Inside the Middle East
July 29, 2010
Posted: 1015 GMT

By Mark Tutton for CNN

(CNN) - A cinema in the West Bank city of Jenin will next week open for
business for the first time in 23 years, following a remarkable chain of events
that began with the death of a Palestinian boy.

In 2005, 11-year-old Ahmed Khatib was shot and killed in Jenin by Israeli
soldiers who mistook his toy gun for a real one.

The Israeli government apologized for the incident, and in an
extraordinary gesture, Ahmed's father, Ismael Khatib, decided to donate Ahmed's
organs to six Israelis, both Arabs and Jews.

Ismael and Ahmed's story is told in the 2008 documentary "Heart of
Jenin," made by Israeli director Leon Geller and German filmmaker Marcus

The film follows Ismael as he visits the families of children who
received Ahmed's organs, including an Orthodox Jewish family.

"Heart of Jenin" has won numerous awards, including the German Film Award
for Best Documentary, but Vetter realized there was nowhere to show the film in
Jenin itself, because the city's only cinema was closed in 1987 during the
first intifada.

Vetter and Khatib were inspired to set about renovating Jenin's
long-abandoned cinema.

"A city with 70,000 people without a cinema is sad - there's nothing you
can do and nowhere to go," Vetter told CNN.

"I decided to stop making documentaries for a year and try to establish
the cinema.

"We wanted to get the Jenin youth involved and give them a vision to
believe in, something to aim for."

Khatib said he hoped the cinema would help keep Jenin's youngsters off
the streets and out of danger. Read full story

Filed under: Culture •Israel •Palestinians •West Bank

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Hope   July 30th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

A great but heart-wrenching story...Since armed resistance is something of the past, why continue building a segregated apartheid wall..exasperating misery to the Palestinians, while enhancing a privileged lifestyle for the other side..

John A   July 31st, 2010 11:34 am ET

Israel attempts to corner America into a new war.

Israeli talk of bombing Iran now coincides with the opening of the new Israel lobby campaign marked by the introduction of House resolution 1553 expressing full support for such an Israeli attack.

What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran.

That has long been the Israeli strategy for Iran, because Israel cannot fight a war with Iran without full U.S. involvement. Israel needs to know that the United States will finish the war that Israel wants to start.

Gerecht openly expresses the hope that any Iranian response to the Israeli attack would trigger full-scale U.S. war against Iran. “If Khamenei has a death-wish, he’ll let the Revolutionary Guards mine the strait, the entrance to the Persian Gulf,” writes Gerecht. “It might be the only thing that would push President Obama to strike Iran militarily….”

Gerecht suggest that the same logic would apply to any Iranian “terrorism against the United States after an Israeli strike,” by which we really means any attack on a U.S. target in the Middle East. Gerecht writes that Obama might be “obliged” to threaten major retaliation “immediately after an Israeli surprise attack.”

That’s the key sentence in this very long Gerecht argument. Obama is not going to be “obliged” to joint an Israeli aggression against Iran unless he feels that domestic political pressures to do so are too strong to resist. That’s why the Israelis are determined to line up a strong majority in Congress and public opinion for war to foreclose Obama’s options.

In the absence of confidence that Obama would be ready to come into the war fully behind Israel, there cannot be an Israeli strike.

Gerecht’s argument for war relies on a fanciful scenario of Iran doling out nuclear weapons to Islamic extremists all over the Middle East. But the real concern of the Israelis and their lobbyists, as Gerecht’s past writing has explicitly stated, is to destroy Iran’s Islamic regime in a paroxysm of U.S. military violence.

Gerecht first revealed this Israeli-neocon fantasy as early as 2000, before the Iranian nuclear program was even taken seriously, in an essay written for a book published by the Project for a New American Century. Gerecht argued that, if Iran could be caught in a “terrorist act,” the U.S. Navy should “retaliate with fury”. The purpose of such a military response, he wrote, should be to “strike with truly devastating effect against the ruling mullahs and the repressive institutions that maintain them.”

And lest anyone fail to understand what he meant by that, Gerecht was more explicit: “That is, no cruise missiles at midnight to minimize the body count. The clerics will almost certainly strike back unless Washington uses overwhelming, paralyzing force."

In 2006-07, the Israeli war party had reason to believed that it could hijack U.S. policy long enough to get the war it wanted, because it had placed one of its most militant agents, David Wurmser, in a strategic position to influence that policy.

We now know that Wurmser, formerly a close adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu and during that period Vice President Dick Cheney’s main adviser on the Middle East, urged a policy of overwhelming U.S. military force against Iran. After leaving the administration in 2007, Wurmser revealed that he had advocated a U.S. war on Iran, not to set back the nuclear program but to achieve regime change.

"Only if what we do is placed in the framework of a fundamental assault on the survival of the regime will it have a pick-up among ordinary Iranians,” Wurmser told The Telegraph. The U.S. attack was not to be limited to nuclear targets but was to be quite thorough and massively destructive. “If we start shooting, we must be prepared to fire the last shot. Don't shoot a bear if you're not going to kill it."

Of course, that kind of war could not be launched out of the blue. It would have required a casus belli to justify a limited initial attack that would then allow a rapid escalation of U.S. military force. In 2007, Cheney acted on Wurmser’s advice and tried to get Bush to provoke a war with Iran over Iraq, but it was foiled by the Pentagon.

