Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine Is Not History – It’s Still Happening — Astute News

Speculation over the White House’s “Middle East peace plan” continues to dominate media coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, the latest example coming with the announcement of a Bahrain-hosted “workshop” in June to encourage investment in the Palestinian economy. With the exception of the Gaza Strip, however – and then only partially and selectively – minimal attention is being […]

via Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine Is Not History – It’s Still Happening — Astute News

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Netanyahu Took Trump to New Heights of Global Tension and Dropped Him

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

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Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed he personally convinced the US president Donald Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA agreement, and wished Iran to “disappear with the help of God”. Israel is much more experienced in dealing with the Middle East than the current US president and his entire team in this administration. Even if Israel itself was not convinced, they evidently managed to convince the Americans that a show of US “superior force with the will to use it” would compel Iran to back off and submit to the US 12 conditions dictated by Secretary Pompeo, as Israel’s former Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon said would happen. Israel, the instigator of this strategy that has been refuted by two clear messages from Iran and its allies– is nonetheless coming out unharmed by this rhetorical escalation. Trump seems the only loser, waiting by the phone that is not expected to ring.

It is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s belligerence which obliges Iran to take a strong stand; Netanyahu has boasted that his influence led Trump to give him the Syrian Golan Heights, move the US embassy to Jerusalem, give Jerusalem to Netanyahu, and to revoke the JCPOA deal with Iran. He is also very likely behind the 12 conditions Trump seeks to impose on Iran since, unlike the inept US administration, the Israelis know well that Iran cannot accept them. The US president has sabotaged the peace process and squandered the position of his country as a mediator between the Palestinians and Israel.

When Netanyahu asked Trump to give him all these gifts, the US president did not hesitate to save the Israeli prime minister from criminal prosecution for fraud and breach of trust to boost his re-election and give him what doesn’t belong to him!

And now it is Iran’s turn to be in the US frying pan. Nevertheless, it seems things haven’t turned out the way Trump planned. His own image has been damaged, but not that of Netanyahu, who has instructed his cabinet to keep silent and stay out of the Iran-US contention. The Israeli Prime Minister can wash his hands of the US non-act of war against Iran and watch in silence, keeping Israel out of the Iran-US tensions as though he were far from being involved. He is trying to pretend that the ongoing bras-de-fer between the US and Iran and Trump’s retreat after the al-Fujairah and Aramco attacks have nothing to do with him.

Netanyahu’s military officers are mistaken to believe “Iran has an unsettled account with the Israeli Army because it has delivered several hits (in Syria) to which Tehran has not had the chance to retaliate”. Here again, Israel is far from understanding the Iranian mode of action: In February 2018, Iran shot down an F-16 bombing Syria. Iran delivered to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad the most efficient Kornet, the anti-tank laser-guided missiles and the technology to fire destructive long-range missiles from Gaza. It is arming Hezbollah with the most sophisticated anti-ship, anti-air, surface-to-surface missiles for possible use against Israel oil platforms and harbors and is spending billions to maintain the strength of its allies: Hezbollah, Iraqi non-state actors, the Syrian government, and the Houthis in Yemen, to name but a few.

But from where does Hezbollah derive its legitimate presence and survival? The answer is simple: from Israel’s wars and its violation of Lebanon’s sea, territory, and airspace. Israel is still occupying the Shebaa farms and Kfarshouba, disputing Lebanon’s territorial waters, and it continues to assassinate Hezbollah leaders. Hezbollah would have nothing to do if Israel opted for peace.

In Syria, Moshe Yaalon (former Israel defense minister) says Israel would rather have ISIS on its borders than Assad and Iran. Trump has given Israel a gift, the Syrian Golan, that belongs to neither country. It has bombed the Syrian Army and its allies that were fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda. Assad was negotiating peace with Israel in exchange for land in 2010, as his father did before him. Netanyahu refuses peace, logically enough since the alternative is to manipulate Trump and collect gifts from him, including all of Jerusalem.

If Israel wanted to end the raison d’être of Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and all the non-state actors around it, it could start by implementing the Oslo accords as a first step, recognizing a state of Palestine, as the Palestinians recognized a state of Israel. A next step would be to return the Lebanese and Syrian territories to their owners (President Hafez Assad and his son Bashar were both prepared to sign a peace deal with Israel in exchange for this land) and to refrain from bombing (Israel acknowledges it has bombed over 200 targets in Syria) and violating its neighbours’ sea and airspace (daily violation of Lebanese sovereignty). Then Iran would have no need to build up a necklace of states and non-state allies in the Middle East.

And last but not least, Israel seems to be behind the intelligence misinformation provided to the US, indicating that Iran “is moving missiles by boat”, speeding up the US sending of additional forces to the Middle East. Nevertheless, the US had to find a way out of this seemingly “false flag”, because it says now that “Iran has unloaded missiles from its small boat” to ease the tension.

Iran is unwilling to give Trump an easy escape from the climate of tension he and his team have created. Netanyahu is keeping quiet to avoid criticism from the US, since he is clearly the one who pushed Trump towards confrontation with Iran.

Tehran is aware of the Israeli sabotage and manipulation of the current US administration to its advantage. Trump’s lack of knowledge in foreign affairs and his eagerness to be re-elected in 2020 are allowing Netanyahu to pull him around by the nose. The Iranian leader of the revolution never trusted either the US or Europe to keep their commitments to the JCPOA.

“The US will never keep its promises and the EU is an acolyte of the US. You shall get nothing from them” Sayyed Khamenei told president Rouhani when he signed off the JCPOA deal with the Obama administration – according to a high Iranian official – who, after a few years, agreed with his “Rahbar” (the supreme leader of the revolution).

Israel’s Mossad provided the US with false intelligence that ballistic missiles were being carried on wooden boats, as though Iran doesn’t have enough deserts and places to hide its missiles. Incredibly enough, the Mossad was believed.

This is just one illustration of Israel’s power to manipulate the US government into a lose-lose scenario, while Israel can only win-win. The US will lose prestige from backing down, but will lose much more if it is backed into a senseless and catastrophic war. The 12 demands Netanyahu has persuaded the US to make on Iran are impossible for Iran to comply with, as Israel well knows. If Iran were to submit, it would be a victory for Israel. If not, the US will try to go to war or will impose more sanctions—both beneficial to Israel’s position. Israel can push the US to a confrontation and push Iran to its limits because Netanyahu has nothing to lose in a situation where the US military assumes the risks of his reckless strategy; Israel has no skin in the game. It is Trump confronting the Iranians not Netanyahu. Israel can sit back, eat popcorn, and watch events unfold. It will consider itself the winner whatever the consequences. Israel’s influence over Trump’s incompetent administration is the greatest threat to peace today.

Israel’s War Criminals In Their Own Words — Astute News

Israel’s public face, sustained and propagated by a wealthy and powerful diaspora that has significant control over the media, insists that the country is the Middle East’s only true democracy, that is operates under a rule of law for all its citizens and that its army is the “most moral in the world.” All of […]

via Israel’s War Criminals In Their Own Words — Astute News

Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

By  Whitney Webb
Source

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For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrestsmade in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

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According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

The FOIA release of the photos is notable because responses to prior FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014. The photos themselves are heavily redacted, making it impossible to see the Israelis’ facial expressions. However, previously declassified yet heavily redacted FBI reports state that the Israelis are “visibly happy” in nearly every photo, even when the burning towers are in the background. The photos released are also not original copies and instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the original pictures. In addition, of the original 76 pictures developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.

However, three of these photos — despite the heavy redaction and poor quality — are damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Times reportfrom November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection — whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 ‘01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates.

