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Clinton Stance on Settlements Stirs Up Palestinians

Posted on Nov 1, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ramallah last March.

Palestinian officials have accused the U.S. of killing prospects for peace after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed Israel’s position that West Bank settlements were not a deal-breaker to resuming negotiations. A not-so-nuanced paraphrasing of the policy is exemplified by Israel’s prime minister telling Palestinians to “get a grip.”  —JCL


Pointing an accusing finger at the United States, the Palestinians on Sunday said Washington’s backing for Israeli refusal to halt Jewish settlement expansion had killed any hope of reviving peace negotiations soon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, buoyed by new-found support from the Obama administration, urged the Palestinians to “get a grip” and drop their settlement freeze precondition for restarting talks suspended since December.

On a one-day Middle East visit on Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed Israel’s view that settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank should not be a bar to resuming negotiations—contradicting the Palestinian position.

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By Sepharad, November 9, 2009 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

ardee, I hope your prediction is true. At present it seems overly optimistic.

Re IDF, armies—even one as small as the IDF—are large conglomerations of individuals under very high-stress situations much of the time. Their performance therefore whether as a group or as smaller numbers in specific situations, is going to vary greatly overtime. Conduct is also influenced by governments, what the fighting is about, how close to home those issues are, etc. I do think that in general most members of the IDF try to be as careful to avoid civilian deaths as possible, moreso than other armies, according to the British officer who spoke out at the UN. But in the situation I referred to—not rigorously preventing settlers uprooting olive treees—I think those soldiers, at that time and perhaps reflecting recent government attitudes toward settlements, did not rise to the level of their own standards, and the fact that the government is disrespectul of Palestinian rights is no excuse. Armies are supposed to represent their people, not the politicians—and this is especially true in Israel, where soldiering is not optional.

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By ardee, November 8, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Only wonder just how crazy he is, i.e. would he risk a nuclear attack when a nuclear response is certain?

That decision, Sepharad would not be up to Ahmadinajad. It would also be dependent upon Iran actually having such weapons.

I would note that I do not see you as the enemy, or even as the opposition to my position on Israeli intentions and action towards the Palestinians. I must note though that your decrying of the actions of those militant settlers, while accurate, certainly seems a whitewash of the even more egregious actions of the Israeli armed forces.

If I were to play Nostradamus I would predict, long after you and I are dust, there will be a single state solution wherein Israeli and Palestinian are both citizens of the same nation, live harmoniously in peace and prosper.

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By Sepharad, November 8, 2009 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

ardee, I could try harder but honestly I have no idea of what Ahmadinejad/RevGuards/mullahs can do and are willing to do. I know what Ahmadinejad would LIKE to do and that within the year it may be possible for him to do it. Only wonder just how crazy he is, i.e. would he risk a nuclear attack when a nuclear response is certain?

That’s a large, nebulous question; most individuals outside the government have not much influence on such things.

I’ve found it more productive to lobby for smaller changes, more specific issues, wherever I can in the Israeli political system. E.g., some of the illegal settlers in the West Bank recently uprooted hundreds of one Palestinian’s olive trees with the lame excuse that terrorists could hide in and attack from them. In the past the Israeli military has rigorously stepped in to prevent settlers from doing such things and those who did have been prosecuted, but in the latest instance it seemed that the IDF response was half-hearted and too late, and though the settlers were arrested they have not yet come to court, and this lackadaisical attitude is (I believe) directly related to the politics of the current government and the atmosphere it creates. Though in the past even IDF have torn up parts of orchards for the wall and to punish militants, this last incident—half-hearted response to a major crime in terms of depriving one man and his family of their livelihood—is a huge step backward, and has to be resisted, criticized publicized as widely as possible, especially by American Jewish groups that support Israel. So this is what I’ve been working on as opposed to “commenting” on in truthdig-like forums. It’s slow work. A drop in the bucket.

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By ardee, November 5, 2009 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

Israel may have nuclear weapons but she isn’t threatening to destroy any of her neighbors, isn’t rattling her weapons (hoping deterrence will avoid future Arab attacks), whereas Ahmadinejad can hardly wait to use his shiny new toys on Tel Aviv.

