Smear and Shekels

October 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

smear and shaekels .jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Haaretz reveals today that Canary Mission a Hasbara defamation outlet that was established to  “spread fear among undergraduate activists, posting more than a thousand political dossiers on student supporters of Palestinian rights,” is funded by one of the largest Jewish charities in the U.S.

According to Haaretz; the Forward, an American Jewish outlet,  “has definitively identified a major donor to Canary Mission. It is a foundation controlled by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, a major Jewish charity with an annual budget of over $100 million.” We could have guessed the funding was from such an organisation. We somehow knew that it wasn’t the Iranian government or Hamas who sent shekels to the Zionist smear factory.  Haaretz continues, “for three years, a website called Canary Mission has spread fear among undergraduate activists, posting more than a thousand political dossiers on student supporters of Palestinian rights. The dossiers are meant to harm students’ job prospects, and have been used in interrogations by Israeli security officials.”

Canary Mission is indeed a nasty operation and far from unique. We have seen similar efforts within the Jewish institutional universe for some time. It might be reasonable to opine that smear has become a new Jewish industry. Consistent with the rules of economics, many new Jewish bodies have entered the profitable business, and these outlets have competed mercilessly with each other for donations and funds.

This is precisely a variation on the battle we have seen in Britain in the last few years. Almost every British Jewish institution joined the ‘Corbyn defamation’ contest, competing over who could toss the most dirt on the Labour party and its leader. The outcome was magnificent. Last week at Labour’s annual conference, the party unanimously expressed its firm opposition to Israel and took the Palestinian’s side.

Badmouthing is not really a ‘Zionist symptom.’ Unfortunately, it is a Jewish political obsession. In between its fund raisers, it seems that Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) invests a lot of energy in smearing some of the more dedicated truth tellers. Mondoweiss, another Jewish outlet, practices this game as well.

I, myself, have been subjected to hundreds of such smear campaigns by so called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews who were desperate to stop the circulation of my work on Jewish ID politics. But these frantic efforts only served to support my thesis that the issues to do with Israel and Palestine extend far beyond the Zionist/anti debate. We had better dig into the meaning of Jewishness and its contemporary political implications.

Once again the question is, why do self-identified Jewish activists use these ugly tactics? Why do they insist upon smearing and terrorising instead of engaging in a proper scholarly and/or political debate?

Choseness is one possible answer. People who are convinced of their own exceptional nature often lack an understanding of the ‘other.’ This deficiency may well interfere with the ability to evolve a code of universal ethics.

The other answer may have something to do with the battle for funds. As we learned from Haaretz, the Canary Mission is funded by one of the richest Jewish American funds. Badmouthing has value. ‘You defame, we send money.’  Unfortunately this holds for Zionists and ‘anti’ alike.

Crucially, in this battle, Jews often oppose each other.  Haaretz writes that the Canary Mission “has been controversial since it appeared in mid-2015, drawing comparisons to a McCarthyite blacklist.” And it seems that some Zionist Jews eventually gathered that the Canary smear factory gives Jews a bad name.

Tilly Shames, who runs the campus Hillel at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, told the Forward that  “the tactics of the organisation are troubling, both from a moral standpoint, but have also proven to be ineffective and counterproductive,”

Shames said that Canary Mission’s publication of dossiers on students on her campus had led to greater support for the targeted students and their beliefs, and had spread mistrust of pro-Israel students, who were suspected of spying for Canary Mission.

This dynamic can be explained. My study of Jewish controlled opposition postulates that self-identified Jewish activists always attempt to dominate both poles of any debate that is relevant to Jewish interests. Once it was accepted that Palestine was becoming a ‘Jewish problem,’ a number of Jewish bodies became increasingly involved in steering the Palestinian solidarity movement. We then saw that they diluted the call for the Palestinian Right of Return and replaced it with watery notions that, de facto, legitimise Israel.

When it was evident that the Neocon school was, in practice, a Ziocon war machine, we saw bodies on the Jewish Left steer the anti-war call. When some British Jews realised that the Jewish campaign against Corbyn might backfire, they were astonishingly quick to form Jews for Jeremy that rapidly evolved into Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL). The battle over the next British PM became an internal Jewish debate. The rule is simple: every public dispute that is somehow relevant to Jewish interests will quickly become an exclusive internal Jewish debate.

Hillel activists see that Canary Mission is starting to backfire. Together with Forward and Haaretz, they have quickly positioned themselves at the forefront of the opposition.


Islamic Jihad Names New Leader: Ziad Nakhala


Islamic Jihad's deputy leader, Ziad al-Nakhala

September 28, 2018

Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad announced on Friday that Ziad Nakhala was named the movement’s new secretary-general, formally replacing former head Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, who has been suffering from serious health condition for months.

Palestine Today news agency quoted the resistance movement’s spokesman Daoud Shehab as saying that Nakhala was elected without a challenger.

The spokesman also announced names of nine officials who were elected members of the group’s politburo, noting that there are more other officials from Al-Quds and West Bank who were elected but did not mention their names for security reasons.

In a press conference on Friday, Shehab praised Shallah as a firm and devoted leader for the people of Palestine.

Shallah, one of the founders of Islamic Jihad, was chosen secretary general in 1995 after his predecessor, Fathi Shaqaqi, was martyred in an assassination operation attributed to the Israeli Mossad.

Source: Agencies

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Sayyed Nasrallah Welcomes Idlib Accord: Hezbollah to Remain in Syria

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah announced that this year was the year of ISIL’s end militarily in the region, saying Hezbollah will remain in Syria until further notice.

In a televised speech marking the tenth night of Muharram in Beirut’s southern suburb on Wednesday, Sayyed Nasrallah said Hezbollah will remain in Syria as long as the Syrian administration views our presence as necessary. “As long as the Syrian leadership needs us we will stay there.”

Sayyed Nasrallah delivers a televised speech on the tenth night of Muharram“No one can force us out of Syria. We will stay there until further notice.”

“We will remain there even after the Idlib accord,” his eminence said, referring to a Russian-Turkish deal on Idlib, but indicated that the quietness of the fronts and less number of threats will naturally affect the number of Hezbollah fighters present. “With the Idlib accord, if everything is done correctly, we can suppose that Syria will head towards a great calm, and in concrete terms there will no longer be front lines.”

The leader welcomed the outcome of the Iranian, Russian and Turkish diplomacy to spare Idlib a military offensive that could have led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation, saying it was a step towards political solution in Syria but urged a careful implementation of the agreement. On Monday, Russia and Turkey agreed to exclude the military solution in Idlib in favor of enforcing a new demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib region from which terrorists will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month.

“This year is the year of ISIL’s end militarily in the region, and this is a great and very important victory for the region and salvation from a great ordeal,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the continuous Israeli attacks on Syria, saying they have nothing to do with transfer of arms to Hezbollah. “A lot of Israeli attacks on Syria have nothing to do with arms transfers to Hezbollah and Israel is seeking to prevent Syria from obtaining missile capabilities that guarantees it a balance of terror,” Sayyed Nasrallah indicated.

The Zionist army claimed Tuesday that strikes a day earlier on Latakia targeted a Syrian facility that was about to transfer weapons to Hezbollah on behalf of Iran.

“The Israeli attacks on Syria are only connected to the Israeli-US-Saudi fiasco. Such attacks on Syria had become unbearable anymore, it must be stopped,” Hezbollah’s S.G. pointed out. “The continuous Israeli aggression against Syria is being carried out under various excuses and claims that Iran is arming Hezbollah in Latakia are totally baseless,” he added.

Hezbollah leader elaborated on US influence on some internal and regional axes, saying: “We view the US administration as an enemy, however, others in the region consider it a friend and ally. I ask the Lebanese who have different viewpoints towards the US administration, can you give us a clue on its friendship?”

“I ask US allies in the region, Is consolidating ‘Israel’ in the favor of the Arab peoples? Is America a friend of the Palestinian people as it fights them to deprive them of their right to have their own state? Is America’s boycott of UNRWA in the interest of Palestinians and Lebanese? Is [US President Donald] Trump’s recognition of Al-Quds as the Israeli capital in the favor of the Palestinian people? Is it not the US who came with Takfiri groups to the region?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered.

He said Washington was helping the Saudi-led coalition in its war on Yemen, and warned all regional actors about the consequences of cooperating with the US in its plots against the region.

“The US is threatening the people of the region by imposing sanctions on them. The US administration had even become fed up with the International Criminal Court and threatened to take measures against it,” his eminence said, assuring that the real ruler in some Arab and Islamic countries was the US ambassador.

He also said the US was the one pushing towards naturalization in Lebanon in favor of ‘Israel’. “Who’s in favor of a demographic change in Lebanon and Syria? we are before countries and political forces who are obstructing the return of refugees.”

“Who in some Arab and Islamic countries would dare to condemn the US interference in internal affairs? Isn’t the way the US is dealing with the Palestinian cause has its effect on Lebanon?”

Supporters gather to salute their leader in the tenth night of Muharram

Sayyed Nasrallah, however, praised the Iraqi people who were able to reject the US dictations despite pressure and threats.

Relatively, his eminence said Lebanon cannot be separated from what’s happening in the region. “Dissociation is a serious controversial issue in Lebanon, as the events in the region are critical for the Lebanese people. Had ISIL controlled Syria, what would have the destiny of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Gulf states been?” All Lebanese parts, he said, intervened in the Syrian crisis each according to their capabilities.

His eminence also accused the US of prolonging ISIL’s presence in some areas Northeast of Syria. “ISIL is being transferred to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen via US helicopters,” he said.

In the meantime, Sayyed Nasrallah said the case of East of Euphrates was linked to the US decision, calling on the Kurds not to bet on Washington. He addressed Kurds in Syria by saying that “Washington could abandon you at any price, I urge you to negotiate with the Syrian government.”

Turning to the stalled Cabinet formation process, the Hezbollah leader said “obstruction and paralysis” were prevailing, but assured that no one can eliminate anyone in Lebanon. He said in this context that Hezbollah will submit anti-corruption and anti-backup bills.

“Those who are conspiring on our region, like US, ‘Israel’ and who stand behind them, will not concede defeat,” Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out, uncovering that Hezbollah was exposed to threats like threats of an upcoming war, “but they are more psychological than factual.”

Hezbollah’s leader warned that what’s being written and said via social media was part of a war scheme against Hezbollah. “All of this propaganda aims at distorting Hezbollah’s image and credibility.”

However, he called on people to be wise in what they post and share on social media and to remain cautious.

At the end of his speech, the S.G. said the resistance in Lebanon was the first to make victory in Lebanon and the region. “Those leaders, men, officials and incumbent environment are the ones who kicked ‘Israel’ out of Lebanon and made the first Arabic historical victory,” his eminence added. “Hezbollah fighters are the ones who repelled the most dangerous catastrophe that could have plagued Lebanon and the region.
Addressing those who are waging a campaign against Hezbollah, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “you will eventually fail in this psychological war because we base our readiness to sacrifice on our beloved Imam Hussein (AS) who is the symbol of dignity and sacrifice.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website



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Two-state hypocrisy

Imagine the following scenario: In response to the peaceful African-American civil rights movement in the United States, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s, a large segment of white Americans figured that the best solution to the issue would be to form a new country on a small part of US territory in the north, where African-Americans would be segregated and live on their own.

Any of these African-Americans who lived for generations in the American South, but at some point had to flee to the American North (or to Canada or Mexico) because of violence and discrimination perpetrated against them, would not be able to return to their homes in the South. They would only be permitted to “return” to this new African-American state.

Any of the African-Americans already in the South could stay there, but would become second-class citizens, facing institutionalized discrimination in a country dominated politically, economically and socially by white Americans – much as was the case during the Jim Crow era following centuries of enslavement.

On top of this, any of the white Americans who recently colonized parts of African-American territory could stay and continue to exploit the natural resources, whether the African-American population liked it or not. This new country would also be demilitarized, landlocked (or denied a port) and would have no true sovereignty over its territory.

In other words, the fate of this predominantly African-American country would largely remain in the hands of the white American one.

Unless one is a racist or white supremacist, this scenario would sound preposterous not only to most Americans, but also to most people in the world. Sadly, this imaginary situation is very similar to the one that many Israeli, and more disappointingly, American Zionists would like to impose on Palestinians – the so-called two-state solution.

Leading to peace?

One might ask, what is the problem with a two-state solution, if it will lead to peace between Palestinians and Israelis?

For one, Israel is unwilling to fully evacuate from the West Bank territory that it seized during the 1967 war, despite its obligation to do so under UN Security Council Resolution 242. This is land that Palestinians would expect for their own state.

However, since 1967, Israel established more than 200 settlements on tens of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with a total population of more than 600,000Israeli settlers.

Due to these “facts on the ground,” Israel would demand to keep much of this occupied land in a two-state solution scenario. But according to international law, as outlined by the principle that territory cannot be acquired by force, Israel has no right to one square inch of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

In a two-state solution, Palestinians would expect their capital to be East Jerusalem, which was seized by Israel during the 1967 war. However, Israel considers the entire city of Jerusalem to be its “eternal and undivided” capital and it has remained firm on this position.

It has been reported that Israel would try to make the nearby neighborhood of Abu Dis the future Palestinian capital. This would be completely unacceptable to Palestinians as Jerusalem has tremendous religious, cultural and historical significance for them.

Neutered state

Another major problem with a two-state solution is that Israel would agree to a Palestinian state only under the condition that it is demilitarized. This has been emphasized by numerous Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Even former US President Bill Clinton proposed in 2000 that Israel be able to maintain some military facilities in Palestine and to deploy military forces in cases involving a “national security” threat to Israel. In other words, Palestine would be a neutered state with no true sovereignty, and Israel would always maintain significant control over Palestinians.

Last but not least, a two-state solution would almost certainly be the final nail in the coffin for the issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees. This right is a cornerstone of the Palestinian struggle.

Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee, both in 1948 and in 1967, have an inalienable right to return to their homeland as do their descendants.

This right is enshrined in international law. The UN General Assembly in December 1948 adopted Resolution 194, and in June 1967, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 237, both of which call on Israel to allow the return of refugees.

Yet Israel continues to violate its obligations under international law. It has no intention of correcting its historic injustices that created the Palestinian refugee problem.

The right of return has been one of the key issues preventing a just settlement of the conflict. In the rare instances that Israel even considers Palestinian statehood, it regards the right of return as out of the question, save for return to a new hypothetical – and truncated – state of Palestine rather than to the areas where refugees once lived.

Inherently intolerant

The problems with a two-state solution mentioned above lead to an obvious question: Why not form one democratic state where both Palestinians and Israelis could live with equal rights?

This would be the most fair and equitable solution.

The answer to this question is quite simple. Zionism, the political ideology that is the basis of the state of Israel, is inherently intolerant of equality. Its main goal was to create a Jewish state in Palestine, where Jews would be the majority and dominate all others.

Jews would receive special rights and treatment. For example, a Jewish person from China who has no connection to Palestine has the right to emigrate there and become an Israeli citizen, while a Palestinian refugee whose family lived there for generations has no right to do so.

If that seems racist or discriminatory, it’s because it really is.

One might assume that such a prejudiced ideology is primarily espoused by a small segment of hard-line, right-wing Jews. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.

A perfect example is J Street, which is a supposedly liberal lobbying organization that “mobilizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.” The organization indicates that its policies reflect the views of the majority of American Jews.

But J Street is not shy about its support of the discriminatory philosophy of Zionism, as can be seen in its official policy regarding the two-state solution:

“With the Jewish and Arab populations between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea at near-parity, demographic trends preclude Israel from maintaining control over all of Greater Israel while remaining a democratic state and a homeland for the Jewish people. As then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in November 2007, ‘If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.’”

It might seem unbelievable, but J Street is in fact stressing that equality for Palestinians and Israelis would spell disaster for Israel. It also adds that “there is no such thing as a ‘one-state solution,’ only a ‘one-state nightmare.’”

If this is the “liberal” Zionist position, and the position of Americans who theoretically should be more democratically minded, one can only imagine how bigoted the hard-line conservative Zionist view is. Indeed, hardcore right-wing Zionists would like nothing more than to permanently annex the West Bank and proceed with the “transference” of Palestinians to Jordan.

These people do support a one-state solution, but it is one that involves ethnic cleansing and no equality whatsoever.

Ironically, President Donald Trump made a remark that fittingly illustrates why Zionists are so opposed to a one-state solution. During a recent meeting in June, Trump half-jokingly told King Abdullah of Jordan that a one-state solution would lead to an Israeli prime minister named Muhammad.

This is the “demographic threat” that motivated Netanyahu to warn Israeli voters in 2015 that “Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves.” And this is the nightmare scenario that a former director of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign spy agency, referred to when he warned that the “Jewish and Palestinian populations in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are nearly equal, and Israel must act to separate itself.”

Zionism simply cannot stand the idea of equality between Jews and non-Jews.

The fact of the matter is that Israel was established at the expense of the non-Jewish indigenous Palestinian population – Muslims, Christians, and others – and it continues to subjugate and discriminate against them. This is precisely what Israel started in 1948, when at least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled and denied their right to return.

Since then, it has methodically engaged in the near starvation of Palestinians in Gaza, occupied and oppressedthose in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and imposed institutional discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Through other tactics, such as the confiscation of Palestinian property and the demolition of homes, Israel has forced many Palestinians to emigrate, resulting in subtle ethnic cleansing.

As long as Israel remains committed to this racist, Zionist system, there will never be a truly just solution, no matter the number of states.

By Mohamed Mohamed

وقف تمويل «أونروا» آخر مظاهر الظلم الاميركي

سبتمبر 5, 2018

عمر عبد القادر غندور

لم تترك الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وخصوصا في زمن ترامب، وسيلة لإيذاء الشعب الفلسطيني إلا وفعلتها! فهي تولّت منذ العام 1948 رعاية وحماية «دولة إسرائيل» متعهّدة بضمان أمنها وديمومتها واستمرارها شوكة لا في خاصرة العرب والمستعربين بل في حلقهم «واللي ما عجبوا يروح يبلط البحر»!

اليوم يوقف ترامب تسديد حصة بلاده لوكالة «أونروا»، ويقول انّ 500 ألف فلسطيني يمكن اعتبارهم لاجئين وهم الذين ولدوا في الأراضي المحتلة عام 1948! ويقول صهره مهندس صفقة القرن جاريد كوشنر: «لا يمكن إبقاء الأشياء ساكنة مكانها بل يجب المخاطرة والعمل على تفكيك الأشياء بطريقة استراتيجية، وانّ الاونروا برعايتها للاجئين تعرقل حلّ القضية الفلسطينية».

بذلك يُعرّض ترامب خمسة ملايين فلسطيني في الأردن وسورية ولبنان للمزيد من العوز والمرض والجهل، ويتمادى في عنجهيته وعنترياته ويهدّد الدول التي تسعى لتعويض الحصة الأميركية لـ»أونروا» وقيمتها 300 مليون دولار بالحظر والعقاب، وهي لا تساوي صفراً من الأموال التي يصادرها من الدول النفطية في الخليج!

ترامب يباهي اليوم بأنّ صفقة القرن لابتلاع الحق الفلسطيني بموافقة عرب الصهاينة، هي الحلّ الأمثل لطيّ هذه الصفحة الى الأبد، وهو بالتأكيد لا يدرك انّ مفاعيل هذه الصفقة لن تؤدّي الى استقرار وسترتدّ عليه، وستؤدّي الى انبعاث صحوة لا يعلمها إلا الله، لقناعة انّ الظالم هو خصيم الله ومصيره إلى زوال وانّ الظالم ملعون، وسيتأكد ترامب إذا بقي في موقعه انّ مكره وسعيه لإنهاء قضية شعب بأكمله لن يتحقق، وهو واهم، لأنّ للتاريخ سنن لا يدركها إلا العاقل، ولينظر إلى عاقبة من سبقه من الظالمين…

رئيس اللقاء الإسلامي الوحدوي

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Mr. Trump, You Cannot Erase the Palestinian Right to Return

Right to Return

By James J. Zogby,

First, the Trump Administration “took Jerusalem off the table.” Now, in an especially dangerous display of recklessness, they have announced their intention to do the same for the Palestinian “right of return.”  

The first indication that this was in the works came  with the administration’s announcement that they would be suspending all US assistance to UNWRA, the UN agency created to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians who were forced to flee from their homes in 1948 and again in 1967. More recently, the administration supported by some Republican members of Congress, launched an effort to limit “refugee” status to only those Palestinians who were victims of the 1948 expulsions. [In a future article I will address the devastating humanitarian and political consequences that will result from crippling the work of UNWRA.]

Because Israel has always rejected its culpability for the Palestinian refugee crisis and has consistently refused to acknowledge that those who fled in 1948 had any rights to repatriation, the US intent to take the refugee issue “off the table” was described by one Israeli writer as a “dream come true.” And a minister in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government celebrated the US move as “finally speaking the truth to the Arab lie that has been marketed all over the world for decades…There is no reason for [Palestinians] to dream of returning.”

Israel claims that they have no responsibility for Palestinian refugees. As is their practice, the Israelis have attempted to exonerate themselves by creating “alternate facts”—that Palestinians voluntarily left their homes or that they were ordered to leave by advancing Arab armies. However, an examination of the historical record establishes that the Zionist political leadership executed a deliberate plan to “cleanse” entire areas of their Arab inhabitants in order to create a state that would be larger than what was provided by the UN partition, with fewer Arabs.

They are indicted by their own words:

Yigal Allon (leader of the Palmach – the official Zionist military):

“We saw the need to clean the upper Galilee and to create…Jewish continuity in the entire area of the upper Galilee…We, therefore, tried a tactic…which worked miraculously well. I gathered all of the Jewish Mukhtars, who have contact with the Arabs in  the different villages, and asked them to whisper in the ears of the Arabs that a large Jewish reinforcement has arrived in Galilee and that it is going to burn all the villages in the Huleh. They should suggest to these Arabs, as their friends, to escape while they had time to flee. The flight numbered in the myriads. The tactic reached its goal completely.”

David Ben Gurion (speaking of “Plan D,” the operation designed to expand the size of the “Jewish State” and to reduce the number of Arabs within it):

“These operations can be carried out in the following manner: either by destroying villages (by setting them on fire, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their rubble), and especially those population centers that are difficult to control permanently; or by mounting combing and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside of them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the border of the state.”

Yigal Allon:

“There is a need for strong and brutal reaction. We need to be accurate about timing, place, and those we hit. If we accuse a family – we need to harm them without mercy, women and children included. Otherwise, this is not an effective operation. During the operation there is no need to distinguish between the guilty and the not guilty.”

Menachem Begin (leader of the Irgun):

“Arabs throughout the country, induced to believe wild tales of ‘Irgun butchery’, were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives. The mass flight soon developed into a maddened uncontrolled stampede. Of the almost 800,000 who lived in the present territory of the State of Israel, only 165,000 remain. The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated.”

In the aftermath of the war, during which thousands of Palestinians were murdered and another 700,000 were forced into exile, Ben Gurion celebrated what he termed “a double miracle”—an Israel with more land and less Arabs.

After its establishment, Israel compounded its crimes against the Palestinians by passing a series of Orwellian laws which enabled the new state to seize Arab-owned land (over 2 million acres were taken—including businesses, homes, orchards, and farmland) and demolish 385 Arab villages—all done in the effort to physically erase any evidence of the prior Palestinian presence.

I spent time in Palestinian camps in 1971 collecting the nightmarish personal stories of those who were expelled, perusing their family photo albums of the homes they had left behind, and being shown the keys they still carried -which had become a sacred symbol representing what they had lost and hoped to regain. One said to me “the Jews said they remembered for 2,000 years. For me, it has only been 23 years, how can I forget?”

In the face of this, the actions of the Trump Administration are not only dangerous and reckless, they are cruel and insensitive, and violations of international law and covenants.

While some conservatives love to cherry pick the celebrated 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights—citing their favorite, Article 18, which guarantees freedom of religion and belief—they willfully ignore other relevant articles:

Article 9: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

Article 13/2: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

Article 17/2: “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”

In addition, there is the 1948 UN resolution declaring “the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes”—a  resolution which has been regularly and overwhelmingly passed by the UN General Assembly.

When in the face of this incontrovertible history of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and international conventions on the rights of refugees, I cringe when I hear of the Trump Administration’s intention to take the refugee issue “off the table.” What they are, in fact, taking off the table is so much more. At stake is: the lives and fortunes of innocent Palestinians and their families; the rule of law; simple human justice; and the possibility of peace. The more than 5 million Palestinians living under occupation and in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria cannot be erased and in their attempt to do so, it is not only the Israelis who are guilty of the war crime of ethnic cleansing. The Trump Administration is making itself complicit in this crime.

ترامب يشطب حق العودة

قرار أميركي بوقف تمويل «الأونروا»
اعتراف واشنطن حصراً بالجيل الأول من اللاجئين يقلصهم إلى 10% (أ ف ب )

بقدر ما كان القرار الأميركي في نقل السفارة إلى القدس المحتلة، يحمل رمزية سلب عاصمة فلسطين التاريخية، جاء قرار وقف تمويل «الأونروا» بالكامل، ليمهّد لمرحلة عملية جديدة عنوانها العريض، تصفية «قضية فلسطين»، من بوابة «حق العودة»، وتحويلها إلى أزمة لاجئين تخنق دول الجوار، وتحاصر مقاومي الاحتلال

لم تكن قرارات وتوجهات زعماء «البيت الأبيض» يوماً لغير خدمة إسرائيل، ولكن إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب، منذ وصلت إلى الحكم، شرعت في تنفيذ خطوات عملية هي الأخطر على مصير القضية الفلسطينية، والفلسطينيين، كما على دول جوار فلسطين، بدءاً من نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، ووصولاً أمس إلى إعلان وقف تمويل «وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين» (الأونروا). هذا الإعلان، الذي جاء بعد تمهيد طويل من الجانب الأميركي، يستهدف بشكل مباشر إنهاء «حق العودة» للاجئين الفلسطينيين في كل العالم، ويهدد بخلق أزمة حساسة ومعقدة في بلدان الجوار، وبخاصة في بلد مثل لبنان. ومن خلف ذلك كله، هو يؤسس لمحاولة إفراغ فكرة المطالبة بفلسطين كبلد للفلسطينيين من دون غيرهم، وإحباط أي فعل مقاوم ضد الكيان الإسرائيلي المحتل. ولطالما شكل وجود اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في دول الجوار، مسألة خلافية، استثمرت في السياسة وغيرها، ولكنه في الوقت نفسه، ساهم في تكوين وعي وذاكرة، تربت عليها أجيال من رافضي وجود إسرائيل. اليوم، تحاول إدارة ترامب إعدام فكرة «اللاجئ» الفلسطيني المهجّر من أرضه المحتلة، لتحوّله إلى مثل غيره من اللاجئين ممن تعاني بلدانهم من إشكالات أمنية أو كوارث طبيعية، ولكنه ـــ على خلافهم ـــ مجرد من وطن يعود إليه. تعويم اللاجئين في الخارج، مقروناً بجهود إسرائيل لتهويد وطمس جميع المعالم الفلسطينية في الداخل، هو نهج لإلغاء شعب، ومن خلفه فلسطين. ولا ضير، بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل، من تحويل قضية اللاجئين إلى أزمة تخنق دول الجوار ــ وبخاصة التي ما زالت تعتبر فلسطين أرضاً محتلة. أمس، أعلنت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية، إنهاء تمويل «وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين» (الأونروا)، واصفة إياها بـ«المنحازة في شكل لا يمكن إصلاحه». وقالت الناطقة باسم الوزارة هيذر نويرت، إن إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب ترى أن «الأونروا» تزيد «إلى ما لا نهاية وبصورة مضخّمة» أعداد الفلسطينيين الذين ينطبق عليهم وضع اللاجئ، مضيفة أن المشكلة «تتعدّى الحاجات التمويلية وعدم تحقيق تقاسم متوازن في الأعباء» بين المانحين، بل تتّصل بـ«نموذج الأونروا نفسه». وسبق لمستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي جون بولتون أن مهّد لهذا القرار في زيارته الأخيرة لفلسطين المحتلة (19 آب الفائت)، حيث استنكر قيام الأونروا بما سمّاه «توريث» صفة اللاجئ، مكرراً الدعاية الصهيونية التي تزعم أن اللاجئين هم الجيل الأول من الذين «خرجوا» من فلسطين عام 1948، وأن أبناءهم وأحفادهم ليسوا لاجئين!

«حماس» للأمم المتحدة: لا نقبل أي تحسينات على حساب «الأونروا»

وهذا سيؤدي بدوره إلى عجز «الأونروا» عن تنفيذ المهمات التي وجدت من أجلها. وفي هذه الحالة، سيحوّل ملف اللاجئين وفق البروتوكول إلى «المفوضية السامية» (UNHCR)، الأمر الذي أظهره البند الثاني والعشرون من الوثيقة التي تحمل الرقم HCR/GIP/17/13، وتتضمن إرشادات وتوجهات توضيحية بخصوص المادة (1 د) من اتفاقية 1951 الخاصة بوضع اللاجئين القانوني، التي صدرت أواخر 2017 من دون أن يعترض عليها أحد (راجع العدد 3357 في 27 كانون الأول 2017). وبالطبع، لا تعترف المفوضية بحق العودة، بل ستضع خيارات محدودة أمام اللاجئين: العودة الطوعية إلى البلد الأصلي (غير وارد في الحالة الفلسطينية بعد اعتراف الأمم المتحدة بإسرائيل عام 1949)، أو التوطين في بلد اللجوء (هنا يخرج اللاجئ من نطاق خدمات المفوضية في حال حصوله على جنسية بلد يستطيع حمايته، وهذا الحل يسقط حق العودة لكل الفلسطينيين في الأردن ممن يحملون أرقاماً وطنية تثبت أردنيتهم، ويمثل هؤلاء 41% من أعداد اللاجئين المسجلين لديها). والحل الأخير توطين اللاجئين في بلد ثالث، أي أن المفوضية ستعمل كوكيل توطين «بتعاون دولي».

تبعاً لهذا الأمر، وفي خطوة متقدمة لمعالجة وقف التمويل عبر تقليص عدد الموظفين في الوكالة (وهم لاجئون أساساً)، أصدر المفوض العام لـ«الأونروا»، بيير كرينبول، تعميماً يقضي بمنح الموظفين المحليين المعينين بعقود دائمة أو عقود محدودة الأجل، فرصة «الترك الطوعي الاستثنائي» من الوكالة. وحدد التعميم مدة ثلاثين يوماً يستطيع الموظفون خلالها تقديم طلبات الترك الطوعي، أي حتى السادس والعشرين من الشهر الجاري. وأشارت الوكالة إلى «محدودية الأموال المتوافرة لدى الوكالة والفترة الزمنية القصيرة» حاثة بذلك على الاستعجال في تقديم الطلبات، لكنها أكدت أن ذلك مسموح لمن خدم 10 سنوات على الأقل. ويشار إلى أن «الترك الطوعي الاستثنائي» أكثر شمولاً من «التقاعد الطوعي المبكر» الذي اقترح في وقت سابق، لأنه سيزيد عدد الموظفين الذين قد يرغبون في ترك الخدمة من الوكالة هذا العام.

ومن الواضح أن العمل على إنهاء «الأونروا» أو تقليص خدماتها إلى ما دون المستوى المقبول فلسطينياً يجري على خطوات تدريجية من الجانبين الأميركي والإسرائيلي، مع الالتفات إلى أن تل أبيب حذرت واشنطن من الضغط بصورة تنهي عمل الوكالة في غزة حالياً (راجع العدد 3541 في 14 آب). حتى أنه على رغم إعلان «الأونروا» بدء العام الدراسي الجاري في موعده المحدد (راجع العدد 3546 في 21 آب)، فإنها أصدرت بياناً تذكر فيه أن الحد الأعلى للطلاب في الصف الواحد هو خمسون طالباً في المباني التابعة لها، زائدة بذلك 10 طلاب على الصف، كما زادت عدد الحصص الدراسية على المعلمين.

إلى ذلك، علمت «الأخبار» أن «حماس» أرسلت عبر الوسطاء الدوليين رسالة إلى الأمم المتحدة قالت فيها إنها لا تقبل أي تحسينات في غزة على حساب «وكالة غوث وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين» (الأونروا)، أو أن يحول جزء مما كان يدفع للوكالة لمصلحة مشاريع داخل القطاع، مطالبة إياهم بـ«تحسين الوضع في غزة عبر إيجاد 50 ألف وظيفة بصورة عاجلة للمتعطلين عن العمل، مع ضرورة إعادة الوظائف التي ألغيت في الأونروا».

463 ألف لاجئ في لبنان
يبلغ عدد اللاجئين المسجلين على لوائح «الأونروا» في لبنان، وفق تقرير صادر عن الوكالة في شهر كانون الثاني من العام 2017، 463664 لاجئاً، منهم أكثر من 36 ألف تلميذ في العام الدراسي 2016 -2017، موزعين على 67 مدرسة. وفي مجال الصحة، بلغ مجموع زيارات المرضى السنوية إلى مرافق تدعمها الوكالة، أكثر من مليون زائر. أما المستفيدون من برنامج شبكة الأمان الاجتماعي، فزاد على الـ60 ألف حالة. وفي قطاع البنية التحتية وتحسين المخيمات، بلغ عدد الوظائف التي تم استحداثها للاجئين الفلسطينيين جراء تداخلات البرنامج نحو 440 وظيفة، فيما فاق عدد الموظفين المحليين الـ3 آلاف.

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