Kitos War: Barbaric jewish history from the 1st and 2nd centuries

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitos_War

The Kitos War (115–117; Hebrew: מרד הגלויות‎: mered ha’galuyot or mered ha’tfutzot [מרד התפוצות]; translation: rebellion of the diaspora. Latin: Tumultus Iudaicus) occurred during the period of the Jewish–Roman wars, 66–136. While the majority of the Roman armies were fighting Trajan’s Parthian War on the eastern border of the Roman Empire, major uprisings by ethnic Judeans in Cyrenaica, Cyprus and Egypt spiraled out of control, resulting in a widespread slaughter of left behind Roman garrisons and Roman citizens by Jewish rebels. Some of the areas with the heaviest massacres were left so utterly annihilated that others were made to settle these areas to prevent the absence of any remaining presence. The rebellions were finally crushed by Roman legionary forces, chiefly by the Roman general Lusius Quietus, whose nomen later gave the conflict its title, as “Kitos” is a later corruption of Quietus

Background[edit]

Tension between the Jewish population of the Roman Empire and the Greek and Roman populations mounted over the course of the 1st century CE, gradually escalating with various violent events, mainly throughout Judea (Iudaea), where parts of the Judean population occasionally erupted into violent insurrections against the Roman Empire. Several incidents also occurred in other parts of the Roman Empire, most notable the Alexandria pogroms, targeting the large Jewish community of Alexandria in the province of Egypt.

The escalation of tensions finally erupted as the Great Revolt of Judea, which began in the year 66 CE. It erupted initially due to Greek and Jewish religious tensions, but later escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens.[1] The Roman military garrison of Judea was quickly overrun by rebels and the pro-Roman king Herod Agrippa II fled Jerusalem, together with Roman officials to Galilee. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. The legion, however, was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The Roman command of the revolt’s suppression was then handed to general Vespasian and his son Titus, who assembled four legions and began advancing through the country, starting with Galilee, in the year 67 CE. The revolt ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, and defeated the remaining Jewish strongholds later on.

Revolt and warfare[edit]

In 115, the emperor Trajan was in command of the eastern campaign against the Parthian Empire. The Roman invasion had been prompted by the imposition of a pro-Parthian king on the throne of Armenia after a Parthian invasion of that land. This encroachment on the traditional sphere of influence of the Roman Empire — the two empires had shared hegemony over Armenia since the time of Nero some 50 years earlier — could only lead to war.

As Trajan’s army advanced victoriously through Mesopotamia, Jewish rebels in its rear began attacking the small garrisons left behind. A revolt in far off Cyrenaica soon spread to Egypt and then Cyprus, inciting revolt in Judea. A widespread uprising centered at Lydda threatened grain supplies from Egypt to the front. The Jewish insurrection swiftly spread to the recently conquered provinces. Cities with substantial Jewish populations – Nisibis, Edessa, Seleucia, Arbela – joined the rebellion and slaughtered their small Roman garrisons.

Cyrenaica[edit]

In Cyrenaica, the rebels were led by one Lukuas or Andreas, who called himself “king” (according to Eusebius of Caesarea). His group destroyed many temples, including those to Hecate, Jupiter, Apollo, Artemis, and Isis, as well as the civil structures that were symbols of Rome, including the Caesareum, the basilica, and the public baths.

The 4th century Christian historian Orosius records that the violence so depopulated the province of Cyrenaica that new colonies had to be established by Hadrian:

“The Jews … waged war on the inhabitants throughout Libya in the most savage fashion, and to such an extent was the country wasted that, its cultivators having been slain, its land would have remained utterly depopulated, had not the Emperor Hadrian gathered settlers from other places and sent them thither, for the inhabitants had been wiped out.”[2]

Dio Cassius states of Jewish insurrectionaries:

“‘Meanwhile the Jews in the region of Cyrene had put one Andreas at their head and were destroying both the Romans and the Greeks. They would cook their flesh, make belts for themselves of their entrails, anoint themselves with their blood, and wear their skins for clothing. Many they sawed in two, from the head downwards. Others they would give to wild beasts and force still others to fight as gladiators. In all, consequently, two hundred and twenty thousand perished. In Egypt, also, they performed many similar deeds, and in Cyprus under the leadership of Artemio. There, likewise, two hundred and forty thousand perished. For this reason no Jew may set foot in that land, but even if one of them is driven upon the island by force of the wind, he is put to death. Various persons took part in subduing these Jews, one being Lusius, who was sent by Trajan.”[3]

The original 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia cited this about the Cyrene massacres:

“By this outbreak Libya was depopulated to such an extent that a few years later new colonies had to be established there (Eusebius, “Chronicle” from the Armenian, fourteenth year of Hadrian). Bishop Synesius, a native of Cyrene in the beginning of the fifth century, speaks of the devastations wrought by the Jews (“Do Regno,” p. 2).”[4]

The Jewish Encyclopedia acknowledges Dio Cassius’s importance as a source, though believes his accounts of the actions at Cyrene and on Cyprus may have been embellished:

“For an account of the Jewish war under Trajan and Hadrian Dion is the most important source (lxviii. 32, lxix. 12–14), though his descriptions of the cruelties perpetrated by the Jews at Cyrene and on the island of Cyprus are probably exaggerated.”[5]

Egypt[edit]

Then Lukuas, leader of rebel Jews, moved towards Alexandria, entered the city, which had been abandoned by the Roman troops in Egypt under the leadership of governor Marcus Rutilius Lupus, and set fire to the city. The Egyptian temples and the tomb of Pompey were destroyed. Jewish rebels reportedly also prevailed in a battle at Hermopolis in 116, as indicated in a papyrus.[6]

Trajan sent new troops under the praefectus praetorio Marcius Turbo, but Egypt and Cyrenaica were pacified only in autumn 117.

Cyprus[edit]

In Cyprus a Jewish band under a leader named Artemion took control of the island, killing tens of thousands of Cypriot Greek civilians. The Cypriot Jews participated in the great uprising against the Romans under Trajan (117), and massacred 240,000 Greeks.[3][7] A Roman army was dispatched to the island, soon reconquering the capital. After the revolt had been fully defeated, laws were created forbidding any Jews to live on the island.

Mesopotamia[edit]

A new revolt sprang up in Mesopotamia, while Trajan was in the Persian Gulf. Trajan reconquered Nisibis (Nusaybin in Turkey), the capital of Osroene Edessa, and Seleucia (Iraq), each of which housed large Jewish communities.

A pro-Roman son of the Parthian king Osroes I, named Parthamaspatas, had been brought on the expedition as part of the emperor’s entourage. Trajan had him crowned in Ctesiphon as king of the Parthians. “Trajan, fearing that the Parthians, too, might begin a revolt, desired to give them a king of their own. Accordingly, when he came to Ctesiphon, he called together in a great plain all the Romans and likewise all the Parthians that were there at the time; then he mounted a lofty platform, and after describing in grandiloquent language what he had accomplished, he appointed Parthamaspates king over the Parthians and set the diadem upon his head.” (Dio Cassius). With this done, Trajan moved north to take personal command of the ongoing siege of Hatra.

The siege continued throughout the summer of 117, but the years of constant campaigning in the baking eastern heat had taken their toll on Trajan, who suffered a heatstroke. He decided to begin the long journey back to Rome in order to recover. Sailing from Seleucia, the emperor’s health deteriorated rapidly. He was taken ashore at Selinus in Cilicia, where he died, and his successor, Hadrian, assumed the reins of government in 118.

Judea[edit]

Jewish leader Lukuas fled to Judea.[8] Marcius Turbo pursued him and sentenced to death the brothers Julian and Pappus, who had been key leaders in the rebellion. Lusius Quietus, the conqueror of the Jews of Mesopotamia, was now in command of the Roman army in Judea, and laid siege to Lydda, where the rebel Jews had gathered under the leadership of Julian and Pappus. The distress became so great that the patriarch Rabban Gamaliel II, who was shut up there and died soon afterwards, permitted fasting even on Ḥanukkah. Other rabbis condemned this measure.[9] Lydda was next taken and many of the rebellious Jews were executed; the “slain of Lydda” are often mentioned in words of reverential praise in the Talmud.[10] Rebel leaders Pappus and Julian were among those executed by the Romans in the same year.[11]

Lusius Quietus, whom the Emperor Trajan had held in high regard and who had served Rome so well, was quietly stripped of his command once Hadrian had secured the Imperial title. He was murdered in unknown circumstances in the summer of 118, possibly by the orders of Hadrian.

Hadrian took the unpopular, but far-sighted, decision to end the war, abandoning much of Trajan’s eastern conquests and stabilising the eastern borders. Although he abandoned the erstwhile province of Mesopotamia, he installed Parthamaspates – who had been ejected from Ctesiphon by the returning Osroes – as king of a restored Osroene. For a century Osroene would retain a precarious independence as a buffer state, sandwiched between the two empires.

The situation in Judea remained tense for the Romans, who were obliged under Hadrian to permanently move the Legio VI Ferrata into Caesarea Maritima in Judea.

