Government Bestows an Honor to the Butcher of Al Khiyam: Al-Akhbar الدولة تكرّم جزّار الخيام


Al-Akhbar Newspaper

September 14, 2019

Few days ago, Amer Elias Al Fakhoury, the former military commander of Al Khiyam detention center, arrived in Beirut through its airport.
Al Fakhoury was responsible for a battalion of Antoine Lahad militia agents who guarded Al Khiyam detention center, suppressed the detainees and tortured them brutally.

Al Fakhoury, 56, is from southern Lebanon. He claimed that after a dispute with his bosses, he left Lebanon to the United States in 1998 through Palestine. He was known for his abduction, incarceration and torturing at the Center. Al Fakhoury was the head of the Center with the Chief of Security and Investigation Jean Al Homsi (Abo Nabil) who were directly supervised by the Israeli Intelligence.

Last week, the General Security Commander, checking Beirut arrivals’ passports at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, observed that the American passport holder Amer Elias Al Fakhoury has been wanted for arrest. However, audits showed that the detention order was withdrawn. In a default judgment, Al Fakhoury was sentenced to 15 years in jail with hard labor, in addition to the arrest warrants in abduction and rape crimes and non-judicial arrest warrants issued by the Lebanese Army (in the cable no. 303). All the aforementioned provisions were withdrawn, which means that the General Security is unable to arrest Al Fakhoury since there’s no judicial decision. What should be done? The General Security chief has the power of anyone’s papers. Al Fakhoury was allowed to enter the country after keeping his passport.

Who mended Al Fakhoury’s status whom Al Khiyam detention center freed detainees say he’s responsible for all the torture they were subjected to at the center, not to mention their arrest. Who is the secret authority who allowed the withdrawal of all the arrest warrants issued against him? “Al Akhbar” newspaper was told yesterday that due to the passage of 20 years on issuing them, the verdicts against him had been dropped.

Well, what about the arrest warrants the Army issues? Who ordered annulling them? The answer may carry a scandal. Yesterday, Al Fakhoury was escorted with a Brigadier wearing his military uniform to the General Security office in Beirut!

Did the Brigadier volunteer by himself to help Al Fakhoury without the knowledge of his commanders? Why is they dealing with leniency with such security, humanitarian and legal dangerous issue? Despite of the inability to be issued by judicial decision, the cable number 303 forms an “above-legal” protection of national security in the issues of dealing with the Israeli enemy. So, why is the wavering when dealing with this case particularly?
Many questions are raised with no specific answers. An enough evidence that indicates the significance of Al Fakhoury is that when asking about the facts of his return to Beirut, a security official wanted to know his place to detain him, then discovered that the former agent returned legally by a ‘superior’ decision.

The law in Lebanon doesn’t allow the detention of Al Fakhoury 20 years after his sentence was issued. But, why couldn’t he been prevented from returning to the country he betrayed? Why wasn’t he expelled? This should be the least thing to be done in honor of his victims instead of the ‘honor’ he bestowed.

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper (Translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website Staff)

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A Dinner with the Devil: The Suspicious Links of the Independent’s Owner with MBS

A Dinner with the Devil: The Suspicious Links of the Independent’s Owner with MBS

By Staff, The Guardian

Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the Independent and the Evening Standard, hosted a private dinner for the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman [MBS], raising further questions about the media mogul’s links to the de facto ruler of the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Lebedev’s news outlets are being investigated due to public interest concerns over a mysterious Saudi investment made through a web of offshore bank accounts, with the UK government suggesting that the Independent and Evening Standard are now part-owned by the Saudi state. The culture secretary, Nicky Morgan, has until Friday to decide whether or not to appeal against a court ruling that the UK government missed a deadline to intervene in the deal.

The revelation that Lebedev had a personal relationship with MBS raises further questions about the connections between the two men. According to the Guardian, MBS had taken time out of his brief state visit to London in March 2018 – when he was hosted by the then prime minister, Theresa May, and the Queen – to spend time with the Russian oligarch’s son, who is thought to have hosted the dinner at his house in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

Leading business and media figures were also in attendance at the event, including the Virgin co-founder Richard Branson, whose spokesperson confirmed his attendance, saying: “Richard went to dinner as he was invited by Lebedev, who he knows well. At that time Virgin was discussing an investment with the [Saudi national investment fund] PIF in Virgin Galactic, which was later called off by Richard. The dinner was a personal one and not focused on business.”

Lebedev’s spokesperson declined to comment on the dinner but insisted MBS had no personal role in arranging the disputed investments in the London-based news outlets. At this time MBS was still attempting to project a modernizing image of his country, work that would be largely undone later that year when he was implicated in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Questions remain over why a Saudi state bank decided to buy a 30% stake in two British news outlets and how the deal was arranged. Multiple sources told the Guardian the Independent chairman, Justin Byam Shaw, had previously claimed he had discussed the initial Saudi investment with the former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2017.

Tony Blair’s Institute has since received millions of pounds from the Saudi Research and Marketing Group – a state-controlled media business which now runs a Saudi franchise of the Independent – while Saudi sources also said Blair had met Prince Mohammed later that year.

Both Lebedev’s spokesperson and Blair denied that the former Labor prime minister was an adviser on the investment. However, neither side would comment on claims that Byam Shaw had informally met and discussed the deal with Blair in 2017.

May’s government unexpectedly launched a formal investigation into whether the Saudi investment in the Evening Standard and Independent should be investigated on public interest grounds, with a court hearing claims that the man originally presented as the main investor, an unknown businessman named Sultan Mohamed Abuljadayel, was merely a frontman for the Saudi state.

The decision to launch an investigation, made in the dying days of May’s leadership, could prove to be a headache for Boris Johnson as he has close links to both Lebedev and the Evening Standard editor, George Osborne, whom he is currently promoting as a possible new boss of the International Monetary Fund.

When questioned about the Saudi investment earlier this year, Osborne insisted the titles retained editorial independence: “The days when British newspapers were owned by British people living in Britain disappeared 50 years ago. It is a reality that newspaper ownership is very diverse in this country.”

The prime minister has separately declined to answer questions from the Guardian about whether he abandoned his security detail to attend parties hosted at Lebedev’s Italian villa earlier this summer.

As a result of the deal the Independent has launched a series of foreign language websites aimed at Middle Eastern audiences. The Independent-branded sites are staffed and run by employees of Saudi Research and Marketing Group – the same company that later funded Blair’s institute. Some of the journalists producing the content are based in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, which has one of the lowest rankings for press freedom in the world.

Although the foreign-language Independent sites take some articles from the main English-language websites, London-based Independent employees have noted that stories critical of Saudi Arabia often fail to be translated. Lebedev’s spokesperson said they were aware of concerns from some UK staff but noted the overseas sites “are licensed properties” not directly under their purview.

صفر أهداف = صفر حياة


ابراهيم الأمين

الثلاثاء 3 أيلول 2019

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خلال ساعات قليلة، شرع العدو في تنفيذ خطة تدرّب عليها سابقاً، لإخلاء كل مواقعه ومراكزه على طول المساحة التي يعتقد أنها هدف مفترض لعمل المقاومين. وعندما أصدر الأمر بذلك، لم يكن متساهلاً في تنفيذ دقيق. لكنّ قيادة جيش الاحتلال لم تكن معنية بتكثيف الضغط على الجنود والمستوطنين لالتزام الأوامر، كان يكفي سماع هؤلاء كلام السيد حسن نصر الله، حتى يتصرفوا من تلقاء أنفسهم، بما يتناسب عملياً مع قرار قيادتهم بالاختفاء عن الشاشة.

خلال وقت قياسي، عمد العدو الى إخلاء مساحات طويلة مقابل لبنان من كل المظاهر العسكرية. بدا لوهلة أنه يقوم بتجربة على تنفيذ قرار كالذي يصدر عادة من مجلس الامن، ولكنه يخص أعداء إسرائيل. مثل حالة لبنان، حيث يفترض القرار 1701 أن لا يكون المقاومون موجودين على طول الحدود مع فلسطين وبعمق كبير. لكنّ واقع الحال خلال أسبوع، أن العدو هو من قام بعملية الإخلاء، والاختباء خلف المدنيين، واتخاذ سياراتهم ومزارعهم وبيوتهم ومتاجرهم دروعاً لقوات الجيش التي باتت حصانتهم تفرض عليهم خلع البزة العسكرية، تماماً كعناصر ميليشيا ألزمهم القرار الرسمي بإخلاء مواقعهم لمصلحة الدولة، حتى إن العدو تمنى خلال هذا الاسبوع لو أن القوات الدولية كانت موجودة عنده، لكان احتمى بجنودها وسياراتها ودورياتها.

القرار الميداني من قبل قيادة العدو بتصفير الاهداف العسكرية على طول الحدود، وبعمق يتفاوت بين خمسة وسبعة كيلومترات، تحول عملياً الى تصفير لكل أشكال الحياة هناك. المستوطنون الذين تراجع حضورهم بقوة خلال العقد الأخير في تلك المناطق الحدودية، كان ينقصهم أن يهرب الجنود من مواقعهم، حتى شعروا بأنهم متروكون لمصيرهم. ولو أنهم كانوا أكثر اطمئناناً لأن المقاومة في لبنان لا تتجاسر على مدنيين. لكن برنامج الحظر الذي شمل اتصالاتهم ولقاءاتهم وأنشطتهم، حتى لا يثيروا انتباه العدو، جعلهم يفضّلون الابتعاد أصلاً عن تلك المنطقة. وإذا كان في لبنان من يثق، بأن العدو لن يقدم على تفجير كبير رداً على أي عملية عسكرية، فإن تهديدات قادة العدو بالويل والثبور، إنما أصابت هؤلاء المستوطنين، الذين يعرفون أن جيشهم قوي على المدنيين فقط، وأنهم سيدفعون ثمن فعلة الجنود. ولذلك، بادروا الى التماهي مع قرار تصفير الأهداف العسكرية بأن عمدوا الى تصفير الحياة في هذه المنطقة. صار هؤلاء يخشون أن ينكشف أمر الجنود الذين يتحركون بلباس مدني، أو يستخدمون سيارات مدنية للتحرك، وصارت خشيتهم أكبر من أن يكتشف حزب الله هذه الحيلة، وأن يعمد الى ضربهم فيصيب المستوطنين بدلاً من الجنود، ففضّلوا الابتعاد. ومثلما فهموا من إجراءات جيشهم أن حزب الله يستعد لضربة ما، فهموا أيضاً أن حزب الله أنهى عمليته عندما قرر الجنود العودة الى مهامهم الاصلية، مخلّفين أضراراً ستكون على لائحة طلبات رؤساء المجالس المحلية خلال الاسابيع المقبلة.

ان تكون مردوعا يعني ان تفاخرك بعملك الاستباقي صار من ايام الزمن الجميل الذي مضى

هكذا يتصرف من أصابه الردع في صميمه.

أن تكون مردوعاً، يعني أن تكون خائفاً من كل شيء حولك. لا تثق بنفسك ولا بمن يجاورك ولا بمن يفترض به أن يحميك.

أن تكون مردوعاً، يعني أن تكون مدركاً أن هامش الخطأ عندك يضيق يوماً بعد يوم، وأن قدرتك جرى حدّها حتى تتفلت من القواعد والتصرّف من موقع اللامبالاة.

أن تكون مردوعاً، يعني أن قوة الحماية لم تعد تجدي الآن، وأن تفاخرك بعملك الاستباقي صار من أيام الزمن الجميل الذي مضى.

أن تكون مردوعاً، يعني أن تتسمّر أمام الشاشة، منتظراً البلاغ العسكري من عدوّك، ليقول لك متى يحين وقت خروجك الى الشمس.

أن تكون مردوعاً، عندما ترى في الجهة المقابلة دخاناً وناراً، وخلفهما ناس مثلك، يقفون ويصفّقون ويهلّلون، وليسوا بخائفين من شيء.