While this could be explained away as the camera in question being programmed with a slightly inaccurate date, that doesn’t seem to be the case for two reasons. First, only two out of the 14 pictures carry that date and, second, previously declassified FBI reports report an eyewitness adamantly stating that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on September 10, 2001 at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language, and had identified himself as a “construction worker” to a tenant (page 61 of declassified FBI report).

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In addition, the FBI report noted that a van from Urban Moving Systems, the company that employed the five Israelis at the time of their arrest, was present and was involved in moving a tenant out of the complex on September 10 and that the movers all had foreign accents. Thus, images 5, 7 and 8 strongly appear to have been taken at the same complex a day before the attacks. Kurzberg is seen in both images that display the visible date of September 10, 2001.

This raises two possibilities. First, that there are two images of Kurzberg with a lit lighter in front of the towers, one taken before the attack and one taken at the time of the attack, and that the FBI released only one of them. Second, that Kurzberg took the picture with the lighter only the day before the attack and his lawyer misrepresented the contents of the photo to the New York Times. Given that the background of the photo — particularly the state of the towers — is indiscernible in the recently released photo, it is difficult to determine which is the case.

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Yet, in either scenario, Kurzberg had simulated the burning of the World Trade Center the day before the attacks took place. That the FBI concluded that Kurzberg was party to a Mossad surveillance operation at the time of his arrest would then suggest that Israeli intelligence also had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Notably, the relevant section of the FBI report that asks “1. Did the Israeli nationals have foreknowledge of the events at WTC and were they filming the events prior to and in anticipation of the explosion?” is redacted in its entirety, suggesting that the FBI did not determine the answer to that question to be an emphatic “no.”

One of the 9/11 loose-ends coverups?

If images 5 and 7 were indeed taken the day prior to the attack, the question then becomes why the FBI officially concluded that the arrested Israelis had no prior knowledge of the attacks? One report from ABC News dated June 2002 suggests that the Bush administration intervened in the investigation. That report states that “Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home [to Israel].” If the Bush administration had cut a deal with Israel’s government to cover up the incident, it certainly would not have been the first time a U.S. presidential administration had done so on Israel’s behalf.

Further evidence that higher-ups in the administration intervened is the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees’ release. Upon his entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft’s first clients.

A cover-up certainly seems to have happened to some extent, between the destruction of records of the investigation and the fact that official conclusions of the investigation do not add up. In the latter case, the FBI  — in a file dated September 24, 2001– officially stated that they “determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.” However, that conclusion was directly contradicted by U.S. officials a year later and by the fact that Israel’s own government subsequently acknowledgedthat the five Israelis had indeed been involved in “clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.”

In addition, the new FOIA release of the photos suggests that another FBI conclusion — that “none of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35-mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack” — was inaccurate. This may explain why the images released via the recent FOIA request were heavily edited leaving details in the background greatly obscured, making it impossible to determine whether the photos were taken prior to or during the attacks based solely on the state of the towers.

“Tourists” with cash-stuffed socks, box cutters, and explosives?

Beyond the photos and observed activities of the so-called “Dancing Israelis,” it is worth revisiting several other suspicious circumstances linked to their arrest that clearly show that the men in question were hardly the “tourists” they had claimed to be. One often cited example is the fact that one of the men, Oded Ellner, had a “white sock-like sack filled with $4,700 in cash,” as well as maps of the city with certain places highlighted, and box cutters. In addition, the van in which the Israelis were arrested was “oddly” lacking “equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties,” according to the FBI, and residue of explosives was found in the van.

Of the explosive residue, the declassified FBI report states:

A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.”

In total, the FBI reported that four items related to explosives were found in the ban and are labeled in the report as “Fabric Sample (Explosive Residue),” “Control Swabs – SA [ – ] Gloves,” “Control Swabs – (Bomb Suits),” and “Blanket Samples For Explosive Residue.” In addition, a VHS tape and some still photographs found in the van “were sent to Laboratory Examiner [ redacted ] (Explosives Unit).”

