The international Quartet of the US, EU, UN and Russia on Middle East
peace and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) seem set on an
agenda that perceives September 2011 as an historical political
watershed deadline. Among the partners to the Quartet – sponsored
Palestinian – Israeli “peace process,” practically deadlocked since the
collapse of the US, Palestinian and Israeli trilateral summit in Camp
David in 2000, only the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benyamin
Netanyahu seems adamant to set a completely different agenda that
renders any endeavor by the Quartet to revive the process a non –
starter, thus dooming the September deadline beforehand as another
missed opportunity for peace making.
Denying they are containment measures aimed at political survival to
avert potential Palestinian simulation in the aftermath of the regime
changes in Egypt and Tunisia, the PLO is bracing for what it declares as
indeed “the” watershed deadline in September 2011 that would make or
break its decision to resume as a partner to the “peace process.” The
PLO is reshuffling its negotiations department as well as the cabinet of
the self-ruled Palestinian Authority (PA) and has called for
presidential, legislative and local elections by next September to
empower itself with electoral legitimacy ahead of that deadline,
encouraged by what the Quartet perceives as a “really important moment
of opportunity,” in the words of the Quartet’s representative the former
UK prime minister Tony Blair, which is an “opportunity” created by the
Arab popular uprisings that so far have swept to the dustbin of history
the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, both considered for decades major
pillars of the Middle East “peace process.”
The Shift In State Of The Atmosphere
Monday, 07 February 2011 09:00
by Andrew Glikson Ph.D. - Earth
and Paleoclimate science Australian National
What is needed are urgent measures including deep cuts in carbon emissions and down- draw of atmospheric CO2, fast-track transformation to non-polluting energy utilities (solar, solar-thermal, wind, tide, geothermal, hot rocks), global reforestation and re-vegetation campaigns, including application of biochar (pyrolysis of biomass).
The release to the
atmosphere and oceans of hundreds of billions of tons of carbon from
fossil biospheres, at the rate of >2 ppm
CO2 per year, is unprecedented in geological history of Earth, excepting events such as asteroid impacts
which excavated and vaporized carbon-rich sediments, interfering with the carbon and oxygen cycles,
which led to mass extinction of species.
since 1750 of over 320 billion tons of carbon (GtC) from buried early
biospheres, adding more than one half of the original carbon inventory of the
atmosphere (~590 GtC), as well
as the depletion of vegetation, are triggering
shift in the state of
the atmosphere, tracking toward conditions
which exceed interglacial temperatures
over the last 400,000 years and are
analogous to conditions of the
mid-Pliocene ~2.8 billion years ago  (Figure 1),
the last decade 2000-2010 being the warmest since instrumental measurements commenced (Figure 2).
As stated by
Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute , “we're simply talking about the very life support system of this
Lost all too often in the climate
appreciation of the delicate balance between the physical and chemical
state of the atmosphere–ocean–land- cryosphere
system and the evolving
biosphere, which controls the
emergence, survival and demise of species, including humans. By
contrast to Venus’ thick blanket of CO2 and SO2 atmosphere, which exerts extreme
pressure (90 bars) at
the Venusian surface, and unlike Mars’ thin (0.01 bar) CO2 atmosphere,
the presence in the Earth’s atmosphere of trace concentrations of well-mixed
greenhouse gases (GHG) (CO2, CH4, NxO, O3), has modulated surface
temperatures during most of the Holocene within the range of -89 and +57.7 degrees Celsius and a mean
of 14°C, allowing the presence of liquid water and thereby of life. By contrast to the long-lived GHG,
water vapour has a short atmospheric residence time (9 days) and low concentrations
over arid climate
zones and the polar regions.
only slightly more
than 1000th Earth’s diameter, and evolving both gradually
as well as through major
perturbations with time, the atmosphere acts as a “lungs” of the biosphere, allowing an exchange of carbon
gases and oxygen
with plants and animals,
which in turn affect the atmosphere, for example through release of methane and photosynthetic oxygen.
by numerous proxy-based paleo-climate
the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rises above a critical threshold, the climate shifts to a different state.
Any significant increase in the level of carbon
gases triggers powerful feedbacks, including ice melt/warm
water interaction, decline of ice reflection (albedo)
and increase in infrared
absorption by exposed water.
Further release of CO2 from the oceans and from drying and burning vegetation shifts global climate zones toward the poles, warms the oceans and
induces ocean acidification [3, 10].
physics of the
resonance of greenhouse molecules, indicated by observations in nature and laboratory studies, is expressed by the relations
between atmospheric CO2 and mean global temperature projections (Figure 3). Increased evaporation in warming oceans results in enhanced, often abrupt, precipitation events and floods, as indicated by
current trends since about 1980 (Figure 4).
During most of Earth’s history the oxygen-poor composition of the atmosphere
resulted in a major role of reduced carbon species in the
air and the oceans, including methane
carbon monoxide, allowing
mainly algae and
bacteria to exist. It is commonly held that, from about 0.7 billion years ago,
in the wake of the Marinoan glaciation (so-called ‘Snowball Earth’),
oxygenation of low- temperature water allowed development of new oxygen-binding proteins and
thereby of multicellular
animals, followed by development of a rich variety of organisms — the “Cambrian explosion”..
state of the biosphere, allowing survival of large mammals and of humans on the continents, developed during global cooling
of the upper Eocene
and in particular once when CO2 levels declined below
about 500 ppm some 34
million years ago (end Eocene) [5, 7]. From this stage, interrupted by warm
periods in the Oligocene (~25 million
years ago) and mid-Miocene (~15 million years ago), the Antarctic ice sheet exerted a major effect on the global
regime. About 2.8 million years ago (mid-Pliocene) the Greenland ice sheet and the
Arctic Sea ice began to form, with further decline in global temperatures expressed through glacial–interglacial cycles controlled by orbital forcing (Milankovic cycles), with atmospheric CO2 levels oscillating between 180 and 280 ppm
CO2 (Fig. 1), conditions which allowed the emergence of humans in Africa
migration all over the
Recent paleoclimate studies,
using multiple proxies (soil carbonate δ13C, alkenones, boron/calcium, stomata leaf pores),
indicate that the current CO2 level of 391 ppm and the
CO2-equivalent level of ~460 ppm (which includes the
methane factor), commit warming
above pre-industrial levels to global
increase in greenhouse
forcing equivalent to temperature rise in the range of
4°C  (Fig. 1) and near-10°C in polar regions,
tracking toward ice-free
Small human clans responded
to extreme climate changes during the
Pleistocene (cold fronts,
storms, draughts, sea level
changes) through migration within and
out of Africa. Homo sapiens emerged during the glacial period preceding the 124
Emian interglacial, when temperatures were about 1°C above late
Holocene levels (Fig. 1) and
levels higher by 6–8
. The development of agriculture, and thereby of human civilisation, had to wait until the climate stabilised
about 8000 years ago,
when large-scale irrigation
along the great river valleys
(the Nile, Euphrates,
became possible thanks to the multi-seasonal regulation of river flow allowed
fluctuations in the source mountains snow cover.
Since the 18th century, global temperature rose by and average of ~0.8°C.
Another ~0.5°C is masked by industrial-emitted aerosols (mainly SO2). The polar
regions, acting as the ‘thermostats’
of the Earth, are the source of the
cold air current vortices and the
cold ocean currents, such as the
Humboldt and California current, which affect the ENSO cycle and keep the Earth’s overall
temperature in balance, much as the blood stream regulates the body’s temperature and the supply of
At +4°C rise, advanced to total melting of the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets would lead to over 10 metres-scale sea level rise. Further rise of CO2-equivalent above 500 ppm and mean global temperatures above 4°C (Figure
3) could lead toward greenhouse Earth conditions such as existed during the early
Eocene [5, 7].
associated with a rise of atmospheric CO2 include desiccation and burning of vegetation, releasing more CO2. The onset of methane
release from polar bogs and sediments
is of major concern.
Ice/melt water interaction
proceeds as melt water melts more ice; ice loss results in albedo loss and the
exposed water absorb infrared heat, leading to an amplified feedback loop. Because CO2 is cumulative, with atmospheric residence time on the scale of
centuries to millennia, stabilisation of the
climate through only small incremental reduction in emissions
may not be sufficient to avoid runaway climate change and possible tipping points.
