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Signs of the Times for Tue, 21 Mar 2006

By Henry J. Pulizzi
Dow Jones Newswires
20 Mar 06
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush on Wednesday reiterated the U.S.'s commitment to using its military to defend Israel from Iran, if necessary.

"I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel," Bush said during a question and answer session after a speech in Cleveland. "And at any rate, our objective is to solve this issue diplomatically."

Bush said Iran's statements advocating the destruction of Israel represent a " serious threat."

"That's a threat. A serious threat. It's a threat to world peace. It's a threat in essence to a strong alliance," he said.

March 20, 2006
by Rodrigue Tremblay
People outside the United States have a hard time understanding why the U.S. government treats thestate of Israel better than most of the 50 American states. Over the last decade, the U.S. government has transfered some $100 billion to Israel, with nearly no conditions attached, while Israeli citizens do not pay any taxes in the United States. Why such generosity, while the state of Louisiana, after the hurricane Katrina, had all the trouble in the world receiving aid from Washington?

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John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

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By Jimmy Carter
The Guardian
20 Mar 06
For more than a quarter of a century, Israeli policy has been in conflict with that of the US and the international community. Israel's occupation of Palestine has obstructed a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land - regardless of whether Palestinians had no formal government, one headed by Yasser Arafat, or one with Mahmoud Abbas as president and Hamas controlling the parliament and the cabinet.

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Comment: A better idea is for Palestine to be given their stolen country back and to then decide if they want to accept the Israeli refugees from WW II IF there is room for them...

Agence France Presse
19 Mar 06
NAZLET ISA, West Bank - Israel's vast separation barrier slices Nazlet Isa off from one of the richest water sources in the arid northern West Bank where the fight for water is a fight for survival.

Israel is believed to monopolise around 75 percent of Palestinian water resources in a region where rainfall is infrequent and water a strategic asset.

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The Scotsman
20 Mar 06
A "PUNITIVE" shortage of basic foodstuffs in Gaza overshadowed a meeting last night in which the Hamas movement was due to present its cabinet list to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president.

Bread supplies in Gaza were running out yesterday because of Israel's closure of the Karni crossing, through which imports and exports flow to and from the crowded coastal enclave, according to UN officials and Gaza residents. Israel said the closure was due to security reasons.

Sugar and oil were also reported to be in short supply.

Palestinians claim the closure for a total of 46 days this year - more than three times as many as last year - is a "collective punishment" following Hamas's victory in the January legislative elections.

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By Nadav Shragai
Haaretz Correspondent
21 Mar 06
National Jewish Front leader Baruch Marzel, now campaigning for the March 28 Knesset election, said Monday the leaders of the Kadima party are "traitors" and "criminals" and called on the Israel Defense Forces to assassinate the far-left leader of the Gush Shalom movement Uri Avnery.

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20 Mar 06
As the new Hamas government is sworn into power in the Palestinian Authority, we might ask: What would bring a people, the most secular of Arab populations with little history of religious fundamentalism, to vote Hamas? Mere protest at Fatah ineffectualness in negotiations and internal corruption doesn't go far enough. While warning Hamas that their vote did not constitute a mandate for imposing an Iran-like theocracy on Palestine, the Palestinians took the only option left to a powerless people when all other avenues of redress have been closed to them: non-cooperation.

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