No place for justice in UN dictionary: Lebanese journalist


June 28, 2020 – 15:18

TEHRAN – Mohamad Kleit, a Lebanese journalist specialized in international affairs and geopolitics, tells the Tehran Times that the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary, while this international organization has failed to achieve justice.

“Considering Israel is the “U.S. pampered baby”, metaphorically speaking, any international resolution would be negligible if it doesn’t preserve Israeli interests, even if those interests were ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, preservation of the illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip and building illegal settlements on the Palestinian soil in the West Bank,” says Kleit, who is deputy editor at U-News Agency.

On the future of the United Nations, Kleit notes, “I personally see that the role of the UN will be minimized considering that major powers are out their taking what they want with disregard to any UN resolution or the disruption of global stability.”

The text of the interview with Mohamad Kleit is as follows:

Question: The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War with several objectives primarily the prevention of war and maintaining peace in disputed areas. But the UN has failed to prevent war and fulfill peacekeeping duties many times throughout its history. In your opinion, what have been the main causes of this passivity?

Answer: The United Nations’ passivity is basically caused by the strong political powers controlling some of its major and most critical decisions; particularly by the United States of America which spent $10 billion in 2018 (almost 30% of UN’s peacekeeping operations are funded by the United States). This affects United Nations and its Security Council’s decisions in areas that the U.S. is directly involved in, for example, Syria, Yemen, Iraq in 2003, and others.

“Considering Israel is the “U.S. pampered baby”, metaphorically speaking, any international resolution would be negligible if it doesn’t preserve Israeli interests, even if those interests were ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, preservation of the illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip and building illegal settlements on the Palestinian soil in the West Bank,” says Kleit, who is deputy editor at U-News Agency.

On the future of the United Nations, Kleit notes, “I personally see that the role of the UN will be minimized considering that major powers are out their taking what they want with disregard to any UN resolution or the disruption of global stability.”

The text of the interview with Mohamad Kleit is as follows:

Question: The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War with several objectives primarily the prevention of war and maintaining peace in disputed areas. But the UN has failed to prevent war and fulfill peacekeeping duties many times throughout its history. In your opinion, what have been the main causes of this passivity?

Answer: The United Nations’ passivity is basically caused by the strong political powers controlling some of its major and most critical decisions; particularly by the United States of America which spent $10 billion in 2018 (almost 30% of UN’s peacekeeping operations are funded by the United States). This affects United Nations and its Security Council’s decisions in areas that the U.S. is directly involved in, for example, Syria, Yemen, Iraq in 2003, and others.

“They (UN) didn’t call out who was clearly responsible for this (Yemen) catastrophe, yet they called for a political solution back in 2016 in Kuwait that would indirectly preserve the Saudi Arabia’s interest while acknowledging the newly formed government in Sana.”

It also acts as a pressure force on political issues, most recently the Israeli atrocities against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, where Israel doesn’t abide by any Security Council decision nor UN resolutions ever since the entity joined the UN. This is because the U.S. has close ties and joint interests in Israel, thus it is not dealing with the Palestinian cause in an objective manner, where the U.S. always sides with Israel, consequently belittling any UN resolution, regardless how righteous and just it is.

Q: Ever since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, Palestinians have been fighting against what a UN investigator once described as Israel’s ethnic cleansing. Today Israel controls dominantly over Palestine territories. It also has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza and is continuing its construction of illegal settlements on occupied lands in defiance of several UN resolutions calling for an end to those activities. What is your take on it?

A: As in other areas of turmoil and disruption, the UN has its hands tied because of the U.S. financial advantage over its regular budget. This poses a threat and jeopardizes any resolution issued by the UN in matters the U.S. would consider part of its so-called “national security”, which, as history taught us, extends across the world far from the U.S. national borders.

Now considering Israel is the “U.S. pampered baby”, metaphorically speaking, any international resolution would be negligible if it doesn’t preserve Israeli interests, even if those interests were ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, preservation of the illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip, building illegal settlements on the Palestinian soil in the West Bank, or even detainment of Palestinian children for investigation while mistreating prisoners of opinion and protests.

History has also taught us that Israel has never once abided by any UN resolution that isn’t fully in its favor, even when it’s waging an occupation like the one in 1982 in Lebanon or bombing civilian sites in Syria that is being internally war-torn since 2011. It also, rudely, disrespects any UN resolution that is internationally consented, like Resolution 1701 to end the 2006 war on Lebanon that was unanimously approved by the United Nations Security Council on 11 August 2006, where each side of the war (Lebanese Resistance Movement and Israel) goes back to their international borders before the war started in July, yet Israel, until this day, violates Lebanese airspace with fighter jets and occasionally targets civilian, scientific, and military targets in Syria from the Lebanese airspace.

Q: Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Ansarullah movement and reinstate former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime. Many experts accuse the UN silence regarding Saudi Arabia’s aggression and argue that the UN has failed to send humanitarian aid and support to civilians amid a blockade imposed on the war-torn country. What is your thought?

A: Justice is a negligible term in international books; it is only used when the elite nations preserve their interests on the expense of smaller powers, or helpless nations in that case. The Saudi-led coalition, that is supported militarily and politically by (just to name a few) the UAE, USA, UK, France, Israel, Egypt, Bahrain, and other nations, launched a war on Yemen in 2015 that has been described by the UN itself as “one of the worst human catastrophes in modern history.” The war started on the request of the ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, who took Aden for refuge after a large-scale protest in the capital Sana, where a coalition of Yemeni parties rules now, most prominently Ansarullah led by Abdul Malek al Houthi. Now considering Ansarullah’s opposition to Saudi Arabia’s control over Yemen (Saudis controlled and interfered in Yemen’s politics and economy for over 40 years during the reign of Ali Abdullah Saleh and then Mansour Hadi), which would jeopardize what they call “national security”, thus they launched a full-scale war on Yemen that has led to the death of well-over 30,000 persons and displaced millions, while 19 million are suffering from poverty and in danger of famine.

What did the UN do? They didn’t call out who was clearly responsible for this catastrophe, yet they called for a political solution back in 2016 in Kuwait that would indirectly preserve Saudi Arabia’s interest while acknowledging the newly formed government in Sana. The talks failed because of the continuation of hostilities until 2018 in Stockholm, where another round of talks happened to mark a breakthrough, yet the war is still ongoing with more complications and disasters to put in short.

From 2015 until this day, neither did the UN nor the international community point out that it’s Saudi Arabia and the UAE which are the direct causes of the catastrophe by a huge margin, with the help of the U.S., Israel, the UK, and France, yet they put both sides (the Saudi-led coalition and the Sana government) as equally responsible for the war… It is quiet intriguing for a man shooting an AK47 and an RPG to be held the same responsibility as another man flying an F-16 with U.S. satellites giving him pin-point directions (not all the time though) with missiles that have proven to have the ability to put entire villages to the ground. This is a major problem that stands in the way of any problem-solving procedure that would be in the best interest of Yemen’s future, which is pointing out who holds responsibility for the problem in a just and fair way, not on the basis of equality.

Q: The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary, while it is dealing with serious challenges, including poverty, disease, environmental breakdown, ongoing conflicts, and so on. In your view, is the UN ready to face the future?

A: In addition to the ongoing global crises from Palestine, Yemen, to general African wars, to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the Coronavirus and its financial backlash put huge pressure on the UN, as well as the rise of alt-right movements and populist ideologies affect the on-the-ground operations of the UN. One major example is U.S. President Donald Trump retreating from the World Health Organization with accusations that it is siding with China (U.S. economic rival), as well as cutting funding for UNRWA which is specialized with Palestinian refugees. Both cases place huge pressures on both organizations, considering that the U.S. is their biggest donor. The first one is a political decision to pressure WHO into joining the “Ideological Cold War” (as China’s Foreign Ministry named it) against China, while the second is to pressure the Palestinian authorities into accepting Trump’s “Deal of the Century” which is completely a pro-Israel agreement basically aimed to give full control of the West Bank to Israel.

These are just examples of what the UN is going to face from the U.S., in particular, as a cost for its not-so-total kneeling to the man in Washington. I personally see that the role of the UN will be minimized considering that major powers are out taking what they want with disregard to any UN resolution or the disruption of global stability.

UNRWA to Turn Schools into Clinics as Precautionary Measure against Coronavirus in Gaza

March 17, 2020

Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza has decided to separate patients with respiratory diseases from other patients as part of its efforts to fight the coronavirus, Quds Net News reported yesterday.

In order to carry out this measure, UNRWA converted a number of its schools into clinics and has started to install the necessary equipment, in a precautionary procedure to guarantee the safety of Palestinian refugees in Gaza

Meanwhile, the international organization stressed that it would not receive any of the patients of respiratory diseases in any clinics where other patients are being treated.

UNRWA said the schools would be sterilized before the resumption of classes.

Meanwhile, the international organization stressed that it would not receive any of the patients of respiratory diseases in any clinics where other patients are being treated.
UNRWA said the schools would be sterilized before the resumption of classes.

“The truth is, no amount of ‘preparedness’ in Gaza – or, frankly, anywhere in occupied Palestine – can stop the spread of the Coronavirus,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud in a recent article.

“The truth is, no amount of ‘preparedness’ in Gaza – or, frankly, anywhere in occupied Palestine – can stop the spread of the Coronavirus,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud in a recent article.

“What is needed is a fundamental and structural change that would emancipate the Palestinian healthcare system from the horrific impact of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli government’s policies of perpetual siege and politically-imposed ‘quarantines’ – also known as apartheid,” Baroud added.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

Trump’s “Deal of the Century”

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Part I—The Deal of the Century

Trump’s “Deal of the Century”—An Analysis (26 June 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or at least the economic side of it, was discussed at a meeting in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The plan, euphemistically entitled “Peace to Prosperity” and the “Deal of the Century” is also, inaccurately, likened to a “Marshall Plan for Palestinians.” It is based on the assumption that money, ultimately the better part of $50 billion, can lure the Palestinian people into surrender—that is, the surrender of their right to a state of their own on their stolen ancestral land as well as the right of return for the 7.5 million Palestinians who have been forced into exile. Upon surrender, according to the plan, “an ambitious, achievable … framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region” will be put into place. How this idealized future is to be integrated into the apartheid and Bantustan system of control that constitutes the Israeli government’s “facts on the ground” is left unexplained.

This bit of gilded bait was put together by “senior White House adviser” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; Jason Greenblatt, chief lawyer of the Trump Organization and now U.S. envoy for international negotiations; and David Friedman, the president’s bankruptcy lawyer who is now the U.S. ambassador to Israel. All of these men are at once unqualified for their present positions as well as Zionist supporters of Israeli expansionism. It is not surprising then that the Israeli government has welcomed this effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “would listen to the American plan and hear it fairly and with openness.” On the other hand, the Palestinian West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who is boycotting the Bahrain meeting, said, “As long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic [solution].”

There are no doubt some Palestinians who are upset at Abbas’s position: perhaps some business people, often-unpaid bureaucrats, and a portion of the frustrated middle-class, who will be dearly tempted by the promise of all that money. These are people who, given over a century of struggle, see no hope of a just political settlement. Nonetheless, those tempted might consider these facts:

(1) All those billions of dollars are, as yet, hypothetical. The money is not in the bank, so to speak. And, it is not a given that Trump can actually raise the funds. Thus, for all those ready to trade justice for dollars, it might be premature to actually make the leap.

