Israelis Say to Obama “Yes We Ken”


“The amazing moments in the march came when protesters chanted: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’” (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game”

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

In his recent and memorable speech at Capitol Hill and while mesmerizing America’s Congressmen with his reiterated talk of Israel being the only democratic friend of the United States in the Middle East, and as he was reaching a state of absolute euphoria due to the unbelievable non-stop applause and standing ovations he received from his most distinguished and hypocritical audience, Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, somehow forgot that the democracy he was boasting about incorporated a counter view to the one he was enthusiastically presenting to the American Congress about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bibi’s Impossible Peace 

“No preconditions whatsoever, no concessions on Jerusalem as a unified capital for the Jewish state of Israel, no consideration of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, no restrictions on Israeli military deployments outside its territory, no negotiations with any Palestinian delegates which include Hamas, and no clear indications of what territory might ultimately be sacrificed- painfully- to the Palestinians, even then, except that would not be based on any reference to 1967 border lines. In short, if the Palestinians want peace, they will have to accept whatever and whenever Israel is willing, unilaterally and unconditionally, to concede” …That was Mr. Netanyahu’s vision for any possible Mid-East peace or rather the impossible one.

In most political circles, this restrictive and shamefully biased and detached from reality vision for a so called peace will probably be viewed like Mr. Netanyahu is unequivocally blocking any hope for restarting the Mid-East talks, but the esteemed American Senators and Congressmen attending his speech didn’t think so.

The Israeli Wall and the Wind of Change 

Mr. Netanyahu, despite the brash and unapologetic chauvinism and his outright refusal of any political advice or moral leadership from Obama, proved that he is not an exception from those Middle Eastern dictators who are currently being toppled by their angry people in the region.

And as Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, pointed out, Netanyahu is acting the same as Mubarak of Egypt who had the leverage and the time of 30 long years to empower his country and people but instead he wasted all the time and opportunities and when he was finally forced to concede and implement some democratic changes it was a matter of doing too little too late.

This is exactly where Mr. Netanyahu is headed, he has been following the Arab awakening, but as a politician he failed to see through the core of those uprisings.

West Bank wall

Hiding behind his high West Bank wall he somehow couldn’t feel the wind of change sweeping through the whole Middle East. If Netanyahu had the kind of political and historical insight that allowed him to decipher what is being currently written down as history in the Middle East he should have realized that now is the time to change the Zionist rhetoric, let go of the old prejudices and make some concessions that would bring about peace to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the whole Middle East.

If only Netanyahu invested some critical and professional political thinking before he slammed the white house late initiative and if he had not been hypnotized by the support of the most fanatic Israeli right wingers and the most stubborn and unrealistic American Zionist lobbies he would have had the courtesy to contemplate the wisdom in Obama’s Middle East speech.

But not all the Israelis are grudging right wingers and not all the pro-Israeli American lobbies are as blinded and detached from reality like AIPAC. The newly liberal pro-Israel group, j-street has made it clear from the start that they endorsed Obama’s call for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 border lines and so did the liberals and the leftists in Israel.

Middle Eastern Rocks 

Netanyahu left the United States feeling victorious after getting the American Congress on its knees and after having lectured Obama about the political perils of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders but it didn’t take so long before that phony triumph crashed upon the rocks of Middle Eastern reality, as Netanyahu himself put it.

Israelis marching on the evening of Naksa Day calling for a sovereign Palestinian state

Once he got back to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu called for a state of high alert as it was a matter of days before the anniversary of the six-day war, or what the Arabs refer to as the shameful setback or Naksa, that was launched on June 5, 1967 and after which Israel had premeditatedly occupied big chunks of Arab lands on 3 fronts, the Egyptian, Palestinian and Syrian.

Last week the Israeli defense forces –IDF- braced for possible Palestinian marches on the Israeli borders commemorating the 1967 Israeli aggressive war but this year’s Naksa day came a little different than what Mr. Netanyahu expected, not that hundreds of Palestinians didn’t march on the borders with Israel but because thousands of Israelis unexpectedly and on the evening of Naksa day marched in Tel Aviv itself and loudly called for the realization of the two-state solution now and before it is too late and exactly as president Obama has called for in his Middle East speech last month.

Yes We Ken 

Some 5,000 people, with protesters affiliated with the Hadash party, Meretz, Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and the Geneva Initiative marched through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday evening in a demonstration calling for the creation of a Palestinian state contiguous to the Israeli state.

"Yes We Ken" poster

Those rallies shouldn’t be viewed as Obama striking back at Bibi in the heart of the Israeli capital but rather as a sincere bid for rejuvenating the call “give peace a chance” embraced by liberal politicians and peace activists in the United States, in Israel and even in the occupied Arab territories in East Jerusalem and the west Bank who are pleading for letting not, what might be the last chance to reach a fair and durable settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, simply slip away over some futile dueling speeches between Bibi and Obama in Washington DC.

“it’s difficult for us to be excited by the applause Netanyahu received in Congress. Applause there cannot protect us here.” said Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On as she addressed the Israeli protesters

Speakers in the rally included Knesset members from the Meretz, Hadash, Labor and Kadima parties who in turn showed their endorsement and solidarity to the recent call by President Obama for a two-state solution based on 1967 border lines.

The rally sends an important message about Israeli support for President Obama’s vision at this critical moment — especially as his opponents are on the attack, distorting facts and apt to question his political loyalty to the concept of greater Israel, a concept most of his predecessors of the United States presidents had subscribed to.

The amazing moments in the march came when protesters chanted: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’” (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game,”

Indeed… peace is not a game and neither is war.

… Those Israeli rallies which have been hardly reported by the main stream media clearly show that Obama’s Middle East speech should not be regarded as some kind of a political blunder that somehow offended the American Zionist lobbies and jeopardized his odds for a second term in office but rather as a road map that ought to be followed if Israel want to escape the otherwise inevitable doom of turning into an apartheid regime where a Jewish minority would rule over an Arabic majority. And we all know how appallingly apartheid regimes crumbled down throughout history.

What Bibi Didn’t Say in Congress Speech


Netanyahu addressing a joint meeting of the American Congress

“I intend to speak the unvarnished truth because now more than ever what we need is peace” Netanyahu said before he twisted the truth in his speech to the American Congress.

 

“Demographic changes … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks”

 

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Something about Netanyahu’s eloquent speech lately to a joint meeting of Congress, which has been interrupted by 29 standing ovations, sounded familiar to me. I don’t mean Netanyahu’s words but the response of his high caliber audience; it seems as if I have seen it before.

