Inner and Outer Ugliness: Congress Proves Once Again it is Occupied Territory

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By Richard Edmondson

In the photo above we see US Congressman Ed Royce of California discussing HR 11, a resolution he introduced condemning the UN Security Council for its recent action on Israeli settlements. You’ll also notice, to Royce’s right, Florida  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair with a pink hairbrush.

The scene is from a debate in Congress which took place on January 5, 2017. Royce and a number of other congressional representatives (342 of them in all) became hot and bothered over the UN’s pointing out (correctly of course) that the settlements are illegal. The photo is a screen shot I took from a C-Span video.  It’s a long video, more than eight hours, but if you advance it to about the 5:19:52 mark, you can watch the entire House debate on HR 11, which not surprisingly includes a lot of groveling to Israel (hat tip to Greg Bacon).

Just to refresh your memory, the Security Council, by a vote of 14-0 with 1 abstention, passed a resolution on December 23 “condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.” Voting in favor were Russia, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Uruguay, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, UK, Ukraine; the lone abstention was by the US.

The Security Council action was welcomed by a good many people the world over, although Benjamin Netanyahu threw a temper tantrum, claiming to have “absolute” proof the Obama administration had been secretly behind it. Other critics accused the US of a “betrayal” of its longtime “ally,” and an enormous amount of controversy erupted over the issue in the waning days of 2016 and carrying over into the new year.

Of course, anytime a dispute emerges between the US and Israel, members of Congress can always be counted upon to side with the latter rather than with their own nation–and this time was no exception.

“Today we put Congress on record objecting to the recent UN Security Council resolution that hurt our ally, that hurt Israel, and I believe that puts an enduring peace further out of reach,” fretted Royce.

Let me call once again your attention to the image of Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair, for throughout a good portion of Royce’s speech, the Florida congresswoman–apparently unaware she was on camera–seemed preoccupied with primping and applying makeup to herself, this presumably in an effort to make herself look “beautiful.”

In the first frame of the montage below we see her with the pink hairbrush, followed by a shot of her rummaging in her purse. In the third frame she pulls out what appears to be lipstick or eyeliner (I’m not an expert on women’s makeup), and lastly applying it with her right hand while still holding the container with her left hand.

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In the following three frames we see a now cosmetically-adorned Ros-Lehtinen giving her speech before Congress and the C-Span cameras:

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“Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel, has been under constant attack by the United Nations,” she claimed.

The Security Council resolution that occasioned Ros-Lehtinen’s diatribe specifically is entitled UNSC Resolution 2334. I put up a post about it on December 24 that contains its full text. The measure expresses “grave concern” that settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.” It also:

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

For Ros-Lehtinen, however, UNSC Resolution 2334 was nothing more than an execrable attempt to “delegitimize” Israel–and all the more reason why swift passage by Congress of HR 11 was needed to repudiate it!

This resolution, Mr. speaker, will not undo the damage that has been done at the Security Council, but it sends an important  message to the world that the United States Congress resoundingly, and in a strong bipartisan manner, disapproves of the vote taken on resolution 2334, and it sends a warning to the nations that will gather in Paris next week to discuss the peace process that there will be repercussions if there is a move to introduce a parameters resolution before the 20th and in an effort to further isolate Israel. Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel,  has been under constant attack by the United Nations. Abu Mazen and the Palestinians have pushed a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, to achieve unilateral statehood recognition.

For some reason–I’m not quite sure why–the sight of Ros-Lehtinen primping and then fulminating at the podium brought to mind a picture I once saw of an economically-impoverished elderly woman kissing a bird.

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I first came across this image several years ago in a poem posted by Nahida the exiled Palestinian, whose website, Poetry for Palestine, can be found here. Her poem is entitled “Beauty.”  It is not a lengthy poem at all. In fact, it contains a mere five very short, but very powerful, lines:

Sometimes, beauty is mistakenly understood;
Assuming that
If someone is beautiful, they are always good,
When truth is
When someone is good, they are always beautiful.

The woman whose picture accompanies the poem is beautiful in a way that Ros-Lehtinen is not. In addition to berating the Security Council, the Florida congresswoman also attacked the UN Human Rights Council.

“We’ve seen it at  the Human Rights Council where Israel is constantly demonized  and falsely accused of human rights violations while the real abusers of human rights go unpunished because that body has utterly failed to uphold its mandate,” she insisted. “This is a body that allows the worst abusers of human rights–like Cuba, Venezuela, and China–to actually sit in judgement of human rights worldwide. What a pathetic joke!”