In addition to the strange nature of some of the Israelis’ possessions in the van and on their person, the company that employed them — Urban Moving Systems — was of special interest to the FBI, which concluded that the company was likely a “fraudulent operation.” Upon a search of the company’s premises, the FBI noted that “little evidence of a legitimate business operation was found.” The FBI report also noted that there were an “unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business” and that “further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”

The FBI presence at the Urban Moving Systems search site drew the attention of the local media and was later reported on both television and in the local press. A former Urban Moving Systems employee later contacted the Newark Division with information indicating that he had quit his employment with Urban Moving Systems as a result of the high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees. The former employee stated that an Israeli employee of Urban had even once remarked, “Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country” (page 37 of the FBI report).

The FBI returned to search the premises of Urban Moving Systems a month later, but by that time found:

The building and all of its contents had been abandoned by…the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001.”

The company’s owner — Dominik Otto Suter, an Israeli citizen — had fled to Israel on September 14, 2001, two days after he had been questioned by the FBI. The FBI told ABC Newsthat “Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” Surprisingly, since at least 2016, Suter has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works for a contractor for major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. According to the public records database Intelius, in 2006 and 2007 Suter also worked for a telecommunications company — Granite Telecommunications — that works for the U.S. military and several other U.S. government agencies.

In addition to Urban Moving Systems, another moving company, Classic International Movers, became of interest in connection with the investigation into the “Dancing Israelis,” which led to the arrest and detention of four Israeli nationals who worked for this separate moving company. The FBI’s Miami Division had alerted the Newark Division that Classic International Movers was believed to have been used by one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers before the attack, and one of the “Dancing Israelis” had the number for Classic International Movers written in a notebook that was seized at the time of his arrest. The report further states that one of the Israelis of Classic International Movers who was arrested “was visibly disturbed by the Agents’ questioning regarding his personal email account.”

A crowded dance floor

While the case of the “Dancing Israelis” has long been treated as an outlier in the aftermath of September 11, what is often overlooked is the fact that hundreds of Israeli nationals were arrested in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to a FOX News report from December 2001, 60 Israelis were apprehended or detained after September 11, with most deported, and a total of 140 Israelis were arrested and detained in all of 2001 by federal authorities. That report claimed that the arrests, ostensibly including the “Dancing Israelis,” were in relation to an investigation of “an organized [Israeli] intelligence gathering operation designed to ‘penetrate government facilities.’”

The report also added that most of those arrested, in addition to having served in the IDF, had “intelligence expertise” and worked for Israeli companies that specialized in wiretapping. Some of those detained were also active members of the Israeli military; and several detainees, including the “Dancing Israelis,” had failed polygraph tests when asked if they had been surveilling the U.S. government.

A key aspect of that report, compiled by journalist Carl Cameron, also states that federal investigators widely suspected that Israeli intelligence had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks. In the report, Cameron stated:

The Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’ but when asked for details he flatly refused to describe them saying: ‘Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.’”

One exchange between Cameron and host Brit Hume included in the report is particularly telling:

HUME: “Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?”

CAMERON: “Well it’s very explosive information obviously and there is a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It’s more when they put it all together a big question they say is, ‘How could they have not known?’ — almost a direct quote, Brit.”

9/11 as a big — and acknowledged — Israeli win

If the “Dancing Israelis”, and more broadly the Mossad and the Israeli government, had foreknowledge of September 11, why would they remain silent and not attempt to warn the American government or public of the coming attacks? In the case of the “Dancing Israelis,” why would Israelis celebrate such an attack?

One of the detained “Dancing Israelis,” Omer Marmari, told police the following about why he viewed the September 11 attacks in a positive light:

Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country.”

While Marmari’s statement may suggest one reason some of the “Dancing Israelis” were so “visibly happy” in their photographs, there are also other statements made by top Israeli politicians that suggest why the Israeli government and its intelligence agency declined to act on apparent foreknowledge of the attack.

When asked, on the day of the 9/11 attacks, how the attacks would affect American-Israeli relations, Benjamin Netanyahu — the current Israeli prime minister — told the New York Timesthat “It’s very good,” before quickly adding “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He then predicted, much as Marmari had, that the attacks would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Netanyahu, in a candid conversation recorded in 2001, also echoed Marmari’s claim that Americans are naïve. In that recording, Netanyahu said:

I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction. … They won’t get in our way. They won’t get in our way… 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

In addition, also on the day of the September 11 attacks, Netanyahu — who at the time was not in political office — held a press conference in which he claimed that he had predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center by “militant Islam” in his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism. In that book, Netanyahu had posited that Iranian-linked “militants” would set off a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.

During his press conference on the day of the attacks, Netanyahu also asserted that the 9/11 attacks would be a turning point for America and compared them to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Netanyahu’s statement echoes the infamous line from the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document authored by the neoconservative think tank, the Project for a New Ameican Century (PNAC). That line reads. “Further, the process of transformation [towards a neo-Reaganite foreign policy and hyper-militarism], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Then again, years later In 2008, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu had stated that the September 11 attacks had greatly benefited Israel. He was quoted as saying: “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”

Indeed, it goes without saying that the aftermath of 9/11 — which involved the U.S. leading a destructive effort throughout the Middle East — has indeed benefited Israel. Many of the U.S.’ post-9/11 “nation-building” efforts have notably mirrored the policy paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which was authored by American neoconservatives — PNAC members among them — for Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.

That document calls for the creation of a “New Middle East” by, among other things, “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” As is known now, both of those main objectives have since come to pass, each with strong Israeli involvement.

Illegal Israeli Squats Given False Legitimacy By Western Travel Companies — Rebel Voice

Let’s get this straight. The new cities, towns and villages in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights that have been built for Zionists are illegal under international law. They are referred to as ‘Settlements’ by the MSM. But that is being too kind. They are ‘Squats’ containing squatters upon the land of […]

via Illegal Israeli Squats Given False Legitimacy By Western Travel Companies — Rebel Voice

The Enemy Is Not Resistance

By Stanley L.Cohen
Source

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The Islamic Resistance Movement began more than thirty years ago at an historical moment in time which it knew to be fraught with absolute peril for their people. The founders of this national liberation struggle examined the overwhelming military capabilities of Israel, fostered by its global superpower sponsor, the United States. They looked at Israel’s expansionist programs–the Zionist project of illegal settlements erasing their homes and villages, dispossessing mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers–and at the failure of the international community to stop them.  They  knew then that within a generation Palestinians would lose it all –their motherland and patrimony and their nation–leaving them homeless captives to the whims of another man’s door.  In that moment, resistance was not a lifestyle choice or a revolutionary pose. It was existential necessity, just as it is now.

Everything Hamas predicted then has come to pass. Here, a generation later, it should take no comfort reminding the world that they were right in their analysis. Israel has grown only stronger and more rapacious, more intransigent and murderous in its deeds.  Its “democracy” did not save it from becoming a racist, apartheid state presiding over a military occupation of millions of Palestinians. Israel’s policy of creating “facts on the ground”– that is, the illegal settlement project – has transitioned from a de facto expulsion and annexation policy into a de jure one, as its prime minister calls for the removal of Palestinians and the annexation of the West Bank, and the American president and congress pre-emptively applaud the crime-to-be. The Golan Heights–sovereign territory of another nation– is now Israel’s by force, cynically annexed, while Syria struggles in the throes of war.  And Jerusalem (al Quds) is ringed by new, fortified suburbs and restricted highways demolishing Palestinian neighborhoods and cutting off their city from them. America now calls Jerusalem Israel’s capital–in direct violation of international law. Since 1967, successive U.S. administrations have told Palestinians to trust in their good faith as brokers of a just peace.  This has been a lie, as Hamas anticipated then, America was running cover, a stalling tactic, for the slow-motion destruction of Palestinian national aspirations.  Tragically, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed and maimed and many more imprisoned by Israeli state violence since Hamas began. The international community has done little to stop the monstrous crime unfolding.

Palestinians were right to resist then. The world surely can see that now.  The tragedy of retrospection should, at the very least, accord Palestinians their due: resistance is morally right, history has proven it so.  Yet, even last month, in the pages of America’s official paper of record, the New York Times, the U.S. administration through its craven spokesman Jason Greenblatt, a Zionist real estate lawyer from New York, charged with shepherding the “peace process” for the President as the Special Representative for International Negotiations, heaps insult upon injury, twisting history and recent events in a grotesque parody of a policy statement, adopting the Likud Party platform as the publicly declared U.S. position. None of us should be surprised by the falsifications in the Trump Administration’s official pronouncements. It has proven itself, after all, to be a presidency built on lying.  Yet only the most gullible American readers could possibly believe its juvenile “blame Hamas” refrain.

Hamas did not create the thirteen-year siege of Gaza, cutting Palestinians off from the world.  It did not commence any of the three wars launched by Israel against Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014 or it’s countless other attacks and outrages since. It did not destroy their industries, their water treatment plant, their power generation, their hospitals, houses, mosques, schools, television stations and roads–Israeli missiles and bombs did that.  Hamas does not keep two million people penned in an open-air prison, with a prison economy in tatters–Israel does that.  The cynicism of the Administration’s statement is unparalleled: “The countries of the world have attempted to help the people of Gaza,” but their good works have been destroyed by Hamas, according to the Special Representative.  Perhaps he had in mind the post-Oslo airport, built by multinational leadership, attacked in 2001 by Israeli air forces, with its runways bulldozed by Israel a few years later?  Or the catastrophic damage wrought upon the water system by Israeli air strikes during Operation Cast Lead in 2008?  Or the extensive bombing of the sanitation system in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012? Or Gaza’s only power plant, attacked in 2006, 2008 and finally leveled by Israeli missiles in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge?  All of these key infrastructure projects, indeed, were funded by international donors, but destroyed by American jet planes, flown by the Israeli armed forces. Empty-headed slogans, scribbled by a huckster and moral fraud that has no more business posing as a diplomat than he does as a man of sincere religious belief, cannot smother the truth. The continuing tragedy of Gaza, indeed, all of Palestine, is not so easy to conceal… and Palestinian resistance continues. There is no choice.

Israel daily blocks some 650 basic goods from entry to the Gaza Strip for alleged “security” reasons, including medicines, hospital equipment and even some types of baby formula.  Israel denies fishing nets to Gaza’s fishermen, or materials to repair boats. Infrastructure materials– from pumping equipment to water and sanitation piping, to electrical supplies and cement– are all but forbidden.  Communication supplies and the technology of the internet (server and switching equipment) are embargoed, leaving Gaza lagging behind in poverty and despair, cut off from the world.  A United Nations-approved system instituted after the cease-fire in 2014 exists for monitoring so-called “dual use” materials, yet, Israel continues to ignore it as it stifles the free flow of goods needed to rebuild Gaza… in a deliberate policy of attrition.  Hundreds of Palestinians die annually, per the World Health Organization, because they cannot travel for medical treatment and the health care infrastructure and supply chain is destroyed.

Gaza suffers, but not because of Hamas and its administration. Hamas has done everything in its power to spare the Palestinian people in Gaza the devastating effects of the Israeli siege. It opened the doors wide to facilitate international support reaching Gaza’s residents. It accepted that infrastructure and public health projects should be implemented under full international supervision in coordination with government agencies. It has sought to ensure the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will be open in both directions as an alternative to the dehumanizing caged passageway at Beit Hanoun (Erez). It has worked in coordination with the United Nations and Egypt to reach understandings that can achieve calm with the occupation and avoid escalation, a step on the road to lifting the siege and alleviating the hardships facing the people in Gaza.

At the strategic political level, Hamas has made great efforts to bring about Palestinian reconciliation, achieve unity, end the division and form an internationally recognized Palestinian unity government. But these efforts have been thwarted by the American veto and Israeli sabotage. Moreover, Hamas has worked with all its Palestinian partners to reach a consensus and internationally recognized formula on the national vision,  in order to find a way out of the current crisis, as expressed most recently in May 2017, wherein it again accepted a state configured upon the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, while simultaneously preserving the right of return for the millions in the Palestinian Diaspora.

Hamas is a national liberation movement, democratically elected by a majority of Palestinians in 2006 under the watchful eye of the world community. At its core it promotes and fights for the fundamental right of Palestinian self-determination fueled by full equality, independence and return. It does not embrace gratuitous violence. Nor, however, does it leave the people of Gaza defenseless at the mercy of an occupation force that has proven itself unworthy of trust and unwilling to exercise even a modicum of respect for international law. A long settled tenet of that law is the right of the occupied to engage in resistance, that includes armed struggle.  Palestinians continue to resist legally. They do not owe their occupier passive surrender.

Not long ago, Israel sent an assassination-squad surreptitiously into Gaza to kill Palestinian leaders. In the weeks since, it has repeatedly attacked civilian targets and infrastructure. It has been met by Palestinian defensive measures; and Israel responds, predictably, with F-16 attacks and tank shelling throughout Gaza, killing some two dozen including three children and two pregnant women, one who was clutching her 14 month old in her arms as both perished.  More than a hundred and fifty other civilians were wounded over several days of Israeli attacks. Almost a thousand civilian housing units, schools and businesses were damaged or destroyed. This latest assault does not yet have an operational name to sell it to the world–marketing Israel’s “bravery” narrative–but surely they’ll think of something catchy to disguise the carnage.

This past year, the Palestinian people, with all its factions and vital forces, including Hamas, took part in peaceful demonstrations… as affirmed by UN monitoring, along the separation fence at the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, demanding the lifting of the siege on Gaza and the right of return. How did the occupation respond?   With live ammunition and sniper fire intended to kill and maim.  Approximately 280 Palestinians have died and more than 28,000 have been wounded during this time, many of whom will live the rest of their lives disabled.  Not one Israeli on the other side was killed because of the demonstrations.   These protests also persist on a smaller scale in the West Bank where Israel continues to steal Palestinian land, destroy Palestinian homes and imprison Palestinian women and children at a pace second to none.

To the Greenblatts and Trumps and their Zionist choir, no amount of campaign sloganeering in puerile public statements can rewrite the palpable facts of Israeli aggression and its deadly occupation or recast Hamas from a lawful indigenous defense force into a mercenary political outlier.   Nor can the soon to come US “deal of the century” entice millions of Palestinians to surrender an age-old history and tradition to the cheap ring of a common real estate cash box.

Hamas is no rogue militant group, with anonymous, shadowy operators.  It will not disappear or shirk its leadership responsibility.  It remains an authentic and powerful part of the Palestinian experience, for over thirty years, much older than some of the current Israeli political parties in the Knesset. While many of its founders, all those years ago, have been killed by Israel, Hamas continues to speak on behalf of the dignity and hope of millions of Palestinians worldwide. Like them, it carries the kindle of resilience and self-determination of a People rendered stateless but neither hopeless nor powerless by a European colonial project. Like them, it will not cease to exist or fade into silence.

Deal of the Century Adds “New” to the Four Thousand Year Old Name “Palestine”

By Miko Peled
Source

JERUSALEM, PALESTINE — Nakba Day — the day when Palestinians commemorate the destruction of their country and the mass killing and forced eviction of their people — is coming up, and with each passing day, another disturbing story unfolds.

Perhaps the most disturbing story so far is the plan to present Palestine with a new name, “New Palestine.” This, according to a rumored leak, is what Donald Trump and Jared Kushner are going to present to an anticipating world as part of the so-called “Deal of the Century.”

