Palestine: Hamas defeats Israel

THE SAKER • MAY 25, 2021

Just like in 2006, when both Ehud Olmert and George Bush declared that the “invincible IDF” had, yet again, achieved a “glorious victory” and the entire Middle-East almost died laughing hearing this ridiculous claim, today both the US and Israeli propaganda machine have declared another “glorious” victory for the “Jewish state of Israel” cum “sole democracy in the Middle-East”. And, just like in 2006, everybody in the region (and in Zone B) knows that the truth is that the Zionist entity suffered a huge, humiliated, defeat. Let’s try to unpack this.

First, a few numbers. The combat operations lasted two weeks. All other missile numbers are in dispute. Rather than trust this or that source, I will simply say that Hamas fired many thousands of missiles into Israel. Some, probably less than 50%, were truly intercepted by the Israeli air defenses, others hit in no man’s land, and some actually landed and caused plenty of destruction and at least 12 deaths. The Israelis executed hundreds of artillery and airstrikes causing massive destruction in the Gaza strip and killing about 250 Palestinians. Again, these numbers are guesstimates and they don’t really tell the full story. To understand the story, we need to forget about these numbers and look at what each side was hoping for and what each side achieved. Let’s begin with the Israelis:

The Israeli scorecard

To understand Israel’s goals in this war, we first need to place this latest war in its context, and that context is that Israel was comprehensively defeated in Syria. To substantiate this thesis, let’s remember the goals of the Zionists when they unleashed a major international war against Syria. These objectives, as listed in my July 2019 article “Debunking the Rumors About Russia Caving in to Israel” were:

The initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want). Doing this would achieve the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces, and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone,” but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Break up Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and force the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert, and eventually attack Iran with a broad regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all centers of Shia power in the Middle-East.

As we all know, this is what actually happened:

  1. The Syrian state has survived, and its armed and security forces are now far more capable than they were before the war started (remember how they almost lost the war initially? The Syrians bounced back while learning some very hard lessons. By all reports, they improved tremendously, while at critical moments Iran and Hezbollah were literally “plugging holes” in the Syrian frontlines and “extinguishing fires” on local flashpoints. Now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).
  2. Not only is Syria stronger, but the Iranians and Hezbollah are all over the country now, which is driving the Israelis into a state of panic and rage.
  3. Lebanon is rock solid; even the latest Saudi attempt to kidnap Hariri is backfiring. (2021 update: in spite of the explosion in Beirut, Hezbollah is still in charge)
  4. Syria will remain unitary, and Kurdistan is not happening. Millions of displaced refugees are returning home.
  5. Israel and the US look like total idiots and, even worse, as losers with no credibility left.

Seeing their defeat in Syria, the Zionists did what they always do: they used their propaganda machine to list an apparently neverending victorious strikes on supposed “Iranian targets” in Syria. While a few civilian simpletons with zero military experience did buy into this nonsense, the truth about Israeli operations in Syria is simple: the Syrian air defenses have successfully prevented the Israelis from striking at important, sensitive, targets, and they Israelis have been forced to declare as major victories the destruction of empty barns as “destruction of important IRGC headquarters” thereby “proving” to a few naive folks in Zone A and to themselves (!) that the IDF is still as “invincible” as it “always was”. As for the Neocons, they doubled-up on that and declared that 1) Russian air defenses are useless 2) that Russia and Israel work hand in hand and 3) that the Israelis are still invincible. Yet if any of that was true, why has Israel failed to achieve a single one of its goals? And why are both the Russians and the Iranians still in Syria were the Russians just finished a 2nd runway at Khmeimim and they have just deployed a group of Tu-22M3 at that air base from where they can now threaten any ship sailing in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. In their otherwise “free time” they can deliver tons of bombs and missiles to the remaining Takfiri forces in Syria.

As I have been saying for many years now, the truth is that the IDF is a poor fighting force. Why? First, they have the exact same problem as the USA (and the KSA, for that matter): they rely on expensive technology, but don’t have good combat-capable “boots on the ground”. That is now how modern wars are won (see here for a list of popular misconceptions about modern wars).

In its recent history, the entire gamut of Israeli “elite” forces (including the air force, the navy, the artillery and even the Golani Brigade) got its collective butt handed to them by about 1000 and only lightly armed regular Hezbollah fighters in 2006: keep in mind that the elite Hezbollah forces were deployed only north of the Litani river to protect Beirut against a possible land invasion by Israel. Instead of taking Beirut or “disarming Hezbollah” (that was an official goal!), the Israelis could not even control the small town of Bint Jbeil located right across the official Israeli border! So much for being “invincible”!

What the IDF is very experienced at is terrorising Palestinian civilians and executing what could be called a slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people. The problem with Gaza now is the same that the failed invasion of Lebanon in 2006 has revealed: just like the Lebanese in 2006, the Palestinians of 2021 are not afraid of the Zionists anymore. Furthermore, with a great deal of help from Iran and others, Hamas in Gaza is now much, much better armed than in the past. True, some of its missiles are decidedly low tech and not very effective (low accuracy, small warheads, simple trajectory, limited range), but Hamas also has shown some pretty decent UAVs too. Most importantly, from now on for Hamas it is only one way: up the “quality ladder” (just like the Houthis did in Yemen, starting with modest drones but eventually getting very capable ones).

The other major goal of the Israelis in this war was to prove to the world (and, even more importantly for the always narcissistic self-worshipping Israeli cowards, to themselves!) that their “Iron Dome” air defense network was the “super-dooper most bestest” in the world (no doubt, due to the famed “Jewish genius”!). It now appears that at best, the Israelis intercepted somewhere around 30-40% of the Hamas missiles. The way the Israeli hid this is by claiming that their fancy shmancy Iron Drone did not even try to engage missiles which were not deemed dangerous. But in the age of the ubiquitous smartphone, that kind of silly nonsense can easily be debunked (including by showing the total chaos in the Israeli skies or, for that matter, the missile strikes on Israeli military objectives). While the full Iron Dome air defense system probably works marginally better than the quasi-useless US Patriot, the Israeli air defenses are clearly at least a generation behind the Russian ones, including the S-300s the Russians sold to Syria (again, in the age of of the ubiquitous smartphone, this is not hard to prove).

It is crucial to remember that Hamas’ missiles are much inferior to those of the Houthis and the Syrians, and even more inferior when compared to Hezbollah or Iranian drones and missiles! In other words, the “invincible” IDF can’t deal with even its weakest, least sophisticated enemies (Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and the grotesquely expensive Iron Done cannot protect the Zionists from any determined missile attacks by the Resistance coalition (Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia).

In their utter despair, the Zionist entity did what the AngloZionists always do when they fail to defeat a military forces: they will turn their wrath on the civilian infrastructure and murder as many as they can. They will also strike highly symbolic targets such as the International Press Center in Gaza or a Red Crescent hospital (under the pretext that Hamas, which is the democratically elected local government) has offices there (this is clearly a F-you to those who condemn Israel for violating international law). To a normal human being, this sounds both obscene and ridiculous. But remember, the Israelis are first and foremost narcissists and they have no means of imagining how normal human beings think or feel. All these guys can feel is self-worship and hatred for all “others”.

We could say that in this war, the Palestinians defeated both military high tech and truly medieval type of genocidal hatred.

In other words, far from showing how “invincible” the Zionist entity is, this latest war against the Palestinians has shown beyond reasonable doubt that the IDF cannot deal with any of its enemies.

Besides missiles and bombs, the Israelis love to use terror, as their ideology has convinced them of two things: the Arabs only understand force and we, the Israelis, are invincible. But this begs the question of why the Israelis did not dare to move into Gaza, not even symbolically. Yeah, I know, the official doxa of Zone A is that “Biden called Netanyahu and told him to stop”. As if “Biden” could give orders to the Israelis!

The truth is that even with a casualty rate of 10:1 in the IDF’s advantage and no armor or artillery, the Palestinians are much more willing to engage in street battles than the IDF. Would the IDF eventually win a ground battle against Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Maybe, probably, the objective advantages in everything (except courage!) for the Israelis is so huge that no amount of skills and courage can forever negate the immense superiority in means of the Israelis.

However, as most people in the West tend to forget, wars are but means towards a political goal. If the IDF decided to basically flatten Gaza and kill many thousands of Palestinians at the cost of casualties probably in the hundereds, then this would be politically suicidal for the Zionist regime. This is why I offer this very basic conclusion:

During the latest Gaza war, deterrence did work. But only in the sense that the Palestinians successfully deterred the Israelis from launching a ground attack against Gaza.

There is another crucial political development which should also be noted: while both Iran and Hezbollah did give their full political support to Hamas+Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the latter did not request any assistance. In other words, not only did the Palestinians defeat the Israelis, but they did so absolutely alone, with no help from the other Resistance members.

Again, those Zone A civilians who believe that Israel is scoring huge victories in Syria on a quasi daily basis won’t get it, which is par for the course. But you can be darn sure that at least most of the IDF top commanders know the true score and for them it is yet another huge disaster.

There is also a political factor to consider. While there have been coordination resistance actions by the Palestinians in Israel (proper, as defined by the UN), this is the first time when the Palestinians from Gaza, those from the Occupied Territories and those in “Israel” truly fought, if not side by side (yet!), then at least at the same time and in a common cause. This is a major political victory for Hamas+Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a major problem for Fatah and the Zionists. Now let’s look at the rest of the Palestinian scorecard:

The Palestinian scorecard:

Let’s start by the obvious one: the Palestinians were not defeated. This victory can be further subdivided in the following:

  • The Palestinian leadership has mostly physically survived, it still exists as a local authority. Plenty of Palestinians were murdered, but that did not affect the operational capabilities of the Palestinian forces (any more than the IDF succeeded in affecting Iranian operational capabilities in Syria).
  • The Palestinian leadership has also survived politically. It was not blamed by the “Palestinian street” for starting the war, nor was it blamed for how it executed it. As for Fatah, it is now, by all accounts, lost somewhere in a political no man’s land which, admittedly, it richly deserves for its incompetence, corruption and subservience to Israel and the USA.
  • Militarily speaking, the Palestinian missile strikes were not nearly as effective than, say, Hezbollah (nevermind Iranian!) strikes would have been, but, hey, they made huge progress and we can all rest assured that the Palestinians of Gaza will, sooner or later, catch up with the Houthis and, further down the road, maybe even Hezbollah.
  • By many accounts, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have made major political inroads into the Palestinian political scene outside Gaza. Even in spite of a truly immense hasbara effort by the Israelis, the international public opinion was blaming Israel for the orgy of violence.

It is interesting to note here that the famous Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has written an article for Ha’aretz entitled “Israeli Propaganda Isn’t Fooling Anyone – Except Israelis” which was further subtitled “’Hasbara’ is the Israeli euphemism for propaganda, and there are some things, said the late ambassador Yohanan Meroz, that are not ‘hasbarable.’ One of them is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.” This is how Levy’s article began:

And propaganda shall cover for everything. We’ll say terrorism, we’ll shout anti-Semitism, we’ll scream delegitimation, we’ll cite the Holocaust; we’ll say Jewish state, gay-friendly, drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, aid to Nepal, Nobel Prizes for Jews, look what’s happening in Syria, the only democracy, the greatest army. We’ll say the Palestinians are making unilateral moves, we’ll propose negotiations on the “settlement bloc borders,” we’ll demand recognition of a Jewish state and we’ll complain that “there’s no one to talk to.” We’ll wail that the whole world is against us and wants to destroy us, no less.

Now comes the best part: Levy wrote this on Jun. 4, 2015 and updated it on Apr. 10, 2018 – years before the current disaster! Since then, things have only gone south for the IDF and the Israelis in general. Just the blowback from the war in Syria is, for the IDF, a true disaster.

Of course, “Israel” is still worshipped and faithfully served by many ruling classes worldwide (that is one of the functions of the Empire, to enforce this), but that officially lauded Israel is viewed with disgust and revulsion on most of the planet. Hence the inevitable failure of the truly galactic PR effort to brainwash the regular people into believing that Israeli is a polyyanish country, a “place without people for a people without country”, etc. etc. etc. This “Ziolatry”, if you wish, was effective when the PLO was blowing up Jewish grade schools in Western Europe, but today it has lost almost all of its traction, especially amongst thinking people.

The sad and disgusting reality about the Zionist entity is truly coming out, seeping under the propaganda walls of the Empire, and slowly but inevitably resulting in a common reaction of outrage and utter disgust for what is nothing else but the last officially racist country on the planet, the only country with an open air concentration camp it surrounds on all sides, the only country which truly, openly and sincerely does not give a damn about international law or about the lives of non-Jews (while calling their own lives sacred, of course!). This is a state which constantly repeats the mantra about the supposedly “sacred” blood of Jews while, at the same time, committing a slow motion (but very real) genocide of the Palestinian people while using non-stop terrorist attacks against any country daring to defy the order of the latest, and hopefully last, wannabe “superior race” in human history. This is also why the “crime of crimes” for politically correct and successfully brainwashed people is to declare that Israel has no right to exist. This is such a major crimethink that I want to conclude by committing it right now and asking others to join me in this “crimethink”!

Israel has no right to exist whatsoever first and foremost because it is an artificial creation of West European imperialist powers. Second, it is a country which has always engaged in atrocities and massive violations of international laws and norms. Instead, Israel is based on a racist ideology which is, for all practical purpose, indistinguishable from Hitler’s Nazi ideology (both National Socialism and Zionism have the same roots in both time, space and culture, both being products of European secularism and nationalism). For these reasons, Israel, and the Zionist ideology which supports it, are both a clear and present danger for international peace and stability (for details on Zionism as an ideology and its toxicity, please see here). Furthermore, the only possibly way for the Palestinian people to ever recover their land and their rights under international law is for the Zionist “regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” (to quote the often mistranslated sentence by Ayatollah Komenei). By the way, this awareness also presupposes a clear understanding that the so-called “Two State Solution” (2SS) is an impossibility. Yes, I know, the 2SS is currently the only one under international law, but that is hardly surprising since the state of Israel was created with not only many of the trappings of “being an internationally recognized state” but also with the shameful complicity of the country which won WWII. There is one thing which Israel has in common with the so-called “Republic of Kosovo”: they will be the very first to be liberated as soon as the AngloZionist Empire finally crashes visibly (of course, it has already crashed, hence the many disastrous outcomes for the USA and Israel on the international scene, but that is still denied officially in Zone A and,of course, by the AngloZionist propaganda and those who pay attention to it.

In truth, there is only one true “solution” to this war: the so-called “One State Solution”, meaning that those who live in this land will get to choose their leaders and lifestyles according to the old “one person, one vote” principle. All other “solutions” simply perpetuate the current genocide!

As for those Jews who still want an ethnically pure state of Israel, they can either grow up and get real, or they can choose to colonize some other planet. As long as they don’t persecute local lifeforms, that might work. But if they do this will all happen again, over and over.

Conclusion: “Gaza” and the future of the Zionist entity

I want to end here with what I believe is a glance at the future (or lack thereof!) of Israel. The website Islamic World News Analysis Group (which I highly recommend!) recently posted what it claims to be a video of a new Iranian combat drone named “Gaza” described as so: “The Gaza drone, capable of carrying 13 bombs and 500 kilograms of equipment, as well as 35 hours of flight up to a radius of 2,000 kilometers, is capable of carrying out a variety of combat and intelligence operations. According to the published images, it seems that the Gaza drone uses the Rotary Bomb Launcher mechanism under its fuselage, which can carry up to 5 bombs. This is the first Iranian drone to use this mechanism. 8 bombs are also installed under the wings and in total this drone is capable of carrying 13 bombs”. Here is the footage of this new drone. Take a look for yourself and imagine what the next round of this campaign to liberate Palestine might look like.