As Wurmser was beginning to whisper that advice in Cheney’s ear in 2006, Gerecht was making the same argument in The Weekly Standard:

“Bombing the nuclear facilities once would mean we were declaring war on the clerical regime. We shouldn't have any illusions about that. We could not stand idly by and watch the mullahs build other sites. If the ruling mullahs were to go forward with rebuilding what they'd lost–and it would be surprising to discover the clerical regime knuckling after an initial bombing run–we'd have to strike until they stopped. And if we had any doubt about where their new facilities were (and it's a good bet the clerical regime would try to bury new sites deep under heavily populated areas), and we were reasonably suspicious they were building again, we'd have to consider, at a minimum, using special-operations forces to penetrate suspected sites.”

The idea of waging a U.S. war of destruction against Iran is obvious lunacy, which is why U.S. military leaders have strongly resisted it both during the Bush and Obama administrations. But Gerecht makes it clear that Israel believes it can use its control of Congress to pound Obama into submission. Democrats in Congress, he boasts, “are mentally in a different galaxy than they were under President Bush.” Even though Israel has increasingly been regarded around the world as a rogue state after its Gaza atrocities and the commando killings of unarmed civilians on board the Mavi Marmara, its grip on the U.S. Congress appears as strong as ever.

Moreover, polling data for 2010 show that a majority of Americans have already been manipulated into supporting war against Iran – in large part because more than two-thirds of those polled have gotten the impression that Iran already has nuclear weapons. The Israelis are apparently hoping to exploit that advantage. “If the Israelis bomb now, American public opinion will probably be with them,” writes Gerecht. “Perhaps decisively so.”

Netanyahu must be feeling good about the prospects for pressuring Barack Obama to join an Israeli war of aggression against Iran. It was Netanyahu, after all, who declared in 2001, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in the way.”

miriam   August 1st, 2010 11:01 am ET


If only armed attacks on Israeli civilians were something of the past.

Although the security fence has achieved its objective and reduced the attacks on Israelis, unfortunately the incitement, false rhetoric and myths are still going strong.

Meanwhile, Israelis, whether through the government or independently, are continuing with projects that are improving the lives of Palestinians in the WB, too long left in misery by the actions of their own leaders.

miriam   August 1st, 2010 11:36 am ET

John A aka Gareth P,

This cut and paste totally ignores the fact that the US itself has plenty of reasons why it would like to see, and has done so for over 30 years, a change in the Iranian regime.

Similarly, it ignores the fact that Gulf states are not just quietly wishing for Israeli or US action against Iran's nuclear programme but are now shouiting it out loud.

It is more likely that the enormously powerful Saudi oil lobby is influencing the US administration rather than an Israel lobby whose arguments and opinions have been known for years.

It also ignores the fact that Israel is the only country being specifically threatened by Iran, although the Iranian leadership's theocratic ideology foresees more than just Israel's destruction. Never the less, Israel's governments, whether center-left or the current left-center-right coalition have all prefered a diplomatic solution to the Iranian problem.

It is media speculation and anti-Israel commentators who have been whipping-up a frenzy over potential military action.
They ought to be spending their efforts on reporting on the human-rights abuses of the Iranian leadership and the dangerous ideology being preached which threatens not just the Jewish state but the entire ME and beyond.

Brian   August 6th, 2010 5:39 pm ET

a war in Iran will ignite a regional conflict, which could lead to the annihilation of israel

whats so bad about that?if thats the out come of the war then i’m all for it.
wouldn’t be nice if israel was completly gone.
israel is a very real danger to humanity.
they want the US to keep fighting their wars and the problem is that they find all the help they need every time….as long as they pay the treasonous congress.
the zionist jews in israel know that america will never win that war and that it may lead to americas financial collapse,but they dont care.for them the goal is not to win the war its more about destruction and blood shed.for some reason these cockroaches love the sight of blood.
let’s be honest,do we think that the jews will ever forgive the white race for all the crimes they committed against them………never.
never forget……..never forgive..remember that.
its their way of revenge against the white keep sucking us dry financialy and and keep us engaged in wars untill the west and muslim destroy each other………wicked people.

Samantha   August 6th, 2010 5:42 pm ET

most israeli jews are zionist……………99% of them.most came from russia and poland and they all knew they were going to live on stolen land.they all knew they had to kill innocent people to get the land.
how long are going to blame the muslims for all our problems for?
most people know by now who the real enemy is.they just dont have the leadership needed to confront the real jewish enemy.

miriam   August 8th, 2010 11:56 am ET


The majority of Israeli Jews are not Ashkenazi and have no ancestry in Europe.

The Jewish religion revolves round the Land of Israel, religiously, historically and culturally.

The revision of history for the purpose of denyng the indisputable Jewish connection to the land is deliberate deception and those who propagate such lies are to blame for their own problems and are their own enemy.

John A   August 10th, 2010 2:51 pm ET

Samantha, obviously you are correct and Miriam attempts again to hide the truth again. The complete Jewish story about returning to their land after 2000 years absence is nothing less than the fraud of the century. We all know this, but if any country speaks up, Israels puppet state "the USA" will beat war drums and stand as the only protector of Israels giant fraud.

miriam   August 12th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

John A,

Too bad that there is 2000 years worth of recorded and excavated proof.

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