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‘Palestinians reject Israel’s system of apartheid and racial discrimination’

RT | July 24, 2017

The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t religious, it’s about the rights of Palestinian people to be free from the longest occupation in modern history, says Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all ties with Israel on Friday after deadly clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli police. Protests broke out after Israeli authorities installed security cameras and metal detectors at the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.

Temple Mount, or Haram esh-Sharif as it is known to Muslims, is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. For Jews, it is believed to have been the site of two biblical temples, the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the hill is Islam’s third holiest site.

The Arab League has warned Israel about crossing “a red line” in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the sacred city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, an Israeli minister said the metal detectors that triggered the violence will remain.

The League’s foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

RT: Palestinian President Abbas suspended all relations with Israel. How would you comment on that? Are you surprised?

Mustafa Barghouti: No, I am not, actually. He should have done that some time ago because the Israeli behavior is a behavior that wants to kill any possibility of peace in this place. Its policy is directed at destroying the two-state solution either by the measures they are taking at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is a very provocative act or by the law they have just passed which prohibits even negotiations over Jerusalem or by the increased settlement activities which have exceeded any previous expansion before. All these factors have led to this reaction. They have killed three of our people and injured no less than 432 demonstrators. All the people were just praying peacefully, I was there myself, and I saw myself – there was no violence from the Palestinian side and suddenly we were attacked with bullets, with the clubs, they were very aggressive toward the Palestinian prayers.

RT: Surely Israel has the right to step up security given what has happened [two Israelis policemen were killed at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July,14]? Can you understand Israel’s nervousness?

MB: No, I think Netanyahu has heard his own security people advising him to take away these metal detectors and stop changing the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but he didn’t listen to them. He proceeded by listening to the extreme ministers in his cabinet. The result is this explosion that we see. Not only in Jerusalem but all over the West Bank. You must understand this is not a religious conflict. This is about national rights; this is about the right of the Palestinian people to be free from occupation. To get their freedom after 50 years of occupation which is the longest occupation in modern history. This is about people rejecting to be treated as third class citizens; this is about rejecting a system of apartheid and racial discrimination that Israel has created. To people in Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories, people are saying “enough is enough, we cannot take it anymore, we want our freedom, we want our independence.”  This is the essence of what is happening.

‘Palestine freezing contacts with Tel Aviv is right move amid constant Israeli provocations’

RT: What is your reaction to the move by Palestinian President Abbas to freeze all contacts with Israel?

Miko Peled, peace activist: It is certainly the right move. Israeli provocations have led to these massive protests; this is definitely the right approach and the right move. We need also to remember Israel has been denying two million people in Gaza water and electricity in this terrible heat – people are dying of thirst and heat just a 45-minute drive away from Jerusalem. Israel has been engaged in serious provocations against the Palestinians.

RT: What is your opinion about the Israeli argument that more security measures are needed?

MP: The presence of the Israeli security forces in the old city of Jerusalem, around the Al Al-Aqsa Mosque are a constant provocation to the Palestinians and an infringement of the Palestinians’ right to practice their faith, to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque… And the provocation is not just an existence of this huge number of forces but also the way they behave, the way they treat the Palestinians, the way they arrest youth, the constant harassment as people try to get in and out of the old city, in and out of the holy sanctuary. So, to expect that there will be such oppression on the rights of Palestinians and there will be no violence in return is a little naïve. But we have to look at the fact that the main form of resistance has been in a form of civil disobedience with thousands of worshipers refusing to go through the metal detectors, standing outside the mosque and praying peacefully albeit standing under the weapons and the guns of the Israeli security forces…

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wine and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | July 24, 2017

Two weeks ago the worst fear of Canadian opponents of neoliberal ‘free trade’ agreements came true.

Surprisingly, there has been almost no reaction from the political parties, unions, and other organizations that warned these agreements would be used to undermine Canadian law, even though this is exactly what happened.

After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inacurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare Israel as the country of origin for wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Quoting from official Canadian policy, CFIA noted “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.” On July 11 the LCBO sent out a letter to all sacramental wine vendors that stated CFIA’s conclusion that products from two wineries contained grapes “grown, fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory” and should no longer be sold until accurately labelled.

But, in response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, CFIA quickly reversed its decision. On July 14 the government announced that it was all a mistake made by a low level CFIA official and that the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) governed the labelling of such wine, not CFIA rules. “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” a terse CFIA statement explained. “These wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labelled.”

In other words, the government publicly proclamed that the FTA trumps Canada’s consumer protection laws. And the basis for this dangerous precedent is that the Israel FTA includes the illegally occupied West Bank as a place where Israel’s custom laws apply.

Incredibly, the Green Party of Canada seems to be the only organization that has publically challenged this egregious attack against consumer protections and Palestinian rights. “The European Union and the United States made it clear long ago that goods made in these illegal settlements cannot be mislabelled as ‘Made in Israel’”, said Green Party leader Elizabeth May in a press release. “Why is Canada singling out Israel for preferential treatment at the expense of both Palestinians’ human rights, and the rights of Canadian consumers?”

The Green’s statement points to a startling “Israel exception” by the government as well as FTA critics. I’ve seen no comment from the Council of Canadians or the organization’s trade campaigner Sujata Dey about the Liberal’s announcement that an FTA overides Canadian consumer protections. The same can be said for NDP International Trade critic Tracey Ramsey as well as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and its Trade and Investment Research Project leader Scott Sinclair. (Since CFIA’s announcement Ramsey and Dey have each posted repeatedly to twitter regarding CETA, NAFTA and other FTAs.) Nor have consumer protection groups such as the Consumers’ Association of Canada or Consumers Council of Canada opposed this attack on the Food and Drugs Act.

But, FTA critics still have an opportunity to join the fight against CFIA’s recent decision. David Kattenburg and his lawyer Dmitry Lascaris are planning a court challenge and their efforts should be supported.

To allow this precedent to pass without challenge the CCPA, NDP and Council of Canadians would be conceding an extremely broad “Israel exception”. Opposing CFIA’s move isn’t akin to backing Palestinian civil society’s (entirely legitimate) call for international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Israel: “Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the Wall; Recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

Nor is it a request for Ottawa to bar wines produced on the 22% of pre-1948 Palestine supposed to be a Palestinian state as per official Canadian policy. It is not even necessarily a demand to eliminate the special tariff treatment the Israel FTA currently grants companies based in the occupied territories. It is simply a request to respect Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and label two brands of wine accurately.

Kattenburg explains:

Israel’s self-declared right to sell falsely labeled products on Canadian store shelves should not be allowed to trump the right of Canadians to know what they’re eating and drinking; to know that the fine bottle of ‘Israeli’ red or crispy chardonnay that they just bought was actually not produced from grapes grown in Israel, but rather, in Israeli-occupied, brutally exploited Palestine.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu: Leave No Palestinian or Arab Alive

By Jonas E. Alexis | Veterans Today | July 23, 2017

Israeli Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu seems to have picked up where the late Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef left off. The Israeli army, Eliyahu said, must slaughter the Palestinians “and leave no one alive.” The Palestinians, the good rabbi continued, must be “destroyed and crushed in order to end violence.” Here is Eliyahu’s algorithm:

If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1,000. And if they do not stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million.”

There is more to this “logic” than meets the eye and ear. Eliyahu even postulated that the Israeli army ought not to get involved in arresting Palestinians because “If you leave him alive, there is a fear that he will be released and kill other people. We must eradicate this evil from within our midst.”

You may say that this is just an isolated case. No Israeli official believes that, right?

Wrong. Listen to Israeli politician and Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked: “Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started…” Shaked had more interesting things to say:

“The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war.

“It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started…

“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support.

“They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”[1]

Not a single Zionist outlet has condemned Shaked for saying disgusting things like that, despite the fact that Israeli officials have been regurgitating these kinds of perversions for decades. Former IDF Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan declared way back in the 1980s:

We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel….Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.”

In a similar vein, David Ben Gurion said: “We must expel the Arabs and take their place and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle in those places – then we have force at our disposal.” This again is consistent with what many rabbis have been saying. Rabbi Ido Elba declared:

“If every single cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, and is thus part of God, then every strand of DNA is a part of God. Therefore, something is special about Jewish DNA…If a Jew needs a liver, can he take the liver of an innocent non-Jew to save him? The Torah would probably permit that. Jewish life has an infinite value. There is something more holy and unique about Jewish life than about non-Jewish life.”[2]

Stephen Steinlight, former Director of National Affairs for the American Jewish Committee (one of the most powerful Jewish organizations in the United States), stated bluntly,

“I’ll confess it, at least: like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist…I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves. We were also taught that the lesson of our dark history is that we could rely on no one.”[3]

Michael Chabon of the New York Times concurs:

“As a Jewish child I was regularly instructed, both subtly and openly, that Jews, the people of Maimonides, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk and Meyer Lansky, were on the whole smarter, cleverer, more brilliant, more astute than other people. And, duly, I would look around the Passover table, say, at the members of my family, and remark on the presence of a number of highly intelligent, quick-witted, shrewd, well-educated people filled to bursting with information, explanations and opinions on a diverse range of topics.”[4]

Chabon now pokes fun at what he referred to as “nonsense” and “our own stupidity as a people,”[5] but this just shows how ingrained the smarter-than-thou attitude is.

In 2010, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef unapologetically declared,

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world—only to serve the People of Israel. In Israel, death has no dominion over them…With gentiles, it will be like any person—they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity…Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.”[6]

Many rabbis, according to Jewish scholars Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, see that “Jews killing non-Jews does not constitute murder according to the Jewish religion and that killing of innocent Arabs for reasons of revenge is a Jewish virtue.”[7]

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Scheerson, known as Lubovitcher Rebbe and the seventh of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, came close to believing in something similar, saying that “a non-Jew should be punished by death if he kills an embryo, even if the embryo is non-Jewish, while the Jew should not be, even if the embryo is Jewish.”[8]

The great Rabbi expanded on this view in 1965:

“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of “let us differentiate” between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world…

“The Jewish body ‘looks as if it were in substance similar to bodies of non-Jews,’ but the meaning…is that the bodies only seem to be similar in material substance, outward look and superficial quality. The difference of the inner quality, however, is so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species.