Climate change can be geologically defined as a global oxygenation event which affects fossil carbon deposits
as well as the present biosphere. At 2 ppm CO2 per year rise the pace of carbon oxidation exceeds the fastest recorded
geological rate of 0.4 ppm/year at
the Paleocene–Eocene boundary at 55 Ma, when about 2000 GtC were released to the atmosphere, triggering an extinction of species [5, 7].
Sea level rise constitutes the critical
parameter which reflects thesum-total of
other elements of climate change.
Since the early 20th
century, the rate of sea level
from about 1 mm/year to about 3.5 mm/year (1993–2009 mean rate 3.2+/-0.4
mm/year) due to thermal expansion and ice melt, i.e. a nearly four-fold increase since
the onset of the industrial age.
The Earth poles are warming at rates 3
times faster than low latitudes
(NASA/GISS, 2010)  (Figure
2). The most detailed satellite
information available shows that ice
sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica are shrinking
and in some places are already
in runaway melt mode (Pritchard, 2009) .
Laser readings from a NASA satellite indicate changes in the height of the ice
sheets, especially at their edges, where warmer water eats away from below. In
some parts of Antarctica ice sheets have been losing 30 feet a year in thickness
At present the climate is in a lag period, with increasing atmospheric energy
expressed by heat
waves, hurricanes and
increased by approximately a factor of 2 since 1980 (Figure 4), and by a shift of
mid-latitude high-pressure zones toward the poles. With ensuing desertification of temperate zones, i.e. southern Europe, southern
southwest Australia, southern Africa,
the desiccated forests become prey
to firestorms. .
At 460 ppm CO2-equivalent the climate is tracking close to the upper stability limit of the Antarctic ice sheet,
defined at approximately 500 ppm [3, 5, 7].
Humans cannot argue with
the physics and chemistry
of the atmosphere, nor with the
sensitivity of the oceans and marine life to changes in pH . What is needed are urgent measures including
deep cuts in carbon emissions and down- draw of atmospheric CO2, fast-track transformation
utilities (solar, solar-thermal, wind,
tide, geothermal, hot rocks), global reforestation and re-vegetation campaigns, including application of biochar
(pyrolysis of biomass).
The alternative does not bear contemplation.
7 February, 2011
 M Pagani
et al., 2010, ‘High Earth-system
climate sensitivity determined from
Pliocene carbon dioxide concentrations’ Nature Geoscience,3, p 27–30.
 HD Pritchard et
al., 2009, ‘Extensive dynamic thinning
on the margins of the
Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets’ Nature 461, p. 971–975.
 JEN Veron, 2008, Mass extinctions and ocean
constraints on geological dilemmas. Coral
Reefs 27, p. 459–472
Palestine Looks Abroad for Rational Understanding
Monday, 31 January 2011 11:37
by Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
"What one misses in Arab and Palestinian culture is a moral and intellectual standard by which truth and falsehood can be distinguished and according to which intellectuals act regardless of profit or patronage."
