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Everyday humiliation of Israeli military occupation

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Israeli soldiers and the flying checkpoint outside the village
International Solidarity Movement | December 7, 2015

Hebron, occupied Palestine – Palestinians living in the Israeli militarily occupied West Bank face discrimination, racism and humiliation at the hands of Israeli forces on an everyday basis. Humiliation is entrenched in every aspect of daily life under the Israeli occupation. The message is clear: as a Palestinian you are always perceived as a threat, a possible terrorist or a menace – but never as a human being.

As a Palestinian citizen of the West Bank, freedom of movement is severely restricted and rather resembles trying to navigate a maze of road-blocks, permanent checkpoints and temporary ‘flying checkpoints’ that can suddenly pop up anywhere. All of these restrictions share one commonality: they are clearly intended to target only Palestinians – while Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank are using roads that might not even be allowed for Palestinians to drive on.

In occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), the Israeli bus collecting passengers from the illegal settlements is not allowed for Palestinians to ride on, and thus passes Bethlehem checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem without even stopping – all the passengers are Israeli settlers anyways. On the Palestinian bus going through the same checkpoint, everyone, with the exception of tourists and elderly, are forced to get off the bus and wait for their IDs to be checked outside in any weather, and often their bags inspected by heavily-armed soldiers.

Right during rush hour on Thursday afternoon, Israeli forces set up checkpoints at all the entrances of occupied al-Khalil, resulting in endless queues of cars, on their way to visit family over the weekend on Friday and Saturday. As two soldiers thoroughly checked every passenger’s ID and car going in both directions, the queues grew longer and even ambulances with emergencies were denied passage and held up for at least ten minutes while being checked – ten minutes that hopefully weren’t critical for the emergency the ambulance was attempting to quickly get to. As Israeli forces strategically blocked every possible way to leave or enter al-Khalil either by permanent road-blocks completely blocking any sort of traffic except pedestrians or temporary checkpoints; there was no possible alternative than to either turn around and stay inside the city or to endure at least two hours of waiting to eventually be allowed to pass this checkpoint.

Finally passing one checkpoint successfully, though, in militarily occupied Palestine basically doesn’t mean anything: just a few hundred meters down the street might be another checkpoint. Palestinians try to avoid Gush Etzion junction on the way to Bethlehem, as settlers often attack Palestinians cars there, and soldiers stop and search cars with Palestinian license plates only; they take a detour through Palestinian villages. But in order to make the near-lockdown of al-Khalil ‘perfect’, Israeli forces set up checkpoints at entrances and exits of Sa’ir village. Thus, after an hour-long wait to leave al-Khalil city itself, Palestinian cars were stuck in yet another checkpoint just a twenty minutes drive away.

Waiting in the dark for seemingly endless hours to move ahead just one or two more meters in the line as a car was allowed to pass – or turned around, giving up the hope of ever crossing that night at all; Israeli settler cars speed past on a nearby road without any hurdles or hassles, just ‘normaly’ driving down a road at night. When finally slowly approaching the make-shift checkpoint with traffic spikes on the street, cars have to switch off their lights, so people next in line will only hazily see what’s going on. Once it’s their turn, everyone inside the car has to get out and stand a few meters away from the soldiers, while they inspect the IDs and cars. Depending on the soldiers mood, some people, mainly young adult males, will have to lift up their shirts and trouser-legs; while others will have to answer questions about their destinations and the reason of travels, and even about their families and private life. The only thing that is for sure is that you can never tell what will happen. The power dynamics is clear, the heavily armed soldiers have the ‘authority’ to decide over everything, the Palestinian passengers will have to obey whatever is asked of them. That none of this has to do with ‘security’ but everything with control and humiliation is obvious. This is the face of just a tiny little aspect of the everyday humiliation defining this military occupation.

Humiliation doesn’t even stop with death – the Israeli forces are still withholding the bodies of Palestinians they claim attacked Israeli soldiers – refusing an appropriate funeral and mourning for their families, relatives and friends. Denying even a last peaceful rest and a person’s family to mourn the death of a loved one is the last possible way to humiliate. Not even in death, does the humiliation stop or are Palestinians treated like human beings.

December 7, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Syria urges immediate UN action over US-led airstrikes

Press TV – December 7, 2015

Syria has called on the UN Security Council to take immediate action against recent US-led airstrikes that killed three Syrian soldiers.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the UN Security Council and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, condemning the airstrikes that killed the Syrian government soldiers on Sunday.

