Trump deal will fell peace process house of cards

Omar Karmi Power Suits 24 January 2020

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the campaign trail.
 Gili YaariZUMA Press

Brace yourselves, here it comes.

After years of mounting excitement, the time is finally ripe. The US administration is going to show its hand and unveil the “closely-held” Ultimate Deal of the Century™ before the main contenders for Israel’s leadership go to Washington on Tuesday.

Maybe.

It’s “a great plan,” according to man-of-the-hour Donald Trump, the US president, neatly dispelling any complaints from moaning snowflakes who keep harping on about rights and history and justice and truth and sustainability and blah, blah, blah.

But what exactly is this great plan?

According to Trump, it’s not what you’ve read already.

What you may have read already comes courtesy of unnamed “senior Israeli officials.” According to them, the plan will see Israel annex all of Jerusalem as well as between 30-40 percent of Area C of the West Bank (the 60 percent of the West Bank already under full Israeli control). This includes the Jordan Valley and thus access to the outside world.

The plan would also give Israel a green light to annex all but 15 settlements in the occupied territory – illegal under international law, but no longer in the eyes of the US administration.

Israel will maintain uncontested military control over all the territory of historic Palestine and Palestinians will have to disarm Hamas and demilitarize the Gaza Strip.

Just words

But what do the Palestinians get? As anyone with any sense knows, a deal can only be “great” if all parties walk away feeling they’ve gained something.

Business mogul handbook 101.

Palestinians get statehood. Apparently. Some Israelis are not happy about that, so maybe not. Who knows? But according to “senior Israeli officials,” part of a plan that “really would work” is Palestinian statehood.

Over what? Not clear. Whatever is left, presumably, once Israel has had its fill. Territory-wise there would apparently be some land swaps, though with whom, where and how much has not been divulged.

Jerusalem? “Symbolic access,” whatever that means.

Sovereignty? No army, no control over borders, no control over airspace. So no.

Right of return for refugees? None. The US administration has made its own calculations, determining that the number of Palestinian refugees is roughly equivalent to Jews who fled Arab countries, therefore negating any right of return or even right to compensation.

Oh and Palestinians get $50 billion from “Sunni countries.” Thanks, guys.

Why now?

Palestinians have rejected the plan out of hand.

What else is the Palestinian Authority going to do? There is nothing in the plan, as outlined above, that any Palestinian leader could ever accept.

But that may be to miss the point.

Partly, this administration wants to ride roughshod over international law. After all, superpowers should not feel restrained by things such as rules. That’s what makes them powerful.

No better place to signal such intent than with Palestinians, whose case in international law is clear, open and shut.

But also, of course, this is about helping a friend in his time of need.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister, is trying to ward off corruption prosecution, a prosecution that will be brought should he fail to ensure immunity for himself.

He may not secure immunity if he does not form the next government. Trump is simply trying to help.

And with two Israeli elections already last year, Trump has had plenty of chances to prove his generosity.

First, he granted US blessing to Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. Next, he recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

Then he reversed the US position on settlements in occupied territory.

Cognizant of this, Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, has been falling over himself to promise that his annexation will be bigger than Netanyahu’s.

Not only is he trying to win votes, he is also showing that he knows how to play along with a US president who seems to appreciate sycophancy.

What now?

The plan is yet to be published. Many stalwart supporters of Israel have in the past cautioned against publishing such an obviously imbalanced deal.

There’s a good reason. This forces the hand of the Palestinian Authority. It ends its very reason to exist, namely in preparation for statehood. Real statehood. It crosses every “red line” the PA has ever marked out, whether on refugees, territory, sovereignty, Jerusalem, etc, and so on.

It pulls down the whole peace process charade.

Too many institutions, businesses and industries have been built and too many livelihoods are at stake for the PA to disband itself with immediate effect, however advisable that might be.

Indeed, it may well be that the PA leadership will try to simply sit tight and wait Trump out.

But there really is no time for that. The land is disappearing beneath the Palestinians’ feet.

Trump’s Ultimate Deal is the end of the PA.

Netanyahu/Gantz White House Invitation to Discuss Trump Regime’s No-Peace/Peace Plan

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Leaked information shows Trump’s so-called deal of the century is a one-sided scam, favoring Israel at the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights.

The so-called peace process is the greatest hoax in modern times, along with the US war OF terror worldwide, not on it.

Israeli/Palestinian no-peace/peace plans have been around since the 1970s — a near-half century of failure to reach accommodation proof positive of US/Israeli unwillingness to respect Palestinian rights.

If both countries wanted conflict resolution resolution with Palestinians, it would have happened long ago.

Former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir explained why not. He and his predecessors wanted forever talks accomplishing nothing – giving Israel time to steal all valued Palestinian land.

His successors to the present day followed the same strategy.

