Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti says complying with the European Union sanctions against Iran will cause many problems for the country’s ailing economy.
Speaking to reporters in a joint press conference with the president of the European Parliament, Martin Shulz, in Rome, Monti noted that Italy is grappling with serious economic recession and crisis and cutting Iran oil imports will cause the country to suffer more than other EU members.
The Italian premier added that due to heavy dependence on energy, Italy feels the pinch of Iran oil sanctions more than other European countries, but Rome is unable to disobey certain decisions.
Meanwhile, the Italian official news agency, ANSA, published a report quoting energy experts as saying that sanctions against Iran are useless and will only harm Italian and other European companies.
Referring to high trade volume between Tehran and Rome, the report added that given the existing economic crisis in Europe, compliance with sanctions may be an end to the longstanding presence of Italian companies in Iran, which will be replaced with Turkish and Chinese companies.
ANSA further stated that complying with Iran sanctions will also cost Italians 30,000 jobs.
On January 23, EU Foreign Ministers met in Belgium to approve new sanctions against Iran aimed at banning member countries from importing Iranian crude oil and carrying out transactions with its central bank.
The EU has considered a period of six months before sanctions are fully enforced in order to allow member states to adapt to new conditions and find new sources of crude oil.
EU decision followed imposition of similar sanctions by Washington on Iranian energy and financial sectors on the New Year’s Eve which seek to penalize other countries for buying Iran oil or dealing with the its central bank.
After approving new sanctions, EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told reporters that the sanctions aim to persuade Tehran to suspend its peaceful nuclear activities and get back to negotiating table with P5+1 — comprising US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program, using this pretext to impose sanctions against Iran and threaten the country with military attack.
Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and member of IAEA, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.
The IAEA has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards nuclear weapons production.
- Israel lobbies Japan to support anti-Iran sanctions (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Iran sanctions will backfire’ – Minister (laaska.wordpress.com)
source: google images
As the news spread, everyone went out to the streets. Students left their classrooms and rushed to the streets. Employees left their offices and rushed to the streets. Workers and farmers stopped working and rushed to the streets. Everyone left whatever they were doing and rushed to the streets. You could hear the anger in the chants that echoed in the streets of Nablus, Bethlehem, Acca, Um Il-Fahim and Gaza. You could smell the anger in the tens of burning tires that appeared out of nowhere in almost every street, at the entrance to every village, every town, every refugee camp and every city in occupied Palestine. You could see the anger in the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands that marched in the streets of Jenin, Yaffa, Ramallah, An-Nasreh and Rafah. Spontaneous demonstrations spread across occupied Palestine. Men, women, young, old, all marched towards Israeli checkpoints, armed with stones, armed with the flag of Palestine, armed with the love of Jerusalem, armed with the love of Palestine.
In Ramallah, in Bethlehem, in An-Nasreh, in Um Il-Fahim, in Heborn, in Haifa, in Yaffa, in An-Naqab, in Gaza, in Rafah, in Jenin, in Al-Lydd, in every village, in every refugee camp and in every town Palestinians marched. The news had spread like fire, and not only in occupied Palestine. In the Arab world protesters came out to the streets, they were marching, angry, roaring and burning the blue and white flag that symbolizes Injustice and Terror. Palestinian flags were on every rooftop, and a sea of red, black, green and white marched in every Arab capital from the ocean to the gulf, towards one point, with one destination on their minds. Elsewhere in the world, groups of justice-supporters gathered to protest in squares, in front of Zionist embassies, in front of American embassies and in front of the UN offices. The time has come for the world to regain its conscience, to find its voice and to declare that enough was enough. The time for justice has come!
PA and PLO officials sit in their offices, follow the events on TV screens, hear the roaring voices that penetrate the thick walls of the imperial palace. They know that they could do nothing and say nothing to stop the waves of marchers. They know that their negotiations-till-death policy has come to an end and wondered if it was still possible to cross the bridge and leave occupied Palestine before the borders were closed and things got even worse. They looked at each other and realized that the days of Israeli VIP-permits were over, that the days of being treated as “kings” and welcomed on red carpets all over the world were over, that the days of trading the blood of Palestine for US dollars and European Euros and all other currencies were over. They realized that even if they send their American-trained “security forces”, they could never stop the anger, the outrage, the marching masses. And while some PA officials took turns in appearing on TV stations and fanatically demanding international action and begging the US to intervene, to protect them and poor little Israel from the marching waves, others, still hoping that the PA will survive this one, said that its Israel’s way of dragging the Palestinians into violence, replaying the usual record: “we shouldn’t be fools enough to fall into the Israeli trap. With such an action they want to drag us into a new cycle of violence, we should just go back to our homes and not give them a chance to drag us into violence”. Yes, the same old record, played over and over and over: “don’t react to Israeli terror, don’t defend yourself, don’t show your anger, don’t show your outrage, don’t protest the occupation, don’t shout, don’t frown, don’t breath, don’t live or they will accuse us of existing.”
The Arab League remains blind, deaf and mute, as it is always when it comes to Palestine. It remains silent, silent that you can hear the crickets in its billion-dollar ballrooms otherwise known as conference rooms, the same rooms that only become noisy when Arab emperors and caliphs gather to legitimize another Nato invasion of an Arab country under various names. Arab emperors and caliphs send their armies, who are only programmed to oppress their own people, to the street to prevent the people from protesting. They decide not to make any official comments on the events and to wait till the storm passes or cools down or at least till after their armies force the people off the streets and impose curfews everywhere. They sit in their palaces and hope, that despite the gravity of what had happened that morning, that it will pass away and become nothing more than a mere memory, just another day to hold fiery speeches and swear to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem, just another day to commemorate like every other catastrophe that befell the Palestinians. As they watch the crowds, they wonder if maybe, just maybe, this time it will be different. But, they comfort themselves with the fact that after a month or two, to clam things and shut up any protesting voices still to be heard, they will meet, and pledge a million dollars here and a million dollars there to repair what they know can never be repaired. Yes, they will throw a few crumbs at the PA in return for its silence and in return for its iron fist over its people, for in this new world order there is no place for “chaos”, no place for “disorder”, no place for Palestinians demanding their rights, no place for Palestine. And with the crumbs of the oil-dynasties, the PA will replace the demolished homes with sardine-cans in newly established refugee camps, they will replace the destroyed fields with enslavement in labour camps or so-called industrial zones, they will replace Palestinian aspirations with Zionist dictations, they will replace Palestinian identity with one that will suit their masters, they will replace Palestine with a Zionist entity and they will tell the Palestinians: you’ll get your salary at the end of the month, so shut up or else!
The European Union members, after numerous telephone calls between Tel Aviv and Berlin, Tel Aviv and London, Tel Aviv and Paris, Tel-Aviv and every European capital, finally at the end of the day, issue a statement saying that what has happened has happened, in other words: so what, another minor catastrophe that befell the Palestinians, just add it to the list! They will add that, nonetheless, what had happened does not serve the peace process, that both parties should do their utmost to prevent the escalation of violence and that the Palestinian leadership should restrain its people. They will stress, again and again, and again, in all possible languages, that negotiations are the only solution to the conflict, and will advise both parties to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, so as not to give a chance to anyone who wants to destroy the peace process. And in telephone calls with Ramallah, the leaders of Berlin, London, Paris and every other European capital will order Al-Muqata’a to do whatever is needed to calm the situation, to enforce calm, or else there won’t be any Euro-Transfers at the end of the month. They plan meeting the following week to condemn what had happened, albeit in a very soft tone lest Israeli leaders be offended or hurt by the condemnation. And upon demands of certain European capitals, who have gladly appointed themselves as the Zionist entity’s ambassadors in Europe, the EU decides to add a harsh condemnation of the violent Palestinian protests in reaction to Israel’s action, just to make the statement to Israeli leaders liking. Better still, they decide to let Israeli leaders word the statement, so as to make sure it’s agreeable to the Zionist entity and that it follows the acceptable general line of blaming the victim.
Meanwhile, the White House spokesperson replies to journalists’ questions on the events in occupied Palestine and elsewhere in the world with: both Israelis and Palestinians must restrain themselves, and stresses five or six times in a 2-minute-statement that the US government stands with Israel. Zionist-financed US media outlets race to report on Palestinians out in the streets in the hundreds of thousands and how the unarmed Palestinian marchers endanger the lives of the fully-armed Israeli occupation soldiers at the checkpoints. They report how the tiny, poor, vulnerable, surrounded-by-a-sea-of-monsters, Jewish, democratic, light-unto-nations, little nuclear island of Israel is under attack again by its 20+ uncivilized, hate-filled neighbours. They report how Anti-Semitism, disguised as criticism of the Zionist entity and its crimes, is on a record rise and how the crowds everywhere in occupied Palestine and in the Arab world are burning the blue and white flag of racial superiority.
The leaders and spokespersons of the Zionist entity do what they do best: they appear on TV screens, whine and shed tears, whine again, mention the word holocaust a thousand times within 5 minutes, tell the story of little Israel rising against all odds as a shining star amidst the surrounding darkness. They explain, while more tears fall, how the desert starting to bloom and the Jordan River started yielding milk and honey after the first Zionist set foot in the empty barren land called Palestine. They whine a little bit more, and describe how the Zionist entity was attacked again and again by evil Arabs and how the democratic little island, the tiny bit of a peace-worshiping nation, the world most law-abiding entity, is surrounded by monsters, by terrorists, by invaders. Then the leaders of the Zionist entity, together with their agents in the US and Europe, demand that the world protect the existence of poor little Israel, with its nuclear weapons and its fifth strongest army in the world, which is threatened by the angry marchers, in occupied Palestinian and elsewhere, who are demanding freedom, justice, an end to Zionism and a return of all Palestinian refugees to a free Palestine from the River to the Sea.
World media outlets, including Arab media, financed with Zionist and oil-money, count the number of Israelis injured emotionally, – but no need to mention that fact – by the sight of Palestinians marching in the streets of occupied Palestine. They count the number of car tires that are burning and “polluting” the air over Israeli settlements and preventing the fully-armed settler snipers from hunting down the marching unarmed Palestinians. They count the number of stones flying towards armoured bulldozers and tanks and “threatening” the lives of Israeli soldiers inside them. They count the number of songs, slogans and poems the Palestinians sing and shout as they march and decide that singing for freedom and legitimate rights is “anti-Semitic” and a “threat to the Zionist entity’s existence”. They measure the volume of the protesters’ voices and declare that the songs are weapons of mass destruction since their volume is capable of destroying whole settlements. But these world and Arab media outlets, somehow fail to mention one word about the tear gas canisters that are fired directly inside Palestinian homes or those fired directly at the heads and chests of unarmed Palestinian protesters. They fail to mention one word about the Palestinians who are being hunted down by Israeli snipers close to checkpoints and elsewhere. They fail to mention why these Palestinians are marching and to what place they are marching.
The protests grow stronger with every passing minute, with every passing hour. Palestinians old and young, men and women, all marching towards one point, throwing stones, burning tires, defying the fully-armed Israeli occupation soldiers at checkpoints. And as they march, they break the barriers that prevented them from reaching the heart of Palestine, the walls start falling down, the checkpoints and the roadblocks are removed. They continue to march towards that one point. And when they reach their destination, they stand and ask themselves: how did we allow this to happen? They stand speechless in front of the nightmare that befell them:
After decades of Israeli deliberate excavations and diggings underneath Al-Aqsa mosque, after decades of weakening the foundations of Al-Aqsa, after decades of planning to demolish, remove and erase one of the few last remaining symbols of a Palestinian Jerusalem, one of the last few remaining symbols that defies the myth and the Zionist dream of an exclusively Jewish Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa fell down.
What I just described is one possible scenario of what will happen to Al-Aqsa, because, unless we finally act and do something to prevent it instead of only talking about doing something, Al-Aqsa will one day be a mere memory. Almost every week we read reports from experts, architects, specialists who warn of what is to come. And even without these warnings, we don’t need a crystal ball or a cup of coffee to tell us what will happen: considering that the Israelis have been digging and building tunnels beneath Al-Aqsa compound since the Naksa of 1967, it is only a matter of time when the last pillar now holding Al-Aqsa will fall and bring the mosque down.
source: google images
The diggings, construction work and attacks on Al-Aqsa are part of the on-going ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and its Judaization. This includes taking over the Noble Sanctuary. The Zionists are not interested in Al-Aqsa, they want it removed, want it to disappear. They want an exclusively Jewish Jerusalem, and one main target is to turn the Noble Sanctuary into a modern-day Jewish temple; Palestinian neighbourhood around the Noble Sanctuary are being ethnically cleansed to make place for Jewish theme parks, occupation of Palestinian homes in the old city by Zionist colonists is on a rise, Muslim sites adjacent to the Noble Sanctuary are being confiscated and declared ancient Jewish sites, Zionist religious groups are allowed into the Noble Sanctuary to perform Jewish rituals and prayers. But while some Zionist organizations campaign for the destruction of Al-Aqsa and building the “Third Temple” in its place, others have their eyes fixed on the Dome of the Rock and want it turned into a synagogue. Jews consider the location of the “Foundation stone” as the site of the “Holy of Holiest”, and many scholars and rabbis believe it to be in the raised platform on which the Dome of the Rock is built. On one printer’s mark, the Temple is depicted as the Dome of the Rock. Praying and performing Jewish religious rituals in the Noble Sanctuary compound are intended to make way for a division and a later complete take-over of the compound, in a scenario very similar to what they did with the Ibrahim mosque, where today Palestinians have control over only 10% of the mosque and the rest has been turned into a synagogue and other Jewish facilities. The Zionists had their eyes on the Ibrahimi mosque for a longtime, but it wasn’t until the Zionist terrorist Baruch Goldstein committed a massacre on 25.02.1994, and killed at least 29 Palestinian worshippers while praying in the mosque, that the Zionist entity saw its chance to steal the Ibrahimi. Following the massacre, the Ibrahimi mosque was closed in the face of Palestinians worshippers for 8 months, and only reopened with new measures that included dividing the mosque physically between the indigenous Palestinian population and the Zionist colonists who got the control over the larger part of the mosque and Judaized it. In addition, tough security arrangements have been imposed on Palestinian worshippers: the number of Palestinian worshippers allowed into the mosque is determined by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF); they decide who enters, how many and when, while fanatic Zionists can enter and leave the mosque as they wish and when they wish. On Jewish holidays, the Ibrahimi is closed to Muslims and the Zionists have the right to use the whole mosque, and countless are the times when Israeli occupation forces prevent the calling of the prayer from the Ibrahimi mosque.
And when one of these scenarios becomes a reality, we will cry over our loss, we will be outraged, will march, will revolt, will look at each other and ask ourselves: how did we allow things to reach this point? We will turn to everyone for answers, for actions. And we will blame everyone for not acting earlier, for not doing everything possible to save Al-Aqsa, for not liberating Jerusalem and Palestine, for allowing this to happen when we had often been warned, and we ourselves warned that this will happen one day.
We will look at Arab emperors and caliphs and blame them for doing nothing to liberate Palestine. But why should we expect them to do anything for Palestine when they never cared about Palestine, so why should they care about Jerusalem or about the Noble Sanctuary? I don’t expect them to do anything to liberate Palestine because I have learned over the last few decades that you should never expect someone who handed you over to your killer to come and save you one day. I don’t expect them to do anything to liberate Palestine because I have learned that those who divided and sold Palestine the first time, will sell Palestine a second and a third and a fourth time without a wink of the eye. I don’t expect them to do anything to liberate Palestine because I don’t expect someone who is enslaved and accepts it to come and free me. I don’t expect them to do anything to liberate Palestine because I don’t expect those who watched for 60+ years as Jerusalem was being usurped and did nothing to stop the tears of Al-Aqsa, or stop the bloodshed in the courtyard of the Noble Sanctuary to finally wake up and find their dignity and courage. I don’t expect those who welcome imperialists and Zionists in their lands, those who donate their lands and wealth to colonial powers while their people hunger and those who put their hands in the hands of Zionists and imperialists to understand what dignity is, what steadfastness is, what freedom is, what homeland is, what Palestine is. I don’t expect them to do anything to liberate Palestine because they are partners in the crimes of Zionism.
We will look at Europeans and Americans emperors and lords and blame them for doing nothing to stop Zionist terrorism. But why should we expect them to do anything for Palestine when they never cared about Palestine or about Palestinian lives? I don’t expect them to do anything to stop Zionist terrorism because they were the ones who promised to build a Zionist racist terrorist entity in my homeland and planted it in the heart of the Arab world. I don’t expect them to do anything to stop Zionist terrorism because they are the ones who built the Zionist entity over the bodies of the Palestinian people, over the bones and the blood of the Palestinian people, over the homes of the Palestinian people. I don’t expect them to do anything to stop Zionist terrorism because they fund the Zionist entity that is massacring us, they provide it with the weapons to kill us, to oppress us. I don’t expect them to do anything to stop Zionist terrorism because while they speak non-stop of human rights, while they champion the human rights of every other nation, they ignore ours, they deny us our rights and deny us the right to defend ourselves and to struggle for freedom. I don’t expect them to do anything to stop Zionist terrorism because they are partners in the crimes of Zionism.
I don’t expect any of them to support justice for Palestine because they helped create the Zionist entity, they are partners in the crime being committed against Palestine and the Arab people since over 63 years.
I don’t expect them to do anything, so I don’t blame them, I blame us! I blame us because it is our land, our home, our Palestine and we shouldn’t wait for colonial powers or their obedient servants to come and liberate our land for us!
On the morning of 08.10.1990, and after calls from fanatic Jewish organizations some, 200,000 fanatic Zionist Jews marched to the Noble Sanctuary to place the foundation stone of the “Third Temple”. Thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem and the rest of occupied Palestine gathered in the Noble Sanctuary to protect their holy places. Israeli occupation soldiers and armed fanatic colonists shot randomly at the unarmed Palestinians, killing at least 17 and injuring some 900 (Al-Aqsa massacre). This was only one of many attempts by fanatic Zionist terrorists to storm the Noble Sanctuary with the aim of damaging the compound, or even blowing up Al-Aqsa. And although during the hundreds of registered attacks, the IOF always gave cover to and protected the Jewish attackers and participated in the massacres committed by these fanatic Zionists against unarmed Palestinians, Palestinians from everywhere always rushed to protect the Noble Sanctuary, and attempts by Jewish extremists were often prevented by hundreds, by thousands of Palestinians who would leave their work, their school, their homes and rush to protect their holy places, their symbols. Any attack on Al-Aqsa was considered an attack on all of Palestine, on every Palestinian, on the heart of Palestine.
Every day we hear that new housing units will be built for the illegal Zionists colonizing Jerusalem.
Every day we hear that Israeli occupation forces and police attack villages, worshippers, farmers in Jerusalem.
Every day we hear that the Israeli occupation army is constructing walls and roadblocks to isolate Jerusalem.
Every day we hear that another Palestinian home was demolished in Jerusalem.
Every day we hear that another Palestinian was forced to demolish his own home in Jerusalem.
Every day we hear about Palestinian land being confiscated in Jerusalem.
Every day we hear that new Jewish-only roads are built on confiscated Palestinian land.
Every day we hear that Palestinian fields are destroyed in Jerusalem.
Every day we hear of plans to demolish Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem to build Jewish theme parks.
Every day we hear about Palestinians being expelled from Jerusalem, their birthplace and home.
Every day we hear that Zionist colonizers enter the Noble Sanctuary, tour it, conduct rituals.
Every day we hear that Israeli occupation soldiers, fanatic members of the Zionist Knesset “tour” the Noble Sanctuary and distribute posters of Jerusalem with a temple in place of Al-Aqsa.
Every day we hear of new cracks and collapses in the streets of the Old City, in Silwan and around Al-Aqsa.
Every day we hear of new tunnels and new diggings beneath the Noble Sanctuary, especially beneath Al-Aqsa.
Every day we hear of how Israel is destroying our Jerusalem, the heart of Palestine, and ethnically cleansing it.
Every day we hear all this and do very little and say we did something, we talk about it and we say we did something. We do nothing. While the Zionists continue the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, Jerusalem has become but a mere slogan raised during rallies, a song in a march, a mere name to be added to a wish-list, a bargaining chip during negotiation rounds.
While Jerusalem is drowning in the Zionist project of disfiguring the city and changing it into one large biblical park, we hear Fateh and Hamas talking about “unity”, new government and new titles and watch as they go on regional and world tours, being welcomed as heroes, as revolutionaries, when Palestine is still occupied, when Jerusalem is still under daily threat, when Zionist colonial activities continue to destroy the Palestinian landscape. Those who claim to represent us, from the various factions, are busy touring countries and collecting money in our name, money we never see but is the price for our silence and our little action, if any action at all. Our only worry has become the budget, the aid, the salary and whether it will be paid in time. Our only struggle has become to get funds for our ministries, the thousands over thousands of NGOs, and the hundreds over hundreds of resistance groups and committees. Yes, even popular resistance has become a business, in some cases even a private family business and a ticket to quick “fame”. So what makes us think that we are better? Because we condemn more often? Even our voice for Jerusalem has become weaker and weaker. Yes, many Palestinians are not allowed into Jerusalem, but are we to wait for the full Judiazation of our beloved Jerusalem, the birthplace of many of us who aren’t allowed into the city anymore? Are we to watch as the heart of Palestine vanishes and transforms into something that is alien to us, and then cry over what once was? I don’t want to read about my Jerusalem from books and memoires and historians as we read about Palestinian Beisan and Palestinian Tabaria. They have already erased over 80% of original Jerusalem and transformed it into residential suburbs for European colonists, malls and natural parks that are built on the remains of our villages, on the graves of our ancestors, on the bones of our grandparents. The Zionist entity has managed to isolate Jerusalem, and to an extent remove it from our agendas and the agendas of those who claim to represent us or the agendas of those who claim to support us. Reducing Jerusalem to a slogan, to a song, to a prayer will not liberate Jerusalem.
And when the PA started talking about so-called “land-exchange” as an option “in the interest of peace”, we did nothing. And when the PA stopped talking about “land-exchange” as an option, and started treating it as a fact, as a reality, as a Palestinian demand, we kept silent. And while it is the Zionist colonists who are refusing to give up one inch of Jerusalem, the PA is the one willing to give up every bit of Jerusalem, and leave us with Abu Dees as Al-Quds, for the sake of a prison within a prison. And we remain silent. Those who remember Jerusalem when it suits them or when their complicity in and their silence over Zionist crimes become too damning are not the guardians of Jerusalem, are not the representatives of the Palestinian people and will never be.
It is only when the “PA” tries in vain to cover up its complicity in Zionist crimes that it finally remembers there is a Jerusalem and calls for Palestinians to “direct their eyes and their efforts towards the –forgotten- Jerusalem”. It is only with the exposure of “PA” scandals that it finally remembers Jerusalem and calls Palestinians “not to forget the holy city”. And when Jerusalem cries out for help, it is the ”PA” that is only second to the Zionist entity in trying to silence that cry. And when the Israeli aggression on Jerusalem intensified and when the city cried blood, it was the “PA” who prevented demonstrations in support of Jerusalem and prohibited any signs of solidarity with the city, the future capital of the Palestinian state they keep fervently talking about, it was the “PA” who prevented any protest against the Israeli occupation they keep saying they want to free us from. And when Jerusalem cried out for help and Palestinians everywhere in occupied Palestine rushed to answer its call, it was the thugs of the “PA” who stood as a wall of shame between Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine, and it was one PA “official” who was quoted saying: “if they want to demonstrate for Jerusalem, let them go there, there will be no demonstrating here.” (This was said while they were preventing people from reaching the checkpoints). As if Jerusalem is in another continent, or another galaxy. As if Jerusalem wasn’t the heart of Palestine. In fact, this PA official was actually saying things as they are: the PA’s duty is to protect the “borders” of the Zionist entity, and according to the PA, Jerusalem was “there” and not “here”, as in: Jerusalem is not in PA territory, so it’s not our business what happens there; You want to protest, go there. You want to liberate Jerusalem, go there! He was saying the reality of what the PA considers “ours” and what is to be part of the “future Palestinian state” and what the PA considers “theirs” and what is to be sold to the Zionists. And when the PA decides that Palestinians of the West Bank are not allowed to protest in solidarity with Jerusalem in Ramallah or Bethlehem, then it is clear that according to the PA: Jerusalem is to be “theirs”. This is how much they want Jerusalem. This is how much they want the freedom of Jerusalem. This is how much they stand with the people of Jerusalem. Most recently, one official demanded the establishment of a Jerusalem ministry. Yes, as if liberation is achieved behind desks, as if we don’t have enough corruption-infested ministries, as if we don’t have enough money being stolen in the name of the Palestinian people. Will a “ministry” liberate Jerusalem? Did any of the ministries liberate one inch of Palestine? Did the whole cabinet liberate one inch of Palestine? Or were these ministries just swamps for corruption, nepotism, favouritism, you just name it. As if more employees sitting behind desks doing nothing will liberate Palestine, as if an extra minister, a couple of director generals and directors will liberate Jerusalem. What will the titles of these new posts be? The minister of Jerusalem? Which part of Jerusalem? The General Director of Abu Dees? The General Director of Al-Aqsa?
I remember once on social networks when one Diaspora Palestinian commented that he doesn’t really care if Al-Aqsa is destroyed, adding that it is only a building and that we shouldn’t give it much attention. A number of non-Palestinian solidarity activists agreed with what he was saying. I could only shake my head at how everything, every single thing that is our symbol, our right, our identity, has become in one way or another “not really that important”, and all you hear is the talk about “morality”, a discussion initiated by Israeli “activists”, as if the only way to show we are “morally equivalent” to the “civilized world” is when we say adieu to our national identity, adieu to our national constants, adieu to our inalienable rights, adieu to our resistance, whether armed or popular and as we define it and as we see it, adieu to us being Palestinians, because according to some it should only be about rights, about morality, about us all being humans. Yes, we are all humans, we all have legitimate rights, we all should be treated equally as we are all born equal, but I don’t see anyone, except us the Palestinians, being asked to give up our aspirations, our identity, our legitimate rights “to prove our morality and humanity”. We are to give up everything that defines us, everything that defies the lies of the Zionists. These same Israeli “conditional activists” mention how if they were living under the same oppression as we are, they would never be able to just protest peacefully, and here, according to them, lies our high morality. I wonder how these same “activists” would react were we to decide one day that the experiment of flying balloons and marching in Hollywood costumes isn’t effective in defeating a brutal military occupation, would they still think us “morally equivalent” to their “morality”? The answer to that is as clear as the sun on a summer day in occupied Palestine. And the Zionist entity’s intent on destroying Al-Aqsa should alarm not only Muslim Palestinians, but every Palestinian, every Arab and every justice-seeking person. Because:
1. If buildings don’t matter, as that Diaspora Palestinian claimed and those “solidarity activities” agreed to, then why did the Zionist entity rush to demolish entire Palestinian villages (over 500 villages were wiped off the face of the earth during the Nakba)?
2. If buildings don’t matter, then why did the Zionists rush after the Naksa to demolish more Palestinian villages and entire neighbourhoods in the Old City of Jerusalem? (one example are the three Latroun villages)
3. If buildings don’t matter, then why did the Zionists start digging networks of tunnels underneath Al-Aqsa and continue to do so after 45 years despite finding nothing of what they are so eagerly looking for?
4. If buildings don’t matter, then why did the Zionists build and continue to build Zionist colonies everywhere in occupied Palestine, whether it is in Jerusalem, Al-Jalil or Hebron?
5. If buildings don’t matter, then why do Zionists demolish entire Palestinian communities all over occupied Palestine, whether it is in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley or An-Naqab?
6. If buildings don’t matter, then why do the Zionists prevent Palestinians from building homes, and send their troops to demolish the least sign of a building, whether it is a house, a mosque, a room, a goat barn, even a small shack?
The answer is very simple: Because these buildings, the ones some consider irrelevant and unimportant, connect us to this land. These building expose the lies of Zionism that Palestine was “a land with no people for a people without a land” and that the Zionists “made the desert bloom”. These building expose the lie that this land is an exclusively Jewish island. These building expose the lie that there is nothing called Palestinians, Palestinian culture, Palestinian existence. These building expose the lie that the Palestinians are invented. These buildings, these homes, these villages, these mosques, these churches, these barns, even the stones of the ethnically cleansed villages expose the lies of Zionism and scream: here lived the Palestinians, here live the Palestinians, here the Palestinians will remain.
Note: depending on my free time and on the topic at hand, writing a blog post might take me a day, a few days, or even a few weeks. I started writing this blog post early January, while following up the Israeli actions in Jerusalem and the not-so-surprising silence and blindness of the world and the Arab League.
The ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and its Judaization occurs on a daily basis and with increasing intensity. Not a day passes when there is no confiscation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem, when there is no occupation of Palestinian homes by Zionist colonists, when they is no revocation of Jerusalem IDs of Palestinian Jerusalemites. And with the exception of the very shy “condemnations” here and there, Zionist ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem is accompanied with world silence and complete inaction. It continues with the approval of the US, the EU, the Arab regimes and the complicity of the so-called PA which with every passing day only proves to us that it was only created for the sole reason of providing a sort of “legitimacy” to the sell-out of Palestine and Palestinian rights.
According to Al-Aqsa Foundation, the Israeli high court issued a ruling on 01.02.2012, in which it allowed Gershon Solomon, the leader of the Jewish fanatic terror group “Temple Mount Faithful”, to enter Al-Aqsa. In its ruling the court stated that Jews have the right to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque. Just imagine what will happen if a Muslim entered a synagogue and performed Muslim rituals there. Various sources also reported that proposals were presented to the Zionist municipality of Jerusalem for the establishment of a huge Jewish centre to the east of Al-Aqsa mosque, which is to be built over the ruins of Islamic and Arabic historic buildings that were demolished over the years by the Israeli Antiquities Authority in its useless efforts to prove that the city is exclusively Jewish. In addition, a commercial centre and a parking lot will be built on lands that belong to the Armenian Monastery.
Allowing Jewish rituals in Christian and Muslim religious sites is only one step towards annexing them, declaring them Jewish and turning them into synagogues. And under the guise of protecting Jewish worshippers, Palestinian neighbourhoods surrounding these sites are being ethnically cleansed. In Hebron, complete areas, neighbourhoods and streets are off limits to the Palestinians, and the homes of Palestinians in these areas stand empty. Their residents are either expelled or forced to leave after continuous attacks from the Zionist colonists who are protected by the Israeli occupation army. In the Old city of Jerusalem and its surroundings, whole areas are being ethnically cleansed in the name of the Jewish religion and establishing Jewish theme parks. These actions have only one goal: to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem. In the last couple of years, Israeli occupation soldiers have intensified their so-called “tours” in the Noble Sanctuary and the calls of the fanatic Jewish groups for their followers to storm the Noble Sanctuary and conduct Jewish rituals have become a weekly matter. While writing this blog post, a number of such “tours” and “marches” took place, for example, on 08.02.2012, a group of 26 Israeli occupation soldiers and 12 Israeli intelligence officers “toured” the surrounding of the Dome of the Rock. In a call for their supporters to storm the Noble Sanctuary on 12.02.2012, Likud members declared: “we call on everyone to go the Temple Mount to announce a proper leadership that confirms the full control over the Temple Mount, in order to cleanse this site from the enemy, the land thieves, and to build the Temple on the ruins of mosques.” On 14.02.2012, 29 Israeli occupation soldiers and 44 occupation policemen entered inside the Dome of the Rock for the first time and “toured” it, and when they were asked by one of the mosque guards about the reason for their presence inside the mosque, they replied that it was an “educational tour”. On 19.02.2012, confrontations erupted between Palestinians worshippers and Israeli occupation forces as Zionist colonists attempted to storm Al-Aqsa and perform Jewish rituals there. This attempt came after calls were made by Temple Mount Faithful and other fanatic Jewish groups to storm the mosque in order “to strengthen Jewish sovereignty over it” as they claimed. On 22.02.2012, confrontations erupted when a group of Zionist colonists were escorted by more than 40 Israeli occupation soldiers into the Noble Sanctuary. Another group of 22 female Zionist colonists entered Al-Aqsa later that day, following a call by a fanatic Jewish women’s group to storm Al-Aqsa mosque and pray there. This group also announced that it was planning similar “visits” twice a month.
In a recent study, Al-Aqsa Foundation revealed that during 2011 Al-Aqsa mosque and its surroundings were subjected to 100 attacks and was stormed by 5,000 Zionist colonists. This has been accompanied with an escalation in the number of incursions by Israeli occupation soldiers and intelligence officers. Excavations beneath the Noble Sanctuary and settlement activities around it continue and increase while essential maintenance work inside Al-Aqsa is prohibited by Israel.
Previous blog posts on the topic:
Zionist Definition of Religious Tolerance: If it’s not Jewish, either we Judaize it or we Destroy it! (II)
Zionist Attacks on Al-Haram Al-Qudsi Ash-Sharif
The Tale of 3 Palestinian Villages
Al-Aqsa Massacre 08.10.1990
The Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre 25.02.1994
- Obama’s Peace Antics in Israel – Four More Years of This? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Obama (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Changes made in DOD Instruction “Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces”
On February 22, 2012, the Department of Defense made major changes to DOD Instruction 1325.06 (PDF download).
These changes appear to be part of a major military policy change that is designed to stifle and suppress a growing GI movement against the wars in the Middle East.
Some of the more troubling changes include:
Enclosure 3, section 2. OFF-POST GATHERING PLACES. Commanders have the authority to place establishments off-limits in accordance with established procedures when, for example, the activities taking place
thereat these establishments include, but are not limited to, counseling, encouraging, or inciting Service members to refuse to perform duty or to desert; pose a significant adverse effect on Service members’ health, morale, or welfare; or otherwise present a clear danger to the loyalty, discipline, or morale of a member or military unit.
The changes in this section certainly appear to be directed at the GI coffeehouses at Fort Hood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Free speech and GI Rights advocates need to be ready to respond to possible moves by commanders to place the coffeehouses off-limits under this newly revised regulation.
Also one could argue that a commander could place a Mennonite Church or a Quaker Meetinghouse on the off-limits list, since these establishments have been known to encourage their members to resist participation in war.
Enclosure 3, Section 8. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES
a. Military personnel must not actively advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes, including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin or those that advance, encourage, or advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity or otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.
b. Military personnel must reject active participation in criminal gangs pursuant to section 544 of Public Law 110-181 (Reference (i)) and in other organizations that advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes; including those that attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Active participation in such gangs or organizations is prohibited. Active participation includes, but is not limited to, fundraising; demonstrating or rallying; recruiting, training, organizing, or leading members; distributing material (including posting online); knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing; having tattoos or body markings associated with such gangs or organizations; or otherwise engaging in activities in furtherance of the objective of such gangs or organizations that are detrimental to good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service.
c. Commanders have the authority to employ the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions, including administrative separation or appropriate criminal action, against military personnel who engage in activity prohibited in paragraphs 8.a. or 8.b. of this enclosure
when such conduct or activity is detrimental to good order and discipline or is service discrediting.
d. The functions of command include vigilance about the existence of such activities; active use of investigative authority to include a prompt and fair complaint process; and use of administrative powers such as counseling, reprimands, orders, and performance evaluations to deter such activities.
e. The Military Departments shall ensure that the policy and procedures on prohibited activities in this Instruction are included in initial active duty training, precommissioning training, professional military education, commander training, and other appropriate Service
On the surface, this section may not look so troubling. The military has, at least officially, long banned its members from active participation in hate groups. However, if read carefully, these changes are in fact very troubling. First, the DOD does not define the term “extremist” anywhere in this regulation, which opens the door for soldiers to be prosecuted for mere membership in peaceful organizations that are deemed to be “extremist.”
Secondly, the DOD has omitted the requirement (previously found in section 8 (c) above), that prohibited conduct or activity in a banned organization must be “detrimental to good order and discipline or is service discrediting.”
Third, the DOD has now banned even the wearing of clothing or colors off-post that would reflect membership in one of the loosely defined banned organizations.
Enclosure 3, Section 9. PREVENTIVE ACTIVITIES
a. Commanders should remain alert for signs of future prohibited activities. They should intervene early, primarily through counseling, when observing such signs even though the signs may not rise to active advocacy or active participation or may not threaten good order and discipline, but only suggest such potential. The goal of early intervention is to minimize the risk of future prohibited activities.
b. Examples of such signs, which, in the absence of the active advocacy or active participation addressed in paragraphs 8.a and 8.b are not prohibited, could include mere membership in criminal gangs and other organizations covered under paragraph 8.b. Signs could also include possession of literature associated with such gangs or organizations, or with related ideology, doctrine, or causes. While mere membership or possession of literature normally is not prohibited, it may merit further investigation and possibly counseling to emphasize the importance of adherence to the Department’s values and to ensure that the Service member understands what activities are prohibited.
This entire section is completely new to the regulation, and requires that commanders be alert for “future prohibited activities.” While the regulation tries to skirt the line of not violating the First Amendment (i.e. “mere membership or possession of literature” is not prohibited), it makes it clear that commanders are expected to “investigate” such soldiers, which will inevitably result in negative counseling statements (blackmarks against a soldier’s record) and subsequent harassment from NCO’s (non-commissioned officers).
As a whole, the newly revised DOD Instruction 1325.06 poses serious dangers for the civil liberties of all military service-members. We at the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild remain ready to do our part to protect soldiers in need. Please do not hesitate to contact us, if we can be of assistance.
UPDATE ADDED ON FEBRUARY 25, 2012: In section 8 (b) above, the DOD bans organizations that “attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.” Interesting enough, in the post-DADT era, sexual orientation didn’t make the list.
- Leaked Email: Military Top Brass Warn Troops Off March For Ron Paul (mountainrepublic.net)
- Military Warns Active-Duty Ron Paul Supporters Against Joining Upcoming Protest March (notesandobservations.me)
In 2002 and early 2003, the Bush administration made its case for war with Iraq. There were assertions given about Saddam’s maintenance of weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda. What was never said explicitly, however, was that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Yet by late 2003, seventy percent of polled Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally behind 9/11. Bush’s Republican voters were especially convinced of this.
Yet Bush and his officials never said this. And after the multiple disasters of the Iraq war began to present themselves with great clarity, the Bush officials were questioned about their pre-war intel. Yet they could say, strictly speaking, one thing they never claimed was Saddam was behind 9/11.
Condoleezza Rice had said something about the attacks originating in the same region or area as Iraq. There was all sorts of insinuation that Saddam might have been involved. And surely the Bush team never put an ounce of effort into disabusing the American people of the completely false notion that Saddam was behind 9/11. The vast majority of Americans believed it—indeed, at times, more Americans thought Saddam was behind the attacks than believed the Iraq War was just!—yet it was not only completely untrue, but not directly rooted in any explicit assertion given by the administration. Various pro-war commentators had said it, but Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell—none of them ever did.
Fast forward a decade to the current day. Seventy-one percent of Americans—almost exactly the percentage that thought Saddam was behind 9/11—think that Iran has nuclear weapons. It’s a small sample, but it is consistent with polls over the last couple years, each one showing a majority believing Iran already has nukes, and almost nine out of ten Americans sure that Iran is seeking them.
Indeed, talking with “respectable” liberals—the type who listen to NPR and watch Jon Stewart—I find repeatedly that even folks who don’t want to go to war assume that every reasonable American knows that Iran is on the brink of having nukes, if the regime doesn’t already have them.
What’s bizarre about this, other than the fact that there is no credible evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons, is that no one in a position of official authority is claiming it either! Every report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, even when framed in a way to make Iran seem ominous, confirms the “non-diversion” of nuclear materials to weaponization purposes. The CIA and intelligence community have consistently stood by the National Intelligence Estimate findings that Iran has not sought a nuclear weapon since 2003 (and Iran doing so back then is only suspected based on very scant evidence produced by the Israeli government).
Even if Iran wanted to make nuclear weapons, it would probably take three or more years. Iran is reportedly attempting to enrich its uranium to 19.75% LEU. Nuclear weapons require 95%—and there is no evidence that Iran has the means to do this. It is even more dubious to believe a nuclear-armed Iran would be some sort of unprecedented threat for the United States, but that’s neither here nor there.
So what’s the deal? The Obama administration (and the Bush administration, and the UN) have all had the same official position: Iran doesn’t have nukes, and the Iranians probably aren’t looking to get them. Yet seven out of ten Americans think Iran already has them. Meanwhile, every Republican presidential candidate except Ron Paul warns about the unparalleled threat of a nuclear Iran, and the Obama White House punishes the country with tighter sanctions and ever more threats.
Indeed, Obama has thrived on the insinuation that Iran has nukes. When he acted tough back in 2009 because Iran had been caught red-handed with its fledgling nuclear facility at Qom—a civilian nuclear facility that Iran readily alerted the international community to, consistent with its continuing adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory—he did so against a backdrop of insinuation that of course everyone knows Iran wants nuclear weapons. He did this even though all that existed at Qom, according to an IAEA official, was a “hole in a mountain.” Why didn’t the president remind the public instead that there is little to worry about, since the entire Defense Department and intelligence community confirm that Iran has no nuclear weapons program?
If a war begins with Iran, it will largely be on the basis of propaganda believed by the public, propaganda that the government has never officially articulated. In the past, the U.S. thrived on outright lies for war: the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, Kuwaiti babies being ripped from incubators, and so forth. There has long been a fair share of unsubstantiated allegations involved behind major U.S. wars—the USS Maine being sunk by the Spanish, the Zimmerman Telegram posing an actual threat to the United States, the Serbians committing genocide of ethnic Albanians, killing many tens of thousands of civilians in the late 1990s, and so on.
Yet today lies and unproven allegations are not enough. The U.S. warfare state appears to thrive on insinuation in its war propaganda. The U.S. war machine’s top brass never outright declare the most provocative claims about U.S. enemies. That way, when the war goes south and people begin accusing the political class of misleading them, the empire’s defenders can easily say (accurately in word if not in spirit): “Bush never claimed Saddam was behind 9/11! Obama never claimed Iran had nuclear weapons!”
But don’t think for a moment that our rulers aren’t glad the American people believe what they do. It makes wars so much easier to wage when the public buys into all sorts of nonsense. The plausible deniability that insinuated propaganda gives the ruling class is just icing on the cake.
- US spooks say no Iranian nukes (rt.com)
DemocracyNow! Hosts a Non-debate on Syria
“Foreign Intervention in Syria? A Debate with Joshua Landis and Karam Nachar” promised the headline on DemocracyNow! on 22 February. Eagerly I tuned in, hoping to hear a thorough exposé of the machinations of the US Empire in Syria on its march to Iran.
But this was neither exposé nor debate. Both sides, Landis and Nachar, were pro-intervention for “humanitarian” reasons. Nor did the host Amy Goodman or her co-host take these worthies to task for their retrograde views on imperial military action against a sovereign nation that had made no attack on the US. It was yet one more sign that the “progressive” movement in the West has largely abandoned its antiwar, anti-intervention stance.
The segment began with a clip of John McCain advocating yet another war, for the good of the Syrians of course, bombing them to save them. The first guest was Joshua Landis, a prof in Oklahoma whose bio tells us that he “regularly travels to Washington DC to consult with the State Department and other government agencies.” The other agencies are not specified, but he speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations and similar venues. Professor Landis represents the anti-intervention voice in the universe of Amy Goodman, but his opening words manifested the limits of that universe: “Well, I’m not opposed to helping the (Syrian) opposition.” He continued, “The problem right now, the dangers right now with arming the opposition, is that we’re not sure who to arm.”
Confused, I thought surely the next guest would be the anti-interventionist. He was Karam Nachar “cyber-activist” and Princeton Ph.D. candidate, working with Syrian “protesters” via “social media platforms.” That means he is safely ensconced in New Jersey far from where U.S. bombs would fall. Perhaps this fellow would say loud and clear the Syrians did not need the interference of the West, did not need sanctions to starve them nor bombs to pulverize their cities. Perhaps he would laud the Chinese-Russian proposal for both sides to stop firing and to negotiate a solution.
But he did not. He also was for intervention by the West. And he did not think the disorganization of the opposition, cited by Landis, justified hesitation or delay in arming that opposition. That and not any principled anti-interventionism distinguished the two sides in this “debate.” Said the cyber-activist: “Well, to start with, I disagree with Professor Landis’s portrayal of the situation with the Syrian opposition. It is true that, for instance, in the Syrian National Council, there are a lot of disagreements. But (the opposition is) still frustrated with the leadership of the Syrian National Council because of its inability to solicit more international support…. And I believe that the State Department, Secretary Clinton and the American administration is heading towards that. … It’s going to require a lot of money and a lot of courage and a lot of involvement on the part of the international community.” [Emphasis added]
And then the boy cyber-activist got nasty: “I am just a little wary that this overemphasis on how leaderless the Syrian opposition is actually a tactic being used of people who actually do not want the regime to be overthrown and who have always actually defended the legitimacy of the Syrian regime, and especially of Bashar al-Assad.” There it is. Even if one is for intervention in principle, no delay is to be countenanced. Such people are surely on the side of Bashar Al-Assad.
This is the kind of “debate” we get on “progressive” media outlets. It is not even a debate about whether there should be imperial intervention, once completely verboten on the Left, but when and under what circumstances military intervention should occur. This phony debate should simply be ignored whether it appears on DemocracyNow! or on NPR, increasingly indistinguishable in content and outlook or anywhere else. In fairness to Amy Goodman, just a few weeks back on February 7, she hosted the British writer and long time student of Syria, Patrick Seale. Said Seale: “I believe dialogue is the only way out of this. And indeed, the Russians have suggested to both sides to come to Moscow and start a dialogue. But the opposition says, ‘No, we can’t dialogue with Bashar al-Assad. He must be toppled first.’ Well, that’s a dangerous—a dangerous position to adopt.” That interview is well worth reading. And Goodman would do well to stick with that instead of shifting over to empty debates between interventionism now versus interventionism later. After repeatedly hosting the CIA consultant Juan Cole to cheer the cruel war on Libya, Goodman now seems to be going down the same path with Syria. It is a sad spectacle and one more indication of how little the “progressives” in the West understand the nature of Humanitarian Imperialism which uses human rights to sell war. It looks like it’s time to abandon Goodman and switch to Alyona.
John V. Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Syria Opposition Group Boycotts Tunis Meeting, Rejects Escalated Militarization (alethonews.wordpress.com)
France has dispatched riot forces to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion to beef up its security following violent protests against the high costs of living on the island.
Protests broke out in Reunion on Tuesday after truckers staged rallies against the rise of gas prices. However, they were later joined by many more protesters, infuriated over the high costs of living in general.
Almost a third of the residents of the French island of Reunion are unemployed and over half are struggling in poverty.
Three days of clashes between the protesters and the riot police left at least nine police officers injured and several shops and public buildings damaged. At least 76 protesters were also arrested during the clashes.
On Thursday night, the clashes were slightly less violent than previous nights in the capital Saint Denis, but unrest had spread to other cities around the island.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant on Friday denounced the violence as “absolutely unacceptable.”