UN official resigns after pressure to withdraw Israel apartheid report

Rima Khalaf (via Facebook)

A senior United Nations official has resigned, following pressure from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw the landmark report published earlier this week finding Israel guilty of apartheid.

Rima Khalaf, the head of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) which published the report, announced her resignation at a press conference in Beirut on Friday.

Reuters reports that Khalaf took the step “after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an ‘apartheid regime’ on Palestinians.”

“I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report,” Khalaf stated.

As of Friday, a press release announcing the report remained visible on the ESCWA website, but the link to the report itself from the press release no longer works.

A full copy of the report is available below.

It concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

It finds “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.

It urges national governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives.”

Palestinians warmly welcomed the report, but Israel angrily denounced it as akin to Nazi propaganda. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, demanded that the report be withdrawn.

That demand came just as the Trump administration announced a budget plan that includes sweeping cuts in US contributions to the UN.

Khalaf’s resignation indicates that Guterres acted obediently and swiftly to carry out the orders from the United States. In a tweet, the Anti-Defamation League, a powerful Israel lobby group in the United States, thanked Guterres for urging ESCWA to withdraw the report.

The Israeli government has long targeted Khalaf for retaliation for doing her job. In 2014, its UN ambassador demanded she be removed from her post for criticizing Israel’s policies of occupation and Jewish colonization of Palestinian territory at the expense of Muslim and Christian communities.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the civil society coalition that leads the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, condemned Guterres’ intervention.

“The fact that a UN secretary-general has bowed to threats and intimidation from the Trump administration to protect Israel from accountability, yet again, is hardly news,” the BNC said. “The real news is that this time round, Israel, with all its influence in Washington, cannot put the genie back into the bottle.”

“Palestinians are deeply grateful to ESCWA’s director, Dr. Rima Khalaf, who preferred to resign in dignity than to surrender her principles to US-Israeli bullying,” the BNC added.

Khalaf’s resignation, under pressure to suppress factual and legal findings unfavorable to Israel, will send a chilling message to other UN officials that they are better off serving those in power than in upholding any mandate to advance human rights and respect for international law.

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I salute the bravery of the Dr Rima Khalaf. I wish there would be many more who could deliver a serious blow to the terrorist State of Israel

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Rima khalaf spoke the truth with stark evidence. Israel being pampered by the US is well known. Also the control and influence of the Israeli lobby on US government foreign policy is no secret. Anyone who criticizes Israel's unfair treatment of the Palestinians or questions Israel's legitimacy is punished. A couple of years ago Helen Thomas three times secretary to the white House under three US presidents was forced to resign despite 50 years of loyal service just because she questioned the legitimacy of Israel's occupation if Palestine. Answering press reporters who wanted her opinion on the Israeli Palestine issue she spontaneously replied : "The Israelis should go back to their respective lands of origin . When asked where they should go back to Helena said: ""go back to Poland,Russia,Germany,France, Ukraine and so on". This was taken back as an offence immediately as expected and in three weeks she was forced to resign from her post she had gallantly held for 50 years. Such is the influence of Israel. So Rima Khalaf's case is not surprising. As Helen Thomas ,God bless her soul, sadly remarked before her death :" Nobody can ever criticise Israel and hope to get away with it".

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Thanks for sharing this information. I saw the news report about the apartheid system in the israeli occupied Palestinian lands but I did not read the report itself. I will now. I believe we should let the u n know how we feel about this as well. Thanks again.

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I tend to agree with you Khalid and am tempted to view Ms. Khalaf's resignation as more a "principled" overture, than a principled "stand", which would, by definition, have entailed remaining in her position to fight for what is right for the UN.
However, I am ignorant of what her obstacles would have been; what strategy UN leadership may be forming to counter this attack on its mission and credibility (if any) and of whether she would have found herself a pariah or some committed allies.
In principle though, I do agree with you. The poor can't afford costly gestures.

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If the US and Israel are going to bully UN to withdraw it's report just because they don't want to face reality, then what is the point of having UN? Bullying bigots.

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Utterly appalled at UN refusal to publish this. The UN is surely a failed project, as useless and ineffective as the League of Nations

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Perhaps a SG caves in to political pressure and the UNSC is surely an ethical Achilles Heel but it's not the UN that's failed the nations of the world, it's they who have failed it. A technical point I suppose but I'm not going to witness the ignorance of petty nationalism wreck a noble institution, then remain silent while the resulting bitter resentment is misdirected at it, killing its idea as well.
The world's citizens must decide whether remaining alienated from their common interests, by the machinations of narrow nationalist ones, can sustain or not. And maybe Palestine's future has very much to do with that.