Israel, Don’t Raise the Roof Beams High As You “Resettle” Lifta; Its Owners Will Return

By Rima Najjar

Global Research, June 01, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). 

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

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The latest crisis in Palestine cannot be set aside as another passing episode in Israel’s forever war against the Palestinian people.

We are now witnessing shocks within Israel behind the Green Line, something that Israel had hitherto been able to contain. In the process, it pretended, along with much of the western world, that it is the “longest-lived democracy in the Middle East” and that only its continued occupation of the West Bank and its harsh blockade of Gaza undermine its “constitutional ideals”- ideals now exposed for what they’ve always been: Jewish supremacist in nature. 

We know, as CJ Werleman wrote in Inside Arabia on May 14, 2021,

“Israel is a country built on racism, dispossession, and genocide. The recent rise in attacks by Israeli settlers, vigilante groups, and lynch mobs targeting Palestinians are a continuation of that history and must be addressed.”

There is an unbreakable thread between the Palestinian man lynched by Israeli Jews on the pavement after being pulled from his car in Jaffa and then beaten unconscious recently and the killings and massacres at the hands of Zionist militia in Jaffa and elsewhere in 1948 that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, as recounted by Israeli historian Benny Morris.

The myth, amplified by Wikipedia, is that historians [presumably Israeli] disagree “concerning the effect these killings and massacres had on the Palestinian refugee flight and whether or not these killings and massacres were carried out with the intent of hastening it.”

Palestinian historians have absolutely no doubt about what happened then and why, just as we Palestinians have no doubt about what is happening now in occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, in Gaza and in several towns and cities behind the Green Line where Israel has imposed states of emergency — and why.

Take, for example, my own father’s village of Lifta on the northwestern edge of Jerusalem. It is the last remaining Palestinian village that was ethnically cleansed of its population in the 1948 Nakba. Now, Israel is set to destroy what remains of it.

The Jerusalem Post (JP), an Israeli English newspaper where facts are shaped by a narrative driven by Zionist values instead of knowledge, reported on this deeply disturbing piece of news this month by denying, like those Israeli historians who are still disputing historical facts, that any ethnic cleansing took place in Lifta — apparently, my grandfather just up and put his eight children and wife in a truck and abandoned his home so that, 73 years later, his village would be “resettled” by Israeli Jews and a luxury hotel built there.

The Israeli newspaper published the following shameful headline:

“Arab village of Lifta, abandoned in ’48, to house new Israeli neighborhood: The western neighborhood in Jerusalem which was abandoned in ’48 will be resettled with 259 housing units, including a luxury hotel.”

report by Hidden Palestine: a News & Media Website, which, unlike JP, is a site driven by a narrative that values freedom from oppression, provides us with the following facts:

The Israeli land authority announced this month that it is taking bids from construction companies to take charge of the real estate development of Lifta, with the contract set to last 98 years.

The agreement includes the construction of 259 buildings, as well as commercial and business units, in addition to a hotel. If it moves forward, the deal would also see the majority of the Palestinian village’s remaining buildings razed to the ground.

Thanks to petitions by its past Palestinian residents, Lifta was declared as one of 25 endangered sites on the 2018 World Monuments Watch list. It also appears on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites, which has led to threats from Netanyahu that Israel would withdraw from UNESCO.

Lifta has few parallels anywhere in the world. The Palestinian village, lying on a slope at the entrance to Jerusalem, is the last ethnically cleansed Palestinian village to be frozen in time. Here, hundreds of beautiful Palestinian stone houses have continued to stand the test of time, empty and neglected for the past 73 years.

With a history dating back at least 700 years as a Palestinian Arab village, Lifta was among the wealthiest communities in the Jerusalem area, and the women were known for their fine embroiders. Thob Ghabani bridal dresses were sewn in Lifta, which were made of ghabani, a natural cotton covered with gold color silk floral embroidery produced in Aleppo. The village’s clothing stores attracted Palestinians and Arabs from across the Levant.

The entire population was forced out following brutal attacks by the invading Hagannah militias in early 1948. It is an incredible but depressing place to visit, and its destruction would contribute to the continued erasure of Palestinian culture and heritage.

The Jerusalem Post’s story made it sound as though the “resettling” of Lifta was a preservation and development project. What it is, in fact, is a rewriting of history.

Destroying Lifta destroys opportunities for Palestinians to uncover the past of both Palestinians and Israelis: “Lifta has a lasting value in its own right, as it can link restitution to the right of return. Moreover, its preservation will be an opportunity to assert the restoration of dignity in the Palestinian as well as the Jewish community. Finally, by halting the new development in Lifta, UNESCO will affirm its global credibility in response to cultural cleansing.” [See LIFTA AFTER ZIONIST PLANNING and PLANNING AS A CRIMINAL ACT]

Israel’s expulsions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, Jerusalem neighborhoods just outside the Green Line, are motivated by the same Zionist objective that resulted in the expulsion, also known as ethnic cleansing, of Palestinians like my family from Lifta, which is just inside the Green line. (See Israeli 2019 map of so-called “Greater Israel” below with Lifta, Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan circled). That objective is Israel’s desire to Zionize/Judaize all of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.

Israeli 2019 map of so-called “Greater Israel” below with (left to right) Lifta, Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan circled

I hope the ongoing worldwide protests on social media against Israel’s crimes will now add the rallying cry of #SaveLifta, in addition to #SaveSheikhJarrah and #SaveSilwan.

If you are still in doubt about Israel’s intention, listen to two Palestinian citizens of Israel reacting to the message they have heard loud and clear all their lives from successive Israeli governments:

Eva Najjar, Haifa-based lead designer and developer at Just Vision, writes:

“I knew I was bringing my children into an ethnic-supremacist state when they were born. But after these past weeks, I don’t know how I can continue to raise them here.” (In The Washington Post: Palestinian citizens of Israel like me are facing terrifying new attacks)

Diana Buttu wonders:

“How do I explain to my 7-year-old son what being a Palestinian citizen of Israel means? What future can he look toward, when the leaders of the government incite hatred against him? What audacious hope can he have when he is bound to face racism and discrimination in education, employment and housing? For now, I try to shield him from the images on television and on our phones, but there will soon come a time when I cannot shield him from the reality that he is surrounded by people who consider him a second-class citizen.” (In The New York Times: The Myth of Coexistence in Israel)

I am heartened by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Special Session held on May 27, which for the first time has included a geographic scope encompassing Israeli violations targeting the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line.

Israel’s institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression targets the Palestinian people as a whole, including those no longer in Lifta through no fault of their own, who have more right by far to reconstruct their homes in Lifta than Israeli Jews have in constructing housing and luxury hotels to “resettle” the village. We will return, so don’t raise the roof beams high, Israel.

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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Taken from slides in “Reconstruction of Memory — Lifta — 2007” by Malkit Shoshan

The mask of “liberal democracy” falls with a bang

May 17, 2021

The mask of “liberal democracy” falls with a bang

By Pepe Escobar for The Saker Blog and thereafter widely distributed

Nakba, May 15, 2021. Future historians will mark the day when Western “liberal democracy” issued a graphic proclamation: We bomb media offices and destroy “freedom of the press” in an open air concentration camp while we forbid peaceful demonstrations under a state of siege in the heart of Europe.

And if you revolt, we cancel you.

6 members of the same family assassinated at this bombing in Beit Lahia

Gaza meets Paris. The bombing of the al-Jalaa tower – an eminently residential building which also housed the bureaus of al-Jazeera and AP, among others – by “the only democracy in the Middle East” is directly connected to the verboten order carried out by Macron’s Ministry of Interior.

For all practical purposes Paris endorsed the occupying power’s provocations in East Jerusalem; the invasion of al-Aqsa mosque – complete with tear gas and stun grenades; racist Zionist gangs harassing and crying “death to Arabs”; armed settlers aggressing Palestinian families threatened with expulsion from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan; a campaign of carpet bombing whose lethal victims – on average – are 30% children.

Paris crowds were not intimidated. From Barbes to Republique, they marched in the streets – their rallying cry being Israel assassin, Macron complice. They instinctively understodood that Le Petit Roi – a puny Rothschild employee – had just firebombed the historical legacy of the nation that coined the Déclaration Universelle des Droits de L’Homme.

The mask of “liberal democracy” kept falling again and again in a loop – with imperial Big Tech dutifully canceling the voices of Palestinians and defenders of Palestine en masse, in tandem with a diplomatic kabuki that could fool only the already brain-dead.

On May 16, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired a United States Security Council (UNSC) debate via video link that had been stalled by Washington, non-stop, throughout the week. China presides the UNSC throughout May.

The UNSC could not even agree on a mere joint statement. Once again because the UNSC was blocked by the – cowardly – Empire of Chaos.

It was up to Hua Liming, former Chinese ambassador to Iran, to break it all down in a single sentence:

“The US doesn’t want to give the credit of mediating the Palestine-Israel conflict to China, especially when China is the president of the UNSC.”

The usual imperial procedure is to “talk”, “offer you can’t refuse” Mafia-style, to both sides under the table – as the combo behind Crash Test Dummy, an avowed Zionist, had already admitted on an appalling White House tweet “reaffirming” its “strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself”.

Liming emphasized, correctly, “this is the key reason why any solution or ceasefire between Israel and Gaza or other forces in the region would be temporary.”

The whole Global South is incessantly bombarded by the imperial “human rights” rhetoric – from convicted crook Navalny to fake reports on Xinjiang. Yet when there is a real human rights catastrophe unleashed by the settler colonialist ally’s carpet bombing, Liming pointed out how “the hypocrisy and double standards of the US have been exposed again”.

One phone call can stop it

Amos Yadlin is the former IDF Military Intelligence Directorate chief, and also former Israeli military attaché to the US.

In a meeting with South African Zionists, he admitted the obvious: the Zionist carnage against Gaza can be stopped by Crash Test Dummy – who happens to be, what else, a Zionist puppet.

Yadlin claimed that the Crash Test Dummy administration, rather the combo behind it, was getting “impatient” and he would be “not surprised if this will all stop in 48 hours.” And once again he had to reinforce the obvious: “When the Egyptians ask Israel to stop, Israel doesn’t want to stop. But if the Americans will ask Israel to stop, Israel will have to listen.”

The Empire practices trademark doublespeak when referring to the “international community” – which in theory gathers at the UN. The concomitant 24/7 propaganda barrage applies only to the motley crew of partners in crime, minions, lackeys, poodles and vassals, imperially ignoring and/or pissing on the heads of over 80% of the planet. Confronted with the reality of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and others, “rules-based international order” does not even qualify as a joke for retards.

So next time you see some sub-zoology specimen deploying the “Israel has the right to defend itself” Maximum Stupidity argument, the only possible response is to unleash facts as missiles.

Every sentient being with a conscience knows Palestine faces a racist settler colonialism project boasting an armed-to-the-hilt-military and several nuclear bombs, specialized in practicing state terrorism.

Gaza though is a particularly horrifying case. Population: nearly 2 million people. One of the top densely populated areas on the planet. A de facto open air concentration camp where no less than 50% are children, one in ten stunted to a great extent because of food shortages provoked by the Israeli blockade. The official Israeli military plan is to allow just enough food in so the whole population barely survives. 50% of the population depends on food aid.

No less than 70% of families are refugees, who were ethnically cleansed from what is now southern Israel: there are roughly 1.46 million refugees out of a population of 1.9 million.

Gaza has 8 refugee camps – some being bombed as we speak. Never forget that Israel ruled Gaza directly from 1967 to 2005 and did less than zero to better their appalling conditions.

There are only 22 health centers, 16 social services offices and 11 food distribution centers, serving roughly 1 million people. No airport or port: both destroyed by Israel. The unemployment rate is 50% – the highest on the whole planet. Clean water is available to only 5% of the population.

But then there’s the Resistance. Elijah Magnier has shown how they have already pierced Israel’s pre-fabricated aura of invulnerability and “prestige” – and there’s only one way to go, as the speed, accuracy, range and potency of rockets and missiles can only improve.

In parallel, in a wise strategic move, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have made it very clear they prefer that Hezbollah does not get itself directly involved – for now, thus allowing the whole Global South to be focused on the carnage perpetrated against Gaza.

“A landscape of iron and desolation”

Sociologie de Jerusalem, by Sylvaine Bulle, is a short but quite illuminating book showing how the battle for East Jerusalem is as imperative for the future of Palestine as the tragedy in Gaza.

Bulle focuses on the “internal racism” in Israel directly linked to the hegemony of extreme-right Zionist “elites”. A key consequence has been the “peripherization” and marginalization of East Jerusalem, thrown into a situation of “forced dependence” of Westernized West Jerusalem.

Bulle shows how East Jerusalem only exists as “a landscape of iron and desolation”, through a juxtaposition of ultra-dense and totally abandoned zones. Palestinians who live in these areas are not regarded or respected as citizens.

Beit Lahia – the horrifying detail

It got much worse after 2004 and the construction of The Wall – which prevented the daily mobility of Palestinians living in the occupied territories and the Palestinians in Jerusalem. That was an extra fracture, with parts of East Jerusalem isolated on the other side of the wall and a lot of people now living in a real no man’s land. Very few across the “liberal democratic” West have any idea how does that feel in practice.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem don’t have Israeli nationality. Most have Jordanian passports. Yet now even Palestinians with Israeli nationality are rebelling – in most cases in very poor towns in the center of the country. Young generations simply have no reason to believe they belong in Israel.

As for Israeli secular leftists, they have been “neutralized” and carry no political power, as they were incapable of integrating the working masses, which in turn were completely captured by hardcore religious extremists.

Bulle’s conclusion, expressed with way too much diplomacy (this is France, after all), is inevitable: the state of Israel is more and more Jewish and less and less democratic, a de facto Zionist regime. She believes it might be possible to rebuild the link between Jewish national identity and democracy, including the rights of Palestinian minorities.

Sorry, but that’s not gonna happen, as the current tragedy, which started in East Jerusalem, graphically shows.

The Via Dolorosa continues – as we all watch in horror. Just imagine the inter-galactic Western levels of hysteria if Russia or China were bombing, firing shells and missiles and killing children in residential areas. No wonder the Empire of Chaos – and Lies, posing as a “liberal democracy” while enabling the murderous Zionist project, is firmly flirting with the dustbin of History.


Pepe Escobar’s new book is Raging Twenties. Follow him on VKTelegram and Instagram.

Israel Calls for Banning Film Documenting Its Crimes in Jenin (VIDEO)

October 28, 2020

Jenin, Jenin is a film directed by Mohammed Bakri documenting Israel’s siege on the occupied Palestinian West Bank city of Jenin in 2002. (Photo: File)

An Israeli Knesset committee has called for banning a film documenting Israel’s siege on the occupied Palestinian West Bank city of Jenin in 2002 and the crimes carried out against its residents, Quds Press reported yesterday.

