Zionist Political Violence: Patterns and Motives

By Dr. Zuhai Sabbagh

Source

This attempt to tackle the issue of Zionist political violence will not constitute a quantitative and historical research, but will seek to explore the patterns and to analyze the motives behind the violent political practices carried out by the Zionist movement in Palestine over a period of more than a hundred years.

Before embarking upon this complex task, there is a need to shed some light on the phenomenon of general violence and its diverse patterns. This will be done by giving some internationally accepted definitions of violence in general and political violence in particular.

Definition of Violence

In addition to the complex socio-political nature of the phenomenon of violence, and the large ideological charge it carries in its fold, we find many different definitions. Therefore, there is no single comprehensive definition that researchers and writers can adopt, because the class biases of those who developed these definitions dominate their social consciousness, therefore their thinking affect the concepts and definitions they produce.

However, I will present some definitions, adopted by international bodies, and others employed by some writers, which can give us somewhat clear definitions and a relative scientific credibility.

An internationally acceptable definition of violence is that of the World Health Organization. In one of its World Reports, the WHO defined violence as:

“… The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”[1]

Moreover, political violence is some kind of collective violence that could be perpetrated by groups, as well as, by states and thus be called state violence. Consequently, it includes “…economic violence … such as attacks carried out with the purpose of disrupting economic activity, denying access to essential services, or creating economic division and fragmentation…”[2]

American philosopher Hanna Arendt, distinguished between violence and power by arguing that “… Violence can be justifiable, but it never will be legitimate. Its justification loses in plausibility the farther its intended end recedes into the future…”[3]

Arendt found that violence and racism are interconnected and interrelated. She asserted that “…Violence in interracial struggle is always murderous, but it is not “irrational”; it is the logical and rational consequence of racism, by which I do not mean some rather vague prejudices on either side, but an explicit ideological system…”[4]

Hannah Arendt pointed out the differences between the two phenomena by asserting that,

… Power is indeed of the essence of all government, but violence is not. Violence is by nature instrumental; like all means, it always stands in need of guidance and justification through the end it pursues. And what needs justification by something else cannot be the essence of anything… Power needs no justification, being inherent in the very existence of political communities; what it does need is legitimacy.[5]

Political violence, in its various forms and to varying degrees, is used in settler colonial states as a tool to: plunder the rights and wealth of indigenous peoples, to neutralize their resistance to the settlement colonial project, to strengthen the process of ethnic segregation within the settlement colony, to sabotage the conditions of class conflict, and to divide the ranks of the vulnerable elements within the settler colonial working class.

Although the phenomenon of political violence can be seen as a hallmark of the Zionist movement and its practical applications in Arab Palestine, some Zionists, writers and politicians, have developed ideological concepts that give Zionism some exceptions, such as the slogans of “purity of arms”, “self-defense”, “self-restraint” and “hatred of violence”. By formulating these slogans, they sought to paint a different picture of the practices of the Zionist movement. The following is an analysis of the concept of “purity of arms” which have developed by Zionist settlers in the 1930s.

The Myth of the Purity of Arms

The concept of “purity of arms” is one of the symbols of Zionist military culture, which was developed during the British colonial period 1919-1948. The Israeli military wanted this concept to mean that the weapons used by the Zionist soldier will not be used against the innocent and therefore will remain pure.

According to Zionist writer Anita Shapira, it was during the 1936 Palestinian revolution in Palestine, that Zionist settler colonialists promoted,

“… [s]elf-image of Jews as a people who hate violence, as opposed to the image of Arabs as a bloodthirsty people… In exchange for the bloodthirsty image of the son of the desert, the moral image of a Jew who does not harm the innocent has been developed …”[6]

The ideological, political and psychological aspects of the use of political violence were developed by the Zionist movement and were used as a successful tool in recruiting settlers and making them a monolithic bloc. This act transcended the class conflict within the settler community and justified the looting, violence and terrorism that were employed against the Palestinian indigenous population.

Patterns of Zionist Political Violence

Zionist author Ian Lustick attributes to Zionist violence defensive motives and other social and ideological motives. He elaborated his ideas by stating that,

… the fight of Jews and their revenge against the Palestinian villages and Bedouin tribes, were motivated not only by self defense, but also by the desire to prove individual self-worth through the use of successful violence. This strives for the collective crystallization of an inspiring example of physical prowess and Jewish heroism in Palestine. It also provides Diaspora Jews with legitimacy which is another dimension of Zionist ideology.[7]

Zionist writer Anita Shapira elaborated that the ideology of so-called “restraint” and “self-defense” of the Zionist military has been adapted to offensive tactics and aggressive practices, and it was expressed in this most obvious position: “We will not harm innocent people, and our weapons will remain clean.” But we will strike gangs** and their bases in the villages …”[8]  She continued by stating that “… more than once, and by necessity, innocent people have also been harmed…”  Here we will present patterns of Zionist military operations that Shapira wants to include under the classification of “compulsive form” to give it exceptional status and show it as if it occurred without prior planning but inadvertently and accidentally.[9]

The Myth of Self-Defense

Razan al-Najjar, the 21 year old Gaza medic killed by an Israeli sniper on June 1, treating an injured man, undated photo from Palestine Live on twitter.

This self-image developed by the Zionist settlers of their soldiers appears to be inconsistent with the military practices that have taken place on the ground. In 1936-1939, Zionist military organizations Hagana, Etsel and Lehi carried out series of military operations against Palestinian civilian communities, causing many Palestinian civilian casualties. The operations varied and included: indiscriminate shooting of civilians passing by, shooting at: house residents, bus and train passengers. In addition, grenades were thrown at civilian gatherings, inside cafes, restaurants and cinemas. There was frequent use of temporary explosives, mines, car bombs and barrel bombs that were placed inside Palestinian city neighborhoods.[10]

It is worth mentioning here that the Zionist military organizations were the first to blow up cars in Palestine, and the first to use barrel bombs filled with booby-trapped explosives, which was a distinctive Zionist innovation. These barrels were known as “Jewish barrel bomb technique”[11]. They were used in the occupation of the city of Haifa, and during the ethnic cleansing of the city in 1948. The “barrels” were stuffed with explosives. They were rolled from the top of the Carmel Mountains to the lower Arab neighborhoods. They were electronically built so as to explode the moment they collided with the houses of Palestinian civilians.[12] Moreover, barrel bombs were also used by Zionist terrorists against Palestinian civilians in the cities of Jaffa and Jerusalem.[13]

These operations can only be described as terroristic, because the victims were always innocent Palestinian civilians and they bore Zionist political objectives. In order to better understand such Zionist practices, we need to shed some light on the phenomenon of terrorism, which was used as a functional tool for achieving political objectives.

According to George Lopez, an expert on the issue of terrorism,

Terrorism is a form of political violence… Terrorism is not violence without thinking. It reflects a detailed strategy that uses extreme violence to make people feel vulnerable and can be hurt many times … In the long run, the terrorists seek to employ this fear to serve real political objectives.[14]

In response to claims by the Zionist writers that Zionists were forced to use violence and force because of violent operations carried out by the Palestinians against Zionist settlers, American writer Norman Finkelstein showed that Zionism “did not use … [v]iolence in spite of it. The use of force was not circumstantial. The use of force was integral in the goal of transforming Palestine, which has an overwhelming Arab majority, into a Jewish state.”[15]

In his analysis of the myth of “the purity of arms”, Israeli academic and researcher Dan Yahav pointed out that,

Terrorism has coincided with Jewish settlement since the beginning of agricultural and urban settlement in Israel at the end of the 19th century, when security problems for individuals and property emerged. Many violent acts and accompanying reprisals have been carried out against the backdrop of numerous territorial disputes…[16]

Moreover, Zionist violence and terror did not start with the ethnic cleansing campaign in 1948-1949, but preceded that in a number of years. For example, at the beginning of the 1936 general strike in Palestine, three members of the Hagna military organization threw two grenades inside an Arab café located in the Rumema neighborhood of Arab Jerusalem. Three Palestinians were killed and six others were wounded in the blast. In November 1940, three ships carrying 3,642 illegal Jewish settlers sailed to the port of Haifa. Their mission was organized with the approval of the Gestapo. Being illegal, they were arrested by the British mandate authorities, who prevented their entry into Palestine and decided to deport them to Mauritius. The British authorities transferred a number of illegal immigrants to a French ship called Patria. The leadership of both the Jewish Agency and the Hagana, decided to sabotage Patria to prevent it from sailing to Mauritius. On November 25, 1940 a mine was smuggled in and planted into Patriato be later detonated. The blast created a large hole and water began to enter the ship. As a result, the ship tilted on its side, throwing to the sea water a large number of Jewish illegal immigrants and drowning 267 of them.[17]

Yahav’s book is full of many examples of terroristic practices that were perpetrated by the Zionist military organizations. Therefore, “The purity of arms”, “self-defense”, “hatred of violence” and “restraint” were ideological symbols and legends that were developed by Zionist settlers from the military, political leaders and writers. The aim behind their development was to conceal the truth, to conceal the atrocities and war crimes that were committed against the indigenous Palestinian population, and to show some sort of a fake morality of Zionist colonialist settlement.

In addition, Zionist practices included violence against property and psychological violence. Actually, the employment of violence is an ongoing process and constitutes an integral part of the development of Political Zionism.

If compared with other settler colonial projects that have evolved in the Third World, certain features give the Zionist settlement project a special form and specificity. The Zionist colonial project aimed at replacing the indigenous people of Palestine with settler colonial immigrants. This replacement was carried out by ethnic cleansing through the use of pure violence, aggression, terrorism and massacres, of which 110 massacres[18] were committed in 1948-1949. Therefore, we can call the Zionist project a colonial settlement that sought to colonize by replacement.

Israeli Violent Society

There are many testimonies of scholars and writers in the world who confirm the violent and aggressive nature of Israeli settler colonial society. But few Israeli intellectuals recognize this, or are willing to admit it. However, there are exceptions. In an interview with the evening economic Israeli newspaper Globes, former Israeli Minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni, described Israeli society in the following terms.

We are an uncivilized society. Violence and cruelty here are appalling. Is pride in violence not present in the military? How many people have come out of the army, since the first intifada, and were completely insane? All of this is caused by the occupation, which is rooted here in a beautiful place. Occupation is corrupt because it allows the theft of their land and allows them to be abused and looted. The 14-year-old boy comes out with a knife that he knows is allowed, he knows very well what is happening, and he also wants to defend himself. They are watching the strongest, most ethical and their practices. If in the past they were cursing, they are now beating. If in the past they were beating, they are now stabbing. We are people who scream all the time, and that is part of the violence. They didn’t teach us to speak quietly, to listen. We became violent by shouting, talking and acting as well.[19]

It is worth mentioning that Israeli prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has been accompanied since 1967 with settler colonies that were established illegally inside the Palestinian territories. Thus Zionist rule inside these territories encompasses all the features of settler colonialism, and military occupation is one feature that was used as a tool to implement the Zionist settler colonial project.

As a precondition to the practice of Zionist political violence, Zionist leaders employed zoological language in the description of Palestinian indigenous peoples. The use of zoological language was the environment into which two psycho-sociological processes, that of substitution and dehumanization, evolved prior to the practice of political violence.

(e) Racism and Zoology

Over the years, terms, expressions and titles have been developed and used only by Jewish Israelis when they speak or write about Arab Palestinians. These terms are used in the media (written, visual and audio), in public spaces, by military personnel, politicians, intellectuals and even by children. I will present some of these titles here and then analyze the motive behind their use in Israeli and Zionist discourse.

There are special terms that are used in Israel to describe Palestinian demonstrations such as “assafsoof”- mobs, “shelhoov yetsareem” – alerting instincts, “hamon moussat”- an incited gathering, and “heshtoliloot”- meaning insane behavior. In addition, when the Israeli army attacks a Palestinian position, they use the term “tihoor kenay mihableem”- clearing nests of saboteurs, as if Palestinian fighters were nothing but harmful insects that should be sprayed with chemical pesticides. All these titles are circulated in various Israeli media.[20]

The use of these racial slurs is not limited to the Zionist period of settler colonialism. Other racial slurs were also used during the period of Jewish non-Zionist settler colonialism. In his essay “The Truth from the Land of Israel”, spiritual Zionist writer Ahad Ha’am mentioned in 1891 that “We are accustomed abroad to look at Arabs as wild barbarian animals who live in the desert and as a people who are similar to donkeys…”[21]

Zionist leaders frequently used racial slurs. The Zionist right-wing theorist, Vladimir Jabotinsky, described the Palestinians as “a group of half-savages.”[22] Tivankin, one of the leaders of the left-wing Zionist party Ahdoot Havoda, described Palestinian demonstrations as “masses of savages”, “Arab thieves”, and “an instigated mob”[23], while the Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion told a meeting of his party Mapai in 1931, “They also have the right to human beings, but they are savages,”[24] and a number of Zionist intellectuals, such as the writer Abba Ahimeir and the national poet Ori Tsvi Greenberg, did not see the Arabs as human beings, but regarded them rather as “desert savages” and “herds of Arab wolves.”[25]

During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin called the Palestinian Arabs “animals on two legs”[26], while former northern commander General Yanush Ben-Gal described Palestinians, in the Galilee region in northern Palestine, as “cancer in the body of the state.”[27] The former commander of the Israeli army, general Rafael Eitan, described the Palestinians as “drug-sedated cockroaches in a bottle”[28], and one of the settler leaders in the West Bank, lawyer Elyakim Ha’etsni, described the Palestinians as “rats”[29]. General Ehud Barak described the Palestinians as “crocodiles”[30], while Rabbi Ovadia Yusuf, rabbi of the Eastern Jews and spiritual leader of the Shas party, described the Palestinians as “snakes”[31] which symbolized evil.

The frequent use of racial slurs for the Palestinian Arabs that come from the world of animals and insects does not stop with these leaders, but is employed by some Israeli intellectuals, like writers in literature and children’s stories and researchers. For example, Israeli writer Or Paz, who wrote a novel entitled “Ants”, described Palestinians as “people” composed of ants, that are damaging the upper storey of a couple of Israelis who are meant to symbolize the Israeli people.[32] Israeli university lecturer Benny Morris described Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as “wild animals” and “barbarians”. He recommended that something like a cage has to be built for them. He also depicted the Arab world as a “barbarian world”. [33]

In 1985, Israeli researcher Adir Cohen studied and analyzed 1,700 Israeli children’s books written by a group of Israeli children’s book writers. In many of these children stories, Adir Cohen found that the authors have depicted the Palestinian Arabs with racial slurs that included “poisonous snakes, foxes, wolfs, donkeys, frogs, and predators.”[34]

At least two right-wing ex-ministers, have openly used racial slurs against Palestinian Arabs. In 2013, the then deputy defense minister MK Eli Ben Dahan, depicted the Palestinian Arabs by saying: “To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human”[35]. And in 2014, the then Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, called Palestinian Arabs “little snakes”.[36]

The phenomenon of using racial slurs to depict the indigenous populations is not limited to the Israeli settler colonizers, but has also appeared among other European settler colonizers. Frantz Fanon has pointed out that French settler colonizers in Algeria have also used similar racial slurs in depicting the indigenous Algerian Arabs.

…In fact, the terms the settler uses when he mentions the native are zoological terms. He speaks of the yellow man’s reptilian motions, of the stink of the native quarter, of breeding swarms, of foulness, of spawn, of gesticulations. When the settler seeks to describe the native fully in exact terms he constantly refers to the bestiary…[37]

The use of zoological racial slurs is psychological self-deception used by the settlers to ease their “collective conscience”. They implement this self-deception through replacement and dehumanization.

The Process of Replacement

In order to carry out all settler heinous crimes, the settler colonialist uses violence and terror because he faces continuous national resistance from the indigenous population. He cannot convince the indigenous population to voluntarily give up their lands, resources, freedom and homeland.

Instead of normally having guilt feelings and uneasy conscience, the settler colonialist possesses the very opposite, a deep seated hatred. In order to understand this abnormal behavior, we need some sort of socio-psychological analysis.

British psychologist R.D. Laing confirms that “[w]e attribute to them exactly what we do against them, because we see ourselves within them, but we don’t know that. We think they’re others, but they’re actually us.”[38]

Therefore, negative and despicable traits such as cruelty, racial hatred, looting and theft, which, as Laing asserts, are attributed to the colonized victim.

In his analysis of this psychological phenomenon, Israeli psychiatrist Yiftah Sokhinbar[39] affirmed that every human being has a “natural sense of justice towards his or her likes.” But aggression also produces a sense of guilt. Guilt also leads to self-hatred among some persecutors.[40]

Sokhinbar confirms that the persecutor “develops, before meeting with the persecuted, an aggressive view. He sees himself as an aggressor, and he regards the world as an aggressor. His aggressiveness increases the fear within him, and puts him in a closed circle. An appropriate ideology evolves around it.”[41] Moreover, “… For the majority of persecutors, self-hatred and guilt are eliminated by dropping them on the victim, which exacerbates the persecutor’s aggressiveness.”[42]

The presence of these colonial imperative features was confirmed by Tunisian psychiatrist Albert Memmi, who indicated that any colonial settler with a true human conscience is totally unfit to be a good settler.[43]

But, in order for the settler to hate them, his hatred needs to be adequately justified. The settler justifies his racist hatred and gives it some kind of fake legitimacy in his eyes, by assuming racial superiority towards the indigenous peoples. In his view, they become degenerates, dirty, and have animal features. Therefore, they are not worthy of the ownership of the land, wealth, homeland and freedom, and they do not deserve human treatment, but only contempt and hatred.

The settlers use animal racial slurs to dehumanize the indigenous people in order to become, in their view, subhuman, mere animals that one should not harbor any guilt feelings towards them. The process of dehumanizing the indigenous population serves the settler psychologically. When the indigenous people are transformed into animals, especially harmful and predatory animals, the settler can despise and hate them and consequently can easily direct his aggression towards them.