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Thanks, Ali, for linking to the report. Clearly, you anticipated its deletion from ESCWA's website.

And sincere thanks to Dr. Khalaf for her principled stand. The Secretariat's claim that this dispute centers on procedural rather than substantive issues is particularly flimsy. Neither the United States nor Israel have cited any evasion of the U.N. chain of command as reason for their hostile response to the document. They have been very direct and clear in that regard. They have denounced the report because they abhor what it says and what it demonstrates.

Guterres recently expressed regret that he was blocked from appointing former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad to head the U.N. mission in Libya. The Trump administration is thought to have rejected Fayyad's candidacy. Guterres now has a new cause for regret, though he is unlikely ever to acknowledge such sentiments publicly.

It's worth noting that the mainstream media are devoting virtually no coverage to the actual content of the report, preferring to convey the shocked outrage of Israel and the U.S. and to focus on dramatic internal events at the senior U.N. level. They have once again chosen not to contaminate their readers and viewers with sufficient knowledge to make up their own minds.

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Richard Falk has seen his speaking schedule in Britain curtailed in recent days.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/n...

As in the United States, U.K. campuses have become targets of pro-Israel activists. I found the reason given by the University of East London for cancelling Falk's appearance to be inadvertently revealing, inasmuch as it echoes the official cause for Guterres' rejection of the report- that proper procedures were not followed. And in the case of Middlesex University London, the cancellation is explained in terms of "safety concerns". It seems no one is prepared to simply come out and say, "We disapprove of the ESCWA report co-authored by Richard Falk, and we don't want him addressing our students."

As for the University of East London's action, which their spokesperson attributes to a procedural failure on the part of those who booked the talk, the Zionist group Campaign Against Antisemitism (currently a registered charity) has another, more candid explanation: their own direct intervention demanding that the event be cancelled. Of course, they may be exaggerating their role, but it's quite likely that they promised to heap disgrace on the university if the talk went ahead. They've even been known to threaten legal action in such circumstances. Here's their odious website, with their claim:

https://antisemitism.uk/antise...

Frankly, I find it hard to believe that a scholar who had agreed to put forward the case for Zionism would have been disinvited in such a manner. The university in question would have been denounced in Parliament and reviled in the popular press, to say nothing of the back channel wrath emanating from Israel's embassy. But when it comes to the rights of Palestinians, no underhanded tactic to silence discussion is too low.

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Thanks for the truth

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I am horrified and deeply discouraged in the face of the actions of U.S.Ambassador to the U.N.Haley with regard to the report on Israeli apartheid. Obstinate U.S. collusion with Israel in this matter has all along been a source of profound dismay. It gets worse and worse. It is contagious in fact.
For shame!

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Quite right. I have no sympathy for this woman. Doesn't she know that telling the truth is anti-Semitic? And then she refuses to retract when the USA orders her to (via the puppet who is UN General Secretary?)

A shocking example of the worst form of anti-Semitism. I find it strange that there has been no reference to the International Criminal Court at the Hague for this.

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A few words of thanks to Dr. Rima Khalaf, former ESCWA Secretary General.
The demand that Israel, the US, and the UN Secretary General made on you to withdraw the report that ESCWA published on the apartheid policies of Israel is a stark example of raw power brutally exercised against an international body in total disregard to the basic tenets of civilized human discourse. One would have expected that a democracy like the United States would have wanted to debate the reasoning behind the conclusions reached in the report and judge it on the merits of its legal and moral arguments or the lack thereof instead of wielding its political weight to suppress it.
The report is not the brainchild of some anti-Israeli politician or someone consumed by hatred toward the Jews , but is authored by two American academicians. They are Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Virginia Tilley, Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University. As academics their methodology was scientific and they arrived at the conclusion that Israel applies an apartheid regime on the Palestinians by measuring Israel's treatment of the Palestinians against the yardstick of universally recognized principles set out in international law.
Dr. Rima Khalaf, you stood your ground and tendered your resignation rather than submit to the unwarranted dictates of the United States and the neophyte UN Secretary General Guterres. And by doing so you stand head and shoulders above your critics and earn worldwide respect and admiration.

