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

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

Netanyahu Trump 2413c

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

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

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

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

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

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

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described the threat “to the whole world” from a “Nuclear-armed Iran”, and how the Iran deal agreed to by Obama must be rescinded.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate

JUNE 27, 2017

Several articles have been published about the “legal limbo” in which Palestinian Jerusalemites exist and proposals as to what Israel ought to do about this 50-year old travesty, among them being righting “the wrong” of denying Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem Israeli citizenship.

In my view, such articles both define the injustice done to Palestinians deceptively and are meant simply to normalize the idea of Palestinian Jerusalemites becoming Israeli citizens, in the same way I might normalize the poll that American Jews are increasingly losing their connection to Israel by writing about it, especially if I were to headline my article “Breaking Taboo”, as Maayan Lubell does, or make the title echo a classified ad for the lovelorn, or question “Jewish identity” by “layering it with complexity” – i.e., by tying it to Israel.

Lubell’s article (Haaretz, Aug 5, 2015) is titled “Breaking Taboo, East Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship: In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.” It begins with this:

“I declare I will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel,” reads the oath that must be sworn by all naturalized Israeli citizens. Increasingly, they are words being uttered by Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed, a move not recognized internationally, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.

While Israel regards the east of the city as part of Israel, the estimated 300,000 Palestinians that live there do not. They are not Israeli citizens, instead holding Israeli-issued blue IDs that grant them permanent resident status. While they can seek citizenship if they wish, the vast majority reject it, not wanting to renounce their own history or be seen to buy into Israel’s 48-year occupation. And yet over the past decade, an increasing number of East Jerusalem Palestinians have gone through the lengthy process of becoming Israeli citizens, researchers and lawyers say.

So what is the reader to conclude from the “and yet” at the end of the quotation above? One way of looking at it is to see “the increasing number” of Palestinian Jerusalemites seeking Israeli citizenship as finally surrendering to the imperative of power and brutal facts on the ground, impelled by an otherwise unlivable life.

Another is to regard these Palestinians as traitors to the Palestinian cause, normalizing and legitimizing their enemy’s power, as there is often the implication in references to Palestinians seeking Israeli citizenship that Jerusalemites, through their applications for such citizenship, are signaling approval for the Israeli state, when in fact they seem to be doing it for practical reasons- so they can acquire some basic rights that Israel otherwise denies them.

A third is to see it from the point of view of Palestinian cartographer Khalil Tafakji – as yet another defeat for the Palestinian Authority in the context of Oslo’s so-called “peace process”.

Tafakji is quoted in this Haaretz report as saying,

“If this continues, what will the Palestinians negotiate about? They want to negotiate on the land – they have already lost the land. They want to negotiate for the population and the population is being lost.”

In other words the Palestinian view that Tafakji expresses is a lose/lose situation, not the win/win one espoused by another Haaretz article on the subject like the following.

Nir Hasson’s article (Haaretz, June 20, 2017) also has clues as to the function of such articles in the Israeli “liberal” media and co-dependent publications like the New York Times. These are often embedded right in the title or subheading – in this case:

“50 Years After Six-Day War, East Jerusalem’s Palestinians Remain Prisoners in Their City: Study shows how ambivalent Israeli policies and denial of the problem have created a status that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth: Native-born residents who are not citizens of the state in whose capital they live.”

One glance at the word “capital” in the subheading frames it all for us, hasbara style. What may lull the suspicions of the unwary reader is that the piece does, in fact, highlight the severe problems created for Palestinians by Israeli policies of judaization in the expanded municipality of Jerusalem. But in the end, this kind of article is Israeli “self-criticism” of the worst kind, meant to play games with one’s head.

The subtext you may miss is that, similar to the past and ongoing judaization of Israel proper, the goal behind Israel’s policies in Jerusalem is to create, expand and preserve the Zionist Jewish state.
Hasson describes Israeli policy in 1967 in East Jerusalem, when the population was 60,000, as follows:

The [Israeli] ministers assumed that, as in 1948, when a large number of Arabs likewise didn’t get automatic citizenship, over time the East Jerusalemites would request citizenship – an option granted only to them and not to other West Bank residents – and integrate into Israeli society. The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan, and the unwillingness of Israeli society to absorb a large Palestinian population …. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the ties East Jerusalemites had to the West Bank and allowed them to vote for the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. This made their legal status even more complicated: permanent residents of the State of Israel with Jordanian travel papers and the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections.

