Zionist Political Violence: Patterns and Motives

By Dr. Zuhai Sabbagh

Source

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

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

Definition of Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Myth of the Purity of Arms

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

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

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

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

Patterns of Zionist Political Violence

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

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

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

The Myth of Self-Defense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli Violent Society

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

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

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

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

(e) Racism and Zoology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Process of Replacement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Process of Dehumanization

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

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

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

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

Concluding Remarks

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

UK Government Evasive About Sanctions If Israel Annexes West Bank

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

 

Boris Johnson YH 67e91

Writing in the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth today – the very day Netanyahu threatened to commence extending Israeli sovereignty to illegal Jewish squatter communities and the Jordan Valley in a blatant bid to thieve more Palestinian land – UK prime minister Boris Johnson makes this disgraceful claim:

“I am a passionate defender of Israel…. a life-long friend, admirer and supporter.” On other occasions he has declared himself “a passionate Zionist”, an equally tasteless thing to be.   “Few causes are closer to my heart than ensuring its people are protected from the menace of terrorism and anti-Semitic incitement. The UK has always stood by Israel and its right to live as any nation should be able to, in peace and security. Our commitment to Israel’s security will be unshakable while I am Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

The trouble, dear Boris, is that the Israelis, who are violent intruders, won’t let their neighbours live in peace and security and cry blue murder whenever they put up resistance which they have every right to do. Your brilliant solution to the Holy Land problem is to force the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table and never mind implementing international law and scores of UN resolutions. Will you never learn?

Yesterday, at Westminster, the scene was Questions to the Foreign Secretary, the subject ‘Planned Annexation of the West Bank.

– Tonia Antoniazzi: What recent representations he has made to the Israeli Government on their planned annexation of parts of the west bank.

– Julie Elliott: What assessment he has made of the effect of Israel’s plan to annex parts of the west bank on human rights in that region.

– James Cleverly (Minister of State for Middle East & North Africa): The UK’s position is clear: we oppose any unilateral annexation. It would be a breach of international law and risk undermining peace efforts. The Prime Minister has conveyed our position to Prime Minister Netanyahu on multiple occasions, including in a phone call in February and a letter last month. The UK’s position remains the same: we support a negotiated two-state solution based on 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital and a pragmatic, agreed settlement for refugees.

– Tonia Antoniazzi: Current sanctions are clearly not working as a deterrent for Israel’s plan to annex the west bank illegally. Strong words at this point are a betrayal of the Palestinian people—they need actions. Can the Minister outline what action the Government will take against annexation?

– James Cleverly: The Government have maintained a dialogue with Israel. We are attempting to dissuade it from taking this course of action, which we believe to be not in its national interest and not compliant with international law.

– Julie Elliott: In 1980, the UN Security Council condemned Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and, in ’81, its illegal annexation of the Golan Heights. What lesson does the Minister think the Israeli Government took from the failure to see those Security Council resolutions adhered to? Are the UK Government abandoning the Palestinian people, as suggested in a recent open letter by UK charities?

– James Cleverly: The UK Government remain a friend of Israel and also a friend of the Palestinian people. We have continued to have dialogue both with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and with the Government of Israel, and we encourage them to work together to come towards an agreed settlement that will see a safe, secure state of Israel alongside a safe, secure and viable Palestinian state. There is still the opportunity for that negotiated settlement to be the outcome, and we will continue working with both the Israelis and the Palestinians to facilitate that.

– Lisa Nandy: World leaders are warning of consequences should annexation go ahead, but the silence from this Government has been deafening, so much so that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz says that France is now the world’s “last, best hope” to stop annexation. This really is shameful. I raised my concerns with the US ambassador—has the Minister? Will he commit to a ban on settlement imports and recognise Palestine, as this House voted to do? Forgive me, I may have missed it. If he will not do those things, can he tell us what exactly he is proposing to do?

– James Cleverly: The UK remains a friend and ally to the state of Israel and a good friend to the Palestinian people. It is tempting—and I am sure it will placate certain voices on the left of the political spectrum—to stamp our feet and bang the table, but we will continue to dissuade a friend and ally in the state of Israel from taking a course of action that we believe will be against its own interests, and we will do so through the most effective means available.

– Alyn Smith: I listened carefully to the previous exchange, and I have much respect for the Minister, but I am not asking him to stamp his feet or bang the table—I am asking him to match the sensible position that he has outlined today on the illegal annexation of the already illegally claimed settlements with some actual action. No amount of warm words and sympathy are going to cut it in this discussion. My party, likewise, is a friend of the two-state solution. We are a friend of the Israeli state, and we are a friend of the Palestinians as well. We want to see a viable solution, but there is a lively debate that we can influence right now within Israel, and we need to put action on the table, not warm words and sympathy. Settlement goods should at the very least be labelled as illegal, and targeted sanctions need to be put on the table to focus the minds of the coalition. I urge him to act, not just talk.

– James Cleverly: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken with his opposite number and other members of the Israeli Government, as have I and indeed our Prime Minister. We are working to dissuade Israel from taking this course of action. There will always be voices in British politics that would jump at any opportunity to bring in sanctions and disinvestment. We do not agree with those voices, and we will continue to work towards a negotiated two-state solution, using the diplomatic means we have at our disposal.

– Alyn Smith: I appreciate that answer, and I would urge more. When Russia illegally occupied Crimea, the UK Government, with our support, implemented sanctions with the international community. We need that sort of action now, and I would urge the Minister to greater efforts than we have heard today.

– James Cleverly: I reiterated the UK’s position at the UN Security Council on 24 June. I made it clear that annexation would not go unanswered. However, I will not stand at this Dispatch Box in order, as I say, to placate some of the traditional voices in criticism of Israel when the best way forward is to negotiate and speak with a friend and ally, in the Government of Israel, to dissuade them from taking a course of action that we believe is not in their own best interests.

Well, you get the picture…… a bizarre piece of parliamentary theatre in which a British minister of the Crown plays chief pimp for a foreign racist entity. What a pathetic performance by Mr Cleverly. He mouths the same tired and obsolete excuses for inaction as his predecessors and cannot bring himself to show principle or backbone. Perhaps that’s because Her Majesty’s Government simply hasn’t any.

So here is a question of my own. Why would anyone want to be “a friend and ally to the state of Israel”, as Government ministers like to describe themselves, when outside the Westminster bubble of Zionist stooges the racist regime has no friends? And for the simple reason that being a Friend of Israel means embracing the terror on which the state of Israel was built, approving the dispossession of the innocent and oppression of the powerless and applauding the discriminatory laws against indigenous non-Jews who inconveniently remain in their homeland.

It means aligning oneself with the horrific mindset that abducts civilians — including children — and imprisons and tortures them without trial, imposes hundreds of military checkpoints, severely restricts the movement of people and goods, and interferes with Palestinian life at every level.

And never mind the shooting up by Israeli gunboats of Palestinian fishermen in their own territorial waters, the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy, the cruel 14-year blockade on Gaza and the bloodbaths inflicted on the tiny enclave’s packed population. And don’t let’s even think about the religious war that humiliates the Holy Land’s Muslims and Christians and prevents them visiting their holy places.

If, after all that, you are still Israel’s special friend, where is your self-respect?

Will annexation happen? As I write this the news agencies remain silent and the world holds its breath. If Israel goes ahead it will be another step in the fulfilment of Plan Dalet, the Zionists’ dirty ploy to take over the Palestinian homeland as a prelude to declaring Israeli statehood. Its intention was, and still is, to gain control of all areas of Jewish presence and strategic and economic importance and keep expanding Israel’s (deliberately fluid) borders in order to satisfy their insatiable greed.

Don’t you think Netanyahu and his loathsome crew make superb recruiting sergeants for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement? I now expect BDS to expand dramatically and hit the rogue state where it hurts if it doesn’t get civilised.

An obvious response from even the most retarded Western politicians would be to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement and the new UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement. To enjoy the Association’s privileges Israel promised the EU to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” as set out in Article 2, an essential and enforceable element of the Agreement. But Israel, as usual, shows contempt for these principles and its membership ought to have been terminated long ago.

To its shame the go-it-alone UK Government remains committed to rewarding its evil creature’s most obscene crimes, having announced that it is “working closely with the Israeli government to implement the UK-Israel trade and partnership agreement.… and to host a bilateral trade and investment summit in London.” This suggests that the provisions of Article 2 were not carried over from the EU to the new UK-Israel Agreement. However, exactly a year ago Lisa Nandy put this question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will seek the inclusion of a binding human rights clause in a future free trade agreement with Israel to establish that the (a) relations between the parties and (b) provisions of the agreement shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles as is provided for in Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.”

The answer from the Minister of State for Trade Policy was: “The UK-Israel Agreement incorporates human rights provisions of the EU-Israel Trade Agreements, without modification.”

Let’s see if they really mean it and suit action to their words.

Al-Moallem: Our fight against terrorism is not over and the “Caesar Act” will be a chance for the Syrian people to perk up their economy

Source

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

DAMASCUS, (ST)- Deputy Premier, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Walid al-Moallem has affirmed that the real goal behind the so-called “Caesar Act” is to open the door for terrorism to return to Syria as in 2011 and to force Syria to give up its alliance with the resistance and accept normalization with Israel.

 In a press conference on Tuesday, al-Moallem said that the statements made by Mike Pompeo and James Jeffery about the so called “Caesar Act” prove that they are all liars because if they wanted the good of the Syrian people they wouldn’t conspire against their livelihood.

He stressed that there are no exceptions in what is termed as the “Caesar Act” and that the Americans are lying when they claim that this Act doesn’t include medicine or medical supplies.

He pointed out that the Syrian people are used to dealing with unilateral sanctions that have been imposed on them since 1978 under several terms.

 The top Syrian diplomat reiterated that this American legislation will be a chance for the Syrian people to perk up their economy, achieve self-sufficiency and deepen cooperation with friends and allies in all domains, noting that Syria’s war on terrorism hasn’t finished yet.

He wondered if the presence of US forces around Syrian oil fields, the burning of wheat fields and the US threat to friendly countries that want to contribute to reconstructing Syria serve the interests of the Syrian people. He said that the US occupation forces are investing in terrorism and this was proved in transporting leaders of Daesh terrorist organizations by their helicopters to Iraq and in supporting Jabhat al-Nusra and the Turkish regime in their acts of aggression on Syria.

“They are definitely lying when they talk about the interests of the Syrian people,” al-Moallem affirmed.

On the political arena, Al-Moallem affirmed Syria’s commitment to the process of finding a political solution to the crisis in the country and its rejection of any American or non-American foreign interference in the work of the constitutional committee, which must be a Syrian-led process away from any foreign interference.

He reiterated that the Syrians will allow no interference in their constitution and will only recognize a national constitution that will serve the interests of the Syrian people.

On the situation in Idlib, al-Moallem said that Syria behaves according to its priorities, available capabilities and in the light of dialogue with its allies, mainly Russia, pointing out that there is a cessation of hostilities in Idlib pursuant to the Sochi Agreement. “When the terrorists don’t abide by the agreement, our heroic armed forces retaliate directly, but this decision is taken by the military leadership,” said al-Moallem, indicating that the Turkish regime invades northern Iraq, transfers mercenaries to Libya for the sake of oil and occupies lands in Syria to revive the Ottoman ambitions.

The Syrian top diplomat clarified that the popular resistance in the areas under the US occupation is normal, but the strange thing is the illusion of some Kurdish groups which think that the United States will continue to support them.

” I want to tell them that there will come a day when they wake up in the morning and will not find the Americans who actually don’t defend the Kurds’ interests in the region, but the interests and security of “Israel”.

On Syria’s relations with its allies, al-Moallem said that ” we are in close alliance with our Russian friends who have offered sacrifices in the fight against terrorism on the Syrian soil. The Russian support for Syria will continue and consultations between the two sides are done on daily basis. Also Iran is a close friend that will always support Syria. As for China, we consider it as an ally with who Syria has continuous dialogue and we are sure that our friends and allies will not leave Syria alone .”

On Palestine, al-Moallem said that Syria continues to support the Palestinian people and their right to return and build their independent state. “

“We don’t recognize the annexation plans of the Israel occupation with regards to the West Bank. Israel should withdraw from all Arab lands that it has occupied,” al-Moallam made it clear.

Al-Moallem asserted that Syria supports the Libyan National Army and institutions as well as the Libyan sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also reiterated Syria’s support for Egypt’s national security.

Hamda Mustafa

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SDF HEAD SPOTTED ALONGSIDE WITH ISIS-AFFILIATED TRIBE LEADER

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SDF Head Spotted Alongside With ISIS-Affiliated Tribe Leader

The Kuridsh-led Syrian Democratic Fores (SDF), with a direct support from the United States, continue their ‘fight for democracy’ in northeastern Syria. At least, they want others to think this way.

In fact, the SDF leadership, which sabotaged the negotiation process with Damascus by making overextended demands, is openly cooperating with ISIS-affilated persons. Just recently, the SDF head Ferhat Abdi Sahin (nom de guerre: Mazloum Kobani Abdi) was recently photographed alongside with an ISIS-affiliated tribe leader.

The SDF cooperation with tribes and local militias that once declared their allegiance is no secret. Nonetheless, the mainstream Western media narrative prefers to ignore these facts.

US President Donald Trump: “I don’t want to stay at all. I don’t like the Kurds. They ran from the Iraqis, they ran from the Turks, the only time they don’t run is when we’re bombing all around them with F-18s.”

Claimed by Bolton in his book: “The Room Where It Happened”
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Do Palestinians’ Lives Matter?

By Stuart Littlewood

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Not according to the UK Government which continues to cuddle and slobber over the rogue regime that terrorizes, dispossesses and slaughters them.

Palestinian Lives Matter e2524

Lately, anti-racism activists and their fellow-travelers have been vandalizing statues in the UK, including a memorial to Winston Churchill. Even Nelson is threatened. And Robert Peel, like Churchill, has been boarded up for protection from the loonies. Incredibly Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland 1306-1329, hero of Bannockburn and bringer of independence, has been branded a racist by graffiti scribblers. Bruce (or de Brus), Earl of Carrick and 7th Lord of Annandale, was of Norman descent I believe. So, is our entire medieval history and culture – 1066 and all that – condemned? If it’s the feudal system and the struggle between mighty lords and their lowly vassals that bothers today’s hypersensitive agitators, most of our history books will have to be taken off the shelves and our monarchs consigned to the dustbin in order to appease them.

Why don’t these firebrands look for modern-day racists to complain about? In which case they might focus on “Israel’s knee-on-the-neck occupation of Palestine”, as Leslie Bravery describes it. This snarling, brutal entity illegally occupies Palestine and part of Syria and is stuffed with baddies with no redeeming features whatsoever. They have been busy ethnically cleansing the native Palestinians and stealing their lands for seven decades.  And what of their many supporters in high places? What should we call people who defend the indefensible… who admire the despicable… who applaud the expulsion at gunpoint of peaceable civilians and the confiscation of their homes?

Being a Friend of Israel – like most of the Conservative Party at Westminster – means embracing the terror and racism on which the state of Israel was built. It means embracing the dispossession of the innocent and oppression of the powerless. It means embracing the discriminatory laws against those who stubbornly remain in their homeland. It means embracing the jackboot gangsterdom that abducts civilians — including children — and imprisons and tortures them without trial. It means embracing the theft and annexation of Palestinian lands and water resources, the imposition of hundreds of military checkpoints, the severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and maximum interference with Palestinian life at every level.

It means not minding the bloodbaths inflicted by Israel on Gaza and feeling not too bothered about blowing hundreds of children to smithereens, maiming thousands more, trashing vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, power plants and clean water supplies, and causing $billions of devastation that will take 20 years to rebuild. And where is the money coming from? That’s right – from you and me.

It means turning a blind eye to the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy and the cruel 14-year blockade on Gaza. It means endorsing the denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and return to their homes. It means shrugging off the religious war that humiliates Muslims and Christians and prevents them visiting their holy places. It means meekly accepting a situation in which hard-pressed American and British taxpayers are having to subsidize Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land.

And if, after all that, you are still Israel’s special friend, where is your self-respect?

Pandering to Israel has been immensely costly in blood and treasure and stupidly damaging to our reputation. Is it not ludicrous that a foreign military power which has no regard for international law and rejects weapons conventions and safeguards can exert such influence on foreign policy in the US and UK?

Everyone outside the Westminster/Washington bubble knows perfectly well that there can be no peace in the Holy Land without justice. In other words no peace until the occupation ends. Everyone knows that international law and countless UN resolutions still wait to be enforced. Everyone knows that Israel won’t comply unless sanctions are imposed. Everyone knows that the siege on Gaza won’t be lifted until warships are sent.

What’s more, everyone now knows that the US is not an honest broker, that Israel wants to keep the pot boiling and that justice won’t come from more sham ‘negotiations’. Nor will peace. Everyone knows who is the real cause of turmoil in the Middle East. And everyone knows that Her Majesty’s Government’s hand-wringing and empty words of ‘concern’ serve no purpose except to prolong the daily misery for Palestinians and buy time for Israel to complete its criminal scheme to make the occupation permanent.

And that is about to happen.

Can’t breathe!

For the last year Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been saying he’ll “extend sovereignty on all the settlements” including sites that have security importance or are important to Israel’s heritage. And that will include Hebron, Jericho and the Jordan Valley.

The move would be another major step in the fulfillment of the long-running Plan Dalet (otherwise known as Plan D) which was the Zionists’ blueprint for the violent takeover of the Palestinian homeland as a prelude to declaring Israeli statehood – which they did in May 1948. It was drawn up by the Jewish underground militia, the Haganah, at the behest of David Ben-Gurion, then boss of the Jewish Agency.

Plan D’s intention was not only to gain control of the areas of the Jewish state and defend its borders but also to control the areas of Jewish presence outside those borders and ensure “freedom of military and economic activity” by occupying important high-ground positions on a number of transport routes.

“Outside the borders of the state” was a curious thing to say when nobody would admit to where Israel’s borders actually ran, but the aim was to steal land that wasn’t allocated to Israel but was reserved for a Palestinian state on the 1947 UN Partition Plan map. Since then Israel has purposely kept its borders fluid in order to accommodate the Zionists’ perpetual lust for expansion into Palestinian and Syrian territory and eventual takeover.

No doubt with this in mind the Israeli government has confirmed the appointment of the pro-annexation Settlements Minister Tzipi Hotovely as Israel’s next ambassador to the UK. Hotovely is a religious-nationalist extremist committed to the ‘Greater Israel’ project.  As Minister of Settlement Affairs in the Israeli government many here will regard her as a war criminal. All Israeli settlements (a more appropriate word would be ‘squats’) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are considered illegal under international law. And many see Israel’s long-running squatter policy as a war crime for the simple reason that Article 8(2) of the Rome Statute defines “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory” as such “when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes”.

Hotovely tends to run off at the mouth having criticised American Jews for not understanding the complexities of the region because “they never send their children to fight for their country, most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers”. She herself slid out of compulsory military service by becoming an educational guide in Jerusalem and an emissary of the Jewish Agency in the United States.

She’s also keen to re-write New Israel’s sordid history: “We need to delete the word ‘occupation’ and we need to redefine the term ‘refugee’….” Hotovely rejects Palestinians’ hopes for statehood and instead dreams of a Greater Israel spanning the length and breadth of current Israel plus the Palestinian territories, saying “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country…. This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.”

But what is the basic truth of her right to the land? She came there from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic so a question that immediately springs to mind is: “What ancestral links does she have with the Holy Land? Has she had a DNA check-up? And what exactly gives her and her kind the right to lord it over the Palestinians who have been there all the time?”

In London she’ll replace Mark Regev, former Netanyahu spokesman and mastermind behind Israel’s propaganda programme of disinformation and dirty tricks. Under Regev’s watch in January 2017 a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, plotted with stooges among British MPs and other maggots in the rotting political woodwork to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan.

Masot was almost certainly a Mossad asset. His hostile activities were revealed not, as one would have wished, by Britain’s own security services and media but an Al Jazeera undercover news team. Her Majesty’s Government’s response? “The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

At a Labour Party conference fringe meeting Israel insider Miko Peled warned that “they are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn…. the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument….”

And that’s exactly what happened. Corbyn, a perceived threat to Israel’s cosy relationship with the UK, is now relegated to the sidelines.

Regev came to help silence criticism of the Israeli regime. Why the switch to lovely Tzipi? I’d say she’s here to smooth ruffled feelings caused by Israel’s latest planned land grab in the creeping annexation of the West Bank. And Regev, mission accomplished in the UK, is needed in Tel Aviv to defend Netanyahu from the ensuing flak if he goes ahead with annexation.

EU’s shame

Where does the EU stand in all this? A year ago one hundred and fifty-five European researchers and academics delivered a stinging rebuke to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science, Research & Innovation.

Their letter expressed the outrage felt throughout the world, and especially in European countries including the UK, at the EU’s policy of endlessly rewarding the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel. Perversely each new act of unspeakable brutality, each new onslaught of disproportionate force against civilians had brought fresh privileges, fresh co-operation, fresh embraces from an enthusiastic EU élite. The letter said among other things:

“In spite of continual and serious breaches of international law and violation of human rights, and regardless of the commitment for upholding human rights of European countries, Israel enjoys an exceptionally privileged status in dealing with Europe also through the Association Agreement and has been receiving grants from the European Commission in the area of research and innovation (FP7 and its successor Horizon 2020).

“Funds are granted even to Israeli arms producers such as Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, the producers of lethal drones that were used in the Gaza military assaults against civilians, together with numerous academic institutions that have close ties with Israeli military industry.

“We appeal to the European Union to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, as long as Israel continues to blatantly violate human rights. We are deeply disturbed that public funds contributed by European tax payers are channeled to a country that not only disregards human rights but also uses most advanced knowledge and technology for the very violation of human rights.”

The EU-Israel Association Agreement has a lot to answer for. It came into force in 2000 for the purpose of promoting (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for example, the creation of a free trade zone, and (3) cross-cultural rapprochement. It governs not only EU-Israel relations but Israel’s relations with the EU’s other Mediterranean partners, including the Palestinian National Authority. To enjoy the Association’s privileges Israel undertook to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” as set out as a general condition in Article 2, which says:

“Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.”

Essential being the operative word.

Respecting human rights and democratic principles is not optional. Article 2 allows steps to be taken to enforce the contractual obligations regarding human rights and to dissuade partners from pursuing policies and practices that disrespect those rights. The Agreement also requires respect for self-determination of peoples and fundamental freedoms for all. Given Israel’s contempt for such principles the EU, had it been an honorable group, would have enforced Article 2 and not let matters slide. They would have suspended Israel’s membership until the regime fully complied. Israel relies heavily on exports to Europe so the EU could by now have forced an end to the brutal occupation of the Holy Land.

Rewarding annexation

Questions in the House of Commons last week revealed that the Government plans to host a UK-Israel trade and investment conference in London. One such question advertised the fact that “Israeli exports to the UK grew by 286% over the last decade, and bilateral trade levels are at a record high”. The Minister, Conor Burns, announced: “We strongly value our trading relationship with the State of Israel and are working closely with the Israeli government to implement the UK-Israel trade and partnership agreement.… We are working with the Israeli counterparts to host a UK-Israel trade and investment conference in London, which will have its primary focus on scoping out and identifying new opportunities and collaboration between Israel and the United Kingdom.”

Then Andrew Percy MP, a notorious stooge for Israel, asked the Secretary of State for International Trade what recent discussions she’d had with her counterpart in the Israeli government on a UK-Israel free trade deal. Ranil Jayawardena, answering for the Secretary of State, said that the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, signed in February 2019, will enter into force at the end of the Transition Period in January 2021. It will allow businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without additional tariffs or barriers. “Total trade between the United Kingdom and Israel increased by 15 percent in 2019 to £5.1bn. We value this trade relationship and are committed to strengthening it, so we will seek to work with counterparts in the new Israeli government to host a bilateral trade and investment summit in London.”

So there’s still a desire at the heart of UK government to reward racist Israel, not only for its knee-on-the-neck brutality but even for a crime of such enormity as can’t-breathe annexation.

قانون قيصر.. لا تتركوا سورية وحدها!‏

د. عدنان منصور

قبل أن تبدأ الولايات المتحدة بتطبيق قانون «قيصرها» بحق سورية، ثمة أحداث وإجراءات حصلت على الساحة السورية ـ اللبنانية، قبل فترة وجيزة من الموعد المحدّد لبدء تطبيقه يوم 17 حزيران، لتطرح تساؤلات، وتثير علامات استفهام عديدة، كان لا بدّ من التوقف عندها، ونحن في مواجهة ما تضمره وتبيّته واشنطن حيال الدولتين التوأمين سورية ولبنان بشكل خاص، ولدول المنطقة والعالم بشكل عام.

لعلّ ما شاهدناه من تطورات في الأسابيع الأخيرة، ليدفعنا الى تسجيل بعض المواقف والحوادث والتطورات، على الساحتين السورية واللبنانية التي تصبّ في خدمة قانون قيصر، الذي يمعن في الضغوط على النظام، ويشدّد الخناق الاقتصادي والمالي والتجاري على سورية، وعلى مَن يتعاطى معها من دول المنطقة والعالم، بعد سريان مفعول القانون الظالم، الذي به تريد الولايات المتحدة، توجيه ضربات قاتلة لاقتصاد سورية وإنتاجها القومي، وايضاً، لمن يحاول أن يتجاوزه أو يتعاون مع النظام. ولعل الأحداث والتطورات الأخيرة، تدفع بالمراقب المتابع لها، إلى تسليط الضوء على أمور عدة أبرزها:

1

ـ لقد شهدت سورية مع اقتراب موسم حصاد القمح، سلسلة من الحرائق التي اندلعت بفعل فاعل، ولم تكن صدفة، حيث التهمت النيران مساحات واسعة من الأراضي المزروعة بالقمح، وهو الغذاء الاستراتيجي الذي تعتمد عليه سورية، والتي آثرت منذ عهد الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد، تحقيق الاكتفاء الذاتي منه، ليجنّبها مستقبلاً اللجوء الى الدول المصدّرة له، ويبعدها بالتالي عن الابتزاز السياسي من قبل بعض المصدّرين له.

هذه الحرائق المتعمّدة من قبل مجموعات داخلية إرهابية، ومعارضة، والتي تنسّق مع جهات خارجية، تستهدف ضرب الاقتصاد السوري في الصميم، وثروته الغذائية، وإرهاقه أكثر فأكثر، من أجل تحميل الدولة أعباء ثقيلة تضاف إلى الأعباء التي تتحمّلها، جراء الحرب المفروضة عليها منذ تسع سنوات وحتى اليوم. فما عجزت عن تحقيقه قوى العدوان في الحرب العسكرية على سورية، تريد أن تعوّضه بحرب اقتصادية شرسة مدمّرة. وما إحراق محاصيل القمح على مساحات واسعة، إلا ليصبّ في إطار التدمير الممنهج للاقتصاد السوري.

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ـ في ظلّ الظروف الحساسة التي تشهدها دول المنطقة، علت أصوات في الداخل اللبناني، من قبل أطراف ما كانت يوماً إلا في خانة العداء ضدّ سورية. لتنبري فجأة تطالب بإقفال معابر التهريب، بذريعة أنها تضرّ باقتصاد ومالية لبنان.

لا أحد مع التهريب، ولا أحد ضدّ القانون. لكن أن نقفل المعابر غير الشرعية ـ وهذا حق ـ ونترك العلاقات الاقتصادية والتجارية والمالية مع سورية، دون ان نفعّل الاتفاقيات والبروتوكولات الموقعة معها، وعدم التواصل الفعلي والجدي مع المسؤولين السوريين، لتنظيم أطر العلاقات الاقتصادية والتجارية والمالية والجمركية، والتنسيق معاً في مواجهة تداعيات قانون قيصر على البلدين، فهذا أمر لا يصبّ في مصلحة لبنان وشعبه، حيث تشكل له سورية على الدوام رئته الشرقية الوحيدة، التي يتنفس منها وهو يطلّ من بابها بصادراته إلى العراق ودول الخليج العربية.

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ـ إنّ تحريك الشارع اللبناني الذي يشهد ظروفاً داخلية حساسة وخطيرة، وفي ظلّ أوضاع اقتصادية ومالية ومعيشية ونقدية واجتماعية قاهرة، بمظاهرات مشبوهة، تطالب بنزع سلاح المقاومة، وتحميلها مسؤولية ما يشهده الداخل اللبناني، والتصويب عليها عشوائياً، مدار استغراب واستهجان. فبدلاً من أن تركز هذه التظاهرات على الفساد والحالة المزرية التي أوصلتنا إليها الطبقة السياسية، جاء مرتزقة المظاهرات المدفوعة الثمن من قبل محرّضيهم، وموجّهيهم، ليشوّشوا على المقاومة، ويفرغوا حقدهم وتعصّبهم، تماشياً وتناغماً، مع سياسات وأهداف أطراف داخلية، وإقليمية وخارجية غربية، ما كان هدفها الأول إلا حصار المقاومة وتعطيل دورها، والنيل منها، ومن ثم القضاء عليها وإنهاء وجودها.

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ـ انّ قرار الإدارة الذاتية الكردية، بمنع مزارعي محافظة الحسكة ـ وهي الخزان والسلة الغذائية الرئيسة لسورية ـ من تسليم محاصيلهم من القمح للمراكز التابعة لدمشق، يشكل سابقة خطيرة، نظراً لمفاعيله وتأثيراته السلبية الكبيرة على اقتصاد الدولة وعلى الأمن الغذائي للشعب السوري. رغم أنّ وقف تسليم القمح للسلطات السورية، ستترتب عليه خسارة لمزارعي القمح، وأيضاً كساد المخزون. هذا القرار الذي لم يأت من فراغ، وإنما بتوجيه وطلب من رعاة وداعمي الإدارة الذاتية الكردية، الذي ينسجم بالكامل مع قانون قيصر. والأسوأ من ذلك، أنّ مكوّناً من مكوّنات الشعب السوري، يفرض حصاراً على أبناء شعبه، من دون أيّ اعتبار إنساني أو أخلاقي، ليشكل هذا القرار إذا لم تتراجع الإدارة الذاتية الكردية عنه، قمة الخيانة والنذالة بحقّ وطن وشعب. لتثبت الإدارة الذاتية الكردية، مدى عمالتها وتواطئها ودعمها المسبق، من دون تحفظ لقانون قيصر.

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ـ لم يقتصر الأمر على الإدارة الكردية، إنما تبعته إجراءات أخرى، لجأت إليها سلطات الاحتلال التركي في الشمال السوري، وفي المناطق التي تسيطر عليها، حيث تفاقمت ممارسات الاحتلال، من خلال سياسات التتريك الممنهجة للمناطق الخاضعة له، لا سيما في أرياف حلب والرقة والحسكة. إنّ الاحتلال التركي، لم يتوقف عن سياسة تغيير الديموغرافيا للبلدات والقرى، وبالذات العربية منها، وتهجير سكانها باستخدام العنف، وتوطين الفصائل الإرهابية وعائلاتهم مكانهم بالقوة والإكراه، وإجبارهم على اعتماد العملة التركية في المناطق المحتلة والتداول بها، وإقامة مراكز رسمية تركية فيها، كالبريد وربطه بالبريد التركي.

وفي سياق الحرب الاقتصادية على سورية، فرضت تركيا منذ أيام قليلة على مؤسسة الحبوب التابعة لها، بتسويق المحاصيل الزراعية في رأس العين، الى تركيا حصراً وبالأسعار المناسبة لها.

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ـ منذ بداية الحرب على سورية عام 2011، اعتمد الكرد ـ دون ضوابط أو محاذير ـ على الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها في المنطقة، بما فيها «إسرائيل»، سياسياً، وعسكرياً، ومالياً، ولوجستياً واستخبارياً. وهم الآن ليسوا في وارد العودة الى الحضن السوري، والوقوف بجانب الدولة والقيادة والشعب، وهم في مواجهة قانون قيصر. كما أنهم أيضاً ليسوا بوارد التنصّل من القرارات الأميركية ذات الصلة بسورية، أو عدم الالتزام بها، او تحييد دورهم عنها. فطبيعة العلاقات الأميركية الكردية، وتأثير واشنطن الكبير على الكرد، وتحكّمها بقراراتهم وسياساتهم ومصيرهم، سيجبر الإدارة الذاتية الكردية، كي تكون حصان طروادة لقانون قيصر، الى جانب أحصنة عديدة في المنطقة والعالم. فهي ستشارك من دون حدود، وفق ما يرسمه لها الأميركي، في حصار سورية وشعبها، أياً كانت الأسباب والذرائع الواهية، والنتائج الوخيمة.

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ـ ما تريده واشنطن من قانون قيصر، شلّ اقتصاد

سورية، وتضييق الخناق على شعبها، ثم تحميل النظام في ما بعد، المسؤولية الكاملة عن تدهور الأوضاع، ودفع السوريّين إلى التظاهر والعصيان، مدعومين من قوى خارجية معادية، تقوم بترويج لحملة إعلامية واسعة النطاق، ضدّ دور إيران وروسيا، وتشويه دور وتواجد المقاومين من لبنان إلى جانب سورية في مواجهتها للإرهاب، على أنهم السبب الذي دفع بواشنطن الى فرض العقوبات التي يعاني من نتائجها الشعب السوري.

الحقيقة الواضحة هي انّ الولايات المتحدة التي لم تستطع مع حلفائها، وبالذات مع العدو الإسرائيلي، ان تأخذه من سورية بالحرب التي فرضت عليها منذ تسع سنوات، تريد ان تحققه من خلال حرب اقتصادية شرسة ناعمة، متعددة الجبهات والقطاعات، ترمي إلى تركيع النظام، وتجويع الشعب السوري، والاستفراد به، ووضع الدولة السورية أمام خيار واحد من خيارين:

أما القبول برحيل النظام وتسليم السلطة للمعارضة، وأما الخضوع للعقوبات، والحصار والتجويع، وبعد ذلك الاستسلام لمشيئة واشنطن في كلّ صغيرة وكبيرة، من دون قيد او شرط.

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ـ لا يقتصر قانون قيصر على سورية لوحدها، كما يظنّ البعض في لبنان، انما يستهدف أيضاً كلّ دولة، وكلّ كيان، أو هيئة أو مؤسسة او أفراد في العالم، يريدون التعاون مع دمشق بأيّ شكل من الأشكال. كما يمنع قانون قيصر، ايّ جهة تقوم بنشاطات تجارية، او مالية، أو صناعية، او استثمارية، لا سيما في قطاع النفط والغاز او غيرها من النشاطات، او تقديم المساعدات وإنْ كانت مجانيّة، لتنشيط القطاعات الصناعية والزراعية والإنتاجية أو المصرفية، مما حمل بعض المصارف الأجنبية العاملة في سورية، الى وقف نشاطها، وإقفال مكاتب فروعها، قبل بدء سريان مفعول قانون قيصر.

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ـ انّ قانون قيصر لن يوفر في مفاعيله السلبية لبنان ودول المنطقة، التي تواجه القرارات المذلة، وسياسات الهيمنة التي تمارسها الولايات المتحدة، بحق الشعوب الحرة للمنطقة، الرافضة لصفقة القرن، والتطبيع مع العدو. والخضوع للإملاءات الأميركية. اذ قانون قيصر وانْ استهدف بالدرجة الاولى سورية، إلا انّ تطبيقه، سيلحق الأذى بلبنان واللبنانيين، ودول الجوار. لأنه سيغلق الباب أمام اللبنانيين ويمنعهم تحت التهديد بفرض العقوبات عليهم، من أي تعامل تجاري، او صناعي او خدمي او استثماري. وهذا الأمر سيلحق ضرراً كبيراً باللبنانيين، خاصة بعد إطلاق ورشة إعادة بناء سورية ما بعد الحرب، مما سيحول دون تخفيف الأعباء المعيشية والمالية والتجارية عن اللبنانيين داخل بلدهم. حيث سيحرم قانون قيصر، الصادرات اللبنانية، الصناعية منها والزراعية، ومختلف البضائع من دخول الأراضي السورية، ومنها الى دول الخليج، وهذا ما سيلحق ضرراً كبيراً بالمنتجين، والأفراد والتجار، والصناعيين في هذا المجال.

ولا يقتصر مفعول القانون على لبنان وحده، وإنما سيطال أيضا إيران، رغم أنّ هذه الأخيرة تواجه في الأساس، عقوبات أميركية صارمة.

واشنطن تريد من قانون قيصر، أن يطال بشظاياه دولاً تراها الإدارة الأميركية متمرّدة عليها. فهي تريد من سورية فكّ ارتباطها النهائي مع إيران، ومع المقاومة في لبنان، ووقف الدعم لها. كذلك فكّ ارتباطها مع روسيا، وتقليص العلاقة معها، والعمل على وضع حدّ للتمركز العسكري الروسي ـ الإيراني، وإخراج قوى المقاومة وإبعادها عن سورية. إذ ترى واشنطن، انّ تمدّد التمركز الروسي الإيراني في سورية، وكذلك قوى المقاومة، يشكل تهديداً استراتيجياً لمصالح الولايات المتحدة، و»إسرائيل»، وحلفائها في الشرق الأدنى، لا سيما في منطقة الهلال الخصيب.

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ـ انّ المسؤولية الوطنية والقومية، تحتم على الجميع، العمل على احتواء قانون قيصر بكلّ أبعاده وأهدافه، اذ إنّ سورية، ليست معنيّة به وحدها، وهذا لا يتمّ إلا بتضافر الجهود والتنسيق الكامل، بين سورية ولبنان والعراق وروسيا وإيران والصين وغيرها من دول العالم. إذ لا يمكن لهذا القانون التعسّفي، الأحادي الجانب، الذي سنّته دولة بكلّ عنجهيتها، خارج إطار القانون الدوليّ، والشريعة الدولية، لتفرضه في ما بعد، على دول العالم، وتلزمها التقيّد به، غير عابئة بسيادتها، وكرامتها، واستقلالها وحرية قرارها.

لا بدّ من تحرك دولي لكسر هذا القانون، الذي يجسّد شريعة الغاب بكلّ المقاييس، شريعة تعوّدت عليها الولايات المتحدة، وأصبحت جزءاً لا يتجزأ من سلوكها اللاإنساني المقيت، حتى ولو دمّر هذا السلوك وطحن شعوباً بأكملها.

على اللبنانيين أن يدركوا، رغم التهويل بفرض العقوبات عليهم، انه من غير المقبول ان يؤخذ لبنان رهينة بيد قانون قيصر، ومن غير المقبول ان يظلّ أسيراً، ورهينة في يد من يريد السير به الى فلكه، والتحكم بقراره ومصالحه الوطنية، ومنعه من التنفس من خلال رئته الشرقية الوحيدة ـ سورية. يتوجب على لبنان، وعلى مسؤوليه، تفادي الانزلاق والوقوع في الفخ الأميركي المرسوم. لأنه سيكون وبالاً على لبنان وشعبه، عاجلاً أم آجلا. إذ لن يفيده ولا يجديه نفعاً في نهاية المطاف العسل الأميركي المشبع بالسمّ القاتل.

واشنطن تريد إسقاط سورية، لأنه بإسقاطها، ستتهاوى دول المنطقة المعارضة للسياسة الأميركية، كأحجار الدومينو. وهنا تكمن مسؤولية الجميع، للحفاظ على سورية، ودورها، ومكانتها، ومقاومتها، والوقوف الى جانبها مهما كلف الأمر، ولحين إسقاط قانون القرصان.

*وزير الخارجية الأسبق

After the West Bank When (How Soon) Will the East Follow?

By Jeremy Salt

Source

West Bank Palestine 039e9

Whatever percentage of the West Bank Israel begins to annex in July, it will eventually annex the rest. Will it then turn to the east bank of the Jordan river?

Since the 19th century, the Zionist project was based on the seizure of all Palestine, including territory east of the Jordan. The map of ‘Israel’ presented to the Paris peace conference in 1919 extended northwards into what is now Lebanon and included the city of Sidon; in the northeast, all the Golan Heights and Syria almost as far as Damascus; in the southeast the entire Jordan River valley, with the territory it desired extending almost to the town limits of Amman.

