Abbas Fears the Prisoners’ Hunger Strike; 6500 Political Prisoners in Israeli Jails

“Abbas is publicly supportive of the strikers, but in private he is said to want the protest over as quickly as possible. Reports at the weekend revealed that he had urged Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to intercede with America and Israel to help.”

Global Research, May 02, 2017
Jonathan Cook

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet Donald Trump in the White House on Wednesday to discuss reviving the long-cold corpse of the peace process.

Back home, things are heating up. There is anger in the West Bank, both on the streets and within the ranks of Abbas’s Fatah movement. The trigger is a two-week-old hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners.

Last Thursday, Palestinians shuttered their businesses in a show of solidarity, and the next day youths clashed with the Israeli army in a “day of rage”.

About a quarter of the 6,500 political prisoners held by Israel – almost all of them in Israeli territory, in violation of international law – are refusing food in protest at their degrading treatment. They want reforms to Israel’s industrial system of incarceration. Some 800,000 Palestinians – 40 per cent of males – have passed through Israel’s cells since 1967.

Israel hopes to break the prisoners’ spirits. It has locked up the leaders in solitary confinement, denied striking inmates access to a lawyer, taken away radios, and last week began confiscating salt rations – the only sustenance along with water the prisoners are taking.

The strike is led by Marwan Barghouti, the most senior Palestinian leader in jail – and the most popular, according to polls.

Abbas is publicly supportive of the strikers, but in private he is said to want the protest over as quickly as possible. Reports at the weekend revealed that he had urged Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to intercede with America and Israel to help.

In part, Abbas fears the influence of Barghouti, a man often described as the Palestinian Nelson Mandela and seen as Abbas’s likely successor. Notably, the Palestinian president has repeatedly sidelined him within Fatah.

But Abbas is also concerned that the hunger strike will provoke violent clashes in the West Bank with Israeli security forces, damaging his efforts to persuade Trump to back his diplomatic campaign for Palestinian statehood.

Instead, he wants to prove he can snuff out any signs of what Trump might see as “terrorism”. That requires tight security cooperation with Israel.

The visit to Washington and the hunger strike have brought into sharp relief the biggest fault line in the Palestinian national movement.

Abbas’s strategy is strictly top-down. Its starting point is that western states – those that have consistently betrayed the Palestinian people over many decades – can now be trusted to help them attain a state.

From this dubious assumption, Abbas has sought to suppress anything that plays badly in western capitals. Pressure has only intensified under Trump.

By contrast, the “battle of empty stomachs” is evidence of a burgeoning bottom-up strategy, one of mass non-violent resistance. On this occasion, the demands are limited to prison reform, but the strike’s impact could spread.

Not least, the model of protest, should it succeed, might suggest its relevance to a Palestinian public disillusioned with Abbas’s approach. They too are living in cells of Israel’s devising, even if larger, open-air ones.

The starkly different logic of these two strategies is harder than ever to ignore.

To stand a hope of winning over the Trump administration, Abbas must persuade it that he is the sole voice of the Palestinians.

That means he must keep a lid on the hunger strike, encouraging it to fizzle out before prisoners start dying and Palestinian fury erupts across the occupied territories. His approach is reported to be creating severe tensions within Fatah.

Wishing only to add to those difficulties, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded last week that Abbas halt financial aid to the prisoners’ families, calling it compensation for terrorism.

Abbas also feels compelled to assert himself against his Hamas rivals in Gaza. That is why last week he stopped funding the fuel needed to generate electricity there, having recently cut medical services and salaries to Gaza’s civil servants.

His hope is that, as he turns the screws, Hamas will be toppled or forced to submit to his rule.

But more probably, the fissure with Hamas will deepen, forcing the cornered Islamist movement into another bloody confrontation to break free of Israel’s decade-old blockade. These divisions, most Palestinians increasingly understand, weaken rather than strengthen their cause. Mass non-violent resistance such as the hunger strike, by contrast, has the potential to reunite Fatah and Hamas in struggle, and re-empower a weary Palestinian populace.

Reports have suggested that Barghouti has reached a deal with jailed Hamas leaders committing to just such a struggle in the occupied territories once Abbas has departed.