Now, Sepharad you simply gotta try harder.There remains no evidence that Iran is seeking such weapons much less eager to use them.

Amadhinajad may prattle on but he is criticized strongly within Iran as well as without. He has little real power to make decisions as well.

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By Virginia777, November 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

I would add the TD troll’s Obama-bashing to that cacophony

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By Virginia777, November 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Israel isn’t rattling her weapons??

since when?

(also rattling her weapon-like influence over Congress, the President and almost our entire Media)

thats not a rattle, either, thats a cacophony!!

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By Sepharad, November 3, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Don’t know about anyone else, but I was heartened to notice that every major Israeli newspaper identified the American Jewish settler Teitel as not just murderer but as “terrorist”, which is what he was. Perhaps it will inspire Arab media to describe Arab terrorists as terrorists. A lot can be accomplished by the merest ray of truth shining into the circular accusation conversation that never becomes a real dialogue.

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By Sepharad, November 2, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Blackspeare—thanks for the one logical post among the anti-Israel rants. Your last sentence about negotiations problem was true, and at the heart of the problem. Can’t write more tonight; am on a deadline.

Folktruther—you remain as intransigently idiotic as ever. Peace Now is completely unlike your description: their major shortcoming, in my opinion, was influencing the party they founded—Meretz—to not join Livni’s government because her centrist policies and partners were not “pure” enough. This handed the country to Netanyahu; purity makes strange bad bedfellows.

Not everyone loves Crevold’s book

Israel may have nuclear weapons but she isn’t threatening to destroy any of her neighbors, isn’t rattling her weapons (hoping deterrence will avoid future Arab attacks), whereas Ahmadinejad can hardly wait to use his shiny new toys on Tel Aviv.

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By MeHere, November 2, 2009 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

After the Holocaust, I can’t think of anything worse for the Jewish people than the creation of Israel.  Zionism built and keeps perpetuating a new kind of ghetto for Jews. This has been a big mistake which shows how easily people can be deluded into accepting destructive nationalism.

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By Folktruther, November 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Ed, it isn’t Israel’s Jewish population that is the basic problem.  all earthpeople are miseducated, misinformed and misentertained to identify with authorized power.  When that power goes to the right, the people will go to the right with it. 

IF there is a strong opposition, such as the communissts in Nazi Germany, they will form a means to organize a poower that opposes the right.  That is why the first thing that Hitler did was imprison and kill the communists, socialists and labor leaders on coming to power.

But there isn’t a strong opposition in Israel, just as there isn’t in the US.  there is only a fake Peace Now group that neozionists, like Zepharad, support to delude gullible Progs and neozionist lemmings.  So the only power that the population can identify with is the right, and this includes all the major parties: Lichud, the Lichud spinoff, Labor, the religious parties, etc. The Isrrel population is going to the right because the Israeli and US power systems are, and are leading them to disaster.

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By Ed Harges, November 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

It’s interesting to note that, even with all Obama’s groveling to
Israel, his approval rating among Jewish Israelis is down to about 6%. The Israeli
public thinks he hasn’t gone nearly far enough in catering to the Israeli right
wing wish list. So can we please retire the myth that some large proportion of
Israeli Jews are nice, peace-loving, liberal, progressive people who for some
reason are unable to wrest control of their government from the right-wing
meanies? Israelis Jews themselves, overwhelmingly, want more, more, more. They
are not our friends, and they are not our allies. They are cynically exploiting the
Holocaust and the passionate attachment of American Jews to grab whatever the
hell they can get before they ruin their American hosts and move on to the next
victims, if they can find anybody so stupid and gullible as we have proven to be.

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By RootJensen, November 2, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

I’m with Spiritgirl, BOYCOTT!!!! smile

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By Spiritgirl, November 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

I am so sorry that the Obama administration capitulated to AIPAC and the Israeli position! Truth is that by doing so they have condemned both the US and Israel to continued bloodshed and violence!  I actually believed that by taking the “NO MORE SETTLEMENT activity” they were showing not just spine, but (finally) fairness to the Palestinians that having been living under a holocaust perpetrated by Israeli government!