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Her resignation exposed the ugly faces of UN, USA and Israel, 3 in 1 to suppress the voice of Ppeople who are miserably suffering since long time ironacally on their own land. Thanks

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No end to American dominance and abuse of the UN.

The earth's other 95% of humanity has been deprived of its voice in international affairs through American manipulation and threats and blackmail of the UN.

American diplomats of the lowlife character of Madeline Albright and Samantha Power have seen to that.

The effort was helped considerably by America's previous unilateral refusal to pay its treaty-determined dues until it got its way, threatening the UN's very existence.

Recent Secretaries-General have no independence or character at all. Ban Ki-Moon was almost a joke, a kind of Monty Pythonesque American creature loyally serving America's interests.

Of course, one of the main beneficiaries of all America's international dirty work is America's Middle East colony, otherwise known as Israel.

The never-ending dirty game of telling people what to say or getting rid of them when they don't comply tells us all we need to know of Americo-Israeli principles.

We know that both Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu described what they saw in Israel as apartheid, and their view was seconded by the most honest American President of the century, Jimmy Carter. Of course, Carter’s honesty was rewarded by being widely labelled as anti-Semitic in McCarthy-like attacks.

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I support madam rim a khalf in her stand against the aggression of the secretary of the UN.
No power will force us to give up our right for peace and Justes.

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Has someone started a sign-on letter (formally a petition, I suppose) to thank Rima Khalaf?

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I feel so frustrated by this overt, disgusting, bigotted pressure on Truth Tellers and I think your idea of a petition is a good one. Perhaps it should be addressed to that cowardly Secretary-General or the cowardly governments around the world that have silenced their MSM minions. All I have heard are Israel's and the US's reactions--no mention of any other reactions. Sickening Orwellian nightmare.

That is one brave woman. Whatever Israel and its minion do they can't stop BDS and even though they have wiped Palestine off the map (what they accuse Palestinians of wanting to do--oh, the irony), Palestine lives. I hope Ali will keep us informed.

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I think we should salute the probity of Rima Khalaf at first.

Many people dont know that there is not such situation as an Israelian nationality, there is a Jewish nationality for the persons considered as being Jewish, and a called citizenship for the others. They dont have the same rights. In discussions, representatives of Israel avoid the subject by speaking about the Israeli als being the subjects of Israel, who in fact do not exist. It is kind of absurd.
As it actually exists, Israel is not a state : it has no defined territory on which the autority of its governement applies, recognized by the citizens living in this territory, all of these citizens having equal rights towards this autority, these three conditions needing to be fullfilled to have a state in international constitutional law. For that reason, one could only recognize Israel when it would really be a state, and it can not be put as a precondition by Israel in the discussions with the Palestinians, - these preconditionby Israel is in fact a deadlock-, it can be the result of an agreement, for instance if the result of that agreement is the creation of two states.
As a matter a fact, for my opinion, one has to consider Israel, as it actually exists, in its reality a religious state. The consequence of it, is that a solution of the so-called Palestinian question, is per definitio not possible. So the the so-called peaceproces can go on for an other amount of years, as a cynical game, until the moment comes that it explodes. One may not think of it.
In the meantime these situation has a great direct negative influence in whole of the Middle-East and by reflection in the West, on the one hand because of the angriness the position taken by Israel provokes, on the other hand because of the policy Israel is developping toward the nabours. We can state these directly at the moment concerning the war in Syria.
It is all so much sad.
Excuse me for the mistakes in my English.

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The US has given more aid to Israel than all other countries. The US has asked them to stop building on Palestinian land. They have returned the favor by thumbing their nose at us for decades. With great courage Obama finally stood up and said enough. Israel is the tail that wags the dog because our politicians are afraid of AIPAC. It is no wonder that many in the Middle East see us as hypocrites their-by are willing to see us on the battle field resulting in many American casualties.

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The US hasn't 'given more aid' to Israel than anyone else, as if this is some kind of generous benefaction that has gone on too long. The US gives aid to Israel, all of it military aid, because Israel is a vital component, the most vital component, of US domination of the Middle East. It is not of course the only component. Saudi Arabia, the second most important ally, has no need of US aid, quite the contrary, it aids the USA. Egypt, another ally, receives the second highest aid after Israel.