Since Israel seized control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in 1967, colonizing and developing the most valued Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use became official state policy — explained by Yigal Allon’s regional scheme, its elements including:

• permanent militarized occupation;

• maximum land for Jews with minimum Arabs;

• dispossessing Palestinians from areas Israel wants for exclusive Jewish development and use;

• annexing all valued parts of Judea and Sumaria;

• controlling Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital;

• establishing settlements, military bases, free-fire zones, commercial locations, tourist sites, nature reserves, no-go areas, Jews-only roads, checkpoints, other barriers, and other exclusive Jewish areas — non-Jews excluded from them;

• stealing Palestinian resources; and

• cracking down hard on resisters. 

The above policies make peace, stability, equity and justice for Palestinians unattainable.

Achieving them defeats the US/Israeli agenda — dependent on endless regional conflicts and instability.

It’s why decades of peace plans when unveiled were dead on arrival, Trump’s let em eat cake deal of the century dead before arrival.

Partly introduced last June at a so-called “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” in Bahrain, the Trump regime’s dog and pony PR show was boycotted by Palestinians.

Deceptively billed as “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society,” the economic plan has nothing to do with peace, equity and justice for long-suffering Palestinians — everything to do with one-sidedly serving US/Israeli interests. 

Based on what’s known so far, subject to fine-tuning, Trump’s overall scheme ignores fundamental final status issues, especially real Palestinian self-determination free from Israeli occupation and control, Israeli land theft, air and water rights, other resources, the right of diaspora Palestinians to return to their homeland, and East Jerusalem as exclusive Palestinian capital. 

He illegally recognized Jerusalem (a UN-established international city) as Israel’s exclusive capital, moved the US embassy there, abandoned a legitimate two-state solution, recognized Israel’s unlawful Golan annexation, and no longer considers illegal settlements occupied territory.

Trump and hardliners surrounding him are no friends of Palestinians or ordinary people anywhere, not at home or abroad.

Information leaked last month about his no-peace/peace plan revealed it excludes 70% or more of West Bank land controlled by Israel, including the Jordan Valley, closed military zones, exclusive Jewish commercial areas, tourist sites, no-go areas, and illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. 

Jerusalem is to remain undivided, the city “shared between Israel and New Palestine” — Israel maintaining exclusive control, the way it’s been for over half a century.

On July 30, 1980, the Knesset Jerusalem Law officially annexed the city as Israel’s exclusive capital — breaching Security Council Res. 465 (March 1980).

It declared actions taken by Israel “to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity…”

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

Time and again, the US and Israel breach Security Council resolutions and other international laws.

Trump’s no-peace/peace plan is all about serving US and Israeli interests at the expense of regional peace, stability, and fundamental Palestinian rights.

According to Mike Pence on Thursday, Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz will meet with Trump in the White House next week to discuss regional issues and what PA official Saeb Erekat called Trump’s “deal of the next century,” a conspiracy against Palestinian rights.

Reuters reported that the Trump regime will release his no-peace/peace plan ahead of the January 28 meeting with Netanyahu and Gantz.

DJT calling it “a great plan” defies reality. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh reaffirmed the Palestinian demand for an independent state within June 1967 borders — free from Israeli occupation and control.

On Thursday, Israel’s Channel 12, citing unnamed Netanyahu regime sources, said Trump’s plan includes exclusive Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, illegal settlements, and the Jordan Valley adding:

It supports the illusion of Palestinian self-determination, demanding a demilitarized Hamas, along with Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Jerusalem its capital.

It also reportedly stipulates that if Palestinians reject the so-called plan, the Trump regime will support Israeli annexation of illegal settlements unilaterally.

According to the Wafa PA news site, Rudeineh said the following:

“If the announcement of this deal, with these unacceptable formulas, is made, the (PA) leadership will announce a series of measures to preserve our legitimate rights, and we will call on Israel to assume its responsibilities as an occupying power,” adding:

“We warn (the Netanyahu and Trump regimes) to not cross the red lines.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim said “any deal or project that does not contain our people’s full rights in our land and holy sites will not stand,” adding:

“All the attempts to make this deal come to pass will be squashed by our people’s resistance and steadfastness.” 

“Our Palestinian people will determine its fate by way of its ongoing revolution, legitimate struggle and absolute belief in the justness of its cause.”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted:

“Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative.”

If its provisions resemble what’s discussed above, it’ll clearly be rejected by the PA, Hamas, and the Palestinian street.

لماذا الحرب الأهلية ممنوعة في لبنان؟

يناير 3, 2020

د.وفيق إبراهيم

لكن حزب الله الذي يؤدي أدواراً داخلية وخارجية تنتج استقراراً وطنياً في لبنان، يدرك مدى استهدافه من الأميركيين والموالين لهم في الداخل،ما يدفعه لبذل جهود رصد ميداني استطاعت حتى الآن الكشف عن تنسيق بين تنظيمات إرهابية سورية وبين بعض المندسين في انتفاضة اللبنانيين.

