Lebanon: Hezbollah Minister Voices Support for Anti-Corruption Protests

Local Editor

As he voiced support to the “legitimate demands” of anti corruption protesters in Lebanon,

Hezbollah’s State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mohammad Fneish, urged those protesters to have “clear and realistic demands,” in order to achieve the change they have been calling for in Lebanon.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mohammad Fneish“It is the right of some to call for a change in the regime and a revolution, all these slogans are pretty; but, what is needed are the tools for change. That is why protestors must have clear and realistic demands, if they want some of these demands to be achieved,” Fneish said during a funeral ceremony in south Lebanon.

Meanwhile, he stressed that those who are responsible for the corruption must be held accountable, refusing the dissemination of responsibility on all politicians.

“Generalizing responsibility means that we do not want to hold someone accountable,” Fneish said, dubbing such an act as “lacking courage in pinpointing responsibility.”

The Lebanese minister urged politicians to change their ways and stances, because the country could not handle any more corruption.

On the other hand, Fneish stressed that refusing partnership principle is the real reason behind the current crisis in Lebanon, where there have been presidential vacuum and parliamentary paralysis.

Source: Agencies

30-08-2015 – 12:29 Last updated 30-08-2015 – 12:29


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Jewish terrorists take over Palestinian hospital in Hebron

Hebron Palestinians protest settlers’ seizure of hospital

Clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli forces in the West Bank [file photo]Clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli forces in the West Bank [file photo]

Dozens of Palestinians staged demonstrations on Saturday outside the Al-Baraka hospital complex in the southern West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) to protest the occupation of the premises by Jewish settlers.

The demonstrations, which included a number of Palestinian Christians, were organized by local popular resistance committees.

“Palestinians will never accept Israel’s policy of illegal Jewish settlement,” Fr. Attallah Hanaa, a Palestinian Christian clergyman who participated in the protest, told Anadolu Agency.

“We will always reject Israel’s seizure of Islamic and Christian institutions,” he said.

“We are of this land; it is our home, our history, our identity,” the priest added. “And we will never surrender it to the Israeli occupiers.”

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the settlers claim to have purchased the hospital complex from a U.S.-based Christian NGO through a Swedish firm that served as middleman.

Located near the Al-Aarub refugee camp, the hospital complex sits on 40 dunums of land and comprises eight buildings (a dunum is roughly equivalent to one acre).

Since its establishment in the 1940s until its closure some four decades later, the hospital had provided free services to Palestinians who suffered from tuberculosis.

According to Palestinian residents of the area, Israel plans to build a new Jewish-only settlement on the site, which sits adjacent to thousands of dunums of agricultural land.

The city of Hebron is home to some 200,000 Palestinians and some 500 Jewish settlers, with the latter residing in a number of Jewish

In the Israeli media, a soldier trying to arrest a minor is the victim, the Jewish terrorists trying to arrest Mohammad Tamimi didn’t realise he was a minor

In the Israeli media, a soldier trying to arrest a minor is the victim

After viral video emerged of a soldier attempting to arrest a Palestinian boy, the Israeli press presents the official army version rather than the accounts of the villagers who saw it all happen.

By Leehee Rothschild

At the weekly demonstration at the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh last Friday a masked soldier tried to arrest 12-year-old Mohammad Tamimi. Mohammad’s arm had been broken and in a cast since the beginning of that week, when soldiers entered the village in a separate incident.

His sister, Ahed, his mother, Nariman, and another Palestinian woman eventually prevented the event. His sister and his mother, though, were beaten by soldiers and sent to the hospital.

Quoted extensively in the Israeli press, the army’s version claimed that the soldiers were not aware that Mohammad was a minor. It is something that would have been very difficult to miss, given that he is a pretty small boy.  And I wonder how close a soldier would have to be to notice that the boy was in fact a child, and if he still wasn’t able to notice it when he had him in a headlock between his arms. I also doubt that realizing that the boy was a minor would have prevented the soldier from arresting him. The army has arrested Palestinian children before.

The report in the Israeli daily Haaretz starts with the army’s version and only afterwards describes, briefly, the events as seen by the village residents. That version is told by the activist Yonatan Pollack, but the reporter then returns to the army spokesperson.

The reporter does not mention that those involved were members of the same family, or that Mohammad was already injured, or that Ahed and Nariman were hospitalized after being hit by the soldiers. If the Haaretz writer had made just the slightest journalist efforts, she could have easily discovered these details.

