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Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 19, 2017

In discussing President Trump, there is always the soft prejudice of low expectations – people praise him for reading from a Teleprompter even if his words make little sense – but there is no getting around the reality that his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly must rank as  one of the most embarrassing moments in America’s relations with the global community.

Trump offered a crude patchwork of propaganda and bluster, partly delivered as a campaign speech praising his own leadership – boasting about the relatively strong U.S. economy that he mostly inherited from President Obama – and partly reflecting his continued subservience to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, perhaps most importantly, Trump’s speech may have extinguished any flickering hope that his presidency might achieve some valuable course corrections in how the United States deals with the world, i.e., shifting away from the disastrous war/interventionist policies of his two predecessors.

Before the speech, there was at least some thinking that his visceral disdain for the neoconservatives, who mostly opposed his nomination and election, might lead him to a realization that their policies toward Iran, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere were at the core of America’s repeated and costly failures in recent decades.

Instead, apparently after a bracing lecture from Netanyahu on Monday, Trump bared himself in a kind of neocon Full Monte:

–He repeated the Israeli/neocon tripe about Iran destabilizing the Middle East when Shiite-ruled Iran actually has helped stabilize Iraq and Syria against Sunni terrorist groups and other militants supported by Saudi Arabia and – to a degree – Israel;

–He again denounced the Iranian nuclear agreement whose main flaw in the eyes of the Israelis and the neocons is that it disrupted their plans to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, and he called for “regime change” in Iran, a long beloved dream of the Israelis and the neocons;

–He repeated the Israeli/neocon propaganda about Hezbollah as a terrorist organization when Hezbollah’s real crime was driving the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an Israeli occupation that began with Israel’s 1982 invasion;

–He praised his rush-to-judgment decision to bomb Syria last April, in line with Israeli/neocon propaganda against President Bashar al-Assad and partly out of a desire to please the same Washington establishment that is still scheming how to impeach him;

–He spoke with the crass hypocrisy that the neocons and many Israeli leaders have perfected, particularly his demand that “all nations … respect … the rights of every other sovereign nation” — when he made clear that he, like his White House predecessors, is ready to violate the sovereignty of other nations that get in Official Washington’s way.

A Litany of Wars

Just this century, the United States has invaded multiple nations without U.N. authorization, based on various “coalitions of the willing” and other subterfuges for wars of aggression, which the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed the “supreme international crime” and which the U.N. was specifically created to prevent.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush

Not only did President George W. Bush invade both Afghanistan and Iraq – while also sponsoring “anti-terror” operations in many other countries – but President Barack Obama acknowledged ordering military attacks in seven countries, including against the will of sovereign states, such as Libya and Syria. Obama also supported a violent coup against the elected government of Ukraine.

For his part, Trump already has shown disdain for international law by authorizing military strikes inside Yemen and Syria. In other words, if not for the fear of provoking American anger, many of the world’s diplomats might have responded with a barrage of catcalls toward Trump for his blatant hypocrisy. Without doubt, the United States is the preeminent violator of sovereignty and international law in the world today, yet Trump wagged his finger at others, including Russia (over Ukraine) and China (over the South China Sea).

He declared: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.”

Then, with a seeming blindness to how much of the world sees the United States as a law onto itself, Trump added: “The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.”

Of course, in the U.S. mainstream media’s commentary that followed, Trump’s hypocrisy went undetected. That’s because across the American political/media establishment, the U.S. right to act violently around the world is simply accepted as the way things are supposed to be. International law is for the other guy; not for the “indispensible nation,” not for the “sole remaining superpower.”

On Bibi’s Leash

Despite some of his “America First” rhetoric – tossed in as red meat to his “base” – Trump revealed a global outlook that differed from the Bush-Obama neoconservative/liberal-interventionist approach in words only. In substance, Trump appears to be just the latest American poodle on Bibi Netanyahu’s leash.

For instance, Trump bragged about attacking Syria over a dubious chemical-weapons claim while ignoring the role of the Saudi/Israeli tandem in assisting Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate; Trump threatened the international nuclear agreement with Iran while calling for regime change in Tehran, two of Netanyahu’s top priorities; and Trump warned that he would “totally destroy North Korea” over its nuclear and missile programs while making no mention of Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal and sophisticated delivery capabilities.

Ignoring Saudi Arabia’s ties to terrorism, Trump touted his ludicrous summit in Riyadh in which he danced with swords and let King Salman and other corrupt Persian Gulf monarchs, who have long winked and nodded at ideological and logistical support going to Al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups, pretend their governments were joining an anti-terror coalition.

Exploding the myth that he is at least a street-smart operator who can’t be easily conned, Trump added, “In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.”

No wonder Netanyahu seemed so pleased with Trump’s speech. The Israeli prime minister could have written it himself while allowing Trump to add a few crude flourishes, like calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man … on a suicide mission”; referring to “the loser terrorists”; and declaring that many parts of the world are “going to hell.”

Trump also tossed in a plug for his “new strategy for victory” in Afghanistan and threw in some interventionist talk regarding the Western Hemisphere with more threats to Cuba and Venezuela about escalating sanctions and other activities to achieve more “regime change” solutions.

So, what Trump made clear in his U.N. address is that his “America First” and “pro-sovereignty” rhetoric is simply cover for a set of policies that are indistinguishable from those pushed by the neocons of the Bush administration or the liberal interventionists of the Obama administration. The rationalizations may change but the endless wars and “regime change” machinations continue.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars

Shouldn’t they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?

Kristol

Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 19, 2017

I spoke recently at a conference on America’s war party where afterwards an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone ever speak honestly about the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for Netanyahu? Shouldn’t we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?”

It was a question combined with a comment that I have heard many times before and my answer is always the same: any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again. They are particularly sensitive on the issue of so-called “dual loyalty,” particularly as the expression itself is a bit of a sham since it is pretty clear that some of them only have real loyalty to Israel.

Most recently, some pundits, including myself, have been warning of an impending war with Iran. To be sure, the urging to strike Iran comes from many quarters, to include generals in the Administration who always think first in terms of settling problems through force, from a Saudi government obsessed with fear over Iranian hegemony, and, of course, from Israel itself. But what makes the war engine run is provided by American Jews who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of starting a war with a country that does not conceivably threaten the United States. They have been very successful at faking the Iranian threat, so much so that nearly all Republican and most Democratic congressmen as well as much of the media seem to be convinced that Iran needs to be dealt with firmly, most definitely by using the U.S. military, and the sooner the better.