Notice the telling phrase in the above that is the blind spot of Zionism: “The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan.” It totally disregards the strong ties of Palestinian Arabs to an Arab Jerusalem, to an Arab Palestine, ties Israel has not succeeded in breaking seventy years after its establishment on a territory of Palestine as a settler-colonial Zionist Jewish state against the wishes of its native inhabitants.

Hasson goes on to say:

Another expression of the relatively enlightened policy of the early years was a law, finally passed in 1973, that enabled East Jerusalemites to be compensated for property they abandoned in western Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence, similar to the rights of Jews to get back the property they had to abandon in East Jerusalem during that same war. In the end, the compensation offered was paltry and very few Palestinians tried to claim it. But the debates on the law at least demonstrated an effort to right the wrong…. In recent years there has been considerable talk about the “Israelization” of East Jerusalemites, as reflected in the labor market, the desire to study the Israeli curriculum, and the increased number of requests to get full Israeli citizenship.

Again, notice the Israeli-centric formulation and framing. Palestinians are described as having “abandoned” their property in West Jerusalem, when, in fact, they were denied their right of return to their property by Israel.
Palestinians “abandoned” their property; but the reference to Jews is a reference to their “rights.”

Palestinians turned down “compensation” for no other reason than its paltry size, when, in fact, the Palestinian view on this issue is as Canadian professor Michael Lynk describes it in The Right to Compensation in International Law and the Displaced Palestinians”

“Palestinians advance the compensation issue as a right recognized in international law that would obligate Israel to return, or pay for, the refugee properties expropriated or destroyed in 1948 and afterwards. As well, they argue that Israel must pay damages for pain and suffering, and for its use of Palestinian properties over the past five decades

The dominance of Jewish companies in the labor market in East Jerusalem where many Palestinians are employed (See The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration), the agonizing choice some Palestinians make in accepting a school curriculum for their children that denies Palestinian heritage and identity but allows them to get ahead at Israeli universities, and the application for Israeli citizenship (mostly denied by Israel) of a minority of Palestinians are all deceptively framed as “a desire” for “Izraelization” and a path to “correcting the injustice”.

Quoting Amnon Ramon of the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli [not for Palestinian] Studies, Hasson’s article also details the problems that Israel faces as a result of the “limbo” residency arrangement imposed on Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli Government – a “hollow sovereignty”, contributing to “instability and violent outbursts, as well as the international community’s refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy in Jerusalem.”

But ostensibly, the article is concerned with Israel “righting a wrong” by removing the “legal limbo” under which Palestinian Jerusalemites live, claiming that such a path, will not only relieve Israel’s problems, but is also a path to “justice” – justice as defined by Israel, the oppressor, not by the Palestinians themselves, Israel’s victims.

This brings us to the immediate present. On June 25, 2017, the New York Times published a piece by Isabel Kershner titled “50 Years After War, East Jerusalem Palestinians Confront a Life Divided.”

Again, we have to ask: What is Kershner’s point in this one? Is it really a concern for Palestinians whose lives have been “divided” by Israel or is it another deflection from the illegitimate existence of Israel as a Zionist Jewish entity in Palestine?

Even as Israelis mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war, the Palestinians and most of the world consider the eastern half under occupation, and the city remains deeply divided. But after five decades, dealing with Israel has become unavoidable for residents of East Jerusalem.

The deflection in the quotation above is blatant. Dealing with Israel did not “become unavoidable after five decades.” For Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and all other Palestinian Arabs who want to visit or do business there and for Palestinian Arabs denied return to their property there, or those whose property was seized and/or demolished, dealing with Israel became unavoidable the minute Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.

It is true Palestinian culture and day-to-day life has been under severe assault by Israel for a long time – since 1948 to be exact. The 50-year anniversary of Israel’s brutal occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem (see Living Under Israeli Policies of Colonization in Jerusalem) is an occasion to extol and marvel at Palestinian resilience and sumoud (an Arabic word meaning “steadfastness” that has entered the English language, just as the word “intifada” has). It is not an occasion to normalize and indirectly extol “the reunification of Jerusalem,” whose Palestinian Arab population now accounts for 18% of the Palestinian Arab population of Israel.

More articles by:

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

Tulsi Gabbard and the Litmus Test

By Richard Edmondson

Tulsi Gabbard, the US congresswoman from Hawaii who introduced the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” earlier this year, has been winning a lot of accolades (including on this blog) for her opposition to the war in Syria and US efforts to overthrow the country’s president, Bashar Assad. But of course in America, the real measuring stick of any politician, the litmus test if you will, is where they stand on Israel.

Last month I put up a post entitled Blessed Are the Peacemakers that included a video of a Gabbard town hall meeting in her home state as well as a commentary on the situation in Syria. The writer of the commentary, Yvonne Lorenzo, praised Gabbard for publicly condemning Trump’s April 6 missile attack on Syria, an attack which killed at least 14 people. But in response to the article, one of our readers, Robert Stiver, posted a comment about Gabbard’s position, or perhaps more precisely lack of a position, on the ongoing crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Robert lives in Hawaii and says he has contacted Gabbard’s office on a number of occasions–partly to express his support for the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, but also to discuss the Palestine-Israel conflict. With regard to his concerns over the latter, however, the congresswoman has failed to respond in any kind of meaningful manner, he says.

His comment led me to consider reaching out to Gabbard myself. And so I did. Here is the email I sent. You can click on the image to expand it.

I sent the above email to Gabbard on April 20–just over a month ago. I have yet to receive a response.

Ending US aid to Israel might not completely solve the problem in Occupied Palestine, but it would go a long way. There are presently more than 120 Israeli settlements (and countless other “outposts”) on occupied Palestinian land. No logical justification can be mounted for maintaining a program of sending billions of US tax dollars a year to support the Zionist state while these settlements continue to exist. They are all illegal. They have actually been formally declared illegal by the UN Security Council–in a resolution that was adopted in December of last year and that was not vetoed by the Obama administration.

So the justification for ending US aid is there–morally and now, with the passage of the Security Council resolution, even legally–and Gabbard should grab it. But she isn’t. In fact, she is doing almost exactly the opposite.

Not long after Robert posted his comment, another one of our readers, Rene, also posted a comment on Gabbard. In Rene’s view, the House member from Hawaii is not a “peacemaker,” but rather “just another ‘controlled opposition’ member” whose job is to confuse an already confused public. To support this thesis, Rene included a number of links, including to the video below in which Gabbard can be seen speaking at a 2016 event sponsored by the World Values Network. The mission of the World Values Network, according to its website, is “to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, culture, and media, making the Jewish people a light unto the nations.”

In her comments, Gabbard talks about wanting to “stand strong with our ally and partner, Israel,” and then in the same sentence goes on to say she opposes “oppression, persecution, and genocide.” Voicing support for Israel while claiming to have humanitarian concerns of this nature is a shameful and disgraceful display of hypocrisy. As I have pointed out in previous posts, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians probably meets the legal definition of genocide.

On January 5 of this year, the US House of Representatives, by way of response to the Security Council’s declaration of the settlements as illegal, passed House Res. 11 condemning the vote and accusing the UN of being “one-sided and anti-Israel.” Gabbard voted against that measure. However, she has supported an alternate bill, House Res. 23, and even signed on to it as a co-sponsor.

H.R. 23–you can go here to read the text of it–lauds the US-Israel “special relationship” and asserts that the US “remains unwavering” in its commitment to stand by the Zionist state as it meets its “myriad challenges.” These include terrorism as well as “civil conflict in neighboring states and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.” The measure also talks about “shared values of democracy and the rule of law” that supposedly are enjoyed by peoples of the two countries forming the “special relationship,” which leads us to ask: what exactly are these Washington politicians talking about? What commitment to “democracy and the rule of law” can Israel be said to be pursuing when it imposes a blockade/occupation upon some 4.5 million people–people who have no right to vote in Israeli elections? The blockade of Gaza has been going on for 10 years and the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem enters its 50th year this year. With no end in sight. And this is what they refer to as “democracy and the rule of law”?

When Gabbard and the other Congress members who support H.R. 23 talk about “shared values,” are they trying to imply that Americans support apartheid? That we condone bulldozing people’s homes as a form of punishment? H.R. 23 also criticizes the “delegitimization” of Israel. Are these people living on another planet? The answer to that in a way may be yes. For that in a sense is what life in Israeli-occupied Washington is: it’s like living on another planet–in which all the lies of the mainstream media are believed, those who try to tell the truth are labeled as purveyors of fake news, and where boycotting Israel is “anti-Semitic.” Whenever you set foot on this planet you mind becomes automatically enslaved. Gabbard doesn’t seem to be immune from this process.