Also according to the leak, aside from a demand for Palestinians to accept a new name as part of the “Deal of the Century” — forgoing the name “Palestine,” which has been used to describe their land since the Bronze Age — the Palestinian people will have to accept that their heritage and their history will be erased and their land will be taken away for good. In other words, what Palestinians are going to receive, according to the leak, is a new name but no country, and they will be expected to accept this or else they will be denied access to foreign aid, not only from the U.S. but other countries as well.

From elections to Gaza to Independence Day

Things move fast on the Israeli side of occupied Palestine. Israel recently held elections, then — within a few weeks and before a new government was even formed — Israel lashed out with a deadly attack on Gaza. Then, Israel recognized a few solemn days, the first one Holocaust Remembrance Day and the second, a day to commemorate Israeli soldiers who had fallen in battle. Then Israelis were off to celebrate “Israeli Independence.”

On the Palestinian side, no sooner does one tragedy end than a second one follows, no time for the fresh blood on the ground to dry before more is spilled. The lovely face of 16-year-old Fatima Hijazi, shot by an Israeli sniper, is still fresh in people’s hearts when more, even younger casualties are reported. Palestinians go from mourning to mourning with no end in sight.

Over the past several years, a new phenomenon has risen, a joint memorial service where Israelis and Palestinians join together to commemorate their fallen loved ones. While the idea of such an event may seem appealing to some, the moral equivalency it tries to create between the victims of the violence and those who lost their lives while perpetuating the violence is troubling. However, in the political climate that now exists among Israelis, this is considered progressive. While this event was permitted to proceed, right-wing gangs came by to protest the initiative and lashed out with obscenities at the participants: “Sons of whores, may God take all of you stinking lefties! Death to Arabs!” and on and on.

Celebrating independence

A custom that can only be described as insensitive, if not outright cruel, and which has been in place since Palestine was destroyed, is the celebration of Israeli independence. Just as Israeli elections were held on the day that Palestinians commemorate the massacre at Deir Yassin, Israel callously celebrates a day of independence at the same time as Palestinians mourn the loss of their country.

The apartheid regime we know as “Israel” was built on the very ruins of Palestine and imposed a brutal regime on those who still live in their country. Millions of Palestinians still languish in refugee camps in and around Palestine, yet Israel and its allies around the world celebrate.

Israel Memorial Day

Israelis are not the indigenous people of Palestine. What we know today as “Israelis” are people who came to colonize mostly during the time of the British Mandate in Palestine, and they did so largely with the assistance of the British government. The British mandate over Palestine, which was, in reality, an occupation of the country, facilitated the creation of the Zionist apartheid regime in Palestine. The Jews who came to colonize and settle in Palestine were never oppressed or occupied; in fact, they were privileged. The Jewish settlements in Palestine had services like running water and electricity long before many of the Palestinian communities did, and they were assisted by the British in every possible way.

The biblical Zionist narrative

The name “New Palestine” becomes even more absurd in light of the fact that the name Palestine was, “first documented in the late Bronze Age, about 3,200 years ago.” Furthermore, according to a new book by historian Nur Masalha, “the name Palestine is the conventional name used between 450 B.C. and 1948 A.D. to describe the geographical region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.” These quotes are from Masalha’s Palestine, A Four Thousand Year History, published by Zed Books in 2018.

Palestine: A Four Thousand Year HistoryMasalha — professor of history at the London University School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS — takes on the difficult task of seriously, scientifically, and one may add successfully, challenging the prevailing narrative regarding Palestine. This is clearly no simple feat but it is one in which the historian Masalha succeeds in a manner that is both admirable and convincing.

Unfortunately, odds are neither Jared Kushner or Benjamin Netanyahu — the two men who are most likely to be behind the “New Palestine” and the “Deal of the Century” — will ever read this important history book. Revealing, as it does, aspects of Palestinian history that Zionists would prefer remain in the dark, Masalha’s book is essential reading. Until the history of Palestine is told and the cruel reality in which Palestinians live today is exposed, Palestine will never be free.

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