And while they are doing it, the issue that nearly all the Iran haters are Jewish has somehow fallen out of sight, as if it does not matter. But it should matter. A recent article in the New Yorker on stopping the impending war with Iran strangely suggests that the current generation “Iran hawks” might be a force of moderation regarding policy options given the lessons learned from Iraq. The article cites as hardliners on Iran David Frum, Max Boot, Bill Kristol and Bret Stephens.

Daniel Larison over at The American Conservative has a good review of the New Yorker piece entitled “Yes, Iran Hawks Want Conflict with Iran,” which identifies the four above cited hawks by name before describing them as “… a Who’s Who of consistently lousy foreign policy thinking. If they have been right about any major foreign policy issue in the last twenty years, it would be news to the entire world. Every single one of them hates the nuclear deal with Iran with a passion, and they have argued in favor of military action against Iran at one point or another. There is zero evidence that any of them would oppose attacking Iran.”

And I would add a few more names, Mark Dubowitz, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum; John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine; Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations; Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute; Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War; and Frederick Kagan, Danielle Pletka and David Wurmser of the American Enterprise Institute. And you can also throw into the hopper entire organizations like The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Hudson Institute. And yep, they’re all Jewish, plus most of them would self-describe as neo-conservatives. And I might add that only one of the named individuals has ever served in any branch of the American military – David Wurmser was once in the Navy reserve. These individuals largely constitute a cabal of sanctimonious chairborne warriors who prefer to do the heavy thinking while they let others do the fighting and dying.

So it is safe to say that much of the agitation to do something about Iran comes from Israel and from American Jews. Indeed, I would opine that most of the fury from Congress re Iran comes from the same source, with AIPAC showering our Solons on the Potomac with “fact sheets” explaining how Iran is worthy of annihilation because it has pledged to “destroy Israel,” which is both a lie and an impossibility as Tehran does not have the resources to carry out such a task. The AIPAC lies are then picked up and replayed by an obliging media, where nearly every “expert” who speaks about the Middle East on television and radio or who is interviewed for newspaper stories is Jewish.

One might also add that neocons as a group were founded by Jews and are largely Jewish, hence their universal attachment to the state of Israel. They first rose into prominence when they obtained a number of national security positions during the Reagan Administration and their ascendancy was completed when they staffed senior positions in the Pentagon and White House under George W. Bush. Recall for a moment Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and Scooter Libby. Yes, all Jewish and all conduits for the false information that led to a war that has spread and effectively destroyed much of the Middle East. Except for Israel, of course. Philip Zelikow, also Jewish, in a moment of candor, admitted that the Iraq War, in his opinion, was fought for Israel.

Add to the folly a Jewish U.S. Ambassador to Israel who identifies with the most right-wing Israeli settler elements, a White House appointed chief negotiator who is Jewish and a Jewish son-in-law who is also involved in formulating Middle East policy. Is anyone providing an alternative viewpoint to eternal and uncritical support for Benjamin Netanyahu and his kleptocratic regime of racist thugs? I think not.

There are a couple of simple fixes for the dominant involvement of American Jews in foreign policy issues where they have a personal interest due to their ethnicity or family ties. First of all, don’t put them into national security positions involving the Middle East, where they will potentially be conflicted. Let them worry instead about North Korea, which does not have a Jewish minority and which was not involved in the holocaust. This type of solution was, in fact, somewhat of a policy regarding the U.S. Ambassador position in Israel. No Jew was appointed to avoid any conflict of interest prior to 1995, an understanding that was violated by Bill Clinton (wouldn’t you know it!) who named Martin Indyk to the post. Indyk was not even an American citizen at the time and had to be naturalized quickly prior to being approved by congress.

Those American Jews who are strongly attached to Israel and somehow find themselves in senior policy making positions involving the Middle East and who actually possess any integrity on the issue should recuse themselves, just as any judge would do if he were presiding over a case in which he had a personal interest. Any American should be free to exercise first amendment rights to debate possible options regarding policy, up to and including embracing positions that damage the United States and benefit a foreign nation. But if he or she is in a position to actually create those policies, he or she should butt out and leave the policy generation to those who have no personal baggage.

For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g. Bill Kristol is “Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel.” That would be kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison – translating roughly as “ingest even the tiniest little dosage of the nonsense spewed by Bill Kristol at your own peril.”

As none of the above is likely to happen, the only alternative is for American citizens who are tired of having their country’s national security interests hijacked by a group that is in thrall to a foreign government to become more assertive about what is happening. Shine a little light into the darkness and recognize who is being diddled and by whom. Call it like it is. And if someone’s feelings are hurt, too bad. We don’t need a war with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver. Seriously, we don’t need it.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

103 Palestinian prisoners died since signing of Oslo

Palestine Information Center – September 18, 2017

RAMALLAH – A report issued by a Palestinian human rights organization on Sunday revealed that around 110,000 arrests against Palestinians have been documented since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993. Nearly 16,000 of the arrests recorded involved juveniles while 1,700 arrests targeted females.

Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission said in a statement on Sunday that the number of Israeli prisons has increased since the signing of the Oslo Accord, adding that new prisons were established and other old ones were re-opened.

The Commission affirmed that the Israel Prison Service has escalated its arbitrary and retaliatory measures against the Palestinian prisoners and pointed out that around 15 laws and bills violating the prisoners’ rights have been enacted.

The statement underlined that since the Oslo Accord was signed, 103 Palestinian prisoners have died inside Israeli jails either due to medical negligence, torture or direct killing.

It noted that the vast majority of the detainees are civilians who were arrested from areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The Commission said on the 24th anniversary of the Oslo Accord that nearly 6,500 Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli jails, including 64 women, 350 children and 500 administrative detainees.

On 13th September 1993, the Oslo Accord was signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the auspices of the US in the White House.

Oslo was aimed at achieving a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but Tel Aviv exploited it to impose a new reality and activate its settlement expansion projects in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Bahrain’s king denounces boycott of Israel, says citizens free to visit Israel

Press TV – September 18, 2017

Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah has called for an end to the Arab boycott of Israel, days after the Israeli premier said relations with the Arab world were better than any other time.

According to Israeli media, King Hamad’s made the remarks at an event hosted by pro-Israeli group Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, calling for diplomatic ties to be established with the Israeli regime.

King Hamad also told Simon Wiesenthal Center director Rabbi Abraham Cooper that Bahraini citizens are free to visit Israel as they please. His stance on Israel was welcomed by the Israeli center’s director who hailed the monarch as “ahead of the pack and smart.”

“If I had to predict, I would tell you that the Arab world’s relationship with the state of Israel is going to dramatically change… This is a dinner tonight that’s hosted by a Jewish organization that no one will say is not so pro-Israel,” Cooper added.

Cooper and his partner Marvin Hier met with King Hamed at the center and discussed the opening of a museum for religious tolerance in Bahrain’s capital Manama towards the end of the year.

The change of stance comes weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described relations with the Arab world better than any other time.

“What’s happening now with the Arab bloc states has never before happened in our history – even when we signed agreements,” said Netanyahu. “What we have now is greater than anything else during any other period in Israel’s history.”

Last week, reports emerged that a secret meeting was held between a leading Saudi royal and senior Israeli officials in Tel Aviv, and in June, leaked emails of the UAE’s ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba’s suggested that Abu Dhabi had established secret links with pro-Israel think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Last year, a video of a ceremony to mark the Jewish Hanukkah holiday hosted by Bahrain circulated on social media, showing Bahraini men in local kaffiyeh attire attending the party and dancing with Orthodox Jews. The video prompted condemnation from the Palestinian movement Hamas that urged Bahrain to end the move towards normalizing ties with Israel.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Tel Aviv has defied international calls to stop its construction activities on the occupied Palestinian territories.

The regime has accused rights groups of contributing to the worldwide anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

The boycott of Israel was adopted by the Arab League and its member states and bars all relations between Arab nations and Israel.

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause of ending Israeli occupation and oppression. Those include international trade unions, NGOs, initiatives, academic and business societies, trade unions, and cultural figures.

Last year, the regime allocated $32 million to fighting the high-profile movement. It has also banned anyone found to support the BDS from entering the Israeli-occupied territories.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 7 Comments

August 2017 report: 522 Palestinians arrested by Israeli occupation

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – September 16, 2017

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions released their monthly report on Palestinian prisoners and detainees of the Israeli occupation for August 2017. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission compiled the report below. Translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

In August 2017, Israeli occupation forces continued their policy of arbitrary detention against hundreds of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory and their ongoing practices which violate international humanitarian and human rights law.

Arrest Statistics

In August 2017, 522 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli occupation forces, including 130 children and 16 women.

According to the documentation of the prisoner support organizations, 194 Palestinians were arrested from Jerusalem, 70 from al-Khalil, 50 from Ramallah, 45 from Nablus, 38 from Bethlehem, 33 from Jenin, 27 from Tulkarem, 24 from Qalqilya, 19 from Salfit, 11 from Jericho, seven from Tubas and four from the Gaza Strip.

The total number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reached 6300 prisoners, 64 of whom are women. Among them are 10 minor girls and 300 boys, 450 administrative detainees imprisoned without charge or trial and 12 detained members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

134 administrative detention orders were issued in August for imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial; 61 were new orders and 73 were renewal orders, as administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable.

The Arrest of Human Rights Defenders

Article 1 of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1998, providing that: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.” Despite this, the occupation continues to arrest and prosecute activists and human rights defenders.

On 23 August, Israeli occupation forces arrested a human rights defender, Salah Hamouri, a field researcher for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, after invading his home in the town of Kufr Aqab north of Jerusalem, ransacking it. Hamouri has been arrested more than once. He was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison in a plea bargain but was released in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange in 2011. A few days after his arrest, he was initially released on several conditions:
1) House imprisonment in the village of Reineh in occupied Palestine ’48 for 20 days
2) Travel ban for 3 months
3) Expulsion from the city of Jerusalem for 90 days
4) Paying a bail of 10,000 NIS ($3,800 USD)
However, before he was to be released, he was instead issued a 6-month administrative detention order. When brought before the court for confirmation, he was instead sentenced to return to the remainder of his prison sentence from which he was released in 2011, approximately 3 months. The prosecution appealed this sentence, and his 6-month administrative detention order was reimposed.

The arrest of Hamouri is an example of the arbitrary detention targeting human rights defenders and human rights activists for imprisonment, with the goal of preventing them from playing their role in the community in raising awareness and defending the rights and freedoms of the people. It is notewirthy that Hamouri was arrested more than once, during which he was subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment, most recently in 2004, after which he was imprisoned for nearly 7 years before being released in the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar agreement. During his detention in 2004, he was offered a plea bargain by the Israeli occupation authorities to deport him to France for 10 years, since he is a French citizen, instead of sentencing him, but he refused the offer and stayed in Palestine. After he was released, he was subjected to several arbitrary practices by the Israeli occupation forces. He was issued an order preventing him from entering the West Bank twice, and the period of his prohibition was a year and a half. In 2016, Israeli occupation officials deported his pregnant wife Elsa, a French citizen, and banned her from Palestine for 10 years, with their child, Hassan, who she is forced to raise away from his father. Finally, all of his requests for the right to family reunification have been refused as an arbitrary punitive measure against Salah and his family.

Extrajudicial Killings: The Case of the Martyr Raed al-Salhi from Dheisheh Camp

The policy of field executions and shooting to kill is not a surprising action committed by individuals, but is instead a deliberate and systematic policy approve at the highest levels of the occupying power. Statements made by the government officials of the occupation state in the media or directly in proposals from members of the government emphasized the need to reduce the legal requirements for the use of live ammunition against Palestinians, to the extent that it constitutes a breach of international law.

Since September 2015, human rights organizations have been monitoring and documenting cases in which occupation forces engaged in extrajudicial executions of Palestinian civilians, by shooting at the upper body with intent to kill (areas between the head and abdomen) during demonstrations and confrontations that broke out in most of the occupied Palestinian territories.

The occupation did not hesitate to use this method even during the implementation of its arrest raids and invasions carried out by the army in Palestinian camps, villages and cities. On 9 August 2017, in the early hours of the morning, the Israeli occupation forces invaded the Dheisheh refugee camp, east of Bethlehem city, in order to carry out a campaign of arrestts of youth in the camp.

Occupation forces opened fire at point-blank range on the young Abdel-Aziz Arafa, who was wounded in the left leg by live ammunition, and Raed Salhi, who was critically wounded after being shot six times during his arrest. He was martyred on 3 September 2017 as a result of his injuries. He was directly wounded in the liver and kidney by live ammunition, and through field testimony collected from the families of the youths and others, it was confirmed that the army deliberately fired live ammunition at him, carrying out a field execution.

The prisoner, Bassam al-Salhi, the brother of Raed Salhi, said:

“On 9 August 2017 at 3:43 am, I was woken from my sleep by my mother’s voice screaming and crying, saying that the army is killing people and that they fired inside the house specifically. When I got up I went out to the living room and my mother was crying and screming. She told me that Raed is martyred, that he is wounded and is behind the wall behind our house. I was with my younger brother Mohammed and we went to try to save Raed, going out the door leading to the back wall. I jumped on the balcony to try to get to the back wall, because our houses in the camp are close together. And the occupation forces opened fire on the railings of our neighbors, the soldiers firing heavily. Then I saw a soldier lying on the railings of our home and it looked to me as if he was wounded. I later learned that the soldiers who fired at Raed hit the soldier, and all the soldiers concentrated on evacuating the wounded soldier. I thought I would take advantage of their preoccupation and jumped to the house of the other neighbors, where Raed was lying on the ground near their house, just behind ours. I saw Raed, who was lying on the ground and trying to walk and losing a lot of blood, and I approached him and extended my hand for him to take, but at this moment, one of the Israeli soldiers caught Raed in his laser sight. I dragged him by the hands quickly and his left leg was bleeding. He had a bullet in his leg and he was full of blood, we moved away from the place between the houses until we were settled away from our besieged neighborhood full of soldiers. Throughout this time, Raed was bleeding in large amounts and speaking to me about many things, as if he were dying. He was starting to spit up blood and after about 15 minutes a number of soldiers stormed the place, following the trail of blood. During this time, one of the soldiers asked me to move away from him but I refused, and then a soldier attack me. Another pulled out his gun and fired to frighten me but I did not move. Then the same soldier hit me on my right shoulder and leg and pushed me away by force from Raed. They took him away from me, and a soldier examined his pulse. I did not know what to do. Two soldiers then carried him by his arms and legs and I did not know where they took him after the army left the camp.”

The practice of extrajudicial executions and killings by the Israeli occupation forces is a war crime under international law, under article 8 (a)(i) of the Rome Statute. Murder is a war crime, and therefore the occupation bears full responsibility in this context of war crimes against the Palestinian people as a whole.

Arrests and Heavy Fines Imposed on Children

In August, the Israeli courts issued sentences against 39 children and imposed heavy fines on child prisoners, amounting to more than 110,000 NIS ($31,200 USD).

Human rights organizations’ monitoring and documentation showed that in the past month, 59 children were taken to the “Cubs” section of Ofer prison. Of these, 40 were arrested from their homes, 10 on the roads, 3 at the military checkpoints, 4 after being summoned to interrogation and two for lack of possession of work permits.

Four children were arrested after being shot and 13 more were injured. They were beaten and harassed during their arrest and taken to interrogation centers. Sentences issued ranged from one month to 32 months.

The Palestinian institutions consider that the imposition of excessive financial burdens on child prisoners is a major constraint on the future of the child, a form of collective punishment and a major burden amid the prevailing state of poverty, which affects and violates other human rights for themselves and their families. During the prior month, these fines reached the amount of 87,000 NIS. ($24,700 USD).

Legal Concerns

Here, the Palestinian organizations introduce the international humanitarian and human rights law on the human rights of detainees and the legal guarantees it provides, as well as Israeli violations and the legal prohibitions against such violations, as follows:

1 – Legal safeguards relating to the prohibition of arbitrary detention of Palestinian civilians. These arrests violate international human rights law, including the article 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976).

2 – The policyof administrative detention by the occupation state, in which detention is carried out on the basis of secret evidence and without any charge against the detainee, violates internationally recognized rights to a fair trial according to the following:

a) It is contrary to Article 11 (1) of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

b) It violates articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1976, which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial, to be informed of the charges against them and to be able to defend themselves.

c) The failure to disclose any charges against the person detained under the administrative detention order precludes every possibility of verifying the compliance of the occupying state with Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which states that “If the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security, to take safety measures concerning protected persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to internment.” It is impossible to verify whether this detention is permitted without knowing what the reasons have been and are.

d) Not to inform the detained person of the charges against them constitutes a violation of Article 71 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which obliges the occupying power to report charges without delay. They also constitute a violation of article 10 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons in Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment of 1988, which requires the same.

3. The killing of Raed al-Salhi by point-blank shooting is a violation of the right to life under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The practice of extrajudicial executions and killings is a war crime under international law, pursuant to article 8 (2/a/1) of the Rome Statute. Murder is a war crime, and therefore the occupation bears full responsibility in this context amid the upsurge in war crimes against the Palestinian people as a whole.

4. The detention of children violates Principle 13 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1985, which stipulated that pre-trial detention should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest possible period, as well as providing for protection and social, psychological, educational, professional and medical assistance, which are not provided by the prison administration. The Israeli judiciary imposes heavy fines on children in the framework of collective punishment, contrary to the rules of international humanitarian and human rights law.

Conclusion

This report sustains a number of findings, through our analysis of the practices of occupation authorities and the reality of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, as follows:

1) The occupying forces are continuing their grave breaches and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

2) These Israeli violations have resulted in severe suffering for Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.

3) The silence of the international community has encouraged the occupying power to increase their violations against Palestinian detainees.

4) The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions did not play their roles and have in fact encouraged the occupation authorities to escalate their violations.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

NGO says Israel’s censoring of online content ‘has no legal basis’

Ma’an – September 17, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has called on Israel to shut down its so-called Cyber Unit, which collaborates with social media platforms to censor content, saying the unit has “no legal authority.”

The Israeli government launched the unit in the second half of 2015, when Israeli authorities alleged that a wave of unrest that erupted that fall was encouraged largely by online “incitement.” The crackdown has seen hundreds of Palestinians detained, while social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have complied with hundreds of requests by the Israeli state to censor content.

According to Adalah, the Cyber Unit says it is responsible for “dealing with cyberspace enforcement challenges” via censorship of social media posts and entails the removal of content added by users, restriction of access to certain websites, and outright blocking of users’ access to these sites.

Adalah said it sent a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, State Attorney Shai Nitzan, and Cyber Unit director Haim Vismonsky, “demanding that they immediately cease the illegal operations of the state attorney’s Cyber Unit,” arguing that much of the censorship has been conducted without any basis in Israeli law.

“Nothing in the law allows state authorities to censor content based solely on an administrative determination… that the content amounts to a criminal offense. Likewise, there is no explicit directive in (Israeli) law authorizing the removal of content determined to amount to a criminal offense, even by a court,” Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury wrote.

Adalah cited statistics released by the Cyber Unit in its end-of-year 2016 report, that said the Israeli agency handled 2,241 cases of online content that were ostensibly posted in violation of the law; 1,554 of these were removed as a result of the unit’s operations.