The only thing I would suggest to all citizens of the world of good conscious to do is to BOYCOTT ALL ISRAELI PRODUCTS, and those who have business with Israel should DIVEST, NOW!

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By chrisx, November 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the same old “Israel uber alles” US Middle East policy at work. However, I do believe that this accomplished one thing: it proved to Muslims that Obama Cairo speech was just rhetoric, nothing else.

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By Blackspeare, November 2, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Some interesting comments both biased and not. but nonetheless interesting!  Whether you are pro or anti Israel isn’t the crux of the matter in regard to the settlements——it’s the art of negotiation.  The basic rule in negotiation is to never ever make a concession without getting something of value in return.  Israel won’t concede the settlement expansion until Fatah offers a concession of political value——the question is what would that be?

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By Folktruther, November 2, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

The Obama’s adiministration policy of effectively backing neozinionst settlement of Palestine not only destroys peace negotiations, it is a declaration of war.  The US-Israel is now waging war on the Palestinians with the backing of most of the Jewish population in Isreal, which is now being led by war criminals.  Clinton’s announcement rules out all hope for a peaceful two state solution.

Last year an Isreali professor Martin van Crevold wrote a shocking book to rave reviews called THE CULTURE OF WAR.  the thesis was that war was not a means to an end, but an end in itself.  the theme was that war is fun.  The Israeli power structure, as well as most of the American power structure, appears to have adopted this perspective.  the perspective of the ruling class of two centuries ago, that war is ‘good sport.’  This in an age of nuclear weapons.

The Palestinians therefore have no choice; they have to fight back or be destroyed as a people.  The neoziionists are totally irrational and, espousing war, have no respect for truth.  Sepharad, in a comment below, talks about Ahmendinejad’s ’ nuclear saber rattling’ when Iran has no nuclear weapons and Israel has many.

Neozionists have lost any realistic prespective, the neozionist truth consensns so full of inaccuracies, exaggeration, false characterizations and venemous polemic as a substitute for reality-based truth that it has lost contact with reality.  And the neozionionst leemmings follow in the war criminal footsteps, over the historical cliff. 

What the Palesitians need are modern weapons that can help them destroy Israeli tanks and planes.  Like many Americans, the Israeli population doesn’t understand that when you shoot at people, the tendency is for the people to shoot back.  If the Palestinians remain militarily powerless, they are on an historical trajectory to being destroyed.  IF they have weapons, they Isrrel will eventually have to recognize them as a military enemy, not a helpless people, and this will change their attitude.  Whether for the better or worse remains to be seen.  But there is no alternative for the Palestinians; without modern weapons they will be destroyed by US-Israel.

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By Rontruth, November 2, 2009 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

I think the most peaceful thing Israel could do is what would be the greatest shocker of them all: tell the US to take it’s $3.5 Billion annual hand-out to Israel, and ship it back to Washington, DC. with the statement that “We, the people of Israel, do not need your “welfare” with the strings attached. The strings have always been that Israel get’s it’s money, but only if it cooperates with US big OIL and natural gas flow through the port at Haifa, and other things that Washington wants in the name of oil and natural gas from the Persian Gulf nations.

Then I think that real negotiations could take place between Palestine, a nation once recognized by the UN with leader, Yassir Arafat speaking up front in the 1990’s. He’s gone. So is Ariel Sharon, once Arafat’s would-be killer. Two of a kind.

Hillary has been there, doing the will of the oil barron/imperialists whose power over Washington, DC sent her: stall any real peace negotiations because peace between Israel and Palestine means no oil through Arab lands without royalties paid to them for passage though their lands. I say let’s unmask imperialism for the fascism that it is. Italy is a good example that fascism destroy’s countries and governments. It kills a lot of innocent people. It is evil.

Fascism was what killed so many Native Americans through all the lies about wanting peace while planning the next land-grab within our own country.
It is time for individual honesty, and the resulting freedom from want, fear, and war. Outside influences, in Italy’s case, from Germany and other nearby nations, was what caused Italy to attack northern Africa, and ultimately to be brought to it’s knees in WW11.