(2) There is a prevailing belief among the Trump cabal putting this plan together that the Palestinians themselves are incapable of running the proposed development programs. They are assumed to be too corrupt or tainted with “terrorist” backgrounds to be trusted. Thus the question of who would run this effort (Israelis? American Zionists? anyone other than those dedicated to Palestinian interests?) is left unanswered. Relative to this question, it should be kept in mind that the Israelis have made something of a science of robbing the Palestinians of their resources. They are hardly likely to stop now.

(3) The raising of money for the Trump plan is in competition with a UN effort to raise $1.2 billion for UNRWA, the agency that supports programs for Palestinian refugees. This fund-raiser is literally running at the same time as the Bahrain meeting. If the Trump plan gains traction, there might well be pressure to shut down UNRWA altogether.

Is this really an honest proposal to provide the Palestinians with prosperity? The history of “third world” development efforts sponsored by and run under the guidance of “first world” powers, be they Western governments or institutions like the IMF, is largely one of failure.There is no reason to believe that the Trump plan will fare any better. While these problematic economic efforts may eventually fall short, the political conditions almost certain to be attached to the aid will probably require immediate cessation of all anti-Zionist activities, including the relatively successful ongoing boycott of Israel.

Part II—The Precedent

It might come as a surprise, but this is not the first time that financial bribery to procure Arab cooperation with Zionist ambitions has been tried.

There is a historical precedent for Donald Trump’s attempted “deal of the century” that is detailed my book, America’s Palestine (cheap used copies of which are available on line). Here is how that precedent went:

Back in 1942, the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann told members of the U.S. State Department’s Division of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) that Winston Churchill wished to make the Saudi king, Ibn Saud, “the boss of bosses in the Arab World.” The only condition to this offer was that Ibn Saud must “be willing to work out with Weizmann to achieve a sane solution to the Palestine problem.” Weizmann further claimed that the U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt was “in accord on this subject.”

The response of the head of the NEA, Wallace Murray, a man who knew the Middle East much better than did Chaim Weizmann, was one of skepticism. Murray noted that British influence over Ibn Saud was small and that he doubted the Saudi king wanted to be the Arab “boss of bosses.” Finally, he expressed doubt that anything the Zionists would consider a “solution” would be something Ibn Saud would consider to be “sane.”

Nonetheless, the Zionists persisted along these lines and soon came up with a plan where, in return for a Jewish Palestine, Ibn Saud would be made the “head of an Arab federation in control of a “development” budget of 20 million British pounds.”

At this point Murray became adamant that this would never work. He predicted that Ibn Saud would interpret the offer as a bribe—the offer of a throne in exchange for turning Palestine over to the Zionists. He would interpret the 20 million pounds as a “slush fund.” Consequently, there was every reason to believe that the Saudi ruler would see this whole plan as a personal insult. So Murray suggested that “the less we have to do with the … proposals of Dr. Weizmann the better.”

As it turned out Roosevelt disagreed with Murray and after a conversation with Weizmann in early June of 1943, authorized an approach to Ibn Saud along the lines of the Zionist plan. Why did he ignore Murray in favor of Weizmann? Because Murray’s accurate assessment of Ibn Saud conflicted with FDR’s stereotyped view of Arabs. This is revealed in the minutes of the June meeting with Weizmann wherein the president said that “he believes the Arabs are purchasable.” In other words, following a common Western view, the president saw the Arabs as a backward people who would do just about anything for the right amount of “bakshish.”

Subsequently, the entire scheme came to naught when, in the fall of 1943, Ibn Saud rejected it out of hand. He would subsequently tell FDR that the Jews should “be given the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.” When the president replied that the Jews would not wish to stay in Germany after the war, Ibn Saud noted that the “allied camp” had “fifty countries” in it. Surely they could find enough open space (he even alluded to the underpopulated areas of the American West) to take in Europe’s Jewish refugees. Roosevelt came away from the exchange rather shaken. He finally understood from it that “the Arabs mean business” when it comes to Palestine.

Part III—Conclusion

The world has changed a lot since the 1940s. Ibn Saud has been replaced by the Saudi Crown Prince Muḥammad bin Salmān. This can be seen as real step down in terms of personal integrity and strategic judgment. Franklin Roosevelt has been replaced with Donald Trump. I will let readers make their own judgments on this change. Actually, the thing that has stayed constant, perhaps because it was always devoid of real empathy for the Palestinians, is the nature of Zionist leadership. Thus, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, has said that the only way the Palestinians can be economically liberated is through their political surrender. But as suggested above, Israel is now a confirmed apartheid state that feels its own “security” necessitates both military and economic control of the Palestinians. Given that reality, Danon’s notion of economic liberation means about as much as Weizmann’s promise of someone else’s (i.e., Britain’s) money. And then there is the replacement of Chaim Weizmann (the Zionist pre-state leader) with Benjamin Netanyahu. The former may have had more persuasive charm than the latter, but certainly their goals were, and continue to be, the same.

It is Zionism’s ambition to possess biblical Palestine that has reduced the Palestinians to destitution. Perfectly predictable and legal Palestinian resistance is the excuse the Israelis use to cover up the segregationist and impoverishing policies that are necessitated by their ideological worldview. And now Donald Trump and his Zionist son-in-law come forward with their plan, fully expecting the Palestinians to trust the Americans and their Israeli allies to make them “developed” and prosperous? I wonder what Ibn Saud would say to that?

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.

Deal of the Century: The Zionist-American Religion Trading


By Ihab Shawqi – Egypt

The Arab media chose to ignore the details of a recent visit to occupied Palestine by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo despite their unprecedented scope and gravity. These details include a tour by Pompeo and “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of occupied al-Quds and the tunnels located underneath the Old City’s Muslim quarter. In an underground center tasked with preparing for the construction of the supposed Jewish temple over the ruins of al-Aqsa, the two men watched a virtual reality recreation of the structure. The videos of the visit are available and can be seen by everyone. Pompeo was seen signing papers that were said to be an agreement on the establishment of the temple. However, this cannot be confirmed since he may have been merely signing the so-called guest book. Still, the actual visit and his inspection of the structure model are documented and confirmed.

In a sit-down with the Christian Broadcasting Network during the visit, the interviewer Chris Mitchell noted that “Israel” was celebrating the Purim holiday.

“Esther, 2,500 years ago, saved the Jewish people with God’s help from Haman,” he said, in reference to the Persian Empire. Mitchell then asked Pompeo “could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people?” Pompeo replied that “as a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible.” He then went on to say “I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”

Here, we are not discussing the matter from a religious point of view, but rather from a political standpoint – perhaps from the standpoint of “trading with religion” in politics. David Ben-Gurion has said “‘Israel’ has no meaning without Jerusalem [al-Quds] and Jerusalem [al-Quds] has no meaning without the Temple.”

Al-Quds and its religious centrality is a strategic treasure for any occupying force to legitimize the occupation. However, annexing al-Quds without the temple does not give justification to the Zionist occupier. Besieging and fighting Iran do not seem convincing enough without conjuring up the Purim holiday and saving the Jewish people from the Persians. This as the American bias transcending all international laws and customs cannot be justified without conjuring up religion and Queen Esther “the messenger of the Lord to the Jews”!

Here, we can discuss the so-called deal of the century and try to analyze its background and objectives. According to all the leaks, there are disparities that can only be relevant for two reasons. The first is its frequent occurrence in the leaks, and the second is its uniformity with the evidence, practices and statements. We can monitor the common aspects between these leaks then try to deduce and analyze the links between them as well as the hidden objectives. As for the common aspects between these leaks, they can be outlined as follows:

  1. The two-state solution and possibly preparations for a long-term solution under certain conditions have taken a back seat.
  2. Resolving the issue of al-Quds as the capital of the “Israeli” enemy. There may be a discussions regarding the status of the Islamic holy sites and placing them under the supervision of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian body.
  3. Resolving the issue of control over the West Bank in general by securing the entrances and exits for the “Israeli” enemy, as well as the issue of “Israeli” control over settlements and villages inhabited by the Zionists, with a kind of autonomy given to the rest of the West Bank, but under Zionist control.
  4. Linking the West Bank to Gaza via a land route, while putting Gaza under the rule of the Palestinian authority when it is retrieved from Hamas.
  5. The talk about financial aid packages instead of US preemptive measures to stop UNRWA funding for the Palestinians.
  6. The talk about recognition of the “Israeli” entity by the Arab states.

These are perhaps the more common aspects between the many leaks. Some of which are related to land exchanges with neighboring countries such as Jordan and Egypt. There are other details that are exaggerated and unreasonable, despite all the official Arab mistakes, weaknesses and the sheer slacking off. The full picture will be revealed once the deal is officially announced.

As for the links between these common aspects, they can be outlined as follows:

First: Washington’s preemption policy. It is a kind of coercive diplomacy characterizing the Trump administration. This preemption policy is represented in the transfer of the US Embassy to occupied al-Quds, the cessation of UNRWA funding and the recognition of the annexation of the occupied Golan to the Zionist enemy. Thus, the move is the preemptive closure of the debate over the situation of the Golan and al-Quds. It is also a kind of starvation, creating a carrot for the Palestinians represented in aid packages when the deal is accepted.

Second: Most of what has been leaked regarding the deal is a practical reality. The enemy controls the security situation in the West Bank and al-Quds. The intention, however, is to legitimize this reality and cut the road of the resistance. Thus, resisting this situation would be considered contrary to agreements and an illegal rebellion.

Third: This point is perhaps most important and the main purpose of the deal. The official recognition of the Zionist state. Simply, this recognition puts any opposing state, here specifically Iran and the axis of resistance, in an odd political situation. The axis would appear to be opposing international legitimacy after all the Arabs, whose central cause over the past century has been Palestine, recognized the legitimacy of “Israel”. This introduces us indeed to a new and different century where the Zionists are being recognized while those who are not recognized are considered illegitimate. Perhaps this is the secret behind naming this suspicious deal as the Deal of the Century.

Therefore, we are heading towards a process of legitimizing difficult and practical situations. This is a new attempt to isolate the resistance in a way that it appears to be violating international legitimacy as well as new situations on the ground threatening al-Aqsa Mosque in order to resolve the dispute over al-Quds since the existence of Islamic holy places is a pretext for the Palestinians to fight for “Israel’s” eternal capital.

This is a very serious matter. This deal may follow the method of gradualism and imposing the reality step-by-step. It all depends on time, more humiliating Arab concessions, and weakening the resistance due to the siege and political isolation.

Perhaps these are the Zionist-American calculations. But the resistance has its own calculations and responses. The Palestinian people also have their appropriate response. Meanwhile, absent from the scene is the role of the rest of the Arab and Islamic peoples. We hope that this role returns before the reclaiming of rights becomes more costly.

israel (apartheid state) burying nuclear waste in Syria’s Golan: UN

Israel burying nuclear waste in Syria’s Golan: UN

UN troops stand near a watch tower at Syria's Quneitra crossing in the occupied Golan Heights on September 27, 2018. (Photo By AFP)UN troops stand near a watch tower at Syria’s Quneitra crossing in the occupied Golan Heights on September 27, 2018. (Photo By AFP)

UN chief Antonio Guterres will unveil Monday a report which accuses Israel of burying radioactive nuclear waste in the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory under occupation for over five decades.