You can also go here to read about Gabbard’s alleged ties to Bharatiya Janata, or the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party of India. I don’t know enough about the politics of the BJP to comment one way or the other on it, but the article is at least worth reading, and it does discuss Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a BJP member, who has long been said to be intent on forging a closer bond with Israel (maybe he’s jealous of the “special relationship”). The writer also discusses the Hawaii congresswoman’s reputed ties to casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson–something that is also mentioned as well in a second article here. About all I can say to any of this is to repeat what my mother told me when I was growing up: you are known by the company you keep.

A bit more about the World Values Network (WVN) in closing. Each year the group sponsors a “Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.” The video above shows Gabbard speaking at last year’s event. An article about that event can be found here. The article is written by Shmuley Boteach, the so-called “America’s rabbi” who has authored numerous books and is a familiar face on American television. Boteach seems to be affiliated with the WVN in some manner, at least he is featured prominently on the group’s website. At any rate, his article is devoted to giving a full report on last year’s awards gala, offering a summation of remarks made by the different speakers, including Gabbard’s. The congresswoman is spoken of highly, including her service in the US military. Interestingly, it seems Sheldon Adelson was also present at the event. Boteach refers to it overall as an “unforgettable evening” attended by “a who’s who of Jewish philanthropists and defenders of Israel.”

That was last year–the “4th Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.” This year’s event–the 5th Annual Gala–is scheduled to take place tonight, May 21, in New York. I could not ascertain whether Gabbard is returning as a speaker this year, but perhaps not surprisingly Boteach has a new article up. The piece, posted Friday at The Hill, seems to have a two-fold purpose: plugging the event and demonizing Syrian President Bashar Assad at the same time (perhaps the author is hoping to achieve a synergistic effect). At any rate, Boteach seems fixated upon the latest propaganda stew over a “crematorium” supposedly being operated by the Syrian government.

“If the phrase ‘Never again’ is to have any meaning, the United States, Israel, or some other power that stands for morality and against the evils of genocide, must immediately bomb the Syrian crematoria,” he writes.

This is quite ironic given that it seems to be at cross purposes with everything Gabbard was trying to accomplish with her “Stop Arming Terrorists” bill.  Which kind of brings us in a roundabout way back to the subject of the litmus test. How is the congresswoman stacking up? The answer seems to be not too well.

Barcelona Votes to End «Israeli» Occupation & Illegal Settlements

Local Editor

Barcelona City Council passed a historic declaration on Wednesday upholding the right to boycott the “Israeli” entity over its violations of Palestinian rights.

Boycott "Israeli" apartheid protest in Spain

The motion condemns the apartheid entity’s occupation of Palestinian land, calls for the immediate end to the decade-long Gaza blockade and ensures that the city’s public procurement policies exclude companies that profit from “Israel’s” human rights abuses.

It also admonishes the “Israeli” entity for its intransigence in the face of repeated warnings from the international community to stop its illegal colonization of Palestinian land, according to the Catalan daily Ara.

The council recognizes “nonviolent campaigns promoted by Palestinian and international civil society for defending international and human rights law in Palestine” – a clear nod to the BDS movement.

The city joins dozens of Spanish municipalities which have declared themselves “free of ‘Israeli’ apartheid.”

A coalition of Spanish and Catalan boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] groups welcomed the vote.

“We celebrate this victory because we believe it to be a great step forward in raising the awareness of the role of local government in the defense of human rights and in breaking the complicity that inherently bolsters apartheid and the occupation of Palestine,” the groups state.

“This resolution is an institutional recognition of civil society demands for an end to complicity in violations of international law through nonviolent struggle, as practiced by the BDS movement,” the groups add.

The city’s recognition of the right to engage in “Israel” boycott activism, at a time when more European governments move to protect such activism, “is a triumph for free speech and democratic rights in Europe,” said Rafeef Ziadah of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

“It gives further recognition to BDS as an inclusive, inspiring, anti-racist movement rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that upholds the basic principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity,” Ziadah added.

For years, Spanish and Catalan activists had engaged in direct action against academic and cultural partnerships with “Israeli”-backed institutions.

In 2014, dozens of activists occupied the offices of Catalan government representatives to protest a wave of newly signed academic collaboration deals between the autonomous region and the “Israeli” entity.

The action forced the representatives to agree to examine proposals aimed at ensuring the new deals do not benefit institutions and companies that participate in the entity’s occupation.

More than 350 Catalan academics and university staff backed the action, calling for the boycott of “Israeli” academic institutions.

The “Israeli” regime, meanwhile, has expressed worry over the growing popularity of BDS activism in Spain, especially as larger cities such as Barcelona, led by left-wing mayor Ada Colau, vote to support Palestinian rights.

A 2016 cable from the “Israeli” embassy in Spain described “the phenomenon of anti-‘Israeli’ activity in Spain” as “bothersome and worrisome, but in the past was centered in small cities.”

But the cable warned that Barcelona city council members were considering canceling a sister-city agreement with Tel Aviv, according to The Jerusalem Post.

After Wednesday’s city Council Vote, David Bondia Garcia, a professor of international law and president of the Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya, a human rights organization, asserted in the newspaper el Periódico that a break in the twinning agreement with Tel Aviv would be the next logical step.

The Barcelona motion comes just two months after pro-“Israel” groups in Spain filed charges against Palestine solidarity activists for calling on a music festival two years ago to cancel a performer who had used his celebrity to fundraise for the “Israeli” army and to support anti-Palestinian causes.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, called the charges “legal intimidation.”

israel | barcelona | bds | spain | israeli apartheid

Source: EI, Edited by website team

21-04-2017 | 13:02

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” 

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” — UN report

Report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 2017
Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue №1
Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid

UN group cowers to Israeli & US complaints – takes down report finding Israel guilty of apartheid

United Nations

“The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law.”

This report was commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) from authors Mr Richard Falk and Ms Virginia Tiley.

This report examines, based on key instruments of international law, whether Israel has established an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Having established that the crime of apartheid has universal application, that the question of the status of the Palestinians as a people is settled in law, and that the crime of apartheid should be considered at the level of the State, the report sets out to demonstrate how Israel has imposed such a system on the Palestinians in order to maintain the domination of one racial group over others.

A history of war, annexation and expulsions, as well as a series of practices, has left the Palestinian people fragmented into four distinct population groups, three of them (citizens of Israel, residents of East Jerusalem and the populace under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza) living under direct Israeli rule and the remainder, refugees and involuntary exiles, living beyond. This fragmentation, coupled with the application of discrete bodies of law to those groups, lie at the heart of the apartheid regime. They serve to enfeeble opposition to it and to veil its very existence. This report concludes, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, and urges swift action to oppose and end it.


Executive Summary

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.

The analysis in this report rests on the same body of international human rights law and principles that reject anti-Semitism and other racially discriminatory ideologies, including: the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965). The report relies for its definition of apartheid primarily on article II of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973, hereinafter the Apartheid Convention):

The term “the crime of apartheid”, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to… inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.

Although the term “apartheid” was originally associated with the specific instance of South Africa, it now represents a species of crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, according to which:

“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.

Against that background, this report reflects the expert consensus that the prohibition of apartheid is universally applicable and was not rendered moot by the collapse of apartheid in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia).

The legal approach to the matter of apartheid adopted by this report should not be confused with usage of the term in popular discourse as an expression of opprobrium. Seeing apartheid as discrete acts and practices (such as the “apartheid wall”), a phenomenon generated by anonymous structural conditions like capitalism (“economic apartheid”), or private social behaviour on the part of certain racial groups towards others (social racism) may have its place in certain contexts. However, this report anchors its definition of apartheid in international law, which carries with it responsibilities for States, as specified in international instruments.

The choice of evidence is guided by the Apartheid Convention, which sets forth that the crime of apartheid consists of discrete inhuman acts, but that such acts acquire the status of crimes against humanity only if they intentionally serve the core purpose of racial domination. The Rome Statute specifies in its definition the presence of an “institutionalized regime” serving the “intention” of racial domination. Since “purpose” and “intention” lie at the core of both definitions, this report examines factors ostensibly separate from the Palestinian dimension — especially, the doctrine of Jewish statehood as expressed in law and the design of Israeli State institutions — to establish beyond doubt the presence of such a core purpose.

That the Israeli regime is designed for this core purpose was found to be evident in the body of laws, only some of which are discussed in the report for reasons of scope. One prominent example is land policy. The Israeli Basic Law (Constitution) mandates that land held by the State of Israel, the Israeli Development Authority or the Jewish National Fund shall not be transferred in any manner, placing its management permanently under their authority. The State Property Law of 1951 provides for the reversion of property (including land) to the State in any area “in which the law of the State of Israel applies”. The Israel Lands Authority (ILA) manages State land, which accounts for 93 per cent of the land within the internationally recognized borders of Israel and is by law closed to use, development or ownership by non-Jews. Those laws reflect the concept of “public purpose” as expressed in the Basic Law. Such laws may be changed by Knesset vote, but the Basic Law: Knesset prohibits any political party from challenging that public purpose. Effectively, Israeli law renders opposition to racial domination illegal.

Demographic engineering is another area of policy serving the purpose of maintaining Israel as a Jewish State. Most well known is Israeli law conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country. The World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency are vested with legal authority as agencies of the State of Israel to facilitate Jewish immigration and preferentially serve the interests of Jewish citizens in matters ranging from land use to public development planning and other matters deemed vital to Jewish statehood. Some laws involving demographic engineering are expressed in coded language, such as those that allow Jewish councils to reject applications for residence from Palestinian citizens. Israeli law normally allows spouses of Israeli citizens to relocate to Israel but uniquely prohibits this option in the case of Palestinians from the occupied territory or beyond. On a far larger scale, it is a matter of Israeli policy to reject the return of any Palestinian refugees and exiles (totalling some six million people) to territory under Israeli control.

Two additional attributes of a systematic regime of racial domination must be present to qualify the regime as an instance of apartheid. The first involves the identification of the oppressed persons as belonging to a specific “racial group”. This report accepts the definition of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of “racial discrimination” as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. On that basis, this report argues that in the geopolitical context of Palestine, Jews and Palestinians can be considered “racial groups”. Furthermore, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is cited expressly in the Apartheid Convention.

The second attribute is the boundary and character of the group or groups involved. The status of the Palestinians as a people entitled to exercise the right of self determination has been legally settled, most authoritatively by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 2004 advisory opinion on Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. On that basis, the report examines the treatment by Israel of the Palestinian people as a whole, considering the distinct circumstances of geographic and juridical fragmentation of the Palestinian people as a condition imposed by Israel. (Annex II addresses the issue of a proper identification of the “country” responsible for the denial of Palestinian rights under international law.)

This report finds that the strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people is the principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime. It first examines how the history of war, partition, de jure and de facto annexation and prolonged occupation in Palestine has led to the Palestinian people being divided into different geographic regions administered by distinct sets of law. This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance. Different methods are deployed depending on where Palestinians live. This is the core means by which Israel enforces apartheid and at the same time impedes international recognition of how the system works as a complementary whole to comprise an apartheid regime.

Since 1967, Palestinians as a people have lived in what the report refers to as four “domains”, in which the fragments of the Palestinian population are ostensibly treated differently but share in common the racial oppression that results from the apartheid regime. Those domains are:

1. Civil law, with special restrictions, governing Palestinians who live as citizens of Israel;

2. Permanent residency law governing Palestinians living in the city of Jerusalem;

3. Military law governing Palestinians, including those in refugee camps, living since 1967 under conditions of belligerent occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;

4. Policy to preclude the return of Palestinians, whether refugees or exiles, living outside territory under Israel’s control.

Domain 1 embraces about 1.7 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. For the first 20 years of the country’s existence, they lived under martial law and to this day are subjected to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish. That policy of domination manifests itself in inferior services, restrictive zoning laws and limited budget allocations made to Palestinian communities; in restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities; and in the mostly segregated landscape in which Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel live. Palestinian political parties can campaign for minor reforms and better budgets, but are legally prohibited by the Basic Law from challenging legislation maintaining the racial regime. The policy is reinforced by the implications of the distinction made in Israel between “citizenship” (ezrahut) and “nationality” (le’um): all Israeli citizens enjoy the former, but only Jews enjoy the latter. “National” rights in Israeli law signify Jewish-national rights. The struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel for equality and civil reforms under Israeli law is thus isolated by the regime from that of Palestinians elsewhere.

Domain 2 covers the approximately 300,000 Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, who experience discrimination in access to education, health care, employment, residency and building rights. They also suffer from expulsions and home demolitions, which serve the Israeli policy of “demographic balance” in favour of Jewish residents. East Jerusalem Palestinians are classified as permanent residents, which places them in a separate category designed to prevent their demographic and, importantly, electoral weight being added to that of Palestinians citizens in Israel. As permanent residents, they have no legal standing to challenge Israeli law. Moreover, openly identifying with Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory politically carries the risk of expulsion to the West Bank and loss of the right even to visit Jerusalem. Thus, the urban epicentre of Palestinian political life is caught inside a legal bubble that curtails its inhabitants’ capacity to oppose the apartheid regime lawfully.

Domain 3 is the system of military law imposed on approximately 6.6 million Palestinians who live in the occupied Palestinian territory, 4.7 million of them in the West Bank and 1.9 million in the Gaza Strip. The territory is administered in a manner that fully meets the definition of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention: except for the provision on genocide, every illustrative “inhuman act” listed in the Convention is routinely and systematically practiced by Israel in the West Bank. Palestinians are governed by military law, while the approximately 350,000 Jewish settlers are governed by Israeli civil law. The racial character of this situation is further confirmed by the fact that all West Bank Jewish settlers enjoy the protections of Israeli civil law on the basis of being Jewish, whether they are Israeli citizens or not. This dual legal system, problematic in itself, is indicative of an apartheid regime when coupled with the racially discriminatory management of land and development administered by Jewish-national institutions, which are charged with administering “State land” in the interest of the Jewish population. In support of the overall findings of this report, annex I sets out in more detail the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory that constitute violations of article II of the Apartheid Convention.

Domain 4 refers to the millions of Palestinian refugees and involuntary exiles, most of whom live in neighbouring countries. They are prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Israel defends its rejection of the Palestinians’ return in frankly racist language: it is alleged that Palestinians constitute a “demographic threat” and that their return would alter the demographic character of Israel to the point of eliminating it as a Jewish State. The refusal of the right of return plays an essential role in the apartheid regime by ensuring that the Palestinian population in Mandate Palestine does not grow to a point that would threaten Israeli military control of the territory and/or provide the demographic leverage for Palestinian citizens of Israel to demand (and obtain) full democratic rights, thereby eliminating the Jewish character of the State of Israel. Although domain 4 is confined to policies denying Palestinians their right of repatriation under international law, it is treated in this report as integral to the system of oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole, given its crucial role in demographic terms in maintaining the apartheid regime.

This report finds that, taken together, the four domains constitute one comprehensive regime developed for the purpose of ensuring the enduring domination over non-Jews in all land exclusively under Israeli control in whatever category. To some degree, the differences in treatment accorded to Palestinians have been provisionally treated as valid by the United Nations, in the absence of an assessment of whether they constitute a form of apartheid. In the light of this report’s findings, this long-standing fragmented international approach may require review.

In the interests of fairness and completeness, the report examines several counterarguments advanced by Israel and supporters of its policies denying the applicability of the Apartheid Convention to the case of Israel-Palestine. They include claims that: the determination of Israel to remain a Jewish State is consistent with practices of other States, such as France; Israel does not owe Palestinian non-citizens equal treatment with Jews precisely because they are not citizens; and Israeli treatment of the Palestinians reflects no “purpose” or “intent” to dominate, but rather is a temporary state of affairs imposed on Israel by the realities of ongoing conflict and security requirements. The report shows that none of those arguments stands up to examination. A further claim that Israel cannot be considered culpable for crimes of apartheid because Palestinian citizens of Israel have voting rights rests on two errors of legal interpretation: an overly literal comparison with South African apartheid policy and detachment of the question of voting rights from other laws, especially provisions of the Basic Law that prohibit political parties from challenging the Jewish, and hence racial, character of the State.

The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law. The international community, especially the United Nations and its agencies, and Member States, have a legal obligation to act within the limits of their capabilities to prevent and punish instances of apartheid that are responsibly brought to their attention. More specifically, States have a collective duty: (a) not to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a State in maintaining an apartheid regime; and © to cooperate with the United Nations and other States in bringing apartheid regimes to an end. Civil society institutions and individuals also have a moral and political duty to use the instruments at their disposal to raise awareness of this ongoing criminal enterprise, and to exert pressure on Israel in order to persuade it to dismantle apartheid structures in compliance with international law. The report ends with general and specific recommendations to the United Nations, national Governments, and civil society and private actors on actions they should take in view of the finding that Israel maintains a regime of apartheid in its exercise of control over the Palestinian people.


The original report was deleted from the UN website. Alternative source here

The full report: (download pdf here)

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Israeli Land Seizure Bill Viewed as Prelude to West Bank Annexation

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“If you don’t understand that stealing property from people, especially people that cannot defend their rights because they are at the bottom of the food chain [is wrong], then you have a moral and personal problem.”

Bill would “retroactively legalize” thousands of Jewish houses built on private Palestinian property

By Ben Lynfield

A controversial bill that would legalise the seizure of Palestinian private property and cripple hopes for a two-state peace solution is expected to easily pass in a Knesset vote next week.

A vote on the Settlement Regulation Bill – intended as a major step towards annexation of the occupied West Bank – was originally due to take place in December. But it was delayed until now to avoid criticism from the Obama administration and in the expectation that it would be backed by Donald Trump.

While Israeli officials have used a variety of legal devices over the years to lay claim to Palestinian property, including deploying a law dating back to Ottoman times stipulating that agricultural land left fallow reverts to the state, the bill would enable seizures on a grand scale and without the need to resort to legal sleight of hand. Only Israel’s supreme court could overturn it.

In a 1979 case, the court deemed it illegal to build settlements on what is clearly private Palestinian property, limiting such seizures to state land and purported military necessity. The new law would effectively nullify that court decision, opening even more swathes of the West Bank to Israeli settlement.

Masoud Ganaim, an Arab member of the Knesset, said the bill will “legitimise the theft of land from the Palestinians and is an opening to annexation of the rest of the territory in the West Bank. It will change everything, it will close up the path to the peace process and to any two state solution. There won’t be two states, there won’t be a solution”.

Dror Etkes, director of the moderate Israeli Kerem Navot NGO, which monitors land use in the West Bank, said the bill, if passed, would retroactively legalise many thousands of houses built on private property in hundreds of places. These include not only smaller wildcat settlement outposts built with government backing in violation of both Israeli and international law but also established settlements that were constructed partly on private property such as Beit El near Ramallah, and Eli, on the road to Nablus.

“Almost every settlement in the West Bank has parts that were built on private Palestinian property,” said Mr Etkes, who formerly monitored settlements for the Peace Now organisation. “If you don’t understand that stealing property from people, especially people that cannot defend their rights because they are at the bottom of the food chain [is wrong], then you have a moral and personal problem.”

Mr Etkes said the bill violates the Fourth Geneva convention, which stipulates that an occupying power can only seize property for military necessity. Politicians, army officers and settlers could leave themselves open to prosecution in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

“This is heading to an escalation of the relations between Israel and the international community, at least parts of the international community that Israel wants to be respected by, namely Europe and sooner or later other countries. Assuming Trump won’t remain president forever, sooner or later it will put Israel in confrontation with important parts of North American politics as well.”

Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi termed the bill “an extreme example of Israel’s continuing tradition of land theft.” He added, “This law is illegal by Israeli legal standards and probably will not pass the Supreme Court. Maybe that’s what Bibi and Lieberman expect and count on.”

NGOs and private individuals are expected to petition Israel’s Supreme court in a bid to have the law declared illegal at the first opportunity.

Israel’s hard-right politicians have defended the bill against Arab and left-wing criticism.

Bezalel Smotrich, a Knesset member from the hard-right Jewish Home party that is part of the ruling coalition, said seizing Palestinian private property complies with democratic norms. “Every democratic country confiscates property for the good of the public,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “The settlement activity is a public purpose, not a private purpose.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennet went further by hailing the bill as “leading the way to annexation” of the West Bank.

Rami Mansour, a leading journalist among the Arab citizens of Israel who edits the Arab 48 website, last month called upon Israel’s Arab citizens to reassess their participation in the Knesset in light of the settlements bill, which “changes the rules of the political game.”

“Parliaments generally deal with laws inside their country,” he said. “The United States doesn’t legislate laws that apply to India. But here Israel is legislating a law that applies to territory not under its sovereignty. It is legislating a law to expropriate from Palestinians not by means of military orders but by legislation in contravention of previous practice. This is antidemocratic and turns the Knesset into the tool of the right.”

In the meantime, in the “only democracy in the Middle-East”…

January 21, 2017

Daily life in the “Jewish state of Israel with its eternal capital Jerusalem”, life goes on.  Or does it?  You tell me.

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