“This is the reason why the Talmud states that there is an halachic difference in attitude about the bodies of non-Jews [as opposed to the bodies of Jews] ‘and their bodies are in vain’…An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness…

“The body of a Jewish embryo is on a higher level than is the body of a non-Jew…We therefore ask: Why should a non-Jew be punished if he kills even a non-Jewish embryo while a Jew should not be punished even if he kills a Jewish embryo?

“The answer can be understood by [considering] the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” means that [the heavens and the earth] were created for the sake of the Jews, who are called the “beginning.” This means everything, all developments, all discoveries, the creation, including the “heavens and the earth—are vanity compared to the Jews. The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”[9]

In 2010, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira wrote that “according to true Jewish values, [the Jews’] lives come before those of the enemy, whether he is a soldier or a civilian under protection.”[10]

If you challenge that racist ideology, you almost certainly will be viewed as an anti-Semite and a wicked person. This also gives Israeli officials like Benjamin Netanyahu a license to say or do wicked things. You remember what Netanyahu said a few years ago? Take it from him:

“I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in [our] way.”[11]

Well, this man has been moving America “very easily” for years. This has allowed him to brag about illegally attacking Iran “dozens of times” in Syria.[12] But since Netanyahu does not understand what Hegel calls “the cunning of reason,” he cannot see that he is setting up his own doom by conjuring one lie after another.


[1] Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s new justice minister considers all Palestinians to be ‘the enemy,’” Washington Post, May 7, 2015.

[2] Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, 43, 62

[3] Stephen Steinlight, “The Jewish Stake in America’s Changing Demography: Reconsidering a Misguided Immigration Policy,” Center for Immigration Studies, October 2001.

[4] Michael Chabon, “Chosen, but Not Special,” NY Times, June 4, 2010.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Jonah Mandel, “Yosef: Gentiles Exist only to Serve Jews,” Jerusalem Post, Oct 18, 2010.

[7] Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, 43.

[8] Ibid., 59.

[9] bid., 59-60.

[10] “Leading rabbi encourages IDF soldiers to use Palestinian human shields,” Haaretz, October 20, 2010

[11] Quoted in “Netanyahu In 2001: ‘America Is A Thing You Can Move Very Easily,’” Huffington Post, May 25, 2011.

[12] Aria Bendix, “Netanyahu Admits Israel Struck Iranian Convoys ‘Dozens of Times,’” Atlantic, July 19, 2017.

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

The Balfour Declaration: Time to Say Sorry and Time We Made Amends

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | July 22, 2017

In a letter to a local newspaper about Brexit and the way prime minister Theresa May is handling it, I happened to mention in passing the Balfour Declaration, criticising her plans to celebrate the centenary “with pride” and invite Israel’s PM Netanyahu to the fun. This drew a sharp response from someone spouting the usual Israeli propaganda ‘facts’ and saying my attitude harmed the Jewish community worldwide.

The Balfour Declaration is a deadly serious subject. It is a cause of great horror and grief, of justifiable international anger, and a matter for profound regret. This is a right time and proper time for debate. Let’s focus on it for the next few months because justice groups are urging the British Government to mark the Balfour Declaration centenary by saying sorry.

Mrs May could do some real good here. She could, at a stroke, help quell the destructive turmoil in the Middle East and begin repair to Britain’s tattered prestige. She could even open new trade routes into Islamic markets, vitally important as we leave the EU.

By eating a little humble pie and apologising on our behalf for 100 years of agony inflicted on lovely people in a lovely part of the world Mrs May could take a giant step for mankind on the world stage. She has between now and November to do it. Will she?

No, she’ll be celebrating Balfour in style with the Israeli prime minister and not giving a toss about the people Britain wronged.

Which is shocking when a UN report recently branded Israel an apartheid regime. It’s even more regrettable considering the desperate cry for help from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine in an open letter to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement, signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Here’s an extract:

We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour declaration… followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall…

Mrs May needs a jolt.

When I enquired whether the Balfour Declaration is taught in our schools I was told ‘no’. So what exactly is it?

Arthur Balfour, British foreign secretary in 1917, penned a letter to the most senior Jew in England, Lord Rothschild – pledging the Government’s “best endeavours” to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jewish people. Balfour also wrote:

We do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country.

It amounted to a betrayal of our Arab allies in WW1. Many in Parliament objected, including Lord Sydenham who remarked:

What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.

At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 when the Great Powers carved up the territorial spoils of war a Zionist delegation produced Balfour’s promissory note. It planted a powder-keg in the Middle East and the fuse was now lit. Britain accepted the mandate responsibility for Palestine and eventually in 1947 the Great Powers pushed the United Nations into partitioning the territory, again without consulting those who lived there.

So what made Balfour do it? The more you delve, the more incredible the answers to those unaware of the growing influence of worldwide Zionism. Support for the movement and its ambition to create a New Israel was quite fashionable in the corridors of power around the time of WW1. The story I find compelling is that, while Britain struggled desperately against German U-boat successes and ammunition shortages, the Zionist power-brokers of Germany and Eastern Europe consulted with their opposite numbers in America and decided, given their grip on money and media, they could bring the US into the war against Germany and its Ottoman ally if Britain were to promise them Palestine for a Jewish homeland afterwards.

