Palestinian voice from Susiya, a Palestinian village that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel
Five years ago, I met Nasser Nawaja and his family, and the community of Palestinian Susiya (not to be confused with the illegal Zionist colony of Susiya, in the same south of Hebron, West Bank area, whose colonists regularly viciously attack and aggress Susiya Palestinians, including elderly, children and women).
When in 2007 I met Nasser, his parents, his wife, brothers and extended family, they had been enduring for years, almost two decades, aggressions by the Israeli army and by Zionist colonists. They had been forcibly moved from their very functional, cool in summer, and innovative cave homes to arid dessert land on which, periodically, the Israeli occupation army would invade and destroy the ramshackle homes these displaced families had constructed.
The layers of injustice inflicted on these peaceable, innovative people are countless, and in the many months I spent with them in 2007, I and other justice activists I joined, attempted to document both the injustices heaped upon these Palestinians and the beauty of their sustainably-living lives–when not attacked by the IOF and Zionist colonists (see Susiya Palestinians suffer).
*Khalil Nawaja, 2007, his leg broken by Zionist colonists in 2006
*photo of 2008 Zionist attack on Imran Nawaja, Khalil, and his wife Manam, and other family members, courtesy B’Tselem “shooting back” documentation project–photo and video footage taken by Khalil Nawaja’s neice
Nasser has in the past few years–and against all odds, while providing for his wife and children and documenting the injustices inflicted on his community (at the expense of his own personal safety, many times attacked and beaten by Zionist colonists and for no reason except Occupation arrested by the IOF)–studiously expanded his knowledge of human rights law and the English language, to the point that he is able to now write poignant articles in well-read alternative press.
Please see his op-ed “Palestinian from Area C on a life in constant need of rebuilding” –wherein he describes Susiya life and how his village, surrounded by illegal Zionist colonies and outposts, was called “an illegal outpost” with the ultimatum of demolition, below:
I am Nasser Nawaj’ah. I am 30 years old. My mother gave birth to me in a cave in Susya El-Kadis. You know of Susya as a Jewish settlement in the South Hebron Hills, but Susya is first of all a Palestinian village that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel.
I was named after my grandfather, who was still alive at the time. In 1948, he was displaced from his village near Arad, now in southern Israel. When they were expelled, my father was just a little boy and my grandfather carried him in his arms until they reached their family in Susya El Kadis. They hoped one day to return to their village, but my grandfather died without ever seeing it again.
Nasser Nawaj’ah (L) and Salam Fayyad (Courtesy of B’Tselem)
A year after I was born, in 1983, the settlement of Susya was established. In 1986, after Israeli archaeologists found remnants of a synagogue in our village, we were expelled again. I was 4 years old. My father took me in his arms while bulldozers destroyed our homes and blocked the caves that we lived in. We scattered in our agricultural lands around the village. The grown-ups hoped that we would one day return to our caves, but a fence was built around the village and it was turned into an archaeological site. Today we still live on our agricultural land and I can see the place where I was born, but cannot go there. Israelis and foreigners from all over the world enter the site, but I cannot.
After 1990, the expulsion attempts started up again. Despite the fact that we have documents proving that the land belongs to us, the caves we lived in and our water wells were destroyed. But each time, we returned and built anew. At the same time, the Israeli settlement of Susya continued to flourish and grow. In 2001, after the murder of Yair Har Sinai, settlers arrived with the army and again destroyed the caves and the wells and uprooted our trees. It was only after 10 days and an interim decision by the Israeli High Court that we were able to return to our homes.
Today we live in tents – and even these were threatened with demolition orders forcing us to obtain permits for them. This is the life of a Palestinian in Area C of the West Bank. We are denied building permits, and are disinherited and banished from our land. Each time we request permits from the Israeli army, we are denied. The water pipes of Israel’s Mekorot water company pass several meters away from our village – they bring water to illegal outposts around us but we can’t get water from them. We don’t have access to the water that flows in those pipes, even though this is our water, water that Israel pumps from the West Bank.
We are forced to live off of rain water that we collect in our wells. The water situation in the South Hebron Hills is dire, and we are always forced to supplement by buying water brought in tankers to sustain ourselves through the summer. We pay NIS 35 for a cubic meter of water – about four times as much as you pay for water inside Israel.
Four months ago, the Regavim organization filed a petition to the High Court demanding that our village, Susya, be destroyed. They refer to it as an “illegal outpost” and claim that our village presents a security threat. Last week there was a hearing in the Israeli High Court. They call my village an illegal Palestinian outpost. But these have been our lands since before the establishment of the State of Israel. My father is older than your state and I am not legal on my own land? I ask you: where is the justice in that? In your court there is a difference between a Palestinian and a settler. You call it illegal construction but what we’re talking about is an underground cave that is hundreds of years old.
Illegal Israeli settlement outposts are all around us in the Susya area, and there are many buildings inside settlements with pending demolition orders – but they have everything. The government provides them with infrastructure for water and electricity despite the fact that according to Israeli law they are illegal, and nothing happens to them. And now you want to displace the old man from his home? To expel us from land that belongs to us, that we have lived on generation after generation, that is all that we know.
- Susiya: Another Casualty of Israeli Occupation? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel Plans Demolition of Entire Palestinian Village (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- #PHOTOS | Demo In #Susiya against Israeli plans to eradicate the entire village (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Save Susiya : Palestinian village at risk to be leveled again (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- Israeli forces order Hebron village demolished after settler case (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- My Home is Everything: the People of Susiya Speak to the World, and other updates (villagesgroup.wordpress.com)
- The EU-Israel Association Council Violates The constitutions of EU (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
Tehran – A report published on Sunday in Ha’aretz reveals that US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon has presented Washington’s contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once the nuclear negotiations reach an impasse.
However, the report was immediately denied by a top Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said, “Nothing in the article is correct. Donilon did not meet the prime minister for dinner, he did not meet him one-on-one, nor did he present operational plans to attack Iran.”
A quick justification for this denial could be that such a contingency plan was not supposed to be publicized and should have remained confidential for as long as necessary.
Still, there is no denial that Washington and Israel are the two sides of a coin and it is manifest that they have in their political wheeling and dealing formed a united front against Iran.
US GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has recently paid a visit to Israel to marshal up support of the Israelis on the one hand and express his unswervingly servile commitment to Israel (including his anti-Iran stance) on the other. Dan Senor, a top foreign policy adviser for the GOP presidential candidate, says that Romney would support “Israel’s decision to launch a military strike against Iran to keep that country from achieving nuclear capabilities, but hopes diplomatic and military measures will dissuade Tehran from pursuing its path toward nuclear acquisition.”
Furthermore, he told reporters ahead of the speech, planned for late Sunday near Jerusalem’s Old City, “If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing the capability, the governor would respect that decision.”
With a more somber tone, however, Romney himself has repeatedly said that he has a “zero tolerance” policy toward Iran obtaining the capability to build a nuclear weapon.
In the recent past, Washington has frequently threatened Iran with a military strike. The threats, which evidently run counter to all international laws, are generally uttered by a massive number of officials influenced by the powerful Zionist lobby in Washington. A brazen instance of these threats is that Washington may use the 14-ton bunker buster (20ft long, 1ft wide weapon) known as Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), the world’s largest conventional bomb against Iran nuclear sites. Michael Donley, the US Air Force Secretary, said the bomb would be available if necessary.
“We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing,” he said “We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today.”
In order to justify their illegal threats and sanctions, the US has apparently embarked on a systematic program of fomenting Iranophobia in the US and the rest of the world. In this pernicious Iranophobic campaign, a number of groups and parties including the Tea Party, neocons and AIPAC are actively involved.
By this program, the US is hell bent on distorting the realities of the Islamic Republic as well as brainwashing public opinion in the world into believing that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, and that Iran poses a grave danger to the security of the world. In this smear campaign, Washington also makes use of its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel in the region.
A politically bankrupt politician who does have but little respect in his own country, Romney follows the selfsame Iranophobic campaign, takes an aggressive stand on Iran in Israel where he is falsely emboldened and says Tehran’s leaders are giving the world “no reason to trust them with nuclear material.” He even voiced support for an Israeli decision for military action “to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability”.
“Make no mistake: The ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way. My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country.”
These facts aside, the duo have recently started a string of false flag terrorist attacks taking place in different parts of the world. With Washington pointing the finger of blame at Iran, Israel feels more fallaciously entitled to tone up its war rhetoric against the Islamic Republic and make the best of the fabricated ops. In the same line, former UN Ambassador John Bolton has called on the Zionist entity to attack Iran in retaliation for the alleged killing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, saying “the time has come for the Jewish state to quit threatening and take action”.
“This is obviously a very dangerous period for Israel with the civil war in Syria, refugees reported going across the border into Lebanon, and Hezbollah well armed with rockets on Israel’s northern border,” Bolton told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday night. “So I think if there were ever a time to retaliate, and directly against Iran this time, this is it.”
In the final analysis, one can see that the real threat in the world is being posed and imposed by those warmongers in Washington who will turn the situation to the best of their own interests in the region as well as by Israel who will in the wake of a war against Iran reap the benefits of such aggression if of course they ever outlive such an act of belligerence.
- Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues.
- Smiles and Denials: Official Israeli and Iranian Statements Demonstrate a Double Standard (alethonews.wordpress.com)
A Documentary about what took place in July 2006 in Lebanon
- Israeli troops steal 1000 goats from southern Lebanon (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel warns Lebanon of total destruction in new war (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Department of Interior today released the final version of a policy that will smooth the way for industrial-scale solar energy development on public lands throughout America’s southwestern deserts. Even though Interior weakened environmental protections seen in earlier drafts, and crafted the policy to meet industry demands–essentially putting on paper what is already Interior’s de facto policy of allowing solar companies to bulldoze wherever they please–several national environmental groups still applauded the announcement, including the Sierra Club, NRDC, the Wilderness Society, and the national Audubon Society. Their statements of support for the policy probably represent efforts to put positive spin on what is ultimately an environmental catastrophe for the renewable energy industry and our public lands.
Corporate Giveaway of Public Lands
The final policy–which is expected to be signed by Secretary Salazar later this year–designates nearly 32,000 square miles of desert habitat as suitable for industrial-scale solar energy development. About 445 square miles will be designated as “solar energy zones,” where companies will be encouraged (but not required) to build their facilities. Some national environmental groups initially supported a policy that would only allow energy companies to build in the proposed solar zones, minimizing potential with conservation efforts outside of the zones. It became apparent last year that Interior was more interested in giving public lands away to industry under an alternative known as the Solar Energy Development Program, so environmental groups began to pretend that this was also their preferred alternative.
To highlight the backtracking in these environmental groups’ own position, several national environmental groups urged Interior to adopt a “zone-based” approach to solar development in a May 2011 press release, and had this to say about the Solar Energy Development Program:
“the agency’s Preferred Alternative, goes much farther by opening up an additional 21 million acres outside those zones that have yet to be studied for potential resource conflicts. Conservation groups disagreed with the choice of the Preferred Alternative, and argued neither alternative offered the certainty that the groups, solar developers, and the agency itself needs to move forward on a smart path.”
Fast forward to today, and now the national environmental groups are singing praises for the same misguided policy in a press release. Jim Lyons of Defenders of Wildlife appeared to be preparing a new job at the Chamber of Commerce in this statement from today’s press release:
“Balancing our nation’s energy production by increasing solar, wind and geothermal sources will strengthen our economy, improve energy security and reduce greenhouse gases. This solar energy plan is an important step in that direction.”
The only places where the energy industry cannot build their projects will be lands that are already protected, such as National Parks and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. Other than the creation of weak incentives for zone-based development, this policy is essentially no different than the last few years of solar energy siting in our deserts, where companies have ignored environmental concerns and built their projects on some of the most ecologically valuable desert habitat. Nevertheless, the Wilderness Society’s Chase Huntley in typical Washington Beltway double-speak claimed “this is the quickest route to meeting the renewables targets set by Congress consistent with protecting our dwindling undeveloped wildlands.”
Protect Endangered Species (Optional)
The one aspect of the solar policy that some groups might claim to be a victory for wildlife is actually a glossy sheen added at the last minute that will only be as good as the political will of environmental stewards in the BLM and US Fish and Wildlife Service. A proposal to exclude solar energy development from critical desert tortoise connectivity areas was added late last year, but the proposal appears to have been significantly weakened by industry lobbying, and now only amounts to words of discouragement from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that developers can ignore.
Interior initially designated desert tortoise connectivity areas that are assessed to be essential to the recovery and survivability of this Federally listed species, where solar energy development would be strictly controlled or excluded. The draft exclusion policy would have kept projects off of desert habitat where the desert tortoise population exceeded 2 per square mile in the connectivity area. Another land designation known as “variance” areas would have required companies to maintain a wildlife corridor at least 3 miles in width and prohibited projects that would require the translocation of more than 35 adult tortoises. These requirements have been eliminated from the final policy, and replaced with vague references to protecting wildlife corridors that will ultimately give companies the discretion to override scientific concerns, unless wildlife officials are willing to say no to the companies. Because of political pressure from Washington, however, local land management and wildlife officials have been under pressure to fast-track and approve most projects.
The tortoise connectivity corridors are still referenced in the policy, but only to show companies where they are discouraged from building. Perhaps not surprisingly, a vast swath of tortoise connectivity designation was abandoned in a region of the Mojave Desert along the California-Nevada border where BrightSource Energy is proposing to build two massive solar projects — Hidden Hills and Sandy Valley solar projects. The only real requirement that remains in the wildlife protection aspect of the policy is that developers have to meet with Department of Interior, and possibly listen to words of discouragement before they continue with their application.
The Sierra Club’s Barbara Boyle had this to say about the plan’s protection of wildlife:
“This Administration’s design for solar development on public lands is based on sound principles, particularly by focusing projects in locations with the lowest impacts on wildlife habitat, lands and water.”
It’s unfortunate when the words of our supposed environmental guardians become hollow and pointless. These groups have already shown a willingness to abandon the principles of sustainability and environmental protections for yet another darling industry that will save us from climate change. … Full article
Mitt Romney, during a speech in Jerusalem, pledged unflinching U.S. support for Israel as president, saying the two allied nations are “bound together” and determined to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
“I believe that the enduring alliance between the state of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world,” Romney said in summing up a speech that betrayed no daylight between the two countries.
“America’s support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchstones,” he said. “No country or organization or individual should ever doubt this basic truth: A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel.”
The presumptive Republican nominee made no mention of President Obama during the 17-minute address, delivered before a friendly crowd of Jewish leaders and supporters, including the billionaire GOP donor, Sheldon Adelson. The tone of the speech was in keeping with Romney’s stated insistence that he would not criticize Obama nor undermine the administration’s foreign policy prerogatives while on foreign soil.
Yet Romney’s speech was full of implicit reminders of the critique he has leveled at Obama for years: that he has failed to slow Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon and that his administration’s occasionally fraught relationship with the Israeli government has undermined the security of the Jewish state.
“With Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel from the north, and Hamas rockets aimed from the south, with much of the Middle East in tumult, and with Iran bent on nuclear arms, America’s vocal and demonstrated commitment to the defense of Israel is even more critical,” Romney said. “Whenever the security of Israel is most in doubt, America’s commitment to Israel must be most secure.”
Romney was typically forceful when it came to Iran. Preventing the regime in Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon “must be our highest national security priority,” he said. “That threat has only become worse,” Romney said, since he first outlined his views on Iran five years ago.
“We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option,” Romney said. “We must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so.”
“In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. We recognize Israel’s right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you,” he added.
Romney’s visit to Israel is the second stop on a foreign trip that has taken him to the United Kingdom and a scheduled visit to Poland on Monday.
He met with top Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday and said he shared their concerns about the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran.
Earlier Sunday, a top Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor said the GOP candidate would back an Israeli military strike prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
“If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision,” Senor said to reporters.
Romney gingerly took a step back from those comments in an interview with CBS. He avoided repeating his aide’s remarks or talk of a strike, saying that he would “use my own words, and that is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself, and we stand with Israel.”
- Ten Israel Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer (channel6newsonline.com)
While US politicians boast strong ties with Israel, CIA officials suggest Israel is one of its biggest counter-intelligence threats. With spyware that rivals that of American agencies, it is extremely difficult to detect the extent of its spying.
In a CIA ranking of the world’s intelligence agencies and their willingness to help the US fight the War on Terror, Israel fell below Libya.
Speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, current and former US intelligence officials blame Israel for incidents that indicate attempts to acquire secret information.
One CIA station chief noticed that the communication equipment that he used to contact CIA headquarters from Israel had been tampered with, even though it was in a locked box. Another CIA officer based in Israel had his home broken into. While nothing was stolen, the officer noticed his food had been rearranged.
In addition to home intrusions and equipment tampering, CIA officials also suspect that a leak by Israel led to the capture and presumed death of an important US agent inside Syria’s chemical weapons program.
The US suspects that Israel’s foreign intelligence service, Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, have been trying to steal American counter-intelligence secrets. In the CIA’s Near East Division, which oversees spying across the Middle East, Israel is considered the main counter-intelligence threat. This suggests that counter-intelligence secrets are thus safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.
However, the distrust has been ongoing for decades. Several years ago, two female CIA officers were fired for having unreported contact with Israelis. One of the women admitted to a relationship with a member of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who introduced her to a person that worked for Shin Bet.
In 1987, Jonathan Pollard, a US Navy civilian intelligence analyst, was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2006, a former Defense Department analyst received 12 years in prison for sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat and two pro-Israel lobbyists.
Moreover, Israel’s high-tech spyware and services rival American agencies, making it more difficult to detect the extent of any spying. With advanced equipment and full access to the highest levels of the US government in military and intelligence services, Israel has a large capacity to monitor its ally.
This sometimes poses problems for US foreign affairs. Even though the US and Israel have a tight friendship, the two countries have sometimes conflicting interests abroad, especially regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Furthermore, America’s relationship with Israel can also affect the way Muslim countries perceive the US.
“It’s a complicated relationship,” said Joseph Wippl, head of the CIA’s office of congressional affairs. “They have their interests. We have our interests. For the US, it’s a balancing act.”
But while the two countries are strong allies, Washington continues to distrust Israel with sensitive national security information. Its most trusted allies are Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Together, the “Five Eyes” agree not to spy on one another, while sharing sensitive information.
The relationship between the US and Israel is known as “Friends on Friends,” which comes from the phrase, “Friends don’t spy on friends.” But that pact has repeatedly been broken, and CIA officials continue to distrust Israel with each additional case of spying.
But as intrusions into the homes of US agents in Israel continue and instances of spying increase the distrust, the US continues to give vast amounts of money to Israel, while the president trumpets an “unshakeable commitment to Israel.” On Friday, President Obama promised Israel an additional $70 million in military aid to help Israel produce a short-range rocket defense system.