The Foreign and Security Committee at the Israeli Knesset submitted a draft resolution that will be raised to the government’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, demanding a ban on the film ‘Jenin, Jenin’.

The film was produced by the Palestinian-Israeli producer Mohammad Bakeri. It documents the Israeli crimes during the invasion of the Palestinian city through accounts by eyewitnesses.

The Knesset committee claimed that the film distorts the image of Israeli soldiers and stressed it should not be displayed.

The film has been beset with legal action since it was first aired 18 years ago. In 2003, Israel’s film rating board claimed that it was a “distorted presentation of events in the guise of democratic truth which could mislead the public.”

It judged the documentary to be a “one-sided propaganda film” and claimed that the public could be misled into thinking that Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes.

The director protested against these claims saying:


“It is a real shame for me because it shows that democracy in Israel is not reserved for all of its citizens… This is a clear political game that the Likud doesn’t want people to see the movie.”

However, the Israeli Supreme Court argued that the film rating board’s decision was an “exaggerated attack on freedom of expression” and ordered the ban to be lifted.

According to Quds Press, during the Israeli incursion of the city, Israeli soldiers “executed” 58 Palestinians, wounded hundreds of others, demolished 1,200 homes, including 450 which were completely demolished.

The Israeli occupation also arrested hundreds of Palestinians and several reportedly disappeared, while the Israeli occupation forces lost 23 soldiers during the siege.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israel: A utopian image or merely a mirage?

Source

May 13, 2020 – 21:53

TEHRAN – While the founders of Israel had envisioned a utopia for Israeli settlers, now after 72 years, it has brought no freedom or justice to anyone except for some Zionist Jews and been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians an Israeli-American activist and author tells the Tehran Times.

‘Genocide and ethnic cleansing is the practice of Israel’ 

On promises by the founders of Israel, including Ben Gurion, who had envisioned a utopia for settlers in Israel based on freedom, justice, and peace,  Miko Peled says “Israel is an apartheid regime” which “has been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

He says Israel is “providing Jewish citizens who are Zionist with all the rights of liberal democracy.” 

He also says it “is true” that some Israelis are returning to their original countries as they are fed with governance.

‘Corrupt Netanyahu main reason behind Israeli political crisis’

Israel has been in a political crisis after three inconclusive elections and it is facing the growing prospect of an unprecedented fourth election.

Peled says it is mainly because “Israeli politics is controlled by the corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu and his racist, violent allies.”

The deadlock ended now that Netanyahu got an agreement that he accepted and protects him and allows him to continue to serve as prime minister, he says, adding there was even social disobedience “about the fact that the man they voted for, Benny Gantz, who promised to unseat Netanyahu, lied to his voters and is now sitting with Netanyahu.”

‘Israel not a democracy but an apartheid’

On claims by Tel Aviv and its allies in the West that Israel is the only democratic country in the West Asia region, Peled says, “Israel is not and has never been a democracy. It an apartheid regime.”
 
He goes on to note that “the problem with West perspective is that it is a Zionist perspective which recognizing the legitimacy of Zionism and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians.”
 
 Israel sees Trump’s reckless policies toward Iran ‘a great thing’ 

Actually, in over a year that Israel has been holding three elections, each time Donald Trump has taken a step to promote chances of Netanyahu in elections. His administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and recently Mike Pompeo claimed that annexation of lands in the West Bank does not violate international law. However, each time Netanyahu’s party failed to win enough seats in Knesset to form a government.

“Israelis are actually very happy with Trump. His support for the Israeli regime and his reckless policies regarding Iran and the Palestinians is seen as a great thing,” Peled points out.

‘Racism in Israel comes even at expenses of public health’

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Israel is refusing to release Palestinians who are held in crowded prisons, he said, noting, “Israel never respected Palestinian rights, even now that the spread of the Coronavirus is dangerous to all people.” 
“Racism in Israel is so strong that it comes even at the expense of public health,” the activist regrets.

 ‘2 million people of Gaza are heroes’

Gaza Strip is considered the greatest open prison on the earth.

Peled calls two million residents of Gaza “heroes” who are victims of “Zionist racism and violence”.

He also notes that except Iran, no country in the world cares about the miseries of the Gazans.

“They are victims of Zionist racism and violence and of the fact that the rest of the world, with the exception of Iran, do not care about them.”

RELATED NEWS

The Last White Helmet Of Idlib

ٍSouth Front

05.02.2020 

Israeli media are celebrating.

Asghar Bashpour, a top commander in Iran’s Quds Force who was close to its assassinated leader, Qassem Soleimani, has reportedly died in battle in Syria. Bashpour, who was overseeing Iranian operations in Aleppo, was killed at the forefront of clashes against “opposition forces” on February 3, reports said.

Israel has long been on the side of ISIS and al-Qaeda freedom fighters battling the oppressive Assad regime and Iran. At the end of the day, Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly said that Iranian entrenchment inside Syria is ultimately aimed at harming Israeli security and interests, while, it must be noted, the ISIS offshoot, that has for years existed just meters away from the Israeli-controlled Golan Height, hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israeli troops. Now that ISIS is defeated, the sole democracy of the Middle East is in danger.

However, there are even more clouds hanging over the region.

Late on February 4, Assad forces broke through the defenses of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and their colleagues southeast of Saraqib and captured over 110km2, including the villages of Sheikh Edris, Balisah and Kafr Amim. Nearby Turkish observation posts observed this with tears in their eyes. Ankara just declared that its military had delivered a devastating blow to the regime with dozens of strikes. Turkish troops just did not expect such a cowardly attack from the defeated pro-government forces.

Fortunately, Mr. Recep Erdogan promised that his country would not allow the regime to gain more territory in Idlib. He is probably planning to flood the Saraqib-Tal Toqan road, Afs, Resafa and Sarmin with Turkish troops who will thus gain the opportunity to sacrifice their health and even their lives protecting innocent al-Qaeda members hiding in Saraqib from Assad’s aggression. A minor flaw in this approach is that the Syrian Army, supported by the Russians, can advance from more than one direction, and the danger may come from the north. What a cunning plan!

So, forces of law and order should unite to protect Idlib rebels and their leaders, and they are doing so. The United States, France and the United Kingdom called for a United Nations Security Council session to condemn the unreasonable aggression perpetrated against the al-Qaeda book club in Idlib. On top of that, the United States employed its most powerful weapon. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus, which incidentally is located outside of Syria, changed its cover photo to demonstrate a strong determination to oppose “the continued, unjustifiable, and ruthless assaults on the people of Idlib by the Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Hizballah”.

But that’s not going far enough. To demonstrate solidarity with the Idlib peace activists, US diplomats, including Mike Pompeo and Kelly Craft, should wear white helmets and carry little black flags during all briefings and events related to the conflict in Syria. Mr. Pompeo himself could visit the city of freedom, Idlib, where he could take the opportunity to drink a cup of tea with leaders of all these groups and organizations which the State Department supports so fiercely. For sure, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will be glad to hear Pompeo’s explanations for the nebulosity of the US approach towards them. It is a bit unclear why the US officially recognizes them as terrorists, when its diplomacy is aimed at supporting them.

Last but not least, the US, France and the UK can accept as refugees all these Idlib freedom fighters whom they support so that they will no longer be oppressed by the Assad regime but can enjoy real democracy.

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

 

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

لم يدرك قادة الأحزاب العربية أن ما خسروه إنما هو ثقة فلسطينيّي الـ48 بهم، وبنتائج «نضالهم السياسي» في البرلمان (أ ف ب )

دخلت إسرائيل، منذ يوم أمس، مرحلة الصمت الانتخابي قبيل انتخابات «الكنيست الـ22» التي تجري غداً. صمتٌ تبدو فائدته الوحيدة في أنه لجم ألسنة المرشحين العرب الذين دأبوا على إطلاق تصريحات معيبة، بدءاً من إبدائهم استعدادهم للتحالف مع جنرالات الحرب وجزّاريها، وصولاً إلى دعوتهم مَن يرفضون «اللعبة الديمقراطية» من الفلسطينيين إلى أن «يهجّوا من البلاد»! كلّ هذا في كفّة، والحملات الدعائية التي تقودها جمعيات مدعومة من اللوبيات الأميركية في كفّة ثانية.

«نحن أبناء الأقلية العربية، المواطنين في هذه الدولة، علينا ممارسة حقنا في الاقتراع وإسقاط الفاشي بيبي (رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو)، وأن نمنح الثقة للقائمة العربية المشتركة التي ستعرض قضايانا في الكنيست، صارخةً بأعلى الصوت لاستحصال حقوقنا وحمايتنا ضد جرائم العنف، ولتحسين الأحوال الاقتصادية الصعبة، ولمنع هدم بيوتنا…». ما سبق هو خلاصة التنظير الذي مارسه دعاة التصويت في انتخابات «الكنيست الـ22». تنظير يعودٌ بالذاكرة إلى مرحلة (في العقد الأول بعد النكبة) كان فيها كوادر الأحزاب «الحريدية» يتجولون في قرى الجليل، وخاصة في معاقل «الحزب الشيوعي»، داعين الأهالي إلى عدم التصويت للأخير الذي هو في نظرهم «مجموعة كفّار وملحدين»، فيما الأحزاب الدينية اليهودية «تؤمن بالله، وذلك سبب كافٍ لتستحق أصوات العرب»، وفق ما يروي كبار السن.

العبرة من تلك الرواية أن النظام الاستعماري العنصري عامل فلسطينيي الـ48، ولا يزال، على أساس نظرة دونية تُصنّفهم كمتخلّفين ومحدودي الإدراك وفاقدي القدرة على تحديد مصيرهم. المفارقة اليوم أن مَن ينتهجون هذا النهج قيادات «القائمة العربية المشتركة» التي يقف على رأسها مَن يدعو صراحة إلى التحالف مع «جزّار الحرب في غزة» (بني غانتس) بذريعة إسقاط نتنياهو، فيما تكاد الفروقات تكون معدومة بين المتنافسَين. أما ما قاله المرشح منصور عباس، قبل أيام، خلال اجتماع انتخابي موثق بالصوت والصورة، من أنه «يؤيد المقاطعين ويكنّ لهم الاحترام، ولكن في هذه المرحلة من لا يريد المشاركة في اللعبة الديمقراطية عليه أن يسلّم هويته ويرحل»، فيُذكّر بشعار حملة «إسرائيل بيتنا»: «لا انتماء لا مواطنة». هكذا، ينسف عباس، الذي اعترف قبل بضعة أشهر بتلقي «المشتركة» المال السياسي من «الشرق والغرب»، هو وعودة وغيرهما، الخطاب الوطني الذي أخذ منحىً تطبيقياً منذ أواخر الستينيات، ليبلغ أسمى مرحلة له في بداية الألفية الثانية، قبل أن يتهاوى تدريجاً ليأتي اليوم من يحمل خطاب «الأسرلة»، ويحثّ على تقبّلها كـ«قدر حتمي».

الجمعيات المشبوهة: يدٌ يمنى للأحزاب

منذ فشل نتنياهو في تشكيل الحكومة عقب الانتخابات الأخيرة، ومن ثم حلّ «الكنيست» والتوجه إلى جولة إعادة، وجدت «المشتركة» التي كانت قد تفتّتت وخسرت ثلاثة مقاعد برلمانية فرصة جديدة لإعادة توحيد صفوفها، علّها تستعيد ما خسرته. لم يدرك قادة هذه الأحزاب أن ما خسروه إنما هو ثقة فلسطينيّي الـ48 بهم، وبنتائج «نضالهم السياسي» في البرلمان، الذي ثبت أنه بلا تأثير يذكر؛ إذ إنه لم يفلح في الحدّ من جرائم العنف التي راح ضحيتها منذ عام 2000 إلى الآن أكثر من 1170 قتيلاً، كذلك فإنه لم يستطع إيقاف هدم بيت واحد من بين 50 ألف بيت عربي مهدّدة بالهدم، أو إحقاق المساواة غير المشروطة، بل إنه في عهد «المشتركة» سُنّت عشرات القوانين العنصرية، وعلى رأسها «قانون القومية».
على هذه الخلفية، يبدو واضحاً، منذ ما لا يقلّ عن شهرين، أن فلسطينيّي الـ48 يميلون إلى خيار مقاطعة الانتخابات. خيارٌ، إن لم يكن الدافع إليه تأييد أصل المقاطعة، فهو الرغبة في معاقبة الأحزاب العربية، أو اليأس من الحالة السياسية العامة. ولذلك، سارعت الأحزاب العربية إلى إعادة تحالفها، مستنفرةً ما بقي من كوادرها لعقد مهرجانات انتخابية داخل البلدات والمدن، من دون أن ينجح كل هذا الجهد في تغيير استطلاعات الرأي التي كانت تشير في معظمها إلى أن «المشتركة» ستحافظ على مقاعدها الـ10، أو في أحسن الأحوال ستزيدها واحداً.

اللافت أن «المشتركة» لم ترتدع عن استخدام أيّ أسلوب في محاولتها تعبئة الناخبين. نموذجٌ من ذلك أنها نشرت لافتاتها على أساس مناطقي وطائفي. ففي مدينة أم الفحم مثلاً، ارتفعت صور المرشح الإسلامي منصور عباس، أما في حيفا، فبرزت صور المرشحَين المسيحيَّين عايدة توما – سليمان وإمطانس شحادة. اللافت أيضاً، أن عشرات الجمعيات الداعية إلى «العيش المشترك» بين العرب واليهود ضخّت، على مدى الشهرين الماضيين، كمية هائلة من الإعلانات الموجّهة والمدفوعة الثمن على وسائل الإعلام ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، بهدف تضليل الرأي العام ودفع العرب إلى التصويت، على قاعدة أنه «مش مهم لمين تصوّت. المهم تصوّت». ويقف على رأس تلك الحملات أشخاص محسوبون على أحزاب «المشتركة» أو أعضاء فيها، وآخرون مقربون من أحزاب اليسار ويسار الوسط الإسرائيليَّين. ولم يقتصر عمل هؤلاء على وسائل الإعلام، بل إنهم نزلوا إلى الأرض، حيث تجوّلوا بلباس حملاتهم لجمع أكبر قدر من «التعهدات» بالتصويت. حتى إن الممثل هشام سليمان ظهر في شريط إعلاني، واضعاً سبّابته على فمه وقائلاً لمن لا يريد المشاركة في التصويت: «هُش»! علماً أن سليمان، الذي شارك في مسلسل «فوضى» الصهيوني مؤدّياً دور «أبو أحمد» (القيادي الأسير في حماس إبراهيم حامد)، هو من مؤيّدي تجنّد شباب الـ48 في جيش الاحتلال.

