Israeli Aggressions Against Iraq: From Subversions to Normalization Attempts

September 30, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Ali Jezzini

The Israeli occupation has attempted to destabilize Iraq since the sixties. How is the Israeli Occupation trying to infiltrate Iraqi society?

Visual search query image
Iraqi Society has been a target for pro-normalization Propaganda in Past years

On the 24th of the current month, a conference was held in Erbil, the capital city of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The conference of “Peace and Reclamation,” called for the normalization of relations with the Israeli occupation under the shady slogans of peace and establishing civil society organizations.  

The conference, organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC), was called “an illegal gathering” by the Iraqi government. The CPC is an organization that openly calls for the normalization of relations between the Arab states and “Israel”.

For a foreign observer, the story might look like it started here, and one might think, isolating the Iraqis from their national and cultural context, that this reaction is just a mere prejudice from the Iraqis in the face of something they ignore or never have experienced. But is it the case? 

A History of Sabotage 

Despite Iraq not sharing a direct border with Occupied Palestine, the country was a target for countless Israeli aggressions during the last century. Even before the foundation of the Israeli entity in 1948, contact has been made as early as the thirties through the Jewish agency with some Kurdish groups in northern Iraq. In the forties and fifties, simple contact was transformed into real military espionage committed by Kumran Ali Bedir-Khan a Kurdish leader with close ties to “Israel”.

These espionage attempts continued throughout the sixties as well until the rebellion started in autumn 1961 in northern Iraqi regions. Eventually, a larger scale training and supply operation to the insurgents in the north was launched following Kurdish leaders from the Kurdish democratic party (KDP) meeting with Israeli officials during that year. 

Israeli attempts to destabilize the country go back to at least the sixties when the Israelis intervened with the help of the SAVAK, the former Shah of Iran intelligence Agency, to assist the militants of the KDP led by Moustafa Barazani. The insurgents agreed on this supply training Israeli operation in 1963 following their initial hesitation. There were reports about unidentified arms cache in the region, and  Mossad agents never found any difficulty accessing the northern zones in Iraq to fuel the insurgency.

In August 1965, the Israelis provided a training course code-named Marvad (carpet) for Peshmerga (the military force of Barazani at that time). Israeli-backed militias not only destabilized the region and attacked Iraqi military personnel and installations, but also civilian infrastructures. Attacking the Kirkuk oil field which produced a large portion of Iraq’s Oil at that time was one of these attacks.

Visual search query image
  • Mustafa Barzani accompanied by Israeli Occupation President Zalman Shazar in the Occupied Lands,1968
  • Following the Shah of Iran signing the 1975 Algier agreement with Iraq, Israelis objected to the Shah and called it a “betrayal to the Kurds.” This abandonment led to the KDP’s demise and a subsequent de-escalation of the violence in the north, although contacts with “Israel” were maintained afterward.  

    The first official acknowledgment of the Israeli occupation’s aid to the insurgency dates to September 29 1980 when Prime Minister Menachem Begin disclosed that “Israel” had supported the Kurds (KDP) “during their uprising against the Iraqis in 1965–1975.” Begin added that “Israel” had sent instructors and arms but not military units.

    Visual search query image
    Israeli Field Hospital Helping the insurgency in Northern Iraq between 1963-1973

    In 2004, the Israeli media reported on meetings between Masud Barzani (who would become president of the KRG in 2005 ), Jalal Talabani (who would become president of Iraq in 2005 and serve in that office until 2014), and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Relations continued to flourish as the PUK became entangled with this illegal normalization according to Iraqi Legal code 111 of 1969 in its 201st article.

    Such actions reached their peak after the Iraqi president and head of the PUK Jalal Talabani, shook hands with Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, in 2008. In 2015, “Israel” reportedly imported as much as three-quarters of its oil from the Kurdistan region in Iraq, providing a vital source of funds as Kurdish Peshmerga to finance its militia.

    Normalization as a division method

    As a part of its “Peripherical alliance” strategy, the Israeli occupation tried to sow division in the societies surrounding it. It tried to ally itself with every ethnic or religious minority in the Arab world as well as surrounding states like Turkey or the Shah’s Persia. The objective of this article is not to bash Kurds as ethnicity in any way. For instance, many Kurdish factions resisted colonialism and Zionism such as the PKK who fought the Israeli occupation in 1982. Kurdish factions in general, have been a target of Israeli subversive actions, due to the complexity of the Kurdish national cause that the Israelis tried to exploit.

    For the first time, this time publically at least, the normalization efforts have been extended to wider sectors of the Iraqi society outside of the “Periphery doctrine.” These efforts have intensified with the recent normalization wave that included UAE, Bahrain, and other countries like Morocco. New faces have appeared on the scene in parallel with such normalization such as Wisam al-Hardan’s The head of the Awakening Groups and Sahar al-Tai, among having called to normalize with “Isreal” following the previously mentioned states’ model. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia are backing these efforts” according to Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces

    Haaretz Israeli newspaper mentioned another level of normalization that is happening mainly on social media. Besides the older Facebook and Twitter page “Israel in Arabic” that was launched in 2011, another Facebook page was created in 2018 called “Isreal Speaks in Iraqi (dialect)” to target Iraqi society specifically. The article says that many operate under the cover of linking Iraqi jews to their heritage and introducing “Israel” to the Iraqis.

    The article mentions the page admin stating that the 2003 war opened up new channels of communication with Iraqis, this communication has been made easier with the signing of the normalization deals with UAE and other countries. Iraqis with second passports are being brought to Israel with the pretext of “tourism” since 2018, which the organizer claims to be independently done from her work for the occupation government as an administrator of the page. The page publically calls for normalization and launches polls to investigate the views of the general audience.

    The stumbling project

    The Iraqi government and various political parties expressed their firm rejection of the “illegal” meetings that were held by some tribal figures in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan Region, which called for the normalization with “Israel.” Arrest warrants have been issued against the participants of the “Peace and Reclamation” conference in Erbil. One of the main speakers of the conference Wissam al-Hardan has been suspended from his post as the head of the “awakening movement”.

    In the light of these reactions, a general popular rage is engulfing Iraqi Streets while activists on social media called for all participants to be held accountable for the crimes committed according to Iraqi law. Iraqis haven’t forgotten not only the injustice of the Israeli occupation against their Palestinian and Arab brethren but the role Israelis played in insinuating and calling for both major wars launched by the US against their country in 2003. A war whose devastating effects are still evident today.

    My Visit to Lyd, Where Historical and Contemporary Zionist Oppression Meet

    August 19th, 2021

    By Miko Peled

    Source

    Palestine stretches from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean and goes right through the ancient Palestinian city of Lyd.

    LYD, PALESTINE — One of the toughest challenges facing those who fight for justice in Palestine is breaking the Zionist paradigm, which limits the name Palestine to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These two delineations of territory have no historical meaning and no geographical significance. They are no different from other parts of Palestine except that they were drawn by Zionists who, after the murderous 1948 campaign of ethnic cleansing, decided that they would not include those two areas within the boundaries of the Zionist state.

    In 1967 the State of Israel occupied these two areas, and today the West Bank exists only in people’s imagination, while the Gaza Strip operates as a prison. After the disastrous Oslo process began in 1993, and the Palestinian Authority came into being, these two areas became known to the world as the State of Palestine.

    Lyd as it was

    In July 2021, I visited the city of Lyd, where I met with Councilwoman Fida Shehada, a Palestinian member of the Lyd City Council who was kind enough to spend a day with me in her city. She gave me a tour of the town before we sat down for a lengthy and detailed interview, which will soon be posted to my Patreon page.

    “Lyd has archeological sites that show it is as old as the city of Jericho,” Shehada told me. However, the state and the municipality refrain from excavating because these sites have no value to the Zionist narrative. Lyd is perhaps most famous for being home to the Church of Saint George. The church was built over the grave of the famous Saint George of Lyd, who was buried in the city of his Palestinian mother’s birth after he was martyred in the early fourth century.

    Church of Saint George, Lyd
    Church of Saint George, Lyd, Palestine

    The world-renowned hip hop band “Dam” is also from the city of Lyd. According to their website, “Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood in Lyd, Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar and Mahmood Jrere were inspired to tell their stories through hip hop.”

    1948 bloodbath

    It is becoming clear today that the city of Lyd may well have been the site of the worst massacres by Zionist militia in 1948. In a move more cynical than can be imagined, the municipality of Lyd was renamed Lod in Hebrew, and a plaza was built to commemorate the Palmach right in front of the Dahmash Mosque. The Palmach was the largest of the Zionist militias and was responsible for committing massacres in the city.

    The mosque itself was the site of a horrifying bloodbath when citizens from the city, who were fleeing the shooting, crowded into it seeking shelter from the violence. But a Zionist militia headed by Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin took no pity on those seeking refuge and massacred everyone in the mosque. More than 150 men, women and children were gunned down.

    Palmach Plaza LYD
    The Palmach Plaza in front of the Dahmash Mosque, the site of the massacre, commemorating the murderers as the memory of the victims lingers

    Those who were not gunned down at the mosque or on the streets were forced to leave the city, and an estimated 40,000 men, women and children were made to take part in what became known as “The Death March.”

    In her book “Palestinian Women, Narrative Histories and Gendered Memory,” published in 2011 by Zed Books, Dr. Fatma Kassem recorded the testimonies of Palestinian women from Lyd who survived the massacres and the forced expulsion.

    Some of the women whom Dr. Kassem interviewed had witnessed the massacre at the mosque. One recalled:

    The first days when the Jews came in, people went inside the mosques, they thought that the Jews would not kill them in the mosques. But they killed everyone who was inside.”

    Another woman remembered:

    My father and many others went inside the mosque to protect themselves. He was not fighting. He was an old man. My father and my cousin pushed them into the mosque and [the militia] shot all of them.”

    The Kaminitz Law

    In 2017, the Knesset passed legislation cracking down on “illegal” construction. The provisions of the new law were based on a report written by Deputy Attorney General for Civil Law Erez Kaminitz. According to Fida Shehada, this law has resulted in over 40,000 demolition orders for Palestinian homes in the north and central parts of the country alone — this does not include the Naqab, Jerusalem or the West Bank. The Kaminitz Law is one of many racist laws designed to keep Palestinian citizens of Israel from building homes.

    “I remember one day I saw seven homes being demolished all at the same time, at the same minute,” Shehada told me. “I wanted to understand why this was happening and how to prevent this from happening in the future.”

    This drove Shehada to study urban planning. But, she said, “then I saw that when they draw plans for the city, they only have plans for the Israeli population, not the Palestinians.” The city does not account for the growth of the Palestinian population, which makes up about 30% to 40% of the city’s population.

    Miko Peled Fida Shehada

    Miko Peled, left, meets with councilwoman Fida Shehada in the city of Lyd

    “We have 30% Palestinian population, but 40% of the school children,” Shehada said, and smiled as she saw the puzzled look on my face. Officially, on record, the Palestinians make up 30%. Still — because of another racist law, called the Citizenship Law, which limits the rights of Palestinians to wed other Palestinians — some are Palestinian women who are married to Palestinian men are deprived of citizenship.

    Their children are citizens but cannot attend public schools, “while their mothers are not allowed to study or work or leave their homes.” So, if the father dies, the mother has to leave, and if she takes the children with her back to the West Bank or Gaza, they will lose their status — which, with all its difficulties, is still better than that of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    A new reality?

    In an effort to instill the love of settlement activity in the hearts of Israeli Jews, religious Zionist settlers have made Lyd their home. They have their own municipal budgets and luxury apartments built for them exclusively, even as Palestinians struggle to find housing in the city. During the uprising of May 2021, over 500 armed settlers from the racist, violent Regavim movement moved into the city’s municipality. They aimed to incite violence and terrorize the Palestinian population.

    When Councilwoman Shehada questioned the mayor about this, he threatened to report her to the Shabak. The Shabak is the Israeli secret police, known for targeting, detaining and torturing Palestinian political activists. She had to remind him that the Shabak does not work for the mayor’s office.

    The most surprising thing I saw or heard during my visit to Lyd was a comment by Councilwoman Shehada: “I am very optimistic,” she said with a grin. “Things are changing, we have seen more Palestinians resist and organize, and I believe that we are facing a new reality today.”

    If there is room for optimism, Shehada certainly has a big role in it. “I decided to run for mayor in the upcoming elections,” she told me. Local elections are scheduled to be held in the fall of 2021. Even if the world hasn’t come to terms with reality, Palestine stretches from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean and goes right through the ancient Palestinian city of Lyd.

    Hassan Nasrallah: Resistance Capabilities Have Grown

    Source: Al Mayadeen 7 Aug 2021

    By Al Mayadeen

    Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in a speech on the occasion of the 2006 July War, addresses local as well as regional issues – from the southern border retaliations to military equations.

    Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, “The most important accomplishment of the 2006 war is achieving deterrence against Israel – this is the most important strategic and historic achievement.”

    In his speech on the anniversary of the July 2006 victory, Nasrallah stated, “The victory of the July War has entered into a new stage through the heroic confrontations of the Sword of Jerusalem battle,” continuing to say, “The most prominent strategic achievement is striking a balance of deterrence and rules of engagement that protect and guarantee the security and safety of Lebanon.”

    Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that, “For 15 years since the July War, Israeli raids haven’t hit a target in Lebanese territory – Lebanon has enjoyed an unprecedented-since-1948 security and tranquility,” adding that “what prevents the Israeli enemy from launching raids is its fear of a major confrontation with the resistance.” 

    He stressed, “What prevents this vicious and murderous enemy, which is protected by the United States and Arab countries, from attacking Lebanon? They fear a war on their army, which collapsed in 2006, a war on their infrastructure – they’re afraid for their existence.”  

    The Secretary-General of Hezbollah said, “Before 2006 and beyond, the primary issue of the Israeli enemy was the weapons of the resistance,” pointing out that “some groups in Lebanon help whether they realize it or not, to achieve the goal of disarmament of the resistance.”