A popular struggle of non-violence – blocking settlement roads, marching to Jerusalem, tearing down walls – would be hard to characterise as terrorism, even for Trump. It is the Israeli army’s nightmare scenario, because it is the only confrontation for which it has no suitable response.

Such a campaign of civil disobedience, however, stands no chance of success so long as Abbas is there to undermine it – and insists on obediently chasing after illusions in Washington.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

The Speech That Killed Sharon الكلمة التي قتلت شارون

Trump to meet Palestinian ‘double agent’

 

US president Donald Trump, a Judas Goat, has invited US Viceroy in the occupied West bank, Mahmoud Abbas, to visit the White House on May 3, 2017.

Abbas will visit Washington on May 3 and will meet with Trump to discuss possibilities to achieve peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during Wednesday’s news briefing.

Mahmoud Abbas in an interview he gave to Japanese newspaper Ashai Shimbun on Wednesday, said:

President Trump knows that we are committed to a Middle East that lives in peace, justice and dignity, based on a two-state solution, international legitimacy and Arab Peace Initiative (2002).”

Trump, who met with Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year, said he could live with either a one-state or two-state solution. Trump also said that his Jew son-in-law, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, whose family funds illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would take the lead in the effort to broker peace in the Middle East.

Though projected as President of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas lost that title in January 2009, when his PA mandate expired. He is kept in that position by the US, EU and UN to grab more Palestinian land which they have failed to secure from Gaza-ruling Islamic resistance Hamas. Gaza has second largest Palestinian population (1.7 million) outside Israel after Jordan (3.3 million). Hamas doesn’t recognize Mahmoud Abbas as representative of Gaza people or chairman of PA.

In 2014, Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas doesn’t need to recognize Israel or any of PA-Israel peace agreements.

Jewish-controlled media is in habit of speculating a Fatah-Hamas unity government which has not materialized for the last 10 years.

Abbas is a known western stooge among the majority of the nine million Palestinian people living under Zionist rule, in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and around the world.

Donald Trump’s senior foreign policy adviser Jason Dov Greenblatt, whose brother Joseph Greenblatt is living in a jail on taxpayers’ money over investment fraud, visited Israel last month to discuss with the Zionist regime how to boost Abbas miserable ratings among Palestinians. During his meeting with Netanyahu, Greenblatt avoided condemning the new illegal Jewish settlements.

Trump’s one-sided support for the Zionist entity and his administration’s contempt for Palestinian rights proves Trump’s proposal to resolve Palestinian conflict will be written by Israelis.

On September 30, 2009, American political scientist and analyst James Gundun posted on his blog The Trench that the Jewish army cannot defeat Hamas.

Unless called to order by the Trump administration, Netanyahu, who faces no imminent electoral threat, is likely to continue his one-state/two-state tightrope act for the foreseeable future, while his government expands settlements, approves laws and implements other measures that lead Israel ever further down the path toward an undemocratic one-state future,” says Ron Skolnik, associate editor of Jewish Currents, April 12, 20017.

The Palestinians and the “State” Delusion

By: Rashid Shahin

After over 20 years of the futile “negotiations” the whole world (including the Palestinians) agrees that it has been fruitless.  It was aimless negotiations but a waste of time during which the occupation state of Israel has succeeded to shuffle the occupied land upside down and create deep demographic changes through accelerating the settlement that has never been done before.

Despite all the facts on the ground, some still hope to believe in that mirage and works to revive life in the dead body of the Oslo Accord. Still, some Palestinians are looking for an exit of some sort that would save them some self respect, or what has remained from their self respect, to prove that they can get something from a process that has resulted in nothing but more land grab, building settlements for more settlers obsessed with Talmudic heresies.

When talking of negotiations between enemies, it should be agreed upon from the beginning that there is a possibility for each party to recognize the other which  doesn’t exist in the Palestinian-zionist case. The Zionist party and since the very beginning of the struggle doesn’t recognize the existence of the Palestinian people, in the first place which was very clear from their deceptive slogan that was created in the early twentieth century of “a land without people to a people without land”.

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Accordingly, the Palestinian leadership should take this in consideration and understand the fact that the Oslo process will never lead to a durable or comprehensive peace with the Zionists, with a state that was created initially by terrorist groups who committed heinous crimes in documented massacres against the Palestinian people to establish their atrocious states built on Talmudic heresies, on the rubble of the Palestinian people.

Gambling to reach to any peaceful agreement, even at the minimum level, with the Zionist state of gangsters (especially at the deteriorating Arab situation) is more futile than it was at the beginning of the Oslo process in Madrid Peace Conferencesupported by the first Intifada which was continued secretly later on in the suspicious Oslo Agreement.

Trying to copy the Iranian style (of negotiating) and identifying with it can’t work in the Palestinian case and dragging the situation into the Syrian case is a leap into the unknown.

Working at going back to the same futile negotiations again is nothing but a fruitless game that should be stopped especially after the facts on the ground imposed by the Zionist occupation, which is very clear not only to the Palestinian people in the street but also to all the world leaders.

Finally, we think that the status cue is a thousand times better than pursuing the mirage of the endless negotiations, especially it is clearer now (which is a fact that we should admit) that the Zionist occupation state is not intending to reach to a peaceful settlement for the struggle, and it is not ready ( as it has never been  before) to agree that the Palestinians get an independent state with Jerusalem its capital, and needless to mention the Palestinian refugees and the Right of Return.

The utmost reconciliation that the Zionist state might be willing to is to give the Palestinians an “expanded” autonomy, or a state with two different statuses, one to include the West Bank with annexing some of the bordering Palestinian towns that the Zionists want to get rid of, which is a typical racist style. OR, full occupation and annexing the West Bank. Accordingly we call to stop those futile negotiations with the Zionists that will end into nothing for the Palestinians.

 

Goodbye Palestine (But Watch for the Blowback)

Goodbye Palestine (But Watch for the Blowback)

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 02.02.2017 | OPINION

Goodbye Palestine (But Watch for the Blowback)

Donald Trump won’t be formally forbidding entry of Palestinians to his New Great America, because he doesn’t recognise Palestine and never will. But he has designed a way of preventing their travel and that of countless others by introduction of ‘extreme vetting,’ which will help to deny Palestine the legitimacy that the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed upon five years ago.

The New York Times reported on January 25 that «the first of the two [of Trump’s] draft orders… calls for terminating funding for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria [which] include organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization».

It was ironic that also on January 25 the Times of Israel noted that former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger would go to prison for fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses. His crimes resulted in a sentence of three years in prison and a fine of over a million dollars, and most people think he got off lightly, given the scale of his deception and grubby hypocrisy.

The irony is that the day before the Chief Rabbi was awarded his just punishment, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (himself under investigation for alleged swindling), announced that the state of Israel would continue to commit fraud, pledge itself to breach of trust and offend against international law and moral principles.

His decision to build 2,500 more homes for Israelis on Palestinian land was denounced as illegal by governments around the world (with a predictable exception), and the UN declared that such ‘unilateral actions’ were an obstacle to peace. The European Union criticised the announcement by saying that it «weakens rather than strengthens the prospects for a two-state solution to the Middle East peace process, and makes the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote» — which is exactly the intention of the government of Israel.

The EU also recorded that «settlements are illegal under international law and continued settlement expansion also calls into question Israel’s commitment towards reaching a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians», which highlighted the fact that Israel has no intention of ever attempting to reach a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians and is resolved to destroy them as a nation.

On 24 January the Israeli newspaper Haaretz observed with admirable objectivity that «Netanyahu has tried to destroy every possibility of achieving a two-state solution… With Trump behind him and a silent opposition, the prime minister is leading Israel to a binational state, which will be either not Jewish or not democratic».

No matter the crescendo of condemnation caused by Israel’s scornful rejection of so many humanitarian principles laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is no doubt that existing illegal settlements will be expanded and more will be built. Israel can afford, politically and financially, to defy the world because it is supported to the ultimate degree by Trump Washington. The President and the entire Congress are solidly on the side of the Zionist state, and with this firmly in mind Netanyahu arrogantly declared that «we came out with one stroke now and there will be more».