أن تكون مردوعاً، عندما تلمس أن الارض التي قبالتك، تحمل في بطنها زرعاً مختلفاً، وأشجارها تثمر ما هو أكثر قوة وبأساً من نتاج البساتين.

أن تكون مردوعاً، هو أن تبدأ الآن فصلاً جديداً من حياة ترتبط تفاصيلها بجرس إنذار، يأتيك من خلف الحدود، لا من مركز الجيش أو الشرطة. وأن تبدأ منذ اليوم بالبحث عن وسائل حماية ذاتية لك، ولا تتّكل على جيش ودولة يهرب جنودها بناءً على خطاب!

هذه هي نتيجة مواجهة الأسبوع الماضي، ومع الأيام، سننتظر جميعاً حصاداً من نوع مختلف، حيث القدرة على المناورة أعلى بكثير، إلا في حال قرّر العدو ترك سمائنا لطيورنا فقط!

من ملف : فلسطين… بلا خط أحمر!

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How Hezbollah Media Wing Runs Psychological Warfare?


September 5, 2019

Hezbollah runs a widespread media network that addresses not only the Lebanese and Arab crowds, but also the Israelis, a report said.

A paper, conducted by researcher in Israeli affairs Rami Abu Zubaydah, described how the Lebanese resistance movement handles the psychological warfare, or what he calls “war of awareness.”

“War of awareness is an integral part of any military struggle,” Abu Zubaydah said.

In addition to the traditional media outlets- TV, radio and newspapers-, war of awareness highly relies on social media nowadays, the paper added.

Taking the latest escalation between the Zionist entity and Lebanon as an example, Abu Zubaydah cited Israel Defense Magazine as talking about the anti-Hezbollah messages conveyed by the Israeli occupation army to the Lebanese and Arab crowds.

In this context, Israeli Defense highlighted the performance of the occupation army Arabic Spokesman Avichai Adraee, who relied on social media to address the target audience.

On the other side, “we can’t ignore Hezbollah’s efforts on the level of awareness,” the Algerian researcher said, noting that the group’s media outlets played vital role in affecting both the Lebanese and the Israeli public opinion.

“For example, if we look into the latest incident between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, we find out that Hezbollah-related media, including Al-Manar, were the most ones which cited Israeli media,” Israel Defense reported.

Abu Zubaydah talked further about Hezbollah’s strike on Avivim military base last Sunday, which was in retaliation to Israeli aggression on Hezbollah post in Syria and Hezbollah media center a week earlier.

He said that even Israeli media quoted news circulated by Hezbollah-related channels that the Lebanese resistance group managed to destroy an Israeli military vehicle in Avivim.

In this context, Abu Zubayadah said that Hezbollah’s media wing managed to create “media vacuum” within the Zionist entity.

The researcher, meanwhile, cited the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which elaborately talked about “Hezbollah media empire”.

The Israeli center pointed to Al-Manar TV channel as Hezbollah’s most important and highest quality media outlet that has its own website.

Al-Manar Website communicates with hits audience across the world in four languages. Its main target audience are the Lebanese, then comes the Arabic/Islamic audience and finally comes the audience all over the world (audience talking English, French, Spanish), the Israeli center said.


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West’s “Fake News” Begins to Backfire


September 5, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Western special interests have used the term “fake news” as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Google’s various platforms.

In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of “fake news” to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called “fake news.”

A Bangkok Post article titled, “Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown,” would report:

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.

The article also makes mention of the Thai government’s plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting “fake-news.”

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem “fake news” or “coordinated, disingenuous behaviour,” but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand’s information space at the Thai government’s and the Thai people’s expense.

Genuine Cooperation and Non-Interference Requires Thai Leverage 

Google’s adherence to Chinese conditions for operating within Chinese territory resulted not from Google’s good will, but from China’s sufficient leverage over the tech-giant. China maintains its own tech corporations which dominate China’s information space. China’s Baidu is an equivalent to Google. Weibo is a Chinese equivalent to Twitter. And RenRen is a Chinese version of Facebook. All three dominate their respective target markets within China.

China doesn’t need Google. Google needs China. And because of this leverage, China is able to bend Google to conform to its conditions while operating within China. At any time China can remove what little of Google’s business remains there because of this fact.