The Process of Dehumanization

The process of developing stereotyped ideas must be preceded by a psychological process that can be called a process of dehumanization.

This process frequently takes place in confrontational relations, especially in relations of exploitation and hegemony. In order to be able to direct our aggression towards another being, we must depreciate his value beforehand, thus making aggression against him look legitimate and justified…[44]

In his introduction to Albert Memmi’s book “The Colonizer and the Colonized”, Jean Paul Sartre pointed out the following observation.

… No one can treat a human being like a dog without first considering him a human being. The inability to abhor the humanity of the persecuted becomes the alienation of the persecutor… Since he denies humanity in others, he regards it — everywhere — as his enemy. In order to manage this, the colonizer must take extreme cruelty and adopt the immunity of the stone. In short, he must, also, depreciate his own humanity.[45]

Concluding Remarks

  • Zoological racial slurs are used to dehumanize the Palestinian indigenous population by giving fake legitimacy to the looting of their homeland, and to the deprivation of freedom and wealth thus allowing the launching of colonial aggression against them under various pretexts.
  • Zionist colonial consciousness produces a colonial ideology that prepares the settler and provides him with a psycho-intellectual readiness to attack the Palestinian indigenous population.
  • Deep-seated hatred and racist ideology are aimed at legitimizing looting, subjugation, colonial settlement and apartheid. Political violence and colonial oppression are employed as two tools in the achievement of the stages of the Zionist settler colonial project.
  • Zionist violence, aggression and terrorism against the Palestinian indigenous population constitute structural phenomena related to the Zionist colonial structure.
  • Finally, the Zionist state is not violent because it is a “Jewish state”, it is neither violent because its violence is “in self-defence”, nor is it violent because of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Zionist state is not violent for “security reasons” or “in reaction to Palestinian Arab violence.” The Zionist state is violent because of its political, ideological, socio-economic structures. All colonial states have historically been violent, aggressive, terroristic and their violence has been structural, persistent, not partial, or accidental, or exceptional.

The US “Soft War” on Iran and Its Allies Turns Against Washington

By Elijah J. Magnier

Source

The US administration under Barack Obama drafted “Caesar’s Law” in 2016 to subdue Syria but kept it in the drawer. President Donald Trump and his administration dusted it off and are now implementing “Caesar’s Law”. In fact, Trump’s policy is manna to Iran: the US administration is playing straight into the hands of Tehran. Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US’s flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of “Caesar’ Law”, Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.

Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before. It has also found a way to support the Syrian currency and to avoid digging into its reserves of foreign currencies, skirting US sanctions in both Syria and Iran, while aiding the rest of its allies.

Iran supplied Syria with precision missiles and other anti-air missiles notwithstanding the hundreds of Israeli air attacks which managed to destroy large quantities of these Iranian advanced missiles but without removing the threat to Israel.

Moreover, following the announcement of the implementation of “Caesar’s Law”, Iran sent a large business delegation to Syria to schedule the supply of first necessities and goods in a time of sanctions. Iran has great expertise in this business and, after living for 40 years under sanctions, is in an excellent position to advise President Assad.

Russia also announced – via its vice Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov – that his country rejects the illegal sanctions on Syria, and that Russia will provide President Assad with whatever his country needs.

Idem in Syria: Iran proved its capability to break the fuel siege on Syria by sending several oil tankers to its ally in the Levant. Iran is ready to be paid in Syrian Lira rather than US currency for its oil. By doing this, Iran can pay its tens of thousands of allied persons spread across Syria with local currency, marginalising the US dollar.

The US and Israel, who worked throughout the years of war in Syria to remove Iran, were in fact the impetus for Iran’s presence (and that of Russia) in the Levant in the first place. The US is now imposing “Caesar’s Law”, which will help Iran cement its presence in the Levant and Mesopotamia. It is planning to build a railway between Tehran and Damascus (and possibly Beirut): this axis will be able to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and tons of merchandise. The only way for the US to reduce the collateral damage is to finally accept that all of its “maximum pressure” and harshest sanctions on Iran and its allies have little chance of working. In the meantime, it is Iran that is moving ahead with a robust ring of allies, and the US and Israel which are left with Middle Eastern allies who are both inefficient and insignificant.

The US “Caesar’s Law” Sanctions Regime against Syria. How It Will Affect Lebanon: Israel Will be Targeted

By Elijah J. Magnier

Source

The enactment of “Caesar’s Law” – the new US sanctions designed to “pursue individuals, groups, companies, and countries that deal with the Damascus government” – is apparently directed against Syria but in reality aims to subdue Lebanon and its population to accommodate Israel’s conditions. Lebanon’s “Axis of the Resistance” member, Hezbollah, has an open conflict with Israel.  Israel has a list of imposing demands: close off the flow of weapons via the Lebanese borders with Syria, disarm Hezbollah, impose its own terms on land and maritime borders, and push Lebanon to join other Middle Eastern countries in signing a peace deal- with Israel. But Hezbollah naturally has other plans- to enforce a new Rule of Engagement and take the attack initiative rather than opt for the defence response. This is similar to the Gaza deterrence policy of Hamas, another member of the “Axis of the Resistance”, that has been to hit targets in Israel if (and when) economic sanctions are imposed. 

As Israel fears, a forthcoming Middle East war would certainly have multiple united fronts, involving the “Axis of the Resistance” members all together simultaneously. It is not surprising that members of the “Axis of the Resistance” (including Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Iraq) synchronise and rehearse; they have been working on the intensive coordination of war scenarios for over a year. It cannot be ruled out that Israel, noticing the reaction of the “Axis of the Resistance” to the imminent sanctions, will ask the US to agree to stand down, to avoid all-out war. The “Axis of the Resistance” has prepared several scenarios, all on track for implementation, and, without exception, all are very painful for Israel.

The “Axis of the Resistance” understands the motivation behind the US’s “Caesar Act” approach and will have to respond to Israel first since it is the major influence on US decisions in the Levant. There is no lack of options and some of the obvious responses would be to mimic Hamas and hit Israel, as follows:

The first scenario: Lebanon claims the return of the Shebaa Farms and the seven Lebanese villages (Terbikha, Saliha, Malkiyah, Nabi Yusha, Kades, Hunin and IbliQamh) occupied by Israel. Therefore, any Hezbollah attack against the Israeli forces in these villages, by crossing the Israeli boundary fence or bombing objectives in these Lebanese villages, would be considered a legitimate act recognised by the Lebanese government.

The ball is in the US court and there is little doubt that this US administration will make sure many Lebanese politicians, Christians and Muslims, are on its list of terrorists before October 2020, to embarrass any future administration and prevent it from lifting the sanctions easily. Of course, because the US is not acting according to its own chosen agenda and national interests, its understanding of what should or should not be done is defective, or at best limited.

At a certain point, when Hezbollah’s reaction becomes obvious, Israel may consider “inspiring” Washington to cease its pressure on Lebanon, as it did with Gaza, so as to avoid suffering the consequences.

But Israel could also think War is an option because its actions may not have been thoroughly thought out! Israel has killed Hezbollah leaders, Iranian scientists, Hamas commanders, Iraqi commanders: and in consequence the “Axis of the Resistance” became stronger. Learning from History has never been a strong point, neither for Israel nor for the USA.

Washington may not want to push Hezbollah to react and will have to rely on its allies in Lebanon. Therefore, through the International Monetary Fund, may supply Lebanon with a couple of billions of dollars per year so the option of war against Israel and the commercial and energy supply form Iran may be disregarded by the Lebanese government.

All possibilities are on the table. As far as the Gulf is concerned, its recognition and support for Israel makes no difference and changes nothing in the “probabilities of war” equation, because in every single Israeli war against Hezbollah, the Gulf countries were the first to stand behind Israel and yet their support did not tip the outcome in Israel’s favour. There is little doubt that the months that lie ahead before the end of 2020 will be critical for the Middle East.

Syria: Will the Great Middle Eastern War Begin in the Levant?

By Elijah J. Magnier

Source

Hezbollah Syria Israel Iran e205f

The world is in turmoil. 2020 has already brought major multiple crises, with the Iranian-American clash in Iraq which followed the US assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, and the COVID-19 health pandemic and economic disaster that struck all continents and stole the lives of over 400 thousand people around the world, costing tens of millions of jobs. None of this, however, prevented America from imposing even more sanctions on Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Iran – already under maximum sanctions since 1979 – sent five tankers to Venezuela to break the embargo on components and spare parts much needed to process the low octane Venezuelan oil. In parallel with America’s implosion due to domestic protests caused by deep-rooted racism and injustice, in the Middle East other fronts are taking shape in the shadows, to prevent war or to trigger a wider military confrontation.

A likely front is the Levant, where preparations are being made to confront Israel and end its continued violations of Syria’s sovereignty and bombardment of hundreds of targets in Syria throughout the years of the war. This particular issue may bring the Middle East into an all-out war; one mistake could turn fatal and drag the region into an all-out clash in which Syria will not be alone.

It is well known that Israel possesses enormous firepower and strong armed forces for land, sea, and air combat, and is better equipped than any other army in the Middle East. It is also known that Israel’s main enemy and nightmare, the Lebanese Hezbollah, possesses sophisticated weapons, armed drones, and land attack long-range all-weather subsonic cruise missiles. Hezbollah also has long-range strategic anti-ship missiles, anti-tank laser-guided missiles, anti-air low and medium altitude missiles, and precision missiles. These are pointed at precise targets over all the Palestinian geography controlled by Israel, including ports, airports, military barracks, infrastructure, ships, oil-rigs and flying helicopters or jets at medium altitude. Thousands of Hezbollah’s Special Operation Forces, al-Ridwan, never lost a battle since their first engagement in Syria.

Israel has never ceased acquiring the most modern military hardware but it has failed to develop its fighting spirit. It has no newly acquired military experience on the battlefield, because the last battle it fought dates back to 2006, which was considered the second war on Lebanon (after the first invasion of 1982) which resulted in failure on many levels. Meanwhile Israel’s enemy, Hezbollah, developed and strengthened its fighting spirit following its participation for many continuous years in a very wide geographical military theatre estimated to be almost 12 times bigger than Lebanon and 60 times wider than the area of combat in which it confronted Israel in the south of Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

Hezbollah fought alongside classic (Syrian, Russian, and Iraqi) armies, gaining battlefield experience against armed groups trained and armed by the CIA and other jihadists affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS and possessing highly developed combat skills (combined with classical and guerrilla skills) and high spiritual motivation, far more motivated than the Israeli soldiers. These jihadists fought against the American army throughout its occupation of Iraq and Syria and completed their journey fighting against the Iraqi and Syrian armies and against various organizations, which gave them significant combat experience, an aspiration for martyrdom and advanced guerrilla fighting tactics.

However, their defeat by Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies dashed Israel’s hopes, as expressed by the defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who said that he preferred “the presence of ISIS on Israel’s borders, not Iran and its allies.” Israel attacked Syrian planes, artillery and intelligence capabilities in support of the jihadists, especially in the Quneitra areas where the Khaled bin Walid army that pledged allegiance to ISIS was deployed, and in areas favorable to al-Nusra – al-Qaeda in Daraa and other southern regions.

However, Israel was not satisfied with these attacks. Israeli jets went on to strike Syria in depth in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Al-Qaim, the desert of the Badia, and any area where there are military warehouses and missiles that Iran supplied to Syria in order to support the Syrian army and rearm it with precision missiles.

Israel was able to hit and destroy a large number of these stores. This prompted Iran to change its armament storage policy for the Syrian army. Syria has built strategic warehouses in the mountains and underground in silos, waiting for the appropriate moment to impose a balance of deterrence – in response to hundreds of Israeli raids – a moment that has not yet come. The Syrian priority is still liberation of its still occupied territories, mainly in Afrin, Idlib and surroundings, without excluding the US-occupied oil and gas fields in the north-east of Syria. 

In Idlib and its countryside, the Turkish army has established large military bases. Groups of the Hayat Tahrir Sham (formerly al-Nusra) and Ansar al-Din (al-Qaeda and the remains of ISIS) still exist in and around the established Turkish military bases (i.e. Idlib and its countryside).

However, Iran no longer wants to accept Israeli strikes on its warehouses without any response. Iranian advisers (a few hundred) are not free to respond to these attacks because the decision is in the hands of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad and his allies are aware that any Iranian response from Syria would most likely drag the US into the battle to support its ally Israel and have an impact in the forthcoming US elections in favor of President Trump. Trump, who suffers from countless problems in managing his foreign and domestic affairs, is far from assured of regaining his seat in the White House for another four-year term.

Hence, Iran has decided – according to private sources – to evacuate the sites of the gatherings of its advisers, not for withdrawal or for redeployment but to find bases within the Syrian Army barracks. Hezbollah has taken over the vacated Iranian buildings. Russia has been informed of the change so that the information would reach Israel, which is coordinating with Moscow and its base in Syria (Hmeimim military airport base, north-western Syria) every time Tel Aviv sends its planes to Syria to hit certain targets. It was agreed between Israel and Russia that Moscow and Hmeimim would be informed of the details of any strike hours before it occurred to avoid accidents, especially after Russia accused Israel of deliberately taking cover behind its planes to mislead the Syrian air defenses, downing the Ilyushin-20 and killing 15 Russian officers in September 2018. Russia, in turn, informs the Syrian army and its allies of coming Israeli strikes. Moscow refuses to be involved in the Iran-Syria-Israel conflict. Russia has strategic interests with all belligerents and is not a party to the “axis of resistance”.

Russia has informed Israeli leaders of this move by Iranian advisers and their presence among the Syrian army units. Russia warned Israel not to strike the Syrian army under any circumstance and informed them that the Iranian bases have been handed over to Hezbollah. 

It seems obvious that Hezbollah wants to relieve Syria and Iran from the responsibility for a response. Israel is aware that any attack against Hezbollah’s men in Lebanon or Syria would lead to a direct response along the Lebanese borders and inside Palestine. This means that Israel must think carefully before bombing any Hezbollah objective because retaliation will certainly follow, preventing a US-Israeli response against Syria. Hezbollah is offering a new “Rule of Engagement” in Syria which cripples or limit Israel’s freedom to violate Syria’s sovereignty.

Before any airstrike aimed at specific targets in Syria, Israel’s drones make sure these locations are free of Iranian advisers and that the Russian warning reaches those concerned to evacuate human personnel and reduce casualties. Israel follows the same practice when it attacks Hezbollah cars or trucks, warning drivers and passengers in advance. Israel fires a missile, and on the last occasion two missiles, in front of the car or truck so passengers understand to leave it and take a distance to allow Israel a safe-bombing. In this case, Hezbollah’s deterrent response may or may not be required or painful because only material losses are involved.

Israeli minister Naftali Bennett has stated that “Israel would hit one truck and let five other trucks pass”. Israel is looking to avoid further embarrassment from Hezbollah deterrence as happened when Israel tried to send suicide drones into the suburbs of Beirut last year. Hence, it is likely that Israeli strikes on Syria will decrease in number, or Israel will rely on its intelligence information before hitting any Hezbollah target to make sure it is free of any human presence to avoid losses and consequent further humiliation like that imposed on the Israeli army in the past months on the Lebanese-Palestinian border.

Israel is walking through a strategic minefield. The danger for Israel lies in any potential error that might kill Hezbollah members in Syria. Such an outcome would lead to an escalation that may take the Middle Eastern region into a larger and more comprehensive war. The timing will not be to the advantage of Israel and its ally Donald Trump. His presidency is already mired in foreign crises with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and also domestically due to Corona pandemic mismanagement plus the consequences of recent riots and racial unrest after the killing of a black American by the police- and in addition the losses of American jobs in numbers exceeding fifty million.

Hezbollah’s new rules of engagement, its advanced armaments and outstanding military experience amount to a significant deterrent. Nevertheless, wars can start by mistake. Will Israel make such a fatal mistake?

“Deadly Exchange”: America’s Racist Policing Has Roots in Israel

By Miko Peled

Source

During training sessions in Israel, American police delegations meet with Israeli military, police, and intelligence agencies and taught what Israel calls counterterrorism, but is in fact no more than “refining methods of racial profiling.”

Racism and violence against people of color in the U.S. is nothing new. In fact, the United States, with its claims to be “the land of the free,” has always been a racist, genocidal and violent state. It was founded on genocide of the native people and on the backs African slaves. The United States committed the most egregious war crimes in the history of mankind, including genocide, the use of nuclear weapons, destruction of democracies and support for murderous dictators around the world, and the list goes on and on from the earliest days of the Union to this very day.

The state of Israel, which historically speaking is a new creation, was also founded on genocide and racism. For close to one hundred years the Zionist movement which created Israel has been engaged in a brutal campaign to rid Palestine of its indegenous population and give the land to Jewish colonizers. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that good relations exist between the United States and Israel.

There are countless areas of life in the U.S. in which Israel and various Zionist organizations influence and interfere. The Jewish Federation, the Anti-Defamation League, and AIPAC are the most commonly recognized but are only three out of countless organizations that operate throughout the fifty states and relentlessly pursue Israeli interests in all facets of American life.

These organizations interfere in U.S. elections by pouring money into the campaigns of  pro-Israeli candidates; they are engaged in heavily influencing the outcome of trials where the defendants are Arabs or Muslims, and they finance campaigns to edit and rewrite curricula in public schools so that the Middle East is always taught in a way that supports the Zionist narrative.

A deadly exchange

As the video clip of a Minnesota police officer slowly and callously choking George Floyd to death went viral, many people, including myself, remembered Palestine. Officer Derek Chauvin, who casually placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck, could have easily been an Israeli soldier or police officer holding down a Palestinian. The way he just sat there, took a knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd who repeatedly said he cannot breathe, ignoring Floyd as he begged him to allow him to breathe and ignoring the fact that the man under his knee was slowly suffocating to death made it clear that this cop was a predator and George Floyd was merely his prey.