It’s interesting that Ros-Lehtinen would single out Cuba, Venezuela, and China as being among “the worst abusers of human rights,” while saying nothing–zip–zero–about Saudi Arabia, a country that executes people by beheading and which currently holds the chair of the Human Rights Council.

 photo syrianchildren.jpg“Yet the only thing they can agree on is to attack Israel,” the congresswoman blubbered on, “the only democracy in the Middle East and the only place in the region where human rights are protected.”

Exceptions were taken to other UN deliberative bodies  as well.

“We’ve seen this scheme to delegtimize Israel at the General Assembly where in its closing legislative session, the General Assembly passed twenty–twenty–anti-Israel resolutions and only four combined for the entire world!” Ros-Lehtinen bellowed.

“These institutions have no credibility, and now we have the unfortunate circumstance of the White House deciding to abstain from this anti-Israel, one-sided resolution at the Security Council,” she added. “Our ally was abandoned, and credibility and momentum were given to the Palestinians’ schemes to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, and while the damage has been done, Mr. Speaker, by this act of cowardice at the Security Council, we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage.”

What exactly she meant by “we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage” is unclear. Possibly the Trump administration has some plan to introduce a new measure at the UN. In any event, Ros-Lehtinen clearly seems to be a person of both inner and outer ugliness–though of course she is not the only member of Congress with such attributes. Perhaps the most groveling speech of all those given in Congress on January 5 was that delivered by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The cornerstone of our special relationship with Israel has always been right here in Congress, this institution,” said Ryan. “The heart of our democracy has stood by the Jewish state through thick and thin. We were there for her when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv; we were there for her by passing historic legislation to combat the boycott divestment and sanctions movement; and we’ve been there for her by ensuring Israel has the tools to defend herself against those who seek her destruction.”

“I am stunned! I am stunned!” the House speaker continued, “at what happened last month! This government, our government, abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most! Do not be fooled. This UN Security Council resolution was not about settlements, and it certainly was not about peace. It was about one thing and one thing only. Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish democratic state. These types of one-sided efforts are designed to isolate and delegitimize Israel. They do not advance peace, they make it more elusive.”

If Ryan was the supreme groveler in the debate, Royce would probably have to rank a close second. One thing which seemed terribly to incense the California congressman about the Security Council resolution is that it doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to steal East Jerusalem.

“This dangerous resolution effectively states that the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, are in the words of the resolution ‘occupied territory.’ Why would we not veto that?” asked Royce.

“It also lends legitimacy to efforts by the Palestinian authority to put pressure on Israel through the UN rather than to go through the process of engaging in direct negotiations, and it puts wind in the sails of the shameful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” he added.

gzmrg4Royce also claimed that Israel, not Occupied Palestine, is suffering “bullying and harassment.” That may sound like the statement of someone living in a parallel universe, but it is a view shared by New York Congressman Eliot Engel, one of HR 11’s original cosponsors.

“Throughout its entire history the state of Israel has never gotten a fair shake from the United Nations,” insisted Engel. “Year after year after year member states manipulate the UN to bully our ally Israel, to pile on one-sided resolutions placing all the blame for the ongoing conflict on Israel.”

Even those representatives who spoke in opposition to HR 11, did so while expressing their support for Israel at the same time. One such member was Rep. David Price, a Democrat from North Carolina.

“The fact is, H Res 11 runs a real risk of undermining the US Congress as a proactive force working toward a two-state solution,” Price lamented. ” And in this period of great geopolitical turmoil and uncertainty, we must reaffirm those fundamental aspects of our foreign policy, including our strong and unwavering support for Israel, while also demonstrating to the world that we are committed to a diplomacy that defends human rights and promotes Israeli and Palestinian states  that live side-by-side in peace and security, a formulation that has characterized our country’s diplomacy for decades.”

Another who voted against HR 11 was Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois who is also married to Robert Creamer, the Democrat Party operative who was seen in a Project Veritas video discussing plans to have protestors show up at Trump rallies during the campaign. Schakowsky feels that a little bit of criticism of Israel is allowable at times, and furthermore she holds to this belief as a “proud Jew,” as she stated to her colleagues.

 photo thousandeyes_zps2c4c47c1.jpg“I stand here as a proud Jew and someone who throughout my entire life has been an advocate for the state of Israel, and I am standing here to oppose our H Res 11,” said the Illinois congresswoman. “And as a member of congress I have been committed to maintaining America’s unwavering support for Israel, which has lasted from the very first moments of  Israel’s existence. The US-Israel bond is unbreakable, despite the fact that the United States administrations have not always agreed with the particular policies of an Israeli government.”

