Beit Ommar – With a population of 17,000, Beit Ommar has grown into more of town than a village. But the tractors struggling up the main street and the herds of sheep wandering the alleys eating rubbish and causing mischief help it retain a certain rural charm.
Beit Ommar sits alongside Route 60, the main highway between Bethlehem and Hebron, which you can reach in about 30 minutes on a good day. Like much of the rural West Bank, the area depends on agriculture, with the village’s location in the West Bank’s central highlands particularly suitable for softer fruits such as grapes, peaches and plums.
That is where the normality ends, however. If you were to climb one of the nearby hills you would notice that Beit Ommar is encircled by no less than five illegal settlements: Karmei Tsur, Kfar Etzion, Migdal Oz, Bat Ayin and Allon Shevut. In Beit Ommar, water is regularly cut off and private wells are illegal. In the settlements, swimming pools and fountains are de rigeur.
Taking a stroll down to the entrance to the village, you could not fail to notice the tallest watchtower in the West Bank looming above you — a modern-day Panopticon from Foucault’s worst nightmares — cataloguing those who come and go. The sound of low-flying jets, helicopters and even drones is an ever-constant reminder of the destructive potential of the Israeli military, a continual source of fear. That’s the point.
This is the context in which Mohammed Shtayyeh, a senior member of Fatah’s central committee admits that, even if the United Nations approves the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood, it will not change daily life for Palestinians. “Things on the ground are not going to be different,” he said at a recent news conference (“PLO to seek full UN recognition,” Al Jazeera English, 14 September 2011).
Week of brutality
Bearing this in mind one should consider what has happened on the ground in Beit Ommar over one September week.
On 6 September, a group of 15 farmers selling fruit beside the main highway were attacked by Israeli soldiers, who proceeded to confiscate and destroy thousands of dollars worth of grapes, peaches and plums (“Israeli soldiers, police attack Beit Ommar fruit vendors,” Palestine Solidarity Project, 7 September).
Given its strategic location beside Route 60, Beit Ommar used to have the largest fruit market in the southern West Bank. Now however, the Israeli army has blocked the entrance to the market with boulders, dissuading shoppers. This is part of the ongoing campaign to destroy Beit Ommar’s economy, as local farmers are now reduced to attempting to sell what they can to passing traffic.
A few days later, on 10 September, a small sit-in protest of little more than ten persons beside the highway was savagely repressed. The group was sprayed with military-grade mace and two international activists were dragged away to be detained without charge (“Two arrested, pepper spray used as activists try to tear down fence in Beit Ommar,” Palestine Solidarity Project, 10 September) .
The next night at around 2am, the Israeli army invaded the village, abducting three young Palestinians while firing tear gas and concussion grenades into the streets and nearby houses before vanishing into the gloom (“Israeli army raid Beit Ommar, arrest three,” Palestine Solidarity Project, 12 September).
The arrest of young people towards the end of the school year is a common, vindictive practice in the West Bank, meaning that those detained will miss their final exams and therefore have to re-sit the year at great personal expense.
Early Monday morning on 12 September, settlers hacked down grape vines that were almost ready for harvesting on an area of almost 2,000 square meters. The owner of the land had a heart attack when he saw the destruction, according to the Palestine Solidarity Project (“Settlers destroy Beit Ommar farmer’s crops,” Palestine Solidarity Project, 12 September).
On Tuesday, at around 4am, soldiers came with bulldozers and destroyed two buildings in different parts of the town (“Israeli army demolish two buildings in Beit Ommar area,” Palestine Solidarity Project, 13 September).
Given that Beit Ommar found itself in Area C after the Oslo accords, it has remained under the total control of the Israeli military. Under the Oslo accords, which were signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel in the mid-1990s, the West Bank was carved up in to areas A, B and C, the latter of which covers 60 percent of the West Bank with a population of approximately 150,000. Large areas around the village have been arbitrarily closed to agriculture and building.
Waiting for Godot
Even these relatively minor events depict a scene of continual violence being perpetrated against the civilian population, a roll-call of yet another quiet horror repeated across the West Bank for decades. On occasions, there are discussions of the United Nations’ session on recognition of a Palestinian state and what might result from this.
Mousa Abu Maria, a leader of the Beit Ommar-based National Committee Against the Walls and Settlements and co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Project, describes how in the past few years Beit Ommar has “returned to its roots,” a path of nonviolent resistance, reminiscent of the first Palestinian intifada.
Abu Maria has spent nearly seven of the past ten years in prison, most recently for 14 months under “administrative detention” without being charged with a crime or having evidence presented against him.
Now, each Saturday, Abu Maria, alongside other members of Beit Ommar’s popular committee, leads the demonstrations which place alongside the illegal settlement of Karmei Tsur. The number of protesters is currently in the dozens, but as they have grown, so too has the violence of the Israeli response.
After a recent demonstration had been dispersed, and soldiers were pursuing Abu Maria and two others, live ammunition was fired at them. The bullets sailed over their heads. At the same demonstration, Abu Maria’s brother, Yousef, was arrested and brutally beaten (“Yousef Abu Maria brutally beaten as live ammunition used at Beit Ommar demonstration,” Palestine Solidarity Project, 20 August 2011).
What happens on 21 September, and afterwards, is anyone’s guess. Whatever happens at the UN, recognition of a state or otherwise, it seems that the violence of Israel’s occupation will continue. But so too will the popular resistance.
David Warren is an activist currently working in Beit Ommar.
The CIA’s infamous “stay-behind” networks, originally established by the CIA to commit acts of sabotage against an expected Soviet invasion of Western Europe, was, instead, used in the 1970s and 1980s, amid calls for peace and an end to the Cold War in Europe, to stage “false flag” terrorist attacks that were blamed on Communist cells in Western Europe. In fact the terrorist attacks were carried out by right-wing paramilitaries on the payroll of the CIA.
The terror visited by the Gladio fear-stoking paramilitaries was especially felt in the Belgian province of Brabant where the Brabant Gang, active from 1982 and 1985, the height of Europe’s anti-nuclear and anti-U.S. military campaign. Twenty eight people were killed by the Brabant Gang with scores of others injured. Particularly targeted were Delhaize supermarkets, the chain that owns Food Lion in the United States.
Oddly, money stolen from victims was sometimes found dumped by the gang members. Three of the killings stemmed from the robbery of an arms dealer. There were several reports that the Brabant Gang was run by elements of the Belgian Gendarmerie SDRA6 (Service de documentation, de renseignments et d’action VI)—a secret branch of Belgian security—and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, acting on behalf of the CIA. The Brabant Gang was also linked to the activities of a neo-Nazi organization in Belgium called the Westland New Post, whose terrorist actions were blamed by authorities on the Communist Combatant Cells, also believed to be a construct of the Belgian and American security services.
Among the victims of the Brabant Gang were Belgian real estate tycoon Jacques Fourez and his secretary, Elise Dewit, killed by the gangsters in 1983. Their deaths as well as others were linked to the evidence they possessed of secret parties, called “pink ballets,” at which Belgium’s elite, including members of the royal family, NATO officers, and politicians, participated in orgies with underage males and females.
There is another link between the Belgian Gladio operations in the 1980s and the activities of Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. A number of Belgian neo-Nazi paramilitary members were connected to the Order of the Solar Temple, a secret society founded in the 1960s by French Nazis. The Order of the Solar Temple is a cult following of the Knights Templar. Breivik and his closest associates were also affiliated with anti-Islamic Knights Templar groups. Between 1994 and 1997, a number of Solar Temple members were murdered ritualistic-style or committed mass suicide. The deaths occurred in Cheiry and Salvan, in western Switzerland; Vercors, France; and Morin Heights and Saint-Casimir, Quebec.
Japanese television journalists who contacted this editor in 2000 had discovered similar links between the Solar Temple and the CIA, as they had previously discovered existed between the CIA and the Japanese murder and suicide religious cult, Aum Shinrikyo. The Order of the Solar Temple was founded in 1984 by Joseph di Mambro, a former Rosicrucian, and Luc Jouret, born in the Belgian Congo and a Marxist-turned-neo-Nazi. In 1984, Shoko Asahara founded Aum Shirinkyo, which means “Supreme Truth.” Aum Shirinkyo soon attracted a number of influential adherents, including members of the Japanese royal family. In 1995, Aum attacked the Tokyo subway system with sarin.
In the mid-1990s, Belgian gangster Marc Dutroux was arrested for carrying out a series of kidnappings of young girls, who he proceeded to sexually abuse, torture, and in four cases, murder. Dutroux’s parents had emigrated to the Belgian Congo but later returned to Belgium. Dutroux’s kidnappings and abuse of young girls occurred during the 1980s, the same time frame that members of the Belgian elite were engaging in orgies with underage girls and boys. Dutroux was constantly being let off the hook by the Belgian authorities and the police’s failure to take prompt and severe action against the pedophile rapist ultimately led to the reorganization of Belgian law enforcement. One of the first trial judges in the Dutroux case, Jean-Marc Connerotte, testified that he was threatened by shadowy figures in the highest echelons of the government for trying the case against Dutroux. Dutroux was finally convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004. Dutroux was also convicted of having murdered his one-time accomplice, Bernard Weinstein.
WMR has been informed by reliable sources that the Belgian pedophile scandal also involved top American officials and is linked to the pedophile networks active in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and Omaha during the same time frame, the 1980s. In some cases, Belgian and other European politicians who engaged in Pink Ballet activities were blackmailed by the CIA into backing NATO initiatives in Europe.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2011 WayneMadenReport.com
Illinois Republican Congressman Joe Walsh has introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives that seems to support formal Israeli apartheid. Or does it in fact support a one-state solution with equal voting rights for Israelis and Palestinians alike?
Walsh was elected last year in Illinoi’s 8th Congressional District (north and west suburbs of Chicago) with strong Tea Party support.
Walsh has also introduced legislation to cut $600 million of funding the United States gives to the Palestinian Authority.
Walsh’s House Resolution 394 calls for:
Supporting Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to press for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
“Judea and Samaria” is the name Israel gives to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
After a lengthy preamble setting out standard Israel lobby talking points, the draft bill declares:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives firmly supports Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to press for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
There’s just one tiny catch. What happens to the almost three million Palestinians who live in the Israeli-occupied West Bank if they are annexed by Israel?
Does Israel then have the “right” to expel them? Do they live under permanent second class status, as African Americans did before US Civil Rights legislation, or like blacks in South Africa under apartheid?
Or is Walsh actually proposing a one-state solution in which Palestinians get to vote in Israeli elections?
Walsh is mysteriously silent on this crucial point. I have put the question to him via Twitter (@RepJoeWalsh):
Ali Abunimah .@RepJoeWalsh If Israel annexes West Bank as you propose, should Palestinians living there get equal voting rights? Yes or no? cc @RJCHQ
Sep 19 via Twitter for MacFavoriteRetweetReply
He’s an avid and active Twitter user, so let’s see if he has an answer for this straightforward query.
Zionist and neoconservative rhetoric often refer to the Palestinian claim that they were expelled from Palestine in 1948 as the “Big Palestinian Lie”. Instead, the Zionists argue that, rather than being expelled from Palestine, they fled.
It is, of course, classic Zionist Chutzpah. The obvious question is; why then did they flee? It wasn’t just to escape the fighting; it was through fear of what would happen to them if they stayed. The Palestinians that fled had heard of the atrocities that the Israeli fighters had committed on Palestinians elsewhere such as at Deir Yassin, Lydda, Ein al Zeitun, among many others.
The Palestinians that left weren’t refugees from the fighting; they were expelled through fear of being killed by the Palmach, the Irgun or the Haganah forces of Zionist Israel.
The latest lie about the Palestinian expulsion came from Sol Stein writing in the neocon online rag National Review Online. This time, however, Sol Stein has exposed himself as a liar. His lie is so obvious. I have emailed him to let him know that his claims are false and why they are. This is what I said to him:
In your article “The Palestinian Big Lie: The Palestinians distort the origins of the conflict with Israel” which recently appeared in National Review Online, you wrote:
“Almost immediately, Safed’s Arabs began streaming out toward the Syrian border. There were no expulsions of Arab civilians by Israeli forces.”
Yet Ben Gurion wrote in his diary on 7 June 1948:
“Abraham Hanuki, from Ayelet Hashahar, told me that since there were only 100 old people left in Safed they were expelled to Lebanon.”
How can you say there were no Arab civilians expelled by Israel? You are contradicting, not just a Palestinian claim that, indeed, there were expulsions, but a claim by Ben Gurion himself.
I look forward to your explanation.
Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath waiting for a response or any form of explanation because any response, other than an apology to the Palestinian people, would simply compound the Big Zionist Lie.
Public Broadcasters Disgraced as Agents of the 9/11 Cover-Up
(LETHRIDGE, Alberta) – Pacifica and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have joined forces in featuring Jonathan Kay in 9/11/11 coverage aimed at renewing the psychological warfare essential to the invasions, torture, Genocide, illegal occupations and Islamophobia characterizing the 9/11 wars.
Jonathan Kay was a featured guest highlighted in the network coverage of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 as broadcast by both Pacifica Radio in the United States and the English-language radio division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Kay wrote for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation a hate-inspired, tenth-anniversary text claiming that those engaged in seeking answers for the copious unanswered questions concerning 9/11 are engaged in “absolving” all Muslims collectively of a “terrible crime.” (p. 167)
Kay’s diatribe was funded by a prominent Israeli-based think tank whose leadership comes largely from the Project for the New American Century. PNAC is the think tank which observed in 2000 that its ambitious program of military expansion and invasions could not be met without a “catalyzing event” like a new Pearl Harbor. Entitled “Among the Truthers”, Kay diverts attention away from the evidence of what did and did not happen on 9/11. Instead Kay appoints himself as a psycho-anthropologist in pursuit of what this war promoter and Isamophobe describes as “the growing conspiracist underground.”
In his 9/11/11 coverage Michael Enright, host of CBC Radio’s flag ship show, Sunday Morning, demeaned on air his old colleague, Barrie Zwicker. Zwicker and Enright worked together for many years as reporters at The Globe and Mail, the main competitor in Canada of Kay’s National Post. Zwicker is the author of “Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11”. As his wonkey subtitle proclaims, Kay equates even the most accomplished of those engaged in the quest for 9/11 truth, investigators like Zwicker as well as Professor David Ray Griffin, with “Birthers, Armageddonites, Vaccine Hysterics, Hollywood Know-Nothings and Internet Addicts.”
Aged 77, the fit, mentally-agile Zwicker was a guest earlier today on Michael Enright’s program. The struggling host could not come anywhere close to keeping up with Zwicker. Instead Enright displayed an ignorance of his subject matter unbefitting of a broadcaster holding a high level of public trust in Canada’s Crown-owned agency. Like the CBC, the Pacifica stations in the United States have frequently featured Kay as an expert commentator on 9/11. While the CBC did not broach the subject of 9/11 skepticism in its 9/11/11 coverage, at least Pacifica did include in its tenth-anniversary broadcast the perspectives of, for instance, architect Richard Gage and University of Copenhagen Chemistry Professor, Niels Harrit. Both educators are highly critical of the official conspiracy theory of 9/11.
Israeli Ynet News reported that Israeli settlers living in the occupied territories are planning what they dubbed as “Sovereignty Marches” in the Palestinian territories, starting on Tuesday afternoon.
Fanatic settlers’ leader, Itamar Ben-Gvir stated that “the settlers will be taking off to the streets to show the Palestinians who really owns this land”, and that the settlers “will not wait while the Palestinians get close to the borders of the settlements”.
He added that the settlers will be marching towards Palestinian towns and villages.
A security officer at a settlement in the West Bank stated that the settlers are prepared to use live rounds against Palestinian protesters, adding that the settlers believe that the Israeli Army is too naive to believe that the Palestinian Security forces will be able to prevent massive Palestinians marches towards the settlements.
Settlement Councils in the occupied territories decided that the settler marches will be held starting from Itamar settlement to the northern West Bank city of Nablus, from Beit El near Ramallah to the closest Liaison Office, and from Kiryat Arba’ settlement in Hebron.
The settlers are also planning to distribute tens of thousands of Israeli flags to be raised in different settlements and on thousands of settlers’ cars.
Meanwhile, thousands of Israeli army soldiers and policemen started training in order to prepare to counter Palestinian protests in the West Bank. The drills are meant to prepare for massive Palestinian protests, and what was described as “Palestinian attempts to break into Israeli settlements.
The Ynet said that the Israeli Police are preparing to counter possible attacks in Israel, attacks against West Bank settlements, and homemade shells fired from the Gaza Strip.
But, Israeli army leaders believe that some local incidents will likely take place, yet, the massive popular protests conducted by the Palestinians will be largely nonviolent.
Israeli sources stated that Israel Army Central Command Chief Major-General, Avi Mizrahi, instructed the soldiers to “show restraint”, and also instructed the army to be prepared to stop Palestinians demonstrations should the Palestinian Security Forces fail to prevent marches towards the settlements.
Last Thursday, Palestinian Authority spokesperson, Dr. Ghassan Al Khatib, warned that attacks and threats by the settlers are increasing.
Palestinian legislator, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, said that the armed population of Israeli settlers in the occupied territories would commit massacres against the Palestinian people, and that the setters carried out several serious attacks against Palestinian villages earlier this month.
He added that the Israeli Army is participating with the settlers in the “organized crime” against the Palestinian people.
A new study alleges that a land deal threatens local people in Central Equatoria, South Sudan.
50 million hectares of land, an area twice the size of the UK, have been acquired by foreign companies or governments in Africa over the last few years. From Brazil to China to Saudi Arabia, demand is widespread and this trend was recently continued in South Sudan. With almost 10% of the country already in foreign hands, a report by The Oakland Institute (OI) published details of its largest and potentially most divisive land deal to date, the 2008 agreement between Nile Trading and Development and the Mukaya Payam Cooperative.
Good intentions? – A question of perspective
How prominently did the needs of the local community feature in this deal? Think Africa Press spoke to two experts, Anuradha Mittal, founder of the Oakland Institute, an American think tank specialising in the exposure of land grabs, and Howard Douglas, head of Kinyeti Development, partners with Nile Trading and Development, to uncover the ramifications of this deal. Ms. Mittal is an expert on trade, development, human rights and agriculture and the author of numerous books on the subject. In 2008, Nation magazine named her ‘Most Valuable Progressive Thinker’ of the year. Howard Douglas is a former US ambassador and US Coordinator for Refugee affairs. He has worked extensively with the US government and with the Episcopalian Church in post conflict countries.
Earlier this year, The Oakland Institute reproduced a copy of the lease agreement along with a report identifying the worrying aspects of the deal. Both sides attest that the needs of the community are a priority. Mr.Douglas dismissed the report as “a piece of trash”, accusing the OI and NGOs of scandal-seeking and headline grabbing. Ms.Mittal was equally scathing, branding Mr.Douglas a “thief”.
The agreement in question is for a 49-year lease of 600,000 hectares of land with a possibility of another 400,000 hectares and full rights to exploit all natural resources of the land. The OI report draws attention to the astonishingly low price paid for the lease of the land; 75,000 Sudanese pounds ($25,000) which works out to $16 a hectare. Mr.Douglas argued that this figure was not the price paid for the land but a fee levied by the government. The figure in the lease is indeed attributed to a “land charge” and he asserts that the agreed price was for Nile Trading and Development to organise and finance the development of the land in return for a percentage of the profits. This would involve spending high, unspecified sums on infrastructure such as roads and schools for the community. However, this promise is not stipulated in the lease agreement and has failed to materialise in the past three years. The document published by OI provides no legal imperative for Nile Trading and Development to give anything back to the community in terms of infrastructure.
The report also points to another worrying aspect of this deal. It draws attention to the claims made by Sudan’s Agency of Independent Media that the Mukaya Payam Cooperative is a “fictitious cooperative” comprised of, “a group of influential natives from Mukaya Payam and the neighbouring payams…The influential natives leased out the land behind the backs of the entire community.” Ms.Mittal identifies the Cooperative as three individuals living in Juba who are totally disconnected from the people of Mukaya Payam. She affirms that, “the people did not even know about the deal until the OI report came out this year.” This is an allegation that Mr.Douglas vehemently denies. If true, then it would mean that land which has been used by the same communities for generations has been given away without their consent and the compensation they are supposed to receive for this put in the hands of an elusive entity. It would not then be surprising that the people are, as Ms.Mittal claims, “very very angry”.
The Mukaya Payam Cooperative is an elusive entity with only one name attached to it, the lease agreement being signed by Magistrate James Yosia Ramdalla, the Paramount Chief of the Cooperative. Although four other “payams” (communities) were involved in the deal, there is only one signature on the lease.
According to the terms of the agreement, “any profits generated by Nile Trading and Development in respect of the leased land shall initially and through 2012 be divided 60% to the company and 40% to the Mukaya Payam Cooperative.” Whether the cooperative, whoever they may be, will distribute the rents amongst the other payams and how they will do so is uncertain. Mr.Douglas claims that, “the intention was that every man, woman and child who was associated with the Mukaya Payam would be the beneficiaries of the agreement.” He claims that they intend to set up a Mukaya Payam Trust to administer the funds to the community members. However, intentions are not legally binding and there are no stipulations in the lease agreement concerning distribution of funds.
What remains unclear is how NTD plans to develop this land. Mr.Douglas claims that large scale agriculture is the long-term goal. He speaks of creating “agricultural cooperatives” with schools, clinics and facilities to produce enough food for export, giving farmers a disposable income and political security. This vision is one which, according to Ms. Mittal, is to be taken with a pinch of salt. She points to the fact that nothing in the lease agreement indicates that agriculture is on NTD’s agenda. The real detail in the document is afforded to exploration rights.
Plans for the future
Investment in South Sudan ought to be seen as a great opportunity. These companies should provide jobs and contribute to the development of the country. According to Jonathan Brooks of the OECD, an estimated $18 billion a year needs to be invested in agriculture in order for the world to be able to feed itself by 2050. Developing all available land is a necessary step for the world to take and Africa will not be able to meet this level of investment on its own.
Ms. Mittal makes it clear that OI is pro-investment in South Sudan. However, she adds that, “to assume that foreign investors coming in will lead to better job security or food security is a myth”. She claims that unscrupulous investors are jumping on the bandwagon of agricultural investment, to disguise an attempt to control resources. She points to the fact that there is no legal framework in place in South Sudan to protect the people leaving them with only, “the empty words and empty promises of these investors”.
It is important to look beyond the disagreement on both sides. As Ms. Mittal says, “in regard to Mr. Douglas and his lease in South Sudan it is really not about his word against OI’s word. It is about his word against the word of the community and more important their own documents such as the contract; they speak the truth.”
Some representatives of the community have spoken. A petition signed on the 23 July this year has been handed to the state governor in Juba. It states that, “we the chiefs, elders, religious leaders and the youth of Mukaya Payam, unanimously, with strong terms condemn, disavow and deny the land lease agreement reached on 11 March 2008 between the two parties.” The petition states that the lease agreement was reached without the knowledge of the community and that it is illegal. It is signed by seven chiefs, a reverend, two elders and two others. The President of South Sudan, H.E Salva Kiir, has subsequently given his support to the community stating, “you are the government and you have the powers”. The government must act quickly and decisively to produce stringent guidelines for investors in order to ensure that the rights of its people are protected. If done correctly, foreign investment could flourish. However, until those rights are guaranteed in law, land deals remain dangerous territory.