Libyan and Tunisian female-jihadists are forcing under age Syrian girls to be sex slaves for FSA/al-Nusra
Assad has been in the top ten in the last two years and was the highest placed leader last year. This against the Obama lies that Assad is killing his own people. This year there is also support from US citizens now they know that Obama has been lying about the situation in Syria and supporting the terrorists who have been butchering Syrian citizens.Bashar Al Assad is fighting the world terrorists, single handedly with only the support of Russia While the USA are funding Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and ISIL.
You can see below the two people either side of the Assad page which are working perfectly and Assad’s image and poll have been removed.
Last year Time Magazine announced Obama as the person of the year even though he was the most unpopular on the list. So why do they even bother with this poll, which cannot be believed. Who is voting for Erdogan? The Turkish leader hated by his people and has demonstrations against him still, but you won’t see it in the media.
This poll is just a farce.
Protests against the Israeli occupation and separation wall took place in villages across the West Bank, including in Bilin, al-Masara, Kafr Qaddum, and Nabi Saleh.
Demonstrators raised slogans and posters of South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in many villages, commemorating the legacy of the “freedom fighter” who passed away on Thursday.
Many Palestinian activists argue that the system of racial segregation in South Africa that existed until 1994 resembles the Israel treatment of Palestinians, referring to the current situation as “Israeli apartheid.”
Dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation and another was detained as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest in Bilin near Ramallah.
Palestinian, Israeli and international activists who participated in the protest raised Palestinian flags and posters of the late South African president Nelson Mandela. They chanted songs calling for unity, in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and against the Israeli occupation.
This week’s protest commemorated Mandela’s legacy and his fight against apartheid in South Africa.
AbdulKadir Abu Rahma, 20, was detained during the protest.
Since 2005, Bilin villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers.
Previous protests by Bilin activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route.
Israeli forces on Friday also dispersed a protest against the separation wall in al-Masara south of Bethlehem.
Protesters marched from the center of the village and raised Palestinian flags in the demonstration which was held in honor of late South African President Nelson Mandela as well as late Egyptian poet and social critic Ahmad Fouad Najm.
Hassan Brejia, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall, said “since its beginning, the Palestinian revolution has gained its strength from other revolutions including South Africa and its symbol Nelson Mandela, who was always a help for the struggle and fighting of Palestinians.”
Brejia also praised the position of a Druze man, Omar Saad, who went to jail this week after he refused to serve in the Israeli army.
Since 2006, the residents of al-Masara have protested on a weekly basis, demanding Israeli authorities return village lands confiscated in order to build the separation wall as it crosses through their town.
Two people were injured and dozens others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a protest in Kafr Qaddum.
Spokesman of the popular resistance committee Murad Eshtewi said Israeli forces raided the village after the weekly demonstration started, firing tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Nasser Barham, 43, and Bashar Eshtewi, 43, were struck by tear gas canisters in the arm and abdomen, he added.
Eshtewi said that today’s demonstration was in protest against the recurrent raids of al-Aqsa by Israeli extremists, and in response to the “repression” suffered by the people in the village at the hands of Israeli forces.
Israeli forces erected a checkpoint at the entrance of the village in the morning, declared it a closed military zone, and prevented ambulances and journalists from entering the village until the demonstration ended.
Protests are held every Friday in Kafr Qaddum against Israel’s closure of a main road linking the village to its nearest city, Nablus.
In Nabi Saleh, Israeli forces dispersed demonstrators who marched throughout the village raising Palestinian flags as well as photographs of Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot dead by Israeli forces at a similar rally in 2011.
Israeli forces opened fire on the demonstrations throughout the day with tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets.
Protestors marked the second anniversary of his death by beginning the protest at the village cemetery and demonstrating in front of his house. They also marched to the site where Tamimi was killed two years ago.
In a statement, the village popular resistance committee also expressed condolences at the passing of late South African leader Nelson Mandela, highlighting his work as a “freedom fighter” who “fought against injustice” and stressing that his passing is a “great loss for humanity.”
In 2004, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to stop construction of the separation wall within the occupied West Bank.
When completed, 85 percent of the wall will run inside the West Bank.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
صباح الخير للقائد اللقيس ملتحقا بالركب
|Hezbollah proudly revealed his Martyr Hassan Lakkis and did not disclose further details, yet the Zionist enemy immediately described him as a bright mind and said that he weighs the Research and Development service in the Technology and Logistics section of the Zionist army.