Yes, to be sure, our own government and Israel’s have not always seen eye-to-eye, but funny how that never seems to stop the billions in US tax dollars flowing into the Jewish state’s coffers each year. Schakowsky went on:

Presidents from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush have each vetoed, and sometimes voted for, a UN resolution contrary to the wishes of Israel’s government at the time, and only the Obama administration, until two weeks ago, never, ever cast a vote against what Israel wanted. But opposition to the building of settlements on land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war was, with the exception of the land, of course, that’s going to be swapped, agreed to by both parties, has been the official US policy for many decades, contrary, again, to the assertions of H Res 11.  It has also been the policy of the United States to recognize that the only long term solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the violence, the loss of life, is to create two states, one for the Palestinians and one for Israel.

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Exactly how a contiguous Palestinian state is going to be created in a West Bank splotched and dotted with all those settlements, is something Schakowsky left unaddressed. But having voiced a few mild criticisms of Israel, the congresswoman apparently felt an overwhelming need for balance–and so she tossed out a few criticisms of the Palestinians for good measure.

“A two-state solution is the only way Israel can continue as both a democratic and a Jewish state living in peace and security that has eluded her from the very beginning,” she said. “The building of settlements is an obstacle to achieving that goal–and of course settlements aren’t the only obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The US resolution reiterates the Palestinian Authority security forces must continue to counter terrorism and condemn all of the provocations.”

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Provocations? It’s an interesting word when referring to a people who have been resisting land theft and occupation for more years than most of us have been alive. It also gives rise to a question: How is it possible to carry out “provocations” against a country or governmental entity that technically speaking is in all likelihood guilty of the crime of genocide? Of course it’s unlikely you’ll get an honest answer to that question from Schakowsky or any other member of Congress.

At any rate, HR 11–a resolution which not only impugns the Security Council but even criticizes the United States–passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-80, with 4 abstentions. You can go here to see  the roll call on the vote.

It was Jeffrey Blankfort who first coined the old saying about Washington being Israel’s “most important occupied territory.” I think it was sometime back in the late eighties or the nineties when Jeffrey made that comment, and if anything, over the years, it has become more profoundly true than ever.

Yemeni Villagers Dying of Starvation

[ Ed. note – It would appear that all the horrible war crimes US officials and the mainstream media have been alleging against Russia and the Syrian government are in reality being perpetrated by the Saudis–and, from the looks of it, maybe even far worse. Where’s Obama? Where’s John Kerry? Where are all the neocons who have been theatrically voicing their anguish over the people of Aleppo? How come we’re not hearing from them on the horrible situation in this Yemeni town? How come the Saudis are allowed to fire upon Yemeni fishermen when they try to take their boats to sea to catch fish, and Samantha Power has nothing to say about it at the UN? I guess, come to think of it, for the same reason she doesn’t say anything when Israelis fire upon Gaza fishermen. ]

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No Food, No Medicine, No money: Yemeni Town Faces Mass Death by Starvation

RT
Nearly 19 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN, but the worst of the civilian impact of the two-year civil war in the country has fallen on the coastal fishing area around the Red Sea coastal district of Tuhayat.

As RT’s Arabic-language crew visited the area, they witnessed scenes of chaos – as locals scrambled to gain food – and quiet desperation, with many residents swollen with hunger, waiting for outside help, or resigned to their fate.

Continued here

Putin Befuddles the West: A Lesson From Scripture

 

putin3r-jptBy Richard Edmondson

What is it exactly with the leaders of the West and Vladimir Putin? Clearly they view Russia and its president as a threat, but why?

We have heard endless stories of “Russian hacking” and “Russian aggression,” while Putin has been called a “thug,” a “dictator,” and Russian forces have been accused of bombing hospitals in Aleppo–in fact Russia, it seems, bombed the “last hospital” and killed the “last doctor” in Aleppo on at least five different occasions in 2016: on November 18, July 30, July 23, April 27, and sometime either in the last week of January or early February (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here ).

So What accounts for all this hysteria? Is it simply because Russia has thwarted US regime-change plans in Syria? Or is there something else behind it? Perhaps the Gospel of John can give us an answer.

