Partial List of NGOs Involved in BDS and Their Funders
(Originally produced Apr 7 2010, updated Jul 14 2011)
||Primary Funders||Funding Amount||Central Involvement|
||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|Al Haq||Holland||$426,201 (funding ceased in 2008)||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|Norway||$156,163 (2009, funding ceased)|
|Ford Foundation||$600,000 (2009-10)|
|Al Mezan||Sweden||€105,000 (2007-9)||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|Norway, EU||funding not transparent|
|Alternative Information Center||Belgium||funding not transparent||”Yes to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel“|
|Sweden (via Diakonia)||164,225NIS (2009)|
|Spain and the Basque gov’t (via MUNDUBAT)||711,182NIS (2009)|
|Catalan gov’t (via Sodepau)||173,271NIS (2009)|
|Alternatives (Montreal)||Canada||$2,000,000CAN (2008-10) (unclear if ceased)||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (PA)||EU||€374,174 (2009-11)||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|Switzerland||funding not transparent|
|Badil (PA)||NDC*||$575,000 (2010-12)||Leader of BDS movement|
|Christian Aid||Ireland, EU||24,521,692£ (2009-10)||“Partner supporting” calling for BDS and “pursuing parastata Zionist orgs”|
|Coalition of Women for Peace||EU||€247,954 (2005-7)||Runs “Who profits?” website, which is central in the Norwegian BDS campaign|
|NIF||$294,129 (2006-9)(funding ceased 2011)|
|Defence of Children International – Palestine Section||Sweden (via Save the Children)||459,000SEK (2009-11)||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|European Union||600,000€ (2009-12)|
|Diakonia||Sweden||$52.7 million (2009)||Advocates for divestment strategy against Israel, lobbies against EU-Israel upgrade|
|Human Rights Watch
||Soros’ Open Society Institute||$2,353,895 (2007-8)$100,000,000 (2010-20)||Supported Caterpillar boycott, Call for cuts in U.S. foreign aid to Israel|
|Ford Foundation||$445,000 (2009-11)|
|Netherlands via Oxfam-NOVIB||$987,818 (2007-8)|
|Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)||Spain||€105,000 (2009)||Leader in BDS activism|
|NDC*EU||$76,000 (2010-12)€169,661 (2010-12)|
|KAIROS||Canada – funding was halted in 2009||$1,575,966 (2008)||Main supporter of church divestment campaign|
||EU||€251,650 (2007-2010)||Norwegian Pension Fund divestment campaign|
|Miftah||EU||$79,906 (2010)||Signatory to 2005 BDS call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)|
|AustriaNDC*||$60,624 (2010)$110,000 (2010-12)|
|Mossawa||NIF||$517,642 (2006-8)||Norwegian Pension Fund divestment campaign|
|UK||funding not transparent|
|Norwegian Association of NGOs for Palestine (incl. Norwegian People’s Aid)
||Norway||€57,000 (2008)||Coordinates Norwegian Boycott Israel Campaign|
|Sweden, Netherlands||funding not transparent|
|Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)||NDC*||$130,000||Leader of BDS movement|
|Received France’s Human Rights Prize|
|Sabeel||Sweden||€76,000 (2006-8)||Leader of global church divestment movement|
|Trocaire||Ireland||€23,499,837 (2008)||Supports BDS movement, lobbies against EU-Israel upgrade, calls for review of arms export licenses|
|War on Want||UK||€256,000 (2008)||Advocates for sanctions, including arms boycott|
|Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Gaza)||NDC*||$425,000 (2010-12)||Leader of BDS movement|
|EU, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden||funding not transparent|
*The NDC mechanism is the Human Rights and Good Governance Secretariat, established and funded by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, and managed by the NGO Development Center in Ramallah. Governmental funding provided in 2008-2013.
BDS, For Whose Sake?
Our concerns with organizations like BDS is not mainly because of what they say or what they do or the kind of affiliations they have. Our concern is that BDS and EI and other organizations as well are speaking in the name of the cause and acting on behalf of Palestinians to the point of preventing others from having a say in the matter. In other words, BDS wants to solve the Palestinian problem in its own way and has embraced for this reason anti Apartheid policies under the attractive label of Boycott, Divest and Sanction, trying to suggest that these policies that were presumably successful regarding the Apartheid state of South Africa could also reap the same success on the Palestinian front. We will not discuss the success of these policies in South Africa and whether the goals of the revolution were attained, but we will shed a light on the implications of such endeavor on behalf of BDS on the Palestinian Cause itself in terms of internationalization and globalization of the cause, something that Arabs and Palestinians always feared. This is due to the involvement of such NGOs like BDS and its like in global policies and World Order agendas, due to the financing they get from European governments and other institutes, which make them serve the World Order at the expense of Palestinians. Our conclusion is that because of its financial affiliations BDS does not qualify to solve the Palestinian problem, because one cannot serve the World Order and Palestine at the same time. This, not to speak of the fact that Israel is not an Apartheid and Palestinians do not suffer from segregation alone. Palestinians need to go back to their homes and retrieve their land, they need to get in possession of what is theirs and whoever thinks that this thing can be achieved by economic pressures and anti racist policies alone must be an ignorant or a fool. This is Israel, my friend, this is not Apartheid and there is nothing like it. This is not some elephant that has gone mad, this is madness itself. This is the usurping state of Israel, the most advanced military base of the criminal World Order, this is all predator countries joined together from Europe to the New continent, this is a state that orders the United Nations and many other Nations as well, the country that kills and slaughters and never fears sanctions, that commits genocides without hesitation, that wants to kill each and every Palestinian and each and every Arab who will not normalize or recognize. This is Ariel Sharon and Golda Meir and Tsipi Livni, this is not Apartheid. This has no other label in all seasons and instances other than that of criminal. This is the criminal state of Israel and is supported by the whole world order and will outwit and outsmart Barghouthi and Abunimah and all NGOs joined together.
Let us assume that BDS is working earnestly for Palestinians and conducting these activities for the sake of the cause, at the exclusion of others, and in order to solve the Palestinian issue as it pretends, what has it achieved on the ground for Palestinians since its foundation in 2005? Has it stopped the expansion of Israel in any way? Has it stopped the colonization and the proliferation of settlements? Has it stopped the eviction of Palestinians and demolition of their houses? Has it freed the prisoners from their prisons? Has it relieved Gaza from its siege? Has it done away with the wall of segregation? Has it stopped the flow of weapons and money destined to Israel? Has it worked against normalization? Has it retrieved any of Palestinian rights? Has it protected Jerusalem? Has it improved in any way the lives of Palestinians? The answer to all this is NO. BDS has not achieved anything of this and has not harmed in the least Israel’s economy or welfare. This is what speaks volumes for BDS. If one wants to rejoice over the boycott of such and such company or of such singer and dancer, or over boycotting West Bank dates, one can do that and one can boycott if one wants and this does not need BDS, this needs personal commitment on one’s behalf. Boycott is good but Boycott cannot retrieve Palestine, nor defeat Israel, nor bring back the people to their land and to pretend otherwise is to cheat people. BDS should be exposed for what it is: A World Order Organization financed by the World Order and working under the banner of Palestine, pretending to be in charge of the cause while achieving nothing for Palestinians. The merit of such organization, and other NGOs as well in the eyes of the World Order, lies in giving up the armed Resistance as a choice and a means for liberation and in alienating the Arab masses and people from the victories achieved by this Resistance. This attitude of shunning the victorious Resistance that defeated Israel benefits Israel in the first place and sheds a light on whom BDS really serves. Meanwhile Israel is given enough time to recover from its two consecutive defeats and to figure out and plan its next scheme of occupation expansion and extermination. THANK YOU BDS!
People following BDS activities and functions should be informed about the latest innovation of the BDS movement (BOYCOTT DIVEST SANCTION) whereby the BDS has adopted two different versions of its amendment, one in English and one in Arabic, and the funny thing is that they say two different things: the one in English calls for ending occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, and the one in Arabic calls for ending occupation of the Palestinian territories full stop. It is important to say that BDS boasts about grouping 170 organizations and Palestinian movements and is supposed to be accountable before them. Instead, it has adopted a different English version from the original one, in which it recognizes the legitimacy of Israel within the 67 borders and asks Israel to withdraw only from the land occupied in 1967 and this without informing the organizations that work with it about this change. The original text in Arabic though that asks for ending the occupation of all Palestinian territories remained unchanged for some mysterious reason. BDS is required on the spot to explain this duplicity and why it has adopted two versions of the same thing in two different languages and two radically different stands? Why is it addressing the Arab public in one way and foreigners in another recognizing Israel in one instance and calling for ending occupation in the other? What is the goal behind this misleading policy of adopting two antagonistic stands and whom is this supposed to serve? Or are they both fake and meant to mislead people? Either BDS is betting on the ignorance and the stupidity of people which is stupid and ignorant or it is working on a separate agenda that does not give importance to these “Palestinian” details?
BDS, Boycott The Armed Struggle
The birth of the Boycott movement that started the PCACBI happened at a crucial moment in year 2002, after Israel has been defeated and its vulnerability exposed due to losing the first war since its foundation. The Resistance had triumphed and succeeded in liberating Lebanon and called Palestinians to get inspired from the Lebanese victory and resume the struggle in Palestine to achieve a similar result. It is around this time some strange hybrid started taking birth in the West Bank under the name PCACBI, which is a boycott campaign following the South African model. Not only PCACBI never related to this victory over Israel, but broke suddenly with a whole tradition of armed resistance that marked the Palestinian struggle. Recognizing the right of Israel to exist, the PCACBI asks for withdrawal to the 67 borders and dismantling of settlements and for the right of return of refugees, and calls for application of boycott policies, namely cultural and academic, against the Apartheid state of Israel. Mind you, this boycott called for by the PCACBI never followed the usual channels of Boycott as prescribed and carried on by the Arab League and applied by Arab governments. Who ever wants to consider the birth of such a movement, that took place in the West Bank, as a natural birth must check himself and ask himself why this movement has broken with the Palestinian armed struggle in general and why, instead of getting inspired from the first military victory achieved over Israel, endorsing it, investing in it and identifying with it, chose to travel to South Africa and draw parallels with the previous Apartheid state and project this Apartheid on the Palestinian condition. Founded by a handful of Palestinian academicians and intellectuals, some of them living abroad, the boycott movement does not seem to represent Palestinians in general, but seems to be removed from the Palestinian social and cultural reality and connected to foreign groups instead, mostly located outside. The public addressed by this movements is not native Palestinian, and no refugee living in camps can identify with this anti Apartheid trip. This has a foreign audience, no doubt, that includes Jews as well. The actual BDS movement that is a product of the PCACBI is oriented the same way towards foreigners, and even if it is endorsed by Palestinian societies, these societies are mostly NGOs with foreign affiliations. So we are at the same point we started from. BDS came to add more confusion to the whole thing and while the PCACBI was clear in its objectives regarding the recognition of Israel within the 67 borders, the BDS remains indecisive as to what territories Israel is supposed to withdraw from, whether the 67 or the whole Arab land, sometimes being specific sometimes not. This fluctuation may be due to a fluctuating agenda that wants to cater to all tendencies and affiliations. As for the refugee issue, it is being stated in confusing terms, whereby the issue is to be promoted, protected and respected instead of being enforced on Israel. In what way this whole boycott trip is beneficial to the cause we don’t know. Certainly it is beneficial to Israel to become recognized so broadly as a legal state. Because of this, the whole Apartheid story seemed to be one of the designs of the enemy as a means to acquire recognition and as an alternative to the military option that has failed drastically in Lebanon and, finally, what is left to be known is whether this boycott is as harmful to Israel as is to Palestinians the forsaking of the armed struggle. What BDS wants to boycott, finally, under the attractive label of boycott, is the armed struggle itself.
Is Palestinian Solidarity An Occupied Zone?
BDS OR RESISTANCE / THE LESSON THAT WAS OMITTED
The BDS was born in a hybrid womb, that is not an Arab womb but an Israeli foreign womb, after Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah celebrating the liberation of the South in year 2000 stood in Bint Jbeil in south Lebanon in the proximity of occupied Palestine and addressed the Palestinians thus, offering them the victory over Israelis, saying: “People of Palestine, your way to Palestine and to liberty is the path of resistance and insurrection, which means a serious resistance and a real insurrection rather than the insurrection in the shadow of Oslo or in the service of the concessive negotiation in Stockholm. You should take the path of the insurrection and the resistance that only accept the perfect right, as Lebanon has done, whereby the whole Lebanese people refuse to keep a small part of their land occupied. Hence, we offer this noble Lebanese model to our people in Palestine.” This happened in Year 2000, in the glorious victory over the Israelis after 18 years of occupation. Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah added, addressing Palestinians: “To free your land, you don’t need tanks, a strategic balance, rockets, and cannons; you need to follow the way of the past self-sacrifice martyrs who disrupted and horrified the coercive Zionist entity. You, the oppressed, unarmed, and restricted Palestinians, can force the Zionist invaders to return to the places they came from. Let the Falasha go to Ethiopia, and let the Russian Jews return to Russia. The choice is yours, and the model lies right in front of your eyes. An honest and serious resistance can make the freedom dawn arise. Our brothers and beloved Palestinians, I tell you, ‘Israel’, which owns nuclear weapons and the strongest war aircraft in the region, is feebler than a spider’s web. I swear to God.” Two years after this fiery speech was born the Boycott movement in the West Bank, where the whole achievement of the Lebanese Resistance was overlooked and their addressing on behalf of Sayyed Hassan totally ignored and his invitation to copy the successful model of the Resistance totally discarded. The answer to Sayyed Hassan invitation was the Boycott movement whereby, instead of turning to Lebanon and getting inspired from the Lebanese victory, the Boycott turned to South Africa to copy the anti Apartheid model replacing the real with the unreal and the resistance by surrender, If this is not an Israeli scheme, then what is it? The whole speech of Sayyid Hassan in English:
Partial List Of Endorsers And Financers Of BDS
BEFORE YOU EMBARK ON AN ENDEAVOR SEE WHO SITS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT
The enemy nowadays is coming dressed in many garbs. He has been acquainted with our ways and learned about our tastes. This whole Arab spring was possible because the enemy knew how to cater to our tastes. He knew about our longings and he addressed them. Thus, the whole Arab Spring was a deceit. It turned into a shabby winter, into instability and chaos and social unrest. In Syria it turned bloody and destructive and is still going on causing more bloodshed and more destruction. The enemy knows how to cater to our tastes, and we should not fall an easy prey to its schemes and designs. Look at the international solidarity movement around Palestine and the role of internationally affiliated NGOs. Look at how the cause is being slowly and surely liquidated in a process of total globalization. Look at the attractive labels used by these NGOs of Boycott and Protests and Dismantle of the wall and Freedom for prisoners and Jerusalem and Apartheid and you name it. What is happening in Palestine is NGO work and supporters of the cause are falling for them. The Palestinian Organizations and factions whose emblem is armed struggle have lost their role in favor of NGOs and are losing slowly their say in many matters related to Palestinians. What can NGOs do to the cause? What are NGOs doing? Are they progressing with the cause? Are they improving the living conditions of Palestinians? What are their achievements on the ground? Do they carry exclusively a Palestinian agenda or they carry different ones? In order to answer this question about NGOs and whether they qualify to lead the Palestinian cause, as they claim, there is but one way and it is to look at how they are financed. Tell me who funds you and I will tell you who are, the money one gets will decide for the orientation of the whole endeavor, I think we all agree on that. Please find in this partial list the financers of the endorsers of the Boycott movement called BDS which is waging for anti Apartheid policies, see if the financers are real supporters of the cause or whether they support something else, like Israel for example, and decide for yourself whether BDS and other NGOs qualify to lead the cause.
Come Join The Apartheid Show My Friend!
Palestine has become an entertainment, if you are not aware. The plight of the people, the suffering, the homelessness, the abuse, the violations, the massacres and the incarcerations, the shelling, the siege and the occupation have become source of entertainment funded by Soros and company. And this has acquired a new name and is no more Palestine. It has become Apartheid, if you know what Apartheid is. So now when you think Palestine you ought to think Apartheid. Thus you have to remove yourself from the Arab and Palestinian Reality to the magic land of Apartheid, the fictitious place called Apartheid where you are no more yourself but a magic character in one of Soros’ fairy tales. Apartheid is the Disneyland Soros has especially designed for Palestinians with its full show of BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) conducted by Palestinian NGO Omar Barghouthi who refuses to apply the rules of Boycott himself since he is a registered student at Tel Aviv University. The circus is then running and the show designed for Palestine is the Apartheid Show. And it is Soros who is funding the show so that, when you boycott, it is on behalf of Soros that you are boycotting, and when you divest or sanction it is on behalf of Master Soros that you are doing so. This is how Palestinians can at last make a living, by handing their cause to Master NGO. From One city to another the Apartheid Show seems flourishing and is organizing a week in Beirut, and Soros will be speaking and performing and exhibiting through many people, artists and poets and speakers some of them notorious fighters for the cause like Leila Khaled herself. Bravo Apartheid! And it sounds so well, “Apartheid”, especially when one has grown tired of repeating uselessly the same old words of occupation and violation and massacres and extermination. Apartheid comes in handy; one can figure oneself in some Hollywood production, in an altogether different story and setting that will appeal to many people.
And the foreigners can now join in and jump in the Apartheid boat, as they jumped previously in great numbers in the Flotilla boats, without succeeding in lifting the siege from Gaza. Now, in the Apartheid boat, they can show their solidarity to the Palestinian Cause, which they could never show to the successful armed Resistance or to the victorious Hizbullah of Lebanon who defeated Israel and liberated the land without concession. But it is too costly to salute the Armed Resistance and to embark on a strange trip to a strange land, a Muslim land. And who knows if one will not end up in Iran, for example, in “theocracy” land with hateful Mullahs all over the place, or in HAMAS land. This Apartheid thing is much safer and not too costly for Israel. With Apartheid one can identify, and see in it the continuation of the premises of peace as introduced by Gandhi and his likes and embraced by most westerners worried more about Israel’s safety than about Palestinians’ rights. Apartheid is the Model and the parallel that the World Order has projected on the Palestinian Cause, not in order to solve it according to the South African model, but in order to leave it pending with no solution, because Israel is not an Apartheid. All this turbulence of boycotting dancers and singers and musicians and boycotting companies and academicians and students is but a maze that will lead to nowhere and definitely not to the liberation of Palestine or to the restitution of any of the Palestinian rights. This is nothing but blurring the vision and giving Israel more time to continue its scheme of occupation and domination. By the time Palestinians finish their performance in the West Bank streets and finish coloring and dancing in front of the wall of separation, Israel would have finished carrying on its evil schemes of hegemony and expansion. This is the Apartheid show, nourished by the World Order, after the Arafat show nourished by oil money, and it will bear the same bitter fruits in terms of recognition and normalization with the enemy and liquidating the cause itself.
The Undefined Purpose Of BDS
Let’s read thoroughly the Arabic BDS text which is the original text as it was written in year 2005. The text says literally that Israel should submit to the International Law and this in:
- Ending the occupation and colonization of ALL Arab land and dismantling the wall.
- Recognizing the fundamental right of Arab Palestinian citizens to full equality.
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the right of the Palestinian Refugees to return home as stipulated in UN resolutions.
This is the original version, which is a confusing version, because it gives the impression that Israel is to withdraw from all Arab land, and if it were to withdraw from all Arab land, to where would it withdraw? To the sea? To Europe? While in fact what is meant is that it will withdraw from certain Arab territories, probably those that will be decided upon by the world order or the peace talks. The territories to be evacuated turned out to be the lands occupied in 67, but if withdrawing from all Arab land was meant in the first place, then also the 2nd and 3rd amendment would be irrelevant. This means that the BDS is not a serious movement with precise goals and objectives, and the Recognition of Israel within its 1948 borders goes back to the foundation of the BDS movement in 2005, because the withdrawal from the 67 occupied land that showed up 8 years later in the English version was already implicit in the original version even if not clearly expressed. What remains to be known is why BDS has chosen to be explicit about this matter in the version addressed to its foreign audience at this time precisely, while the Arabic text retained its original confusing statement of ending occupation of all Arab land. BDS had nothing precise in its mind, no position and no ideology, which is quite surprising for a liberating movement that wants to retrieve Palestinians’ rights. BDS is waiting for others to determine their position and then take a stand accordingly. For this BDS cannot lead nor speak for the Palestinian Cause because it has no authority or independent position.
The UK government has failed in its desperate attempt at the European Union to blacklist the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah as a “terrorist group”, local media reported.
The failure came after Britain was unable to convince its European allies that Hezbollah was behind an attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year, according to British media outlets.
The bombing happened last July in the Black Sea resort of Burgas, where five Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian driver and the bomber were killed.
This was considered as a crucial part of the UK government’s rationale to convince the EU to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
However, several EU countries voiced doubt over the evidence linking the resistance movement to the bombing.
Hezbollah enjoys a major political and social standing within the Lebanese society and the EU nation also voiced concerns that blacklisting it could create instability in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, after a one-year probe, the Bulgarian government too was unable to submit credible proof that Hezbollah was involved in the attack.
“An attack takes place and immediately all over the world, governments are saying it was Hezbollah,” said Elena Pavlova, a Middle East analyst based in Sofia. “Yet, we have waited a year and still no one has given any proof.”
Along with local journalist Ruslan Yordanov, she found al Qaida-linked martyrdom videos online, claiming responsibility a day after the bombing in Burgas.
They wonder whether evidence pointing towards alternative perpetrators was deliberately ignored to meet the demands of Israeli and Western governments seeking an excuse to ban Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has also dismissed allegations of involvement in the Burgas plot, and the attempt to blacklist the resistance movement has brought heated responses from Lebanon.
“Any listing of the group as a terrorist organisation will be considered as political provocation,” Lebanon’s acting foreign minister Adnan Mansour, who is seen as close to the Syrian government, said last week. “We know there are Israeli pressures practised on more than one international side in order to accuse Hezbollah of terrorism.”
Enough doubts remain to make several EU governments uncomfortable about blacklisting the group, and the support of all 27 members is needed for the motion to pass.
- UK bid to blacklist Hezbollah fails to get EU backing (independent.co.uk)
- Why is the UK pushing the EU to designate Hezbollah as a “terrorist” group? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Brussels – Hundreds of Palestinian homes and structures have been bulldozed and approvals for illegal settlements have increased despite the 27-nation European Union (EU) asking Israel to stop settlement expansion, forced displacement, and demolition of Palestinian property in an unprecedented statement one year ago, says a new report.
EU foreign ministers adopted on May 14, 2012 some of the most extensive and far-reaching recommendations on the issue of the Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). In particular, the EU ministers approved specific recommendations for developing Area C which constitutes 60 percent of the West Bank and falls under full Israeli military and civil control. An estimated 150,000 Palestinians live there among 325,000 Israelis living in settlements that are illegal under international law.
EU foreign ministers called for improvement of Israel’s policies that are currently damaging to the development of Palestinian livelihoods and for the future viability of a Palestinian state. It also called on the Government of Israel to end impunity on settler violence, as well as allow the EU to pursue development projects in Palestinian communities without risks of Israeli demolitions. In addition, for the first time, the EU declared: “Ending the conflict was a European interest.”
In a report released on May 27, 2013, the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), a coordinating body representing over 80 international aid and development agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory, have urged the EU to “match their strong words with action in order to effectively challenge Israeli government policies”.
These policies, says the report – Failing to Make the Grade: How the EU can pass its own test and work to improve the lives of Palestinians in Area C – are creating “unbearable conditions” in Area C, which is home to some of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities who are isolated from services provided by the Palestinian Authority in other parts of the West Bank. Palestinians living in that area rely heavily on humanitarian and development assistance.
According to AIDA, “chances for a just and durable solution that allows Palestinians and Israelis to live with peace and security were slipping away as the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate”.
The report points out that more than 600 houses have been built in the past year in the illegal Israeli settlements while 535 Palestinian-owned homes and structures have been destroyed, leaving 784 people homeless or displaced.
Around 30 European-funded structures have been demolished during this same time and dozens more, including basic tents, water cisterns and animal pens are under threat of demolition.
“Europe has made clear its objections to Israel’s continued settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian and European property. Yet, its response has mostly come in words only, with action remaining on an ad hoc and uncoordinated basis,” says the report. “If this continues, living conditions for Palestinians are set to worsen, and vital European tax-payers’ investments will be wasted,” it adds.
“Just a year ago, EU governments injected fresh hope that they would collectively use their political weight to improve the living conditions of Palestinians and halt Israeli violations of international law, but looking back, we can say they are at serious risk of failing both Palestinians and Europeans,” said Charles Silva, Country Director for Action Against Hunger (ACF) and AIDA Chair.
The report explains what they can and must do to put their words into action that results in positive changes on the ground. It emphasizes the need for Europe to “honor its pledges to increase much-needed development aid for Area C and to push the government of Israel to remove restrictions that leave Palestinians vulnerable to demolition and prevent them from building proper homes, schools, roads, water infrastructure and electrical grids”.
The report illustrates how some European countries have been working to protect communities in Area C from demolition by investing in village plans. “While the Israeli authorities are in the process of considering applications, none of the 32 European-funded village plans to date have been fully approved. This is in sharp contrast to the endering of at least 1,967 new settlement housing units in the year since the EU statement, a four-fold increase from 2011,” says the report.
It points out that Israeli government demolition of Palestinian structures typically takes place because they lack building permits, which are hard to obtain, with 94 percent of Palestinian applications for building permits denied in recent years.
“Last year EU governments said for the first time it was also in their own interest to bring an end to the conflict in Israel and Palestine – if they are serious, they can and must work together to address harmful policies of the Israeli government and support the most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank,” said Nishant Pandey Oxfam Country Director.
Tony Laurance, CEO from Medical Aid for Palestinians added: “Israel is morally and legally responsible for the wellbeing of Palestinian men, women and children in the occupied Palestinian territory. EU countries have an obligation to address violations of International Law and collectively to put pressure on Israel to end policies impeding Palestinian development.”
- Jewish settlers setting up tent and planning road on Palestinian owned land in Al Khalil (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The UK Foreign secretary William Hague, and his French counterpart Lauren Fabius, are leading an isolated charge within the EU to lift a supposed arms embargo to self-described ‘rebels’, hitherto destroying Syria for over two years. Several underlying factors need to be addressed before these diplomatic (some would say military) manoeuvres are put into context.
Firstly, the most obvious issue with allowing the UK and France to freely arm ‘rebels’ of their choosing inside Syria is that this policy is against all international law, and will, as proven already to be the case, continue to vastly exacerbate the growing death toll and displacement in Syria. As the head of arms control at Oxfam noted:
“Transferring more weapons to Syria can only exacerbate a hellish scenario for civilians. If the UK and France are to live up to their own commitments – including those set out in the new arms trade treaty – they simply must not send weapons to Syria.”
Acting under the auspices, or “consultation” of Western intelligence services, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and non-state actors sending thousands of tonnes of arms and funds to extremist militants in Syria; is directly synonymous with both a huge increase in casualty numbers and civilian displacement; and the huge rise and proliferation of extremist militants operating in Syria. This highlights, as previous conflicts in the region have shown; that further Western military intervention is not about to bring peace and harmony to a nation already engulfed in the throes of war (much of which western powers promoted and enabled). But peace and harmony are not on either France, nor the UK’s list of priorities in the region; removing President Assad and weakening the state of Syria, Iran’s staunch ally, most certainly are. It seems the less Imperial-minded states of the EU, and indeed, those less attached to US militarism and designs for the Middle East, were incensed by Hague and Fabius’ stubborn attempts to stifle the popular opinion within the EU that sending yet more military equipment to a disparate melee of extremist rebels may be of dire consequence. Hague, with his vast intellect, failed to acknowledge this most obvious of pitfalls, and seems more eager than war-mongerer/profiteer US Senator John McCain is to feed into the western public the idea that ‘moderate’, or ‘secular’ minded ‘rebels’ in Syria actually exist.
To quote an equally moral and intelligent Western statesman, the UK is acting on the policy of “unknown unknowns”. Hague et al claim to know of ‘moderate’ and ‘secular’ fighting forces wishing to take up arms against the Syrian Government; yet literally no one in Syria or analysing the conflict from afar is able to find them. As the weapons flow increased and the funds from Gulf donors magnified, it has been the most extreme sectarian elements of militia that have been bolstered by such support, and indeed, further encouraged by Western diplomatic cover and the dutiful Western mainstream media’s glowing appraisals of freedom fighters and ‘rebel’ propaganda. This has only enabled the Jihaddi/Salafist elements hell-bent on sectarian violence and destruction to gain in recruits and popularity. As in Central America, Afghanistan, Libya, Serbia, Kosovo, etc: these extremist elements form the ‘Shock Troops’ of a Western designed subversion model; used to great effect by Western powers to enable the social and structural destruction of a nation “outside the West’s sphere of influence”, in order to bring about regime change.
Libya, again, provides us with a recent, and very much relevant example of how the UK and France are free to manipulate what are, when first employed, supposedly ‘humanitarian’ measures to fit their own military and Imperial advantage. When the No Fly Zone resolution over Libya was first passed in the UN, it was designed to enable ‘rebel’ forces in Libya to “protect the civilian population” from air and armour attacks from the Libyan Army. What ensued almost immediately after the resolution passed was nothing of the sort: the UK and France – under US direction – took it upon themselves, in almost 10,000 airstrike sorties within six months, to not only destroy all of Libya’s meagre air-force and armour, but destroy the vast majority of the infrastructure Gaddafi had built. This ran alongside a targeted assassination campaign against Gaddafi himself to bring about the desired regime change, which just by chance, also happens to be completely against international law. The results of which were neither in the interest of civilians or humanitarianism. As former MI5 officer Annie Machon put it:
“They’ve had free education, free health, they could study abroad. When they got married they got a certain amount of money. So they were rather the envy of many other citizens of African countries. Now, of course, since NATO’s humanitarian intervention, the infrastructure of their country has been bombed back to the Stone Age,”
This “bombing back to the stone age” is what Imperialist apologists might term: holding down the competition. As previously noted by many a statesman and scholar, the last thing any Western government desires is the self-determination and independence of resource-rich, strategically placed nations.
Furthermore, as candidly revealed by Hague himself, the UK and France’s pressure to lift the embargo is solely designed to pressure the Assad government to meet their demands, stating: (my emphasis)
“[it is] important for Europe to send a clear signal to the Assad regime that it has to negotiate seriously, and that all options remain on the table if it refuses to do so”.
One thing is certain, Hague does not speak for Europe. 25 of the 27 European nations were against the lifting of the embargo. The French and British refusal to accept the popular consensus meant that no decision or required extension of the current embargo could be made, resulting in its expiration. This in turn allows EU states to act as they please, as Hague said himself, this was the exact outcome the UK was hoping for. Once more, Hague is speaking with no authority, only 16% of the UK population agree to sending arms to ‘rebels’ in Syria: UK democracy in action.
The desired outcome of the lifting of the EU embargo will be increased military support to what the CIA, and NATO aligned governments describe as “vetted moderate” rebel forces. Which for all intents and purposes, simply don’t exist. The more likely outcome will be to create further reluctance of the Syrian ‘opposition’ elements within the SNC to negotiate with the Assad Government; further encouraging them and the extremist elements on the ground in Syria to continue their futile quest for a military solution. This policy will embolden extremist rebels fighting the Syrian Army in the hope they are to receive further Western support, with the ultimate desire of Western intervention just around the corner.
As Hague warns of “conflict spread”, which is evidently already occurring in Northern Lebanon, and inextricably linked to increased sectarian strife in Iraq; his Orwellian mindset seems unable to realise that adding more arms to this conflict ridden region will result in anything other than further destabilization. Surely Western powers cannot uphold this pretence any longer, it is glaringly obvious to many that Western involvement and “concern” over Syria has nothing to do with the civilian population and everything to do with regime change by all means necessary, including the tacit arming, funding and diplomatic support of extremist Al Qaeda affiliated ‘rebels’.
Furthermore, while the UK was desperate to lift the arms embargo on Syrian ‘rebels’. It was at the forefront of attempts to uphold the crippling economic sanctions put in place against the Syrian Government. These sanctions, as applied to devastating effect many times before, are again, solely designed to punish the civilian population in attempts to create civil unrest and discord against the Syrian government to bring about regime change, a wholly illegal act in itself. Hague, in another world-class show of diplomatic cognitive dissonance, candidly admitted the failure of these sanctions as a reason to lift the arms embargo, stating: “The EU arms embargo must be lifted because the current economic sanctions regime is ineffective.” If the economic sanctions aren’t working, yet evidently punishing the civilian population, why is the EU keeping them in place? Simply as a tool to further pressurize the Syrian Government and push the civilian population into chaos, poverty and revolt.
Whilst the UK government declares a “battle against terrorism” on its own soil, its Foreign Policy wilfully follows the Western trend of fomenting, arming and supporting the very same ideologues abroad. All to suit the pernicious Western establishment agenda of economic and military dominance throughout the Greater Middle East and beyond.
- EU Continues with US-Led Sanctions against Syrians as It Scraps Arms Embargo
- Syria: Border Clashes Pit FSA Against Kurds
- Several injured in Syrian rocket attacks on Lebanon
A distinct increase of negative coverage has been forming in Western and Gulf press. This focus is specifically regarding Hezbollah’s direct involvement in the battle currently raging to take control of the Syrian town of Qusair; its overall role in Lebanon and the region, and its ties to both Syria’s President Assad, and the government of Iran.
As the Syrian conflict has gone on, Salafi/Jihaddi fighters from at least 30 different nationalities have poured through Syria’s borders, with the tacit approval of various state sponsors of the Syrian ‘opposition’. In turn, and for the best part of two years, compliant media have obliged in their attempts to subvert the Salafi/Jihaddi fundamentalist dynamic that has formed the core of the ‘opposition’s’ fighting force; finally relenting and admitting the fact not a single secular force is fighting against the Syrian Government. Contrary to this wilful ignorance or blatant subversion of facts; Western and Gulf media outlets now deem it their utmost priority to highlight not only Hezbollah’s direct involvement; but indeed, go to great lengths to highlight every single Hezbollah death, injury, movement or sneeze inside Syria.
Several issues need to be addressed in this somewhat disparate state of so-called ‘independent’ media when it comes to coverage of Hezbollah. The first and most glaring point is that demonizing Hezbollah and its supporters falls straight into the propaganda program of Israel and the United States, in their attempts to block resistance to US/Israeli/GCC occupation and expansion. The reasons behind this demonization are clear: the US and Israel are not, now, or anywhere in the future willing to allow Hezbollah to operate on Israels’ northern border unimpeded, and both wish to see the resistance group annihilated. The ‘news’ media will dutifully oblige its paymasters with the required public demonization through assumption of guilt and propaganda.
The Burgas Bombing and implicating Hezbollah
Since the Bulgarian Government announced its findings into the bombing of a tourist bus that killed five Israeli tourists, and a Bulgarian bus driver in July 2012; the western press, AIPAC and neo-con associated DC ‘think tanks’, and western government officials have gone into propaganda overdrive. Using somewhat vague statements from the Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in a quite liberal manner; these parties with vested interests have determined culpability for the bombing fall’s on Hezbollah. One fundamental issue should be cleared before drawing any conclusion, that is, the Bulgarian Interior Minister’s statement on the issue post-investigation: (my emphasis)
“A reasonable assumption, I repeat a reasonable assumption, can be made that the two of them were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,”
This is by no means a definitive statement, leaving room for interpretation suggests the Bulgarian minister is not so sure of his convictions. In this New York Times article ,we learn of the supposed damning ‘evidence’ that has led western officials and lackey media alike, to conclude Hezbollah’s’ guilt: (my emphasis)
With help from the United States and Israel, investigators here broke the case — and linked it to Hezbollah — using a tip from a secret source and some old-fashioned detective work, tracing the printer that had produced two forged licenses back to Lebanon….Europol determined that a fake Michigan driver’s license recovered at the scene had come from Lebanon….The identity of the Australian was the second major breakthrough. In September, a European intelligence service tipped off the Bulgarians about an Australian bombmaker of Lebanese descent, the former senior Western official said. The intelligence service said he had moved to Lebanon to join Hezbollah’s military wing. Mr. Tsvetanov said Tuesday that the Australian and the Canadian moved to Lebanon, one in 2006 and one in 2010.
These snippets of anonymous information are quite literally all the evidence that has been provided to date of Hezbollah association in the Burgas bombing. So because the fake ID’s were produced in Lebanon: that proves Hezbollah made them. And because the bombers alleged and, as yet unidentified, accomplices were from Lebanon: that also proves they are “tied to” Hezbollah. Clearly, the ‘evidence’ provided to date is circumstantial, at best. This lack of clear evidence will not stop either western, nor Israeli government officials, and, again, their lackey media and ‘think-tank’ counterparts in apportioning sole responsibility to Hezbollah, giving the ultimate desired outcome of guilt without trial, or indeed, any public evidence.
As investigative reporter Gareth Porter noted in February, the whole Bulgarian report is based on no more than an “assumption” or, “hypothesis” for Hezbollah complicity; yet this report form’s the basis for calls in the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Porter goes on to state:(my emphasis)
Major revelations about the investigation by the former head of the probe and by a top Bulgarian journalist have further damaged the credibility of the Bulgarian claim to have found links between the suspects and Hezbollah….The chief prosecutor in charge of the Bulgarian investigation revealed in an interview published in early January that the evidence available was too scarce to name any party as responsible, and that investigators had found a key piece of evidence that appeared to contradict it.
Karadzhova revealed how little was known about the two men who investigators believe helped the foreigner killed by the bomb he was carrying, but whom Tsvetanov would later link to Hezbollah. The reason, she explained, is that they had apparently traveled without cell phones or laptops…..Only two kinds of information appear to have linked the two, according to the Karadzhova interview, neither of which provides insight into their political affiliation. One was that both of them had led a “very ordered and simple” lifestyle, which she suggested could mean that they both had similar training.
The other was that both had fake Michigan driver’s licenses that had come from the same country. It was reported subsequently that the printer used to make the fake Michigan driver’s licenses had been traced to Beirut.
But Karadzhova’s biggest revelation was that investigators had found a SIM card at the scene of the bombing and had hoped it would provide data on the suspect’s contacts before they had arrived at the scene of the bombing. But the telecom company in question was Maroc Telecom, and the Moroccan firm had not responded to requests for that information.
That provenance of the SIM Card is damaging to the Hezbollah “hypothesis”, because Maroc Telecom sells its cards throughout North Africa – a region in which Hezbollah is not known to have any operational bases but where Al-Qaeda has a number of large organisations.
Morocco is also considered a “staunch ally” of the United States, so it is unlikely that the Moroccan government would have refused a request from the United States to get the necessary cooperation from Moroccan Telecom.
Clearly, anyone claiming Hezbollah was responsible for the Burgas bombing is pushing a somewhat skewed and misinformed agenda. Not only is the ‘evidence’ both flimsy and circumstantial; the chief prosecutor laid doubt on any possible Hezbollah role on live television. Why would Israel, or the US choose not to follow the SIM card? Or even bother to request the Moroccan telecoms company release the information?
Britain launches campaign in the EU
This brings us to recent reports of the British governments renewed attempts to persuade the EU to designate Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organisation. The UK is now pushing the EU for this designation to enable possible sanctions, and the Burgas bombing is a key component in the case against the organisation; the bombing is mentioned in virtually every article on the issue, and has been cited as a reason for Germany’s apparent sway in the UK’s direction.
For Israel, the United States and their GCC partners, the timing could not be better. Again, the hypocrisy is blatant. None of the NATO states that are pushing for terrorist designations against Hezbollah, have a negative word to say on the plethora of militant Salafi/Jihaddi groups they have abetted into Syria; (*other than Jabhat al Nusra*) these groups have not only attacked Syria’s security infrastructure and Government personnel, they have also openly committed massacres, hundreds of car bombings in built-up civilian areas, extra-judicial killings, rape, torture, and looting. But these are the good guys the west are supporting in their valiant fight for democracy in Syria? Or strict Sharia?
As these western/GCC proxies start to lose more and more ground against the Syrian Army, (and Hezbollah have been a key factor in that.) Israel pursues illegal military airstrikes against supposed “game changing” weapons, and the NATO states dutifully push their “diplomatic” pressure in the UN and the EU against Hezbollah under dubious allegation’s. These dynamics are inextricably linked to the Western/Israeli/GCC efforts to block the “Shiite crescent”.
In Lebanon itself, the US/UK et al accuse Hezbollah of being responsible for current conflagration on the Syrian border, which is also flaring up in northern Tripoli; without mentioning the fact Lebanon has been a key route for opposition militants to enter Syria. Since the very start of the Syrian crisis, northern Lebanon and the town of Qusair have been a rebel transit point and stronghold; allowing the free flow of heavily armed militant Salafi/Jihaddi fighters. But this seems to be what western leaders promote, and are indeed making great efforts to support. William Hague talks of “conflict spread” and propagates the falsehood that Hezbollah pose a threat to Lebanese internal security, while the UK and its allies arm, fund, promote, and provide diplomatic cover to the very Salafists Hezbollah is busy defending Shiite villages and Syrian civilians from. The West is supporting the very same democracy spreading Salafi/Jihaddi proxies that completely expelled all Christians from Qusair upon their arrival. Is the west and its allies, in its determination to overthrow the Assad government, and by extension destroy any resistance Hezbollah can muster against Israeli aggression, now supporting ethnic cleansing?
If Hezbollah, who up until the Syrian crisis; peacefully co-existed in a country belonging of 18 different sects no less, and being an active member of Lebanese government and its security infrastructure: are supposed terrorists. Then one has to ask: what are the extremist, sectarian militants the west is supporting supposed to represent? Freedom Fighters? Furthermore, and, considering the insurmountable volumes of evidence of western state-sponsored terror, one must also ask: what purpose, other than further ‘legal’ UN-endorsed western-led military aggression, does the designation of Hezbollah as “Terrorist” ultimately serve?
The failure of the European Union to agree on a new arms embargo for Syria is undermining the peace process, Moscow says. But the delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missiles may help restrain warmongers.
The comments come from Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, referring to the results of Monday’s meeting in Brussels. After a lengthy negotiating session, EU governments failed to resolve their differences and allowed a ban on arming the Syrian opposition to expire, with France and Britain scoring an apparent victory at the expense of EU unity.
The EU’s move, which the Russian diplomat branded as an “example of double standards”, opens the door for Britain and France to supply weapons to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Criticizing Europe’s decision to open the way for potential arms shipments to Syrian rebels, Russia insists that its own sale of arms to the Syrian government helps the international effort to end the two-year-long conflict, the diplomat added. He was referring to the delivery of the advanced S-300 long-range air defense systems, which Russia is carrying out under a contract signed with Syria several years ago.
“Those systems by definition cannot be used by militant groups on the battlefield,” Ryabkov said. “We consider this delivery a factor of stabilization. We believe that moves like this one to a great degree restrain some hotheads from escalating the conflict to the international scale, from involving external forces.”
The S-300 is a series of Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems designed to intercept ballistic missiles, regarded as the most potent weaponry of its class. The missiles are capable of engaging aerial targets as far away as 200km, depending on the version used.
Once the Russian SAM missiles are deployed by Syria, it will have a better control of its airspace. The country endured three airstrikes this year, which are widely thought to have been conducted by Israel, but were never officially confirmed as such.
Britain and France have made a commitment not to deliver arms to the Syrian opposition “at this stage,” an EU declaration said. EU officials, however, said the commitment effectively expires on August 1.
London and Paris have argued support for rebels fighting Assad by allowing EU arms deliveries, despite the fact that extremist elements are known to work alongside the rebels.
Other EU governments, led by Austria and Sweden, argued that sending more weapons to the region would increase violence and spread instability.
Russia’s envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko said that the abolition of the EU arms embargo on the Syrian opposition will only exacerbate armed conflict in that country.
“We need to refrain from taking steps that would be contrary to this logic. Such steps include armed or non-lethal support to the opposition. This just adds fuel to the fire,” Grushko said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington remain undecided as to the content of a proposed international conference on Syria, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
“There remains a gap between the positions of Russia and the US regarding some issues and aspects of this major international crisis,” he emphasized.
“And we, for our part, cannot agree to hold such events [the international conference on Syria] amid a situation where partners and possible participants in such a conference seek to impose solutions on the Syrian people from the outside, as well as predetermine the course of a transitional process, the parameters of which have not been determined yet,” Ryabkov said.
Beirut – Under withering pressure from Washington and the UK, the European Union met this week to decide whether to increase the pressure on the Syrian public by repealing the March 2011 arms embargo that was intended to prohibit arms shipments to Syria and whether or not to continue economic sanctions against the Syrian public.
On 5/27/13 it decided to open the flood gate of arms flow into Syria and to keep the civilian targeting economic sanctions in place.
Lobbying for scrapping the arms embargo, set to expire at midnight on 31 May, had reached nearly historic intensity at EU HQ in Brussels, London and Washington. Recently, the US State Department demanded that every one of the 27 European Ambassadors posted in the US appear at the State Department for “consultations to avoid any misunderstandings about what the White House was expecting at the upcoming EU meeting.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry had been urging the EU to gut the arms embargo so as to expedite weapon shipments to the rebels. It currently appears that Britain now has the support of France, Italy and Spain, while Germany appears neutral and Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic are still opposed. “Fine for him to say, but what is Washington willing to do?” one European foreign minister opposed to lifting the ban put it to BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet.
This week’s EU meeting, which was postponed three months ago, raised again the obligation of the international community to respect the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Convention with respect to protecting the civilian population during armed conflicts and virtually every other international humanitarian law requirement.
For the American administration, designing and applying economic sanctions in order to pressure a population to break with its government to achieve regime change or any other political objective, as in the case of both Syria and Iran are fundamentally illegal under US law.
Just as soon as a group of Syrian-Americans and/or Iranian-American file a class action lawsuit in US Federal District Court ( the Court will have in persona and subject matter jurisdiction and the Plaintiffs will have standing to sue, given that they are American citizens) and the day after filing when they would no doubt file a Motion petitioning the Court for an Interim Measure of Protection (injunction) immediately freezing and lifting the US-led sanctions against the two countries civilian population, pending the final Court (Jury Trial) on the merits, the Obama administration is going to face serious judicial challenges to its outlawry.
William Hague, the UK Defense Minister, was quite active the past several days supporting the various Syrian militias’ arguments including: “The EU arms embargo must be lifted because the current economic sanctions regime is ineffective.” Presumably the right honorable gentleman means by “ineffective” that these brutal sanctions have not broken the will of the populations to settle their own affairs without transparent foreign interference. This is true if by “effective” Hague means that the US-led sanctions, that target Syria’s civilian population for purely political purposes of regime change, will cause the people of Syria, who unlike their leaders, are the ones directly affected by the sanctions to revolt over the lack of medicines and food stuffs plus inflation at the grocery stores.
Mr. Hague surely must be aware that very rarely, if ever at all in history, have civilian targeted sanctions designed to cause hardships among a nation’s population for purely political purposes actually broken the population such that they turned against their governments. Both the Syrian and Iranian sanctions have confirmed history’s instruction that the civilian targeting sanctions imposed from outside tend to have the exact opposite intended effect. This is true particularly modernly with more available information, and that the populations turn not against their national governments but rather against those foreign governments viewed as being responsible for these crimes.
The British, French, Turks and the Americans (the latter, not actually an EU member but then, who would know from its involvements in EU deliberations?) were the zealots in Brussels advocating amendment of the imposed arms embargo so that weapons can be sent to “moderate” forces in these countries largely nurtured and sustained “opposition”.
The UK Defense Minister gave his colleagues repeated assurances that weapons would be supplied only “under carefully controlled circumstances” and with clear commitments from the opposition… We have to be open to every way of strengthening moderates and saving lives rather than the current trajectory of extremism and murder.” The assurances have apparently convinced very few.
Unanimity was needed to repeal the embargo and several countries were opposed. So it was allowed to lapse. One Austrian official told the BBC that allowing lethal weapons to be sent into a war zone “would turn EU policy on its head.” Another European diplomat insisted that “It would be the first conflict where we pretend we could create peace by delivering arms,” the diplomat said. “If you pretend to know where the weapons will end up, then it would be the first war in history where this is possible. We have seen it in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Weapons don’t disappear; they pop up where they are needed.”
Oxfam warned before and after the vote of “devastating consequences” if the embargo ends.”There are no easy answers when trying to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but sending more arms and ammunition clearly isn’t one of them,” the aid agency’s head of arms control, Anna Macdonald told the media this week.
The result of the predicted 5/27/13 European Union meeting prevented the renewal of the arms embargo on Syria, raising the possibility of a new flow of weapons to various jihadist militias working with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others, to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Sustaining a personal rebuke of sorts given that the EU did not affirmatively oppose the embargo as he had hoped, William Hague, the British foreign secretary, told the media after more than 12 hours of stormy talks: “While we have no immediate plans to send arms to Syria, it gives us the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate and worsen,”
As a claimed safeguard of some kind, according to EU officials, the European Union declared that member states who might wish to send weapons to Syrian rebels “shall assess the export license applications on a case-by-case basis” in line with the organization’s rules on exports of military technology and equipment.
Some of the 27 EU countries are now even more concerned that anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons given to “moderate” militiamen (per Libya?) would end up Lord knows where, in the hands of salafist, jihadist-takfiri militants, including those from the al-Nusra Front, which has pledged fealty to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The current embargo includes the following:
- Ban on export/import of arms and equipment for internal repression since May 2011All Syrian cargo planes banned from EU airports
- All Syrian cargo planes banned from EU airports
- EU states obliged to inspect Syria-bound ships or planes suspected of carrying arms
- Assets freeze on 54 groups and 179 people responsible for or involved in repression [many who are not involved in decision making are included-ed]
- Export ban on technical monitoring equipment
In February this year, EU foreign ministers agreed to enable any EU member state to provide non-lethal military equipment “for the protection of civilians” or for the opposition forces, “which the Union accepts as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people”.
As is its habit recently, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service, has spoken on both sides of this critical issue. On the one hand it has cautioned against “any counterproductive move” that could harm the prospects of the Geneva conference and suggests extending the embargo to allow “more time for reflection”. On the other suggesting that lifting the arms embargo would only prolong the war.
The practice of targeting a civilian population by outsiders in order to achieve political objectives such as regime change is fast heading for the dustbin of history given its blatant violation of all norms of international humanitarian law and common decency reflected in the values of most societies.
This week revealed on which side of history the European Union has chosen to anchor itself on the issue of targeting civilian populations in a blatant attempt to achieve regime change. It affirmatively voted “to renew all the economic sanctions already in place against the Syrian government.”
One imagines, as surely the EU is aware, that officials are not suffering much from the economic sanctions, but rather it is exactly those the EU claims to want to help, who will continue to suffer rises in the cost of living generally as well as the sanctions causing shortages of medicines and medical equipment as well as specialized cancer treatments and other medicines for seriously ill drug-dependant citizens.
- EU nations split over Syria weapons embargo (morningstaronline.co.uk)
Israeli President Shimon Peres says no “compromise” should be made with Iran in the course of the negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of world powers.
At a Friday meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle – whose country is a member of the P5+1 – in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), Peres once again accused Iran of building a nuclear weapon and called for the escalation of pressure against the Islamic Republic in the run-up to the country’s presidential election on June 14.
“Iran is near elections and the sanctions may be having an impact. The sanctions and pressure should be continued in the buildup to the Iranian elections,” the hawkish Israeli president said.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran vehemently denies the allegations, citing religious prohibitions and a firm commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The German foreign minister, for his part, echoed the nuclear accusations against Iran, saying, “I assure you that we stand by our friends, our Israeli friends, and we look forward to continuing this deep and trustful relationship.”
Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – Russia, China, France, Britain, and the US plus Germany – have held several rounds of talks, mainly over the Iranian nuclear energy program. The latest rounds of the negotiations between the two sides were held in the Kazakh city of Almaty on April 5-6 and February 26-27.
On Thursday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Sa’eed Jalili, who represents the Islamic Republic in the talks with the P5+1, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing the other side, held talks in Istanbul, Turkey, regarding the negotiations.
Using the nuclear allegations as pretext, Washington and the European Union have imposed a series of illegal unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The bans come on top of four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran under the same pretext.
- Canada not to attend UN disarmament talks under Iran presidency (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US obstructing global disarmament: Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Why the failure in Almaty is a big deal (alethonews.wordpress.com)
During Israel’s latest onslaught against the Gaza Strip in November 2012, a major conference was held in Tel Aviv: the 2nd Israel HLS International Conference. Among the most prominent sponsors of the homeland security event were two of Israel’s largest weapons companies, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), both of which cooperate closely with the Israeli military. But the conference also had another grandiosely advertised partner: the European Commission.
As is often the case, this undisguised cooperation between the EU and Israeli military companies went fully unchallenged – let alone noticed – in the European media. Not even the rather conspicuous fact that the EU-sponsored conference occurred simultaneously with Israel’s devastating Gaza assault in which Israel used the equipment of both Elbit and IAI.
The same inability, or unwillingness, by the European media to report such collaboration, let alone deplore it, manifested itself even more prominently in January 2009. A day after Israel’s 22-day long assault on the Gaza Strip, the leaders of six European states, including the UK, France, and Italy, arrived in Israel for a gala dinner, voicing their support for Israel. The dinner was hosted by Israel’s then-prime minister Ehud Olmert. The European leaders vowed, of all things, to stop the flow of arms to Hamas. Meanwhile, the Israeli strikes on Gaza would kill 926 civilians.
As a trading and co-sponsoring partner, Elbit is among the most disagreeable of all the Israeli military companies. Being at the very core of Israel’s breaches of international law, Elbit is deeply involved in Israel’s drone programs that have targeted and killed scores of civilians, including children. The former president and chief executive of Elbit proclaimed that the company is “the backbone” of Israel’s drone operations. Elbit also provides surveillance equipment to the illegal wall Israel has built in the West Bank. Besides being an instrumental partner of the Israeli air force, it also sells equipment to the Israeli navy.
The EU also funnels funds to Elbit through allocating EU-taxpayers’ money to the company under the umbrella of scientific research. Indeed, another barely publicized yet lucrative form of EU-Israeli cooperation that directly benefits Israel’s private military sector are scientific research subsidies. David Cronin, who has put together a pioneering compendium on the EU’s complicity in Israel’s illegalities, estimates that by the year 2013, Israel will have received EU research grants for more than €500 million. Israel currently takes part in over 800 schemes with European universities and corporations.
The massive EU-Israel bilateral trade remains one of the least talked about, yet among the most crucial enablers of Israel’s ever-continuing breaches of international law.
The EU is Israel’s main trading partner with a total annual trade of approximately €30 billion (€29.7 billion in 2012). The volume of the trade is more than ten times that of the US foreign aid to Israel. While it is reasonable to assume that US-Israeli relations will remain intact in the coming years, the EU has the required economical leverage and legal means to exert unprecedented pressure on Israel, compelling it to abide by international law.
According to a 2003 European Commission poll, 60 percent of the EU citizenry sees Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. In this respect, European public opinion is more informed than that in the US. Another factor that makes it feasible for EU to alter its policy towards Israel is that the EU-Israel Association Agreement that governs all trade and cooperation between the EU and Israel states that “[r]elations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles.”
Hence, whereas a drastic shift in the US-Israeli relations remains an unlikely scenario, the EU has both the informed public opinion required for, and a no-brainer legal case demanding, relatively swift and highly momentous changes.
As of now, however, the EU is both a major client for Israel’s occupation-powered, export-oriented and multi-billion military manufacturing and homeland security sector as well as a major exporter of military equipment to Israel.
Besides the military and homeland security imports from Israel, the EU also continues to violate its own regulations on arms exports. The EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports states that the EU is “DETERMINED [sic] to prevent the export of equipment which might be used for internal repression or international aggression or contribute to regional instability.”
How determined exactly has the EU been in its adherence to this provision? Based on the criteria set out by the EU in the above regulation, Israel is an illegitimate country for arms exports. After all, in addition to violating a whole list of UN resolutions, Israel has been and remains exceptionally committed to violating international law.
Although Israel is an invalid trading partner according to the EU Code of Conduct regulations, the value of licenses granted by the EU over the past decade for arms exports to Israel amounts to billions of Euros.
Whereas 18 of 27 EU member states export military equipment to Israel, the bulk of the total EU exports originate from the major EU states: Italy, France, Germany and the UK, according to Amnesty International’s “Fuelling conflict: Foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza.”
In terms of violating EU arms exports regulations, Italy has the most abominable track record. Italy’s biggest defense contractor, Finmeccanica, announced in July 2012, that it had won and signed a $1 billion (€752 million) deal with Israel. Finmeccanica will provide training jets to the Israeli air force, which repeatedly carries out egregious attacks against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and infrastructure.
Out of the total €752 million deal, the most sizable part belongs to Finmeccanica’s subsidiary Alenia Aermacchi which provides 30 M-346 advanced trainer aircraft to the Israeli air force. It is reported that the Italian government played a major role in brokering the contract.
Another EU member state that carries out large-scale military trade with Israel is France. Between 2003 and 2008, France exported more than €521 million worth of weaponry to Israel.
An Amnesty International report from February 2009 revealed that electrical components made in France were found in the rubble of buildings destroyed by the Israeli military during the 2008-2009 Gaza massacre. The components were installed in Hellfire AGM missiles manufactured by the US company Hellfire Systems, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. France also exported specialized equipment for reconnaissance, such as laser systems, to Israel.
Another major arms exporter to Israel is Germany. Germany sold major conventional weaponry to Israel for more than €580 million between 1996 and 2000, including Dolphin Class Submarines, which are assumed to be capable of launching nuclear warheads. In 2000 alone, German weapons trade with Israel was worth more than €130 million. Germany exported torpedoes, armored cars, and parts for the Israeli Merkava tanks used in occupied Palestine.
The UK also exports considerable amounts of military equipment to Israel. In 2009, after Israel had destroyed the Gaza Strip, the UK authorities granted export licenses for electronic warfare equipment, naval radars, and sniper rifles to Israel. In 2009, the then-Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband revealed that the Israeli equipment used in Israel’s murderous and destructive assault against Gaza “almost certainly” contained components that had been delivered by the UK.
In recent years, the UK government has annually licensed arms exports directly to Israel for between €12 million and €36 million. In 2008, UK authorities granted military export licenses for more than €34 million.
Besides these major European powers, one state enjoys exceptional clout as a strict adherent to international law, but has excelled at conducting arms trade with Israel, namely Finland. The total value of the Finnish-Israeli arms trade is €200 million.
In addition to the fact the Finland has conducted more military trade with Israel than a number of much bigger EU member states, what sets Finland apart from all the other arms trading partners of Israel is the severity of domestic criticism the trade has elicited.
A petition signed by more than 250 Finnish dignitaries from the arts, academia, and politics is a telling indicator of the wave of criticism arising from the military trade between Israel and Finland. Among those calling for an immediate discontinuation of all forms of military trade with Israel are the foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja and world-renowned expert on international law Martti Koskenniemi.
It merits emphasis that the continuation and, often the mere existence, of the trade has arguably had no support in the Finnish mainstream media.
As the 2003 European Commission poll already revealed, the ever-continuing business-as-usual attitude by the EU to Israel’s actions fully contradicts union public opinion. The freezing of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and the seizing of all weapons exports from the EU to Israel – both actions required by EU provisions – could force Israel to finally recognize and respect the rights of the Palestinians.
- Brazil says no to Israeli arms (bdsmovement.net)
South Africa has lashed out at the United States and European Union for imposing oil sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program without first consulting major importers of the Iranian energy supplies.
South Africa’s Energy Minister Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, who is in India to attend the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting, said that such decisions have geopolitical implications and mostly affect “the poorest of the poor” that are in dire need of energy supplies and have no alternative.
“When decisions are made at bilateral or unilateral levels that have serious geopolitical consequences, we need to engage seriously,” Peters said.
“When we had to look for crude of the kind we got from Iran, it came at a premium,” she added.
“It has a multiple knock-on effect, especially on the poorest. When these decisions are taken, they must always consider the impact and consequences of their decisions at the geopolitical level. Or at least involve other countries so that when the decision is made they can say South Africa is taking it consciously. They have calculated the impact on them but not on others,” the South African minister said.
At the beginning of 2012, the US and EU imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.
The sanctions have been imposed on Iran over the groundless charges of a potential military diversion in Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the unfounded allegations over its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Peters said that that the petroleum industry is a victim of financial sanctions, which include US sanctions on dollar-denominated trading and EU sanctions on insurance for shipping companies.
She emphasized that the US 18-month exemption for Iran oil sanctions had not benefited South Africa because the EU has refused to grant waivers.
On December 8, 2012, the US added China, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan to the list of countries exempted from the sanctions for another six months.
- Chinese tanker loads Iranian crude for first time since EU ban (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- UN Sanctions on Iran: The Dance of Mutual Deniability (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran sanctions could force BP to shut down North Sea gas field (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US renews Iran sanctions waiver for Japan and 10 EU countries (alethonews.wordpress.com)
More than two dozen workers have been injured in a dispute over unpaid salaries in southern Greece when their supervisor shot them, police reports.
The incident took place on Wednesday near the village of Manolada, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) west of the capital, Athens.
Police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos said the shooting occurred after at least one of three foremen opened fired on a crowd of about 200 migrant strawberry pickers, who demanded six months’ back pay.
Thirty workers most of them from Bangladesh were wounded in the shooting. Eight of those hurt are in serious condition in hospital.
The owner of the farm, who was not present at the time of the incident, has been taken into custody for questioning while arrest warrants have been issued for the three foremen, who are all Greek.
On March 16, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights rapped Greece for not having tough measures to combat a surge in racist violence in the country.
The Manolada area has reportedly been at the center of several cases involving violence against migrant workers in recent years.
In 2012, two Greek men were arrested for beating an Egyptian worker, ramming his head in a car window and dragging him for about one kilometer.
Migrants on farms in the area went on a four-day strike in 2008 to protest salaries as low as five euros a day and unsanitary living conditions.
Two years ago this May, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya, Spain’s two most important city squares, were occupied by thousands of indignant protestors. For many of the nation’s highly educated but disillusioned youth, enough was enough, and for a short while it seemed that a new era of political mobilization beckoned.
A few weeks later, however, such hopes were brutally dashed when the riot division of Catalonia’s police force, the Mossos D’esquadra, unleashed the untamed fury of the state upon the protestors’ makeshift camp, under the rather dubious pretext of ridding the city of a health and safety risk (this is Europe, after all!). The message was clear: all attempts to resist the new European economic reality, no matter how peaceful, would be brutally suppressed.
In little more than an hour, a whirlwind of police violence cleared the square of all the occupants and pretty much all of their belongings, many of which were never returned. All the while, a thick, dense ring of shell-shocked protestors and curious bystanders gathered around the square, looking on in a mixture of bewilderment, fear and anger.
And I was one of them. As I strolled around the square, with one wary eye on the aggrieved protestors and the other on the fearsomely armed and highly unpredictable mossos d’esquadra, a placard caught my attention. Its message was beautifully simple: “No soy anti sistema, el sistema es anti yo” (I’m not anti-system; the system is anti-me).
The placard was held aloft by a small child riding on his father’s shoulders. The cynical realist within me knew full well that the boy, who must have been no more than five or six years old, was merely channeling his father’s thoughts. But that didn’t stop my more romantic side from imagining that the child was, in actual fact, eloquently speaking out for his soon-to-be lost generation.
For if there is one thing of which you can be sure about present-day Europe, it is that its political and economic systems are not meant to serve or protect the interests of the youth; on the contrary, they have been designed to gradually erode their last-remaining freedoms and rights and, by leaving them the tab for the transgressions and greed of the global banking sector, deprive them of all hope of ever attaining the standards of living once taken for granted by their parents or grandparents.
Spain is a perfect case in point: In the two intervening years since the country’s 15-M moment, the economy has spiraled into a bottomless depression. Official youth unemployment in the country has reached a mind-boggling 60 percent. Thousands of Spanish savers and pensioners have been robbed of their life savings, victims of the national banks’ cunning (and, it goes without saying, unpunished) preferentes sleight of hand.
All the while, taxes continue to skyrocket and essential welfare spending has been mercilessly sacrificed on the altar of bank recapitalization. Countless of the nation’s homes have – and continue to be – repossessed, to later be given away at a fraction of their value to wealthy international property speculators.
Perhaps worst of all, the country’s current government, which took the reins of power six months after the inception of the 15th May movement, has proven itself to be the most corrupt and incompetent in living memory.
But Spain is by no means unique; it is, if anything, a mere symptom of what is happening throughout the eurozone. From Cyprus to Portugal and from France to Slovenia, an all-out war has been declared against the continent’s industrious middle classes.
And now, with Winter turning to Spring, and Spring soon to Summer, the people of Europe face the starkest of choices: resignation to the EU’s neoliberal, neofeudal agenda, and with it, the gradual elimination of the few remaining freedoms and opportunities we still enjoy; or a spirited last-stand against the encroaching totalitarianism of the European superstate.
Before you make your choice (if, of course, you are European), let me first make a few of my own personal observations vis-a-vis our current situation and future outlook.
1. In case you hadn’t noticed, we are already owned, lock, stock and smoking barrel, by the international cartel of too-big-to-fail banks.
2. Pretty much all our political representatives and institutions, whether at the national or EU level, have also been bought off by the same banks, whose agents – the national central banks, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the ECB, the European Commission, the IMF, OECD and World Bank - now stand head and shoulders above all other players in the global political order.
3. Said banks are, to all intents and purposes, bankrupt, both financially and morally. They are also quite literally a law unto themselves. By allowing them to continue to operate in a mark-to-model fantasy world as well as gorge themselves on virtually interest-free central bank credit and regular transfusions of tax-payer funds, our politicians have shown all too clearly on which side their bread is buttered. As such, as long as the current financial system remains in place, the banks and their senior executives will be free to continue bleeding dry our national economies and personal bank accounts.
As Golem XIV recently wrote in his blog, there now exists an official list, drawn up by the Financial Stability Board, of 28 banks that are now free to operate beyond any legal jurisdiction. Like HSBC, they can consort with and engage in business with some of the world’s most wanted criminals, at absolutely no risk of legal action. And as Golem notes, this month (April 2013), we can look forward to the announcement of “another list, this time of Globally Systemically Important Insurers (G-SIIs). They too will be above the Law.”
4. Democracy has absolutely no role, beyond a figurative one, in the European Union. The continued survival and expansion of the European superstate supersedes all other concerns, whether moral, political, social or economic. As such, no genuine form of democracy or civic political engagement will be allowed to take root. As in Stalinist Russia, complete power and authority will reside in the hands of faceless, unaccountable apparatchiks, all doing the bidding of the large global banks and conglomerates.
5. As the real economy (i.e. everything that is not the stock exchange) continues its descent into the abyss, businesses will continue to close down, jobs will continue to vanish at an alarming rate and taxes will continue to rise. What’s more, at a politically expedient moment, the final nail will be driven deep into the coffin of Europe’s welfare state system, once the envy of the world. Needless to say, the newly privatized healthcare, education and pension systems that will take its place will be the sole preserve of the upwardly mobile (i.e. not us).
Instead of paying for essential public services and utilities such as health care, education, pensions and infrastructure, the public’s ballooning tax burden will be directed toward two purposes: keeping the big banks afloat and sustaining the ever-expanding police-state apparatus that will be needed to keep the collapsing civic society in line. Put simply, we will be forced to finance our own enslavement.
6. Most importantly of all, the global financial system’s days are already numbered. Put simply, the system is buckling under the combined weight of unsustainable debt, unpayable pension schemes and a derivatives market whose total value dwarfs global GDP by magnitudes that exceed all human logic.
The question is, once it does collapse, who’s going to pick up the pieces and rebuild a new, more sustainable system in its ashes? Will it be us, the people, or will it be the same bankers, central bankers and heavily compromised political half-wits that got us here in the first place? Will we bravely stake our claim to a new future, or resign ourselves, in fear and despair, to the global bankers’ totalitarian nirvana?
Whatever choice Europeans make in the coming months and years, one thing is clear: the human, social and economic costs will be tremendous either way. For the unpleasant truth is that we have allowed ourselves to be led so far down the rabbit hole of exponential debt that reemerging into the light of day will take years of collective struggle and sacrifice.
Don Quijones is a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain. His blog, Raging Bull-Shit, is a modest attempt to challenge some of the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media.
Also by Don Quijones: Spain’s Descent Into Banana Republicanism
- EU growth strategy a ‘failure so far’, study finds (irishtimes.com)
- How The Criminal Banking Cartel Is Destroying America (blacklistednews.com)