Balfour was a Zionist convert (as were many others including prime minister David Lloyd-George) and in the right position. The proposition was put to Britain in 1916. The Zionists delivered. The US entered the war. In the meantime immigrant Polish-Zionist chemist Chaim Weizmann offered a solution to the production of enough acetone, a critical ingredient in cordite for artillery shells, to satisfy the war effort. He demanded the same promise. Balfour handed them their ‘receipt’ in November 1917 even though Palestine was not, and never could be, Britain’s to give away.

‘Name of the game: erasing Palestine’

Balfour had inserted into his ‘declaration’ that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing and non-Jewish communities….” on the insistence of the only Jew in the British Cabinet, Lord Montague, who was anti-Zionist and opposed the deal. But this safeguard was jettisoned as soon as Britain lost control of events.

Not content with the territory allocated to them under the UN Partition Plan the Israelis declared statehood ignoring all boundaries. Their ‘Plan Dalet’ offensive, begun beforehand, had seized much Arab-designated land at gunpoint.  Jewish militia – the Irgun, Haganah, Palmach and Lehi – raided towns and villages forcing inhabitants to flee. Numerous attrocities were committed including the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem (headquarters of the British administration) in 1946 murdering 91, and the massacres at Deir Yassin and Lydda in 1948.

Today Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and has Gaza in a stranglehold so pitiless as to have caused a long-term humanitarian crisis and irreparable environmental damage. For nearly 70 years millions of dispossessed Palestinians and their families have languished in refugee camps, and those who remain in their homeland – Christian and Muslim alike – live a miserable life under brutal military occupation.

The situation stands as a monumental stain on the flag of the United Nations, which hasn’t the backbone to take action. And the continuing repercussions throughout the Holy Land should concern all true Christians and Muslims especially regular churchgoers like Mrs May.

Miko Peled, the son of an Israeli general and a former soldier in the Israeli army – and now an important figure in the struggle for justice – confirms what many have been saying for years:

The name of the game: erasing Palestine, getting rid of the people and de-Arabizing the country… By 1993 the Israelis had achieved their mission to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible…. That is when Israel said, OK, we’ll begin negotiations…

My critic in the local newspaper called Hamas terrorists. Peled describes the Israeli army, in which he served, as “one of the best trained and best equipped and best fed terrorist organisations in the world.” Take your pick. But Hamas’ political wing is not proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK.

The accusation that criticising the Israeli regime harms Jewish communities is unacceptable. There are many admirable Jewish groups vehemently campaigning against Israel’s crimes. One-time Israeli Military Intelligence chief Yehoshafat Harkabi warned that Jews throughout the world would pay the price of Israel’s misconduct. So the problem appears to be a ‘family’ matter between Jews everywhere.

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian killed, 67 injured in Jerusalem clashes

Palestine Information Center – July 22, 2017

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – A Palestinian youth was pronounced dead on Saturday evening after he was injured in clashes with the Israeli police in al-Eizariya town in Jerusalem.

A local source reported that Yousuf Kashour, 24, died of a serious injury to the chest.

Violent confrontations erupted on Saturday evening between the Israeli police and the Jerusalemite worshipers protesting at Bab al-Asbat near al-Aqsa Mosque.

The PIC reporter said that the Israeli police attacked worshipers with sound bombs and putrid water, and added that a cordon was later imposed around the scene after large police reinforcements were summoned in a bid to prevent worshipers from performing evening prayer there.

Earlier, 3 Palestinians were injured with rubber bullets in clashes with the Israeli police at Qalandia checkpoint in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society announced that its crews treated 67 injuries this evening in Jerusalem.

Head of the Heritage and Manuscripts Department at al-Aqsa Mosque, Radwan Amr, said that the Israeli police assaulted worshipers and started to force them out of the Old City of Jerusalem, describing what is happening at al-Asbat as a “real massacre against a peaceful sit-in”.

Despite the Israeli attacks, hundreds of Palestinians coming from Jerusalem, the West Bank and the 1948 occupied territories protested for the 9th day in a row at Bab al-Asbat and outside the Old City against closing al-Aqsa Mosque and installing metal detectors at its gates.

On 14th July, the Israeli authorities banned Friday prayer at the Mosque following an anti-occupation shooting attack in which two Israeli police officers were killed.

Later, the Old City was closed and prayer was banned at the shrine until further notice for the first time since 1969, and on 16th July, 9 metal detectors were erected at al-Aqsa gates.

Since then, Palestinian worshipers have refused to enter the Mosque through these metal detectors and decided to perform their prayers at its entrances.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Schumer, ‘guardian of Israel,’ calls anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism

Sen. Chuck Schumer marches in the Celebrate Israel Parade in the rain on June 5, 2016 in New York City
If Americans Knew | July 18, 2017

In a recent speech on the Senate floor, New York Senator Charles Schumer said that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. (In a 2010 speech Schumer said that God made him a ‘guardian of Israel’ – see below).

Schumer, the Senate minority leader, made his remarks at the end of a speech on health care. Schumer said he wanted to thank French President Emmanuel Macron for his recent comments claiming that anti-Zionism was antisemitism.

Schumer claimed that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, an extremely diverse movement that includes many Jewish individuals and groups, is “antisemitic.”

Schumer said: “The global BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign that I would say, in similar words to Mr. Macron, is a ‘reinvented form of anti-Semitism’ because it seeks to impose boycotts on Israel and not on any other nation.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s report on Schumer’s remarks notes that Schumer is the Senate’s “highest-ranking Jewish lawmaker.”

The claim that criticism of Israel is antisemitic has been promoted by an international campaign working to embed this as a new definition of “antisemitism.”

Schumer says he is a ‘guardian of Israel’

In 2010, Schumer told an AIPAC convention: “As some of you know, my name is a Hebrew word. “Schumer” comes from the Hebrew word “Shomer,” which means “guardian,” “watchman.”

Schumer said his name was given to him “for a reason”:

“For as long as I live, for as long as I have the privilege of serving in the Senate from New York, I will unflinchingly, unstintingly and with all of my strength be Shomer Yisrael, a guardian of Israel. Ladies and gentlemen, Am Yisrael Chai, in Israel and America, the Jewish nation lives now and forever.”

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 6 Comments

Netanyahu Pushes Trump Toward Wider Wars

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | July 18, 2017

A weakened, even desperate President Donald Trump must decide whether to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or to repudiate the Syrian partial ceasefire, which Trump hammered out with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7.

 (Official White House Photo by Dan Hansen)

Whether intentionally or not, this crossroads is where the months of Russia-gate hysteria have led the United States, making Trump even more vulnerable to Israeli and neoconservative pressure and making any cooperation with Russia more dangerous for him politically.

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday, Netanyahu declared that Israel was totally opposed to the Trump-Putin cease-fire deal in southern Syria because it perpetuates Iranian presence in Syria in support of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Netanyahu’s position increases pressure on Trump to escalate U.S. military involvement in Syria and possibly move toward war against Iran and even Russia. The American neocons, who generally move in sync with Netanyahu’s wishes, already have as their list of current goals “regime changes” in Damascus, Tehran and Moscow – regardless of the dangers to the Middle East and indeed the world.

At the G-20 summit on July 7, Trump met for several hours with Putin coming away with an agreed-upon cease-fire for southwestern Syria, an accord that has proven more successful than previous efforts to reduce the violence that has torn the country apart since 2011.

But that limited peace could mean failure for the proxy war that Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other regional players helped launch six years ago with the goal of removing Assad from power and shattering the so-called “Shiite crescent” from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut. Instead, that “crescent” appears more firmly in place, with Assad’s military bolstered by Shiite militia forces from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In other words, the “regime change” gambit against Assad’s government would have backfired, with Iranian and Hezbollah forces arrayed along Israel’s border with Syria. And instead of accepting that reversal and seeking some modus vivendi with Iran, Netanyahu and his Sunni-Arab allies (most notably the Saudi monarchy) have decided to go in the other direction (a wider war) and to bring President Trump along with them.

Neophyte Trump

Trump – a relative neophyte in global intrigue – has been slow to comprehend how his outreach to Netanyahu and Saudi King Salman runs counter to his collaboration with Putin on efforts to defeat the Sunni jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have served as the point of the spear in the war to overthrow Assad.

Al Qaeda and Islamic State have received direct and indirect support from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Turkey, Israel and even the Obama administration, albeit sometimes unwittingly. To block Assad’s overthrow – and the likely victory by these terror groups – Russia, Iran and Hezbollah came to Assad’s defense, helping to turn the tide of the war since 2015.

In his nearly half year in office, Trump has maintained an open hostility toward Iran – sharing a position held by Washington’s neocons as well as Netanyahu and Salman – but the U.S. President also has advocated cooperation with Russia to crush Islamic State and Al Qaeda inside Syria.

Collaboration with Russia – and indirectly with Iran and the Syrian military – makes sense for most U.S. interests, i.e., stabilizing Syria, reversing the refugee flow that has destabilized Europe, and denying Al Qaeda and Islamic State a base for launching terror strikes against Western targets.

But the same collaboration would be a bitter defeat for Netanyahu and Salman who have invested heavily in this and other “regime change” projects that require major U.S. investments in terms of diplomacy, money and military manpower.

So, in last weekend’s trip to Paris, Netanyahu chose to raise the stakes on Trump at a time when Democrats and the U.S. mainstream media are pounding him daily with the Russia-gate scandal, even raising the possibility that his son, Donald Trump Jr., might be prosecuted and imprisoned for having a meeting in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer.

If Trump wants the Russia-gate pain to lessen, he will be tempted to give Netanyahu what he wants and count on the savvy Israeli leader to intervene with the influential neocons of Official Washington to pull back on the scandal-mongering.

The problem, however, would be that Netanyahu really wants the U.S. military to complete the “regime change” project in Syria – much as it did in Iraq and Libya – meaning more American dead, more American treasure expended and a likely wider war, extending to Iran and possibly nuclear-armed Russia.

That might fulfill the neocon current menu of “regime change” schemes but it runs the risk of unleashing a nuclear conflagration on the world. In that way, liberals and even some progressives – who have embraced Russia-gate as a way to remove the hated Donald Trump from office – may end up contributing to the end of human civilization as well.

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

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

UN panel blasts Israel over abuses and settlement expansion in Occupied Palestinian Territories

RT | July 18, 2017

Israel continues the illegal practice of settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a United Nations expert panel has said in its annual evaluation. It further accuses Tel Aviv of excessive use of force and collective punishment against Palestinians.

After gathering testimonies from civil society organizations, UN representatives and Palestinian officials, the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories noted a number of violations against the Palestinians over the last year, including the detention of minors by the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

“The Committee heard troubling testimony regarding the arrest and detention of children, including cases of reported ill-treatment and lack of adequate protection,” the Committee said after its fact-finding visit to Amman, Jordan.

The Committee also heard testimonies of “excessive use of force” by Israeli forces and the “lack of accountability” by Tel Aviv which “further exacerbated the cycle of violence.”

The UN experts recorded testimonies of continued administrative detention and “difficult conditions” of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

While the full report of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians will only be published in November, the experts highlighted the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories which are illegal under international law.

“Organizations told the Committee that Israeli settlement expansion had continued in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Syrian Golan, with a notably high level of new construction announced this year, in violation of international humanitarian law,” the fact finding team said.

The UN group said that settlements, as well as the separation wall, dubbed “the apartheid wall” by critics, are having a “negative impact” on the human rights of Palestinians by restricting their freedom of movement.

The experts also voiced concern over the demolition of homes in the occupied territories, especially Bedouin communities in so-called Area C.

“The use of punitive demolitions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem was described as a form of collective punishment,” by the organizations interviewed, the Committee said.

“The Committee clearly observed that the Israeli authorities continue with policies and practices that negatively impact the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Pointedly, Tel Aviv does not recognize the authority of the UN Committee, which has been releasing annual reports into Israeli practices since 1968. Relations between Tel Aviv and the world body have drastically deteriorated recently.

Following the passage of the UN Security Council anti-settlement resolution in December last year, Israel cut funding to various UN agencies. Roughly $10 million has been withheld since then as the UN continues to pass resolutions which are perceived as anti-Israeli by Tel Aviv.

Israel accuses various bodies working under the auspices of the UN of having an anti-Israeli bias and failing to acknowledge the Jewish state’s security concerns.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel imprisons UN official, again – UN’s Guterres says nothing

Israel imprisons UN official, again – UN’s Guterres says nothing

If Americans Knew | July 17, 2017

Israel arrested Hamdan Temraz, 61, deputy director of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Gaza, while he was on his way to a work meeting. Four days later the UN still had not issued a statement about this.

The UN has recently come under increased pressure from the United States and Israel.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced to an adoring AIPAC audience in March that she had pressured the UN to remove an official report showing that Israel was guilty of ‘apartheid.’

All 100 US Senators signed a letter in April noting that the US is the largest single donor to the UN and demanding that the UN end its allegedly unfair treatment of Israel.

On July 14th UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement condemning the killing of two Israeli policeman by three assailants (who were then killed by Israeli forces), announcing: “This incident has the potential to ignite further violence. All must act responsibly to avoid escalation.”

Yet, Secretary-General Guterres issued no such statement two days earlier when Israeli forces invading the Palestinian city of Jenin killed two young Palestinians.

Now the UN Secretary-General is saying nothing about Israel’s imprisonment of a UN official from Gaza as he tried to travel to a meeting.

Richard Silverstein reports in Tikun Olam:

This is getting old.  Israel has once again arrested a United Nations official based in Gaza as he attempted to cross into Israel to attend a work meeting there.  An Israeli security source has confirmed to me the linked story above and the Shin Bet arrest.  The news is under gag order in Israel and no media there may report the story.  This conveniently insulates the Israeli public from the news that their supposedly democratic nation has arrested human rights personnel from the most reputable NGO in the world.  It also allows the Shin Bet time to build yet another fraudulent case against yet another Palestinian official doing international humanitarian relief work in Gaza.

Since Israelis can’t know this information, I’m going to tell them here.  The arrested man is Hamdan Temraz, 61, who is the deputy director of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) in Gaza.  He was arrested at the Erez crossing on July 12th despite having a valid entry permit.

The Palestinian human rights group, al Mezan released this statement to the Palestine Information Center, protesting the latest Israeli outrage:

The Center explained that such Israeli practices are aimed at blocking the work of the international organizations in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that 8 employees working in these organizations have been arrested since the beginning of 2014.

It affirmed that hundreds of employees are denied the permits required to enter or exit Gaza to be able to follow up their organizations’ work, not to mention the Israeli incitement campaigns they are exposed to.

I find it odd that a UN employee has been in an Israeli prison for four days and there has been no statement from the international body.  Is this how they come to the defense of their staff when it’s under threat in a police state?  I left a phone message with the UN press office seeking a statement, but have not heard from them so far.

It’s no coincidence that last month, Netanyahu called for the UN to dismantle UNWRA, the major relief organizations in  Gaza.  He appealed directly to U.S. ambassador, David Friedman aka “The Settler’s Friend.”  This rehashes a common Israeli narrative in which evil Hamas co-opts everyone and everything to do its dirty terrorist work in the enclave.  The U.S. is far the largest donor supporting UNWRA, providing $350-million annually to support the millions of Gazans who are unemployed and undernourished due to the decade-long Israeli siege.  Israel hopes that the new Trump regime will realize its ambitions to restrain or suppress the aid work in Gaza, which serves to remind the world of Israel’s ongoing assault against its innocent civilian population.

Last summer, Israel arrested two Palestinians in Gaza.  Waheed Borsh worked for the UN Development Program and Mohammed el-Halabi for the Christian relief group, World Vision.  Both were accused of exploiting their NGO status to undertake covert activities on behalf of Hamas.  In the latter case, el-Halabi was accused of funneling international relief funds to the Islamist group.  In every instance, the NGOs undertook full, comprehensive investigations and uncovered no evidence to support the Israeli charges.  But since Israel functions as a police state as far as Palestinians are concerned, guilt and conviction were assured.  Therefore, in order not to spend decades behind bars, each copped a plea that offered a lesser sentence.

This charade permits Israel to bolster its fake claim that the international relief organizations aren’t that at all–but rather thinly concealed support groups for militant international terrorists.  This, in turn, satisfies the Israeli government’s core far-right constituency, which can tell itself how much the world hates us and how justified it is in utilizing maximum force in “defending” itself from enemies lurking virtually everywhere.

So here’s how it will go with Temraz.  He will be accused of taking advantage of his position directing security for the UN agency by permitting Hamas to do something that somehow jeopardizes Israeli security.  Perhaps he allowed the militants to build tunnels under UN facilities.  Perhaps he offered materials to Hamas to build tunnels.  Or even better: he provided the fake IDs the Haram al Sharif attackers used to gain entrance to the Muslim holy site.  Who knows what they can devise?  The thing is, these Shabak agents aren’t very imaginative.  Nor do they need to be.  No one reviews the cases they bring for credibility.  No judge cares to do so.  He or she would rapidly find themselves on the road to career oblivion if they did.  So any half-assed concoction can send a man away for a decade or more simply because some agent has to make his quota and throw the fear of god into both Palestinians and the relief agencies servicing Gaza.  What a seamy mess of a national security regime this is.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli authorities demolish Palestinian-owned building in East Jerusalem

Ma’an – July 17, 2017

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian-owned building on Monday morning in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Zaayyem, according to witnesses.

Bulldozers escorted by Israeli police forces and employees of Israel’s Jerusalem municipality razed the home to the ground for lack of a building permit.

A spokesperson for the municipality told Ma’an that the demolition was not within its jurisdiction. However, a spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for enforcing demolitions in the occupied West Bank, later told Ma’an to contact the municipality.

Last week, Israeli forces targeted Palestinian-owned buildings in occupied East Jerusalem for two consecutive days.

Construction licenses are very expensive and difficult to obtain for Palestinians, notably in the Jerusalem area, in a bid by Israeli authorities to force Palestinians out and change the demographic balance of the city.

While Palestinians frequently take their cases to Israeli courts after Israeli land confiscation and home demolition notices are ordered, they seldom win their cases in court.

Thirty-three percent of all Palestinian homes in the occupied city lack Israeli-issued building permits, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement, the United Nations reported in 2012.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

According to UNOCHA, Israel demolished a record 1,093 structures in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2016, including 190 in East Jerusalem, displacing 1,601 Palestinians. They were the highest West Bank demolition and displacement figures recorded by OCHA since it started doing so in 2009.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Palestinians protest Radiohead’s support for ‘apartheid’ Israel

MEMO | July 17, 2017

A group of Palestinians from the UK, besieged Gaza, occupied West Bank and Israel have co-authored a letter to the British rock band, Radiohead, over their controversial decision to hold a concert in Israel later this week.

The band’s decision to go ahead with the concert is a “slap in the face to Palestinians across the world” and a “betrayal of all social justice movements”, the group said. They urged Radiohead to reconsider their decision, which activists say grants legitimacy to an apartheid regime and gives support to political oppression.

Earlier this month Radiohead, who became a worldwide hit in the 1990s, announced their decision to play at a concert in Israel. Their decision angered fans and supporters of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel’s half a decade occupation of Palestine. Protests against the decision by the rock band, however, fell on deaf ears as the group insisted on playing in Israel while maintaining that “music, art and academia is about crossing borders, not building ones”.

In the two page letter, the group, which consists mainly of Palestinian academics and students, accused Radiohead of hypocrisy and supporting apartheid. They describe Radiohead’s “excuses” as no different to the excuse used by artists who played in South Africa during the height of the anti-apartheid movement against white rule. “Based on your responses to BDS, we wonder if you too would have performed in Sun City while Nelson Mandela and others rotted in Robben Island prison?” they asked.

They pointed out that hundreds of South African organisations and trade unions support the BDS campaign because in Israel they see very similar – if not exactly the same – system of political subjugation. “Indeed many South Africans,” the group stressed. “who have visited Palestine concluded that the situation is ‘worse’ than apartheid.”

The group urged Radiohead to open its eyes and see the routine violence and indignity faced by Palestinians, the daily human rights violations and abuses carried out by Israel before re-considering their decision.

