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Bethlehem: 18 year old Palestinian stabbed

27 May 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

18 year old Saleh al-Zoghayer, who was recently stabbed by Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem, has been at the centre of the media recently. Several contradicting and false reports surfaced along with a shocking photograph of Saleh following the stabbing.

On Sunday, May 20, Saleh took a day off. Leaving his construction job in the town of Tobas, he travelled to Bethlehem to visit doctors there due to an illness. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, it is uncertain as to why, he was instructed by Israeli soldiers to exit the vehicle in which he was a passenger. Saleh found himself in the midst of a bike tour held by illegal Israeli settlers. The tour in question was held for Jerusalem day and was heavily guarded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

According to Israeli media sources such as Ynet and Hareetz, Saleh attempted to stab an IOF soldier and instead harmed himself. At first, both Palestinian and Israeli news sources suggested that Saleh had died from his injuries but this was not the case.

Saleh’s father, Nidal Mohamad al-Zoghayer, was interviewed by International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers on May 23 and an entirely different story emerged. Nidal says his son is not the “Palestinian terrorist” that Itamar Fleishman of Ynet baselessly suggests. Saleh was on the receiving end of criminal violence, said Nidal, and not from IOF soldiers but from the illegal settlers.

Having been denied permission from Israeli authorities to go visit his son, Nidal relays to ISM what his lawyer said after seeing Saleh with his own eyes.

According to Nidal’s lawyer, Saleh is recovering and in stable condition. He suffered multiple stab wounds, with two perpendicular wounds across his abdomen and one near to his heart. Barely able to sit up in his hospital bed, his legs are tied together at the ankles with cuffs. Three IOF soldiers are positioned at his door at all times.

Nidal tells us the IOF are detaining his son and upon his recovery, Saleh will be charged with ‘assaulting a soldier.’ He finds the IOF’s version of events highly unlikely. If Saleh had indeed attacked a soldier in an area with a large military presence, says Nidal, he would have immediately been shot.

Saleh is not a political activist, said Nidal. “My son has no political affiliation, and has never been detained before this incident. He works 6 days a week, Saturday to Thursday, only to come to Hebron on Friday evening to spend time with his family and friends.”

Illegal settlers are known for their violent behaviour against Palestinian men and women of all ages. Just one day prior to Saleh’s stabbing, settlers attacked the town of Asira Al-Qibliya, shooting live ammunition and injuring several including one man who was shot in the head. Israeli soldiers were present but did not interfere with the settlers’ attack as has become routine in the occupied West Bank.

Nidal showed photographs of wounds to Saleh’s neck that indicate a struggle as well as further photographs of his son covered in blood, with IOF soldiers standing on his hands.

Nidal says that if the IOF is able to stand by as illegal settlers fire live ammunition at unarmed villagers, then it should not be controversial for him to suggest they stood by and allowed an attack on his son. “There are many cameras in that area and soldiers are on hand 24 hours a day. I want to see the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage of what really happened to my son.”

This would be the only hope for Saleh to prove his innocence as the Israeli military courts are notoriously unjust: 99.74% of cases heard by the military courts against Palestinians in the West Bank end in a conviction. In Israeli military courts, the word of a soldier is enough evidence to convict even a minor.

Saleh was in the midst of saving money for his wedding and the purchase of a home. He is one of 8 children, the eldest of which is currently held in an Israeli prison. Originally having been detained by the Palestinian Authority for his political views, Saleh’s eldest brother was re-incarcerated by the IOF upon his release, without a chance to see his family in between.

Saleh’s uncle, Ahmed al-Zoghayer, also sat down with the ISM. He reenforced Nidal’s belief that if his nephew had attempted to attack a soldier he would have been shot.

Ahmed clarified one of the reasons for Saleh’s presumed death. The ambulance carrying Saleh was late to arrive at the scene. When it arrived, his heart had stopped and he was believed to be dead. Defibrillators were used and his heart began beating again. Saleh was then successfully operated on.

An 18 year old has been accused of attacking an IOF soldier. His family contests this and their demand for CCTV footage has not yet been responded to. ISM supports the call for its obtainment.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Bethlehem: 18 year old Palestinian stabbed

Syrian government denies involvement in Houla massacre

RT | May 27, 2012

Damascus has refuted accusations of being behind a ruthless attack in Houla where over 90 civilians were killed. Political analyst Ibrahim Alloush told RT those killed were actually Assad loyalists, and the timing is suspicious.

­Friday’s attack in the Governorate of Homs has raised already-high tensions in Syria, with many in the international community quick to point fingers at Assad’s forces.

Public anxiety was fueled by numerous amateur videos from Houla posted to YouTube showing dozens of bodies, including many women and children.

Although the videos were widely distributed by the media, the source could not be independently verified.

Damascus condemned the attack Saturday, saying it had no involvement in the massacre, and accused “terrorist” groups of being behind it.

The authorities also announced an investigation into the incident.

Political analyst Ibrahim Alloush told RT that the way the attack was done and its timing “make it obvious” that Damascus is not responsible.

“It would not make sense for the Syrian army to commit these massacres and withdraw, and then just let the rebels come and take photos and make documentaries about them,” he explained.

Alloush believes the crimes were committed “by the armed gangs supported from abroad, from the GCC countries and from the NATO specifically through Turkey.”

The analyst insists that the massacre in Houla was carried out in the context of a broad attack throughout the area.

“They also attacked the national hospital in the region and they set fire to it. Then they turned to civilian houses in some of the neighboring villages and they started killing indiscriminately,” he said, emphasizing that among those killed were people loyal to Assad.

Alloush also said that the timing of the attack makes it look suspicious.

“These crimes have come at a point when a political solution has slated for the Syrian question, and these people do not want to see a political solution – instead they want to see an armed intervention, an international foreign intervention in Syria under pretext of massacres,” he concluded.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , | Comments Off on Syrian government denies involvement in Houla massacre

Another missionary in Africa: the Bill Gates myth

By Clairmont Chung* | PAMBAZUKA NEWS | 2012-05-24

This scathing indictment tracks the predatory career of Bill Gates and paints his high-profile philanthropy as capitalist adventurism that further impoverishes Africa.

WHO IS THE MAN?

Bill Gates is a walking talking Bill Gates commercial. It matters not that he retired from Microsoft. The Bill Gates image is still very serious business. Arguably his most famous quote is “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” He dresses the part: very casual with the preppy uniform of khakis and blue. His prepiness and nerdiness follow from his prep school background. But not too many nerds drop out of college, as Gates did. College is the place to find nerds; that’s where nerds get their revenge. Gates constructed the Microsoft company environment like a college campus. It’s part of the myth of that gentle, coed, carefree, nurturing, professorial and now the giving, philanthropist Bill Gates. It’s all very disarming.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) leads the push to bring nutrition and health to Africa. But this move requires some scrutiny and a determination as to whether this is another image builder or worse: an attack by a modern day missionary on another unsuspecting indigenous population. Yes, some Africans are an indigenous population too.

Gates’ retirement [1] from Microsoft allows him time to focus more intently on his image, his sales pitch and Africa. By contrast, the ‘Red’ campaign of Gap, Apple and a few other retailers, requires you buy the product to contribute to fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Africa. The emphasis is always on buying and selling, not on the disease. So, if you buy a pair of Gap jeans with the red label, a portion of that money goes to the fund. The project, founded by U2’s Bono, is intended to capitalize on what we do anyway – buy stuff. Generally, no one argues against helping Africa, right? But with all the riches these corporations and individuals earn, why do we still have to buy something before they give something? Much of these earnings were as a result of raw materials sourced in Africa: even its music. Unlike Red, Gates requires no purchase from Microsoft, at least not directly. But we can’t separate Gates from Microsoft and its products. Moreover, Microsoft’s operating system is still the most popular, and for good reason, so we don’t have as much choice as we think. We are locked into buying MS DOS. It’s like English in the business world: the official language. Bill Gates knows this. He ‘engineered’ it.

In Africa, there is no need to buy raw material. You simply dig it up, add value, and sell it. This was once done to its indigenous inhabitants. As Arundhati Roy assessed foundations,

“Their enthralling history, which has faded from contemporary memory, began in the US in the early 20th century when, kitted out legally in the form of endowed foundations, corporate philanthropy began to replace missionary activity as Capitalism’s (and Imperialism’s) road opening and systems maintenance patrol.” [2]

Of note, Gap, like Apple, has been under scrutiny for its use of sweatshop labour. However, it has been reported that the clothing used in Gap’s Red promotion is now made in Lesotho (Africa) and not the cheaper China. Gates seems to want to distance his image from the carnage of capital greed by insightfully focusing on software. Perhaps his reasoning was that he would not be responsible for the slave-like exploitation of mostly women and sometimes children, who build hardware for Apple and others in China, or those children digging for gold and coltan in central Africa. The latter two are essential metals used in circuit boards for hardware. This is misguided. Neither a focus on software nor resignation from his baby, Microsoft, could cover the trail. Like banks and insurance companies that financed the flow of human cargo from Africa and claim they did nothing wrong, the builder of operating system software that drives the machines that use our exploited resources and now track our movements and speeches of dissent should not be allowed to claim innocence.

Bill Gates should not be allowed to say he only builds operating systems. In a racist criminal justice system, the legislators who passed the laws, the police who make the arrest, the prosecutors who make the charges stick and even the defense attorneys who seem not to care, need to acknowledge culpability in a system out of control. All actors mentioned purport to do good, as Bill Gates now promises. They all claim to fight evil: crime on one hand, starvation and disease on the other.

Africa does not need this kind of charity. It needs equality in trade and the exchange of leading technology. Instead, Gates, the world’s foremost technologist, brings experts on seeds and vaccines.

Contrary to popular belief, Bill Gates never invented anything. The real invention is the public belief in Bill Gates as the self-made mogul. He started with a ‘gift’ from IBM of the DOS platform. For that platform he adapted the MS-DOS system that operates all personal computers (PCs). Even the term personal computer really means operated by Microsoft DOS. This is so even if your ‘personal’ computer happens to be an Apple or using another operating system like Linux. Unless it’s Microsoft, it is not personal. To be a personal computer, a PC, it has to have a Microsoft DOS operating system. It’s not only the most widely used system, its personal.

It’s important to understand how these systems work before we look at what he is doing in Africa. Of course, Bill Gates is not alone. It’s a scorched earth policy, from the business culture that dominates the US landscape. It’s like the use of napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, when the intent was mass defoliation of all flora, including food crops, Microsoft used all kinds of tactics, some unlawful, to grab its market share at the expense of any other competitor irrespective of any benefit to the consumer. In Vietnam, Agent Orange led to deforestation; the loss of crops led to losses in wildlife and livestock and an environmental disaster. Eventually, a literally scorched earth would result and starvation, death; victory would follow. Naturally, if you destroyed everything, survivors would need you to rebuild. This is the plan of an empire.

COMING TO A COURTROOM NEAR YOU, THE WAR FOR THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION

Gates’ victories were not a war of nerds but one of lawyers. Gates in a 1994 Playboy [3] interview explained,

“Our restricting IBM’s ability to compete with us in licensing MS-DOS to other computer makers was the key point of the negotiation. We wanted to make sure only we could license it. We did the deal with them at a fairly low price, hoping that would help popularize it. Then we could make our move because we insisted that all other business stay with us. We knew that good IBM products are usually cloned, so it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that eventually we could license DOS to others. We knew that if we were ever going to make a lot of money on DOS it was going to come from the compatible guys, not from IBM. They paid us a fixed fee for DOS. We didn’t get a royalty, even though we did make some money on the deal. Other people paid a royalty. So it was always advantageous to us, the market grew and other hardware guys were able to sell units.”

Part of this revelation is the importance of hardware ‘guys’ to the operation. It is not a separate exercise. What he neglected to explain was the enormous amount of litigation that accompanied and solidified this position and the almost continuous war that has followed this policy.

The Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into Microsoft’s antitrust violations, only to seemingly lose steam and give up. Antitrust claims are simply claims that one company is attempting to kill off the competition. The Department of Justice, no less, then took up the fight and eventually settled for several hundred million dollars in fines. All during this time there were numerous lawsuits from wronged developers to burned competitors and even employees. This was some potent napalm. In Vizcaino v. Microsoft, 97 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir.1996), the court ruled against Microsoft and ordered it to pay benefits to workers who were denied benefits on account of their incorrect classification as independent contractors as opposed to employees. Welcome to our world.

i4i, of all the names, a software developer, filed a patent infringement suit and won against Microsoft. Microsoft refused to pay. Meanwhile, based on the stolen patents, Microsoft developed a replacement. Microsoft appealed to the highest court in the land. The United States Supreme Court ruled against Microsoft and ordered it pay the developer. Uniloc, Alcatel, and The Commonwealth of Massachusetts are just some of winners against Microsoft and its intent on domination. But they are still too few. Meanwhile, numerous claims have been buried under the costs of litigation and never came to light. I could go on forever listing claims against Microsoft for patent and business infringement, but you can use its search engine to find more. Of note the European Union (EU) fined Microsoft $1.4 billion for its anti-competitive practices. But these fines amounted to slaps on the wrist, as Microsoft continues in its scorched earth policy and more suits are being filed as well as patents being bought as we write.

In a practice known as defensive patenting [4], large companies like Microsoft are buying-up existing patents and seeking new ones to use as a basis to defend or attack in the event of war against their competitors. These patents serve no other useful purpose. The design is rarely manufactured. These patents, some ancient, are bought or brought with the idea that something in their intended use might resemble that of a new patent or one in the future and therefore form a basis to make a claim that it is stolen from Microsoft. If you develop a computer related patent, it is very likely that Microsoft owns one just like it, or partially like it, and can mount an attack against you based on that patent.

COMING TO AFRICA IN A TEST TUBE

It is with this background to his rise in wealth that Bill Gates launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with its focus on Africa. Like a good missionary, he does not come empty-handed. He has brought experts and seeds. It’s worth noting that the man Gates hired to help oversee his Africa sojourn is former Monsanto Vice President, Robert Horsch. Gates has invested heavily in Monsanto [5]. It would be an irony, except it is so serious that Monsanto was the company that developed Agent Orange. The effect of that deadly chemical is still affecting Vietnamese people and American soldiers forty years later. It is the progeny of that science that led to Roundup [6], Monsanto’s world-renowned weed killer and killer of several other things. Horsch was a leading figure in developing Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds that were resistant to its own herbicide and pesticides and are now earning Monsanto billions in royalties. They have patented these seeds, which can cross pollinate and colonize existing seed and farms. In America’s Midwest, farmers find their fields filled with a corn they did not plant. […]

We know what happened in Vietnam. The people resisted imperialism and drove the French, first, and then the full might of the US military out of their country. So it is in this context that you must view Gates’ approach to spreading his software and now his seed money in Africa. Like Monsanto’s plan to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides to become the dominant if not the sole producer of seed and food, Gates routinely violated antitrust and patent and other laws to achieve the goal of destroying all weeds (all rival software). His new hire, Horsch, will serve as senior program officer and will apply the GMO technology toward improving crop yields in regions including sub-Saharan Africa, where the foundation recently launched a major drive in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation.

Equally misguided is the Foundation’s approach to disease. Malaria and HIV appear to be its focus in the development of vaccines. A cursory look at the history of vaccines will reveal its inherent volatility and high rates of failure. Many of these health issues are really wealth issues. By wealth I mean the means to eat a balanced diet. I maintain that Africa’s problem is one of poverty: its inability to provide regular balanced meals to all of its people. Its greatest epidemic is poverty. Find a vaccine for that. How is it that the near richest man, and the smartest nerd, on the planet cannot see the need for an infrastructure that would lead to adequate supplies of food and water? Instead, he focuses on experimenting with dangerous chemicals and more dangerous genes, purportedly to increase yield.

Out of the other side of his mouth he’s decreasing population. F. William Engdahl quotes Gates’ 2010 TED speech where Gates declares, “First we got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent” [7]. Engdahl asserts that studies show that the chemicals used in the plan reflect reduction birth rates and that the Rockefeller Foundation has been involved with eugenics for some time. Its partnership with Gates and AGRA [8] is precisely for that stated purpose.

Gates sees the need, but the way he wants to fill it is in the mistaken belief that GMOs will provide the high yields to feed Africa and in the meantime he would vaccinate against diseases. Simultaneously, corporations like Monsanto and investors like Gates would reap billions in royalties from the use of its seed. The same GMOs banned by the European Union are acceptable in Africa. The result would be a monoculture that would eliminate centuries of farm practices and seed diversity that date back before the Bible and was partially disrupted by that other foreign intervention: the slave trade. Moreover, the colonialism that followed wanted cocoa, coffee, and cotton. These are not products that find their ways onto the plates of Africans. Stolen human resources along with forced agriculture for the European market set the stage for the shortages we find today.

Jonas Salk, credited with developing the Polio vaccine, when asked who owned the patent, is said to have responded, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” [9] Gates and Monsanto have succeeded where others have failed. If you agree that the seed requires light to grow, preferably sunlight, likewise GMO seed, requires Monsanto’s permission and conditions for use; therefore, they control seed. They are the sun. They may not have patented the sun, but they patented the next best thing: control of the rights to whom, and in what conditions, their seed will access the energy of sun in order to grow. Vandana Shiva [10] refers to Monsanto’s actions as the colonization of seed.

I am no defender of patents and copyright. It’s just another tool to consolidate creativity in the hands of a few. But that is another blog. These empires, like Microsoft and Monsanto, are built on patents: on ownership, including ownership of the means of production. They no longer need to own factories. They only need to own the rights to what the factories produce. Observers like F. William Engdahl have noted that vaccinated children who drink water contaminated by feces are no healthier than they were before the vaccine. Providing that these untested vaccines are safe. Instead of cleaning up the water and sewage systems, they seek to compromise them even more by the use of pesticides and fertilizer needed for their push in agriculture.

“Life is not fair; get used to it.” Bill gates

As if Gates and Monsanto are not sufficient adversaries, President Obama recently appointed a former Monsanto CEO as senior advisor to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Michael Taylor’s addition is in the context of the US governments plan Via AGRA (two words) to push its policies in Africa. Of course the FDA has refused to ban GMOs in the US and has refused to require foods be labeled, if containing GMOs. Gates is indeed visionary. He has singlehandedly determined the importance of food. It matters not that he could have asked any African child.

But this is a warning to the rest of us. The only other land and space available for full colonization is the Amazon rainforest. It won’t be around for long. But that is another blog. There is the Canadian Tundra and Mars, but first things first. Given the bad press and attention directed at the Amazon, Africa seemed the place with the most land lying seemingly unused. Governments have launched a campaign of terror to remove residents from lands they have occupied since before Columbus was conceived, let alone Microsoft. Though I do not hold Gates responsible for every peasant chased off land farmed for countless moons, I do blame him for adding to the hysteria of the land grab. His mere presence forces up the price of land. What one once farmed for free, soon one will not be able to farm for any money. But if you desire, there will be jobs on the new farm.

AN ALTERNATE CHEMICAL SOLUTION

Guyanese author Harry Narain wrote about high yield imported paddy rice in his collection of short stories, “Grass Roots People” [11], set in 1970s Guyana. The yield was so high that it bent the stalks lower to the ground than normal and ripened faster. The paddy was too heavy. Any rain would mean the end. It ripened so fast that there was not enough time to wait for the government loaned combines to get to his farm. Without money to hire a private combine, the rice crop would die in the field along with the farmer’s dreams of a pair of track shoes for his boy to play sports, earrings his little girl begged for, and a fridge for his wife. The yield was never so high again.

Despite and in spite of all the history and facts on Gates, there are still people who are going to say that Africa is in need and if Gates wants to contribute he should be allowed to do so. They will add that it’s people like this writer who have no money to contribute who are always trying to stop well-meaning people; and finally, Africa is on the rise as a result and here comes another no gooder, a crab, to pull the beneficiaries back down. It’s always the same arguments, on both sides. But facts are difficult to controvert. Denial is a sweet space to reside. No one comes to kick you out of there.

Under the cover of the foundation, Gates moved from paying little tax to paying no tax. That notwithstanding, there are a few things he can do for me. He must relinquish all his shares in Microsoft and donate half to Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement. He must remove his two executives from AGRA’s board. He must distribute the rest of the shares among those families in China whose children jumped to their deaths from the Foxconn [12] factory dorm while employed in making things for us that included his friend Steve Jobs’, ‘I’ stuff. He must denounce child labour. He must lobby Microsoft to withhold software from companies who use slave-like and sweatshop labor for their products. He must divest from Monsanto. Oh! And endorse the Buffet Plan to pay more taxes for himself and Microsoft before he divests his shares and Buffet transfers all his shares to the BMGF. Even Buffet has said that 30 percent is not enough. I’ll stop there for now. I shouldn’t have to tell him everything. He should be thinking for his damn self.

On Buffet, the New York Times [13] recently reported Buffet’s increased stake in Wal-Mart and that it came just before the same paper published detailed allegations that Wal-Mart executives bribed retailers in Mexico to facilitate its expansion there. Was this mission Wal-Mart’s or Buffett’s or Berkshire Hathaway’s? In 2011, he gave $1.5 billion of his BerkshireHathaway [14] stock to the BMGF as part of a plan to transfer the majority his wealth to the foundation. This means little or no taxes.

Oh, Bill! When you talk to Buffet tell him that giving his wealth to your Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will not absolve him, either. Tell him he would not be able to hide behind Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., the hedge fund he presides over. Smaller investors pool resources in a hedge fund for larger and more lucrative investments. However, as its name suggest, the Hedge fund is simply a hedge, a fence, between the money and the exploitation. Capitalism has not yet found a way to increase earnings without exploiting free or near free labour [15]. Wal-Mart’s record on wages and union busting is notorious. [16] It does not matter how prestigious sounding the name of the high and growing hedge between money and poverty. What Africa needs, finally, Brother Bill, is for you to get us some agent orange from your friends at Monsanto. So we can take care of the hedges ourselves.

* Clairmont Chung is a lawyer, consultant, filmmaker and arts critic. His latest film is a documentary, ‘W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney’. He edited a book of the interviews done in making the film, which is due out in October 2012 from Monthly Review Press entitled, ‘Walter Rodney: A Promise of Revolution’. Chung tours with his film and maintains a small practice in New York and New Jersey. He is writing a book on the legal history of Africans in the ‘New’ World up until the Wars on Drugs and Terror.

* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.

END NOTES

[1] Gates retired as CEO in 2008. He has not sold his shares in the company and until that happens he has more than a nominal interest in Microsoft. The continued association with him and the brand is as strong as ever. When you see him, you don’t think foundation. You think Microsoft. His transition from Microsoft to the Foundation may seem as a sudden change to some. But if you understand Gates, and the really wealthy, nothing is sudden and rarely anything changes except the increase in wealth. It’s always about the sales plan which is to get it for free, or close, and sell high.

[2] Arundhati Roy, “Capitalism: A Ghost Story: (Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?)” Outlook India, March 26, 2012

[3] The Bill Gates Interview, 1994, Playboy reprinted on About.com

[4] Defensive patenting is not a practice limited to Microsoft. But they have been one of the most ardent collectors. The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Jacob in a 2006, UK Court of Appeal, case, Aerotel v. Telco, likened defensive patenting to an arms race that has spread worldwide.

[5] Maureen O’Hagan and Kristi Heim of The Seattle Times, Gates Foundation ties with Monsanto Under Fire from Activists, lists the investment as $US27.6 million.Though a small fraction of the BMGF’s $33 Billion endowment, it’s part of a plan to eventually transfer close to $US40 billion to the BMGF.

[6] Roundup is a widely distributed weedicide and herbicide against which Monsanto has developed GMO seeds that would resist Roundup and grow while weeds and non-Monsanto seed die. They went further and developed seed that would not grow unless sprayed with roundup. No one knows to what extent these seeds are distributed but Africa is being primed.

[7] F. William Engdahl ‘Bill Gates talks about ‘vaccines to reduce population” March 4,2010 Geopolitics and Geonomics

[8] Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) describes itself as working on “integrated programs in seeds, soils, market access, policy and partnerships and innovative finance work to trigger comprehensive changes across the agricultural system” its Board includes two executives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and two from the Rockefeller Foundation as well as an assortment of dignitaries from the continent. It has a reputed budget of over US$400 million and has been operational since 2009.

[9] Johnson, George (November 25, 1990). “Once Again, A Man With A Mission”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2011

[10] Vandana Shiva has equated the colonization of the seed with the colonization of the future. She does not mean future colonization. She means your future is being colonized now.

[11] Narain, Harry, Grass Roots People, “A letter to the Prime Minister” (Casa de las Américas, Cuba 1981)

[12] The UK Guardian reported employees jumping from their dorm windows to their deaths rather than continue under the conditions in the Foxconn factories. Foxconn assembled goods for Apple and other prominent US companies. The owners placed nets around the building and had employees sign no-suicide clauses that absolved the company from suits filed by family members if anyone managed to succeed in killing themselves.

[13] David Barstow, The New York Times, April 12, 2012, Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle

[14] The Christian Science Monitor, July 8, 2011, Warren Buffett gives $1.5B in stock to Gates Foundation. The report described the gift as a plan to transfer the majority of his wealth to the BMGF. Buffet serves as trustee on the Board of the BMGF. Gates serves on the Board of Berkshire Hathaway. A real love affair has developed between the two.

[15] To be fair, neither has socialism found a way around cheap labor. Socialist governments have been as confrontational with unions as have capitalist, corporate, dominant governments. However, The basic needs of citizens appear best met through a socialist approach, while a market approach drives-up the cost of everything after forcing consolidation.

[16] See Huffington Post-Chicago Wal-Mart’s Union-Busting, ‘Preference For Poverty’ Described In Reader Interview, Updated May 25, 2011.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another missionary in Africa: the Bill Gates myth

The Forcible Transfer of the Palestinian People from the Jordan Valley

By Mercedes Melon | Badil Resource Center | Spring-Summer 2012

Forcible transfer and deportation are terms that commonly evoke images of people being loaded onto trucks or trains or violently driven away.1 Forcible transfer, however, may also take the form of involuntary or induced movement of people resulting from the creation of insecurity, disorder, or other adverse conditions, for the purpose of, or resulting in such migration. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits all forcible transfers. Only the security of the population of the occupied territory or imperative military reasons can exceptionally justify total or partial evacuation of an area under occupation. Those evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.

A key criterion to assess the forcible nature of the displacement is whether or not the transfer is the result of the individual’s own genuine choice to leave.2 As developed in the case law of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), forcible transfer is understood as the forced displacement of persons from where they reside to a place that is not of their own choosing and “includes threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power against such person or persons or another person, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment.”3 The ongoing forcible transfer of the Palestinian people from or within the Jordan Valley in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) is a clear example of this kind of transfer (sometimes misleadingly called “indirect transfer”).

The facts speak for themselves. Although there is uncertainty as to population levels in the past, it is estimated that between 250,000 and 300,000 Palestinians lived in the Jordan Valley on the eve of the 1967 Israeli military occupation.4 After more than 40 years of occupation, the Palestinian population in the area has been dramatically reduced to 56,000.5 However, the displacement of Palestinian people from their homeland is not a phenomenon relegated to the past, but an ongoing process, particularly in this resource rich and geopolitically strategic area.

During 2011, more than one third of all Palestinians forcibly transferred in the West Bank were residents of the Jordan Valley, nearly 60 percent of whom were children.6 If we consider that the area contains vast land reserves and abundant water resources, making it the most fertile region of the OPT, the estimates appear striking. How did this dramatic decrease in population occur?

The 1967 “voluntary” exodus

The circumstances surrounding the plight of the Palestinian people in the Jordan Valley during and after the 1967 War refute the widespread misperception that the 1967 exodus was largely “voluntary,” as compared to the forcible nature of the 1948 exodus.

Israel’s military strategy during, and just after, the 1967 War aimed to drive out tens of thousands of Palestinians from their villages, towns and refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.7 This was particularly the case for the Jordan Valley where Israeli forces expelled 88 percent of the area’s population eastwards, across the river to Jordan. The village of Jiftlik, for example, was razed to the ground, rural communities were depopulated, and virtually all residents of three 1948 large refugee camps surrounding Jericho fled or were expelled to Jordan.8 Despite not being the site of any major military battles during the 1967 war, the Jordan Valley suffered the highest population loss in the entire West Bank in the war and its aftermath.9

Israel’s purpose of removing the Palestinians from the area is confirmed by the measures it took to prevent the return of those who had fled during the war and the period that followed. These measures included the routine shooting of civilians trying to return, or “infiltrate,” to their lands across the Jordan River10 as well as the inclusion of Jordan Valley landowners on a secret “black list” in order to deny their entry into the West Bank.11 At the same time, from 1967 to 1994, Israel undertook a mass withdrawal of residency rights from hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who travelled abroad during that period, effectively preventing them from returning to their homeland.12 Then, after the eruption of the intifada of 2000, Israel barred almost all Palestinians from returning to, or visiting, the areas.13

The Palestinians remaining in the Jordan Valley would be, from 1967 onwards, subject to Israel’s policies aimed at minimising the number of Palestinians in the area,14 while maximising Israeli control over the land, water resources and transport routes.

Deprivation of land and water resources

The policy to take control over the land included legal and administrative changes, financial incentives to settlers and institutional coordination.15 Israel began by declaring in 1967 nearly 60 percent of the Jordan Valley as closed military areas, effectively banning Palestinian access to, and development of, the land.16 Through subsequent military orders, Israel seized control of the water resources of the OPT.17

Huge trenches have been dug in the Jordan Valley as part of the Apartheid Wall system to prevent Palestinian access to agricultural lands, these areas are also ‘live-fire zones’ for the Israeli army. Israeli decision-makers saw Jewish civilian presence as a necessary element to guarantee and maintain control over the occupied land, and so the Occupying Power immediately began to transfer its own civilian population into the area; an action expressly prohibited by Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, regardless of its motive.18 By the end of 1968, the Israeli military had established three military outposts in the Valley.19 The eventual shift from military outpost to predominantly agricultural colonies from the early 1970s in the Jordan Valley adequately illustrates the colonizing nature of the settlement enterprise while refuting Israel’s alleged security needs to justify the occupation of the Jordan Valley.

The built up area and the land cultivated by the existing 38 settlements take up a further 10 percent of the Valley. Although the actual settler population in the area is quite small, most of the approximately 9,400 settlers20 are farmers who cultivate large tracts of land and use most of the water resources. This has rendered the Jordan Valley the area of the OPT most relentlessly exploited by settlement agricultural production.

The deliberately discriminatory nature of Israel’s policies results in a striking inequality of access to water between Israelis and Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. Indeed the water available to the Palestinians of the Valley falls far short of that recommended by the World Health Organisation.21 The situation is even worse for the Palestinians living in the rural communities of the Jordan Valley who are not even connected to the water network system.

Furthermore, the water extraction ratio in the Israeli settlements is the highest in the West Bank.22 The deep wells serving the Israeli colonies have dried up the Palestinian wells and springs in the area.23 The Israeli pumping stations, including those on or near the lands of Palestinian communities, are closed and fenced off. With no access to running water, in some cases the rural Palestinian inhabitants survive on water supplies that the World Health Organization classifies as an indicator of an emergency response situation.24 Palestinians have no choice but to buy their own water—water that they are entitled to extract for themselves under international law–from the Israeli water company Mekorot. They often have to buy water from mobile tanks that deliver water of dubious quality at much higher prices.25

Meanwhile, in the same area, Israeli settlers enjoy intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools.26 It should thus come as no surprise that the 9,400 Israeli settlers living in the Jordan Valley consume more than six times the quantity of water consumed by the more than 56,000 Palestinians in the area.27

And the Oslo Accords came to life

Under the Oslo Accords, more than 90 percent of the Jordan Valley was classified as “Area C,” 28 meaning full Israeli civil and military control extending to land registration, planning, building and designation of land use. The 1995 Interim Agreement called for the gradual transfer of power and responsibility in the sphere of planning and zoning in Area C from the Israeli military’s “Civil Administration” to the Palestinian Authority.29 Yet, this transfer was never implemented and Israel’s continued control over planning and zoning in Area C has, according to the World Bank, “become an increasingly severe constraint to [Palestinian] economic activity.” 30

Israel’s implementation of the Oslo Accords has consolidated its control over the Jordan Valley. It has used this control to effectively appropriate more Palestinian land and restrict Palestinian mobility and economic activity with disastrous effects upon the Palestinian civilian population.

Approximately 40 percent of the Jordan Valley’s population is comprised of semi nomadic Bedouin and herder communities that have traditionally grazed their herds throughout the area. Today, the local population is restricted to enclaves, surrounded by Israeli settler infrastructure on the one hand, and no-go areas on the other.31

Moreover, although Palestinians can, in theory, cultivate what remains of their land, as part of its policy of minimising Palestinian presence and growth in Area C the Occupying Power has imposed harsh restrictions on building and freedom of movement on the area; restrictions that apply only to Palestinians. Israel prevents Palestinians from constructing any infrastructure or implementing development projects such as water wells, reclaiming of agricultural land, opening agricultural roads or extending irrigation networks. Thus, despite its vast agricultural potential, the Israeli restrictions on access to the land and its water resources have turned the Jordan Valley into the least-cultivated Palestinian area.32

The final push

Palestinians cannot build or renovate homes or any other infrastructure in Area C without first obtaining permits from the Israeli military’s Civil Administration. These permits, however, are rarely issued.33 The restrictions imposed on Palestinians force many of them to build without the required permits to meet their needs, despite the ever-present risk, and practice, of demolition.34

The Palestinians’ inability to obtain permission for legal construction and Israel’s policy of demolishing their homes due to lack of building permits lead to the displacement of hundreds of Palestinians in Area C.35 Systematic destruction of Palestinian infrastructure is particularly rampant in the Jordan Valley. Consider that in June 2009, the Jordan Valley registered a dramatic increase of demolitions in closed military zones 36 and, in July 2010, the Israeli government instructed its military to increase demolitions of “illegal” Palestinian buildings in the Jordan Valley.37 As a result, approximately 40 percent of the structures demolished during 2011 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, were located in the Jordan Valley.38 These demolitions affected at least 2,000 Palestinians in the Valley, and more than 4,100 in the entire occupied West Bank.39

The inability to carry out legal construction inevitably impacts the provision of basic services to, as well as livelihoods of, Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. The PA is unable to undertake any infrastructure projects in Area C without the approval of the Israeli military’s Civil Administration. Therefore, while the Interim Agreement saw the transfer of responsibility for the provision of education and health services in Area C to the PA, the virtual impossibility of obtaining building permits from the Civil Administration for the construction or expansion of public buildings, such as schools and clinics, makes the provision of these services practically impossible.40

As a result of the Occupying Power’s illegal practices, the communities living in the Jordan Valley—considered a “high risk” area 41—represent some of the most vulnerable in the West Bank, and are regarded as priority groups for humanitarian assistance due to their lack of access to basic services (such as education and health) and infrastructure (including water, sanitation and electricity).42

In addition to severely limiting the amount of water available to Palestinians and denying them permits to restore old wells and build new ones, Israel has continuously destroyed water cisterns and the other basic rainwater collection systems that serve rural and herder communities.43 Moreover, during the summer months, the Israeli army has stepped up pressure on Palestinian herder communities to force them out of the Jordan Valley. The army not only confiscates the villagers’ water tanks, it also deprives the villagers and their flocks of water by restricting their movement in the area.44

Palestinians in the Jordan Valley face additional daily challenges, such as restricted access to land for grazing and agriculture, violence from Israeli settlers living nearby and regular harassment from Israeli soldiers.45 Tightened restrictions on access in and out the Valley, which is surrounded by checkpoints and roadblocks, have separated the area from the rest of the occupied West Bank.46 These restrictions have also exacerbated the hardship of the communities living there, contributing to the erosion of standards of living, increasing poverty and growing aid dependency.47

Conclusion

Not only did the Occupying Power expel the majority of the Jordan Valley’s population en masse during the 1967 war, it has also implemented measures effectively preventing displaced Palestinians from returning. Israel’s policies of extensive land appropriation, water deprivation and the establishment of colonies have crippled the agricultural and herding economy of the Palestinian residents of the area, virtually depriving them of their means of livelihood.

Combined with movement restrictions and severe curtailment of the ability to build—thereby preventing Palestinian residents from having access to housing, health and education—the Occupying Power’s policies in the Jordan Valley perversely force the transfer of the protected population from or within the area. Given the unbearable living conditions created by Israel’s policies, it is evident that Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley do not exercise anything resembling a genuine choice when leaving their place of residence.

Article 49(1) of the Fourth Geneva Convention only exceptionally allows evacuation of an area if the security of the civilian population under occupation, or imperative military necessity, so demand. Imperative military necessity involves a very stringent test and Israel’s alleged general security concerns do not justify its discriminatory policies in the area. There is no evidence that the declaration of the closed military zones, their large areas, or their outlines respond to military necessity.48 Home demolitions and eviction of persons on the grounds that they live in “closed military areas” are unjustifiable. Indeed, there does not seem to be any security grounds justifying the occupying authority’s de facto deportation or transfer of Palestinians from the Jordan Valley.

Israel’s practices constitute internationally wrongful acts giving rise to state responsibility and individual criminal liability. The violation of the prohibition of forcible transfer amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and, as such, it is encompassed by the war crimes provision of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).49

The forcible displacement of the protected Palestinian population is closely linked to the Occupying Power’s unlawful transfer of its own civilian population into the Occupied Territory. Undoubtedly, the transfer of Israel’s own civilian population into the Jordan Valley entails severe consequences for the Palestinian protected population living there, threatening its separate existence.50 Furthermore, such transfer makes the return of people displaced from the area and the restitution of their property more difficult.51

Israel’s aim of changing the demographic composition of the area in order to create or consolidate territorial claims is particularly evident in the Jordan Valley and plainly contravenes the purpose of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention.52 Ultimately, the absolute prohibition of the transfer of the Israel’s nationals to the OPT strengthens the prohibition of using land belonging to the occupied territory or its inhabitants for the furtherance of Israel’s own interests.53 The transfer of Israeli nationals to the Jordan Valley serves economic, social or strategic needs, primarily the colonisation and subsequent annexation of the area. Regardless of the motive, the transfer of Israel’s own civilian population into the OPT amounts to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.54

The State of Israel is responsible for the commission of unlawful acts in violation of its obligations under international law.55 It must, therefore, bring these violations immediately to a halt. Israel is also legally obliged to restore the situation to the way it was before the unlawful acts were committed, which entails restoring the properties to their legitimate owners, facilitating the return of displaced individuals back to their homes, and making full reparation for the loss or injury caused.56

Furthermore, international law on state responsibility sets out the rules on the obligations of third parties. Individual states have an obligation not to recognise illegal situations created or actions taken by the violating state, an obligation not to render aid or assistance and to cooperate to bring to an end the serious breaches of international law, such as Israel’s extensive unlawful appropriation of Palestinian land, the forcible transfer of the Palestinian population and the transfer of its own population to the OPT. In this respect, the UN Security Council has expressly called upon all High Contracting parties to Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure respect by Israel of its obligations under the Convention.57

Endnotes

1. Deportation denotes displacements that involve the crossing of an international border while forcible transfer relate only to displacements within a State. Stakić, IT-97-24-A, Judgment of 22 March 2006.
2. Naletilić and Martinović, (ICTY) IT-98-34-T, Judgment , 31 March 2003, para. 519.
3. Stakić, (ICTY) IT-97-24-A, Judgment , 22 March 2006, para. 281. Krstic (ICTY) IT-98-33-T, Judgment, 2 August 2001, para. 529-530.
4. Ma’an Development Center and Jordan Valley Popular Committees, ‘Eye on the Jordan Valley’ (2010) 27. <http://www.maan-ctr.org/pdfs/Eyeon%20theJVReportFinal.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
5. Data obtained from the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.
6. At least 367 people were displaced in the Jordan Valley and 1,094 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. According to these statistics, a person is considered to be displaced if she/he has been forced to leave a home or primary residence because of a demolition or forced eviction. Displacement Working Group oPt, Demolition Summary Table (29 December 2011) and Damaged Assessment Form (June 2011). The Displacement Working Group (DWG), established in 2007 and led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has a broad membership, including UN agencies, international and local (Israeli and Palestinian) NGOs and donors.
7. Nur Masalha, ‘The 1967 Palestinian Exodus’ in The Palestinian Exodus 1948-1967 (Karmi et al. eds, Ithaca Press-Garnet Publishing UK, 1999) 80-81, 89-90, 94-95.
8. Ibid.
9. William Harris, Taking Root. Israeli Settlement in the West Bank, the Golan and Gaza-Sinai 1967-1980 (New York-Toronto, Research Studies Press,1980) 16 and 21.
10. Masalha (n 9) 99; Tom Segev, 1967 Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East, 540-542.
11. The blacklist began with 100 people, but swelled to over 2,000 by late 2004, when it was allegedly cancelled. Eldar, ‘Ministry admits “blacklist” of Palestinians who left the West Bank during Six-Day war’, Haaretz (5 July 2006) <http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/ministry-admits-blacklist-of-palestinians-who-left-west-bank-during-six-day-war-1.192233&gt; accessed 27 March 2012.
12. Eldar, ‘Israel admits it covertly cancelled residency status of 140,000 Palestinians’, Haaretz (11 May 2011) <http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-admits-it-covertly-canceled-residency-status-of-140-000-palestinians-1.360935&gt; accessed 27 March 2012.
13. Eldar (n 13)
14. Peace Now, Settlements in Focus (Vol. 4, Issue 4): “A New Jordan Valley Settlement – Facts, Background, and Analysis” < http://peacenow.org/entries/archive5214 accessed 28 March 2012. 15. Harris (n 11) 42 16. Military Order No. 34 (1967) Regarding Closed Zones. In addition, Military Order No. 378 (1970) Concerning Security Instructions-Announcement of Closed Area prohibits Palestinian entry into the settlements unless they posses a special permit and authorises eviction of persons living therein without any judicial or administrative procedure. 17. Military Order 92 (1967) granted complete authority over all water related issues in the OPT to the Israeli army. Military Order 158 (1967) stipulated that Palestinians could not construct any new water installation without first obtaining a permit from the Israeli army and that any water installation or resource built without a permit would be confiscated. 18. Michael Cottier, ‘Article 8, War Crimes’ in Otto Triffterer (ed)., Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Observers’ Notes, Article by Article, second edition, (Beck and Hart Publishers, Oxford 2008), marginal 92. 19. Peace Now (n 16) 20 According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics approximately 9,400 Israeli settlers reside in 27 settlements and 9 outposts in the Jordan Valley, in addition to the population of three of these settlements and the outposts, the population of which is not provided. Ibid. 21. Amnesty International, ‘Troubled Waters, Palestinians denied fair access to water’, Index: MDE 15/027/2009 (October 2009) 4-5. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/027/2009/en/e9892ce4-7fba-469b-96b9-c1e1084c620c/mde150272009en.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
4-5.
22. Ibid 5, 17 and 41
23. World Bank, ‘West Bank and Gaza. Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development’, Sector Note (April 2009), vii, 12. <http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWESTBANKGAZA/Resources/WaterRestrictionsReport18Apr2009.pdf&gt; accessed 2 April 2012.
24. Ibid, 17.
25. Tanked water costs 12 NIS per cubic meter or more( NIS: New Israeli Shekel (1 USD= 3.74 NIS), which is four to five times the price of piped water purchased from Mekorot (2.6 NIS per cubic meter).Ibid 18.
26. Amnesty (n 23) 5.
27. Ma’an Development Center , ‘Draining Away, The Water and Sanitation Crisis in the Jordan Valley’, (2010) 2.<http://www.maan-ctr.org/pdfs/WateReport.pdf&gt; accessed 2 April 2012.
28. Approximately 61 per cent of the West Bank falls within Area C. The Declaration of Principles on Interim Self Government Arrangements (Oslo 1) was signed in 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and was intended to be a first step in a phased process to transfer power from the Israeli military and its civil administration to the Palestinian Authority. The two parties agreed to the division of the West Bank (with the exception of East Jerusalem) into three areas: A, B and C. In 1995 the second Oslo Accord, also known as the Interim Agreement was signed.
29. Article 27.2 of Interim Agreement, related to Planning and Zoning.
30. World Bank, ‘The Economic Effects of Restricted Access to Land in the West Bank’ (October 2008) iv. <http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWESTBANKGAZA/Resources/EconomicEffectsofRestrictedAccesstoLandintheWestBankOct.21.08.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
31. At least five Palestinian communities (Al Farisiya, Al Malih, Khirbet al-Ras al Ahmar, Khirbet Humsa and Al Hadidiya) are located within Israeli-declared closed military areas. Palestinian shepherds and farmers, including their herds, caught crossing through nature reserves under Israeli control are subject to fines for trespassing. OCHA, ‘The Humanitarian Impact of Israeli Infrastructure in the West Bank’ 42-44 and 105. < http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/TheHumanitarianImpactOfIsraeliInfrastructureTheWestBank_Intro.pdf&gt; accessed 27 March 2012.
32. World Bank, ‘The Underpinnings of the Future Palestinian State: Sustainable Growth and Institutions’ (21 September 2010) 15 .
<http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWESTBANKGAZA/Resources/WorldBankSep2010AHLCReport.pdf&gt; accessed 2 April 2012.
33. According to UN OCHA, based on data provided by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, between January 2000 and September 2007, over 94 per cent of applications for building permits in Area C submitted by Palestinians to Israeli authorities were denied. OCHA, ‘Lack of Permit. Demolitions and Resultant Displacement in Area C’ (May 2008) 1. <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/Demolitions_in_Area_C_May_2008_English.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
34. Between January 2000 and September 2007, 5,000 demolition orders were issued, and over 1,600 Palestinian buildings were demolished within Area C. Ibid, 1.
35. OCHA, ‘Displacement and Insecurity in Area C of the West Bank’ (July 2011) 10-11.
<http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_area_c_report_august_2011_english.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
36. Seventy nine per cent of Palestinians displaced by demolitions recorded during June 2009 in Area C were residing in the Jordan Valley in populated areas declared closed military zones by the Israeli authorities. OCHA, Humanitarian Monitor (June 2009).
<http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_humaniatarian_monitor_june_english.pdf&gt;
37. Levinson, ‘Civil Administration told to crack down on illegal Arab structures’, Haaretz (19 July 2010) < http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/civil-administration-told-to-crack-down-on-illegal-arab-structures-1.302692&gt; accessed 2 April 2012..
38. Displacement Working Group oPt, Demolition Summary Table (29 December 2011).
39. Displacement Working Group oPt, Demolition Summary Table (29 December 2011). A person is considered to be affected if she/he is not displaced, but the demolition has an impact on an uninhabited home, a part of the home, the work place, source of livelihood or income. DWG Damage Assessment Form (June 2011).
40. OCHA, ‘Restricting Space: The Planning Regime Applied by Israel in Area C of the West Bank’ (15 December 2009)
<http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/special_focus_area_c_demolitions_december_2009.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
41. Save the Children UK and Ma’an Development Center, ‘Life on the Edge: The struggle to survive and the impact of forced displacement in high risk areas of the occupied Palestinian territory’ (October 2009) <http://www.maan-ctr.org/pdfs/LIVE.pdf&gt; accessed 27 March 2012.
42. OCHA, ‘West Bank Movement and Access Update. Special Focus’ (August 2011) 22-26
<http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_movement_and_access_report_august_2011_english.pdf&gt; accessed 2 April 2012.
43. Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the OPT, Maxwell Gaylard, on Continuing Demolition of Water Cisterns in the West Bank, Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, 1 February 2011.
<http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_mg_statment_on_water_cir_2011_02_2_english.pdf&gt; accessed 28 March 2012.
44. Amnesty (n 23) 45.
45. UN OCHA , The Humanitarian Monitor (May 2009) 5.
46. The Jordan Valley area is separated from the rest of the West Bank by dozens of physical obstacles,
including almost 30 kilometers of trenches and earth walls. As a result, all traffic to and from the area has been limited to five routes, four of which are controlled by checkpoints. See OCHA, ‘West Bank Movement and Access Update’ 21 (n 44) for a detailed account of access restrictions to the Jordan Valley.
47. A UN OCHA survey completed in February 2010 among herder communities located in Area C found that food insecurity stood at 79 per cent, compared to 25 per cent among the wider Palestinian population in the West Bank. A year later, following a massive food assistance intervention by UNRWA and WFP, the food insecurity rate had been reduced to 55 per cent. Information collected by OCHA among Bedouin communities in al-Bqai’a area suggests a strong causal link between access restrictions and the high levels of food insecurity recorded. Ibid 26.
48. Human Rights Watch, ‘Separate and Unequal. Israel’s Discriminatory Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (19 December 2010) 67. <http://www.hrw.org/reports/2010/12/19/separate-and-unequal-0&gt; accessed 2 April 2012.
49. Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and article 8 (2)(a)(vii) of the Rome Statute.
50. The Commentary of the Fourth Geneva Convention expressly establishes that the transfer of their own civilian population to occupied territory by certain Powers during World War II worsened the economic situation of the native population and endangered their separate existence as a race. Pictet, Commentary (n 7) 283.
51. Cottier (n 20) ‘Article 8, War Crimes’, marginal 87.
52. According to the interpretation of the provision provided for by the Commentary of the Fourth Geneva Convention . Pictet, Commentary (n 7) 283.
53. Antonio Cassese, ‘Powers and Duties of an Occupant in relation to Land and natural Resources’ in E Playfair (ed), International Law and the Administration of Occupied Territories (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1992), 431-432.
54. Article 8(2)(b)(viii).
55. The state responsibility for forced displacement of civilians has been recently highlighted by the Eritrea
Ethiopia Claims Commission. See, for instance, Partial Award, Civilians Claims, Eritrea’s Claims 15, 16,
23 and 27-32, 17 December 2004, paras 79-106, 44 ILM 601; and Partial Award, Civilians Claims,
Ethiopia’ Claim 5, 17 December 2004, paras 128-131, 44 ILM 630.
56. Article 31 of the International Law Commission Draft Articles on State Responsibility.
57. SC Resolution 681 (1990), 20 December 1990.

Published in Forced Population Transfer in Palestine; Thinking Practically about Return (Spring-Summer 2012)

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran designs alternative system for SWIFT

Press TV – May 26, 2012

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mahmoud Bahmani says that the country has designed and implemented a new system for conducting international transactions.

Bahmani said on Saturday that the new system, which has already been activated, would replace Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)

On March 15, SWIFT CEO Lazaro Campos said in a statement that the society has decided to discontinue offering services to Iranian banks which are subject to financial sanctions imposed by the European Union.

On January 23, the EU foreign ministers approved new sanctions on Iran’s financial and oil sectors, which prevent member countries from importing Iranian crude or dealing with its central bank.

Experts believe that SWIFT’s new action is meant to fully enforce EU sanctions, as global financial transactions are impossible without using SWIFT.

Bahmani rejected reports about a Japanese bank freezing transactions with Iranian banks.

On May 17, the Reuters reported that Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has frozen USD 2.6 billion of assets of Iranian banks under an order by the New York District Court earlier this month.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel’s Free Market “Solution” for the Middle East

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | May 27, 2012

In the Spring issue of Middle East Quarterly, a publication of Daniel Pipes’ hawkishly pro-Israel and Islamophobic Middle East Forum, influential Israeli economic advisor Daniel Doron argues that “free markets can transform the Middle East.” Doron, the founding director of the well-connected “pro-market” Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, writes:

As the high hopes for a brave new Middle East fade rapidly, Western policymakers must recognize that promoting market economics and its inevitable cultural changes are far more critical to the region’s well-being than encouraging free elections or resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. In addition to producing material prosperity, diffusing power, and curbing tyranny, economic freedom promotes social, cultural, and religious changes conducive to democracy and tolerance. It enhances personal responsibility and social involvement and instills good work habits and accountability. It builds a civil society with a stake in peace. If there is to be any hope of lasting peace and stability in the Middle East, nothing less will do.

Doron, who was greatly influenced by Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek and other free market ideologues at the University of Chicago, sees the “Arab Spring” uprisings as an opportunity to put an end to government domination of the economy in the region. In his conclusion, the former Israeli intelligence officer who has served on an economic advisory group for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and on the Israel Government Council for National and Economic Planning, urges:

Western policymakers must refocus their attention on combating the root causes of Arab authoritarianism: Holding free elections in the region is less important than the advent of market economies.

In support of his view that “[t]he collapse of autocratic regimes in the Arab world will not necessarily promote economic freedom,” Doron interestingly cites another staunch and controversial supporter of Israel, Elliott Abrams, who wrote on his CFR blog on October 17, 2011 that the United States should begin to negotiate free trade agreements with Tunisia and Egypt. As Abrams, an early and enthusiastic advocate of the so-called Arab Spring, explained:

…an FTA creates real and continuing pressure for a freer economy, the rule of law, more open markets, and less corruption. This is precisely why negotiating FTAs with Tunisia and Egypt should begin now, as they begin their political and economic transitions. There will be many pressures to maintain corrupt, anti-market practices, and those who hold monopolies and other economic advantages will seek to keep them. An FTA will push in the other direction, toward an open market and the economic growth it can bring. There are few things we can do to nudge both countries in a positive direction that would have greater effect than FTAs with each.

Considering the provenance of all this concern for their welfare, the newly-liberated people of the Middle East and North Africa would do well to remember the price that was paid for earlier popular “revolutions” in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. As the Guardian’s Mark Almond wrote in the wake of Ukraine’s so-called “Orange Revolution”:

The hangover from People Power is shock therapy. Each successive crowd is sold a multimedia vision of Euro-Atlantic prosperity by western-funded “independent” media to get them on the streets. No one dwells on the mass unemployment, rampant insider dealing, growth of organised crime, prostitution and soaring death rates in successful People Power states.

[…]

People Power is, it turns out, more about closing things than creating an open society. It shuts factories but, worse still, minds. Its advocates demand a free market in everything – except opinion. The current ideology of New World Order ideologues, many of whom are renegade communists, is Market-Leninism – that combination of a dogmatic economic model with Machiavellian methods to grasp the levers of power.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , | 1 Comment