Aftermath[edit]

Further developments occurred in Judea Province in the year 130, when Emperor Hadrian visited the Eastern Mediterranean and, according to Cassius Dio, made the decision to rebuild the city of Jerusalem as the Roman city of Aelia Capitolina, derived from his own name. The decision, together with Hadrian’s other sanctions against the Jews, was allegedly one of the reasons for the eruption of the 132 Bar Kokhba revolt — an extremely violent uprising. The rebellion ended with a ban upon the Jewish faith across the Roman Empire, which was lifted in 138, upon Hadrian’s death.

 

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The Israeli spy company which protected Weinstein operates in London; Britain must investigate its activities

The Israeli spy company which protected Weinstein operates in London; Britain must investigate its activities

Source: Middle East Monitor

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the story was the paranoid raving of the strangest of conspiracy theorists, but it’s true; alleged multiple-rapist and disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein really did hire former agents of Israel’s Mossad spy agency to snoop on his accusers and on journalists who were planning to report the story that has rocked the world since the start of October.

In a long and meticulous investigative report published by The New Yorker earlier this month, journalist Dylan Farrow broke the news that Weinstein hired Israel’s Black Cube to spy on Rose McGowan – who accuses him of rape – and on Ben Wallace, a reporter at New York magazine whose story on Weinstein was ultimately spiked by his editors.

Hired via Weinstein’s lawyer — to ensure the secrecy provided by attorney-client privilege — the Israeli firm went to extreme lengths to get dirt on McGowan. According to The New Yorker report, the firm dispatched a former Israeli military officer to pose as a women’s rights activist, whilst hinting to Wallace that she also had an allegation to make against Weinstein.

The women used the false name “Diana Filip” and gained McGowan’s trust while pressing her subtly for information. According to the report, her employer, Black Cube, seemed to have obtained half of a draft manuscript of a book on which McGowan was working. Weinstein appeared to be after any information that could discredit McGowan, or that could be used against her in any future court case. The actress first came out publicly with some of her allegations to The New York Times in October.

The Black Cube spy was named soon afterwards by the Mail Online as Stella Penn Pechanac, apparently a former air force officer and small-time actor.

When she recounted her experiences with Weinstein, “it seemed like soap-opera acting,” recalled Wallace when speaking to The New Yorker’s Dylan Farrow. Over the course of two meetings, Wallace explained, he grew suspicious of the woman’s motives. With the journalist, Pechanac used the name “Anna” but he and McGowan both identified her from the same photo shown to them by Farrow.

According to Wallace, “Anna” was pumping him for information “about the status and scope of my inquiry, and about who I might be talking to, without giving me any meaningful help or information.”

Black Cube’s website advertises the company as a “select group of veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units” and boasts proudly of having former killers and spies as current members of its board, including the former head of Israel’s National Security Council, Giora Eiland, and (somewhat bizarrely) “the late Meir Dagan,” the former head of the country’s Mossad spy agency.

 

Mossad logo [Wikipedia]Mossad logo [Wikipedia]

Although The New Yorker reported that documents it had obtained proved that Black Cube invoiced Weinstein for $600,000, the Mail Online claimed that the amount may have been much higher.For once, words really do fail me. The level of deceit, immorality and mercenary vindictiveness required for this company to agree to such a contract is staggering.

In 2016, well before naming Weinstein in the US press this year, McGowan tweeted information which – without naming him explicitly– identified Weinstein indirectly as “my rapist”. It may have been this which prompted him to unleash private investigators onto her.

Once exposed — to much public disapprobation — as having worked for a man alleged to have sexually harassed as many as 100 women – including 18 alleged rapes – Black Cube issued a rather weak non-apology. “In retrospect, it’s a shame we took the job,” Black Cube board member and former Tel Aviv University Professor Asher Tishler told Israeli news media. However, he defended working with Weinstein, claiming that “the job was taken in a justified manner.” He claimed that the money paid to the company for spying on a woman allegedly raped by the Hollywood producer would now be given “to women’s groups”.

Black Cube’s claims of good faith have absolutely no credibility whatsoever. Talk of Weinstein’s abuses had reportedly been an “open secret” in Hollywood for decades.

What’s more, as journalist Max Blumental points out, Weinstein has a long record of financial and political support for Israeli causes. Indeed, it was former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – once of the Israeli Labour Party and with a prison sentence for fraud and bribery on his record – who first recommended Black Cube to Weinstein and apparently made the introductions.

Black Cube has offices in Tel Aviv, Paris and London. Given the company’s admission that it worked on a disgustingly unethical project to protect the man who may well turn out to be Hollywood’s biggest sexual predator ever, it is surely time for the British and French authorities to investigate the “business” activities of this mercenary spy agency. What else, we need to know, is Black Cube up to?

Palestinian torture survivors hunt ghosts of their past

Palestinian torture survivors hunt ghosts of their past

Jesse Rubin The Electronic Intifada 14 November 2017

Six men wearing hoods in a dark room are put in various stress positions while a seventh man wearing a guard's uniform stands next to one of them
A scene from Raed Andoni’s Ghost Hunting.

Somewhere in Ramallah, footsteps echo against the concrete of an empty warehouse basement. Raed Andoni guides a handcuffed and hooded man into a cavernous, gray room, his hand on the man’s shoulder.

“Here?” Andoni asks the hooded man, whose sight is blocked and hearing muffled.

“Yes,” the man replies, and Andoni lifts off the hood to reveal Mohammed Khattab, family man and former political prisoner.

Khattab, or Abu Atta, is a warm and fatherly figure, calm despite deeply repressed trauma from his time in prison, as the film reveals.

He exhales, looks at Andoni and the two men share a smile – not between jailer and jailed, but between comrades – in contradiction to the tension built to this point in the film.

So opens Ghost Hunting, director Raed Andoni’s latest genre-blurring feature which abandons standard portrayals of interrogation and imprisonment for an understated glimpse into the chaos that occupies and sometimes consumes prisoners’ minds.

The loose narrative depicts Abu Atta’s real encounters with the cruelty of Israel’s penitentiary system. But when the director cuts, the camera keeps rolling.

Moving between fiction and documentary, Ghost Hunting leaves room for its subjects to simultaneously express their deepest emotions from within the safety of fiction and also display their enduring trauma. Merging the two genres together translates the prisoners’ anxieties to the viewer; visually, it portrays an inability to distinguish a nightmare from being awake.

A very Palestinian experience

While familiar to the incarcerated everywhere, the film specifically speaks to the experience of the more than 800,000 Palestinians who have passed through Israeli detention, jail and prison.

First released at the Berlin International Film Festival or Berlinale in February this year, where it won first prize for best documentary, Ghost Hunting made its way to Washington, DC in October, where it showed at a sold-out opening night at the seventh annual DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival.

After the screening, Randa Wahbe, a former international advocacy officer at Addameer, a Palestinian human rights group, spoke about solidarity with Palestinians prisoners tried by Israeli military courts, where the conviction rate is more than 99 percent.

Palestinian prisoners are frequently tortured, psychologically and physically, held in interrogation for up to 75 days and often denied access to a lawyer for the majority of that time, said Wahbe. The film reveals the “depth of what happens [behind the statistics] and how long it stays with the prisoner.”

The effect on Palestinian society has been devastating, she added.

“This is exactly why incarceration is used as a tool of colonization and as a tool of occupation,” Wahbe told The Electronic Intifada. “It is an effective tool at trying to break down social structures.”

Ghost Hunting shows the minute pressures exerted by the system of incarceration which, she said, succeeds when it breaks the spirit of prisoners.

“The solidarity and the community that’s built,” as well as the individual resistance of the mind, is “a way to remember why they’re in prison, that they’re fighting for their nation and that is really what is at the center of it,” according to Wahbe.

Searching for Ghosts

Andoni assembled a cast entirely of former prisoners by placing a small ad in a Ramallah newspaper, he explains in the film. The ad sought former prisoners with some experience in architecture, general contracting or acting.

The viewer sees the casting process in one of the first scenes; Andoni sits on one side of a flimsy white desk interrogating ex-prisoners on their experiences the way an Israeli agent might press a current prisoner about their political affiliations.

The camera never leaves the gray room; it bears witness as former political prisoners, among them Mohammed Khattab, Atef al-Akhras, Adnan al-Hatab, Abdallah Moubarak, Ramzi Maqdisi and Andoni himself, rebuild from collective memory the infamous interrogation center in Jerusalem’s Russian Compound.

Their political affiliations are deliberately left out. With between 15 to 20 percent of the Palestinian population “at least jailed once,” said Andoni, “the reasons are not important.”

Andoni was born in Ramallah in 1967, the same year Israel occupied the West Bank. In 1985, he was arrested by Israeli soldiers and taken from his Beit Sahour home near Bethlehem to the Russian Compound.

Charged with belonging to a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a young Andoni was interrogated, tortured and imprisoned for a year – an experience that he said will never leave him.

Making Ghost Hunting was therefore not a question of “how” or “why” but “when,” Andoni said.

“This issue has been living with me since I was arrested at the age of 18, so the story is part of my unconscious behavior – like something living inside of me,” he told The Electronic Intifada. “As a filmmaker, as an artist, I think it’s about time to express these deep emotions that I experienced.”

Freedom of the mind

Not without a sense of humor, Andoni recalls the feeling of physical imprisonment, noting that for one year the only freedom he found was in his imagination.

“My first lesson in cinema was in that interrogation center,” he joked. “I thank the Israelis for teaching me cinema.”

Andoni says the idea for the film came as part of an effort to confront his trauma.

“I asked myself what could happen if I brought a group of ex-prisoners [together] and asked them to rebuild the interrogation center,” he said.

“But the moment the film started and I started to meet the characters, my script [became] useless.”

The former prisoners – including Maqdisi, the only professional actor in the group, who himself spent a year in prison – bring their own insight to Ghost Hunting.

Much of the film shows the process of drawing, planning and physically reconstructing the interrogation center under the quiet direction of Abu Atta.

When Adnan al-Hatab finishes reconstructing one of the cells, he calls over Abu Atta to examine the shade of gray of the cell’s interior.

Abu Atta approves the color and squeezes into a cell with barely enough room for a man to stand and turn around in. In what seems to be a playful gesture, he hunches down and smiles at the camera. But this is the kind of cell, the viewer is reminded, where Abu Atta spent 19 days of interrogation and torture.

Ghost Hunting has many such scenes, where the brutality of imprisonment is the underlying context but not the story.

Prisoners yesterday, comrades today

Man looking at camera is seen from chest up
Raed Andoni

Searching for this specific balance would have been impossible, Andoni said, if he was not an ex-prisoner himself. Forging relationships with his subjects was easier because he was not an outsider, both in regards to prison but also based on his own participation as a character in the film.

“[The cast] don’t feel that I’m a stranger, that they have to explain to me what prison is,” he told The Electronic Intifada. “We are already in front of that; that is behind us.”

Acquainted with the varied perceptions of prisoners within larger Palestinian society, Andoni said from the beginning he never approached the cast as victims “who need a kind of therapy … I would not do such a film.”

“We are all survivors who went through an extraordinary experience,” he told The Electronic Intifada. “This film was done with the pride of sharing … not with victimizing.”

In fact, the victim narrative so often applied to Palestinians undermines the collective struggle for liberation, the director argued.

“I think to free Palestine first we have to free our souls and believe in ourselves; if internally we are free, freeing the land is a matter of time,” he said.

“[If] we start to see ourselves as the victims, begging for support and help and money and funds, I think this is a kind of occupation of the soul.”

Weaponizing “tolerance”

The only scene that is entirely fictionalized in the film is one in which Anbar Ghannan, playing an Israeli interrogator, makes sexual advances on Ramzi Maqdisi, playing Ghannan, who was an actual victim of sexual assault by an Israeli guard.

Where one might expect this to be a commentary on how Israel markets itself as the only safe place for LGBTQ individuals in the region while simultaneously weaponizing the notion in the form of sexual assault – the scene has implications far deeper than criticism of this hypocrisy.

As the tension builds, a defiant Maqdisi finally breaks the nerve of the interrogator when he asks: “How does your fiancée stand you?”

At this, he is beaten and pushed against the wall, fiction becomes reality, as the participants later explain, and the real Ghannan must be restrained in order to keep from hurting the real Maqdisi.

In a subsequent scene, a more relaxed Ghannan explains that the dramatization became, for a moment, too real when “[Ramzi] provoked me by talking about my fiancée.”

Someone off-screen points out that the insult was directed at him, not his fiancée.

“I’ll get married before the film is screened,” Ghannan quips and the characters in the film laugh.

The harrowing scene was not, Andoni said, meant as a commentary on Israeli brutality but a celebration of Palestinian resistance. He called it the psychology of survivors.

“Palestinian society in general is a society of survivors because that’s what we do. We make a lot of jokes.”

The film, Andoni added, is intended to shine a spotlight on the “Palestinian soul.”

Palestinians, he said, “are fighters. They are survivors and they are humans. They are nice and kind and simple and sophisticated.”

“This is how we are.”

Jesse Rubin is a freelance journalist from New York. Twitter: @JesseJDRubin.

YNET Israeli News: Stalin’s Jews — We Mustn’t Forget that Some of Greatest Murderers of modern times were jewish

YNET Israeli News: 

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

Click on image for article.

https://socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/hexagram-star-of-david-or-star-of-lucifer/

Revelation 2:9 – …. and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/putin-first-soviet-government-was-mostly-jewish/

The Synagogue of Satan rules the world. Click on image for article.

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/221671340/content?start_page=1&view_mode=&access_key=key-2osklblh8hhpxgmckdlk

 

israel’s Rogue Arms Trade

by Jonathan Cook

Israel has not divulged details of its ties to Myanmar's military government, but public records show that it has sold the military there armed patrol boats, guns and surveillance equipment [File: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

Israel has not divulged details of its ties to Myanmar’s military government, but public records show that it has sold the military there armed patrol boats, guns and surveillance equipment [File: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

Human rights activists are stepping up efforts to expose Israel’s long and covert history of supplying weapons and military training to regimes while they actively commit massacres, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The issue of Israel’s trade with rogue regimes has been thrust into the spotlight again after revelations that it is sending weapons to Myanmar, in defiance of a US and European arms embargo.

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar was condemned last month by the United Nations for conducting what it called a “textbook ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are reported to have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in recent weeks, after evidence of the torching of entire villages, massacres and systematic rapes.

Israel has not divulged details of its ties to Myanmar’s military government, but public records show that it has sold the military there armed patrol boats, guns and surveillance equipment. Myanmar’s special forces have also been trained by Israelis.

Human rights groups are set to stage a protest outside Israel’s parliament on October 30, calling for an immediate halt to the weapons sales to Myanmar.

Israeli firms have also broken with the United States and Europe by supplying weapons and surveillance equipment to militias in South Sudan, where a civil war has raged since late 2013. Some 300,000 Sudanese are believed to have been killed in the fighting.

Eitay Mack, a human rights lawyer, has submitted a spate of petitions to the Israeli courts in an attempt to bring to light details of Israel’s trade with such regimes. He said the cases were designed to hasten war crimes investigations of the officials and contractors involved.

“Many Western states sell arms, but what’s unique about Israel is that, wherever war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed, you find Israel is present,” Mack told Al Jazeera.

“The companies selling the weapons, and the officials who quietly approve the trade, must be held accountable. Otherwise, why would this ever stop?”

Clandestine practice

Mack said that Israel’s collusion with Myanmar’s military was part of a pattern of aiding rogue regimes that went back decades and reflected the importance of the arms trade to Israel’s economy.

Over the summer, it was revealed that Israeli defence officials approve 99.8 percent of all requests for arms export licences.

As well as fuelling the current violence in Myanmar and South Sudan, Israel has been accused of clandestinely providing arms used in notorious past episodes of genocide and ethnic cleansing in places such as Rwanda, the Balkans, Chile, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Israel also cultivated close ties to apartheid South Africa, Mack noted.

Yair Auron, a genocide researcher at Israel’s Open University, said that Israel’s supply of weapons to regimes such as Myanmar should be compared to the sending of arms to Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

“These sales turn me and all Israelis into criminals, because they are sent in our name,” he told Al Jazeera. “We are abetting genocide.”

Efforts by human rights groups to shed light on Israel’s collusion with Myanmar have so far been frustrated by Israeli authorities and the courts.

The Haaretz daily accused Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman of “lying” when he claimed in parliament last month that Israel’s policy in Myanmar accorded with that of the “enlightened world”.

Officials refused to disclose information of arms exports to the military government during a hearing at Israel’s Supreme Court last month on a petition to halt the sales. Lawyers for the state insisted on closed-door sessions when discussing relations with Myanmar.

The three judges hearing the case issued a gag order to prevent publication of their decision, widely assumed to have approved the continuation of arms sales. They justified the blackout on the grounds that publicity risked damaging Israel’s foreign relations.

Late last year, the same court rejected a petition demanding that officials release documents showing Israel’s role in arming Serbian forces that carried out massacres of Bosnians in the 1990s.

Campaigners are waiting on hearings in a host of other cases concerning South Sudan, Rwanda, Chile, Haiti and Argentina.

In August, Israeli officials argued before the Supreme Court that its exports to militias in South Sudan were “lawful”.

Evidence suggests that Israel sold rifles and surveillance equipment to militias and the army in South Sudan. A UN report found that the Israeli-made Ace and Galil rifles were in widespread use there. 

‘No oversight’

Next week, the Supreme Court is due to hear a petition on Israel’s involvement in Rwanda, where it reportedly armed Hutus who carried out genocidal attacks against Tutsis.

Mack noted that there were a handful of officials in the Israeli Defence Ministry overseeing some 400,000 annual permits issued for weapons sales. “That means in practice, there is no oversight at all,” he said.

Israeli companies, meanwhile, are authorised to sell arms to some 130 countries, though activists say there are other states with which Israel deals covertly.

Israel is the only major weapons exporter that has consistently bucked the global trend of a downturn in arms sales. In March, it was reported that Israel’s weapons trade in 2016 was worth some $6.5bn, up from $5.7bn the year before. That included a 70 percent jump in sales to Africa.

If countries want the best arms, then they probably go to the US and Europe. But when no one else will sell to you, then you turn to Israel.

John Brown, investigative journalist

African states accused of widespread human rights abuses were among more than 100 countries that attended the annual Israel Defence Exhibition, a weapons trade fair, in June.

Despite its tiny size, Israel is believed to be the sixth biggest arms exporter in the world – and the largest one per capita.

That has made arms sales integral to the Israeli economy, accounting for possibly as much as 8 percent of gross domestic product. As many as 100,000 Israeli households are reported to be dependent on the arms industry.

John Brown, an investigative journalist with the Haaretz newspaper who writes under a pseudonym, said there was a long history of what he called “Uzi diplomacy” – referring to the Israeli sub-machine gun that became a favourite with security forces around the world from the 1960s onwards.

“If countries want the best arms, then they probably go to the US and Europe. But when no one else will sell to you, then you turn to Israel,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The benefits for Israel are not just measured in money. Often even more important are the diplomatic and strategic alliances Israel can gain from this arms trade.”

A conduit for drones

Mack said that mounting international outrage over the plight of Myanmar’s Muslim minority provided an opportunity to shine a light on Israel’s long role in supporting regimes in the midst of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

In what sounded like a rare rebuke to Israel, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said last month: “Any country that is currently providing weapons to the Burmese military should suspend these activities until sufficient accountability measures are in place.”

Although the Israeli courts have blocked access to documents that could shed light on what arms have gone to Myanmar, activists have been able to identify some dealings from open sources

In September 2015, Min Aung Hlaing, the commander of Myanmar’s army, posted on social media details of a “shopping trip” to Israel that included visits to leading Israeli weapons manufacturers and a meeting with the Israeli military’s chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkott.

A year later, Michael Ben Baruch, an Israeli defence ministry official in charge of exports, visited Myanmar to meet its army’s top brass to sign a deal for patrol boats.

Shortly afterwards, the website of TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli company, posted images of its staff training Myanmar special forces and teaching them how to handle Israeli-made Corner-Shot guns.

Other analysts have suggested that Israel has also been acting as a conduit for Chinese weapons, including drones, to Myanmar, allowing Beijing to bypass the embargo.

“There is no statute of limitations on war crimes and crimes against humanity, so we will keep putting Israeli officials under pressure till the trade stops,” Mack said. “They will have to endure a regular ‘walk of shame’ in the courts, forcing them to explain their policies and why the documents remain secret.”

He noted that Israel’s success in arms dealing was intimately tied to five decades of its control over the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Israeli companies exploit Israel’s long experience there to sell arms, arguing that the weapons and training have been tested in real-world conditions.”

Brown said that Israel appeared to be indifferent towards the victims of the violence it helped to stoke. This was especially evident during the so-called “Dirty War” in Argentina, through much of the 1970s, when 30,000 left-wing activists were “disappeared”, he said. Israel is believed to have supplied the military government there with some $700m in weapons. 

“Of those killed, probably some 2,000 were Argentinian Jews,” he said. “Israel knew that the weapons it was selling were being turned on Jews, but that did not stop it selling arms. It simply didn’t care.”

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israel doing nothing to stop attacks on churches and mosques

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Stained glass and a statue of the Virgin Mary were among the items destroyed in the latest attack on St. Stephen’s church at Beit Jamal, west of Jerusalem. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Since 2009, at least 53 churches and mosques have been vandalized in present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank.

The vast majority of those cases – 45 – have been closed without any charges against perpetrators.

In all, there have been just nine indictments and seven convictions, according to Israeli government data reported by the newspaper Haaretz. Only eight of the cases remain under investigation.

They were usually dismissed on the grounds of unknown perpetrators.

A lawmaker raised the matter in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, at the request of Tag Meir, an organization that monitors racially motivated crimes.

According to Haaretz, public security minister Gilad Erdan wrote to the lawmaker that the attacks “were perpetrated from various motives, ranging from negligence through mental illness and, in extreme cases, incidents of arson that appear deliberate.”

The newspaper noted that Erdan’s assertion “seems to contradict the fact that most of the cases were closed on the grounds of ‘perpetrator unknown.’”

Moreover, according to Haaretz, all the cases involved arson.

The name of the organization Tag Meir is a play on the Hebrew words tag mehir – or price tag – the term Israeli settlers and extremists have adopted to describe their sometimes lethal attacks on non-Jews and their property, especially Palestinians.

Third attack

In the most recent attack, on 20 September, vandals shattered a statue of the Virgin Mary, broke stained glass and destroyed a cross in St. Stephen’s Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian Monastery west of Jerusalem.

“I was shocked,” the church’s caretaker Father Antonio Scudu told the Catholic News Service. “I didn’t expect to see something like this. The church is always open. If you see what happened, you feel they did it with hate. They smashed everything.”

Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s senior cleric in Palestine, said, “this is not only an act of vandalism but an action against the sacredness of the holy places and the faith of people.”

This was the third attack on Beit Jamal in the past four years, but no arrests have ever been made.

Wadie Abunassar, adviser to the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, condemned the desecration in a post on Facebook .

“We are fed up with repeated attacks on holy places,” Abunassar stated, adding that “anger is not only directed at the aggressors,” but at Israeli authorities which have failed to deal with the phenomenon.

Abunassar told The Electronic Intifada that there was growing public frustration at how the police deal with the incidents, given the small number of cases that have been resolved.

Unchecked incitement

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld has claimed that the incidents are unconnected.

“There have been arrests in previous cases,” he said. “We are looking into this case to see if it was an individual or a group. These are all separate cases.”

While Abunassar does not know if the incidents are done by individuals connected to each other, he points to constant incitement by extremist rabbis inspiring such actions.

He added that these right-wing preachers are not “sufficiently deterred by Israeli law enforcement authorities.”

He recalled one of the more notorious cases, Torat Hamelech or The King’s Torah, a 2009 book by Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur.

The book argues that it is permissible in certain circumstances to kill the non-Jewish children and babies of Israel’s enemies since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”

As a result, the UK banned the entry of Elitzur.

Israeli authorities investigated the pair for incitement, but eventually decided not to charge them.

Amongst other figures who encourage these attacks is Bentzi Gopstein, the head of Lehava, a vigilante group that opposes miscegenation between Jews and Arabs.

In August 2015, Gopstein publicly called for the burning of churches and mosques.

The Vatican urged Israel to charge Gopstein with incitement to violence and terrorism.

Months later, Gopstein wrote an article branding Christians “blood-sucking vampires” and urging their expulsion from the country.

Although bishops have asked to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss these hate crimes, their request has been ignored

israel refuses to stop arms sales to Myanmar despite Rohingya massacre

Israel won’t stop selling munitions to Myanmar

Rohingya Muslim refugees wait for food to be distributed by the Bangladeshi army at Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Rohingya Muslim refugees wait for food to be distributed by the Bangladeshi army at Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli regime will not put an end to its sale of ammunition to Myanmar in light of incontrovertible evidence and United Nations data that the Southeast Asian nation’s military has perpetrated various forms of atrocities, including systematic rape and expulsions, against Rohingya Muslims.

English-language Haaretz daily newspaper reported that a group of human rights activists had filed a petition in the so-called High Court of Justice, demanding an end to the arms sales.

Senior Israeli official Shosh Shmueli, in return, said the court should not interfere in Israel’s foreign relations.

Shmueli’s comments came as Israeli arms companies have sold more than 100 battle tanks, as well as patrol boats and light weapons to the Burmese military in recent years.

Meanwhile, TAR Ideal Concepts has trained Burmese special forces in Myanmar’s restive western state of Rakhine, where a wave of serious communal violence continues unabated.

The Tel Aviv-based company posted pictures on its website in August last year, showing its staff training Myanmar’s forces on combat tactics and how to handle weapons.

The High Court of Justice was set to rule on the petition filed by Eitay Mack along with 10 other activists later on Wednesday.

The judges hearing the case – Yoram Danziger, Anat Baron and David Mintz – issued a gag order on Tuesday regarding the court’s decision on the Myanmar arms sales controversy. The measure was adopted at the request of the Israeli regime.

Rohingya Muslim refugees carry food distributed by the Bangladeshi army at Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Myanmar’s forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

The government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has snubbed and obstructed UN officials who have sought to investigate the situation. The government has prevented aid agencies from delivering food, water and medicines to the refugees.

Suu Kyi has also rejected UN accusations that Myanmar’s forces are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Considering Suu Kyi’s reputation for micromanagement, political analysts say it seems unlikely that the ongoing violence is taking place without her approval.

In early September, peace activists launched an international campaign calling on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to take back its 1991 prize to Suu Kyi over her complicity in what is viewed as the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

 

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