Guterres will submit the report – which is based on Syria’s charges against Israel – to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the panel’s 40th session, set to open in Geneva Monday and run through March 22.

“The Syrian Arab Republic noted that Israel continued to bury nuclear waste with radioactive content in 20 different areas populated by Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly in the vicinity of al-Sheikh Mountain,” the report says.

“The practice has put the lives and health of Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan in jeopardy, and constituted a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it added.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny having atomic bombs. The regime is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Israel is not a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which aims is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology.

Tel Aviv seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically-important territory ever since.

Over the past decades, Israel has built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls on the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

The UN report further accuses Israel of “providing logistical support to terrorist groups,” such as the Nusrah Front which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

Israel, the report says, is providing terrorist groups with weapons, ammunition, money and medical care to frighten the local population and to maintain a no-go zone along the Syrian border.

The report also censures Israel’s decision “to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan” as “null and void and without international legal effect,” calling on the regime to “rescind forthwith its decision”.

The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from militant groups.

Tel Aviv has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

Read more: 

Israel’s angry response 

The UN report drew an angry reaction from Israel, with its foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon dismissing it at “another false report from the UNHRC which specializes in attacking Israel.”

The UNHRC had initially said that at this four-week session it would publish for the first time its data base on companies doing businesses with illegal Israeli settlements. Israel has reportedly worked behind the scenes to prevent the publication of the data base.

Read more:

The UN body is also expected to debate Israeli actions against Palestinians along the fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories.

كلفة السياسة على الاقتصاد

سبتمبر 27, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– أربعة نماذج أمامنا تكفي لقراءة كلفة السياسة على الاقتصاد بطريقة تجعل الفقر والعوز والركود من جهة وارتفاع الأسعار وتفشي الفساد وارتفاع المديونية من جهة أخرى، سمات الاقتصاد العالمي والإقليمي واللبناني. فما يعيشه الاقتصاد الأوروبي جراء العقوبات الأميركية على روسيا وإيران تتحدث عنه بالأرقام الدوريات الأوروبية المتخصصة، حيث يشكل السوق الروسي سوقاً للاستثمار والتصدير لكبريات الشركات الأوروبية، وكانت إيران بعد التفاهم على ملفها النووي فرصة واعدة تسابقت إليها الشركات الأوروبية. وجاءت العقوبات الأميركية على تركيا ضربة أميركية ثالثة على الرأس الأوروبي. ووصل الأمر إلى حدّ قول المستشارة الألمانية إنّ العقوبات الأميركية على روسيا وإيران تكاد تكون عقوبات مباشرة على أوروبا وشركاتها، بينما على المقلب الآخر من العالم إجراءات حرب تجارية أميركية بحق الصين سينتج عنها في حال نجاحها وقف النمو الاقتصادي الصيني والتسبّب بأزمة معيشية لبلد المليار ونصف المليار نسمة، وفي حال فشلها ستتسبّب برفع الأسعار في سوق السلع الاستهلاكية العالمية، التي تشكّل السلع الصينية الرخيصة فيها متنفساً للفقراء على مساحة العالم.

– النموذج الثاني يقدّمه الوضع في الخليج، حيث استنزفت دول الخليج النفطية ثرواتها ومدخّراتها ووارداتها في الإنفاق لإرضاء الجشع الأميركي بمئات مليارات الدولارات طلباً للدعم السياسي، وأنفقت الباقي على حرب عبثية في اليمن. وتشجع حكومات الخليج الإدارة الأميركية على تصعيد العقوبات على إيران، وخلق أزمة عالمية في سوق الطاقة، على عكس ما تقتضيه المصالح الاقتصادية لشعوب المنطقة، وفي مقدّمتها شعوب دول الخليج ذاتها، والنتيجة المنطقية المعلومة لهذا التصعيد إقدام إيران على إغلاق مضيق هرمز أمام الصادرات النفطية الخليجية، وما ستجلبه من متاعب لدول الخليج أولاً، وربما تصعيداً عسكرياً تدفع ثمنه منشآت الحياة الحيوية الحيوية اليومية لسكان الخليج من تهديد لمحطات الكهرباء ومحطّات تحلية المياه.

– النموذج الثالث ما تشهده عمليات الربط السياسي القسري التي يجريها الأميركي ويفرضها على بعض الدول الأوروبية وتسير وراءهما اغلب الدول العربية، بربط عودة النازحين وإعادة إعمار سورية بالحل السياسي الذي يناسب دفتر الشروط الأميركي من جهة، وربط المساهمات في تمويل وكالة غوث اللاجئين الفلسطينيين، بدفتر شروط إسرائيلي، ما يعني متاجرة بالآلام والمعاناة لملايين البشر بمنع شروط الحد الأدنى من مقومات الحياة التي يستحقونها، خدمة للسياسة. وفي المقابل وخصوصاً في عملية إعادة إعمار سورية ضرب فرص الاستثمار الواعدة التي تنظرها الشركات العالمية للمشاركة في عملية إعمار سورية كفرصة اقتصادية هائلة الإمكانات والوعود.

– في لبنان نماذج كثيرة مشابهة، لعل أولها هو التلاعب السياسي بقضية العلاقة بسورية وما تضيعه على لبنان واقتصاده من فرص في التصدير والاستثمار، والمشاركة في ورشة إعادة الإعمار، لكن أهمّها ما قدّمته لنا الجلسة النيابية من تمرير سياسي، بعيداً عن فرص الدراسة الهادئة والعلمية للمصالح الاقتصادية، في مقاربة مشاريع القوانين المتصلة بمقررات مؤتمر سيدر، فالتهدئة السياسية التي يحتاجها البلد، والقلق المالي الذي يجتاحه، شكلا سبباً أو مبرّراً للقفز فوق البعد الاقتصادي الصرف في مقاربة هذا الملف، بمثل ما تضيع فرص مناقشة هادئة وعلمية لملفات الكهرباء والنفايات بعيداً عن الخنادق السياسية وبصورة علمية مجرّدة، ويسيطر على كلّ نقاش حساب العصبيات الدنيا قبل حساب المصالح العليا.

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Sayyed Nasrallah Welcomes Idlib Accord: Hezbollah to Remain in Syria

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah announced that this year was the year of ISIL’s end militarily in the region, saying Hezbollah will remain in Syria until further notice.

In a televised speech marking the tenth night of Muharram in Beirut’s southern suburb on Wednesday, Sayyed Nasrallah said Hezbollah will remain in Syria as long as the Syrian administration views our presence as necessary. “As long as the Syrian leadership needs us we will stay there.”

Sayyed Nasrallah delivers a televised speech on the tenth night of Muharram“No one can force us out of Syria. We will stay there until further notice.”

“We will remain there even after the Idlib accord,” his eminence said, referring to a Russian-Turkish deal on Idlib, but indicated that the quietness of the fronts and less number of threats will naturally affect the number of Hezbollah fighters present. “With the Idlib accord, if everything is done correctly, we can suppose that Syria will head towards a great calm, and in concrete terms there will no longer be front lines.”

The leader welcomed the outcome of the Iranian, Russian and Turkish diplomacy to spare Idlib a military offensive that could have led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation, saying it was a step towards political solution in Syria but urged a careful implementation of the agreement. On Monday, Russia and Turkey agreed to exclude the military solution in Idlib in favor of enforcing a new demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib region from which terrorists will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month.

“This year is the year of ISIL’s end militarily in the region, and this is a great and very important victory for the region and salvation from a great ordeal,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the continuous Israeli attacks on Syria, saying they have nothing to do with transfer of arms to Hezbollah. “A lot of Israeli attacks on Syria have nothing to do with arms transfers to Hezbollah and Israel is seeking to prevent Syria from obtaining missile capabilities that guarantees it a balance of terror,” Sayyed Nasrallah indicated.

The Zionist army claimed Tuesday that strikes a day earlier on Latakia targeted a Syrian facility that was about to transfer weapons to Hezbollah on behalf of Iran.

“The Israeli attacks on Syria are only connected to the Israeli-US-Saudi fiasco. Such attacks on Syria had become unbearable anymore, it must be stopped,” Hezbollah’s S.G. pointed out. “The continuous Israeli aggression against Syria is being carried out under various excuses and claims that Iran is arming Hezbollah in Latakia are totally baseless,” he added.

Hezbollah leader elaborated on US influence on some internal and regional axes, saying: “We view the US administration as an enemy, however, others in the region consider it a friend and ally. I ask the Lebanese who have different viewpoints towards the US administration, can you give us a clue on its friendship?”

“I ask US allies in the region, Is consolidating ‘Israel’ in the favor of the Arab peoples? Is America a friend of the Palestinian people as it fights them to deprive them of their right to have their own state? Is America’s boycott of UNRWA in the interest of Palestinians and Lebanese? Is [US President Donald] Trump’s recognition of Al-Quds as the Israeli capital in the favor of the Palestinian people? Is it not the US who came with Takfiri groups to the region?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered.

He said Washington was helping the Saudi-led coalition in its war on Yemen, and warned all regional actors about the consequences of cooperating with the US in its plots against the region.

“The US is threatening the people of the region by imposing sanctions on them. The US administration had even become fed up with the International Criminal Court and threatened to take measures against it,” his eminence said, assuring that the real ruler in some Arab and Islamic countries was the US ambassador.

He also said the US was the one pushing towards naturalization in Lebanon in favor of ‘Israel’. “Who’s in favor of a demographic change in Lebanon and Syria? we are before countries and political forces who are obstructing the return of refugees.”

“Who in some Arab and Islamic countries would dare to condemn the US interference in internal affairs? Isn’t the way the US is dealing with the Palestinian cause has its effect on Lebanon?”

Supporters gather to salute their leader in the tenth night of Muharram

Sayyed Nasrallah, however, praised the Iraqi people who were able to reject the US dictations despite pressure and threats.

Relatively, his eminence said Lebanon cannot be separated from what’s happening in the region. “Dissociation is a serious controversial issue in Lebanon, as the events in the region are critical for the Lebanese people. Had ISIL controlled Syria, what would have the destiny of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Gulf states been?” All Lebanese parts, he said, intervened in the Syrian crisis each according to their capabilities.

His eminence also accused the US of prolonging ISIL’s presence in some areas Northeast of Syria. “ISIL is being transferred to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen via US helicopters,” he said.

In the meantime, Sayyed Nasrallah said the case of East of Euphrates was linked to the US decision, calling on the Kurds not to bet on Washington. He addressed Kurds in Syria by saying that “Washington could abandon you at any price, I urge you to negotiate with the Syrian government.”

Turning to the stalled Cabinet formation process, the Hezbollah leader said “obstruction and paralysis” were prevailing, but assured that no one can eliminate anyone in Lebanon. He said in this context that Hezbollah will submit anti-corruption and anti-backup bills.

“Those who are conspiring on our region, like US, ‘Israel’ and who stand behind them, will not concede defeat,” Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out, uncovering that Hezbollah was exposed to threats like threats of an upcoming war, “but they are more psychological than factual.”