كما أماطت اللثام عن جهود تركية لاستعمال بعض «التنظيمات الإسلامية» في سبيل تأمين أهمية للدورالعثماني في لبنان، وتحفظ الحزب عن كشف معلومات تتعلق بعلاقات بين دول عربية على رأسها الإمارات، مع تيارات في الانتفاضة.

هذا الىجانب تحرك كبير لمخابرات إسرائيلية تعمل بطريقتين: مباشرة وأخرى من خلال فلسطينيين يعملون معها ولديهم تأثيرهم على مجموعات من المخيمات، هنا يجوز التمعن قليلاً في هوية الكثير من المتظاهرين من جهة طريق الجديدة عند حدودها مع شارع بربور مقرّ حركة أمل ومدى محاولات افتعال فتنة لم تلقَصداها عند جماعة «الأستاذ». هذا من دون نسيان جهود الجيش اللبناني في هذا المجال والتنويه بها.

يتبين أن الحرب الأهلية ممنوعة من جانب حزب الله وحلفائه ولن ينجروا إليها مهما تصاعدت الاضطرابات المفتعلة. لكن المطلوب الاستعجال في تشكيل الحكومة للخروج من حالة «الفراغ» الدستوري الحكومي المعمول عليها أميركياً من لبنان إلى العراق، أي أنها مُصنّعة للوصول إلى الفوضى والاحتراب الداخلي، والغاء الدور الداخلي والخارجي لحزب الله، تمهيداً لإعادة فبركة لبنان جديد، يقوم على تهجير المسيحيين منه، كما قال الرئيس الفرنسي السابق ساركوزي للكاردينال الراعي من أن موقع مسيحيي الشرق هو في الغرب وتوطين الفلسطينيين وقسم من السوريين. هذا ما يؤكد أن المعركة الحالية، هي حرب الدفاع عن لبنان لمنع إلغائه ووضعه في خدمة مصالح «اسرائيل» وبعض الدول العربية المتواطئة معها والمشروع الاميركي في الشرق الأوسط.

Occupied Palestine: The Most Enduring Media Cover-up

Global Research, November 28, 2019

Clearing the FOG hosts Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese interviewed Alison Weir, journalist and founder of If Americans Knew, a website that provides factual information about the Israeli State and Palestine. Weir describes how she learned firsthand that US media provide a false and one-sided narrative about Occupied Palestine and why she has dedicated the past twenty years to counter that. She also explains some of the most common myths and what she learned as she did research for her book, “Against Our Better Judgment.” Weir is a very clear thinker on the issue of Palestine-Israel and provides the data and language we need to speak to a propagandized population. You can listen to the entire interview and the week’s news analysis on Clearing the FOG.

Interview

Clearing the FOG (CtF): Alison, your website is a great source of information. Before we get into the site, why don’t you tell us about how you got involved in this issue.

Alison Weir (AW): People always wonder that because I don’t happen to be Jewish or Arab or Muslim or Palestinian and like most Americans 20 years ago, I knew very little about this issue. I had been active on other issues, anti-war during the Vietnam war, civil rights, that type of thing but I had never focused on Israel-Palestine until the Second Intifada began in the Fall of 2000. I’m sure you know intifada just means “Uprising,” a Palestinian Uprising. When that began, in Fall of 2000, I got curious about it.

My background is journalism. At that time, I was the editor of a very small weekly newspaper in Northern California. This wasn’t for my job, it was just my personal curiosity. I started to follow the news coverage on this uprising and I quickly noticed that it was very one-sided, that we were hearing from and about Israelis in great detail, but we got very little information from and about Palestinians.

I went on the internet and discovered a great deal of information from the region itself, from humanitarian agencies that were there, Israeli media in English, Palestinian media. And I discovered that Israeli forces were shooting Palestinians every day in large quantities, including many children and I noticed this reality was not being reported on the news sites that I usually looked at. The San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, especially NPR, seemed to be covering that up.

So the more I looked into it, the more I felt this was a truly significant cover-up. I felt and I do feel now that this was the longest-lasting and most enduring cover-up I had ever seen and that it was occurring across the political spectrum. After a few months of looking into that, I decided, it seemed so significant that I quit my job in Sausalito and traveled as a freelance reporter throughout Gaza and the West Bank. It was a very intense trip, I was not part of any delegation. There really weren’t any delegations at that time.

When I came back, I started the organization, If Americans Knew. The goal has been to be very factual, to show the sources of our information. It’s very transparent. It gives Americans without ideological slant the facts on Israel-Palestine and especially the American connection, the fact that we are in many ways responsible for what Israel does because our tax money goes to Israel. It’s now over 10 million dollars per day. We’ve given Israel far more than we’ve given anybody else.

Most Americans, I think, are the way I was. I felt I had no connection to this confusing issue on the other side of the world, but I learned I have a very direct connection to it and therefore it’s my responsibility to know about it and to act in ways that I feel are morally required. In a nutshell, that’s how I ended up 20 years later still working on this issue.

CtF: That was a very courageous thing to do. Of course, the US also provides cover for Israel in the United Nations or when the International Criminal Court wants to investigate Israel. How were you received by Palestinians when you went there to cover the Intifada?