For smaller nations like Thailand, tech-giants like Google face little to no competition. They are able to exert influence over Thailand’s information space with virtual impunity. The Thai government may “ask” for cooperation, but lacking any indigenous alternative, requests for cooperation lack the sufficient leverage necessary to receive it in full.

Thailand’s latest plans will likely backfire if not linked to serious efforts to establish Thai versions of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms operated by foreign tech giants currently dominating Thailand’s information space.

Such efforts have been hinted at.  In 2017 there were talks between the Thai and Russian governments regarding Russian assistance to develop local Thai alternatives to US-based social media platforms.

So far, no tangible progress has been made. But should concrete plans be rolled out alongside requests that foreign tech giants concede control of Thai information space to the Thai government, the threat of local alternatives displacing foreign social media platforms just as they did in China or Russia could give Bangkok the leverage it needs to have its requests met.

The West’s Surreal Hypocrisy 

In the wake of Thailand’s announcement  to fight “fake news,” Western media platforms began decrying the proposed plans.

The Diplomat’s article, “‘Fake News’ and Thailand’s Information Wars,” would attempt to claim:  

Identifying what is considered “fake news” has become a political weapon for authoritarian consolidation after the 2014 military coup. The regime has relentlessly accused its critics of spreading false information while claiming that it is the only official source of true facts.

The author, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, appears entirely unaware the term “fake news” was first coined in the West specifically for this purpose and the tech-giants Thailand proposes to lean on to enforce its own definition of “fake news” have already scoured their networks of tens of thousands of accounts in a politically-motivated censorship campaign propped up by claims of fighting “fake news.”

Janjira also complains that the Thai government’s proposal puts first and foremost US-backed political parties like Future Forward at risk. She never mentions Future Forward is a political proxy of foreign interests and glosses over its links to political parties guilty of mass murder, street violence and terrorism. She also attempts to imply US designs for primacy over Asia is a threat imagined by Thailand’s current government and its supporters despite a half century of US policy papers, US-led wars and standing armies placed in the region proving just how real this threat is.

If a campaign aimed at confronting “fake news” was ever really needed, it is for parties like Future Forward, the foreign special interests it works for and the networks of violence and terrorism it works with.

As Asia Rises, Western Influence in Physical and Information Space will Wane

Thailand is not alone. Other nations across Southeast Asia have already passed laws regarding what they define as “fake news,” much of which targets US-funded media platforms seeking to influence regional public perception, policy and economic decisions.

Reuters in its article, “Thailand asks tech firms to set up centers against ‘fake news’ in Southeast Asia,” would note:

Other Southeast Asian governments have also recently made efforts to exert more control over online content and taken a tough stance against misinformation. 

Singapore passed an anti-fake news bill in May, forcing online media platforms to correct or remove content the government considers to be false. 

Vietnam said its cybersecurity law, which was passed last year and banned posting anti-government information online, would guard against fake news. 

Whether or not Thailand’s current plans succeed, what is certain is that the balance of power in the region is shifting. Nations once powerless to compete against US economic, political, military and information supremacy are now moving individually and in unison to chip away at US hegemony in the region.

Thailand will eventually develop its own alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Google and others which will not only be a benefit to Thai national security, but also to the Thai economy. Much of Thailand’s nearly 70 million strong population is online (including 46 million on Facebook alone) and keeping the money generated by their online activity inside Thailand’s borders can only be a positive thing.

It’s not a matter of if but of when US-based tech giants lose their grip on information space abroad. The only question that remains is how much damage they’ll be able to do in each respective country, including Thailand, before that grip loosens.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