Hezbollah’s leader warned that what’s being written and said via social media was part of a war scheme against Hezbollah. “All of this propaganda aims at distorting Hezbollah’s image and credibility.”

However, he called on people to be wise in what they post and share on social media and to remain cautious.

At the end of his speech, the S.G. said the resistance in Lebanon was the first to make victory in Lebanon and the region. “Those leaders, men, officials and incumbent environment are the ones who kicked ‘Israel’ out of Lebanon and made the first Arabic historical victory,” his eminence added. “Hezbollah fighters are the ones who repelled the most dangerous catastrophe that could have plagued Lebanon and the region.
Addressing those who are waging a campaign against Hezbollah, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “you will eventually fail in this psychological war because we base our readiness to sacrifice on our beloved Imam Hussein (AS) who is the symbol of dignity and sacrifice.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website



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وقف تمويل «أونروا» آخر مظاهر الظلم الاميركي

سبتمبر 5, 2018

عمر عبد القادر غندور

لم تترك الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وخصوصا في زمن ترامب، وسيلة لإيذاء الشعب الفلسطيني إلا وفعلتها! فهي تولّت منذ العام 1948 رعاية وحماية «دولة إسرائيل» متعهّدة بضمان أمنها وديمومتها واستمرارها شوكة لا في خاصرة العرب والمستعربين بل في حلقهم «واللي ما عجبوا يروح يبلط البحر»!

اليوم يوقف ترامب تسديد حصة بلاده لوكالة «أونروا»، ويقول انّ 500 ألف فلسطيني يمكن اعتبارهم لاجئين وهم الذين ولدوا في الأراضي المحتلة عام 1948! ويقول صهره مهندس صفقة القرن جاريد كوشنر: «لا يمكن إبقاء الأشياء ساكنة مكانها بل يجب المخاطرة والعمل على تفكيك الأشياء بطريقة استراتيجية، وانّ الاونروا برعايتها للاجئين تعرقل حلّ القضية الفلسطينية».

بذلك يُعرّض ترامب خمسة ملايين فلسطيني في الأردن وسورية ولبنان للمزيد من العوز والمرض والجهل، ويتمادى في عنجهيته وعنترياته ويهدّد الدول التي تسعى لتعويض الحصة الأميركية لـ»أونروا» وقيمتها 300 مليون دولار بالحظر والعقاب، وهي لا تساوي صفراً من الأموال التي يصادرها من الدول النفطية في الخليج!

ترامب يباهي اليوم بأنّ صفقة القرن لابتلاع الحق الفلسطيني بموافقة عرب الصهاينة، هي الحلّ الأمثل لطيّ هذه الصفحة الى الأبد، وهو بالتأكيد لا يدرك انّ مفاعيل هذه الصفقة لن تؤدّي الى استقرار وسترتدّ عليه، وستؤدّي الى انبعاث صحوة لا يعلمها إلا الله، لقناعة انّ الظالم هو خصيم الله ومصيره إلى زوال وانّ الظالم ملعون، وسيتأكد ترامب إذا بقي في موقعه انّ مكره وسعيه لإنهاء قضية شعب بأكمله لن يتحقق، وهو واهم، لأنّ للتاريخ سنن لا يدركها إلا العاقل، ولينظر إلى عاقبة من سبقه من الظالمين…

رئيس اللقاء الإسلامي الوحدوي

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ترامب يشطب حق العودة

قرار أميركي بوقف تمويل «الأونروا»
اعتراف واشنطن حصراً بالجيل الأول من اللاجئين يقلصهم إلى 10% (أ ف ب )

بقدر ما كان القرار الأميركي في نقل السفارة إلى القدس المحتلة، يحمل رمزية سلب عاصمة فلسطين التاريخية، جاء قرار وقف تمويل «الأونروا» بالكامل، ليمهّد لمرحلة عملية جديدة عنوانها العريض، تصفية «قضية فلسطين»، من بوابة «حق العودة»، وتحويلها إلى أزمة لاجئين تخنق دول الجوار، وتحاصر مقاومي الاحتلال

لم تكن قرارات وتوجهات زعماء «البيت الأبيض» يوماً لغير خدمة إسرائيل، ولكن إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب، منذ وصلت إلى الحكم، شرعت في تنفيذ خطوات عملية هي الأخطر على مصير القضية الفلسطينية، والفلسطينيين، كما على دول جوار فلسطين، بدءاً من نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، ووصولاً أمس إلى إعلان وقف تمويل «وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين» (الأونروا). هذا الإعلان، الذي جاء بعد تمهيد طويل من الجانب الأميركي، يستهدف بشكل مباشر إنهاء «حق العودة» للاجئين الفلسطينيين في كل العالم، ويهدد بخلق أزمة حساسة ومعقدة في بلدان الجوار، وبخاصة في بلد مثل لبنان. ومن خلف ذلك كله، هو يؤسس لمحاولة إفراغ فكرة المطالبة بفلسطين كبلد للفلسطينيين من دون غيرهم، وإحباط أي فعل مقاوم ضد الكيان الإسرائيلي المحتل. ولطالما شكل وجود اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في دول الجوار، مسألة خلافية، استثمرت في السياسة وغيرها، ولكنه في الوقت نفسه، ساهم في تكوين وعي وذاكرة، تربت عليها أجيال من رافضي وجود إسرائيل. اليوم، تحاول إدارة ترامب إعدام فكرة «اللاجئ» الفلسطيني المهجّر من أرضه المحتلة، لتحوّله إلى مثل غيره من اللاجئين ممن تعاني بلدانهم من إشكالات أمنية أو كوارث طبيعية، ولكنه ـــ على خلافهم ـــ مجرد من وطن يعود إليه. تعويم اللاجئين في الخارج، مقروناً بجهود إسرائيل لتهويد وطمس جميع المعالم الفلسطينية في الداخل، هو نهج لإلغاء شعب، ومن خلفه فلسطين. ولا ضير، بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل، من تحويل قضية اللاجئين إلى أزمة تخنق دول الجوار ــ وبخاصة التي ما زالت تعتبر فلسطين أرضاً محتلة. أمس، أعلنت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية، إنهاء تمويل «وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين» (الأونروا)، واصفة إياها بـ«المنحازة في شكل لا يمكن إصلاحه». وقالت الناطقة باسم الوزارة هيذر نويرت، إن إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب ترى أن «الأونروا» تزيد «إلى ما لا نهاية وبصورة مضخّمة» أعداد الفلسطينيين الذين ينطبق عليهم وضع اللاجئ، مضيفة أن المشكلة «تتعدّى الحاجات التمويلية وعدم تحقيق تقاسم متوازن في الأعباء» بين المانحين، بل تتّصل بـ«نموذج الأونروا نفسه». وسبق لمستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي جون بولتون أن مهّد لهذا القرار في زيارته الأخيرة لفلسطين المحتلة (19 آب الفائت)، حيث استنكر قيام الأونروا بما سمّاه «توريث» صفة اللاجئ، مكرراً الدعاية الصهيونية التي تزعم أن اللاجئين هم الجيل الأول من الذين «خرجوا» من فلسطين عام 1948، وأن أبناءهم وأحفادهم ليسوا لاجئين!

«حماس» للأمم المتحدة: لا نقبل أي تحسينات على حساب «الأونروا»

وهذا سيؤدي بدوره إلى عجز «الأونروا» عن تنفيذ المهمات التي وجدت من أجلها. وفي هذه الحالة، سيحوّل ملف اللاجئين وفق البروتوكول إلى «المفوضية السامية» (UNHCR)، الأمر الذي أظهره البند الثاني والعشرون من الوثيقة التي تحمل الرقم HCR/GIP/17/13، وتتضمن إرشادات وتوجهات توضيحية بخصوص المادة (1 د) من اتفاقية 1951 الخاصة بوضع اللاجئين القانوني، التي صدرت أواخر 2017 من دون أن يعترض عليها أحد (راجع العدد 3357 في 27 كانون الأول 2017). وبالطبع، لا تعترف المفوضية بحق العودة، بل ستضع خيارات محدودة أمام اللاجئين: العودة الطوعية إلى البلد الأصلي (غير وارد في الحالة الفلسطينية بعد اعتراف الأمم المتحدة بإسرائيل عام 1949)، أو التوطين في بلد اللجوء (هنا يخرج اللاجئ من نطاق خدمات المفوضية في حال حصوله على جنسية بلد يستطيع حمايته، وهذا الحل يسقط حق العودة لكل الفلسطينيين في الأردن ممن يحملون أرقاماً وطنية تثبت أردنيتهم، ويمثل هؤلاء 41% من أعداد اللاجئين المسجلين لديها). والحل الأخير توطين اللاجئين في بلد ثالث، أي أن المفوضية ستعمل كوكيل توطين «بتعاون دولي».

تبعاً لهذا الأمر، وفي خطوة متقدمة لمعالجة وقف التمويل عبر تقليص عدد الموظفين في الوكالة (وهم لاجئون أساساً)، أصدر المفوض العام لـ«الأونروا»، بيير كرينبول، تعميماً يقضي بمنح الموظفين المحليين المعينين بعقود دائمة أو عقود محدودة الأجل، فرصة «الترك الطوعي الاستثنائي» من الوكالة. وحدد التعميم مدة ثلاثين يوماً يستطيع الموظفون خلالها تقديم طلبات الترك الطوعي، أي حتى السادس والعشرين من الشهر الجاري. وأشارت الوكالة إلى «محدودية الأموال المتوافرة لدى الوكالة والفترة الزمنية القصيرة» حاثة بذلك على الاستعجال في تقديم الطلبات، لكنها أكدت أن ذلك مسموح لمن خدم 10 سنوات على الأقل. ويشار إلى أن «الترك الطوعي الاستثنائي» أكثر شمولاً من «التقاعد الطوعي المبكر» الذي اقترح في وقت سابق، لأنه سيزيد عدد الموظفين الذين قد يرغبون في ترك الخدمة من الوكالة هذا العام.

ومن الواضح أن العمل على إنهاء «الأونروا» أو تقليص خدماتها إلى ما دون المستوى المقبول فلسطينياً يجري على خطوات تدريجية من الجانبين الأميركي والإسرائيلي، مع الالتفات إلى أن تل أبيب حذرت واشنطن من الضغط بصورة تنهي عمل الوكالة في غزة حالياً (راجع العدد 3541 في 14 آب). حتى أنه على رغم إعلان «الأونروا» بدء العام الدراسي الجاري في موعده المحدد (راجع العدد 3546 في 21 آب)، فإنها أصدرت بياناً تذكر فيه أن الحد الأعلى للطلاب في الصف الواحد هو خمسون طالباً في المباني التابعة لها، زائدة بذلك 10 طلاب على الصف، كما زادت عدد الحصص الدراسية على المعلمين.

إلى ذلك، علمت «الأخبار» أن «حماس» أرسلت عبر الوسطاء الدوليين رسالة إلى الأمم المتحدة قالت فيها إنها لا تقبل أي تحسينات في غزة على حساب «وكالة غوث وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين» (الأونروا)، أو أن يحول جزء مما كان يدفع للوكالة لمصلحة مشاريع داخل القطاع، مطالبة إياهم بـ«تحسين الوضع في غزة عبر إيجاد 50 ألف وظيفة بصورة عاجلة للمتعطلين عن العمل، مع ضرورة إعادة الوظائف التي ألغيت في الأونروا».