As an Egyptian who is not so keen on following much of the American congressional sessions, if any, still this extraordinary joint session of the American Congress with all that public display of candid acquiescence to everything Bibi said, or even thought, reminded me of the similarly eloquent speeches Mubarak used to deliver at the Egyptian parliament for well over 30 years of sordid dictatorship.

And also as an Egyptian I could attest to the fact that the televised sessions of the former president speeches to the Egyptian parliament members ranked high, not on the most viewed political videos but on the funniest ones.

For 30 long years Mubarak has been ranting about his relentless efforts to build a strong democracy where freedoms and the rule of law would be respected where in fact he was sincerely engaged in doing the exact opposite. But still his full house audience of apparently attentive parliamentarians kept on showing their frantic applause and repeated standing ovations to every one of his deceiving talks.

Of course Mubarak has been lying all along and he knew it and may be enjoyed it too, but what about those flocks of parliamentarians and politicians, how could we explain their attitude? Were they lied to, intimated or just hypnotized by the power of the presidential office?

The post- Mubarak probes proved beyond any reasonable doubt that 90% of those then incumbent high statesmen knew for a fact that Mubarak was the scum of the earth and they cheered for him only in gratitude for letting them keep their jobs and for the slim chance they would join in for a tiny slice of the ripped off cake. Oh yes, and the remaining 10% were just plain fools who just happened to hop in for the ride.

Shared values and interests

Haredi, ultra-Orthodox Jews

Going over Bibi’s landmark speech to the congress and trying to recapitulate the main points he stressed in his long speech, the first thing that strikes me as enigmatic and hard to grasp is his assertion that the relation between Israel, or the so called the Jewish state, and the United States is so strong because it is rooted in shared values and interests.

And every time I listen to this assertion, which usually pops up whenever Israel needs another big favor of Uncle Sam, being a foreigner I wonder, what on earth those shared values and interests might be. Are they so exclusively Israeli-American that no other nation on planet earth could hope to subscribe to?

In his speech, the Israeli Prime minister set out by stressing his country’s stand as a democratic “friend of America” in the Middle East, but largely ruled out touching on the issues that are important to Palestinians and their history.

In the warm arms of the US Congress, he somehow managed to get away with alleging that Jewish settlers – living in illegal settlements – in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not occupiers, that the West Bank (using the biblical designation, Judea and Samaria) is not occupied territory, that a united Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and that Israel should be recognized as “a Jewish state”.

Netanyahu reiterated the same old Israeli-Zionist jazz we have been listening to for years, boasting about the Jew’s historical and spiritual claims to the land.

But were all the senators and congressmen attending the speech aware that modern historians and archeologists had refuted the Biblical narrative of ancient Israelites and their stories of exodus, conquest and a magnificent unified kingdom. In other words, most of the ancient Israelite Biblical history is now more close to being a mere myth than a historical fact that cannot, or better yet shouldn’t be counted upon as historical evidence.

Were they aware, when Netanyahu spoke of giving up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland, that the Palestinians are more likely to be the true descendants of the ancestral Israelites than those Ashkenazi and Haredi – orthodox- Jews who are in fact immigrants, who fled Eastern and Western Europe following the horrors of the WWII, and whose ancestors just happened to adhere or convert to Judaism centuries ago?

When Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress that Israel is prepared to make “painful compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, including the handover of land they seek for a state, had it crossed the minds of his esteemed audience that the land Mr. Netanyahu was most kind and generously willing to hand over is not Jewish land in the first place under any international law, no matter how biased or manipulated it could get.

Repeating a message he has delivered consistently during his visit to Washington, Netanyahu said “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967 narrow lines because they don’t take into account certain demographic changes that have taken place on the ground over the last 44 years.

Demographic threat, in other words Palestinian Arabs

“Demographic changes” … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks.

In 1996, Israel’s population was 5.7 million people; today, that number is 7.75 million. Today, there are 1.59 million Palestinian Arabs in Israel, compared to 1.03 million in 1996.

In my opinion, while the historical, spiritual and political Zionist claims to the disputed land of Palestine are liable to be questioned, doubted or even refuted by professional academics and scholars, demographic changes remain the one robust reality on the ground that defy neglect or negating.

Over the last 6 decades Israel has not only succeeded in actualizing the Zionist’s dream of establishing a statehood for the Jews from all over the world, or the invention of the Jewish people, as the prestigious historian, Shlomo Sand put it, but also managed to turn it into a demographic reality.

while he was getting his, God knows how many, enthusiastic applause and standing ovation for branding Hamas as the Palestinian version of al Qaeda Netanyahu was thrilled the Zionist-controlled main stream media had managed, throughout the last decade, to downplay the world wide accusations pointing the finger at Mossad and its covert role in 9/11 and his own statements of how good it was for Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman

Advising or rather, patronizing Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader to break his pact with Hamas, Netanyahu somehow disregarded the fact that he himself had made a political bond with Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-Zionist party that advocates kicking out, or to put it mildly, the transfer of 1948 Palestinian Arabs out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and moreover appointed its leader, Avigdor Lieberman as his deputy and foreign minister who has been called by western and Israeli media as “neo-fascist, a certified gangster and anti-Arab virulent racist”

It doesn’t make much sense for Netanyahu to order Abbas to break up with Hamas while his coalition government is currently harboring hard-line extremists from both Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties who are deemed not only as anti-Arabs but whose highest spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef publicly advocates that Arabs should perish and be wiped off the face of the earth- a virulent hatred that Netanyahu usually dismisses while focusing on the long time israeli propaganda of “ we want peace, but unfortunately there is no one to talk to from the other side”. A pretext that Tel Aviv is bound to fully exploit after the late Palestinian reconciliation deal.

And as Netanyahu was keen to draw the attention to the Israeli demographic reality he never mentioned how a society deeply rooted in modern and civilized American values spoke of the Arabs and Palestinians in particular.

“If Obama wants to know who the true unacceptable partners for peace are, all he has to do is get an English transcript of discussions from the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and read how members from the political right call Arabs “animals” and make all manner of racist slurs against Palestinians” says Aljazeera opinion writer, Lamis Andoni.

 

And if the world cares to find out who is the intransigent party that is persistently hindering all the declared peace talks and the secret ones as well, all we have to do is to examine the “Palestine papers” leaked by aljazeera that revealed tons of documents exposing generous and extremely painful concessions offered by the Palestinian authority which had been turned down by the Israeli side in the most degrading and humiliating manner.

