Israel will pull out all the stops to avoid facing war crimes charges

An ICC ruling has panicked Israeli officials who can now be investigated, but they will likely respond with intensified threats 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gaza%20rubble%202014%20afp.jpg
A Palestinian girl walks on the rubble around her family’s home in Gaza in 2014 (AFP)
Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

11 February 2021 11:04 UTC 

Israel has been sent into a tailspin by a ruling last week from the war crimes court in The Hague. Senior Israeli officials, including possibly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, can now be held accountable for violations of the laws of war in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The decision by judges at the International Criminal Court  (ICC) does not ensure Israelis will be put on trial for war crimes – not yet, at least. But after years of delay, it does settle the question of whether the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza fall under the court’s jurisdiction. They do, say the judges. 

While Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one

Perhaps the most preposterous – if entirely predictable – of the reactions to the ICC’s decision came from Netanyahu himself. 

That the door is now open for Israelis to be investigated for war crimes is the reason Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum responded so angrily to the ruling. The court’s chief prosecutor has already completed a preliminary inquiry, in which she concluded there was a legal basis for a full investigation.

At the weekend, he falsely declared in a video in English, intended for foreign audiences, that the ICC was investigating Israel for what he called “fake war crimes” – and then attributed its imagined actions to “pure antisemitism”. He also threw in a reference to the Nazi Holocaust for good measure.

There was no little irony to his claims. On Friday, Netanyahu denounced the judges’ ruling as proving that the ICC was “a political body and not a judicial institution”. In fact, it is Netanyahu who is playing politics, by character-assassinating the court in what should be a purely legal and judicial matter. He hopes to use antisemitism smears, Israel’s favoured tactic, to keep the ICC’s investigators at bay. 

Court officials have already shown an interest in pursuing three separate lines of inquiry: Israel’s attacks on Gaza that have left large numbers of Palestinian civilians dead; the repeated lethal shooting of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence; and decades of illegal Israeli settlement-building on occupied land, which has often entailed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Attack on aid boat

Whatever Netanyahu’s current protestations, the truth is that Israel’s own legal teams have long advised that its military commanders, government ministers and senior administrators are vulnerable to prosecution. That is why they have travelled for many years with a special “panic button” on their phones to alert local diplomatic staff of the threat of arrest at a foreign airport. 

Just such an incident occurred in 2013, when former navy commander Eli Marom hit the button after he wrongly suspected border officials at London’s Heathrow airport were preparing to arrest him under so-called “universal jurisdiction” laws.

Three years earlier, Marom had approved a lethal attack in international waters by navy commandos on an aid convoy of ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)
Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)

Marom had reason to be nervous. Earlier, in 2005, a retired general, Doron Almog, hid on an El Al plane for two hours after landing at Heathrow before quickly taking off again, to avoid a UK arrest warrant over the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes. Scotland Yard reportedly allowed Almog to escape rather than engage in a gun battle trying to arrest him.

In fact, Israel knows enough about which of its senior officials have broken international law – and how – that last summer it compiled a secret list of hundreds who were most likely to be investigated for war crimes.  

Bid to terrorise court

But while Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one. 

In fact, the court’s treatment of Israel has been deeply mired in politics ever since the Palestinian Authority acceded to the ICC in 2015. Western allies have sought repeatedly to intimidate and strong-arm the court to ensure Israeli officials are not tried for war crimes.The PA, the ICC and Israel

It is no coincidence that ICC judges found the backbone to assert jurisdiction over the occupied territories immediately after Donald Trump stepped down as US president. His administration had waged a campaign to intimidate the court, which included a ban on ICC staff entering the US and threats to freeze their assets.

The timing of the ICC’s ruling may also be related to the fact that its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is due to quit her post in a few months. She is unlikely to launch any investigations of Israelis before then, leaving the task to her successor.

Such a delay will buy Israel more time. And under an onslaught of pressure, the new chief prosecutor may be persuaded that Israel – despite decades of law-breaking – is not a high enough priority to justify the court’s limited resources. 

Campaigning begins 

Just such a campaign has already begun. On Sunday, the Israeli foreign ministry sent an urgent, classified cable to dozens of its ambassadors, urging them to recruit their respective capitals to a campaign to put pressure on the ICC.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi – a former military chief of staff who is almost certainly on Israel’s secret list of war crimes suspects – rang his counterparts in foreign capitals, urging them to help. That will likely include lobbying for a more sympathetic chief prosecutor to replace Bensouda.

There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague

Israeli media reported security sources as saying that several ICC member states had already agreed to tip Israel off should they learn that any arrest warrants have been issued against Israelis.

Already, the Biden administration in the US, Germany and the Australian government, stalwart defenders of Israel, have issued denunciations of the ICC decision – and implicitly the international norms of war the court is supposed to uphold. 

Responding to Germany’s attack on the court, Hanan Ashrawi, a former senior Palestinian official, tweeted on Tuesday: “So your ‘legal view’ supersedes the ruling of the ICC judges and the resolutions of the UN [General Assembly]? No self-respecting state should accept instructions from (or intimidation by) Israel.”

Other states, with their own self-interested calculations, may soon follow suit. Those that have allied themselves most closely with the US-led “war on terror”, including the UK, have every reason to ensure that Israel – a state very much in the “western diplomatic club” – is not held to account for war crimes of the kind they too have committed. They prefer that the ICC continues to limit its indictments to African leaders. 

Behind-the-scenes lobbying and intimidation may explain the seemingly perverse reasoning of the ICC in December to close its investigation of UK officials without issuing any indictments. It did so even while accepting that British forces had likely committed war crimes in Iraq. Israel may hope for a similar, fudged reprieve.

Shielding Israel

The reality is that the case against Israel was always going to depend on political factors far more than legal ones once it became vulnerable to investigation. But the shielding of Israel over war crimes was evident long before Palestine’s ratification of the Rome Statute in 2015.

Six years earlier, for example, Israel orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against a celebrated South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, over the report of his UN committee into Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza. The report found Israel and Hamas responsible for committing war crimes, and possibly even graver crimes against humanity.

Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)
Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)

Goldstone repudiated his strongest findings months later after the personal campaign against him culminated in the South African Zionist Federation barring him from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

Similarly, “universal jurisdiction” rules, which allow foreign citizens to seek the arrest of an official suspected of violating international law if his or her state refuses to adjudicate, have never been enforced in practice against Israelis. 

Foot-dragging by ICC

The ICC had an opportunity to investigate Israeli officials over the attack in international waters on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010. Ten Turkish civilians, one of whom was also an American citizen, were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded the ships. Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Instead, Bensouda chose in 2014 not to proceed with the case initiated by the Comoros, the flag under which the boat was sailing. In an appeal last year, ICC judges criticised her for a series of “errors” in reaching that decision, in refusing to reconsider after they mandated she do so, and in failing to investigate the incident again in 2019.

But the judges concluded it was “unclear” what power they themselves had to rectify these failings and so did not ask for a further review.

Delays and buck-passing have also plagued the ICC’s latest ruling. The court has been foot-dragging on jurisdiction issues ever since 2015. There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague.

Slivers of hope

Nonetheless, last week’s ruling offers Palestinians a few slivers of hope. It confirms that Israel’s battle to deny the Palestinian fight for statehood is not entirely going its way. And it suggests that the post-Trump political climate may turn out to be more stormy for Israel than expected. Its leaders may have to be slightly more cautious about the scale and visibility of the war crimes they approve. 

The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians

The court may settle to leave the sword of a possible investigation hanging over Israel, hoping that alone will be enough to curb Israel’s worst excesses, such as plans to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

Or the ICC may trust that its jurisdiction ruling will serve as a wake-up call to the Israeli Supreme Court, whose failures to enforce international law in the occupied territories paved the way to The Hague. But settling for any of these outcomes will be more evasion by the court, more playing politics. 

The test of whether the ICC is a judicial body rather than a political one is not, as Netanyahu demands, that it refuse to investigate Israel. The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Israel’s War Crimes Have Killed Americans

If the president loves to honor the military, start with the U.S.S. Liberty

Source

PHILIP GIRALDI 

MAY 5, 2020

Imagine if you will a ship from a nation not at war with anyone sailing in international waters on a quiet June day being suddenly attacked by unidentified warplanes and torpedo boats, their markings covered up to conceal their country of origin. The vessel under attack had little with which to defend itself, but its crew heroically made sure that a large national flag was hoisted to demonstrate that it was not a belligerent in anyone’s conflict. The attackers noted the nationality of the vessel, but persisted in their aggression in a clear attempt to sink the ship and kill all its crew. The officers on the ship radioed that they were under attack and asked for help, but even though friendly fighter aircraft were within striking distance and were automatically dispatched, they were then mysteriously recalled. The attacks lasted for two hours, longer than the Pearl Harbor attack that brought about American entry into World War 2, killing and wounding more than two hundred of the crew. Life rafts lowered into the water as the vessel seemed to be sinking were machine gunned by the attacking aircraft and torpedo boats to make escape or evacuation of the wounded impossible but the captain and survivors worked heroically, and successfully, to keep the ship afloat. When the vessel finally made it back to port, the officers and crew were sworn to silence by their own government and a cover-up was initiated that has persisted to this day. Many of the ship’s survivors have died since that day 53 years ago, and the attempts of the remainder to see justice before they are also gone have been ignored.

I am, of course, referring to the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, which took place on June 8, 1967, nearly 53 years ago. The anniversary of the attack is coming up in a month and the remaining officers and crew will hold a ceremony at the Navy memorial in Washington D.C. to honor the memory of their thirty-four shipmates killed and the 172 who were wounded. Seventy per cent of the crew were casualties, the highest percentage of casualties on any ship that remained afloat in the history of the U.S. Navy. The lightly armed intelligence gathering vessel Liberty and its heroic crew emerged from the near destruction as the most decorated ship for valor in a single action in the United States Navy.

Israeli willingness to attack and kill Americans unnecessarily, apparently to send a message, has been noted before. There is the case of Rachel Corrie run over by an Israeli bulldozer and of Furkan Dogan, a Turkish-American who was, like the crew of the Liberty, killed in international waters when he sailed on the Gaza relief vessel Mavi Marmara. But in spite of that, the deliberate attempt to destroy the Liberty, which, according to former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, was clearly approved at the highest level of the Jewish state’s government, still has shock value.

Israel’s apologists, a virtual fixture at all levels in the U.S. government as well as in academia and the media, have long been making the argument that the attack on the Liberty was some kind of “friendly fire” accident. But the relatively recent discovery that a Navy spy plane intercepted and recorded Israeli both helicopter and fighter pilots mentioning the American flag displayed by the ship during the attack suggests otherwise. Other recordings made of the Israeli communications revealed that some of the pilots did not want to attack. One pilot said, “This is an American ship. I can see the flag. Do you still want us to attack?” Israeli ground control responded, “Yes, follow orders. Hit it!” before admonishing the pilots to “finish the job.”

But while one expects the Israelis to behave abominably, based on any assessment of the years of war crimes committed in places like Lebanon and what remains of Palestine, the greatest crime against the Liberty crew was committed by the United States government itself. President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara reportedly were informed of the attack shortly after it began and it was Johnson who twice personally ordered the recall of the U.S. fighter planes going to rescue the Liberty. Admiral Lawrence Geis, commander of the carrier group in the Mediterranean that the planes had launched from, objected and McNamara responded testily that “President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.” It was McNamara, again acting on LBJ’s orders, who had the crew sequestered after the ship made it to Malta, issuing a “gag-order” over the incident with the understanding that anyone who spoke up would be secretly court martialed and imprisoned.

To maintain the cover-up, Captain William McGonagle, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in saving the ship, had his medal awarded without any publicity in a private ceremony at the Washington Naval Yard rather than at the White House as was otherwise normal. The President of the United States did not make the award, yet another dismissal of the valor of the Liberty crew.

Normally an attack on a U.S. Navy vessel would have mandated an official Court of Inquiry, but in the case of the Liberty an improvised team consisting of Admiral Isaac Kidd and Chief Counsel Ward Boston was pulled together in the Mediterranean under orders from Admiral John S. McCain, father of Senator John McCain, who was based in London. The Navy’s official ‘Court of Inquiry’ therefore consisted in reality of just Kidd and Boston making a quick visit to the Liberty at sea and then rushing back to Washington via London, where McCain endorsed the 700 page draft document without reading it. The hastily prepared report bypassed all ordinary fact-finding and legal review procedures and no one knows what channels the ‘Findings of the Court of Inquiry’ followed in Washington.

Acting under orders from the White House, the inquiry had been given only a week to prepare its report, a procedure that normally requires six months. The result was also predetermined by McNamara acting for LBJ, who ordered that the conclusion would be that the attack on the Liberty had been a “case of mistaken identity.”

No crewmen from the Liberty were even allowed to provide formal testimony during the inquiry proceedings. Nevertheless, the inquiry’s chief counsel Ward Boston subsequently confirmed in a sworn affidavit that he and Kidd had strongly disagreed with the coerced findings, believing instead that Israel had staged an unprovoked attack intending to sink the ship and kill all the crew. Admiral Kidd referred to the Israelis as “murderous bastards.” Boston also observed that the transcript of the court of inquiry that was subsequently released had been altered, presumably by someone acting on behalf of the White House, to delete and change testimony damaging to Israel.

As is often the case, there is a back story to what happened to the Liberty. In the years prior to the attack on the Liberty, President John F. Kennedy was concerned over powerful and wealthy American Jews attempting to hijack U.S. foreign policy to favor Israel. He also took steps to prevent Israeli development of nuclear weapons. After he was assassinated, his successor as president Lyndon B. Johnson, who has been described as having a political career “interwoven with Jews,” saw things quite differently. He turned a blind eye over the Israeli nuclear program and surrounded himself with Jewish friends and advisors who were actively engaged in promoting the Zionist agenda, some of them plausibly as actual agents of Mossad.

Most prominent among that group were the Krims, Arthur and Mathilde, he a leading media lawyer and studio head who was a Democratic Party fundraiser and she a geneticist, a Swiss born convert to Judaism who had lived in British Mandate Palestine with her first husband, an Irgun terrorist. Jewish terror was a cause which she actively supported. The Krims were regular companions of LBJ throughout his presidency, with a reserved room in the White House and a house near his ranch in Stonewall Texas when he was on vacation there. Johnson also stayed at their mansion in New York.

At the time of the Six Day War when the Liberty was attacked, the Krims were constantly at the side of LBJ and it is generally accepted that they were both working on behalf of the Israeli government to cultivate a decisive presidential tilt towards Israel. Johnson, in fact, was informed of the Israeli intention to go to war against its neighbors in advance and gave the green light, even agreeing to come to the aid of the Jewish state if things went wrong. To seal the deal, Mathilde was even having an affair with LBJ, a situation well known to White House staff and to the Secret Service.

Since 1967, there have been a number of documentaries, books and unofficial inquiries regarding the attack on the Liberty, but resistance from the usual suspects has meant that the story has not become better known. Meanwhile Congress, the Pentagon and the White House have refused to authorize fair and impartial formal hearings that would recognize the deficiencies in the 1967 inquiry and which would include testimony from the remaining Liberty survivors. Senator John McCain was notorious for his offhand treatment of entreaties from the survivors as was then congressman and now governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, a former Navy Seal. DeSantis now calls himself the most pro-Israel governor in the United States.

The most serious unofficial inquiries have involved former military officers. In 2003, Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formed an independent commission of inquiry to look into the attack. It produced Loss of Liberty, a documentary that included actual interviews with survivors. The commission, which included Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, Marine General Ray Davis, and Ambassador James Akins, reviewed all documentary evidence in the case and interviewed both survivors and other naval officers who were involved indirectly. They learned that the Liberty had been surveilled by the Israelis for at least eight hours prior to the attack and that the ship was both clearly marked as American and was unmistakable as a uniquely configured and immediately recognizable intelligence collection vessel, not even close to the profile of an Egyptian horse transporter as Israel subsequently claimed. During the carefully planned attack, Israeli used radio jamming in an attempt to prevent the Liberty from radioing its predicament.

Moorer’s commission concluded that Israel had deliberately attacked the Liberty and sought to sink it and kill its entire crew. The crewmen who were killed were “murdered” by Israel while the U.S. should have regarded the attack as an act of war and responded appropriately. The cover-up of what had taken place was ordered by the White House and the fact that the truth about the incident continues to be hidden is a “national disgrace.” In an op-ed Moorer wrote in 2004, he concluded by asking “Did our government put Israel’s interest ahead of our own? If so, why?”

In October 2003 the Moorer commission presented its report on Capitol Hill, though its audience was often limited to congressional staffers rather than the understandably fearful members. One year later Representative John Conyers of Michigan overcame considerable resistance to have the report and some accompanying information entered into the Congressional Record. Moorer and Admiral Staring, a former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, who had been the legal officer in the McCain office in London who had not been allowed to carefully review the Court of Inquiry report, continued to advocate for an honest investigation of the attack on the Liberty until they died in 2004 and 2013 respectively.

Which leads us to the present and the question of justice for the U.S.S. Libertysurvivors who will be gathering next month. The tale of the Liberty demonstrates that even fifty-three years ago the United States government was betraying its own people out of deference to Jewish power and to the state of Israel. If anything, as horrific as the killing of 34 personnel on board of the Liberty was, the situation has gotten even worse as Washington sends billions of dollars to the Jewish state annually while also giving its kleptocratic government a green light to commit war crimes and other aggressions that will ultimately draw in the United States, and could plausibly bring about our ruination. It is unpleasant to say the least to watch an unrestrained and unprincipled client state do terrible damage to a much larger patron enabled by the machinations of a dual-loyalty fifth column, but that is what we are seeing.

And the actual rot really began with the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, when patriotic Americans died at the whim of a feckless president who loved a foreign country more than his own. One hopes he is rotting in hell. Today few Americans even know about the Liberty even though they are now facing an election in which two presidential candidates will seek to outdo each other in expressing their love for Israel. Trump and Biden should instead take pause and first demand as a sine qua non justice for the survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

The Tragedy of Turkish Treachery

 

 

By Zaakir Ahmed Maye

July 03, 2016 “Information Clearing House” –  The reactions of the Turkish-Israeli rapprochement deal have been have been met with a plethora of emotions. Some Palestinians have argued that despite Turkish rhetoric, national self-interest would always supersede that of the Palestinian people. Others have reflected sentiments of disillusionment at the about turn taken by Turkey which appears to be diametrically opposed to its erstwhile stance on the Palestinians issue. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s profile in the solidarity community skyrocketed with his stance Vis-à-vis Shimon Peres in his ‘one minute’ display. There is another grouping that views the by-product of the agreement to be beneficial to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and are adamant in depicting a silver lining.

The actual text of the agreement has not filtered into mainstream circulation as yet however the terms contained therein are gradually surfacing. An extensive exposé emerged in the leading Israel publication Haaretz which painted a shocking picture of the deal. There is not a shadow of doubt that one of the crucial motivators behind this deal was economics. Israel’s Netanyahu alluded to this crucial aspect on the 27th June 2016 stating that the deal has “immense implications for the Israeli economy”. Haaretz ventured to shed further light on the matter by alluding to a gas pipeline deal between Turkey and Israel. Turkey is viewed as the gateway to Europe and the portrayal of Turkey is a lucrative incentive for both countries. Interestingly, the first gas fields were found off the coast of the Gaza Strip in the early 2000’s. This was viewed even by the Israeli regime as property of the Palestinian people. In 2011, Israel National News ran a story titled “PA Claims Israel Steals Gas in Exploration of Gaza Waters” which would come as no surprise as the State of Israel is premised on the dispossession of Palestinian natural resources which include but are not limited to land and water resources. In 2012 the fields of Tamar Field and the Leviathan Field were found off the coast of Haifa. Judging from Israel’s dubious history of dispossession, it would not be far-fetched to suspect that part of the gas being alienated by Israel via this Turkish gas deal may actually belong to the Palestinian people. Knowledge of this possibility and the existence of these fields are within the grasp of the Turkish leadership which compounds the treachery.

Other shocking concessions by the Turkish government related to the 2010 massacre in which nine Turkish citizens were murdered by the Israeli armed forces on board the Turkish humanitarian vessel the Mavi Marmara. It is reported that the Turkish government will effectively pass legislation immunising the perpetrators of this heinous crime in exchange for a 20 million dollar donation. Despite this being a travesty of justice, Turkey has agreed to this amount being paid as a donation instead of compensation to protect Israel from future claims of compensation for their acts of wanton murder and blood-lust. This concession is pregnant with both meaning and implication in that Turkey has agreed to be an active participant in preventing the setting of a precedent which seeks to protect Israel at the detriment of not only their own Turkish victims but also those who have been touched by the hand of Israel’s murderous behaviour.

Erdogan’s political linage vests him within the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikwan). It therefore was no surprise when the Palestinian offshoot of Ikwan, Hamas welcomed his ascent to power and found an ally within him. The sacrificing of Erdogan’s political brethren in favour of Israeli shekels and geopolitical containment policies seems to be lifted from the Shakespearean tragedy Julius Ceaser.

The agreement to prevent any planning or coordination between the political wing Hamas and the armed wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam not only seeks to fragment the resistance against Zionist occupation but firmly vests Turkey as an agent of the colonial settler state. To exacerbate the treachery, it has been reported that Erdogan has provided a written undertaking to release his intelligence agents to “get back two Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians who went missing in Gaza and are held by Hamas.”

Et tu Brute?

Those seeking the silver lining have latched onto the easing of the siege on Gaza and the Israeli concession to expedite reconstruction of facilities such as building a hospital, a power station and a desalination station, all subject to Israeli security considerations. This easing has not been precipitated by Turkish intervention as it being portrayed by Turkey in the media. To the contrary, this has been the plan and recommendation of the Israeli security establishment. A recent report by Israeli security stalwarts referred to Gaza as a ticking humanitarian timebomb which required urgent intervention. They recommended that Israel take steps to alleviate the crisis in Gaza, even at “the risk that some of the goods can be utilized by Hamas for its ‘tunnels’ industry’ and other belligerent purposes.” This is supported by the statements of Netanyahu who commented “When electricity is short, sanitation problems arise that can cause plagues that don’t stop at the border. That is why this is a clear Israeli interest.” Negotiation by definition is power play between parties to achieve concessions which necessitate the shifting of positions which are originally entrenched. The only perceived boon of this agreement was something Israel was going to do in any event. Not only is this so-called easing of the siege fictitious and broad, it perpetuates the conduct of sustaining the status quo of occupation instead of dismantling it.

The extraction of Israel from the mortuary freezer is accurately described by Netanyahu as one of “strategic importance to Israel,” and the nett effect of which is to “create islands of stability”. This runs as a counter current to the global movement to isolate Israel under the Boycott Divestment and Sanction movement which correctly views Israel as a bastion of colonialism and apartheid in the modern world.

The conduct of Turkey has disillusioned many who viewed the country as a glimmer of hope for the Palestine people.   Two prominent figures of the Resistance movement Hamas have expressed their disgust in relation to this normalisation deal. This does however underscore a striking realisation, that the only means of liberation is through resistance as political and geopolitical partners have become slaves to coinage.  The only door to the liberation of Palestine is that of Tehran. After treachery of such a colossal nature, the words of English poet William Blake encapsulate the sentiments of many Palestinians and those in the solidarity movement:

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”

Zaakir Ahmed Mayet is Chairman of Media Review Network – https://twitter.com/ZA_Mayet

Maybe Santana’s Afraid of Jewish Outrage

Posted on June 30, 2016

santanaboycott

A campaign has been underway of late to urge Carlos Santana to cancel a gig in Israel which he has scheduled for July 30.

People have been posting on Twitter, and activists have also visited offices in San Rafael, California which house the headquarters of the Milagro Foundation, a charitable foundation set up by Santana in 1998 with the lofty goal of providing help for marginalized children.

The activists were attempting to deliver a petition containing 25,000 signatures urging the musician not to perform in Israel.  Some of the activists brought their children. That’s the kids you see in the photo above– looking through the Milagro Foundation’s front windows.

Not only were the activists refused entry, but the Milagro staff reportedly closed the blinds on the doors. A video of the petition delivery attempt has been posted on the Facebook page of Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Electronic Intifada has published a report on it as well. The headline above the EI piece asks the question, “Why is Carlos Santana refusing to honor Israel boycott call?”. The article offers no answer. But it does mention–and quite curiously–that an earliercall to cancel a performance in Israel was honored by the artist. Here is what the EI reports on that:

“The legendary guitarist canceled a performance in Tel Aviv in 2010, heeding the call from boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists around the world.”

That’s strange. So was Carlos Santana opposed to apartheid in 2010? And did he undergo a change of heart at some point in the six years that have elapsed since? And now, consequently, he simply doesn’t think there’s so much wrong with apartheid anymore, at least not enough to get one’s feathers ruffled? Is that the explanation?

That’s not an easy question to answer, but it does appear very much as if the Electronic Intifada has at least one thing right–and that Santana indeed is “refusing to honor” the Israel boycott call. If you go to the Milagro Foundation website you can read the following:

Carlos Santana is a citizen of the World and he plays his music and spreads his message of Love, Light & Peace wherever he goes. Carlos believes the World should have no borders so he is not detoured or discouraged to play anywhere on this planet. He and the band are looking forward to performing in Israel this summer.

So it’s all about spreading a message of love, light, and peace, at least if we are to believe the statement on the Milagro website. But of course due to the system of apartheid, including its checkpoints, Jews-only roads, and the like, not many Palestinians are likely to be able even to attend the concert or to hear this love-peace-and-light message. This is something which is made clear in the video below:

Perhaps rather than spreading messages of love, light and peace, is it possible Santana’s real reason for going to Israel this summer is his fear of Jewish outrage? There’s quite a lot of this type of outrage spreading around these days. In the following video you can see members of the Israeli Knesset going practically berserk over a comment made by Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi.

During a Knesset discussion on the recent agreement with Turkey–under which Israel will, finally, compensate families of the Mavi Marmara victims–Zoabi referred to the Israeli soldiers who boarded the humanitarian vessel back in 2010 as murderers. Zoabi likely would have been in a position to know: she was on board the Mavi Marmara at the time.

Here is how Jonathan Cook reports the Knesset fracas which ensued:

A dozen or more Jewish MPs rush to the podium and start circling Zoabi like a pack of baying hyenas. By this stage, when Zoabi is being physically threatened by a number of MPs in the parliament chamber, you might think it would be time for some of them to be forcefully ejected, if only to indicate that this subversion of the democratic process will not be tolerated. But not a bit of it. They are treated with kid gloves.

The Knesset guards simply try to block the violent Jewish MPs from reaching the single Palestinian MP in their sights, presumably fearful that were she to be physically assaulted that might make headline news and make Israel look bad.

Paradoxically, the only MP you can see on the film being pushed out of the Knesset chamber is Zoabi’s party leader, Jamal Zahalka, who from the look of things is interceding because he’s worried she is in danger. Hazan was finally removed, though after more than eight minutes of heckling, threats and belligerence.

Another paradox: Zoabi and her fellow party MPs have only recently been allowed to speak in the Knesset again, after the ethics committee (dominated by Jewish MPs) suspended them for several months because of their “unacceptable” political views.

Jewish outrage has also once again enveloped British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour Party, of course, has been obliged to launch an official inquiry into “anti-Semitism” within its ranks, and on Thursday, just as the findings of that inquiry were being announced, a Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, got up and angrily stalked out. The walkout was prompted by a remark voiced by a Corbyn supporter, who apparently implied that Jews control the media.

“Anti-Semitism at the launch of an anti-Semitism report,” remarks the man at 28 seconds in. Following that you see Smeeth get up and walk out.

“This morning, at the launch of the Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism, I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack me for being part of a ‘media conspiracy,’” Smeeth said later.

The incident is reported in an article by the Times of Israel which describes Smeeth as having “stormed out” of the event, although the writer, Sara Miller, seems to feel the MP’s anger was quite justified.

“The accusation that Jews control the media is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope,” she informs her readers.

Hmm…where have I heard that before?  Michael Eisner of Disney, Leslie Moonves of CBS, Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times, Jeff Bezos of the Washington Post, Bruce Karsh of Tribune Media (L.A. Times, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, etc.)  Jeff Zucker of CNN, Michael Lynton of Sony Pictures–perhaps it is only a “trope” to suggest that all of these people are Jewish.

But let’s be fair and “untropish”–Rupert Murdoch apparently is a Gentile.

“It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on antisemitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people, which were ironically highlighted as such in Ms Chakrabarti’s report, while the leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing,” Smeeth continued to fume.

“Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy’s ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews,” she added.

The outrage of Jews in the UK has already resulted in the suspensions of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and MP Naz Shah, and now it looks like another campaign is building for Corbyn’s ouster. As Miller reports in her Times of Israel piece, there is a “growing list of Labour parliamentarians who have urged Corbyn to step down in recent days.”

If this is the sort of Jewish outrage Santana is concerned about igniting, one can well understand his reluctance to cancel his date in Tel Aviv.

“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic. I know this because I’ve been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years,” Roger Waters told The Independent in an interview earlier this year. When asked why more artists don’t participate in the BDS movement, Waters’ answer was: “They’re scared shitless.”

It was Santana’s performance at Woodstock that launched him to fame and fortune. That was in 1969. I was  16 years old at the time. Most of us who didn’t make it to Woodstock got our first chance to see Santana when the movie came out a year or so later.

None of us back then could have imagined that the young man playing such impressive guitar licks on that stage would eventually one day cross an international picket line to do a show in an apartheid state. But then Jewish power has grown exponentially since those idyllic times–it has grown considerably even since the year 2010, when Santana previously refused to play in Israel. And it’s not clear where it’s going to stop.

Today we are seeing states taking steps to criminalize the BDS movement, and as I reported in a post a couple of days ago, even the Democratic Party is considering incorporating official opposition to BDS in its party platform this year.

So in answer to the Electronic Intifada’s question–“Why is Carlos Santana refusing to honor Israel boycott call?”–one might offer the opinion that perchance it has something to do with a certain wish to avoid being surrounded by a “pack of baying hyenas” as Cook so quaintly puts it.

Or it is simply a matter of Carlos wishing to spread his messages of “love, light, and peace”?

You can take your pick.

Istanbul Blasts: Terrorism or False Flag?

It’s too early for a rush to judgment. Here’s what’s known. On Tuesday night, multiple blasts and automatic rifle fire, reportedly by three suicide bombers, rocked Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

Dozens were killed, over 230 injured. Was the incident terrorism or state-sponsored false flag deception to look that way? It’s too soon to know.

Timing is often significant. Six years after Israeli commandos slaughtered 10 Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara Gaza Freedom Flotilla mother ship, Netanyahu and Erdogan normalized relations.

Israel agreed to pay $20 million in reparations to surviving family members, along with other mutually agreed on terms. Gaza remains besieged despite Ankara claiming otherwise.

At the same time, Erdogan apologized to Putin by letter for downing a Russian Su-24 warplane flying over Syria – at the time, falsely claimed to have entered Turkish airspace.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “(a) telephone conversation between President Putin and President Erdogan will take place (on Wednesday, June 29) at the initiative of the Russian side.” He stopped short of indicating whether normalized relations would follow.

Were either or both of these events connected to Tuesday night’s incident? Again, it’s unknown at this time.

No claim of responsibility followed the attack. Prime Minister Binali Yildirm blamed ISIS, saying “(t)he findings of our security forces point at the Daesh organization as the perpetrators of this terror attack.”

Erdogan called for a “joint fight” against terrorism, saying nothing about his support for ISIS, letting them operate freely from Turkish territory, supplying them with arms and munitions, selling their stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil – he, his family and other regime officials profiting hugely.

It begs the question. Why would ISIS attack an important benefactor? Others include America, NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other regional states.

Erdogan is at war with Kurds in three countries, naked aggression by any standard – at home, in Syria and Iraq. Yet he didn’t blame their fighters for what happened.

While it’s unknown if Tuesday’s incident was state-sponsored, previous similar ones in Europe and America suggest it. The fullness of time should tell.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Will Iranian Aid Ship Make it to Yemen?

A confrontation seems to be brewing between the US and Iran over a humanitarian aid ship that has been dispatched from Iran and is now in route to Yemen (see video above).

While the Press TV report makes no mention of the ship being escorted by Iranian Naval vessels, Western media accounts are mentioning reports of a possible Iranian military patrol joining the aid ship at some point–although a Pentagon official seems to be the soul source of the information.

What Press TV is reporting, however, (see here and here) is that Saudi jets violated the Yemeni ceasefire just minutes after it went into effect today and that the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society has declared publicly that no one has the right to inspect a ship “that is moving in international waters carrying the flag of a country.”

That may be true as long as the ship remains in international waters, but what happens after the aid ship passes through the Bab al Mandab strait and attempts to dock at Yemen’s port of al-Hudaydah on the Red Sea?

The Guardian has posted a report saying that the US military is now tracking the ship and quoting a Pentagon spokesperson on the situation.

“We are monitoring the Iranian ship,” said Col. Steven Warren. “We are aware of the Iranians’ statement that they plan to escort this ship with warships.”

What Iranian statements Warren is referring to is unclear, but he is calling upon those in charge of the ship to re-direct to Djibouti, where supposedly a “distribution hub” has been set up for delivering humanitarian supplies to Yemen.

What follows is a bit more from the Guardian report and includes a somewhat thuggish and threatening quote from Warren:

When asked if the US military would try to search the ship or prevent it from docking in Yemen, Warren declined to comment.

The warnings from Washington raised the possibility of a potential confrontation at sea after tensions flared in recent days in the Strait of Hormuz.

The US navy bolstered its presence in the Gulf after Iran seized a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel in the vital waterway.

Iranian authorities later released the ship, citing a commercial dispute with Denmark’s Maersk group, which chartered the vessel.

“If the Iranians are planning some sort of stunt in the region, they know as well as we do that it would be unhelpful and in fact could potentially threaten the ceasefire [in Yemen] that has been so painstakingly brought about,” Warren said.

“We call on the Iranians to do the right thing here and deliver their humanitarian aid in accordance with UN protocols which is through the distribution hub that’s been established in Djibouti,” he added.

Will the US carry out its own version of the Israeli attack upon the Mavi Marmara? It’s not a moot question, especially when you consider that the first ship in a new Freedom Flotillahas left port in Sweden and is now, simultaneously as the Iranian ship heads for Yemen,  making its way toward Gaza.

How all this is going to turn out is anybody’s guess–hopefully history won’t repeat itself–but it certainly bears watching.

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Armenian Holocaust and Jews: 100 years after

REHMET

Posted on 

3+monkeys[1]In June this year Armenians around the world plans to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Holocaust or Metz Yeghern in Armenian language.

Since the creation of the Zionist entity in 1948, every Zionist regime has refused to recognize the Armenian Holocaust. The issue was never allowed to be debated even in Israeli Knesset for the last 67 years. However, with the crowing of Reuven Rivlin, the so-called righteous Zionist Jew, on June 10, 2014, has brought a new hope for Armenian Jews living in Israel and in Diaspora. Rivlin, who refuses to agree that the word Holocaust could be applied to genocide of any non-Jewish community, however, is sympathetic toward the murder of 1.5 million Armenians during 1915-17 by his fellow Donmeh Jews. He is one of the very few Israeli politicians involved in the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Whoever thought of the Final Solution got the impression that, when the day comes, the world will be silent, like it was about the Armenians. It is hard for me to forgive other nations for ignoring our tragedy and we cannot ignore another nation’s tragedy. That is our moral obligation as people and Jews,” Rivlin said. Naturally, Palestinian genocide being carried for the last 67 years by the Israeli Jews like him, doesn’t bother Rivlin’s conscience.

For six decades, Israel and its Jewish lobby groups in the West have used Turkish Muslim majority as ‘scapegoat’ to hide the Jewish crimes against Armenians. However, since Freedom Flotilla incident on May 31, 2010, which resulted in the murder of nine Turk aid workers on board by Jewish commandos in cold-blood, the “Turkish excuse” has lost its values. Since then, the Jewish leaders who once campaigned against recognition of Armenian genocide by US Congress have changed their tunes.

Abraham Foxman (ADL), Israel’s top propagandist, after years of denial, finally admitted in 2013 that what happened at the expense of the Armenians during WWI can be defined as genocide. The American Jewish Committee, notorious for calling for the boycott of Germany in 1933 even before Hitler came to power – published a declaration, entitled, Tribute to memories of the victims of the Metz Yeghern.

Now Muslim Majority Azerbaijan has replaced Turkey as Israel’s ‘scapegoat’. On May 18, 2011, Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said:

There is no chance that the Knesset would recognize the Armenian Genocide. It is impossible. We cannot afford ourselves to deface relations with our main strategic partner in the Muslim world – Azerbaijan – for some vexed historical questions concerning events that took place hundred years ago.”

Read about Israel’s interest in the Azeri-Azerbaijan conflict here.

Last year, to counter Israeli propaganda, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now country’s president) offered condolences to the descendants of victims of the genocide of Armenian by Turk forces lead by Donmeh (Crypto Jew Young Turk) officers during the First World War.

The incidents of the First World War are our shared pain. It is our hope and belief that the peoples of an ancient and unique geography, who share similar customs and manners will be able to talk to each other about the past with maturity and to remember together their losses in a decent manner. And it is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren,” said Erdogan in a statement.

Robert Kazandjian, a London-based freelance journalist and researcher, in an article, entitled Inconvenient victims: Tracing the roots of anti-Armenianism in Israel, published by UK’s CeaseFire magazine on December 19, 2014, claims that Israeli reasons for not recognizing Armenian genocide go as follows:

1. Israel’s belief that recognising the Armenian genocide would minimise the significance of the Holocaust, a very lucrative political and economic weapon.

Immediate parallels can be made between the suffering of the Armenians and that of Palestinians, two indigenous Asian peoples violently expelled from their historic homelands. The Turkish state refuses to accept the Aghet (disaster) took place, while Israel will not acknowledge the Nakba of 1948, and continues to commit heinous crimes in what we can fairly describe as an ongoing genocide, Kazadjian said.

2. Azerbaijan, like India, has become a ‘Cash Cow’ for the Zionist entity. Forty percent of oil consumed in Israel is Azeri, while Azerbaijan invests heavily in Israeli ‘hi-tech’ industries. In February of 2012, Baku agreed to purchase $1.6 billion worth of arms from Israel Aerospace Industries, including drones and missile defence systems.

3. Israeli-Azeri cooperation is usually juxtaposed with the relationship between Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Contact between Armenia and Iran reaches back into antiquity. Iran’s own Armenian community emerged at the beginning of the seventeenth century in Isfahan province. In the 20th century the number of Armenians in Iran increased significantly, as a consequence of the genocide in Ottoman Turkey; some 50,000 sought refuge there. Many Armenians lost their lives fighting in the Iranian army during the war with Iraq. Today there are over half a million Armenians living in Iran, represented by two seats in the Iranian parliament. The Armenian government’s positive partnership with Iran is logical and rational when one considers some of these factors: the ancient history, the safe haven offered to Armenians post-genocide, the Armenian contribution to the war effort, and the number of Armenians living in Iran today.

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Germany’s Family Ministry will regret its cowardly actions very soon

Once again, ‘scandal in Germany.’ This time the ultra Zionist AJC (American Jewish Committee) is empowered to define the boundaries of an exchange in Germany about Palestine and the hope for peace in the Middle East.

tumblr_mwymetewBk1s4lolfo1_500.jpg

 The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Germany’s Family Ministry and the Berlin Senate are engulfed in an anti-Israel scandal because they provided some funding for the three-day Canaan conference that included a group that had previously hosted a speaker who called for an “end of Jewry” and claimed that “Zionists are racists.”

If anyone still harbored some remote doubts about racism and the ‘Jews only State’, such doubts evaporated last month when the Israeli cabinet approved Israel’s National Bill, a law that specifically affirms the primacy of Jews in Israel.

And who was it who called for the “end of Jewry?” The AJC and the Jpost blame me. These people must be mad – would I call for the demise of my favourite intellectual pets, i.e., the Jews? Such a tragedy would sentence me to spiritual death. I will never let it happen. I need the Jews alive and kicking and I need their lobbies to keep celebrating their symptoms as they did this week in Berlin, so I have something juicy to write about every morning when I awake.

According to the Jpost, Jewish organisations were devastated to find out that the Canaan conference invited Cafe Palestine Freiburg because it is infested with those who are “stoking modern anti-Semitism.”  Apparently, the ‘anti-Israel critic Gilad Atzmon, delivered a 2011 lecture for Cafe Palestine Freiburg and called for a process of dismantling Jewish ideology.’

This part is correct. In 2011 in Freiburg, I argued that in order to make Israel into an ethical  ‘state of its citizens,’ Jewish ideology, which sustains and promotes Jewish racial exceptionalism must be abolished. Are not Germany, Britain and France states of their citizens? Apparently not. The Cannan conference, although it was in full compliance with German law, and largely funded by the German Family Ministry, has been harshly abused by the Ministry due to pressure mounted by an American Jewish Lobby group.

But before we move forward I urge you to watch the following 2011 Freiburg talk. Try to detect a call “for the end of Jewry.” All I find in this talk is a desperate call for Israel to become a state of its citizens, drifting away from Jewish exeptionalism.

Part 1

 Part 2

 But I am only part of this story. The Zionist campaign is now focused on Dr. Gabi Weber, the fierce German activist who founded Café Palestine Freiburg and sits beside me in the above video (translating).

 In the last few years, Café Palestine Freiburg has become a hub of vibrant intellectual and humanitarian activity. Israel and its Lobby are worried about Dr. Weber’s success; they cannot control the Cafe via the usual channels (George Soros, Open Society Institute, NGO’s etc).   The lousy pro Israeli journalist David Harnasch, who has written about ‘modern German anti-Semitism,’ termed Cafe Palestine Freiburg “Cafe Jew hatred.” In late 2013, Joachim Bruhns, of the Socialist Initiative Forum, another Israeli Hasbara front, described Cafe Palestine’s co-founder Dr. Gabi Weber as a “helper of neo-Nazis.”  This despite the fact that the vast majority of speakers at Café Palestine have been Jews and Israeli dissenters.

It is worth pointing out that Dr. Weber and Café Palestine’s criminal record is nonexistent. Not once has Dr. Weber or the café been so much as questioned by the authorities on issues of anti-Semitism or any form of incitement of hatred.

In the next paragraph the Jpost reveals who dictates German Government actions. “Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office, said: “whoever advocates a boycott of Israel cannot be a partner for peace…” She called on the Family Ministry and the Berlin Senate to “review their funding policies.”

Peculiar: law-abiding German citizens are now subject to pressure mounted by a Jewish American Lobby. Germany’s Family Ministry surrendered to the Jewish lobby group immediately and shamelessly. But there is something they probably don’t know.

In recent years Dr. Weber won two significant court cases against the mayor of Freiburg and Freiburg University. Both attempted to stifle discussion of Palestine in a similar manner but saw their argument collapse in the house of law. Knowing Dr. Weber well, I am pretty sure that Germany’s Family Ministry will regret its cowardly actions very soon.

More to follow…

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International Court: Israel’s ‘War Crimes’ are not our problem

Rehmat

On Thursday, under pressure from Obama administration, the so-called International Criminal Court (ICC), a Zionist-controlled judiciary circus, announced that it would not investigate Comoros’ (Muslim majority nation in Indian Ocean) request any further or lay criminal charges Jewish soldiers for killing ten unarmed (nine Turkish and one American) aid workers on board a Turkish ship while sailing to Gaza in international waters.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda even though admitted Thursday that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Israel committed war crimes in its attack on the Mavi Marmara vessel, echoing the findings of a 61-page report by ICC prosecutors. But Bensouda went on to state that the potential case or cases arising from such an investigation “would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC.

In the final analysis, I have, therefore, concluded that the legal requirements under the Rome Statute to open an investigation have not been met and I am announcing that the preliminary examination has been closed,” Besouda said.

According to the prosecution lawyers, the ICC decision proves that the Zionist entity has special status in regard to international law.

The Center for Constitutional Rights blasted the court’s decision:

It is outrageous that the ICC is refusing to prosecute Israeli officials despite acknowledging that there’s a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed. For the court to say the case ‘would not be of sufficient gravity’ to justify further action when the Israeli Defense Force attacked international vessels in international waters, killed nine people and seriously injured many more, defies any reasonable understanding of justice and international law.”

Calling it a war crime is encouraging, but there is a factor of disappointment that they will not take this investigation further,” Ehab Lotayef of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition told Common Dreams. “Israel commits war crimes against unarmed civilians in many incidents, whether inside occupied territories in Gaza or the West Bank, whether against internationals or locals.”

The ICC’s falling over Israeli shoes is likely to bring outrage from Turkish public. In 2012, a Turkish court issued arrest warrants against four ex-Jewish Generals who ordered the assault on Mavi Marmara on May 31,  2010. Read also here.

Former UN special envoy for the occupied Palestine, American Jewish academic Dr. Richard Falk, has spent last eight years under Jewish Lobby’s knife for calling Israel a War Criminal in his every annual report to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

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What Does it Mean to be a Friend of Israel?

 

 

Via POETRY FOR PALESTINE

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What Does it Mean to be a Friend of Israel?

May 11, 2014 by admin
AFriendofIsrael

Click to watch: http://youtu.be/DhwW9JFEGkI


Hello, Please help this video go viral — there really isn’t much time left.

 

Title:  What Does if Mean to be A Friend of Israel?
http://youtu.be/DhwW9JFEGkI

The message is simple:  DON’T EVER VOTE FOR A FRIEND OF ISRAEL.

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 1.54.22 AM
  
Please distribute this video as widely as possible.  It is one of the few chances that the Un-chosen People have of fighting back.  But be careful who you ask for advice.  If I were a Friend of Israel (perish the thought) I would try to infiltrate as many anti-Israel organisations that I could, including websites that purported to be pro-Palestinian.  
Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 1.51.53 AM Remember Mossad’s motto:  “By way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War.”  

Thank you, and take care,

Anthony Lawson

–  Only fools believe what they are told, when it is clear that much else is being hidden.

New media and the changing narrative on Palestine

 

Please Sign the Palestinian Declaration Here

New media and the changing narrative on Palestine

Victoria Brittain

 

 Monday, 05 May 2014 15:01

Victoria Brittain

I want to dedicate this paper to the great journalist and writer on the Middle East, Patrick Seale, who died last week – for decades he set an example of writing counter-narrative, and generously gave help and encouragement to others trying to do so. 

First I want to mention the great strategic importance placed on media by Israel’s government and its allies.

Second I discuss what I call the intellectual guerrilla war of new media in the Anglophone world.

Third I illustrate this war with some examples of the challenges to the iconic and powerfulNew York Times in this new struggle.

Fourth I examine the rising tide of activism on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in US campuses and the role of the new media’s fearless and professional Palestinian writers in creating this new moment of global popular struggle.

1. The western press’ long-standing compliant relationship with the official Israeli version of progressive dispossession of the Palestinian people over more than 60 years has been exhaustively explored in countless excellent books – and new work on this subject comes out all the time. (Nothing is better however than the seminal 1983 book by Professor Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle, the United States, Israel and the Palestinians, which, like his Manufacturing Consent with Edward Herman published five years later, goes to the heart of the power relations behind the media’s historic compliance.)

Thirty years on from these books Israeli leaders and their western allies and media associates are having to work much harder and spend very large sums of money in the fight to maintain their dominance of the narrative. The Israeli government and its friends are certainly doing that spending at home as well as abroad – with mixed results.

Only last month, for instance, the US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who strongly backs Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, spent $5m to buy a small right wing religious paper in Israel,Makor Risho, adding to his overwhelming media strength inside Israel with the successful free paper Israel Hayom. (Within Israel this has been harshly criticised from both right and left.)

And, to reach the outside world, for more than a decade the Israeli government has systematically organised students and others in semi-military mode to flood the Internet withhasbara material, as anyone who has ever written anything critical of Israel’s government knows.  Union of Israeli Students “covert units” within Israel’s seven universities have engaged in online public diplomacy and been part of the Prime Minister’s public diplomacy arsenal.

Meanwhile, Brand Israel was conceived and launched with a multi-million dollar budget and top international PR companies to promote an image of Israel via culture and tourism (including maps where Palestine did not exist) in Europe and the US. The map mistake brought them a great deal of criticism, while the heavy handed attempts to frame Operation Cast Lead in Gaza or the attacks on the Mavi Marmara peace flotilla as justified, largely backfired internationally. But still the basic Israeli political narrative has dominated in the west. And one illustration of the lengths the government and its allies go to control that narrative emerged some years ago in an Electronic Intifada report on systematic amending of Wikipedia entries on Israel.

2. Against this powerful current in recent years a modestly-financed series of initiatives in new media has begun a kind of guerrilla intellectual war challenging the old dominance.

Dents in the old master-narrative of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East, and with no interlocutor among the Palestinians, who threaten its existence, are visible in many areas. Here are just three recent examples and their effects.

One was the BDS movement’s adroit seizing on a movie star’s promotion of a product made in an illegal West Bank settlement, with a web-based campaign that went viral. Significantly, the company – SodaStream – saw a 14% slip in its share price in the first quarter of 2014 after its PR debacle with the movie star Scarlett Johansson. Business will have taken note: working in settlements = toxic for share price.

Another is the feverish series of public rows in universities in the US over academic boycotts of Israeli universities, and peaceful student protests about house demolitions, the apartheid Wall, and other injustices faced by Palestinians.

Third was the NYT decision earlier this year to publish an article on its prestigious op-ed page by the prominent Palestinian BDS activist Omar Barghouti. The NYT, because of its iconic status in US journalism and politics, is a particular focus of the intellectual war I look at below.

The SodaStream factory in Ma’ale Adumim illegal settlement had been there 20 years before it became a world-wide story and Johansson had to pull out of her support for the British charity Oxfam when she chose to continue supporting SodaStream despite the controversy. And the Palestinian civil society call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions was ten years old before it reached the current stage of involving university governors and state legislators in the recent attempts to silence student opinion and action. Barghouti’s book on BDS was published in 2010 and had been mainly ignored by mainstream media.

Where did this change in attitudes and actions come from? Not from any Palestinian political leaders, but the effect of many foreign visitors to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and a multitude of grass roots media initiatives, mainly by younger Palestinian academics, journalists, writers, film-makers, and lawyers. They have been unified by the BDS campaign launched in 2005, and have now created a moment of a popular street struggle based on morality, legitimacy, and justice.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign has shifted the dynamics of power away from empty diplomacy and moved the battle for Palestine into the realm of global awareness and public participation in a struggle for liberation. The US rapper Jasiri X at Qalandya checkpoint reflects just this.

Everywhere the Internet has shifted the balance of power in journalism as compared to, say, 20 or 30 years ago. It is simply no longer necessary to work for a large media organization in order to have a decent-sized readership or a voice that will be heard. There are journalists, commentators and activists from around the world who have never been employed by a large media organization who have amassed thousands, or tens of thousands, or even more Twitter followers – more than many if not most of the full-time reporters and columnists for those established media organizations.

In a world where media organizations are financially struggling and are desperate for online buzz and traffic, these independent journalists and activists can have real leverage. Large media organizations need them.

In the last decade or so, the Internet has of course made available a vast amount of information on almost every corner of the world. This is true of Palestine like everywhere else. But what is different about the Palestine case is that a number of websites and blogs, mostly written in English by a young generation of highly educated Palestinians, now produce a consistent and fearless body of reporting and analysis which is reaching new audiences – as in the SodaStream case – and, with the help of YouTube, nurturing the new readiness of US students to face harsh sanctions for protest action.

I’ll mention just a few of the new media initiatives whose work I think is creating this consistent counter-narrative around Palestinian issues, particularly in the US and UK: Al Shabbaka,Electronic Intifada, Yousef Munayer’s Jerusalem Fund/Palestine CentreJadaliyyaThe Palestine Chronicle by Ramzy Baroud. The blogs of Omar Barghouti on BDS, and of the Nazareth-based British journalist Jonathan Cook, are part of this same mosaic, as are The Real News and Al Monitor.  Mondoweiss, Israeli-based 972, and Tikun reach in particular a significant US Jewish audience, which is one of the areas where whole new debates are under way and old certainties in attitudes to Israel are eroding. Other independent leftist media outlets that frequently write about Palestine, such as Counterpunch, and Al Jazeeraare part of this shifting picture, which is also beginning within US major media outlets.

3. One strand of this is a tireless scrutiny of the New York Times. The paper’s bureau chiefs and reporters on Israel/Palestine are invariably based in West Jerusalem and some have had personal connections with Israel (for example: former bureau chief Ethan Bronner’s sonserved in the IDF ). The Washington DC-based Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Centre, theElectronic Intifada and Mondoweiss systematically launch detailed challenges to the NYTreporting. They take on the NYT professionalism – making dents in the credibility of the key US paper of record, and having these critiques amplified by an incalculable number of new media links.

Here are three recent examples of this scrutiny, among many others:

First: The passing of the new law that allows Israel to detain African migrants without trial for a year was reported like this:

Here is Haaretz’s headline, Knesset Okays Dentention of Migrants without Trial 

Here is the LA Times’ headline, Israel passes law aimed at deterring African migrants 

Here is the AFP’s headline, Israel passes law to detain illegal African migrants

Here is the NY Times’ headline, Israel: Law Reduces Migrant Detention

 

Second, in the combative tone of the EI:

“It will not be news to regular readers of The Electronic Intifada that The New York Timessystematically excludes all except token Palestinian voices from its coverage. But under the regime of Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, the silencing of Palestinians has plumbed new lows.

 

On 29 November, the Times published a story by Isabel Kershner about a Jerusalem photo exhibit put on by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

 

The exhibit showcases some of UNRWA’s unique archive of photographs of Palestinian refugees since the Nakba. In the Times article, as Adam Horowitz noted on Mondoweiss, Kershner does not quote a single Palestinian. Instead, as Horowitz writes: “For some reason Isabel Kershner gives more space to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor to denounce the exhibit than to UNWRA staffers to explain it. And, of course, the article ignores actual Palestinian refugees altogether.”

 

Third, on the massive displacement of Bedouins and the demolishing of their villages in the Negev, the EI’s Ali Abunimah was in action again on December 1, 2013 :

“The Times published what appears to be its first ever story about the Prawer Plan.

 

On 30 November, protests all over historic Palestine against the plan, were met with Israeli police brutality and, according to eyewitnesses, unprovoked police violence (including on a 14 year old child), as I reported in a post earlier today.

 

But Kershner presents what happened as being the fault of protesters:

“In scenes reminiscent of the Palestinian uprisings in the West Bank, protesters hurled stones at police forces, burned tires and blocked a main road for hours near the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev. The police used water cannons, tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the demonstrators.”

 

It’s hardly surprising that Kershner follows a purely official Israeli narrative, because she only quotes Israeli officials: police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, justice minister and war crimes suspect Tzipi Livni and the Israeli prime minister’s office.

In this – the only article published by the Times on the Prawer Plan – Kershner cannot find a single Bedouin who will be directly affected to speak to.”

 

Abunimah’s entertaining anecdote about his chance encounter with the NYT’s former Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner – a sideline in a long interview about his important new book (The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Haymarket, Chicago) – neatly illustrates what a raw nerve EI’s reporting has hit at the NYT, although it is never acknowledged.

But things are changing in parts of the NYT that are not the Jerusalem bureau.

Last month (ie April), Mondoweiss revealed that the NYT went along with an Israeli gagging order on the arrest and incommunicado detention in a windowless cell without a bed, of Palestinian journalist Majid Keyyal on his return from a conference in Lebanon. For the NYTJerusalem bureau chief going along with the gag was “analogous to abiding by traffic rules.” However the NYT public editor, Margaret Sullivan did not see it quite like that and wrote an article about the gag that said, “I find it troubling that The Times is in the position of waiting for government clearance before deciding to publish.” And giving credit to EI, which broke the gagging order several times, Sullivan made it clear that she, if not the bureau chief, understood how important a story this was for Palestinians.

Earlier this year Jonathan Cook wrote an account of his experience of how the tide at theNYT has changed in a decade. A commentary he wrote back then for the International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times) argued that Israel’s wall that was then just starting to be built in the West Bank was really a land grab.

“The paper then received the “largest postage in our history”, as an editor told me – possibly not surprising as the US Anti-Defamation League had urged its followers to complain and had even published a template letter of condemnation on its website to help them. The result: the paper published a whole page of letters attacking me and dropped me as a writer.”

Cook noted a more recent avalanche of letters following three articles on BDS in both the NYT and INYT in late January 2014: one was the Omar Barghouti article already referred to and the other two were by NYT staff Jodi Rudoren and Roger Cohen attacking BDS, the former implicitly and the latter explicitly.

As Cook put it,

“What’s so different this time is that the INYT’s letters page is dominated by readers backing Barghouti and attacking Rudoren and Cohen. Not only that, but the arguments used to support BDS are intelligent and well-informed, while the few letters attacking BDS sound tired and formulaic.

The fact that the NYT has allowed the BDS debate into its pages is a triumph for the cause. That its international sister publication (and the NYT website) has then allowed its letters page to be dominated by BDS supporters is another small landmark.”

In fact the NYT has also had some strong anti-settlement editorials. It seems that as the Israeli government becomes even more extreme in its racism and settlement expansion policies – so vivid in the unending pictures of the Wall – the NYT has been more open to criticizing government policies – even as it continues to shut out Palestinian perspectives in its reporting. The Sunday Magazine also went against the general news line by publishing a long, good piece on popular resistance at Nabi Saleh.

The new media websites I’ve mentioned also publish the kind of exclusives which come from extremely good sources and which used to be the preserve and pride of powerful western media like the NYT. For instance, the recent very important story by NY based Professor Joseph Massad on the Abbas/Dahlan rivalry and its corrupt Egyptian links, which appeared on Al Jazeera’s website for a few hours before being summarily removed, was promptly re-published by the Electronic Intifada with a commentary by Professor Massad explaining the exchanges with Al Jazeera. It went viral.

4. There is a wide impact from new media’s leading writers in these overlapping networks making appearances as authoritative commentators on US TV, as well as in academic conferences and meetings such as those hosted by The Palestine Fund in Washington, and available live-streamed across the world. Where once there was a clean sweep in discussing Israel/Palestine for familiar US government-line faces, like Dennis Ross or Aaron David Miller (who are still of course fixtures in these debates), now you see, among others, academic lawyer Noura Erakat, an Al Shabaka adviser, or Nadia Hijab, one of its founders, or Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada, prolific author of books and articles, or Omar Barghouti, or the novelist and poet Susan Abulhawa,  (see her on YouTube with Alan Dershowitz, and unforgettably demolishing Israeli judge Itamar Marcus. This too went viral.)

This new strand of narrative has not, of course, much affected the business-as-usual official western government and mainstream media narrative of “two-state solution” and “peace process” etc. And recently, when the NYT reported “Israeli settlement plan derails peace talks, Kerry says,” in a straight news piece quoting Kerry’s Senate testimony, it did not take many phone calls of complaint to have the headline transformed into, “Mideast Frustration, the sequel”. The rewritten version of the piece that then appeared had a soft historical intro, and also contained a new quote from Aaron David Miller lamenting Kerry’s statement as no good for peace. Mondoweiss had both versions of that piece, and some trenchant commentary on the web, very rapidly. In addition it gave a link to the long NYT piece detailing both Israel’s sharp rejection of Kerry’s point, and a State Department comment rowing back from the Secretary of State’s criticism of Israel.

These torrents of debate and information are running through US college campuses as never before since the Vietnam years. The official responses have become even more extreme than the cancelled lectures, lost jobs, and ruined careers, which openly pro-Palestinian US-based academics have sometimes suffered. (And behind those are the shadows of the far heavier prices paid in the iconic US court cases of prominent Palestinian/Americans such as Professor Sami El Arian, and the board of the charity Holy Land Foundation. One of these extreme cases ended with an indefinite house arrest, the other with prison sentences between 15 and 65 years.)

In recent months the responses to student and faculty peaceful pro-Palestinian campus activities, from North-Eastern in Boston, to Michigan, Florida, California, and Colombia (to name but some), or to the open support for BDS from academic institutions such as the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies have had an air of panic and hysteria. For leafleting or peaceful protests Students for Justice in Palestine groups have been suspended, some interviewed by police, some placed on academic probation, some facing disciplinary charges and others obliged to attend re-education training led by university administrators.

Israel’s response has been twofold.  As Israeli journalists have noted, they have employed the tried and tested tactic of negotiations for “interim agreements,” into which Secretary of State John Kerry was most recently lured. According to a Haaretz report, in addition to “advancing the peace process with the Palestinians [to] stave off a large portion of the boycott threats,” other tactics include “a massive PR campaign against pro-boycott organizations,” filing “legal suits in European and North American courts against organizations that are proponents of the BDS movement,” lobbying for the creation of new laws under which more people can be prosecuted for boycotting Israel,  and finally stepping up surveillance of BDS supporters, which would involve operations by the Mossad and Shin Bet.

Perhaps the official over-reacting is not so surprising given that ASA added 700 new academic members after its boycott call, and new academic names penned opinion pieces in numerous US media outlets supporting ASA’s vote.

Meanwhile, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support has reported 100 cases of legal threats, intimidation and suspected surveillance of activists on campus. Efforts to legislate against academic boycotts have been tried in seven states and the US Congress, including bills in Illinois and New York. All but one has failed, and the one failure, Maryland, was a very watered down initiative.

As I said earlier, this new activism of a young generation in the US has largely come out of the multiplicity and consistency of a new media narrative confidently mushrooming from a new generation of educated Palestinians.

In parallel, and feeding off this Palestinian narrative, young US Jewish communities too are producing dissident writing, on websites I have referred to earlier, and books of extraordinary reporting like Max Blumenthal’s Goliath or a mea culpa like Noam Chayut’s The Girl who stole my Holocaust.

All of this begins to change the terms of debates on these issues far beyond what we can see on campuses these days. Washington and Tel Aviv have not yet changed any policies as a result of this intellectual struggle, and the NYT is still largely stuck in its old self-referential certainties. But the moment reminds me of many such media seminars and conferences in the years when apartheid began to crack. They contributed to media change. The powerful media that had supported the white regime in South Africa began to realize that they were telling losers’ stories and missing the analysis of the future. Palestinian new media writers today show the world a different future.

A short version of this paper was given at the Palestine International Forum for Media and Communication, Istanbul, April 23, 2014. This article was first published onopendemocracy.net

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Erdogan: Turkey to normalize relations with Israel “within days”

People, holding Turkish and Palestinian flags, cheering as the Mavi Marmara ship returns in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010. Photo by AP

Published Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is prepared to normalize ties with Israel within days or weeks after counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for a deadly raid in 2010.

Erdogan, speaking on US broadcaster PBS late Monday, said US President Barack Obama was instrumental in arranging a phone call between the leaders of Israel and Turkey, once intimate allies, but who have been at odds since a 2010 Israeli assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships in which soldiers shot dead nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.

Officials said the two government in recent weeks have been narrowing the gap between them by overcoming sticking points including the amount of compensation to be paid to Turkey.

Erdogan said the issue has been resolved.

“We have come to an agreement… with respect to compensation,” he told PBS through a translator.

“And with respect to sending humanitarian aid to the people in Palestine through Turkey… is the other step of the negotiations, and with the completion of that phase we can move towards a process of normalization,” Erdogan said.

“I think we’re talking about days, weeks.”

Erdogan said the first step “would no doubt be taken by the sending of ambassadors.”

The May 2010 Israeli assault on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara in international waters en route to Gaza sparked widespread condemnation and provoked a major diplomatic crisis between the two sides.

Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador, demanded a formal apology and compensation, and an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Talks on compensation began a year ago after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey in a breakthrough brokered by Obama.

Massacres of Armenians “not genocide”

Switching to a thorny subject for Turks, Edogan flatly denied that the World War I killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide, just days after his government offered condolences over the massacres for the first time.

“This is not possible because if such a genocide had been the case, would there have been Armenians living in this country?” Erdogan told US broadcaster PBS on Monday.

“We are a people who think genocide is a crime against humanity and we would never turn a blind eye to such action,” he added.

Erdogan last week offered his condolences over the 1915 massacre, calling it “our shared pain” in a statement marking the 99th anniversary of the start of the killings and mass deportations — an unprecedented move described by the United States as a historic gesture.

Armenia dismissed the statement, accusing Ankara of “utter denial.”

Using both diplomatic levers and its influential diaspora abroad, Armenia has long sought to win the massacre’s international recognition as genocide.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed during World War I as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, a claim supported by several other countries.

Turkey argues 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers siding with invading Russian troops.

A call to extradite US-based rival

In the interview, Erdogan also called on the United States to extradite an Islamic cleric he accuses of plotting to topple him and undermine Turkey with concocted graft accusations and secret wire taps.

Fethullah Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1997 when secularist authorities raised accusations of Islamist activity against him. He denies engineering a police graft investigation but has denounced Erdogan over moves to shut down the inquiry by purging police and judiciary of his followers.

Asked by a reporter at parliament after a meeting of AK Party deputies if a process will begin for his extradition from the United States, Erdogan said: “Yes, it will begin.”

In the PBS interview, Erdogan said Gulen, a former ally with broad support in the police and judiciary, could also pose a threat to US security by his activities.

“These elements which threaten the national security of Turkey cannot be allowed to exist in other countries because what they do to us here, they might do against their host,” Erdogan told interviewer Charlie Rose, according to a transcript.

He said Turkey had cancelled his passport and that he remained in the United States on a green card as a legal resident.

Gulen runs a network of businesses and schools, well-funded and secular in nature, across the world. The schools are a major source of influence and funding and have therefore become the target of government efforts to have them shut down.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of contriving criminal allegations that his son and the children of three ministers were involved in a corruption scandal and took billions of dollars of bribes.

He has also accused Gulen’s Hizmet (Service) movement of bugging thousands of phones and leaking audio recordings, including purportedly of his foreign minister and senior security officials discussing possible armed intervention in neighboring Syria, on the website YouTube. Gulen has also denied these accusations.

The recordings appeared ahead of a March 30 municipal election, but did little to affect Erdogan’s popularity, with his AK Party dominating the electoral map.

He said Turkey had complied with more than 10 extradition requests from the United States and now expected the same response from its NATO ally. He did not say whether Turkey had officially made an extradition request.

(AFP, Reuters)

ما هي بنود التسوية بين تركيا و’اسرائيل’

 انفردت صحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت” الاسرائيلية بنشر خبر أن الاتصالات بين تركيا و”اسرائيل” قد استكملت وينتظرون الآن القرار النهائي لرئيس الحكومة الصهيوني بنيامين نتنياهو، حيث يتوقع أن يعرض اتفاق التسوية على الحكومة الاسرائيلية أو المجلس الوزاري المصغر للشؤون الأمنية والسياسية للمصادقة عليه.

 

وفقا لاتفاق التسوية، كما تنشر “يديعوت احرونوت”، تدفع “اسرائيل” لتركيا 21 مليون دولار، تسلم الى صندوق انساني يقوم بدوره بدفع التعويضات الى عائلات القتلى التسعة الذين سقطوا على متن سفينة مرمرة والى الجرحى أيضاً.

في المقابل، تتابع “يديعوت”، تلتزم تركيا بتشريع قانون يضمن عدم محاكمة ضباط ومسؤوليين اسرائيليين رفيعي المستوى بسبب تورطهم أو مسؤوليتهم عن أحداث السفينة. كما يلتزم الأتراك في وقف المسار القضائي الذي بدأ في اسطنبول لمحاكمة أربعة ضباط اسرائيليين بسبب مسؤوليتهم عن أحداث مرمرة وهم، رئيس هيئة الأركان العامة السابق غابي أشكنازي، رئيس شعبة الاستخبارات العسكرية السابق عاموس يدلين، قائد سلاح البحر السابق أليعيزر ماروم والرئيس السابق لقسم الاستخبارات في سلاح الجو أفيشاي ليفي.

 

ولفتت “يديعوت” الى انه مع توقيع الاتفاق ستعلن كل من “اسرائيل” وتركيا عن اعادة العلاقات بشكل كامل بما في ذلك رفع مستواها الى مستوى السفراء. وأضافت يديعوت أن مسألة الحصار المفروض على غزة ليست جزءاً من اتفاق التسوية، لكن هناك اتفاقاً شفهياً بين الفريقين تسمح “اسرائيل” من خلاله لتركيا ببناء مستشفى في غزة وكذلك نقل مساعدات انسانية.

 

ونقلت “يديعوت احرونوت” عن مصادر سياسية اسرائيلية رفيعة المستوى إن “أردوغان يشعر أن هذا هو الوقت المناسب للمصالحة مع “اسرائيل” واعادة العلاقات الى طبيعتها. هذا بالتأكيد تطور ايجابي يجب مباركته. تركيا هي دولة مهمة ومن المهم جداً ترميم العلاقات مع “اسرائيل”، وبشكل خاص في هكذا مرحلة عاصفة في الشرق الأوسط”، حسب الصحيفة.

العهد

 

وكالة أوقات الشام الإخبارية

شاركت الاسبوع الماضي في اعمال “مؤتمر فلسطين الدولي للاعلام والاتصال” الذي انعقد في اسطنبول لمدة ثلاثة ايام وشارك فيه العديد من الشخصيات السياسية والفكرية والاعلامية من فلسطين المحتلة الدول العربية واوروبا، وكان الانطباع السائد في اروقة المؤتمر ان السيد احمد داوود اوغلو، وزير الخارجية التركي، سيلقي خطاب الافتتاح باعتباره يمثل الدولة المضيفة، وذهب البعض الى ما هو ابعد من ذلك عندما همس بأن السيد رجب طيب اردوغان رئيس الوزراء ربما يفاجيء المؤتمر الذي غلبت عليه النكهة الاسلامية، بحضوره، السيد داوود اوغلو لم يشارك، ولم يلق الكلمة الافتتاحية بالتالي، ورئيسه اردوغان خيب امل المتفائلين ولم يحضر بدوره، ولم يقم المضيف التركي حفل عشاء او استقبال للضيوف مثلما جرت العادة.

بدأت بهذه المقدمة ليس للتنويه بالمؤتمر وهو يستحق ذلك، وانما لمحاولة ايجاد علاقة بين هذا الغياب الرسمي التركي غير المتوقع و”المفاجأة” التي اعلنها السيد اردوغان ظهر اليوم وتمثلت في تأكيده بأن العلاقات بين بلاده واسرائيل يمكن ان تدخل حيز التطبيع الكامل خلال الايام او الاسابيع المقبلة بعد اربع سنوات على المجزرة الاسرائيلية على نشطاء سفينة مرمرة التي كانت، مع سفن اخرى، في طريقها الى قطاع غزة لكسر الحصار الاسرائيلي الخانق المفروض عليه.

***

السيد اردوغان قال في حديث لشبكة “بي بي اس″ الامريكية اتفقنا على التعويض المالي، اما ارسال المساعدات الانسانية الى الفلسطينيين عبر تركيا هو المرحلة الثانية من المفاوضات وبعدها قد نمضي قدما نحو عملية التطبيع وارسال السفراء”.

شخصيا شعرت بحالة من الصدمة بعد سماع هذه الانباء، وانا الذي اشدت بالموقف التركي، سواء الشق المتعلق منه بكسر الحصار على قطاع غزة الذي وضع مليوني فلسطيني على حافة الموت جوعا ومرضا لنقص الطعام والدواء وابسط الاحتياجات الانسانية، او الآخر الذي تمثل في اجبار الحكومة الاسرائيلية، ولاول مرة في تاريخها، على تقديم اعتذار واضح وصريح للحكومة والشعب التركي، ودفع تعويضات لاسر شهداء هذه المجزرة.

كنت اعتقد ان رفض حكومة السيد اردوغان للتطبيع مع اسرائيل، والتجاوب مع ضغوطها المكثفة في هذا الصدد، يعود الى موقف تضامني مع القضية الفلسطينية والمحاصرين في قطاع غزة وليس بسبب الخلاف حول حجم التعويضات المالية لاسر ضحايا السفينة مرمرة، مثلما تبين لاحقا.

ولا نجادل مطلقا بأن شخصية السيد اردوغان تتسم بالكثير من “البراغماتية”، في نظر الكثيرين، وان مواقفه كسياسي تتغير وتتبدل حسب مصالحه الحزبية ومصالح بلاده الاستراتيجية، ولكن كنا نتوقع، وفي ظل انهيار عملية السلام، وتحميل امريكا والغرب مسؤولية هذا الانهيار لاسرائيل، وتزايد حملات المقاطعة في الغرب لها، ان يتريث السيد اردوغان قليلا، ولا يقدم طوق نجاة لحكومة اسرائيلية هي الاكثر تطرفا وعنصرية.

السيد اردوغان يتعرض هذه الايام لضغوط داخلية وخارجية متعاظمة، لعبت اسرائيل والولايات المتحدة الامريكية دورا في تصعيدها، فعلى الصعيد الداخلي كانت هناك ازمة فضائح الفساد التي طالت العديد من الوزراء في حكومة حزب العدالة والتنمية، ثم تلتها ازمة التسجيلات المسربة حول فبركة اسباب للتدخل في الازمة السورية عسكريا، مثل تزويد بعض الجماعات الاسلامية المتشددة اسلحة كيماوية، اما على الصعيد الخارجي فقد جرى تحريك “ازمة المجازر” مع ارمينيا من قبل اللوبي الارمني المدعوم من اللوبي اليهودي في امريكا، ضد تركيا اردوغان لاحراجه وتأزيم علاقته مع الغرب، وامريكا بالذات.

ولعل فشل رهان السيد اردوغان في اسقاط نظام الرئيس بشار الاسد في سورية ودخول الازمة السورية عامها الرابع، وتغيير سلم الاولويات الامريكي بالتركيز على ما يسمى بخط الجماعات الاسلامية المتشددة، وكيفية القضاء عليها، وتأجيل مسألة اسقاط النظام، هو احد العوامل الحاسمة في توجهه الجديد للتطبيع مع اسرائيل، تماما مثلما اتخذ خطوات مماثلة لاعادة العلاقات مع كل من ايران والعراق وروسيا الدول الداعمة للنظام السوري، في اطار حنينه للعودة الى سياسة “صفر مشاكل مع الجوار” التي هندسها السيد داوود اوغلو.

ولم يكن من قبيل المصادفة ان يتزامن اعلان السيد اردوغان عن مفاجأة التطبيع الكامل مع اسرائيل مع اعلان آخر مفاجيء ايضا، اي اتخاذ الاجراءات القانونية لتسليم خصمه اللدود فتح الله غولن الملياردير التركي المقيم في الولايات المتحدة، فربما اراد بخطوة التطبيع مع اسرائيل ان يحيد اللوبي اليهودي القوي اذا لم يستطع كسبه الى جانبه في خطواته هذه.

***

السيد اردوغان تربع داخل قلوب الملايين من العرب والمسلمين ناهيك عن الاتراك، ليس بسبب نموذجه الاقتصادي المشرف، وتحقيق معجزة التزاوج بين الاسلام والديمقراطية فقط، وانما لانه انتفض غاضبا في وجه شمعون بيريس في احد ندوات منتدى دافوس الاقتصادي السويسري قبل سنوات، وتصدى بشجاعة لاكاذيبه وانسحب من القاعة، ولانه كان الوحيد من الزعماء العرب والمسلمين الذي قرر كسر الحصار الاسرائيلي الظالم لقطاع غزة، السماح بانطلاق السفن من موانيء بلاده في تحد شرس للاسرائيليين.

التطبيع مع اسرائيل، وفي مثل هذا التوقيت، ورغم كل الاعذار والمبررات، سيؤثر سلبا على مكانته ورصيده الكبير في قلوب الملايين من العرب والمسلمين، وسيعطي حتما ذخيرة قوية وفاعلة لرافضي تدخله اللوجستي العسكري والسياسي والمالي في الازمة السورية لصالح المعارضة المسلحة، وما اكثر هؤلاء الذين يبحثون عن هذه الذخيرة هذه الايام.

مواقف السيد اردوغان الاخيرة باتت تثير العديد من علامات الاستفهام وتأتي في معظمها كرد فعل بسبب الضغوط الداخلية والخارجية عليه وعلى حزبه، مثل اغلاق وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي (التويتر الفيسبوك واليوتيوب)، ولكن اكثرها خطورة هو التطبيع الكامل مع اسرائيل وفي التوقيت الخطأ، وكأنه “مثل الذي يذهب الى الحج والناس راجعة”.

الرئيس بشار الاسد، وانصاره، واعلامه، سيكونون الاكثر سعادة بهذه الهدية الاردوغانية المفاجئة وغير المتوقعة التي هبطت اليهم من السماء، ومتى.. في وقت الانتخابات الرئاسية!

راي اليوم – عبد الباري عطوان

RUSSIAN WARGAMES SEND STRONG MESSAGE AGAINST NATO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

Posted on April 3, 2013 by

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

RT Op-Edge

A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).(RIA Novosti)
A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).

 

Is there a connection between events in Syria (maybe even US tension with North Korea) and Russia’s impromptu Black Sea war games that started on March 28, 2013?While on his way from Durban in South Africa, where the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa —announced they were forming a new development bank to challenge the IMF and World Bank, Russia’s Vladimir Putin gave the go ahead for unscheduled war games in the Black Sea. By themselves the games mean little, but in a global context they mean a lot.

According to the Kremlin, the war games involved about 7,000 Russian servicemen, Russian Special Forces, Russian Marines, and airborne rapid deployment troops. All of Russia’s different services were involved and used the exercises to test their interoperability. Over thirty Russian warships based out of the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula and the Russian port of Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai will be participating. The objective of the games are to show that Russia could mobilize for any event at a moments notice.

The war games surprised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Who even complained the Russian war games started in the Black Sea without prior notice. In fact, NATO asked Russia to be more open about its moves and give NATO Headquarters in Brussels notice of its military movements in the future. Alexander Vershbow, the American Deputy Secretary General of NATO, even demanded “maximum transparency” from Russia. One may ask, why the rattled bones?

Russian response to war plans against the Syrians?

Is it mere coincidence that Russia is flexing its muscles after NATO revealed it was developing contingency plans for a Libya-style intervention in Syria on March 20? Two days later, Israel and Turkey ended their diplomatic row through a timely agreement that was supposedly brokered by US President Barack Obama in twenty minutes while he was visiting Israel. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that with Obama’s help a deal was made with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to end the diplomatic rift over the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

Days later, this event was followed by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) — a phoney opposition organization constructed by the US, UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — being ceremoniously given Syria’s seat at the Arab League. In what appears to be an attempt at repeating the Libya scenario, the SNC is being recognized as the government of Syria. At the Arab League summit, the SNC’s leader Moaz Al-Khatib immediately called for NATO military intervention in coordination with Qatar’s call for regime change and military intervention in Damascus on March 26.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.(AFP Photo / Karim Sahib)
Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.(AFP Photo / Karim Sahib)

In a stage-managed move, the puppet SNC has asked the US, UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and NATO to enforce a no-fly zone with the aim of creating a SNC-controlled emirate or enclave in northern Syria. Al-Khatib has announced that he has talked to US Secretary of State John Kerry to use the NATO Patriot Missiles stationed in Turkey to create the no-fly zone over northern Syria. Effectively what he is talking about is the balkanization of Syria. Kerry seems to be on top of it. Victoria Nuland, the spokeswoman of the US Department of State, said the US is considering the request about imposing a no-fly zone. Even earlier, Kerry made a surprise visit to Baghdad and threatened the federal government in Iraq to fall into line with Washington’s regime change plans against Syria. He said he wanted the Iraqis to check Iranian passenger planes heading to Syria for weapons, but much more was said.

The American Empire’s satraps are all on the move. Qatar and Saudi Arabia no longer hide the fact that they are arming and funding the insurgents in Syria. In February, the UK and France lobbied the rest of the European Union to lift its Syrian arms embargo, so that they can openly arm the anti-government foreign fighters and militias that are trying to topple the Syrian government. Israel and Turkey have been forced to mend fences for the sake of the Empires war on the Syrians.

Obama realigns Israel and Turkey against Syria

The Israeli and Turkish rapprochement conveniently fits the aligning chessboard. Obama’s visit to Israel was about imperial politics to maintain the American Empire. As two hostile neighbours of Syria, Tel Aviv and Ankara will have deeper cooperation in the Empire’s objectives to topple the Syrian government. All of a sudden, the governments in both countries started complaining in line with one another about how the humanitarian situation in Syria was threatening them. In reality, Israel is not hosting any Syrian refugees (and oppresses Syrians under its occupation in the Golan) whereas Turkey has actually neglected many of its legal and financial obligations to the Syrian refugees it hosts on its territory and has tried to whitewash this by labeling them as foreign “guests.”

A child watches a woman washing a bassin at the Syrian refugee camp 5km from Diyarbakir, on the the way between Diyarbakir and Mardin, after snowfall, on January 9, 2013.(AFP Photo / Stringer)

A child watches a woman washing a bassin at the Syrian refugee camp 5km from Diyarbakir, on the the way between Diyarbakir and Mardin, after snowfall, on January 9, 2013.(AFP Photo / Stringer)
According to Agence France-Presse, the Israelis have even opened a military field hospital to help the insurgents topple the Syrian government. The military facility is located in an area named Fortification 105 in Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (originally referred to as the Syrian Heights in Israel). It is essentially a support base for anti-government forces and only the tip of the iceberg in regards to Israeli involvement in Syria. Israel’s January strikes on Syria were the fruits of the cooperation between the Israelis and insurgent militias.

Sensing the suspicious eyes gazing at the Turkish government and perhaps getting unnerved by the Kremlin’s muscle flexing, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected he claims that Tel Aviv and Ankara were closing ranks against Syria. Davutoglu must have been unaware of what was said in Israel about their rapprochement. Even though Netanyahu vowed never to apologize for the killing of Turkey’s citizens on the Mavi Marmara, Tel Aviv’s apology to Turkey was publicly justified by the Israeli government on the basis of addressing Syria through coordination with Turkey. Many of the suspicious eyes that turned to look at the Erdogan’s government over the deal with Israel are Turkish. Davutoglu actually lied for domestic consumption, knowing full well that the Turkish public would be outraged to know that Prime Minister Erdogan was really normalizing ties with Israel to topple the Syrian government.

The message(s) of the Russian war games

The American Empire is arranging the geopolitical chessboard with is satraps in its ongoing war on Syria. Perhaps it plans on using Israel to do a re-play of the Suez Crisis. In 1956, after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, the UK and France drew a plan with Israel to annex the Suez Canal by getting Israel to attack Egypt and then claiming to intervene militarily as concerned parties who wanted to keep the Suez Canal safe and open for international maritime traffic. A new assault against Syria under the banners of the Israelis is possible and could be used as an excuse for a Turkish and NATO “humanitarian invasion” that could result in the creation of a northern humanitarian buffer zone (or a broader war).

A pattern can be depicted from all these events. At the start of 2013, Russia held major naval drills in the Eastern Mediterranean against a backdrop of tension between Moscow and the US-led NATO and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) coalition that has been destabilizing Syria. After the US and its anti-Syrian coalition threatened to intervene militarily and deployed Patriot missiles on Turkey’s southern border with Syria, a Russian naval flotilla was dispatched off the Syrian coast to send a strong message to Washington not to have any ideas of starting another war. In turn, the US and its allies tried to save face by spreading rumours that the Kremlin was preparing to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria, because the Syrian government was going to collapse and the situation was going to get critical.
A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).(RIA Novosti)
A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).(RIA Novosti)

Paralleling the Russian war games in the Black Sea, the Russian Air Force held long-range flights across Russia. This included flights by Russian nuclear strategic bombers. On the other end of Eurasia, China also conducted its own surprise naval war games in the South China Sea. While the US and its allies portrayed the Chinese moves as a threat to Vietnam over disputed territory in the South China Sea, the timing of the naval deployment could be linked to either Syria (or North Korea) and coordinated with Russia to warn the US to keep the international peace.

In a sign of the decline of the American Empire, just before the Russian war games in the Black Sea, all the increasingly assertive BRICS leaders warned the US against any adventurism in Syria and other countries. The Russian and Chinese muscle flexing are messages that tell Washington that Beijing and Moscow are serious and mean what they say. At the same time, these events can be read as signs that the world-system is coming under new management.
 

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‘Apologies, Lies & Audio tapes!’

FLC

Erdogan’s never ending bravados!

“…And as if to emphasize that nothing has really changed yet, Erdogan keeps using the same rhetoric. Thus, notwithstanding the apology, Erdogan still insists on referring to the killing of civilians on the Mavi Marmara as no less than “massacre” and, according to the Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet, Erdogan has even bragged that, in addition to receiving the written apology notice, he recorded his phone conversation with Netanyahu and thus has in his possession a recorded evidence of the pledge made by Netanyahu to cooperate with the Turkish government on the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. …”

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Israel gets Turkey on board to destroy Syria: Dr. Kevin Barrett

Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:13PM

…all of these countries are under the sway of the international Zionist and they are trying to break up [Syria] as part of the Oded Yinon plan to smash all of the potential enemies of Israel in the region into little tiny statelets along ethnic and sectarian lines. So that is the real reason of course that Israel wants to make friends with Turkey to get Turkey fully on board with the Israeli plan to destroy Syria.”

A political analyst tells Press TV that the real reason that Israel wants to make friends with Turkey is to get Turkey fully on board with the Israeli plan to destroy Syria.

The comments came after Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel has a thousand reasons to be friends with Turkey, expressing his satisfaction with the resumption of relations with Ankara. Peres stated that somehow both Israel and Turkey “wanted to put an end to this misunderstanding and return to the good relations that have existed between Turkey and ourselves for many good years.”

Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Kevin Barrett, author and political commentator, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: One thousand reasons for Israel and Turkey to be on friendly terms according to Shimon Peres, what are some of those reasons in your opinion?

Barrett: Well I guess the one thousand reasons for Israel and Turkey to be friends according to Shimon Peres are the one thousand Zionist agents who are planted throughout the Turkish military, many of them at very high levels.

Turkey was taken over by Zionist basically agents of international banking and freemasonry with the end of the Caliphate and Ataturk with his fascist war on Islam throughout the past decades in Turkey was the worst enemy of Islam on the planet and in that sense Turkey under Ataturk and his followers became aligned with Zionism.

But today Turkey is gradually becoming a democracy, an Islamic democracy and a vast majority of the people of Turkey have absolutely no use for Israel.

So those one thousand reasons that Peres was talking about are not actual policy reasons, they are certainly not reasons that have anything to do with what the Turkish people want. Those reasons I would say are the remaining members of the Turkish military who haven’t yet been purged due to their treasonous links with Israel and Israeli-linked organized crime networks.

Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator here in the US has talked extensively about these Israeli-linked organized crime networks that operate in Turkey. They smuggle heroin, they were involved in planning the 9/11 attacks according to Sibel Edmonds, she is one of our biggest whistleblowers here in the USA and they have purged a number of these organized crime figures and Israeli agents from the Turkish military already.

I believe there are well over a dozen Turkish high level military officers serving life sentences in prison for plotting to carry out 9/11 style false flag terrorist attacks in Turkey to overthrow their democratic government and install a fascist military regime in crackdown and descent.

Press TV: Let me interrupt you there, many are saying and also as admitted by the Israeli and Turkish side the reason for the recent rapprochement between Israel as well as Turkey is for the sake of Syria in manufacturing what is taking place there to their advantage.

Do you agree with that because many are saying this is basically a declaration of war against Syria?

Barrett: Well yes. Israel wants Turkey to help the Zionists destroy Syria in retaliation for Syria’s help for Hezbollah and Hamas in the recent military victories over Israel.

So that’s the kind of a bottom line here is that Israel is using all of its influence in all of this various countries that it largely owns, Turkey being one of them or semi owns it, the USA being another, Saudi Arabia being the third, all of these countries are under the sway of the international Zionist and they are trying to break up [Syria] as part of the Oded Yinon plan to smash all of the potential enemies of Israel in the region into little tiny statelets along ethnic and sectarian lines.

So that is the real reason of course that Israel wants to make friends with Turkey to get Turkey fully on board with the Israeli plan to destroy Syria.

Press TV: And also right now we have just seen Israeli forces open fire on Syrian territory from the occupied Golan Heights, is this the beginning of an intervention that we are going to see as a result of this rapprochement between Israel and Turkey?

Barrett: Well it will be very interesting if Israel is the outside party that intervenes most blatantly in Syria and that would show all of the supposedly Muslim friends of the supposed resistance in Syria which is really mostly mercenaries and terrorists from armed and paid for by other countries that the real force behind this destabilization of Syria is Israel.

So that would be a strategic mistake on part of the Israelis and their allies in the destabilization of Syria for Israel to directly invade Syria or get even more involved, obviously involved than it already is.

AHK/JR

 
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ERDUGAN / NETENYAHU RECONCILIATION SHOW

Mideast Israel Palestinians Turkey

Recep Erdogan is still conducting his show and running his circus except for the fact that now he has become more exposed than ever . The staged reconciliation between him and Netenyahu monitored by Obama caused the relations that were never severed to resume . From the beginning Erdogan has been performing his show of being a foe to Israel which cannot be …since Turkey’s relations with Israel go back to the foundation of Israel itself and were supposed to make up for the absence of Arab/ Israeli relations . The economical exchange between the two countries has reached its peak under Erdogan and involved all kinds of trade. The Mavi Marmara was but an accident arranged probably by Turkish Intelligence to boost the Turkish image as a supporter of the Arabs ready to sacrifice for Palestine and acquire thus a credibility regarding the Palestinian cause that will give it a say in the matter.

Now coordination is required between the two allies regarding the war launched by the west against Syria . The visit of Obama to Israel comes to lift up the morals of the usurping state whose territories have become fully accessible to the missiles of Hizbullah and to change the balance of forces in favor of Israel. This change can only happen if Syria – the major ally of the Lebanese Resistance – surrenders . The staged reconciliation between Netenyahu and Erdogan is just for gullible people and what happened is that Netenyahu – summoned by Obama – apologized by telephone to his long time friend and ally for the death of nine Turkish peace activists killed by the Israeli army according to a previous understanding over the matter between Turkish and Israeli Intelligences as has been leaked . The apology will be followed by indemnities paid by Israel to the Turkish families to make up for their loss provided Turkey drops all legal charges against the Israeli government . This is how the victims of the Mavi Marmara- on whom Erdogan built his glory- have been sold cheap by him . We hope the Turks will wake up one day to the circus run by Erdogan and by Uglu that uses sectarian Islam for the benefit of NATO and Israel and at the expense of the Arab Cause.

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Zionist PM Apologizes, Amends Ties with Turkey

Local Editor
 
US President Barack Obama (Up L), Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Up R), Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L)In their first phone conversation since 2010, the Zionist PM has apologized to Turkish PM Erdogan for deaths in the Gaza flotilla raid, Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. The Zionist entity also agreed to compensation for bereaved families.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the apology and agreed with his Zionist counterpart on the need to normalize the relationship that deteriorated after the UN report in 2011 made public the storming of a Turkish aid flotilla.
As back then no apology followed from the Jewish entity, Ankara expelled its ambassador and froze military cooperation with the country.

During Friday’s call, Netanyahu and Erdogan “agreed to restore normalization between Israel and Turkey, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against IDF soldiers,” Ofir Gendelman, the Zionist PM’s spokesperson said in statement posted on FaceBook.

Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara was on its way from Turkey to the Gaza Strip when it was intercepted by the Zionist Navy in May 2010. The vessel was part of a flotilla that was attempting to break an occupation naval blockade of Gaza. As a result of the incident, nine Turkish activists aboard the vessel were killed.

The news on the telephone call was broken by US President Barack Obama himself.
“The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security,” Obama said.

“I am hopeful that today’s exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities,” the US president added.
The statement was released by the White House just before he ended a visit to the Occupied Territories.

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Turkish ‘war lobby’ in collusion with Tel Aviv prepares to corner Obama on the eve of the elections!

FLC

Excellent post by ‘b’ at moonofalabama today, including an ominous warning by our friend WP Lang (aka. Mon Colonel); (IMO, it will not happen.)

“…Jon Williams is foreign editor for the BBC. A few hours ago he tweeted:

‘Some NATO allies growing suspicious of #Turkey. Fear Istanbul provoking #Syria. One official says Damascus “v restrained” in circumstances!’

Those NATO allies are not alone in growing suspicious. Abdullah Bozkurt is Bureau-in-Chief of the Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper. That paper is part of the Gülen movement and in general friendly with the current Turkish AKP government. Bozkurt also has extensive experience has Today’s Zaman U.S. correspondent. His latest column is headlined: The pro-war lobby rallies in Turkey

‘… It should be obvious by now that there is a pro-war lobby in the Turkish capital, one that is itching for a major confrontation with Syria and one that also has considerable influence over the government decision making process. This lobby is determined to drag Turkey into an adventurous conflict with Syria, one that is certain to escalate into region-wide hostilities with traditional backers of the Bashar al-Assad regime facing off with Turkey in the proxy of the Syrian swamp.

The relentless war lobby is after a “fait accompli” to commit the government and the country to a permanent war in Syria, but is afraid of the repercussions of presenting such a plan in the public…’

Bozkurt does not give any names but points at certain other interests that might want to get a war going:

‘ … The last thing Obama wants at this point is a Syrian crisis spiraling out of control that would put him in a weak spot in regard to his Republican challenger. Maybe that is exactly what the war lobby in Ankara wants. Creating an outrageous incident in response to which Turkey would feel the need to invoke Article 5 of the NATO military alliance, the clause on collective defense, might force Obama into a corner on the eve of presidential elections and prompt an American intervention…. ‘

I can think of some blowhart in Tel Aviv who would like to have Obama defeated and who might have the capabilities to order up some event, a certain “Syrian provocation” that kills many Turks but which’s origin would be rather mysterious, that would allow the Turkish pro-war lobby to achieve its “fait accompli”. But, as Bozkurt writes, a war over Syria would not be confined to Syria. It would have disastrous consequences. As the military Middle East expert Pat Lang remarked (in the comment section of KC’s piece in SST)

‘… A “Guns of August’ scenario is quite possible in which Syria, Hizbullah Russia and Iran line up against NATO, Israel and the US. The catastrophic implications of such an evolution are obvious…’

Any serious event on the Turkish Syrian border could now be an October surprise to unleash a Guns of August like situation. It is not something anyone in this world should wish for.”

Turkish Regional Test: Rhetoric and Actions


Turkish soldiers in a military vehicle patrol on the Turkish-Syrian border near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province, southern Turkey 11 October 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Osman Orsal)
 
Published Thursday, October 11, 2012
 
The Turkish government is daily repeating aggressive statements and threats to the Syrian regime, such as demanding the Syrian president to resign and even military threats – as happened lately after a Syrian mortar killed three Turks near the border inside Turkey.

However, Turkey is still not able to intervene in a direct and more powerful way and this is not the first time Turkey faces such a contradiction between its rhetoric and actions, as happened in 2010 when Israeli forces killed 11 Turks during the “Gaza flotilla attack.”

This dilemma appears because the Justice and Development Party (AKP) exists under the following factors: Ottoman’s historical glory, rejection from the Europeans, the geo-strategic visions of Ahmet Davutoğlu (Minister of Foreign Affairs), and, most importantly, the AKP’s need for a religious–revolutionary rhetoric to mobilize the Turkish people in order to control power away from military elites’ restrictions and national parties’ influence. This means that the AKP ignored for a period the structural elements, especially the regional balance of power, and that has made the party lose its credibility over time.

Theoretically there are two main approaches, the first emphasizes the priority of the structure and objective conditions which determine the behavior of the agent, as the balance of power and the nature of regional system. For example, Soli Özel (Istanbul Kadir Has University) argues that “Undoubtedly, the actors do shape their environment, but not at will. They are circumscribed by their capacities, by other actors’ relative power, and the conditions created by major shifts in that environment.” The second approach gives priority to the agent who influences the structure and shapes it; the structure is not more than the sum of the actions of the agents. For that, the most important aspect of the agent’s behavior is its identity, internal system, strategic culture, values and ambitions.

This structure-agent debate can contribute to understanding the current crisis in Turkish foreign policy, as it faces many restrictions and obstacles – as is evident in the tensions with Syria and Israel. In the Israeli case, it was interesting to notice that as Turkey became more aggressive towards Israel it becomes closer to the US and NATO, which makes it rhetoric against Israel suspicious. This not to say that Turkey is just a “Western proxy,” it differs in this aspect from some Arab regimes, but rather that Turkey is a regional power with wide national interests in Eurasia and clear ambition for regional leadership and for that it seeks to cooperate, coordinate and integrate with Western polices in the Middle East.

However, some Western powers demand Turkey, as a regional power, to engage more and hold more responsibility in the Syrian crisis. Anne-Marie Slaughter (former director of policy planning in the US State Department) criticized Turkey when it called for an international conference titled “Friends of Syria”, because of its weak and reactive and rhetorical policy that is based merely on diplomacy and words without actions. States that are eager to enjoy the trappings of great-power status – with the assumption that they must be consulted on major events or crises in their regions – must accept the burdens that go with it. They must be prepared not just to talk, but to act, she concluded.

After controlling the internal political game and testing the balance of regional power, especially with the rise of the Russian and Chinese regional roles and the growing tensions with Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Iran, Kurds and Iraq, AKP’s government is now more concerned with focusing on structural elements – mainly strategic calculations for the power game in the Middle East. This development led analysts such as Asli Aydintasbas (columnist for the Turkish daily Milliyet) to argue that “Turkey’s Syria policy will remain rhetoric in the absence of a clear international consensus regarding further action.”

Furthermore, Turkey within such a regional environment will seek for strategic partnership with new Arab regimes as Egypt, and with the NATO.

This harmony between Turkey and NATO contradicts Israeli’s predictions at the beginning of their crisis with Ankara that Turkey is shifting away from the West. Efraim Inbar (Director of Begin-Sadat Center, BESA) warned in series of articles after the “Gaza flotilla attack,” that Turkish understandings with Islamic powers such as Iran, Syria and “resistance” movements, will change the balance of power within the Middle East, reduce the Western influence in the region, weaken NATO, and threaten oil routes to the West. This Israeli campaign was aiming to mobilize the West against the AKP and to isolate Ankara, because the Israelis were confused and concerned about the Turkish shift and US withdrawal from Iraq.

In conclusion, Turkey is using mainly its soft power and not its hard power in order to extend its influence and leadership in the region, and for that Turkey is using growing Islamic discourse which is deviating gradually toward sectarianism. As for the Syrian crisis, Turkey is and will continue to focus on diplomacy, statements and covert actions. Though this will not lead to defeating the Syrian regime, it will enhance Turkey’s legitimacy and attract more followers and supporters in the region. The current Turkish role is a reflection of the US decline in the region and the Western need to form a regional Sunni coalition to balance against Iran. It seems that the Middle East contains more than one “Israel.”

Hosam Matar is a Lebanese researcher of International Relations.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

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