The government of the United States was conspicuously absent from those that condemned Israel for its contemptuous dismissal of December’s UN Security Council Resolution, which described settlement building as a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law, and when asked if Trump supported Israel’s flouting of international law, his press secretary, the truculent Sean Spicer, said that «Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States. He wants to grow closer with Israel».

This was consistent with Trump’s tweet of December 28, just after the Council vote, to assure Netanyahu that «We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the US but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!»

January 20 is now receding to the tunes of erratic displays and decisions, and Trump has not been backward in reiterating his support for Israel.

His patronage became apparent on Inauguration Day, when, as the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported, the mayor of the Israeli settlement of Efrat was the first illegal settler ever to be a guest at a presidential installation. His invitation was not unexpected, however, because Trump has had a deep and personal association with Israeli settlements for a long time. In 2003, for example, he donated $10,000 to ‘Beit El, an affluent settlement of around 7,000 people just north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.’ The gift was made in honour of David Friedman, Trump’s nomination to be ambassador to Israel.

In August 2015 The Times of Israel wrote that «Trump is not an unfamiliar face in Jewish circles. He has served as a grand marshal at New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade. After Hurricane Katrina, he was among a group of celebrities who decorated Jewish federation tzedakah boxes to be auctioned off to support hurricane disaster relief. In February, he was honored with an award at the annual gala for the Algemeiner, a right-wing Jewish news organization». And it goes further than that.

As recorded by Slate, «In 1995, a company called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Trump was its chairman and, beginning in 2000, its CEO. The company lost money every year of its existence and went bankrupt in 2004. Its total 1995–2004 losses: $647 million. When it went bankrupt, bondholders had to settle for less than what they were owed. Employees lost their jobs and contractors went unpaid».

Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer was David Friedman.

Donald Trump and his attorney David Friedman, following an appearance in US Bankruptcy Court on February 25, 2010, in Camden, New Jersey. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images/JTA)

The UK’s Telegraph reported on January 29 that Friedman had led an American support group that raised funds for the Beit El settlement. Of even more significance, ‘the family of Trump’s powerful son-in-law Jared Kushner have also donated thousands to Beit El.’

It’s good to keep things in the family, but it is apparent that Palestinian families do not figure in the Trump list of priorities any more than the world’s refugees pluck any chord of sympathy in his flinty heart. He is determined to isolate the people of Palestine and will use whatever means at his disposal to do so. His casual malevolence is becoming the emblem of Brand Trump, and it does not matter who suffers as a result of his bizarre posturing on the world stage. His support for the equally malevolent and vindictive Netanyahu will result in obliteration of the Palestinian people – and will create even more resentment and terrorism. It’s called Blowback, and in the end, America and Americans will suffer.

‘Israel’ Plays its Trump Card

21-01-2017 | 13:20

Local Editor

Right-wingers in occupied al-Quds are ecstatic; Palestinian leaders are apoplectic. Welcome to a new era of the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict.

 

‘Israel' Plays its Trump Card


On the issue of Trump’s presidency and the ‘Israeli’ benefit, Neri Zilber wrote for the Foreign Policy:

“We are entering a new era,” Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed last month, the day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemning illegal ‘Israeli’ settlement construction in the West Bank and east occupied al-Quds/Jerusalem.

“Just as President-elect [Donald] Trump said … it will happen much sooner than you think. In the new era there is a much higher price for those who try to harm ‘Israel,’ and that price will be exacted not only by the US, but by ‘Israel’ as well.”

The Zionist government, as Netanyahu made clear, views the new US administration as a ‘shield’ against the rest of the world, and “anti-‘Israel'” measures like the Security Council resolution the Obama administration allowed to pass last month.

The US President called brokering ‘Israeli’-Palestinian peace the “ultimate deal.” Yet the only diplomatic activity taking place right now is focused not on any positive steps toward a two-state solution, but managing the impending rise of Trump.

The Netanyahu government’s optimism appears to be well-founded. In the immediate aftermath of the US election, Trump invited the ‘Israeli’ premier to the White House “at the first opportunity,” adding for good measure that the two leaders have known each other for years.

Trump’s choice for ambassador to the occupied territories, David Friedman, is a long-standing supporter of West Bank illegal settlements, even heading the US fundraising arm for one prominent settlement. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, is also known for his pro-‘Israel’ activism, with his family’s foundation donating to various West Bank illegal settlements.

Coming on the heels of the UN Security Council resolution and former Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent speech excoriating ‘Israel’ for its illegal settlement project, Trump tweeted that things will be “very different” when he officially takes office, imploring the Zionist entity to “Stay Strong.”

‘Israeli’ Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon made the threat first articulated by Netanyahu more explicit. “Perceptions,” he told ‘Israel’ Army Radio late last month, “are important” for the other Security Council members. Recent comments by both the British prime minister and Australian foreign minister, blasting Kerry’s speech and the Security Council resolution, respectively, proved Danon’s point. If foreign leaders want good relations with the new US administration, the path runs through ‘Israel.’

While the first test of the Trump administration’s intentions will come with respect to al-Quds, ‘Israeli’ intelligence assessments peg the adjoining West Bank as the most unstable arena over the coming year.

This “new era” of Trump, peremptorily embraced by Netanyahu and belatedly feared by Abbas, will without doubt put one central article of faith so common among both ‘Israelis’ and Palestinians to the test: that world affairs, whether in Washington or other major capitals, always inevitably revolves around them.

Source: Foreign Policy, Edited by website team

 

Inner and Outer Ugliness: Congress Proves Once Again it is Occupied Territory

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By Richard Edmondson

In the photo above we see US Congressman Ed Royce of California discussing HR 11, a resolution he introduced condemning the UN Security Council for its recent action on Israeli settlements. You’ll also notice, to Royce’s right, Florida  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair with a pink hairbrush.

The scene is from a debate in Congress which took place on January 5, 2017. Royce and a number of other congressional representatives (342 of them in all) became hot and bothered over the UN’s pointing out (correctly of course) that the settlements are illegal. The photo is a screen shot I took from a C-Span video.  It’s a long video, more than eight hours, but if you advance it to about the 5:19:52 mark, you can watch the entire House debate on HR 11, which not surprisingly includes a lot of groveling to Israel (hat tip to Greg Bacon).

Just to refresh your memory, the Security Council, by a vote of 14-0 with 1 abstention, passed a resolution on December 23 “condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.” Voting in favor were Russia, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Uruguay, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, UK, Ukraine; the lone abstention was by the US.

The Security Council action was welcomed by a good many people the world over, although Benjamin Netanyahu threw a temper tantrum, claiming to have “absolute” proof the Obama administration had been secretly behind it. Other critics accused the US of a “betrayal” of its longtime “ally,” and an enormous amount of controversy erupted over the issue in the waning days of 2016 and carrying over into the new year.

Of course, anytime a dispute emerges between the US and Israel, members of Congress can always be counted upon to side with the latter rather than with their own nation–and this time was no exception.

“Today we put Congress on record objecting to the recent UN Security Council resolution that hurt our ally, that hurt Israel, and I believe that puts an enduring peace further out of reach,” fretted Royce.

Let me call once again your attention to the image of Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair, for throughout a good portion of Royce’s speech, the Florida congresswoman–apparently unaware she was on camera–seemed preoccupied with primping and applying makeup to herself, this presumably in an effort to make herself look “beautiful.”

In the first frame of the montage below we see her with the pink hairbrush, followed by a shot of her rummaging in her purse. In the third frame she pulls out what appears to be lipstick or eyeliner (I’m not an expert on women’s makeup), and lastly applying it with her right hand while still holding the container with her left hand.

makeupsession

In the following three frames we see a now cosmetically-adorned Ros-Lehtinen giving her speech before Congress and the C-Span cameras:

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“Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel, has been under constant attack by the United Nations,” she claimed.

The Security Council resolution that occasioned Ros-Lehtinen’s diatribe specifically is entitled UNSC Resolution 2334. I put up a post about it on December 24 that contains its full text. The measure expresses “grave concern” that settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.” It also:

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

For Ros-Lehtinen, however, UNSC Resolution 2334 was nothing more than an execrable attempt to “delegitimize” Israel–and all the more reason why swift passage by Congress of HR 11 was needed to repudiate it!

This resolution, Mr. speaker, will not undo the damage that has been done at the Security Council, but it sends an important  message to the world that the United States Congress resoundingly, and in a strong bipartisan manner, disapproves of the vote taken on resolution 2334, and it sends a warning to the nations that will gather in Paris next week to discuss the peace process that there will be repercussions if there is a move to introduce a parameters resolution before the 20th and in an effort to further isolate Israel. Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel,  has been under constant attack by the United Nations. Abu Mazen and the Palestinians have pushed a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, to achieve unilateral statehood recognition.

For some reason–I’m not quite sure why–the sight of Ros-Lehtinen primping and then fulminating at the podium brought to mind a picture I once saw of an economically-impoverished elderly woman kissing a bird.

beauty

I first came across this image several years ago in a poem posted by Nahida the exiled Palestinian, whose website, Poetry for Palestine, can be found here. Her poem is entitled “Beauty.”  It is not a lengthy poem at all. In fact, it contains a mere five very short, but very powerful, lines:

Sometimes, beauty is mistakenly understood;
Assuming that
If someone is beautiful, they are always good,
When truth is
When someone is good, they are always beautiful.

The woman whose picture accompanies the poem is beautiful in a way that Ros-Lehtinen is not. In addition to berating the Security Council, the Florida congresswoman also attacked the UN Human Rights Council.

“We’ve seen it at  the Human Rights Council where Israel is constantly demonized  and falsely accused of human rights violations while the real abusers of human rights go unpunished because that body has utterly failed to uphold its mandate,” she insisted. “This is a body that allows the worst abusers of human rights–like Cuba, Venezuela, and China–to actually sit in judgement of human rights worldwide. What a pathetic joke!”

It’s interesting that Ros-Lehtinen would single out Cuba, Venezuela, and China as being among “the worst abusers of human rights,” while saying nothing–zip–zero–about Saudi Arabia, a country that executes people by beheading and which currently holds the chair of the Human Rights Council.

 photo syrianchildren.jpg“Yet the only thing they can agree on is to attack Israel,” the congresswoman blubbered on, “the only democracy in the Middle East and the only place in the region where human rights are protected.”

Exceptions were taken to other UN deliberative bodies  as well.

“We’ve seen this scheme to delegtimize Israel at the General Assembly where in its closing legislative session, the General Assembly passed twenty–twenty–anti-Israel resolutions and only four combined for the entire world!” Ros-Lehtinen bellowed.

“These institutions have no credibility, and now we have the unfortunate circumstance of the White House deciding to abstain from this anti-Israel, one-sided resolution at the Security Council,” she added. “Our ally was abandoned, and credibility and momentum were given to the Palestinians’ schemes to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, and while the damage has been done, Mr. Speaker, by this act of cowardice at the Security Council, we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage.”

What exactly she meant by “we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage” is unclear. Possibly the Trump administration has some plan to introduce a new measure at the UN. In any event, Ros-Lehtinen clearly seems to be a person of both inner and outer ugliness–though of course she is not the only member of Congress with such attributes. Perhaps the most groveling speech of all those given in Congress on January 5 was that delivered by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The cornerstone of our special relationship with Israel has always been right here in Congress, this institution,” said Ryan. “The heart of our democracy has stood by the Jewish state through thick and thin. We were there for her when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv; we were there for her by passing historic legislation to combat the boycott divestment and sanctions movement; and we’ve been there for her by ensuring Israel has the tools to defend herself against those who seek her destruction.”

“I am stunned! I am stunned!” the House speaker continued, “at what happened last month! This government, our government, abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most! Do not be fooled. This UN Security Council resolution was not about settlements, and it certainly was not about peace. It was about one thing and one thing only. Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish democratic state. These types of one-sided efforts are designed to isolate and delegitimize Israel. They do not advance peace, they make it more elusive.”

If Ryan was the supreme groveler in the debate, Royce would probably have to rank a close second. One thing which seemed terribly to incense the California congressman about the Security Council resolution is that it doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to steal East Jerusalem.

“This dangerous resolution effectively states that the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, are in the words of the resolution ‘occupied territory.’ Why would we not veto that?” asked Royce.

“It also lends legitimacy to efforts by the Palestinian authority to put pressure on Israel through the UN rather than to go through the process of engaging in direct negotiations, and it puts wind in the sails of the shameful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” he added.

gzmrg4Royce also claimed that Israel, not Occupied Palestine, is suffering “bullying and harassment.” That may sound like the statement of someone living in a parallel universe, but it is a view shared by New York Congressman Eliot Engel, one of HR 11’s original cosponsors.

“Throughout its entire history the state of Israel has never gotten a fair shake from the United Nations,” insisted Engel. “Year after year after year member states manipulate the UN to bully our ally Israel, to pile on one-sided resolutions placing all the blame for the ongoing conflict on Israel.”

Even those representatives who spoke in opposition to HR 11, did so while expressing their support for Israel at the same time. One such member was Rep. David Price, a Democrat from North Carolina.

“The fact is, H Res 11 runs a real risk of undermining the US Congress as a proactive force working toward a two-state solution,” Price lamented. ” And in this period of great geopolitical turmoil and uncertainty, we must reaffirm those fundamental aspects of our foreign policy, including our strong and unwavering support for Israel, while also demonstrating to the world that we are committed to a diplomacy that defends human rights and promotes Israeli and Palestinian states  that live side-by-side in peace and security, a formulation that has characterized our country’s diplomacy for decades.”

Another who voted against HR 11 was Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois who is also married to Robert Creamer, the Democrat Party operative who was seen in a Project Veritas video discussing plans to have protestors show up at Trump rallies during the campaign. Schakowsky feels that a little bit of criticism of Israel is allowable at times, and furthermore she holds to this belief as a “proud Jew,” as she stated to her colleagues.

 photo thousandeyes_zps2c4c47c1.jpg“I stand here as a proud Jew and someone who throughout my entire life has been an advocate for the state of Israel, and I am standing here to oppose our H Res 11,” said the Illinois congresswoman. “And as a member of congress I have been committed to maintaining America’s unwavering support for Israel, which has lasted from the very first moments of  Israel’s existence. The US-Israel bond is unbreakable, despite the fact that the United States administrations have not always agreed with the particular policies of an Israeli government.”

Yes, to be sure, our own government and Israel’s have not always seen eye-to-eye, but funny how that never seems to stop the billions in US tax dollars flowing into the Jewish state’s coffers each year. Schakowsky went on:

Presidents from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush have each vetoed, and sometimes voted for, a UN resolution contrary to the wishes of Israel’s government at the time, and only the Obama administration, until two weeks ago, never, ever cast a vote against what Israel wanted. But opposition to the building of settlements on land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war was, with the exception of the land, of course, that’s going to be swapped, agreed to by both parties, has been the official US policy for many decades, contrary, again, to the assertions of H Res 11.  It has also been the policy of the United States to recognize that the only long term solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the violence, the loss of life, is to create two states, one for the Palestinians and one for Israel.

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Exactly how a contiguous Palestinian state is going to be created in a West Bank splotched and dotted with all those settlements, is something Schakowsky left unaddressed. But having voiced a few mild criticisms of Israel, the congresswoman apparently felt an overwhelming need for balance–and so she tossed out a few criticisms of the Palestinians for good measure.

“A two-state solution is the only way Israel can continue as both a democratic and a Jewish state living in peace and security that has eluded her from the very beginning,” she said. “The building of settlements is an obstacle to achieving that goal–and of course settlements aren’t the only obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The US resolution reiterates the Palestinian Authority security forces must continue to counter terrorism and condemn all of the provocations.”

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Provocations? It’s an interesting word when referring to a people who have been resisting land theft and occupation for more years than most of us have been alive. It also gives rise to a question: How is it possible to carry out “provocations” against a country or governmental entity that technically speaking is in all likelihood guilty of the crime of genocide? Of course it’s unlikely you’ll get an honest answer to that question from Schakowsky or any other member of Congress.

At any rate, HR 11–a resolution which not only impugns the Security Council but even criticizes the United States–passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-80, with 4 abstentions. You can go here to see  the roll call on the vote.

It was Jeffrey Blankfort who first coined the old saying about Washington being Israel’s “most important occupied territory.” I think it was sometime back in the late eighties or the nineties when Jeffrey made that comment, and if anything, over the years, it has become more profoundly true than ever.

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