Our current economic situation, if we don’t learn this lesson very soon, will lead to the same conclusion.

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By omop, November 2, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment





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By dihey, November 2, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

A fundamental question is: does Secretary Clinton represent the president’s foreign policies? If she does, then all future failures will pile up on the desk of the Oval Office. If she does not, the president should at least rein her in and probably ask her to resign. Secretary Clinton is not the only person of influence on foreign affairs who seems to contradict the president’s statements. General McChrystal is another such person. Apparently the president rounded on him for his public statements. The discrepancies between the highfalutin language (a.k.a. hot air) from the president and the statements of his Secretary of State and Generals are certainly noticed abroad. The Palestinians have already nixed any talks with Israel for that reason.
Is this a “downward spiral”? It sure looks like one to me.

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By radson, November 2, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Here we go again ,recently it was W Bush that bent over backwards for AIPAC and basically diminished the Presidency and now we are witness to President Obama,s weakness as the holder of the
highest office of the land.Citizens of America are going to have to reevaluate who they elected into office -last I heard they voted for Barack Obama ,and not for Netanyahu-.Has this Arab Israeli conflict
reached the point where the obvious is now cemented as the status quo.Sepharad you estimate a 10 percent change of success ,I value jour optimism,as I had aforementioned six months ago this void in the
peace process will be hinged on the Iranian question and failure therein will be attributed to the Iranians .After all the Israeli Govt fanatics are moving forward with their plans of Aggrandizement and it involves
all of Israel’s neighbors,but also necessitates a certain degree of chaos ,which explains the need for continual free military hardware ;thanks to Uncle Sam,but at the same time if things don’t work out as smoothly
as anticipated Bibi and Aipac could always blame the US for their unfaltering support ;after all Israel is only doing Washington’s bidding.

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By montanawildhack, November 2, 2009 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

Gee, when Hillary is meeting with her Israeli masters she’s all smiles… The only problem is that she is smiling like a cat eating shit…..............  Hey Palestinians!!! Read American history sometime… You’re headed for the same fate as our Indians/Savages.  There used to be a shitload of them around here… Now they’re gone… The best of luck….

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By RootJensen, November 2, 2009 at 1:13 am Link to this comment

Israel always gets the slack, they don’t care or listen
to anything but money or power showing their true
stereotypical colours, crooks counting their gold.

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By brewerstroupe, November 1, 2009 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

” Americans should concern themselves with helping Fatah”

Already been tried Sepharad. Didn’t do so well:

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By Sepharad, November 1, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

A large number of Fatah members from Gaza, in the West Bank for medical treatment, asked if they could remain in the West Bank and not return to Gaza where they are in constant danger from Hamas. The Netanyahu government and the Americans should concern themselves with helping Fatah unify in the West Bank, Fatah should concern itself with reducing the corruption that moved so many Gazans to vote for Hamas, not expecting it to win. The Palestinians need to be unified if they are going to be in a stronger position to effectively push for fairer treatment from Israel re water and settlement freezes. For starters: they have many more righteous issues to push. And the Israeli center and left is going to have to find a way to make these things an issue with the Netanyahu government. At this point, Netanyahu is getting a lot more slack than he should have because Ahmadinejad’s Iran’s nuclear saber rattling is focusing and increasing Israeli apprehension—not without merit, but not good for any movement toward negotiations either. Between Hamas, Hizbullah and Ahmadinejad, I would say the current possibility for meaningful progress is about 10%.

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By Nap, November 1, 2009 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It not news anymore that Americans support genocide and war crimes, so why report it.

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By truedigger3, November 1, 2009 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

What else is new!!??.  And Abbas is all smiles.
Yeah, I guess the whole thing is a funny joke, but the
joke is on him and the Palistenian people.
What a trite farce!