تفتقر الحملات إلى الخطاب الوطني، وتعكس حجم المأزق الذي تعيشه «المشتركة»

يُضاف إلى سليمان «نشطاء» آخرون لم يمانعوا «قبول تمويل من بعض الأحزاب الصهيونية، ومن الجاليات اليهودية في أميركا، بهدف إنقاذ ديمقراطية إسرائيل، وتعزيز حظوظ حزب أزرق أبيض، بعدما خرّب نتنياهو علاقة يهود إسرائيل بيهود الولايات المتحدة»، وفق ما يقول مصدر مطلع لـ«الأخبار»، وهو ما اعترف به منسّق حملة «17/9 هاي المرّة مصوّتين»، رئيس جمعية «التخطيط البديل» سامر سويد، في مقابلة مع «راديو مكان» الإسرائيلي. الحملة المذكورة، التي تقف خلفها سبع جمعيات، تعرّف نفسها بـ«التزام الحياد»، و«عدم الانحياز لرأي»، و«الالتزام بالأنظمة وفق قانون الجمعيات»، إلا أن مدير «المؤسسة العربية لحقوق الإنسان»، التي أدارت «حركة حق الشبابية» التي خُنقَت ومُنع التمويل عنها بسبب تأييدها حركة المقاطعة العالمية، محمد زيدان، يرى أن السبب الأهم لعدم كشف «17/9 هاي المرّة مصوّتين» (التي سرقت نشيد «إضرب والريح تصيح» للمنشد اللبناني علي العطار وأسقطت عليه كلمات «صوّت والريح تصيح») مصادر تمويلها (الذي بلغ ملايين الشواكل) «أنهم يعملون وفق قواعد وضرورات قانون مصدر التمويل السري حتى الآن». وترفض الجمعيات والمنظمات العربية الكشف عن مصادر تمويلها في الوقت الحالي، على رغم أنه بحسب القانون يجب عليها تقديم الكشوفات المالية لمسجّل الجمعيات في إسرائيل.

فضلاً عما تقدم، انتشرت، منذ أسبوع، لافتات في عدة مدن فلسطينية أساسية، تدعو الأهالي إلى المشاركة في استفتاءات رأي تُنظَّم عند مداخل المدارس ومراكز الاقتراع. وتقف وراء تلك اللافتات جمعيات مموّلة من المصادر نفسها، تستخدم الأسلوب الذي استُخدم في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية الأخيرة، المعروف بـ«المصيدة»، الذي يستهدف الواقفين على الحياد وغير الراغبين في التصويت. وتستغلّ الجمعيات، في أسلوبها هذا مواضيع تشغل الناس، كـ«الهوائيات المسببة للسرطان، والبنى التحتية، والخدمات الصحية والاجتماعية…»، من أجل جذبهم إلى أماكن الاستفتاءات حيث يجري «اصطيادهم» لإقناعهم بالتصويت.

بالنتيجة، تعكس حملات الأحزاب العربية الضحالة الفكرية لمن يقفون خلفها، وافتقارهم إلى الخطاب الوطني في حدّه الأدنى. كذلك فإنها تعكس حجم المأزق الذي تعيشه «المشتركة»، التي ربما رفعت بأساليبها عدد المصوّتين الفلسطينيين للأحزاب الصهيونية من 130 ألفاً إلى أكثر من 150 ألفاً.

«سيدي الرئيس… أنا جندي تعيس»

استخدم حزب «أزرق أبيض»، النائبة المرشحة عن الدروز ضمن قائمته غدير مريح، للتوجه إلى الناخبين العرب عموماً والدروز خصوصاً. إذ أنتجت الماكينة الإعلامية للحزب شريط فيديو يبدأ بتوجيه العتب إلى رئيس الوزراء، بنيامين نتنياهو، وفق نمط أغنية «سيدي الرئيس» التي أنتجتها شركة «زين» الكويتية في رمضان الماضي، وينتهي بظهور مريح وكأنها المخلّص أو المنقذ الذي سيحقق العدل والمساواة، ويعيد للخادم العربي في جيش الاحتلال «إسرائيليّته»، علماً بأن الخادمين في الجيش (من الدروز وغيرهم) عانوا من السياسات العنصرية عينها التي عاناها أقرانهم غير الخادمين ورافضو خطاب الأسرلة. وأثارت الأغنية، التي حملت عنوان «لأننا إسرائيليون»، ردود فعل كثيرة؛ لعلّ أبرزها ما نُشر في صفحة الدروز الرافضين لقانون القومية، حيث كتب أحدهم: «كان بإمكان حزب أزرق أبيض أن يمنع قانون القومية، غير أن مسؤوليه كانوا أول من خطّوا النص». وأضاف: «لا اختلاف بين الفرق الكشفية، لا أريد إرسال ابني للكشاف ولا للجيش ليحرس إيتمار بن جفير (النائب اليميني في حزب «قوة يهودية») يوم السبت، بينما يدرّب أبناؤه المستوطنين».

حتى «الأرزّ»… وسيلةً للدعاية!

من بين الحملات المشاركة في الدعاية «العربية» في الانتخابات الإسرائيلية، حملة «معاً للأبحاث» التي تقول إنها تضمّ «مجموعة غير سياسية وغير حزبية من الباحثين»، علماً بأن صفحتها على «فايسبوك» لا تحتوي أثراً لتلك الأبحاث، بقدر ما تبثّ دعوات متواصلة للعرب إلى التصويت. إلى جانبها حملة «صوتك مستقبلك» التي تتلقى الدعم المادي من المصادر المشبوهة نفسها التي اعترف بها سويد وعباس، والهدف منها هو «دعم الجهود الوطنية لزيادة التصويت عند العرب». هناك أيضاً حملة «نقف معاً»، التي تعرّف عن نفسها بالقول: «شركاء وشريكات من كل أنحاء البلاد ــــ شباباً وشيباً، يهوداً وعرباً، نساءً ورجالاً، من المركز ومن الأرياف ــــ انتظموا معاً بإرادتهم الحرة لكي يعملوا معاً بشراكة»، وهي تدعو إلى التصويت على قاعدة «المهم تصوّت». أما حملة «أنا امرأة… أنا أنتخب» فتقف من خلفها بحسب الرصد الذي أجراه زيدان «جمعية نسوية» مجهولة الهوية، وتستبطن شعاراتها استغلالاً واضحاً لقضية العنف ضد النساء من أجل دفعهنّ إلى التصويت، وكأن من «لا تصوّت حتماً ستقتل». وإلى جانب ما تقدم، يشار إلى «حملة بدنا نصوّت» المدعومة من شركة إعلامية وتجارية تحمل صور ممثلين وشخصيات، وتدعو الناس إلى التصويت بحجة أنه «اجتك كمان فرصة، المهم تصوّت، مش مهم لمين». حتى مصنع «أرز تلس» انضمّ إلى تلك الجوقة، إذ بثّ إعلاناً عبر الإذاعات المحلية، تخبر فيه امرأة زوجها أنها مدعوّة إلى تناول المنسف المصنوع من «أرز تلس»، ليجيب الزوج بالقول: «ما دمت معزومة ع منسف من أرز التلس، باجي معك وبصوت لجماعة أهلك».

 

Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep

Image result for Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep
Brian Cloughley
August 6, 2019
© Photo: Flickr / Official Photo by Caleb Smith

In the US House of Representatives on 23 July there was an overwhelming vote condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement which has the objective of encouraging the government of Israel to meet “its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully comply with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

There is nothing morally or legally questionable in any of these aims.  But the United States Congress does not concern itself with morality or legality if these are inconsistent with its policy concerning Israel, which, as enunciated by Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, is based on the conviction that “Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats.”  Fox News reported that the condemnatory resolution “has been pushed by AIPAC, the influential Israel lobby in Washington,” which explains a great deal, as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a very powerful organisation, with deep pockets and wide-spreading hands.

In February 2019 The Intercept noted  that “AIPAC, on its own website, recruits members to join its ‘Congressional Club,’ and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.” In a film called The Lobby “Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells an Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results.”  A secret recording revealed that “Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did. Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”

And AIPAC influences Congress and other agencies extremely efficiently, even to the extent of managing to have Al Jazeera refrain from broadcasting the US-focused version of The Lobby.The Director of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, Clayton Swisher, said that pressure included “pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington threatening to convince Congress to register the network as ‘foreign agents,’ and false accusations of anti-Semitism against the producers of the documentary.”  That’s all you need:  the mere mention of anti-Semitism makes everyone suck their teeth, roll their eyes, and leap out of the way.

It so happened that the day before Congress condemned an initiative aimed at having Israel recognise the rights of Palestinians and abide by international law, the Israelis carried out an operation of destruction that was specifically aimed against the rights of Palestinians and was contrary to international law.  As the BBC reported, it involved 200 Israeli soldiers and 700 police, weapons at the ready, deploying to the Palestinian village of Wadi Hummus at 4 in the morning of July 22, along with bulldozers and excavators that proceeded to destroy Palestinian homes.

There wasn’t a word of objection from the US Administration whose Tweeter-in-Chief had made his views on Israel crystal-clear on 16 July when he announced that the four non-white female Members of Congress whom he loathes to the point of psychosis are “a bunch of Communists [who] hate Israel.”  Moreover, they “talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of   thugs, not victims of the entire region.”  On the other hand, the European Union stated that “Israel’s settlement policy, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, is illegal under international law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position, we expect the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the ongoing demolitions.”  Fat chance of that — just as there is no possibility that the United states or the United Kingdom will support pursuit of international law when it is violated by Israel.

Britain is on its way out of the European Union, so has no say in EU policy, but in any case it wouldn’t agree about criticism of Israel because the governing Conservative Party fosters an organisation called ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ (CFI) whose members constitute some eighty per cent of Conservative Members of Parliament.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Trump-loving new prime minister, is a fervid supporter of CFI which supported him in his bid to be head of the Conservative party. On 23 July, after his selection to be leader and thus prime minister, the CFI’s Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and Honorary President Lord Polak declared that “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary…  Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community. Mr Johnson continued to display his resolute support… reiterating his deep support for Israel and pledging to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world.”

One of Johnson’s first ministerial appointments was of Ms Priti Patel to be Home Secretary. She had resigned from the Cabinet of PM Theresa May in November 2017 because it had been discovered that she had been telling lies, which wasn’t in itself unusual, but the circumstances were intriguing.  As the BBC headlined about the then head of International Development :  “Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row” which involved her apologising to the prime minister “after unauthorised meetings in August with Israeli politicians — including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — came to light. But it later emerged she had two further meetings without government officials present in September.”  Not only that, but in a media interview “she gave the false impression that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the Foreign Office knew about her meetings in Israel.”

It’s one of these irregular verbs which were met with much laughter during the marvellous BBC series ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ — ‘I make a misstatement;  she gives a false impression;  he is in prison for telling lies.’

And it was decidedly strange that the egregious Lord Polak, he of the statement that Boris Johnson stands “shoulder to shoulder with Israel” accompanied Patel at 13 of her 14 meetings with Israeli officials during August and September. What on earth could have been going on?

Of course she had no reason to worry about having to resign for telling lies, because at the time of her disgrace Boris Johnson told the BBC that “Priti Patel has been a very good colleague and friend for a long time and a first class secretary of state for international development. It’s been a real pleasure working with her and I’m sure she has a great future ahead of her.”  The man has the gift of prophecy.

Then Johnson appointed Michael Gove to his Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which is a weird appointment that gives a lot of power and very little responsibility. Gove had been demonstrably disloyal to Johnson during the first leadership struggle, in what the Daily Telegraph called a “spectacular act of treachery” but all was forgiven because, as recorded approvingly by the Conservative Friends of Israel he believes that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are “two sides of the same coin”, which means that anybody who criticises Israel’s nationalistic persecution of Palestinians is an anti-Semite. He believes that “the test for any civilised society is whether it stands with the Jewish people, and whether it stands with Israel. It is a pleasure to stand with the Jewish people. It is a duty to stand with Israel.”

The Palestinians are not going to get one tiny bit of support from either the United States or Britain when their houses are bulldozed to rubble.  They can expect no criticism from Washington or London when their children are killed in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

The West Bank of the Jordan River, between Israel and Jordan, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Then it annexed East Jerusalem. Both areas are defined in international law as occupied territory.  Although this is ignored by the US and Britain it was intriguing that in a minor but telling legal finding in Canada on 30 July, a judge ruled that wines made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank should not carry labels that say “Product of Israel” because of course the settlements are built on Palestinian land.

But there’s no point in telling that to the Israeli-supporting wine connoisseur Donald Trump or the US Congress or any member of Britain’s governing Conservative party, because international law means nothing when there are other priorities.

Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible

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Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible? An Analysis (12 April 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Israeli Model and Its American Supporters

On 25 February 2019, the Jewish American publication Forward, printed a remarkable opinion piece by Joshua Leifer. Leifer, who had worked in Israel for the anti-establishment +972 Magazine, is currently an associate editor ofDissent. His piece in the Forward was entitled “Wake Up, American Jews: You’ve Enabled Israel’s Racism for Years.”

Leifer begins by saying that the Israeli rightwing political parties have always been racist, though there was a time, back in the 1980s, when they objected to being too upfront about this. Thus, for the sake of public relations, they held their violent and despotic fringe—the Kahanists—at arm’s length. As Leifer puts it, what was frowned upon was the style rather than the substance of “explicit, violent racism.” That objection is now gone. The goal of a “Jewish supremacist state” is out in the open—an explicit political goal. And the Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, are to be condemned to “forever live subjugated under military occupation, confined to isolated Bantustans, or … expelled.” Those Jews, both Israelis and diaspora Jews, who object to this process will be labeled as “traitors.”

Having established these facts on the ground, Leifer asks “how has the American Jewish establishment responded?” His answer is, they have either been silent or, more often, have actively sought to enable the power of Israel’s despotic racism. They have cooperated with, lobbied for, and raised money to underpin Israel’s racist policies. Of course, a Zionist is sure to assert that the lobbying and money are pursued for the sake of Israeli security. Yet, today’s Israeli leaders don’t define security, with the possible exceptions of Gaza and the Lebanese frontier, in terms of borders. Instead security is defined in terms of achieving and maintaining Jewish supremacy in all territory under Zionist control. This is why all of Israel’s Zionist parties have pledged never to include the token number of Arabs in the Knesset in a governing coalition.

In their effort to support Zionist Israel, America’s establishment Jewish leaders have proven themselves willing to undermine the constitutional freedoms of their own native country, as has been the case with their relentless attacks on the right of free speech as practiced in the boycott Israel movement—BDS. In the end, there can be no more convincing proof that these organizations serve as de facto agents of a foreign power, than to see how their leadership willingly discards the modern principles of civil and human rights found in the U.S. Constitution—to say nothing of international law—in order to support a state that openly pursues apartheid ends.

Leifer offers two possible reasons for why establishment Jewish organizations in the U.S. have chosen this path. The first possibility is “willful ignorance,” that is, a psychological inability to face the truth about a state that they, as American Jewish leaders, have always seen as an ultimate haven if a new Holocaust threat arises. The second possibility is that the leadership of the American Jewish organizations are themselves conscious racists when it comes to a Jewish supremacist state. According to Leifer, “No one exemplifies this better than Ambassador David Friedman, whose rhetoric—calling JStreet “worse than kapos”—mirrors the kind of rhetoric popular on the Israeli right.”

Part II—Racism Beyond the Israeli Right

This is a strong, and quite searing, condemnation of Israeli society and its American Jewish allies. Still, things can and do get worse. On 4 April 2019 the British anti-Zionist Jewish writer Tony Greenstein posted an essay entitled “There Is Nothing That Netanyahu Has Done That Labour Zionism Didn’t Do Before Him.” Greenstein begins by citing an 11 March 2019 piecein Haaretz written by Amira Haas, one of the few prominent non-Zionist Jewish journalists still working in Israel. Haas draws attention to the fact that “when Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy.” Thus, as Greenstein puts it: “It is often forgotten that it wasn’t Likud but the Israeli Labour Alignment which helped to launch the settler movement.” The remorseless absorption of Palestinian land and the oppressive treatment of its native population is not the work solely of the Israeli right wing. From the beginning, all of the major Zionist political parties, left and right, supported these policies as a way of fulfilling Zionist destiny.

Haas is unflinching in her characterization of their actions. For her, this “racist messianism” smacks of the policy of “Lebensraum” or “the urge to create living space.” Haas goes on to lament the fact that “we thought that in the end, the heads of the Labour movement would learn from the expansionist impulses of other nations. After all, they were the sons and brothers of the victims of Lebensraum.” In other words, at least in this policy of expansion and expulsion, all Israeli governing coalitions have adopted behaviors toward the Palestinians reminiscent of those practiced by the persecutors of Europe’s Jews.

Part III—The Question Answered

Considering that Israel and its supporters often proclaim that it is a Western-style democracy, and given the bit of history laid out above, we can ask if democracy and racist despotism can in fact be compatible. And, while the example of Israel serves as our backdrop for this query, we can consider the question generically. Can any democracy prove compatible with racist despotism?

Historically, the answer is an obvious yes. All that needs to happen is that a powerful group within the nation identifies itself as a privileged elite and reserves democratic procedures and privileges for itself, while condemning others to discrimination, segregation, or worse. Again, this posture has nothing to do with Jewishness. Any ethnicity or self-identified group can adopt it—based on color, religion, gender, or something else. The much-idealized ancient democracy of Athens did it based on gender and citizenship linked to birth.The United States ran as a selective democracy/racist despotism that practiced slavery until the middle of the 19th century while statutory discrimination persisted until the 1960s. Recent events indicate a revival of virulent white supremacism.

If there is a remedy to this it is in the rule of law functioning as an enforced regulatory process—one linked to a tenets of human rights. The U.S. Bill of Rights and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are good, if incomplete models. Politics, including democratic politics, has to be constitutionally regulated to assure equity (much like economies), and the regulations have to be applied consistently until they become ingrained as natural expectations within the consciousness of the citizenry. This probably requires generations of equalitarian practice. And, even then, what you achieve is the minimizing of the infiltration of corruptive bias, and other such variants corrosive of genuine democracy, into the system. The truth is that you probably cannot eliminate the threat altogether.

Getting back to Israel: under the present circumstances, there is no reason to believe that the outcome of the recent 9 April 2019 Israeli elections would have changed the fate of either the the country’s Jews or the Palestinians. And, now that we know that Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightwing Likud Party will lead the next coalition government, it is certain that the illegal Zionist colonization of the West Bank, and its accompanying oppression, will continue apace. This, by the way, is simply the maintenance of a long-standing status quo—a conscious policy in its own right. And, it is a policy that reflects the fact that “for years, most Israelis have passively or actively allowed values of equality, justice, and yes, peace, to go by the wayside.”

So what is the legacy of Zionism? Is it the establishment of a genuine democracy in the Middle East? Is it even the realization of a haven for the world’s Jews against the next Holocaust? No, it is neither of these. It is rather the melding of an elitist pseudo-democracy with racist despotism—the realization of an elitist fortress from which Israel maintains distinctly undemocratic control of a hinterland full of conquered people. To paraphrase the odious Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, this whole setup smells nothing like democracy. It smells to me like fascism.

About Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Palestine Report: Israeli Elections 2019

April 09, 2019

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

In Israel today, April 9, 2019, out of a population of approximately 8,452,841 million people, 6.3 million people have the right to vote at one of the 10,000 voting stations prepared for their convenience. The voting is executed with paper votes with voting slips and envelopes already prepared in the private voting booths. After exiting the booth the envelope is slid into a sealed box. Several people from different parties man each voting station and the possibility of cheating at this level is nil unless a box is lost or destroyed. This year voting cards were not distributed to the population but rather the information regarding the voting station for each person was to be found on line after entering one’s ID number. All Israelis carry identity cards which are used to access any and all information that the authorities or they themselves might need, particularly services provided by the state, such as national insurance, health insurance, driving licenses and any and all sundry services provided within the private sector, particularly subscriptions, and credit card services, and voting stations! In America the obligatory carrying of an ID card is a hugely controversial issue concerning freedom and privacy discussed under the rubric of “big brother is watching you,” but after Snowden it surely must have less traction. Be that as it may, ID’s are a matter of course in Israel and for many services provides a short cut towards availability. In addition, and probably not surprisingly, seeing as Israel is at the forefront of this field and the fact that its army is totally dependent on such services, the digital networks and services available in Israel are not only extensive but extremely efficient, providing instant information the access to which can be made by individuals without having to go to government offices or any other public office. There is also no discrimination whatsoever in these services.

The Israeli electoral system is proportional in practice to reflect proportional representation. There are no constituencies nor is there division of the country into separate voting areas. It is national and unified in its scope. The problem with this system is that it gives rise to a multiplicity of parties because there is never a clear-cut winner, such as in the two-party system. In the past there were sometimes more than twelve parties sitting in the Knesset at one time and governments have always had to be formed through coalitions, a situation which continues to prevail today, often giving the smallest party enormous power over a much larger party, enabling it to extract power quite out of proportion to its actual representation of the general public. Therefore, once again, a new law was passed which qualifies this carte blanche freedom. The law provides a caveat in the form of a proportional threshold which each party has to overcome in order to enter the Knesset. After the counting of the votes and the registration of invalid votes, the percentage of the votes can be calculated, that is, the minimum number of votes required for the party to enter the Knesset. The electoral threshold in the elections to the 21st Knesset stands at 3.25% of the valid votes, and ensures that parties with less than four seats will not be seated in the Knesset.

This latest caveat was introduced originally in order to block the smaller Arab parties from entering the Knesset, but then the Arabs wised up and formed a “Joint List” combining different parties into one party and received thirteen mandates. Ironically today the new Jewish Rightest parties are threatened with extinction by this very law. The Right has undergone several splits in this election, one of the reason for this being the multiplication of ultra-right parties gunning for the annexation of the West Bank and the prevention of the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. Another reason lies in the religious-secular divide: the “national religious” sector of the religious Jewish population believing in a Greater Israel as the original gift of God to Jews as per the Torah even until the Tigris and Euphrates River, whilst the secular Jews tend to support the Jewish claim to a Greater Israel as far as the Jordan river on pragmatic grounds, i.e. the Arabs will never accept the Jewish state, so what we can conquer and keep through force we will maintain through force. We cannot expect them to give up their claims. In other words, it is the “might is right” assertion.

I would like to interject a personal opinion at this point. Israel, the Jewish state, has been mired in a situation of political stasis for decades now with regard to the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians. The Palestinians of Israel constitute that native Arab population living in Greater Syria and then Palestine before the Jews took over part of Palestine. The Israelis refer to Palestinians living in Israel as “Israeli Arabs” but they refer to themselves as “Palestinians living in Israel.” The Israelis distinguish between the Palestinians living in Israel, the Palestinians in Gaza, who are not allowed to travel to Israel nor the West bank, the Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Palestinians living abroad and the Druze who are Palestinians or Syrians living in the Golan Heights. Before the conquest of Palestine by the Jews, the Druze were merely a heretical Islamic sect located in Greater Syria whose language and traditions were purely Arab although their religion was of an eclecticism such that many did not consider it a legitimate sect of Islam. Israel chose to separate them off from the local Palestinian population and has imposed obligatory military service upon them, an obligation which was not imposed upon the general Palestinian Christian and Moslem populations, but which was actually nixed in the 1950’s because of the enthusiasm of Palestinians to serve in the Israeli army!! This is a system of divide and rule in order to weaken the population – a classical colonial approach refined by the British! As a result of this stasis the Palestinian issue not even appeared on the billboards or in the electoral campaigns except very, very sotto voce– it is the elephant in the room which no Jewish party wishes to tackle. The Meretz party which originally began as a Zionist Leftist party and therefore not so nationalistically inclined, has now “declined” into a real, authentic Jewish Palestinian party which does not shy away from the Palestinian issue although its solution of the conflict via a two-state solution is no longer viable, if it ever was.

Be that as it may this brings me to the electoral campaign as such. I confess that I do not have a television set and have therefore been protected from the uncouth, unchivalrous campaigning in which Netanyahu specializes. He has accused the head of the new Blue-White party (the colors of the Israeli flag and therefore oh, so Zionist Jewish) of being mentally ill – and this despite the man, Bennie Gantz, being a former Chief of Staff under Netanyahu with whom Netanyahu has an excellent working relationship. This accusation probably comes against the background that Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, is actually mentally disturbed but who nevertheless interferes in all and sundry political affairs despite her total lack of qualifications. The background to this interference was the exposure of an extra-marital affair in the 1990’s of Netanyahu, who, rather than allow the tape recording of the information to go public, took the pre-emptive action of informing the public of the tape, its potential blackmailing capacity, apologizing to his wife, “saving” his marriage and probably, far more importantly for him, saving his political career. It seems to be common knowledge that an agreement was signed between the pair giving her total control of his movements, which we see in the public relations concerning her accompanying him to each and every trip abroad, a habit not common at all with former Israeli prime ministers.

The lack of chivalry in human relations and particularly between rivals is one of the unchanging features of Jewish life everywhere and is accompanied by a lack of the concept of honor, both notions characteristic of European mediaeval culture and of course, the laws of war. What this behavioral and moral lack accomplishes in the relations between Jew and non-Jew, or goy, is to be found in Jewish history, Zionist politics and much else which may be left to the imagination, but naturally nothing positive can be attributed to it. In Israeli politics, the Jew-goy divide materializes in the to-date iron law that no Jewish party, right, left or center, will ever take an Arab party into a coalition.

This lack of chivalry has occurred in other campaigns. On a poster of the Identity party, a new ultra-Right party, displaying a picture of its leader, Moshe Feiglin, a former member of the Likud party, the following was the accompanying text:

Why do more than half of National Insurance Institute expenditures go to the sector responsible for most of the murders, fatal accidents, car thefts, agricultural theft and illegal construction?

This announcement obviously refers to the Palestinians living in Israel. However it is presented tabula rasa of course, with no reference to the reality of lives of these people who constitute twenty percent of the overall population of Israel, being the descendants of the rump population left in the Jewish state following the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians during the War of Liberation [sic] or War of Independence [sic] in 1947-1949. The poster does not mention the police distribution of weapons into this population for the deliberate purpose of causing such problems, nor does he add the qualifying rider that the police are not available in the Palestinian population to serve them. In fact, in the Palestinian area in which I live, known as the little Triangle, the only official police station where one can lodge a criminal complaint is located in an island of territory surrounded by high fences between Palestinian villages and is not accessible from both sides of the inter-city highway. My own two complaints lodged there were closed with the laconic “no interest to the public” and “a neighbor’s conflict”, in other words, not worthy of public interference nor protection. The question of unlicensed house building derives directly, and as a result of the politically-informed lack of town planning in Palestinian villages, leading to a near total freeze on housing. Homes are then built under duress without a license to take care of what the Jews call “natural growth” but which does not, under any circumstances apply to Palestinians. Home demolition is one of the leading administrative characteristics of compassionate Zionism. Also not mentioned, naturally, is the theft of over 85% of the land from its rightful owners and its transference to Jewish ownership, private and public, and the clear and absolute discriminatory government budgets which have never ever allocated a proportional amount of the budget towards its development and needs. What is interesting in this announcement is that it is characteristic of most Zionist Jewish discourse about Palestinians – it has no historical or material context and is completely one-sided. The Jewish component contributing to situations is totally absent as always and the slice of reality is always and unfailingly partial!

What the poster does not mention is that the leading aspiration of this party is the rebuilding of the Temple of Sacrifice, the Temple of Zion, on what is known as Temple Mount by the Jews and Haram al-Sheriff by the Moslems, the sanctuary in which is located the Dome of the Rock, originally completed in 691-692 CE the al-Aqsa Mosque built in 984 CE both of which are obviously part of World Heritage landmarks, besides their religious significance. The el-Aqsa mosque – meaning the “furthest mosque” is the place from which the Prophet Mohammed, pbuh, ascended into heaven, an event remembered as the Night Journey, which is taken to be his experience of Tawhid, or the Oneness of God, or Unity with God, very much like the experience of theosis as described in Christian Orthodoxy by the Saints. In other words, after Makkah and Medina, this is the third holiest sanctuary for Islam with connections to the most fundamental of Islamic beliefs. Anyone with even only a capsule of common sense must understand that any deliberate damage done to this site could have, and probably would have, unforeseeable but enormous violent consequences. Feiglin has stressed his demand for the legalization of marijuana rather than the rebuilding of the Temple, but only for secular consumption, a demand the irony of which is highlighted both by his stance vis-à-vis the Muslim holy sites and the fact that drugs are haram or absolutely prohibited for Moslems as is alcohol, the reason being the Islamic belief that the human brain and human consciousness are God-given gifts which we have the absolute duty to protect. Intoxication is precisely that – the poisoning of these gifts and therefore an act rejecting God. It is expected that this party will enter the Knesset with five or more mandates.

But the heart of these elections is to be found in the person of the prime minister himself, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. He is an unlovable person, rather cold and superior and considered to be very intelligent and well-read. On more than one occasion people have pointed out that he is a psychopath, without feelings and without a moral compass. I consider this to be quite an accurate description of him. He comes from a revisionist family, that is a family who supported the philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and then Menahem Begin, the first revisionist prime minister, who made peace with Egypt. This is a Rightist political program based on power, believing that the Jews have a right to Palestine if only the basis of need and power. The religious co-efficient of the bible plays the rôle of nostalgia, or of a so-called collective memory or collective dream “Next year in Jerusalem” recited each New Year in the Jewish calendar.

However, I believe that Netanyahu has one great virtue! He is, thank God, a coward! While he calls for the destruction of Iran and wars here, there and everywhere, he is very hesitant when it comes to the actual opening up of full-blown warfare. His politics are racist, divisionary, based on continually sowing the seeds of hatred and disdain in the midst of the Israeli population and using covert actions all his perceived enemies of Israel. In other words, whilst he is a coward, he is in no wise a man of peace. Quite the contrary!

However, it is important to note that he called these elections prior to the full term of governance awarded by law after elections, a period of four years. Netanyahu is suspected of bribery and corruption and breach of faith and three charge sheets based upon solid evidence are being prepared against him. He was hoping that the elections would stall this process, but he was wrong! He will be given a hearing with his lawyers present as his opportunity to deflect those charges, but the chances of his succeeding are nil. The Attorney-General once served as the secretary of the Government, that is of Netanyahu himself, and has been more than cautious in compiling the evidence. Therefore it is obvious that he would never have come this far in terms of the accusations against Netanyahu had they not been fully corroborated by documentary evidence, material evidence and the evidence of witnesses. Now it seems that Netanyahu, if he wins the election and is called to form a coalition government and well he might, is hoping to pass the “French law” which apparently states that a serving prime minister cannot be placed on trial, although I personally do not know of this law.

However, since the calling of elections, a much worse scandal might be unfolding with regard to Netanyahu which concerns bribery, corruption and possible treason with respect to the purchase of nuclear war ships from Germany in contradiction of the findings of the Defense establishment, together with his secret agreement given to the Germans to the selling of such vessels to Egypt without telling the Chief of Staff and others of the Defense Establishment. This latter issue will definitely have very wide repercussions and as a result, all the opposition parties have banded together under the rubric “Bibi must go!” leaving very little time and space for serious social issues during the campaigns.