    Furthermore, Nasrallah also spoke about the recent aggression against Lebanese territory, explaining that “What happened a few days back was a dangerous development that has not happened since 15 years.” He said that “Some matters require an immediate response… if retaliation is delayed, it loses its value.”

    The Secretary-General of Hezbollah, addressing the back-and-forth which happened two days ago, said, “Our actions were intentional; they targeted an open area, we targeted an open area. This was to reinforce the old equation of deterrence, and not create a new one.” He explains that the capabilities of the resistance have increased through its wide possession of precision missiles, which Hezbollah owns now in large numbers.

    He added, “We purposely responded to the Israeli rockets during the day out of respect for people’s emotions so that they don’t feel fear and terror during the night,” noting that Hezbollah has the courage to take responsibility for their actions in all formality – that includes issuing a statement along with the bombardment to send a message to the enemy.

    Sayyed Nasrallah said, “An old equation was reinforced: they bomb an open area, we bomb an open area,” continuing, “Any strike on Lebanon will be responded to in a proportionate manner.” 

    He stressed that “we will not neglect the achievements of the resistance in the July war, regardless of the dangers, because that will create safegrounds for the enemy to harass Lebanon,” stressing that “whatever the internal situation in Lebanon is, for us, protecting our country and our people is our first responsibility.”

    “What happened yesterday is a response to the airstrikes only and has nothing to do with the response to the assassination of the two dear martyrs, Muhammad Qassem Tahan and Ali Kamel Mohsen,” he reassured.

    Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem affirmed yesterday to Al-Mayadeen that “The Israeli occupation must understand that Lebanon is not an open arena for settling accounts in it,” stressing that “Israel must remain deterred.”

    On Wednesday evening, the Israeli Air Force attacked targets in southern Lebanon, according to the Israeli media, “in response to the launching of 4 missiles from Lebanon” towards “Israel.”

    The Lebanese resistance responded Friday by bombing the occupied lands in Shebaa. Yesterday, Israeli media reported that 20 rockets were launched, indicating that “the recreation centers in the north remained relatively empty after the rockets were launched from Lebanon.”

    The People of the Resistance Are Those of Patience, Endurance

    Hezbollah Secretary-General touched on the conflict that took place Friday in the Lebanese village Shwaya, saying that posting the incident was a “disgrace,” for he was touched by the scenes he saw, sympathizing with others who saw it. “When I saw what happened in Shwaya I wished I was able to get to the young men so I could kiss their foreheads and hands,” he added.

    Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the people of the resistance are those of patience and endurance, adding that they will always be in the position to sacrifice themselves and remain steadfast.

    “The rockets in the launcher are evident of the resistance fighters’ discipline, for the order was to launch 20 rockets,” he noted.

    “Our fighters were ordered to launch only 20 rockets on targets in Shebaa Farms. The rocket launcher has the capacity of 31 rockets. I could see the 11 remaining rockets still in the launcher,” he continued.

    The Secretary-General addressed the people of Shwaya and Hasbaiyya, telling them that if Hezbollah were able to attack the targeted sites from Shiite areas, they would have. He said they were militarily obligated to launch the rockets from the areas from which they were launched.

    Nasrallah called on everyone not to hold the people of Shwaya and the Druze sect responsible for the assault on the resistance fighters. “It was not the people of Shwaya who attacked the fighters, and we appreciate everyone who stands by the resistance,” he added.

    Sayyed Hassan indicated that those who carried out the attack against “Israel” were highly disciplined and wise, stating that those who assaulted them must be held accountable and brought to justice.

    Beirut Blast Anniversary

    Regarding the Beirut Blast, whose anniversary was commemorated Wednesday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, “Since the first day, political investment started by several media outlets upon orders by the US and Saudi Arabia.”

    “All parties who probed the blast reached a conclusion that there were no arms in the port,” he added, continuing to say, “When this scenario failed, they resorted to propagating the ammonium nitrate scenario.”

    “Is there anything more ridiculous and worse than accusing Hezbollah of storing ammonium nitrate in the Beirut Port?” Wondered Sayyed Hassan, stressing that everything said since the blast is illogical and has no goal other than distorting the truth.

    Nasrallah said if Hezbollah wanted to politically utilize the blast, they would have said the parties supporting the armed groups in Syria were the ones who brought the ammonium nitrate to Lebanon.

    He indicated that those who spread fake news to mislead the investigation and public opinion insulted the blast’s martyrs, saying they turned a national and humanitarian cause into a political and sectarian one.

    “Hezbollah fears no investigation, for it is not facing accusations from the judicial authorities,” Nasrallah added, saying what Hezbollah truly fears is the loss of truth, that is why the judiciary must announce its findings.

    Secretary-General Nasrallah said, “What we are asking for is the announcement of the investigation’s findings.” He sees that the probe into the Beirut Blast is politicized and subject to discretion.

    Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressed the families of those martyred and injured in the Beirut Blast by saying, “Do not allow the politicization of your children’s blood.”

    Confrontations erupted Wednesday near Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, between Lebanese demonstrators and the security services in light of the protests commemorating the Beirut blast on its first anniversary.

    Khalde Incident Was a Massacre

    Nasrallah touched on the crime that took place Sunday in Khalde, during which two Lebanese civilians were assaulted and murdered. He said, “What happened in Khalde was not an accident, it was a massacre perpetrated by a gang of criminals and murderers.

    He stressed the need for arresting all those involved in the Khalde massacre as soon as possible and bringing them to justice.

    “We need a definitive solution for the issue of assaulting people and blocking the highway leading to the south,” he said, adding that those insisting on assaulting civilians and threatening civil peace must be arrested.

    “Our issue is not with the Khalde Arabs nor the Arab Tribes, but rather with the murderous criminal group,” Nasrallah asserted.

    Related Videos

    Related Artiles

    Media Paints Israel as “Victim” as Hezbollah Responds to Fresh Israeli Airstrikes

    August 06th, 2021

    By Robert Inkalesh

    Source

    The rocket fire reportedly shocked the Israeli military establishment and sparked further aggression against targets in Lebanon’s south; and, in defiance of all evidence, Western mainstream media quickly took to painting Israel as the victim.

    GOLAN HEIGHTS — Sirens blared in the upper Galilee and Golan Heights, as rockets rained down on Israeli-held territory in the disputed Shebaa Farms area this morning. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but a state of fear did seem to emerge in the largest escalation between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah in 15 years.

    Lebanese Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for the firing of the 19 rockets into northern Israel in response to a series of Israeli air and artillery strikes carried out earlier this week on southern Lebanon. The rocket fire reportedly shocked the Israeli military establishment and sparked further aggression against targets in Lebanon’s south; and, in defiance of all evidence, Western mainstream media quickly took to painting Israel as the victim.

    This morning’s rocket fire, specifically targeting open areas, was the first of its kind conducted by Hezbollah since the conclusion of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, which ended with the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. Lebanon’s prime minister-designate, Najib Mikati, confirmed following today’s incident that he stands firmly for the continued implementation of the ceasefire resolution, while the nation’s caretaker prime minister, Hassan Diab, had days ago complained to the UN about Israel having violated it.

    Hezbollah announced that its retaliatory rocket fire had specifically targeted open areas in the towns of Al-Jarmaq and Al-Shawakir in northern Israel as a clear message to Israel triggered by its aggression against Lebanese territory in the previous days. Following the attack, Israel again carried out attacks on Lebanese territory and it was reported that bomb shelters were open in Israel’s Kiryat Shmona, in anticipation of further retaliation from Lebanon.

    Lebanon Israel
    A Lebanese soldier displays part of an Israeli missile from an airstrike on a farm in southern Lebanon, Aug 5, 2021. Mohammed Zaatari | AP

    Although promising a response to Hezbollah, both “overt and covert”, the Israeli military has indicated that it is not seeking a war with Lebanon over rockets falling in open areas. UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force based in southern Lebanon, claimed that the rocket fire had come from areas outside of its jurisdiction, urging calm on both sides and warning of a “very dangerous situation”.

    Speaking to “al-Mayadeen TV,” the deputy secretary general of Hezbollah, Sheikh Naim Qasem, clarified that “with regard to the events that took place today in Lebanon, Israel attacked yesterday and bombed an area in Lebanon, and Hezbollah has publicly committed that an attack on Lebanon means that it will be met with an appropriate response,” also stressing to Israel that it “must understand that Lebanon is not an open arena for settling its accounts in, and not a place to test its capabilities.”

    A familiar media bias

    The focus of Western mainstream media has been heavily centered on Hezbollah’s rocket fire into Israel, with some outlets claiming that Israel had retaliated against Hezbollah and not the other way around. Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, sometimes numbering into the thousands each month, have been largely ignored by the international community and Western press.

    There has also been little action taken by the international community against Israel for its frequent use of Lebanese airspace to launch unprovoked attacks on Syria, the latest of which took place just two weeks ago. Hours following Israeli airstrikes carried out on Aleppo, Syria on July 20, rocket fire from Southern Lebanon triggered sirens in Israel’s north, which was followed by a series of strikes against Lebanese territory.

    The rockets, which landed in open areas, were said to have been fired by Palestinian armed groups responding to Israeli attacks on worshippers in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Unnamed armed Palestinian groups were also blamed for firing rockets into Israel from Lebanon during Israel’s 11-day assault against the Gaza Strip back in May.

    When the recent round of tensions escalated this Wednesday, Palestinians were also said to have been behind the seemingly random rocket fire into Israel’s Kiryat Shmona. Besides triggering an immediate response from Israel, the rocket fire also served as a justification for days of Israeli attacks on Lebanese territory, which Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said showed “aggressive intent” from Israel.

    The secretary general of Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, has vowed that the group would respond to Israel for the killing of Ali Kamel Mohsen and Muhammad Qassem Tahan. Mohsen was killed by an Israeli airstrike on the Damascus International Airport in Syria last year, while Tahan was shot dead at a border protest in May. According to Nasrallah, each member of Hezbollah or Lebanese citizen that Israel kills will be avenged with an equal retaliation upon the enemy, Israel.

    Recent events indicate that the Lebanon-Israel conflict has entered a new phase of escalation, with growing fears of an all out war between the two sides.

    Israeli Ethnic Cleansing: A Crime Against Humanity

    July 18, 2021

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Revanchist Israeli regimes expand the territory of the world’s only borderless state on a platform of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing indigenous people from their homes, possessions and land — to make way for exclusive Jewish developme

    nt and use.

    Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories are targeted for removal by brute force on land Jewish state extremists want for themselves.

    B’Tselem earlier explained what long-suffering Palestinians endured throughout Jewish state history, saying:

    “For decades, Israeli authorities…implementing a policy aimed at driving out scores of communities, that are home to thousands of Palestinians.” 

    “They have made living conditions miserable and intolerable with a view to establishing facts on the ground and taking over these areas.”

    Longstanding Israeli policy seeks “Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” — what the scourge of apartheid is all about, state-sponsored tyranny by another name.

    Over 14 million people live in the above area, half of them Palestinians denied their fundamental rights as affirmed by international human rights law.

    Hundreds of thousands of settlers live on stolen Palestinian land, illegally annexed for their use.

    Israeli regimes pursue their aims by state terror and other illegal means.

    Creation of Israel was a case study in ethnic cleansing on a horrific scale, transforming historic Palestine into an apartheid Jewish state.

    The lives and welfare of its indigenous inhabitants were irreparably disrupted, a massive refugee population created internally and abroad in neighboring states – one of history’s great crimes without punishment.

    On Palestinian land Israeli regimes want for Jews only, unwanted indigenous families are uprooted, their homes demolished, followed by forcefully removing them from their land.

    Time and again, Israeli courts uphold the illegal practice, including its highest, in pursuing a policy of maximum Jews and minimum Arabs on all valued land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.

    Dominant Zionist extremists believe for Israel to survive, it must dominate the region and become a world power.

    Achieving its imperial aims requires dividing Arab nations into small, easily controlled states – partitioning them along ethnic and sectarian lines as weakened Israeli satellites. 

    Internally, Israel is hellbent on territorial expansion by stealing it from indigenous Palestinians and neighboring states in defiance of international law.

    Palestinians seeking redress through Israeli and international courts fail because Jewish tribunals and the world community have done nothing to hold the Jewish state accountable for its highest of high crimes.

    It’s been this way throughout Jewish state history since 1948 — nearly three quarters of a century of injustice, notably backed by the US-dominated West.

    One among countless examples of Israeli ethnic cleansing occurred last week, explained by B’Tselem, saying:

    On July 7, “Israeli military and Civil Administration personnel arrived at the tent-dwelling community of Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley” with sweeping ethnic cleansing in mind.

    They forcefully “dismantled and confiscated tents housing numerous community members along with everything inside them, loading them onto trucks…”

    Dispossessed Palestinians were forced into buses “in sweltering heat.”

    Refusniks in defense of their land and possessions were expelled by by brute force.

    “Initial reports indicate the forces demolished the homes of at least nine families, leaving 60 people homeless.” 

    “Soldiers and Civil Administration staff continue to load the contents of the homes onto military trucks” as of late last week. 

    “B’Tselem is still collecting exact information about the property that was confiscated and destroyed.”

    What happened repeats time and again throughout the Occupied Territories — a crime against humanity under international law.

    Responsibility for ethnic cleansing like the above lies with Israeli ruling regimes, its military and other security enforcers, along with Jewish state High Court “justices…who lend legal legitimacy” to what flagrantly breaches core international law, B’Tselem explained, adding:

    What repeats time and again throughout the Occupied Territories is “a badge of shame for the international community…” 

    Instead of upholding the rule of law, the world community and world body leadership “absolved (themselves) of the obligation to demand Israel respect the human rights of Palestinians living under its control and allowed (themselves) to be satisfied with empty rebukes lacking any practical consequences.”

    The Fight to Save Lifta, the Last Remaining Palestinian Village

    July 09th, 2021

    By Jessica Buxbaum

    Source

    See the source image
    Lifta, the only town Israel did not demolish after the Nakba, stands as a symbol of the Palestinian right of return, but an Israeli government “development” plan may soon change that.

    LIFTA, JERUSALEM — Yacoub Odeh is 81 years old but he can still remember his childhood in the Palestinian village of Lifta as if it were yesterday. Children playing together in the gardens, swimming in the pools and laying in the grass.

    Today, Lifta remains as a frozen time capsule. While the residents were expelled during Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign (Nakba), the ruins of their homes still stand. These ruins carved into the lush hillside are perceived as a symbol of the Palestinians’ right of return. This is the only town Israel did not demolish after the Nakba, but a government plan may soon change that.

    In May, the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), the government agency in charge of managing public lands, issued a new tender for construction in Lifta. The development scheme, known as Plan 6036, seeks to build 259 housing units along with a commercial and business space and a luxury hotel on top of and around the existing houses. Daphna Golan-Agnon, a law professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and part of the Save Lifta Coalition’s board, explained that while the homes may not be demolished, “the village will disappear behind walls of concrete needed to hold new construction.”

    The bid was supposed to be held on July 4, but significant public opposition delayed it to July 29.

    Lifta Jerusalem
    The ruins in Lifta, a Palestinian village ethnically cleased in 1948. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

    Attempts to demolish Lifta have been ongoing for years. The ILA first published a tender for Plan 6036 in 2010 after the Israeli state approved the construction plan for Lifta in 2006. A 2012 Jerusalem District Court ruling found Plan 6036 insufficient and requested amending it in accordance with a conservation survey on Lifta from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

    The IAA survey was completed in 2017 and found that Plan 6036 could not be executed without making significant adjustments in order to preserve the ancient village. Plan 270b was drawn up to fit the survey’s findings but in 2017 the Local Planning and Building Committee of Jerusalem temporarily halted the initiative for further examination.

    The recent ILA announcement was met with hundreds of letters to Jerusalem’s mayor rejecting the sale. When reached for comment, the Municipality of Jerusalem told MintPress News that it “wasn’t informed about the publication of this tender and didn’t approve it. The mayor of Jerusalem asked all the relevant authorities to reconsider the construction plan.” The Israel Lands Council, which operates the ILA, did not respond to a request for comment.

    ‘In one hour, we became refugees’

    Lifta’s strategic location at the edge of Jerusalem has made it a prime target for land grabs. Acting as a suburb of Jerusalem, Lifta’s placement next to the Jerusalem-Jaffa Highway makes for an easy trip to the Mediterranean while still being tied to the city of Jerusalem.

    Lifta, often referred to as the entrance to Jerusalem, was a wealthy, agricultural community supported by olive presses and flour mills and situated atop the Wadi al-Shami spring. Homes made of limestone were cut into the hillside and Lifta’s roads wended through the valley.

    Prior to the 1948 Nakba, Zionist militias like the Haganah saw seizing Lifta as necessary to cement Jewish control over all of Palestine. According to the Haganah Historical Archives, “[s]ecuring the western exit of the city [of Jerusalem] entailed the eviction of Arabs.”  Israeli historian Benny Morris said the Haganah fired the first shots in 1947, setting off the mass expulsion of Lifta’s 2,960 residents.

    In December 1947, the Haganah killed a Palestinian business owner in Lifta. Later that month, one of Lifta’s two coffeehouses was ambushed with gunfire and grenades. The attack killed six and wounded seven. Two months into 1948, the Jewish Agency chairman and future first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, boasted of the ethnic cleansing’s success, telling his political party members: “From your entry into Jerusalem through Lifta — Romema, through Mahane Yehuda, King George Street and Mea She’arim — there are no strangers. One hundred percent Jews.“

    Odeh, head of the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission, was 8-years-old when Lifta came under siege by Zionist forces.

    Lifta refugee
    Yacoub Odeh, Nakba survivor and head of the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

    “I remember one day my mother was preparing the fire to heat our room, and then [the Zionist miltiias] began to shoot. My brothers began to cry, ‘Mama, mama! They’re shooting us!’ My mom took us inside the room in the corner and under a table to protect us,” Odeh said, recalling two stories of Lifta — the town’s beauty and charm and then its tragic fall.

    “There is the beautiful life and then began the miserable life because of the occupation.”

    Toward the end of February 1948, Odeh’s father put him, his siblings and his mother into a truck heading to Ramallah to escape the violence in Lifta. Odeh’s father stayed behind to defend the village from the Zionist gangs.

    “We were only wearing the clothing we had on because we are coming back tomorrow. We are coming back. Now we just want to be far from the shooting.” Odeh took a deep sigh and said, “In one hour, we became refugees.”

    Today, 55 buildings out of approximately 450 remain in Lifta, including a club, mosque, cemetery and school, which now operates as a school for Israeli Jews. Liftawi refugees are estimated at around 30,000 and live in Jerusalem, the Occupied West Bank and the Diaspora. Most of the homes are empty, but a few are occupied by Israeli settlers. According to Zochrot, the Israeli nonprofit seeking to raise awareness of the Nakba, the “settlements of Mey Niftoach and Giv’at Sha’ul were built on village lands and now have become parts of the suburbs of Jerusalem.”

    Saving Lifta

    The Save Lifta Coalition orchestrated the campaign to the mayor and has been organizing since 2010 against Plan 6036. The organization spent five years working with scholars, activists, conservation specialists and higher education professionals to develop an alternative to 6036.

    Their proposal aims to “expand the area of the national park and turn the village into a natural urban space for the adjacent neighborhoods,” while preserving Lifta’s cultural landscape.

    The World Monuments Fund added Lifta to its list of endangered sites in 2018 and UNESCO added the village to its tentative list of world heritage sites.

    ‘Not something we can discuss now’

    When asked about the plan’s responsibility regarding the right of return for Palestinians, Golan-Agnon said, “our plan is a plan to save Lifta as it is for the future generations to decide upon its fate.” She explained:

    Many of us [in the coalition] do think there should be a right of return for Palestinians but we know it’s not something we can discuss now. So we say, it’s beautiful, keep it open, and then one day there can be a decision about what happens and who’s coming.

    Dana Amawi’s grandmother grew up in Lifta and was expelled from the village in 1948. Now the family lives in Amman, Jordan. The 20-year-old said she was shaken to her core upon hearing the news of the sale. “Lifta symbolized a tiny, very small bit of hope that maybe we will be able to return to it,” Amawi told MintPress. “And now to think that other people might live in the house that I have the right to be in, it’s very sad.”

    Lifta Jerusalem
    A Palestinian woman holds a partially eaten fig picked from a tree in Lifta. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

    Amawi said that her grandmother fell ill after learning of the auction. “She got sick. She had a fever and she was really, really sad because to her, this is where she grew up. This is where her earliest memories are and this is where she has the right to be,” Amawi said.

    Stone houses like the one Odeh spent his early childhood in now crumble from neglect. The walls are sprayed with graffiti and piles of trash line the floors. On Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath), you’ll often find Israelis bathing in the spring’s waters.

    Aseel AlBajeh, advocacy officer and legal researcher at the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, visited Lifta in 2018. Her grandmother, who lives in Ramallah, is from Lifta. “It was a painful experience,” AlBajeh said of her time in Lifta. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come back to Lifta in this situation.”

    ‘You are here as a visitor’

    During her visit, AlBajeh tried recalling her grandmother’s memories of a flourishing Lifta, but she said those stories were disrupted by the fact that she’s only in Lifta because of a permit she received from the Israeli government to enter 1948-occupied Palestine or modern-day Israel from the West Bank. “You are here as a visitor. It’s like it’s not a place where you belong, or this is what [the Israeli government] intends for refugees to feel like,” AlBajeh said. “Settlers were swimming in the spring of the village and they were blasting loud music, and it also disrupted my ability to even imagine Lifta as Palestinian.”

    Jewish settlers in LIfta
    Israeli settlers in Lifta hold a middle finger to a group of Palestinian children. Blekh | MintPress News

    To help her reclaim Lifta, AlBajeh took a small piece of the village’s remains during her visit. She collected a broken tile painted with traditional designs from one of the house’s floors, knowing this might be the last physical object she can have of Lifta.

    “Lifta is a witness of what happened during the Nakba,” AlBajeh said, explaining:

    We have this connection as Palestinians, and when we see the cactus plants, we connect this as evidence that displacement happened here. And if you go to Lifta, you’ll see the huge amount of cactus. So even if the houses remain and [Israel] tries to remove the cactus, it’s still painful… It’s not about the stones or about the trees. It’s about the whole identity of Lifta and the Palestinian history, which we still connect to. “

    ‘We were kings in our village’

    Odeh’s memories paint Lifta as an idyllic place, an oasis carved into the steep slopes of Jerusalem where life was carefree and bountiful. “We were kings in our village,” Odeh said. “Everything we need, we had — a life so simple. We didn’t need cinema or computers, no, everything we needed came from our land.”

    But the minute Odeh and his family became refugees, their resources became scarce. “At that time there were no charitable associations or agencies ready to help,” Odeh recalled. “You know what Nakba means? Nakba does not mean to destroy homes. No, Nakba means to destroy the life — economic life, social life, educational life, political life. They destroyed our life.”

    Upon reminiscing about Lifta, Odeh said his dream is to go back home:

    I miss my childhood. Palestinian children have lost their childhood life to play like children, to go to the theater, to concerts, to football. No, until now we have house demolitions, we have arrests, we have land confiscation and killings. Every day we have events like these — if not my family, my neighborhood.”

    Palestanian Protesters Recount Harrowing Details of Torture at the Hands of Israeli Police

    By Jessica Buxbaum

    Source

    Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.

    NAZARETH, ISRAEL — In May, the world watched Israel’s brutal occupation on full display: The forcible displacement of Sheikh Jarrah residents was underway; Israeli security forces attacked Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan; Israeli rocket fire rained down on Gaza; and Jewish extremists chanted “Death to Arabs!” in the streets.

    According to multiple testimonies, Israeli police in Nazareth ran a “torture room” where they ruthlessly attacked Palestinian detainees during the wave of demonstrations against Israel in May.

    Now, as international headlines fade on Palestine, Israeli violence continues.

    ‘The floor of the room was covered in blood’

    Faiz Zbedeiat was talking on the phone about 20 feet away from a protest in Nazareth. The moment the 21-year-old student hung up the phone, Israeli police threw a stun grenade into the street. An officer then charged at him and punched him in the nose. Zbedeiat was soon encircled by police who grabbed him, hit him, and pushed him toward a Border Police officer who tried to slam his head against a wall.

    “I asked why they were hitting me when I’m not resisting,” Zbedeiat said. “I put my hands behind my back even though they didn’t handcuff me. Nevertheless, the same Border Police officer hit me in the nose with the walkie-talkie that he was holding.”

    The officers dragged Zbedeiat by his head to the police station, beating him along the way.

    “On the way, we met a policeman who appeared to be an officer, and he started laughing and said to them: ‘Did you only arrest him? That’s not enough. We need more,’” Zbedeiat said.

    The beating continued inside the police station. Cops kicked, slapped, and hit detainees with batons, laughing as they struck them.

    Zbedeiat detailed how one officer smacked detainees with an M-16 rifle. He watched as one man with a broken nose — face covered in blood — was continuously hit by officers. Then Zbedeiat described his own treatment:

    A police officer approached me and whispered in my ear, threatening me. He cursed my mother, my sister, and my wife. He then asked, ‘Did you understand?’ I didn’t answer, and he immediately slapped me in the face. He asked me again: ‘Do you understand?’ I still didn’t answer and he slapped me again in the face. Finally, he said ‘Go explain to your friends.’ He pushed me back down to the floor and hit me again.”

    Israeli police torture
    A Palestinian child is taken into an “observation post” after his arrest at a protest in Jerusalem, June 10, 2021. Maya Alleruzzo | AP

    Zbedeiat’s violent detention in May is one of many such, according to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The advocacy group collected multiple sworn affidavits attesting to the abuse of Palestinian protesters by Israeli officers, attorneys, bystanders, and children inside Nazareth’s police station from May 9 to May 14. The majority of the violent arrests and most of the abuse were conducted by Israeli special forces, including undercover Mista’aravim (counter-terror units within the Israeli Army, Border Police, and Israel Police) officers pretending to be Palestinians.

    Adalah submitted a complaint to Israel’s Attorney General and the chairman of the Police Investigation Department on June 7. In their letter, Adalah wrote:

    Police officers led the detainees to a room located on the left side of the entrance corridor to the station, forcing them to sit on the floor handcuffed, to lower their heads towards the floor, and began to beat them on all parts of their bodies, using kicks and clubs, slamming their heads against walls or doors, and more. Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.

    Police violence amounting to torture

    Under Israeli law, authorities must respond to the letter within 45 days. But Adalah attorney and co-author of the complaint, Wesam Sharaf, told MintPress that Adalah has not received a response from the Attorney General or Police Investigation Department. Adalah did receive a response from Nazareth’s Chief of Police, stating that he will cooperate if there’s an investigation and will take the appropriate disciplinary actions.

    “What happened inside the police station in Nazareth amounts to torture and ill-treatment, and requires the immediate opening of a criminal investigation to examine the circumstances and conditions of the protesters’ detention at the station – including the investigation and prosecution of police officers involved in the violence,” Adalah attorneys wrote in their complaint.

    Sharaf explained that the witness and victim accounts of police brutality inside the Israeli police station describe activity deemed torturous under international law:

    What we have seen in the police station is that instead of investigating the people, the police would beat them up. [The police] deny [the detainees] in need of medical attention that medical attention and make them sign [false] affidavits as a condition to get medical attention… When this treatment is [directed at] detainees, it may amount to torture according to international law.”

    Torture is defined under international law as intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering in order to obtain a confession or information, intimidate or coerce the individual, or as punishment for alleged offenses. Torture is illegal and considered a war crime.