An Israeli soldier holding Mohammed Tamimi, 12, in a headlock during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh, August 28, 2015. (Karam Saleem)

The reporter from the popular news site, Ynet, inserts Israeli army statements alongside a number of paragraphs quoted from an article in the British Daily Mail on the events. They report that the Daily Mail’s coverage is biased against Israel, despite the fact that they heavily rely on it. The article’s headline, “A girl bites a solder: a violent demonstration in Judea and Samaria,” paints a picture in which the village residents are those who cause the violence while the soldiers are the victims of it. They describe the demonstration as violent and present as fact the army’s claim that Mohammad was throwing rocks just before the soldiers attempted to arrest him, despite the fact that this is actually disputed, and denied by the villagers.

They describe Ahed as winning fame for screaming at the soldier and attempt to portray her as violent and dangerous. Indeed, a girl standing and screaming in the face of an armed soldier is a recognized threat.

Ynet’s inability to see the Palestinians villagers through human eyes is also apparent in that they confuse Ahed’s name with “Bilal,” another participant at the Nabi Saleh demonstration. He filmed the viral video, but is an adult man, not a young girl.

The circumstances of the demonstration and clashes were mentioned nowhere in this reporting, nor was there any critique of the consistent violence toward the villagers.

The Haaretz report portrays just another Friday in the West Bank through the frame of the Israeli army spokesman. Ynet communicates to the Israeli public that “we are the victims and everyone else is anti-Semitic.” The important question they deal with is how the world will look see us, rather than the reasons as to why a soldier was trying to violently arrest a 12-year-old boy.

Leehee Rothschild is a political-feminist activist and an MA student in gender studies at Ben Gurion University. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

The EU is sleep walking into allowing the USA & NATO to start a nuclear war in Europe

US Packs Military Punch Deploying First Strike Aircraft Near Russia’s Borders (foreign policy savvies call for dialogue)

In June at the Paris Air Show, US air force chief Deborah James first publicly floated the idea of deploying the F-22 (the Raptor), America’s most sophisticated fighter plane to Europe to counter Moscow’s actions in the Ukraine.

Two months later the Pentagon turned it into a reality. The United States is to deploy F-22 fighter jets to Europe as part of efforts to support eastern European members of the NATO alliance against Russia.

The inaugural deployment of America’s most sophisticated fighter jet to Europe is rich in symbolism and tells a lot in practice.

James did not give details about the specific number of planes, date or location of the deployment but said it was in line with defence secretary Ash Carter’s recent call for a strong and balanced approach to Russia

This is the first ever deployment of F-22 to Europe outside air shows is seen as a move to boost NATO’s air strike capability as the relations with Russia become more tense.

According to General Mark Welsh James, US air force chief of staff, the F-22’s deployment in Europe would allow US to test the ability of the jets to communicate and fight together with the Eurofighter and other advanced warplanes and gain more experience with the European terrain.

F-22 is the fifth generation multirole aircraft. It’s a single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft was designed by Lockheed and Boeing as an air superiority fighter but can also be used for ground attack, electronic warfare and signals intelligence. The Raptors act as electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich planes to provide data key to other aircraft: they escort strike packages into and out of the target area while gathering details about the enemy systems and spreading intelligence to other “networked” assets supporting the mission to improve the overall situational awareness.

«The United States would not be deploying F-22s if it did not consider it necessary», said Konrad Muzyka, a military analyst on Eastern Europe for defense publisher IHS Jane’s. «It is going to be a massive boost in capabilities because there is no other aircraft in the world with the capabilities of the F-22», said Muzyka. «It is the only operational fifth-generation aircraft presently in service in the world».

Raptors have often taken part in rotational deployments in the Asia-Pacific region since 2009, but have never been deployed to Europe. It’s still not known which airbases are being considered for such deployment. The countries to host the fifth-generation planes know well they are doomed to become targets for Russia’s response in case of hostilities.

The U.S. has already started two 6-month TSPs (Theater Security Packages), made up of F-15s and A-10s and stepping up its presence at regional exercises with NATO allies and partners, attended also by B-52 strategic bombers and A-10 attack planes. According to Fiscal Times, the US Air Force announced in early August that it would deploy more of the aircraft to Europe this fall.

The 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia announced it will send 12 attack planes and crews to Central and Eastern European to bolster NATO’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve,” an ongoing show of military might meant to deter what it calls “Russian aggression” in the region.In March, the Air Force deployed a dozen A-10s from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona to Romania and the Czech Republic.

Somehow the news about F-22s and other aircraft deployments Europe coincides with the reports about the US decision to deploy B-52s strategic bombers to South Korea. According to US Stars and Stripes military outlet, South Korea and U.S. are discussing the deployment of strategic U.S. assets to the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a briefing on Aug. 24.

Although the Defense Ministry spokesman did not say which U.S. assets are being considered for deployment in the region, sources cited by the South KJorean Yohap News Agency suggested that the U.S. forces might include the B-52 Stratofortress bombers, and a nuclear-powered submarine currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan.

Before that three B-2 strategic bombers were deployed to Guam on Aug. 7 to conduct familiarization training activities in the Pacific region and “maintain readiness there”.

Actually, there nothing tactical aviation could not do in case there is a conflict with North Korea. The bases are there, the aircraft carrier groups can boost the capability at any time, Tomahawk long-range missiles are abundant. Then why deploy strategic bombers? The flight time is going to be greatly reduced in case the aircraft are used against Russia. If that is the purpose of their relocation, then the move is justified. No matter all the talk about the need to defend South Korea, this possibility is taken into consideration by Russian experts.

The tensions are growing too high. This the time for think tanks to come up with initiatives to reduce the danger of conflict. And they do.

This month the European Leadership Network – a British NGO staffed by dozens of retired European military officials and politicians – published a report entitled Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe More Likely?

The ELN goes on to answer its own question: Yes, the two sides are preparing for a full-scale confrontation.

A task force made up of former Russian and western officials proposed on August 26 new talks aimed at a new set of agreements between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Moscow to prevent an incident between military forces.

A group of former officials, including the former foreign ministers of Poland and Russia, rolled out a paper on August 26 morning proposing a new round of dialogue between NATO and Moscow aimed at establishing rules for navy ships and air-force fleets. It has expressed its concern over a possible military escalation in the crisis between Russia and the West and has called for a new agreement between NATO and Russia to prevent accidental incidents or miscalculations leading to an escalation of tension and even confrontation.

NATO has also held exercises mainly in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. Along with its partners, the 28-nation alliance will hold its biggest military exercise in more than a decade in October. The report said an »action-reaction cycle» was now under way between NATO and Russia that could be hard to stop. The alliance has suspended all practical and military cooperation with Russia, but can still convene political meetings.

«History is littered with examples of international crises and tensions that developed a momentum of their own and resulted in conflict even when no one side intended it», the report says. The signatories of the paper include Russian foreign policy gurus like Vyacheslav Trubnikov (Former Director, Russian Foreign Intelligence), Igor Ivanov (former Russian Foreign Minister), Alexei Gromyko (Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and Igor Yurgens (Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Contemporary Development, Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs). The Task Force is supported by independent research from a consortium of think-tanks, including the European Leadership Network in London and the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) in Moscow.

The other step in the right direction would revive a Russia-US dialogue on military matters. The UN General Assembly session to take place this September could be used for giving the process a new lease of life, for instance if the presidents of US and Russia met to discuss the burning issues.

* * *

All the signs of a new Cold War are present. The military stand-off becomes too dangerous. An accidental spark could set a big fire. As history shows, the risk of accident increases whenever the situation markedly deteriorates. It is therefore unwise to deny the obvious fact that the current state of affairs is dangerous enough to justify starting a dialogue urgently. Boosting first strike capability by deploying state-of-the-art aircraft in the vicinity of Russian borders cannot but make Moscow take retaliatory measures. At that, Russia has received signals from the United Stated about restoration of cooperation channels and does not intend to refuse dialogue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the youth forum Territory of Sound Judgement on the Klyazma River on August 24. The top diplomat noted that Russia is ready to work with the United States and European Union, but it will not give up its interests and identity.

«We are ready to work constructively with partners from US and EU on an equality basis, but we will not give up independent domestic and foreign policy», Lavrov said. He also reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that Russia «does not trade its sovereignty».

Lavrov noted that in the modern world, relations between countries should be based on dialogue and consideration of mutual interests. «I think that if Western partners followed the same principles, there would have been no confrontation with moving NATO closer to Russian borders, there would have been no Ukrainian crisis», he added.

Under the circumstances, it would be a folly to lose the chance mentioned by the Russian Foreign Minister.

Poor Tony Blair, hard as he tries the Iraq war won’t leave him alone

Poor Tony Blair, hard as he tries the Iraq war won’t leave him alone

Tony Blair’s advisers were fond of remarking as war approached, it would all be forgotten in a few weeks. Some hope.

Blair and Corbyn

TONY BLAIR could have been forgiven for thinking, back in 2002 and 2003 when he was planning the Iraq war, that nearly 13 years later it would all be forgiven and forgotten.

He thought that he could ride out an unprecedented level of opposition outside parliament as millions took to the streets, school students struck, protestors blocked roads and bridges.

He also cajoled, bullied and deceived Labour MPs in order to get them to vote for war, and won a comfortable majority by relying on the Tories, despite huge rebellion among his own ranks.

As his advisers were fond of remarking as war approached, it would all be forgotten in a few weeks, once Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

Yet there are thundering echoes of the Iraq war at the centre of British politics, all these years later. It has defined a generation. It continues to weigh on politics for several reasons.

Firstly of course because the war in Iraq has never gone away, with Britain and the US now bombing the country against ISIS, over a decade after Saddam Hussein was executed.

As the newsreader Jon Snow wrote in a recent blog, the sight of ISIS carrying out horrific acts serves to somehow remind millions that the war helped to create a hell in Iraq from which it still cannot awake. http://t.co/Gtk2aCcGCK

Secondly there is no resolution to questions raised by the war. The Chilcot report still has no finish date, nearly five years after taking its final evidence. Many in any case are sceptical of an inquiry carried out by the establishment for the establishment, and fear that there will be no justice for those who suffered in the war.

Already families of soldiers who died are threatening legal action against Chilcot.

Thirdly it remains a live political issue. In the election only a few months ago, the received wisdom was that no one was interested in foreign affairs, and that the war no longer influenced opinion.

It is now clear that the politicians were not interested in discussing it, but many people were. The Jeremy Corbyn campaign is proof of that. Many of those attracted to his rallies are young people for whom the war was defining issue, and older people who stopped voting for or being members of Labour because of Blair’s warmongering.

A recent set of polling figures illustrates the importance of the war in Corbyn supporters’ thinking. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/08/27/you-may-say-im-dreamer-inside-mindset-jeremy-corby/

And much of the right wing criticism of Corbyn focuses on his foreign policy.

Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that if he becomes leader of the Labour party he would apologise on behalf of the party whose then leader took Britain into an illegal war, lying in the process to parliament and the country.

An apology is necessary. But what will be even more significant to the families and loved ones of up to a million Iraqis who died, and those of the British soldiers sent to kill and be killed, is if those responsible for one of the worst war crimes in recent history, are held to account in a court of law, as Jeremy Corbyn thinks they should be.

More Americans are waking up to the atrocities that israel has committed in Palestine

Americans tired of US wars for Israel

Americans are supporting the international movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel because they are sick and tired of Washington’s support for Tel Aviv, says a political commentator in Los Angeles.

In an interview with Press TV on Monday, James Morris said the BDS movement “is growing around the world and of course, Israelis and the Zionist-occupied Congress in America doesn’t like it, but that doesn’t matter, the rest of the world is waking up.”

Morris said supporting the BDS by a prominent industrial union in the United States is basically symbolic as more Americans are “waking up to the atrocities that the Israelis have committed in Palestine.”

The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union voted in favor of a resolution entitled “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel” and called on the US to cut off financial support to Tel Aviv.

The BDS campaign, which began in 2005, encourages organizations and institutions such as universities and churches to divest from Israel until the fundamental rights of the Palestinians have been recognized.

“Unless the Americans wake up to the influence of the Israel lobby to include wealthy Jewish donors like I just mentioned [Sheldon] Adelson and [Haim] Saban and AIPAC and other Israel lobby, like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is pushing to kill Iran deal, you know, America still is in a position where it’s dominated by Zionism, but at least some people are waking up more and more are waking up and that’s because of the alternative media,” Morris said.

He noted that supporting the Iran nuclear agreement “is excellent because you have many also in America, who are sick and tired of these wars for Israel in the Middle East, like we saw In Iraq.”