Damascus said four US-led coalition warplanes fired nine missiles at one of the Syrian army’s posts in the central-east of the country in Deir Ezzor Province, killing three soldiers and injuring 13 others.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this flagrant aggression by the US-led coalition forces, which blatantly violates the objectives of the UN charter,” the letter read.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry urged the Security Council to “act immediately in the face of this aggression and take appropriate measures to prevent its recurrence.”

The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led airstrikes in the Arab country as illegal and ineffective with the letter saying the recent attack once again showed the failings of the coalition’s operations.

“The US coalition lacks the seriousness and credibility to effectively combat terrorism,” the letter added.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, earlier said the US-led attacks killed four Syrian soldiers near Ayyash town.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition denied responsibility for the attacks and said the coalition hit an area 55 kilometers away from a Syrian army camp.

“There were no human beings in the area that we struck yesterday, all we struck was a wellhead,” the spokesman also said.

The air raids in Syria are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq, which started in August last year. Many have criticized the ineffectiveness of the raids.

This is while the US and some of its regional allies, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have lent staunch support to the Takfiri groups there.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy for four and a half years. More than 250,000 have lost their lives and millions displaced as a result of the crisis in the war-torn Arab country.

December 7, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US donors gave settlements more than $220 million in tax-exempt funds over five years

MEMO | December 7, 2015

2473163579_4eae9ce336Private US donors are massively funding Israeli settlements by using a network of tax-exempt nonprofits, which funnelled more than $220 million to West Bank settlements in 2009-2013 alone, a Haaretz investigation has found.

The funding is being used for anything from buying air conditioners to supporting the families of convicted Jewish terrorists, and comes from tax-deductible donations made to around 50 US-based groups.

Nearly 80 percent of this income (about $224 million) was transferred to the occupied territories as grants, mostly through Israeli nonprofits. In 2013 alone, these organisations raised $73 million and allotted $54 million in grants.

The investigation stated: “Thanks to their status as nonprofits, these organisations are not taxed on their income and donations made to them are tax deductible – meaning the U.S. government is incentivising and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement, even though it has been consistently opposed by every U.S. administration for the past 48 years.”

A senior White House official told Haaretz that “the policy of every administration since 1967, Democrat and Republican alike, has been to object to Israeli settlement beyond the 1967 borders.

“The present administration is no different,” the official continued. “Concordant with permanent U.S. policies, this administration never defended or supported any activity associated with the settlements. It doesn’t support or advance any activity that will legitimize them.”

December 7, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli court sentences Palestinian MP Jarrar to 15 months in jail

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Palestine Information Center – December 7, 2015

RAMALLAH – An Israeli military court on Sunday evening sentenced member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Khalida Jarrar to 15 months in prison.

Ofer military court gave Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar a 15-month prison sentence for purely political reasons, according to her husband, Ghassan Jarrar.

Jarrar was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces from her home in the West Bank town of al-Bireh, on 2 April 2015.

The Israeli government charged her on 12 accounts, and after 25 court hearings, the prosecution and the court settled on three main charges: Providing assistance to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), incitement against Israel, and membership in the PFLP.

Jarrar is a prominent and inspirational leader in Palestinian society. In addition to being a lawmaker, she is a women’s rights activist and a member of the board of directors for the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

Addameer reported in November that the Israeli military prosecution relied on alleged secret material to maintain leverage during the trial proceedings in Jarrar’s case.

Jarrar was placed under administrative detention based on “secret material” from the day she was arrested.

Addameer also said that Israel used “fabricated charges” against Jarrar obtained through “deceptive and flawed interrogation techniques” that were used to force confessions from Palestinian detainees.

The witnesses later denied the confessions, which they said were given under duress.

Jarrar’s husband told al-Araby website that the Israeli police had been exhausting his wife by transporting her from prison to court nearly 25 times in the past few months.

“It takes 22 hours to transfer her each time. She is usually prevented from using the toilet for nearly 8 hours and remains in cuffs all the time.”

Jarrar is detained in Hasharon prison where Palestinian women are mainly held. Her husband is not allowed to visit her on “security” grounds.

Jarrar had also been targeted by forced displacement to Jericho from Ramallah by an occupation military order, which she succeeded in defeating after a month-long sit-in at the PLC office and an international support campaign.

“The conviction of Khalida Jarrar comes as no surprise; Israeli military courts serve no function except as an instrument of repression and suppression directed against Palestinians. Khalida Jarrar is a Palestinian political leader and an internationally-renowned struggler for justice. She has dedicated her life to working for freedom for her people and her land, and especially for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners,” said Charlotte Kates, coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

“It is urgent that we build the movement internationally to demand freedom for Jarrar and for her nearly 7,000 sisters and brothers held as Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli jails,” Charlotte Kates added.

December 7, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putative US-Israeli Rift Has Not Dampened Partnership in Oppression of Palestinians

By Matt Peppe  | Just the Facts | December 6, 2015

In March, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made denying a Palestinian state a pillar of his winning re-election campaign, officials in the Obama administration signaled to the media that they would reconsider the U.S. government’s staunch diplomatic support for Israel in the United Nations. The U.S. government feigned “very substantive concerns” and declared the administration may “reassess (its) options going forward” in response to Netanyahu’s explicit rejection of a two-state solution.

Mainstream media focused on the personal dynamics between the leaders of the two countries. CNN said the Obama administration felt “outright hostility” toward Netanyahu and the New York Times said the leaders had a “poisonous relationship.” They presumed the professed discord would imperil the political alliance between the two governments. In reality, there was no reason to believe a personal conflict would jeopardize the nearly 50-year-old U.S. government policy of providing Israel an unconditional shield in the General Assembly and the Security Council.

It was obvious even at the time the Obama administration’s anonymous threats to reconsider its diplomatic protection of Israel were nothing more than posturing. Netanyahu had broken an unwritten rule when he said in front of the cameras what is stated in his Likud party’s platform: “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” Not only had this been written policy since 1999, but Netanyahu’s government – and every other Israeli administration since the state’s illegitimate formation in 1948 – has been carrying it out in practice.

Obama has demonstrated little interest in supporting progressive policies in favor of human rights and social justice, but he has shown himself zealously concerned with them in the abstract through grandiose and noble rhetoric. During the first six years of his presidency, Netanyahu actively opposed a Palestinian state without Obama’s administration withholding any of the ideological, diplomatic, military and economic support that is a necessary condition for the occupation’s survival. As long as Netanyahu kept quiet, Obama could pretend his administration’s support for Israel was contingent on Israel seeking a permanent peace deal with Palestinians.

Obama urged “cooperation and compromise” and continued the pretense that a “peace process” was not already long dead. But when Netanyahu publicly declared in stark terms that he has no intention of permitting a just solution to Israel’s colonization of Palestine, he made it impossible for Obama to continue the charade. Netanyahu and his fanatical government ministers long ago realized that Obama had no intention of seeking actual concessions from them regardless of how much land and water they stole, or how many Palestinians (or Americans) they killed.

In reality, Obama was happy to let the Israeli government keep slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza, expanding checkpoints and repression in the West Bank, and further carving up the West Bank with new illegal settlements while offering nothing but the most mild, toothless complaints.

As Ali Abunimah noted in the Electronic Intifada, “for the Palestinians, there is no meaningful Obama-Netanyahu rift. Indeed US-Israeli relations have never been stronger, nor more damaging to the prospects for peace and justice and for the very survival of the Palestinian people.”

This was not inevitable. In January 2009, Netanyahu had ordered an immediate halt to the IDF’s destructive rampage in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, which had killed more than 1,400 people in Gaza, the day before Obama’s inauguration ceremony in January 2009. Presumably Netanyahu believed the failure stop the second assault on the blockaded territory in a year would cause the incoming Obama administration to support an independent investigation, cut military aid, dispute Israel’s argument that it “had a right to defend itself,” or end the U.S. government’s facilitation of the carnage.

But it turns out Netanyahu and the Israeli regime needn’t have worried, as no such change in policy was in the cards. Obama’s new administration would block the Goldstone Report presented to the Human Rights Council, and ensure complete impunity for the Israeli crimes that occurred subsequent to Obama’s election. This likely emboldened Netanyahu to unleash even more wanton destruction and horror in July 2014, when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on trumped up accusations against Hamas.

“Having falsely accused Hamas leadership of orchestrating the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens in June, and then assailing the group for ‘purposely playing politics’ when it rejected the Egyptian ceasefire proposal that offered it nothing beyond a return to the status quo of the siege, (Secretary of State John) Kerry and the Obama administration once again provided the Israeli military with the diplomatic cover it needed to escalate the violence,” writes Max Blumenthal in The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.

Despite extensive documentation from the start of the military campaign that the captive civilian population in Gaza comprised the vast majority of the dead and injured from tank and naval shelling, drone missiles, F-16 bombs and heavy artillery, the Obama administration cast the only vote against establishing a war crimes investigation by the United Nations. A few days later, the administration helped resupply the Israeli army with weapons, including 102mm mortar rounds and 40mm grenades, that the IDF could use to keep up their prolific killing spree.

In May, any doubts that the personality conflicts had actually imperiled the hand-in-glove military cooperation between the two countries, as mainstream pundits so forcefully proclaimed, was put to rest. The Obama administration approved an arms sale for $1.9 billion to Israel – in violation of domestic and international law, and against the explicit demands of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

The Electronic Intifada reported: “Among the tens of thousands of bombs included in the weapons package are 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 12,000 general purpose bombs and 750 bunker buster bombs that can penetrate up to 20 feet, or six meters, of reinforced concrete.”

Much as the military cooperation between the two states has carried on seamlessly, so has the diplomatic cooperation. Despite Israeli officials hinting the government might finally decline to vote with the U.S. in the 24th annual UNGA condemnation of the Cuban embargo, predictably Israel was the only country in the entire world to join the U.S. in defense of the embargo. The measure passed by a vote of 191-2.

Not surprisingly, unconditional U.S. support for Israel in the United Nations has also continued uninterrupted. “Traditional Voting Pattern Reflected in General Assembly’s Adoption of Drafts on Question of Palestine, Broader Middle East Issues,” states a U.N. press release after the passage of six resolutions concerning Israel. Indeed, the pattern was traditional: the U.S. and Israel, with a few Pacific Island states, voting against the rest of the world (minus whoever the U.S.-Israel alliance could persuade to abstain).

In a resolution on the illegally occupied Syrian Golan Heights, from which Israel steals valuable natural resources and where many prestigious Israeli wineries are located, the U.S. government rejected the position that Israel follow previous Security Council resolutions and withdraw to the 1967 borders.

Concerning Jerusalem, the U.S. rejected a measure stating that Israel, as the occupying power, had no right to “impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem,” and that they show “respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem.”

Additionally, the U.S. rejected a call “to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, to support the achievement without delay of an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and of the two-State solution on the basis of pre-1967 borders and the just resolution of all final status issues and to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people.”

As these votes were not reported in the mainstream American press, the American public can be forgiven for not realizing the meaninglessness of the “rift” between American and Israeli government officials, which has not impacted at all the U.S. government’s longstanding record of rejecting world opinion and cooperative efforts to achieve a just peace.

The corporate press have demonstrated that their policy analysis consists primarily – if not entirely – of dissecting style, empty rhetoric and official proclamations. Concrete actions and their consequences are of little concern.

December 7, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Walrus and the New York Times

BY John Hinderaker | PowerLine |December 1, 2015

As part of its cheerleading for the U.N. climate convention in Paris, the New York Times is running a series on What Climate Change Looks Like. First up are the walruses:

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This week, we’re featuring images that show how global warming has already impacted the world.

Packed shoulder to shoulder, an estimated 35,000 Pacific walruses congregated on Alaska’s northwest coast near Point Lay last fall. Normally the mammals find ocean ice sheets to rest on, but as waters have warmed the ice sheets have disappeared. In seven of the last nine years swarms of walruses swam ashore for refuge, as shown above, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The first time this happened was in 2007 when summer ice levels were at a record low.

The Times is peddling ignorance here. Actually, the congregation of walruses on land is an age-old phenomenon known as “hauling out.” It has nothing to do with the volume of sea ice at any given time. In fact, the Times is not just peddling ignorance, it is recycling it. Today’s Times piece is paraphrased from a much-derided column by Gail Collins that ran in October 2014.

We responded to that column in a post titled The Walrus and the Climate Hysterics. The best we can do is to quote what we wrote a year ago:

Like the other manifestations of climate hysteria, the walrus crisis is entirely fabricated. First, let’s note how great it is that you can find 35,000 Pacific walruses in one place. It is a sign of a thriving wildlife population, estimated to have doubled since the 1950s.

Climate Depot has a thorough debunking of the walrus hype, beginning with Dr. Susan Crockford, a zoologist:

The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science… this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.

To be fair, misinforming the public is the Times’s specialty.

Walruses have always swarmed on land during the fall. This is called a “haulout.” In 2007, Wikipedia said, in its entry on walruses:

In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.

That portion of the walrus entry was recently deleted. Hmm, wonder why?

Walrus haulouts have been observed for hundreds of years: “Dating back to at least 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haul outs.”

The Times’s claim that “[t]he first time this happened was in 2007″ is a hilarious bit of ham-handed ignorance.

Shortly after we published the post quoted above, Steve added another that included this video:

If you want to learn a whole lot more about the walrus behavior in question, go here.

Because its writers are so ill-informed, the New York Times is an especially laughable purveyor of politically-motivated climate hysteria. But in reality, the whole warmist enterprise is one big fraud, as is demonstrated on a daily basis.

December 7, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment