In yet another blow to the propaganda-driven case against Palestinian aid worker Mohammed al-Halabi, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported on Tuesday, 21 March that “an internal review into World Vision funding in Gaza has uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government aid funding to Hamas.”
Al-Halabi was seized by Israeli occupation forces at the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing and in August 2016, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, went on a propaganda offensive, claiming that Halabi had redirected World Vision funds to the Palestinian resistance organization, Hamas. Israeli occupation officials declared that he had diverted $43 million in charitable funds to the Palestinian resistance, including a video from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing Palestinians of not caring about their people. The amounts cited dwarfed the actual budget to which al-Halabi had access, by all accounts. These seemingly impossible claims were made after nearly a month of interrogation, during which Halabi was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.
The claims against Halabi were accompanied by similarly touted claims against civil engineer Waheed Bursh, a contractor with the UN Development Program, also accused of redirecting resources to the Palestinian resistance – in his case, rubble from the Israeli bombing of Gaza. However, despite the large-scale publicity surrounding Borsh’s arrest, he was released seven months later, indicating that no serious charges were ever made. He was cited as a “witness” againat al-Halabi, and later confirmed that he completely denied any allegations against the aid worker.
“The news DFAT found no evidence of the misuse of World Vison funds comes as Mr Halabi’s trial continues in Israel. He has rejected a plea deal offered by Israeli authorities and has pleaded not guilty, claiming he is innocent of all charges,” reported the Australian Brodcasting Corporation. The plea agreement he rejected would have seen him imprisoned for three years, a short sentence which again indicates a lack of serious charges or evidence in the case.
Indeed, rather than presenting any evidence to back up the widely-publicized public claims against World Vision and Halabi, Israeli occupation officials have instead submitted additional, lesser charges against Halabi that have no relation to diverting funds or his work with World Vision; two such charges are those of “passing information to the enemy” and of “aiding and abetting the enemy in a time of war,” with the enemy in question being Palestinians in Gaza. Al-Halabi is, himself, of course, a Palestinian living under occupation and siege in Gaza.
He is also charged with giving small donations of his own money, rather than redirecting World Vision funds, to charities and mosques in Gaza. ABC notes that “One incident detailed accuses El Halabi of allegedly giving ‘300 Israeli shekels on a monthly base to a charity managed by Hamas’…Another says the defendant transferred ‘hundreds of shekels during 2015-2016 to a mosque managed by Hamas’… No details are given of the ‘millions’ of dollars Israeli intelligence officials initially accused El Halabi of diverting.” 100 NIS is approximately $26 USD.
“So far, our own ongoing forensic audit has not uncovered any money subverted and to hear DFAT say their investigation hasn’t either is consistent and is very good news,” said Tim Costello of World Vision.
Despite the severe lack of evidence or credibility for Israeli claims in this case, World Vision’s work in Gaza – and government funding from the Australian and German governments – have been shut down. Over 100 Palestinian workers for World Vision have lost their jobs in Gaza in an area already suffering from massive unemployment and poverty.
The number of imprisoned Palestinian Legislative Council members climbed to 11 on Tuesday, 21 March after a pre-dawn raid by Israeli occupation forces seized PLC member Mohammed al-Tal from al-Khalil, along with 19 more Palestinians. Al-Tal has previously spent 11 years in Israeli prisons, half of those in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Also on Tuesday, 21 March, an Israeli occupation military court at Ofer submitted an indictment against PLC member Samira Halaiqa, 53, from al-Khalil, accusing her of participating in political and social activities and engaging in “incitement” for making political posts on Facebook. Halaiqa was seized on 9 March by occupation forces who invaded her home. She, along with her husband Mohammed Halaiqa, had previously been imprisoned for one year in 2006 under administrative detention, following her election to the PLC.
Both Halaiqa and al-Tal are part of the Change and Reform bloc, the PLC bloc associated with Hamas.
The 11 detained PLC members include: Khaled Tafesh and Anwar Zboun, both from the Bethlehem area, members of the Change and Reform bloc, seized on Monday, 6 March. Zboun spent over six years in Israeli prison, including several months in administrative detention in 2014. Tafesh, a former deportee to Marj al-Zohour, was also previously held in administrative detention in 2014. Tafesh, Zboun, Halaiqa and al-Tal were all arrested in the month of March.
Other detained PLC members include Hassan Yousef and Ahmad Mubarak of Ramallah and Azzam Salhab and Mohammed Jamal Natsheh of al-Khalil. All members of the Change and Reform bloc, they are held in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli prison, while Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi is serving several life sentences. Jerusalemite PLC member of the Change and Reform bloc, Mohammed Abu Teir, was subject to expulsion from his home city of Jerusalem and is now serving a 17-month sentence in Israeli prison.
