RAMALLAH – Five people were injured on Friday in weekly West Bank demonstrations, a local group said.
Three women sustained bruises after Israeli soldiers assaulted them in a weekly demonstration in al-Masara village, Bethlehem, the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements said.
The demonstration began at a cultural center in the village, before heading towards Israel’s separation wall.
In Nabi Saleh, Izz al-Abdul Hazfith Tamimi, 15, suffered facial injuries after being hit by a rubber bullet, the Popular Committee said.
Usama Bilal Tamimi, 16, was hit by a rubber bullet in the leg.
Palestinian and international activists gathered in the village for the weekly protest, which was also dedicated to hunger striking detainee Hana Shalabi, as well as other Palestinians in Israeli jails.
The protest was held on the first anniversary of the arrest of anti-wall activist Bassem Tamimi.
In March, Amnesty International said Tamimi should be released immediately, calling him a prisoner of conscience.
In December, 28-year-old Nabi Saleh resident Mustafa Tamimi died after he was struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces.
On Tuesday, Israeli troops raided the village, ransacking several homes and confiscating computers and cell phones, according to the local popular resistance movement.
- 13 injured in Nabi Saleh demonstration (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- We Are Nabi Saleh, a new film capturing people’s struggle, Mustafa Tamimi (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian badly injured after Israelis fire tear gas at head (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Live sniper-fire injures protester in Nabi Saleh (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Non-violence activist tells Israeli court charges ‘ridiculous’ (altahrir.wordpress.com)
Israel has rejected cooperation with the United Nations in an investigation by the world body’s Human Rights Council to probe the impacts of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday dismissed the resolution and attacked the UN human rights body, saying, “This council ought to be ashamed of itself,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Israeli foreign ministry dubbed the resolution “another surrealistic decision” and accused the council of promoting a one-sided political agenda.
On Thursday, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s announcements of new settlement homes, and ordering an investigation into the effects of the Israeli settlements on the rights of Palestinians.
It was passed with 36 votes in favor, 10 abstentions and only one – the United States – against.
The resolution calls on Israel to “take and implement serious measures” such as confiscating arms to prevent acts of violence by Israeli settlers. The council, which met in Geneva, also passed four other resolutions critical of Israel.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for the acting Palestinian Authority chief, Mahmoud Abbas, described the vote as a shift in position of the world in favor for the rights of Palestinians.
Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlement units built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
- Israel rejects cooperation with UN over settlements – RT (rt.com)
- United Nations Orders First Probe Of Israeli Settlements (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Jewish settlers stealing Palestinian water springs: UN (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel bars Palestinian MP from going to Geneva to attend UN conference (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli settlement waste ‘poisoning Palestinians’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli government confirms plan for segregated settler train system (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Japanese Distributer Ends Contract With AHAVA (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Israeli press reported this evening that French gunman Mohamed Merah had been on a trip to Israel in the past.
According to the report, Merah’s passport had Israeli stamps in it. The purpose of his visit is unknown. Israeli analysts suspect he was either trying to visit the Palestinian territories or preparing for a terror attack.
However, I won’t rule out the possibility that Merah was actually trained by Israeli forces. Marah may have conducted a false flag operation. By way of deception is, after all, the Mossad’s motto.
Read the story of Naeim Giladi, an Israeli agent operating in Iraq in the late 1940’s.
“On May 10, at 3 a.m., a grenade was tossed in the direction of the display window of the Jewish-owned Beit-Lawi Automobile Company, destroying part of the building. No casualties were reported.
On June 3, 1950, another grenade was tossed from a speeding car in the El-Batawin area of Baghdad where most rich Jews and middle class Iraqis lived. No one was hurt, but following the explosion Zionist activists sent telegrams to Israel requesting that the quota for immigration from Iraq be increased.
On June 5, at 2:30 a.m., a bomb exploded next to the Jewish-owned Stanley Shashua building on El-Rashid street, resulting in property damage but no casualties.
On January 14, 1951, at 7 p.m., a grenade was thrown at a group of Jews outside the Masouda Shem-Tov Synagogue. The explosive struck a high-voltage cable, electrocuting three Jews, one a young boy, Itzhak Elmacher, and wounding over 30 others. Following the attack, the exodus of Jews jumped to between 600-700 per day.
Zionist propagandists still maintain that the bombs in Iraq were set off by anti-Jewish Iraqis who wanted Jews out of their country. The terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews.”
Soon, the New Democratic Party will have a new leader. Whether it will have any meaningful political future is another matter. I’ve already shown that a Thomas Mulcair victory would formally complete the Israelization of Canada’s national political parties, thereby depriving voters of their last Canadian electoral option.
Lamentably, many delegates to the NDP convention seem oblivious to this obvious fact, including one MP with whom I spoke after my earlier column came out.
In spite of my presenting evidence of Mulcair’s dual loyalty, bullying, and pro-Harperite proclivities, this highly personable, well-spoken person managed to finesse, deflect, deny or rationalize it away. His responses were so effortless, so polished, that they seemed rehearsed, as if this weren’t the first time he had had to justify his support for Mulcair.
For example, he claimed that concerns over Mulcair’s loyalty are exaggerated or taken out of context, although how “ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances” could be misconstrued escapes me. He also quickly tossed off the bald assertion that, at any rate, voters didn’t much care about foreign policy—the exact same line I got from Wayne Moriarty, the pro-Israel hasbaratchik posing as editor of the Vancouver Province. When pressed to justify this claim, though, he backtracked.
At any rate, Mulcair had given him “written assurance” that he would respect the NDP’s current policy on Palestine, and that was good enough. The idea that this assurance was inconsistent with Mulcair’s earlier profession of zionist fealty, or that he may have just been manipulating him to buy leadership support, didn’t compute.
It wouldn’t have made any difference if I had told him that Mulcair’s co-campaign chairman is former MP Lorne Nystrom, now a director of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the the Israel Lobby’s main pressure group.
The most disquieting aspect of this exchange, though, was not the lame answers I got, but the fact that this person is intelligent and has had at least a basic education in the Middle East. He is not your typical hasbarat from whom one would expect anodyne clichés and cognitive denials.
So what does it mean for the future of the NDP if MPs like this willingly refuse to acknowledge a danger staring them in the face? Former leader Ed Broadbent knows all too well.
In a candid interview with the Globe and Mail, the former party leader launched a broadside at Mulcair for abandoning core social-democratic values for Liberalish centralism, and not being capable of maintaining unity among the party’s 101 MPs: “People should look carefully at the fact that of the people who were there [in caucus from 2007 to 2011] with Tom, 90 per cent of them are supporting other candidates than Tom,” said Broadbent.
Already, talk of increased infighting is making Broadbent look prescient, and this development invites questions of how long the NDP could expect to hold itself together under Mulcair. If conference delegates want a historical example of what infighting and a sudden lurch to the right might do to the party, they need look no further than what happened to the Progressive Conservative Party.
Brian Mulroney, a venal, temperamental, outsider was chosen leader at a convention in June 1983 for reasons that had everything to do with image and none to do with competence. The man he replaced, Joe Clark, was a highly principled MP who unfortunately lacked the political acuity to maintain his party in government, or hold it together in the face of concerted internal dissention.
Under Mulroney, the PC Party would follow a reactionary, right-wing economic dogma that was also ascendant in the U.S. and U.K. Reason and balance in foreign and economic affairs would give way to the uncritical embrace of U.S. militarism and Israeli “self-defence,” denial of Palestinian rights, lower corporate taxes, minimal government, and economic continentalism. Under Clark’s short-lived prime ministership, the party followed economic moderation, an independent foreign policy, and showed respect for Palestinian rights.
Mulroney’s two majority governments allowed him full rein to remake Canada in his own image. As such his time in office would be characterized by arrogance, corruption, sleaze and patronage, making him the most despised prime minister to date. (Stephen Harper has since broken that record.)
In June 1993, 10 years to the month after becoming leader, Mulroney retired from politics, the damage having been done. In the electoral rout that same year, hapless bag-holder Kim Campbell led the PCs to near obliteration—two seats. The rest of the party fissured into a Quebec Separatist Party (the Bloc Québécois) and a Corporatist Christian Party (the Reform Party), which would form the nucleus of the present-day Harperite party.
For all of his shortcomings, Clark was still favoured to win the 1984 election. Had the PC Party stuck with him as leader, it would likely still be around today.
Like Mulroney, Mulcair is a party outsider, though he does have political experience—a former Quebec Liberal who later tried to hire himself out to the Harperites. He also has a flash temper, and supports an alien ideology to the right of the NDP’s principles. Social democrats cannot be expected to coexist within the same party as centrist compromisers who would turn the NDP into an insipid Liberal-lite Party. If this were to happen, the Liberal-lite faction would eventually form a formal or informal union with the larger “Labour Zionist” Liberal Party, thereby reducing the NDP to rump status in the House of Commons.
If 42 other NDP MPs are prepared to vote for Mulcair, perhaps disintegration is inevitable, even necessary to revitalize the party. Under the late Jack Layton, the party began to lose focus and ended up sacrificing principle for political expediency, as the Gaza flotilla debacle proved.
Convention delegates will have to decide if the NDP is worth preserving, or admit defeat by embracing their inner Mulroney to let history take its predictable, destructive course.
- Support from Israel lobby for Mulcair NDP leadership bid raises serious concerns (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- What English Canadians need to understand about Quebec, the NDP and Thomas Mulcair (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Will Canada’s social-democratic party be able to prevent a leadership coup? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
In the wake of a horrific rampage, in which Mohamed Merah (now dead after a 32-hour standoff with police) reportedly murdered three French soldiers, three young Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has begun calling for criminal penalties for citizens who visit web sites that advocate for terror or hate. “From now on, any person who habitually consults Web sites that advocate terrorism or that call for hatred and violence will be criminally punished,” Sarkozy was reported as saying.
Apart from the obvious flaws in Sarkozy’s plan–users, can, of course, use anonymizing tools to view the material or simply access it from a variety of locations to avoid appearing as “habitual” viewers–there are numerous other reasons to be concerned about criminalizing access to information.
First, there’s no guarantee that criminalizing access to hate speech or terrorist content will end the very real problems of hate crime and terrorism. Extremist violence didn’t start with the Internet and it won’t end with it, either.
Second, who defines “hate speech”? In France, that definition includes Holocaust denial, which in the past resulted in Yahoo! discontinuing auctions of Nazi memoribilia (the collectors of which are not, by any stretch, all sympathizers). And negative comments about France’s Muslim community have also resulted in criminal penalties, most notably in the case of actress Brigitte Bardot, who has been convicted five times for “inciting racial hatred.” While Holocaust denial and comments about Muslims such as those made by Bardot may be deplorable, they should not be criminal.
Finally, while Sarkozy is not–yet–calling for websites to be blocked, it wouldn’t be a stretch; after all, France already offers mechanisms for blocking child pornography and “incitement to terrorism and racial hatred.” If Sarkozy were to decide censorship is the answer, one major risk would be overblocking: there’s nary a country in the world that censors the Internet without collateral damage (in Australia, for example, testing on a would-be censorship regime found the site of a dentist blocked, among others).
EFF has serious concerns about the implications of Sarkozy’s comments. When a democratic country such as France decides to censor or criminalize speech, it is not just the French that suffer, but the world, as authoritarian regimes are given easy justification for their own censorship. We urge French authorities to judge crime on action, not expression.
Turkey may have acted too fast when it took its tough stance against Damascus, expecting a rapid fall for the regime, some observers have argued ahead of a “Friends of Syria” conference in Istanbul.
Now, a number of commentators in Turkey are suggesting it might be time to think again.
“Turkey had better revise its policy toward its southern neighbor, ahead of the second gathering of the Friends of Syria group on April 1 in Istanbul, by placing diplomatic efforts in front of all other options,” wrote Serkan Demirtas in the Hurriyet Daily News.
Those other options circulating in Ankara, as well as Western and Arab capitals, run from humanitarian corridors, to a buffer zone in Syria to accommodate refugees, or even direct assistance to rebels.
Many rebel leaders, including ex-general Riad al-Asaad, are already in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the stakes sharply on March 6 when he called on Damascus to allow for the “immediate” opening of humanitarian corridors.
While his words matched international calls from western powers, the demand lacked substance. It was not clear if Turkey would gear up for the task, given its 910-kilometre (560-mile) common border.
The creation of a buffer zone is another issue that Ankara has not been clear on, since it implies sending troops to secure the area. But it is still on the agenda as Turkey already houses 17,000 Syrians, and its Red Crescent organization says it is preparing for half a million.
“We are determined to consider every possible measure,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday, adding that the move would aim at ending the suffering of Syrians, but also at securing the border.
Critics however say the buffer zone would be an “interventionist policy” that could prove Ankara too reckless, and too adventurous.
Forming a buffer zone, Demirtas wrote, “would not only break the image Turkey has built in the region, but is also inconsistent with its general foreign policy principles, the main pillar of which is peace.”
“Without a UN resolution to back it up, a buffer zone would be a daring initiative for Ankara,” added analyst Sinan Ulgen from the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies.
As for the rebels, Ankara is silent about plans to arm or train them for counter-attacks on Syria’s security forces. The regime in Damascus has already denounced “incursions” into its territory from refugee camps in Turkey.
On Wednesday, AFP journalists witnessed smugglers carry a cargo of shotguns and buckshot into Syria, but the load contained no major weapons of war.
Erdogan embraced the Syrian political opposition after having failed to get President Bashar al-Assad to introduce reforms.
“The day will come when you will also have to go,” he told Assad in late November. But according to columnist Semih Idiz, the Syrian president has “outfoxed Ankara.”
“(Ankara’s) expectation was that the uprising in that country would not drag on for long and that Bashar al-Assad would be toppled relatively quickly — the way it happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya– with Turkey emerging as a key mentor for the new Syria,” he wrote.
Along with the threat of a massive influx of refugees, mostly Sunnis, Ankara has also had to contend with dissent at home over its policy on the crisis, Idiz added. Its large Alevi population, close to Syria’s dominant but minority Alawites, are “not all that pleased about Turkey’s stance on Syria.”
The Syrian regime looks to remain in place “for much longer than Ankara expected or is prepared for,” he concluded. That possibility has also prompted the main opposition Republic People’s Party (CHP) to attack Ankara’s decision to cut ties with the Damascus regime.
“For now, the Syrian regime is not ready to leave or be overthrown,” Faruk Logoglu, a CHP lawmaker, told AFP. “Ankara should have kept channels of dialogue and communication open with Damascus.”
Western and Arab countries will join Syrian opposition groups at the April 1 meeting in Istanbul.
But Turkey is not the only nation struggling with its approach to Damascus.
“Does the Western alliance have a plan for Syria? Does the Syrian opposition offer a credible image?,” asked another columnist from the Milliyet daily, Kadri Gurselhe.