بين حروب الكلام… وقوانين الحرب

Image result for Avivim strike

سبتمبر 4, 2019

ناصر قنديل

بين حروب الكلام… وقوانين الحرب

– حجم التهالك الذي يعيشه الحلف الذي تقوده واشنطن، ويشكل كيان الاحتلال عموده الفقري ورأس حربته، وعنوان قوته، وقدرة ردعه، بلغ حداً صارت الحروب عند كلمنجية العرب في السياسة والإعلام، حروب كلام، ولعبة خداع بصري، وذكاء اصطناعي. ففي مرحلة سبقت الحشود الأميركية في الخليج، كان كل الحشد الكتابي والكلامي والخطابي يجري تحت عنوان، الويل والثبور وعظائم الأمور، وها هي إيران تواجه ساعة الحقيقة والعقاب آتٍ، والحشود العسكرية تأتي للحرب أو للتلويح بالحرب، وهذا هو الردع. ولكن إيران لم تمتثل ولم تفت في عضدها لا الحشود الحربية ولا التهديدات، ووقعت أول مواجهة وأسقطت إيران أهم الطائرات الأميركية في العالم، وصمتت واشنطن وهربت من المواجهة، وبدأت تتحدّث عن استفزاز إيراني لجرها إلى حرب لا تريدها، دون أن تفسر إذن لماذا جاءت بالحشود. ثم تفتقت عبقرية الكلمنجية عن تسخيف إسقاط الطائرة، والبعض قال إنها خدعة أميركية لكشف الدفاعات الإيرانية، ومعلمهم دونالد ترامب قال إنه خشي من الرد على الضربة لأنها ستزهق أرواح مدنيين.

– في تداعيات ما فعله جيش الاحتلال عبر العدوان المزدوج في سورية ولبنان، وأسفر عن شهيدين للمقاومة، وخرق عدواني للأجواء اللبنانية، وإعلان المقاومة عزمها على الرد، عادت حشود الكلمنجية لصف الحكي، واجترار الكلام ذاته، لبنان معرض للدمار بسبب مغامرات حزب الله، أو حزب الله لن يجرؤ على الرد لأن إيران في حال مفاوضات، أو خطر الحرب وشيك وخطير وكبير، أو أن حزب الله كما محور المقاومة يكثرون الكلام عن حق الرد، ولكنهم يحتفظون به في ثلاجة مبردة طويلة الأمد، لكن ماذا حدث عندما وقع رد المقاومة بما فيه من جديد نوعي يتمثل باستهداف موقع للاحتلال في فلسطين المحتلة عام 48، وتهرب جيش الاحتلال من الرد، مكتفياً بقذائف القشرة كتقليد عسكري لكل الجيوش بعد كل تعرض للاستهداف لا يعتبر رداً، الذي حدث أن كيان الاحتلال انكفأ تحو حرب الكلام، ومن ورائه هبت حشود الكلام، تارة تسخف العملية، وتنسى أنه لو أطلقت طلقة عبر الحدود، وخصوصاً نحو فلسطين المحتلة عام 48 قبل سنوات أو من غير حدود لبنان لخاض كيان الاحتلال حرباً. وكما أغرقوا الناس بطوفان من الشائعات والفبركات بالتشكيك بكون الطائرتين للكيان وجيشه، صارت القضية عدم وقوع قتلى أو إصابات في جيش الاحتلال كما في الطائرة الأميركية في هرمز، لكن الحقيقة بقيت، أن الضربة التي تلقاها الأميركي والإسرائيلي قد أصابته في صميم قوة ردعه، لكنها رغم الألم أقل مخاطرة من الحرب، فيبحث عن ذريعة للهروب، الحقيقة التي باتت قانون حرب، هي أن واشنطن ومثلها تل أبيب تريدان الحرب على محور المقاومة ولكنهما تخشيانها، وأن محور المقاومة لا يريد هذه الحرب لكنه لا يخشاها.

– ببساطة الردع مهابة، وإعلان جهوزية لدخول الحرب عند مجرد تخطي الآخر الخطوط الحمراء، والهزيمة اختراع الذرائع والمبررات للتهرب من خوض حرب جرى التهديد بخوضها رغم دوس الآخر على الخطوط الحمراء، وثمة مهابة تتمرغ بالوحل ومهابة تعانق عنان السماء.

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What if the Palestinians Won a Battle and No One Knew?


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by Eve Mykytyn*

There is a lawsuit, Al-Tammimi v. Adelson, that is making its way through the federal courts. The lawsuit was brought by a group of  Palestinians and Palestinian/Americans asking for damages of 34.5 billion dollars resulting from Israeli settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians claim that the defendants, pro-Israel donors and organizations, banks, contractors working for Israel and deputy National Security Advisor Abrams conspired to expel Non Jews from their land and otherwise harm them. Defendants include Americans Sheldon Adelson, Lawrence Ellison, Haim Saban, Irving Moskowitz, John Hagee and Israeli Lev Leviev. The appeals court decision is here

The suit was first brought in a US  Federal district court (the “trial court”) alleging that the defendants “funneled millions of dollars through the defendant tax-exempt entities and banks to Israeli villages called “settlements.” Armed with this financial assistance, the settlement leaders hired full-time security coordinators who trained a militia of Israeli settlers to kill Palestinians and confiscate their property. The defendant construction and support firms destroyed property belonging to the Palestinians and built settlements in its place” and deputy national security advisor of the United States publicly endorsed the settlements.

The plaintiffs pressed four claims: “(1) civil conspiracy, (2) genocide and other war crimes, (3) aiding and abetting genocide and other war crimes and (4) trespass.”

The trial court dismissed the suit, relying on the doctrine that it is inappropriate for a court to determine matters that are inherently political and more properly decided by Congress and/or the President. The trial court found that the case required it to “adjudicate and resolve the lawfulness of the development of Israeli settlements…” Such a ruling, the trial court said, was “simply inappropriate for this court to resolve. Instead, these issues must be decided by the political branches.”

According to Haaretz, Israeli legal organization, Shurat Hadin, that claims to represent victims of terror, praised the trial court decision, and incorrectly stated that “cases such as this are brought solely to furnish a foundation of legal legitimacy for the BDS movement, and undermine the legitimacy of Israel.” And then, perhaps for vengeance, added the hope that  “the judge will see clear to impose the large costs of these proceedings on the plaintiffs.” Imposition of costs is routine in some countries but unusual in the US.

On February 19, 2019 a panel of the Washington, DC Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (the “appeals court”)  unanimously reversed the trial court and ruled that a trial court could find the defendants liable without deciding who owns the land. Although the appeals court did not decide liability, it sent the case back to the trial court for trial.

The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the issue of sovereignty over the land is political, but found that the case could be dismissed only if none of its claims could be resolved without deciding the political issue. In other words, they ruled that the Plaintiff’s claims can be separated from the issue of sovereignty over the land.

The lawsuit was brought primarily under a federal law entitled, the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). The ATS provides, in part, that federal courts can hear a civil action by a nonresident non- US citizen for a wrong “that is committed in violation of the law of nations.” The appeals court noted that  “it is well settled that genocide violates the law of nations.” The court found that there is a definition of genocide within international law, that is: “[k]illing members of [a national, ethnic, racial or religious group] with intent to destroy [the group], in whole or in part.”

“Thus, the ATS—by incorporating the law of nations …—provides a judicially manageable standard to determine whether Israeli settlers are committing genocide.” In so stating, the appeals court is telling the trial court that this is the proper standard for its decision, and that this is not a “political” issue. (by political, they mean in the narrow sense of sovereignty involved in this case).

This decision can be appealed to a larger panel of the appeals court or to the Supreme Court, absent a successful appeal by the defendants, the Palestinians will be able to proceed.  The district court has not yet reheard the case.

It seems to me like a big deal that three federal appeals judges ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs may proceed to argue that Israeli settlers and their benefactors have committed or aided in genocide.

However, the mainstream media has declined to cover this crucial case. A  search of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal yielded no results.  The case was covered by a few smaller outlets and by BloombergReuters (which included a summary that was at least partially correct) and by the Jerusalem Post (that complained the Palestinian plaintiffs failed to present the Israeli narrative).  The Electronic Intifada covered the initial filing  but does not seem to have followed the case. And  Haaretz and the Times of Israel wrote about the dismissal by  the district court but not that it was overturned on appeal. This strikes me as scant coverage of an important case.

Finally, a part of the United States government is treating Palestinians as people who have at least potential rights even against billionaires, and most of our media has not bothered to tell us the story.


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