Water was integral to zionist calculations from the beginning. In the imperial carve-up between Britain and France, however, the headwaters of the Jordan on Mt Hermon, fed by the Hasbani and Baniyas rivers,  stayed within the French mandate for Syria (later divided into Lebanon and Syria).  The water flows into the Sea of Galilee, from where it feeds the Jordan River before emptying into the Dead Sea.

In the 1950s and 60s the zionists made repeated attempts to divert the waters of the Golan, apart from bombing Syrian attempts to make better use of the water by building pumping stations. In its 1967 attack on Egypt and Syria, Israel seized two-thirds of the Golan, ensuring the flow of its waters south into Lake Galilee.  About 100, 000 Syrians fled or were expelled, along with several thousand Palestinians. About 100 of their villages were demolished and their land given to the 22,000 settlers who now live on the heights. An entire city, Quneitra, was also reduced to rubble by Israeli army sappers.

Currently, Israel takes about 60 percent of its fresh water needs from Lake Galilee and the West Bank.  From the Galilee the water is pumped south to feed the Naqab, while 80 percent of the West Bank’s aquifers is drained so Israeli needs can be met and the settlers (about 450,000 excluding occupied East Jerusalem) can water their lawns and fill their swimming pools.  By comparison, the Palestinians (2.2 million are allowed scarcely enough for domestic use, they have to endure frequent cuts and they have been prevented from drilling new wells since 1967 despite population growth.

With the Dead Sea dying and the Sea of Galilee drying up, falling to its lowest level for a century in 2018, Israel is increasingly dependent on desalinated water.  In 2018, in an attempt to revive the Sea of Galilee, the government approved a plan for it to be refilled with desalinated water. The drought of 2018 forced a reduction in the water pumped from the Sea of Galilee from an annual 400 million cubic meters to 30-40 million.  With a growing population and a diminishing supply of fresh water, control of both banks of the Jordan river is bound to be a critical element in zionist forward planning once the latest stage of expansion – the annexation of the West Bank – has been completed.

A false dichotomy

The mainstream Zionists, led by Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, attached themselves to British imperial designs like a limpet,   promising to be faithful to British interests in the Middle East. They were rewarded with key positions in the civilian administration (control of ‘immigration’ and the attorney-generalship)  as well as military and police protection for their purchase and settlement of land, and the ejection of the Palestinian farmers which followed.

In the history of the Zionist movement a false dichotomy has been created between the mainstream ‘practicals’ and Vladimir Jabotinsky’s Revisionist stream of ‘politicals.’ Jabotinsky – “your fascist” as Mussolini described him to a zionist delegation – was indifferent to the rights, needs and aspirations of the Palestinians but open about his intentions. The Palestine he intended to take in its entirety extended not just from the sea to the Jordan river but to the other side of the river, originally placed within the mandate but removed by Britain in 1922 and converted into the puppet state of Transjordan.

Jabotinsky knew ‘the Arabs’ of Palestine would resist the seizure of their land, and thus intended to build an ‘iron wall’ of military force to overcome them. Once defeated, having been forced to see reason, as Jabotinsky put it,  peace could be established between the two peoples.

The  ‘practicals’ projected an entirely different image. They reviled Jabotinsky’s fascistic Revisionists. They were socialists,  so they declared, irrespective of the fact that their kibbutzes,  their moshavs,  their labor unions and their peak union body, the Histadrut, were for Jews only. They intended no harm to ‘the Arabs’.  All they wanted was to work the land to the benefit of everyone and live in peace with their neighbors.  They were happy to share irrespective of another fact, that Palestine was not theirs to share in the first place.  When partition was first suggested in 1937 they accepted it and they accepted it again in 1947. It was ‘Arab’ obstructionism that was blocking the road to peace.

The diaries of their senior figures told the real story behind the dissimulation. Only there did they reveal their true intentions, to take the land and get rid of the people. The ‘practicals’ knew as well as the Revisionists that an ‘iron wall’ would have to be built against ‘the Arabs.’  An ‘Eretz Israel’ which included the other side of the Jordan was their map as well.  The differences between themselves and the Revisionists were no more than tribal infighting over power. Tactics differed but the strategic end objective  – the seizure of all of Palestine as delineated on the 1919 map – was the same.

Zionist map 7e5fb

Having served its purpose,  the UN partition plan was dumped almost immediately. The zionist leadership never had any intention of abiding by UN resolutions or international law.  It could do neither, if Israel was to be established as a Jewish state.  As Ben-Gurion made clear,  war would give the zionists what they wanted, all of Palestine, not just the 54 percent allocated in the partition plan and but for international intervention in 1948-9, they might well have succeeded.  Partition was accepted by the zionists only because at that stage they could go no further.

Having seized 78 percent of Palestine, Israel was admitted to UN membership only on the condition that it comply with General Assembly resolution 194 of 1948, giving expelled Palestinians the right of repatriation or compensation.

As it has never complied with this resolution and never had any intention of doing so, there is a clear legal reason to regard Israel’s membership of the world body as null and void. Another distinctive characteristic of Israel’s UN membership is that it remains a state without declared borders. This is not just because of the state of war that still exists between itself and two adjoining Arab states (Lebanon and Syria) but because Israel does not want to declare its borders. This seemingly anomalous situation is deliberate, allowing Israel to continue its expansionist drive towards the borders of the ‘national home’ as inked on the map in 1919.

Annexation of the West Bank takes it a further step in this direction. Netanyahu is a Revisionist. His Arab-hating father was for some time Jabotinsky’s secretary.  Since the election of Menachem Begin in 1977, Revisionists have been in government for more than 40 years, with even more extreme extremists (Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked) now taking center stage. In the Zionist context they almost make Netanyahu seem a moderate.

No one should doubt that beyond his lies and deceit, Netanyahu remains faithful to his Revisionist roots.  In his 1993 book A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World Netanyahu reaffirmed the “right” of the Jewish “people” to the entire ‘land of Israel.’

There should be no confusion about this. The ‘land of Israel’ is not (not yet) synonymous with the state of Israel.

The land is there only for Jews, not to be shared with anyone else, a principle pursued since the beginning of Zionist colonization and a commitment which Netanyahu took a step further with the nation-state law of 2018 and has now taken another step further with his declaration that the Palestinians of the annexed West Bank will not be citizens but “subjects”, a term usually applied to the subjects of a king or emperor.  Again,  this is consistent with the long-term view held along the political spectrum that Israel is the state of the Jewish ‘people’, and not of its citizens.

Last September Netanyahu pledged to annex the West Bank if re-elected.  He now rules Israel under a power-sharing arrangement with Benny Gantz, army chief of staff during the 2014 onslaught on Gaza that killed 2200 people, including 1492 civilians (551 of them children). The Israeli military also shelled UNRWA shelters, killing civilians there as well as in the streets and their apartments.  Annexation of the West Bank was part of the unity deal between these two unindicted war criminals.

How much will be annexed in the first stage won’t be known until Netanyahu issues the first decree but it will definitely include a 100-km long stretch of the Jordan River valley between the Hussein and Karameh (formerly Allenby) bridges. Violence will follow as surely as night follows day, the zionists using resistance,  as they always do, as a pretext to take more land and further tighten their grip.

There may well be a third intifada on the West Bank  and it would take only a few shots across the river for Israel to have the ‘security’ pretext (the protection of its 11,000 illegal settlers in the Jordan valley) for crossing the water and establishing itself on the east bank.  An immediate acquisition would be King Abdullah (formerly the East Ghor) canal on the east bank, from which is pumped 90 million cubic meters of fresh water a year to the residents of Amman.

On the basis of all past zionist practice, the steady expansion into and settlement of Jordanian territory would soon follow, over the futile objections of the ‘international community.’ This is hardly far-fetched. Zionism is an opportunistic ideology and where opportunities have not arisen fortuitously to seize more of Palestine over the past seven decades,  Israel has created them.

Those beating their breasts because annexation will mean an end to the ‘peace process’ and the two-state solution are delusional. The Zionists never intended there to be a two-state solution in Palestine and the ‘peace process’ died long ago, if it was ever intended to live.  In reality, it was no more than a cost-effective war process fought behind closed doors at Camp David and giving Israel time to consolidate its hold on the West Bank.

