ماذا يعني رفض رئيس الحكومة تمثيل طائفة لبنانية؟

يناير 22, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– من الطبيعي في السياسة أن يفكّر كل طرف باتخاذ الموقف من المبادرات السياسية التي تعرض عليه وفقاً لحساب مصالحه، فيرفض ما لا يلائمها ويقبل ما يتوافق معها. وهذا هو الحال مع النظر لقبول ورفض الرئيس المكلف بتشكيل الحكومة سعد الحريري تجاه ما يتمّ تداوله من مبادرات تتصل بحل العقد التي تعترض تشكيل الحكومة، وليس لأحد عليه أن يقبل ويرفض خارج إطار حساب مصالحه، ولكن دائماً تحت سقف المصلحة الوطنية، وإذا تسامحنا بمقياس المصلحة الوطنية الذي بات مطاطاً ويشكل الرديف للمصالحة الخاصة في أيامنا، بحيث بات المعيار ما دمت بخير فالوطن بخير، فلن يكون بمستطاعنا التسامح إذا كانت الخلفية واللغة المرافقتان للقبول والرفض تهددان وحدتنا الوطنية.

– تناقلت وسائل الإعلام موقفاً ثابتاً للرئيس المكلف برفض صيغة مقترحة للحكومة من إثنين وثلاثين وزيراً. وعند هذا الحد يدخل الأمر في نطاق الحق المشروع بالقبول والرفض، لكن اللافت للنظر أن الخلفية واللغة المرافقتين لتفسير الرفض الحريري توزعت بين أقوال نسبت إليه مضمونها «أنه لا يريد تكريس عرف تمثيل الطائفة العلوية في الحكومات المقبلة»، ومنها أن «منح العلويين مقعداً وزارياً يشكل انتصاراً لسورية» ومنها أن «ولاء العلويين ليس للبنان». ومن بين هذه المفردات العنصرية الخطيرة على وحدة لبنان وسلمه الأهلي، ما قيل في حلقات تلفزيونية بألسنة شخصيات محسوبة على الحريري بينما تقول جميع المعلومات التي تناقلتها وسائل الإعلام خلال الشهرين الماضيين أن الحريري لم يعترض على منح مقعد إضافي للأقليات، وهذا يعني أن الاعتراض ليس على منح الطوائف الأصغر مقعداً وزارياً بل حصر الاعتراض بالطائفة العلوية بالتحديد.

– الأخطر هو الكلام الأخير المنسوب للرئيس المكلف عن موافقته على صيغة إثنين وثلاثين وزيراً وتضمينها مقعداً إضافياً مسيحياً للأقليات، شرط أن يكون المقعد الإضافي للمسلمين من الطائفة السنية بدلاً من الطائفة العلوية، هذا مع العلم أن واحدة من الصيغ المعروضة على الحريري كانت حكومة من ستة وثلاثين وزيراً تتضمن وزيراً إضافياً من الطائفة السنية ضمن ستة وزراء جدد، يتوزّعهم الموارنة والأرثوذكس مسيحياً والشيعة والسنة إسلامياً فيصير التوزيع بين المذاهب متوازناً أكثر من حال حكومة الثلاثين وزيراً، ومقعد لكل من العلويين والأقليات، والاقتراح كان معطوفاً على جعل كل وزراء الدولة في الحكومة من دون تعويضات ورواتب ومكاتب، منعاً للتذرع بالرفض بحجة زيادة النفقات، ولو كان هدف الحريري هو زيادة وزير من الطائفة السنية لتسهيل تمثيل اللقاء التشاوري من دون أخذ المقعد من الحصص التي تم توزيعها بين الأطراف، لكان المنطقي أن يقبل صيغة الستة وثلاثين وزيراً، بدلاً من اقتراح استبدال المقعد العلوي المقترح في حكومة الإثنين وثلاثين وزيراً بمقعد للطائفة السنية.

– إذا صحّ الكلام الأخير المنسوب للحريري. فالخطير فيه ليس مجرد التفكير بالإخلال بالتوازن الطائفي بين الطوائف الثلاث الكبرى المتفق على تساويها في اتفاق الطائفة، السنة والشيعة والموارنة، بل الأخطر هو بلوغ مرحلة من التفكير العدائي لطائفة لبنانية عريقة هي الطائفة العلوية، من موقع المسؤولية الرئيسية في السلطة الإجرائية التي يتولاها رئيس الحكومة، وهذا يعني أن البلد على شفا تهديد لسلمه الأهلي.

– على الرئيس الحريري أن يخرج للعلن ويوضح حقيقة موقفه من الطائفة العلوية قبل أن يتحوّل الكلام المنسوب إليه مادة ملتهبة في بلد يحتاج إلى مَن يطفئ النيران فيه لا إلى مَن يشعلها.

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Palestinian Prisoners Announce Hunger Strike in Ofer

January 22, 2019

Ofer crackdown

Palestinian prisoners at Ofer detention center announced on Tuesday they were going on an open-ended hunger strike a day after IOF carried out a fierce crackdown on the prison cells, injuring about 100 Palestinian prisoners.

Prisoners’ committee of the of Islamic and National Powers in Gaza said that many prisoners are the victims of Israeli attacks and medical negligence in prisons.

“These Israeli attacks against the Palestinian prisoners won’t break the Palestinian prisoners’ will and persistence,” the committee stated.

The committee also warned of a Palestinian Intifada (uprising) across the Israeli prisons due to the aggressive policies committed by the Israeli Prison Service.

It also revealed that the first step to be followed in the prisoners’ combat program in Ofer is returning back meals, noting that more steps “are yet to come.”

For his part, Hamas lawmaker, Moshir al-Masri commented on the latest developments.

“If the occupation declared a war on prisoners, we’ll declare a war from our side,” al-Masri said.

Source: Palestinian media

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“Israel” Killing With Impunity, Lying Without Consequence?

 

The Guardian’s Editorial

In the last nine months of 2018, according to the United Nations, Palestinians – many of them children – were killed at the rate of around one a day while taking part in protests along “Israel’s” perimeter fence with Gaza about their right to return to ancestral homes.

They included medics and journalists. Most of the dead were unarmed and posed no danger to anyone, with little more than rocks in their hands and slogans on their lips. Yet “Israel” continued with an immoral and unlawful policy that sees soldiers of its military, which is under civilian control, shoot, gas, shell and kill protesters, including those who pose no credible threat.

Hospitals in Gaza, which already struggle under an “Israeli”-Egyptian blockade, have been stretched to breaking point in dealing with the flood of patients ferried in from the protests.

It would appear, sadly, that “Israel” wishes to conduct a war over the airwaves, as well as one on the ground, against the Palestinians. This blatant disregard for Gazan lives and the lack of accountability is underpinned by a politics of resentment and dissembling that has profound repercussions for “Israel.” If one can kill with impunity, then can one lie without consequence?

“Israel’s” Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, unexpectedly called for early elections in December in what seems a transparent bid to head off possible corruption charges. The decision by Netanyahu to dissolve the Knesset came days after the prosecutor’s office recommended that “Israel’s” attorney general indict Netanyahu on charges of bribery, which he denies. Netanyahu is not only running for a fifth term in office, he is also running for his political life. His lawyers, it is reported, are arguing that a possible indictment be delayed… Echoing his friend Donald Trump, Netanyahu has told reporters that “Israel” can choose its leadership only at the ballot box and not through legal investigations, which are a “witch-hunt”…

The novelist Amos Oz’s words that “even unavoidable occupation is a corrupting occupation” have been ignored for too long. Netanyahu’s nearest rival brags that he sent parts of Gaza “back to the stone age” when in the military. Netanyahu would dismiss Oz’s warnings; but perhaps he ought to take heed of the recent spat between the historian Benny Morris and the writer Gideon Levy. The former, who made his name by lifting the veil on the ethnic cleansings on which “Israel” was founded, but drifted rightwards to say that these heinous crimes did not go far enough, and the latter, a leftwing columnist, agree that the [so-called] ‘two-state’ solution is a fading prospect. Netanyahu lulls the public with the notion that a ‘two-state’ solution will wait until “Israel” deems the conditions to be ripe. He hints that new friends in Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will come up with a proposal the Palestinians will swallow. This is pure cynicism. There is no new plan – just a rebranding of the status quo, maintained by force by “Israel,” and with Palestinians within and without “Israel’s” [occupied] borders subjugated and dependent. “Israelis” must turn away from the occupation, which is debasing their society and suffocating the Palestinians.