"We Palestinians must still reconcile ourselves with our history, and with the perhaps futile sacrifices of the past century. And we must restore Palestine to its place not simply as a small piece of territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River but an idea that for years galvanized the Arab world into thinking about and fighting for social justice, democracy, and a different kind of future than the one that has been imposed on it by force and by an absence of Arab will." (Edward W. Said, Peace and its Discontents, 1996)
Palestine is one but Palestinians are "scattered like seeds" describes the distinguish professor of comparative cultures and civilizations - Dr. Shaw Dallal, the portrait of Palestinian lives ruined by the global politics of the few. When people are dispersed by force of political violence, they encounter insurmountable challenges and seem to build–up the momentum for unity of ideas and ideals and strive with strength of faith for a just cause and survival under tormenting conditions as persist in Palestine for over 60 years after the establishment of the State of Israel. The Jewish homeland in Palestine is outcome of the British- American complacency to avoid accountability for the centuries of conscious persecutions of the Jews in Europe. There was a culture of anti-Jewish religious metaphor across the European world that spilled over to America while Europeans migrated to the new world. Ironically, Arabs are the only people and civilization that enjoys a history of extending human dignity and equal treatment to Jewish people in their homes and hearts. Today, Arabs are the victims of Israeli intransigence and cruelty in Palestine. They live under barbed culture as did the Jews under the Nazis. Perhaps, Jewish emigrants from Eastern Europe could not think to free themselves from the past except to sustain the Nazi culture of human atrocities and reshape Palestine with barbed wires walls and check points to reinvent the insanity of Nazism. What a strange co-incident of human history? Nobody wants to learn from the lesson of history. Would this course of human ignorance favor the Jewish people and the State of Israel? Would Jews be more secure by depriving the Palestinians of their inborn right to freedom- an independent State of Palestine? When darkness prevails, people and nation seem to lose the sense of direction. For ages, the capitalist Europeans-American fought ideological wars against communist Russia and China. Today, they eagerly and desperately trying to bridge the historical gulfs often seem unbridgeable. American economic survival depends on the I.O.U notes of trillion of dollars from the Chinese. History is not fixed nor is the destiny of people. Jews should know better as they have gone through various critical junctures in their life cycle- it is the enlightened foresight that can envisage the future for the Arab-Israeli co-existence, not the warfare of the past.
As the Dominoes Flow toward Israel
Monday, 31 January 2011 11:35
by William A. Cook, Ph.D.
While the people of the mid-east rise in protest against their respective American supported dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, with the American-Israeli attempts to control Lebanon on the brink of chaos and collapse, and the "peace negotiations" between the Palestinians and the Israelis torpedoed by both Netanyahu and Abbas, the confusion at the State Department could be eased if it spent some time reviewing the United States' prior efforts to control the people of the mid-east, especially in Iran. It's one thing for the Secretary of State and the President to reiterate America's purported policy on human rights and another to acknowledge the hypocrisy of it.
After all, our policy appears clear, "We have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and free of corruption; and the freedom to live as you choose. These are human rights, and we support them everywhere," Mr. Gibbs said, speaking on behalf of the President. America supports human rights everywhere, with words … as our dutiful TV channels give Gibbs, Crowley, Clinton and Obama extensive time to demonstrate … but there are no words directed at the Palestinian people's rights.
How strange to watch our CNN talking heads, especially the Israeli trained Wolf Blitzer, former editor of AIPAC's in house "Near East Report," stuttering before the cameras as he recalled the fall of the Shah of Iran, America's staunch ally for 25 years, as a direct result of similar riots by Iranian civilians, and the resulting loss of America's control in Iran. He failed to mention that our friend had subjugated the Iranian people beneath the boots of his SAVAK mercenaries that protected his elegant life style while the people suffered under his despotic regime. Then as now our Presidents spoke of America's support of human rights neglecting to mention the CIA's overthrow of the elected nationalist (1951) Mohammed Mossadegh as Prime Minister.
Gilad Atzmon Discusses American Foreign Policy on Press TV
Monday, 31 January 2011 11:27
by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון, born June 9,
1963) is a jazz
musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and
currently lives in London.
"Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be
Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a
racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with
Zionism... which I have."
He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the
Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military
convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by
religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London,
where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques
Jewish identity issues and
supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of
a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the
"Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and
unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua
non for activists to adopt.
The American foreign policy is at cross-roads. For decades,
Washington has advertised equality and human rights in international
circles. But, at times, the U.S. has contradicted its own alleged
values, philosophy and democratic approach.
Some argue that
America's self-interest supersedes the spread of democracy worldwide.
However, there are those who say Washington's approach serves neither
the national interest of Americans, nor does it promote equality and
So, the question arises: who then benefits from current American policies?
Press TV's U.S. Desk discussed the issue with Gilad Atzmon who is a political activist, musician and author in London.
argues that American policy is a 'total mess' because the American
administration has gambled on authoritarian regimes who have been
sympathetic and obedient to Washington.
All the while, this support contradicts Washington's claims of spreading democracy in the
world. Atzmon writes: "The American government is very confused at the
moment. They don't know whether to support Hosni Mubarak or the people.
The same goes for Tunisia last week. America was also supporting the
Shah. And there is a big question why America is getting it wrong all