AW: The perception was and is that you will be in great danger from Palestinians. But I discovered it was the opposite. I was welcomed. I was invited to stay in people’s homes, which I often did. People were very excited to learn that an American journalist was there. I told people I’m here to see what’s going on and people would smile at me in places like Gaza where there were really very few Americans at that time. I didn’t see any other journalists traveling around.

Crowds of people would come up to me and they wanted to show me their bullet-riddled homes and show me what was happening to them. So I found it then and on my other trips there since, people are very welcoming, very friendly. Often they’re very aware of how much money the US gives to Israel. Even though most Americans don’t know that, it is known in the region. Despite their knowledge of that and despite their knowledge of how the US has supported Israel in so many ways, they’re still very welcoming to Americans and very willing to not blame us for what our government is doing. So it’s really the opposite of what people have been led to believe it would be like.

CtF: We were just in Occupied Palestine recently and what you describe is very consistent with our experience as well. Your website focuses on correcting the misconceptions. What are some of the most important misconceptions that people in the United States have about the situation in Occupied Palestine?

AW: That’s at the heart of the problem because there are so many that it’s hard to make people realize it’s really as different as they expect. If there were only one or two, people can accept that. It’s harder for them to realize that almost everything they thought was true is not accurate. And that is what I am often telling them.

One of the main things is that we are directly related to the conflict. We give Israel massive amounts of money. This is per capita on average 7,000 times more than we give other people. One of the other things is that many people are unaware that Israel was established in my lifetime, that when I was born there was no Israel. There was a region called Palestine that had been there called Palestine for really millennia.

Many intelligent and knowledgeable people are not aware of what Israel Palestine is about, that basically Israel was established through warfare. It was not established by the United Nations, another misconception. It was established by a war of ethnic cleansing. That’s what we now term that type of war. It’s the title of an excellent book by an Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, so, the very foundation of Israel is very different than people realize.

This was an intentional dispossession of the indigenous population. It started with the beginning of the establishment of the modern state of Israel and continues through today. Constantly Israel is confiscating additional Palestinian land and taking it over for Jewish-only settlements, as they’re called. Many people are unaware that many Palestinians are Christians. This is where Christianity began. It’s rarely mentioned in the US media.

The other thing people are often unaware of these days is media coverage always focuses on “rockets from Gaza.” Every news report mentions rockets from Gaza. The fact is that I was there traveling around by myself as a reporter before any rockets had been fired and I saw already at that time in early 2001 extreme devastation. I saw neighborhoods in Gaza that were bullet-riddled, that looked like the pictures you see of World War II ruins. In the West Bank too shelling was going on. This was before any rockets had been fired.

People think Israel is defending itself from rockets, but the rockets were actually resistance groups in Gaza trying to fight back with really very ineffectual rockets. In the whole time they’ve been used, they’ve killed at most a few dozen Israelis. Meanwhile, Israeli forces have killed many thousands of Gazans. The only statistic we get in the typical news report is thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza. They never tell that the total number of Israelis who have been killed is perhaps by now, maybe 50, perhaps not even that high and they never tell that during that time about 5,000 Gazans have been killed. We don’t hear about the massive bombardment of Gaza that’s been going on for a very long time and that has killed thousands of Gazans. And of course, killed many people in the West Bank also.

CtF: When we were there, we saw fighter planes flying over Jerusalem on their way to bomb Gaza. Over 30 Gazans were killed, including a family. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes in the recent siege of Gaza. And these so-called rocket attacks, they’re like little pipsqueak rockets. These rockets were a response to an Israeli assassination in Gaza. It’s really amazing they use that as an excuse, but they do.

AW: They get away with it because the media only tell about the response and don’t tell about what came before. The American population is completely misled. Most of these are small homemade projectiles, but media will report them as missiles and people are imagining a Nike missile or something. That’s just not what’s going on.

There have been studies of the chronology of the violence in the conflict. There was one excellent study by an MIT professor who looked at periods of calm, at various truces through the years. Her study showed that it was something like 96% of the time in the shorter truces it was Israel that had first resumed violence against Palestinians and in the longer truces, it was 100% of the time that Israeli forces resumed the violence. This is just not known to the American public because it’s very filtered news coverage that people are getting.

Your point of hearing jets flying over to bomb Gaza is very significant. People don’t know that here we have one of the most powerful militaries on the planet, largely due to our tax money and often US weaponry, fighting against a population that has no Air Force, no Navy, no aircraft, no helicopter gunships. The disparity is astounding and the media try to call it a war. A war is between two military forces. That’s not what we have when we look at Gaza and Israeli forces.

CtF: It’s such an asymmetric situation. Palestinians have been forced from their homes, living in an apartheid state and have the right under international law to defend themselves. But the Palestinians we met with while we were there, activists, said we are nonviolent, we believe in using non-violence and talked about teaching their children not to hate other people, how giving in to that was destructive. One of the things that people push back in the United States is they say that there never really was a Palestine, that Palestinian nationality didn’t start until the 20th century. Can you comment on that?