Source: The Guardian, Edited by website team

US Threatens to Sanction Lebanon if They Participate in Rebuilding Syria

US Threatens to Sanction Lebanon if They Participate in Rebuilding Syria

By Leith Aboufadel

The U.S. State Department allegedly sent a cable to the Lebanese Embassy in Washington that warned them against inviting Syria to the Arab Economic Summit in Beirut that is scheduled to take place this week, Al-Akhbar reported on Wednesday.

According to Al-Akhbar, Lebanon was not only warned against inviting Syria to the Arab Economic Summit, but Washington also threatened sanctions against Lebanon if they participate in any reconstruction efforts.

The latter (U.S.) threatened Lebanon with sanctions if it participated in the reconstruction of Al-Sham (a reference to Damascus),” Al-Akhbar claimed.

“The U.S. position was relayed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, in more than one way,” they continued.

The alleged confidential cable allegedly read:

“We urge Lebanon and all Arab League member states to refrain from sending an invitation to Syria. We also urge Lebanon not to take any steps that contribute to securing the financial interests of the Syrian regime. For instance, making investments or sending funds for reconstruction. Any financial or material support for the Assad regime or its supporters may be subject to American sanctions.”

The U.S. State Department has not issued a comment regarding these allegations; however, Washington has warned several nations in the past about participating in the reconstruction of Syria.

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Michelle Alexander on Palestinian Suffering and Injustice. Accuses America of being Run by Criminals

Michelle Alexander on Palestinian Suffering and Injustice. Accuses America of being Run by Criminals

By Stephen Lendman,

Law professor, scholar, author, civil rights champion Michelle Alexander best known for her book titled “The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness,”

Palestinians

Since UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour’s 1917 call for establishing a nation for Jews in historic Palestine, their people have endured over a century of discriminatory injustice. 

Israel’s 1948 war of aggression stole 78% of their homeland, the rest in June 1967, including Jerusalem, a UN-designated international city.

Endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation define conditions for beleaguered Palestinians – over 100 years of suffering, no end of it in sight, the world community dismissive of their fundamental rights.

Virtually everything important affecting their lives and well-being are decided by others, an intolerable situation with no prospect for change – US/Israeli installed quisling PA government, serving as the Jewish state’s enforcer.

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Law professor, scholar, author, civil rights champion Michelle Alexander is perhaps best known for her book titled “The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness,” her most noted work.

She explained that

“(m)ore black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War began.”

Racist drug laws largely affect “poor communities of color.” In America’s inner-cities, most Black youths can expect criminal injustice prosecutions one or more times in their lifetimes.

Over 60% of Black men born in 1965 or later without high school degrees (following passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination) have prison records.

They’re marked for life, targeted by militarized cops for the color of their skin, leaving them vulnerable to re-arrest, imprisonment or death. America’s racist war on drugs disproportionately targets people of color and ethnic minorities.

Racism defined the US from inception. Racist war wages against Americans and unwanted aliens of the wrong color, ethnicity or religion – its global gulag the shame of the nation.

In her NYT op-ed, a rare example of truth-telling on a vital issue, permitted by the self-styled newspaper of record, one-sidedly supporting Israel, ignoring its high crimes in its own reporting, Alexander highlighted Martin Luther King’s notable April 4, 1967 “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” address.

It was delivered one year to the day before his state-sponsored assassination, his truth-telling remarks criticized at the time, ignored ever since by major media.

Over half a century ago, King called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today…on the wrong side of a world revolution,” adding: “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence, or violent co-annihilation.”

“We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

Silence is “betrayal…(N)o one who has any concern for the integrity and life (in) America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam.”

“This madness must cease…We must stop now…We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam.”

Accusing America of being run by “criminals,” imagine what he’d say if alive today, US wars of aggression raging in multiple theaters, no end of them in prospect, the threat of possible catastrophic nuclear war.

Alexander explained that King was urged to stay silent about the war or risk being called a communist sympathizer, harming the civil rights movement.

He couldn’t stay silent about the cutting-edge issue of the time “because (his) conscience le(ft) (him) no other choice,” he said, adding “(a) time comes when silence is betrayal. (T)hat time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

Taking a moral, ethical, and legal stand for peace and justice cost him his life. If alive today, he’d be age-90.