How did the Israeli press view Martyr Lakkis?
Runin Bergman said that the Israeli intelligence services have known Bergman since the eighties.
“Lakkis’s name was mentioned by Yediot Ahronot in 2011 when it listed him as a representative of Hezbollah in the “Shadows Army” which includes the organizations of resistance in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
Meir Dagan said that Lakkis has gained all his qualifications through the experiences he had in producing and developing the military equipments for Hezbollah.
“Lakkis enabled Hezbollah to be the strongest organization throughout history and to possess the hugest military capability which surpasses that of 90% of the world countries.
In 1999, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (A’man) considered that Lakkis was responsible for purchasing Hezbollah developed weaponry, including radars, GPS devices, nocturnal vision systems, vests.
The Israeli enemy says Martyr Lakkis was responsible for building Hezbollah military capabilities after 2000 to face any Israeli invasion with strong fortifications as well as endurance conditions and to protect the rocketry power during the war.
“This resulted in damaging the Israeli tanks and thwarting the enemy war plans in 2006, thanks to the brilliant men as Mughniyeh and Lakkis.”
Translated by Mohamed Salami
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—along with certain Arab League countries, plus Turkey and Israel, have this past week reportedly committed themselves to raising nearly $6 billion to “beef up” the just-hatched Islamic Front (IF) in Syria. These “best friends of America” want the Obama administration to sign onto a scheme to oust the Syrian government by funding, arming, training, facilitating and generally choreographing the movement of fighters of this new front, a front formed out of an alliance of seven putatively “moderate” rebel factions.
Representatives of Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan reportedly told staff members on Capitol Hill that committing several billions to defeat the Assad regime by supporting the IF makes fiscal sense and will cost much less than the six trillion dollar figure tallied by the recent study by Brown University as part of its Costs of War project. According to the 2013 update of the definitive Brown study, which examined costs of the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the total amount for all three topped six trillion dollars.This never before released figure includes costs of direct and indirect Congressional appropriations, lost equipment, US military and foreign contractors fraud, and the cost of caring for wounded American servicemen and their families.
Among the Islamist militia joining the new GCC-backed coalition are Aleppo’s biggest fighting force, Liwa al-Tawhid (Tawhid Brigade), the Salafist group Ahrar al-Sham, Suqour al-Sham, al-Haq Brigades, Ansar al-Sham and the Islamic Army, which is centered around Damascus. The Kurdish Islamic Front also reportedly joined the alliance.
IF’s declared aim is to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whatever the human and material cost it may require, and replace it with an “Islamic state.” Abu Firas, the new coalition’s spokesman, declared that “we now have the complete merger of the major military factions fighting in Syria.”
Formally announced on 11/22/13, the IF includes groups from three prior umbrella organizations: the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), and the Kurdish Islamic Front (KIF). From the SIF, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya (HASI), Kataib Ansar al-Sham, and Liwa al-Haqq all joined, as did the KIF as a whole, and former SILF brigades Suqur al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, and Jaish al-Islam. None of these groups have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the US, and therefore, as an Israeli official argued in a meeting with AIPAC and Congress this week, nothing stands in the way of US funding and support for them. The Israeli official in question is the country’s new national security advisor, Yossie Cohen, who assures key congressional leaders that the tens of thousands of rebels making up the IF will all support “one policy and one military command.” Cohen also pledges that the new group is not as “insane” as other Muslim militia—Daash or al-Nusra or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for instance—that comprise the IF’s chief rivals. Cohen and AIPAC are further telling Congress members and congressional staffers that the emergence of the IF is one of the war’s most important developments, and he vows that the new organization in effect brings seven organizations into a combined force that will fight under one command, a force estimated by the CIA to number at around 75,000 fighters. Reportedly the objective will link the fight in the north with that in the south in a manner that will stretch loyalist forces, and the Saudi-Israel team is also asking the Obama Administration to more than double the monthly “graduation class” of CIA-trained rebels in Turkey, Syria and Jordan—from its current level of 200 per month, up to 500 a month.
What the GCC/Arab League/Israeli team is asking of its western allies (meaning of course mainly the US) is to immediately fund the IF to the tune of $ 5.5 billion. This, Israeli security officials argue, is pocket change compared to the $6 trillion spent in US terrorist wars of the past decade. Plus it will have the presumed “benefit” of toppling the Assad regime and truncating Iran’s growing influence. The plan has reportedly been dismissed by some in the Obama administration as “risible and pathetic.” Nonetheless, Tel Aviv, the US Congressional Zionist lobby, and to a lesser extent Ankara, are pressing ahead under the assumption that linking with the IF now makes sense and that they can take their chances will al-Qaeda later. Ironically these are some of the same voices from AIPAC’s Congressional Team who four years ago were claiming that al-Qaeda was “on the ropes and will soon collapse.” Yet they are optimistic that if Assad goes, “we can deal with the terrorists and it won’t cost six trillion dollars.”
One House member who strongly agrees with AIPAC is Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who recently declared that “in my heart I am a Tea Party guy.” A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Hunter believes the US should use nuclear weapons against Tehran. In a Fox TV interview this week he declared his opposition to any talks with Iran, insisting that US policy should include a “massive aerial bombardment campaign” utilizing “tactical nuclear devices” to set Iran “back a decade or two or three.”
According to sources in Aleppo and Damascus, the IF’s top leadership positions have been parceled out among five of the seven groups. This at least is as of 12/5/13. Four days after the IF was announced, the organization released an official charter. In terms of its basic architecture, the document is similar to that put out by the SIF in January, but the new version is filled with more generalities than other militia proclamations, and seems designed to accommodate differing ideas among member groups. The charter calls for an Islamic state and the implementation of sharia law, though it does not define exactly what this means. The IF is firmly against secularism, human legislation (i.e., it believes that laws come from God, not people), civil government, and a Kurdish breakaway state. The charter states that the group will secure minority rights in post-Assad Syria based on sharia, which could mean the dhimma (“protected peoples”) system, or de facto second-class citizenship for Christians and other minorities. According to Saudi officials in Lebanon, the IF seeks to unify other rebel groups so long as they agree to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Given this ‘moderate’ wording, the expectation of some is that that the southern-based Ittihad al-Islami li-Ajnad al-Sham will join the IF.
According to the Netanyahu government, the IF’s leading foreign cheerleader, this new coalition gives substance to that which states who have been wanting regime change in Syria have been calling for. One analyst on the Syrian conflict, Aron Lund, believes a grouping of mainstream and hardline Islamists, excluding any al-Qaeda factions, is significant. “It’s something that could be very important if it holds up,” he explained. “The Islamic Front’s formation was a response to both regime advances and the ‘aggressive posture’ of jihadists against other rebels, plus a good deal of foreign involvement, not least of which is Saudi and GCC pushing to unify the rebels.”
Contrary to reports out of Occupied Palestine that the Netanyahu regime is not worried about or much interested in the crisis in Syria, a measure of delight seems to be felt in Tel Aviv that Muslims and Arabs are once more killing each other, along with smugness over Hezbollah’s loss of key mujahedeen as it faces, along with Iran, its own “Vietnam experience.” Yet all this notwithstanding, near panic is reported to have been felt in Israeli government circles over Hezbollah’s achievements in Syria. Truth told, Tel Aviv knows that despite manpower losses by Hezbollah, the dominant Lebanese political party is bringing about major enhancements of its forces. It also knows that there is no substitute for urban battlefield experience with regard to effecting such force regeneration, and Israeli officials have also stated their belief that the Resistance is organizing non-Hezbollah brigades that share one goal in common despite disparate beliefs. That sacred goal is liberating Al Quds by any and all means.
A US Congressional source summarized the Obama administration’s take on this week’s assassination of a key Hezbollah commander as part of a major new Netanyahu government project to weaken Hezbollah. Hassan Houlo Lakkis’ assassination on the night of December 3-4 is deemed in Washington to be particularly significant since Lakkis was in charge of strategic files related to Israel and the Palestinians and also oversaw a number of key operations. The Resistance commander was deeply involved in the development of drones for Hezbollah, as well as smuggling weapons to Gaza via Egypt. He also had good relationships with the Palestinian factions in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon. Lakkis was known by Washington to be a highly important cadre and a second rank Hezbollah official. According to one analyst “Israel appeared as if it was telling Hezbollah, come and fight me. Israel is upset over the Western-Iranian agreement. It is also upset over the new position that the West has concerning Hezbollah whereby the West is now viewing the party as a force that opposes the Takfiris. Thus, Israel’s objective behind the assassination is to lure the party into a confrontation thus allowing Tel Aviv to tell the West: Hezbollah is still a terrorist organization.”
According to sources on the US Foreign Relations Committee, the White House is being heavily pressured by the US Zionist lobby and the Netanyahu government to take “remedial measures” for the “catastrophic historic mistake” it made in defusing the Iranian nuclear issue and refusing to bomb Damascus. The measures being pushed for, of course, are funding and support for the IF, though doubts persist in Washington as to how “remedial” they will in fact be. The $5.5 billion “investment” is to be paid in large part by GCC/Arab League countries, with US and Zionist contributions. Cash from the latter two sources will come directly and indirectly out of the pockets of American taxpayers—with Israel paying nothing.
Some Washington officials and analysts are wondering if US participation would help unify notoriously hostile rebel ranks and curtail the growing power of al-Qaeda in Syria, or whether it is simply another zany Bander bin Sultan-concocted project, the latest of many—in this case to create a hierarchical revolutionary army with the aim of fighting the Syrian regime essentially alongside al-Qaeda? Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed his personal suspicions this week that “the Israel-Saudi team is trying to drag the US back into a potentially deepening morass,” alluding to what apparently is an effort to head off any plans the Obama administration may have of living with the Assad government until such time as Geneva II happens, that is if it happens, according to one congressional staffer.
Many among the American public also have doubts because they have been told that their government was ‘winding down’ its Middle East wars in favor of rebuilding America’s infrastructure, roads, health care and education systems, all of which, especially the latter, appear to be suffering dramatically. According to the most recent international survey, released this week, the average Chinese student, aged fifteen in Shanghai, is two full years ahead of America’s best students surveyed in Massachusetts. Recent top scores among secondary school youngsters, particularly in math, reading and science, were considerably lower than those achieved by students in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan. The US is far down the list and declining, and the survey suggests that the gap is widening.
It’s too early to say whether this latest Saudi-Israel-Arab League collaboration will fail as others have recently, but given the continuing Obama administration efforts at taking back US Middle East policy from Tel Aviv, plus the perceptible movement away from support for the Netanyahu government along with growing angst among American taxpayers over funding the occupation of Palestine, it just might collapse.
“Ahrar al-Qalamoun” Battalions announced that the abducted Maaloula nuns will not be released before implementing several demands.
Media reports mentioned that the group’s demands and those of Nusra Front are common.
The demands include lifting the siege on Gouta and releasing 1000 female prisoners from the Syrian prisons.
The reports confirmed that the terrorist group conveyed the demands to the Syrian government through Vatican which was informed by the head of Mar Takla Monastery about the terrorist conditions to release the nuns.
The nuns appeared in a brief video and denied that they had been kidnapped.
The video showed them in the terrorists’ headquarters.
|06-12-2013 – 19:28 Last updated 06-12-2013 – 21:41|
Published Friday, December 6, 2013
A video released Friday night allegedly shows the group of nuns abducted by Syrian rebels from the town of Maaloula three days ago thanking their captors for “protecting” them.
The 13 nuns, dressed in black religious habits, appeared unharmed in the video obtained by Al Jazeera, but many of them kept still and looked to the ground as the cameraman – presumably one of the rebels – “interviewed” them.
“We have nothing to say but God give you strength for this favor that you have done for us,” one of the nuns tells the cameraman.
The man then asked if they had been hit or mistreated in any way, to which the nun responded: “That did not happen.”
“We are 13 nuns, and three civilians, staying at a very, very nice villa,” she added.
Watch the video (Arabic):
Rebels kidnapped the nuns on December 3 from their convent in the Mar Thecla Monastery of the historic Christian town Maaloula which was captured from government forces one day before.
The nuns were believed to be taken to the neighboring village of Yabroud. Pope Francis and the Grand Mufti of Lebanon Mohammed Rashid Qabbani have called for their release.
“We emerged from heavy shelling, and good people brought us here, they befriended us, they housed us, and we’re very thankful to them,” a second nun told the rebel filmmaker.
The man then chose a nun at random and asked her if she would agree that they had been “kidnapped” or “detained.” She replied that they had not been detained, but “taken to a safe place.”
A fourth nun told the cameraman that they are “very, very happy” with “the brothers who performed a good operation and took us from the convent (in Maaloula) from under the shelling.”
“They protected us,” she added.
Earlier Friday a Saudi newspaper reported that a rebel group calling itself “Free Qalamoun” claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, and offered to release the nuns in exchange for 1,000 female prisoners held in Syrian jails.
The authenticity of that report could not be verified, and the video released Friday made no reference to such a deal.
- Syrian rebel group holding nuns captive offers hostage swap
- Chechen: Gov’t Preventing Citizens from Going to Syria, Assad Defending Sovereignty
- Car Bomb in Northern City of Qamishli Kill Six People, Injure 10Syrian
- Army Kills Saudi Colonel, Eliminates Terrorists across Country
- ISIL Terrorists Kidnap 50 Kurds, Execute Iraqi Journalist
- Syria Militant Threat ‘May Force US Rethink President Assad’
- FSA Ready to Join Syrian Army to Defeat al-Qaeda
- Syrian Army Kills More Militants, Terrorist Attacks Claim Lives of 19 Citizens
Editor’s note: The eulogies from Israeli leaders in response to the death of Nelson Mandela are pouring in. What goes unspoken in their remembrances is that Israel had a close relationship with the South African apartheid regime. Here’s an excerpt from Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s groundbreaking book that delves deep into the alliance. Titled “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa,” it was published in 2010.
On April 9, 1976, South African prime minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster arrived at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with full diplomatic entourage in tow. After passing solemnly through the corridors commemorating those gassed in Auschwitz and Dachau, he entered the dimly lit Hall of Remembrance, where a memorial flame burned alongside a crypt filled with the ashes of Holocaust victims. Vorster bowed his head as a South African minister read a psalm in Afrikaans, the haunting melody of the Jewish prayer for the dead filling the room. He then kneeled and laid a wreath, containing the colors of the South African flag, in memory of Hitler’s victims. Cameras snapped, dignitaries applauded, and Israeli officials quickly ferried the prime minister away to his next destination. Back in Johannesburg, the opposition journalist Benjamin Pogrund was sickened as he watched the spectacle on television. Thousands of South African Jews shared Pogrund’s disgust; they knew all too well that Vorster had another, darker past.
In addition to being the architect of South Africa’s brutal crackdown on the black democratic opposition and the hand behind many a tortured activist and imprisoned leader, Vorster and his intelligence chief, Hendrik van den Bergh, had served as generals in the Ossewa Brandwag, a militant Afrikaner nationalist organization that had openly supported the Nazis during World War II.
The group’s leader, Hans van Rensburg, was an enthusiastic admirer of Adolf Hitler. In conversations with Nazi leaders in 1940, van Rensburg formally offered to provide the Third Reich with hundreds of thousands of men in order to stage a coup and bring an Axis- friendly government to power at the strategically vital southern tip of Africa. Lacking adequate arms supplies, van Rensburg’s men eventually abandoned their plans for regime change and settled for industrial sabotage, bombings, and bank robberies. South Africa’s British-aligned government con sidered the organization so dangerous that it imprisoned many of its members.
But Vorster was unapologetic and proudly compared his nation to Nazi Germany: “We stand for Christian Nationalism which is an ally of National Socialism . . . you can call such an anti- democratic system a dictatorship if you like,” he declared in 1942. “In Italy it is called Fascism, in Germany National Socialism and in South Africa Christian Nationalism.” As a result of their pro-Nazi activities, Vorster and van den Bergh were declared enemies of the state and detained in a government camp.
Three decades later, as Vorster toured Yad Vashem, the Israeli government was still scouring the globe for former Nazis— extraditing or even kidnapping them in order to try them in Israeli courts. Yet Vorster, a man who was once a self- proclaimed Nazi supporter and who remained wedded to a policy of racial superiority, found himself in Jerusalem receiving full red-carpet treatment at the invitation of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
· · ·
Prior to 1967, Israel was a celebrated cause of the left. The nascent Jewish state, since its creation amid the ashes of Auschwitz, was widely recognized as a triumph for justice and human rights. Leftists across the world, with the notable exception of those in Muslim nations, identified with the socialist pioneering spirit of the new nation. Africans welcomed Israeli development aid and voted in Israel’s favor at the United Nations. Europeans for the most part supported the Jewish state, often out of socialist idealism or sheer guilt. Even Britain, which fought Jewish guerrilla organizations until the eve of Israel’s independence in 1948, recognized the state of Israel in January 1949. Although the South African Jewish community became the largest per capita financial contributor to Israel after 1948, relations between the two countries’ governments were cordial but chilly for much of the 1950s.
In the 1960s, Israeli leaders’ ideological hostility toward apartheid kept the two nations apart. During these years, Israel took a strong and unequivocal stance against South Africa. In 1963, Foreign Minister Golda Meir told the United Nations General Assembly that Israelis “naturally oppose policies of apartheid, colonialism and racial or religious discrimination wherever they exist” due to Jews’ historical experience as victims of oppression. Israel even offered asylum to South Africa’s most wanted man.
In addition to condemning apartheid, Meir forged close ties with the newly independent states of Africa, offering them everything from agricultural assistance to military training. Many African leaders accepted invitations to Israel and some, impressed with the Israeli army, decided to hire Israeli bodyguards. African states returned the favor by voting with Israel at the U.N. in an era when the Jewish state had few diplomatic allies. At the time, black American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were also outspoken in their support of Israel, likening criticism of Zionism to anti-Semitism.
Things began to change with Israel’s stunning victory over its Arab neighbors in the Six-Day War of 1967, which tripled the size of the Jewish state in less than a week. The post-1967 military occupation of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian territory and the settlement project that soon followed planted hundreds of thousands of Jews on hilltops and in urban centers throughout the newly conquered West Bank and Gaza Strip, saddling Israel with the stigma of occupation and forever tarring it with the colonialist brush.
Israelis did not take kindly to the colonial label. After all, Zionism had in many ways been an anti-imperial movement. The World Zionist Organization may have mimicked European colonial settlement tactics in the early 1900s, but by the 1940s Zionism’s more extreme proponents were fighting to oust the British Mandate government in Palestine. Consequently, many Israelis saw their independence as a postcolonial triumph akin to the successful liberation struggles of newly independent African and Asian countries and they bristled at any attempt to equate Zionism with European colonialism.
Conquest and expansion had not been part of the IDF’s (the Israel Defense Forces) strategic planning for a war that it perceived as a defensive struggle for survival. Even Israel’s leaders were shocked by the extent of their territorial gains in the Six- Day War. Indeed, before the shooting stopped, the first internal military memos proposed withdrawing almost completely from the newly acquired territories in exchange for peace with the Arab states. Yet, as Arab negotiating positions hardened and religious Zionists and socialist idealists alike sought to redeem and settle the land, the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Sinai Peninsula slowly transformed Israel into an unwitting outpost of colonialism.
Aided by a healthy dose of Arab and Soviet propaganda, Israel’s image as a state of Holocaust survivors in need of protection gradually deteriorated into that of an imperialist stooge of the West. As criticism of Israel mounted and Arab states dangled dollars and oil in the faces of poor African nations in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Third World countries increasingly switched allegiance. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, all but a few African countries severed diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, and the Israeli government abandoned the last vestiges of moral foreign policy in favor of hard-nosed realpolitik.
It wasn’t long before Israel initiated defense cooperation with some of the world’s most notoriously brutal regimes, including Argentina’s military dictatorship, Pinochet’s Chile, and apartheid South Africa.
At its core, the Israeli–South African relationship was a marriage of interests and ideologies. Israel profited handsomely from arms exports and South Africa gained access to cutting-edge weaponry at a time when the rest of the world was turning against the apartheid state. For the next twenty years, a Janus- faced Israel denied its ties with South Africa, claiming that it opposed apartheid on moral and religious grounds even as it secretly strengthened the arsenal of a white supremacist government.
Israel and South Africa joined forces at a precarious and auspicious time. The alliance began in earnest after the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, and shared military and economic interests drove the relationship for the next three years. Though both countries were receiving varying degrees of support from the United States, neither enjoyed a defense pact with Washington and both were wary of relying too heavily on the Americans for their survival— especially in the early 1970s, when unconditional U.S. support for Israel was by no means assured. This alliance exposed Israel to great risks in the realm of public relations, especially when the Jewish state’s legitimacy was already under attack at the U.N. from pro-Palestinian groups and aligning itself with the hated apartheid regime threatened to tarnish its reputation further.
Rabin’s Labor Party government, which ruled the country from 1974 to 1977, did not share the ethnic nationalist ideology of South Africa’s rulers, but Israel’s war-battered industries desperately needed export markets and the possibility of lucrative trade with South Africa was hard for Defense Minister Shimon Peres to resist. As Rabin, Peres, and a new generation of leaders inherited the party from David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, the conviction that compromising certain values was necessary for survival gained sway and socialist idealism gave way to realpolitik. During the Rabin years, South African arms purchases breathed life into the Israeli economy and Israeli weapons helped to reinforce the beleaguered and isolated apartheid regime in Pretoria.
The impact of their tryst was felt across the globe. As the Cold War spread south in the 1970s, Africa became an ideological battleground, pitting Angolan government troops and their Cuban allies against South Africa’s formidable military machine, which owed its prowess in no small measure to Israel. The U.S. government feared that South Africa’s white minority regime, driven by a siege mentality and militant anticommunism, might resort to the nuclear option when faced with Soviet proxies on its borders. The U.S. government had by 1970 accepted that Israel was a member of the nuclear club, but Washington worked tirelessly in the late 1970s to prevent South Africa from joining it. As hard as officials in Jimmy Carter’s administration tried, their nonproliferation policy failed to prevent South Africa from acquiring the bomb soon after Carter left office, and subsequent U.S. administrations couldn’t stop Israel from helping the apartheid state develop more advanced components of its nuclear arsenal.
These two isolated states formed an alliance that allowed South Africa to develop advanced nuclear missile technology and provided Israel with the raw material and testing space it needed to expand its existing arsenal of missiles and nuclear weapons. All of this occurred in the face of intense international criticism, surveillance by U.S. and Soviet intelligence agencies, and constant condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly.
This mutually beneficial relationship was forged outside the jurisdiction of international conventions such as the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the cornerstones of Western efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The two countries developed and improved their respective weapons systems under such secrecy that not even American intelligence agencies knew the full extent of their cooperation.
The Israeli–South African relationship was not only about profit and battlefield bravado, however. After Menachem Begin’s Likud Party came to power in 1977, these economic interests converged with ideological affinities to make the alliance even stronger. Many members of the Likud Party shared with South Africa’s leaders an ideology of minority survivalism that presented the two countries as threatened outposts of European civilization defending their existence against barbarians at the gates.
Indeed, much of Israel’s top brass and Likud Party leadership felt an affinity with South Africa’s white government, and unlike Peres and Rabin they did not feel a need to publicly denounce apartheid while secretly supporting Pretoria. Powerful military figures, such as Ariel Sharon and Rafael (Raful) Eitan, drew inspiration from the political tradition of Revisionist Zionism—a school of thought that favored the use of military force to defend Jewish sovereignty and encouraged settlement of the biblical lands of Greater Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sharon, Eitan, and many of their contemporaries were convinced that both nations faced a fundamentally similar predicament as embattled minorities under siege, fighting for their survival against what they saw as a common terrorist enemy epitomized by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) and Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The ANC may have never employed indiscriminate violence to the extent that the PLO did, but in the eyes of the generals in Tel Aviv and Pretoria, Mandela and Arafat were one and the same: terrorist leaders who wished to push them into the sea. And for the top brass in both countries, the only possible solution was tight control and overwhelming force.
Foreign Ministry officials in Israel did not always approve of close ties with South Africa, but it was the defense establishments— not the diplomatic corps— that managed the alliance. The military’s dominance was so complete that the Israeli embassy in Pretoria was divided by a wall through which no member of the diplomatic corps was allowed to pass. Only when opponents of apartheid within the Israeli government sought to bring down that wall in the late 1980s did the alliance begin to crumble.
· · ·
The research for this book took place in a world where information and disinformation are equally important. Even decades after the fact, Israel remains extremely sensitive about keeping secret the details of its collaboration with a regime that is now universally condemned as immoral. Journalists and scholars who wrote on the Israeli–South African relationship during the 1980s suffered from a lack of access to key participants and official documents. As a result, the story they told, though partially accurate, was incomplete.8 For the past six years, I have struggled to fill in the gaps by prying open bureaucratic doors, accessing highly restricted archives, and interviewing more than one hundred key players in both countries.
In Israel, dozens of people initially refused to speak with me. I traced former ambassadors to desert kibbutzim and elderly South African Jewish émigrés to designer apartments in the posh northern suburbs of Tel Aviv. From the offices of defense contractors to assisted living communities, I was treated to battlefield tales and old photo albums offering glimpses of a relationship that until now few government officials have dared to talk about.
In South Africa, retired military intelligence officials asked for my U.S. passport number and ran background checks before inviting me to their homes for interviews. Tracking down the key protagonists led me to sprawling rural farms and gated retirement communities. I met former defense ministers and generals for coffee in strip malls and over shots of brandy in Pretoria’s bars. A Soviet spy who had sent some of South Africa’s and Israel’s most sensitive military secrets to Moscow invited me to his home on the windswept coast of the Cape Peninsula, where he now lives comfortably among the retired naval officers he once betrayed. Former employees of the arms industry giant Armscor and the nuclear scientists involved in building South Africa’s atomic weapons were the most reluctant of all, but several eventually opened up. My family’s roots in South Africa helped ease the suspicions of several octogenarian generals, who instantly became candid in the presence of someone they regarded as a fellow white South African in the hope that I would share their nostalgia for the old days. Some saw the interviews as an opportunity to secure their place in history and were self-aggrandizing to the extreme; others guarded their secrets closely. I have therefore not relied exclusively on oral history.
Accessing government and military archives was even more difficult. The South African authorities repeatedly rebuffed and then delayed my requests. But after sixteen months of waiting for documents, I managed to get my hands on over seven thousand pages of records from the South African Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and the defense contractor Armscor, including the Israeli side of the correspondence— but not before Israel’s government did its utmost to prevent me from getting them.
In April 2006, the Israeli Defense Ministry intervened to block South Africa’s release of a 1975 agreement outlining the planned military cooperation between the two countries, which is signed by Defense Ministers Shimon Peres and P. W. Botha. The Directorate of Security of the Defense Establishment (known by its Hebrew acronym Malmab) insisted that declassification of the 1975 document or any others would endanger Israel’s national security interests. Fortunately, the South African Defense Ministry disregarded these protests. This is due in no small measure to the fact that the people whose records I sought are no longer in power in Pretoria. While the ANC government has not fully thrown open the doors to the apartheid government’s archives, it is far less concerned with keeping old secrets than with protecting its own accumulated dirty laundry after sixteen years in power.
Israel, of course, is a different story. There, intense secrecy surrounding this relationship remains in force. The actions of Israeli administrations from the 1970s and 1980s are still regarded as state secrets, and many of the architects of the Israeli–South African alliance—including Israel’s president as of this writing, Shimon Peres— remain in powerful positions. Even so, South African records pieced together with the oral testimony of retired high-level officials in both countries provide a startlingly clear, if incomplete, picture of the relationship.
This book does not equate Zionism with South African racism, as a 1975 United Nations resolution infamously did. Rather, I contend that material interests gave birth to an alliance that greatly benefited the Israeli economy and enhanced the security of South Africa’s white minority regime. Yet ideology was a factor, too: while the relationship was driven by concrete economic interests, it would have begun far earlier and ended much sooner had it not been for the influence of ideology.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict festers and the prospects for peace appear gloomier each day, it has become increasingly popular to compare the situation in Israel to the dying days of the apartheid regime in South Africa. This is not a new argument, but it is gaining traction in some circles as hopes fade for a two- state solution. During the 1980s, both the Israeli and South African governments were the targets of vicious criticism and international condemnation. In the end, apartheid South Africa collapsed while Israel survived, albeit as a fortress state mired in war. This was not surprising. As two leading South African academics wrote in 1979: “Israel solicits empathy because she stands for the minority right to live after experiencing the most systematic genocide in history. Israel can offer the Western world the continuous exorcism from fascism.” Apartheid South Africa, by contrast, had no such moral standing. The government’s overt racism offended Western political sensibilities far more than Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and American and European policymakers did not believe white South Africans deserved protection in the same way Jews did after the Holocaust.
Yet today, left-wing activists are attempting to paint Israel as a latterday South Africa, erode its claim to a unique moral position, and question its legitimacy. By calling for boycotts and divestment from Israel, these activists are following the script that proved so effective for the anti-apartheid movement during the 1980s. And to their own detriment, Israel’s leaders are playing their parts by building Israeli- only access roads, erecting countless military checkpoints, and expanding settlements in the West Bank.
Of course, Israel’s leaders have a responsibility to protect their citizens, but the Israel they have created is a far cry from the “light unto the nations” that was once revered by the African liberation heroes and American civil rights leaders.
Countless authors have chronicled, with varying degrees of fairness, how the Jewish state betrayed its founding ideals, abandoned socialist Zionist principles, and saw its democratic soul corrupted by occupation after 1967. But Israel’s domestic policies are only part of the story; its foreign policy, especially its ties with some of the world’s most reviled regimes, also contributed to its moral decay and the rise of anti-Israel sentiment abroad. Israel’s intimate alliance with apartheid South Africa was the most extensive, the most lucrative, and the most toxic of these pacts. Just as expanding settlements in the West Bank and Gaza eroded Israel’s democratic values at home, arms sales to South Africa in the early 1970s marked the beginning of an era in which expediency trumped morality in Israeli foreign policy and sympathy for the conquered gave way to cooperation with the conqueror.