In John chapter three, Jesus gets a visit from a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, or ruling council. Christians will recall, of course, that Jesus had numerous problems with the Pharisees. They attacked him, despised him, and were at odds with him more so than any other group. However, Nicodemus seems to be one of the few Pharisees with an open mind, and who is at least somewhat willing to listen to reason. Moreover, the gospel tells us that Nicodemus “came to Jesus at night,” which has led scholars over the years to speculate that the Jewish leader was afraid to be seen talking to Jesus.

I should also mention here, that John chapter three is a favorite passage of evangelical Christians, for it is in this conversation with Nicodemus that Jesus uses the phrase “born again,” and of course it is also here he utters the famous words that make up the oft-quoted John 3:16. My focus here is not so much on either of these two lines, however.

Instead, the part of the dialog between Jesus and Nicodemus I find most interesting, and most germane to our commentary on Putin, is a curious comment Jesus makes about “Spirit” and “wind.” This comes after Nicodemus admits to being perplexed regarding Jesus’ admonition that “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus responds quizzically. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born.”

It is at this point that Jesus attempts to clarify the matter, and in doing so ties in the concepts of spirit, wind, and rebirth–all into one. He says:

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

The frenzied minds of the West’s corrupt leaders contemplate the sound of Russia’s wind blowing, but they “cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” Imagine having an enemy like that and how bonkers it would drive you.

As I have pointed out in a number of posts, Russia has experienced an almost phenomenal spiritual rebirth since the fall of communism. You can go here, for instance, to see a post I did in 2013 that includes a fascinating video documentary on the Valaam Monastery. Located north and east of St. Petersburg, the monastery is considered one of the holiest sites of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Those who’ve been here more than once,” the narrator remarks at one point in the documentary, “say you have to put the time into Valaam to understand it fully, that living and working here is the only way to really tap into its energy. The job is tough and repetitive, but none of the volunteers complain. Everyone is confident of a spiritual reward and happy that they’re working to reestablish a faith that was so persecuted during the Soviet Union.”

Monastic life also figured prominently in Putin’s visit to Greece last summer, for his state visit to that country included an excursion to perhaps one of the most unique places in the world. As I commented in a post on June 1:

Mount Athos is an autonomous monastic state located on a peninsula jutting into the Aegean Sea from the northern part of Greece. It is the home of a number of monasteries and is inhabited almost entirely by monks. With a political status kind of unique in the world, the 130 square-mile region is governed by a “Holy Community,” consisting of representatives from each of the monasteries, yet there is also a Civil Governor appointed by Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose main job is to keep the infrastructure in tip-top shape.

The post also includes a video of the Russian leader being received warmly by the monks, as well as commentary by Russian writer Pavel Shipilin, who discusses what he thinks Putin’s leadership means to a majority of the Russian people:

I think, first of all, it is hope:

  • A person who aims at eternal values, not immediate ones, rules the country.
  • He supports peace, not war.
  • Russia for him is the last outpost of Orthodoxy (NS maybe Christianity in general). That’s why he is going to protect it.
  • That the office of the President for him is, first of all, for service, not a source of gain.

It is very important that Putin never emphasizes his Orthodoxy. He speaks and acts, as the President, not as a monk. It would be difficult to suspect him of ostentatious godliness. He visits remote churches all over Russia during major Christian holidays instead of going to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior as would be expected.

At the same time, we understand that Christian values are above so-called universal human values, which are imposed on us instead of centuries-old traditions. Postmodernism is just a beautiful cover; its essence is the decomposition and atomization of society. If we don’t resist it, it will end badly.

What is so attractive about Putin? It’s the fact that he calls things by their name. Same-sex marriage is a sin. The introduction of military forces into sovereign states without being requested by the legitimate government violates the rules established after World War II. It is also a sin. As is the behavior of one nation that decides its power gives it the right to rebuild the world in its own image.

Today Russia is the only country saying “No” to the US. It’s the only country whose “No” Washington clearly hears and cannot do anything about. And the main thing is that this firm “No” is heard by those who appreciate our common roots and traditions, who still hope that this crazy world will recover its soul.

Yes, Washington hears Russia’s “No” clearly–just as it hears the wind blowing without knowing what direction it’s coming from or where it’s going.

Shipilin’s comment about Putin spending Christian holidays visiting remote churches in rural areas of Russia, rather than attending services at the main cathedral in Moscow, is also interesting. The Russian Orthodox faith celebrated Christmas this year on January 7, and a huge and elaborate Christmas Eve liturgy took place at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In fact I put up a post on it on January 6, here, which included a link to a two-hour video filled with scenes from the service. Most of the video was of the service in Moscow, but at a couple of different points the camera cut away to a small church in the province of Novgorod where Putin is observed attending a service with the locals. At one point he leans over and can be seen helping a small girl light a candle.

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Think back to the last time you saw film footage of an American president attending a worship service at a church–any church. I don’t recall ever seeing anything of the sort, although maybe there were a few such incidents during the Carter administration.

So now we have Russia…fighting terrorists in Syria that America has supported…blocking Monsanto and banning GMO foods…taking steps to protect endangered species…while serving as snare and pitfall to a US-installed puppet government in Ukraine–and all the while, through its actions for good, counterchecking and abrogating the western media’s efforts to paint it as the villain.

“So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

By “Spirit” Jesus is of course referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in all four gospels, but it is in the Gospel of John that it takes a front-and-center place in Jesus’s teachings. In addition to the passage in chapter three, we have these words in chapter four spoken by Jesus to the Samaritan woman at the well:

A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

to his disciples in chapter six:

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

and in chapter fourteen (here most of all):

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you…

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

This is what Nicodemus was trying to understand, but couldn’t quite grasp; and it is also what Western leaders have found so maddening.

“How can this be?” asks Nicodemus.

Jesus’ answer to him is instructive.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” he replies, “and do you not understand these things?Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

For the past six years US leaders have been trying to instigate a coup in Syria, and as we know, bringing down governments is something they have accomplished with ease countless times in countless countries around the world–but for six years now and counting they have failed to achieve this objective in Syria.

“How can this be?” they must be asking themselves.

I suspect if Jesus were here he would give them the same answer he gave Nicodemus.

Significantly the Holy Spirit also plays an important role in the birth narratives provided in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. In Luke, chapter one, the angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to inform her she is to give birth.

“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God,” he tells her.

The birth of Christ occurred at a time when a corrupt empire had expanded to the stage where it had come to tyrannize and prevail over much of the rest of the world. Christ’s coming into the world was in a sense a “rebirth” for humanity, and the empire at that time, as we know, eventually collapsed.

Now we see a present-day empire that has become grotesquely corrupt, prevailing over practically the entire world, this coming simultaneous to a rather amazing spiritual rebirth that we see occurring in one country–a country which, it so happens, is “the only country saying ‘No’ to the US,” as Shipilin rather aptly puts it. The parallels are there if you wish to see them.

Meanwhile, a rather befuddled Obama seems able to do little other than listen to the sound of the wind while wondering…where it’s coming from and where it’s going…as he prepares to leave office on the 20th.

60 Percent of Swedes View US as a Major Threat to World Peace

[ Ed. note – In a post I put up on Monday I wrote, “The US government’s unquenchable thirst for overturning other governments is the greatest threat to world peace today.” Apparently 60 percent of the people of Sweden agree with me. Below is a news story on a recent poll conducted in Sweden; the video above supplies an analysis on the conflict in Syria, but also mentions the poll. ]

RT

The number of Swedes who believe the US is one of the major threats to world peace and security has jumped to 60 percent, an annual poll has shown, with officials noting a 6 percentage points jump since last year.

The biggest changes in the way the Swedes see the world’s civil preparedness, security policy and defense have occurred in their attitude towards the United States, the recent poll carried out by the Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) suggests.

The MSB poll was conducted from December 9-14, after Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential elections in November.

“That is a significant change,” MSB general director Helena Lindberg said of the jump from 54 percent in 2015 to 60 percent in 2016, according to Swedish daily Sydsvenska.

Swedes generally (73 percent) express great concern and fear over the current situation in the world, as well as their future. However, nine out of 10 Swedes confirm that Sweden is still “a good country to live in.”

At the same time, 58 percent of people believe that Sweden is likely to see a terrorist attack in the next five years, a slight uptick of 1 percentage point higher than in 2015.

Despite that, the proportion of those who believe that Sweden in five years will be a better country to live in increased from 2015’s 13 percent to 18 percent, while the proportion of those who think that living conditions will be worse decreased from 54 percent to 42 percent.

A political threat from another country seems likely to occur by 47 percent of Swedes, while propaganda or false information spread by foreign states looks probable to 44 percent.

Swedes’ negative perception of Russia has relaxed a bit, with 77 percent calling Russia a threat to the world peace – 5 percentage points less than last year.

More than half of the people who took part in the poll welcomed Sweden’s participation in the EU’s foreign and security policy work, saying it promotes peace and security inside the country. Among the factors affecting peace and security negatively, 55 percent named the influx of asylum-seekers.

More than 1,000 people aged between 18 to 74 took part in the survey.

‘The Last Bullet in the Peace Process’–Abbas Urges Trump not to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

In addition to writing to Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also reportedly has written letters to the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Arab League asking them to do what they can to stop the newly-elected president of the the US from moving the embassy.

Secretary of State John Kerry has waded into the controversy as well, warning that if the embassy is moved, “you’d have an explosion–an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even Israel itself, but throughout the region.”

A typically un-hinged-from-reality comment on the matter has come from an Israeli official. Ron Dermer, the ambassador to the US, said the embassy “move would be a great step forward to peace,” and he claims also that it would work to undo the “delegitimization of Israel.”

There are also now reports of worries that moving the embassy could increase security threats to State Department personnel in other countries besides Israel–but apparently this doesn’t concern Florida Sen. (and devoted Zionist) Marco Rubio.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” says Rubio. “It’s time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

Rubio is referring to the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” approved by Congress in 1995, which calls for the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem but which also allows for a presidential waiver if it is deemed the move would harm US security interests. Every president from the time the law was passed up until today has exercised the waiver.

The PLO response to the move–at least as stated in the above video–would be a withdrawal of its recognition of Israel. There is also a warning that the Palestinian Authority could dissolve itself, effectively rendering Israel responsible for administering what are now referred to as the “Palestinian territories.” This would leave the Jewish state with the choice of either annexing the territories and giving Palestinians living within them the right to vote in Israeli elections–or, alternately, Israel could openly rule over a subject people who have no rights as citizens. This would basically remove the fig leaf cover and expose Israel once and for all as an apartheid state. Should it choose this latter course of action, doubtless it would become grist for the mill for a conference set to take place in Ireland and which I posted an article about four days ago.

The three-day conference is to be entitled “International Law & the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Responsibility,” and as I reported, one of the questions its participants will examine is whether Israel has a legal right to exist under international law.

If Dermer and other Israeli officials are worried about the “delegitimization” they are experiencing now, doubtless the fires of illicitness will get hotter if the Palestinian Authority “hands the keys to the territories” back to Israel. Whether the PA will actually go through with that remains to be seen, however. And my own personal view is that it is something they probably should have done a long time ago.

However, if today’s resignation of a Palestinian mayor inside of Israel is any indication, we could perhaps seem something like that come to pass.

Palestinian Mayor Resigns After Israelis Demolish 10 Homes in His Town

[ Ed. note – Qalansawe is an Arab town located within pre-1967 Israel, though adjacent to the Green Line ]

Ma’an News

QALANSAWE (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities demolished 10 homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the city of Qalansawe in central Israel on Tuesday morning, prompting a defeated mayor to resign after Israeli authorities refused for decades to approve the city’s master plan.

Local sources told Ma’an the devastating demolition campaign sparked clashes between Israeli police and residents.

Mayor Abd al-Basit Mansour visited the area along with members of the municipal council and announced he would resign from his post, as Israeli bulldozers razed the homes to ground.

Mansour told reporters that, “We have been waiting for approval of a master plan for twenty years, but our request fell on deaf ears.”

“As head of Qalansawe municipality, who doesn’t have the power to change anything, I decided to send my resignation to the ministry of interior.”

Dozens of locals crowded in the area in an attempt to prevent bulldozers from demolishing the structures, but Israeli police officers dispersed them.

One homeowner described the demolition as part of Israel’s policy of “oppression, injustices, and displacement.”

Qalansawe resident Ashraf Abu Ali criticized leaders of Palestinian communities in Israel. “What have they done to prevent demolitions in the Arab communities?” he asked, asserting that Palestinian citizens of Israel will “remain under threat as long as master plans and allocating land for construction are dealt with so recklessly.”

Another owner of one of the demolished houses Hassuna Makhlouf said he held Qalansawe’s mayor responsible, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He told Ma’an that Israeli police officers treated homeowners “violently” during the demolition raid.

Continued here

Americans Are Clueless on Muslim Views of Jesus

I came across this video and thought I would post it for the fun of it. As I have said for a long time, Christians have far more in common with Muslims, who venerate Jesus as a prophet, than with Jews, whose Talmud contains blasphemous depictions of Jesus as well as his mother Mary.

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