Yemen: The Houthis tighten their control over Sanaa

Supporters of Shiite Zaidi rebels hold up a portrait of the movements leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi and a large version of their national flag during a demonstration demanding for the government to resign on August 29, 2014, in the capital Sanaa. (Photo: AFP-Mohammed Huwais)
Published Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Sanaa is about to fall in the hands of the Houthis. It is true they reached the city three times before and each time they would retreat at the last minute. But this time seems different. Abdel Malik al-Houthi’s group seems determined to reach its objective. It wants to clearly translate its military power and the influence of its regional alliances into political power and a piece of the Yemeni cake. The regional conflict with Saudi Arabia clearly constitutes a large part of the picture. This, however, is not new. What is different this time, is that the rules of engagement that were set in place have changed.
Sanaa – Regional players were keen not to allow the confrontation in Yemen to reach a point that forces Saudi Arabia to withdraw its resources from the Levant to focus on the country about which King Abdul Aziz is said to have told his children on his deathbed that their glory is in its poverty and their poverty in its glory.

The province and city of Saada have become a Houthi emirate. The Houthis exercise complete security control and the governor is appointed with their approval.

The extent of Houthi expansion in Yemen appeared clearly from the moment they announced control of the Omran province, which is adjacent to the capital, after a series of battles headed towards Sanaa. In the first stage of expansion, the Houthis had to completely secure the borders of Sanaa and, more importantly, monitor any distance between them and their adversaries among the Muslim Brotherhood or the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (al-Islah Party). The province and city of Saada have become a Houthi emirate. The Houthis exercise complete security control and the governor is appointed with their approval.
The second phase included nearby provinces and cities. But Omran remains the most important one because it is the tribal capital and the center of influence and power for the Hashed tribe particularly, which is one of the largest Yemeni tribes that also constitutes the support base for the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. It is also an important area for al-Ahmar tribe, the Houthi’s traditional adversaries. Here emerges the name of Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar in opposition to Abdul Malik al-Houthi.
This phase is not over yet despite declaring total control over the city and province of Omaran, which is adjacent to the capital. The war still rages on in al-Jawf, north of Sanaa as the Houthis are mobilizing in the direction of the capital and announcing their escalation in the face of the central Yemeni government. All eyes are on the capital and there are a lot of talks about sacking it by force under the pretext of economic and social demands.
The third phase is the war outside Saada. It began when the Houthis declared their rejection of the last presidential decision to lift oil subsidies. The decision faced rejection and anger within Yemeni society because of the [financial] burden it places on the average citizen, with the typical consequences of an economic policy imposed by the World Bank which has shown no improvement in the past few years.
At this point, the Houthis and their allies among the small tribes mobilized around Sanaa in response to the appeal by Abdul Malik al-Houthi, who called for a sit-in to express rejection of the presidential decision to lift the subsidies and demanded that there be a change in government in Sanaa.
The response on the part of the presidency came by forming a delegation that went to Saada to meet the Houthi leader. But after three days and while the delegation was still there, Houthi went on TV and talked about escalating and rejecting any compromise. The delegation returned to Sanaa, declaring the failure of the negotiations, blaming the Houthis and accusing them of preparing to conquer Sanaa.
The maneuvers made in the middle were not enough to decide the question in favor of either party. The president continued to accuse Iran of being the main instigator behind the armed group in Saada. He argued that what is happening is a bargain, Syria in return for Yemen. In other words, it is a bargain between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is not completely absent from the picture. It expressed its fear and concern over the deteriorating domestic situation in Yemen and stressed that Yemen’s security is a Saudi priority as did the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). What became noticeable in the last period is that Yemeni-Saudi relations were not at their best and neither were Yemeni-Qatari relations. This has to do with the support that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt got from the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, in addition to accusing Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi that he is mismanaging regional relationships with Yemen’s neighbors but at the same time, he is not maintaining good relations with local players either.
Negotiations did not stop, even though the presidential committee declared its failure to reach an agreement. Hadi continued to send special envoys to Saada, including Capital Secretary Abdul Qader Hilal, who is accepted by the Houthis amidst fear of a disaster.
The Houthis are closing in on Saada and the cities surrounding it such as Omran. They continue to advance towards new areas and cities such as Hija and al-Jawf. At the same time, they are reinforcing their siege of Sanaa. They organize rallies that roam the streets along with an open-ended official sit-in in the middle of the capital.
While the war fronts rage on in al-Jawf and a number of areas between the Houthis and the Yemeni army, the Islamist al-Islah and its allies mobilized militarily because they insist on confronting the Houthis by force. They are pushing for the government to use violence against them and not allow them to lay siege to Sanaa and seize control of it.