AW: Yes. This is one of the Israeli talking points that many people have fallen for. You see this on Facebook and Twitter and various places. It’s a nonsensical argument. It’s true, there was not a state of Palestine. There was not a state of Israel. There was a region called Palestine. You can look at old maps.

Palestine was a region back in biblical times. It was talked about in more recent times. It was talked about in more recent centuries. It was under the Ottoman Empire. It was what we call multicultural. Around 1900, the population was about 80 percent Muslim, about 15 percent Christian and a little under five percent Jewish. This was a region. It was not a nation-state, as we know nation-states came relatively late to the world. Germany wasn’t a nation-state for many years. The United States did not used to be a nation-state. Palestine was a region. Palestinians have existed.

There was a book published some years ago by an Israel partisan who went by the name Joan Peters claiming the Palestinians did not exist, that they were just nomads that had come in because the Zionists’ wonderful entrepreneurial spirit had created jobs for these nomads to join them. This is the thesis of her book called “From Time Immemorial.” Many people read it. It was praised by pretty much every book review in the United States.

People like Barbara Tuchman, an Israel partisan, but known as a historian, praised it. It turned out to be a complete hoax.  Some very good historians and analysts including some Jewish Americans looked into the book and found out that these many footnotes were often fraudulent. They were actually coming from Zionist propaganda. In Israel itself, it was exposed as non-factual. In Britain, it was exposed as non-factual. In the United States, it eventually was, but I don’t think any of the people that gave it a positive review and that endorsed it then had the honesty or principle to retract their erroneous reviews.

Many people, especially many Jewish Americans, read that book and were taken in by it and then repeat the myth that there were no such thing as Palestinians. Even Golda Meir, the famous Israeli Prime Minister, said at one point that quote there were no Palestinians. That’s like Americans trying to say well there were no Native Americans here. Of course, there was.

CtF: Even in the country itself Israeli Jews seem oblivious to the reality in their own country. Home demolitions and the settlers putting settlements on Palestinian communities and on Palestinian lands. We drove on Jewish-only roads. If I Google “Jewish only roads,” I find an article about “Jewish only roads don’t exist.” One of the challenges we have in talking to people in the United States, and even in Israel, Occupied Palestine, is they don’t want to see reality. How do you communicate to people who just seem oblivious whether unintentionally or intentionally?

AW: Certainly, Israelis have been brought up to be just the way you’re describing. Nurit Peled, an academic, has done excellent work showing that Israeli textbooks are very propagandistic in the way that they depict Palestinians. They’re not even called Palestinians. They call them Israeli Arabs. So this is deeply embedded in many portions of the Israeli population.

Fortunately, there are many people in Israel that are dissenting from that and they’re trying to reach their fellow Israelis. There are Israelis Against Torture and Israelis Against Home Demolition. There are a number of Israeli groups within the society, a small fraction, but they’re doing really wonderful work in trying to expose what’s actually going on. There are some Israeli journalists, especially Gideon Levy, who write every week in the Israeli media about some of the latest atrocities being committed by Israel against Palestinians.

I would love to reach everybody. I’d love to reach every Israeli. I’d love to reach every American who’s taken in by Israeli talking points. What I focus on is the really fairly promising reality that about three-quarters of the American population, despite the pro-Israel media coverage that we’ve been getting for decades and despite Hollywood, really does not have a strong view on this issue. And general surveys will show that they say something like we shouldn’t take sides, which is sensible. If you don’t know much about an issue, you just don’t take sides.

That sounds like a fairly wimpy approach to those of us who know what’s going on there, but what that would mean if you don’t take sides is we would stop giving Israel 10 million dollars per day. We would stop vetoing UN resolutions to protect Israel from world condemnation of its violence. So it’s actually quite a good stand if we did what the majority of Americans already say we should do.

I try to focus on giving the general public the facts on this issue and the importance of making their wishes known to their elected representatives that it’s time to stop this massive aid to Israel. It prevents peace. Israeli militarists think they have a blank check from the most powerful nation on the planet, which they do right now. So my view is we give voters factual information on this. We show how extremely tragic the situation is because of what we’re funding and the fact that it hurts us as well and emphasize how important it is to tell our elected representatives that we want them to change these misguided destructive US policies of a blank check to Israel.

It’s time for us to vote and to work on the issue of Israel Palestine. Not only because of what it’s doing to Palestinians, not only because of what it then does to the US but because our support of Israel has led to our wars in the region. It has led to much of the violence in the region that has since spilled over elsewhere. It’s the core issue of the Middle East and it’s the time for us to focus on it and to address it.

CtF: I want to ask you about a topic that you’ve been writing about recently. And that is the criticism that people who question or criticize the Israeli state are anti-semitic. Can you talk about that?

AW: Yes, that’s used all the time and most of us are profoundly opposed to bigotry of all kinds. We don’t want to be splattered with such mudslinging. We don’t want to be called anti-Semitic. We don’t want to be anti-Semitic and we’re not being anti-Semitic when we speak out for justice as a principal, but that’s the attack that they try to use.

A member of the Israeli Parliament some years ago on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now said, and I’m paraphrasing, she said this is a trick. We always use it when somebody is critical of Israel, we call them anti-Semitic and that is exactly what going on. Nobody should be anti-Semitic. Nobody should be against any population, should be hostile and prejudiced against people. Bigotry is wrong. So that’s what they try to use.

What’s gotten worse is that not only do they try to claim somebody’s anti-Semitic when we’re talking about a nation-state and talking about injustice and trying to support principles of justice for all people, there is an effort to change the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticisms of Israel. This is extremely insidious.

It’s been going on for a number of years. There’s a new formulation in which certain criticisms of Israel, factual statements about Israel, will now be defined as anti-Semitism. Therefore it will be defined as hate speech, etc. This effort was begun by an Israeli Minister named Natan Sharansky. It has now been embedded in the US State Department and it’s being embedded elsewhere around the world. We need to learn about that and we need to oppose it. We need to stick with the traditional definition of anti-Semitism and we should oppose all anti-Semitism just as we oppose all racism, but we should not allow that incorrect epithet to be used to silence us or to prevent us from working for justice and human rights for all people including Palestinians.

CtF: One of the people we visited with when we were recently in Occupied Palestine was Rabbi Hirsh, who is with an ultra-orthodox Jew, and he makes a very strong case that Zionism is inconsistent with Judaism, that it violates the Torah. That makes the state of Israel really under his religious analysis to be against Judaism. A growing group of Jews in the United States is getting active in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. A number of Jewish groups are actually beginning to criticize Zionism and Israel. It’s really is an absurd claim that people who criticize Israel or Zionism are anti-Semitic. It just shows the weakness of their arguments.

AW: It does and I’m glad you brought that up because when Zionism, political Zionism, began with Theodore Herzl and some conferences in Switzerland in the late 1800s, the majority of Jews around the world did not join that movement. They said we’re Americans, we’re British etcetera. Even a Jewish population in Palestine was opposed to it, especially observant Jews were opposed to it and considered it a heretical move. There are many Jews who for religious reasons oppose Zionism saying this is against the Bible. It’s against God’s will. That’s part of what people don’t know. And in my book, in the research I did, it was very interesting to see how Zionists were very upset that Jewish-Americans were not embracing Zionism in the early years. In fact, for a number of decades, there were groups such as the American Council on Judaism that actively and strenuously opposed Zionism.

CTF: Finally, how can people learn more about the work that you do?

AW: The first thing would be to go to our website: IfAmericansKnew.org. From there, you will also go to our blog, the If Americans Knew blog. Between those two resources, I believe there’s a lot of information that will be useful to people. My book is available on Amazon. The short title is “Against Our Better Judgment.” It can be read very quickly. It’s one of the selling points and it’s thoroughly cited. It turned out that the book is half citations. So every statement in it, you can find the source for that statement. It contains a great deal of information that many people, even experts on the issue, did not know about before because when I started researching it, I was starting from scratch. I read a huge number of books. We’re also working to encourage people to join the effort to work within their congressional district to inform the people in your community about what’s going on. You can email us at contact@IfAmericansKnew.org and help get this information off the internet and into the hands of people in your community. We also have a very active Facebook page, If Americans Knew Facebook page, where we post things every day. I especially encourage people to join our email list. We should not rely on Facebook for our communication. That is a private company and they could turn it off whenever they want to so, please join our email list also.

CtF: If you haven’t visited If Americans Knew, it’s a very deep website. If you ever want to understand a particular aspect of Israel or Occupied Palestine, you’ll find a lot of the facts right there. If you’re ever writing about it, debating it, trying to understand and discuss it with others, it’s a very fact-based and deep web site that serves a very useful purpose for engaging on this issue.

AW: We’ve certainly tried and the websites been live about 15 or 16 years. There’s really a depth of content there. We’re trying to upgrade it to a more modern look but there’s so much content, we just haven’t been able to do that yet. So it’s an old-school look but the content is there for people to find and it’s all sourced. We try to make sure that our material is factual and show people that that’s the case.

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Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese co-direct Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

Featured image is PressTV

The Real Reasons Behind Israel’s Arrest of Two Jordanian Nationals

هبة اللبدي.. الأسيرة التي عوقبت بتهمة الحب!

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

The release on November 6 of two Jordanian nationals, Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Mi’ri from Israeli prisons was a bittersweet moment. The pair were finally reunited with their families after harrowing experiences in Israel. Sadly, thousands of Palestinian prisoners are still denied their freedom, still subjected to all sorts of hardships at the hands of their Israeli jailers.

Despite the jubilant return of the two prisoners, celebrated in Jordan, Palestine and throughout the Arab world, several compelling questions remain unanswered: why were they held in the first place? Why were they released and what can their experience teach Palestinians under Israeli occupation?

Throughout the whole ordeal, Israel failed to produce any evidence to indict Labadi and Mi’ri for any wrongdoing. In fact, it was this lack of evidence that made Israel hold the two Jordanian nationals in Administrative Detention, without any judicial process whatsoever. 

Oddly, days before the release of the two Jordanians, an official Israeli government statement praised the special relationship between Amman and Tel Aviv, describing it as “a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East.”

The reality is that the relationship between the two countries has hit rock bottom in recent years, especially following U.S. President Donald Trump’s advent to the White House and the subsequent, systematic dismantling of the “peace process” by Trump and the Israeli government.

Not only did Washington and Tel Aviv demolish the region’s political status quo, one in which Jordan featured as a key player, top U.S. diplomats also tried to barter with King Abdullah II so that Jordan would settle millions of Palestinian refugees in the country in exchange for large sums of money.

Jordan vehemently rejected U.S. offers and attempts at isolating the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

On October 21, 2018, Jordan went even further, by rejecting an Israeli offer to renew a 25-year lease on two enclaves in the Jordan Valley, Al-Baqura and Al-Ghamar. The government’s decision was a response to protests by Jordanians and elected parliamentarians, who insist on Jordan’s complete sovereignty over all of its territories.

This particular issue goes back years. Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994. An additional annex in the treaty allowed Israel to lease part of the Jordan Valley for 25 years. A quarter of a century later, the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty failed to achieve any degree of meaningful normalization between both countries, especially as neighboring Palestine remains under Israeli occupation. The stumbling block of that coveted normalization was – and remains – the Jordanian people, who strongly rejected a renewed Israeli lease over Jordanian territories.

Israeli negotiators must have been surprised by Jordan’s refusal to accommodate Israeli interests. With the U.S. removing itself, at least publicly, from the brewing conflict, Israel resorted to its typical bullying, by holding two Jordanians hostage, hoping to force the government to reconsider its decision regarding the Jordan Valley.

Jordanian prisoners Israel

The Israeli strategy backfired. The arrest of Labadi – who started a hunger strike that lasted for over 40 days –  and Mi’ri, a cancer survivor, was a major PR disaster for Israel. Not only did the tactic fail to deliver any results, it further galvanized the Jordanian people and government regarding the decision to reclaim Al-Baqura and al-Ghamar.

Labadi and Mi’ri were released on November 6. The following day, the Jordanian government informed Israel that its farmers will be banned from entering Al-Baqura area. This way, Jordan retrieved its citizens and its territories within the course of 24 hours.

Three main reasons allowed Jordan to prevail in its confrontation with Israel. First, the steadfastness of the prisoners themselves; second, the unity and mobilization of the Jordanian street, civil society organizations and elected legislators; and third, the Jordanian government responding positively to the unified voice of the street.

This compels the question: what is the Palestinian strategy regarding the nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners held unlawfully in Israel?

A lesson for Palestinian leadership

While the prisoners themselves continue to serve as a model of unity and courage, the other factors fundamental to any meaningful strategy aimed at releasing all Palestinian prisoners remain absent.

Although factionalism continues to undermine the Palestinian fight for freedom, prisoners are fighting the same common enemy. The famed “National Conciliation Document,” composed by the unified leadership of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in 2006, is considered the most articulate vision for Palestinian unity and liberation.

For ordinary Palestinians, the prisoners remain an emotive subject, but political disunity is making it nearly impossible for the energies of the Palestinian street to be harnessed in a politically meaningful way. Despite much lip service paid to freeing the prisoners, efforts aimed at achieving this goal are hopelessly splintered and agonizingly factionalized.

As for the Palestinian leadership, the strategy championed by Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is more focused on propping up Abbas’ own image than alleviating the suffering of the prisoners and their families. Brazenly, Abbas exploits the emotional aspect of the prisoners’ tragedy to gain political capital, while punishing the families of Palestinian prisoners in order to pursue his own self-serving political agenda.

“Even if I had only one penny, I would’ve given it to the families of the martyrs, prisoners and heroes,” Abbas said in a theatrical way during his United Nations General Assembly speech last September.

Abbas, of course, has more than one penny. In fact, he has withheld badly needed funds from the families of the “martyrs, prisoners and heroes.” On April 2018, Abbas cut the salaries of government employees in Gaza, along with the money received by the families of Gaza prisoners held inside Israeli jails.

Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Mi’ri were released because of their own resolve, coupled with strong solidarity exhibited by ordinary Jordanians. These two factors allowed the Jordanian government to publicly challenge Israel, leading to the unconditional release of the two Jordanian prisoners.

Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including 500 administrative detainees continue to languish in Israeli prisons. Without united and sustained popular, non-factional mobilization, along with the full backing of the Palestinian leadership, the prisoners are likely to carry on with their fight, alone and unaided.