President Hugo Chavez
“Journalists” who want to write fake news about Venezuela, or about any other country or group that dares to stand up to US imperialism, only need to follow this simple recipe:
- Choose one or more countries/groups opposed to US imperialism
- If available, have a former official, now being paid by the US government, make the accusations
- Season well with doses of “war on terror” and/or “war on drugs”
- Sprinkle with opinions of “experts” who work in DC think tanks or US-funded NGOs
While this looks like a very unsavoury mix, the results last very long and can be reheated with no problems.
This recipe has been used and re-used plenty of times, either by US officials to justify policies or by media outlets. But given how the media critically accepts everything when it comes to foreign policy, there is hardly a distinction to be made here.
A classical example were the fabricated connections made between Chávez/Venezuela and al-Qaeda. Other variants involve dealings with the FARC1, Mexican cartels, and the favourite dance partner is Hezbollah. On one hand, the US’ relation with al-Qaeda is now a bit more complicated, as extremists may get bombed if they are in Iraq but supported if they cross into Syria. On the other, Hezbollah is the biggest obstacle to Israeli hegemony and the colonisation of Palestine. This kind of propaganda is reminiscent of the effort to fabricate connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. Some outlets would even have us believe North Korea was supplying arms to Hamas!
The most recent story involves the newly-appointed vice-president, Tareck El Aissami, who is a perfect ingredient because of his Middle Eastern ancestry. Even though he was born and lived all his life in Venezuela, his parents are Druze immigrants from Lebanon. The storm started with a CNN “story” about the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq selling passports to dangerous people, including members of Hezbollah, who would then use them to attack the US or its allies. This operation was claimed to be directed by El Aissami. This story was directly quoted by Marco Rubio during a renewed push by US lawmakers for more sanctions against Venezuela. These came later from the Department of the Treasury, this time linking El Aissami to Mexican cartels. With a little more effort even the North Koreans might have been added to the party.
Tareck El Aissami with an incriminating Palestinian scarf
All in all, there are many things that do not add up. First of all, there is the issue of Hezbollah plotting terror attacks in the US, but we will not go into detail here. It suffices to say that the evidence of Hezbollah involvement in terror attacks abroad is, at best, very thin. Then there is the sectarian issue. Western media, at the behest of western allies in the Middle East, keep stirring up this supposedly grave Shia threat, with Iran and Hezbollah even conspiring to reshape demographics and create an all-Shia corridor in the Middle East. And yet their man in Venezuela is a Druze. Equally ludicrous are claims that there are Venezuelan training camps in Lebanon and vice-versa. Hezbollah’s main foe is right next door, but somehow it would need training camps halfway around the world! The links to the drug trade presented by the Treasury are equally flimsy, and were picked apart masterfully by Larissa Costas.
The “star witness” of CNN’s expose, Misael López, has since been revealed to be a close associate of Ana Argotti, who is in turn very close to Lilian Tintori and Leopoldo López, the hard-right politician jailed for his role in the violent activities during the 2014 guarimbas that resulted in over 40 deaths. Argotti has defended several members of the opposition charged with violent crimes during this period. As for Misael López, he is also under investigation for alleged sexual harassment and attempting to withdraw funds from the Venezuelan embassy in Baghdad.
Elusive cartels and double standards
Another high-profile fake story, followed by sanctions, involved Diosdado Cabello, an important figure in the ruling PSUV and head of the National Assembly at the time. Based on the account of a former bodyguard turned star-witness, now living comfortably in the US, Cabello was accused of being the boss of the elusive Cartel de los Soles. This is supposedly a very important Latin American drug cartel run by the Venezuelan military. The problem is that, unlike the stories we hear of cartels violently making themselves known and marking territory, here we have a drug cartel run from the highest levels of the Venezuelan state operating without anyone really noticing it. It is like the Illuminati version of drug cartels.
Diosdado Cabello next to President Nicolás Maduro
Venezuela is often presented as an obstacle in the war on drugs, but the truth is that the main actor in the cocaine trade is neighbouring Colombia, the empire’s best friend and largest recipient of aid in the hemisphere. Any list of officials connected to the drug trade has to start with (former Colombian president) Álvaro Uribe if it is to be taken seriously. We are talking about the country where the para-politics scandal broke, revealing that dozens of elected officials had links to paramilitary groups, the heart and soul of the drug trade. And yet we never hear stories of Colombian politicians or military officials, who cooperate closely with the US military, being involved in illegal activities, nor have sanctions ever been imposed on them.
This double standard is only outrageous if we believe that the war on drugs is actually designed to eradicate the drug trade. Rather, it is supposed to manage it. In fact, drugs have been very useful for US agencies, for instance, to pacify black communities and derail the black liberation movement in the 1970s. Coupled with draconian legislation and harsh sentences, today they serve to feed the very lucrative prison industry. In any case, large amounts of cocaine are consumed in the very place where the drug money is laundered – Wall Street. Even when a massive drug money laundering scheme is uncovered at a major US bank, a mild slap on the wrist and a fine worth a few days’ profit is all that can be expected.
Fake news as background
None of this is intended as an endorsement or an exoneration of El Aissami, Cabello, or anyone else. But these news stories and unproven accusations, as well as others targeting lower-profile officials such as Néstor Reverol, are not meant to prove anything or to lead to any judicial prosecution. They are simply thrown out there and blindly echoed by an uncritical media. They are meant to create background. From now on, whenever Tareck El Aissami appears in the news we will read that he has links to terrorism and the drug trade, and thus whatever he says or does will build on this background.
For the past two decades, Venezuela has been the biggest thorn in the US’ side, a real nuisance in Washington’s “backyard”, striving for an independent course (a “second independence”) and leading the efforts for a regional integration which is not subjected to the interests of the Northern empire. The US responded with its traditional regime-change operation, destabilizing at every turn, funding opposition groups, imposing a de-facto financial blockade on Venezuela, even working to lower oil prices. Their natural allies, the Venezuelan elites, have also been outraged that the country they used to own has been taken away from them, and coup-plotting has become their way of life.
And therefore these fake news stories are pre-emptive justification for a future coup or foreign intervention. Should one of these take place, the media will be ready with plenty of hyperlinks to these fake stories that present Venezuela as a failed, rogue state, connected to terrorism and the drug trade. The coup/foreign intervention would then look like the benign empire saving the world from this threat.
What the empire, the local elites and the media keep underestimating is the power of the masses that were awakened by this project, chavismo, that for the first time sees them placed front and centre. There is now a political conscience, a firm belief that the people should write their own history, and it will take a lot more than fake stories from propaganda outlets to restore Venezuela’s former neo-colonial status. In the words of Chávez:
“Aquí nadie se rinde, carajo!”
(1) While the FARC have been involved in the drug trade, it has mostly been at the lowest levels of the chain, levying a tax on sales of coca crops. Associating them, and only them, to the Colombian drug trade, is incredibly dishonest and exonerates those who profit the most out of it.
RAMALLAH – Israeli special forces disguised themselves as Palestinians and “kidnapped” two Palestinian students at the entrance of Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement released by the university.
The two students were identified as Tawfiq Abu Arqub, a coordinator for the Hamas-affiliated Islamic student bloc at the university, and Basel Falaneh, the secretary of specialities committee of the student council. They were studying computer science and business, respectively.
Birzeit University released a statement after the incident, saying that the two students were detained at the western gate of the university by “a number of [Israeli] soldiers.” Locals also told Ma’an that the students were forced into a vehicle “at gunpoint,” while also pointing guns at other students in the area.
The head of the university’s security, Muhammad Rimawi, stated that Israeli forces had “intercepted” a car that Abu Arqub and Falaneh were riding in, according to the statement, when “a number of undercover occupying forces took the students out of the car and kidnapped them.”
“This is neither new nor unprecedented given the ongoing colonial aggression against the people and institutions of Palestine,” the statement said.
The statement called the incident an “outrageous act of violence,” and part of a larger Israeli campaign resulting in the “rapid arrests” of students.
“This violation of our students’ right to learn is a part of a systematic attack on the right of education and freedom of expression,” the statement added.
The university’s Dean of Student Affairs Muhammad al-Ahmad also said in the statement that Israel’s “repressive measures” against all Palestinians and specifically students “shall only strengthen international efforts in support of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.”
“The University condemns these outrageous acts in the strongest possible terms and calls upon all international and human rights organizations to speak this truth loudly in the face of these violations immediately and without reserve and to stand in solidarity with our struggle,” the statement concluded.
Birzeit University, ranked the top university in Palestine and among the highest-ranking universities in the Arab world, has been the focus of an Israeli military crackdown in recent months, which increased after the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc won student elections at Birzeit last year for the second consecutive year.
In December, more than 20 Israeli military vehicles raided the campus before dawn, forced campus security guards to stand against walls, and proceeded to raid several buildings, including the university’s administration building, the student council’s headquarters, Kamal Nasir Hall, and the Faculty of Science.
Another incident occurred in July, when at least 11 Palestinian youths were injured after Israeli undercover forces and soldiers opened live fire on the campus amid clashes sparked by an Israeli raid to detain a former member of the Islamic bloc.
At the start of 2016, Israeli military forces also raided Birzeit, destroying and confiscating university equipment. It was reported at the time that Israeli forces had detained more than 80 students between Oct. 2015 and the start of 2016.
Rights groups have widely condemned the concerted detention of Islamic bloc members at the university since their initial victory in 2015.
The Hamas movement is deemed illegal by the Israeli government — along with the majority of Palestinian political factions and movements — making students involved with the Islamic bloc vulnerable to raids and arbitrary detentions. Members have also been targeted by Palestinian security forces.
Spokespersons for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — have given the impression that their movement’s relationship with Egypt is on the verge of dramatic shifts that will put an end to the tense relations between the two since the coup that deposed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Hamas has indicated that the recent visit to Cairo by the Deputy Head of the movement’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has paved the way to turning a new page in these relations. Hamas officials have attributed this “radical” change to a “strategic” shift in the position of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government towards the movement. They believe that this shift will manifest itself in the improvement of the economic and living conditions in the Gaza Strip.
However, what the Hamas officials are promising contradicts with the voices in Cairo, as media mouthpieces linked to Al-Sisi’s government have attributed the rapprochement between Egypt and Hamas to a deal which stipulates that Hamas should take measures on the border that the Egyptian government view as necessary to improve its ability to deal with the growing security challenges in northern Sinai. This will be in exchange for Egypt reducing the impact of the blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as taking measures to improve the economic and living situation in the besieged territory.
It is clear that if the purpose of these measures is to restrict the ability of members of Salafist jihadi groups to move across the border separating Gaza and Sinai, then this would also serve Hamas’s interests, as it is the target of hostility from these groups, a number of which have “excommunicated” the movement. In addition, Hamas is facing the consequences of what was a catastrophic mistake in trying to combine government of the enclave with resistance to the occupation, which gave Israel, as well as regional and international parties, another justification for imposing the suffocating siege on Gaza. The Islamic movement is concerned about improving the economic situation in Gaza, which has deteriorated so much that there could be an explosion of public anger against it.
However, in the event that a positive change does occur in the Egyptian government’s position towards Gaza, the rationale for this transformation will go beyond all considerations regarding the security situation in Sinai. Important circles in the Egyptian security institution have acknowledged the failed strategy adopted by Cairo towards Hamas in the form of the siege, security measures aiming to dry out the sources of its military strength, political boycott, demonisation in the media, and delegitimising the movement by means of pushing the Egyptian judiciary to consider its military wing to be a terrorist entity. According to Palestinian figures who have visited Cairo recently, some officials from the security institution in Cairo are pushing for a new approach to be adopted that aims to contain Hamas by alleviating the siege and improving the economic situation, while using the shift in Egypt’s position to influence the balances of power within the movement. This is especially due to the fact that Hamas is on the verge of holding critical internal elections, and therefore Egypt may influence one side over the other.
We can’t imagine that Al-Sisi’s government would make any change in their policies towards Gaza without coordinating with Israel, since it relies on the extremist, right-wing Israeli government in Tel Aviv to continue to provide it with international legitimacy. The Israeli position on Hamas is also subject to its own interests, and it seems apparent from the recent internal discussions that Tel Aviv’s interests currently lie in improving the economic situation in Gaza out of fear that Hamas might engage in a military confrontation as a means of preventing a popular outburst due to the deteriorating economic situation. Such fears were clearly evident in the last meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, during which Intelligence Minster Yisrael Katz once again proposed the idea of establishing a floating harbour off the coast of Gaza.
Another motivation for the shift in Cairo’s position towards Gaza is Egypt’s angry reaction to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of the pressure from Al-Sisi to restore Mohammed Dahlan to Fatah’s ranks and allow him to play a leading role in Palestinian affairs.
In any case, contrary to what some Hamas officials believe, the promised shift in the Al-Sisi government’s position on Hamas and Gaza will be tactical and not strategic. This is due to the fact that working on accumulating international legitimacy by getting involved in the war on “Islamic terrorism” is at the top of the list of strategic constants for the current regime in Cairo. Al-Sisi’s delight at his recent phone call with US President Donald Trump and his boast that they are both on the same page in terms of the war on “terrorism” reflects the rooting of this strategy within the government as a means of security legitimacy.
As such, regardless of Hamas’s behaviour towards Egypt, Al-Sisi can turn against the movement very easily if he believes that the new resident of the White House would welcome such a move. If we take into account the general agreement between the Trump administration and the Israeli government, then we can understand that Al-Sisi’s sensitivity to the Israeli considerations, including those regarding Hamas, will grow. If Israel believes at some time in the future that it is in its best interest to wage a war on Gaza, then Al-Sisi would most likely adopt the same position that he did during the 2014 military offensive.
Gaza is eager to get rid of the unlawful blockade imposed on it, and so any shift in the Egyptian position that reduces the effects of the siege will be considered as a positive and important development. However, it is important to be aware of the environment surrounding this expected shift in Egypt’s position and not to rely too much upon it, just in case there is a painful disappointment.
Translated by MEMO
Revelations that a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, had been plotting with stooges among British MPs and other maggots in the political woodwork to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan, should have resulted in the ambassador himself also being kicked out. But he was let off the hook.
That ambassador is the vile Mark Regev, ace propagandist, master of disinformation, whitewasher extraordinaire and personal spokesman for the Zionist regime’s prime minister Netanyahu.
Regev (real name Freiberg) took up his appointment here last April so presumably knew about, if not supervised, Masot’s activities.
“The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed,” said the British government. The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who is Jewish, also declined to investigate.
Masot’s hostile scheming was captured and revealed by an Al Jazeera undercover investigation and not, regrettably, by Britain’s own security services and press.
Regev is quoted several times by the Israel Project’s ‘Global Language Dictionary’, a strange title for a sinister propaganda handbook written specially for those “on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.
This manual teaches how to justify Israel’s slaughter, ethnic cleansing, land-grabbing, cruelty and blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and make it all smell sweeter with a liberal squirt of persuasive language. It also incites hatred particularly towards Hamas and Iran and is designed to hoodwink us ignorant and gullible Americans and Europeans into believing we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel, and therefore ought to support its abominable behaviour.
Readers are instructed to “clearly differentiate between the Palestinian people and Hamas” and drive a wedge between them. “Peace can only be made with adversaries who want to make peace with you. Terrorist organizations like Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad are, by definition, opposed to peaceful co-existence, and determined to prevent reconciliation. I ask you, how do you negotiate with those who want you dead?”
The manual features “Words that work” – that is to say, carefully constructed language to deflect criticism and reframe all issues and arguments in Israel’s favour. A statement at the very beginning sets the tone: “Remember, it’s not what you say that counts. It’s what people hear.”
Here’s an example of “words that work”: “Israel made painful sacrifices and took a risk to give peace a chance. They voluntarily removed over 9,000 settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, abandoning homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship in the hopes of renewing the peace process.
“Despite making an overture for peace by withdrawing from Gaza, Israel continues to face terrorist attacks, including rocket attacks and drive-by shootings of innocent Israelis. Israel knows that for a lasting peace, they must be free from terrorism and live with defensible borders.”
Of course, Israel made no sacrifices at all – Gaza wasn’t theirs to keep and staying there was unsustainable. But although they removed their settlers and troops they have continued to occupy Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters and control all entrances and exits, thus keeping the population bottled up and provoking acts of resistance that give Israel a bogus excuse to turn Gaza into a prison. International law regards Israel as still the occupier.
The manual serves as a communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers that Israel’s Ministry of Dirty Tricks recruited to spread Zionism’s poison across the internet. It uses some of Regev’s words to provide disinformation essential to this hasbara work.
We’re told, for example, that the most effective way to build support for Israel is to talk about “working toward a lasting peace” that “respects the rights of everyone in the region”. Regev is quoted: “We welcome and we support international efforts to help the Palestinians. So, once again, the Palestinian people are not our enemy. On the contrary, we want peace with the Palestinians.
“We’re interested in a historical reconciliation. Enough violence. Enough war. And we support international efforts to help the Palestinians both on the humanitarian level and to build a more successful democratic society. That’s in everyone’s interest.”
The central lie, of course, is that Israel wants peace. It doesn’t. It never has. Peace does not suit Israel’s purpose, which is endless expansion and control. That is why Israel has never declared its borders, maintains its brutal military occupation and continues its programme of illegal squats or so-called “settlements” deep inside Palestinian territory, intending to create sufficient ‘facts on the ground’ to ensure permanent occupation and annexation.
Regev is quoted again here:
- “It was the former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan that put four benchmarks on the And he said, speaking for the international community that
If Hamas reforms itself …
If Hamas recognizes my country’s right to live in freedom …
If Hamas renounces terrorism against innocent civilians …
If Hamas supports international agreements that are being signed and agreed to concerning the peace process … then the door is open.
“But unfortunately – tragically – Hamas has failed to meet even one of those four benchmarks. And that’s why today Hamas is isolated internationally. Even the United Nations refuses to speak to Hamas.”
Which of those benchmarks has Israel met, Mr Regev?
In a further effort to demonise Hamas, Regev is quoted again:
- “It’s not just Israel who refuses to speak to Hamas. It’s the whole international
community… Most of the democratic world refuses to have a relationship with Hamas because Hamas has refused to meet the most minimal benchmarks of international behavior.”
Isn’t that a little cheeky, Mr Regev, coming from a regime widely condemned for war crimes, piracy and mega-lawlessness? And let’s remember that Hamas and Hezbollah were created to resist Israeli aggression.
Iran must be demonised too, so Regev’s twisted wisdom is used again:
- “Israel is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. And for good reason.
Iran’s President openly talks about wiping Israel off the map. We see them racing ahead on nuclear enrichment so they can have enough fissile material to build a bomb. We see them working on their ballistic missiles. We only saw, last week, shooting a rocket to launch a so-called satellite into outer space and so forth. The Iranian nuclear program is a threat, not just to my country, but to the entire region. And it’s incumbent upon us all to do what needs to be done to keep from proliferating.”
In the meantime how safe is the region under the threat of Israel’s nukes? Why is Israel the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Mr Regev? Are we all supposed to believe that Israel’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads pose no threat? Would you also like to comment on why Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and why it has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, similarly the Chemical Weapons Convention? What proof do you have of Iran’s nuclear weapons plans?
As for “wiping Israel off the map”, accurate translations of that remark by Ahmadjinadad are “This regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” (The Guardian), or “This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history“ (Middle East Media Research Institute). Ahmadjinadad was actually repeating a statement once made by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Why, Mr Regev, do you persist in misquoting Mr Ahmadjinadad?
Of course, we know why. It’s the good old Mossad motto: “By deception we shall do war”, ingrained in the Israeli mindset. If it was up to me, Mr Regev, you wouldn’t be allowed to set foot in the UK – even with your cute Australian accent.
Watch Jon Snow annihilate Regev.
The anti-Iran, anti-Syria US Washington, DC district court of the absurd illegally ordered both countries to pay $178.5 million in damages to the family of an Israeli infant killed in a 2014 vehicular incident.
Israel calls wars of aggression, lethal shootings of Palestinians, and other barbarous acts self-defense. It considers legitimate resistance against brutal occupation harshness terrorism – a knee-jerk response to all incidents, Palestinians automatically guilty by accusation.
The family in question has dual Israeli-American citizenship. Their three-month-old infant was killed when Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi’s vehicle struck people at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill light-rail station in October 2014.
Israel accused him of ties with Hamas, illegally called a terrorist organization. It’s Palestine’s legally elected government.
Parents of the deceased child sued in the US district court, awarded a default judgment, the entire procedure a sham, a scheme to denigrate and punish Iran and Syria illegally.
Attorneys for the plaintiff claimed both countries support Hamas, their legal right if true. Based on this flawed judgment, the court ruled against them – an unjust decision Tehran and Damascus denounced, intending to pay nothing, now now, not ever, nor should they.
In March 2016, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari denounced a US court ruling against the Islamic Republic for the US state-sponsored false flag 9/11 attack, assessing it $10.5 billion in damages to family members of individuals killed, as well as to insurers for costs incurred.
At the time, Ansari minced no words calling the ruling “ridiculous and absurd to the point that it makes a mockery of the principle of justice while further tarnishes the US judiciary’s reputation.”
The new ruling against Iran and Syria is just as spurious, offensive, and illegal. Neither country has had anything to do with incidents in Israel or America. Claiming otherwise is a despicable fabrication.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
GAZA – Hamas on Friday lauded the ceasefire accord struck between the warring parties in embattled Syria, calling for boosting political solutions to the conflict.
“We’ve been keeping tabs with deep satisfaction on agreements to cease fire in Syria,” said Hamas.
“Hamas welcomes the ceasefire and calls for a political solution to the Syrian crisis,” a statement by the group read.
“The Syrians can well avoid more bloodshed, uphold territorial integrity, and preserve their rights and sovereignty over the land. Such a bloody page should be turned once and for all,” Hamas added.
“The Palestinian people is looking forward to reaching a long-term agreement and to healing all the differences plaguing the nation’s body. The Palestinians are longing for an end to bloodshed,” Hamas further stated.
“The Palestinians hope that our ill nation would get well soon, restore its strength and unity, and stand up for the Palestinian cause,” the group concluded.
War-ravaged Syria was living Friday through the first day of a nationwide ceasefire as the Syrian government battalions and opposition outfits have agreed to terms for a truce brokered by Turkey and Russia in the country’s long-running hostilities.
Military operations by the regime army were reportedly halted at midnight, except against ISIS and other terror groups, state-run news agency SANA reported.
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had proposed rigging the Palestinian parliamentary elections while she was a US senator in 2006, according to newly emerged tapes.
Speaking to media about the January 25, 2006, election for the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority, Clinton lamented that the US did not “determine who was going to win.”
The result of that election was a resounding victory for the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas over the US-favored Fatah political party.
“I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” then-New York Senator Clinton told The Jewish Press, a New York-based weekly newspaper, several months after the January election.
“And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win,” she said.
Eli Chomsky, an editor and a staff writer for the weekly newspaper, shared and played the tape for The New York Observer, which is also a weekly newspaper.
Chomsky had interviewed Clinton at the Jewish Press office located at the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Speaking to The Observer, Chomsky recalled being confused by the fact that “anyone could support the idea — offered by a national political leader, no less — that the US should be in the business of fixing foreign elections.”
“I went to my bosses at the time,” Chomsky said. “The Jewish Press had this mindset that they would not want to say anything offensive about anybody — even a direct quote from anyone — in a position of influence because they might need them down the road. My bosses didn’t think it was newsworthy at the time. I was convinced that it was and I held onto it all these years.”
The interview took place nine months after Hamas claimed 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, pushing aside Fatah and securing the right to form a new cabinet.
In Washington, however, where Hamas is on a terror blacklist, officials in the George W. Bush administration repeatedly stated that they would not work with a Palestinian government ruled by Hamas.
The new revelation comes after repeated statements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that the media and the political establishment have rigged the 2016 election against him and he may not accept the election outcome if Clinton wins.
BETHLEHEM – The Hamas movement called a visit by an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel this weekend “pointless and useless” on Monday, after the delegation declined to include the Gaza Strip in their visit.
“It is regrettable that the ICC delegation yielded to the demands of the Israeli occupation to exclude the Gaza Strip from the delegation’s schedule, despite the fact that the Gaza Strip was the main site of Israeli crimes in 2014,” a statement released on the movement’s website said.
Various human rights groups have charged Israel with international war crimes and submitted several cases to the ICC related to Israel’s devastating 51-day assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014 that culminated in the deaths of more than 1,000 civilians. Meanwhile, critics have questioned the ICC’s ability to bring justice on issues related to Palestine in the face of Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the court, and have even faulted the ICC itself with playing a key role in the slow process of holding Israel accountable.
“As a result, Hamas considers the delegation’s visit pointless and useless. The visit has caused more pain and suffering for the families of victims who counted on the ICC to bring justice to them and bring the Israeli killers before the court.”
The fierce condemnation by Hamas, the de facto rulers of the blockaded Gaza Strip, came as the Palestinian Authority (PA)-governed occupied West Bank welcomed the delegation of the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to the city of Ramallah on Saturday.
They were scheduled to meet with the committee that is charged with following up on ICC investigations, the state-run television network Palestine TV, and a Palestinian newspaper, according to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). On Sunday, the delegation will travel to the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank to attend an academic meeting at Bethlehem University. Meanwhile, the OTP also plans to visit Israel.
“The State of Palestine had officially requested the OTP visit Gaza, though it was declined. We hope that on their next visit the ICC delegation will visit other areas of the Occupied State of Palestine, including Hebron and the Jordan Valley,” the PLO’s ICC Higher National Committee said Friday.
The ICC’s decision to skip visiting the besieged Gaza Strip comes after the small Palestinian territory was was bombarded by a wave of Israeli airstrikes in recent days, and after Israel imprisoned activists aboard an all-female flotilla that attempted to reach Gaza this past week.
The flotilla was the fourth of its kind since 2010, when the first Freedom Flotilla was brutally attacked by Israeli naval forces, who killed ten Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship.
No Israelis were ever charged for the killings on the Mavi Marmara, despite a case being filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging Israeli officials with war crimes.
Meanwhile in August, the Israeli military closed 13 criminal investigations into cases of Israeli soldiers committing violations against Palestinian civilians during the 2014 Gaza war, without imposing any punitive measures, while some 80 incidents were closed without opening a criminal investigation.
The 51-day Israeli offensive, termed “Operation Protective Edge” by Israeli authorities, resulted in the killings of 1,462 Palestinian civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the United Nations.
According to a UN report, there were incidents in which hundreds of Gazans were killed at the same time, many belonging to the same family, when Israeli air forces bombed residential buildings — credible allegations that the incidents amounted to war crimes. … Full article
Wasfi Qabha, former Palestinian minister of detainees and ex-detainees in the government of Ismail Haniyeh, was sentenced to twelve months in Israeli prison by a military court on Wednesday, 28 September. Qabha, a prominent leader in Hamas, has been repeatedly arrested by Israeli occupation forces and has spent a total of 12 years in Israeli prisons.
Qabha was arrested from his family home in Jenin by Israeli occupation forces in May; his wife stated that he was charged with a number of charges in the military courts related to his public activities in campaigns supporting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. His sentence was accompanied with an 18-month suspended sentence and a 2,000 NIS (approximately $500) fine.
Also on Wednesday, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mohammed Jamal Natsheh was arrested among 43 others in pre-dawn arrest raids carried out by Israeli occupation forces throughout the West Bank. Natsheh was released from Israeli prisons after his previous arrest less than seven months ago. He was previously imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention. A member of the PLC representing the Change and Reform bloc associated with Hamas, Natsheh has repeatedly been arrested since his election in 2006, usually ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial.
Among the pre-dawn raids included the seventh day in a row of violent occupation military raids on Shuafat refugee camp and nearby Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, where 13 Palestinians were detained by occupation forces as over 20 homes were invaded and ransacked. The Palestinians arrested were Bilal Eid, Ahmad Imran Muhammad Ali, Mohammed Maher al-Mimi, Muhannad Bilal Anati, Bilal Awwad Anati, Ahmad Tartir, Fadi Eid, Ahmad Bilal Eid, Muayyad Jaber Muheisen, Hamoudeh Jamal Abdel-Qader, Adham al-Sharqawi, Saddam Joudeh and Hamoudeh al-Kirri.
Also arrested in Jerusalem area were Areen Za’anin, Fathi Nasser, Hussam Jamzawi, Ahmad Sajidiya, Fares Aslan, Khalil Qureia and Medhat Khalil, the last a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Bilal Eid is only 16 while Ahmad Ali is only 15 years old; they are among over 370 Palestinian children held in Israeli jails.
In al-Khalil, alongside Natsheh, also arrested were Mohammed Imam, Mohammed al-Durra, Said Zughayyer, Alaa Abu Ajamieh, Abdel-Rahim Fatafta and Abdul-Qader al-Titi, as well as Abdel-Nasser Abu Maria, 17 years old.
Five Palestinians from Budrus, near Ramallah, were arrested: Malek Marrar, Mohammed Hasan, Hosni Khalifa, Mahmoud Khalifa and Yahya Salama. Wissam Ali, Mohammed Jaber, 17, and Oday Jaber were arrested from the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem. In Jericho, three Palestinians were seized by occupation forces, including 15-year-old Mohammed Shalalfa, alongside Haitham Shalalfa and Shtayyen Shalalfa; in Qabatiyeh, two Palestinians, Mohammed Assaf and Suheib Abu al-Rub, were arrested. Occupation forces seized Mahmoud Qashmar in Qalqilya and Rashad Issa from al-Khader, near Bethlehem.
On Thursday morning, at least 10 more Palestinians were reported arrested in violent raids by occupation forces, including former prisoners Amin Hamed, 60, and his son Abdelhadi Hamed, 30, arrested in Silwad east of Ramallah in a violent raid on their home, including the explosion of the door of their homes. Abdulhadi’s brother, Abdullah’s, home was raided as well by occupation forces. Their brother Akram is serving a 17-year sentence in Israeli prisons.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has retained the leadership of the opposition political party after a bruising campaign.
Corbyn, who was initially elected last year, took 62 percent of the vote, beating challenger Owen Smith on Saturday.
Surveys had indicated that Corbyn would easily defeat his challenger as he maintained widespread support of party members attracted by his socialist anti-austerity policies and “authentic” image.
On Wednesday, Corbyn urged for the party to unite behind his leadership. He reminded lawmakers that he has the support of rank-and-file members of the party and warned them not to challenge him again.
“We owe it to the millions of people Labour exists to represent to end the sniping and personal attacks, and work together for all those who depend on the election of a Labour government. Anything else would be destructive self-indulgence,” Corbyn said in a statement.
“All Labour Party members and MPs have a responsibility to work within the democracy of our party and respect the leadership of whoever is elected.”
The 67-year-old socialist and peace campaigner has shown little interest for Britain’s special relationship with the US and is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the costly Trident nuclear missile system that is maintained by the US.
Corbyn also is a critic of Israel and NATO. As member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he invited members of the Hezbollah and Hamas resistance movements in 2009 to parliament where he called them “friends.”
By Jon Vale | The Independent | September 23, 2016
The Campaign Against Anti-semitism (CAA) has filed a formal complaint against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The group has taken action over a video posted on Mr Corbyn’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In the video, Mr Corbyn’s supporters answer questions on topics they are “tired of hearing” about, which includes whether they promote anti-semitism.
The video has subsequently been deleted from social media.
The CAA said this is the latest in a long of line of incidents where Mr Corbyn and his supporters have failed to address anti-semitism. […]
The letter accuses Mr Corbyn of “committing acts that are grossly detrimental to the party, namely characterising Jewish people as dissembling and dishonest in their reporting of anti-semitism, and by using the influence and prestige of his office to disseminate and normalise that lie”.
It continues: “The allegation that Jews lie and deceive in order to further hidden agendas is an age-old anti-semitic trope.
“It has now been manifestly deployed by Mr Corbyn in his leadership campaign video.” … Full article