American Israeli police

This happens in America just as it happens in Palestine. The similarities are no coincidence and they may well be the result of what has become known as the “Deadly Exchange,” a collaboration between the two racist states who see no problem in executing and watching the slow agonizing death of black and brown people.

Deadly Exchange is the name of a campaign to stop the collaboration between police departments across the United States and the state of Israel. The campaign put out an extensive report that outlines the cooperation between law enforcement in the U.S. and Israel. The report also lists the dangers and threats that this exchange poses to people of color in the United States.

Israeli democracy and security

Israel is wrongly heralded as a democracy facing perpetual threat. In reality, it is an apartheid state and its security apparatus is dedicated neither to safety nor security as it claims, but rather to the subjugation of Palestinians. During training sessions in Israel, U.S. law enforcement delegations meet with Israeli military, police, and intelligence agencies. They are given “opportunities” to learn about what Israel calls counterterrorism, but is in fact no more than “refining methods of racial profiling.”

Cynically taking advantage of the 9/11 attacks, within months of the attacks, American law enforcement representatives set out to Israel for their first official training expeditions. The purpose was to learn from Isreal’s so-called “expertise” in what has become known as counter-terrorism. Counter-Terrorism, it is worth noting here, is a euphemism for the violent means used to subjugate oppressed people.

The very first delegation to Israel, according to Deadly Exchange, included police chiefs and deputies from California, Texas, Maryland, Florida, and New York. The delegation also included FBI and CIA agents, future ICE officers, and directors of New York City MTA security.

Among the sponsors of this exchange program are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which claims to fight the defamation of Jewish people, but in fact is dedicated to defamation of Arabs and Muslims, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). JISNA claims it is dedicated to “educating Congressional, military and civilian national security decision-makers on American defense and strategic interests,”  the cornerstone of which, according to JINSA, “is a robust U.S.-Israeli security cooperation.” Both groups are well funded Zionist organizations that are dedicated to promoting and defending Israeli violence and racism no matter what.

Systemic racism

One of the many similarities between Israel and the United States is their propensity for systemic racism. From the very beginning, Israel has imposed an apartheid regime in occupied Palestine and Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to systematic profiling. This means that interactions with the Israeli police regularly lead to “excessive and often lethal use of force deployed with impunity.”

Not unlike the United States where black and brown Americans make up the majority of the prison population, in Israeli prisons, Palestinian citizens of Israel represent a disproportionate number of those incarcerated. A report in the Israeli publication Mekomit states that Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the overall population, comprise over 40 percent of the prison population, in fact, according to Mekomit, only about a quarter of prisoners held in Israeli prisons are Jewish, and amongst minors being held in Israeli prisons, only about 13 percent are Jews.

palestinian children

If we include “security prisoners,” who come from the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, the numbers are even more grotesque, raising the percentage of Palestinians within the Israeli prison population to a staggering 73 percent.

Israeli policing utilizes an official policy where an entire population is guilty until proven innocent and naturally, this is part of the so-called counterterrorism training offered by Israel. It reinforces institutionalized racial profiling and even the targeting of social movements that demand racial justice.  

The Israeli government uses false claims of “terrorism” to treat all Palestinians as potential enemy combatants. The excuse of terrorism is also used in order to subjugate Palestinians to a different system of laws, which inevitably leads to more policing and higher rates of incarceration.

Media

The training Israel offers also includes methods to control the media. Members of law enforcement who have received the training reported that they “learned about how to intervene and shape media access and coverage of violence committed by the military and police.” The Israeli methods taught include how to use the media as an arm of the government and “reframe coverage of state violence.”

The Israeli government utilizes the office of the military censor to control all reporting on Israel’s use of force. It also reviews all books and other material before it can be made available to the public. The IDF Spokesperson’s office which also yields power over Israeli journalists, acts as Israel’s de facto public relations office, restricting and shaping local coverage of what it considers to be “security affairs.”

It should be noted that in Israel there is very little criticism when it comes to the work of the army and other security agencies and reporters work very closely with the military to present its violence against Palestinians as justified. Palestinian dissent, even when it is expressed in the most peaceful methods, is regularly reported as violence and borderline terrorism.

Israel has “normalized” the use of military force to stamp out popular protests, thus contributing to the undermining of basic civil rights of Palestinians. These violent, forceful methods of controlling dissent are shown to the American police delegations through briefings and even live demonstrations.

Parallels to Palestine

The violent encounters black communities in the U.S. experience with the police have led many people to draw parallels between Palestinians and people of color in the United States. This created a real sense of solidarity between U.S. social movements and the Palestinian struggle for liberation, a solidarity that is increasingly becoming stronger and can potentially turn the tide of public opinion on this issue in the U.S.

In its report, the Deadly Exchange Campaign demands that “the American government end its violence in the name of security.” The report also states that “We hope that local governments nationwide heed the calls from communities across Palestine and the United States to help build a world with real safety that we all can inhabit with dignity.”

The Irreconcilable Conflict with Zionism

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Judaism Zionism 8e357

Nakba Day, May 15.  One day, one date, but every day since May 15, 1948, has been a nakba day for the Palestinians. Their suffering at Jewish hands eclipses anything ever suffered by Jews in the Middle East.  Their treatment is worse than suppression. It is persecution. On the West Bank they are subjected to pogroms at the hands of Jewish settlers, big pogroms, little pogroms, inside one long continuing pogrom.  In Gaza the Palestinians live in a game reserve created by Israel, there to be hunted down as the hunter desires, butchered en masse from the air or shot by some squib of a soldier with a big gun along the fence line.

In the name of the Jewish people, this is what the zionists have done to the Palestinians.  In the name of the Jewish people, this is what the zionists have done to the Jewish people. In the name of the Jewish people, this is what the zionists have done to Judaism.  In the name of the Jewish people, this is what the zionists have done to Jewish communities that had lived across the Middle East peacefully for 2000 years.  A tragedy by any measure, only the remnants of these communities are left.

Israel has been built on an ideology that actively repudiates universal human rights, whatever the lip service paid to the latter by governments of Israel.  There cannot simultaneously be a state based on zionist ideology and one based on respect for universal human rights.  For one to live the other must die, which is why suggestions that the forthcoming annexation of the West Bank will somehow result in one state with equal rights for all are a delusion.

The state already has laws in place that can be further used to disenfranchise the Palestinians.  The charter of the Jewish National Fund prevents land taken from Palestinian Muslims or Christians ever being sold or leased back to them. Then there is the absent ownership law, allowing the state to take over the land of Palestinians driven out of their homeland in 1948 and in 1967.  Along with the absent absentees were the present absentees, Palestinians who had not fled or been driven out in 1948 but were not living at their usual place of residence.  Their homes and land were taken, too.  These laws are part of the web of bogus judicial measures passed since 1948 that have the single intention of transferring Palestinian property into Jewish hands.  They will be there to be used in various ways once the West Bank is annexed.

The task ahead of the Israeli government after annexation will be to whittle down the Palestinian presence on the West Bank by all means possible. Changing the demographic balance by expanding existing settlements or building new ones and attracting waves of settlers to fill them with tax and other benefits will be the priority.  While the aim over time will be to reduce the Palestinians to a negligible ethnic minority, if circumstances arise or can be created as in 1948 and 1967 to get rid of them all, so much the better. To think that having formally engorged the last of Palestine, Israel will begin sharing it with the people it has oppressed for the past seven decades is a complete delusion.

Israel thinks it has finally won its war against the Palestinians. There are sound reasons for its triumphalism.  İt is armed to the teeth and it has more support than ever before from one of the most powerful governments in the world, the US.  It has the increasingly open support of some Arab governments, with the United Arab Emirates now opening a direct air connection to Tel Aviv.  Corrupt as they might be, these governments are the thin end of a wedge Israel thinks it can drive further into the Arab world.

Given the combination of all these factors Israel is not going to miss the opportunity to annex.  All the circumstances have fallen into place.  The time is right and the time is now.  The ‘international community’ is already critical of what is coming but when Israel annexed East Jerusaem in 1967 ‘western’ governments did nothing.  They did nothing when Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981.  They have done nothing to punish Israel for its serial atrocities in Gaza and on the West Bank and even now are trying to block prosecution of Israel in the International Criminal Court. They are all complicit in Israel’s crimes and after Israel annexes the West Bank they will again do nothing beyond administering verbal slaps on the wrist.

The EU is huffing and puffing but is not likely to take any meaningful action. The UN General Assembly may pass a resolution of condemnation, adding to the hundreds it has passed over the years, all of them treated with contempt by Israel. These resolutions are morally and legally significant but the UNGA has no power to follow through with measures that will punish Israel in real time and the US will prevent any similar resolution being passed by the Security Council.

King Abdullah of Jordan is threatening war, and one will probably erupt eventually but not because of anything the Jordanian king say or does.  The Palestinian Authority has broken off all dealings with Israel and the US.  Rather too late, Mr Abbas.  You made your deal with the devil and now the devil is collecting his due.  He will be laughing all the way to the West Bank.

On the brink of annexation even Gideon Levy thinks it should go ahead. “Let Israel annex the West Bank. It’s the least worst option for the Palestinians,” ran the Haaretz headline over his article on May 10. “We have to stop fearing it and even say yes to it. It is the only way out of the deadlock.”

His logic goes as follows.  The Palestinians have never been so weak, so isolated, fragmented and bereft of fighting spirit and everyone knows the world is tired of this conflict anyway.   The occupation is here to stay.  Annexation will put an end to the Palestinian Authority, but so what? It is dead anyway.  Opponents of annexation fear that without a formal process it will be possible to sow ‘peace process’ and ‘two state’ delusions forever, so let’s have annexation and blow the delusions away.

Furthermore, unlike the settlements, which are there forever, annexation is reversible.  One day it can be turned into democracy. So let’s awaken this reality from its sleep, and embrace annexation, thinks Gideon Levy: “Anschluss [the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938].  In the hills and in the valleys, in area C and in the end the entire West Bank.”

It is true that the Palestinians have never been in such a weak position but from the beginning their fate was never going to be determined just between themselves and their enemies.  The first was Britain.  It gave the zionists what it had no right to give them and it shielded them while they were establishing their colonies. Otherwise they never would have got their foot through the door.

Britain and France followed through in 1956 by trying to destroy the Egyptian champion of Arab nationalism and Palestinian rights, Gamal abd al Nasir.  France and Britain supplied Israel with its tanks and planes and France built the nuclear reactor at Dimona before the US took over as Israel’s protector and benefactor, arming and financing it to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars since the 1960s.  What small people could defeat this combination, no matter how valiant their resistance?

What is critically important in this historical morass is that the Palestinians are not alone.  Unlike other native people who have been put to the sword by imperialism and colonialism, they have a vast hinterland embracing not just the Middle East and the Islamic world but a large and constantly growing segment of public opinion in ‘western’ countries.  Palestine is not just a Palestinian question but an Arab question, a Muslim question and a global human rights question.  In the long term it is this hinterland that Israel has to vanquish, not just Palestine.

While Israel is on the back foot morally, ethically and legally, abstract issues count for nothing against its logic of force.  In 1967 ‘western’ intelligence agencies knew it could defeat any combination of Arab armies and it did.  In 1973 it took a beating in the first week but still came out on top, with territory in Sinai it could then trade for what it really wanted, the consolidation of its military and settler presence on the occupied West Bank.  However, while it remains outwardly confident that it can defeat any combination of enemies, there is an underlying nervousness in the statements of its military commanders that has not been evident before.

In fact, for those who look carefully, the conventional military balance has been changing steadily against Israel ever since 1973.  The war of that year would have been lost had not Anwar Sadat stopped the advance of the Egyptian army after a week of fighting.  The US saved Israel with weapons airlifted straight to the battlefield.  As Sadat knew, the US would have intervened with its own forces to prevent Israel being defeated but the myth of invincibility that had prevailed since 1967 was exploded.  The war showed that on the battlefield, Israel could be defeated.

Israel’s next major war, Lebanon 1982, was predominantly an aerial and artillery onslaught on a civilian population.  The ‘enemy’ was several thousand Palestinian fighters and the small number of Syrian troops based in Lebanon, hopelessly trying to stop an invading army of 40,000 soldiers backed by tank, artillery and air and sea power. In these circumstances the outcome on the ground was inevitable, but logistically the campaign was a mess, acknowledged even by the Israelis themselves. On top of this was the shame and horror of the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

The PLO went from Beirut but Hizbullah was born.  On the ground its part-time fighters were soon not only holding the line against Israel’s soldiers and their South Lebanese Army quisling proxies, but on occasion scoring spectacular successes, some based on the interception of Israel’s electronic communications.  By 2000 Israel had had enough and pulled out, virtually overnight.

In 2006 it tried to show Hizbullah who was boss with another invasion, failing again and failing in the most humiliating fashion.   Its troops were outfought by Hizbullah’s part-time soldiers and its supposedly indestructible Merkava tanks repeatedly blown to bits by Hizbullah explosives.  The launching of the land-to-sea missile that put an Israeli warship out of action was another unpleasant surprise.

Since that time Israel has been planning continually for a third round but so has Hizbullah.   It is far stronger and better armed than it was in 2006 and capable of inflicting devastation on Israel whatever the damage it also suffers.

The assassination in 2005 of Lebanon’s former Prime Minster, Rafiq Hariri, was immediately blamed on Syria when there was only beneficiary – Israel.  Later, Hizbullah opened its electronic surveillance secrets to show how Israel had been tailing Hariri across Beirut by drone for months and had drone footage of the precise spot on the Corniche road where Hariri was assassinated in February.  Because relations with Hariri had been difficult, Syria was automatically blamed in the ‘west.’ The outrage generated in Lebanon compelled Syria to withdraw the few troops it still had in the country.

While the propaganda played in Israel’s favor it did not impede the rise of Hizbullah as a political and military force, as a resistance movement in the eyes of many Christians as well as Muslims.  The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia continued trying to undermine Syria and its allies in Lebanon through Hariri’s son Saad but he was not up to the task, as his arrest and chastisement in Saudi Arabia in 2017 was to show.

During this period sanctions against Iran were continually tightened.  Iran’s computer systems were sabotaged and its scientists assassinated by Israel’s agents and in 2018 the US withdrew from the multi-state nuclear agreement with Iran.  The assassination of Umar Suleimani in January this year was another provocation which Iran took in its stride, retaliating with missile attacks on US bases in Iraq.  The assassination infuriated Iraqis as well,  as their countrymen were among the dead.  They and their parliament again demanded that the  US remove its troops from their country.  This refuses to do, thereby setting them up for further retaliation.

With the US refusing to launch an open military attack on Iran, and with the combination of sanctions, assassinations, cyber sabotage and the threats of military attack failing to bring down the Iranian government, the US/Israel turned on Syria. It was the central pillar in the ‘axis of resistance’ (Iran, Syria and Hizbullah) and if it could be destroyed, the axis would collapse at the centre. That was the calculation.  This criminal conspiracy was initially orchestrated by Obama and Clinton, who wanted to launch an air war that would destroy Syria just as the US-NATO air war had destroyed Libya.

However, seeking a UN fig leaf, the US and its allies were blocked at the Security Council by Russia and China.  Thwarted, they had to settle for a proxy war fought on the ground by the most violent armed groups on the face of the earth, the same groups they had pledged to destroy as part of their ‘war on terror.’

So far their war has taken the lives of close to half a million Syrians.  The material damage has been enormous.  Syria has been gravely weakend, yet the US/Israel and their ‘western’ and regional allies have failed to reach their overall objective. Syria still has territory to liberate but Bashar is still in the presidential palace and the strategic alliance with Iran and Hizbullah remains intact.

Yemen is another strand of this pan-regional war waged by the US/Israel and their allies.  The Houthis are an independent force, but it suits the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia to present them as Iranian puppets in the same way that they like to present Hizbullah as no more than an Iranian proxy.

From planes built in the US and with missiles produced in the US and the UK, Saudi pilots have been killing Yemenis in their streets, their homes and their markets. After five years of war the death toll – overwhelmingly civilian – hovers around 250,000.  Malnutrition alone, caused by the US-supported Saudi land, sea and air blockade, is thought to have killed 85,000 children.

Yet, with the material odds all against them, the resistance of the Houthis has been extraordinary.  Saudi Arabia launched this war five years ago but has proven unable to win it.  The Houthis are destroying Saudi convoys, they have missiles that can reach Saudi cities and shipping in the Red Sea, and they now say they are ready to extend their campaign to Israel. Far from being shrunk, the ‘axis of resistance’ has now been effectively expanded to include the Houthis and a large segment of Iraqi society.

Israel continues to launch aerial attacks on Syria every other day.  It vows to clear all Iranian forces from Syria but Hizbullah and Iran will not leave Syria to stand alone and neither are they going to be drawn into war at a time that suits Israel. In fact, they do not believe the Israelis at present have the confidence to go to war, certainly not alone against Iran (and so far they have failed to convince the US to do their dirty work for them).

On World Quds Day (May 22) Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Khamenei, reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to Palestine in a speech centring around seven main points that make it clear Iran has not retreated one inch from the position it set out in 1979:

1) the liberation of Palestine is a Muslim religious obligation but also a human rights issue. 2) the aim is the liberation of all Palestine “from the river to the sea” and the return of all Palestinians to their homeland.

3) in the struggle for Palestine there should be no trust in ‘western’ governments and institutions dependent on them.

4) the attacks on Syria and Yemen, the assassinations, the creation of Daesh (the Islamic State) and many other things are all intended to divert attention from the resistance front and open up attacks for the zionist regime.

5) attempts by some Arab governments to normalize relations with Israel are shameful, vain and futile.

6) greater efforts need to be made to organize resistance as “one cannot communicate with a savage enemy except through force and from a position of power.”

7) Palestine belongs to all Palestinans and on this basis Jewish, Christian and Muslim Palestinians will eventually decide their future in a referendum, “but the zionist regime has to go.”

In confronting Iran the zionists are dealing with a culture/civilization thousands of years old that knows how to play the waiting game, however long the game has to be played. To interpret forbearance under military attack as weakness is to misunderstand the mindset and the strategy of both Iran and Hizbullah. They look at the changing military balance and the declining global power of the US and they do not believe time is on Israel’s side. The zionist state believes otherwise.  It has nuclear weapons so, in its view, this is not a gamble with history but ultimately a war it cannot lose.

In time, how much time we don’t know, the outcome between two irreconcilable positions will be decided.

Netanyahu Lashes Out against Law Enforcement Before Entering Court

Source

May 24, 2020

Netanyahu

Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust has begun Sunday at the Jerusalem District Court. It is the first time in the country’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing a criminal trial.

The indictments have been read for the three separate cases the enemy’s prime minister has been charged in.

Israel Police reinforced their presence in advance of Sunday’s session, partly in anticipation of protests in front of the courthouse. Two main protests are planned: a motorcade to Jerusalem by the pro-democracy Black Flag group, whose members will then demonstrate in front of the courthouse alongside a group of pro-Netanyahu demonstrators.

The judges will announce the next steps in the trial in the coming days.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty, just like every citizen, adding that he is “sure that the justice system will hold a just trial for him. I reiterate that my colleagues and I have complete confidence in the justice system and law enforcement. At this time, perhaps more than ever, we must act as a state and society for unity and reconciliation, for the State of Israel and for all Israeli citizens.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the panel of judges he has read and understands the three indictments against him.

Speaking to the press before entering the Jerusalem District Court,  Netanyahu told reporters the investigations against him “were tainted from day one,” and called the three indictments against him “ludicrous.” Netanyahu called to allow a live broadcast of his his entire trial.

Source: Israeli media

Why Israel Fears the Nakba: How Memory Became Palestine’s Greatest Weapon

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Israel is afraid of Palestinian memory, since it is the only facet of its war against the Palestinian people that it cannot fully control.

n May 15, thousands of Palestinians in Occupied Palestine and throughout the ‘shatat’, or diaspora, participated in the commemoration of Nakba Day, the one event that unites all Palestinians, regardless of their political differences or backgrounds.

For years, social media has added a whole new stratum to this process of commemoration. #Nakba72, along with #NakbaDay and #Nakba, have all trended on Twitter for days. Facebook was inundated with countless stories, videos, images, and statements, written by Palestinians, or in global support of the Palestinian people.

The dominant Nakba narrative remains – 72 years following the destruction of historic Palestine at the hands of Zionist militias – an opportunity to reassert the centrality of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Over 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes in Palestine in 1947-48. The surviving refugees and their descendants are now estimated at over five million.

As thousands of Palestinians rallied on the streets and as the Nakba hashtag was generating massive interest on social media, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, paid an eight-hour visit to Israel to discuss the seemingly imminent Israeli government annexation, or theft, of nearly 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

“The Israeli government will decide on the matter, on exactly when and how to do it,” Pompeo said in an interview with Israeli radio, Kan Bet, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Clearly, the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has American blessing to further its colonization of occupied Palestine, to entrench its existing Apartheid regime, and to act as if the Palestinians simply do not exist.

Considering the massive US political sway, why do Palestinians then insist on making demands which, according to the pervading realpolitik of the so-called Palestinian-Israeli conflict, seem unattainable?

Since the start of the peace process in Oslo in the early 1990s, the Palestinian leadership has engaged with Israel and its western benefactors in a useless political exercise that has, ultimately, worsened an already terrible situation. After over 25 years of haggling over bits and pieces of what remained of historic Palestine, Israel and the US are now plotting the endgame, while demonizing the very Palestinian leaders that participated in their joint and futile political charade.

Strangely, the rise and demise of the so-called ‘peace process’ did not seem to affect the collective narrative of the Palestinian people, who still see the Nakba, not the Israeli occupation of 1967, and certainly not the Oslo accords, as the core point in their struggle against Israeli colonialism.

This is because the collective Palestinian memory remains completely independent from Oslo and its many misgivings. For Palestinians, memory is an active process. It is not a docile, passive mechanism of grief and self-pity that can easily be manipulated, but a generator of new meanings.

In their seminal book “Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory”, Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod wrote that “Palestinian memory is, at its heart, political.”

This means that the powerful and emotive commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba is essentially a collective political act, and, even if partly unconscious, a people’s retort and rejection of Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’, of Pompeo’s politicking, and of Netanyahu’s annexation drive.

Despite the numerous unilateral measures taken by Israel to determine the fate of the Palestinian people, the blind and unconditional US support of Israel, and the unmitigated failure of the Palestinian Authority to mount any meaningful resistance, Palestinians continue to remember their history and understand their reality based on their own priorities.

For many years, Palestinians have been accused of being unrealistic, of “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” and even of extremism, for simply insisting on their historical rights in Palestine, as enshrined in international law.

These critical voices are either supporters of Israel, or simply unable to understand how Palestinian memory factors in shaping the politics of ordinary people, independent of the quisling Palestinian leadership or the seemingly impossible-to-overturn status quo. True, both trajectories, that of the stifling political reality and people’s priorities seem to be in constant divergence, with little or no overlapping.

However, a closer look is revealing: the more belligerent Israel becomes, the more stubbornly Palestinians hold on to their past. There is a reason for this.

Occupied, oppressed and refugee camps-confined Palestinians have little control over many of the realities that directly impact their lives. There is little that a refugee from Gaza can do to dissuade Pompeo from assigning the West Bank to Israel, or a Palestinian refugee from Ein El-Helweh in Lebanon to compel the international community to enforce the long-delayed Right of Return.

But there is a single element that Palestinians, regardless of where they are, can indeed control: their collective memory, which remains the main motivator of their legendary steadfastness.

Hannah Arendt wrote in 1951 that totalitarianism is a system that, among other things, forbids grief and remembrance, in an attempt to sever the individual’s or group’s relation to the continuous past.

For decades, Israel has done just that, in a desperate attempt to stifle the memory of the Palestinians, so that they are only left with a single option, the self-defeating peace process.

In March 2011, the Israeli parliament introduced the ‘Nakba Law’, which authorized the Israeli Finance Ministry to carry out financial measures against any institution that commemorates Nakba Day.

Israel is afraid of Palestinian memory, since it is the only facet of its war against the Palestinian people that it cannot fully control; the more Israel labors to erase the collective memory of the Palestinian people, the more Palestinians hold tighter to the keys of their homes and to the title deed of their land back in their lost homeland.

There can never be a just peace in Palestine until the priorities of the Palestinian people – their memories, and their aspirations – become the foundation of any political process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Everything that operates outside this paradigm is null and void, for it will never herald peace or instill true justice. This is why Palestinians remember; for, over the years, their memory has proven to be their greatest weapon.

News Stories Avoid Naming Israel

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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There are two stories that seem to have been under-reported in the past couple of weeks. The first involves Michael Flynn’s dealings with the Russian United Nations Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And the second describes yet another bit of espionage conducted by a foreign country directed against the United States. Both stories involve the State of Israel.

The bigger story is, of course, the dismissal by Attorney General William Barr of the criminal charges against former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn based on malfeasance by the FBI investigators. The curious aspect of the story as it is being related by the mainstream media is that it repeatedly refers to Flynn as having unauthorized contacts with the Russian Ambassador and then having lied about it. The implication is that there was something decidedly shady about Flynn talking to the Russians and that the Russians were up to something.

In reality, the part left out of the story is that the phone call to Kislyak on December 22, 2016, was made by Flynn at the direction of Jared Kushner, who in turn had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama Administrating was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a U.N. resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included a call to the Russians. Kislyak took the call but did not agree to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed unanimously on December 23rd.

In taking the phone calls from a soon-to-be senior American official who would within weeks be part of a new administration in Washington, the Russians did nothing wrong, but the media is acting like there was some kind of Kremlin conspiracy seeking to undermine U.S. democracy. It would not be inappropriate to have some conversations with an incoming government team and Kislyak also did nothing that might be regarded as particularly responsive to Team Trump overtures since he voted contrary to Flynn’s request.

The phone call made at the request of Israel was neither benign or ethical as the Barack Administration was still in power and managing the nation’s foreign policy. At the time, son-in-law Jared Kushner was Trump’s point man on the Middle East. He and his family have extensive ties both to Israel and to Netanyahu personally, to include Netanyahu’s staying at the Kushner family home in New York. The Kushner Family Foundation has funded some of Israel’s illegal settlements and also a number of conservative political groups in that country. Jared has served as a director of that foundation and it is reported that he failed to disclose the relationship when he filled out his background investigation sheet for a security clearance. All of which suggests that if you are looking for possible foreign government collusion with the incoming Trumpsters, look no further.

And it should be observed that the Israelis were not exactly shy about their disapproval of Obama and their willingness to express their views to the incoming Trump. Kushner went far beyond merely disagreeing over an aspect of foreign policy as he was actively trying to clandestinely subvert and reverse a decision made by his own legally constituted government. His closeness to Netanyahu made him, in intelligence terms, a quite likely Israeli government agent of influence, even if he didn’t quite see himself that way.

Kushner’s actions, as well as those of Flynn, would most certainly have been covered by the Logan Act of 1799, which bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States and also could be construed as a “conspiracy against the United States.” But in spite of all that the investigation went after Flynn instead of Kushner. As Kushner is Jewish and certainly could be accused of dual loyalty in extremis, that part of the story obviously makes many in the U.S. Establishment and media uncomfortable, so it was and continues to be both ignored and expunged from the record as quickly as possible.

The second story, which has basically been made to disappear, relates to spying by Israel against critics in the United States. The revelation that Israel was again using its telecommunications skills to spy on foreigners came from an Oakland California federal court lawsuit initiated by Facebook (FB) against the Israeli surveillance technology company NSO Group. FB claimed that NSO has been using servers located in the United States to infect with spyware hundreds of smartphones being used by attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, critics of Israel and even of government officials. NSO allegedly used WhatsApp, a messaging app owned by FB, to hack into the phones and install malware that would enable the company to monitor what was going on with the devices. It did so by employing networks of remote servers located in California to enter the accounts.

NSO has inevitably claimed that they do indeed provide spyware, but that it is sold to clients who themselves operate it with the “advice and technical support to assist customers in setting up” but it also promotes its products as being “used to stop terrorism, curb violent crime, and save lives.” It also asserts that its software cannot be used against U.S. phone numbers.

Facebook, which did its own extensive research into NSO activity, alleges that NSO rented a Los Angeles-based server from a U.S. company called QuadraNet that it then used to launch 720 hacks on smartphones and other devices. It further claims in the court filing that the company reverse-engineering WhatsApp, using an program that it developed to access WhatsApp’s servers and deploy “its spyware against approximately 1,400 targets” before “…covertly transmit[ting] malicious code through WhatsApp servers and inject[ing]” spyware into telephones without the knowledge of the owners.”

The filing goes on to assert that the “Defendants had no authority to access WhatsApp’s servers with an imposter program, manipulate network settings, and commandeer the servers to attack WhatsApp users. That invasion of WhatsApp’s servers and users’ devices constitutes unlawful computer hacking.”

NSO, which is largely staffed by former (sic) Israeli intelligence officers, had previously been in the news for its proprietary spyware known as Pegasus, which “can gather information about a mobile phone’s location, access its camera, microphone and internal hard drive, and covertly record emails, phone calls and text messages.” Pegasus was reportedly used in the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Adnan Kashoggi in Istanbul last year and it has more recently been suggested as a resource for tracking coronavirus distance violators. Outside experts have accused the company of selling its technology and expertise to countries that have used it to spy on dissidents, journalists and other critics.

Israel routinely exploits the access provided by its telecommunications industry to spy on the host countries where those companies operate. The companies themselves report regularly back to Mossad contacts and the technology they provide routinely has a “backdoor” for secretly accessing the information accessible through the software. In fact, Israel conducts espionage and influence operations both directly and through proxies against the United States more aggressively than any other “friendly” country, which once upon a time included being able to tap into the “secure” White House phones used by Bill Clinton to speak with Monica Lewinsky.

Last September, it was revealed that the placement of technical surveillance devices by Israel in Washington D.C. was clearly intended to target cellphone communications to and from the Trump White House. As the president frequently chats with top aides and friends on non-secure phones, the operation sought to pick up conversations involving Trump with the expectation that the security-averse president would say things off the record that might be considered top secret.

Politico report detailed how “miniature surveillance devices” referred to as “Stingrays” were used to imitate regular cell phone towers to fool phones being used nearby into providing information on their locations and identities. According to the article, the devices are referred to by technicians as “international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.”

Over one year ago, government security agencies discovered the electronic footprints that indicated the presence of the surveillance devices near the White House. Forensic analysis involved dismantling the devices to let them “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” One source observed afterwards that “It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible.”

So two significant stories currently making the rounds have been bowdlerized and disappeared to make the Israeli role in manipulating and spying against the United States go away. They are only two of many stories framed by a Zionist dominated media to control the narrative in a way favorable to the Jewish state. One would think that having a president of the United States who is the most pro-Israel ever, which is saying a great deal in and of itself, would be enough, but unfortunately when dealing with folks like Benjamin Netanyahu there can never be any restraint when dealing with the “useful idiots” in Washington.

Zionism and COVID-19: Two Viruses that Require the Same Remedy

By Daniel Haiphong

Source

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On May 15th, Palestinians and their allies around the world marked another Nakba Day on the calendar. The 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Zionist state intersected with the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. COVID-19 has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and plunged millions more into economic precarity. The devastation of the virus in many ways relates to the ongoing Zionist colonization of Palestine. Nakba Day symbolizes the heinous oppression that Israeli colonialism has imposed upon the Palestinian people and it should come as no surprise that many people sympathetic to the Palestinian cause view Zionism as its own kind of virus. To commemorate Nakba Day, Twitter users all over the world shared the hashtag #COVID1948 to make the comparison between Zionist aggression and COVID-19.

The colonial virus of Zionism reached its deadliest phase of development after World War II. Between 1947 to 1949, nearly 800,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homeland by Zionist security forces. If Palestinians did not flee, then they were massacred. At least thirteen thousand Palestinians were killed over the same period. Nakba Day was the culmination of thirty years of British colonial policy that had all but sold the Palestinian homeland to “the Jewish People,” a euphemism for the Zionist settlers seeking to produce their own colonial empire in the heart of the Arab world.

May 15th itself merely marks the moment when Zionist colonial forces were able to declare an “independent state” of Israel with the help of stolen Palestinian land and the blessings of the Western dominated United Nations. Since Israel’s formation, the viral spread of the Zionist occupation has become no less violent and destructive for the Palestinian people. After losing nearly 80 percent of historic Palestine to Zionist aggression in the Nakba, Palestinians were removed from the remaining twenty percent following the defeat of the Arab resistance to Israel in the 1967 war. Colonial settlement in the West Bank continues unabated and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip live under conditions unfit for human life.

Since 2000 alone, Zionist occupation forces have slain ten thousand Palestinian lives, including over one thousand children. Thousands of political prisoners languish in Israeli prisons. The colonization of Palestine is supported by the United States. U.S. aid to Israel since 1948 totals to around 142 billion USD. Israel also benefits from U.S. protection in the form of diplomatic immunity on the global stage. Despite ample evidence of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and the commission of war crimes, Israel has never been punished by the International Criminal Court or any other U.N. body.

COVID-19 has only given Israel further reason to annex more Palestinian land in the West Bank and intensify economic ruin for Palestinians in Gaza. In this way, Palestinians and their allies in the Arab world are currently struggling with two viruses. The first is the virus of Zionist colonialism. Israeli settlers not only benefit from the oppression of the Palestinians but also from a relationship with the U.S. that strengthens an equally destructive imperialist policy employed throughout the region and the globe. Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Libya are but a few allies of the Palestinian people that have either been successfully destabilized or placed under ongoing imperial siege by the U.S., Israel, and their regional allies. Israel’s hand in these regime change campaigns has been verified by strategic documents such as the Oded Yinon Plan published by the World Zionist Organization in 1982.

The second virus is COVID-19. Palestinians in the West Bank have largely been left to the whims of their colonizer in battling the pandemic. Palestinians essentially have no state of their own, but rather an instrument of Israel in the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority only has jurisdiction in portions of the West Bank carved out by the Israeli colonizers. Furthermore, Palestinian Authority officials, especially security forces, have no real autonomy. Israel is ultimately responsible in the final analysis for enforcing social distancing measures and providing necessary medical supplies and other basic necessities. While Israeli officials boast of their success in stopping the spread in segregated cities, Palestinians have voiced concern that the virus is spreading virtually undetected due to a lack of testing capacity. Life under colonial occupation has made the containment of the virus virtually impossible.

Israel’s relationship with Palestine is a reminder that colonialism did not end during the anti-colonial liberation movements that followed the Second World War. COVID-19 and Zionism are two viruses that require the same remedy. The end of colonialism and its violent legacy in the 21st century is the only path to recovery from the Zionist plague. Palestine’s colonial status is a reminder that the principle of self-determination has yet to be applied equally among nations. Zionism must be cut off from its host. This means that the Palestinian people must be given full autonomy through an independent state such as what occurred in the former colonial world. A mere satellite state that neighbors a hostile colonial regime, which is what is proposed by advocates of the two-state solution, cannot stem the tide of land theft, military occupation, and ethnic cleansing without a redistribution of power into the hands of the Palestinian people.

There is a direct connection between nations that have overthrown their formerly colonial or semi-colonial status and success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Vietnam became a truly independent nation in 1975 after its national liberation movement defeated the United States. Vietnam currently reports 0 deaths from COVID-19 due to its swift response to the virus’ spread in China. China, which was the first nation to report the new virus, preserved hundreds of thousands of lives by using its enormous state and mass organizations to test and quarantine citizens living in dense urban centers. And Venezuela, a nation that remains economically vulnerable due to U.S. sanctions, has lost just ten people to the virus through effective mass quarantine measures and popular mobilization.

The collective power necessary to rid of COVID-19’s deadly transmission as well as Zionism’s deadly expansion cannot be achieved in isolation. As Al-Quds day approaches, efforts to develop solidarity with the Palestinian people must be intensified. The American people can fulfill their commitment to solidarity with Palestine by pressuring the U.S. government to withdraw from bilateral military and economic aid relations with Israel. Such pressure should also extend to U.S. wars of aggression abroad that weaken allies of Palestine such as Syria and Iran. Americans must demand that their government cease its pursuit of permanent hegemony—a goal which requires Israel’s unmitigated colonial expansion in the Middle East to successfully achieve.

On the domestic front, there is much work to be done in strengthening the principle of self-determination and combating the spread of the virus. As is the case with Palestine, the two struggles go hand in hand. Native Americans and Black Americans, two oppressed nations ravaged by centuries of U.S.-based colonialism, have also been hit hardest by COVID-19. Furthermore, wonton violence, state repression, and economic disparities continue to shape the lives of people within these communities. A movement for the self-determination of oppressed nations in the U.S. mainland necessarily leads to a situation where the U.S. government must think twice about its unanimous support for Israel’s predatory expansionism. It would also give Palestinians and all oppressed peoples more breathing room to address global pandemics such as COVID-19 and the destruction of the environment. More crises are bound to arise from the innumerable contradictions that the people of the world have inherited from the rise and fall of global capitalism and its imperialist stage of development. The struggle for freedom and self-determination in Palestine will be critical in the broader movement to resolve these contradictions in the days, years, and decades to come.

Israel Perfecting Surveillance Tech

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Israel’s external spy organization Mossad and its internal espionage equivalent Shin Bet have reputations that are much larger than their actual successes, but the one area where they have excelled is electronic intelligence gathering. Recent electronic spying around the White House and other federal buildings in Washington carried out by the Israeli Embassy demonstrates that Israel does not differentiate much between friends and enemies when it conducts espionage. In fact, spying targeting the U.S. is probably its number one priority due to the fact that the Jewish state is so heavily dependent on American support that it feels compelled to learn what discussions relating to it are taking place behind closed doors.

Israeli penetration of U.S. telecommunications began in the 1990s, when American companies like AT&T and Verizon, the chief conduits of the National Security Agency (NSA) for communications surveillance, began to use Israeli-produced hardware, particularly for law enforcement-related surveillance and clandestine recording. The devices had a so-called back door, which meant that everything they did was shared with Israel. Israeli cyber-specialists even broke into classified networks with the NSA and FBI aware of what was going on but unwilling to confront “America’s best ally.” President Bill Clinton once quipped to Monica Lewinski that they should avoid using the Oval Office phone because someone might be listening in. He was referring to Israel.

To be sure, the Jewish state’s high-tech sector has been much assisted in its effort by “own goals” provided by the United States, which allows Israel to bid on government contracts relating to national security, virtually guaranteeing that any technical innovations will be stolen and re-exported by Israeli high-tech companies. Major technology innovators like Intel, which works with the NSA, have set up shop in Israel and have publicly stated, “We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a U.S. company.” Vulture capitalist Zionist billionaire Paul Singer has recently been accused of steering highly paid U.S. tech sector jobs to Israel, jobs that are lost to the American economy forever.

So, Israel is a leader in using electronic resources to carry out espionage and collect information on various targets of interest. Israel is also an innovator, and its close relationship with the U.S. intelligence community (IC), most particularly the NSA, means that technologies and procedures developed by the Jewish state will inevitably show up in America.

The U.S. is in any event working hard on its own tools for managing the public, spurred by Covid-19 hysteria. Special ID cards could help track the health status of individuals. This status would be recorded and updated on a chip readable by government scanners that, by some accounts, might be either carried or even permanently embedded in everyone’s body. Another plan being promoted in a joint venture by Apple and Google that appears to have White House support involves “add[ing] technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19. People must opt into the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population” with monitoring done by central computers. Once the legal principle is established that phones can be manipulated to do what is now an “illegal search,” there are no technical or practical limits to what other tasks could also be performed.

Developments in Israel

With those steps being taken to control the movements of possibly infected citizens in mind, some recent developments in Israel are, to put it mildly, ominous. The Jewish state is currently achieving multi-level 24/7 surveillance of everyone residing in the country conducted in real time. Investigative reporter and peace activist Richard Silverstein describes in some detail why it is happening now, what it means, and how it works.

Per Silverstein, Israel, like every other authoritarian state, is currently taking advantage of the distraction caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose political fortunes seemed to be on the wane due to three hung elections, exploited the fear of the virus to assume emergency powers and obtain Knesset approval to use a highly classified national database “compiled by the Shin Bet and comprising private personal data on every Israeli citizen, both Jewish and Palestinian. In the aftermath of 9/11, Israel’s Knesset secretly assigned its domestic intelligence agency the task of creating the database, which was ostensibly meant as a counterterrorism measure.”

The database, nicknamed “The Tool,” includes names, addresses, phone numbers, employment, and educational information but it goes well beyond that in using phone tracking data to record every phone call made by the individual to include names and numbers of those called and the geo-location of where the call was made from. Phone tracking also enabled Shin Bet to create a log of where the caller traveled in Israel and the occupied territories. Internet use, if active on the phone, was also recorded. It is as complete and total surveillance of an individual as is possible to obtain and it does not involve any human participation at all, every bit of it being done by computer.

Netanyahu publicly proclaimed his intention to use the database, stating that it would be employed to combat the coronavirus, which he described as a threat to national survival. As a result of the claimed crisis, he and his principal opponent, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, were able to come to terms on April 20 to form a “national emergency unity government” with Netanyahu as prime minister yet again.

The exploitation of the fear of the virus plus that revelation about Israel’s powerful technical tool to thwart it produced a victory for Netanyahu, who effectively portrayed himself as a strong and indispensable leader, erasing the stigma resulting from his pending trial on charges of massive corruption while in office. One of the first steps Netanyahu will reportedly take is to replace the attorney general and state prosecutor who were seeking to send him to prison, effectively taking away the threat that he might go to prison.

The exposure of the existence of the database inevitably led to charges that Netanyahu had, for personal gain, revealed Israel’s most powerful counterterrorism weapon. There were also concerns about the significance of the huge body of personal information collected by Shin Bet, to include suggestions that it constituted a gross violation of civil liberties. But carefully stoked fear of the virus combined with some political deals and maneuvers meant that use of the data was eventually approved by the Knesset security committee at the end of March.

Israel, which has closed its borders, and which still has a relatively low level of coronavirus infections and deaths, has already started using the Shin Bet database while also turning the attempts to deal with the disease as something like an intelligence war. The information obtained from “The Tool” enables the police and military to determine if someone were standing near someone else for more than a few minutes. If the contact included someone already infected, all parties are placed under quarantine. Any attempt to evade controls leads to arrest and punishment of a six-month prison term plus a $1,500 fine. Armed soldiers patrolling the streets are empowered to question anyone who is out and about.

Mossad is also involved in fighting the virus, boasting of having “stolen” 100,000 face masks and also respirators from a neighboring country presumed to be the United Arab Emirates. Silverstein observes that “Israel’s far-right government has militarized the contagion. Just as a hammer never met a nail it didn’t want to pound, it is only natural for a national security state like Israel to see Covid-19 as a security threat just as much or more than a health threat.” And when it comes to bioweapons, Israel is no parvenu. Ironically, the hidden story behind the “war on the coronavirus” is that Israel is itself one of the most advanced states in developing and testing biological weapons at its lab at Nes Tziona.

Returning to the emergence of “The Tool,” hardline Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has also suggested monetizing the product by selling a “civilian version of it,” to include its operating system, analytic capabilities, and setup details to foreign countries, including the United States. Israel has already successfully marketed to security agencies and governments a similar product called Pegasus, which has been described as the most sophisticated malware on the market.

Like The Tool, Pegasus does data mining and real-time analysis of individuals based on a range of collection techniques. The Israeli cyber company NSO Group that markets Pegasus was recently involved in an attempt to hack Facebook-owned secure communications system Whats-App, targeting journalists and political activists, on behalf of an unknown client. Ironically, it is believed that Facebook had earlier used NSO Group’s somewhat shadowy services. Perhaps more notoriously, Pegasus was also used to monitor contacts and establish physical location in the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by Saudi intelligence agents in Istanbul.

So, Americans should beware when confronted by the new cyber-security software being promoted by Israel because the Jewish state is also exporting its own vision of a centrally controlled militarized state where all rights are potentially sacrificed for security. As whistleblower Edward Snowden has already revealed, the NSA has the capability to collect vast amounts of information on citizens. If the United States government falls for the bait and moves in the Israeli direction, using that data to enable the surveillance and manage all the people all the time, the temptation will be great to employ the new capability even if its use is not strictly speaking warranted.

And there will be no one there to say nay to the new powers, not in Congress, on the Supreme Court or in the White House. And the media will be on board, too, arguing that security against external and internal threats requires some infringements of individual rights. It is one of the ironies of history that the United States of America, with its vast resources, large population and legacy of individual freedom, has been becoming more like its tiny militarized client state Israel. It is a tendency that must be resisted at all costs by every American who cares about fundamental liberties.

Hate as a Common Ground: Why Israel’s Coalition Government Is Likely to Survive

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Israeli leaders insist that democracy, transparency, and inclusion are achievable, even when millions of the country’s Arab citizens are marginalized and continue to be victims of institutional racism that dates back to the very foundation of Israel.

Shortly after an agreement to form a “national emergency government” in Israel, leader of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, Benny Gantz, tweeted triumphantly that ‘democracy’ in Israel has been ‘safeguarded’.

But how is a deal that would grant Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a veto power over the very judicial system which will determine his fate, a form of democracy?

In January, Netanyahu was indicted on multiple counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. His trial is scheduled for May 24.

By making such an assertion, Gantz is simply deluding himself, following one the most disgraceful acts of political betrayal in the country’s modern history. By agreeing to join Netanyahu’s Likud party, Gantz has demolished his own parliamentary group which unified several major parties in one single bloc, all with the aim of removing Israel’s longest-serving leader from power.

The Blue and White, which until recently consisted of three parties (Hosen Li-Israel, Yesh Atid and Telem), presented itself to Israeli voters as a political force that would finally restore some credibility to Israel’s ailing political institutions.

Clearly, Israel was not ready for such a mission.

It is convenient to blame Gantz for the collapse of Israel’s once-burgeoning opposition, but the problem with Israel’s political elites is far more complex than that of a single individual.

Israeli leaders insist that democracy, transparency, and inclusion are achievable, even when millions of the country’s Arab citizens are marginalized and continue to be victims of institutional racism that dates back to the very foundation of Israel.

In actuality, Gantz could have formed a government with the help of the Joint List, a coalition of Arab and progressive parties, which is the only Israeli political bloc that represents hope for a better, more inclusive future.

The supposed Israeli ‘centrist’, however, opted to join Netanyahu – and to, consequently, alienate his own allies, Yesh Atid and Telem – than meet the reasonable conditions of the Joint List.

The Joint List, which had eventually endorsed Gantz to form a government, had merely requested the removal of the Nation-State Law (which defines Israel as a Jewish State), the Kaminitz Law (which restricts building in Arab communities in Israel) and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in accordance with international law.

The Arab parties’ demands were simply too much for Gantz to handle, for several reasons.

One, Gantz is essentially a right-wing politician and a military hawk, who favors the annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories and has called for even harsher wars on Gaza.

Two, the Blue and White would have never been able to build a wider coalition if it adhered to any of these demands. This much was made clear by the head of Yisrael Beiteinu leader, Avigdor Lieberman.

Three, Member of Knesset (Parliament) Zvi Hauser, one of the most influential figures of the Blue and White, is among the main forces behind the racist Nation State Law of July 2018. Expecting Hauser to cancel the jewel of his political achievements would be most unrealistic and would have further destabilized a party that has already lost nearly half of its supporters in a matter of days.

Hauser is an interesting character, an ambitious politician and a person to watch, as he will play an important future role in Israel’s coalition government.

Hauser will now become the “proverbial long arm of the Judicial Appointments Committee,” according to Yossi Verter, writing in Haaretz. This committee, in particular, was the main stumbling block in the difficult negotiations, which preceded the announcement of a government coalition deal between Gantz and Netanyahu.

According to the deal, Netanyahu can accept or reject any of Hauser’s future appointments. Hauser is unlikely to find Netanyahu’s interference unacceptable, simply because he is used to the idea of being Netanyahu’s point man.

Yes, indeed, Hauser entered public service in 1994 to serve as the Likud party’s spokesman under Netanyahu who, at the time, was the country’s opposition leader.  In fact, Hauser’s political career throughout the years seems to be intrinsically linked to Netanyahu’s own.

And here, yet, is another common ground between the Likud and the Blue and White, which could make the planned annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and Jordan Valley very much possible.

The text of the coalition government agreement spoke of potential annexation of parts of the occupied territories as early as the summer, in accordance with the US President Donald Trump’s “Vision for Peace”.

This understanding was by no means a concession on the part of Gantz, who, too, supports some form of annexation.

That’s where Hauser’s role becomes vital once more, for it was Hauser himself who headed the ‘Coalition for the Israeli Golan’, which championed and promoted Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

Hauser’s wish received a huge boost in March 2019, when Trump signed the order recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli.

Despite its difficult birth and the Blue and White setback, the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition has more in common than meets the eye:

For one, Gantz seems to have abandoned his strategy of getting rid of Netanyahu through the court system. With Hauser as a middle man, Netanyahu, at least for now, is somewhat safe.

Secondly, not only is the annexation of Palestinian territories (despite strong Palestinian and international rejection to such a move) not a point of contention between the coalition partners, but a point of agreement as well.

Thirdly, with Gantz’s rejection of a coalition that includes the Joint List, and Netanyahu’s complete disregard for the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians are entirely erased from the political map of Israel’s ruling elites. This is unlikely to change in the future as well.

There is one positive aspect in Israel’s unpromising government coalition, and that is clarity. Knowing of Netanyahu’s anti-Palestinian, anti-peace, and anti-international law long legacy, we should have all the clarity needed to understand that no just peace can possibly be achieved when Netanyahu is still at the helm.

The same can be said of Gantz as well, who preferred to willingly shake the hand of the devil than to find common ground among the leaders of Israel’s Palestinian Arab community.

Even when Netanyahu’s eighteen-month term as Prime Minister expires, a Gantz-led Israeli government is unlikely to fare any better.

Bezalel Smotrich: Israel’s New Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Takes Aim at the Holy Sanctuary

By Miko Peled

Source

Zionism is founded on the idea that Jews today have rights to a land they had not inhabited for thousands of years. These rights supersede the rights of the Palestinians, even though they have been living on that land for thousands of years. Zionists have been so successful in selling this absurd idea, that for over one hundred years, they have been able to destroy Palestine, erase its history, kill and forcibly exile its indigenous population and bring to ruin ancient, iconic monuments that were a vital part of the landscape. The poster child of this idea today is a man by the name of Bezalel Smotrich, the man who is slated to become the new Minister for Jerusalem Affairs.

Smotrich is part of a group that was once considered on the fringe of Israeli politics and which calls for building a Jewish Temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock. No longer fringe, now this group has people like Smotrich in positions of power that threaten the very existence of Jerusalem’s most important religious and historical space, the Holy Sanctuary.

Jerusalem

Anyone who has had the good fortune to visit Jerusalem and walk around the Holy Sanctuary can attest to its beauty and serenity. Bezalel Smotrich is part of a movement that wants to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and, as I described here in an earlier article, build a Temple, where Jewish fanatics will sacrifice animals in rituals whose time has long passed.

According to the status quo that was established after the 1967 occupation of the Old City of Jerusalem, only Muslims are permitted to worship at the Holy Sanctuary. Jews and other non-Muslims are permitted to visit the Sanctuary but not to worship there. However, there is a sect of fanatic Jews who use the loophole that allows them to visit in order to bring tens of thousands of their followers into the sanctuary as a provocation. It is worthy to note that Jewish law also strictly prohibits Jews from entering the Sanctuary.

In 2019, on the Jewish day of Tisha B’av, the day in which according to Jewish tradition the Temple was destroyed, Israeli security services recommended that Jews be prohibited from entering the Holy Sanctuary altogether. That was because that day coincided with the Muslim holy day of Eid. Smotrich and his supporters were outraged, and pressure from the right flank of the Netanyahu government was mounting. Being a member of the security cabinet he acted swiftly and in the end, was able to lift the prohibition.

The government succumbed to the pressure, Jewish fanatics were permitted to go into the sanctuary and the usual provocation ensued. Riots broke out as a result of this, in which countless Palestinians were injured and arrested.

“If I were Prime Minister I would close the Temple Mount to Arabs and immediately build a synagogue for Jews to pray there,” Smotrcihc said in an interview in July 2017. In May 2018 he posted a video showing young Jewish fanatics with the Israeli flag in the Holy Sanctuary. He wrote, “Very soon our flag will be raised on our Temple, on the Temple Mount.” He congratulated the young fanatics who were in the video, saying, “I congratulate you on your display of courage and national pride.”

In a debate Smotrich had with Palestinian Knesset member Masoud Ghnaim, Smotrich said that Ghnaim should show gratitude for being a guest in Israel. Then he boasted that the Jewish Temple will be built on the site of the Dome of the Rock.

A Rising Star

In recent years, Smotrich has become somewhat of the “right-wing darling” of the Israeli media. Well spoken, youthful looking and reasonable sounding even as he spews vicious lies and racist epithets. Smotrich was born in a settlement in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and then his family moved to the West Bank where he was educated in fanatic, racist educational institutions that disseminate an ideology known as “Religious Zionism.”

It is a toxic combination of religion and fascism that received a boost after the 1967 war. This education system created fanatic, violent gangs that have been terrorizing Palestinians in the West Bank since 1967. They also created effective political movements that have greatly influenced and indeed shaped Israeli politics. Smotrich himself was arrested for his role in the violent protests trying to stop Israel’s 2005 unilateral withdrawal and removal of settlers from the Gaza Strip.

Bezalel Smotrich court

In 2006 Smotrich was among the founders of the Regavim organization. It is a racist organization of gangsters who are dedicated to terrorizing Palestinians. They have been particularly aggressive in displacing Palestinians in the Naqab, in the southern part of Palestine, and in what is known as Area C in the West Bank.

Smotrich rose through the ranks of various neo-fascist Zionist political movements and in 2015 was elected to the Knesset. In 2018 Twitter temporarily suspended his account after he tweeted that he was sorry Ahed Tamimi was arrested and not shot. Since June of 2019, he has served in the Israeli government as minister of Transportation, one of the largest portfolios in the government, and, what is perhaps more disturbing, he is a member of the government’s inner circle “security cabinet.”

A Decisive Plan

Smotrich, whose name and family come from a small town in Ukraine with no historical ties to Palestine, sees no problem saying that Palestinians have no historical claims to their land. “Palestinians are not a nation,” Smotrich said in a speech at an Israeli high school, reminding his young audience that Zionist icons like Golda Meir said so too. “According to any definition of nationhood, Palestinian are no more than just Arabs.” He tells the students that the Palestinians “have no unique common history, culture, language or heritage. They came here after we made this country prosperous.”

Smotrich is known for a plan he devised to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. He calls it “The Decisive Plan.” Both he and his plan are mere reincarnations of the slain Meir Kahane and his ideology. Kahane was, and continues to be, the spiritual and political guru of violent, racist Jewish gangs like Smotrich’s that became known as the West Bank “Settlers.” Smotrich himself was raised on Kahane’s doctrine and he repeats it, though he is careful to give it his own “reasonable” tone.

“There can never be an equitable resolution to the Arab Jewish conflict,” he claims as he softens his audience with a litany of reasonable sounding lies based on fiction and mythology which he refers to as history. “We didn’t start the 1967 war, they did!” he explains, though clearly the Palestinians had no say or participation in that war. “At Oslo, we gave them everything, and they rejected it,” referring to the Oslo Accords which brought further disaster to Palestinians.

These claims, that he makes with a voice that is quiet and reasonable and peppered with “God willing, and Thank God,” are just the preamble. “I want to offer you, and your friends and your children, real peace, real security, and real coexistence.” He warns them, however, that this peace means “one side will have to give up on their national aspirations.” However, it is not going to be him, because “we are right and they are wrong, this land belongs to us, right?” and the audience responds by clapping, affirming his claim.

“Palestinian terrorism is fueled by the hope that they might be successful someday.” According to Smotrich, nipping the hope for national aspirations for the Arabs in the Land of Israel is how we eliminate terrorism. “We must burn into them the awareness that there will never be an Arab state west of the Jordan River and that Judea and Samaria will forever be part of Israel,” he says to applause.

“Any Arabs who give up their national aspirations will be allowed to live here and enjoy the great wealth that we created in this land.” Smotrich’s plan offers several other options, “they can go to the Arab countries or join the Muslim occupation of Europe.”  He says Europe is allowing the destruction of its own identity by allowing unchecked Muslim and Arab immigration for the sake of cheap labor. “We need to develop a plan to create immigration of choice.” And, he says, “The only ones to remain will be people who accept the state of Israel as a Jewish State.”

Smotrich says his plan is hard to grasp because it is out of the box. He must have forgotten that  Nazis and other violent, supremacist regimes had rational reasons and even created laws that made their crimes against humanity seem legitimate.

Three Choices

The Smotrich plan offers three possibilities for the Palestinians: incentivized emigration, remaining without rights, or to fight and die.

According to Smotrich, “There is nothing in common between the Nablusi Arab and the Hebronite Arab,” and therefore all they really need are municipal rights, which he says he is happy to give them. However, he clarifies, “I will not give them the right to vote for the national parliament.” He admits, modestly, “This plan may suffer from a “democratic deficiency,” but that’s ok because “life isn’t perfect and there are no perfect solutions.”

“There is no better plan, no plan that is morally superior to this, and no plan that is better suited for us.” If we “burn” in their consciousness that they will never achieve their national aspirations, then most of the Arabs will be reasonable enough to choose to leave or remain to live their lives with us. There will always be those who decide to bang their heads against the wall and they will pay a heavy price for fighting.”

The alarm regarding the destruction of the Holy Sanctuary should have been sounded long ago. Thankfully, it has not yet been destroyed and the Temple which Smotrich and his fellow fanatics want to build in its place, although it is in the advanced planning stages, has not yet been built. Much of Arab Palestine, and indeed Jerusalem, has already been destroyed, there will be no recourse once Smotrich, the designated Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, takes power and gets his hands on the Holy Sanctuary.

Israel Prepares for Annexation of the West Bank

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Netanyha Gantz b3bd0

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Israel and its global lobbies have had an extraordinary run of success.

In the US and Canada, the passage of laws against the BDS movement; US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the shifting of the embassy there; the appointment of an ambassador who is no more than Israel’s point man in Washington; the Kushner plan and US acceptance of Israeli annexation of the West Bank; and in the UK, the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn, partly if not largely based on  a slanderous campaign launched against the Labor Party generally and Corbyn personally.

This was the most malicious political assassination in British history, with the corporate media and the zionist lobby driving in the knives day after day. The main Jewish newspapers had already maligned Corbyn in the same front page editorial when the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, used the Corbyn-hating Times to attack Corbyn as “mendacious” and to plant fear amongst British Jews: “What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labor Party forms the next government?” Nothing would happen, of course, not to British Jews, but there would be significant changes affecting Britain’s relations with the racist settler enterprise it established in Palestine more than a century ago.

These attacks were not about Judaism but Israel. Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-semite. This is so obvious that it should not need saying. The false charge of anti-semitism is the weapon used by zionists throughout modern history to destroy critics of Israel and here it was being used again.

Had Corbyn expressed undying support for Israel – as Keir Starmer has since done –  this issue would never have arisen.  Jews inside and outside the Labor Party would have issued statements that while there were bad apples in every barrel,  anti-semitism was a minor issue which the party leadership was dealing with. They would not have hesitated to canvass votes for the Labor Party.

Corbyn has a lifelong record of defending human rights everywhere and that includes the human rights of the Palestinians. Had he been elected he would have re-orientated foreign policy in their favor. That had to be prevented at all costs and the accusation of anti semitism was the weapon used,  on the grounds that repeated often enough people would believe it.

Thus a good man with good policies was thrown aside and a buffoon with no policies installed in his place. In time, once they realize they were duped, the British people may remember the knifing of Corbyn by the zionists.

Now Israel is moving on to its next success, the annexation of the West Bank. This is due to begin on July 1, Netanyahu and Gantz having agreed on its fundamentals and the US ready to rubber-stamp whatever portion of territory they decide to take.

Initially, this seems to be 30 percent plus the Jordan Valley. The 70 percent ostensibly left to the Palestinians will mostly consist mostly of rural land running alongside the border with Jordan.

The Trump-Kushner  ‘peace’ plan was deliberately written to be unacceptable to the Palestinians, all of them, including the now-embittered Mahmud Abbas. His ‘threats’ to rip up all accords if they go ahead is no more than the squeaking of a rusty wheel. He used the zionists and they used him. Now he has been discarded, Mahmud Abbas is of no relevance to anyone.

In the soundings he would have taken before his plan was released,  Kushner would have known perfectly well that the Palestinians would never accept it. No capital in Jerusalem, disarmament in Gaza as well as on the West Bank, Israel in charge of ‘security’ and all borders, no right of return, no more legal claims against Israel on the basis of history, no independent foreign policy, no joining of any international organization except with Israel’s approval, no more payments to the families of martyrs (Israel’s ‘terrorists’) and the acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.  This was the price demanded of the Palestinians in return for their ‘state’ and as Kushner well knew, they could not possibly pay it.  His plan was designed from the start to be rejected by the Palestinians.

Even if they had accepted this ‘deal’ every loophole had been inserted into it to make sure  Israel ultimately gets what it wants  – all of the West Bank – anyway.  This situation,  of an offer they could not possibly accept,  is one imposed on them throughout their modern history.  When they reject what they cannot possibly accept, whether it be the Peel partition plan of 1937, the UN partition plan of 1947, the establishment of Israel on their land in 1948 or  the Camp David plan of the 1990s,  it is they who are made to shoulder the blame for the failure of the latest ‘peace process.’ If there is a difference now, it is that the Kushner-Trump-Netanyahu plan is so transparently shoddy that anyone with eyes in their head can see right through it.

With increasing portions of the West Bank annexed, under the false sovereignty of an occupying power, the Palestinians will eventually be outnumbered by the settlers poured into their land.  This is the script being written by Netanyahu and his cohorts. A racist parliament will endorse it and even more pseudo-legal and practical obstacles will be raised to make life even more unbearable for the Palestinians.

This is a heinous plan, a plan devoid of any legality, a plan cooked up by criminals and charlatans. The zionists may see it as the end of the road but this is a long war and annexation is no more than another milestone in the struggle against the takeover of Palestine by European colonists in the 20th century.

Israel and World Jewry

By Evan Jones

Source

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The Covid-19 pandemic hits the world. Undeterred, the Israeli forces of Occupation (including the settlers) escalate the rampage and the outrages. Murders, harassment and arrests, home demolitions, destruction and/or theft of virus aid equipment and food and brutalizing of aid workers, Gaza crop poisoning on a grand scale, West Bank crop destruction, etc. Spitting on Palestinians is now de rigueur. Business as usual. Sadism on a grand scale. Whence the motivation? And the collective psychological reward? The Jewish God is a militant deity.

Israel is a pariah state. It is an apartheid state in its construction, [1] from its inception as an ethnocracy, not one for which the label ‘apartheid’ is merely a dangerous prospect on the horizon with a completely colonized West Bank.

How does Israel survive as such, given that apartheid South Africa has disappeared into history. It survives essentially because of support from the institutionalized structures of establishment world Jewry. Period.

Don’t talk Christian Zionists, as they are a side issue, crazies succoured to dilute the central causal lineage.

The US umbrella is tangibly of enormous importance. But behind the White House compliance is the Zionist lobby, from Truman onwards (albeit with occasional wobbles). The Zionist lobby owns Congress; those members they don’t own they simply extrude (starting with William Fulbright in 1974, Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, etc.). The massive role of the US in supporting Israel is a product of institutionalized American Jewry – now centred on the peak body AIPAC.[2] The argument that US support of Israel is an instrumental means of projecting US power in the Middle East is diversionary; the posited hierarchy of master and proxy won’t wash. Cui bono?

The Zionist lobby only recently destroyed what was left of the integrity of the British Labour Party, installing a functionary at its head. The British state is Zionist-occupied territory; ditto that of France, Germany (hobbled by the Jewish holocaust), Canada and Australia.

Israel, as a racist state, is engaged in criminality sui generis. It was a guaranteed outcome known from the start. Theodore Herzl noted (1896): ‘An infiltration [of Jewish migrants to Palestine] is bound to end badly. It continues to the inevitable moment when the native population feels itself threatened … Immigration is consequently futile unless based on an assured supremacy’. Violence was implicit in Zionism from the outset.[3]

The native population felt itself threatened immediately, but the Zionist movement found solace and then salvation in the arrival of World War, the Balfour Declaration and subsequently the British Mandate over Palestine. Until the Zionists could muster the firepower to create its ‘promised land’ unilaterally by terrorism. That firepower was acquired from British training en masse, just prior to World War II (to quell the Arab rebellion) and during the War itself.

As David Hirst notes, regarding the massacres and bombings by Jewish forces in response to the MacDonald White Paper of May 1939: [4]

‘The ideological roots of ‘gun Zionism reach back to Theodor Herzl himself. It was inevitable, as he foresaw, that armed force would eventually come into its own as the principal instrument of a movement which, in its earlier and weaker phase, could only rely on the protection of an imperial sponsor. That phase was now drawing to a close.’

Israeli criminality must be sheeted home to the personnel within the institutions of the Israeli state – politicians, the military and intelligence services, the judiciary, etc. They are crimes of individuals, groupings, institutionalized, the personnel being uniformly Jewish.

Isn’t this criminality bad for world Jewry and what it means to be Jewish? Apparently not. Establishment Jewish institutions, with one voice, sign up for Israel’s crimes. More, support of Israel is their raison d’être – all while simultaneously shedding crocodile tears about anti-Semitism. The global Jewish community, whether Jewish individuals like it or not, is implicated in Israeli criminality by the dominant Jewish organizations who claim to speak for national Jewish communities.

The Wikipedia entry of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), clearly sanctioned by its subject, notes: ‘The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, represents the interests of the Australian Jewish community to …’. Here’s a representative conflation of the interests of the state of Israel and of a national Jewish community in its entirety.

John Lyons was Middle East correspondent for The Australian newspaper during 2009-15. His Balcony Over Jerusalem [5] is notable for the attention paid to the lobby. Like all budding Middle East correspondents, Lyons was inevitably the subject of attempted seduction and, failing that, subsequently the subject of escalating attacks for his endeavour to fulfil his role as independent reporter. A senior Israeli military officer observed to Lyons: ‘The Israel lobby in Australia is the most powerful lobby in the world in terms of impact it has within its own country’.

John Lyons bda94

The nation-based lobby works to ensure that its own government (whichever Party is in power) remains complacent, acquiescent, if not blood red in support. It also works tirelessly to control the information flow. Because Israel stinks, disinformation (lies, counter-narratives, fairy stories) and censorship have to be an integral part of the lobby’s activities. Lyons recounts how, in particular, AIJAC’s Colin Rubenstein constantly pressured senior management at The Australian to close down his reporting. (Senior management of the Murdoch-owned paper supported Lyons, in spite of the attempted scuttling by a middle level editor).

The other major Australian media chain, Fairfax (now Nine Entertainment), owner of the major Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra dailies, has faced the same pressure. Ditto the publicly-owned television stations ABC & SBS. Fairfax/Nine has persistently caved in, granting privileged access to the opinion and letters pages to pro-Israel apologists. An ex-Fairfax journalist, friend, confirms that the pressure of the lobby on management was relentless and intolerable.

In early January, in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age we have Rubenstein glorifying the assassination of Qasem Soleimani as ‘arch-terrorist’, presiding over a claimed multi-tentacled terrorist expansionist reach of Iran in the Middle East, destabilising everything in its wake. Rubenstein even has Iran behind the assassination of Lebanon’s Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Surprisingly, the online comments editor allowed multiple responses from ‘woke’ readers to Rubenstein as an Israel front man, whereas editors scrupulously deny such feedback in the print version of the newspaper. In the same issue of the papers we have an AIPAC flunkey claiming on cue that the essential issue behind US-Iran escalating tension is ‘the pressing need to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons’, bizarrely accusing Iran of undermining the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.

Colin Rubenstein a22b3

Rubenstein was in the Herald again in late January, claiming that plenipotentiary Jared Kushner’s ‘Middle East Peace Plan (sic)’, in the formulation of which no Palestinian authorities were invited, is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Thus are Australians fed the regular odious drip, very rarely opposed in print, of the innate necessity and justice of Israel’s criminality.

Rather than the association between Israel and its global Jewish community support being severed as the daily brutality of the Israeli forces of Occupation accumulates, the association has recently been reinforced. The notable vehicle for this reinforcement has been the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism. The Definition skirts over ‘Holocaust Remembrance’ but pays majority attention to the treatment of Israel.

Thus we find that rational criticism, driven by conventional humanitarian principles, of Israel’s criminality is labelled anti-Semitic. More, IHRA personnel and Jewish organizations flog this definition, pressuring, pressuring national governments into submission to accept the definition and to act as repressive agents against free-thinking citizens of those countries.

And to those who object? The issue is concisely contained in a recent skirmish in faraway New Zealand. The brief report on stuff.nz deserves quoting at length. It turns out that the Wellington Jewish Council had requested New Zealand’s capital city to adopt the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But the Wellington Progressive Synagogue objected, claiming that the definition ‘had the potential to conflate antisemitism with anti-Zionism (opposition to the state of Israel), as it had already done overseas’. Too kind – not ‘potential’, as the point of the definition is precisely to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Said Progressive Synagogue spokespersons: ‘Its new effect is to regulate the speech of people like ourselves: law-abiding non-Zionists who call for the unexceptional application of law and human rights in Israel/Palestine; Jews and non-Jews alike’. Quite.

The NZ Jewish Council responded that ‘the IHRA definition explicitly stated criticism of Israel could not be regarded as antisemitic’. A dishonest retort. The text includes the sentence ‘… criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’. But this is transparently a ruse to deflect from the substance of the definition’s text for which the sentence is an aberration. And the meaning of ‘similar to that levelled against any other country’? Criticisms of Israel are aimed precisely at structures and practices that set it apart from other countries, including some countries that are utterly on the nose. The IHRA mob mean – we will be the arbiters of what is acceptable criticism. But, in truth, what is ‘acceptable’ criticism is an empty set.

But here’s the clincher. The Jewish Council continues: ‘The writers of the opinion piece were “fringe” and did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of the Jewish community – unlike the Jewish Council’.

‘Fringe’? ‘Mandate’? This is it in a nutshell. If you don’t support Israel 100 per cent, you aren’t a real Jew. And on what basis does the Jewish Council’s presumed ‘mandate’ rest?

Michelle Weinroth, author and member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, nails the fraud and duplicity behind the IHRA push:

‘If the IHRA definition turns a blind eye to the veritable culprits of heinous racism, it nonetheless targets the anti-racist defenders of Palestinian human rights, many of whom are conscientious Jews. … it masquerades as an innocuous, educational, and preventative measure while acting as a penal code that aggresses the advocates of human rights, silencing them with veiled threats. … At its heart sits a false equation between the state of Israel and Jews more generally.’

A false equation between Israel and Jews ‘more generally’. Here’s another one. Recently brought to light, an earlier tussle took place in September 1991 when Israel demanded a $10 billion loan guarantee, which President George H Bush viewed as a means of undermining the forthcoming Madrid peace conference (Blankfort, fn.2). Bush Sr threatened to deny Israel the loan guarantees if the large contingent of migrants from the Soviet Union were to be directed into West Bank settlements. Philip Weiss reports:

‘The Israel lobby group the American Jewish Committee (AJC) decided to support the Israeli government against the White House in 1991 over illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank, even though many officials at the organization privately backed the president. The AJC reasoned that a leading Jewish organization in Washington had a “primary responsibility” to stand up for Israel because the country represents the “collective will” of the Jewish people, an AJC official says.’

Israel represents the collective will of the Jewish people? Were ‘the Jewish people’ consulted?

One of the more remarkable attempts to associate Israel with the ‘collective will’ of the Jewish people, via the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, is a statement by one Robert Wistrich to the UN Commission on Human Rights, published on 10 September 2004.[6] Wistrich’s parents’ lives were blighted by anti-Semitism, and his subsequent stellar academic career was devoted to this very subject. Yet this statement is a wretched mishmash, devoid of logic and history, and conveniently oblivious to Israeli criminality. And this during the Prime Ministership of noted humanist Ariel Sharon. Wistrich claims:

‘Much of the mobilizing power of “anti-Zionism” derives from its link to the Palestinian cause. Since the 1960s, the [Palestine Liberation Organization] has worked hard to totally delegitimize Zionism and the policy has largely succeeded: this anti-Zionism involves a total negation of Jewish nationhood and legitimate Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Israel …’

Legitimate sovereignty in Eretz Israel? Sure. Wistrich’s tribalism has overridden his rigorous academic training. Curious, there are no Jewish dissenters in his grab bag of mad dog anti-Semites in a pragmatic coalition all aimed at the destruction of Israel.

Wistrich couldn’t really avoid this elephant in the room, so he grabbed the bull by the horns in a 2014 issue of Commentary (preaching to the converted). [7] Well-known Jewish intellectuals who don’t toe the Party line are accused of having been mentally and morally captured by infantile Marxism, etc., and/or anti-Americanism, their left-wing blinkered obsessions then finding its next object of abuse post-Vietnam in Israel. Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Howard Zinn (‘Hatred for America, the West, and Israel thrives beneath the cloak of human rights and social justice’), Eric Hobsbawm, Shlomo Sand, Ilan Pappé – all are excoriated for their sins.

In particular, Wistrich couldn’t have ignored Shlomo Sand, whose cannon volleys in The Invention of the Jewish People (2009) and The Invention of the Land of Israel (2012) blasted Wistrich’s self-assured self-righteousness to shreds. Wistrich dismisses Sand (‘his pseudoscientific delegitimization of Israel’) as merely having ‘revived long-discredited theories – such as Arthur Koestler’s deranged notion that Ashkenazi Jews sprang from Khazars who converted in the 10th century C.E.’. Wistrich ignored that Sand, in genuine scholarly fashion, put Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe (1976) into context with a considerable literature on the same theme.

The rhetoric of these contemptible lefties, claims Wistrich, ‘divorced from historical truth and geopolitical reality, negates any possibility of reform or redress concerning genuine grievances’. Genuine grievances? A chink in the armour? How could there be grievances against Israel that were genuine (the ‘empty set’ again), and who would decide? Evidently not the Palestinian victims or their Jewish sympathizers.

We have a comparable affair when French elder statesman Robert Badinter addressed UNESCO in December 2016,[8] appropriating Holocaust remembrance to plug Israel as synonymous with Jewry per se. Badinter played the same card as Wistrich:

‘What is certain is that in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, anti-Semitism has once again spread widely under the name of anti-Zionism. We must have the lucidity to recognize that under this label that refers to Zionism, it is indeed the Jews, and Jews everywhere, who are targeted. And I would say that anti-Zionism under the surface is nothing but the contemporary expression of anti-Semitism, namely, hatred of the Jews.’

The ‘not in my name’ communities, declining to join wholeheartedly the cause of Israel über alles, have been written out of the story. Einstein, Freud, Arendt, camp survivors like Hajo Meyer; individual authors, bloggers and/or activists; non-compliant Jewish organizations; Israeli human rights organizations; etc. It’s the Spinoza syndrome – ignored if too famous; otherwise excommunicated because ‘self-hating’ Jews, ‘fringe’ elements, etc.

When Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem,[9] highlighting the bureaucrat over the monster, even her fame didn’t save her from damnation. Daniel Maier-Katkin highlights the ongoing character assassination and its character:[10]

‘[A] campaign against the memory of Hannah Arendt continues, and the ideology that rationalizes and justifies ad hominem attacks and menacing gestures against Jews who dare to criticize Israel persists. As Rabbi [Michael] Lerner and Justice [Richard] Goldstone have learned, a Jew who fears that Israel is on a path that leads to destruction, or who is skeptical of a “divine mission to possess the land,” or concerned about the legality or morality of unrelenting military strategies to secure regional domination, will be attacked as self-hating and anti-Semitic.

‘To hate oneself is ipso facto pathological, and this, it is asserted, leads to irrational hatred of Israel, which is seen as the embodiment of the Jewish people. Thus, defenders of Israeli policies aim to exclude Jewish critics from public discourse by defining them as crazy persons, driven to anti-Semitism by self-loathing. In this way Lerner’s criticism of Israel, or Goldstone’s, or Arendt’s is dismissed as arising from psychological or spiritual disturbance rather than reasoned argument or an ethical posture. Calumny, an old-fashioned blend of slander, distortion, and innuendo, has been a recurring instrument of intimidation in post-Holocaust Jewish politics.’

In sum, Israeli state and settler criminality persist because it is supported uniformly by dominant national Jewish bodies, with de facto support and/or passivity from sections of the Jewish population. This instutionalized structure never fails to claim that it acts for Jewry in its entirety. Dissidents from the demand for unqualified support are cast aside from the tribe.

Is it not then possible, indeed probable, that some cool-headed people will reason that it is appropriate to become an anti-Semite? A stance rooted not in a time-worn shibboleth, but on the seeming support of the vast majority of world Jewry for Israeli criminality and inhumanity? Ersatz anti-Semitism (criticism of Israel), manufactured by the Zionist lobby as cover-up, thus potentially fosters substantive anti-Semitism. The real thing.

The Canadian (Jewish) philosopher Michael Neumann earlier nailed the implications:[11]

‘Inflating the meaning of ‘anti-Semitism’ to include anything politically damaging to Israel is a double-edged sword. … The more things get to count as anti-Semitic, the less awful anti-Semitism is going to sound. …

‘Since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be anti-Semitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of anti-Semitism becomes morally obligatory. It gets worse if anti-Zionism is labelled anti-Semitic… The more anti-Semitism expands to include opposition to Israeli policies, the better it looks.

‘Given the crimes to be laid at the feet of Zionism, there is another simple syllogism: anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is a moral obligation.’

The ‘not in my name’ communities, in their myriad dimensions and considerable expenditure of energy, have made not a jot of difference to Israel’s project. Why?

Gideon Levy, long-time Haaretz journalist providing a window into Israel’s soul, has honed in on the denial, conscious amongst its leaders, subliminal amongst the bulk of the populace, that accompanies Israel’s ongoing criminality. And behind it? Here is Levy in March 2018 (he said the same in an Australian lecture tour in November 2017):

‘There are three core values of Israeli culture that enforce the totalitarian discourse.

‘The first value: we are the chosen people. Secular and religious will claim it. Even if they don’t admit it they feel it. If we are the chosen people, who are you to tell us what to do. The second very deeply rooted value: we are the victims, not only the biggest victims, but the only victims around…. I don’t recall one occupation in which the occupier present himself as the victim. Not only the victim– the only victim….

‘There is a third very deep rooted value. This is the very deep belief again everyone will deny it but if you scratch under the skin of almost any Israeli you will find it there, the Palestinians are not equal human beings like us. They don’t love their children like us. They don’t love life like us. They were born to kill, they are cruel, they are sadists, they have no values, no manners… This is very, very deep rooted in Israeli society. And maybe that’s the key issue. As long as this continues, nothing will move. We are so much better than them, so much more developed than them, more human than them.’

One of Sydney’s Jewish schools, Moriah College, has as its ‘core values’ (not atypical):

‘We strive to foster critical thought, cultural interests, tolerance, social responsibility and self-discipline. … Moriah not only aspires to achieve excellence in academic standards, but maintains and promotes among its students an awareness of and a feeling for Jewish traditions and ethics, an understanding of and a positive commitment to Orthodox Judaism and identification with and love for Israel.’

Critical thought, tolerance, social responsibility, and identification with and love for Israel? Take your pick. You can’t have both.

 

 

The Virus of Occupation: Israelis Have Taken To Spitting on Palestinians During Coronavirus

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Now that we know that the deadly coronavirus can be transmitted through saliva droplets, Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers are working extra hard to spit at as many Palestinians, their cars, doorknobs, and so on, as possible.

If this sounds to you too surreal and repugnant, then you might not be as familiar with the particular breed of Israeli colonialism as you may think you are.

In all fairness, Israelis have been spitting at Palestinians well before the World Health Organization (WHO) lectured us on the elusive nature of the COVID-19 disease and on the critical need to apply ‘social distancing’.

Indeed, if you Google the phrase ‘Israeli spitting’, you will be inundated with many interesting search results, the like of “Jerusalem Judge to Jews: Don’t Spit On Christians“, “Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to Stop Spitting on Them“, and the more recent, “Israel Settlers Spitting on Palestinian Cars Raises Concern over Attempt to Spread Coronavirus”.

Interestingly, most of this coverage throughout the years has been carried out by Israel’s own media, while receiving little attention in Western mainstream media.

One could easily classify such degrading acts as yet another example of the Israelis’ false sense of superiority over Palestinians. But the deliberate attempt at infecting occupied Palestinians with the coronavirus is beneath contempt, even for a settler-colonial regime.

Two particular elements in this story require a pause.

First, that acts of spitting at Palestinians and their properties, by both occupation soldiers and settlers, have been widely reported in many parts of occupied Palestine.

This means that, within a matter of days, the Israeli army and settlers’ cultures so swiftly adapted their pre-existing racism to employ a deadly virus as the latest tool in subjugating and harming Palestinians, whether physically or symbolically.

Second, the degree of ignorance and buffoonery that accompany these racist and degrading acts.

The power paradigm that has governed the relationship between colonial Israel and colonized Palestinians has, thus far, followed a typical trajectory, where Israel’s bad deeds often go unpunished.

Those racist Israelis who are deliberately trying to infect Palestinians with the COVID-19 are not only criminal in their thinking and behavior, but utterly foolish as well.

When Israeli soldiers arrest or beat up Palestinian activists, they are as likely to contract the coronavirus as they are to transmit it.

But, of course, Israel is doing much more to complicate, if not entirely hinder, Palestinian efforts aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

On March 23, a Palestinian worker, Malek Jayousi, was tossed out by Israeli authorities at the Beit Sira military checkpoint, near Ramallah, after he was suspected of having the coronavirus.

A video footage of the poor worker huddling near the checkpoint, after he was “dumped like trash”, has gone viral on social media.

PLO Department of Public Diplomacy & Policy@PalestinePDP

Widespread condemnation of inhumane Israeli treatment of this Palestinian worker. He was dumped on the side of the road by an Israeli military checkpoint near Ramallah after his Israeli employer suspected he could have . Malek is now receiving proper care.@ilo

Embedded video

As shocking as that image was, it was repeated in other parts of the West Bank.

Of course, the Palestinian workers were not tested for the virus, but had merely exhibited flu-like symptoms, enough to make Israel dispose of them as if their lives did not matter in the least.

Two weeks later, the Palestinian Governor of the occupied city of Qalqiliya, Rafi’ Rawajbeh,  told reporters that the Israeli army has opened several wastewater tunnels near the northern Palestinian city, with the aim of smuggling Palestinian workers back to the West Bank, without prior coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

Without testing hundreds of those smuggled workers, the PA, already operating with limited capacity to confront the disease, will find it impossible to contain the spread of the virus.

Palestinian claims of Israel’s deliberate attempt at worsening the spread of the coronavirus in Palestine were further confirmed by the Geneva-based Euro-med Monitor, which, on March 31, called on the international community to investigate the ‘suspicious behavior’ of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers.

During Israeli army raids on Palestinian homes, soldiers “spat at parked cars, ATMs and shop locks, which raises fears of deliberate attempts to spread the virus and cause panic in the Palestinian society,” Euro-Med stated.

Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention does not say anything about the need for members of the Occupying Power to stop spitting at occupied and subjugated communities; most likely, because it is a given that such sordid behavior is completely unacceptable and does not require a separate textual reference.

However, Article 56, as was recently emphasized by UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, Michael Lynk, does require Israel, the Occupying Power, to “ensure that all the necessary preventive means available to it are utilized to ‘combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.’”

Israel, however, is failing its legal mandate, and horribly so.

Even the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Leon, has himself stressed the inequality in the official Israeli response to the spread of the coronavirus.

In his letter of April 7 to the Israeli Health Ministry Director General, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Leon warned against “the serious shortage of medical equipment at (Palestinian) hospitals in (occupied) East Jerusalem, particularly protective equipment and equipment to conduct coronavirus testing.”

Despite the severe shortages in East Jerusalem and West Bank hospitals, the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip is simply disastrous, as Gaza’s Health Ministry has declared on April 9 that it has run out of its coronavirus test kits, which never amounted to more than few hundred, in the first place.

This means that the many Gazans who are already under quarantine will not be released any time soon, and that new cases will not be detected, let alone cured.

We have repeatedly warned in the last few weeks that this terrifying scenario was going to happen, especially as Israel is using the coronavirus as an opportunity to further isolate Palestinians and to barter potential humanitarian aid with political concessions.

Without immediate and sustainable intervention from the international community, occupied Palestine, and especially impoverished and besieged Gaza, could become a hotbed for COVID-19 for years to come.

Israel will never relent without international intervention. Without being held accountable, even a deadly virus will never alter the habits of a vile military occupation.

COVID-19: The Zionist Underpinnings of Israel’s Violent Crackdown on Haredi Jews

By Miko Peled

Source

In a conversation I had with Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro for an upcoming episode of the Miko Peled Podcast, Rabbi Shapiro referred to Jewish Zionists as “idol worshipers.”

“They did not get these values, of loving their guns and stealing Palestinian land, from Judaism,” he said. He explained that Jewish people throughout history have kept to themselves, avoided violence and war, and, in fact, are prohibited by heavenly decree from sovereignty over the Holy Land. “Establishing sovereignty in the Holy Land, from which we were expelled by the Almighty,” he explained, is a “terrible sin.”

There are, however, Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews, that live in the Holy Land and reject Zionism and the State of Israel altogether. “I am with them,” said Rabbi Shapiro.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israel

In the United States, one does not usually hear much about the Ultra-Orthodox community that lives in Israel. Historically, there has always been a small observant Jewish community in Palestine. It was mostly a poor community of people who came to study the Torah and bask in the holiness of the land. There were small communities in Hebron, Tabaria and Safad and, of course, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In the nineteenth century, some of the Jews in Jerusalem moved out of the Old City into neighborhoods that were built for them by wealthy Jewish donors from Europe. When Zionism emerged in Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the entire Ultra-Orthodox Jewish world opposed it in the strongest possible terms. Throughout the twentieth century, all the way up to the very moment when Israel was established, representatives of the Ultra-Orthodox community in Palestine had asked not to be part of the state of Israel.

Israel | Ultra Orthodox

From the moment it was established, and even to this day, the state of Israel invests enormous efforts and resources to get the Ultra-Orthodox Jews to accept Zionism. Israel also does its very best to secularize this community. These efforts resulted in the creation of a “National Religious” group which the Haredi see as heretics. It also brought about a group of Haredi Jews who do not accept the legitimacy of the state but opted for practical reasons to work with it and within it. Both of these groups have representatives in the Israeli Knesset.

The price that the Israeli government pays to get the Haredi groups to agree to work with it amounts to many millions of dollars to Haredi education institutions. “It is like a fisherman with a worm on a hook,” Rabbi Shapiro explains, “and the Haredi community, like a smart fish, is trying to get the worm without biting into the hook.” The worm is funding, the hook is Zionism, the draft, and modifications to their religious education.

Throughout the twentieth century, as “Israeliness” was being defined as a secular testosterone-filled identity, a deep resentment towards the Haredi community was cultivated. They represented the old Jews in exile who went like sheep to the slaughter. I can attest to the fact that growing up as an Israeli one learns very early on that there are two groups of people one is supposed to hate: The Arabs and the Haredi Jews.

In his book “Real Jews, Secular vs. Ultra-Orthodox and the Struggle for Jewish Identity in Israel,” Noah Efron describes in great detail just how deeply secular Israelis hate Ultra-Orthodox Jews. However, one would do well to remember that the Haredi community preceded Israel.

Deep rooted distrust

For Haredi Jews living in Israel, a visit from the authorities means bad news. State institutions have been chasing them and attempting to secularize them in every way imaginable. By far the most intrusive element into their life is the compulsory draft that is mandated by Israeli law and means that every man and woman over the age of 18 must serve in the military. The young Haredi men and women would rather be arrested, and even die, rather than be drafted.

