel supplies to its one and a half million people in retaliation for rockets fired by Palestinian resistance groups. A plan to cut power supplies has only been put on hold till the end of the week by the intervention of Israel's attorney general.
Times Editorial: Gordon Brown and Tony Blair [Nahostfake of the year] teamed up yesterday to try to salvage a planned Middle East peace conference in America by clinching Saudi Arabia’s attendance.
George S. Hismeh, "America and Gaza in darkness": Although the Bush administration may be on the verge of taking a big leap forward in paving the way for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, brewing for nearly 60 years, none of the US presidential candidates have yet bothered to make any noteworthy comment about the upcoming Mideast peace meeting in Annapolis at the end of November. The only step some of the leading candidates - there are more than a dozen running for the top position in each party - have taken on this key issue is not much different than what motivated the Democratic front-runner, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Jewish news agency, JTA, said the senator's action was "not only to praise the Jewish state but to bury doubts that she would be any less vigilant in its protection than the Bush administration". But it is surprising to see that Rudolph G. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and the Republican Party's front-runner, has outranked Clinton in scoring higher on a poll just published in Haaretz.
El Hassan bin Talal, "From Payer to Player": The European Union's policy in the Middle East is the litmus test of its common foreign and security policy. Many Europeans share this belief, but, as the EU considers entering the fray of Middle East peace talks, it must respond to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's jibe that in the region "you are payers, not players." Yet Europe's potential contribution should not be underestimated. Europe's financial contribution to the Middle East has been consistent and impressive. Between 1995 and 1999, it spent roughly 3.4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in the region, to which the European Investment Bank added a further 4.8 billion euros in loans. From 2000 to 2006, Europe spent another 5.35 billion euros, and the EIB approved 6.4 billion euros in loans. This year, the European Commission has committed 320 million euros in Palestine alone.
Mattweh Wagner, "Fence driving christians out of the holy land"; It might take as long as half a century before U.S. troops can leave the volatile Middle East, according to retired Army Gen. John Abizaid.
Murray Pollner, "We aren't one": Back in the 1980s the major American Jewish welfare organization adopted as its fundraising slogan "We are One." The implication was that American Jews were a united bloc. But we are not "one" and never have been. Ideologically, we are everything from anarchists to Zionists, working people to the gilded rich. Noam Chomsky is as Jewish as Irving Kristol, and Norman Finkelstein as Jewish as Alan Dershowitz. We are neither angels nor saints. And we are certainly not monolithic, despite perennial efforts to paint anyone critical of various aspects of Israeli policies as "self-hating" Jews. The truth is that the overwhelming number of America’s estimated 6 million Jews is opposed to the Cheney-Bush-neocon regime as their voting patterns have shown time and again. In 2000 and 2004 the overwhelming majority of us voted for Gore and Kerry. In the 2006 congressional elections 80% of the Jewish vote went Democratic. And repeated surveys of Jewish college students show them to be overwhelmingly liberal to moderate. Tikkun Olam or "saving the world" remains our true heritage and legacy.