Once the annexation of the West Bank begins the Palestinian Authority will collapse.  Mahmud Abbas has already severed links with Israel and the US, not that this counts for anything at this stage. King Abdullah has already warned of the “massive crisis” that will follow once the West Bank is annexed but there is little he can do to stop it. The king can respond by sending the Israeli ambassador home and he can suspend the 1994 ‘peace’ treaty in whole or part but he cannot stop annexation any more than King Canute could stop the incoming tide.

The ‘international community’ is already reacting negatively but is likely to do little in practice. The  US is giving Israel a free hand and the lobby will ensure King Abdullah stays in line. He is dependent on the US, where pressure is already being exerted through Congress for the extradition of Ahlam al Tamimi,  implicated in the bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001, and released in 2011 as part of a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange. As US nationals died in the bombing, Al Tamimi is wanted for prosecution in the US.  Refusal or delay by Jordan in handing her over would completely play into Israel’s hands. It is the “child killer” – Israel of course never kills children – that would capture the US media headlines and not the annexation of occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel’s ‘peace treaty’ with Jordan is no more than a tactical tool, just as the ‘peace process’ was, to be tossed aside when it has outlived its usefulness.  The Israel army is already stationed on the west bank of the Jordan. No one should expect it to stay there once the annexation of the West Bank has been completed. The east bank of the Jordan River is as much a part of the 1919 map as the Golan Heights or southern Lebanon, where only the resistance of Hizbullah has held the zionists at bay. Almost certainly Israel is going to cross the Jordan river one day.

Palestinian Artist Paints Mural on Apartheid Wall for Autistic Man Shot Dead by Israeli Police (VIDEO)

Source

June 16, 2020

Mural of Palestinian Iyad Hallaq on the Aparthied wall in Bethlehem. (Photo: via Twitter)

A Palestinian artist memorialized Palestinian autistic man Iyad Hallaq, 32, who was shot dead by Israeli police in Jerusalem on May 30.

A few days ago, Palestinian artist Taqieddin Sabatin painted a mural commemorating African American man George Floyd, who was killed by US police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.



See @palestinechron’s other Tweets

Sabatin painted the Floyd and Hallaq murals on the concrete wall built by Israel to separate Bethlehem from Jerusalem in order to commemorate both victims of police brutality.

Hallaq, a 32-year-old man with the mental age of an 8-year-old child, was executed by Israeli forces while crouching behind his teacher near his special needs school in the Old City of Jerusalem.

His murder in cold blood brought to mind the killing in Minneapolis days earlier of George Floyd and made parallels of police brutality in the US against African Americans and in Palestine against Palestinian Arabs.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

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

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Daniel Haiphong

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clearly, Israel was not ready for such a mission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over 180 Human Rights Organizations Call on ICC to Investigate ‘Israeli’ War Crimes

Over 180 Human Rights Organizations Call on ICC to Investigate ‘Israeli’ War Crimes

By Staff, Agencies

More than 180 Palestinian, regional and international human rights campaigners and organizations have called upon the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [ICC], Fatou Bensouda, to investigate the crimes being perpetrated by ‘Israeli’ occupation forces in the occupied territories.

The rights groups, in a joint open letter initiated by Palestinian coalitions representing over 200 civil society organizations, said they overwhelmingly support the Prosecutor’s findings submitted to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber earlier this year.

“We urge that in light of the pervasive climate of impunity, which has prevailed for over five decades in the occupied Palestinian territory, perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Palestine … be held accountable at the International Criminal Court,” they said in the letter.

Back on December 19, 2019, Bensouda said in a statement that the court would launch a full investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, as there is a “reasonable basis” to probe into the situation in Palestine.

“In brief, I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East ‘Jerusalem’ [al-Quds], and the Gaza Strip,” she noted at the time, without specifying the perpetrators of the crimes.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates later welcomed the ICC plan in a statement, saying, “Palestine welcomes this step as a long overdue step to move the process forward towards an investigation, after nearly five long and difficult years of preliminary examination.”

The ruling was immediately rejected by the US and Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who described it as a “baseless and scandalous decision.”

The Zionist entity and the US have both refused to sign up to the court, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world’s worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“We are cognizant of the fact that there is even broader and more widespread support from within Palestine, regionally, and internationally for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including crimes committed against civilian health workers, journalists, and children,” further read the letter by the rights bodies to the ICC prosecutor chief.

Israel Prepares for Annexation of the West Bank

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Netanyha Gantz b3bd0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two particular elements in this story require a pause.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLO Department of Public Diplomacy & Policy@PalestinePDP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Miko Peled

Source

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

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

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

Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israel

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

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

Israel | Ultra Orthodox

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

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

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

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

Deep rooted distrust

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

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

Israel Coronavirus Haredi

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

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

Blaming the Victims

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

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

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

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

Israel coronavirus Feature photo

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

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

Reunited?

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

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

Indeed one would like to think so.

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

By Mico Peled

Source

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

Fifteen seats

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

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

General Gantz

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

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

Apartheid is a state of mind.

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

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

Apartheid in the time of COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Lucas Leiroz

Source

Jenin West Bank 15839

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Coronavirus Outbreak is Revealing the Appalling Conditions Faced by Palestinians in Israeli Prisons

By Delilah Boxstein

Source

Ramallah, West Bank — Palestinian political prisoner Muwaffaq Arouq, 77, is now in critical condition. He has lost weight, has a fever and can only eat through a feeding tube inserted into his abdomen, according to the Committee of Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs. Doctors discovered Arouq had cancer in July, but the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) delayed his treatment until November — worsening his condition. And yet, amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Israel continues its policy of medical neglect against Palestinian prisoners.

As activists demand for the release of Arouq and other sick prisoners, Qaddoura Fares, president of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, says the coronavirus pandemic has increased concerns for prisoners whose health is deteriorating.

‘Punishing Palestinian prisoners’ with new procedures

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the Israeli government to release all prisoners, especially children and those suffering from diseases last week but Fares doesn’t have hope that drastic measures like this will be taken.

“We are calling on the Israeli government to clean the rooms and the spaces prisoners are moving in to be sure that they will not be attacked by this virus,” Fares said. “But the prisoners tell me that the Israeli administration did nothing.” Fares mentioned that the IPS is “acting as usual” except for adding new procedures like denying family visits to prisoners.

Palestinian prisoner rights organization, Addameer, detailed Israel’s so-called preventive procedures in a new report. In addition to canceling family visits, Israeli authorities suspended lawyers’ visits and changed instructions regarding civil court procedures. Trials for security prisoners at Israeli civil courts will now be held without the detainee present. These sessions will be attended by the prisoner’s lawyer and detainees will be permitted to be in contact through visual or audio means from prison.

Charlotte Kates, international coordinator for Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, said it is already incredibly difficult for families to receive reliable information about their loved ones in jail, even when there’s not a health crisis happening.

“There’s been this constant push to prevent family visits so it doesn’t seem like a real attempt to protect people from the disease and comes across instead as another way of punishing Palestinian prisoners,” Kates said.

According to news reports, 19 Palestinian prisoners and 15 Israeli officers were held in quarantine at Asqalan Prison after an Israeli doctor interacted with a Palestinian prisoner seeking treatment. The physician tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus five days before meeting with the prisoner. And in Al-Maskobiya prison in Jerusalem, 100 prisoners were isolated after an officer was suspected of having the virus. Both quarantines have officially ended. However, the IPS is preparing to house prisoners diagnosed with the deadly virus at Sahranem Prison in the Negev desert along the Egyptian border.

A systematic policy of medical neglect

More than 5,000 Palestinians — including women and children ­— are currently held in Israeli prisons with 700 suffering from poor health and nearly 300 in critical condition, according to 2019 statistics from Palestinian non-governmental organization The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat.” Four prisoners are suffering from dangerous cancers, 10 have tumors, 68 have been shot or injured, 11 are paralyzed and 17 suffer from mental illnesses. Palestinian prisoners also suffer from heart disease, kidney failures, blood pressure problems and diabetes. In 2019, five Palestinian prisoners died in Israeli jails, with three dying as a direct result of medical negligence.

Eighteen prisoners are now permanently hospitalized at the infamous Ramleh Prison Hospital. This facility is where prisoners with the most debilitating health problems go for treatment. Sick inmates may wait for days at the hospital to see a doctor, but the trip there can be equally as long. Fares details how ailing prisoners traveled three days in a metal van tied to metal chairs with feet and hands cuffed. They don’t have access to food or a toilet as they spend hours picking up other sick prisoners. Most sick inmates won’t even go to Ramleh because they know how excruciating the journey can be. “A lot of prisoners refuse to get out [of the jail] because they understand what is waiting for them,” Fares said.

Lana Ramadan, International Advocacy Officer for Addameer, said that prisoners dying from medical negligence ranges from two to four every year on average. “Usually these things happen, the prisoner would be in a really harsh situation, he may or may not get treatment, maybe he dies, people would speak about it and then things would calm down until it happens again,” Ramadan said. “So it keeps on happening. It is systematic. It’s a policy the IPS has. They don’t give medical treatment to prisoners.”

Israel’s prison conditions worsening inmates’ health

As described in Addameer’s report, prisons are overcrowded, with small cells lacking proper ventilation. Resources like medications, adequate nutrition and water are scarce. Prisons lack sterilizers and cleaning materials, although Addameer noted that some prisoners were given cleaning equipment recently.

“These people who are suffering from severe health conditions are spending their days in conditions that are not sanitary, not cared for properly and they are not receiving the reliable health care treatment that they need,” Kates said. She pointed out that often more than six to ten inmates are stuffed together in tiny, dirty cells crawling with insects and vermin. Prisoners have to purchase hygiene products from the canteen but may be banned from purchasing items if they participate in protests like hunger strikes. In these instances, prisoners may share these hygiene products with each other — only further reducing cleanliness and sanitation.

“There’s no system here that’s making sure these folks’ health is being protected,” Kates said. “Instead they’re being subjected to even more dangers to their health beyond the threat of COVID-19.”

As the prison conditions exacerbate inmates’ health, medical staff is not trained to handle the severe illnesses prisoners experience. Doctors in Israeli jails are not specialized. In most cases, they just prescribe water and painkillers. This was the exact outcome for Palestinian prisoner Sami Abu Diak, who, in 2015, was merely given painkillers instead of a proper diagnosis. Without a legitimate diagnosis, Abu Diak suffered for weeks and his condition worsened before he finally began treatment for cancer. Abu Diak lost his battle to cancer in November inside Ramleh prison clinic.

For Helmi Al-Araj, Executive Director of Hurryyat and a former prisoner, the poor medical treatment isn’t just because these physicians are unqualified. “These doctors deal with ailing prisoners with irresponsibility and no respect to prisoners because they deal with their enemies,” Al-Araj said. “They don’t take this as a humanitarian case. They deal with prisoners as enemies who are terrorists and did something against their government.”

Fares, who spent 14 years in prison for armed activism, agreed Palestinians are seen as “the other.” “Israel is developing a mentality that there is a difference between the soldier and the prisoner,” Fares said. “In their mind, they think we are not human enough.”

Yet while Fares does believe medical negligence stems from the growing far-right ideology of the Israeli government, he thinks reform is possible if Palestine presents a united front. “Today Hamas is acting alone. Fatah is acting alone. And the Israeli administration knows how deep the Palestinian crisis goes, so they use it.”

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

B Miko Peled

Source

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

The Larger Refugee Issue

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

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

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

The Gaza Camp

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

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

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

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

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

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

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

Imagining Return

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funding Crimes

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

Palestinian refugee camp

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

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

Who Made Coronavirus? Was It the U.S., Israel or China Itself?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The most commonly reported mainstream media account of the creation of the Coronavirus suggests that it was derived from an animal borne microorganism found in a wild bat that was consumed by an ethnic Chinese resident of Wuhan. But there appears to be some evidence to dispute that in that adjacent provinces in China, where wild bats are more numerous, have not experienced major outbreaks of the disease. Because of that and other factors, there has also been considerable speculation that the Coronavirus did not occur naturally through mutation but rather was produced in a laboratory, possibly as a biological warfare agent.

Several reports suggest that there are components of the virus that are related to HIV that could not have occurred naturally. If it is correct that the virus had either been developed or even produced to be weaponized it would further suggest that its escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab and into the animal and human population could have been accidental. Technicians who work in such environments are aware that “leaks” from laboratories occur frequently.

There is, of course and inevitably, another theory. There has been some speculation that as the Trump Administration has been constantly raising the issue of growing Chinese global competitiveness as a direct threat to American national security and economic dominance, it must might be possible that Washington has created and unleashed the virus in a bid to bring Beijing’s growing economy and military might down a few notches. It is, to be sure, hard to believe that even the Trump White House would do something so reckless, but there are precedents for that type of behavior. In 2005-9 the American and Israeli governments secretly developed a computer virus called Stuxnet, which was intended to damage the control and operating systems of Iranian computers being used in that country’s nuclear research program. Admittedly Stuxnet was intended to damage computers, not to infect or kill human beings, but concerns that it would propagate and move to infect computers outside Iran proved to be accurate as it spread to thousands of PCs outside Iran, in countries as far flung as China, Germany, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

Inevitably there is an Israeli story that just might shed some light on what has been going on in China. Scientists at Israel’s Galilee Research Institute are now claiming that they will have a vaccine against coronavirus in a few weeks which will be ready for distribution and use within 90 days. The institute is claiming that it has been engaged in four years of research on avian coronavirus funded by Israel’s Ministries of Science & Technology and Agriculture. They are claiming that the virus is similar to the version that has infected humans, which has led to breakthroughs in development through genetic manipulation, but some scientists are skeptical that a new vaccine could be produced so quickly to prevent a virus that existed only recently. They also have warned that even if a vaccine is developed it would normally have to be tested for side effects, a process that normally takes over a year and includes using it on infected humans.

If one even considers it possible that the United States had a hand in creating the coronavirus at what remains of its once extensive biological weapons research center in Ft Detrick Maryland, it is very likely that Israel was a partner in the project. Helping to develop the virus would also explain how Israeli scientists have been able to claim success at creating a vaccine so quickly, possibly because the virus and a treatment for it were developed simultaneously.

In any event, there are definite political ramifications to the appearance of the coronavirus, and not only in China. In the United States President Donald Trump is already being blamed for lying about the virus and there are various scenarios in mainstream publications speculating over the possible impact on the election in 2020. If the economy sinks together with the stock market, it will reflect badly on Trump whether or not he is actually at fault. If containment and treatment of the disease itself in the United States does not go well, there could also be a considerable backlash, particularly as the Democrats have been promoting improving health care. One pundit argues, however, that disease and a sinking economy will not matter as long as there is a turnaround before the election, but a lot can happen in the next eight months.

And then there is the national security/foreign policy issue as seen from both Jerusalem and Washington. It is difficult to explain why coronavirus has hit one country in particular other than China very severely. That country is Iran, the often-cited enemy of both the U.S. and Israel. The number of Iran’s coronavirus cases continues to increase, with more positive tests confirmed among government officials last Saturday. There were 205 new coronavirus cases, bringing the government claimed total to 593 with 43 fatalities, though unofficial hospital reports suggest that the deaths are actually well over 100. That’s the highest number of deaths from the virus outside of China.

No less than five Iranian Members of Parliament have also tested positive amid a growing number of officials that have contracted the disease. Iran’s vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar and deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi had also previously been confirmed with the virus.

The usual suspects in the United States are delighted to learn of the Iranian deaths. Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Washington-based but Israeli government connected Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) boasted on twitter Tuesday that “Coronavirus has done what American economic sanctions could not: shut down non-oil exports.” An Iranian government spokesman responded that “It’s shameful and downright inhuman to cheer for a deadly Virus to spread – and enjoy seeing people suffer for it…” Dubowitz followed up with an additional taunt, that Tehran has “spread terrorism” in the Middle East and “now it’s spreading the coronavirus.”

So, you have your choice. Coronavirus occurred naturally, or it came out of a lab in China itself or even from Israel or the United States. If one suspects Israel and/or the United States, the intent clearly would have been to create a biological weapon that would damage two nations that have been designated as enemies. But the coronavirus cannot be contained easily and it is clear that many thousands of people will die from it. Unfortunately, as with Stuxnet, once the genie is out of the bottle it is devilishly hard to induce it to go back in.

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