One cannot imagine a less religious, less pious, less observant and more promiscuous environment than the army. Haredi Jews have always rejected the draft and this is cause for police raids and arrests of these young people which of course brings about anger and frustration in the community. The community rejection of the army is a result of many things, not the least of which is that their lifestyle is uncompromisingly religious, they are prohibited from carrying arms and they fundamentally reject the state.

Israel Coronavirus Haredi

A recent report from NPR touched on the conditions within the Haredi community amid the spread of the Coronavirus. The members of the Haredi community live in crowded and very humble conditions in towns and neighborhoods in which only they reside. Many in the community do not speak Hebrew, which they consider a sacred language to be used only in prayer and service, and instead, they use Yiddish, which is the language that Jewish people spoke in Europe. Yet even though the Haredi community in Israel makes up over ten percent of the population, Israel offers no official information in Yiddish.

With very few exceptions, Haredi Jews do not own televisions, do not listen to the radio and do not own computers or smartphones. What one finds displayed on television and online violates the strict laws of modesty that Haredi Jews espouse, and therefore they choose to live without them. This means that they do not have access to information that other people do, and other than what they receive from their own Rabbis and community organizations, they know very little about the outside world.

Blaming the Victims

There has been a great deal of blame thrown at the Haredi community by the Israeli public and the press, claiming that they did not act swiftly enough to stop the spread of the virus. There are claims that their “backwardness” got in the way of effective action. However, as a Haredi friend from Jerusalem wrote to me, “in New York, the infection rate among Charedim [Haredi] in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is the same as that as other crowded non-Jewish communities like East New York. It’s the poverty and crowdedness, not Jewish religious practice or Haredi misbehavior that they have in common.”

My friend continues, “why are Haredi people poor and packed together? Largely because of Zionism, because the draft exemptions ban all work, such that young men can’t work even if they want to.” The draft law allows Haredi men to defer the draft as long as they remain in the yeshiva to study full time and do not go out to work. This restriction places a financial strain on the families and the community as a whole.

My friend, who asked to remain anonymous so I will call him Moishe, confirmed that the Israeli government “relies on the internet and texting to educate citizens and that most Haredim, particularly in Bene Brak and Meah She’arim, have neither.” The former is a city that is all Haredi and the latter a Haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem. “I see almost nothing in my neighborhood in the way of education,” Moishe says. “Nobody is walking around talking to us. There are no handouts in our doors. Nothing.”

Also according to Moishe, “Most people around here have been very careful. Masks, gloves, prayer in the house, standing far apart” and still the police confronted a bunch of ladies who were in line outside the grocery store because they were standing too close. As usual, the police were aggressive, shouting, shining flashlights in people’s eyes. “There were kids there. It was ugly,” Moishe concludes.

Israel coronavirus Feature photo

In another incident that Moishe mentioned, “this Shabbos the Gestapo Israeli police cracked open the head of a man who was praying outside.” The man didn’t want to break in the middle of prayers “and you know what happens when you don’t obey the Gestapo perfectly.” He was taken to the hospital and needed an operation. “By contrast, police in NYC broke up a funeral by flashing their car sirens. No head breaking like in Israel.”

It is not uncommon to hear Haredi Jews refer to the Israel police and military as Nazis or Gestapo. While this is sort of language is harsh, when one considers the history of the relations between this community and state institutions, particularly the Israeli police, it is not totally surprising that such harsh language is used. Few people on the outside have witnessed the violence with which the Israeli police treat this community. The police use enormous riot-breaking horses that intentionally trample all over people, there are cases of horrific beatings, fire hoses are used as well as stun grenades and violent arrests.

Reunited?

In pre-Zionist Palestine, the Haredi community had excellent relations with its Palestinian neighbors. They shared similar values and lived modestly, side by side. This was ruined once Zionism took over Palestine and placed Jews against Arabs. However, from time to time there are still signs that this natural historic alliance may still be alive.

Israel Frei, a Haredi journalist who writes in Hebrew, recently wrote about cases where Palestinians had reached out to support Haredi communities. He ends his piece with a quote from Abdel Karim Azzam, who is a member of the Islamic Movement Emergency Council, “It is inconceivable to think that Corona will not break down the walls between people.”

Indeed one would like to think so.

From Electoral Politics to Coronavirus Response: In Israel, Apartheid Mentality Reigns

By Mico Peled

Source

Jerusalem, Palestine — Once again, Benjamin Netanyahu wins big in Israeli politics. Even as his main opponent, former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz was given a mandate to form and head a coalition government, Netanyahu, indicted and presumed to be on his way out, managed to pull in Gantz, break up the Blue and White opposition party, stop the coalition from forming, and remain on top.

Fifteen seats

In an unprecedented upset, the Arab Joint List, a coalition of four predominantly Palestinian political parties, was able to win fifteen seats in the Israeli Knesset. This made them the third largest block within the legislature. They were going to support a Gantz-led government from the outside, which means they would not be a part of the actual coalition government. This is an enormous gesture on behalf of the Joint List, whose constituents are primarily Palestinian citizens of Israel, the country’s most disenfranchised group of citizens.

It was a moment of sweet illusion when, thanks to the recommendation of the members of the Arab Joint List, Gantz was given the mandate to form a government and be the first politician to get Netanyahu out of the Premier seat in over a decade. However, that moment did not last long. It was naive to think that an Israeli politician would agree to rely on Palestinians to advance his political career – this would be a stain he could never erase. It was also naive to believe that there is anyone in Israeli politics that could not be outsmarted by Netanyahu.

General Gantz

Gantz is a good soldier, he had a long career in the service of the Israeli army, which ended after four years of being at its head. Throughout his career, Gantz was responsible for countless dead and injured Palestinians and unspeakable destruction all over Palestine and Lebanon. As army chief, he led the IDF during two bloody massacres in Gaza: one in November of 2012 and another, in the summer of 2014. The second was perhaps the worst massacre of Palestinians ever perpetrated by Israel. It lasted over 50 days in which 2,500 Palestinians were murdered and tens of thousands were injured.

Now, still a good soldier, Gantz obeyed Netanyahu, who was his boss while he was in uniform. He obediently broke up his own political alliance, Blue and White, threw his political allies under the bus, and turned his back on the voters. He also reneged on the one campaign promise that got him elected to begin with: to unseat Netanyahu.

Apartheid is a state of mind.

No Zionist political leader will rely on a Palestinian party. That is because the Israeli apartheid is not just a system of government, it is a state of mind. Israeli racism is deeply institutional and deeply personal to a point where a career politician, in this case, Benny Gantz, gave up the chance to be Prime Minister because it meant he would need to rely on Palestinian citizens of Israel.

One of the criticisms leveled at Gantz was that he was going to rely on the members of the Arab Joint List for his coalition, even though they had made it clear that if it came to a vote, they would never support another assault on Gaza. Furthermore, the members of the Joint List are opposed to the so-called Trump peace plan and are known to support Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The acclaimed Israeli author David Grossman, considered a beacon of the “Zionist Left,” called on Gantz to work with the Joint List, he added, “even though I find some of their policies reprehensible.”

Apartheid in the time of COVID-19

In light of the outbreak of Covid-19, the Israeli government has called for serious restrictions on movement, cramping the lifestyle of Israelis to levels they had never experienced. It is said that the government, using its intelligence agencies, is collecting information on Israeli citizens who have the virus, and this is raising some objections. In fact, there are several campaigns now demanding “Freedom to Move” be restored and that the intelligence agencies not be involved in collecting data. Five million Palestinians who live no more than a few short miles from Israelis, live in ghettos, not to say concentration camps, and under the shadow of the Israeli intelligence agencies and no one ever hears of Israeli demands to allow them the freedom to move or to end the repression of their rights.

The Tel-Aviv marathon was held recently, just as the coronavirus issue was beginning to spread, and all the foreign runners were prohibited from participating. 40,000 Israeli runners participated in the event and not a word was said about the closures, arrests, water restrictions and lack of rights of millions of Palestinians who live a few miles from there.

It gets worse. Even with the outbreak of the coronavirus, Israeli authorities continue to demolish homes, arrest minors, and shoot protestors and Israeli settler gangs continue to terrorize Palestinians. This video, taken by a photographer from the human rights group, B’tselem shows settlers and soldiers shooting at Palestinians who were defending their home from an attack by settler thugs. The army arrested the photographer and took his camera.

In the Naqab, where over 100,000 Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel live in “unrecognized towns,” COVID-19 turned a terrible situation into a potential disaster. Because the Israeli authorities do not recognize these towns, they have no access to the basic most services like clean water, access roads or electricity, much less to health and medical services.

Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab are all citizens of the state of Israel. They live in crowded conditions because they are prevented from building. The ones who dare to build are under constant fear of demolition and expulsion from their lands. These conditions make it impossible to adhere to the basic most safety precautions needed to stop the spread of Corona.

Schools are now closed and the Israeli Ministry of Education is providing lessons to Israeli citizens via the internet, but over 50 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel live below the poverty line and have no internet access. In the Naqab, 70 percent of the students don’t even have access to electricity, much less wifi.

Apartheid Israel is alive and well, and at least for now, so is the man leading it.

As the World Turns Its Attention to the Pandemic, Israel Is Moving Forward with Military Raids

By Lucas Leiroz

Source

Jenin West Bank 15839

The West Bank situation is becoming increasingly complicated amid the coronavirus pandemic and territorial disputes between Palestinians and Israelis. At first, the Palestinian Authority and Israel showed signs of cooperation in combating the pandemic. A few weeks ago, joint measures were announced between both sides to contain the epidemic of the new coronavirus in the region. The measures include distribution of cleaning and personal hygiene materials, in addition to virus testing kits and medical equipment.

On the part of Tel Aviv, the total closure of the West Bank was promoted, allowing, however, access for Palestinian workers involved in the construction and agriculture sectors to the Jewish state, which is why the proposal was well accepted by Ramallah. On the part of the Palestinians, the West Bank has also been blocked, but only partially and for two weeks, since last Sunday (March 22), in addition to the implementation of a series of control and quarantine measures.

However, efforts to contain the pandemic have not prevented Israeli incursions into the region, which have increased recently. Ibrahim Melhim, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, acknowledged Israeli efforts to contain the coronavirus in the country and in Palestine, but criticized the unstoppable incursions against the Palestinians. “We have very strong round-the-clock coordination with the Israeli side to prevent the coronavirus from spreading (…) At the same time, Israel continues to operate in the Palestinian Territories as if there is no coronavirus crisis (…) They [Israeli forces] continue their raids across the West Bank, arresting people and confiscating lands, and that harms the existing coordination between the PA and Israel putting an additional burden on the Palestinian Authority,” said the spokesman.

Apparently, Israel pretends to collaborate with Palestine to stop the pandemic, when, in fact, it freely promotes its military maneuvers in the region, which go unnoticed by the mainstream media, strongly focused on covering the viral tragedy. In addition, Tel Aviv’s own collaboration to control COVID-19 in the region seems extremely limited. The blocking measures made it impossible, for example, for doctors from the “Physicians for Human Rights” (an Israeli NGO that serves Palestinians free of charge) to move alongside the West Bank, clearly hampering medical care in the region.

Mention should also be made of the fact that Israel, not Palestine, is the major focus of infections by the new coronavirus in the region. Israel has already more than 1.000 officially reported cases of the disease, in addition to one death, and several suspicions. In contrast, Palestine has around 60 infected people. It is clear from these data that the most stringent containment measures should come exclusively from Ramallah, since the Israeli military presence in the region itself poses a serious risk to Palestinian public health.

According to a survey by the Truman Institute for Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 63% of Israelis say Israel must help Palestinians during the coronavirus crisis. Vered Vinitsky-Serousse, president of the Institute, said that “the majority of Israelis believe that, when necessary, the government should devise preventive measures to help Palestinians during the Covid-19 epidemic.” The big problem, however, is how these joint maneuvers are conducted. Perhaps the first step to be taken in establishing joint measures is the definitive and immediate end to military incursions in the region, which constantly bring insecurity and terror to the Palestinian people.

The situation of tensions in the region must still be read in the context of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, the “peace” proposal for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians announced by American President Donald Trump. The “agreement” was celebrated unilaterally by the Washigton-Tel Aviv axis, with no participation of Palestinians, which is why it was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. The document foresaw the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, leaving around 70% of the region under Palestinian rule – a figure much lower than that proposed by all previous attempts to resolve the conflict. Everything indicates that Israel will not stop its attempts to occupy that territory as much as possible.

It is in this context that the “joint” actions between Israelis and Palestinians must be analyzed with skepticism and suspicion. Are these pandemic containment measures really good, even when behind them the Israeli army expands its occupation in the region with increasingly aggressive incursions? Also, to what extent does Palestine benefit from the help of these joint actions when Israel has an absurdly greater number of infected people? Would Israel be able to help the Palestinians? Or would that aid be a mask for such military incursions? All of these are valid questions.

It is also worth remembering that a few weeks ago, at the end of February, Israel announced the construction of more than 2.000 new settlements in Palestinian territories – and on the same occasion, Netanyahu authorized the construction of other 7.000 units in the East Jerusalem region. These data mean that Israel’s aggressiveness against the Palestinians was increasing recently. Did this aggression really disappear from Tel Aviv’s plans in the face of a “commotion” with public health in Palestine (which is much better than the situation in Israel)? Perhaps, the mainstream media and Human Rights observers should divide their attention between the coronavirus and the conflict in Palestine, before more serious clashes erupt.

Pompeo Warns ICC Against Investigating US/Israeli War Crimes

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Since established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the International Criminal Court never held the US, other Western nations, or Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity.

Only their victims were prosecuted, falsely blamed for the highest of high crimes committed against them by the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners.

For nearly two decades, the ICC operated solely as imperial tool — continuing the same agenda today unless it goes another way for justice never pursued before.

It’s hard taking seriously chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announced probes into whether Israel and the US committed war crimes in Occupied Palestine and Afghanistan respectively.

The former probe was announced in December, the latter one in early March — whitewash twice over their likely outcomes if conducted.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems militantly oppose revealing anything that exposes high crimes committed by the state and those of its imperial allies, notably Israel.

Last December, Pompeo slammed the ICC, saying:

“We firmly oppose…any…action that seeks to target Israel unfairly (sic),” adding:

“We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state (sic), and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC (sic).”

Despite a rap sheet of nearly 75 years of high crimes of war, against humanity, and other abuses of international law, Israel was never held accountable — what’s long overdue.

The State of Palestine exists as a PLO-represented UN observer state.

More importantly, the PLO  adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 — drafted by Law Professor Francis Boyle, its legal advisor at the time.

He explained that Palestinian statehood is “determinative, definitive, and irreversible,” adding:

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) as the PLO’s legislative body is empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. 

Bensouda said she’s “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” adding:

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by Israeli forces, evidence indicating they engaged in disproportionate attacks, “willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health…and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.”

In response to a proposed ICC investigation of US war crimes in Afghanistan, Pompeo said the Trump regime “will not tolerate…attempts to investigate or prosecute Americans,” adding:

“I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel.”

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will permitted to enter the United States.”

“We’re prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change its course.”

Perhaps the Trump regime will invade or terror-bomb the court and/or assassinate its prosecutors if they dare investigate and pronounce the US or Israel guilty of high crimes the world community knows both countries committed time and again.

In response to Pompeo’s March remarks, an ICC statement said the court “will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law” — what it never did before so the claim is dubious at best.

In response to Israeli AG Mendelblit’s objection to an ICC investigation of Netanyahu regime war crimes, falsely claiming it has no jurisdiction over Israeli actions, B’Tselem responded as follows:

Mendelblit falsely claimed that there’s no Palestinian state or occupation.

He “conveniently ignor(ed) the facts on the ground, the principles of international law, and the declared positions of the international community,” adding: 

“He glosse(d) over more than 52 years in which Israel has kept the West Bank and Gaza Strip under a cruel, violent occupation regime, transforming the area completely.” 

“Palestinian space is now fragmented into isolated units in which Palestinians live without political rights or any real control over their lives – which are run by various Israeli authorities.”

He also turned reality on its head, claiming Israel and Palestinians negotiate in good faith — what never occurred since Israel’s 1947-48 war of aggression, stealing 78% of historic Palestine.

In June 1967, it took the rest extrajudicially — thereafter seizing Palestinian-owned land dunum by dunum, the process continuing until there’s nothing left but isolated/worthless scrubland, surrounded by Israeli security forces and hostile settlers.

B’Tselem: Israeli regime officials admitted that they do not “view the occupation as temporary and intend to cement control over the Palestinians while dispossessing them of land and rights” — what’s been ongoing since 1947.

Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015. They’re entitled to petition the court to investigate Israeli high crimes too egregious to ignore.

B’Tselem: Throughout Jewish state history, its regimes “enjoyed total immunity regarding its actions in the Occupied Territories.” 

“Domestically, not a single person has paid a significant price for these actions thanks to the almost blanket criminal and civil immunity Israel accords itself.” 

“Internationally, (virtually nothing) has been done to compel Israel to change its policies,” nothing to hold its war criminals accountable for Nuremberg-level high crimes. 

“Instead, (the Jewish state) enjoys generous financial benefits and international legitimacy. Israel is now railing against the prospect of actually being held accountable for some of its crimes.”

B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad said the following:

“Israel’s attempt to clutch at formalistic straws to evade the ICC’s jurisdiction is shameful.” 

“Since Palestine joined the Rome Statute, it has the right to demand an investigation into the situation there.” 

“Palestine…is under Israeli occupation, whose crimes the ICC has the jurisdiction – and responsibility – to investigate.” 

“We hope the Court will make the right decision, sustain the (chief) prosecutor’s position, and decide: indeed it has jurisdiction – and there will be an investigation.”

If Bensouda is serious about investigating and holding Israel and the US accountable for their high crimes of war and against humanity, she should pursue her mandate in both cases expeditiously without restraint.

It never happened before and most likely won’t seek accountability and justice ahead  against the US and Israel — no matter how grievous their indisputable high crimes.

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