    The Police Investigation Department, Nazareth police station, Israel Police, and commander of the Northern District of the Israel Police did not respond to MintPress News’ requests for comment by the time of deadline.

    Israel’s mass-arrest campaign targeting Palestinians

    In a move largely seen as squelching Palestinian dissent, Israel Police launched a mass-arrest campaign in May, targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel who participated in protests against ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah, attacks at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Israel’s assault on Gaza.

    Israeli police arrested 2,142 individuals and filed 184 indictments during “Operation Guardian of the Walls” and “Operation Law and Order.” According to Sharaf, more than 150 Palestinians were arrested in Nazareth in May, and about one in ten were indicted.

    Ashraf Mahroum, an attorney representing nine people detained by police in Nazareth, said his clients and others were charged for protesting illegally, creating illegal organizations, and assaulting police officers. Maroum’s clients allege police fired rubber bullets at the upper parts of their bodies during the protests — a direct violation of the low governing use of rubber bullets. During their detention, officers struck them with batons and smacked them over the head with guns. Most of his clients’ injuries were on the head and face. Some were forced to sign affidavits stating they won’t disclose what happened to them in order to receive medical treatment.

    Evidence of similar police violence against Palestinians appeared in other cities across 1948-occupied Palestine (modern-day Israel) including in Lydd, Akka, Yaffa and Haifa, Sharaf said, adding detainees in these localities arrived in court with visible signs of abuse. Sharaf concluded:

    [Adalah] has other testimonies about police brutality in different areas; some of this brutality was against protesters and some of it has been inside police stations against detainees. With the systematic ill treatment that we have witnessed from the 9th of May to the 14th of May, we can assume that more people have been subject to such kind of treatment.”

    Israel’s expanding history of torture

    The Israel Security Agency (ISA) has long used torture as a standard tactic during interrogations of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories. Until the late 1990s, the ISA was allowed to use “psychological pressure” and a “moderate degree of physical pressure” in order to “prevent terrorism,” according to 1987 recommendations from a state commission. The commission’s opinion permitted the ISA to use methods of torture in their interrogations under the “necessity defense” clause found in Israeli penal law.

    The Israeli Supreme Court banned the use of physical methods during interrogations in 1999 after a series of petitions were filed by human rights organizations and Palestinians who experienced ISA interrogations. However, the court ruled the practice of physical pressure could remain in urgent cases as part of the “ticking bomb” exception under the necessity defense. This legal loophole has allowed torture and ill treatment to persist in ISA interrogations, despite the Israeli Justice Ministry having drafted a law to criminalize torture.

    Israel torture
    An illustration from a 1991 B’Teslem report detailing torture methods used by Israeli forces

    According to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), 1,300 complaints regarding the use of torture against Palestinian citizens in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by the ISA have been submitted to the Ministry of Justice since 2001. These complaints resulted in only one criminal investigation and no indictments.

    PCATI receives dozens of complaints each year attesting to brutality occurring during arrest, detention, interrogation and imprisonment of Palestinians from the OPT. The nonprofit organization estimates 5% to 10% of these cases amount to instances of severe torture.

    Severe interrogations increased sharply in 2020. “In the passing year, more people were tortured in Israel than in any other year in the past decade,” PCATI said in their 2020 situation report on torture of Palestinians by Israeli security forces. While cases of torture are prevalent within the OPT, Tal Steiner, Director General of PCATI, said 1948-occupied Palestine is now experiencing an escalation of torture incidents. Steiner told MintPress:

    [PCATI] has seen attributes that are usually found in the West Bank trickling into Israel. There’s administrative arrest, prevention of rights to seek counsel, to receive medical attention — those are things that are quite unfortunately common in the West Bank and the Occupied Territories that have now become more evident within Israel proper… This is not something that’s usual or routine within Israel for Israeli citizens — Palestinian or not. So it’s a turn for the worse.”

    Israel torture
    An illustration from a 1991 B’Teslem report detailing torture methods used by Israeli forces

    Steiner attributed this surge within Historic Palestine to a culture of impunity spurred by Israeli politicians like former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explaining:

    When the police and military forces entered the mixed cities within Israel to so-call restore the peace, then-Prime Minister Netanyahu was quoted saying, ‘Go ahead and do your job and don’t worry about any commission of inquiry.’ These types of announcements by the prime minister and other Israeli leaders can also be a reason why police officers thought they could get away with it. They can use extreme force toward citizens, demonstrators, and especially toward people from minority groups, and go unpunished.”

    “I thought I was going to die”

    On May 13, the eve of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, Nazareth resident Omaiyer Lawabne was out with friends to celebrate. As he approached an ATM to withdraw money, he saw an officer decked in full riot gear running toward him. Instinctively, he began running away.

    “The cops started throwing grenades at me, and I kept running because I knew that if I stood still I could be badly wounded by the grenades,” Lawabne said. “While I was still running, one of the policemen raised his hand and hit me in the left eye, and I fell to the ground.”

    Police surrounded Lawabne on the pavement, kicking him in the face and head. One officer pressed his boot into Lawabne’s head and shoulder. “I felt intense pain all over my body, from my head to my legs. One of them started kicking me in the artery behind the ear,” Lawabne said. “At that moment, I thought I was going to die.”

    t the police station, Lawabne saw detainees stuffed into a room, resembling “prisoners of war.” They sat on the floor with their legs folded under them and heads bent. A masked officer paced around the room with a club-like object in his hand. Any detainee who lifted his head met the full swing of the officer’s bat on their head.

    “They pushed me down into a corner and I lowered my head and curled up. Nevertheless, the same police officer hit me hard on the head with that object,” Lawabne said.

    Days after his detention, Lawabne still felt excruciating pain throughout his body. He couldn’t sleep from the dizziness. He couldn’t eat without vomiting. He couldn’t speak coherently. He still doesn’t understand why he was arrested when he wasn’t participating in any nearby protests.

    “It was the first time I had been arrested, an arrest that I believe was illegal, pointless, and very violent,” Lawabne said.

    End of Netanyhu’s Tenure Leaves Israeli Apartheid Tyranny in Place

     June 12, 2021

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    On Sunday Netanyahu’s tenure ends, Israeli apartheid tyranny will remain in power under new management — like always before in Jewish state history.

    Ahead of a Friday evening deadline, a penultimate hurdle passed when all opposition parties submitted required signed coalition agreements to the Knesset secretary.

    At this time, a final one is Sunday’s Knesset swearing-in ceremony to officially replace the Netanyahu regime with a new one.

    At the same time, things are never over when they’re over as long as he’s around.

    He’s not leaving quietly and when disempowered won’t operate as a loyal to the country opposition.

    Continuing to cite nonexistent victimization, he claims a “deep state” conspiracy targeted him for removal (sic), adding:

    “They are uprooting the good (sic) and replacing it with the bad and dangerous,” he roared.

    “I fear for the destiny of the nation (sic).”

    His inflammatory rhetoric has been around at least since the 1990s.

    For him, opposition Jews are anti-Israeli leftists, Arab politicians considered fifth column threat terrorist sympathizers.

    Delusions of grandeur define his self-crafted persona, falsely claiming he alone can lead the Jewish state at a time of invented barbarians at the gates.

    Since becoming Israeli prime minister for the second time in early 2009 and remaining in office for 12 straight years, he’s on the cusp of being dethroned for being unable to form a majority coalition government after four elections since 2019 — a sign of weakness overtaking diminished strength.

    His ravings don’t resonate like earlier.

    According to Israeli political scientist Gayil Talshir:

    When out of power, “(w)e’re going to see a very assertive and aggressive head of the opposition, meaning Netanyahu, determined to make sure that this coalition of change would be a short-lived one and that we will have another election as soon as possible,” adding:

    “We don’t have even a memory of what normal politics looks like.”

    On Thursday, the Times of Israel reported that members of Netanyahu’s inner circle know that although his time is up, he’ll combat the new government to “bring it down.”

    Peaceful transition of power and respect for the rule of law was never his style, notably not after reigning as King Bibi for 12 straight years.

    It’s unclear if he’ll attend Sunday’s swearing in session and traditional handover of power on Monday.

    No joint briefing with incoming prime minister Naftali Bennett is scheduled.

    On Friday, Ynet News noted even though a new government is set to replace him Sunday, he’s “not relenting for a second…”

    He “sen(t) his messengers and sycophants to lash out at his opponents and continue nurturing the toxic discourse he has created.”

    You’re either with him or against Israel, according to his mindset.

    Because of his extremist rhetoric and toxic environment he created, many opposition coalition members require security for protection of themselves and family members.

    In or out of power, he represents an unparalleled internal threat to political forces against him.

    The harm he caused since taking power left permanent scars, defenseless Palestinians bearing the brunt of his viciousness.

    Haaretz reported on recently surfacing video from Israel’s Ketziot Prison on Netanyahu’s watch, saying: 

    It “should have set off an earthquake in the Israel Prison Service, police and the State Prosecutor’s Office.”

    It showed dozens of Palestinian prisoners thrown to a concrete floor.

    Shackled with their hands behind their back, guards beat them repeatedly with metal batons and by kicking.

    Ordered not to move or speak, their ordeal continued for hours — the incident filmed by security cameras.

    According to an unnamed prison official, it was one of the most violent unprovoked incidents ever inside an Israeli prison.

    Only four guards were questioned briefly about what happened in March 2019, video of it now emerging for the first time.

    It showed no rioting or other provocations.

    About 15 Palestinian prisoners required hospitalization, at least two in serious condition from what happened at the time.

    Recounting the incident, one affected Palestinian said the following:

    “They put us in restraints and no one resisted, and then they simply began to beat us with (metal) batons,” adding: 

    “They tossed us into the center of the wing like we were nothing, and beat us without us being able to defend ourselves.”

    Despite prisoners knowing the guards and seeing them daily, “(t)hat didn’t keep them from beating us mercilessly.”

    “We were sure they were going to kill us.”

    “Everyone prayed to God. Only after seeing all the blood around me did one of the officers order that I be taken to the clinic.”

    “They beat me along the way, too.”

    Others described similar horror stories.

    Restrained in pairs after beatings, they stayed that way overnight.

    Stripped and not given mattresses, they were kept this way for three days “without anything.”

    Told to keep heads down, “anyone who raised his head gotten beaten.”

    Haaretz explained that four guards alone were “briefly questioned on suspicion of battery,” adding:

    Few attempts were made to identify additional officers present that night.” 

    “Although the prisoners declared they could identify the perpetrators, no lineup was conducted.”

    After closure of the case with no accountability, the Hamoked human rights group appealed to Israel’s attorney general, saying:

    “The incident at Ketziont is a case of brute, wholesale violence against tied, helpless people,” adding:

    “The investigative authorities’ attempt to shirk responsibility, despite the security camera footage, is a badge of shame for the national unit for investigating corrections officers and investigative bodies in general.” 

    Others described similar horror stories.

    Restrained in pairs after beatings, they stayed that way overnight.

    Stripped and not given mattresses, they were kept this way for three days “without anything.”

    Told to keep heads down, “anyone who raised his head gotten beaten.”

    Haaretz explained that four guards alone were “briefly questioned on suspicion of battery,” adding:

    Few attempts were made to identify additional officers present that night.” 

    “Although the prisoners declared they could identify the perpetrators, no lineup was conducted.”

    After closure of the case with no accountability, the Hamoked human rights group appealed to Israel’s attorney general, saying:

    “The incident at Ketziont is a case of brute, wholesale violence against tied, helpless people,” adding:

    “The investigative authorities’ attempt to shirk responsibility, despite the security camera footage, is a badge of shame for the national unit for investigating corrections officers and investigative bodies in general.” 

    Subjugating Palestinians by State Terror and Intimidation

    May 30, 2021

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Historic Palestine is stolen Israeli Occupied Territory.

    Since establishment of Zionist tyranny in their homeland, Palestinians have been slaughtered, displaced, intimidated, humiliated, collectively punished, denied rights afforded Jews, and confined in Israeli gulag imprisonment.

    All of the above and other forms of oppression are for being unwanted Arabs in territory Israel wants for exclusive Jewish development and use.

    Since establishment of the Jewish state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian men, women, youths and children were murdered, imprisoned, tortured and otherwise brutalized for wanting to live free in their own homes on their own land — what the scourge of Zionism criminalized.

    Israeli tyranny denies them rights affirmed under international law.

    Every day is Kristallnacht in Occupied Palestine.

    Millions of subjugated Palestinians are collectively punished by racial discrimination, economic strangulation, mass arrests, detentions, curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, separation walls, electric fences, other barriers, neighborhood incursions, crop destruction, fishermen attacked at sea, farmers terrorized in their fields, land, sea and air attacks, bulldozed homes, land theft, ethnic cleansing, gulag imprisonment, and slow-motion genocide.

    Institutionalized Israeli state terror against an entire population of indigenous people is for the crime of praying to the wrong God.

    Israeli state terror is an instrument of slow-motion genocide, subjugation and controlling Palestinians by brute force and intimidation.

    Ongoing relentlessly for decades, it continues with no end of it in prospect because US-dominated Western societies support what just ones abhor and don’t tolerate.

    Besieged Gazans suffer most of all. Trapped with no place to hide in a virtual Israeli free-fire zone, they’re terrorized at Israel’s discretion by air, land and sea.

    Activist Hanin Majadli renamed Israeli Operation Law and Order mass arrests this month Operation Intimidation and Silence to punish Palestinians “who dare to protest” for rights denied them.

    Israel criminalized speech, media, academic, and peaceful demonstration rights that are critical of apartheid injustice.

    Netanyahu’s Operation Law and Order is all about enforcing police state harshness against Occupied Palestinians and Israeli Arab citizens — ones who dare protest for rights afforded Jews denied them.

    On Friday, journalist Farah Najjar tweeted:

    “ ‘They hit my whole body – my head, my arms, my legs,’ 13-year-old Mohammed from Umm al-Fahem said.”

    “He is among (hundreds) of Palestinian children who have been targeted in the Israeli police’s so-called Operation Law and Order.”

    Throughout Occupied Palestine and in Israeli Arab communities, an entire generation of Palestinian youths and children is victimized by Israeli state terror, intimidation, and gulag imprisonment.

    They’re kidnapped, detained, tortured and otherwise terrorized in captivity — while the West and most other world community nations de facto support Israeli state terror by looking the other way and saying nothing.

    Attempting to subdue public activism for long denied justice encourages more of it.

    Palestinian youths and children convicted of stone-throwing face up to 20 years of gulag imprisonment.

    According to Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), Palestinian youths and children, including ones engaged in peaceful protests, are prime targets for Israeli arrests and brutal mistreatment.

    They’re also shot and at times killed by Israeli security forces — cold-blooded murder to intimate others against protesting for justice denied them.

    In May alone, scores of Palestinian youths and children were violently arrested, detained and brutalized in captivity.

    The scourge of Zionist tyranny operates against millions of Palestinians for not being Jewish.

    A Final Comment

    Anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are unrelated to anti-Semitism.

    Dominant hardliners in Israel and Washington falsely claim otherwise.

    Zionism is tyranny by another name — a scourge threatening Jews and non-Jews alike. 

    It’s extremist, undemocratic, hateful, ruthless, racist, destructive, and hostile to peace, equity and justice.

    It’s contemptuous of fundamental legal, moral and ethical principles – a monster threatening everyone and everything it opposes, a cancer infesting Israel, America, other Western societies and elsewhere.

    It considers Jews and others unequal, Muslims especially demeaned, Palestinians viciously persecuted and otherwise harmed.

    In response to 11 days of Israeli war  on Gaza this month — along with brutalizing and mass-arresting Palestinians and Israeli Arab citizens for nonviolently protesting against Israeli ruthlessness — largely peaceful pro-Palestinian protests in US cities nationwide and in other countries included scattered incidents of anti-Israeli vandalism.

    In response, a White House statement greatly exaggerated a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in defense of apartheid Israel —  falsely comparing incidents to persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.

    Nothing remotely like it went on in recent weeks or ever before in the US and West when anti-Semitism was much more commonplace than now.

    Calling for a halt in “despicable, unconscionable, un-American…attacks,” the White House ignored weeks of escalated Netanyahu regime state terror throughout the Occupied Territories and against Arab Israeli citizens.

    Like many times before, the White House statement showed one-sided support for Israel and indifference toward the rights of Palestinians subjugated under the boot of Zionist tyranny. 

    If ruling regimes in Washington and other Western capitals wanted to eliminate most expressions of anti-Semitism in their countries, they’d end political and military support for apartheid Israel — along with demanding accountability of their culpable officials in international tribunals.

    Instead, they partner with and otherwise support the highest of Jewish state high crimes — their unacceptable actions fueling anti-Semitism instead of preventing it by doing the right things, according to the rule of law.

    US/Western Support for Israel Mass Slaughter and Destruction Throughout the Occupied Territories

    May 16, 2021

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Support by the US-dominated West lets apartheid Israel reign terror on Occupied Palestinians with impunity — as it’s done from inception since its 1947-48 war of aggression.

    An illegitimately created Jewish state in the Arab Middle East remains a prescription for endless conflict.

    It’s ongoing perpetually by Israel against Palestinians its ruling regimes want dispossessed of their homes and land, against Syria for years and Lebanon at the Jewish state’s discretion.

    As long as apartheid Israel exists, the Middle East will remain one of the world’s hot spots.  

    What the Netanyahu regime named Operation Guardian of the Walls, Hamas calls Operation Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Sword.

    A statement its leadership issued last week said the following:

    “We warned the enemy not to insist on attacking our holy sites and our people.” 

    “The enemy, however, continued its brutality, so it’s time now to pay a price.” 

    “We have accumulated our military experience in a bid to defend our people, whom we will never abandon.” 

    “Our weapon is the weapon of all our people.”

    “The time when the coward enemy can attack Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds without being held accountable is over.”

    Sunday marks day-seven of Israeli aggression on Gaza — and throughout the Occupied Territories perpetually — defenseless Palestinian civilians paying the biggest price.

    Deaths, injuries and mass destruction increase by the hour, including by smashing residential buildings in the Strip and other non-military-related targets.

    In all preemptive Israeli wars, inflicting maximum pain, suffering, deaths, destruction, and slow-motion genocide are key objectives — in flagrant breach of the UN Charter and other international law.

    On Saturday, Netanyahu pledged to continue endless Israeli aggression on Gaza.

    In response, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyah vowed that “resistance” to Israeli state terror “will not give in.”

    According to Gaza health officials Sunday morning, pre-dawn Israeli terror-bombing killed over two dozen more Palestinians in the Strip, including 8 more children.

    As of early Sunday morning local time, at least 182 Palestinians were massacred by Israel in cold blood, including around 50 children — thousands injured in Gaza and throughout the Territories.

    Whatever the death, injury, and destruction toll at any moment in time, carnage continues to increase hourly throughout one day after another — how it’s been since May 10.

    On Sunday, the UN Security Council will hold a first-ever open discussion on the ongoing conflict — to include representatives from Occupied Palestine, Israel and other regional countries, notably Jordan and Egypt.

    Two earlier closed-door sessions were held in the past week.

    So far, Biden regime hardliners — in support of Israeli aggression — blocked issuance of a statement criticizing it.

    Over the weekend, the Biden regime again defied reality by falsely blaming Hamas for Israel’s preemptive reign of terror on Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Netanyahu regime envoy to Washington Gilad Erdan thanked “POTUS” for its one-sided support.

    In cities worldwide, large-scale pro-Palestinian rallies continue to be held.

    Some participants carried banners and chanted: 

    “Free Palestine.” 

    “Israel is a terrorist state.” 

    “Occupation No More.” 

    “We demand change.”

    “Not in my name.”

    “Solidarity with Palestine.”

    “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and other anti-Israeli slogans. 

    Jewish state flags were burned.

    In the US, thousands turned out in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Denver, and elsewhere nationwide, including downtown Chicago where I live — in solidarity with long-suffering Palestinians.

    According to WGN TV Chicago:

    “A massive group of protesters from The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine filled Congress Plaza in downtown Chicago Wednesday to condemn…Israeli aggression.”

    “Demonstrators (rallied along the city’s) Magnificent Mile,” including near Chicago’s landmark Water Tower.

    CBS TV Chicago reported on a south side “Bridgeview (rally) in support of Palestinians.”

    In Los Angeles on Saturday, one demonstrator likely spoke for many others nationwide, saying:

    “I’m here because I want a Palestinian life to equal an Israeli life and today it doesn’t,” adding:

    “When you have a nuclear-armed state and another state of villagers with rocks, it is clear who is to blame.”

    May 15 marked the 73rd anniversary of Nakba Day — the catastrophe, reflecting mass-displacement of Palestinians and decades of endless suffering under suffocating occupation.

    Earlier I quoted a violently displaced Palestinian saying the following:

    “I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July of 1948.” 

    “The pain sears my memory, and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try.”

    “First, Israeli soldiers forced thousands of Palestinians from their homes near the Mediterranean coast, even though some families had lived in the same houses for centuries.”

    “My family had been in the town of Lydda in Palestine at least 1,600 years.” 

    “Then, without water, we stumbled into the hills and continued for three deadly days.”

    “The Jewish soldiers followed, occasionally shooting over our heads to scare us and keep us moving.” 

    “Terror filled my eleven-year-old mind as I wondered what would happen.”

    “I remembered overhearing my father and his friends express alarm about recent massacres by Jewish terrorists. Would they kill us, too?”

    “We did not know what to do, except to follow orders and stumble blindly up the rocky hills.” 

    “I walked hand in hand with my grandfather, who carried our only remaining possessions-a small tin of sugar and some milk for my aunt’s two-year-old son, sick with typhoid.”

    Palestinians are no match against Israeli brutality committed against them — how it’s always been.

    Nakba survivors recall the horror they endured. 

    Arabs were gunned down in cold blood, women raped.

    Other atrocities were committed. Hundreds of thousands displaced hoped one day they’d return.

    They and descendants are still waiting, enduring ruthless militarized occupation.

    On Nakba Day 2021, the 

    Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) explained “10 facts you need to know about the Palestinian Nakba:”

    1. Zionist militia forcibly displaced from “750,000 and 1,000,000 Palestinians into exile, making them refugees.”

    2. Around eight million Palestinian refugees are denied their legal “right to return to their homes, lands and other property by Israel, simply because they are not Jewish.”

    3. The Nakba was well-planned forced displacement of indigenous Arabs to create a Jewish state in historic Palestine.

    4. “Zionist militia begun its ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages months before the creation of the State of Israel.”

    5. Jewish state Arab citizens are discriminated against for being non-Jews and treated like fifth column threats which they’re not.

    6. In creating an illegitimate Jewish state by stealing historic Palestinian land, Zionist militia “destroyed about 530 Palestinian towns and villages to prevent refugees from returning.”

    7. The Jewish National Fund (JNF)…holds…stolen (Palestinian) land as “the perpetual property of the Jewish People” — illegally.

    8. “The Nakba did not end in 1948 and continues to this day, in the form of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land for settlements and for Jewish communities inside Israel, its destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, revocation of residency rights , deportations, demographic engineering, periodic brutal military assaults, and forced displacement.”

    9. “Many (East Jerusalem)Sheikh Jarrah…residents were ethnically cleansed from their homes during the Nakba.” 

    “They currently face becoming refugees for the second or third time.”

    Throughout the Occupied Territories, “(i)ndigenous Palestinians are being forced from their homes by state sponsored violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers, Israeli police, and armed Israeli” settlers.

    10. Israeli law “prohibits Palestinians who are second-class citizens of the state from commemorating the Nakba on May 15.” 

    “This does not stop Palestinians from remembering.”

    According to the BNC, the most effective way to support justice for long-suffering Palestinians is by “(s)har(ing) stories of the Nakba from Palestinians and join(ing) BDS campaigns.”

    When Will Israel Be Held Accountable for Genocide?

    May 16, 2021

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Apartheid Israel gives new meaning to rogue state ruthlessness.

    Since terror-bombing and shelling of Gaza communities began a week ago, their intensity increased from one day to the next.

    Its overnight reign of terror massacred 26 Palestinian civilians in Gaza City, wounding at least 50 others.

    At least two residential buildings in the city were turned to smoldering rubble.

    Instead of condemning mass murder and vast destruction — along with demanding accountability for the highest of high crimes — the world community has done nothing to stop the carnage.

    Biden regime hardliners support it.

    Because of one-sided US/Western support — how it’s always been for the past 73 years — Israeli regimes know they can do whatever they please unaccountably.

    Dem Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the Biden regime for supporting “apartheid” Israel.

    Via Twitter, she explained what everyone paying attention knows.

    Israeli mass slaughter and destruction in Gaza “is happening with the support of the US,” adding:

    “I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this.” 

    “The US vetoed the UN call for ceasefire.” 

    “If the Biden (regime) can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to?” 

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi slammed the Biden regime for “standing on the opposite side of international justice.”

    On Saturday, Blinken’s spokesman Price turned truth on its head by falsely claiming “unwavering (Biden regime) support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world (sic), and noted the indispensability of their reporting in conflict zones (sic).”

    Silencing what conflicts with Washington’s official falsified narrative is “unwavering” policy by US dark forces and their press agent media.

    Over the weekend, Netanyahu said his regime’s reign of terror on Palestinians “will continue as long as needed” — to serve his political aim to retain iron-fisted power.

    Along with unrelenting Israeli inflicted carnage on Gaza, the Palestinian Wafa News agency said over a dozen Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, many hundreds wounded, scores by live fire.

    Wafa also explained that days of Israeli terror-bombing and shelling of Gaza caused “massive destruction” and devastation to the Strip and its two million people.

    Over the weekend, the White House again affirmed one-sided Biden regime support for Israeli mass slaughter and destruction throughout the Occupied Territories.

    At the same time, it condemned Palestinian self-defense against Israeli aggression as “indiscriminate attacks (sic)” on the Jewish state.

    Over the weekend, rescue workers continued pulling survivors and bodies from rubble caused by Israeli terror-bombing.

    A statement by American Muslims for Palestine said the following:

    Remarks by Biden, Blinken, Psaki, Price, and other regime officials “completely disregard the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the Israeli assault on Al-Aqsa on worshippers during Ramadan, and the ongoing siege of Gaza that has already claimed the lives of hundreds,” adding:

    “In a show of solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Palestine, the United States, and around the world, a coalition of Muslims nationwide is urging our Muslim community to boycott the White House event and join the ‘Eid with Palestine: A Protest of the White House Eid event.”

    Remarks by the Council on American-Islamic Relations were similar.

    Former PLO legal advisor/Law Professor Francis Boyle earlier urged Palestinians to “sue Israel for genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”

    There’s no ambiguity about Jewish state guilt, Boyle adding:

    “The purpose of this lawsuit would be to demonstrate that undeniable fact to the entire world.”  

    “…World Court legal proceedings (would) prove to the entire world and to all of history that what the Nazis did to the Jews (in the 1930s and 40s) is legally similar to what the Israelis are currently doing to the Palestinian People today: genocide.”

    In his earlier statement, Boyle explained required steps for Palestinians to bring the case before the World Court.

    While the ICJ has no power to force compliance by the US and other nations to its rulings, finding Israel guilty of genocide would be an indelible stain to taint the Jewish state in perpetuity.

    As long as Israeli-installed Quisling Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas remains in office — enjoying special benefits afforded him — it’s highly unlikely that he’ll bite the hand generously feeding him.

    At age-85, he won’t be around forever. If a successor goes where he never dared by suing Israel for genocide at the ICJ, it would be an important step in pursuing long-denied Palestinian rights.

    Boyle earlier said he “believe(d) (that) the World Court (would) rule in favor of the de jure

    existence of the State of Palestine for the purpose of mounting this

    lawsuit against Israel for genocide,” adding:

    For sure, the US would “do everything possible to line up the votes of certain Judges against

    Palestine.”  

    “But it is no longer the case that the United States Government controls the World Court.”

    In 1986, the ICJ’s ruling for Nicaragua was ignored by the US.

    The Court ordered Washington to pay reparations to Nicaragua for contra war mass slaughter, destruction, and related high crimes against a sovereign state. 

    If Palestinians one day sue Israel for genocide, a similar ICJ judgment would likely follow — even though the US, West and Israel no doubt would ignore it.

    Boyle earlier added that “if necessary, (he) could the United States before the International Court of Justice for aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of Article III(e) of the 1948 Genocide Convention that expressly criminalizes ‘complicity’ in genocide.”

    I hope I’m around long enough to witness both the US and Israel sued for the crime of genocide — followed by ICJ rulings of guilty as charged.

    Muna is Palestine, Yakub is Israel: The Untold Story of Sheikh Jarrah

    May 12th, 2021

    Sheikh Jarrah Feature photo

    By Ramzy Baroud

    Source

    There are two separate Sheikh Jarrah stories – one read and watched in the news and another that receives little media coverage or due analysis. 

    There are two separate Sheikh Jarrah stories – one read and watched in the news and another that receives little media coverage or due analysis. The obvious story is that of the nightly raids and violence meted out by Israeli police and Jewish extremists against Palestinians in the devastated East Jerusalem neighborhood.

    For weeks, thousands of Jewish extremists have targeted Palestinian communities in Jerusalem’s Old City. Their objective is the removal of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. They are not acting alone. Their riots and rampages are directed by a well-coordinated leadership composed of extremist Zionist and Jewish groups, such as the Otzma Yehudit party and the Lehava Movement. Their unfounded claims, violent actions and abhorrent chant “Death to the Arabs” are validated by Israeli politicians, such as Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir and the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Arieh King.

    Here is a little introduction to the political discourse of Ben-Gvir and King, who were caught on video shouting and insulting a wounded Palestinian protester. The video starts with MK Ben-Gvir disparagingly yelling at a Palestinian who was apparently wounded by Israeli police, yet returned to protest against the evictions planned for Sheikh Jarrah.

    Ben-Gvir is heard shouting, “Abu Hummus, how is your ass?”

    “The bullet is still there, that’s why he is limping,” responds the Deputy Mayor, King, to Ben-Gvir.  King continues, “Did they take the bullet out of your ass? Did they take it out already? It is a pity it did not go in here,” King continues, pointing to his head.

    Delighted with what they perceive to be a whimsical commentary on the wounding of the Palestinian, Ben-Gvir and King’s entourage of Jewish extremists laugh.

    While “Abu Hummus”, wounded yet still protesting, is a testament to the tenacity of the Palestinian people, King, Ben-Gvir, the settlers and the police are a representation of the united Israeli front aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians and ensuring Jewish majority in Jerusalem.

    Another important participant in the ongoing Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign in Jerusalem is Israel’s court system which has provided a legal cover for the targeting of Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem.

    The legal foundation of the Jewish settlers’ constant attempts at acquiring more Palestinian properties can be traced back to a specific 1970 law, known as the Legal and Administrative Matters Law, which allowed Jews to sue Palestinians for properties they claim to have owned prior to the establishment of Israel on the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. While Palestinians are excluded from making similar claims, Israeli courts have generously handed Palestinian homes, lands and other assets to Jewish claimants. In turn, these homes, as in the case of Sheikh Jarrah and other Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, are often sold to Jewish settler organizations to build yet more colonies on occupied Palestinian land.

    Last February, the Israeli Supreme Court awarded Jewish settlers the right to many Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Following a Palestinian and international backlash, it offered Palestinians a ‘compromise’, whereby Palestinian families relinquished ownership rights to their homes and agreed to continue to live there as tenants, paying rents to the very illegal Jewish settlers who have stolen their homes in the first place, but who are now armed with a court decision.

    However, the ‘logic’ through which Jews claim Palestinian properties as their own should not be associated with a few extremist organizations. After all, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 was not the work of a few extreme Zionists. Similarly, the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967 and the massive settlement enterprise that followed was not the brainchild of a few extreme individuals. Colonialism in Israel was, and remains, a state-run project, which ultimately aims at achieving the same objective that is being carried out in Sheikh Jarrah – the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to ensure Jewish demographic majority

    This is the untold story of Sheikh Jarrah, one that cannot be expressed by a few news bytes or social media posts. However, this most relevant narrative is largely hidden. It is easier to blame a few Jewish extremists than to hold the entire Israeli government accountable. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is constantly manipulating the subject of demographics to advance the interests of his Jewish constituency. He is a strong believer in an exclusive Jewish state and also fully aware of the political influence of Jewish settlers. For example, shortly before the March 23 elections, Netanyahu made a decision to greenlight the construction of 540 illegal settlement units in the so-called Har-Homa E Area (Abu Ghneim Mountain) in the occupied West Bank, in the hope of acquiring as many votes as possible.

    While the Sheikh Jarrah story is garnering some attention even in mainstream US media, there is a near-complete absence of any depth to that coverage, namely the fact that Sheikh Jarrah is not the exception but the norm. Sadly, as Palestinians and their supporters try to circumvent widespread media censorship by reaching out directly to civil societies across the world using social media platforms, they are often censored there, as well.

    One of the videos initially censored by Instagram is that of Muna al-Kurd, a Palestinian woman who had lost her home in Sheikh Jarrah to a Jewish settler by the name of Yakub.

    “Yakub, you know this is not your house,” Muna is seen outside her home, speaking to Yakub.

    Yakub answers, “Yes, but if I go, you don’t go back. So what’s the problem? Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do this. I didn’t do this. It’s easy to yell at me, but I didn’t do this. 

    Muna: “You are stealing my house.”

    Yakub: “And if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.”

    Muna: “No. No one is allowed to steal it.” 

    The untold story of Sheikh Jarrah, of Jerusalem – in fact, of all of Palestine – is that of Muna and Yakub, the former representing Palestine, the latter, Israel. For justice to ever be attained, Muna must be allowed to reclaim her stolen home and Yakub must be held accountable for his crime.

    Forced Evictions of Palestinians for Exclusive Jewish Development

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Theft of Palestinian land followed the infamous 1917 Balfour Declaration that called for establishment of a nation for Jews on their historic land.

    Endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression — along with social and cultural fragmentation — define conditions for beleaguered Palestinians.

    They’ve endured over 100 years of suffering with no end of it in sight because the world community is dismissive of their rights.

    Israeli land theft for exclusive Jewish development began in earnest during its so-called 1947-48 war of independence.

    Around 78% of historic Palestinian land was stolen, the rest during Israel’s preemptive 1967 Six Day War.

    Israeli laws illegitimately legitimized theft of Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use.

    Israel’s Basic Law affirms that “ownership of Israel Lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority or the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel (KKL — Jewish National Fund, JNF), shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner.” 

    Israeli laws prohibit Arabs from buying, leasing or using land exclusively reserved for Jews — part of what apartheid is all about.

    Most often, Israeli courts rubber-stamp land theft when Arab owners petition for justice routinely denied them.

    The same goes for nearly all issues related to their rights and well-being.

    Since mid-April, Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and surrounding areas over ordered forced evictions of Palestinian families.

    Last month — together with about 190 other organizations — the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called on the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, to investigate, when the CCR called “war crimes and crimes against humanity in (Occupied) Palestine.”

    Eight or more Sheik Jarrah Palestinian families face unlawful forced eviction.

    Israel’s Jerusalem District Court ordered six families to vacate their homes by May 2, others by August 1.

    CCR and other groups urged the ICC to intervene on behalf of Palestinian rights, saying the following:

    “(W)e ask that you include as part of the investigation the war crimes of forcible transfer of parts of the population of the occupied territory (art. 8(2)(b)(viii) and 8(2)(a)(vii)), transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies (art. 8(2)(b)(viii)), destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully (art. 8(2)(a)(iv))  and, as these forced evictions are part of an ongoing, widespread and systematic attack against Palestinian civilians, the crimes against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer (art. 7.1(d)), persecution (art. 7.1(h)), apartheid (art. 7.1(j)) and other inhumane acts causing great suffering or serious injury to inter alia mental health (art. 7.1(k).”

    In 2018, the ICC expressed concern about Israel’s planned eviction of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar.

    At the time, it accused Israel of “extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory,” adding:

    These actions “constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute.”

    The same applies to what’s ongoing in Occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheik Jarrah neighorhood.

    Long-suffering Palestinians justifiably accuse Israel of discriminatory mistreatment throughout the Occupied Territories.

    Its legal system and courts systematically deny Palestinians justice afforded Jews alone.

    CCR and allied organizations called on the ICC to condemn Israeli forced evictions from Sheikh Jarrah.

    They also urged the ICC to warn Israeli perpetrators that their actions may constitute crimes of war and against humanity.

    Continuing their daily police state crackdown on fundamental Palestinian rights, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday where tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for prayer on the holy month of Ramadan’s last Friday. 

    They attacked Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem neighborhoods with rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, and beatings.

    Palestinians inside the mosque — Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca’s Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina — were assaulted the same way.

    According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 200 people were injured from clashes with Israel police in the mosque and elsewhere in Jerusalem, dozens hospitalized.

    A field hospital was set up to treat the injured.

    Earlier on Friday, Israeli forces lethally shot two Palestinians.

    In response to Israeli violence, Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh accused the Netanyahu regime of “playing with fire,” adding:

    “This is a battle you can’t win.”

    Islamic Jihad’s Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhalah warned Israel of a strong response against its ongoing violence.

    According to Palestinian eyewitnesses in Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli forces aimed potentially lethal rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians’ heads and faces to seriously injure, disable or kill.

    Red Crescent health workers confirmed that many Palestinians suffered wounds to their head and/or eyes.

    Israeli forces attacked an East Jerusalem clinic involved in treating injured Palestinians with stun grenades.

    Throughout Ramadan, Israeli security forces greatly restricted Palestinians’ access to Al-Aqsa and other Muslim holy sites in the Territories.

    At the same time, extremists settlers participated in “Death to Arab” marches in Jerusalem — unrestricted.

    Since mid-April, Sheik Jarrah Palestinians have been demonstrating daily against forced Israeli evictions from their homes — for the crime of being Arabs in an apartheid Jewish state.

    Violently attacked by Israeli security forces and extremist settlers, they continue demonstrating peacefully for their rights at risk of being lost.

    Days earlier, Israel’s Supreme Court postponed their forced eviction before perhaps ruling on the issue during or after a Monday May 10 hearing.

    On Sunday May 9, one of the holiest Ramadan nights, massive crowds of Palestinian worshipers are expected to converge on the Al-Aqsa compound and mosque.

    Sunday is also Jerusalem Day. It commemorates Israel’s illegal seizure and annexation of what the UN considers an international city, the capital of no single country.

    Along with tens of thousands of Palestinians expected to rally throughout the city Sunday, extremist Israeli settlers and likeminded ultra-nationalists are likely to turn out in large numbers for “Death to Arab” marches — risking clashes between both sides.

    Another day and night of violence is highly likely, perhaps exceeding what’s gone on so far.

    One Sheik Jarrah resident likely spoke for others, saying:

    “Our people will remain steadfast and patient in their homes, in our blessed land.”

    Following Friday prayers, thousands of Palestinians chanted what’s been heard before during Jerusalem protests, saying:

    “With our soul and blood, we will redeem you, Aqsa.”

    An unanswered question is whether what’s gone on for weeks is the beginning of a Third Intifada.

    It’s possible if daily Israeli violence continues and its High Court upholds illegal dispossession of Sheik Jarrah families from their homes.

    A Final Comment

    Last Friday, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville said the following:

    If implemented, Sheik Jarrah evictions “would violate Israel’s obligations under international law” — pertaining to its illegal seizure and occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, adding:

    “We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer.”

    Like the US and its key Western partners, Israel long ago abandoned the rule of law, operating exclusively by its own rules.

    The US under both right wings of its war party has always been dismissive of Palestinian rights while pretending otherwise. 

    It showed in an unacceptable statement by deputy State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter.

    Calling on both sides in Jerusalem “to ensure calm and act responsibly to deescalate tensions and avoid violent confrontation” stopped short of condemning Israeli violence like many times before.

    Since establishment of Israel on stolen Palestinian land in 1948, the US and West looked the other way in response to the Jewish state’s highest of high crimes.

    At the same time, the West has always been dismissive of Palestinian rights, according to the rule of law.

    Dominant hardliners in the US and West today don’t give a hoot about them — one-sidedly supporting Israel like always before.

    Israeli Violence Against Palestinian Protesters in Occupied Jerusalem

     April 25, 2021

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Time and again, when Palestinians protest legitimately against Jewish state viciousness, Israeli soldiers and other security forces attack them with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, toxic tear gas, and other repressive tactics.

    For 11 straight nights, Palestinian residents of Israeli Occupied Jerusalem rallied against assaults and other provocations by police, extremist settlers, and likeminded far-right Jewish hooligans.

    According to the Palestine News & Information Agency (WAFA) on Saturday:

    “The Jerusalem uprising… expanded to reach the West Bank and Gaza.”

    Over 100 Palestinians were injured, nearly two dozen hospitalized, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported. 

    WAFA said Saturday night clashes were “in support of the Jerusalem uprising and against Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the holy city.”

    What’s going on began on the first day of Ramadan after “Israeli police cut off wires to loudspeakers at Al-Aqsa Mosque minarets in Jerusalem to prevent the call for prayer that alert people to the start and end of the fast as well as the time for prayers,” adding:

    For the past 11 nights, “police harassed Jerusalem residents leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque” — Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca’s Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.