The results of the elections will be fascinating partly because Netanyahu’s alleged crimes do not seem to have affected his electoral base. The other interesting aspect is how the Blue-White party will fare, being led by three former Chiefs-of-Staff, supported by others, and sporting a leader, Bennie Gantz, who is far more personable than Netanyahu with absolutely no intimations of greed or corruption attached to his person. If there has been one complaint against Gantz, it is that he lacks a “killer instinct”, although as the Chief-of-Staff during the hideous 2014 Gaza war called Zuk Eitan, or Invincible Rock, such a description seems to fall rather short!

But then this is Israel, and we are still attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Lynda Burstein Brayer was born in South Africa to a Jewish family, attended Jewish school and came to Israel to study at the Hebrew University, where she obtained two degrees – in the humanities and in law. She began life as a nice Jewish girl, became a wife and then mother to three children who have great problems with her as she has become a not nice old Muslim woman living in a Palestinian village in Palestine/Israel. She is extremely grateful for the twenty five years she lived and prayed as a Christian and the thirteen years as a human rights lawyer representing Palestinians in the Israeli courts but is even more grateful that she has found refuge in tawhid – the ONENESS of God as understood in Islam. Needless to say, many have deserted her for her breaches of community, but at least she feels she can sleep at night without nightmares.

 

Netanyahu Rival Speaks of Possible West Bank Withdrawal

Benny Gantz

 February 6, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism.

Benny Gantz, the former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of IsraelI pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, in his first interview since launching his election campaign last week.

The Gaza withdrawal had been “approved by the Israeli government and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way”, he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places,” he said.

Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining the conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.

The 59-year-old launched his campaign on January 29 in a speech promising to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and east Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Although he did not say so in the interview, Gantz could support a withdrawal from wildcat outposts that are not approved by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Gantz’s comments drew criticism from right-wing parties.

“We told you Benny Gantz would form a leftist government with the help of” MPs of the Arab-led Joint List who hold 13 seats in parliament, said a spokesman for Likud.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favors the partial annexation of the West Bank.

“Gantz has thrown off the mask and overtaken Avi Gabbay (of the centre-left Labour party)… and wants to expel Jews from their homes through a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Bennett said.

Since founding his party, Gantz has emerged as the most serious challenger to Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009 as well as between 1996-1999.

Source: AFP

So much for the ridiculous claim that israel is a democracy: israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

Israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

By Adalah,

The Israeli Supreme Court early this afternoon, Sunday, 30 December 2018, dismissed the petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga (Joint List) against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the Supreme Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset.

The Knesset Presidium refused to allow the submission of the bill – which declares Israel a “state of all its citizens” – based on the claim that Israel is a Jewish state.  This bill was initiated by Zahalka, Zoabi, and Azbarga in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.

The judgment follows a hearing on the petition last week, Monday, 24 December 2018, during which the justices received an announcement of early elections, and the decision to dissolve the 20th Knesset.

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen (center with hat) speaks to journalists together with Arab members of Knesset on Monday, 24 December 2018, prior to the hearing on their petition at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. (Photo by Mati Milstein)

Chief Justice Hayut, who headed the three-justice panel hearing the case, hinted then that the court would consider the MKs’ petition, filed six months ago and not heard to date, as theoretical. Today, the petition was indeed dismissed for these reasons.

As the petition also attacks the constitutionality of the very bylaws used to disqualify the bill, there is no justification for the court’s decision to consider the petition as purely theoretical in nature, in Adalah’s view.

The court today chose to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s decision to prevent its own Palestinian Arab minority members from initiating a bill and a debate to promote democratic values on the basis of equality for all.

Adalah responded immediately to the court’s decision:

“This decision violates the basic right to full equality for Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. This judgment is the second in six years that the Israeli Supreme Court has decided to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s authority to prevent Arab MKs from submitting bills and initiating debate that challenges Israel’s character as a state of the Jewish people only. In both of these cases, the court exploited the announcement of early elections as a justification to dismiss these cases.

“This petition confronts a matter of principle – the right to equality and a state for all its citizens – that will certainly remain in the public discourse and as a key political platform of Arab MKs, and it is not expected to change.”

Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen and Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury represented the Arab MKs in this case.

The original source of this article is Adalah

Palestinian Bedouin Village Braces for Forcible Transfer as israel (Apartheid State) Seeks to Split West Bank in Half

Palestinian Bedouin XXX washes dishes at her home in the village of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018
Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

A Palestinian Bedouin Village Braces for Forcible Transfer as Israel Seeks to Split the West Bank in Half

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

Rayyah has lived in Khan al-Ahmar all of her 47 years. She raised nine children there, and 24 grandchildren; one more is on the way. Her family and neighbors, members of a Bedouin community known as the Jahalin, found refuge on this scorched patch of rocks and dust in the 1950s, after they were expelled from the land they had inhabited for generations, in the Negev desert, following the establishment of the Israeli state. The land Khan al-Ahmar stands on was under Jordanian control when the Jahalin arrived. Today, this smatter of tin roofs and tarps sits on the side of a highway in the occupied West Bank, surrounded by a fast-growing ring of Israeli settlements, which — while illegal — have become de facto suburbs of Jerusalem.

The village, which is home to less than 200 people and where the only building with walls is a school made of mud and old tires, has become the latest front line in a conflict over land that for decades has determined the fates of Palestinians like the Jahalin. Israel wants the village razed, its residents evicted, and their land annexed to its ever-expanding settlements. Khan al-Ahmar residents say they are not going anywhere and have been able to rally remarkable international support around their cause, delaying demolition through a yearslong legal battle that remains nonetheless stacked against them.

While Khan al-Ahmar’s plight is hardly unique, what is exceptional about the embattled community — which is surrounded by the illegal settlements of Kfar Adumim, Ma’ale Adumim, Alon, and Nofei Prat — is its position as one of the last-standing obstacles in the way of a decadesold plan to establish a contiguous Jewish presence between the West Bank and Jerusalem.

A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018
A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

The interiors of homes in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

On August 1, Israel’s Supreme Court confirmed an earlier ruling authorizing the village’s razing but temporarily delayed demolition, giving the Israeli government five days to come up with more suitable relocation plans than those it had previously offered — near a dump, and without any land the Bedouins could use to graze their animals.A day after the deadline, on August 7, the government proposed moving Khan al-Ahmar residents to temporary tents before relocating them again to a new site south of Jericho along with other Bedouin communities facing demolition — but only on the condition that they would leave Khan al-Ahmar voluntarily. Israel forcibly removed other Jahalin Bedouin communities in the late 1990s, and while violent evictions of individual Palestinian families have continued since then, Israeli officials have tried to steer clear of large forcible transfers — an ugly spectacle, as well as a war crime.

In a statement, Tawfiq Jabareen, an attorney representing Khan al-Ahmar, rejected the proposal, which he said proved that “the plan of the state of Israel is to evacuate all Palestinian Bedouin and move them near Area A,” closer to areas under the Palestinian Authority, “in order to expand the Jewish settlements in places that will be emptied of Palestinians.” Khan al-Ahmar residents have made clear that they have no plans to leave their homes, making forcible eviction a likely outcome.

“The Bedouins are used to being in the sun, they have lived their whole life in the sun. If Israel demolishes their homes, they’ll stay here anyway,” Eid Abu Khamis, Khan al-Ahmar’s leader, told The Intercept. “If they put up a boundary — a meter away from it, this is where all the women and all the children of the community will stay.”

“If the children die from the heat, I didn’t demolish their homes, they did.”

A picture shows a the outside of a Palestinian Bedouin house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

The outside of a Palestinian Bedouin house in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

A Strategic Wedge

Israeli authorities routinely demolish homes built without permits — which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain — and often use demolitions as collective punishment against the families of Palestinians who attempt attacks against Israelis. In July, Israel demolished a daycare and a women’s community center in Jabal al Baba, another Bedouin community outside Jerusalem, as well as several homes in the village of Abu Nawwar, near the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, leaving 64 people, mostly children, homeless.

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Map: Soohee Cho

But Khan al-Ahmar sits in a uniquely strategic position close to what Israel refers to as “E1” — an area it intends to expand to create spatial continuity between the West Bank settlements and Jerusalem. So far, those plans have mostly stalled following international pressure, but advocates fear Khan-al Ahmar’s demolition will be the first step toward implementing that plan, which would further fragment Palestinian areas, isolating Palestinian-majority East Jerusalem and splitting the occupied West Bank in half.

In the 1970s, when Israel expropriated the area surrounding Khan al-Ahmar, Uri Ariel, a founder of the Kfar Adumim settlement and today the country’s minister of agriculture and rural development, made no secret the move was part of a plan to establish “a Jewish corridor from the sea, through Jerusalem, to the Jordan river, which will put a wedge in the territorial continuity of Arab inhabitation between Judea and Samaria” — the names used by Israel to refer to the occupied West Bank.

“This is a particularly strategic wedge because it’s in the narrowest part of the West Bank, and because it will complete the process of isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank,” said Amit Gilutz, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, pointing to Khan al-Ahmar on a map dissected by an intricate pattern of current and planned separation barriers and settlements, and Palestinian areas under various forms of Israeli control.

“It’s fragmenting the society itself,” he added, noting that Israel can easily control isolated Palestinian enclaves by blocking access to their entrance and cutting them off entirely. “From a control perspective, that is very efficient, because if you want to disconnect their access, all you need is a military jeep. You put the thing on the road and that’s it.”

Israeli workers place container houses near the town of Al-Eizariyah in the occupied West Bank near East Jerusalem on July 9, 2018, to absorb residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar who are set to be evicted from their homes. - Khan al-Ahmar, which Israeli authorities say was illegally constructed and the supreme court in May rejected a final appeal against its demolition, is located near several Israeli settlements along a road leading to the Dead Sea. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli workers place container houses near the town of Al-Eizariyah in the occupied West Bank on July 9, 2018, to absorb residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, who are set to be evicted.

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

The plan to force the Bedouins out so the settlements can expand is hardly a secret: In May, days after a court largely made up of settlers upheld demolition orders against Khan al-Ahmar, the Israeli government approved the construction of a new neighborhood in Kfar Adumim, “reaching 500 meters from my home,” Abu Khamis told The Intercept.Israel argues that Khan al-Ahmar’s school and homes are illegal because they were built without permits or an approved zoning plan — hiding behind a façade of legality the reality that Palestinians have virtually no access to either, and that what is illegal is the Israeli occupation of their land. Since it occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, Israel has declared 347,000 acres of occupied territory — nearly a quarter of the West Bank — as state land. But 99.7 percent of the state land Israel has allocated for public use so far — some 167,000 acres — has gone toward the development of illegal Israeli settlements, the watchdog group Peace Now recently learned through a public records request. A meager 0.24 percent of that land was allocated to Palestinians.

After the Oslo Agreements, in the 1990s, the West Bank was divided into Areas A and B, which are under the limited control of the Palestinian Authority, and Area C, under exclusive Israeli military control. While the arrangement was supposed to be temporary, Israel has effectively treated Area C as its expansion grounds — and some 400,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements there, protected by the military. With Palestinian chances of obtaining building permits in Area C “slim to none,” according to analysis by B’Tselem, most have given up on the process altogether.

There are more than 150 Palestinian communities in Area C without zoning plans and therefore at constant risk of expulsion, including 12 — some 1,400 people — around Khan al-Ahmar, according to B’Tselem. But while Bedouins living in the area around Jerusalem are particularly vulnerable, similar efforts to cut off Palestinian areas of the West Bank are also underway in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills. “What Israel wants and has been striving toward very consistently is maximum land under its control, minimum Palestinians on it,” said Gilutz. “For the most part, Israel has been creating this coercive environment, trying to force people off of their land as if by their wish, while avoiding the textbook example of a forcible transfer, which is clearly a war crime.”

Palestinian Bedouin men sit together at the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Palestinian Bedouin men sit together in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

“They Want to Scare Us”

Israeli efforts to make life in Khan al-Ahmar so difficult that its residents leave of their own volition started when the nearby settlement of Kfar Adumim was built in the early 1980s. The settlers took over areas the Bedouins had used to graze their animals. If sheep or donkeys wandered into the settlement, settlers would take them and sell them back to the Bedouins, Rayya said last month, surrounded by some of her daughters and grandchildren. “If we went too close, they started shooting.”

Rayyah spoke to The Intercept from her home — three shacks of tin, tarps, and scrap wood she shares with her large family. Like many Palestinians in Area C, Khan al-Ahmar residents are not allowed to put up new structures or bring in construction material, so when Rayyah’s sons got married or new children were born, everyone squeezed into the structures they had already built, even though they, too, are subject to demolition. “If I put something up, they’ll come and destroy it,” she said, adding that a drone flies over the village every day, photographing anything new that residents may have built.

Recently, Israeli officials came into the village and confiscated solar panels that an aid organization had donated. Then last month, they came in with bulldozers and leveled the areas between tents and huts into a dusty road that residents speculate will be used by the army when it comes to drag them away. Tensions flared that day, and several residents, including an 18-year-old girl, were arrested. Since then, the Israeli military has kept a close eye on the village. “We can’t sleep. Maybe they’re not doing anything, but their presence there, it’s creating tension,” said Rayyah. “They come because they want to make us leave, they want to scare us.”

Palestinian Bedouin children are seen at the school in the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.
Palestinian Bedouin children are seen at the school in the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Palestinian Bedouin children at the school in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.Photos: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

Rayyah was particularly worried about the school, which a group of Italian volunteers built in 2009 with the help of kids from the village, who painted their classrooms with hand prints and drawings of books and flowers. Before the school was built, children from Khan al-Ahmar would leave at 6 a.m. and walk on the highway waiting for rides, or trek to schools in Jericho. “It was very difficult for them,” said Rayyah. “They’d have to wait in the sun for a long time.”

Israeli authorities have destroyed or confiscated at least 12 Palestinian school buildings since 2016, and 44 Palestinian schools, including Khan al-Ahmar’s, are currently at risk of demolition, Human Rights Watch found. Over a third of Palestinians living in Area C don’t have access to primary schools and are not allowed by Israeli authorities to build any — leaving 10,000 children to attend schools in tents or other temporary structures with no heat or air conditioning.

But the mud walls of the school in Khan al-Ahmar — a sign of permanence — bothered neighboring settlers, and shortly after it was built, representatives of Kfar Adumim and the pro-settlement group Regavim petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to enforce earlier demolition orders against the village. As the Supreme Court first upheld and then froze authorization to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, life in the small community carried on between hope and fear, while delegations of activists and Palestinian and foreign officials made trips to visit.

Abu Khamees (C) speaks during a press conference at the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Eid Abu Khamis, center, speaks during a press conference in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

In July, addressing several foreign diplomats under a large tent in Khan al-Ahmar, Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, called Israel’s plans to demolish the village and evict its residents “ethnic cleansing.” “You begin with evicting and demolishing the community of Khan al-Ahmar, and one day you may destroy Dura, Jericho, parts of Ramallah,” he added, referring to some of the West Bank’s most populous cities.Bedouins live largely removed from the rest of Palestinian society, and it took some time for Palestinian leaders to take on Khan-al Ahmar’s cause. “Lately they have woken up,” said Abu Khamis, adding that Israel’s plan to dissect the West Bank would effectively put a nail in the coffin of Palestinian plans to build a state there. “They understand that if this corridor is built, then their government is over.”

To Rayyah, talk of a Palestinian state in the West Bank seems far removed from the reality at hand — the only home she has ever known slated for demolition, and her 24 grandchildren facing displacement.

“We have faith. Without faith we can’t go on,” she said. “We’re going to pray. And we’ll stay.”

Top photo: Rayyah washes dishes at her home in the village of Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why israel (Apartheid State) Was Never a Democracy

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why Israel Was Never a Democracy

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why Israel Was Never a Democracy

There is no escaping the moral imperative now. Those who insist on supporting Israel must know that they are supporting an unabashed Apartheid regime.

The head of the Arab Joint List Alliance at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), Aymen Odeh, described the passing of the racist Jewish Nation-State Law as “the death of our democracy.”

Did Odeh truly believe that, prior to this law, he had lived in a true democracy? Seventy years of Israeli Jewish supremacy, genocide, ethnic cleansing, wars, sieges, mass incarceration, numerous discriminatory laws, all aimed at the very destruction of the Palestinian people should have given enough clues that Israel was never a democracy, to begin with.

The Jewish Nation-State Law is merely the icing on the cake. It simply gave those who argued, all along, that Israel’s attempt at combining democracy with ethnic supremacy was racism masquerading as democracy, the munition they needed to further illustrate the point.

There is no escaping the moral imperative now. Those who insist on supporting Israel must know that they are supporting an unabashed Apartheid regime.

The new law, which was passed after some wrangling on January 19, has divorced Israel from any claim, however untrue, to being a democratic state.

In fact, the law does not mention the word ‘democracy’ in its wording, not even once. Reference to the Jewish identity of the state, however are ample and dominant, with the clear exclusion of the Palestinian people from their rights in their historic homeland

The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people …

  • “The actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
  • “The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people …
  • “The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora,” and so on.

 

But most dangerous of all is the stipulation that “the state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”

True, illegal Jewish settlements already dot the Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem; and a de facto segregation already exists in Israel itself. In fact, segregation is so deep and entrenched, even maternity wards in Israeli hospitals separate between mothers, based on their race.

The above stipulation, however, will further accelerate segregation and cement Apartheid, making the harm not merely intellectual and political, but physical as well.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah, has documented in its ‘Discriminatory Laws Database’ a list of over 65 Israeli laws that “discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens in Israel and/or Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the basis of their national belonging.”

According to Adalah, “These laws limit the rights of Palestinians in all areas of life, from citizenship rights to the right to political participation, land and housing rights, education rights, cultural and language rights, religious rights, and due process rights during detention.”

While it would be accurate to argue that the Jewish Nations-state bill is the officiation of Apartheid in Israel, this realization should not dismiss the previous reality upon which Israel was founded 70 years ago.

Apartheid is not a single law, but a slow, agonizing build-up of an intricate legal regime that is motivated by the belief that one racial group is superior to all others.

Not only does the new law elevate Israel’s Jewish identity and erase any commitment to democracy, it also downgrades the status of all others. Palestinian Arabs, the natives of the land of historic Palestine upon which Israel was established, did not feature prominently in the new law at all. There was a mere stipulation made to the Arabic language, but only to downgrade it from being an official language, to a ‘special one.’

Israel’s decision to refrain from formulating a written constitution when it was founded in 1948 was not a haphazard one. Since then, it has been following a predicable model where it would alter reality on the ground to the advantage of Jews at the expense of Palestinian Arabs.

Instead of a constitution, Israel resorted to what it termed ‘Basic Laws’, which allowed for the constant formulation of new laws guided by the ‘Jewish State’s’ commitment to racial supremacy than to democracy, international law, human rights or any other ethnical value.

The Jewish Nation-State Law is itself a ‘Basic Law.’ And with that law, Israel has dropped the meaningless claim to being both Jewish and democratic. This impossible task was often left to the Supreme Court which tried, but failed, to strike any convincing balance.

This new reality should, once and for all, end the protracted debate on the supposed uniqueness of Israel’s political system.

And since Israel has chosen racial supremacy over any claim, however faint, to real democracy, western countries that have often shielded Israel must also make a choice on whether they wish to support an Apartheid regime or fight against it.

The initial statement by EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini was lackluster and feeble. “We are concerned, we have expressed this concern and we will continue to engage with Israeli authorities in this context,” she said, while renewing her commitment to the ‘two-state solution.’

This is hardly the proper statement in response to a country that had just announced its membership in the Apartheid club.

The EU must end its wishy-washy political discourse and disengage from Apartheid Israel, or it has to accept the moral, ethical and legal consequences of being an accomplice in Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Israel has made its choice and it is, unmistakably, the wrong one. The rest of the world must now make its choice as well, hopefully the right one: standing on the right side of history—against Israeli Jewish Apartheid and for Palestinian rights.

This article was originally published at RamzyBaroud.net on July 25, 2018.

The Holocaust and its Deniers

August 02, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 18.13.01.png

By Gilad Atzmon

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, some Jewish intellectuals and humanists expressed the thought that ‘after Auschwitz Jews have to locate themselves at the forefront of the battle for humanity and against all forms of oppression.’

This is a principled and heroic ideal, but the reality on the ground has been somewhat different. Just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the Jewish state ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. Two years later, in 1950, Israel’s Knesset passed the Law of Return, a racist law that distinguishes between Jews who have the right to ‘return’ to someone else’s land and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees that were expelled by force from their villages and cities.

In the seven decades since, the Jewish State has committed every possible human rights abuse. It made Gaza into the biggest open-air prison in human history and has repeatedly dropped bombs on the most overpopulated place on earth. Recently the Jewish State deployed hundreds of snipers against unarmed Gazans who were protesting at the border. Israel killed dozens and wounded more than 13,000 Palestinians, the majority severely, with over 1,400 struck by three to five bullets.

If the Holocaust left Jews with a mission to fix the world, the Jewish State has done the opposite. Its crimes against humanity can be seen as a complete denial of the Holocaust’s message.

Some Jews who survived the Holocaust did dedicate their lives to a universal battle for a better world. Among these heroes was Hajo Meyer, a Dutch Auschwitz survivor who, for the obvious reasons, saw the similarities between his own suffering and the Palestinian plight.

In 2003 Meyer wrote The End of Judaism, accusing Israel of usurping the Holocaust to justify crimes against the Arabs. He participated in the 2011 “Never Again – For Anyone” tour. He correctly argued that Zionism predated fascism, and he also reiterated that Zionists and Fascists had a history of collaboration.

Meyer exemplified the Jewish post-Shoah humanist promise. After Auschwitz he located himself at the forefront of the fight against oppression. He fought Israel.

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2010, Meyer was invited to an event at the British Parliament which included MP Jeremy Corbyn. At the event Meyer compared Israeli racial policy to the Nuremberg laws. At the same event, Haidar Eid, a Palestinian academic from Gaza, pointed out that “the world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims.”

Eid didn’t ‘compare’ Zionism with Nazism, he described an ideological continuum between Nazi ideology and Israeli policy. He maintained that the racial discriminatory ideology of the Nazis was picked up by the Jewish state and has been rife in the Jewish State since then.

Yesterday MP Jeremy Corbyn was attacked by the Jewish lobby for being present at that meeting that explored these universal ethical positions. Our Labour candidate for prime minister anemically recalled that at the event in question views were expressed which he did not “accept or condone.” Corbyn even apologized “for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.” I wonder why my preferred candidate has to express regret for being in the presence of a humanist exchange. I wonder why our next PM feels the need to disassociate himself from people who advocate ‘for the many, not the few.’

The message for the rest of us is devastating. The battle for a better world can’t be left to Corbyn alone. Needless to say, the Jewish State and its Lobby haven’t located themselves at the forefront of humanity. It is actually the Palestinians who have been pushed to the front of that frustrating struggle. Not to see that is to deny their holocaust.

 

If Israel were a State

May 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Background:  Yesterday I was  in San Diego having fun at the beach. For a while I sat on the shore with my feet in the water reading The Diary of a Young Girl. Then a miracle happened. A score of  little bottles reached land  and assembled in between my bare feet. I could see that each was sealed and contained a short note. I picked up the bottles carefully and moved them to safety. I collected the notes and tried to assemble the lines into a cohesive  message. I understand that this text, as put together by me, may be  offensive to some. If you can think of a different arrangement of the messages that offers an alternative meaning, please share it with me and I will consider publishing it.

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If Israel were a State

A poem assembled by Gilad Atzmon

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would have deployed policemen at the Gaza border instead of snipers with live ammunition.

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would invite the indigenous people of Palestine to return to their land.

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would apologize for making Gaza into the biggest open-air prison known to man.

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would, by now, live in peace under the sun.

But Israel is a Jewish Ghetto (and Jews are somehow different…)

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

Stephen Pollard and Freedom of Speech

February 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm. 

Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm.

 

February 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm.

By Gilad Atzmon

Stephen Pollard, the caricature of an editor for the rabid Zionist Jewish Chronicle, an outlet that operates as an Israeli mouthpiece and has openly waged intense campaigns against freedom of speech, has once again expressed his support for elementary rights including the right to offend. In today’s Daily Mail Pollard writes: “Snowflakes? They’re today’s fascists!” Pollard often champions ‘freedom of speech.’ This time he probably tries to gain credit with the PM office following the attack on Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg as he attempted to give a talk to students at Bristol University.  I need not mention that I didn’t see Pollard or the JC denouncing Zionist hooligans who interfered with my right to play Jazz. Nor did I see the JC or Pollard fight for Alison Chabloz‘s right to perform her cabaret. Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm.

And when Pollard writes “through editing the newspaper (JC), I am confronted daily with the legacy of that unique evil, including the suppression of debate, the distortion of truth and even the burning of books at the heart of that terrible chapter in our history,” it is hard to figure out whether he describes the “Third Reich’s totalitarian impulse” as he calls it, or his own editorial decisions. After all, before my literature event at Reading International Festival two months ago, Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle published the following headline: “ ‘Horror’ over appearance of Gilad Atzmon at Reading International Festival”

Pollard’s JC  wrote,  “Berkshire Jews  are ‘horrified’ over the scheduled appearance of an antisemitic author at the Reading International Festival.”  Is this how Pollard defines ‘welcoming debate’? In my universe the above line fits nicely within ‘suppression of debate’ and is an extreme form of book burning! I can see a clear contradiction between Stephen Pollard ‘the advocate of freedom of speech’ and the outlet which he edits that employs every trick in the Hasbara book to close debate on Israel, Zionism, Jewish ID politics, Jewish lobbying and the Holocaust.

Pollard, writing today in the Daily Mail, makes a surprising pivot and repeats the arguments I raised in my recent book Being in Time.  “We are now witnessing our own version of Newspeak, in which a form of cultural fascism masquerades as caring concern.” In November Pollard’s paper campaigned to suppress a proposed debate on my book and now he repeats the message of that book almost word for word. But, in my opinion, Pollard makes an error in his use of terminology. It is not ‘cultural fascism’ that introduced the current tyranny of correctness. It was cultural Marxism, a bunch of post Marxist tribal ideologists who thought and still think that it is down to them and only to them to decide who deserves a platform and what are the boundaries of freedom

Listen to Stephen Pollard in advocacy of ‘freedom of speech.’ His point seems to be; ‘You can say whatever you see the need to say as long as I can denounce you as an anti-Semite, a racist and a bigot.’

 

Video: Pence Smirks as Palestinian MKs are Removed During His Knesset Speach

While you watch the video above pay particular attention as the camera zooms back into Mike Pence’s face following the altercation. The crucial segment you want to scrutinize starts at about 50 seconds in. Notice what appears to be the faint trace of a smile on the vice president’s face. I don’t think I’m exaggerating by describing it as a “smirk.”

What you’re looking at is a portion of Pence’s speech before the Israeli Knesset on Monday, January 22. As the US vice president begins his remarks, Palestinian members of the Knesset attempt to protest, but are forcibly removed from the chamber. According to a report at Al Jazeera, they were shouting “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine” and attempting to hold up pictures of Al Aqsa Mosque.

“We oppose the policies of Mr Trump. He is not only the enemy of Palestinians, he is the enemy of peace,” said Jamal Zahalka, one of the protesting MKs.

Just like the Jewish Knesset members clapping their hands, Pence seems to have been very happy to see the Palestinians thrown out.

Some of Pence’s remarks before the Knesset are quoted in a Jerusalem Post report here. They make for a study in Orwellian doublethink.

“We stand with Israel, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny,” he said.

The vice president is in essence saying that Palestinians are evil, while Israel is the embodiment of all that is good in the world. There are not many other ways you can interpret this. After all, we’re talking about a conflict between two people that has been going on for most of the past century. The side that has launched missiles into hospitals and schools is the “good” side. The side that has resisted the theft of its land is “evil.” Or at least this is the way Pence sees it. The side that locks people up indefinitely in administrative detention and operates the world’s largest open-air prison represents “liberty,” while the side that has protested encirclement by an apartheid wall is viewed by the vice president as “tyrannical.”

No wonder people have little respect for America when we have leaders who utter such nonsense.

During his speech, Pence of course also talked about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying he anticipated the move will be completed sometime in 2019.

The speech naturally was lauded by Israeli leaders.

“Pence will head back to America on Tuesday having gotten at least one thing he came for: affirmation that the Israeli government is delighted with the Trump administration,” reports The Atlantic.

Of course, one way of evaluating a nation’s propensity for good or evil is by examining how it treats children.

Pence doesn’t strike me as particularly bright or informed, but I’m reasonably certain that he must have heard something, somewhere, regarding Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners, for the issue has gotten a huge amount of attention, and has even been criticized by the UN among others.

Last year, a member of the British Parliament got a sobering, eye-opening epiphany on this issue during a trip to the West Bank. Sarah Champion is a member of the British Labour Party who spent a day observing proceedings in an Israeli military court as Palestinian child detainees were brought in one-by-one before a judge. Her account of the experience was published by the Huffington Post, and reading it today adds something of a new light to the words of our smirking vice president. Here in part is what she writes:

In the cramped confines, I almost didn’t notice the two little boys, little in age and in stature. At first sight I thought they were disabled as they both appeared to have a similar facial palsy and were sitting in an awkward manner. A side door was thrown open and a man in jeans and a sweatshirt entered, which seemed odd as everyone else I had seen was in uniform. As he strode in, to shake hands with the judge and slap the clerks on the back, the two little boys instinctively flinched away from him. As they cowered, they turned in my direction and I got a proper look at their faces; they didn’t have a palsy, they had been beaten.

“That man is the interrogator” whispered my chaperone as the judge fixed his gaze on us, got up and then left the room.

A charming, uniformed woman walked over to us.

“The judge has decided that we will try this case tomorrow” she said.

As the children were led out, I just sat there, staring ahead, simply trying to process what I had seen.

What on earth is going on in this country, and how is the world just letting it happen?

The answer to that should be abundantly clear to anyone that can ascertain the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and liberty and tyranny…but of course a sizeable number of humans lack that capability. And as is the case in other areas, Jews seem to be disproportionately represented in this category as well.

