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

By Mico Peled


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


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.

Imagining Return: Palestinians in Jordan’s Sprawling Refugee Camps Still Yearn for Home

B Miko Peled


Amman, Jordan — Abna’a Gaza (the Children of Gaza) is a status given to Palestinian refugees who fled from the Gaza Strip to Jordan in 1967. They fled during the 1967 war and consequent Israeli occupation of Gaza. Today, over five decades later, these Palestinians who originally fled to Gaza from their homes in greater Palestine in 1948 number 150,000. They remain mostly in camps, unable to leave, unable to work except for menial labor, with no access to healthcare and with no formal national identity.

The Larger Refugee Issue

Israel and the various other Zionist institutions have always claimed that the refugee problem has nothing to do with them. They offer all sorts of stories to explain the flight of close to one million Palestinians from their homes and land. Still, all the obfuscation in the world cannot change the fact that Zionist militias forced Palestinians out of Palestine in an attempt to establish a state with a clear – if not an absolute – Jewish majority.

In cities like Tabariya and Safad, in the north, in large stretches of land in the Naqab in the south, and in West Jerusalem, which became the capital city of Israel, the ethnic cleansing was so complete that not even one Palestinian family remained.

Now, over seven decades later, the Palestinian refugee population is estimated at around five million people. Banned from returning to their lands and homes, they live in squalor in refugee camps that quite often are only a few short miles from their original homes.

The Gaza Camp

Lying in Jordan’s rolling northern hills, Jerash is said to be one of the best kept ancient Roman cities outside of Italy. Much of the ancient ruins are still intact and they are an incredible sight to see. A few short miles from Jerash, however, lies the Palestinian refugee camp, Gaza Camp. It is an equally incredible sight to behold but for completely different reasons.

I visited the Gaza Camp for the first time in 2013 and then again in February 2020 and though some small changes were visible. By and large, the living conditions and the abject poverty remain the same. Forty thousand people live in this particular camp, which sits on about a quarter of a square mile.

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

The camp residents are all Abna’a Ghaza, an Arabic phrase meaning the sons of Gaza. All were turned into refugees in 1948 and sent to resettle in Gaza. Then, in 1967, they fled as Israeli forces occupied Gaza and were settled in this camp, where to this day they are forced to live this impossible reality.

During my visit to Gaza Camp, I visited the home of Umm Mohammed. She lives in a small house with several rooms with her children and grandchildren. The house is made of cinder block and tin and is freezing cold. The children run around barefoot and resources are scarce. The local camp school has six thousand students who attend in two shifts. The boys and girls take turns, each month switching shifts.

Umm Mohammad hails from a village near the city of Bir-a-Saba in the Naqab Desert. Today, the city is called Be’er Sheva and the desert has been renamed the Negev. Some say that in Jordan alone there are close to one million refugees from the city of Bir-a-Saba. Umm Mohamad was 13 in 1948 when Zionist forces expelled her family. “I was 13,” she recounted, “we left on a caravan of camels.” She went on to tell us that “the Jews committed a massacre, killing people in their sleep.”

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

Imagining Return

Zochrot means “remembering” in Hebrew. It is also the name of an NGO “working since 2002 to promote acknowledgment and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 and the reconceptualization of the Return as the imperative redress of the Nakba and a chance for a better life for all the country’s inhabitants.”

Zochrot is dedicated to keeping the memories of destroyed Palestinian towns and villages alive by providing information, action on the ground and tours throughout historic Palestine. Zochrot also operates a website chock full of articles, studies, testimony and a wealth of other valuable information on all issues regarding historic Palestine.

The organization recently launched a campaign called “Choosing to remember – voting for return,” to encourage Israeli citizens to remember Palestinian refugee issues during the March 2 Israeli elections. A post made on Zochrot’s Facebook page to promote the campaign (accessible by clicking “see more” on the post’s caption) reads in part:

Tomorrow, Israel’s citizens will vote for the third time within a year. Once again, the most important and critical issues in our lives here are not part of the agenda or platforms of the Zionist parties. Recognizing the Nakba, including the crimes of 1948 and the ongoing Nakba, is not proposed by any party. Recognizing the right of return and a practical plan for the return of refugees are not even discussed.
The political system and society in Israel continue to deny and erase these issues.”

We choose to remember the crimes of the Nakba, remind Israeli society of them and make them visibly present everywhere, at every opportunity, and oppose their erasure. We vote for the return of Palestinian refugees and view this return as an opportunity to liberate ourselves of the colonialist mindset and practices that define Israeli politics.”

As Israel and the United States presented the latest version of a plan to bring Palestinians surrender, known colloquially as the Deal of the Century, the approach of Zochrot presents a real alternative. In the current political climate, discussing the Palestinian right of return in practical terms while demanding it on all political platforms will create the polarization needed to distance those who seek justice and peace from those who wish to continue to spill innocent blood.

Funding Crimes

Jordan’s Gaza camp is no more than an hour’s drive from the country’s border with Palestine. Most, if not all the inhabitants, came from the Naqab. In other words, these refugees could all be home, in their country and on their land in less than a three-hour drive. Israel, of course, would never allow that to happen.

Palestinian refugee camp

Walking through the camp, poverty is rampant. Small projects lie in various states of completion, donated by various NGOs here and there, one to pave a road, another to refurbish the school. One cannot help but think of the four billion dollars the United States gives Israel each year. Israel is a wealthy country and has no need for foreign aid, yet Palestinians in refugee camps are living in abject poverty. Yet the U.S., Germany and other countries constantly contribute to its wealth while ignoring and even perpetuating the poverty inflicted upon Palestinians.

A strong Israeli state has guaranteed that Palestinians remain poor and hopeless. Imagine reversing the roles. Imagine what three or four billion dollars per year could do to repatriate and compensate Palestinian refugees and ensure a better future for all who live in historic Palestine. As the Zochrot slogan says, “Imagine Return.”

ألكسندر دوغين: أيّ حرب كبرى ستؤدي إلى نهاية إسرائيل

(هيثم الموسوي)

سوريا المقابلة 

وليد شرارة 

الخميس 27 شباط 2020

واقعيّة إردوغان ستدفعه إلى التراجع

مقالات مرتبطة

الحلّ في تحالف روسي إيراني سوري تركي يضمّ قوى المقاومة
واشنطن قد تلجأ إلى الاغتيال بعد سابقة سليماني

هل انتهى ما درج البعض على تسميته «الانزياح الاستراتيجي» لتركيا نحو الكتلة الأوراسية بعيداً من الرابطة الأطلسية؟ التورّط المباشر للجيش التركي في معارك الشمال السوري، والتصريحات النارية للمسؤولين في أنقرة، والمواقف الأميركية الودّية تجاه «دولة حليفة»، جميعها عناصر قد تشجّع على الجواب بالإيجاب عن هذا السؤال. غير أن ألكسندر دوغين، المفكر القريب من دوائر صنع القرار في روسيا، وأحد رواد الفكرة «الأوراسية» في هذا البلد، في مرحلة طغى فيها الهوى الغربي على ما عداه بعد سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي، مقتنع بأننا أمام أزمة من الممكن تجاوزها، وهي لن توقف عملية الانزياح المذكورة. الرجل الذي يعرف القيادات التركية جيداً، والذي كشف سابقاً لـ«الأخبار» أنه حذّر الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان من المحاولة الانقلابية التي كانت تُعدّ ضده ساعات قبل وقوعها، يجزم بأن مسار إخراج الولايات المتحدة من الإقليم يتسارع، وأن حسم معركة إدلب خطوة في هذا الاتجاه. لدوغين عشرات المؤلفات، أبرزها: «نحو نظرية للعالم المتعدد الأقطاب»، «نداء أوراسيا»، و«من أجل كتلة تقليدية».

ساهم ألكسندر دوغين، عبر سنوات من التفاعل مع النخب السياسية والعسكرية في تركيا، في الحوار بينها وبين تلك الروسية، والذي أفضى إلى تقارب متزايد بين البلدين في السنوات الأخيرة. لكن التطورات الميدانية الناجمة عن احتدام المعركة في منطقة إدلب والشمال الغربي السوري، والتي تشارك فيها تركيا وروسيا في معسكرين متقابلين، والمواقف الأميركية الصادرة بالتزامن معها والمؤكدة «التضامن الأطلسي» مع تركيا، وكذلك تلك التركية التي طلبت مثل هذا التضامن والدعم، عزّزت الاقتناع بأن مسار التقارب المذكور بين أنقرة وموسكو هشّ وقابل للارتداد.
دوغين، من جهته، يرى أن فهماً أدقّ للوضع الشديد التعقيد الحالي، ولمآلاته المحتملة، يتطلّب إدراكاً لطبيعة «الاستراتيجية العامة الروسية في سوريا، المُوجّهة أساساً ضدّ السيطرة الأحادية الأميركية والأطلسية في هذه المنطقة. الغاية الكبرى لهذه الاستراتيجية هي المساعدة على دخول الشرق الأوسط في عصر التعدّدية القطبية الذي سيتيح لشعوبه أن تقرّر مصيرها ومستقبلها وتحافظ على سيادتها. لا يتعلق الأمر باستبدال النفوذ الأميركي بآخر روسي أو هيمنة أحادية بأخرى. غاية روسيا هي توفير الظروف المناسبة لتشكّل منظومة إقليمية متعدّدة الأقطاب تضمّ الدول والقوى السياسية المناهضة للأحادية الأميركية. في سوريا، سعت روسيا إلى تدمير داعش والقوى المتطرفة المدعومة من السعودية، وبشكل غير مباشر من الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل، والتي كانت بمثابة الوكلاء لهذه الدول، ولدعم سوريا كي تستعيد سيادتها واستقرارها. وفي سبيل ذلك، هي تعاونت مع الدولة السورية والإيرانيين، وتقاربت أيضاً مع تركيا. العمل على كسب تركيا وإبعادها عن المشروع الأميركي هما تحدّيان مهمّان بالنسبة إلى روسيا، لأن نجاحها في تحقيق غايتها المشار إليها سابقاً منوط بهما. ومن الممكن القول إن الإنجازات التي تمّت حتى اليوم على الأرض في سوريا، وكثمرة للتعاون بين روسيا والدولة السورية وإيران، وكذلك للتفاهمات مع تركيا، والتي تؤدّي إلى الخروج التدريجي للأميركيين، كانت ستكون أصعب على التحقيق لولا هذه التفاهمات. لكن لهذه التفاهمات أثمان، ونحن ندفعها اليوم بمعنى ما، لأن لإردوغان التزامات حيال بعض فصائل المعارضة السورية. روسيا تجد نفسها الآن في موقف صعب، لأننا من دون تركيا لن نتمكّن من الوصول إلى غاية إنهاء الهيمنة الأحادية الأميركية على الشرق الأوسط، واستعار المواجهة الدائرة حالياً قد يفضي إلى إعادة النظر في التفاهمات معها. لا أعتقد بأن إردوغان يستطيع الاعتماد على دعم الولايات المتحدة أو القوى الغربية. هؤلاء معادون له، وقد تراجعت العلاقات الاستراتيجية بينهم وبين إردوغان بشكل جدي. هو حالياً يناور لأن من الصعب عليه القبول بالفشل، ويهدّد باللجوء مجدداً إلى حلفاء هم ليسوا كذلك بالنسبة إليه في الواقع. المطلوب هو إقناعه بعقم مثل هذه التكتيكات، وبالاستمرار في مشاركته في بناء منظومة إقليمية جديدة».

الأكلاف الباهظة لأيّ حربٍ ستعني أيضاً نهاية ترامب سياسياً

غير أن مستجدات أخرى، بعضها تركي داخلي وسابق للتصعيد في الشمال السوري، دعمت فرضية محاولة إردوغان إعادة الدفء إلى علاقاته بالأميركيين، ومنها مثلاً إزاحته مجدّداً لعدد من القادة العسكريين المحسوبين على التيار الأوراسي في الجيش التركي، والذين دعموه عندما تعرّض للمحاولة الانقلابية عام 2016. «لا أعتقد بأن هذا التحليل صائب. أنا أعرف جيداً جداً الوضع الداخلي التركي، وحقيقة دعم التيارات القومية العلمانية وقطاعات إسلامية معادية للغرب لإردوغان. أما الليبراليون، بجناحَيهم العلماني والإسلامي، وجميع القوى الغربية الهوى، بما فيها تلك الموجودة داخل حزب إردوغان، فهم يناصبونه العداء. أنصار الخيار الأوراسي، أكانوا من العلمانيين أم من الإسلاميين، هم القاعدة الموالية لإردوغان. وعلينا ألّا ننسى معطى آخر في غاية الأهمية، وهو الدعم الأميركي النوعي والممتدّ زمنياً للأكراد، وهم الخطر الأكبر من منظور إردوغان وقطاع وازن من النخب التركية. لدى إردوغان ما يكفي من الذكاء ومن الحسّ الواقعي لعدم الوقوع في الفخ المنصوب له. هو يريد من روسيا المزيد من المرونة حياله حتى لا يفقد ماء الوجه في الشمال السوري، مع ما يترتّب على ذلك من انعكاسات على صعيد العالم الإسلامي وشبكات الإخوان المسلمين. ما يجب إدراكه هو أن بوتين مستعد لأخذ مصالح تركيا الاستراتيجية بالحسبان، لكنه لن يقبل بتلبية طموحات إردوغان المرتبطة بأجندة أيديولوجية إسلامية. ولا يمكن الحصول على أيّ شيء من بوتين عبر استخدام القوة. مَن يعرف بوتين يدرك ذلك جيداً. سيضطر إردوغان، نظراً الى واقعيته التي أشرت إليها، إلى التراجع خطوات عدة إلى الخلف لأنه لن يتمتّع بدعم كافٍ من الغرب الذي لا يثق به، ولا من حلفاء الغرب في الداخل التركي، والذين يريدون استقالته الفورية ونهاية دوره السياسي. صِدام مباشر مع روسيا وإيران والجيش السوري ستكون له نتائج كارثية بالنسبة إليه وإلى تركيا. وأظن، إضافة إلى ذلك، أنه لا ينسى أن الدعم الروسي له في أصعب لحظة في حياته السياسية، خلال المحاولة الانقلابية، كان حاسماً لإنقاذه من نهاية مأسوية، وتجنيب تركيا الانزلاق نحو مآل تدميري. التحليل المنطقي والعقلاني للخيارات المتاحة أمامه، وواقع أنه لا يملك أوراق قوة، يفترض أن يحملاه على التراجع والقبول بالحوار مع الرئيس الأسد والتخفّف من أعباء دعم مجموعات غالبيتها سلفية، تحالف معها في مرحلة سابقة وانطلاقاً من اعتبارات لم يعد لها أساس راهناً. ومعركة إدلب تأتي في سياق استكمال عملية استعادة الدولة السورية سيادتها على أراضيها، وارتفاع حدّة الصراع مع الولايات المتحدة على نطاق الإقليم بعد اغتيال اللواء قاسم سليماني، ما يشي بأن التراجعات غير واردة وبأن هذه المعركة ستحسم».
ولكن ألا يمكن قراءة الموقف التركي كمحاولة للاستفادة من ارتفاع حدّة هذا الصراع، والحديث المتواتر عن احتمالات حرب كبرى بين أفرقائه؟ «الحرب محتملة دائماً. هذه قاعدة في العلاقات الدولية. بعد اغتيال اللواء سليماني، شاهدنا البرلمان العراقي يُصوّت على إخراج القوات الأميركية، وإعلان أطراف كثيرة داخل هذا البلد وخارجه نيّتها مقاومة هذه القوات. في النهاية، سيتحرّر العراق من الاحتلال الأميركي في الفترة إياها التي تتمّ فيها استعادة سيادة سوريا على أراضيها بعد هزيمة المشروع الأميركي. نحن نرى بالفعل ارتفاعاً لحدّة الصراع، لكن أيّ حرب كبرى ستؤدي إلى نهاية إسرائيل، مهما كانت نتائجها في الجبهة المقابلة، وإلى نهاية الوجود الأميركي في الإقليم. ينبغي الالتفات إلى أن الهيمنة الأميركية دخلت في طور الأزمة والضمور في مناطق عديدة من الكوكب. الأكلاف الباهظة لأيّ حرب ستعني أيضاً نهاية ترامب سياسياً. لقد شكّل اغتيال اللواء سليماني سابقة خطرة في نظر الكثيرين، بِمَن فيهم إردوغان مثلاً، فتجرّؤ الأميركيين على اغتيال مسؤول أساسي في دولة ذات سيادة يعني أن من المحتمل أن يكرّروا مثل هذا الفعل غداً ضدّ مسؤول تركي أو صيني… السياسة الأميركية تُعمّم الفوضى، والحلّ هو في تحالف روسي ــــ إيراني ــــ سوري ــــ تركي يضمّ أيضاً قوى المقاومة، ويؤمّن الشروط الضرورية لقيام نظام إقليمي مستقرّ يسمح بتحقيق تطلّعات الشعوب»، يختم دوغين.

المفكّر الروسي

American Citizens Killed and Tortured by Israel?

By Philip Giraldi


No one is ever held accountable

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One of the principal functions of a United States Embassy overseas is to provide citizen services, which includes coming to the assistance of Americans who are treated badly by the local government. It is a responsibility that most embassies take seriously, with the exception of the facility currently located in Jerusalem. One has to understand that that is so because the United States Embassy in Israel is like no other. In other countries, the American Embassy exists to support American travelers, businesses and a broad range of national interests. In Jerusalem the Embassy exists to support Israeli interests and to serve as an apologist every time the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes on a killing spree or does something else that is similarly outrageous, to include bombing neighboring Syria every other day.

America’s current ambassador, former Trump bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, has funded Israel’s illegal settlements, which did not in any way complicate his confirmation as nearly everyone in Congress and the White House does not believe that the Palestinians actually are human beings. Since taking up his position, Friedman has defended Israel when its army sharpshooters have shot down scores of unarmed Gazans, including children, and has both praised and endorsed out-and-out theft by the Israeli government in Jerusalem, on the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

What the U.S. Embassy under Friedman will not do is put any real pressure on the Israeli government if its security forces or rampaging settlers kill, beat, maim or torture an American citizen, especially if said citizen happens to be of Palestinian descent. Indeed, Friedman is only the latest manifestation of Israel-first-itis among U.S. Ambassadors, the rot having started inevitably with Bill Clinton, who appointed Australian citizen Martin Indyk as the first Jewish ambassador to Tel Aviv. The two most recent ambassadors, Friedman and Daniel Shapiro, both political appointees, have also been Jewish. Shapiro so enjoyed being an Israeli that he decided to remain in the country after his appointment as ambassador was completed. He now works for an Israeli government funded think tank.

The Israeli army and police have in fact killed a number of American citizens without any real pushback from the Department of State or White House. The unwillingness to confront Israel on any level stems from the formidable Jewish power in the United States, which uses money and media control to corrupt the political system at national, state and local levels. The media and the chattering political class worry about Russian interference while ignoring the implications of Haaretz article that appeared on February 12th entitled “AIPAC Must Stop Bernie Sanders – At All Costs!” AIPAC is, of course, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, widely regarded as the chief U.S. lobbying arm of the Jewish state.

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*(Betty McCollum U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district at a women’s roundtable at Hillary for Minnesota Headquarters in St Paul, MN. Credit: Lorie Shaull/ Flickr)

And witness the fate of Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Minnesota, who fell afoul of the Israel Lobby when she introduced H.R.2407, legislation that prohibits American taxpayer money from being used by Israel to arrest and detain Palestinian children. She stated that “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families. It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that U.S. tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.” She might have added that the estimated 10,000 Arab children who have been detained since 2000 are frequently tortured by the Israeli authorities. The bill currently has 23 cosponsors and is unlikely to attract more due to fear of the Lobby. It will never reach the House floor for a vote and will never become law.

McCollum’s courage was on display when she was viciously attacked by AIPAC, which posted Facebook ads that referenced “radicals in the Democratic party,” including a photo of McCollum, with the text stating that “It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah ISIS and — maybe more sinister — right here in the U.S. Congress.”  McCollum stood her ground against being called “more sinister” than ISIS and released a statement that describes AIPAC as a “hate group,” which of course it is, but she will find few in the Democratic party brave enough to defend her.

Israel’s willingness to kill Americans in support of what it perceives as its own interests goes back nearly to the founding of the state in 1948. The Lavon Affair of 1954 was an Israeli plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo Egypt, blaming the attacks on the Egyptians to draw the United States closer to Israel. The bombs were placed by Egyptian Jews acting for Israeli intelligence. They exploded, but fortunately no one was killed.

In June 1967 Israel was at it again, attacking the intelligence gathering U.S. naval vessel the U.S.S. Liberty in international waters, killing thirty-four American sailors, Marines and civilians in a deliberate air and sea onslaught that sought to sink the intelligence gathering ship and kill all its crew. It was the worst attack ever carried out on a U.S. Naval vessel in peace time. In addition to the death toll, 171 more of the crew were wounded in the two-hour assault. The Israelis, whose planes had their Star of David markings covered up so Egypt could be blamed, attacked the ship repeatedly from the air and with gunboats from the sea. When one Israeli pilot hesitated, refusing to attack what was clearly an American ship, he was instructed to proceed anyway.

The most disgusting part of the tale relates to how U.S. warplanes sent to the Liberty’s aid from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean were called back by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara acting under orders from President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who declared that he would rather see the ship go to the bottom of the sea than embarrass his good friend Israel. Ironically, the first ship to reach the Liberty and offer assistance was from the Soviet Union, an offer that was declined.

More recently there have been a number of killings of Americans. In a bizarre incident in August 1988, an elderly Palestinian-American with a heart condition died after being forced to climb stairs to paint over anti-Israeli graffiti on a school wall. Rebhi Barakat Kaid, 67, of Columbus, Ohio, was on the West Bank visiting relatives. He died of a heart attack after three Israeli soldiers ordered him and his 14-year-old Chicago-born grandson at gunpoint to climb the 22 steep steps that led from the house to the street above without his being allowed to take his heart medicine first.

Much better known is the March 2003 killing of Washington State’s Rachel Corrie, who was deliberately run over by an Israeli military bulldozer when she was protesting the destruction of a Palestinian village. A month later there was an incident in which Brian Avery, a 24-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was shot in the face in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers in an armored personnel carrier firing machine guns at protesters.