Obama had no courage. He abstained on a UN resolution at the fag end of his Presidency having given Israel everything before that. Obama it was who rushed military replenishments to Israel when they were in danger of running out of rockets and missiles with which to fire during Operation Protective Edge. Obama it was who signed a new £43 billion aid programme to Israel over 10 years, a third higher than the previous aid bill.

This nonsense is based on the idea that Israel controls the US foreign policy and that the latter would be benign but for Israel's mysterious control Apart from lending itself towards anti-Semitic tropes (why should the US allow itself to pursue a foreign policy towards Israel against its own interests?) it is simply wrong. It fails to understand that US imperialism has and is devastating the whole planet, militarily and politically. Its 300 bases surrounding China, its interventions in a range of states as John Pilger has so eloquently demonstrated.

The main enemy to peace in the world is the United States. Israel is its vicious and nasty guard dog, willing to bite whoever snaps at its master. what is happening in Yemen is 10 times worse than the attacks on Gaza. Israel has little to do with that (I'm sure it is giving the Saudis some aid). The US and also the UK are the prime movers in this. Imperialist interests are the enemy and that means opposing your own ruling class in the USA - be it Obama or Trump

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My mother told me that when an oppressed people come into power they become the oppressor. It rang true then, and it rings true today. A little over two-hundred years what is now known as the United States was part of England's world colonies and today is a world power. The Jewish people, oppressed for centuries is now exploiting the Palestinian people. Even the United Nations has become a tool of the United States. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the two state solution is slowly dying and the hope may lie in a one state solution. But it must be democratic. Israel is not a democratic state. It is a religious state, a Jewish state. While I believe that Israel has the right to exist, I think it needs to be a democratic secular state where all races and religions are accepted and treated equally. Rima Khalaf has laid out the problem. Unfortunately, raw power is trying to make it impossible for people to know what is happening. Maybe the Noble Peace Prize would shine a beacon of hope on this issue.

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This is why you shouldn't believe everything your mother tells you. The Algerian or South African people haven't become oppressors nor have the Irish. What turns people who were oppressed into oppressors is when they become colonisers and see the route to their salvation as lying in the colonisation of someone else's lands.

Both the United States and Israel fulfilled this. Incidentally the 'Jewish people' (in so far as there is such an identity which I doubt) did not become oppressors. Israel's Jews did - a quite different category.

No the 2 state solution is not 'slowly dying'. That assumes it was ever alive except in the eyes of fools, charlatans and the gullible. Zionism was not founded in order to claim sovereignty over part of the 'holy land'. It claimed the lot but unfortunately Yassir Arafat and the corrupt Fateh clique discarded any analysis of Zionism in favour of becoming just another set of Arab dictators. However the Zionist rulers were not intending to grant them that privilege.

Israel isn't a religious state. It is a state of racial supremacy, a colonial settler state, that uses religion as the identifier for the herren volk, the master race. Religion legitimises race in Israel but it isn't the reason for Israel being what it is.

Nor does Israel have any 'right to exist' anymore than any state does. Only human beings have such a right and a racist state certainly has no such right.

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The fact is that the Israeli regime seems to be dominated by ultra right wing groups who have the balance of power ther in their hands
The pathetic trope that concerns over illegal settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank are 'anti semitic' are the last refuge of a scoundral
As the previous poster alluded to the abused so often end up playing out the same sad riff of abusing

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I downloaded the report and will send it to politicians in the Netherlands whoe emailaddresses are available becuase of the elections 5 days ago.
I will send it to some newspapers aswell. Unfortunately I know their answer on beforehand. No answer. They just will ingnore it and pretend that the Nethelrand sis a democratic state with "values ". which means allowing Wilders to spread his hatespeech even intervention on behalf of Wilders of the dutch government when the Australian government and the UK refuse to let this racist in and blocj free speech when a Turkish minister wants to speek

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We all know by now that the UN is a fake.......... it is only there to serve the interests of the sionists and the usa........

There is no point to look at and deal with it as an "international organization"........

It is shameless organization without principles and should be dismantled

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She deserves a medal for standing for the Palestinian people. I also support them.