463 ألف لاجئ في لبنان
يبلغ عدد اللاجئين المسجلين على لوائح «الأونروا» في لبنان، وفق تقرير صادر عن الوكالة في شهر كانون الثاني من العام 2017، 463664 لاجئاً، منهم أكثر من 36 ألف تلميذ في العام الدراسي 2016 -2017، موزعين على 67 مدرسة. وفي مجال الصحة، بلغ مجموع زيارات المرضى السنوية إلى مرافق تدعمها الوكالة، أكثر من مليون زائر. أما المستفيدون من برنامج شبكة الأمان الاجتماعي، فزاد على الـ60 ألف حالة. وفي قطاع البنية التحتية وتحسين المخيمات، بلغ عدد الوظائف التي تم استحداثها للاجئين الفلسطينيين جراء تداخلات البرنامج نحو 440 وظيفة، فيما فاق عدد الموظفين المحليين الـ3 آلاف.

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US’ Haley Says Palestinians’ Right of Return Should Be Taken “Off Table”

 August 29, 2018

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the Palestinians’ right of return to their occupied land should not be raised in any future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Haley has questioned the right of return, claiming the world body’s count of those refugees is an exaggeration.

Asked whether the issue should be “off the table,” Haley replied, “I do agree with that, and I think we have to look at this in terms of what’s happening (with refugees) in Syria, what’s happening in Venezuela.”

“So I absolutely think we have to look at the right of return,” she added.

The Palestinian right of return is a political position or principle based on which Palestinian refugees are entitled to go back to the territories now occupied by Zionists. They also have the right to the property they left behind or were forced to abandon when they were expelled from their homeland in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The Palestinians have for years insisted on their right to return as part of any solution to their decades-long conflict with the Israeli regime.

Haley was in fact suggesting that the highly pro-Israel administration of President Donald Trump would consider an official rejection of that Palestinian demand as it prepares to unveil its so-called “deal of the century” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US envoy further questioned the UN’s count of Palestinian refugees, which stands at over five million according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

She stressed that the US funding for UNRWA would only continue if major reforms were implemented, saying “the Palestinians continue to bash America” and yet “they have their hand out wanting UNRWA money.”

“We will be a donor if it (UNRWA) reforms what it does … if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering them,” Haley said.

She further noted that the US cannot be faulted for slashing funding to UNRWA when countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait do not give more money to the agency.

Earlier this month, the American magazine Foreign Policy reported that Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, had been pushing to remove the refugee status of millions of Palestinians as part of an apparent effort to shutter UNRWA.

Source: Press TV

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Trump Will Demand UN Revoke 90% of Palestinians’ Refugee Status


Jason Ditz

According to media reports in Israel, President Trump is poised to demand that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which handles aid to 5.3 million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, formally revoke refugee status from over 90% of them.

President Trump had been reported to want to undercut the UNRWA in the past, pressuring Jordan to revoke the refugee status of the millions of Palestinians there. He now wants a global cap of Palestinian refugees of 500,000, irrespective of circumstances.

Trump is said in particular to object to the idea that the children of refugees are also refugees. In practice, however, the refugees are stateless, and with the US opposing the right of return, the refugees are in a practical multi-generational refugee status with no end in sight.

Previous reports suggested Trump wanted to “handle” the problem of the large number of refugees by redefining it down to a more manageable number. It seems, however, this will be done by simple diktat, and that there is no plan for what happens to the other 4.8 million refugees once they’re off the books.

This comes less than a week after President Trump promised the Palestinians would “get something very good” in return for losing Jerusalem. Since then, Trump has also diverted $200 million in aid meant for the Palestinians to be spent elsewhere.


The Real Conspiracy

By Jonathan Cook

June 15, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy.

The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood.

Mr Danon makes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu look moderate. He has backed Israel annexing the West Bank and ruling over Palestinians apatheid-style. Ms Haley appears unperturbed. During a meeting with Mr Netanyahu, she told him that the UN was “a bully to Israel”. She has warned the powerful Security Council to focus on Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbollah, instead of Israel.

To protect its tiny ally, Washington is threatening to cut billions in US funding to the world body, plunging it into crisis and jeopardising peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

On the way to Israel, Ms Haley stopped at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, demanding it end its “pathological” opposition to Israel’s decades of occupation and human rights violations – or the US would pull out of the agency.

Washington has long pampered Israel, giving it millions of dollars each year to buy weapons to oppress Palestinians, and using its veto to block UN resolutions enforcing international law. Expert UN reports such as a recent one on Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestinians have been buried.

But worse is to come. Now the framework of international laws and institutions established after the Second World War is at risk of being dismembered.

That danger was highlighted on Sunday, when it emerged that Mr Netanyahu had urged Ms Haley to dismantle another UN agency much loathed by Israel. UNRWA cares for more than five million Palestinian refugees across the region.

Since the 1948 war, Israel has refused to allow these refugees to return to their lands, now in Israel, forcing them to live in miserable and overcrowded camps awaiting a peace deal that never arrives. These dispossessed Palestinians still depend on UNRWA for education, health care and social services.

UNRWA, Mr Netanyahu says, “perpetuates” rather than solves their problems. He prefers that they become the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which looks after all other refugee populations.

His demand is a monumental U-turn, 70 years in the making. In fact, it was Israel that in 1948 insisted on a separate UN refugee agency for the Palestinians.

UNRWA was created to prevent the Palestinians falling under the charge of UNHCR’s forerunner, the International Refugee Organisation. Israel was afraid that the IRO, formed in the immediate wake of the Second World War, would give Palestinian refugees the same prominence as European Jews fleeing Nazi atrocities.

Israel did not want the two cases compared, especially as they were so intimately connected. It was the rise of Nazism that bolstered the Zionist case for a Jewish state in Palestine, and Jewish refugees who were settled on lands from which Palestinians had just been expelled by Israel.

Also, Israel was concerned that the IRO’s commitment to the principle of repatriation might force it to accept back the Palestinian refugees.

Israel’s hope then was precisely that UNRWA would not solve the Palestinian refugee problem; rather, it would resolve itself. The idea was encapsulated in a Zionist adage: “The old will die and the young forget.”

But millions of Palestinian descendants still clamour for a right of return. If they cannot forget, Mr Netanyahu prefers that the world forget them.

As bloody wars grip the Middle East, the best way to achieve that aim is to submerge the Palestinians among the world’s 65 million other refugees. Why worry about the Palestinian case when there are millions of Syrians newly displaced by war?

But UNRWA poses a challenge, because it is so deeply entrenched in the region and insists on a just solution for Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA’s huge staff includes 32,000 Palestinian administrators, teachers and doctors, many living in camps in the West Bank – Palestinian territory Mr Netanyahu and Mr Danon hunger for. The UN’s presence there is an impediment to annexation.

On Monday Mr Netanyahu announced his determination to block Europe from funding Israeli human rights organisations, the main watchdogs in the West Bank and a key data source for UN agencies. He now refuses to meet any world leader who talks to these rights groups.

With Mr Trump in the White House, a crisis-plagued Europe ever-more toothless and the Arab world in disarray, Mr Netanyahu wants to seize this chance to clear the UN out of the way too.

Global institutions such as the UN and the international law it upholds were created after the Second World War to protect the weakest and prevent a recurrence of the Holocaust’s horrors.

Today, Mr Netanyahu is prepared to risk it all, tearing down the post-war international order, if this act of colossal vandalism will finally rid him of the Palestinians.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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UNRWA: israel is severely impeding Gaza reconstruction

UNRWA: Israel is severely impeding Gaza reconstruction

Palestine Information Center – October 17, 2016

Director of UNRWA Operations (DUO) in Gaza, Bo Schack, on Monday warned that the Israeli authorities are severely impeding Gaza reconstruction.
In a press conference held in Gaza, Schack said that UNRWA has delivered to Israel requests for the reconstruction of 400 homes in Gaza Strip; however, it has not yet received the requested approvals.
UNRWA is making great efforts to solve this problem, he said, warning of the serious humanitarian conditions in the besieged Gaza Strip.
He also warned of the serious implications of the continued Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip.
UNRWA is still facing a budget deficit of $70 million, he stressed, pointing out that ongoing efforts are made to overcome the agency’s financial crisis.
Nearly 400 teachers were employed while 24 new schools were built since the beginning of the year, according to his statements.
The UN official said that UNRWA relief programs are still continuing, denouncing Israeli restrictions on Palestinian economy and development process.
He called for lifting the siege on Gaza and supplying Gaza with electricity, water, and fuel.

‘Aleppo’s hell is better than this’: The Syrians who want out of Gaza


Refugees, including some of Palestinian descent, say life in besieged enclave is worse than war, and they dream of returning to Yarmouk

Syrian refugee Shahrszaad Alahmed said that her husband had been killed in the war (Mohammed Asad)
Mohammed Omer's picture
Last update:
Thursday 10 March 2016 15:15 UTC

GAZA CITY – Refugees from Syria in Gaza are protesting to be allowed to leave, with some even saying they want to return home because conditions in the besieged Palestinian territory are so intolerable.

Gaza is currently home to an estimated 1,200 refugees who are mainly from Syria but include others from Libya and Yemen. Most of them arrived through now-demolished tunnels that once linked the enclave to Egypt.

Many say they were drawn there by promises of jobs, or in the hope of starting their own businesses, despite the challenges posed by Gaza’s near-decade-long blockade by Israel and Egypt.

Some of them have Palestinian backgrounds and come from the refugee camp of Yarmouk, south of the Syrian capital Damascus, which is home to the descendants of families displaced from their lands in modern-day Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948 or during the Six Day War of 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Yarmouk has been the scene of regular fierce fighting between pro-government forces and rebels during Syria’s five-year war and was briefly captured by the Islamic State (IS) group last year.

Last year, the UNRWA, the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, said that several thousand people in Yarmouk were living in “deeply abject conditions” and that the situation there was worse than in 2014 when the UN considered the camp to be a besieged area.

But Abdullah Salman, who said he and others had been enticed to Gaza by an offer of work after fleeing from Syria to Egypt, told Middle East Eye that conditions even in war-ravaged Yamouk were preferable to life under the blockade.

“Our suffering intensifies every day. We are four families living in one house,” said Salman, who went to Gaza believing there would be more opportunities than in Egypt, where many other Syrians are also looking for work.

“We were offered work for six months but we’ve only been paid for two months, so we are still waiting for our rights.”

Last Friday, Syrians gathered in Gaza City’s al-Saraya square to call for their rights as refugees to be recognised and for better living conditions.

A white-bearded man of Palestinian origin but born in Syria held a sign reading: “We dreamt of returning to Palestine, but now we dream of returning to Yarmouk.”

One child waved a banner reading: “I am a Palestinian child, don’t deprive me of a loaf of bread,” while another child’s banner said: “Our dignity is your dignity, don’t let it be ruined.”

Refugee children from Syria were entertained by clowns during the protest (Mohammed Asad)

Most Gazans face daily shortages and hardships caused by both the blockade and the political stalemate between Gaza’s Hamas-run administration and a Palestinian unity government put in place by a deal between Hamas and Fatah, which runs the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, in 2014.

But Syrians complain that their lack of official status is making their plight worse, and even that the hospitality historically afforded to previous generations of Palestinians fleeing to Syria was not being reciprocated.

“Nothing forced us to come to Gaza, except the tough conditions we were living under, but we are living in Gaza without even minimum rights – and some of us are living breadless,” Abeer Rajeh told MEE.

Holding up a sign that read “The right to live and work is guaranteed by law,” she said that in most countries a wife had a right to be reunited with her family, but not in Gaza.

“We are unable to obtain Palestinian nationality, we fled our homes in Syria and all we have left are the streets to live on,” she said.

“Many of the Palestinian youth have lived in Syria and we hosted them in our homes, and now all we ask is to be treated decently, or at least that they repay the debt of kindness,” she added.

Manal Qurbash, another refugee, said: “Every day we suffer the same as the day before. In Gaza there is no prospect of a decent life, no basic rights – why are we being treated this way?”

Some admit too that the trauma of enduring Israel’s assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014 was far worse than anything they had experienced before leaving Syria.

They fear that deteriorating relations between Hamas and Egypt could also leave them stranded in the event of another war with Israel.

Leaving Gaza via the route they arrived has already become virtually impossible after Egypt destroyed dozens of tunnels last year and tightened up border security.

“We dreamt of returning to Palestine but now we dream of returning to Yarmouk” (Mohammed Asad)

Rajeha al-Ali told MEE that she had left Syria, first for Lebanon and then Turkey, with her husband and three children in 2011.

“We fled Syria to Lebanon, but it was not good, then we fled into Turkey, but were placed in cold tents. Then, we heard that Gaza offers jobs and apartments, but that was not the case when we got here,” Ali said.

“No one is listening to us, our pleas fall on deaf ears.”

Ali said she had been unable to obtain vital medication for two of her children’s chronic asthma. And having survived Gaza’s 2014 war, she said she did not want her children to suffer the same experience again.

“My family are still in Aleppo under siege, but their hell is better than Gaza’s paradise,” she said.

Officials in Gaza insist that the Syrians are being hosted as brothers and sisters. A YouTube video last month showing the Gazan children being told that one million Syrians were coming to Gaza also suggested a warm welcome awaited them – even though the number was rhetorical to gauge their reaction.

“I am willing to welcome them in my house,” said one boy. “I will sleep down on the mattress and a child can take my bed.”

At Gaza’s Ministry of Social Affairs, Ali al-Khateeb, the head of family rehabilitation, told MEE that the ministry was working hard to help the Syrian families.

“We have put in place a programme and an emergency plan to deal with the refugee families in order for us provide them with whatever aid and money that we can put together,” Khateeb said.

He said that despite the blockade the authorities had been able to provide each family with up to $350 as well as with some furniture and rent subsidies paid every three months.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told MEE that 848 Syrian refugees had registered at the organisation’s office in Gaza up to January this year.

He said they were eligible to the same rights as other refugees and could send their children to UNRWA schools or attend its medical clinics and use its relief and social services.

“It speaks volumes about the sheer hopelessness of life under the illegal blockade in Gaza and the inability of people to believe in a dignified, stable and prosperous future that anyone would feel that life in Yarmouk was preferable,” Gunness said.

“The UN Secretary General described Yarmouk as like a death camp. What does it tell us about life in Gaza that people would want to leave it and go to Yarmouk? This is why we demand that whether in Gaza or Syria, the underlying causes of the conflict must be addressed so that the Palestinians, like all civilians, can live in dignity.”

Still, for a few Syrians the move to Gaza has been proved good for business.

Wafir Hamedo left Aleppo for Turkey in 2012 before making his way to Egypt and then into Gaza via the tunnels.

Once there, he set up the Syriana restaurant, creating a community hub and meeting place for Gaza’s small Syrian diaspora.

“Many Syrians come here to eat Syrian food, but others come to discuss politics and the situation in their country,” he told MEE.

Yahya al-Sayed (L) and Rajha al-Ali live in a bare apartment with their four children (Mohammed Asad)

Yet for many people, the question of whether they can afford to eat at all, let alone dine out in a restaurant, is of more pressing concern.

Escalating housing costs for all Gazans fuelled by the destruction caused by the 2014 war have also left some struggling to pay their rent.

Yahya al-Sayed, and his wife Rajha al-Ali, told MEE that they lived in a furniture-less room apartment in Gaza City with their four children.

The couple said they were already 2,000 NIS ($510) in arrears and did not know how they were going to hang on to their home.

“We want to go anywhere to get out of here, even if it’s back to Syria,” said Sayed.

“We have survived their dreadful war, survived their blockade and now nothing is left for us here. We appeal to the United Nations to look into our issue and find us a home somewhere else.”

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Four Facts You Might Not Know about Housing Demolitions by israel

Photo: Annie Slemrod/IRIN

A young Bedouin protests the demolition of his home in the Negev


By Annie Slemrod

The small Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has been drawn into the international spotlight this week, as the US, the UK and the EU condemned plans by the Israeli army to demolish it. The US State Department said its destruction would be “harmful and provocative.”

So far the Israeli government has shown no sign it will back off, and activists and locals are sleeping in structures in the village in case the bulldozers come.

Susiya, which sits in an Israeli army controlled section of the West Bank called Area C, is set for demolition because it lacks the building permissions that are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain.

The villagers of Susiya are far from the only Palestinians whose homes face imminent destruction. Here are some facts about demolition in Israel and the occupied West Bank that you might not know:

More than One Type of Demolition

Buildings can be destroyed for both “administrative” and “punitive” reasons.

Susiya is in trouble because it doesn’t meet planning requirements, and so faces “administrative” demolition. This is the case for most homes that are razed in the West Bank, including the majority of those in Area C.

For example, the Israeli army has demolished 243 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and annexed East Jerusalem so far this year because they were deemed to have been built illegally (without the correct permissions) – 39 of these were in East Jerusalem. The total number of similar demolitions for the same area in 2014 was 493.

But Israel also conducts “punitive” demolitions, bulldozing the homes of Palestinians involved in attacks on Israeli civilians. According to statistics from the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, 664 homes were destroyed as punishment between October 2001 and the end of 2004. The punitive demolitions were meant to be a deterrent, but a 2005 military committee found that they didn’t serve the intended purpose and were of questionable legality.

Ongoing Problem

Despite international condemnation, the number of buildings destroyed has remained around 600 a year.

The practice was halted until last year, when Israel demolished four homes and sealed one off. The buildings belonged to the families of men suspected of abducting and killing three Israeli teenagers who were hitchhiking in the West Bank. According to B’Tselem, the demolitions left 27 people homeless, including 13 minors.

This year, no punitive demolitions have taken place, but earlier this month Israel evacuated and sealed off the East Jerusalem family home of a man who took part in an attack on a synagogue that killed four worshippers and a police officer. The attacker had also been killed during the incident in the autumn of 2014.

Demolition Happens Inside Israel Too

Administrative demolitions take place inside Israel too, mostly in Bedouin villages not recognised by the state. According to a recent report commissioned by Israel’s public security ministry, this type of destruction is one the rise. In 2013, 697 Bedouin structures were evacuated or torn down in 2013. In 2014, the number rose to 1,073.

The Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran, in the southern Negev desert, are the latest villagers of this sort to get attention for their plight. The Israeli government plans to build a new Jewish town on the state land where the Bedouin have lived for 60 years, and after more than a decade of legal battles there seems to be little that can be done to stop it.

The state says it has set aside space for the residents of Umm al-Hiran, who are Israeli citizens, in a nearby Bedouin town. Most villagers refuse this option.

Jewish Settlements Can also Be Targeted

Jewish settlements in Area C are also subject to demolition. Settlers in the West Bank are under a different planning regime than Palestinians, and it is significantly easier for them to build legally. But extensions to Jewish settlements called “outposts” often spring up without government sanction and these can be condemned to come down.

However, demolition orders are both handed down and carried out at an unequal rate, according to government figures acquired by freedom of information requests by settlement researcher and activist Dror Etkes.

Since 1988, the state of Israel has issued 14,782 demolition orders for Palestinian structures and less than half that number, 7,091, for Jewish ones, the figures say.

To make that disparity worse, 14.2 percent of Palestinian structures with demolition orders are actually taken down, opposed to just 6.5 percent of Jewish structures.

A Dual System

Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank have been issued more than double the demolition orders of Jewish settlements, with twice the percentage of those orders carried out for Palestinians.

It’s Not Just about Bricks and Mortar

The UN’s aid coordination body, OCHA, says 280 Palestinians have been left homeless by the 243 demolitions that have taken place this year. Six Palestinians have been displaced this week alone.

The humanitarian impact of Israel’s demolition campaign is far-reaching. According to OCHA and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, housing demolition leads to a significant deterioration in living conditions for affected families. It can cut off those affected from access to clean water, education, sanitation, and other basic services. In Susiya, there is a concern that the solar panels that generate a limited amount of electricity for the village will be demolished, eliminating the villagers’ only source of power.

A 2009 report on home demolition in the West Bank by UK charity Save the Children found that it is extremely difficult for families to bounce back after being uprooted. More then half the families it surveyed took at least two years to find a permanent place to stay.

Children are hit particularly hard. Kids whose homes are destroyed are more likely to suffer a range of mental health problems including depression and anxiety, or fall into delinquency and exhibit violent behaviour.

Save the Children also singled out the mental state of parents as a cause for concern, while OCHA noted that “the impact on families’ psychosocial well-being can be devastating.”


Israel Aids Nepalese Victims, Blocks Gaza Reconstruction

by Stephen Lendman

Israel and America give double standard hypocrisy new meaning. Washington wages endless direct and proxy wars of aggression claiming humanitarian intervention.
Israeli occupation harshness is nearly seven decades old. Besieged Gazans suffer most – preemptively attacked by land, sea and air at Israel’s discretion, isolated in the world’s largest open-air prison.
Last summer’s genocidal war left large parts of Gaza in ruins – besides committing mass murder, including willfully massacring mostly noncombatant men, women, children, infants and the elderly.
According to UNRWA, “(n)ot a single home has been rebuilt” – eight months after Israel’s genocidal war ended.
UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness reports “(t)o date, 9,161 Palestinian refugee houses have been considered totally destroyed and 5,066 have suffered severe (damage), 4,085 major (damage), an 124,792 minor damages.”
To date, UNWRA received “funding to reconstruct (only) 200 of the 9,161 houses totally destroyed.”
According to Metal and Engineering Industries Union vice president Muhammad Hamad, Israel blocks 85% of needed construction equipment and metal materials from entering Gaza.
In early March, Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement executive director Eitan Diamond said:
“Six months after the fighting, not a single house destroyed during the last round of hostilities has been rebuilt.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and living in tents. Entire neighborhoods were destroyed.”
Gaza’s economy is in ruins. Its 1.8 million people are suffering hugely – ruthless Israeli collective punishment according to unenforced international law.
Gisha spokesperson Shai Grunberg said “Gaza’s population needs an economic future.” Israel’s illegal siege must end.
“Merchants and business people must be allowed to exit Gaza in order to revive business connections and make new ones, sign deals, reconnect with the markets, and rebuild factories.”
“Young people must be allowed to get an education and reunite with family. The restrictions on the passage of goods must be lifted” straightaway.
Israel systematically refuses – even after pledging during last year’s Cairo peace talks to do so.
Following Nepal’s devastating April 25 earthquake, the region’s worst in 80 years, Israel sent 260 IDF medical and military personnel to Kathmandu – double standard hypocrisy and then some.
Its team set up a field hospital with 60 beds. On Wednesday, it began operations in coordination with Kathmandu’s army hospital.
Around 2,000 Israelis were in Nepal when disaster struck. Dozens of backpackers were stranded. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said only one of its nationals remains unaccounted for. Four planes and helicopters airlifted Israelis out.
No Israeli relief money was sent. Washington sent a paltry $10 million. Israel sent a large rescue team over 3,000 miles allegedly to help its nationals and Nepalese victims in need.
Israeli media touted its mission irresponsibly. A Hebrew University study “rank(ed) (Israel) near the bottom among leading free-market economies in providing foreign aid to developing nations.”
Washington fares no better. It’s so-called foreign aid is largely military-related benefitting its own agenda.
Israel’s so-called disaster relief combines self-promotion propaganda with exploiting local populations.
Its aid mission to Haiti following its January 2010 devastating earthquake was accused of organ trafficking.
In November 2009, Alison Weir reported on Israeli organ trafficking and theft from Moldova to Palestine.
She cited an earlier Donald Bostrom’s article in Sweden’s Ftonbladet suggesting Israel’s military illicitly removes removes body parts – including from Palestinians. According to Weir:
“…Israeli organ harvesting – sometimes with Israeli governmental funding and the participation of high Israeli officials, prominent Israeli physicians, and Israeli ministries – has been documented for many years. Among the victims have been Palestinians.”
Medical anthropology/Organ Watch founder Nancy Scheper-Hughes says “Israel is at the top” among nations engaging in organ trafficking.
“It has tentacles reaching out worldwide,” she said. It has a pyramid system at work that’s awesome.”
“They have brokers everywhere, bank accounts everywhere. They’ve got recruiters. They’ve got translators. They’ve got travel agents who set up the visas.”
They pay “the poor and the hungry to slowly dismantle their bodies” or simply take what they want from fresh corpses.”
Body parts are commodities, to be harvested and sold to the rich, even though organ sales are prohibited in most countries, but not under international law.
Is Israel’s Nepal mission more about “rescuing” organs and body parts than helping stranded Israelis and Nepalese victims? It has nothing to do with providing humanitarian aid.
At the same time, it continues ruthlessly persecuting Palestinians – besieged Gazans most of all.
Nepalese victims make daily headlines. Long-suffering Gazans are totally ignored – including Israel’s willful reconstruction blockade.
It’s just a matter of time before its forces smash up more of Gaza – along with murdering and maiming thousands more Palestinians defenseless against its onslaught.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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by Paul Larudee, Dissident Voice

There are many illusions about what is happening to the Yarmouk district of Damascus and its Palestinian refugee population. The district was originally set aside in 1957 for Palestinian refugees already living there, whom Israel had expelled from their homes in 1948, with periodic additional populations thereafter. Today it is home to around one million Syrians and Palestinians, of whom the Palestinians number roughly 170,000. Palestinians in Syria have all the rights of Syrian citizens except voting, and in Yarmouk their homes are indistinguishable from those of the Syrian residents.

Starting in 2012, armed elements trying to overthrow the Assad government gained a foothold in Yarmouk. Most Palestinians disapproved, since this violated the traditional exchange of Syrian hospitality for Palestinian neutrality. However, there was no consensus among Palestinians to forcibly expel the intruders.

By June, 2013, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had established a siege on the camp in order to prevent further encroachment toward the center of Damascus, which already receives a daily dose of random mortar attacks. (Three landed just outside my hotel in April, 2014, one killing three people.) Most of the population fled, until only 18,000 remained by October, 2013, according to Fateh leader Abbas Zaki, as reported to Ma’an News. Many thousands are now living outside the camp, in shelter provided by the Syrian government and Syrian humanitarian aid organizations.

In April, 2014 I visited a school that had been converted to living quarters for Yarmouk refugees. The accommodations were immensely crowded and by no means comfortable, a consequence of having to provide for nearly 8 million displaced people in government areas, doubling the normal population for those areas. Nevertheless, food is being provided, as well as education and health services.

Until Daesh (ISIS or the Islamic State) entered the camp on April 1, 2015, the figure of 18,000 residents continued to be reported consistently for the next year and a half despite a siege that cut off electricity and water and reduced the availability of essential food and medical supplies. More than a hundred civilians are reported to have died of starvation or lack of medical treatment during those eighteen months. Who are the remaining civilians and why are they refusing to evacuate to outside shelter like so many others?

Local humanitarian relief supervisors report (personal communication) that some of them are not from Yarmouk and some are not Palestinian. They include the families of Syrian and foreign fighters that are trying to overthrow the Syrian government by force of arms, and some of them came from districts adjacent to Yarmouk, such as the Daesh stronghold of Hajar al-Aswad. It is hard to know how many are being forcibly prevented from leaving by the armed groups in the camp and how many choose not to leave because they are afraid of the potential consequences.

Some might be considered “human shields”, used by the fighters to deter attacks against them. But they might equally be concerned about becoming “human hostages” if they leave, i.e. of being used to pressure fighters to surrender. The motivations can be complex, but no evidence has been presented to show that the Syrian government is preventing civilians from leaving the camp. In fact, 90% of the population has already left.

Is the Syrian government preventing the distribution of food and medicine in the camp?

Siege is one of the most common military strategies of the SAA. Typically, the army lays siege to an area and prevents food, medicine and of course arms from entering, to the extent possible. On the other hand it welcomes evacuation of civilians, and provides humanitarian aid to those who leave.

The objective is to remove the civilians from the area as much as possible and then attack the enemy or provoke surrender, sometimes with amnesty as an inducement. This is classic military strategy, though hard on the civilians, as usual.

In the case of Yarmouk, there is another dimension to the siege. The Syrian government has a long-standing agreement with the Palestinian governing council of the camp that it will not enterwithout their request. However, the council has never made such a request and the Syrian authorities have never asked for permission. This agreement still holds, although Palestinian forces defending the camp against Daesh have recently formed a joint command and are coordinating their efforts with the Syrian military, which has been providing artillery and aerial support. In addition, the army has been attacking areas adjacent to Yarmouk that are Daesh strongholds, in order to impede their access to Yarmouk and prevent resupply to Daesh forces in the camp.

There is no indication that the SAA is preventing humanitarian aid from being distributed in Yarmouk. Despite the siege, it has allowed the stockpiling of supplies on the edge of the camp and it has permitted civilians from inside to collect and distribute the aid. However, the government wants the civilians to leave, not to introduce additional persons into the camp, so it is reluctant to allow outsiders to enter, especially in consideration of the fact that they have no means of assuring their safety. Nevertheless, it has permitted humanitarian NGOs, including UNRWA, to distribute aid roughly half the time.

The result has been a modest but insufficient flow of aid to camp residents until Daesh captured much of the area. In the fighting to defend the camp and retake the Daesh-occuped areas, it has been much too dangerous for anyone to undertake aid distribution, with horrific consequences on the remaining civilians. As a result, the number of civilian residents has probably dropped to less than half of the 18,000 initial estimate, despite their qualms about evacuating.

Has the Syrian military been using barrel bombs on Yarmouk?

There is no recorded use of barrel bombs in Yarmouk before the entry of Daesh in late March, 2015. Their use in April, 2015 is confirmed, although the number of casualties due to such ordnance is astonishingly small. One or possibly two barrel bombs appear to have been dropped on the street outside the Palestine Hospital in the camp, but with no reported casualties. Higher numbers have been mentioned, but without evidence.

During the heaviest fighting, the Syrian Air Force (SAAF) has used both conventional bombs delivered by jet aircraft and “barrel” bombs in the Daesh stronghold of Hajar al-Aswad and the adjacent part of Yarmouk. Residents report hearing dozens of explosions, but it is unclear how many were in Yarmouk, how many casualties there may have been and how many were civilians. A total of 18 civilian casualties were counted in all of Yarmouk during a week of intensive fighting at the beginning of April, but none have been attributed to the barrel bombs and it is uncertain who is responsible for the killings.

Does the Syrian army massacre civilians?

One of the main complaints against barrel bombs and the tactics of the SAA is that they cause massive civilian casualties. There is no doubt that disproportionate numbers of civilian casualties have occurred on specific occasions. Overall, however, the number of civilians killed by government forces and loyalists is less than the number of casualties in the fighting forces themselves, possibly as low as two combatants for each civilian. Not since World War One has this been the case for US forces.

As for the “barrel bombs”, the claims of their use against civilians and their exaggerated savagery do not hold up. Like any bomb, they are made of high explosives, sometimes with projectiles added. In this respect they are no different from many types of explosive ordnance used in military forces throughout the world. They are designed for destruction, including destruction of life.

The complaints against them are that a) they are by nature indiscriminate and hit unintended targets and b) they are almost invariably used against civilians. The first is patently untrue. Conventional bombs are usually delivered by fighter-bombers at high speed and often in proximity to the target. In Syrian and other engagements, the speed of delivery offers protection from ground fire. Such speed also reduces accuracy, but the relative proximity to the target compensates substantially for this disadvantage.

Barrel bombs are usually deployed from relatively a greater height that is out of range of ground fire. However, they are dropped from stationary helicopters, which provides greater accuracy that compensates for the height disadvantage. There are few if any reports of barrel bombs failing to hit their intended target (although occasionally the selected target might be the result of poor intelligence).

It has been reported that thousands of barrel bombs have been used by the SAAF since 2012, when they were first deployed, and that there have been thousands of casualties from such weapons. Unfortunately, little more is known except for anecdotal cases. Although some bombs have resulted in only material destruction, others have caused two dozen or more casualties. The available data do not provide much statistical help, such as the average number of casualties per use. Is it more or less than for convention bombs or for US drone weapons, for example? How many of the casualties are civilians and how many combatants? We do not know, but the overall civilian casualty rate remains unusually low compared to most other conflicts in the past century.

What seems clear is that the western press, governments and NGOs have treated barrel bombs as the devil’s weapon. The reason seems to be that while conventional bombs are capable of inflicting just as much damage and loss of life (and are being used extensively by the Ukrainian government), western arsenals do not contain barrel bombs. If these weapons can be sufficiently vilified as a weapon type rather than by their manner of use, Syrian military forces can be blamed for inhumane weaponry without the taint falling upon nations that use different weapons, even ones that are equally or more destructive. Oddly enough, the inhumane DIME and white phosphorous weapons used in Gaza did not provoke equal condemnation, even though the ratio of Israeli military to civilian casualties has been as much as 100 times higher than for the Syrian military.

Why, then, are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Chris Gunness of UNRWA, and most western press agencies condemning the Syrian government for the use of barrel bombs, for starving camp residents, and for preventing residents from leaving? Palestinians and their supporters are accustomed to false and biased reporting on the subject of Palestine. They know that the western media work overtime to protect Israel. That is their agenda. Do they think that these agencies are unbiased with respect to Syria?

The west, Israel, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and many sycophants and puppets of western powers have made abundantly clear that they intend to overthrow the Syrian government, in violation of the UN Charter and other international law prohibiting wars of aggression, and against Syrian national sovereignty. AI, HRW, and other human rights imperialists have never once recognized these facts vis-à-vis Syria. In fact, they have supported the west’s illegal push for regime change.

Is it not also clear that western institutions and media are distorting their coverage of Syria in order to promote this goal? Apparently not, even to persons who should know better and are accustomed to seeing such distortions in the reporting on Palestine.

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Ziad Fadel

By: Radioyaran

Why is the Yarmouk camp suffering? The true reasons, not western propaganda

April 11, 2015 radioyaran Syria

Reading through western (and probably Gulf states) media these days one could think that Syrian President Assad and “his” army (otherwise known as the Syrian Arab Army) from one day to the next simply decided to destroy the Yarmouk refugee camp and kill its Palestinian inhabitants through a siege and bombardment.
The same sources go as far as claiming that the recent take over of the mostly abandoned camp through the IS militia even serves Assads interests.
The silly and easily refutable fairy tale of Assad secretly collaborating with IS is achieving sort of an “evergreen” status among many of the above mentioned media:

It´s time to shed some light on what has been going on in the Yarmouk camp since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Whenever western media reports of any places being shelled in Syria the impression is created that this can only have been the work of the Syrian Army. This is an early case of such shelling hitting the Yarmouk camp:
“Two mortar shells struck the camp in the early hours of Thursday from the nearby Tadamun distinct. The Syrian government said armed “terrorists” were behind the carnage…An alleged opposition battalion, Saif Al-Islam, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the Palestinians in Yarmouk camp are in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.”

So, at first the rebels attacked the camp claiming that it´s Palestinians are “guilty” by being supporters of Assad. Then they infiltrated the camp and began “arming sympathetic Palestinians to fight a pro-Assad faction in a Palestinian enclave in Damascus“.
It is clear that the rebels, the so called “moderates” of the FSA brought trouble to the camp:
“Residents at Yarmouk…said gunmen had been seen in the streets and some people kidnapped in recent days, eight of whom had been killed. It was not clear who was responsible.

A bomb exploded on Wednesday under the car of a Syrian army colonel in Yarmouk, although he was not in the vehicle, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Syrian rebel commander claimed responsibility, calling it a “gift to Jibril’s people which will be followed by others”.”

Another resident confirms the assertion regarding the FSA being the harbinger of problems, devastation and suffering:
“Muhammad Tamim and Iptisam and their two adult children fled their home not far from the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus four months ago. Their parents and three elder children are still there.

“As soon as the FSA enters an area, the combat units follow and engage in action.  There’s no way we can live in the middle of a battlefield. Syria is headed towards a catastrophe,” said Muhammad”

As early as January 2013, foreign fighters were seen in the camp hiding among civilians in order to attack the Syrian forces:
“Foreign nationals are using the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus as a base to fight the Syrian government, a former adviser to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Saturday.

“We’re calling committees in the camp and people there told us that foreigners are shooting at anyone that moves,” Bassam Abu Sharif told Palestine’s Ma’an news agency.

“They’re using the camp and the people of the camp as shields to attack government forces.””

Another report from the same time (and more than 2 years ago from now) mentions the presence of Al Qaedas Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra (Nusra Front):
“Some fleeing Palestinians refugees at the Maznaa crossing mention that they fear that al-Qeada affiliates are taking over Yarmouk camp and want to establish an Islamic emirate…But there are sections where the Al Nusra Front is very much in control and are actively setting up social service centers and training bases for arriving recruits from a number of countries as well as, regrettably, some Palestinians…”

A further confirmation from January 2013: “Nusra was at the forefront of fighting in that city’s Yarmouk district.”

Accusing the Syrian Army of systematically starving the Yarmouk camp people are misleading. Due to its vicinity to the center of Damascus and the heavy presence of Al Nusra and other radical groups the Syrian Army has cordoned off the northern entrance to the camp, while the rebels control the southern entrance and the adjacent districts such as Tadamon or Hajar al Aswad. Yarmouk is thus a huge risk factor for the government. Under such circumstances every army has to take strict measures to minimize the danger of attacks, infiltration and weapons smuggling into the capitals inner ring.
Nevertheless the Syrian Army has on several occasions evacuated people from Yarmouk to safe areas and attempted to bring in aid convois which was prevented and sabotaged by the REBELs:
“The convoy was cleared to proceed beyond the checkpoint and the Syrian authorities provided a bulldozer to go ahead to clear the road of debris, earth mounds and other obstructions.

The bulldozer was fired upon, hit by direct gunfire and forced to withdraw, though with no casualties. Thereafter, bursts of gunfire, including machine-gun fire, erupted close to the trucks and UNRWA vehicles, suggesting a firefight.

Also, one mortar exploded very close to the convoy. The convoy withdrew at this point following the advice of the security escort and returned safely to Damascus.”

The strategic geographic position of the camp is highlighted again here:
“The Islamist armed groups of the opposition saw the camp as the Syrian government’s Achilles’ heel and nothing else, a prize-catch in their desperate quest to “conquer” Damascus; the perfect springboard for their intended “jihad” against the regime’s main stronghold, practically putting a target on the camp’s back and turning its entire refugee population into a huge block of human shields held hostage to the flick of these groups’ military whims…The armed opposition’s all-guns-blazing infiltration into, and subsequent control over Yarmouk in late 2012 has plunged its Palestinian refugees headfirst into the throes of the Syrian war; transforming the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria into a “hostile territory” for the Syrian Army…For the Al-Nusra front and other Islamist fighting militias; taking control over the camp was primarily a matter of scoring territorial advances against the “infidel” regime, it constituted the closest front they’ll ever manage to get to Damascus, only this “pyrrhic victory” has had the camp caught in a tight militaristic death-grip where foreign backed insurgents are wreaking doomed havoc inside the camp (including looting, arbitrary seizure of properties and taking on human shields), and the Syrian army is giving the area the full “military-zone” treatment; imposing a full-fledged siege on most parts of the camp, particularly its northern entrance which connects directly to Damascus. ”

The same article raises a valid question: Why are the militants inside the camp well-armed and well-fed and apparently not suffering from hunger and thirst while the civilians have been dying?
“the curious fact remains that while the civilian population is suffering the lashes of hunger, thirst and dwindling medical supplies, militants inside the camp appear to be largely unaffected by the siege. On the contrary these groups seem to be well-armed, fully weaponized (at least to the extent that

enables them to retain full military control over the majority of the camp despite the ongoing siege) and on multiple occasions have even instigated clashes and firefights with the Syrian army.

This begs the question: what prevents these militants from using their own supply routes and active ammunition channels to soften the impact of the regime-imposed siege on the civilian population inside the camp, keeping in mind that areas bordering Yarmouk from its southern entrance are controlled by the “rebels” themselves? “

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UN Agency Demand End to Yarmouk Fighting

The United Nations has expressed concerns over the deterioration of the situation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk near the Syrian capital, Damascus, as intense clashes continue between Palestinian armed factions and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.


“Never has the hour been more desperate in the Palestine refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus,” read a press release circulated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Sunday. “We demand that all parties exercise maximum restraint and abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians.”

UNRWA called on concerned States to urgently exercise their authority and influence in order to end the fighting in Yarmouk for the sake of civilian lives and to alleviate human suffering. Meanwhile,

humanitarian access had to be increased and secure conditions established under which the agency would be able to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and civilians could be evacuated.

The agency said that the international community, including UN bodies, should be seized of the “critical situation” without delay and should ensure that all civilians are protected in accordance with the UN charter and international law.

The ISIL militants stormed the camp on April 1, apparently in tandem with rivals from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, even though the two groups have fought bloody battles against each other in other parts of Syria.

The UN says nearly 18,000 civilians, including a large number of children, are caught in Yarmouk. Over 90 percent of the camp is now under ISIL control.

“Men, women and children – Syrians and Palestinians alike – are cowering in their battered homes in profound fear, desperate for security, food and water, deeply concerned by the grave perils that may yet come, as hostilities continue,” said UNRWA’s press release.

Source: Agencies

06-04-2015 – 12:00 Last updated 06-04-2015 – 12:00

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Yet another reason for Scottish independence, Hammond blocks Yousaf’s visit to Gaza

Anger as Foreign Office ‘blocks’ Scottish Minister’s visit to Gaza

Yousaf has written to his Westminster counterpart, foreign secretary Philip Hammond, in protest after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) withdrew its support for the trip to the Palestinian territory.

Humza Yousaf (Photo:Hhuffingtonpost)

He said that foreign office officials, who had previously been happy to facilitate the trip, made a u-turn after deciding that security could not be guaranteed and that the foreign policy agenda towards Gaza was reserved to Westminster.


A number of UK officials have made the trip in recent months, including Baroness Morris of Bolton, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the Palestinian Territories, and Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the FCO with special responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa.


Yousaf however has been unable to secure support for a visit to see first-hand the work being done with £500k of funding that the Scottish Government made to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza Flash Appeal in July 2014.


Yousaf’s letter to the FCO, shown exclusively to the Sunday Herald, states:

“Although FCO officials initially said that they were in principle able to provide support for such a visit, I have since been informed that the FCO view has changed and that the FCO would not support a visit to Gaza for two reasons: firstly that the security situation in the region presents a greater than usual risk and that officials are advising against all ministerial travel; and secondly an assertion that the UK works exclusively to a reserved foreign affairs agenda in Gaza.”

It adds:

“Given the focus of UK Ministers’ visits, I must challenge the proposition that the UK Government works exclusively to a foreign affairs agenda in Gaza: clearly the UK Government is also, and quite rightly, concerned with humanitarian relief and economic development.

“A Scottish Ministerial visit to Gaza would be similarly concerned with humanitarian issues, and would serve to highlight the Scottish Government’s international development agenda and the support that it has given in this area.

“I note the FCO offer for the British Consul General in Jerusalem to provide an update on the use of the funding and would welcome this information.

“However, I find it disappointing and frustrating that the FCO is effectively blocking Scottish Ministers from visiting Humanitarian projects in Gaza.

“I would therefore seek your agreement that the FCO will support a visit by a Scottish minister to Gaza once the security situation allows for ministerial travel to Gaza to resume.”


Scottish Government funding was supplied to the UNRWA in July last year, following a flare up in the Israel- Gaza conflict during which the Israeli military launched an offensive involving extensive bombardment of the coastal strip.


This action, dubbed Operation Protective Edge by the Israelis, was they claimed aimed at stopping Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. More than 2,100 Gazans and 66 Israeli soldiers died and there was widespread damage to civilian infrastructure.


Massive numbers of Palestinians were driven from their homes in Gaza during the fighting, with many seeking safety in UNRWA Designated Emergency Shelters (DES).


In response to the humanitarian crisis, UNRWA expanded its emergency response and launched an appeal for £36 million in addition to the original £40 million set aside.


The fighting came to an end in August with a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas.


Yousaf had previously called for an end to the blockade of Gaza, which the Scottish Government along with other bodies and human rights organisations have described as “collective punishment”.


A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “The safety of British nationals is of paramount importance and the FCO’s travel advice for British nationals is clear; we advise against all travel to Gaza.”

This article was originally published in Herald Scotland and can be accessed here.

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