In March 2009 Tristan Anderson, a 37-year-old from Oakland, California, suffered permanent brain damage when Israeli soldiers shot him in the face with a tear gas canister as he watched a protest in the West Bank village of Nilin.

Another American citizen, Furkan Doğan, an 18-year-old born in Troy, New York, was killed aboard the Turkish flagged Mavi Marmara in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2010 as a flotilla of international activists attempted to break Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies. The United Nations’ General Assembly Human Rights Council determined that Doğan had been killed by Israeli naval commandos through an “extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution.” He was shot five times, including once in the face from “point blank range.”

The same day that Israel murdered Furkan Doğan, 21-year-old Emily Henochowicz of Potomac, Maryland, was protesting the attack on the flotilla at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem, when an Israeli soldier shot her in the face with a teargas cannister, resulting in the loss of an eye.

And then there was in October 2014 the shooting by Israeli soldiers of Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American from Louisiana. The Israeli army claimed that Hammad was throwing a Molotov cocktail at the time of his death, but witnesses stated that he was among a group of children throwing rocks at the heavily armed and armored soldiers.

And most recently, there is the case of Florida-born 16-year-old Palestinian-American Mahmoud Shaalan who was shot repeatedly at an Israeli check point on the West Bank on February 26, 2016 while he was walking to a nearby village to visit his aunt. He was still alive after the shooting, but Israeli soldiers denied him any medical treatment for three hours and he died before an ambulance was allowed to approach him.

Arrest of Palestinians and others without probable cause under “administration detention” guidelines followed by torture has also become a hallmark of Israel’s occupation of Arab land. Torture methods used by Israel include stress positions, severe beatings, sleep deprivation, emotional blackmail, threats of torture of family members and the transfer of detainees to secret prisons where torture is constant. In one case reported to a Human Rights Association “The harsh beating was committed with the intention to kill the detainee.”

In another reported case of torture, nineteen-year-old Mahmoud Zakarner’s testicles were smashed by soldiers in front of his uncle to force the man to provide the names of Palestinian resistance members. Mahmoud is now paralyzed and unable to speak as a result.

Israeli expertise in torture is in demand from authoritarian regimes worldwide, creating a growth industry for the specialized “advisers and technicians.” Many are currently working with right wing regimes in South and Central America. Several even showed up at Abu Ghraib as trainers for U.S. interrogators and were able to suggest refinements like the “Palestinian chair.”

Inside Israel torture of Palestinians is routine on the grounds of “necessity” and absurd “ticking-bomb” scenarios. The courts and the medical profession aid and abet the practice. Over 1200 complaints regarding the torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons have not resulted in even a single indictment of the torturers.

So, killing Americans as well as many others and torturing prisoners are all in a day’s work for the Jewish state. What is disgraceful, of course, is the fact that the United States government, which has the power to do something about it, instead chooses to do nothing to stop the bleeding or even to demand inquiries to find out who is to blame. Instead, Washington lavishes money and praise on Israel, reportedly America’s best friend and closest ally, while it also avoids looking at the horrors that are evident to most of the rest of the world.

Kissing International Law Goodbye to Satisfy Israeli Greed

Passionate Zionist’ Boris Johnson and his lieutenants speak with forked tongue on Palestinian rights and sovereignty. And the small matter of justice simply isn’t in their playbook.

Image result for Kissing International Law Goodbye to Satisfy Israeli Greed

By Stuart Littlewood


Palestinian chiefs say that Trump’s so-called peace plan contains 300 violations of international law and they will take it up with the Security Council. That’s nearly two violations per page. Given the document was put together by America and Israel, both lawless and criminal to the core, no-one is surprised. It is a brazen expression of criminal intent from start to finish.

In the UK our new Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has shot to prominence.  We’re told he spent the summer of 1998 at Birzeit University (in Palestine’s West Bank) working for one of the PLO’s chief negotiators on the Oslo peace accords. That doomed-to-fail initiative began in 1993 and created a form of interim governance and the framework for a final treaty by the end of 1998. So Mr Raab was there at a time when the two sides had been faffing about for 5 years achieving nothing.

In October 1998 the US, desperate to keep the charade going, convened a summit at Maryland’s Wye River Plantation at which Clinton with Yasser Arafat, Benjamin Netanyahu, and senior negotiators produced the Wye River Memorandum. Not that this did much good either. But Raab must have learned a lot about Israeli perversity and intransigence, not to mention America’s shortcomings as an honest broker.

Before entering Parliament Raab joined the Foreign Office and worked at the The Hague bringing war criminals to justice, then became an adviser on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But you wouldn’t think so when looking at his latest performances.

As reported in Jewish News Raab welcomed Trump’s so-called peace plan calling it “a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort. A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future. Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.

“We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.”

His boss Boris Johnson said of it: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution. It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.” A fatuous remark if ever there was one because (a) he clearly hadn’t read it carefully, (b) the Palestinians weren’t consulted, and (c) as Jewish News stated, a Palestinian capital would be established on the outskirts of East Jerusalem while most of Jerusalem, including the sublime and ancient walled city (which is officially Palestinian), would remain under Israeli control. That is perhaps the cruellest part of the Zionist swindle.

UK Government a ‘Force for Good’?

In the Global Britain debate on 3 February Raab pompously declared that “the third pillar of our global Britain will be the UK as an even stronger force for good in the world. Our guiding lights will remain the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law”.

But Alistair Carmichael (LibDem) pricked Raab’s pretty balloon, asking: “If the concept of a global Britain is to have any meaning and value, surely it must have respect for human rights and an international rules-based order at its heart. With that in mind, will the Foreign Secretary reconsider the unqualified support he gave to President Trump last week in respect of the so-called peace plan for Palestine? Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the proposed annexation of the West Bank and at long last support the recognition of a Palestinian state?”

Raab replied: “I gently say to the right hon. Gentleman that I do not think he has read the detail of this. Whatever else he may disagree with, the one thing that the plan put forward by the US included was a recognition of and commitment to a two-state solution. We have been absolutely clear that that is the only way in which the conflict can be resolved…. Rather than just rejecting the plan, it is important that we try to bring the parties together around the negotiating table. That is the only path to peace and to a two-state solution.”

I’d have expected Raab, by now, to be extremely sceptical of any two-state solution given the many irreversible facts on the ground that Israel has been allowed to create with impunity. And he would know better than most how many times the sides have come to the table for grotesquely lopsided negotiations and how the Israelis never honour the agreements they make.

Raab won the Clive Parry Prize for International Law while at Cambridge. So if he’s so wedded to the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law, why are these vital ingredients missing from his recipe for peace? It must be obvious to everyone – except Government ministers – that you cannot achieve peace without justice. And justice in the form of UN resolutions and international and humanitarian law has already spoken several times. It waits… and waits… and waits… to be implemented.

Then we had Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister of State for International Development & the Middle East, in answer to a written question: “We have made clear our deep concern about the suggestion that any parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories should be annexed…. Any declaration of a unilateral border change undermines the rules-based international order and the UN Charter. The UK calls on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law that would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

Dr Murrison can’t have been paying attention. Illegal border changes departing from 1947 Partition lines and 1967 lines, annexations and other actions in contempt of international law and the UN Charter have been going on for 70 years simply because none of those pillars of modern civilisation have been enforced where Israel’s concerned. Rules-based international order has been constantly undermined and is now non-existent in the Holy Land.

The question is, what does the UK Government, which is largely responsible for this sorry state of affairs, going to do about it besides mouthing the usual limp-wristed idiocy? Is the Johnson administration happy, in George Orwell’s words, for the US-UK-Israeli boot to stamp on the human face of the Palestinians for ever?

BDS targeted

And as if the Holy Land fiasco wasn’t enough we must put up with crass ministerial utterances on the home front. Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, complains that only 136 of the 343 local authorities in England have agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and insists that all universities and local councils “must adopt” it. If they don’t, and they fail to tackle anti-Semitism, they can expect to lose public funding.

According to the Jewish Chronicle he vowed to take action against universities and “parts of local government” who have become “corrupted” by anti-Semitism. Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: “I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity. I expect them to confirm to me when they do so.”

Jenrick qualified as a lawyer so should respect warnings by top legal opinion (for example Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson QC) that the IHRA definition is “most unsatisfactory”, has no legal force, and using it to punish could be unlawful. It also undermines Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the UK’s own Human Rights Act 1998.

But Jenrick seems to have aligned himself with sinister moves by Johnson aimed at protecting Israel from the consequences of its countless breaches of international law and crimes against the Palestinians by banning public bodies from imposing their own boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions (BDS). What could any decent administration possibly fear from BDS? It is simply a peaceful response to Israel’s thuggery. It urges non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three perfectly reasonable demands:

  • Ending its unlawful occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall (international law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel).
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

So how is Boris Johnson proposing to block BDS? Briefing notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which set out his Government’s programme, said:

  • We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them.
  • This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK Government’s settled policy towards a foreign country. The UK Government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbours.

The ban will apply to institutions across the public sector, not just councils, and will cover purchasing, procurement and investment decisions.

Johnson and his underlings just don’t get it. BDS is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing the Israel’s illegal occupation. Put simply, as long as the Occupation is business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel.  Furthermore the foreign policies of successive UK governments have not met with the approval of the British people, and never will with US-Israel pimps dictating at Westminster.

If the Government’s “settled policy” towards Israel was consistent with international law and human rights conventions – as it should be – there’d be no need for BDS campaigns because the UK would already be applying sanctions. Furthermore the Conservatives’ election manifesto pledged to “ensure that no one is put off from engaging in politics…. by threats, harassment or abuse, whether in person or online”. They also promised to champion the rule of law, human rights, free trade, anti-corruption efforts and a rules-based international system – all of which Israel refuses to comply with.

Yet, only last month Jenrick announced to a Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary reception that he would “look forward to the day” when Britain’s embassy in Israel will be “moved to Jerusalem”. And he told the Board of Deputies of British Jews he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS campaigns in the UK. “Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions.”

By the same token one might ask why the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is wasting time and taxpayers’ money dabbling in foreign policy and advocating on behalf of a foreign military power? It’s not in his job spec.

Kenrick has an Israeli-born wife and is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel. Before he tries ordering local authorities what to think and do he should have the courtesy to declare these interests. According to the Guardian he’s an MP who is “on the up”. Heaven help us.

Johnson is expected to hold a Cabinet reshuffle this week. His administration is already top-heavy with Zionists and, as 80 percent of Conservative MPs are reportedly signed-up Friends of Israel, there’s no shortage of compliant stooge material to fill even more top posts.

Syrian Air Defenses Repel Israeli Aggression over Damascus

SAA air defenses confront incoming israeli missiles

February 6, 2020

Syrian air defenses confronted to Israeli missile attack that targeted the vicinity of Damascus and the southern region late after midnight on Wednesday.

SANA news agency reported that Israeli enemy aircraft launched several missiles from over the occupied Syrian Golan and southern Lebanon targeting al-Kiswa area, Marj al-Sultan, Baghdad Bridge and South of Izraa.

It added that the air defenses managed to shoot down most of the hostile missiles before reaching their targets.

Photos released by the Syrian agency showed the moment when the air defenses repelled the Israeli missiles in the air.

The video below was also released by SANA:

Source: Agencies

Israel Bombs the Outskirts of Damascus Shortly after Midnight

February 6, 2020 Arabi Souri

New Israeli bombing against Syria shortly after midnight 06 February 2020 local time as the Syrian people are preparing to celebrate the liberating of the city of Saraqib from al-Qaeda terrorists. The Israeli bombing targeted a number of sites in the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus and over the southern province of Daraa.

The Israeli / US-made and supplied fighter jets carried out a series of attacks firing US taxpayers-paid for missiles from over the Syrian Golan and from south of Lebanon, the missiles targeted Kisweh town, Marj Sultan, in southern Damascus countryside, Jisr Baghdad and south of Izraa in the Daraa province.

Syrian Arab Army within its capabilities managed to intercept a number of the missiles and destroyed it mid-air as seen in the video clips shared with the Syrian News Agency SANA by local residents.

The video is also available on BitChute

It’s becoming a constant habit that the embattled Israeli PM Netanyahu carries out such attacks after visiting Russian President Putin to show his gratitude in his way by embarrassing Mr. Putin, the Russian leadership, the Russian Army who are assisting the Syrian people in fighting NATO-sponsored al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria.

Mr. Putin’s endless generosity to the war criminal is paying back opposite to what’s intended, but that’s again to prove a common Arabic proverb: Be generous to a generous person and you’d win him, be generous to a mean person and he’d bite your hand. During the latest Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow, Mr. Putin forgave an Israeli drug dealer from prison. Naturally, Netanyahu wouldn’t request to release an honorable person, he will only help his ilk.

The latest bombing comes also at a time to assist in giving a hand and maybe some fingers to the Turkish pariah Erdogan who yesterday issued an ultimatum to the Syrian Arab Army to withdraw from Syrian territories in the Syrian province of Idlib by end of this month or face NATO’s largest army, in Syria!

These Israeli bombings in the south and the Trump forces presence and provocations in the northeast embolden Erdogan, and ironically the separatist Kurdish militias as well, to carry on further crimes against Syria implying these criminals will have the backing of their close allies when needed, history proves otherwise.

The Israeli bombings almost always come at a time when the Syrian Arab Army is about to achieve a strategic victory over al-Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates, this time when the city of Saraqib in Idlib province is about to be liberated.

The western taxpayers can easily draw the correct picture of who their governments are sponsoring in Syria and for what purpose, in other words: who is controlling their countries while giving them the illusion of ‘democratically and freely electing their politicians’ while the real decision-makers control the outcome.

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