“While private bodies such as social media corporations are not subject to Israeli public law and therefore may lawfully choose to remove content in accordance with their terms of service, state agents — such as the Cyber Unit — are indeed subject to Israeli law and much of their censorship activities are therefore illegal,” Adalah emphasized.

Khoury also stressed that the Cyber Unit operations are a clear violation of free speech, explaining that the Israeli state attorney’s practice of criminalizing certain expression on social media is tantamount to “an unproven suspicion.”

“The Cyber Unit cannot impose sanctions based solely on this suspicion, let alone severe sanctions in the form of censorship. The authorities are not allowed to demand the removal of speech that has not yet been proven to be criminal, even if it is unpleasant to their ears,” the Adalah attorney said in the report.

He explained that, “When the Cyber Unit appeals to a service provider with a request to censor content based on its suspicion that the concerned content is expression forbidden by law and without a final (judicial) ruling in the matter, this constitutes an unconstitutional violation of freedom of speech.”

Adalah also noted that Cyber Unit operations are a violation of the principle of separation of powers: “The pretense of deciding upon the criminalization of expression, without appealing to the court or conducting any legal proceeding — and upon this basis determine censorship sanctions — impinges upon and supplants judicial authority and leads to the infringement of the principle of separation of powers,” the letter said.

Adalah concluded that because “Cyber Unit clerks and administrative officials decide for themselves” whether or not expression is “incitement to violence and terror, and support of a terror organization,” the state attorney is usurping judicial authority “illegally and without any legal authorization.”

“Adalah demands that the Israeli attorney general, state attorney, and Cyber Unit halt all internet content censorship activities using the “alternative enforcement system” operated by the state attorney’s Cyber Unit,” the report stressed.

The same day Adalah published its report, Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported that Cyber Unit does not keep any record of the cases it pursues with Google and Facebook.

The Israeli justice ministry told the outlet that, “As a rule we do not keep the content we work to have removed,” without providing an explanation for the lack of record keeping.

Adalah told The Jerusalem Post that the ministry’s refusal “pointed up secrecy and a lack of transparency and accountability in the government body.”

The crackdown on social media activity also came after as a bill introduced by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked seeks to allow Israeli officials to force Facebook to censor certain content deemed to be “incitement” — but only when it is made by Palestinians against Israelis, according to rights groups.

The law has moved through the Knesset despite the fact that Facebook already complies with at least 78 percent of Israel’s requests to delete content or suspend accounts.

A report released by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh further documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users — with only very few cases being opened against Israelis.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 3 Comments

Hamas to hold free elections as Israel waits to pull the trigger

By Robert Inlakesh – Al-Masdar – 17/09/2017

Hamas have released in an official statement that they are ready to hold free elections – for the first time since 2006 – and are going to dissolve their administrative committee.

After a series of talks held in Cairo – in a bid to start repairing the relationship between rivalling Palestinian governmental factions Hamas and Fatah – Hamas has made the decision in order to forward “reconciliation” with the Palestinian Authority.

President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas has been demanding throughout the year that Hamas end its administrative committee, hold free elections and hand the Gaza Strip over to the PA.

Abbas has recently been punishing the population of Gaza in order to get Hamas to hand over power of Gaza and this year has made such moves towards this goal mainly by; dropping the salaries of Gazans who work for the PA by 30-70 percent (sending many below the poverty line), calling on Israel to turn off their electrical supply to Gaza and by refusing to pay for Gaza’s deisel fuel to run their one semi-operational power plant.

The last time Hamas vowed to dissolve its administrative committee and looked as if it was on the way to forming a unity government with Fatah – signing reconciliation deal with the PLO on April of 2014 – Israel ended the possibility with a 50-day onslaught on Gaza, killing over 2 thousand civilians.

The Israeli regime’s government announced on the 10th of August, that it was readying a ground invasion of Gaza, the head of the Israeli Shin Bet, ‘Nadav Argaman’ also recently told the ‘Jerusalem post’ that Hamas are readying for war.

The Likud Party have been losing their popularity in Israel to far-right parties and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and his wife) under investigation on the grounds of corruption, the political party is looking for a way to re-gain its popularity. If Netanyahu was to wage war upon Gaza in a bid to prevent a possible Palestinian unity government, the international condemnation of the Israeli onslaught could be scape goated on him, whilst his party are celebrated by Israeli society (as polls show popularity of the party rises during war time), this could be strategically on the table for the Israeli government.

Hamas seek to allow Abbas and the PA the return to Gaza immediately and to start official meetings with the PA in order to form unity between both parties and discuss elections in the West Bank and Gaza.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Ignore the spin, the siege of Gaza endangers everyone, Israelis included, so end it now

By Alastair Sloan | MEMO | September 16, 2017

Save the Children reckons that the Israelis have delivered a major project in record time, with the Gaza Strip described in the NGO’s latest report as “unliveable.” The United Nations made its own prediction in 2012, giving the territory until 2020 before it would be at that inhospitable stage.

As autumn wears on and some three years ahead of the UN deadline, the Israeli government has turned basic essentials such as food, water, hospital access, education and shelter into luxury items in an enclave that the state and its supporters still claim somewhat disingenuously to have “withdrawn” from in 2005.

Of course, Save the Children and the UN aren’t to be trusted; it you pay heed to the pro-Israel lobby you will know this. The lobby has a convenient conspiracy theory that the UN is engaged in “anti-Semitism” rather than reasonable criticism of the Israeli state and its policies. Much of this lobby nonsense comes from mysterious pro-Israel organisations like “UN Watch”, which routinely derides UN predictions and announcements the moment that they are made public.

Another such group is “NGO Monitor”; it has already dismissed the Save the Children report as a “renewed anti-Israel campaign.” Which, of course, it is, and rightly so. This group condemns the respected NGO for daring to publicise the suffering of children, and suggests that Save the Children “should return to a policy of providing aid without adopting the Palestinian political narrative.”

Telling NGOs what they can and cannot do and say is in vogue in Israel, much as it is in autocratic Turkey or Hungary, but the illogical positions of NGO Monitor are still worth exposing. Consider this: “[Save the Children] also called on Israel to blindly ‘lift the Gaza blockade’ without acknowledging the rationale behind it.” NGO Monitor claims that the siege is in place, “to prevent weapon smuggling into Hamas-controlled Gaza.”

We should test this thesis that it is all the fault of Hamas, and the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza is simply the state acting in self-defence.

Fifteen year old Ali suffers from cerebral palsy, and is an example of the kind of problems engulfing a Palestinian youngster which NGO Monitor cannot have missed because his story was included in the press release which accompanied the charity’s report. Ali’s mother Yara told Save the Children:

“My son is dying in front of my eyes. He can’t sleep most nights, and suffers from continuous pain. We don’t have enough power to get his electric wheelchair and mattress fully charged. If his wheelchair doesn’t get charged, he suffers psychologically, as he sees people around him move and walk but he can’t. He feels depressed and often fights with other children. When the wheelchair runs out of battery, Ali becomes totally paralysed. He also needs constant showers as he is wearing diapers, but there is no water. We don’t get water unless there is electricity. If I don’t change his diapers and wash him regularly he will suffer from skin rashes and other problems. We have not had any tap water for two days. I feel suffocated.”

The problem here then, as with so many of the problems outlined in the report, is primarily one of electricity, or the lack thereof. This is why Ali is growing up soaked by his urine and faeces, is unnecessarily paralysed and is suffering psychologically as he grapples with one of the world’s most cruel medical conditions.

In April, Gaza’s sole power plant was forced to shut down after completely exhausting its fuel reserves; the company which runs the plant was unable to obtain fuel due to a shortage of funds. How this makes Israel any safer is unclear, but its government claims that the blockade is all about security. Having 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza in darkness surely doesn’t make Israelis more secure, does it?

Likewise the contamination of Gaza’s water supply. The Palestinian Water Authority and the UN have now warned that the territory’s fresh water aquifer, shared by Israel and Egypt, may be “completely contaminated” by the end of this year. Israel says it won’t let in more aid or spare parts to repair the water treatment plants that it destroyed in its 2008/9 military offensive. Why? Because of Hamas. That, though, doesn’t explain why Israel has repeatedly refused to allow UN Environment Programme inspectors to assess the water situation and try to improve it.

As yet another curious pro-Israel lobby organisation – the American-Israeli Co-operative Enterprise (AICE) – puts it, “There is indeed a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but it is not to be blamed on Israel.” Thus does the lobby acknowledge the pain that is being caused, and yet it denies that its favoured state, Israel, has anything to do with it, despite controlling everything that goes into or comes out of the Gaza Strip. “Israel has consistently sent aid in many forms through the border,” claims AICE, “and the blockade will be lifted once the violent Hamas government is ousted and the people of the Gaza Strip are ready to live in peace with Israel as their neighbour.”

There is no suggestion by the lobby that Israel, which is the relative newcomer in the neighbourhood, might decide to live in peace with the Palestinians. It is, after all, Israel which has repeatedly broken ceasefires, before telling the world that Hamas started firing rockets. It is also a fact that Hamas can be remarkably quiet when given the choice. Every few years, however, the Israelis re-invade Gaza unnecessarily, launching massive military offensives with accompanying death and destruction, and then withdraw, killing, maiming or traumatising a million children in the process.

The reality is that the siege of Gaza is a manifestation of Israeli military weakness. There is no chance that Israel will re-take Gaza from Hamas by force; the resistance movement not only enjoys general popular support amongst Palestinians but, more importantly, is also expert in the kind of guerrilla warfare that the founders of Israel used to such devastating effect themselves not so many years ago. Conventional armies of the kind that Israel deploys never, ever, win against Middle Eastern militias, particularly those with a religious mindset faced with a Western-backed enemy.

The siege tactic is the only option that the Israeli government can resort to. Ten years on, it appears to be working. As making somewhere “unliveable” is essentially a form of ethnic cleansing by what claims to be a democracy, a coterie of propaganda organisations and lots of media-spin groups are required to defend Israel and gloss over that very distasteful fact.

Perhaps these spin doctors should be asking their government why it can’t defend its citizens, who all pay for the Israel Defence Forces. The answer – or their own conclusion – might then be, because the increasingly right-wing governments of Israel which control the military are stubborn and stupid. They alone are endangering the people of Israel every day through their thankless and pointless siege. So ignore the spin, the siege needs to end now, not in 2020; that will be too late for all concerned.

Read also:

Poverty rate hits 80% in Gaza

Oslo: 24 years of Palestinian losses

WHO: Israel hinders 40% of Gaza patients’ access to health care abroad

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Parliamentary lobby in Mexico to support Israeli settlement activities

Mexican MPs with leaders of settlers in the Occupied West Bank
Palestine Information Center – September 15, 2107

NAZARETH – A lobby group advocating Israel’s settlement activities has been formed in the Mexican parliament, according to Israel’s Channel 7.

The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) quoted the channel as saying that this lobby group would work on promoting the trade relations between Mexico and Israel’s industrial settlements and outposts [in the West Bank].

According to the channel, head of the West Bank regional council Yossi Dagan said the lobby was officially announced during the current week in the Mexican parliament, describing it as “very important for Israel.”

The channel affirmed that this lobby would also influence Mexico’s positions at the UN and its institutions in favor of Israel.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Israel Threatens War with Syria Over Iranian Presence in The Country

By Robert Inlakesh | American Herald Tribune | September 15 ,2017

Ayelet Shaked, the Justice Minister of Israel has just threatened the Syrian government stating that Israel “will do what is necessary” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not keep Iran out of Syria.

The Israeli government – who last week bombed a Syrian military outpost, killing two soldiers – have now verbally challenged the Syrian government in the form of offering an ultimatum. The threats towards Syria come at a time when the Assad government forces have all but extinguished the presence of Daesh in Syria and are coming close to completely ending the war. Israel meanwhile seem to be having an anxiety attack over the current situation and have been beating hard on the drums of war.

In Netanyahu’s most recent meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, he frequently sought to voice his concerns over Iran, this was then – to Netanyahu’s frustration – brushed under the rug by Putin as it was viewed as a non-substantial issue. A paranoid Israeli government has meanwhile been busy preparing for war with pretty much every enemy they can since that meeting took place and don’t seem to be very happy with the way things are turning out in Syria, with the strengthening of the ‘axis of resistance’.

The Israeli Military has now notably brought it’s week long series of military drills – which included an simulated invasion of Lebanon – to a halt, this was Israel’s biggest military drill since 1998 (when they simulated an invasion of Syria). For any other country, such a drill as the one started on the 5th of this month would be be seen as a possible threat to national security and/or a provocation of war for the country being threatened, however Israel seems to be able to do this whilst coming under no scrutiny from the international media, nor the international community. Last month on the 10th of August, the Israeli government announced that they were in preparation for a ground invasion of Gaza, the Israeli air-force also has been performing several fly overs of Lebanese air space and has been calling for and discussing the prospect of waging war against, Iran, Syria, Gaza and of course Lebanon frequently in their media.

So should we expect something big from Israel?

Well let us look at the possibilities; The Israeli government is constantly threatening to take their sworn enemies to war and have been doing so since their inception in 1948, but the prospect of taking Syria into a war at this time could mean a global conflict and would result in huge casualties on the side of the Israelis, as well as on the side of their opposition.

Historically Israel has never liked taking large casualties and ended their most recent onslaught on the Gaza strip (2014) primarily because of this reason.

Israeli society completely endorse war with an enemy and opinion polls from within Israel show an increased support for the elected political party when they engage in war, so for Netanyahu’s Likud party, war would seem like a good idea in order to regain some of their recently lost popularity back from far-right Israeli parties. However, when soldiers begin to die, Israeli public opinion begins to flip and becomes more critical of the government, the reason Israel ended the onslaught upon Gaza in 2014 was due to the fact that in order to take the fight to the heart of Hamas, it would mean a ground invasion. Every ground confrontation with Hamas had ended in dead and wounded Israeli soldiers, so because Netanyahu and his party understood that they would loose support from many Israelis, they decided not to go ahead with it.

If Israel were to at this moment start a conflict, it would most likely be with Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon, a war in Syria is most likely Israel just attempting to get the attention of allies, so that they can broker a deal in Syria which would see the decline of Iranian presence.

The leader of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah this Tuesday announced that the war in Syria has been won by the Syrian government, this means that Hezbollah is confident that its fighters will soon be ready to face off against Israel in full force and Israel knows this. For Israel, these are not confident times and a war on Syria or Lebanon could mean heavy casualties. It is more than likely Israel would seek to achieve a conflict between ethnic-religious factions in Lebanon as a more strategic goal of weakening Hezbollah, this would be a more well thought out move for the state to play than a straight up conflict and could be a possibility they are considering as their relationship with Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries get stronger.

The statement made by Ayelet Shaked – although it most likely won’t be acted upon – is still something that has to be noted and shows that Israel is at least willing to consider such dangerous moves militarily. Ayelet – who gained international recognition for her racially charged statements about Palestinians – also recently voiced her support for an independent Kurdish state in Syria, stating to Haaretz that “Israel as well as western states will have great benefits from the creation of a Kurdish state.” She is tipped to be a possible future Prime Minister of Israel due to her popularity and someone who is so willing to challenge neighboring countries is a dangerous person to have in government, it is also now clear from her statements that Israel has a clear cut view on how to deal with the situation in Syria (via the Kurds).

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

On the 35th Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila: The Forgotten Refugees

By Dr. Swee Chai Ang | Arab America | September 13, 2017

This September will be the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre in West Beirut. Three thousand unarmed refugees were killed from 15-18 September 1982.

I was then a young orthopedic trainee who had resigned from St Thomas Hospital to join the Christian Aid Lebanon medical team to help those wounded by Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. That invasion, named “Peace for Galilee”, and launched on 6 June 1982, mercilessly bombarded Lebanon by air, sea, and land. Water, food, electricity, and medicines were blockaded. This resulted in untold wounded and deaths, with 100,000 made suddenly homeless.

I was summoned to the Palestine Red Crescent Society to take charge of the orthopedic department in Gaza Hospital in Sabra- Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, West Beirut. I met Palestinian refugees in their bombed out homes and learned how they became refugees in one of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Before this encounter, I had never heard of Palestinians.

They recounted stories of being driven out of their homes in Palestine in 1948, often fleeing massacres at gunpoint. They fled with whatever possessions they could carry and found themselves in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

The United Nations put them in tents while the world promised they would return home soon. That expectation never materialized. Since then the 750,000 refugees, comprising half of the population of Palestine in 1948, continued to live in refugee camps in the neighboring countries. It was 69 years ago that this refugee crisis started. The initial 750,000 has since grown to 5 million. Palestine was erased from the map of the world and is now called Israel.

Soon after my arrival, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) evacuated. It was the price demanded by Israel to stop the further relentless bombardment of Lebanon and to lift the ten-week military blockade. Fourteen thousand able-bodied men and women from the PLO evacuated with the guarantee by Western powers that their families left behind would be protected by a multinational peacekeeping force.

Those leaving were soldiers, civil servants, doctors, nurses, lecturers, unionists, journalists, engineers, and technicians. The PLO was the Palestinians’ government in exile and the largest employer. Through evacuation, fourteen thousand Palestinian families lost their breadwinner, often the father or the eldest brother, in addition to those killed by the bombs.

That ceasefire lasted only three weeks. The multinational peacekeeping force, entrusted by the ceasefire agreement to protect the civilians left behind, abruptly withdrew. On September 15, several hundred Israeli tanks drove into West Beirut. Some of them ringed and sealed off Sabra-Shatila to prevent the inhabitants from fleeing. The Israelis sent their allies; a group of Christian militiamen trained and armed by them, into the camp. When the tanks withdrew from the perimeter of the camp on the 18 September, they left behind 3,000 dead civilians. Another seventeen thousand were abducted and disappeared.

On the 35th Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila: The Forgotten Refugees

Our hospital team, who had worked non-stop for 72 hours, was ordered to leave our patients at machine-gun point and marched out of the camp. As I emerged from the basement operating theatre, I learned the painful truth. While we were struggling to save a few dozen lives, people were being butchered by the thousands. Some of the bodies were already rotting in the hot Beirut sun. The images of the massacre are deeply seared into my memory: dead and mutilated bodies lining the camp alleys.

Only a few days before, they were human beings full of hope and life, rebuilding their homes, talking to me, trusting that they would be left in peace to raise their young ones after the evacuation of the PLO. These were people who welcomed me into their broken homes. They served me Arabic coffee and whatever food they found; simple fare but given with warmth and generosity. They shared their lives with me. They showed me faded photographs of their homes and families in Palestine before 1948 and the large house keys they still kept with them. The women showed me their beautiful embroidery, each with motifs of the villages they left behind. Many of these villages were destroyed after they left.

Some of these people became patients we failed to save. Others died on arrival. They left behind orphans and widows. A wounded mother begged us to take down the hospital’s last unit of blood from her to give to her child. She died shortly afterward. Children witnessed their mothers and sisters being raped and killed.

The terrified faces of families rounded up by gunmen while awaiting death; the desperate young mother who tried to give me her baby to take to safety; the stench of decaying bodies as mass graves continued to be uncovered will never leave me. The piercing cries of women who discovered the remains of their loved ones from bits of clothes, refugee identity cards, as more bodies were found continue to haunt me.

The people of Sabra Shatila returned to live in those very homes where their families and neighbors were massacred. They are a courageous people and there was nowhere else to go. Afterwards, other refugee camps were also blockaded, attacked and more people were killed. Today, Palestinian refugees are denied work permits in 30 professions and 40 artisan trades outside their camps. They have no passports. They are prohibited from owning and inheriting property. Denied the right of return to their homes in Palestine, they are not only born refugees, they will also die refugees and so will their children.

But for me, painful questions need to be answered. Not why they died, but why were they massacred as refugees? After 69 years, has the world already forgotten? How can we allow a situation where a person’s only claim to humanity is a refugee identity card? These questions have haunted me and they have yet to receive answers.

Dr. Swee Chai Ang is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of Medical Aid for Palestinians. She is the author of: “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” published by The Other Press.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time for All Palestinians and Their Supporters to Join the Resistance against Israel’s Cultural Offensives

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | September 14, 2017

Before the launching of the war on Syria in 2011 by agents of the US and its Middle Eastern allies, the focus of my political activism was almost exclusively Palestine. “Self-radicalised” is a suitable descriptor for the slow awakening of my awareness of the way things were in the Israeli-occupied territory and the Arab and Islamic world around it.

As with many of my contemporaries, the 2003 attack on Iraq was a springboard in this radicalisation, not out of sympathy and understanding of Iraq but rather from antagonism to the US neo-con regime with its UK and Australian allies. Israel’s central role in orchestrating the attack on Iraq, as well as the pretext for it eighteen months earlier didn’t become clear – to me at least – until sometime later, when my antagonism began to concentrate on the Zionist State.

“Antagonism” doesn’t begin to describe the feelings that developed during Israel’s 26-day massacre of innocents of Gaza in 2009 however, nor the absolute disdain and disgust at Western leaders’ failure to condemn it. Notably too, the failure of Western media organisations to report the daily atrocities being committed by the IDF in Gaza revealed the extent of networks of propaganda support for the Zionist entity.

In the controversy that followed “Operation Cast Lead”, which finally came to an end just after Obama’s inauguration, it also became clear who was prepared to stand up for the people of Gaza and for Palestine and who was not. Many organisations we may have thought to be “impartial” turned out to be compromised when it came to Palestine, including the UN and NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Their failure to react and respond appropriately to the terrible injustices and atrocities inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza, in the false name of fighting “Hamas terrorism”, gave huge impetus to the BDS movement. In the absence of any real condemnation of Israel’s barbarity, leave alone sanctions, or enforcement of outstanding UN resolutions, boycott and divestment became the only means to support Palestinians’ rights.

One could never say that the BDS campaign against Israel’s occupation was a success, though there were successes. In countries with a strong Israel lobby like the US, UK, Australia and France, the lobby’s fightback with both propaganda and legal instruments began almost before any real action could be taken, while Zionist infiltration and influence on government members made sure Israeli interests were protected. The associated academic and cultural boycott – PACBI – had more success in influencing public opinion, with the help of some great artists like Roger Waters and Ken Loach, but the fightback against them was even more intense, and continues to this day.

In an attempt to convince ourselves that something has been achieved over the last ten years, we may consider this reaction to the boycott campaigns as a recognition of their effectiveness – or at least potential effectiveness; the opinion of one influential celebrity can sometimes change the minds of millions.

But doesn’t Israel know this!

The truth is that the state of Israel is founded on something like the antithesis of a boycott campaign – as a state of mind cultivated with centuries of sectarian propaganda. How else could you create a whole society in which individuals believe themselves to be “exceptional” and racially superior to the native inhabitants of the land they are occupying by force? A society for which militant racism is the sine qua non of its nationhood and identity.

Not only have Israel’s leaders and educators achieved this “state of denial” amongst the Jewish citizens and the diaspora – with some important exceptions – but they have managed to maintain credibility as a “democratic” state with Western nations against all odds. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times one points out that a state defined as “Jewish” cannot also be democratic if some of its citizens are not Jewish.

The immediate and current context of this discussion is the fiesta of Zionist propaganda that just took place in London’s Roundhouse centre, called “TLV in LDN”, and the protest campaign against it by a group of artists, including those venerable veterans named above. But the context is rather different from that of ten years ago when the siege of Gaza began, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections.

In fact it begins to look a little desperate, and the defence of this opinion-twisting offensive a bit hysterical. The “facts on the ground” created in what was once Palestine by the Zionist regime in those ten years now mean that Israel’s legitimacy can only be defended with increasingly shrill accusations and violence against Palestinians and their true supporters in the West.

But there may be another reason for the creators and defenders of “The Israel Project” to have a feeling of panic – such as that shown by Netanyahu on his recent visit to Sochi. As Sharmine Narwani has described, things are changing rapidly on Israel’s borders, with Jordan and Lebanon moving to restore relations with Damascus, and other sometime allies like Turkey and Egypt, and even the US seeking to cooperate with Russia and Iran.

There is also something happening within Palestine, as the new Hamas leadership seeks reconciliation with Syria and Iran – effectively returning to the position of ten years earlier, when Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal lived in Damascus, and Iran was a key mediator for the democratically elected Hamas government.

Most ironic however is the situation for so many supporters of the Palestinian struggle, who tragically had followed Hamas’ lead and deserted Syria in 2011. One can hardly understate the devastating effect on the Syrian conflict, and on Western perceptions of it from this historic rift in the Resistance. That section of Western society that showed most concern for Palestinians, including many solidarity groups as well as human rights NGOs was effectively duped into siding with Israel against Syria.

While this “kidnapping” of the most influential anti-war and anti-Zionist activist populations was achieved primarily thanks to propaganda from Al Jazeera and its Western media partners like the Guardian, the contribution from groups like Avaaz and Amnesty suggests another partner in the propaganda war on Syria.

Given the IDF’s vital support role for Al Qaeda groups in Southern Syria, we might safely assume that Israel’s misinformation industry has also been working overtime in pursuit of the state’s cynical and criminal objectives. One key event in the propaganda war on Syria supports that assumption – the “siege” of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk – whose reality was so twisted by “humanitarian” NGOs and even by the UNRWA as to portray Al Qaeda as defending innocent civilians against the Syrian Army. The object of that propaganda campaign was creating a pretext for “humanitarian intervention” to save starving Palestinians from the Syrian Government, when it was actually protecting them.

As Palestinians in the occupied territories and in Gaza increasingly now look to Syria and its allies for defence against the malevolence and lies of their oppressive occupier, it’s past time for their many genuine supporters and allies in the West to get on the right side of history and join the Resistance! And that resistance includes fighting off Israel’s ingeniously engineered “cultural offensives”.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment