More than 13 homes and three school buildings were bulldozed this morning by occupation forces in the small Bedouin village of Dkaika near Yatta south of Hebron. One eye witness – an English teacher at the school – said “the Israeli army arrived at the village at around 7:30am with over fifty military vehicles and at least six bulldozers before forcibly removing the children from the school and destroying three classrooms.” He went on, “the children, some of whom are as young as seven years old, were crying and shouting at the soldiers to stop.”
In addition to the destruction wrought upon the school, ISM representatives were led by the crushed earthen tracks and violent gouge marks left by bulldozers to the tell tale piles of rubble and twisted steel which littered the surrounding area. If there had been any doubt that each had once been a home, then the hurriedly assembled mounds of personal possessions, furniture, and children’s toys which accompanied each pile of rubble surely testified to the fact that these were dwellings.
As it was, there were plenty of family members eager to testify themselves, and in the moments following the re-opening of the village’s only road, EAPPI and ISM members– who had been prevented by road blocks from accessing the scene – moved in to speak to those left homeless by the action.
When asked what reason was given for the demolition, the above witness, visibly upset, replied “they do not want us to live here, that is the reason. I would like to tell you that this community has been here since before the establishment of the Israeli [state]. They took most of our land during the Nakba and they would like to dismiss us from here completely”.
Here is the great Tata, an innovator of modern conga playing and Latin music. Filmed by Michelle White, a writer and editor at Timba.com. For those of you who want to find out about timba, a beautiful popular music from Cuba, log on to timba.com. Michelle has a very large library of films of many great artists available there.
Lebanon’s army say Israeli troops have once again breached the country’s sovereignty, crossing into the Lebanese territory and kidnapping a civilian.
A statement released by the Lebanese army on Wednesday said that an Israeli patrol has crossed into the southern village of Rmeish and abducted a Lebanese shepherd.
“In a flagrant assault on residents of southern Lebanon, enemy troops crossed the technical fence south of the village of Rmeish and kidnapped a Lebanese man, whom they took back into the occupied territories,” the statement said.
The army says it has contacted the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is tasked with monitoring the disputed Lebanon-Israel border, to free the Lebanese national identified as Sharbel Khoury, AFP reported.
The Israeli military, which frequently violates Lebanon’s airspace, territorial waters and border, has not yet commented on the incident.
The violations contravene United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006.
The Lebanese government has submitted documentation to the UN proving that Israel has breached the provisions of the resolution on more than 7,000 occasions.
No matter what Barack Obama says in his State of the Union Address later this month, it is clear where he is headed: ever rightward. His appointments tell the tale. Obama also gave the game away – that he would govern from the center-right and attempt a grand consensus with the GOP – in the weeks before he was first sworn into office, January 20, 2009. That is, his appointments of Bill Clinton’s Wall Street deregulation crowd to head economic policy and his retention of George Bush’s Secretary of Defense to guard and expand the empire, should have signaled to every sober observer that Obama’s political orientation might differ dramatically from his predecessor’s in tone, but not in substance. The problem was, there were very few sober Left political observers around two years ago, and nearly all Black folks were falling down drunk on ObamaL’aid – a brain-softening condition that persists among many, to this day.
In the intervening 24 months, the Right has achieved a near-miraculous comeback, a reversal of fortune that could not have happened without considerable assistance from Mr. Obama. By positioning his administration to the Right of center from the vey beginning, becoming more intimately identified with Wall Street bankers even than Bush, and waging relentless war on the Left half of his party, Obama reduced fellow Democrats to a state of demoralized confusion, leading to catastrophic defeat. Defeat, that is, for the party, but not for the president, who has at last arrived in his comfort zone.
Indeed, in order for Obama to reach his comfort zone, it was necessary that the Democrats be defeated. Only then could New Democrat Obama’s collaboration with the GOP in furtherance of corporate rule appear to be an act of statesmanship, a grand compromise (as the tax deal was pitched) in the interest of orderly government by the “grownups.”
With Obama’s appointment of JP Morgan Chase executive William Daley as his chief of staff and Gene Sperling to head the National Economic Council, the White House is tooled to coordinate even more seamlessly with Wall Street. Both are seasoned operatives in subverting government to private purposes, having made their bones in Bill Clinton’s administration, where Daley was the indispensable man in passing the Clinton/Republican NAFTA bill despite the opposition of 60 percent of Democrats in the House. Both are now rich banksters specializing in moving effortlessly from the boardroom to wherever the public’s money is kept.
Economist Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, doesn’t mind the money Sperling made from Goldman Sachs. His problem with Obama’s new top economic advisor is:
“Sperling saw nothing wrong with the stock market bubble that laid the basis for the 2001 recession. The economy did not begin to create jobs again until two and a half years after the beginning of this recession and even then it was only due to the growth of the housing bubble. Gene Sperling also saw nothing wrong with the growth of that bubble. Gene Sperling also saw nothing wrong with the financial deregulation of the Clinton years which, by the way, helped make Goldman Sachs lots of money. And, he saw nothing wrong with the over-valued dollar which gave the United States an enormous trade deficit. This trade deficit undermined the bargaining power of manufacturing workers and helped to redistribute income upward.
“In short, Sperling has a horrible track record of supporting policies that were bad for the country and good for Wall Street.”
Which makes him perfect for Barack Obama, who is Wall Street’s guy by choice, and always has been. In fact, it is disrespectful to Obama to argue that his consistent appointment of Clinton’s clique of deregulating Wall Street warriors as his economic generals is not reflective of the president’s own worldview. Either Obama is his own man, or he is a hireling, a whore, and a mere figurehead.
I operate on the assumption that Obama is a purposeful, talented, and extremely effective center-right politician straight out of the Clinton Democratic Leadership Council mold who is determined to shape all of the public sector to finance capital’s advantage. He has chosen the best men for the damnable job.
With Wall Street’s hegemony at the commanding heights of the world’s sole superpower unchallenged, the crisis of finance capital has become a crisis of the U.S. state and a threat to every other capitalist economy and state on the planet. But of course, Wall Street calls that an opportunity. Not an opportunity, mind you, to invest in anything remotely productive. The team that brought us NAFTA in order to export the U.S. manufacturing sector, and destroyed the financial regulatory infrastructure of the New Deal so that Wall Street could dominate every aspect of American economic and political life, has no interest in productive enterprise or good jobs creation.
And neither does Barack Obama – or else he wouldn’t have appointed Daley and Sperling or the 2009 crew. All of which should be perfectly obvious, except to the mush-brains who are still sipping from vinegary old bottles of ObamaL’aid.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com
A Lebanese government cabinet meeting
Lebanon’s unity government has collapsed after 11 ministers led by Hezbollah and its allies resigned over tensions stemming from a US-backed probe into the assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri.
Energy Minister Jibran Bassil told a news conference on Wednesday that Hezbollah ministers and their allies have resigned from the Cabinet.
Hezbollah made the decision after its demands on Tuesday for an urgent cabinet session over the tribunal’s crisis was rejected.
“If the cabinet fails to meet, it means there is no government and as such 11 ministers will tender their resignations this afternoon,” Health Minister Mohamad Jawad Khalifeh, whose Amal party is allied with Hezbollah, warned earlier on Wednesday.
The resignations came as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is in the US for a meeting with US President Barack Obama.
Former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 20 other people were assassinated on February 14, 2005, when explosives equal to around 1,000 kilogram of TNT were blown up in downtown Beirut.
The Washington-sponsored Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was set up some two years later to look into the deadly incident.
Reports say that the court would likely issue an indictment against some Hezbollah members.
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has vehemently rebuffed the allegations. He has described the tribunal as part of dangerous projects that are targeting the resistance movement.
HEBRON — Three-hundred Palestinians were displaced Wednesday afternoon when their homes outside a village were torn down by Israeli military order, and witnesses said parts of a schoolhouse were also destroyed.
Odeh An-Najada, a local councilman for the Dakika village, on the Green Line southeast of the Hebron district, said four Israeli bulldozers accompanied by 30 military vehicles entered the area and began taking down the brick and mortar homes.
“They demolished everything in the area, the whole thing, they left no building for people to live in,” An-Nahada said, adding that he had called on the International Red Cross to come and provide shelter for the families for the night.
The director of the office of the Palestinian Authority ministry of education in southern Hebron, Fawzi Abu Hlayyil, said parts of the village school were taken down. The building, used as a preparatory school, contained six classrooms. A space shortage prompted villagers to add an additional room for students, which was taken down.
Villagers protesting the demolitions, including teachers from the local school, were dispersed and four were detained.
Calls to Israel’s Civil Administration, the body which hands out demolition orders for homes deemed illegally built, were not returned.
Hebron district Governor Kamil Hmeid described the demolition as part of Israel’s “ongoing escalation in the Hebron district,” following a mass hand out of demolition orders in the Ein Assy area of Halhoul, a town north of Hebron city, which took place on Jan 5.
Residents said Israeli authorities told them the buildings were slated for demolition because they were built without permission in Area C, under full Israeli planning control.
Area C makes up 60 percent of the West Bank, and Palestinian building is rarely approved by Israeli authorities.
Governor Hmeid said that some of the infrastructure in Dakika was funded by international donors, and he called on the donor countries to protect the money they invested from being rendered useless by Israeli demolition crews.
“Come to Hebron, and see the mass scale of the demolitions,” he invited.
The PA ministry of education condemned the demolition as an “ugly crime.”
Subhi Al-Kayid, the assistant undersecretary to the PA’s education minister, said the demolition was part of a “series of Israeli crimes and violations against the ministry of education.”