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UN rights expert says Israel’s ‘self-defense’ claim in Gaza ‘untenable’, urges accountability

MEMO | September 30, 2014

A top UN rights expert has expressed alarm at the impact of Israel’s attack on Gaza for civilians, concluding that “Israel’s claim of self-defense against an occupied population living under a blockade considered to be illegal under international law is untenable.”

Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, spoke Monday at the end of his first mission to the region.

In a press release, Wibisono stated that the Israeli military killed almost 1,500 civilians, including more than 500 children, with “a staggering 11,231 Palestinian civilians, including 3,436 children” injured and many “now struggling with life-long disabilities”.

Tens of thousands of children live with the trauma of having witnessed the horrific killings of family members, friends, and neighbours before their own eyes.

Wibisono, echoing similar and even stronger conclusions by the likes of Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that “this raises serious questions about possible violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.”

Wibisono related three demands from Palestinians: “the need for accountability, an end to the blockade, and an end to the occupation”. Affirming this call, the UN official said that “those responsible for violations of international law must be brought to justice in order to avoid yet another round of deadly violence in the near future”.

The Special Rapporteur had a special focus on children in Gaza, noting that “there wasn’t a single child…who has not been adversely affected”. Wibisono pointed to an estimated 7,000 unexploded ordinances “littered across” the territory, and described how over “50 days of relentless bombing and shelling”, some 228 schools were damaged, including 26 destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

According to Wibisono, around 60,000 Palestinians remain in 19 shelters in the Gaza Strip, while medical professionals report a “critical shortage” of medicines and equipment. “Israel must immediately lift the seven year land, sea and air blockade of Gaza”, Wibisono urged, “and urgently allow needed materials for reconstruction and recovery.”

The Special Rapporteur also spoke to the “excessive use of force” used by Israeli forces in the Occupied West Bank over the summer, “noting that during the period from 12 June to 31 August 2014, a total of 27 Palestinians were killed, of whom five were children, with the youngest victim only 11 years-old.” Wibisono stressed that “the use of live ammunition against Palestinians even if they were throwing stones, is unjustifiable.”

The Special Rapporteur will report fully on his findings and recommendations to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2015.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s People’s Republics Rule Out Political Union With Kiev: Reports

RIA Novosti –  September 30, 2014

Ukraine’s southeastern regions could cooperate with Kiev in the spheres of security and economy, but a political union is out of the question, Andrei Purgin, Deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said in an interview with Russian Channel One on Tuesday.

“Federalism could not be discussed…Economic relations are possible, partly security… But [the republics] do not see a political union,” Purgin said, adding that this position is shared by an overwhelming majority of people in Ukraine’s southeastern regions.

After local residents voted for the independence of the people’s republics at the referendums held in May and lost thousands of lives in the armed conflict with Ukrainian forces, they cannot imagine a life under the power of the Kiev authorities, Purgin said.

A violent internal conflict erupted in Ukraine in mid-April, when Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in the southeastern regions of the country, who refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government which came to power as a result of the February coup.

The status of Ukraine’s southeastern regions remains a matter of debate. Kiev says it is ready to offer special status only to areas controlled by independence supporters, while the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) claim they want full independence and will not agree to any status that regards them as a part of Ukraine.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Here’s Why Moldova Could be the Next Ukraine

By Andrew Korybko | Russia Insider | September 29, 2014

Lost among the talk of Ukraine’s Civil War and the ISIL threat is the coming Russia vs. West clash in Moldova.

The country is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, and the region of Transnistria has been de-facto independent for about two decades already.

As Moldova leaps towards the EU (it signed the Association Agreement at the end of June), it is also running towards NATO, and the US has pondered whether or not to grant it major non-NATO ally status via the tentative ‘Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014’ floating around Congress.

The problem is that Transnistria does not want to go along with Moldova’s vision of the future.

Instead, it has expressed its desire to politically and economically integrate with Russia, and over 1000 Russian peacekeepers are currently stationed there.

Its Russian-speaking and Russian-friendly population fears cultural and ethnic cleansing if Moldova moves closer to the West, since nationalists have been agitating for supposed ‘reunification’ with cultural cousin Romania.

After observing events in the run-up to and during Ukraine’s Civil War, Transnistria’s population surely has reason to worry about its fate. Unlike the people of Donbass, however, they will have no friendly, neighborly state to seek refuge in.

Worse still, tensions are already beginning to heat up. The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Moldova and Ukraine of organizing a de-facto blockade over Transnistria, thereby placing its citizens in an uncomfortable economic position.

Also, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s plane was forced to turn around in May after visiting the region when Ukraine denied it air transit rights, in a previously unheard of application of diplomatic aggression that would be unthinkable if Rogozin was American.

As it stands, Transnistria is now surrounded by NATO-member Romania and vehemently pro-NATO Moldova and Ukraine, and each of these neighbors is conspiring against it to their own (and Washington’s) advantage.

Placed under such circumstances, the future looks dim for Transnistria, but Russian peacekeepers (and Moscow’s track record in protecting them) present a tangible guarantee for its security.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Israel’s little-known concentration and labor camps in 1948-1955

Civilians captured during the fall of Lydda and Ramle around the time of July 12, 1948 and taken to labour camps. In the July heat they were thirsty and were given a drop of water carried by a child under soldiers’ guard. (Photo: Salman Abu Sitta, Palestine Land Society)

By Yazan al-Saadi | Al-Akhbar | September 29, 2014

Much of the grim and murky circumstances of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940s have gradually been exposed over time. One aspect – rarely researched or deeply discussed – is the internment of thousands of Palestinian civilians within at least 22 Zionist-run concentration and labor camps that existed from 1948 to 1955. Now more is known about the contours of this historical crime, due to the comprehensive research by renowned Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta and founding member of the Palestinian resource center BADIL Terry Rempel.

The facts are these.

The study – to be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies – relies on almost 500 pages of International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) reports written during the 1948 war, that were declassified and made available to the public in 1996, and accidentally discovered by one of the authors in 1999.

Furthermore, testimonies of 22 former Palestinian civilian detainees of these camps were collected by the authors, through interviews they conducted themselves in 2002, or documented by others during different moments of time.

With these sources of information, the authors, as they put it, pieced together a clearer story of how Israel captured and imprisoned “thousands of Palestinian civilians as forced laborers,” and exploited them “to support its war-time economy.”

Digging up the crimes

“I came across this piece of history in the 1990s when I was collecting material and documents about Palestinians,” Abu Sitta told Al-Akhbar English. “The more and more you dig, the more you find there are crimes that have taken place that are not reported and not known.”

At that time, Abu Sitta went to Geneva for a week to check out the newly-opened archives of the ICRC. According to him, the archives were opened to the public after accusations that the ICRC had sided with the Nazis during World War II. It was an opportunity that he could not miss in terms of seeing what the ICRC had recorded of the events that occurred in Palestine in 1948. It was there he stumbled onto records discussing the existence of five concentration camps run by the Israelis.

He then decided to look for witnesses or former detainees, interviewing Palestinians in occupied Palestine, Syria, and Jordan.

“They all described the same story, and their real experience in these camps,” he said.

One question that immediately struck him was why there were barely any references in history about these camps, especially when it became clearer the more he researched that they existed, and were more than just five camps.

“Many former Palestinian detainees saw the concept of Israel as a vicious enemy, so they thought their experience labouring in these concentration camps was nothing in comparison to the other larger tragedy of the Nakba. The Nakba overshadowed everything,” Abu Sitta explained.“However, when I dug into the period of 1948-1955, I found more references like Mohammed Nimr al-Khatib, who was an imam in Haifa, who had written down interviews with someone from al-Yahya family that was in one of the camps. I was able to trace this man all the way to California and spoke with him in 2002,” he added.

More references were eventually and slowly discovered by Abu Sitta that included information from a Jewish woman called Janoud, a single masters thesis in Hebrew University about the topic, and the personal accounts of economist Yusif Sayigh, helped to further flesh out the scale and nature of these camps.

After more than a decade, Abu Sitta, with his co-author Rempel, are finally presenting their findings to the public.

From burden to opportunity: concentration and labor camps

The establishment of concentration and labor camps occurred after the unilateral declaration of Israel’s statehood on May 1948.

Prior to that event, the number of Palestinian captives in Zionist hands were quite low, because, as the study states, “the Zionist leadership concluded early on that forcible expulsion of the civilian population was the only way to establish a Jewish state in Palestine with a large enough Jewish majority to be ‘viable’.” In other words, for the Zionist strategists, prisoners were a burden in the beginning phases of the ethnic cleansing.

Those calculations changed with the declaration of the Israeli state and the involvement of the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan, after much of the ethnic cleansing had occurred. From that moment, “the Israeli forces began taking prisoners, both regular Arab soldiers (for eventual exchange), and – selectively – able-bodied Palestinian non-combatant civilians.”

The first camp at Ijlil, which was about 13 km northeast of Jaffa, on the site of the destroyed Palestinian village Ijlil al-Qibiliyya, emptied of its inhabitants in early April. Ijlil was predominately made up of tents, housing hundreds and hundreds of prisoners, categorized as POWs by the Israelis, surrounded by barbed wire fences, watchtowers, and a gate with guards.

As the Israeli conquests grew, in turn exceedingly increasing the number of prisoners, three more camps were established. These are the four “official” camps that the Israelis acknowledged and were actively visited by the ICRC.

The study notes:

All four camps were either on or adjacent to military installations set up by the British during the Mandate. These had been used during World War II for the interment of German, Italian, and other POWs. Two of the camps – Atlit, established in July about 20 kms south of Haifa, and Sarafand, established in September near the depopulated village of Sarafand al-Amar in central Palestine—had earlier been used in the 1930s and 1940s to detain illegal Jewish immigrants.

Atlit was the second largest camp after Ijlil, it had the capacity of holding up to 2,900 prisoners, while Sarafand had the maximum capacity of 1,800, and Tel Letwinksy, near Tel Aviv, held more than 1,000.

All four camps were administered by “former British officers who had defected their ranks when British forces withdrew from Palestine in mid-May 1948,” and the camp’s guards and administrative staff were former members of the Irgun and the Stern Gang – both groups designated as terrorist organizations by the British before their departure. In total, the four “official” camps were staffed by 973 soldiers.

A fifth camp, called Umm Khalid, was established at a site of another depopulated village near the Zionist settlement of Netanya, and was even assigned an official number in the records, but never attained “official” status. It had the capacity to hold 1,500 prisoners. Unlike the other four camps, Umm Khalid would be “the fist camp established exclusively as a labor camp” and was “the first of the “recognized” camps to be shut down… by the end of 1948.”

Complementing these five “recognized” camps, were at least 17 other “unrecognized camps” that were not mentioned in official sources, but the authors discovered through multiple prisoner testimonies.

Civilians in a labour camp in Ramleh, July 1948. (Photo: Salman Abu Sitta, Palestine Land Society)

“Many of [these camps],” the authors noted, “[were] apparently improvised or ad hoc, often consisting of no more than a police station, a school, or the house of a village notable,” with holding capacities that ranged from almost 200 prisoners to tens.

Most of the camps, official and unofficial, were situated within the borders of the UN-proposed Jewish state, “although at least four [unofficial camps] – Beersheba, Julis, Bayt Daras, and Bayt Nabala – were in the UN-assigned Arab state and one was inside the Jerusalem “corpus separatum.”

The number of Palestinian non-combatant detainees “far exceeded” those of Arab soldiers in regular armies or bona fide POWs. Citing a July 1948 monthly report made by ICRC mission head Jacques de Reynier, the study states that de Reynier noted, “that the situation of civilian internees was ‘absolutely confused’ with that of POWs, and that the Jewish authorities ‘treated all Arabs between the ages of 16 and 55 as combatants and locked them up as prisoners of war.’” In addition, the ICRC found among the detainees in official camps, that 90 of the prisoners were elderly men, and 77 were boys, aged 15 years or younger. The study highlights the statements by an ICRC delegate Emile Moeri in January 1949 of the camp inmates:

It is painful to see these poor people, especially old, who were snatched from their villages and put without reason in a camp, obliged to pass the winter under wet tents, away from their families; those who could not survive these conditions died. Little children (10-12 years) are equally found under these conditions. Similarly sick people, some with tuberculosis, languish in these camps under conditions which, while fine for healthy individuals, will certainly lead to their death if we do not find a solution to this problem. For a long time we have demanded that the Jewish authorities release those civilians who are sick and need treatment to the care of their families or to an Arab hospital, but we have not received a response.

As the report noted, “there are no precise figures on the total number of Palestinian civilians held by Israel during the 1948-49 war” and estimates tend to not account for “unofficial” camps, in addition to the frequent movement of prisoners between the camps in use. In the four “official” camps, the number of Palestinian prisoners never exceeded 5,000 according to figures in Israeli records.

Taking account of the capacity of Umm Khalid, and estimates of the “unofficial camps,” the final number of Palestinian prisoners could be around the 7,000 range, and perhaps much more when, as the study states, taking into account a November 17, 1948 diary entry by David Ben-Gurion, one of the main Zionist leaders and Israel’s first prime minister, who mentioned “the existence of 9,000 POWs in Israeli-run camps.”

In general, the living conditions in the “official” camps were far below what would be considered appropriate by international law at that time. Moeri, who visited the camps constantly, reported that in Ijlil in November 1948:

“[m]any [of the] tents are torn, that the camp was “not ready for winter,” the latrines not covered, and the canteen not working for two weeks. Referring to an apparently ongoing situation, he stated that “the fruits are still defective, the meat is of poor quality, [and] the vegetables are in short supply.”

Furthermore, Moeri reported that he saw for himself, “the wounds left by the abuse” of the previous week, when the guards had fired on the prisoners, wounding one, and had beaten another.”

As the study shows, the civilian status of the majority of the detainees were clear for the ICRC delegates in the country, who reported that the men captured “had undoubtedly never been in a regular army.” Detainees who were combatants, the study explains, were “routinely shot on the pretense that they had been attempting to escape.”

The Israeli forces seemed to always target able-bodied men, leaving behind women, children, and the elderly – when not massacring them – the policy continued even after there were low levels of military confrontation. All in all, as the Israeli records show and the study cites, “Palestinian civilians comprised the vast majority (82 percent) of the 5,950 listed as internees in the POW camps, while the Palestinians alone (civilian plus military) comprised 85 percent.”

The wide-scale kidnapping and imprisonment of Palestinian civilians tend to correspond with the Israeli military campaigns. For example, one of the first major roundups occurred during Operation Danj, when 60-70,000 Palestinians were expelled from the central towns of Lydda and Ramleh. At the same time, between a fifth and a quarter of the male population from these two towns who were over the age of 15 were sent to the camps.

The largest round-up of civilians came from villages of central Galilee who were captured during Operation Hiram in the fall of 1948.

One Palestinian survivor, Moussa, described to the authors what he witnessed at the time.

“They took us from all villages around us: al-Bi’na, Deir al-Asad, Nahaf, al-Rama, and Eilabun. They took 4 young men and shot them dead… They drove us on foot. It was hot. We were not allowed to drink. They took us to [the Palestinian Druze village] al-Maghar, then [to the Jewish settlement] Nahalal, then to Atlit.”

A November 16, 1948 UN report collaborated Moussa’s account, stating that some 500 Palestinian men “were taken by force march and vehicle to a Jewish concentration camp at Nahlal.”

Maintaining Israel’s economy with “slave labor”

The policy of targeting civilians, particular “able-bodied” men, was not accidental according to the study. It states, “with tens of thousands of Jewish men and women called up for military service, Palestinian civilian internees constituted an important supplement to the Jewish civilian labor employed under emergency legislation in maintaining the Israeli economy,” which even the ICRC delegation had noted in their reports.

The prisoners were forced to do public and military work, such as draining wetlands, working as servants, collecting and transporting looted refugee property, moving stones from demolished Palestinian homes, paving roads, digging military trenches, burying the dead, and much more. As one former Palestinian detainee named Habib Mohammed Ali Jarada described in the study, “At gunpoint, I was made to work all day. At night, we slept in tents. In winter, water was seeping below our bedding, which was dry leaves, cartons and wooden pieces.”

Another prisoner in Umm Khalied, Marwan Iqab al-Yehiya said in an interview with the authors, “We had to cut and carry stones all day [in a quarry]. Our daily food was only one potato in the morning and half dried fish at night. They beat anyone who disobeyed orders.” This labor was interspersed with acts of humiliation by the Israeli guards, with Yehiya speaking of prisoners being “lined up and ordered to strip naked as a punishment for the escape of two prisoners at night.”

“[Jewish] Adults and children came from nearby kibbutz to watch us line up naked and laugh. To us this was most degrading,” he added.

Abuses by the Israeli guards were systematic and rife in the camps, the brunt of which was directed toward villagers, farmers, and lower class Palestinians. This was so, the study said, because educated prisoners “knew their rights and had the confidence to argue with and stand up to their captors.”

What is also interestingly noted by the study is how ideological affiliations between prisoners and their guards, had another effect in terms of the relationship between them. The study, cites the testimony of Kamal Ghattas, who was captured during the Israeli attack in the Galilee, who said:

We had a fight with our jailers. Four hundred of us confronted 100 soldiers. They brought reinforcements. Three of my friends and I were taken to a cell. They threatened to shoot us. All night we sang the Communist Anthem. They took the four of us to Umm Khaled camp. The Israelis were afraid of their image in Europe. Our contact with our Central Committee and Mapam [Socialist Israeli party] saved us .… I met a Russian officer and told him they took us from our homes although we were non-combatants which was against the Geneva Conventions. When he knew I was a Communist he embraced me and said, “Comrade, I have two brothers in the Red Army. Long live Stalin. Long Live Mother Russia”.

Yet, the less fortunate Palestinians faced acts of violence which included arbitrary executions and torture, with no recourse. The executions were always defended as stopping “escape attempts” – real or claimed by the guards.

It became so common that one former Palestinian detainee of Tel Litwinsky, Tewfic Ahmed Jum’a Ghanim recounted, “Anyone who refused to work was shot. They said [the person] tried to escape. Those of us who thought [we] were going to be killed walked backward facing the guards.”

Ultimately, by the end of 1949, Palestinian prisoners were gradually released after heavy lobbying by the ICRC, and other organizations, but was limited in scale and very focused to specific cases. Prisoners of Arab armies were released in prisoner exchanges, but Palestinian prisoners were unilaterally expelled across the armistice line without any food, supplies, or shelter, and told to walk into the distance, never to return.

It would not be until 1955 that most of the Palestinian civilian prisoners would finally be released.

Forced Labour Camps Atlas. (Source: Salman Abu Sitta, Palestine Land Society)

An enduring crime

The importance of this study is multi-faceted. Not only does it reveal the numerous violations of international law and conventions of the age, such as 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1929 Geneva Conventions, but also shows how the event shaped the ICRC in the long run.

Because the ICRC was faced with an Israeli belligerent actor who was unwilling to listen and conform to international law and conventions, the ICRC itself had to adapt in what it considered were practical ways to help ensure the Palestinian civilian prisoners were protected under the barest of rights.

Citing his final report, the study quotes de Reynier:

[The ICRC] protested on numerous occasions affirming the right of these civilians to enjoy their freedom unless found guilty and judged by a court. But we have tacitly accepted their POW status because in this way they would enjoy the rights conferred upon them by the Convention. Otherwise, if they were not in the camps they would be expelled [to an Arab country] and in one way or another, they would lead, without resources, the miserable life of refugees.

In the end, the ICRC, and other organizations, were simply ineffective as Israel ignored its condemnations with impunity, in addition to the diplomatic cover of major Western powers.

More importantly, the study sheds more light on the extent of the Israeli crimes during its brutal and bloody birth. And “much more remains to be told,” as the final line of the study states.

“It is amazing to me, and many Europeans, who have seen my evidence,” Abu Sitta said, “that a forced labor camp was opened in Palestine three years after they were closed in Germany, and were run by former prisoners – there were German Jewish guards.”

“This is a bad reflection of the human spirit, where the oppressed copies an oppressor against innocent lives,” he added. The study essentially shows the foundations and beginnings of Israeli policy towards Palestinian civilians that comes in the form of kidnapping, arrest, and detainment. This criminality continues till this day. One merely has to read the reports on the hundreds of Palestinians arrested prior, during, and after Israel’s latest war on Gaza mid-summer of this year.

“Gaza today is a concentration camp, no different than the past,” Abu Sitta concluded to Al-Akhbar English.

Yazan is a staff writer for Al-Akhbar English. Follow him on Twitter: @WhySadeye

September 29, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Israeli forces destroy power grid in Nablus village

Ma’an – 29/09/2014

NABLUS – Israeli military forces on Monday destroyed an electricity network in the Nablus village of Aqraba, a Palestinian official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity, told Ma’an that Israeli military bulldozers raided the Khirbet al-Tawil area of the village and demolished the main power line established in 2004.

Israeli soldiers destroyed over 80 electricity pylons and wires, he added.

Israel is using demolitions to “pressure residents to leave their houses for the sake of nearby settlements.”

In August, Israeli forces demolished four houses in the al-Tawil neighborhood, some of which were over 100 years old.

The al-Tawil neighborhood is on the outskirts of Aqraba and locals say Israeli forces have targeted several properties in the area under the pretext that they were built without a permit.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Christian Evangelicals Increasingly Support Palestinian Human Rights

By Alison Weir | CounterPunch | September 29, 2014

An article in Middle East Quarterly, a pro-Israel publication, reports that support for Israel is eroding among American evangelical Christians, with only 30 percent in a recent survey stating support for Israel above Palestinians.

This trend is even more pronounced among youth, according to an article by David Brog, Jewish-American executive director of “Christians United For Israel (CUFI), a major pro-Israel organization. Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu has called CUFI “a vital part of Israel’s national security” and columnist Charles Kauthammer has said, “I do not know of an organization in the world more important to Israel than CUFI.”

Brog’s article, “The End of Evangelical Support for Israel?” is largely pitched as a wake-up call to Israel partisans who, according to Brog, “must take this threat seriously.” (For more on Brog, see below.)

Brog quotes a journalist reporting in 2012 about the “the largest gathering of young evangelical leaders in America,” the Catalyst convention: “In dozens of random conversations, I noted that Millenians … expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and annoyance with Israel. This is a seismic shift in the American church and a serious threat to Israel’s one traditional area of support.”

A decade ago, Brog reports, “As if out of nowhere, a block of fifty to one hundred million friends of Israel were poised to enter the national debate and safeguard the U.S.-Israel relationship for generations to come.”*

Today, however, Brog describes a significant reversal. As more and more evangelicals learn the facts on Israel-Palestine (Brog calls such information an “anti-Israel narrative”) they are dropping their unconditional support for Israel.

While evangelical support for Israel has often been attributed to their theology, Brog’s article indicates that the significant factor in the shift is learning the true situation in Israel-Palestine.

Brog states that there is a precedent for such an about-face. While many mainline Protestant churches used to support Israel, he states that today “to the extent the mainline denominations act corporately in connection with the Jewish state, it is to divest from it.”

Similarly, as evangelicals learn more about the issue, Brog reports that “more leaders of this generation are moving toward neutrality in the conflict while others are becoming outspoken critics of Israel.”

Brog writes, “Questioning Christian support for the Jewish state is fast becoming a key way for the millennials to demonstrate their Christian compassion and political independence.”

Today, Brog writes, many of those 18 to 30 are “rebelling against what they perceive as the excessive biblical literalism and political conservatism of their parents. As they strive with a renewed vigor to imitate Jesus’ stand with the oppressed and downtrodden, they want to decide for themselves which party is being oppressed in the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Brog cites a 2010 Pew survey of evangelical leaders attending the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization that “contained two bombshells. It showed that only a minority of those evangelicals polled sympathized primarily with Israel. And it demonstrated that American evangelical leaders were actually less inclined to support Israel than evangelical leaders in general.” The survey found that 49% of American evangelical leaders sympathize with both sides equally and 13% sympathize primarily with the Palestinians.

Brog also notes that the survey indicated that evangelical support for Israel was “never as universal as was commonly believed.”

Much of the increased awareness of the situation, Brog reports, comes from evangelical experts on the Middle East who are speaking and writing widely on this issue, producing documentaries, organizing trips to the region, and creating conferences to inform Christians on the facts.

In the last few years three documentaries were made by Christians specifically for Christians to inform them on Palestine: With God on Our Side, Little Town of Bethlehem, and The Stones Cry Out. They were created by, respectively, Porter Speakman, a former Youth with a Mission member, Mart Green, chairman of the board of trustees of Oral Roberts University, and Yasmine Perni, an Italian journalist. Brog also names evangelicals such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Serge Duss and sons Brian and Matt, and Palestinian Christians such as Sami Awad and Naim Ateek as among those educating Christians on Palestine.

Christian Universities and Palestine

Brog reports that while numerous people are aware of the work on college campuses for justice in Palestine, “many observers do not realize that such efforts are also “being waged on America’s Christian campuses.”

In his article Brog describes activities on four of America’s major Christian colleges:

Wheaton College

Brog reports that Wheaton College in Illinois is “commonly referred to as the “evangelical Harvard,” noting, “Some of the most prominent church leaders in America have graduated from Wheaton, including the Rev. Billy Graham, Sen. Dan Coats (Republican, Indiana), and George W. Bush’s former speechwriter Michael Gerson.”

Today, Wheaton is the home of Professor Gary Burge, an author who speaks widely on Israel-Palestine. “When Christians United for Israel (CUFI) announced plans to hold an event at Wheaton in January 2009, Burge went on the offensive,” Brog reports. “CUFI’s student members came under such intense pressure that they moved their event off-campus: There would be no pro-Israel event at the evangelical Harvard.”

Oral Roberts University

Brog writes that Oral Roberts University “has deep conservative Christian roots.” “Oral Roberts himself was a Pentecostal televangelist and a strong friend of Israel,” a number of major preachers in America graduated from the school, and pro-Israel preacher John Hagee has been on its board of trustees.

Today, however, the chair of the board of trustees chair is the aforementioned Mart Green, whose film is a powerful depiction of the Palestinian nonviolence movement. The university’s current president is Dr. William “Billy” Wilson, who was named as a speaker for what Brog calls “the leading anti-Israel Christian conference,” Christ at the Checkpoint, held at Bethlehem Bible College in March 2014.

Bethel University

Brog writes that Bethel is “representative of the direction that America’s Christian colleges are taking.” He notes, “Like many Christian schools, Bethel emphasizes racial reconciliation and cultural openness and has accordingly developed numerous opportunities for its students to study abroad.”

In 2010 Bethel’s president Jay Barnes and his wife visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority to explore establishing a study abroad program in the area. During the trip they visited Bethlehem.

Upon their return Barnes posted a poem on the university’s website:

Incredible conflict exists in the land of Jesus’ birth/ I believe God mourns.

The wall is a constant reminder of many lost freedoms/ I believe God mourns.

For more than 60 years, people have lived in poverty in refugee camps/ I believe God mourns.

Apartheid has become a way of life/ I believe God mourns.

Extreme disproportional distribution of resources, such as water, exists/ I believe God mourns.

Hundreds of villages have been demolished to make room for settlements/ I believe God mourns.

Human rights violations occur daily/ I believe God mourns.

The Christian population is declining as many are leaving to avoid persecution/ I believe God mourns.

In 2012, Brog reports, President Barnes hosted a “Hope for the Holy Land” evening at Bethel, featuring “long-standing Christian critics of Israel.”

A growing trend

A similar transformation involves the son of leading evangelical publisher Steven Strang, who has been a regional director for CUFI. The younger Strang, Cameron, has his own publishing organization, Relevant, whose website says it reaches over two million twenty- and thirty-something Christians a month.

Less than a decade ago Relevant was extremely pro-Israel. But then, Brog writes, Cameron Strang visited Israel and the Palestinian territories, “and everything changed.”

Relevant’s May/June 2012 cover featured prominent author Donald Miller. In 2008 Miller had been chosen to deliver the first night’s closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention, and, according to Brog, Miller “is considered a rising star among America’s 20-something evangelicals.”

After visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories with Strang, Miller began to discuss the situation in Palestine, writing:

“In September a group of journalists and I visited Israel and stood on a hill overlooking the wall separating Israel from Gaza. From our viewpoint, we could see the controversial territory where 1.6 million Palestinians have been walled in and secluded from the outside world. They are, essentially, imprisoned.

“The walls erected around the West Bank and Gaza separate families from families. Many mothers will not see their children again. Millions will never return to the homes their families had occupied for hundreds of years. … Thousands of Palestinian students at American universities will never see their families again.

“Israel gives most Palestinians fresh water once each week. … In Gaza, Israel also rations their food, allowing only so many calories per human being.”

The beginning of the end?

Brog warns that Israel partisans “must take this threat seriously,” despite the fact that the pro-Israel side “is still far ahead in the battle for the hearts and minds of America’s evangelicals. Just one pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, has over 1.6 million members, chapters on more than 120 college and university campuses, and sponsors thirty-five pro-Israel events across the country every month. Anti-Israel Christians do not come close to matching CUFI’s size, activity, or influence.”

He writes, however, that the long-term trend described above presents a challenge, stating that what he calls “anti-Israel Christians” are “on a roll” and “are reaching an ever expanding network of evangelicals in the United States.”

Brog warns: “The day that Israel is seen as the moral equivalent of Hamas is the day that the evangelical community—and by extension the political leaders it helps elect—will cease providing the Jewish state any meaningful support.

He continues: “Those who reject such facile moral equivalence must take this threat seriously. They cannot let the evangelical community go the way of the mainstream Protestant leadership.” Their “lies,” he says, “must be confronted early and often.”

Brog’s article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Middle East Quarterly.

A few months later Israel launched its August 2014 “Protective Edge” invasion of Gaza, killing 2191 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians – 521 of them children and infants. During the same period Hamas resistance fighters killed 71 Israelis, the large majority of them soldiers, one a child.

During its massive invasion, Israeli forces destroyed 61,800 homes, damaged or destroyed 62 hospitals, 220 schools, and caused $7.8 billion in damage to Gazans – and this was the third major invasion in five years.

Then within two weeks after a ceasefire had been agreed to, Israeli forces had already killed at least two Palestinians, one sixteen years old; kidnapped several dozen Palestinians, including two seven year olds and an eight year old; confiscated 1,500 acres of Palestinian land; destroyed dozens of homes and buildings; and committed numerous other violations of human rights. During the same period Hamas forces had not not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or committed any actions to break the terms of the ceasefire.***

Brog’s concern is justified. Many Americans who are finally learning such facts are beginning to suspect that Israel is not morally equivalent to Hamas. It is inferior.

Brog’s article suggests that the coming months will see a renewed propaganda effort from CUFI and other members of the multi-billion dollar Israel lobby.

However, as a leader of the lobby once said, a lobby thrives in the dark. As Brog reports, numerous people from across the religious and political spectrum are now turning on the light.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: How the U.S. was used to create Israel.

Notes

* This wasn’t entirely “out of nowhere.” Groups and individuals working to create Israel during the first half of the 20th century had specifically undertaken efforts to influence Christians to support this project.  For more on this see Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the US Was Used to Create Israel.) After Israel was established through its 1947-49 founding war, Israel and its partisans continued such efforts, including providing a jet plane to Jerry Falwell, facilitating his ability to reach Christians with a version of theology that benefited Israel.

** For more information and additional statistics on the August 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza and its aftermath see http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/violence-gaza-14.html

Two articles discuss David Brog and his influential role in “Christian” Zionism:

 1. An article by journalist Troy Anderson in Charisma magazine, “Where Your Israel Donation Really Goes,” reports:

“Brog is the powerhouse behind the Christian organization, yet he’s also a conservative (non-Messianic) Jew. He brought two other Jews on board: Shari Dollinger from Atlanta as one of his coordinators and Ari Morgenstern as communications director. Morgenstern ensures CUFI’s messaging is consistent with what Brog wants—which is to convey that evangelical Christians support Israel, yet (to his Jewish supporters) are also “safe” because CUFI will never proselytize.

“Brog, who was chief of staff to liberal Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania for seven years, is said to run CUFI like a political campaign. He has talking points, stays focused and rallies his constituency. He’s well liked by those who work with him and known for being a brilliant strategist. But one by one, the higher-profile Christian leaders who helped Hagee start CUFI are dropping off as the organization becomes more focused on political lobbying.

“It’s no secret that one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, D.C., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has long wanted a “Gentile arm,” and some believe they now have it in CUFI. Jewish leaders and philanthropists love to attend CUFI’s events to see the genuine enthusiasm and love expressed for Israel. Though there’s still rousing Christian music and prayer at these events, there’s most certainly no proselytizing. As a result, many wealthy Jews have pumped tens of thousands of dollars into CUFI.

“Like Hagee, Brog has learned how to straddle the line between the evangelical and Jewish communities, and it shows in CUFI’s growth. The organization boasts of having more than 1 million “members,” though insiders know such membership consists of nothing but CUFI having your email address. There’s nothing to pay, nothing to sign. And even if you drop out, you’re still counted as a member. Given this, insiders say the number of actual donors is closer to 30,000 to 50,000.

“Meanwhile, little is known about CUFI’s finances other than funds raised. The organization says neither Hagee nor his wife, Diana, receives any compensation from CUFI. Yet when Charisma asked CUFI the same questions asked of other organizations in this report—particularly about administrative costs, leader salaries and budgetary breakdown—Morgenstern declined to comment…”

2. The excerpts below are from “How Christian is Christian Zionism? An Update on its Uneasy Interaction with Jewish Missions and Evangelism” by David Brickner, Executive Director, Jews for Jesus [a pro-Israel organization.] Presented at the 26th Annual Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism-NA, March 2-4, 2009, Phoenix, Arizona

“This century has seen the rise of two powerful organizations…  They are the most sophisticated, financially powerful and prominent Christian Zionist organizations today. They, more effectively than their forebears in the ’80s and ’90s, have diluted the gospel message, diverted gospel resources and discouraged a balanced perspective toward the Israeli/Arab conflict.  In fact, unbelieving Jewish men run both organizations.”

The two organizations are “International Fellowship of Christian and Jews” and “Christians United for Israel” (CUFI)

Regarding CUFI, Brickner writes:

“Though headlined by well-known charismatic pastor and preacher John Hagee, CFI’s executive director is David Brog, an unbelieving Jewish attorney who served in various positions in the Senate including chief of staff to Senator Arlen Specter.  Brog, author of Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State, has been quite plain about Christians United for Israel’s rejection of evangelism…

“Brog made it clear in an interview in the Washington Jewish Week that ‘all Christians United for Israel events are strictly non-conversionary and that the group will have no Jewish converts as speakers at events or on the organization’s Board.’ Brog went on to say; ‘The group tells people that if you cannot put aside your desire to share the gospel with Jews there’s the door.’

“Of course this would be expected policy coming from any organization run by unbelieving Jews.  The fact that the organization states that it is Christian yet excludes fellow Jewish Christians from participation is both racist and unchristian.  Tuvya Zaretsky tells the story of having been invited apparently accidentally to a program sponsored by Christians United for Israel and the Israel Christian Nexxus, a pro-Israel lobby group.  When he called to confirm participation, Patricia Johnson, who was working on the event, told him that he was invited by accident and because he was a Jewish believer in Jesus was not welcome.  Said Zaretsky,

“’Somehow these Christians do not realize that if they want to bless Israel, they must extend that blessing to all of Israel – including those within the Body of Messiah and those who still need to be introduced to Him.’

“Sadly, it is not just that Jewish believers are not welcomed in Christians United for Israel.  Neither is the gospel. And not just because of the Jewish unbelievers.  The well-known figurehead of CUFI and perhaps the most prominently known Christian Zionist today is John Hagee…”

“Unfortunately it’s not easy to tell what the scope of resources is behind the Christians United for Israel group.  They have not filed a form 990 with the IRS.  Hagee’s Global Evangelism Television Inc. does have filings, but only as recently as 2004.  At that time they had an annual income of over $10,000,000 and Hagee’s compensation from the company was $500,000 a year.  Of course the 18,000-member church that he pastors, Cornerstone, is separate from the television ministry. One presumes he receives a salary from the church as well as whatever royalties his more than a dozen books provides.

“Christians United for Israel, as I said, has not registered any financial information, although news articles can give us an indication.  In October of 2007, according to the Jewish News Weekly, CUFI raised 8.5 million dollars for Israeli causes at Hagee’s “Night to Honor Israel” event.   If you look on the CUFI website you will see several “Night to Honor Israel” events scheduled each month.

“CUFI does identify its regional directors, some of whom are well known political Christian Zionists.  One of the better known is Robert Stearns of Robert Stearns International Incorporated, doing business as Eagles’ Wings Ministries.  Stearns’ organization is best known for organizing the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.  It reported income of $2,800,000 for the year 2007, and states its purpose is to “promote the message of Christianity.” However, Eagles’ Wings Ministries does not encourage prayer for the salvation of Israel, the only true hope for peace…”

September 29, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Media censor Argentine president’s remarks at UN

Press TV – September 29, 2014

Mainstream media outlets have censored the comments made by the Argentine president at the United Nations General Assembly where she harshly criticized the US international policies.

During her speech before the United Nations 69th General Assembly on September 24, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner covered a variety of issues from economic reforms needed at the International Monetary Fund to the plight of Palestinians and the global fight against terrorism.

The Argentine president questioned countries such as the United States for attacking groups, including the ISIL Takfiri terrorists which Washington previously backed against the Syrian government.

“Where do ISIS (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda take their guns from? Yesterday’s freedom fighters are today’s terrorists,” Cristina Fernandez said, blasting US policies vis-a-vis terrorism.

The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, control large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The group sent its members into neighboring Iraq in June and seized large parts of land there.

The US and its allies recently launched airstrikes against ISIL terrorists in Iraq and later extended the aerial campaign to Syria.

Fernandez also touched on judicial cooperation with Iran over the issue of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in the capital, Buenos Aires, and the political pressure that has been exerted on Argentina by the US and Israeli lobbies in that regard.

Tehran and Buenos Aires signed a memorandum of understanding on January 27, 2013 to jointly probe the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), which killed 85 people and wounded 300 others.

The Argentine president dismissed the allegations against Iran concerning the 1994 deadly bomb attack.

Under intense political pressure imposed by the US and Israel, Argentina had formally accused Iran of having carried out the bomb attack.

Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks and denounced accusations against Iranian citizens in connection with the blast as a false flag to screen the real perpetrators behind the bombing.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Protesters block Israeli cargo ship at Port of Oakland

Press TV – September 28, 2014

Hundreds of American protesters, angered by Israel’s recent deadly assault on the Gaza Strip, gathered at the Port of Oakland to block an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo.

Workers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) refused to unload the Zim Shanghai as about 200 activists picketed outside several of the port’s gates on Saturday morning.

The cargo ship is managed by Israel’s largest shipping firm, Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

About 50 police officers were also present at the port.

The protesters said they would continue with their “Block the Boat” campaign.

They said Israeli authorities must be held responsible for the deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians during the recent 50-day war on Gaza.

“I think it was a big victory today for those who are opposed to the policies of Israel in Gaza,” said Steve Zeltzer, an organizer of the protest.

Similar actions were taken in August, when protesters blocked Israeli-owned ship Zim Piraeus for five days, forcing it to leave for Los Angeles with most of its cargo unloaded.

Longshore workers refused to cross picket lines to unload Zim Piraeus in August.

Protesters on Saturday said they hoped to achieve the same outcome.

“We ask the ILWU to carry on its long historical tradition of opposing injustice and honoring community picket lines. Let’s keep the pressure on and continue this tradition of labor blockades against oppression,” the “stop ZIM action committee” said in a statement.

September 28, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

“ISIL crisis” plays right into Zionists hands

By Kevin Barrett | Press TV | September 26, 2014

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s first Chief of Staff – who also served as Obama’s Israeli Mossad handler – famously said: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Individuals, groups, whole industries, even nations sometimes take advantage of crises and catastrophes. Big bankers, for example, love war because it forces governments to borrow vast sums of money at compound interest. Arms manufacturers also make huge profits. And the big government always gets bigger during wartime as it confiscates people’s wealth and scales back their rights.

The current ISIL crisis is making certain people very rich. According to LiveLeak.com the US government is spending 200 million dollars per week to bomb Iraq and Syria. If the overall cost of the anti-ISIL campaign reaches its $500 billion projection, LiveLeak estimates that the US would be spending $30 million dollars per member of ISIL. It might be cheaper to simply pay them $20 million each to simply go away.

But it isn’t just bankers, military-industrial complexes, and governments that exploit international crises? One group, above all, has proven its mastery at profiting from crisis: The Zionist movement and “Israel.”

The Zionists took advantage of the first great crisis of the 20th century, World War I, to force the 1917 Balfour Declaration on the British government. That Declaration, which committed the British to the bizarre notion of a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine, was presented to the British as a virtual fait accompli by Lord Rothschild, the world’s wealthiest banker.

Why did the British create so much trouble for themselves by signing the Balfour declaration? Some suggest Lord Balfour did it out of the goodness of his heart. Proponents of this theory insist that Balfour and the British power elite simply felt sorry for the world’s poor, persecuted Jews, and wanted to do something nice for them for no particular reason.

A more realistic interpretation holds that Britain handed Palestine over to Lord Rothschild as part of a quid pro quo: In exchange for Palestine, the Rothschilds and their international banking cartel would help Britain win World War I. How? By using their power over the US press and financial sector to drag America into the war. (If Britain had not won World War I, of course, it would not have been able to steal Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and hand it over to the Rothschilds.)

Had World War I not happened, the Zionists would never have overrun Palestine, and the Jewish State (JS) terrorists would never have ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and created their apartheid occupation regime. “Israel” would not exist.

The same, interestingly enough, is also true of World War II. The first World War was not enough. The Zionists needed another crisis to create a pretext for ethnically cleansing the Palestinians.

World War II was exactly what the Zionists needed. Hitler and the Zionists wanted the same thing: To force European Jews out of Europe. To that end the Zionists cooperated with Hitler. They even offered to fight on behalf of Nazi Germany. (Lenni Brenner’s book 51 Documents includes extensive proof of Zionist-Nazi cooperation before and during World War II.)

World War II killed about sixty million people – a holocaust of unprecedented proportions – but like World War I it played out perfectly for the Zionists. Victors’ justice at Nuremburg, and the demonization of the losing side as the winners wrote history, created the myth that Jews had somehow suffered more than the over 50 million non-Jews who were also murdered during the Second World War. This carefully-crafted wave of postwar propaganda created widespread sympathy for Jews, which the Zionists transmuted into support for their Jewish State terrorist project. Had there been no World War II, no ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Europe, and no sacred holocaust narrative glorifying Jewish suffering, there would have been no ethnic cleansing of Palestine and no Israel.

The only real winners of the two World Wars were the Zionists.

Were both World Wars orchestrated by the Rothschilds and their fellow Zionist bankers? Just asking the question will get you ejected from most Western universities. Voltaire’s dictum “To see who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” suggests that the taboo on asking such questions stems from their likely answers.

Since September 11, 2001, the Zionists have been profiting from a new global crisis: the so-called War on Terror, more accurately termed the War on Islam. In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein reveals that in early 2001 the Israeli government, which was in dire financial straits, transferred vast amounts of money into nascent anti-terror “security” industries. They hit the jackpot on 9/11 – as did Larry Silverstein, a close friend of Netanyahu, who bought the condemned-for-asbestos World Trade Center shortly before 9/11, doubled the insurance, claimed double indemnity for “two completely separate terrorist attacks” (the two planes) and walked off with billions of dollars in cash profits.

Today, the Zionists are trying to turn the “ISIL crisis” – the rise of the so-called Islamic State – to their own advantage. The Zionist-dominated mainstream media are using the barbarism of Islamic State to smear Islam as a whole, despite the fact that every significant Islamic entity on earth strongly opposes the IS terrorists. Recent IS beheading videos provide such exquisitely perfect islamophobic propaganda, while carrying marks of dubious authenticity, that even al-Jazeera is insinuating that they were probably filmed at a sound stage in Israel.

Along with anti-Islam propaganda, the “ISIL crisis” provides the Zionists with a sectarian vehicle for their attempt to divide-and-conquer the House of Islam and the people of the Middle East. The crazed sectarians of ISIL are mass-murdering Muslims who do not share their warped views. They are also mass-murdering Christians and Yazidis, and providing the Zionists with an excuse to arm Kurdish separatist groups. By splitting Middle Easterners into ethnic and sectarian camps, and setting them at each others’ throats, the “ISIL crisis” is playing right into the Zionists’ hands… and fulfilling the Oded Yinon plan’s vision of splitting Israel’s neighbors up into a mozaic of powerless, balkanized fiefdoms.

The Zionists also hope that the rise of Islamic State will provide the US with an excuse to bomb Syria… and that American bombs will turn against Islamic State’s (and Jewish State’s) enemy, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Israelis have already shot down a Syrian plane in an apparent effort to provoke the Syrian government into reacting against the American bombers.

Thus far, it seems the Americans are holding to their expressed intention of bombing ISIL and its friends, not the Syrian government. The liberal-Zionist New York Times furiously reacted by editorializing that the US bombing campaign against ISIL is a mistake because it will help Assad.

The Zionists, including Samantha Power, have openly stated that they want to use the US bombing campaign in Syria to overthrow the Syrian government. If they do not get their way, they may be planning even more devious ways to profit from the “ISIL crisis.” The recent breach of the White House by a hostile intruder, like previous breaches (and like the Zionist anti-Obama death threat published a few years ago by Jewish Times editor Andrew Adler) may be a warning to the American President: “Bomb Assad or you will go the way of JFK.”

Worse yet, the Zionists could be planning another shock-and-awe event on the scale of 9/11… or larger. They may imagine that a nuclear explosion in an American city, blamed by Zionist media assets on ISIL, could give them the kind of muscular US action against Israel’s Mideast enemies that they seek.

The people of the world are awakening to the Zionist trick of orchestrating problems – even wars and disasters – to further their agenda. Let us hope and pray that public awareness has risen to the point that the terrorists of Israel will no longer be able to profit from epic-scale destruction.

September 26, 2014 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Deception, Wars for Israel, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel bars entry to Al-Aqsa mosque to Palestinians for third consecutive day

336430_al-Aqsa-Mosque

Al-Akhbar | September 26, 2014

Israel on Friday imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in annexed East Jerusalem for the third consecutive day.

Israeli police stepped up security around the mosque, deploying 2,000 troops in Jerusalem and erected roadblocks at entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City.

“Police prevent men under 50 and West Bankers from entering Al-Aqsa compound or Friday prayers,” Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, told the Turkish Anadolu Agency.

Jews celebrated the start of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) on Wednesday evening, the first day of new Jewish year of 5775.

Israel typically imposes restrictions on Muslim worshipers’ access to Al-Aqsa during Jewish holidays

The Israeli authorities also closed the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday and Thursday for Rosh Hashanah.

Israel is also closing the Gaza Strip’s only functioning commercial crossing – the Kerem Shalom border terminal – for four days starting Thursday for the Jewish holiday.

Khatib said that while Israel restricts the entry of Palestinians into Al-Aqsa mosque compound, it facilitates the entry of Zionist settlers into the holy site.

He said that at least 300 Zionist settlers and 120 Israeli soldiers had forced their way into the compound in the past three days.

In recent months, groups of extremist settlers – often accompanied by Israeli security forces – have repeatedly forced their way into the flashpoint compound.

The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site.

Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli leader Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the “Second Intifada” – a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

(Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gazans were slaughtered. The EU has no comments

Rinnief | September 24, 2014

Produced by Rinaldo Francesca.

For a full transcript with links please visit:

http://apophenia.altervista.org/gazan…

Music by Kevin McLeod, available at http://incompetech.com/

September 26, 2014 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is There a Plan to Force Palestinians into Sinai?

Abbas denies mounting claims that Egypt has offered territory for a Palestinian state. Should we believe him?

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | September 26, 2014

What is Israel’s endgame in Gaza? It is a question that has been puzzling analysts and observers for some time. But belatedly, there are indications of the future Israel and Washington may have in mind for Gaza.

Desperately overcrowded, short on basic resources like fresh water, blockaded for eight years by Israel, with its infrastructure intermittently destroyed by Israeli bombing campaigns, Gaza looks like a giant pressure cooker waiting to explode.

It is difficult to imagine that sooner or later Israel will not face a massive upheaval on its doorstep. So how does Israel propose to avert a scenario in which it must either savagely repress a mass uprising by Palestinians in Gaza or sit by and watch them tear down their prison walls?

Reports in the Arab and Israeli media – in part corroborated by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas – suggest that Egypt may be at the heart of plans to solve the problem on Israel’s behalf.

This month Israeli media reported claims – apparently leaked by Israeli officials – that Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had offered the Palestinian leadership the chance to annex to Gaza an area of 1,600 sq km in Sinai. The donated territory would expand Gaza fivefold.

The scheme is said to have received the blessing of the United States.

‘Greater Gaza’ plan

According to the reports, the territory in Sinai would become a demilitarised Palestinian state – dubbed “Greater Gaza” – to which returning Palestinian refugees would be assigned. The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas would have autonomous rule over the cities in the West Bank, comprising about a fifth of that territory. In return, Abbas would have to give up the right to a state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The plan, which would most likely result in significant numbers of Palestinians moving outside the borders of historic Palestine, was quickly dismissed as “fabricated and baseless” by Egyptian and Palestinian officials.

Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a spokesman for Abbas, accused Israel of using the proposal to “destroy the Palestinian cause”, referring to Abbas’ efforts at the United Nations to win recognition of Palestinian statehood on parts of historic Palestine.

But Abdel Rahim’s denial raised more questions than it answered. While rejecting suggestions that Sisi had made such an offer, he added that the plan originated with Giora Eiland, Israel’s national security adviser from 2004 to 2006.

Abdel Rahim appeared to be referring to a plan unveiled by Eiland in 2004 that Israel hoped would be implemented after the withdrawal of settlers and soldiers from Gaza – the so-called disengagement – a year later.

Under Eiland’s terms, Egypt would agree to expand Gaza into the Sinai in return for Israel giving Egypt land in the Negev.

Abdel Rahim also stated that a similar plan – the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Sinai – had been advanced briefly by Sisi’s predecessor, Mohamed Morsi.

Morsi, who served as president for a year from the summer of 2012 until his ousting by Sisi in a military coup, headed a Muslim Brotherhood administration that tried to strengthen ties to the Hamas leadership in Gaza.

Zionist strategies

The idea of creating a Palestinian state outside historic Palestine – in either Jordan or Sinai – has a long pedigree in Zionist thinking.

“Jordan is Palestine” has been a rallying cry on the Israeli right for decades. There have been parallel suggestions for Sinai.

In recent times, the Sinai option has found favour with the Israeli right, especially following the outbreak of the second intifada 14 years ago. Support appears to have intensified after the disengagement in 2005 and Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian national elections a year later.

Notably, the scheme became the centrepiece of the 2004 Herzliya conference, an annual meeting of Israel’s political, academic and security elites to exchange and develop policy ideas. It was then enthusiastically adopted by Uzi Arad, the conference’s founder and long-time adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister.

He proposed a three-way exchange, in which the Palestinians would get part of Sinai for their state, while in return Israel would receive most of the West Bank, and Egypt would be given a land passage across the Negev to connect it to Jordan.

A variation of the “Sinai is Palestine” option was dusted off again by the right during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 50-day attack on Gaza this summer.

Moshe Feiglin, the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, called for Gaza’s inhabitants to be expelled from their homes under cover of the operation and moved into Sinai, in what he termed a “solution for Gaza”.

Did Morsi offer Sinai?

Given that the rationale of the Sinai option is to remove Palestinians from what the Israeli right considers Greater Israel, and such a plan is vehemently opposed by all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, why would Morsi have backed it?

Further, why would he have proposed giving up a chunk of Egyptian territory to satisfy Israeli ambitions, thereby undermining his domestic credibility, at a time when he was fighting for political survival on many other fronts?

One possibility is that Abbas’ office simply made up the story to discredit Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and by extension Abbas’ political rivals in Hamas, and thereby win favour with Sisi.

But few Palestinians or Egyptians appear to have found the claim credible, and Sisi has shown no interest in pursuing this line of attack against Morsi. Why would Abbas fabricate a story that might rebound on him by linking him to such underhanded diplomacy by Egypt, Israel and the US?

There are two further pieces of the jigsaw suggesting that there may be more to the Sinai story than meets the eye.

The first are comments made by Abbas shortly before the Israeli media began reporting the alleged offer by Sisi. Abbas was responding to earlier rumours that began in the Arab media.

Abbas signalled at a meeting with Fatah loyalists on 31 August that a proposal to create a Palestinian state in Sinai was still of interest to Egyptian officials.

He reportedly said: “A senior leader in Egypt said: ‘a refuge must be found for the Palestinians and we have all this open land.’ This was said to me personally. But it’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

The Times of Israel website said it had subsequently confirmed the comments with Abbas.

The Palestinian leader made similar remarks on Egyptian TV a week earlier, when he told an interviewer an Israeli plan for the Sinai had been “unfortunately accepted by some here [in Egypt]. Don’t ask me more about that. We abolished it, because it can’t be.”

What about Mubarak?

The second clue was provided in a barely noticed report in English published last month on the website of the Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, headquartered in London but with strong ties to the Saudi royal family.

It claimed that in the later years of his presidency, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak came under concerted and repeated pressure from the US to cede territory in Sinai to the Palestinians to help them establish a state.

The article, based on information reportedly provided by an unnamed former Mubarak official, stated that pressure started to be exerted on Egypt from 2007.

The source quoted Mubarak as saying at the time: “We are fighting both the US and Israel. There is pressure on us to open the Rafah crossing for the Palestinians and grant them freedom of residence, particularly in Sinai. In a year or two, the issue of Palestinian refugee camps in Sinai will be internationalised.”

In Mubarak’s view, according to the report, Israel hoped that, once Palestinians were on Egyptian soil, the combined area of Sinai and Gaza would be treated as the Palestinian state. This would be the only territory to which Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return.

Anticipating later statements by Abbas’ office, the Egyptian source said a similar proposal was put to Morsi when he came to power in 2012. A delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders travelled to Washington, where White House officials proposed that “Egypt cede a third of the Sinai to Gaza in a two-stage process spanning four to five years”.

US officials, the report stated, promised to “establish and fully support a Palestinian state” in the Sinai, including the establishment of seaports and an airport. The Brotherhood was urged to prepare Egyptian public opinion for the deal.

Pieces of the jigsaw

So what sense can we make of these various pieces of the jigsaw?

Each in itself can be discounted. The Asharq al-Awsat report is based on an anonymous source and there may be Saudi interests at work in promoting the story. Likewise, the Israelis could be waging a misinformation campaign.

But taken together, and given that Abbas appears reluctantly to have conceded key elements of the story, it becomes much harder to ignore the likelihood that the reports are grounded in some kind of reality.

There seems little doubt – from these reports and from the wider aspirations of the Israeli right – that a Sinai plan has been crafted by Israel’s security establishment and is being aggressively advanced, not least through the current leaks to the Israeli media. It also looks strongly like variations of this plan have been pushed more vigorously since 2007, when Hamas took exclusive control of Gaza.

Israel’s current rationale for the Sinai option is that it undermines Abbas’ intensifying campaign at the United Nations to seek recognition of Palestinian statehood, which Israel and the US adamantly oppose.

It also seems plausible, given the strength of its ties to Israel, that the US is backing the plan and adding its considerable weight to persuade the Egyptian and Palestinian leaderships.

Harder to read, however, is whether Egypt might have responded positively to such a campaign.

An Egyptian analyst explained the expected reaction from Sisi and his generals: “Egypt is relentlessly trying to keep Gaza at bay. Tunnels are being destroyed and a buffer zone is planned. Bringing more potentially hostile elements closer to Egypt would be a dangerous and reckless move.”

This is true enough. So what leverage do Israel and the US have over Egypt that might persuade it to override its national security concerns?

Turning the screw

Aside from the large sums of military aid Washington gives to Egypt each year, there is the increasingly pressing matter for Cairo of dire fuel shortages, which risk inflaming a new round of street protests.

Israel has recently discovered large offshore deposits of natural gas, which is it is ready to export to its neighbours. It is already quietly agreeing deals with the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, and is reported to be in advanced discussions with Egypt.

Is this part of the pressure being exerted on Egyptian leaders to concede territory in Sinai? And has it been enough to make them overlook their security concerns?

Finally, there is the Palestinian leadership’s role. Abbas has said firmly he will not countenance such a deal. How might Israel think it could change his mind?

One controversial possibility, which throws a very different light on the events of this summer, is that Israel may hope it can “soften up” Palestinian opinion, especially in Gaza, by making life even less bearable than it already is for the population there.

It is noticeable that Israel’s large-scale operations attacking Gaza – in the winter of 2008-09, 2012 and again this year – started shortly after, according to Asharq al-Awsat, Israel and the US began turning the screws on Mubarak to concede part of Sinai.

The massive and repeated destruction of Gaza might have an added advantage for Israel: it allows Cairo to cast its offer of a small slice of the Sinai to the Palestinians as a desperately needed humanitarian gesture.

The success of Israel’s approach requires isolating Gaza, through a blockade, and inflicting massive damage on it to encourage Palestinians to rethink their opposition to a state outside historic Palestine. That precisely fits Israel’s policy since 2007.

The Sinai option may be difficult to confirm at this stage but we should keep it firmly in mind as we try to make sense of unfolding events in the region over the coming months and years.

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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