Gulf Concessions to «Israel» Have Yielded Nothing in Return

Gulf Concessions to «Israel» Have Yielded Nothing in Return

By Kamel Hawwash, TRT

The utopia of the Middle East free from conflict is not within reach at the moment. Conflict is likely to characterize the region for years if not decades to come. The people of the region are the victims, especially the youth, who in many countries were born into conflict, and it is the only life they’ve known.

“Israel” is at the heart of several conflicts. It remains in occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land. In recent months, it has attacked targets in Syria, Lebanon and even Iraq. The justification this time was that it was countering Iran’s presence.

In previous decades, it attacked targets in Tunisia and Sudan. “Israel’s” planes attacked both Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities and its operatives killed nuclear scientists in Syria, Iran and Iraq.

It is also worth remembering that its operatives killed a Palestinian, Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, in a hotel in Dubai in 2010. In 2016, “Israel” was thought to have killed Mohammed Al Zawari, a Tunisian drone expert, who it claimed worked with Hamas’ al-Qassam brigade. In 2018, Palestinian academic Fadi Al Batsh was killed in Malaysia and “Israel” was again the prime suspect.

Its repeated attacks on the beleaguered Gaza strip have left thousands dead, tens of thousands wounded and scores of homes destroyed. It has annexed illegally occupied East Jerusalem [al-Quds] and the Syrian Golan Heights.

“Israel” has not only denied Palestinian refugees the right to return in accordance with international law, but it has also been working to remove their status as refugees and to close down UNRWA.

“Israel” claims the UNRWA, which provides jobs and relief to the Palestinian refugees, perpetuates the conflict with the Palestinians. However, this is a conflict that started when it was created through violence, resulting in the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians to neighboring Arab states, in which they continue to languish in desperate conditions.

“Israel” also continues to settle its population illegally on occupied land in Palestine and the Golan Heights.

“Israel” is likely the most destabilizing and aggressive state in the region, which the international community needs to reign in, rather than treat it with kid-gloves. None of its aggressive actions has led to any accountability, either by individual states or the international community.

Now, the most aggressive state in the Middle East is developing a “non-aggression pact” with some Gulf States.

The claim comes from “Israel’s” so-called Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, who further claimed that he met with several foreign ministers from Arab Gulf states on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month, as reported by Channel 12 news recently.

The TV channel claimed that Katz presented his Gulf counterparts with a draft text of the intended pact, which was drawn up by the so-called “Israeli” Foreign Ministry.

It reportedly highlights the opportunity to advance common interests in the context of the threat posed by Iran and is drafted in accordance with the principles of international law. Yes, you read that correctly. The Middle Eastern country responsible for serial breaches of international law when it comes to conflicts with its neighbors, especially the Palestinians, suddenly sees international law as a reference point for this ‘pact’.

“Israel” currently sees an opportunity to make gains it could only have only dreamt about just a few years ago. The Trump Administration has handed it not only significant wins that it can offer but pushed the narrative to “Israel’s” neighboring states that the greatest threat they pose is not from “Israel”, but Iran.

This has all been allowed by the United States’ unilateral decisions recognizing Jerusalem [al-Quds] as “Israel’s” so-called capital and recognizing “‘Israeli’ sovereignty” over the Golan Heights. The US Special Envoy for negotiations, Jason Greenblatt presented the “Israeli” prime minister with a map showing the Golan Heights as part of “Israel”. While these recognitions were only made by the US and the rest of the world has rejected it, Netanyahu is happy to bank these for now and to push for others to follow the American lead.

Next on the list is likely to be the annexation of vast swathes of the West Bank, which one can be relatively confident in thinking would then be endorsed by US President Donald Trump. This would be an act of political aggression that will deal a fatal blow to any possibility of “peace” between the “Israelis” and the Palestinians.

In the past few years, some Gulf States have warmed relations with “Israel”, allowing sporting teams to compete on Arab soil and “Israeli” ministers, including the prime minister himself to visit these countries.

However, what has “Israel” offered in return to convince these states that further normalization and a “non-aggression pact” would help bring stability and peace nearer? The answer is a resounding nothing.

In other words, “Israel” takes and never gives. It wants to see the “Israeli” flag fly over Gulf capitals but will not recognize the Palestinian people’s rights.

Before racing to sign a “non-aggression pact” with “Israel”, Gulf States should insist it first ends its status as the most aggressive state in the region. Until then, they should pour cold water on their normalization efforts. The time for normalization and pacts is not now.

A peaceful Middle East is more out of reach now than it’s ever been in recent history.

Who Is Benny Gantz? Israel’s Butcher of Gaza — Rebel Voice

Benny Gantz is the leader of the Blue and White political party in the rogue state of Israel. At this time, he leads the largest single party group in the Knesset, (Israeli parliament). It appears to be a toss-up between Gantz and Netanyhau for who will lead the next government. Netanyahu is a war criminal, […]

via Who Is Benny Gantz? Israel’s Butcher of Gaza — Rebel Voice

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