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By Hank from Nebraska, November 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

How many more years before Israel takes over all of Palestine, with only a few Palestinian “reservations” remaining?  We should be so proud that Israel is following the U.S. model on how to take over someone else’s land: Keep pretending to want to make agreements with the residents, but keep flooding people into their land anyway and depict any resistance as “savage” or “terrorism.”  Little by little, all the territory and resources that are worth anything will be in zionist hands.
Clearly, Obama is not going to go against manifest destiny and oppose Israel’s land grab.  He has more important things to do, like cave in on healthcare, punt on the environment, ignore gay rights, keep the economy making profit for the banks, etc.

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By Folktruther, November 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Notice however that the neozionist media, like truthdig, is changing.  The first headline emphasized Clinton telling the Palestinians to ‘get a grip.’ a frank identification with Natanyahu.  The identification is now more muted.

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By Commune115, November 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Is anyone really surprised? There is no way the US will put real concerns about peace over imperial interests. That or Israel is threatening to go nuts and bomb Iran or Lebanon if the US doesn’t ease the political pressure. In “The Fateful Triangle,” Noam Chomsky discusses this aspect of Israeli policy, the state has become so powerful military wise thanks to US aid that the Pentagon truly fears Israel taking rash actions if pressure were really put on it to end the occupation.

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By gerard, November 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

The Palestinians aren’t “getting to” the U.S. government and Ms.Clinton.  Their land and water are being confiscated (stolen) by Israel day after day,  year after year, and they are squeezed into smaller and smaller space, many having had their houses bombed or bull-dozed, their olive trees uprooted, their schools and hospitals bombed by Israel’s far heavier weapons (sold to the Israelis by US). They are harried by walls, checkpoints, closures, etc. Sure Hamas and others shoot back to some extent, but who wouldn’t when it’s the only way to hold on?  The situation is made much worse by the disproportion in Israel’s ability to occupy and punish innocents caught in the crossfire.  And it continues in spite of the Goldstone report.  How come?  And how come the liberal American, Israeli, and world Jewish movement gets little or no attention?

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By diamond, November 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

In East Jerusalem the Israelis not only steal Palestinians’ properties and demolish them they then hand a notice to the Palestinian owners that they have to remove the rubble at their own expense within a certain time or be fined. They’re doing this because they don’t want the Palestinians to have East Jerusalem as their capital if they ever get their own state. And why are they allowed to commit such injustices? As one settler told the journalist who did this report for Dateline: ‘Because the Jews are a chosen race and you know that’. What disgusted me the most was the Israeli policeman who sneeringly told a Palestinian man whose property had just been demolished ‘I’m trying to help you’. With friends like that who needs enemies? Don’t expect any American government to do anything to end this insanity. Israel owns them all lock , stock and barrel.

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By JCS, November 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Israel has repeatedly promised to halt construction of
their illegal colonies but they have continued to grow
without a pause through Oslo 1 and 2 and the Road Map
eras.  Abu Mazzan should pack it in and demand that all
Palestinians be granted Israeli citizenship.  A glance
at the map should convince anyone that a Palestinian
State is no longer possible.

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By Howie Bledsoe, November 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wish the WH would just drop the sh!t already and admit that what it really wants is a greater Israel that encompasses the entire muslim world. It´s so damned obvious. If it werent the case, why do we send them so much of our tax dollars, weapons and assistance?  Obama is no different than any of these other scumbags, pehaps worse in fact, for breaking the hearts of so many African americans and other working poor that put so much faith in his campain.  “peace in the middle east” is a cynical joke, and will only happen when the last arab has been buried in a shllow grave, or Pakistan has decimated the entire area with The bomb.

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By P. T., November 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

A moment was going to unavoidably come when the Obama administration would have to reveal whether it was serious about Mideast peace or just putting on a show.  That time would come over the issue of continued illegal settlements, which preclude peace.  The administration showed its hand when it abandoned its own previous position.

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By Irene, November 1, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sickening; the puppets do the same old dance to the usual tune. CHANGE indeed !

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By ardee, November 1, 2009 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Another nail in the coffin that is our expectations for our new president. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Obama is a fraud.

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By RootJensen, November 1, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Typical, Israel the fourth Reich!!!

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