Over the last 20 years, and as the demographic changes Bibi mentioned has been in the making more kindergartens and primary schools were increasingly in demand. And with the ultra-orthodox Shas party running almost 30% of those primary schools one can imagine the kind of hate speech that is being indoctrinated to Israel kids. As a matter of fact the anti-Arab rhetoric in those primary schools has been so obvious and huge it became a rich material for the Israeli popular comic TV shows.

And since Comedy has to be based on truth, those shows are regarded as a funny way of being serious about Israel’s controversial policies and practices.

In his memorable speech to the congress and as he took the stage Netanyahu kept a long legacy of depicting Israel as the utopia of the Middle East alive.

 

Israeli Demographic changes manifested by non-stop new settelments

As he was elaborating on the long list of values Israel shared with the United States Netanyahu refrained from depicting the other side of Israel with a whole set of its other genuine values, such as segregation, blockade, covert operations and military expansion, that Israel cared to share only with its Mossad and Zionist ideologues.

Touching on any of those unpleasant issues could have carried the risk of tarnishing the glittering utopian image of Israel he was sketching before a joint assembly of American statesmen 90% of whom knew who Netanyahu really was and what he stood for and the remaining 10% just happened to be invited for the free Zionist ride on the Israeli-American campaign to block the UN vote aiming to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state due next September where Israel and America will yet to stand  isolated once more against the will of the free world, but what does it matter, after all that what friends who share the same values and interests, are for.

In Obama –Netanyahu Meeting, Who Is Who?


“The old game is over fellows, this is a whole new game now and it is going to be Israel once again, and like it or not, who will set the new rules. And as the United States had annexed Texas back in 1845 Israel simply followed in her footsteps and annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem, big deal.” says Benjamin Netanyahu.
 

 “At this point and as the ticking seconds seemed like ages for Obama, it was clear that Mr. Netanyahu was slapping Obama in the face in public and for the whole world to see.”

 

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Obama and Bibi

 

 Carried away by his, on the rise, presidential approval rating following his legendary triumph over Osama Bin Laden, the prince of darkness whose image and recorded video-tapes have been made to haunt the American collective psyche as the destroyer of America president Obama thought it was time to indulge himself with some rhetoric about the Middle East’s chronic crisis and it’s so called peace process.

I cannot blame the man for obviously he was basking in the ecstasy of his political victories. I mean with the monstrous Gulf oil spill overcome and now behind him as history, the health care legislation passed and hailed as a big victory, the boys are out of the Iraqi swamp and soon out of the Afghani poppy fields and with the notorious Bin Laden shot in his bed room and given the most dignified burial ceremony before he was dumped in the bottom of the sea, one thing that would make Obama worthy of his controversial Nobel peace prize remained missing and unaddressed, namely the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, The only hot issue on the US foreign policy that defied any sort of promising outlook.

And since he was all geared up for his second term in office, especially after he had easily shoved away that showy billionaire, Trump by exhibiting a small piece of paper and since Sara Palin has been politically self-decaying by the virtue of her God- given clueless mentality Obama thought that with the presidential elections, a process made to believe controlled by the Zionist lobbies, coming next year why not while rolling out the red carpet for Netanyahu, try and appease the pro-Israeli lobbies in America like, AIPAC, J Street, AFSI, ..etc, and announce that the United States stands firm behind ironclad Israeli security alongside a non-militarized and feeble Palestinian state as an acceptable prerequisite for any negotiations with the Palestinians.

Jewish activists in New York denounce Obama's call for a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders. But the US president declared his 'unshakeable support' of Israel and did not condemn its illegal settlement building

In his Middle East speech Obama carefully refrained from mentioning the Palestinian refugee Issue nor did he mention how the East Jerusalem file would be tackled but he came out explicitly and without a flicker of hesitation and declared to the whole world that the United States strongly believes that the future state of Palestine should be based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps with Israel,… and this is where his luck ran out on him.

With The United States being a member of the diplomatic quartet on the Middle East the Obama statement subsequently meant that this is where also the United Nations, European Union and Russia probably stood on this thorny matter of the Palestinian borders.

Obama’s speech created a buzz on the mainstream media and on the web and certainly made him go to sleep that Thursday night feeling good about himself and thinking what a splendid speech he gave that surely made everyone happy in North Africa and the Middle east. … Well, maybe not the whole Middle East.

Obama thought, may be the Norwegian Nobel prize committee that granted him the Nobel peace prize had been right all along, a committee of that caliber could not be mistaken, they are all men of good judgment and great expertise and he must be that world peace maker they all agreed he is. He must be the one who could get the job done in the Middle East conflict.

That Thursday must have been one of Obama’s lucky days and it could have stayed so hadn’t it been for the following day visit of Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime minister of the state of the chosen people of Israel.

Bibi’s knock out

 

Receiving his esteemed guest in the oval office and after showing cordiality before the cameras and world press Netanyahu put on his iron gloves and began to punch, the unprepared and still ecstatic from last night, Obama where it really hurts.

Netanyahu with his monotonous and metallic voice and with the aid of his body language began to grab every statement Obama has made on the hoped for Israeli-Palestinian agreement and literally tore it apart and threw it into some shredder machine right in front of Obama’s eyes.

Netanyahu declared that while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, only he didn’t say what those compromises would be, it cannot go back to the 1967 borders because those borders are indefensible.”

Indefensible, a new word in the vocabulary the Zionist machine is bound to utilize in the coming years and may be decades and to be added to the dictionary of Israel’s most popular words such as anti-Semite, Holocaust denier, Israel-hater, Israel’s right to exist, Israel’s right to defend itself, chosen people and of course the promised land.

Netanyahu looked Obama in the eyes; and referring to his worldwide admired Middle East speech told him “A peace based on illusions will crash upon the rocks of Middle Eastern reality” in other words Netanyahu was saying that Obama, the diplomatic Quartet, the Arab league and the Palestinians they all have been deluded and living in a world of fantasy land and it was he who would take upon himself the arduous task of waking them up to the world of reality.

In a blunt display of arrogance, Netanyahu even went so far as to address, audaciously, unexpectedly and publicly, the highly delicate issue of the Palestinian refugees and their long deliberated upon right to return and declared “It’s not going to happen. Everybody knows it’s not going to happen, and I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly it’s not going to happen.”

At this point and as the ticking seconds seemed like ages for Obama, it was clear that Mr. Netanyahu was slapping Obama in the face in public and for the whole world to see.

Obama with a look in his eyes that reflected mixed feelings of amazement, bewilderment and subjugation listened intently, his hands cupping his chin and part of his cheek as if he was feeling the pain and the humiliation and at the same time dodging any more slaps across his face.

New game, new rules

 

It's not going to happen

Now the whole discourse was taking a dramatic change, as Mr. Netanyahu was lecturing Obama and the United States about the new Israeli geo-political realities on the ground, the Palestinian ground that is, or rather the used to be.

“The old game is over fellows, this is a whole new game now and it is going to be Israel once again, and like it or not, who will set the new rules. And as the United States had annexed Texas back in 1845 Israel simply followed in her footsteps and annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem, big deal. It’s all part of this new game of demographic changes and if America got away with it I can see no reason why we cannot” that was the message Netanyahu was giving and impudently declaring between the lines.

Also between the lines there was a lot more to read than just this slap in the face, UN  resolution 242 and the different interpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian borders issue; there was a clear indication as to who was really pulling the strings in the white house.

This historically awkward moment revealed beyond doubt the true influence Israel and its brigades of Zionist lobbies wield over the white house and the American policy. An old story but this time aired live in a new world edition that will cover, beside the oval office spectacle, the finale scene as Netanyahu speaks triumphantly at the annual policy meeting of AIPAC.

As Obama was hosting Netanyahu In the oval office, the holy of the holies of the American diplomacy, and with the whole world watching, it was not clear which one of them was the real president of the United States and which one was the guest of honor, I mean with this eternal and unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel it has always been kind of hard to tell who is who and which is which.

Clearly that Israeli display of public defiance and contempt for the United States policy and its president raises a lot of comments and questions but on top of which the one question that has been long begging for an answer “is a second term in office, or the first for that matter, worth sacrificing the pride and the interests of the world superpower?”

This hard to die question really needs to be answered, not by Obama but the Americans themselves, for it is one burdening issue that could not be easily terminated, gotten rid of and dumped in the bottom of some sea.

While in Cairo: Norman Finkelstein Joined a March on Israeli Embassy


 

“Norman Finkelstein joined some Egyptian youth activists in their most daring and adventurous attempt to breach the heavy security cordon around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, break into the embassy and take down the Israeli flag”

“Some argue that Egypt has other priorities at the moment than to get into trouble with the restless Zionists in Tel Aviv, only Dr. Finkelstein didn’t think so”

 

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Poster of Dr. Finkelstein's lecture at the American University in Cairo

If you’ve been trying lately to contact Dr. Norman Finkelstein via email only you kept getting this reply “I will be out of town until 20 May 2011. I will not have access to internet so I will not be able to check my email”  .. Then you must have wondered where Dr. Finkelstein was and what could that seemingly urgent matter, that kept him from checking his email, be?

Well, to spare you the time and a wrong guess, Dr. Finkelstein was not on some Caribbean island vacation, he was in Egypt joining some youth activists in their most daring and adventurous attempt to breach the heavy security cordon around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, break into the embassy and take down the Israeli flag.

Nevertheless and before he left Egypt he somehow managed to keep his prefixed schedule and gave a memorable lecture at the American university in Cairo – AUC.

63 years of Nakba

 

Every year and on May 15, the Palestinians and the whole Arabs mark the Nakba day - the day Israel was established and declared a state by a controversial UN decree back in 1948.

Nakba is the Arabic for catastrophe. And indeed it has been, at least for the Palestinians who were expelled in a mass exodus as 750000 Palestinians were forced to flee their home land and make way for the new Jewish settlers.

This year marks the 63rd anniversary of this catastrophic event which proved after all these years of land grab that it’s not just some kind of brutal occupation or apartheid regime but an imminent danger to world peace altogether if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unresolved

Palestinian protesters on the Lebanese side of the border near Maroun al-Ras take cover from Israeli gunfire on Nakba Day

The 63rd anniversary of Nakba day comes amidst extraordinary events the Arab world is currently witnessing as the wind of change and revolutionary tide is sweeping across the Arab world.

Emboldened by the powerful Arab uprisings Palestinians living in Diaspora in scattered refugee camps along the borders with Israel in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinians from the west bank and Gaza decided to rally in hundreds and head for the land where their ancestors once lived. They all decided to march to Palestine on the 63rd Nakba day.

In commemorating the day they simply crossed the barbed wires and the fortified Israeli check points jeopardizing their lives for the sake of a few moments where they could walk through the fields and actually touch the trees their fathers planted ages ago.

For the Palestinians it was a day of remembrance, mourning their uprooting, embracing the past and keeping the hope to return home alive in the heart of new generations.
For the Israelis it was also a day to remember, not as their day of independence but rather as the day Israel’s borders were practically breached on 4 fronts; the Syrian, Lebanese, Jordan and Palestinian.

One cannot go far as some Zionist analysts who, in their bid for more American and European funds to Israel’s security, came out and said that on Nakba day Israel had been invaded on all fronts. But I would certainly point out that this has been more like a psychological blow to the Zionist myth of living secure and isolated behind some high wall or impregnable iron dome.

The 760 km concrete barrier has given the Israelis the false perception that their world stopped where the high fence stood and that nobody existed on the other side.

The Israelis have been deluded by this wall myth and on the Nakba day they found out how vulnerable they are.

 

While segregation walls are being demolished all over the world, Israel stands on the wrong side of history and embrace this dying wall culture.

It has been years since Israel witnessed this kind of pan-Arabic public display of rejection to the Zionist scheme for the transfer or rather the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Protest like an Egyptian

 

Dr. Finkelstein joining the anti-Israeli rallies outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on May 15

In Egypt the Nakba day scenario has been completely different as thousands of pro-Palestinian activists planned to commemorate the day by marching toward Rafah, the border crossing point with Gaza, where they would express their solidarity to the Palestinians and denounce the continuing occupation of their land.

Also in the commemoration program came the invitation by al-Quds studenty club for Dr. Norman Finkelstein, the political scientist and the world acclaimed pro-Palestinian activist to give a lecture at AUC.

Since they were banned from reaching the border terminal of Rafah for security reasons, the activists made a tactical change in their plan and headed for the Israeli embassy in Cairo instead. They rallied there on Sunday as they called for the embassy to be closed and the Israeli flag to be taken down.

The protests started peacefully in front of the embassy in the morning but at 11 pm things began to turn violent as the protesters managed to breach the heavy security cordon around the embassy and actually reached the main entrance of the multi-story building at the top of which the Israeli embassy lies.

At that point, and minutes before the protesters were to get inside the embassy building, military and security reinforcements were called upon and on arrival to the protests site they began to warn the protesters not to proceed any further.

Failing to heed the warning, the military began to disperse the rally by shooting tear gas canisters and rubber bullets that hit one protester in the head and another one in the abdomen.

Egyptian protesters in front of the embassy calling for Israeli flag to be taken down.

Dr. finkelstein joined the rally and actually took part at the beginning of the protests which lasted for hours into the night leaving 353 wounded and 168 arrested and waiting to be interrogated by a military prosecutor.

A military spokesman declared that the violent crackdown on protesters came after they had violated the peaceful terms for rallying as they actually set out to break into the embassy and commit an international violation by trespassing the premises of the embassy of a foreign sovereign country and forcibly taking down its flag.

As a matter of fact, a great sector of the Egyptian people, especially those who have witnessed the long history of Egyptian military confrontation with Israel in 1956, 1967 and 1973 are not at ease with these enthusiastic anti-Israeli embassy protests for they know too well that Israel tends to get foolishly aggressive whenever she gets nervous, and they think Egypt has other priorities at the moment than to get into trouble with the restless Zionists in Tel Aviv. But Dr. Finkelstein didn’t think so.

And when asked, on an Egyptian TV show the following evening, if now was the right time for post-Mubarak fragile Egypt to provoke Israel by closing down its embassy or taking down its flag, Dr.Finkelstein responded

“the Israeli embassy is the real provocation, and I think the Israeli flag should be taken down and the embassy should be closed as long as the Palestinian issue remains unresolved” …

and he added “the Egyptians will not lose their lives if Egypt lowered down the flag. It’s the Palestinians who are losing lives; around 15 were killed yesterday as they marked the Nakba day”

 

In his lecture that focused on the effects of the January 25 Revolution on the Arab-Israeli conflict Finkelstein said ..

“Egypt’s first civilian government is unlikely to attack Israel or renounce its 1979 peace treaty with the country. Instead, Israel is sweating simply because Egypt has become a force to reckon with rather than a pawn to be played. The biggest threat to Israel, he said, is that Egyptians will enter the modern world, continue to reclaim their dignity, and demand a central role in the region”

 

Dr. Norman Finkelstein during his lecture in Cairo

Finkelstein managed to win his AUC audience over, exactly as he did with most of the viewers of his TV interview. And he wrapped up his talk on TV by calling for the Egyptian military not to do Israel’s dirty work, and to release all 168 arrested protesters whom he viewed as true heroes who couldn’t stay silent over the Israeli crimes in Palestine and the whole Middle East.

In the few days Finkelstein stayed in Cairo, which lacked any mainstream media coverage, he did not only walk like an Egyptian but he talked and protested like one.

Though it was the first lecture for Dr. Finkelstein in Egypt but the chemistry between him and the Egyptian audience has been remarkable.

Finkelstein is a man who never does anything against his conscience and who dares to go to the end of his thought and that is the kind of voices people want to hear not only in Egypt but the whole world.

THIRD PALESTINIAN INTIFADA: All Arabs to March on Israel on May 15th


“With those powerful political storms rolling up the Middle East, and with this unstoppable and unpredictable domino effect of popular uprisings, how long before we watch the Israeli domino piece fall down”

“And if dictatorships are not tolerated in the Arab world anymore, why the Israeli quasi-dictatorship over the Palestinians should be any exception”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

All of The popular uprisings that swept through the Arab world have been preplanned and officially launched on facebook pages weeks in advance.

Pro-Israel lobbying. An Israeli Cabinet minister, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and a massive American-Zionist campaign have succeeded in pressuring Facebook into removing the“third Intifada” page, which clearly calls for an all-Arab uprising against Israel.
According to the facebook “cause” page, the plan for the intifada would go as follows;

Friday, May 13th
 In Egypt, the epicenter of the Arab world, the biggest Arab country and from Tahrir square at the heart of Cairo where the whole Arab spring has sprung and gained fervent momentum, this massive Arab intifada will be launched.
Millions will gather once again in Tahrir square at the heart of Cairo but this time to call for all Arab-march toward Israel.

This mass protest will come two days prior to the actual march, as a clear message to Israel and the rest of the world that liberating Palestine is the core cause for every Arab in the Middle East. And that restoring Jerusalem is all Arab’s sacred mission
 

Sunday, May 15th
 To commemorate the Palestinian exodus day 1948 ( Nakba) when well over 750000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled out of their home land by Israel, similar number of Thousands angry Arab protesters from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon along with their Palestinian brothers from Gaza and the occupied west bank will advance toward Israel in what they call, the third intifada

 

Profile photo of third intifada facebook page

In their march they will be denouncing the ongoing Zionist occupation of the Arabic land of Palestine and calling for internationally recognized independent Palestinian state over its legitimate pre-1967 borders with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Those fair Palestinian demands have been begged for by all ways known to diplomacy over the last 60 years. But since diplomacy has utterly failed the Arabs of Palestine and since politicians have granted them nothing except despair and Diaspora, they thought it was time they put their life into their own hands.

And what could be more timely than this Arab spring, which a lot of Arabs could not see or rather imagine approaching its full bloom without Palestine included.

This revolutionary plan that has been publicly posted on a facebook “cause” page and given the daring title “the third Palestinian Intifada” as there has been two Palestinian Intifada- uprisings- before. The first was sparked in 1987 and the second or what is known as the Aq’sa intifada in 2000, during both uprisings, Israel had to live through years of domestic unrest and worldwide condemnation of its apartheid and oppressive policy toward the Palestinians.

But as this “cause” page managed to attract almost 300000 fans and incredibly growing number of visitors in just few days Israel grew restlessly nervous about it. And nervously restless Israel acted in response.
What was worrying Tel Aviv is the fact that, so far, all Arab uprisings have been kicked off on facebook pages. So, under the boiling situation in the Arab world this facebook call couldn’t be underrated nor neglected.

Bullying facebook

With the unbelievably growing traffic to the facebook page and the spread of the call for a third intifada Israel couldn’t just stand watching underneath its big sign that reads “The only democracy in the Middle East”
Quickly switching signs, Israel grabbed the “Israel-hating and anti-Semitism” sign and put on its despotic mask, and before the administrators of the third intifada knew it, Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, on the last week of March wrote Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and told him ..

“the social network site has great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that. However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm, such as in the case of the wild incitement displayed on the Third Palestinian Intifada page”

 

Third Inifada

A facebook statement said on Monday of the first week of April that

whiles the “third Intifada” page “may be upsetting for someone, criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion.”

At that point it was clear to Israel that this Zuckerberg is not getting the message, Israel didn’t not seek his eloquent definition of the site’s terms for freedom of speech, removing the page that what Israel wanted. So Israel, with its Zionist lobbies and pro-Israel campaigns began to pull some strings and show some muscles and it did not take long before Mr. Mark Zuckerberg came to his senses and reevaluated the page as inciting violence against Israel.

And to make sure this will always be a lesson, learned the hard way, less than a week after facebook removed the intifada page; Zuckerberg was hit by a law suit seeking more than $ 1 billion in damages, for doing too little too late. The law suit has been filed by one of the American Zionist puppets- let off the leash- by the name of Larry Klayman.

After the page was no longer available on Tuesday, ADL director Abraham Foxman commented ..

“By taking this action, Facebook has now recognized an important standard to be applied when evaluating issues of non-compliance with its terms of service involving distinctions between incitement to violence and legitimate calls for collective expressions of opinion and action. We hope that they will continue to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.

 
Mark Zukerberg, facebook co-founder

Mark Zukerberg, facebook co-founder

But that will be mission impossible, for how could facebook go after thousands of Arab users who replaced their profile photos with the poster photo of the third intifada. Will facebook be able to pull down the other pages that began to play the same intifada tune?
Why can’t Israel face the truth, it is crystal clear, it needs no terrorizing of Zuckerberg or Goldstone. Arabs will never accept Israel as a neighbor state as long as Palestine is being systematically wiped off the map by the Zionist military dictatorship.

Israel could intimidate facebook but not the millions of awakening Arabs.
If facebook to block any page or any account that speaks unfavorably of Israel that will mean that Mr. Zuckerberg is going to sacrifice the hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims who are already using facebook worldwide.

Could facebook, contrary to its previous role in boosting the Arab uprisings, save the Israeli domino piece from falling?
That is yet to be seen.

 

 

EVOLVING STORY: Israeli Ambassador Leaves Cairo Amid Speculations of Opening Egypt’s Border with Gaza Soon


“Egypt doesn’t need investment from the enemy” says Egypt’s minister of finance.

“Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel should not be taken for granted” says Egypt’s foreign minister.

via EVOLVING STORY: Israeli Ambassador Leaves Cairo Amid Speculations of Opening Egypt’s Border with Gaza Soon.

Mission Accomplished in Libya for Obama and Coalition


“But then, why announce that Gaddafi has to go when the White House still has second thoughts and doubts about the Libyan rebels and who they really are. Why lead a coalition of the willing to militarily intervene in Libya when they are not yet so willing to kick Gaddafi out of the country”

 

“Things were moving too fast and too dangerous as well. This contagion of popular uprisings had to be dealt with; they had to be, if not stopped, at least held back. In other words, the Arab spring had to lose its spontaneity and finally its momentum”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Politics is a dirty game but we tend to ignore this fact all the time.

 
Gaddafi has lost legitimacy in Libya and he has to go”

…thus went President Obama about the popular uprising that was undergoing in Libya with rebels from east of the country taking Benghazi as their stronghold and core of the revolution.
In the wake of two strong popular uprisings that sent President Ben Ali of Tunisia on a plane to Saudi Arabia and President Mubarak of Egypt to Sharm el Sheikh Resort on the Red Sea, the day the upheaval began in Libya the world expected to see Gaddafi on a jet plane heading to Venezuela.

But that was wishful thinking driven by the powerful revolutionary tide that was sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East. No one knew then that the tide was going to slow down and the Arab spring to fade away in Libya.

False flag operation

But first let’s settle this predicament and try to clearly answer the question of whether what is happening in Libya a popular uprising or some false flag operation meant to reshuffle the players in the Libyan oil game… and another question of who wants to see – the brother leader, Gaddafi- kicked out of the rule in Libya?

Whose interest would a Gaddafi-free Libya serve?

Ousting Gaddafi is hard to fit as serving the American’s interest nor the European’s considering the long 40 years that passed by with Gaddafi as the head of the Libyan oil state with no one grumbling about it from the west.  Especially after 2003 which witnessed the honeymoon with the new Gaddafi who had abandoned his support for terrorism as requested from him and dismantled his never really- existed program of weapons of mass destruction immediately following the moment he had wet his pants watching his long pal, Saddam Hussein, captured by the gallant American soldiers, after being hiding like a rat in some filthy spider hole near his hometown of Tikrit in Iraq.

With almost every giant oil corporation, form Exxon, BP and Chevron to Petro China and ENI having a nice slice of the cake would another military and political turmoil in Libya be anything except another out of-business phase for them all reminiscent of the 17 years (1986-2003) that denied all world oil corporations the exploration and investment in the oil and gas in Libya following the American bombing and the UN sanctions imposed on the country since 1992 over the Lockerbie bombing case.

Investing in an unpredictable political upheaval that changed into an ugly armed struggle between Gaddafi’s loyalists and the Libyan rebels with neither party capable of winning it over is hardly the right calculated risk for any major oil giant even if it was a French corporation with Mr.Sarkozy himself endorsing it and pushing hard for a chivalrous odyssey dawn in Libya.

Al Qaeda affiliates in Libya

 

But then why announce that Gaddafi has to go when the White House still has second thoughts and doubts about the Libyan rebels and who they really are.  Why lead a coalition of the willing to militarily intervene in Libya when they are not yet so willing to kick Gaddafi out of the country?

Why go on an alleged humanitarian mission and try to sell the world this scenario while still testing the water for the likes of Osama bin laden in Libya?
The mighty United States has been waging a relentless – and rather meaningless- war on terrorism for almost 10 years now and till this moment the CIA is apparently clueless about the real existence and the influence of the so called al Qaeda in the Arab world and in Libya in particular.

What really has been bewildering throughout the last decade is the fact that the Arab world never knew such thing as the al Qaeda organization and yet it seems that the USA has been acting in this farcical war on terrorism on the most misleading and fake intelligence.

And in the light of the scanty and rather inconclusive data the United States with its European allies began to identify those Arabic Muslims who have been busy caught up in fierce desert battles for weeks now by the way they looked and talked in news footage from the mainstream media.

And so in a way reminiscent of how the Nazis soldiers identified the Jews- by their rituals and costumes- in Eastern Europe back during WWII the Muslim rebels in eastern Libya with their beards unshaven for weeks and their shouting “Allahu Akbar” whenever they managed to stand up for Gaddafi forces or seize back a newly liberated town looked a bit like the militant jihadists who followed bin Laden in Afghanistan to the White House.

So, secretary Clinton began to talk about al Qaeda affiliated groups in Benghazi and president Obama refrained from mentioning the Libyan transitional National council (TNC) in his speech about the intervention in Libya as if they never existed.

And this was Gaddafi’s moment of relief and a twist of fate for the rebels.

Stalemate, is the name of the game

On handing over the command of the operations to NATO, and with this obvious inclination of the United States to take a back seat and enjoy the panoramic odyssey dawn from afar, the NATO began to take it easy on Gaddafi and bring some dramatic excitement to the battlefield as recurrent incidents of friendly fire began to be reported to which NATO firmly stood unapologetic.

With the rebels getting the feeling they are being let down by a coalition of the so far, so unwilling, to end this mess up, and with the fluid situation on the ground the Libyan uprising has perfectly and conveniently reached its preplanned stalemate point.

Now the mainstream media is talking about the Libyan uprising no more, rather they talk of a fluid military situation with never meant to oust Gaddafi intervention. Along with the undergoing diplomatic efforts to settle this war in Libya and with the NATO allowing brokers from Europe and the African union to meet with the two conflicting sides the situation in Libya has been intendedly steered towards this diplomatic and military stalemate.

Ever since this unprecedented and abrupt popular uprisings in the Arab world with its frightening and uncontrollable domino effect began and the west has been watching in amazement those unfolding revolutions as they toppled the strong men of the west in the Middle East one by one and taking down with them years of political plans and partnership in the region.

The United States and the west had been taken by surprise in Tunisia and Egypt; they were simply outpaced and outsmarted by the power of the people there. The same power that thought it was time to ask Gaddafi to go.

And as the imperialist interests began to be threatened and totally drifted out of control, the west just couldn’t stand watching for too long, they had to intervene some way or another to control this catastrophic domino effect and try to save the day in North Africa and the Middle East and this is where Libya came in, and in the right moment with its psychic and paranoid dictator whose reckless reactions would be the perfect excuse for the Americans and the allies to step in and save the Libyan people the same way they saved the Iraqi’s with their similarly paranoid and reckless, Saddam Hussein.

Sarkozy woke up one morning to find bin Ali of Tunisia gone and Obama the other morning also found himself unable to even allow Mubarak to stay for the few left months of his term in office conducting what he called a transitional period.

Things were moving too fast and too dangerous as well. This contagion of popular uprisings had to be dealt with; they had to be, if not stopped, at least held back. In other words, the Arab spring had to lose its spontaneity and finally its momentum.

This is exactly what happened after the west had intervened in Libya. The tide of the revolution has been interrupted not only in Libya but elsewhere in the Arab world; the uprisings that were starting in Morocco, Oman, Algeria and Iraq had been put to rest days later, the Bahrain unrest has been cut off from the mainstream media coverage and Saudi security forces were sent to forcibly control the situation there with not a flicker of comment or objection from the United States or the freedom loving Europeans.

Thousands of Yemenis have been marching in the streets for almost a month now but with president Saleh emboldened by what happened in Libya and with the absence of any international objection to his dodging the protesters demands not to mention the potent support of the Saudi kingdom the situation in Yemen reached almost the same stalemate point Libya did.

 

And when it was time for the Syrian storm to start, the general Arabic mood was intoxicated with endless scenes of blood, coffins, new promises, new cabinets, compromises, European and African brokers and deadlock situations everywhere.

USA and the NATO under the cover of yet another noble and humanitarian world mission managed to not only save the day for Gaddafi in Libya, but also to hinder this fervent domino effect in the Arab world that was resketching the region’s political map and menacingly encroaching upon the rich with oil Gulf countries and the rest of Israel’s allies and this is where the red line had to be drawn.

The odyssey dawn will be regarded as a mission accomplished in Libya and the rest of the Arab world. Gaddafi and many other dictators in the Arab world might have won some time by this no-fly zone operation but eventually they are bound to get on the same departure plane that Ben Ali and Mubarak had been aboard.

Due to this inconclusive intervention in Libya the Arab spring has been prematurely interrupted, but soon, new dawn will undoubtedly break. And next time it will not be the odyssey of the coalition military adventure but rather of Arabs’ continued quest for freedom.

Egyptians are Back in Tahrir Square to Block a Counter Revolution


“To every action there is always opposed an equal reactionAnd to every revolution there is often plotted a counter revolution…”

via Egyptians are Back in Tahrir Square to Block a Counter Revolution.

King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred


King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred

Ker Than

for National Geographic News

Published February 16, 2010

One of several, this golden "coffinette" (detail pictured) held part of King Tuts organs.

King Tut may be seen as the golden boy of ancient Egypt today, but during his reign, Tutankhamun wasn’t exactly a strapping sun god.

Instead, a new DNA study says, King Tut was a frail pharaoh, beset by malaria and a bone disorder—his health possibly compromised by his newly discovered incestuous origins. (King Tut Pictures: DNA Study Reveals Health Secrets.)

The report is the first DNA study ever conducted with ancient Egyptian royal mummies. It apparently solves several mysteries surrounding King Tut, including how he died and who his parents were.

“He was not a very strong pharaoh. He was not riding the chariots,” said study team member Carsten Pusch, a geneticist at Germany’s University of Tübingen. “Picture instead a frail, weak boy who had a bit of a club foot and who needed a cane to walk.”

Regarding the revelation that King Tut’s mother and father were brother and sister, Pusch said, “Inbreeding is not an advantage for biological or genetic fitness. Normally the health and immune system are reduced and malformations increase,” he said.

Short Reign, Lasting Impact of King Tut

Tutankhamun was a pharaoh during ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom era, about 3,300 years ago. He ascended to the throne at the age of 9 but ruled for only ten years before dying at 19 around 1324 B.C. (Pictures: “King Tut’s Face Displayed for First Time.”)

Despite his brief reign, King Tut is perhaps Egypt’s best known pharaoh because of the wealth of treasures—including a solid gold death mask—found during the surprise discovery of his intact tomb in 1922. (See pictures of King Tut tomb treasures or see them in person in  Toronto through April 30.)

The new study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, marks the first time the Egyptian government has allowed genetic studies to be performed using royal mummies.

“This will open to us a new era,” said project leader Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

“I’m very happy this is an Egyptian project, and I’m very proud of the work that we did.”

(See “King Tut: Unraveling the Mysteries of Tutankhamun”—a 2005 National Geographic magazine report on forensic studies that recreated Tut’s face, among other developments.)

King Tut’s Close-Knit Family

In the new study, the mummies of King Tut and ten other royals that researchers have long suspected were his close relatives were examined. Of these ten, the identities of only three had been known for certain.

Using DNA samples taken from the mummies’ bones, the scientists were able to create a five-generation family tree for the boy pharaoh.

The team looked for shared genetic sequences in the Y chromosome—a bundle of DNA passed only from father to son—to identify King Tut’s male ancestors. The researchers then determined parentage for the mummies by looking for signs that a mummy’s genes are a blend of a specific couple’s DNA.

In this way, the team was able to determine that a mummy known until now as KV55 is the “heretic king” Akhenaten—and that he was King Tut’s father. Akhenaten was best known for abolishing ancient Egypt’s pantheon in favor of worshipping only one god.

(Pictures: “Who Was King Tut’s Father?” [2007].)

Furthermore, the mummy known as KV35 was King Tut’s grandfather, the pharaoh Amenhotep III, whose reign was marked by unprecedented prosperity.

Preliminary DNA evidence also indicates that two stillborn fetuses entombed with King Tut when he died were daughters whom he likely fathered with his chief queen Ankhensenamun, whose mummy may also have finally been identified. (See “King Tut Tomb Fetuses May Reveal Pharaoh’s Mother.”)

Also, a mummy previously known as the Elder Lady is Queen Tiye, King Tut’s grandmother and wife of Amenhotep III.

King Tut’s mother is a mummy researchers had been calling the Younger Lady.

While the body of King Tut’s mother has finally been revealed, her identity remains a mystery. DNA studies show that she was the daughter of Amenhotep III and Tiye and thus was the full sister of her husband, Akhenaten.

Some Egyptologists have speculated that King Tut’s mother was Akhenaten’s chief wife, Queen Nefertiti—made famous by an iconic bust (Nefertiti-bust picture). But the new findings seem to challenge this idea, because historical records do not indicate that Nefertiti and Akhenaten were related.

(See “Nefertiti’s Real, Wrinkled Face Found in Famous Bust?”)

Instead, the sister with whom Akenhaten fathered King Tut may have been a minor wife or concubine, which would not have been unusual, said Willeke Wendrich, a UCLA Egyptologist who was not involved in the study.

“Egyptian pharaohs had multiple wives, and often multiple sons who would potentially compete for the throne after the death of their father,” Wendrich said.

Inbreeding would also not have been considered unusual among Egyptian royalty of the time.

King Tut Plagued by Malaria, Required Cane

The team’s examination of King Tut’s body also revealed previously unknown deformations in the king’s left foot, caused by the necrosis, or death, of bone tissue.

“Necrosis is always bad, because it means you have dying organic matter inside your body,” study team member Pusch told National Geographic News.

The affliction would have been painful and forced King Tut to walk with a cane—many of which were found in his tomb—but it would not have been life threatening.

Malaria, however, would have been a serious danger.

The scientists found DNA from the mosquito-borne parasite that causes malaria in the young pharaoh’s body—the oldest known genetic proof of the disease.

The team found more than one strain of malaria parasite, indicating that King Tut caught multiple malarial infections during his life. The strains belong to the parasite responsible for malaria tropica, the most virulent and deadly form of the disease.

The malaria would have weakened King Tut’s immune system and interfered with the healing of his foot. These factors, combined with the fracture in his left thighbone, which scientists had discovered in 2005, may have ultimately been what killed the young king, the authors write.

Until now the best guesses as to how King Tut died have included a hunting accident, a blood infection, a blow to the head, and poisoning.

UCLA’s Wendrich said the new finding “lays to rest the completely baseless theories about the murder of Tutankhamun.” (Related: “King Tut Not Murdered Violently, CT Scans Show” [2005].)

King Tut’s Father Not “Egyptian Quasimodo”

Another speculation apparently laid to rest by the new study is that Akhenaten had a genetic disorder that caused him to develop the feminine features seen in his statutes, including wide hips, a potbelly, and the female-like breasts associated with the condition gynecomastia. (See “Men With Breasts: Benign Condition Creates Emotional Scars.”)

When the team analyzed Akhenaten’s body using medical scanners, no evidence of such abnormalities were found. Hawass and his team concluded that the feminized features found in the statues of Akenhaten created during his reign were done for religious and political reasons.

In ancient Egypt, Akhenaten was a god, Hawass explained. “The poems said of him, ‘you are the man, and you are the woman,’ so artists put the picture of a man and a woman in his body.”

Egyptologist John Darnell of Yale University called the revelation that Akhenaten’s appearance was not due to genetic disorders “the most important result” of the new study.

In his book Tutankhamun’s Armies, Darnell proposes that Akhenaten’s androgynous appearance in art was an attempt to associate himself with Aten, the original creator god in Egyptian theology, who was neither male nor female.

“Akenhaten is odd in his appearance because he belongs to the time of creation, not because he was physically different,” said Darnell, who also did not participate in the DNA research.

“People will now need to consider Akenhaten as a thinker, and not just as an Egyptian Quasimodo.”

(Read more about Akhenaten in National Geographic magazine’s “Pharaohs of the Sun.”)

“Beautiful DNA” Found in King Tut Study

The generally good condition of the DNA from the royal mummies of King Tut’s family surprised many members of the team.

Indeed, its quality was better than DNA gathered from nonroyal Egyptian mummies several centuries younger, study co-author Pusch said.

The DNA of the Elder Lady, for example, “was the most beautiful DNA that I’ve ever seen from an ancient specimen,” Pusch said.

The team suspects that the embalming method the ancient Egyptians used to preserve the royal mummies inadvertently protected DNA as well as flesh. (Related: “King Tut Move Designed to Save Mummy.”)

“The ingredients used to embalm the royals was completely different in both quantity and quality compared to the normal population in ancient times,” Pusch explained.

Preserving DNA “was not the aim of the Egyptian priest of course, but the embalming method they used was lucky for us.”