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الحقيقة ناصعه الكيان الصهيوني نظام فصل عنصري ونظام مجرم ومغتصب والامم المتحدة دائما كانت دينه رغم الفيتو الامريكي ورغم دفاع امثاله عنه ،السيدة ريما الخلف تطقت بالحقيقة ولا تطمس الحقيقة بالضغوط الامريكية وكل التحية لريما الخلف التي حافظت على كرامتها واستقالت وبقي الكيان عنصري كما يعرفه كل العالم وحتى المدافعين عنه وهو الى زوال باذن الله ككل انظمة الفصل العنصري التي ظهرت

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I most greatly applaud the courageousness of Rima Khalaf to release the report on Israel's apartheid racist regime, despite the UN's attempt to suppress it. Yet, Israel condemns the report as "...akin to Nazi propaganda." Ironically, whenever I think of Illegitimate Israel I associate it with fascism.
A very brief and truncated history of Illegitimate Israel: It was founded, i.e. Palestinian land was stolen, on a lie, "A people without land and a land without people; during the Nakba of 1948, 700,00 to 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed (ethnically cleansed) from, then, Palestine by Zionist terrorist organizations Lehi, Irgun, and Haganah, the latter became the IDF; since 1948 about 600 Arab villages have been bulldozed to the ground; and, since 1948, Zionists have killed approximately 50,000 Palestinians; the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated region on earth that Illegitimate Israel always claims that Palestinians control--Illegitimate Israel controls its air space, it roads, its sea ports and its borders; in 2010 Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira encouraged the IDF (Haganah) to use Palestinians as human shields, and in his book, "The King's Torah", states when it is permissible to kill non-Jews; in Tel Aviv in 2012 or 2014 Zionists and their children were parading in the streets shouting "N****rs go home", "Sudan for the Sudanese"; Justice (can you believe it) Minister, Ayelet Shaked, has advocated for the murdering of Palestinian mothers so that they cannot give birth to more children; in 2014, Zionist thugs forced a Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, to swallow gasoline and then set him afire to blow up; more recently Elor Azaria shoots a prostrate and immobile Palestinian in the head, which was videotaped--and gets ONLY an 18 month sentence; Palestinians are referred to as beasts and other non-Jews such as the Sudanese and Ethiopians are called a cancer, infiltrators, et al.
All of the above is NOT Nazi propaganda, but "...akin to Nazism..."

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With my deepest respects to Mrs khalf, I wish to know why she did not resign two months ago when the u. n Secretary General asked her to withdraw her two articles , also she said in her press briefing in Beirut that she still have two weeks of employment before her term ends, is it because of this she had the courage to publish her report?
I am sure her report was accurate and very well researched and only the blind could negate that Israel is an apartahide state.
The report should be published all over the world and in many newspapers , local ( if the authorities would allow????)and foreign ones.
Kind regards
Camille Hanna

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No surprise there. The U.N. has been irredeemably polluted by U.S. Who could take seriously, an organisation that places a Saud at the head of a Human Rights commision? Doublespeak indeed. Time for a new organisation but keep out the source of the toxins; U.S. and Israel

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Israel still occupying Syrian ; Lebanese and Palestinian land since 1967
Enough is enough for occupantion ;no need for stupid reasons on why to keep other people lands
Why Israel is not accepting international security council resolutions?
It is not fair to treat Israel as above the law
No sanctions !
They don't have any right to control millions of Palestinian daily life
West Bank is a jail
GAZI is surrounded 360degrees
What a mezarble life

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i was greatly happy to know that there are still honest and upstanding people who could do without any social or political position just for the sake of telling the truth to any criminal who believes that he is out of reach because a bunch of other criminals are always ready to intervene so as to get him out of trouble.i am also deeply shocked to notice that mr guterres is shamefully biased and partial.are the american leaders so blind to see the atrocities committed by zionists on unarmed palestinians hoping for better futur days.what abject cowards are these zionists who are greatly thrilled by the bold courage of so many youngsters,boys and girls,ready to fight with archaic means:stones.it does not honnor any american to befriend horrendous criminals who are committing genocide for more than fifty years.to rima khalaf i want to say this:you have shown courage and deep peace of mind that many filthy arabes or even moslims are lacking;you are great and your act will stay a bitter lesson for those who believe that all arabes are nothing but a bunch of psychotic wealthy creatures thoroughlly overwhelmed by their lust and their great ability to have hards-on.you are geat and and you will remain a symbol of integrity and truthfulness.may allah bless you for your courage to defy rascals who have sold themselves to the devil.WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR COURAGEOUS ACT.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.