    Two nights ago, extremist “Israeli members of the Lahava terror group that advocates killing Palestinians in Jerusalem and taking over their homes joined the police in attacking the city’s Palestinian residents.”

    During the weekend, Arab-hating settlers “attacked Palestinian homes and property in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at homes and cars.”

    Israeli police and other security forces do nothing to deter them when these incidents happen.

    Since the Jerusalem uprising began, “Israeli police (permitted) intrusions” by extremist Jews into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

    They’re “allow(ed) to hold rituals in violation of the status quo and the sanctity of the holy site as a Muslim-only worship area, provoking strong reaction from people and countries, such as Jordan, the official custodian over the Muslim and Christian holy places in occupied East Jerusalem,” WAFA explained.

    Extremist Jews marched from Jerusalem’s Zion Square to the Old City, chanting: “Death to Arabs.”

    In parts of the city, police set up checkpoints, closing off areas to prevent Palestinians from observing traditional Ramadan activities, including prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    Over the weekend, Israeli warplanes and ground forces terror-bombed and shelled Gaza in response to Strip support for abused Palestinians in Jerusalem.

    The city is the epicenter of longstanding struggle. 

    Israeli Jews consider it their capital, a national and religious center. 

    For Christians, it’s where Jesus lived and died, and for Muslims, it’s home to the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    In June 1967, Israel illegally occupied the city. 

    On July 30, 1980, the Knesset introduced the Jerusalem Law, officially annexing it as Israel’s unified capital.

    On March 1, 1980, Security Council Resolution 465 declared that “all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant (Fourth Geneva) violation.”

    These actions also “constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

    On July 4, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICC) ruled that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development (and) have been established in breach of international law.”

    Nothing changed. Like the US and other Western countries, Israel operates exclusively by its own rules.

    Illegal settlements continue expanding exponentially on stolen Palestinian land.

    Israel wants territory from Jordan’s border to the Mediterranean Sea developed for exclusive Jewish use.

    Note: Separately on Saturday, scores of Israeli Peace Now activists rallied against police violence and rights of Arab Jerusalem residents, the group’s head Shaqued Morag, saying:

    “We want to send a message both to the (Netanyahu regime) and to our Palestinian neighbors that we won’t stay silent in front of the violence and the incitement and the racism.” 

    “We will defend the right of everybody to live in Jerusalem peacefully.”

    For his part, Netanyahu warned that his regime is “prepared for all scenarios” —suggesting that if protests continue, so will police state violence.

    Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

    March 29th, 2021

    By Miko Peled

    Source

    Israel ICC Feature photo
    Having created enemies by its own criminal behavior, Israel then claims the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through these criminal acts.

    TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

    There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies. They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians. They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

    Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

    As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years. These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud. This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition. 

    All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments. The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen. 

    Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena. This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

    “A moral abyss”

    The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials. He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words. One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality. And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

    In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people. A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

    For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again. Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights. When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel. Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

    When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel. The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

    During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence. Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location. Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

    Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

    “Our enemies”

    One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

    This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities. The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.

    The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

    One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

    They rejoice

    Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez. Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

    At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City. When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot. Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

    In fact, a piece in the British paper The Guardian describes the place and the scene during the 2014 assault on Gaza: “People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.”

    It goes on, describing what I too personally witnessed:

    A group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke…Some bring their children.”

    “We investigate”

    Kochavi claimed the army investigates, though clearly Israel’s investigations of its own crimes are few, far between, and rarely end up with the violators being held accountable.

    “We do everything to prevent killing their civilians,” he says, which should make us wonder in what world General Kochavi lives. Israel not only does not do anything to prevent the death of civilians but for decades has been targeting civilians in both Palestine and Lebanon. This is obvious because, as stated earlier, Palestinians have never had an army.

    As the world wonders what the next Netanyahu government will look like, it is clear that Palestinians will continue to live in fear of Israeli terrorism. One has to wonder at what point the world is likely to end the destruction of Palestine and its people by Israel.

    Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi’s 12-Year Reign

    Image result for Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi’s 12-Year Reign

    By Miko Peled

    Source

    Three separate court cases have converged in Israel to provide Netanyahu the cover he needs to maintain power amid an endless stream of controversies.

    Three judicial matters have been in Israeli headlines recently, all of them very serious in nature and all likely to serve Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections.

    The first is the indicted prime minister’s court hearing in early February regarding his ongoing corruption case. The second is that the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that the territories Israel occupied in 1967 are within its jurisdiction, meaning that many Israelis may well be the subject of war-crimes investigations. The third is an Israeli court ruling from January 2021 banning the 2003 film “Jenin, Jenin,” made by Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri. The film documents the atrocities committed by IDF forces in the Jenin refugee camp in the spring of 2002. All three are likely to raise serious concerns among the highest echelons of the Israeli government.

    Yet even as these court cases loom over him, his government, and the Israeli military, and with national elections rapidly approaching, for Netanyahu these crises present opportunity. Taking the familiar pages from the Trump playbook, Netanyahu can turn every accusation of corruption into an attack by liberals, any claims of war crimes, or even misconduct by Israeli forces, into an attack on all Jews by antisemitic forces. Only in Netanyahu’s Israel could so many problems be a blessing.

    Indeed, Netanyahu and his supporters claim that the corruption charges against him represent persecution of the prime minister by the liberal press and a biased judicial system. He is leading the charge to attack the ICC and has already stated that its decision is antisemitism raising its ugly head again. As for “Jenin, Jenin,” it is being universally condemned in Israel and is characterized as libelous and totally false.

    When you are Benjamin Netanyahu, the best card player in the casino of Israeli politics — when you are the one who knows how to play everyone else in the room, possessing decades of experience — there’s nothing better than a good crisis. It helps to rally people around you. As a matter of fact, dealing with crises is what Netanyahu does best.

    Indictment? No problem!

    According to the Times of Israel, because Netanyahu’s corruption case has been in the news cycle for close to five years already, “[a]ny political fallout is already baked into the views, poll responses, and voting calculations on all sides.” In other words, nobody cares, and the election results will not be affected in any significant way.

    Furthermore, the Times states that many of Netanyahu’s supporters “agree with Netanyahu that he is being unfairly targeted by a politicized prosecution.” Those who feel that the accusations of corruption against him have merit argue that “the advantages he brings as a leader far outstrip any possible malfeasance claimed in the indictment.” In fact, polls quoted in the Times show that “up to 54 percent of Israelis think he’s the best prime ministerial candidate.”

    a politicized prosecution.” Those who feel that the accusations of corruption against him have merit argue that “the advantages he brings as a leader far outstrip any possible malfeasance claimed in the indictment.” In fact, polls quoted in the Times show that “up to 54 percent of Israelis think he’s the best prime ministerial candidate.”

    Making a deal with the devil

    When no crisis is available, Netanyahu creates his own. Tensions along the border with Syria, a threat from Iran, or an impending War on Gaza are the usual favorites and work very well.

    In recent days Netanyahu and his Likud Party signed an agreement with the most right-wing elements in the Zionist political spectrum. The worst neo-fascist religious fanatics within Israel have always been his natural allies and he has now come to an official agreement with them on a vote-sharing deal called “surplus votes.” Under the agreement, “Likud promised that Netanyahu would include Religious Zionism MKs ‘in any government he forms.’” That means that after Knesset votes are counted and applied towards seats in the Israeli Parliament, any leftover votes must be shared with Israel’s militant, right-wing religious fanatics.

    Surplus vote-sharing agreements are widely used in Israeli elections and allow parties to ensure that extra votes do not go to waste. Instead, the parties utilize them through special agreements with other parties.

    While the vote-sharing agreement has irked many in the center and what is sometimes referred to as the center-left of Israeli politics, it shows once again that Netanyahu calls the shots as he sees fit. If other members of the Knesset and even of his own party are unhappy, well then, they are welcome to go elsewhere. However, with nowhere else to go, year after year and election after election, not only do members of his party come running to him, members of the other parties do too.

    The parties with which Netanyahu’s Likud signed the vote-sharing agreement include the far-right Religious Zionism Party and the openly racist “Otzma Yehudit,” or Jewish Might. Members of these parties support an ideology that includes expelling Palestinians who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state. Some party members also support LGBT conversion therapy. These fanatic religious-Zionist parties represent armed gangs that openly terrorize Palestinians across the country.

    The International Criminal Court ruling

    After lengthy deliberations that led to a landmark decision, the International Criminal Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. This ruling opens the door to possible criminal charges against Israeli military personnel and potentially even against government officials.

    Netanyahu called the international tribunal’s decision “pure antisemitism,” a meritless claim he failed to explain. The ruling addresses specific incidents in which the Israeli military was involved and has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish people.

    After nearly 20 years, court ruling bans Jenin Jenin

    Israel’s Central District Court has banned the screening of the 2003 documentary film “Jenin Jenin” and ordered the confiscation of all copies of the film in the country. In addition, the court ordered the film’s director, Mohammed Bakri, to pay Lt. Col. Nissim Magnagi, one of the reservist officers who was allegedly present during the assault on the Jenin refugee camp and was shown for a brief moment in the film, 175,000 shekels in damages on top of 50,000 shekels in legal expenses.

    One has to question the merits of banning a film in 2021 when it was made in 2003. There are no public screenings of the film and the only viewers that watch it do so online — and that of course cannot be banned. The fine, however, is a blow and it has yet to be seen what will happen when the decision reaches a higher court for appeal.

    Of the three judicial issues stated here, only one pertains to Netanyahu and is likely to have little or no effect on his chances to win the elections. The other two only confirm what the Israeli electorate already believes, that the International Criminal Court is antisemitic and that a film made by a Palestinian showing Israeli military crimes must be a vicious, libelous lie, and the common wisdom is that Netanyahu knows better than anyone how to deal with the anti-Semites.

    The Israeli electorate is used to both crises and to the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The results of the next election, just like the results of the three previous ones, are almost guaranteed to go in his favor.

    #STANDWITHISSA: Issa Amro Stood Against Israel’s Settler State and is About to Pay a Heavy Price

    By Miko Peled

    Source

    Anyone familiar with the Israeli occupation and the violence of the settlers would find the following story impossible and unthinkable, however, Issa Amro was able to pull it off.

    Occupied Hebron — “Israel wants to steal our history. They want to focus only on one small part of the history and ignore all the rest,” Issa Amro told me in an interview for the “Miko Peled Podcast,” (also available at Mikoeled.com). Issa was talking about why Israeli settlers are so keen to take over Tel Rumeida, a hill overlooking the city of Hebron. It is a hill that contains an archaeological and historical gold mine. Not because it contains actual gold, but because along with the ancient olive trees that have been alive and have sustained people who lived in Hebron for thousands of years, it contains proof of an ancient civilization and continuous life that goes back thousands of years.

    Violent extremist take over

    The city of Hebron has the misfortune of having been invaded by extreme religious Zionist settlers. These are settlers who have a very particular reading of Biblical stories and are extremely violent and uncompromising. Their hate for Palestinians knows no bounds and like other Zionists, these settlers have no regard for the actual historical significance of the city of Hebron, but only see it in terms of their narrow, fanatic reading of the Old Testament.

    Zionists in general, and the Zionist settlers in Hebron, in particular, feel that Old Testament stories represent history and completely disregard the fact that archaeological evidence points in a different direction. They interpret the archaeology in a way that satisfies their greed, their bigotry, and their desire to take the city away from its rightful inhabitants, the Palestinians of Hebron.

    These fanatic settlers serve an important role within the larger Zionist takeover of Palestine. The method that Zionists have always used in order to take over land, even before the state of Israel was established, was to send young ideological zealots who are willing to use violence to forcibly take over Palestinian land. Then, they send in the military and claim that the area is a military base or is required for military use. Then the military leaves and invites settlers back to create a permanent settlement.

    A portion of Tel Rumeida has already been taken over by settlers, but they will not be content until the entire Hill is in their hands. One man has made it his mission in life to make sure that this does not happen. This man, Issa Amro, was recently convicted by an Israeli military court of a list of charges that read like a textbook of civil disobedience. While he is yet to be sentenced, sentencing is expected to take place on February 8, 2021. There is reason to believe he will be serving time in an Israeli military prison. His only crime is that he dared to stand up to the vicious violence of fanatic Zionist settlers and the Israeli Army which is at their service using the tool of civil disobedience and non-violent resistance.

    “I’m going to murder you Issa Amro!”

    A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to take a few friends to visit Hebron. We met with Issa and he was kind enough to give us a tour of the city, the city in which he was born and now can only walk along roads in which he, as a non-Jew, is permitted to walk. It just so happens that the house in which he was born has been closed off by the Israeli army and Issa cannot access it.

    As we reached a point in the city where non-jews (or rather Palestinians) are not permitted to walk, we saw a soldier standing and next to him a young settler who could not have been more than 14 years old. The boy looked at Issa and said to him in Hebrew, “Issa,  I am going to come and murder you one of these days.” He repeated this statement and then turned to the soldier and they gave each other a high-five. That is the environment in which Issa and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have to live because of the Zionist occupation of Hebron.

    Saving a house in Hebron

    Anyone familiar with the Israeli occupation in Palestine and the violence of the settlers and the Israeli military would find the following story impossible and unthinkable, however, Issa Amro was able to pull it off.

    One house that was strategically placed on Tel Rumeida, and from which one can see the entire Old City of Hebron, was about to be taken over by settlers. It had gone through the process of the military takeover and was then handed over to settlers. Issa managed to find the Palestinian owner of the house and rent it from him legally. It had cost Issa agony, arrest, detention, endless interrogations, and required the intervention of hundreds of activists from around the world, but in the end, Issa was able to salvage the house from the settlers and establish a center from which he runs one of the most effective grassroots operations in Palestine, Youth Against Settlements (YAS).

    Tel Rumeida Hebron
    Miko Peled, left, with Issa Amro at YAS Center in Tel-Rumeida, Hebron. Photo | Miko Peled

    The work of Issa Amro and Youth Against Settlements includes documenting human rights violations by the army and settlers. Their work also includes organizing creative nonviolent actions, establishing and renovating community spaces such as a community center, kindergarten, woman empowerment center, and the beginnings of a cinema for which Issa may go to jail. Palestinians in Hebron are constantly at risk of forced displacement, and empowering this community in the most vulnerable areas through home repair, protective presence, and distributing charity is a crucial part of the local grassroots activism of Issa and the YAS.

    Sentenced for civil disobedience

    After a trial that has lasted several years and finally ended late in 2020, a military judge, Lt. Colonel Menahem Lieberman, himself is a religious Zionist settler who emigrated from the United States and has close ties to the settler community in Hebron, found Issa guilty of six out of the 18 counts of which he was charged. The indictment with 18 charges was presented in summer 2016, roughly three weeks after a campaign to establish a cinema in Hebron began.

    THE CHARGES – CONVICTED:

    • First count – assaulting a public servant
    • Fifth count – participating in a rally without a permit
    • Eight count – participating in a march without a permit
    • Tenth count – obstructing a soldier
    • Seventeenth count – participating in a march without a permit
    • Eighteenth count – participating in a march without a permit

    Between the time that this is published and February 8, at which time the judge will rule regarding sentencing, there is still time to act in order to help Issa Amro.

    For information regarding the campaign please visit the Friends of Hebron where you can publish photos of yourself holding a sign in support of Issa, publish a video statement telling why you believe Issa Amro should go free. You can also call or email elected officials and reach out to your community centers, activist groups, local charities, religious organizations, and churches to request they release statements in support of Issa and contact your local elected and unelected officials.

    Anyone wanting to help out is also encouraged to reach out to writers, journalists, celebrities, professors, and notable community members and ask them to make public statements or write editorials about the case. Friends of Hebron is also circulating a petition you can sign and send to others.

    The risk of losing invaluable historical monuments and forgetting the rich history of Palestine is real. Doing what we can to prevent that is our responsibility as people of conscience for future generations. The first step is to stand with Palestinians like Issa Amro.

    Israeli Security Forces Kill Palestinians with Impunity

    By Stephen Lendman

    Source

    Since stealing 78% of Occupied Palestine in 1948, the rest in 1967, Israeli soldiers and police have systematically killed and terrorized defenseless Palestinians with impunity.

    The Jewish state gets away with murder and much more because the world community fails to hold it accountable.

    Notably the US and other Western countries turn a blind eye to its high crimes of war, against humanity, and daily apartheid persecution of a long-suffering people – illegally blockaded Gazans harmed most since 2007.

    Law Professor Francis Boyle earlier accused Israel of “heinous war crimes inflicted every day…against the Palestinian people,” including “willful killing” and state terror.

    The late Law Professor Michael Mandel called illegal Israeli settlements “war crimes,” citing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Geneva Conventions, along with other international and Canadian law.

    On October 1, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel highlighted the disturbing reality for long-suffering Palestinians under apartheid occupation, saying the following:

    “Israel’s perception of Palestinian citizens as (the Jewish state’s) ‘enemy’ continues to grant blanket impunity to police for killings.

    The 10 commandments and hundreds of others fundamentalist Jews believe were given to their people by the almighty apply only to others of the faith, no one else — including No 6: Thou shalt not kill.

    In October 2000, Israeli police killed 13 Palestinians who were nonviolently protesting for rights denied them.

    All but one were Israeli citizens, the other a Gaza resident.

    The killings Israel calls the “October 2000 events” followed Likud-leader Ariel Sharon’s provocative, heavily guarded, visit to the Haram al-Sharif, Islam’s third holiest site – sparking the Second Intifada.

    The horrific five-year toll included:

    • 4,166 Palestinian deaths, including 886 children and 271 women;

    • 554 extrajudicial assassinations, including 253 peaceful bystanders;

    • 3,530 Palestinians disabled or maimed;

    • 8,600 imprisoned, including 288 children and 115 women;

    • 576 students killed, including 199 university-level ones and 32 teachers;

    • another 4,713 students injured and 1,389 detained;

    • 2,329,659 dunums of confiscated Palestinian land;

    • another 73,613 dunums of razed land plus 1,355,290 uprooted trees; and

    • 7,761 demolished homes and another 93,842 damaged.

    All of the above are unpunished high crimes of war and against humanity — an apartheid Israel speciality.

    Established to investigate what happened in October 2000, Israel’s Or Commission found no justification for the killings that sparked all of the above.

    Nothing warranted lethal and related violence against nonthreatening Palestinians.

    To this day, no Israeli police officer or anyone more senior was held accountable for cold-blooded murder.

    At the time, “(a)bout 660 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested in connection with these events, and hundreds, including scores of minors, were indicted and detained without bond until the end of trial,” Adalah explained.

    In September 2005, Israeli police formally declined to hold officers in its ranks accountable for butchery.

    In January 2007, Israel’s attorney general closed the case.

    “Adalah has continued to demand justice and accountability for the Palestinians killed and for their families, including the punishment of those responsible,” it said, adding: 

    “Adalah has also continued to confront the Israeli police and Mahash for their brutality and unaccountability towards Palestinian citizens of Israel, while calling for adherence to the Or Commission’s recommendations.”

    For over 72 years and events preceding them, Israeli security forces have terrorized, brutalized and massacred defenseless Palestinians for crime of being Arabs in a Jewish state — their mark of Cain.

    “This is How Armed Gangs Operate” Israel Admits its Troops Planted IEDs in a Palestinian Town

    Israel Palestinians

    By Alan Macleod

    Source

    The IDF admitted that they put the explosives on the commonly used road, doing it to “create a deterrence,” because “riots have regularly occurred” in the area.

    A seven-year-old Palestinian boy was walking with his mother just outside the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum a few miles to west of the city of Nablus. Seeing a strange orange and black package held down with some rocks, the boy approached, thinking it was a toy. His mother quickly stopped him, summoning a relative to investigate. Foolishly, the man shook the package and it exploded, injuring his face and hands.

    Along the popular path they found another device, this time photographing it and throwing stones at it until it too exploded.

    That device was housed in a metal box used by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to store grenades, Israeli outlet Haaretz reports. That evening, after the images had caused outrage on social media, Israeli military units came and neutralized a third IED they had left on the path.

    IDF sources freely admitted that they put the explosives on the commonly used road, doing it to “create a deterrence,” because “riots have regularly occurred” in the area. Kafr Qaddum is known as a hotbed of protest against the Israeli occupation, suggesting this was done in response to their activism. Warning signs, written in Hebrew only, were found close to the IEDs. “People live there, and children wander around,” said the injured man, “it’s lucky nothing worse happened.”

    “Even in a place where revenge operations by soldiers have already become routine, soldiers planting improvised explosive devices is exceptional, and it’s pure luck that it didn’t cause far worse injuries,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said.

    This is how armed gangs operate, not a regular army. But the action reflects the spirit of the army’s commanders and the government, both of which send the message that Palestinian lives and limbs are fair game.”

    “When this story came to me I did not believe it was true. But it is,” said Haaretz’s Hagar Shezaf, who covered the story. Yet despite the fact that she obtained confessions from IDF sources, she entertained the idea that the whole thing was a Palestinian false flag operation.

    Needless to say, placing explosive devices in civilian areas is a serious war crime. However, compared to the weeks-long bombing campaign against Gaza it is currently undertaking, planting some IEDs is perhaps a minor incident. Western media have shown little interest in covering the campaign, reflexively taking the Israeli side when doing so. Indeed, Canadian broadcaster CBC issued a public apology for using the word “Palestine” on air during an interview.

    The humanitarian fallout from the bombing is likely worse than the bombing itself. The only power plant in Gaza has been forced out of action, and Israel is limiting the area to only three to four hours of electricity per day by restricting fuel imports. Oxfam warns that the conditions are likely to spark a COVID-19 epidemic that authorities will not be able to handle. Gaza has only 97 intensive care hospital beds, and people’s access to clean water has shrunk from 80 to 20 liters per day. “People are forced to choose between hygiene and food,” explained Shane Stevenson, Oxfam’s country director for Israel and Palestine.

    Malnutrition has also reached the point of crisis, with one third of Palestine (and over two-thirds of Gazans) food insecure, according to the World Food Program, who found that nearly eight percent of Palestinian children under the age of five showed moderate to severe signs of stunted growth.

    The United States holds a huge amount of influence in the region. However, both political parties appear steadfast in their support for Israeli actions. Trump has emboldened Netanyahu to announce the annexation of much of the fertile Jordan Valley, while the Democratic ticket seems eager to outdo the president. “I pledge to you the Biden-Harris administration will sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge,” Harris said at a fundraiser on Wednesday.

    On the subject of the IEDs, Haaretz was concerned enough to print an editorial. “This phenomenon must be shut down and those responsible punished. The IDF must make sure there are no more such devices in the area, and that there are no other locations where orange boxes await curious children or their parents,” they wrote. Whether the IDF heed their words remains to be seen.

    With an Eye on Balkanization, Israel throws Support Behind Separatist Militants in Southern Yemen

    By Ahmed Abdulkareem

    Source

    ADEN, YEMEN — As the war in Yemen nears its sixth year, the situation in the war-torn nation is escalating as Israel enters the fray, throwing its support behind the Emirati-backed separatist militant group, the Southern Transitional Council (STC). The STC has already effectively captured Aden and more recently seized Socotra Island. Israel’s entrance into the already convoluted and crowded theater is likely to open the door for further escalation, particularly in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait.

    Amid the ever-growing normalization of relations between Tel Aviv and wealthy Gulf Aab states, the Emirati-backed STC, now the de facto authorities in the south of the country, have already established a secret relationship with Israel encouraged by the United Arabic Emirates (UAE) according to informed sources in Aden. Despite strong opposition from leaders inside the STC and from Southern Yemen’s public, the UAE-backed group receives various forms of support from Israel, including weapons and training facilitated by the UAE following secret talks between STC officials and Tel Aviv sponsored by the UAE.

    Prior to that, the Deputy Head of the STC Hani bin Breik announced that the group has a willingness to establish relations with Israel, saying “the peace with Israel is “coveted and aspiring” for them. However, he claimed that any relationship with Israel should be within the framework of the Arab peace initiative made by the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, but he stressed their willingness to establish relations with any country that helps them to “restore their state.”

    The development comes after the Warsaw Conference held in February 2019 that ostensibly focused on security in the Middle East. There, Khaled al-Yamani, Yemen’s former foreign minister, executed a very public warming of relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In its wake, U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who also served as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and advisor on Israel, remarked that the friendly incident could be the first step in establishing cooperation between Yemen and Israel.

    In a related development, Israel’s most widely-read newspaper, Israel Today, claimed that Tel Aviv has been conducting secret meetings with the Emirati-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), reporting that the STC are “secret friends” to Israel. In fact, that positive attitude towards Israel has been confirmed by the Deputy Head of the STC himself in a video posted on YouTube.

    Superficially, Tel Aviv’s support aims to help the STC against the local forces that oppose them, but the fact is that Israel is trying to establish a foothold on the Yemeni Islands in the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait. The Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab are vital interests to Tel Aviv. For their part, the STC needs not only to tighten its control over Yemen’s southern districts and pursue its long-time goal of declaring secession from the north of the country, but they need a gateway to the United States and to the world. Like many Gulf Arab states, the STC has long believed the road to American validation runs through Israel.

    STC Yemen Israel HQ

    However, southern political leaders who spoke to MintPress realize that relations with Israel will not bring about “an independent state” and that that relationship will be an obstacle in getting public support. Moreover, southerners consider the Palestinian cause to be the cause for all, a situation that STC will not succeed in changing. They say that the Palestine issue is one that concerns Muslims as a whole, something that any local force could never hope to change.

    Houthi resistance

    Of all Yemen’s myriad political forces, tribes, and military powers, the Ansar Allah-led military, is best prepared, and likely the most willing, to take retaliatory action against both the STC and Israel. Ansar Allah, the political wing of Yemen’s Houthis, are committed to the territorial integrity of Yemen and announced that that they would not hesitate to “deal a stinging blow” to Israel in the case that Tel Aviv decides to involve itself in Yemen.

    A high-ranking official quoted the words of Ansar Allah leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi when he threatened Israel in November 2011.” Our people will not hesitate to declare jihad (holy war) against the Israeli enemy, and to launch the most severe strikes against sensitive targets in the occupied territories if the enemy engages in any folly against our people.” In 1956, 1967, and 1973 war with Israel, Yemen successfully closed off the Bab Al-Mandab Strait and prevented Israeli ships from crossing through it.

    The National Salvation Government in Houthi-controlled Sana’a accused the United Arab Emirates of providing cover for Israel’s efforts in southern Yemen. “The Israeli enemy sees Yemen as a threat to it,” said Information Minister Dhaifalla Al-Shami, “especially in its strategic location, so it has worked to find a foothold in Yemen through the UAE’s role.” Recently, UAE ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, said in an article for the newspaper Yediot Aharonot that his country “pushed for initiatives that would have granted Israel privileges.”

    Given the fact that the fragmentation of the Middle East is consistent with Israel’s strategy in Yemen, the STC’s, and by extension the UAE’s, relationship with Israel not only violates the Yemeni religious and national constants held firm by nearly all Yemenis, but it is also a threat to the prospect of a unified Yemen. Yemeni political forces, including Ansar Allah, see Israel’s efforts to back the emergence of a break-away separation state in the south as a dangerous game.

    In fact, unconfirmed reports allege that Israel participated in the war against Yemen on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition as a part of a series of covert interventions involving mercenary forces, the reported launching of dozens of airstrikes in the country and even the dropping of a neutron bomb on Nuqm Mountain in the middle of the capital city of Sana’a in May of 2015. But any Israeli presence in the south will lead to an inevitable clash with Israel, according to decision-makers in Yemen.

    %d bloggers like this: