ISSAWI VIZ Other Freed Pal Prisoners Settlements Tag

 شخصية العام 2013 : سامر العـيساوي باق في القدس

After his longest hunger strike in the world, he returned triumphantly to his village of Issawiya in occupied Jerusalem. «Al-akhbar» met the freedom fighter in his home, to hear the arduous journey of resistance which Samer Isawai fought for nine months… 

Meanwhile, Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners prisoners as part of the so-called peace talks between the occupation authorities and the western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Israeli settlers torch Palestinian cars after prisoners freed

Jewish settlers set fire to three Palestinian-owned cars and sprayed graffiti calling for Arabs to be killed in the West Bank on Tuesday hours after Israel released 26 long-time prisoners, local media reported.
Palestinian news agency Ma’an posted photographs of three charred vehicles: a BMW, Peugeot and Renault in the northern outskirts of Ramallah near the illegal Beit El settlement.
The graffiti, sprayed on the wall of a home, read “blood will flow in Judea and Samaria” and “this is war,” according to Ma’an and Palestinian state news agency Wafa. Judea and Samaria is the Israeli name for the West Bank.
Local resident Hatim Subuh was cited by Ma’an as saying that Tuesday’s attack was the third of its kind in the area. Settlers from the illegal Beit El outpost are notorious for their overnight attacks on Palestinian targets, routinely setting fire to orchards, slashing tires of vehicle and assaulting residents.
Israeli occupation forces rarely prosecute the perpetrators, and have in some cases provided cover to settlers as they torched Palestinian olive trees.
The latest attack was presumably carried out in response to the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners who had been locked up in Israeli prisons for over 20 years.
Israel released the prisoners early Tuesday as part of the so-called peace talks between the occupation authorities and the western-backed Palestinian Authority.
The prisoners were the third batch of 104 detainees that Israel’s prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to release in four stages. All were imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo accords.
The freed prisoners were hailed by Palestinians as heroes imprisoned for fighting against the Israeli occupation, with some welcomed back to Ramallah in the West Bank, others to east Jerusalem and the remainder into Gaza.
Palestinian media hailed the prisoners as “heroic fighters” and looked forward to the release of the final batch by end of April, when the nine-month period for talks is to end.
The 18 men taken to Ramallah were warmly embraced by PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in his presidential compound, a correspondent said, before laying flowers on the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Tuesday’s release was expected to be accompanied by announcements of new construction plans for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, as the previous two prisoner releases were.
Such a move is likely to infuriate the Palestinians and the international community.
(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

Person of the Year 2013: Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer al-Issawi

Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi, who held a hunger strike for several months, flashes the “V” for victory sign as he celebrates his release from an Israeli jail in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya, on December 23 2013. (Photo: AFP – Ahmad Gharabli)
Published Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One can only imagine the looks on the faces of Israeli settlers living in Masharef Mountain, near the Hebrew University that overlooks Issawiya, as they watched the celebrations welcoming back Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi.

Issawi returned victorious to his village despite Israel’s desperate attempts to ban celebrations. The occupation forces delayed his release for about 10 hours last Monday, December 23, and erected military checkpoints near the village, but young men and Palestinian mothers insisted on welcoming their hero

Following his nine-month hunger strike amid the “battle of the empty stomachs,” Issawi was released along with 1,026 other Palestinians in an exchange for the return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

He wished to remain loyal to those who lost their lives while planning and conducting the Shalit kidnapping, and didn’t want the Israelis to arrest the liberated prisoners all over again, forcing them to serve the rest of their sentences.
From the first intifada until the mid-1990s, Issawi, born 1979, resisted Israeli occupation by setting settler cars of fire and throwing Molotov cocktails. He told Al-Akhbar that he was careful not to be arrested because he wanted to support his family, since his four brothers – Raafat, Medhat, Firas, and Fadi – were held by the Israelis. But all that changed when his brother Fadi was killed in clashes that erupted in Issawiya, following the Hebron massacre in 1994.
The day Samer saw his brother in a pool of his own blood was the last straw.
Issawi was first arrested in 1998 and sentenced to a year and a half in prison for throwing a Molotov cocktail. He was later sentenced to six months in jail for beating up an Israeli soldier, then he was imprisoned again in 2000 for 15 days at the beginning of al-Aqsa intifada. He was later arrested for six months without charges.
“Israeli military attacks escalated during the second Intifada, and we began to hear about airstrikes on Gaza,” said Issawi, revealing that on the first day of his release he joined the ranks of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He formed a five-member cell with friends and conducted 11 shooting operations targeting Israeli vehicles in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, seven kilometers east of Jerusalem.
These shootings caused material damages and injured one Israeli officer. Once Issawi’s role was revealed, the Israelis hunted him down for a whole year and finally arrested him during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield in Ramallah.
Issawi refused to appear before the Beit Eil military court and rejected the presence of an attorney because he didn’t acknowledge the legitimacy of the court. He told the judges that it was more of a traveling circus that the Israelis brought along to every territory they occupied.
Issawi was sentenced to 30 years in jail. He wasn’t surprised. Usually sentences in such cases are life in prison, even though no injuries were caused.
He said he was confident he wouldn’t serve his entire sentence, and told the judge, “I will be out before 30 years.” Ten years later, Issawi was released within the “Loyalty to the Free Men” prisoners’ deal.
Issawi as Art
Occupation forces arrested Issawi again on 7 July 2012. His interrogation continued for 30 days, following which he was accused of planning to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Meanwhile, the head of Israeli intelligence in the West Bank threatened to send him back to jail to serve the remaining 20 years of his sentence.
Issawi realized that he was in a serious situation. Hence, on July 27, he started returning two of his meals and settling for a simple one of two slices of bread and a spoonful of labneh and jam.
He maintained this diet for 19 days and was transferred to Nafha Prison. On August 24, he started training his body for an open hunger strike. He wrote a letter to prison services and informed them about his escalation. Back then, he settled for a glass of juice or milk or soup until he cut off food completely and started his open hunger strike on September 14, which also included a strike on water from time to time.
Finally, Issawi reached an agreement with the Israelis last April allowing him to return home to Jerusalem within eight months.
Israelis resorted to different tactics to try and exhaust Issawi into giving up his hunger strike. They sent him on prisoners’ buses to courts and moved him from prison to prison, forcing him to wait for hours for his jailers. They demolished his brother Medhat’s house and attacked him and his family in court despite his deteriorating health.
Samer dropped to 99 pounds and suffered attendant health risks. “When I slept on my right side, I felt numb, and the same with my left side. I also couldn’t sleep on my chest because I had a broken bone,” he said.
With His Family
“Every time I heard about Palestinians and freedom-loving people around the world joining this this battle, I forgot my own pain, mainly after the martyrdom of Mahmoud al-Titi and Mohammed Asfour. There was nothing I could offer them, just insisting on the goals that we put together before the hunger strike. I was also moved by young men protesting for the first time in front of Jerusalem Magistrates Court,” he said.
Issawi said, “The anger I saw in the eyes of the jailers after seven months of the hunger strike proved to me that we succeeded in raising the voices of prisoners and revealing Israeli violations of the prisoner swap deal, while preserving Palestinians dignity. All the goals were accomplished and the only thing left was me going back home.”
On the Palestinian official position, Samer said, “Let’s be honest, all of us Palestinians, from the president to common citizens, can’t even move from one region to the other without Israeli authorization. We don’t count on the official position as much as we count on the will of the people to exercise pressure to force politicians to take more serious steps. A Palestinian negotiator can sign a deal, but it would not be applicable on the ground without popular support.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition..

The Bastards of Great Israel

أيتام اسرائيل الكبرى

كيان مصطنع تم تركيبه بقرار , ولحسابات في جزء منها غامض اختير لهذا المشروع أقدس أرض وفوق جماجم سكانه الاصليين , أسس بمتلازمتين احداهما خرافة يتم الاستثمار فيها وتقول بفكرة التفوق على أساس الدين ,فهم شعب الله المختار وبقية الشعوي تركة الله لهم . والأخرى هي اللعب على الغرائز لينتهي اللعب الى القتل .بريطانيا أسست المشروع قبل أن تقرر بيعه في صفقة رابحة الى أميركا …حقيقة انا لا أتحدث عن اسرائيل ,
انما اتحدث عن الكيان السعودي في ارض الحجاز,الحقيقة التي حان الوقت لقولها
مفاتيح الارض السبعة ..
في العلوم الروحانية الجسم المادي هو اسقاط لجسم نوراني اكثر تعقيدا ولديه من امكانية اللامتناهي .على هذا الجسم النوراني تتوضع نقاط تتركز فيها الطاقة وتبدو كدوامة تدور عكس عقاب الساعة عندما يلزمها الحصول على طاقة بعدها الكوني . الارض ايضا جسد مادي له تماما تركيبة جسدك, اذا يلزمه أيضا مراكز طاقية لتعويض الفاقد من الطاقة الحيوية , لكن أين تقع هذه المراكز ؟
للجسد البشري سبع تشاكرات (مراكز طاقة ) وللارض ايضا نفس العدد .الحقيقة التي سوف تقرأوها بعد قليل تنشر للمرة الاولى في تاريخ البشرية ولم يتم تدالها مع العامة من قبل مطلقا, لكننا دخلنا الآن في عصر جديد ( البداية الفعلية للعصر الجديد 2017) مواتي جدا لنتشارك هذه العلوم .
مقامات الطاقة في الارض تتوضع في : مكة, القدس, جبل قاسيون في الشام , اليمن . النجف . القطبين المغناطيسيين للارض . وتماما كما تشاكرات الجسد, الحج الى كل من هذه الاماكن على حدا يكسبك قدرة مختلفة .
نحو فهم جديد لما يدور حولنا…
في القتال الطاقي يبدأ المهاجم باستهداف مراكز طاقة خصمه مما يؤدي الى تعطيل اعضاء جسده المرتبطة بهذه المراكز ,هذا بالضبط مايحدث على الارض .
والآن لنلقي نظرة على العمل المتقن لاعدائنا..
عند أول فرصة تم زرع الكيانين الغريبين في القدس ومكة لكن اللافت أن كلاهما أول عمل قاما به ولم يكد أحدهما يلتقط انفاسه بعد هو الزحف الى الشام !! هل هو صدفة من الخطأ البناء عليها؟!
لنبدأ بأعمال الشرير في القدس ومكة …
سابدأ بتنويه كبير يقلب مفاهيما قديمة لديكم عمرها الألاف من السنين:
هل حقا أهمية هيكل سليمان لايتعدى كونه قضية رمزية وبشارة لوعد؟! الاجابة بجزء مهم منها تجدونها في القران الكريم , هل حقا ارادت بلقيس برفع الثوب عن ساقيها عندما دخلت الهيكل اغواء سيدنا سليمان؟ هل يتناسب وقدر القران الكريم ذكر حادثة عمرها الألاف فقط لفنهم منها ان فتاة كشفت عن ساقيها لرجل ؟! احد علماء المصريات لفته الترديد الدائم لكلمة سحر في الكتابات الهيروغليفية , تأمل مليا في عقد لؤلؤ لملكة فرعونية ثقبت حباته بالليزر (حقيقة اخرى تم وضعها في صندوق رمي في دهليز) وتساءل اي سحر يقودنا الى معارف الليزر ؟! هنا توصل الى كلمته الشهيرة ” لتفهموا سر الحضارة الفرعونية فقط استبدلوا كلمة سحر بكلمة تكنولوجيا”
هذا بالضبط ماعليكم القيام به عندما يدور الحديث عن هيكل سليمان, هذا الهيكل –كصندوق طالوت- به تكنولوجيا وعلوم من يملكها يملك مفاتيح ابواب الابعاد الكونية .أمر آخر عليكم القيام به وحالا, لم نأخذ من التاريخ الا الكذب ولقد تعامل معنا باحتقار واستخفاف! توقفوا حالاا عن النظر الى أنبياء الله على أنهم فقط حالة سامية تعتليهم الدهشة كما نفعل نحن في كل مرة يجري الله على ايديهم كرامة. انتبهوا الى ما سأقوله “هم حالة سامية وحالة علمية أيضا “من منكم توقف عند قصة النبي موسى مع الخضر ,الم تلاحظوا ان العلاقة كانت بين تلميذ مهذب أراد علما لم يستحقه بعد من معلم قدير ! من أشار على موسى بالذهاب الى المعلم الجليل الخضر ولما صام اربعين يوما قبل الوصول اليه ؟هذا مافعله ايضا المسيح قبل ان يتلقى علما آخر من الله , وأيضا أربعين يوما قضاها الرسول محمد قبل نزول الوحي ,ماهي المآرب الأخرى التي يستعمل فيها النبي موسى عصاه؟ ماهو العلم الذي به طوى الرسول محمد الارض وشق القمر ؟
اذا تم الحفر تحت المسجد الاقصى بحثا عن غرفة معارف النبي سليمان وفقط شعرة واحد تبقي المسجد الاقصى مستقرا وقرار قطعها ينتظر ان ينجز الساسة عملا ما لا أكثر .
في علوم الفانك شوي طبيعة المواد المستعملة في أثاث المكان وطريقة ترتيبها تؤثر بشكل حاسم على طاقة المكان وجريانها .وبناءا على هذا العلم وليس كيفما اتفق بدأوا بتهويد المدينة القديمة وادخال عناصر بناء ليست من تربتها.
مكة المكرمة …
توقفوا عند التطابق قليلا. أيضا تم تهويد مدينة رسول الله وبحرية أكبر فالظرف السياسي لطالما كان مشكلة كبيرة تعيق عمل الصهاينة في القدس , فلم يتركوا مسجدا صلى فيه الرسول وأصحابه ولا دربا ولا بستانا ووصل بهم الأمر الى محاولة تدمير مكتبة الرسول وقبره لكن يومها كاد الشعب أن يعلن قيامه فتراجعوا الى الوراء..قليلا.والاكثر حقارة وخسة (لايقل صمت المسلمين كرد فعل خسة ودناءة عن الفعل ذاته)هو ردم منزل سيدتنا خديجة وبه محراب للرسول وموضع للوحي والبيت الذي ولدت فيه سيدتنا فاطمة عليهم السلام وبناء حمامات عامة فوقه!! والتساؤل الطبيعي, لما اختار آل سعود الحمامات لبنائها فوق بيت النبوة ولم يختاروا روضة أطفال مثلا؟!
قبل عهد آل سعود كان بامكانك أن تمشي على الدرب الذي مشى عليه رسول الله وان تأكل تمرا من الشجرة التي أكل منها وأن تشرب من نفس النبع وكلها مشفرة من طاقته الشافية النقية ( كقميص النبي يوسف الذي أصبحت له قوة شفائية لأن ذبذبات هالة النبي يوسف الرحمانية شفرة ذرات القميص) .
الكعبة …

تنويه آخر, هو تهجم آخر على التاريخ وعلم لعلك تصل اليه للمرة الأولى ..

التاريخ مرتزق مخادع مزاجي, هكذا قضى معظم وقته .يصور لنا القدماء حالة سخيفة غبية تعبد حجر! لكن هل اعجاز حضارة المايا يتناسب مع هذا التوصيف؟ وهل اعجاز بناء الاهرامات أيضا يتناسب مع هذا التوصيف ؟ وأمثلة كبيرة كثيرة في متناول الجميع .
اسئلة رائعة تقودنا الى مكان لم نكن لنتصور وجوده في عالمنا من قبل ..
هل بمحض الصدفة كانت تبنى الاصناع من أنواع خاصة جدا من الحجارة وبعضها من النحاس والقصدير وبترتيب معين؟ ماهي الحوادث الكهربائية التي يمكن ان تصادفنا ان اجتمع النحاس والقصدير في الخلاء؟هل يتشكل بينمها حقل مغناطيسي مثلا؟ لما نلاحظ دائما وتبدو كقاعدة عمل أو سر كبير ينقل شفاهة فقط أن الصنم الاكبر يبنى دائما خارج مجموعة الأصنام الصغيرة وعلى مسافة منها وليس كما تصوره الافلام بينهما؟
هل كان الامام علي يكسر الاصنام فوق الكعبة كيفما اتفق وأينما وقعت ضربت يده أم كان يراعي مصفوفة رياضية معينة؟هل أخذ البنائون بعين الاعتبار خطوط هارتمان؟ لتصبح الأصنام أقرب الى شبكة موصلات ومستقبلات كهربائية. نفس الخطوط التي أطلق عليها الرومان شرايين التنين وكانوا يتجنبون بناء معسكرات جيشوهم في نقاط تقاطعها. هذه الخطوط التي اكتشفناها للتو نحن الأذكياء المتحضرون!!

هل الساعة الماسونية فوق الكعبة هي الهرم الاكبر؟ هل لاحظتم الى أن اعلاها رمز لقرني الشيطان وليس للقمر بحالة الهلال!لما تم استبدال مسلة الشيطان التي يرجم عندها الشيطان ولما اختار الرسول مسلة في أسوأ بؤرة طاقة سلبية في العالم ولم يضع مثلا مربعا؟لما نلاحظ وجود المسلات في ساحات أماكن صنع القرار العالمي ,مكة,الفاتيكان, البيت الابيض..

قاسيون رأس مثلث الطاقة
ان من يتحكم بمثلث الطاقة مكة-قاسيون- القدس يحقق نصرا على مستوى المجرة بكاملها,ولعل هذا يفسر حرص الانبياء على المرور على قاسيون خلال رحلاتهم .وهذا أيضا ماحدا بالله ان يولي عناية خاصة بهذه المنطقة ويتوعد بحديث قدسي بانه سوف يتدخل مباشرة لضرب كل من يريد الحاق الأذى بأهل الشام .

لأسباب تعود الى تعقيدات دولية واقليمية أهمها مناعة أسوار الشام كان الوصول الى قاسيون مستحيل ,مستثمرين خليجيين عرضوا استثمار الجبل وتحويله الى …أبراج!

العرض قوبل بالرفض.

فتحينوا الفرصة , لكن باعتباره مقاما طاقيا هل ينفع ضربه بالبارود؟ بالطبع لا’ لذا تم ضربه بقنبلة نووية تكتيكية اخترقت جوفه.هل حقا لم يجد الشرير هدفا عسكريا اكثر اهمية من قاسيون لضربه نوويا!
أتوقف هنا اليوم,في الجزء الثاني سأفصل قليلا في جذور أيتام اسرائيل من حسن البنا الى ابن الوهاب لأنتقل لاحقا لمراقبة سلوك أتباع الأثنين من نقطة أقرب …

Lebanon’s $3 Billion Price Tag

The president’s allies were taken off guard by Suleiman’s declaration, especially since he had spoken to some figures during Shatah’s funeral service that he was planning to “declare an initiative that could change the face of Lebanon.(Photo: Marwan Bu-Haydar).
Published Monday, December 30, 2013
In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz and France’s Francois Hollande – who also met Saad Hariri in Riyadh – agreed on a “royal grant” worth $3 billion paid directly to France, in return for French weapons and hardware to be delivered to the Lebanese army. But one condition for this grant is forming a cabinet in Lebanon, from which Hezbollah would be excluded.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman took it upon himself to announce the grant and to begin implementing Saudi’s conditions. A few weeks ago, Suleiman informed Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and MP Walid Jumblatt, as well as Hezbollah, of his intention to form a “neutral government” without consulting anyone over the names of the ministers, based on a 14-minister lineup that Premier-designate Tammam Salam would submit to the president later. Suleiman even set a date for the stunt: after he returns from his New Year’s Eve holiday in Budapest, before 7 January 2014.
The March 8 forces, together with MP Jumblatt, tried to dissuade Suleiman and Salam from their plan, but the president would not budge, implying that there was no going back. This was the case even before the assassination of former Minister Mohammed Shatah, and things did not change after.
While some expected Suleiman to reconsider his decision following last Friday’s assassination, March 14 doubled down, rushing to demand to return to power without partnership with Hezbollah.
This should be seen as a follow-up to what happened after the assassination of Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, and the Saudi message carried by then-Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdul-Latif al-Zayani to Suleiman: Hezbollah has to choose between continuing to fight in Syria or being part of the government. Shortly after that, the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati collapsed.
Following Shatah’s assassination, March 14’s demands went on to explicitly require isolating Hezbollah from power, and boycotting any dialogue with the Resistance Party. Commenting on the Saudi grant, Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces, said quite clearly, “Political power is the basis, and it is our demand without which nothing, not even financial grants, would do us any good.”
Similarly, Future Movement officials and other March 14 figures said they wanted a government without Hezbollah. Leading sources in this political camp told Al-Akhbar, “We have notified President Suleiman that any negotiations regarding a partnership government involving the other side is out of question. We asked him to do what he sees fit because the ball is in his court.”
But Jumblatt opposes such a move. According to sources close to the Druze leader, he conveyed to both Suleiman and Salam a clear position: “This step resembles the decisions made on May 5 under the government of Fouad Siniora in 2008, which led to the May 7 incidents. Today, the country needs a national unity government to defuse strife in the street.” Accordingly, Jumblatt has told Speaker Berri that he would not give a vote of confidence to any government that the speaker and Hezbollah do not endorse.
For their part, March 8 forces have kept quiet about what they plan to do in response to what they call a “de facto government under the guise of neutrality.” Some extremists in this camp warned that such a government would be barred from ruling, even if that meant storming the Grand Serail – the seat of the Lebanese government.
They said, “What stopped us in 2006 from storming the Serail where Siniora was present was a phone conversation between Ali Larijani and Bandar bin Sultan, who mediated among Lebanese political rivals and drew red lines for the protests. Today, the lines of communication are broken, and no one will prevent us from defending our rights.”
The sources continued, “Bandar’s plan at the moment is to form a de facto government to draw Hezbollah into the street, under the illusion that this would force Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria to meet challenges in Lebanon. What they don’t know is that Hezbollah has prepared to face all security contingencies on more than one front, to defend the Resistance.”
The rest of the March 8 forces refuse to disclose details about their response to a de facto government. Instead, prominent March 8 sources only shared with Al-Akhbar what they said was “a characterization of reality as it stands.” In their view, “the decision to form a de facto government is part of the war Saudi Arabia is waging in the region, from Syria and Iraq, to Lebanon and Bahrain.”
The March 8 sources added, “Bandar bin Sultan is still betting on a change on the Syrian battlefield, moving toward Moscow, which has snubbed him, and moving in Bahrain, Iraq, and Lebanon to improve his position in Syria. What Saudi wants is to form a de facto government before Geneva II, for a marginal goal, namely, to have the Lebanese delegation at the conference be part of the delegations putting pressure on the official Syrian delegation. At home in Lebanon, forming a government like this means adding another nail to the coffin of the Taif Accord, the first nail having been the March 14 exclusive administration under Siniora’s first cabinet.”
The sources then said, “If Saad Hariri’s government was unable to rule, and Mikati’s government could barely issue routine decisions, how can Suleiman, Salam, and March 14 expect a government opposed by more than half of the Lebanese people to rule? How do they expect to get a vote of confidence?”
The sources raised more questions: “Can this government implement the decisions it makes? Do they not know that a government that has no vote of confidence is not entitled to take over the jurisdictions of the president in the event of a vacuum in his post?”
The sources concluded: “Where are they taking the country to? So far, our camp is still committed to peaceful confrontation. But they have given us only two examples: the assault on Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani at the Khashogji Mosque, and the slogan ‘Viva the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’”
The slogan in question was uttered by President Suleiman, in the speech he made after a press conference scheduled earlier by the Baabda Palace was canceled. At almost the same time, clashes were taking place at Beirut’s Khashogji Mosque, amid fears of further deterioration of the situation, suggesting to some that Suleiman could have been in the process of putting forward a salvation initiative.
Instead, the president’s allies were taken off guard by Suleiman’s declaration, especially since he had spoken to some figures during Shatah’s funeral service that he was planning to “declare an initiative that could change the face of Lebanon.” But rather than doing that, Suleiman focused all his speech on announcing the Saudi grant, which was restricted to procuring French equipment for the Lebanese army, even as the majority of the latter’s hardware has been US-made since President Amin Gemayel’s tenure.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Lines of the Game: Price to Pay for the Shatah Assassination

The assassination ought to increase pressure on the formation of a Lebanese government and a formula for a presidential agreement.
Published Saturday, December 28, 2013
The assassination of former Lebanese Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah will open a dangerous chapter in Lebanon, a bit similar to the one that followed the assassination of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Shatah was no ordinary man in the region, and the attack occurred at a crucial moment in Lebanon and its neighborhood’s history. Here, escalated tensions and seditions will never let such a crime pass by without major repercussions. The killer knew it!
Hariri’s assassination in 2005 was a turning point for Hezbollah’s image in the Arab and Islamic world, and contributed to the Syrian army’s withdrawal from Lebanon. These events weren’t just a result of local demands. Former US President George W. Bush and his French counterpart Jacques Chirac were also involved.
The Sunni-Shia strife that ripped Iraq apart after the American-British invasion was further consolidated when Hezbollah, with its large Shia base, was accused of murdering the new symbol of modern Sunnism in the region: Rafik Hariri. Back then, political accusation preceded all real investigations on the ground.
Now, what to expect after Shatah’s assassination?
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was brief, while Future bloc leader Fouad Siniora elaborated, hinting that the Syrian regime planned the crime, and its Lebanese allies, mainly Hezbollah, carried it out. In the March 14 statement, Siniora echoed the calls that followed Hariri’s murder, urging to take Shatah’s assassination to the international level, something we expect to hear quite often in the coming weeks amid international pressure on Hezbollah and Lebanon.
Head of the National Struggle Bloc MP Walid Jumblatt was alone in his call for reason and moderation. He knows quite well that some are seeking to exploit the assassination to achieve bigger political gains. He also understands that this assassination is apt to take the country from sectarian sedition to the battlefield.
The Shatah assassination occurred while Lebanon was at a crossroads. The future government and the current presidency are now up for grabs amid political bickering between Hezbollah and March 14. But behind both parties is a larger and deeper conflict taking place in Syria.
The assassination ought to increase pressure on the formation of a Lebanese government and a formula for a presidential agreement. Previously hesitant, the international community is now expected to support these solutions as the death of Shatah and the other martyrs raised the alarm about a bloody year awaiting Lebanon.
Shatah’s murder also paves the way for further assassinations, clashes, and blasts. Obviously there is a plan to transform Lebanon into an arena for a regional and international conflict that has not been settled in Syria.
What if a Hezbollah leader or ally is killed in the coming days? Will we hear that it is a retaliation for the Shatah murder? Who will break this vicious cycle?
Israel may also find an opportunity to conduct a military operation. It is reported that Hezbollah’s incursion in Syria and the widening rift with its former Sunni base offers Israel the right opportunity to strike. In Lebanon, Israel may redeem what it couldn’t achieve in Iran. At least that’s what the Israelis believe.
The assassination put the Syrian regime and Hezbollah in a raging storm of accusations at a critical time. The world is heading toward the Geneva II conference and an historic understanding with Iran. The international tribunal investigating Hariri’s murder will soon begin its sessions.
Martyr Mohammed Shatah was no ordinary man. Neither was martyr Wissam al-Hassan. Shatah, a man with hefty economic and political baggage, was, just like security man Hassan, standing on a pivotal local, regional, and international intersection. With such assassinations, it is easy to point figures, but it is hard to support accusations with evidence as political exploitation comes in smoothly.
A dark period of major transformation is awaiting Lebanon, but unfortunately the fierce battle ahead won’t yield any winners. What if a fait accompli government was imposed on Hezbollah and its allies? How will Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah put his words “don’t mess with us” into action? Those messing with him this time will have an international cover far larger than the one they had before the assassination.

Christmas versus Xmas: A Political Reading

By Prof. James Petras

Global Research, December 28, 2013


The transformation of Christmas from a story about a migrant working-class family fleeing state persecution, in the search for a safe haven and receiving support and solidarity to the biggest capitalist commercial bonanza of the year – has far-reaching political consequences.

Taking Christ out of Christmas

The fundamental ‘change’, engineered by the capitalist class in pursuit of profits, was to take the ‘Christ Story’ out of Christmas and to convert the weeks before and after into a consumer orgy.  Aided and abetted by “secularist allies”, the capitalist class succeeded in eliminating any reference to the Christmas story, including the nativity scene and carols commemorating it, from public spaces.  The significant social message, embedded in the Christmas story, is diluted by well-meaning cultural diversity-promoters, who demand ‘equal time for ‘Hanukah’ (a Jewish narrative celebrating war, conquest and the slaughter of ‘apostate-assimilated-Hellenized’ Jews by traditionalists-fundamentalists – an event not even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible) and “Kwanzaa” (a holiday invented in the 1960’s by a cultural black nationalist preaching “self-help”).

In place of the Christmas story, we have been given anachronistic ‘Nordic tales of tree worship’ and ‘gift giving’ by an obese bearded sweat-shop owner employing stunted slave workers *(‘Hi Ho, Hi Ho! It’s off to work we go; we work all day, we get no pay! Hi Ho, Hi Ho!’).  This has become the dominant mythology driving the consumerist – profiteering of the global commercial – capitalist production chain.

Over time, it came to pass that ‘Christmas’ commercial sales became the centerpiece of capital accumulation.  New and powerful sectors of capital entered the field.  Finance capital, particularly credit card companies charging debtors usurious, interest rates over 20% per year, became central to and the principal beneficiaries of the great transformation of the Christmas story.
The new, modern, secular monetized, relativized Christmas story redefined the entire meaning of the holiday.

First, there was the language ‘excision’; the prefix was altered.  Christ-mas became Xmas. 

The X symbol left out what constituted the original narrative and circumstances surrounding the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Once the original class origins of the Christmas story were erased and the conflict between the absolutist state and civil society were abolished, the capitalist class inserted its own ‘props’ into the story:  the Xmas tree became the site for consumer ‘gifts’; the Xmas ‘stocking’ had to be filled with consumer goods; the Xmas day image required the “happy family” opening up boxes of consumer goods – bought on credit at 20% interest rates.

The driving force behind the phony props and imagery is a command headquarters composed of capitalist manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, market analysts, publicists, consultants, advertisers, investors, factory owners employing a vast army of low paid workers in Asian manufacturing sweatshops and huge corporate retail outlets with minimum wage salespeople. Christmas sales are the major profit maximizing occasion for the entire year:  The success or failure of commercial capitalism rides on the profits accrued between November 30 and January 7.  The entire capitalist edifice rests on the notion that “Xmas” is about large-scale buying and selling of consumer goods; it is about ensuring that class inequalities and racial divisions are temporarily blurred; that repressive police state intrusions into the privacy of family life are forgotten and that social solidarity is replaced by an orgy of individual consumerism.

‘Xmas’ is a time to celebrate massive profiteering, based on the indebtedness of the ‘masses’.  It is a time for downsized workers to buy imported goods on credit from manufacturers who had relocated to low wage regions:  Price consciousness replaces class consciousness.  Picketing US retailers, who import from Bangladesh sweatshop death traps, where workers ‘earn’ $25 a month, goes against the ‘Xmas spirit’.  ‘Buy and feel free’!  It’s a time to be jolly!

The new secular, monetized ‘Xmas’ is a consumer-driven commercial event motivated by profits, advertisement and the mindless worship of ‘the market’.  Family and neighborly relations are now tied to the cash nexus:  Who buys or receives the most expensive gifts experiences the greatest gratification.  ‘Gift giving’ is based on ‘consumer spending’; who could imagine any alternative!
Millions of atomized individuals compete to buy the most commodities that their credit/debit cards can cover.  ‘Virtue’ becomes ‘success’ in the frantic engagement with the market.  From the perspective of political power, individual consumerist consciousness means submission to ‘the market’ as well as submission to the ruling class, which dominates ‘market relations’.

The entire ‘Xmas’ period highlights the fact that market relations between wage-earning/salaried individuals and commercial/financial elites take precedence over productive (and state) relations between capital and labor.  In “the market” the struggle is between consumers over commodities, overseen by commercial capital.  In the new Xmas story the consumer is the centerpiece; the market is the mediator of all social relations. The ‘Christ story’ has been relegated to a periphery, if not totally excluded. At most, the story is reduced to a birth scene witnessed by cows, sheep and three ‘Kings’.

The conversion of Christmas into the massive Xmas-market event broadens its consumer appeal, increases sales and profits.  Potential consumers from all religions (and the non-religious) can join the consumer orgy.  It is not about values, ethics or beliefs – it’s about buying, selling, debt and accumulation. To be a successful commercial event ‘Christians’ must suppress the politics and ethics of the Christ story, which is dramatically opposed to the immersion in the marketplace.

The Politics of the Christmas Story

The protagonists of the Christmas story, Joseph and Mary, are a working class household living at a subsistence level.  Joseph, a carpenter, is partially out of work and earns a minimum wage.  They live frugally, spend their meager earnings on essentials and travel cheaply on a donkey.  To escape a repressive government they migrate in search of security, hoping to find a new home.  The pregnant Mary and her unemployed husband Joseph look for sympathy and solidarity among the poor.  They knock on doors but the landlords send them away.  Only a poor farmer offers them a place – they can share a barn with the sheep and cows.

In the face of an uncertain future and a troubled present, Mary and Joseph receive material support from local residents in Bethlehem .  Three wise men (the Magi or mathematicians from Persia ) are internationalists who travel to greet the new family.  They show great concern for the new born baby Jesus by perhaps offering hiss family a scholarship so he can study mathematics and science….  The coming together of local neighborhood people and the three educated “outsiders” to celebrate the birth of Christ and offer support to the homeless family, dispossessed migrants, has been an event for wonder and celebration.

Bethlehem billboards and newspaper ad campaign launched by

 Community solidarity, the sharing of food, shelter, learning and fraternal good cheer, in the face of persecution by a criminal state and an avaricious ruling class, defines the spirit of Christmas.  The Christmas story affirms the virtues of social solidarity and not individual consumerism.  It defines a moment in which the deep bonds of humanity displace the shallow comfort of commodities.  It is the celebration of a moment in which the values and virtues of breaking bread in a fraternal community take precedence over the accumulation of wealth.

The Christmas story, the trials and travails of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus resonate with millions of American workers today:  especially those who have lost employment and been dispossessed of their homes.  The Christmas story resonates with the tens of millions of immigrants persecuted and jailed by tyrannical states.  The Christmas story resonates with the millions of people of color who are “stopped and frisked” by a militarized police.

The Christmas story does not resonate with the owners, investors and publicists of big commercial enterprises who have converted the multitude into worshipers of their little plastic cards.  Taking ‘Christ out of Christmas’ and destroying the joy and fellowship and solidarity of shared humanity embodied in the celebration of the birth of Christ is essential in order to continue to accumulate wealth.  Putting the ‘Christ story’ back into Christmas is a step toward defeating consumerist consciousness and recreating social solidarity, so necessary for ending injustice.

Gaza fishermen suffer 85 percent income loss as Israeli siege, attacks continue

          Palestinian fishermen bring their catches ashore at the port in Gaza City.


On 17 December, Palestinian fishermen and their supporters erected a tent — a traditional venue for protest, as well as celebration and mourning — inside the Gaza seaport.

“It was to highlight the situation, the crimes of the Israelis against fishermen here,” said Amjad al-Shrafi, treasurer of the General Union of Fishermen. “We wanted to send a message about the blockade against the fishermen and how we cannot fish freely.”

The protest, organized under the title Free the Holy Land Sea, ended two days later with the delivery of a letter to the nearby office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, demanding international protection for fishermen.

Over three days, hundreds of well-wishers visited a crowded tent decorated with banners and posters supporting fishermen. The organizations represented on its walls ranged from human rights centers to prisoner support groups.

Under fire

“One of our main goals was to push governments around the world to force Israel to give fishermen free lives and let us sail without any limits,” al-Shrafi said. “It’s our right to sail freely in our waters.”

“Another was to pressure the Israeli forces to release the boats and fishermen they have captured.”

Palestinian fishermen in coastal waters off the Gaza Strip frequently come under fire by Israeli naval forces, which target their boats on both sides of a boundary imposed by Israel.

Israel deploys its gunships into Palestinian waters using an information technology infrastructure administered by Hewlett-Packard (“Technologies of control: The case of Hewlett-Packard,” Who Profits, December 2011).

Through its subsidiary, HP Israel, the US corporation won a contract to run the Israeli navy’s computer and communications network in August 2006 (“HP Israel wins navy IT outsourcing contract,” Globes, 14 August 2006).

The fishing area permitted by Israel, which doubled in size as part of the ceasefire agreement ending eight days of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and retaliatory fire by Palestinian resistance groups in November 2012, now officially reaches six nautical miles from the shore.

But fishermen say the Israeli navy often shoots at them and sometimes captures them and their boats well within the zone it ostensibly allows them.



Fishermen and supporters hold posters with images of colleagues captured by Israeli forces, in Gaza City on 19 December 2013.

(Joe Catron)

“We were far from the prohibited zone, 500 meters away,” said Saddam Abu Warda, a 23-year-old fisherman whom the Israeli navy captured along with his 18-year-old brother Mahmoud around 9am on 10 November.

“They were shouting, ‘You must get out of here in five minutes.’ We had to cut the net to pull it out of the water. Then they started to fire bullets close to our hasaka [small boat]. As they came close to us, their boat looked like a big building with lights.”

The Abu Wardas’ small boat had no engine. “We tried to escape by paddling quickly,” Saddam Abu Warda said. “They forced us to take off our clothes and raise our hands. They were firing bullets in the air and in front of our hasaka. One soldier was shouting, ‘You have to leave your hasaka and get in the water.’ I was shocked. I couldn’t move. I didn’t know why.”

Finally, gunfire forced the brothers into the cold water. “They didn’t stop firing bullets over our heads,” Abu Warda said. “I was far from my brother. He started shouting, saying, ‘I am injured.’ He wasn’t able to keep swimming. I swam back to my brother to try and save him. His blood was [spilling] in the water. Then two small boats came close to us. They pulled my brother from the water. They didn’t take me.”

When Abu Warda reached the Israeli gunship, he lost consciousness after soldiers bound, hooded and kicked him. He awoke in a detention facility in Ashdod, a port in present-day Israel beside his brother Mahmoud, whose right abdomen was stitched by military physicians. The brothers said that Israeli bullets caused the wound.

During an interrogation after he awoke, an Israeli soldier tried to convince him otherwise. “I told him, ‘Three of your gunboats were around us. They were firing bullets. My brother’s blood was everywhere in the water. He was injured by your soldiers.’”

After a lengthy interrogation that continued both in Ashdod port and after their transfer to a detention center by the Erez crossing between Gaza and present-day Israel, Israeli forces released the Abu Wardas into the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun around 10pm — 13 hours after their capture. Their boat and its equipment remained behind.

“We have three hasakas in the Ashdod port,” Abu Warda said of his family’s prior losses to the Israeli navy.

Severe damage

The Abu Wardas’ experiences echo many more documented in a new report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). The PCHR, which supported the Free the Holy Land Sea campaign, is translating the document — already published in Arabic — into English.

Over four years, from 1 September 2009 through 31 August 2013, the Israeli navy killed two fishermen, wounded 24, and captured 147, according to the report. The navy also seized 45 boats and destroyed or damaged 113 more.

The report also records the losses incurred by about thirty bombings of four fishing ports during Israel’s November 2012 attacks on the Gaza Strip, including damages to an additional 80 boats and destruction of a health clinic and a youth center used by fishermen.

“There was severe damage to different fishing facilities during the military offensive,” said Khalil Shaheen, director of PCHR’s economic and social rights unit.” At the ports in Gaza City, Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah, different facilities were targeted and destroyed.”

“The report also documents the impact of the total damage to fishermen and the fishing sector,” Shaheen added. “One of the main impacts was the loss of 85 percent of income in the fishing sector, as the result of access restrictions and the naval blockade.”

Casualties have continued to mount in the four months since the period covered by the report ended. The PCHR publishes regular reports on human rights abuses in Gaza. These reports indicate that Israel has shot at fishermen at least 37 times since September, as well as seizing six boats.

“I would like to thank all the solidarity campaigns who were involved in this action and show solidarity with Palestinian fishermen,” al-Shrafi said.

“We ask that the international community continue to pressure their governments, to ask for dignity and a free life for us.”

Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine. He co-edited The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange. He blogs at and tweets @jncatron.

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