Alexander wrote her op-ed because she can no longer remain silent about “one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine,” explaining:

With rare exceptions, “the entire Congress (most often is) “silent on the human rights nightmare” in Occupied Palestine, Gazans harmed most of all, an issue obsessing me personally, one I address repeatedly, feeling obligated as a Jew to speak out, refusing ever to be silent on this and every other vital issue.

Horrific conditions in the Territories are “reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States,” said Alexander, much worse she should have stressed, but to her credit she’s speaking out, taking a stand for long-denied justice, others with her, the only way to push things for hopeful change.

King was right. Silence is betrayal. If alive today, he’d surely champion the Palestinian cause, supporting their human and civil rights the way he did for Black Americans.

Alexander stressed the importance of “speak(ing) out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks…”

“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak,” said King. Edmund Burke stressed that “(t)he only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is (for) good men (to) do nothing.”

It’s never an option for activists, Alexander saying “to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations,” adding:

“We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.”

“We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the US government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the US government has pledged in military support to Israel.”

All of the above issues are essential to speak out about and much more, including civil rule for Jews, militarized apartheid discrimination against Palestinians.

Daily life in Occupied Palestine is intolerable, collective punishment longstanding official policy. So is state terror and institutionalized racism.

Normal daily life is denied. Peaceful demonstrations called “riots” are prohibited, viciously attacked when held. Borders are closed, population centers isolated, economic strangulation imposed, slow-motion genocide inflicted on blockaded Gazans.

Multiple daily neighborhood incursions, land, air, and sea attacks, bulldozed homes, ethnic cleansing, targeted killings, mass arrests, torture, and gulag imprisonment reflect daily life for praying to the wrong God.

Israel gets away with high crimes of war and against humanity because of support and encouragement by Washington, along with world community indifference toward Palestinian rights.

They’re brutalized as viciously as Nazis mistreated Jews, enduring virtually every imaginable form of indignity, degradation, and criminal actions against them – including live fire against peaceful demonstrators threatening no one, never anything this extreme against Jews doing the same thing.

Israel is a flagrant international law violator. Law Professor Francis Boyle explained that since the first intifada erupted in 1987, “the world has seen heinous war crimes inflicted every day by Israel against the Palestinian people,” including daily flagrant breaches of Fourth Geneva, the Rome Statute, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, countless Security Council resolutions, and other international laws.

Israel is guilty of “murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated,” Boyle explained, adding:

Crimes against humanity, a US and Israeli specialty “are the historical and legal precursor to the international crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention.”

Wanting to live free in sovereign Palestine is called terrorism by Israel, free and open expression considered incitement, resisting tyranny, a universal right, called terrorism.

Alexander and other supporters of Palestinian rights agree that justifiable criticism of Zionism and Israel isn’t anti-Semitism. The Big Lie otherwise won’t die.

She pledged in the new year “to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom.”

Her “conscience leaves (her) no other choice.” The same spirit should drive every human and civil right supporter of governance of, by, and for everyone equitably at home and abroad.

Alexander’s article is long, detailed, and important to read. Her passion and mine support right over wrong – for Palestinians and all other persecuted people everywhere.

 

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

IDF chief turned PM candidate touts body count & bombing Gaza into ‘stone age’ in campaign ad

IDF commander turned PM candidate touts body count & bombing Gaza into ‘stone age’ in campaign ad

IDF chief turned PM candidate touts body count & bombing Gaza into ‘stone age’ in campaign ad

Former Israeli Defense Forces chief turned political candidate Benny Gantz is touting the body count he racked up leading Operation Protective Edge with a campaign that boasts about bombing parts of Gaza “back to the Stone Age.”

Gantz has released a series of campaign ads for his “Hosen Le Yisrael” (Israel Resilience) party, glorifying the operation he oversaw as IDF commander as he attempts to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister in April’s election.

“Parts of Gaza were returned to the stone ages,” one clip boasts over footage of the bombed-out shells of Palestinian buildings. As chief of general staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Gantz led the offensive that bombarded Gaza for 51 days, killing – as the ad boasts – “1,364 terrorists” and bringing “3.5 years of quiet.”

The second ad in the series shows a running tally of deaths over scenes of Palestinian funerals, and a third shows the targeted assassination of a Hamas leader whose car explodes in a ball of flame.

Gantz, whose campaign slogan translates to “Israel Before Everything,” seems convinced that Israeli voters pick their leaders by evaluating their death-dealing prowess – though he may be onto something, as recent polls have him trailing Netanyahu by just ten points. Hosen le Yisrael would win less than half as many seats as Netanyahu’s Likud party if the elections were held today, according to that poll.

Also on rt.com Israeli PM shows off beefed-up border fence in #10YearChallenge post

Palestinian and Israeli media have both taken issue with Gantz’s “terror” math. Using UN Human Rights Council figures, Electronic Intifada suggests that the ad tacitly admits that Gantz’s IDF targeted civilians, since less than 800 of those killed in Protective Edge were militants, while Haaretz notes that even the official Israeli military figures counts less than half of the Palestinian casualties as militants – meaning Gantz included close to 500 “uncategorized” casualties in his “terrorist” tally.

This accidental admission, EI points out, could help Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada in his lawsuit against Gantz – since Ziada’s suit alleges the bombing that killed his family was part of an official IDF policy to target civilian residences “in breach of international humanitarian law.”

Only the strong win,” the videos proclaim, echoing Netanyahu’s own militaristic rhetoric – though a fourth campaign spot features shots of Gantz looking thoughtful and platitudes about “striving and working toward” peace, seemingly beamed in from a parallel universe or someone else’s campaign.

Syria threatens to ‘strike Tel Aviv airport’ unless UNSC acts against israel’s (apartheid state) impunity

Syria threatens to ‘strike Tel Aviv airport’ unless UNSC acts against Israel’s impunity

RT | January 23, 2019

Syria threatens to ‘strike Tel Aviv airport’ unless UNSC acts against Israel’s impunity

Damascus has threatened to exercise its legitimate right for self-defense against Israeli aggression and target Tel Aviv airport in a mirror response, unless the Security Council puts an end to IDF intrusions into Syrian airspace.

Apparently fed up with years of Israeli impunity in the Syrian skies and regular strikes carried out in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport, Syria has threatened to retaliate in explicit terms.

“Isn’t time now for the UN Security Council to stop the Israeli repeated aggressions on the Syrian Arab Republic territories?” Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari wondered Tuesday.

“Or is it required to draw the attention of the war-makers in this Council by exercising our legitimate right to defend ourself and respond to the Israeli aggression on Damascus International Civil Airport in the same way on Tel Aviv Airport?”

Air strikes against alleged ‘Iranian targets’ in close proximity to Syria’s busiest airport have become a norm for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), whose former chief of staff openly confessed last month to running a large-scale bombing campaign in Syria for years. Besides causing casualties and material damage by their “near-daily” strikes, Israeli combat missions into Syria have also repeatedly endangered flights operating over the conflict-torn country.

While the IDF rarely acknowledges striking specific targets in Syria, the Russian military has been keeping a close watch on IDF maneuvers over the Arab Republic. On Christmas Day, Israeli jets endangered two civilian aircraft while engaging targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, noting that the IDF F-16s flew in as civilian jets were landing at Beirut and Damascus airports. In September, Israeli actions resulted in the death of 15 Russian servicemen after Israeli jets deliberately used Russian Il-20 recon plane as a cover and placed it into the path of a Syrian air defense missile.

Urging the UN Security Council to adopt measures to stop such blatant violations of Syrian sovereignty by the Jewish state, Jaafari accused France, Britain and the US – all permanent members of the world body – of endorsing Israeli aggression in breach of their responsibility to “maintain international peace and security in accordance with international law.”

Placing little faith into Western intentions to bring long-awaited peace to the country, the diplomat noted that Syria plans to restore full sovereignty over its lost territories, including the Golan Heights, which Israel continues to occupy.

“The restoration sovereignty of the occupied Syrian Golan is a permanent right of Syria that [is] not subject to negotiations,” Jafari stressed.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. While Tel Aviv refrained from extending sovereignty over the Golan for over a decade, in 1981 the Jewish state annexed the area. The Druze of the Golan were offered full Israeli citizenship under the Golan Heights Law of 1981, but only a small minority changed their allegiance from Syria to Israel. Syria repeatedly reiterated that the occupied land is an integral part of its territory, and that it will work to return it by all means necessary. Tel Aviv sees things differently.

“Israel will remain forever on the Golan Heights, and the Golan Heights will forever remain in our hands,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in November, after the US become the only state to vote alongside Israel against a symbolic, non-binding UN resolution calling on Tel Aviv to withdraw from the occupied region.

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