“And the same cast of characters as President [Barack] Obama had pointed out, the neo-conservatives and other Israel lobby are pushing for another war for Israel against Iran and obviously people don’t like that. They are sick and tired of war in America, especially when the war is for Israel,” Morris added.

Palestinians Christians Clash with Soldiers Following Sunday Mass

Palestinians Christians Clash with Soldiers Following Sunday Mass

Israeli forces attacked a protest rally by Palestinian Christians following mass on Sunday. Priests, patriarchs and other church leaders marched with crosses to the site of renewed work on the apartheid wall in the Christian majority town of Beit Jala, in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian Christians protesting in Beit Jala Aug. 30 (image by Palestinian Christians Facebook group)
Palestinian Christians protesting in Beit Jala Aug. 30 (image by Palestinian Christians Facebook group)

Two church members were arrested by Israeli authorities, while many more suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation.

The march, the most recent in a string of protests, moved through neighborhoods in the Bethlehem-district town where Israeli forces have started new work on the separation wall, which is illegal under international law.

Protesters also condemned the nearby illegal Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo, which are scheduled to be expanded as the construction on the wall goes ahead.

According to local journalist Bassam Shweiki, the demonstration focused on the confiscation of about 3500 donums of Palestinian lands planted with ancient olive trees, some of them dating back to the days of Jesus.

In addition to members of the local committees against the Wall and settlements; the demonstration was also attended by his eminence Patriarch Michael Sabbah, representatives of Palestinian political parties and the Governor of Bethlehem.

Israeli forces shot tear-gas and concussion grenades at protesters and physical altercations broke out between Israeli forces attempting to suppress the protest.

Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the former head of the Latin Church addressed the participants, stating “This is our land, and will always remain ours. They claim it’s their land, but they use their soldiers, their tanks, their military occupation to force their will – and it is not their land. It is our land, and one day their forces will withdraw and the land will return back to its indigenous Palestinian owners.”

Sabbah also stated, “The message to the Christian world, the international community and the Arab world is that this Holy Land is burning, dying and being destroyed, and if you really care about justice and equality, you have the obligation to stop this war, killing and destruction.”

Sabbah urged the world to support the people of Beit Jala in their battle against the separation wall and called on the Palestinian Authority to bring attention to Israeli violations against Palestinians. Nearly 60 kilometers of the wall already cuts through the Bethlehem governorate and is built on Palestinian land, according to the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs. Israel’s High Court ruled in April that the work must stop and told the government to consider alternative routes.

However, on July 6 the court reversed the decision, ruling that the previous ban referred only to an area of a few hundred meters alongside a monastery in the town’s Cremisan Valley.

Another speaker was Walid Assaf, with the Nonviolent Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. He said that this protest comes in opposition to illegal land theft by the Israeli settlers, and these protests will continue until the Palestinian people achieve their legitimate rights. He referenced Israeli court decisions regarding the route of the Wall in Beit Jala, as well as a ruling by the International Court in the Hague challenging the Israeli takeover of Palestinian land. His organization is planning an international conference to bring together supporters, academics and religious leaders to continue the work against the illegal Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.

Assaf added that details of Israel’s confiscation of Palestinians land in Beit Jala ought to be submitted to the International Criminal Court.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, a popular resistance activist, said that the separation wall would destroy nature in the area by uprooting of trees and plants necessary for its expansion.

Earlier this month, European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah said they were “concerned” about the renewed construction work in Cremisan, noting that it will directly affect the livelihoods of 58 families.

A 15-member delegation of European Union diplomats later visited Beit Jala to assess the situation. Local Christian landowners said that construction of the wall could ultimately force them to emigrate and “cleanse” the area of its Christian residents.

Israel began building the separation wall with concrete slabs, fences and barbed-wire inside the occupied West Bank in 2002 at the height of the Second Intifada, or uprising, claiming that it was crucial for security.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that construction of the wall was illegal and, like the UN General Assembly, demanded that it be dismantled.

Palestinians, many of whom refer to it as the “apartheid wall,” say the wall is a land grab, pointing out that when complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the West Bank.

The wall has already completely cut off occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem says the wall will effectively annex around 13 percent of the total area of the West Bank.

Palestinians living in the Bethlehem district have already lost a substantial amount of land due to the wall and the expansion of 19 Jewish-only settlements and outposts in the area.

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