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Originally published in CounterPunch Magazine December 25, 2017

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Many take their liberty for granted even as they have endless time to rail on and on about how “they” are coming for us. Be it the “coup”, apparently now underway, or the spread of domestic McCarthyism that seeks to cower us into silence, or the baffling, sudden, corrupt reach of the Department of Justice, for most white men here we enjoy a privilege that says not us. Typically, it works.

A world away, liberty is less a race-based edge than it is the benefits you gain by the day of the week you celebrate your faith. For those who get directions from god on Saturdays, there appear to be no limits to the dispensation to which you are entitled; be it the execution of an unconscious prisoner, the mass arrest of a family with the temerity to fight for their land or a Prime Minister protected by legislative fiat empowered well beyond the reach of mere mortal law.

Israel has long preached justice and equality to the world. How often have we heard its mantra about democratic ideals and traditions as so much a unique historical tenet of its travel… a journey for the chosen that get to choose who the beneficiaries are… and are not.

For those of us in the US, either schooled in the classic process of the law or victimized by its aim, we’ve grown spoiled by its safeguards even though they remain but abstract and elusive for those many in the prisoner dock of  “wrong” color, with but coins in their pocket or militant politics in their gait.

Yet, despite the betrayal of equal hope for all, the march from investigation to arrest to trial and result knows no formal de jure distinction along the way. Of course, one would be so much a fool to argue that justice is blind, or little more than a commodity for purchase, or the skill of one’s advocate, or the luck of one’s judicial draw. Yet these damning imperfections leave hope along the way that justice may, on occasion, just slip and fall into ones lap despite a long and tarred drop.

That is not the case in Israel. Israel has two systems of justice… one for Jews and the other for Palestinians be they Muslim, Christian or atheist. Nowhere is that more apparent or destructive than it is in the Occupied Territory.

The Detention of Children

Several days ago, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested, by heavily armed Israeli soldiers, during a violent pre-dawn raid on her home. It followed a video, since gone viral, of her slapping a soldier on the face and arm and pushing another soldier, standing nearby, who she was ushering away from the family home… this, after her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed,  had been shot by an Israeli rubber coated bullet that entered through his mouth and lodged in his brain.

For Ahed, it was not the first time that her challenge to the occupation received international attention and acclaim.  As an 11 year old, she was video recorded confronting soldiers with clenched fist. She did not back down.  At 13, she helped to wrestle her 11 year old brother, his arm in a cast, from the clutches of an Israeli soldier who was physically assaulting him during a standoff near her family home. For that, she was the recipient of the Handala Courage award in Turkey.

Not long after Ahed’s current arrest, Nariman Tamimi was seized when she went to the local police station to check on her daughter. After attending his daughter’s initial military court appearance, Bassem Tamimi, a prominent land defender and non-violent organizer in the village of Nabi Saleh, was also taken into custody. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces. In 2012, he was termed a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International during one of his several detentions in an Israeli prison.

Later that night, soldiers seized a family cousin, Nour Tamimi, a 21 year old journalism student, from her own family home.

Mother, father, daughter, and cousin arrested after another cousin shot… all within a matter of a few days.  Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to the Occupation.

Liberty means more than the freedom to walk in and out of your home with the approval of those who occupy the streets that lead to it. 

Though the arrest of Ahed has captured the attention of many, it is as much the force of her charisma as it is the call of justice that has produced it. Since 2000, over 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military system devoid of any meaningful protection for the most vulnerable and traumatized among those that have known nothing but the bark of occupation their entire lives.  It is a military justice process notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The majority of these children have been seized in middle of the night raids by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. By now, military kidnappings have become so much the expected norm that Palestinian teens sleep with their clothes on to maintain their modesty when the doors to their bedroom are kicked in with the shouts of “get up get up” by heavily armed soldiers.

Dragged out the door to the screams of their powerless parents, for most, it will be the last they will hear from them without the watch and eavesdrop of prison guards for the many months of detention to follow.

Several hours after their arrest, children arrive at an interrogation and detention center alone, tired, and frightened.

All Interrogations, by their very nature, are inherently coercive no matter the age or experience of its target.  None are more so than for an often bruised and scared child forced to go through the process without the benefit of counsel or the presence of parents who are never permitted to participate.

Israeli law provides that all military interrogations must be undertaken in a prisoner’s native language and that any statement made by them must be reduced to writing in that language. Despite this prohibition, detainees are typically coerced into signing statements, through verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence, that are written by police in Hebrew… which most cannot understand. These statements usually provide the main evidence against these children in Israeli military courts.

By virtue of the military court process, as of the end of this past summer there were 331 Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 2 administrative detainees.

The Military Court Process

The military courts, themselves, are held inside military bases and closed to the public… and usually family members of the accused.  Within these courts, military orders supersede clear Israeli and international law.  The court proceedings reduce the prospect of any justice to little more than a military dress parade where soldiers exhibit their uniform without any independence or skill attached to it whatsoever.

In military courts, all parties to the proceeding… the judge, prosecutor and translators… are members of the Israeli armed forces. The judges are military officers with minimal judicial training and, by-in- large, served as military prosecutors before assuming the bench

The prosecutors are Israeli soldiers appointed to the position by the Area Commander.  Some of them are not yet certified as attorneys under the Israeli Bar Association.

Under the rules of occupation, all defendants in military courts are Palestinian… with the jurisdiction of the Israeli military court never extended to some eight hundred thousand Jewish settlers living in the West Bank.  They are accorded the full benefit and safeguard of Israeli civil law.

Under Israeli military orders, a Palestinian can be held without charge, for the purpose of interrogation, for a total period of 90 days during which he or she is denied the benefit of counsel. These detention periods can be extended without limit and require but an ex parte request of military prosecutors.  By comparison, an Israeli citizen accused of a security offense, within the Occupied Territory, can be held without indictment within the civil process for a period of 64 days during which time counsel is available at all times.

Though Palestinian detainees are entitled to trials in military proceedings which must be completed within eighteen months, if the trials have not concluded within that time frame, a judge from the Military Court of Appeals can extend the detention of a Palestinian by multiple six-month increments… indefinitely. It is this process which has left thousands of Palestinian political detainees imprisoned for years on end without the benefit of counsel, formal charges, or trial. The comparable time limit for detainees before Israeli civilian courts is nine months.

While criminal liability begins at age 12 for Palestinians and Israelis alike, under the military system Palestinians can be tried as adults at age 16. For Israelis, the age of majority for trial as an adult in a civilian court is 18.  This two year difference, without physical distinction of consequence, can mean the difference of many years in sentence should a conviction ensue.  In some cases, it can literally mean a variance between a few years in prison versus decades upon conviction.

For those Palestinian detainees who have been accorded a military trial in the Occupied Territory, the conviction rate is but a bit short of 100%. All military trials are undertaken by a judge and not a jury.

Although the United Nations has repeatedly held that the military justice system in the Occupied Territory violates international law, it has done nothing to ensure equal protection to hundreds of thousands denied justice by virtue of being Palestinian and nothing else.

Detention as a Political Weapon

For fifty years, the justice system in the Occupied Territory has been the exclusive domain of the Israeli army… completely removed from any oversight by civilian laws, courts, and safeguards. It’s been estimated that, during this time, several hundred thousand Palestinians have been sentenced for a wide range of “security violations” as defined by arbitrary military fiat on a case by case basis. It has been reported that 20% of the Palestinian population have been swept up and detained by the military during this time.

While Israel has tried to portray its exercise of judicial authority in the Occupied Territory as one largely concerned with traditional criminal offenses or serious acts of “violence”, in point of fact, most of those seized have been detained for little more than non-violent political activity.

Designated as “Hostile Terrorist Activity,” these offenses often target speech, association, cultural expression, “unauthorized” assembly and movement, non-violent protest, and political activity carried out by elected representatives of local Palestinian government entities.

Others have been detained for “incitement” or membership in “illegal associations” as determined by the local Israeli military commander… or for “leaving the area without permission.”

Journalists have been arrested because of their critical coverage of the military at demonstrations or for reporting about the occupation in general. One was arrested for making a Facebook comment on another arrested Palestinian’s mugshot: “your smile will end the occupation.”

Troops have raided and shut down several broadcast outlets for six months on the grounds of incitement including the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station and eight local outlets operated by PalMedia, Ram Sat and Trans Media.

Documentation of almost two dozen Palestinians, in the West Bank, detained by the Israeli military for nothing more than Facebook posts or exchanges is claimed by 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement. Additionally, Israel’s security system handed over a list of 400 other Palestinians, having posted to Facebook, to the security of the Palestinian Authority, who arrested them.

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been arrested and detained for carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem which the military deemed as “illegal work” with the Palestinian Authority.

Although International law prohibits interference with the free exercise of one’s political opinions, the Israeli military has sought to suppress the Palestinian political process, as a whole, for decades. Palestinian political leaders and activists are routinely arrested and detained.

In July of 2014, a high of 38 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained for political activity. As of November 2017, the current number is 11 members.    Others have been prevented from travelling outside the Occupied Territories.  A number of Legislative Council members had their residencies in Jerusalem revoked and were forcibly deported to other parts of the Occupied West Bank.

70 lawmakers from the Palestinian Legislative Council have been arrested since 2002 for political activity and little else, including a number that have been detained on multiple occasions.

Among the current members of the PLC in Israeli detention is 55-year-old Khalida Jarrar, a female legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Head of the Prisoners’ Commission of the PLC and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights Group, Jarrar, who was last released from Israeli detention a year ago, was accused of “promoting terror activities”.

For seventy years, Israel has held itself out as a nation under siege.  It has used this talisman to evade and avoid the clear mandate of international law. Nowhere is that more readily apparent and painful than in the Occupied Territory which, with the passage of time, has become illegally annexed and policed by military force of law.

Jails do not break the back of resistance. They firm it with the price expected for the cost of freedom. In Palestine, it is a price willingly embraced by both the young and those who have aged with the slam of the prison gate.

Perhaps one day, Israel will awaken to the truth that the siege it fights is the very one it promotes. Until then, neither the military nor its sham courts will quell the taste of freedom or the natural beckon for it.

Two Twats: Trump and Netanyahu Made A Complete Fool of Themselves in Front of World Leaders

Trump and Netanyahu Made A Complete Fool of Themselves in Front of World Leaders

Netanyahu Trump 2413c

Donald Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly of September 19th 2017 will surely go down in history as marking the final collapse of a terminally corrupt regime, where any pretence of cooperative co-existence with the world has given way to the logic of the battlefield.

And while it is too soon to decide if the Western World will follow America into this dark space, the early signs are not good. Some US allies have already given their support to Trump’s psychopathic threat to “totally destroy North Korea”, simply by supporting the corollaries to this threat and by failing to condemn it.

 But this is only to be expected, particularly from countries already up to the neck in America’s crimes around the world, like the UK and Australia.

More worrying is the response from Western media commentators, who have already sent the wrong signals to the US regime on what behaviour is acceptable and good. Most notably of course Trump’s violent missile attack on Syria following the Al Qaeda-mediated “Sarin attack” on Khan Shaikoun drew their praise instead of condemnation, and now acts as a stepping stone to further delusionary cheer-leading.

Like a dog that has just killed a sheep, yet seeks only to please its owner, this new dog in the White House needed to be sent a strong and unambiguous message so it wouldn’t kill again. Not much chance of that, when that owner – the neo-con friendly media – couldn’t conceal its appetite for roast lamb.

Amongst the world leaders supporting and even praising Trump for “saying it like it is” (though it isn’t actually..) there was one who has slaughtered a few sheep in his time, and who delivered an address to the UN almost exceeding Donald Trump’s in its mendacity and malignancy. Netanyahu has a reputation for such performances however, so making conciliatory speeches about former targets isn’t his style; each one has to be a bit worse than the last.

Echoing Trump, who had already delivered his tirade including some outlandish and ridiculous claims about Iran, most of Netanyahu’s speech described the threat “to the whole world” from a “Nuclear-armed Iran”, and how the Iran deal agreed to by Obama must be rescinded. Failure to act would see an “Iranian-Islamist curtain stretching from Tehran to Tartus” that could target anywhere in the world with its “massive nuclear arsenal”.

While Donald Trump undoubtedly believed the aggressive and abusive nonsense he talked about Iran, he clearly doesn’t know much about the country or its nuclear program. Perhaps the US intelligence services don’t like to tell him Iran gave up its plans for a nuclear weapon back in 2003, because he would ask them, Trump-like, “well why the hell are we spending all that money on missile defence systems against Iran?”

Too hard to explain that Obama’s THAAD systems were actually never against Iran, and hope he doesn’t ask why we still installed them after the Iran deal was signed. The Dog in the White House seems to have quite a nose for odd stuff like that, and he might even start to wonder if South Korea also needs so many THAAD missiles against the DPRK. Could it really be such a great threat, with its handful of unproven nuclear weapons and a few dodgy missiles?

We can’t quite forgive Trump for talking such incoherent and dangerous rubbish, making a complete fool of himself in front of rational and sensible world leaders. (notably including France’s Emmanuel Macron, who was scathing in his criticism). He is the “Leader of the Free World” after all, which carries some responsibilities. But neither can we honestly call him liar, as to lie you need to know you lie. Unlike his new best friend Bibi Netanyahu.

For Israel’s leader, lying has become a creed; his vision is built on it. As Mossad’s motto reads: “by way of deception though shall wage war”. Illustrating this in a sickening paean to Israel in his speech was the boast that Israel had given hospital treatment to Syrian ‘refugees’ in the Golan Heights. It’s true of course – partly – treating Al Qaeda ‘refugees’ from the Syrian Army was part of Israel’s covert war on Syria.  But nowhere is this deception so clear as in the issue of nuclear weapons, and Israel’s massive but covert arsenal of them.

Back in 1986, a worker in Israel’s nuclear weapons research program in the Negev desert, Mordechai Vanunu, revealed some of its secrets to the UK’s Sunday Times, including the likely possession of at least 100 nuclear warheads. It is witness to Israel’s stranglehold over information and influence in the West that this strategic arsenal remains both unacknowledged and free from international oversight. As both its certain existence and Israel’s willingness to use it in “aggressive self-defence” are known to Israel’s enemies, this significant strategic advantage is gained at the expense of Israel’s legitimacy.

That Israel’s leader should parade himself at the UN as a “peacemaker”, cautioning the world on the nuclear threat from Iran or the DPRK is an obscene spectacle. In both countries the possession of a nuclear deterrent could be seen as necessary defence against brutal imperial aggressors like Israel and the US. In the case of Iran, which never even had a nuclear bomb, these countries and their slavish allies should be now making amends for years of punitive sanctions based on fabrications and false claims. How could we forget the abuse suffered by Iran’s President Ahmedinejad speaking at the UNGA, and endless accusations that Iran sought to “wipe Israel off the map”? Oh the irony!

And in the case of North Korea, which makes no bones about its desire and perceived need for a nuclear-based defence against attack by the US and its local allies, we are being brought to the brink of a nuclear conflict entirely because America will not abandon its demands for “full spectrum dominance”, and is prepared to destroy anything or anyone that stands in its way. Whether we can be reassured by the slightly more rational statements coming from US defence chiefs is a moot question. This recent discussion on the possible use of “tactical” nuclear weapons sounds reasonable until you realise that much of America’s strategic nuclear arsenal is now carried in submarines, whose location and intent is even more obscure than that of Israel’s

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