Keen to demonstrate his power, Houthi wants to anoint himself, not only in Saada but in Sanaa too, as a national leader.

The dominant media discourse is one of war. The Houthis are accused of being against the republican system in Yemen, that they want a return to the Imami-monarchy system that existed previously in the country whereby rule is exercised by Hashemite families. It became evident that President Hadi gave instructions to the state-run media to escalate matters. And he personally issued statements in which he accused the Houthis of being backed by Iran which, he said, wants to swap Sanaa for Damascus. He accused the Houthis of taking control of the city of Omran in the north while the army was busy fighting al-Qaeda in the south.
It must be noted that before the Houthi rebellion began, President Hadi visited the city of Omran and met a number of officials there, announcing its return to the control of the Yemeni state. But any visitor can see that the city lies under the total security control of the Houthis and that the president in this case had blessed transferring control of the city from the tribe of al-Ahmar to Ansar Allah (Supporters of God), which is another name by which the Houthis are known.
The volatile situation in Sanaa is likely to explode if attempts to reach a compromise fail. The streets are full of fighters from both sides. Some areas in the capital are under the control of the Houthis and army units have been deployed turning the streets and alleyways of Sanaa into a theater ready for a guerrilla war between houses.
Escalation from both sides is evident and the tensions in Sanaa further complicate matters. One of the main reasons for the failure of the presidential delegation to reach a solution is the way it was treated in Sanaa. Keen to demonstrate his power, Houthi wants to anoint himself, not only in Saada but in Sanaa too, as a national leader.
The Houthis have yet to use force but they did not rule out its use as a last resort. Abdul Malik al-Houthi himself threatened to use force, declaring that the massacres against the youth engaged in a sit-in during the popular revolution in 2011 will not be repeated. He stressed that if his group, engaged in a sit-in in Sanaa, is attacked, they will respond in kind which means more violence.
Houthi is trying to gain supporters from the rest of the parties and political groups. Leftists, who reject the lifting of oil subsidies, presented a vision for a possible solution, but it was not accepted even though everybody knows that failing to reach a compromise will lead to confrontations.
The situation in Yemen is hanging on a thread between the capital where a president with a suit and a military base is getting pressured by Islamists to use force and Saada where a seasoned leader is using the language of threats and intimidation. But it appears that the conflict is, so far, under control. The Houthis have successfully exercised self-control and have not used their weapons. They entered Sanaa through peaceful demonstrations and economic demands and slogans.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The opening of Gaza’s border crossings: The devil is in the details

A truck loaded with goods drives after entering the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing on August 28, 2014 in Rafah in the southern Gaza. (Photo: AFP-Said Khatib)
Published Monday, September 1, 2014
The ceasefire negotiations that took place in Cairo have not yielded any substantial results for the Palestinians living in Gaza. Up until now, they have not felt any positive changes except that fishermen are able to sail up to six nautical miles, and farmers are starting to return to their now destroyed lands.

Cairo has insisted this time that it will not open the crossing completely and will not allow it to function normally until it receives an official notification by the Palestinian Authority ensuring that it will be present on the crossing and along the borders with Egypt.


