Recent Village Updates
Italian soccer team renames itself in honor of the sublime National Resistance of Lebanon : Hezbollah.
The new uniforms for the Italian soccer team includes the Lebanese Hezbollah logo. The team renamed itself "Zasspollah" this year in recognition of the its strong fighting spirit and spirit of resistance.
Voice of reporter: Yes, this is the Hizbullah logo. But what is it doing on the jerseys of these players? The Italian soccer player Davide Volponi knows the answer. Volponi and his friends form a soccer team, which for 15 years has been participating in the Carioca amateur league. The team changes its name every year. In an attempt to boost the morale of his comrades, Volponi suggested naming the team "Zassbollah" this year ? combining the name of the team captain, Zasso, with the word "Hizbullah." Where did this idea come from, and what is its purpose?
Voice of reporter: The Zassbollah team was in need of this boost to their morale, because the rival team included international player Gianfranco Zola, who used to play on the Italian national team, and now coaches the Italian national youth team. Last Saturday at noon, at the Amiscora stadium in Sardinia, Italy ? although in a different language and a different style - the Hizbullah resistance scored yet another goal into the net of those who doubt its morality, having become a source of inspiration for soccer players admired by millions throughout the world.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah made a televised speech Wednesday on the occasion of the Hijri New year and the beginning of the Arab month of Muharram. The occasion coincided with US president George W. Bush's visit to occupied Palestine. "Today is a black day in the history of our Arab region and the history of our Arab and Islamic nation?It is a disgraceful and shameful day for all Arabs and Muslims when the Pharaoh (Bush) of this age sets foot on our occupied holy land," Sayyed Nasrallah added. He added that "Bush arrived here as if he is the defender of freedom and democracy. Who started the killings 60 years ago? The Palestinians didn't do it, and the Jews who lived in Arab states lived peacefully. The ones doing the killing were Zionist gangs.
His eminence also slammed US media outlets and US allies for presenting Israel as a symbol of democracy in the region. "Bush views Israel as a Jewish state, that is, racist...its existence is premised on race. Israel aspires for a racially pure existence."
On Wednesday, Sayyed Nasrallah called Bush's visit to the occupied territories and the region "a black day for Arabs and Muslims." "Bush came to Israel to celebrate 60 years of a state that has no right to exist," his eminence said.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that "President Bush will force the Palestinians to give up on the right of return and accept refugees settling in other Arab nations."
Sayyed Nasrallah spoke at a rally honoring the Hijri New Year, which was held at the Sayyed Al-Shuhada mosque in Beirut southern suburbs: "The Zionists will take their pick out of the '67 territories, Jerusalem and the settlement, and will give the Palestinians whatever crumbs they'll have left over. He (US President George W. Bush) will demand the Lebanese accept reality and acknowledge Israel? that is Bush's testament, which he feels like he can dictate to us," his eminence said.
War Crimes Airbrushed from History
By JONATHAN COOK
It apparently never occurred to anyone in our leading human rights organisations or the Western media that the same moral and legal standards ought be applied to the behaviour of Israel and Hizbullah during the war on Lebanon 18 months ago. Belatedly, an important effort has been made to set that right.
A new report, written by a respected Israeli human rights organisation, one representing the country's Arab minority not its Jewish majority, has unearthed evidence showing that during the fighting Israel committed war crimes not only against Lebanese civilians -- as was already known -- but also against its own Arab citizens. This is an aspect of the war that has been almost entirely neglected until now.
It seems few in the West, even the guardians of human rights, are ready to hear such a message either.
Jonathan Cook is a journalist and writer based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book, "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East", is published by Pluto Press. His website is jkcook.net
A member of the kibbutz, Uri Eshkoli, recently told the Israeli media: "We deserve a medal of honor for our assistance during the war. We opened our hotel to soldiers and asked for no compensation. Moreover, soldiers stayed in the kibbutz throughout the entire war."
In another report, in the Guardian newspaper, a 19-year-old British Jew, Danny Young, recounted his experiences performing military service during the war. He lived on Kibbutz Sasa, close to the border, which became an army rear base. "We were shooting missiles from the foot of this kibbutz," he told the paper. "We were also receiving Katyushas."
(Again noteworthy is the fact that Israel has built several weapons factories inside Arab communities, including in Nazareth. Arab citizens are almost never allowed to work in Israel's vast military industries, so why build them there? Part of the reason is doubtless that they provide another pretext for confiscating Arab communities' lands and "Judaising" them. But is the criticism by Arab legislators of "human shielding" another possible reason?)
The report avoids dealing with the wider issue of whether the Israeli army located in Jewish communities too during the war. Ibrahim explains: "In part the reason was that we are an Arab organisation and that directs the focus of our work. But there is also the difficulty that Israeli Jews are unlikely to cooperate with our research."
Israel has longed boasted of its "citizen army", and in surveys Israeli Jews say they trust the military more than the country's parliament, government and courts.
As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.
After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.
Today I have made a different choice.
Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.
There has never been a day in my adult life when I would not have sacrificed that life to save the United States from genuine danger, such as the ones we faced when I served as a bomber pilot in World War II. We must be a great nation because from time to time, we make gigantic blunders, but so far, we have survived and recovered.
I believe we have a chance to heal the wounds the nation has suffered in the opening decade of the 21st century. This recovery may take a generation and will depend on the election of a series of rational presidents and Congresses.
By Peter Symonds
Five days after Sunday?s encounter between US warships and Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz, details of what took place remain in dispute. What is clear, however, is that the US administration, at the very least, deliberately inflated the incident on the eve of President Bush?s visit to the Middle East to menace Iran and raise the political temperature in the volatile region.
Speaking on Tuesday, just hours before departing, Bush accused Iran of ?a provocative act?, saying: ?It is a dangerous situation, and they should not have done it, pure and simple.? Speaking in Jerusalem the following day after meeting with Israeli leaders, he went one step further, warning Tehran of ?dangerous consequences? if US ships were attacked. ?All options are on the table to protect our assets,? he said, ?My advice to them is, don?t do it.?
Iran?s longstanding regional rival, Saudi Arabia, has explicitly declared that it will rebuff any US demand to break off relations with Tehran. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told a press conference on Wednesday: ?We?ll listen to everything the president says. He can raise any issue he likes. we?re a neighbour to Iran in the Gulf, which is a small area, so we?re keen for harmony and peace among countries in the area.?
The Bush administration on the other hand has been seeking at every turn to pressurise and provoke Iran. On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department imposed new financial penalties on a top-ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard general, Ahmed Foruzandeh, a Syrian-based television station and two Iraqis living in Iran for allegedly fuelling the anti-US insurgency in Iraq.