As the people of Gaza have their eyes fixed on the six crossings linking the Strip to the occupied territories (some of them had been previously closed), awaiting merchandise and aid to come through, they place great importance on the reopening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
Within the framework of the agreement reached in Cairo, the “Palestinian-Egyptian crossing,” as Egypt likes to call it, was excluded from the negotiations which only focused on crossings linking the Strip to the occupied territories. Meanwhile, local security sources have reported a steady increase in the amount of goods entering Gaza through the crossings with Israel.
Contrary to the 2012 agreement, which allowed the Rafah crossing to be opened without the presence of the Palestinian Authority, Cairo has insisted this time that it will not open the crossing completely and will not allow it to function normally until it receives an official notification by the Palestinian Authority ensuring that it will be present on the crossing and along the borders with Egypt.
Palestinian factions taking part in these negotiations have not rejected this condition; they agreed that all crossings with the occupation are to be put under the control of the consensus government. In the meantime, the Ministry of the Interior of the former Gaza government said the crossing “has been functioning under emergency rules since the second half of the war” and that only individuals fitting certain criteria are allowed to cross into Egypt, including people holding foreign passports, the wounded and those holding residency permits, adding that “only 300 to 350 people are allowed to exit per day.”
Hamas political bureau member Moussa Abu Marzouk assured that his faction does not oppose allowing the consensus government to oversee the implementation of the agreement reached in Cairo “including the issues of the port and airport.”
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Abu Marzouk welcomed the return of the presidential guards who were the old employees at the crossing, but refused the dismissal of current employees or “considering them illegitimate.”
Meanwhile, details about the functioning of the crossings with Israel and the type of materials allowed to pass through them have yet to be fully decided on, especially since building materials, crucial for the reconstruction process, have not been allowed in.
Even at the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing located in northern Gaza which is devoted for the passage of individuals, there have been no signs about specific measures that would permit people to cross into the West Bank.
However, some crossings may not be operational, including the Carny crossing in eastern Gaza, which Israel shut down in 2011 and transferred most of its equipment to the Karm Abu Salem crossing. The latter became “a focus point,” since it is well-equipped for commerce.
In addition, the Shujayeh (Nahal Oz) crossing in the east of the Strip was closed down then completely removed in 2010, although it had ground tanks to transport oil derivatives (fuel, diesel and gas), while the Sofa crossing in southern Gaza was turned into a barren desert. It had been used before the siege to transport construction materials and continued to be used early on during the siege to transport merchandise, but it was later shut down completely.

Karm Abu Salem crossing has a maximum capacity to receive 450 trucks a day while the Gaza Strip needs a total of 1,000 trucks every day of the year without any interruptions. Today, the crossing is not working in full capacity, allowing only about 320 trucks to pass through each day. It is opened five to six days a week, except on Israeli holidays, depending on security conditions.

According to the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, the crossing closed down for 130 days in 2014, which means it was not operational for 35 per cent of the year.

Abu Marzouk said the agreement stipulated that the five crossings with Israel are to be opened and that the “volume of goods going through them will increase to at least the same volume entering the West Bank, while Palestinians are to choose the goods they need.”
“The agreement explicitly stipulated that the occupation does not get to control Palestinian needs and that it is our right to bring in basic and heavy materials needed for Gaza’s factories.”
Meanwhile, Al-Akhbar learnt that the Palestinian delegation did not go through the details about the five crossings, whether opened or closed. It postponed the topic until the resumption of the Cairo negotiations in a few days in order to clarify the details before reaching a final agreement within a month, as scheduled.
Other sources confirmed that former Vice Prime Minister Ziad Zaza accompanied the delegation in his capacity as an economic expert to discuss this issue, and to present his vision about the way to deal with economic matters in the framework of the agreement.

“Previously some (goods) were seized and destroyed under the pretext that they did not meet Israeli criteria, causing huge losses for Palestinian merchants,” – Maher al-Tabba’a, Palestinian economic expert


Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Zaza revealed that the current agreement is not very different from the one signed in Cairo back in 2012 “regarding the opening of the crossings and facilitating the passage of people and goods,” but he did not elaborate on the details concerning the implementation mechanism.
For his part, Abu Marzouk stressed that the agreement explicitly stipulates lifting the siege completely and opening all crossings. “We are waiting for the details,” he said.
It seems that the delegation gave a top priority to the issue of the sea passage that the Palestinian side has been insisting on it even before the end of the war, in order to disengage with both Israel and Egypt. This endeavor is still in progress and all actions were taken under this ceiling. This is why the negotiations have not yet gone deep into the details about the crossings.
Before the war, the unemployment rate in Gaza was estimated at 45 per cent (over 200,000 people) with over 700,000 citizens losing their daily source of income, which represents over a third of Gaza’s residents according to statistics by the Chamber of Commerce.
Sources in the chamber told Al-Akhbar they expect the unemployment rate to rise to 55 percent, due to the widespread destruction and the slow work at the crossings.
Maher al-Tabba’a, a Palestinian economic expert, urged awareness of the goods that the occupation continues to ban.
“Previously some (goods) were seized and destroyed under the pretext that they did not meet Israeli criteria, causing huge losses for Palestinian merchants,” he said.
In an interview with Al-Akhbar, Tabba’a called on Palestinian negotiators to insist on “abolishing the list of materials barred from entering Gaza under the pretext that they are of dual use, and covers over 100 types of goods.”
He said the Netherlands already funded a scanner to be sent to the Karm Abu Salem crossing to accelerate the work flow and to allow goods to pass through in containers. He also called to allow heavy and construction materials into the Strip at once, in addition to electronics that need a lot of time to get necessary authorization.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The real face of Israel army

In civilian life, anyone suspected of manslaughter or murder is immediately arrested, with an investigation coming later. In the the opposite is true.


Khalil Anati was from the Al-Fawar refugee camp in the southern part of the West Bank; a soldier in an armored jeep shot him in the back with a live round and killed him as he was running home. He was 10 years old. Mohammed Al-Qatari was a promising soccer player from the Al-Amari refugee camp near . A soldier shot him from a distance of several dozen meters while he was taking part in a demonstration against the war. He was 19 years old when he died. Hashem Abu Maria was a social worker from Beit Ummar who worked for the Geneva-based NGO Defense for Children International. He participated in a demonstration against the war, trying to protect children by preventing them from throwing stones. An IOF sharpshooter situated on a distant balcony shot and killed him. He was 45 years old, a father of three children. Soldiers killed two more demonstrators at that demonstration.

These people were among many others killed by IOF fire far from the battlefields of Gaza. According to data provided by the United Nations Office for Coordinating Humanitarian Affairs, the IOF killed 20 adults and three children in the West Bank during the fighting in Gaza. Soldiers also wounded 2,218 people, 38% of them by live fire, a particularly high number in comparison to 14% in the first half of 2014 and 4% in 2013.

None of those killed were endangering soldiers’ lives, none of them were armed or deserved to die.

The fighting in Gaza loosened all restraint. Under its umbrella soldiers permitted themselves to use live fire in order to disperse demonstrations, settle scores with people throwing stones or Molotov cocktails – including children – and punish anyone demonstrating against the war. Perhaps these soldiers were envious of their comrades fighting in Gaza, perhaps they were frustrated at being far from the real action – in any event they were confident that no harm would befall them, not while in Gaza there was almost a taking place, with the nation’s heart going out to its fighting men.

No one stopped them, no one was arrested or prosecuted. “The Military Police is investigating” has become code for the IOF spokesman in his automatic responses, a code which blurs and conceals, until the files gather dust and are forgotten. In civilian life, anyone suspected of manslaughter or murder is immediately arrested, with an investigation coming later. In the IOF the opposite is true. First comes an investigation, usually leading nowhere, even when the circumstances are straightforward. There is no question of arresting anyone, even when the incident cries out to the heavens, as in the case of the shooting at Al-Fawar. The soldier who killed the boy is apparently continuing with his life as usual.

Khalil Anati with his father, Moohammed. Khalil was to enter sixth grade this week. Photo by Alex Levac
Khalil Anati with his father, Moohammed. Khalil was to enter sixth grade this week. Photo by Alex Levac

These are routine practices associated with the occupation. There is no comparison to the numbers in Gaza, but this routine exposes the true face of the IOF, the way it regularly conducts itself with regard to , and especially its persistent disregard for their lives and deaths. There was no war being waged on the West Bank – soldiers were not facing battalions of Izz-ad-Din al- fighters, nor were they up against attack , , sharpshooters or explosive devices. Yet see how they killed and maimed, using live fire against demonstrating youths and even children; how they cut short the life of a soccer player who a few weeks earlier had been promised a brilliant career by , the president of FIFA; or the lives of a 10-year-old refugee boy and a social worker innocent of any crime.

The crimes committed in the West Bank will not be investigated by any international tribunal – there is no need to prepare excuses, write reports or enlist lawyers. But it is precisely these smaller incidents – after all, what are 20 deaths in contrast to the hundredfold larger numbers in Gaza? – that should worry us. There was no war here, hardly any acts of terror, only angry demonstrations by those who were understandably driven to distraction by the fate of their brethren in Gaza. Note how they were treated by IOF soldiers.

This is the behavior of the nation’s , its soldiers now lauded by all. One can respect and cherish the people’s love for its soldiers, but one should remember what these soldiers do as part of their routine military service, day in, day out, year after year.

Zionism, if allowed to continue, will ultimately result in the end of Judaism

Judaism’s hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews – See more at:

Steve Koppman is a playwright and the author of a book on Jewish Folklore. At Huffington Post he has published an anti-Zionist piece that says Jews should be supporting the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement because it epitomizes the best of Jewish values in opposition to the militant Jewish state that oppresses Palestinians. A wonderful piece. My headline’s provocative, but Koppman said that part too.

He points out the ways that Jewish nationalism has entered his religious space and corrupted it:

For five years in our synagogue like many others, a special prayer was made for Gil’ad Shalit — an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas — every Shabbes. But never in my experience was there mention of the five to ten thousand Arabs held over that period in Israeli prisons, sometimes indefinitely, without trial or charge. What happens, I wondered, when our kids learn “the rest of the story”? What are we telling them? Only Jewish lives matter?

One of the Jewish Torah ‘s three commands to “love” is to love “the Other.”

A Judaism that treasures Jewish lives and devalues Arab lives is no longer Judaism.

He knows about the Jewish movement against such racism. He says that rightwing Zionists are a minority who have hijacked the community:

The U.S. Jewish community has largely had its political identity hijacked by an influential minority, including many community leaders and rabbis, who see its essential role as advocating for Israel no matter what it does, bolstering U.S. government support and billions annually in U.S. aid….

This support is largely free of moral content. It’s what sociologists have called “amoral familism.” Israel’s actions are not subject to moral examination but presumed to define morality. Past crimes against us are forever used subliminally to justify new crimes by us. Israel’s insistence on”security” and more land trumps Arab people’s demand for basic rights and self-determination as it has for decades. The “organized community” and American aid help maintain Israeli intransigence against what’s seen as an uncaring and always at least potentially anti-Semitic world.

But blockade and occupation are recognized acts of war most of us would support resistance to anywhere else in the world. The West Bank has been occupied for almost 50 years, its residents subject to arbitrary arrest, control over movement, land seizure and home destruction. Nearly two million Gazans have been blockaded for more than seven years — malnourished, economy strangled, health ruined — in collective punishment.

Election of a Palestinian government was sabotaged by Israel’s refusal to deal with it and mass arrest of the winners. Israel likes to call itself the Middle East’s “only democracy” while effectively ruling nearly five million — and growing — unrepresented Palestinians.

It is unclear what choice Palestinians have beyond active resistance and meekly accepting permanent subjugation in their own land. The recent “Kerry Round” of failed peace talks made this newly clear.

Sadat went to Jerusalem. The Arab League accepted Israel. Remember the Oslo accords? But for Israel, it’s always as if it’s 1967. If not 1944.

But what about the children we actually blow apart in 2014? An Israeli child was killed last week. What if it were 500 Jewish children? American children?

He’s worried about the Jewish brand:

Israel and its American supporters have long reversed the worldwide moral posture of the Jewish people, a disaster for American Judaism as we try to pass on an ethos radically compromised by the need to continually rationalize permanent oppression of another people by our own.

The synagogue is continually debased by regular prayers for the welfare and triumph of the occupying army, whose central mission has become subjugating Palestinians in perpetuity — policies few if any Jews would countenance practiced by any other state against any other people.

The founding event of the Jewish people was the greatest slave revolt in history. As a young Jew growing up in New York long ago, I knew every fight for freedom was mine. Jews supported human equality, the rights of all, with a reliability and enthusiasm that inspired people of other groups. What we looked down on most in our sub-culture was looking down on people.

Young Jews grow up today in a radically different world in which they are encouraged by the organized community to rationalize permanent suppression (and when they resist — “self-defense” killing) of Palestinian Arabs.

Here’s the intermarriage bit:

The “organized community” believes the explosion of intermarriage among non-Orthodox U.S. Jews from about 15 percent in 1967 — when Israel became a confirmed occupier — to over 70 percent today< is pure coincidence. But anyone who’s thought about it, or known young American Jews, knows better.

We are living through an effort to re-define Judaism into, “The belief system that supports the Israeli state,” that dishonors the Jewish message of freedom, hope and resistance to tyranny that echoes through history.

Here’s the BDS part:

Confronting today’s Israel and demanding it change is not a rejection of Judaism but the most profound manifestation of it. Jews should not be fighting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction) movement that struggles to hold Israel accountable. We should be leading it. It is our people that’s disgraced by Israel’s policies and the heartless, mindless cheerleading of AIPAC and its supporters.

This is a logical and morally clear argument shared by a great number of young Jews who are saying No to the demand that they support massacres. You can differ about the intermarriage claim, but there’s obviously something to it. Neoconservatism alienated me from Jewish life till like Arielle Klagsbrun I could find a tabernacle of Jews that denounced neoconservatism. I wanted to have my anti-Zionism inside Jewish life.

But the thing I find most dispiriting about this is that Koppman isn’t in the New York Times. I’ve seen the Sunday Times spread out  on the kitchen counter for the last two weeks and a bigger collection of lifestyle news and mouthwatering real estate and web-meme trivia-spotting and US Open overkill you will not find in all the slopbuckets of the internet. And this is printed on deathless newsprint, to divert the elite, and it’s a wasteland for ideas. Koppman is writing about riveting matters that affect the greatest source of instability in the world, and meantime Emily Bazelon, an ardent Zionist who says American Jews must support Zionism, is given the New York Times Magazine to write a piece about endangered abortion rights. That’s the state of establishment Jewish culture: support liberal landmarks of freedom for Americans while destroying the wall between church and state in the Middle East, and plunging the entire region into a cauldron of religious conflict. Andrew Sullivan long ago wondered where are the anti-Zionist writers in the mainstream press. They’re still marginalized. An important synthetic argument like Koppman’s is on Huffpo, and the Times has blinders on.

Oh and yesterday Jodi Rudoren was once again echoing the fears of Israeli Jews, about securing their country’s future as a “Jewish democracy.” Is such a magic trick possible if you are not coming out of the heart of the American Jewish community, as Rudoren is? Would Rudoren support such a project in the U.S. where she lives? Of course not. Do the vast numbers of Palestinians living under Israeli governance find that project obnoxious? But of course. Where is Koppman?

- See more at:

“ISIS Has Been Cutting Off Heads Of Syrians For 3 YEARS! And The U.S. Never Saw A Problem With That!”

“ISIS Has Been Cutting Off Heads Of Syrians For 3 YEARS! And The U.S. Never Saw A Problem With That!” On the contrary the USA continued to arm, fund and train the terrorists

Jewish Nazi Politician Ayelet Shaked Called For Genocide Of Palestinians

In any civilised country she would be arrested for incitement.

Just a day before Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khudair was kidnapped and burned alive (allegedly by six Israeli Jewish youths), Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked took to Facebook to call for genocide of the Palestinians people.


UKIP’s new recruit Douglas Carswell is a lover of apartheid in israel. Surprised?

UK Independence Party hugs Friend of Israel ~ by Stuart Littlewood


Douglas Carswell

By Stuart Littlewood | Redress | Sept 1, 2014

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which hopes for a big breakthrough in next year’s general election, has been wining and dining potential Conservative defectors one of which has actually come across.

Last week Douglas Carswell stepped down as MP for Clacton-on-Sea, triggering a by-election in which he will now stand as the UKIP candidate.

Fine, you might think. But Carswell is a devoted Friend of Israel. Here are some of the things he’s been saying.

Douglas Carswell’s devotion to Israel

On Israel’s illegal squatter “settlements” and the closure of Palestinian lands:

“What else is Israel supposed to do? Her actions are essentially defensive, not aggressive.”

On Israel’s illegal Separation Wall:

“The barrier needs to be built where it will provide security, not where we, using very outdated maps that take no account of an expansion, think it should go… Where there are disputes in Israel and Palestinians have objected to the siting of the barrier, there is judicial scrutiny. The process is not arbitrary. There is a mechanism that allows people who are concerned about where the barrier is being built to challenge the decision through the courts.”

He’s talking about Israeli courts, of course. Hasn’t Carswell heard that the International Court of Justice in 2004 ruled that the wall is illegal? Not only that, Israel must

cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall, dismantle forthwith those parts of that structure situated within the occupied Palestinian territory and forthwith repeal or render ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts adopted with a view to construction of the wall and establishment of its associated régime… Israel must further make reparation for all damage suffered by all natural or legal persons affected by the wall’s construction…

All states are under an obligation not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction. The court further finds that it is for all states, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, in the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self‑determination is brought to an end. In addition, all states parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are under an obligation, while respecting the charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention.

That was 10 years ago. Israel has ignored the ruling and so has everybody else, including Carswell and his mates in Westminster.

On peace:

“Israel is unable yet to find a lasting peace in the West Bank, or with Gaza or south Lebanon. That tells us more about the tyrants who run those territories”.

On Hamas:

“When Hamas abides by all the decisions of international bodies I shall be happy to put pressure on democratic governments to abide by them, but it is slightly unfair to expect one side to conform to international law when another so clearly violates its principles.”

Carswell was reportedly part of a heated discussion in 2012 when 30 MPs belonging to the Conservative Friends of Israel accused the then foreign secretary, William Hague, of being part of a “bigoted” Foreign Office plot against Israel. Carswell said Hague was “under the thumb” of “pro-Arabist” diplomats in the Foreign Office. “The Foreign Office displays a kind of bigotry towards Israel,” he said. “You are being one-sided and saying completely unacceptable things about a fellow democratic country.”

He was supported by other Israel flag-waving MPs, including James Arbuthnot, who called on Hague not to “alienate” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom Hague had recently called “belligerent”, a mild enough description.

Hague snapped back: “The Foreign Office is not pro-Palestinian. I’ve never heard such claptrap.”

This might be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Agent Hague has himself been an adoring Friend of Israel since his schooldays and he played the fawning sycophant to the Zionist regime throughout his reign at the Foreign Office, always ranting about the importance of international law but never willing to apply it to Israel’s abhorrent crimes. And it was Hague who was largely responsible for “fixing” our Laws of Universal Jurisdiction so that Israel’s war criminals can visit London without fear of arrest.

What a Friend of Israel embraces – and finds himself defending

If UKIP leader Nigel Farage was smart he’d turn the searchlight on the three main parties’ undying support for the racist Israeli regime whose policies have terrorised, tormented and dispossessed Arab Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land throughout 67 years of brutal occupation. He could expose the many MPs who actively support and encourage this cruelty through their membership of Friends of Israel groups that are allowed to flourish in those parties.

Being a Friend of Israel… means embracing the whole rotten kit and caboodle, including the terror and ethnic cleansing on which the state of Israel was built.

Unfortunately, UKIP has fallen into the same reeking swamp. It now has its own Israel fan club. According to the UKIP Friends of Israel (FoI) website, “as a libertarian, capitalist, democratic party, UKIP is a natural friend of the world’s only Jewish state. The decision to create UKIP FoI was taken by the UKIP National Executive Committee in 2005. In 2010 it launched at the party’s annual conference with strong enthusiasm.”

Being a Friend of Israel, of course, means embracing the whole rotten kit and caboodle, including the terror and ethnic cleansing on which the state of Israel was built. It means embracing the dispossession at gunpoint and oppression of the native Palestinians. It means embracing the discriminatory laws against those who remain. It means embracing the jackboot thuggery that abducts civilians, including children, and imprisons and tortures them without trial. It means embracing the theft and annexation of Palestinian land and water resources, the imposition of hundreds of military checkpoints, severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and maximum interference with Palestinian life at every level. It means embracing the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy and the vicious blockade on Gaza. It means embracing the denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and return to their homes. It means embracing the religious war that humiliates Muslims and Christians and prevents them from visiting their holy places. It means endorsing a situation in which hard-pressed British taxpayers are having to subsidise Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land.

And if, after the latest bloodbath by the Israelis in Gaza you are still Israel’s special friend, you are presumably comfortable with blowing to smithereens hundreds of children, maiming thousands more, trashing vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, power plants and clean water supplies, and causing USD 6bn of devastation that will take 20 years to rebuild. And, by the way, where is the money for that coming from?

Nigel Farage should, I suggest, do the decent thing, shut down his party’s Israel support machine and hold up his principled action as a challenge to others. They won’t accept because they rely heavily on funding from the pro-Israel lobby and are terrified of the backlash. Their paralysis could place UKIP on the high moral ground. UKIP would even earn the respect of the rapidly growing BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), whose campaigns against corporates that profit from the Occupation are having considerable success. There is now no doubt in the public mind who the real terrorists are, and MPs and MEPs who continue to wave the Israeli occupier’s flag may be next on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) target lists.

Attempts to scrub up UKIP’s image are not helped by recruiting the likes of Carswell, who will simply swell the membership of FoI and add to the disinformation it peddles.

The other nasty smell about the Carswell defection is that UKIP had already selected Roger Lord as the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for the Clacton seat. Now he’s being elbowed aside by UKIP head office to make room for a Conservative renegade whom Farage regards as a great catch. It seems Carswell was parachuted into the constituency by the Conservatives for their 2005 general election, while Lord is a person with established local roots who has devoted considerable time and effort to developing UKIP’s chances of winning the seat.

Now we’re told that Lord was only selected as PPC for the general election, not for any by-election that might crop up in the meantime. Carswell, as the sitting MP, may well give UKIP the victory it craves. And political cravings must be satisfied whatever the cost. But how far could one trust the pledges of a party such as this?


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