Describing details of the their ongoing persecution, the group said:

We are segregated, held and humiliated at hundreds of checkpoints, we watch our houses be demolished, we are denied freedom of movement, equal access to water, healthcare, education and face a separate discriminatory legal system. We live under Israeli F16s and Elbit Drones, we face Merkhava tanks, and electricity cut to three hours a day. This, Radiohead, is known as apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

In their letter, they urged Radiohead to take a moment and think what it is like to live in Gaza: “[A] child as young as eight has had to endure three brutal Israeli bombing campaigns,” they wrote, adding: “Think what it must be like to live in perpetual exile in refugee camps sometimes only a few kilometres from home and yet forbidden from returning.”

Radiohead was also encouraged to consider the discriminatory political system that governs the lives of Palestinians: “Think what it must be like to live under an intricate system of apartheid that forbids you from travelling on certain roads, living in certain places and even accessing fundamental resources such as water.”

“Millions of us are imprisoned behind walls and barriers and if we want to cross we have to beg our occupiers for permission which is often denied to us. Everyday Palestinians in Gaza are dying because they cannot leave the outdoor prison Israel has created and access lifesaving medical care.”

Everyday Palestinians are stopped at checkpoints, harassed, turned away and sometimes even shot.

The Palestinian group described their frustrations over Radiohead’s attitude towards activists attempting to raise these concerns. The letter mentions that when activists tried to bring this matter to the attention of the band they were called “fucking people” and that one of the members stuck their middle finger at them.

“These people were not just allies of Palestinians who have fought tirelessly for our freedom, they were also Radiohead fans,” the group said. “Fans who have seen you engage with politics and various causes for social justice around the world over the decades.”

The letter cites activist and author Naomi Klein who is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause including BDS. Radiohead is apparently an avid fan of the Canadian author but in the letter the Palestinian group accuse the band of hypocrisy, because of their claim to support social justice on the one hand while also attacking the global BDS movement.

One of the activists who signed the letter spoke to MEMO about her campaign to stop Radiohead performing in Israel. British-Palestinian, Huda Ammori, a student at Manchester University, mentioned that Radiohead performed at her university on 5 July. Activists from Manchester Palestine Action held a demonstration outside the venue and spoke to thousands of Radiohead fans about the need for a cultural boycott of Israel. She said that she managed to push her way to the front to protest Radiohead’s decision by showing solidarity to the Palestinian case for all the spectators to see.

“Radiohead performing in Israel is a mockery of the suffering of the Palestinian people. Radiohead have continued to disregard the Palestinian people and have mocked the supporters of the Palestine cause,” Ammori said. She pointed to the hypocrisy of Radiohead. “They claim to care about ‘social justice’ by showing some support for the people of Tibet and through their lyrics,” she said, “however, now their lyrics scream hypocrisy.” Performing music, she added, should not have to be a political choice, “however when it comes to apartheid, performing in Israel is a political choice. A choice between standing with the oppressor or standing with the oppressed.”

In Israel, the letter explained, Radiohead would be playing in front of an audience which “will be mostly Israelis who have served in the Israeli armed forces that are slaughtering our people; 1,400 Palestinians in 22 days in the winter of 2008-9 then more than 2,200 in 50 days in 2014, including over 500 children.”

They concluded their letter saying: “We are the abused, the imprisoned, and the occupied and we expect people of integrity to show solidarity and to not patronise us. We will not stop fighting for justice and we will remember those who stood with us when it was not fashionable to do so, who refused to entertain apartheid. And as with South Africa, history will judge you when we have our freedom.”

To read the full letter please click here

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

U.N. says Gaza is ‘de-developing’ even faster than expected, but omits main cause

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | July 16, 2017

The United Nations has often provided valuable reports on the situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (although in at least one case the UN removed such a report following pressure from Israel and the United States – see this, this, and this).

The UN’s latest report on the region, “Gaza Ten Years Later,” contains much valuable, factual information. However, parts of the report exhibit a troubling lack of proportionality. This flaw is then maintained in quoted comments on the UN report by National Public Radio journalist Daniel Estrin.

Below is the NPR news story on the UN report, with comments in Italics that discuss some of its statements:  

U.N. Says Gaza Is ‘De-Developing’ Even Faster Than Expected,  by Merrit Kennedy, NPR

Five years ago, the U.N. warned that Gaza is expected to be unlivable by 2020. A new report now says conditions are deteriorating there even faster than it forecast.

“What needed to happen has not happened, and the indicators are accelerating instead of slowing down,” Robert Piper, the U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told NPR’s Daniel Estrin.

“In a nutshell, Gaza continues to de-develop in front of our eyes,” Piper adds. “From health care, to unemployment, to energy, to access to water, across all of these fields, Gaza’s 2 million people are seeing faster and faster decline in their living conditions.”

The population of Gaza, a 130-square-mile strip of land on the Mediterranean, is growing faster than projected, while infrastructure and services haven’t been able to keep up. The population is now forecast to reach 2.2 million people in 2020, up from the 2012 projection of 2.13 million.

The UN report, and the NPR discussion, correctly highlight the rapid pace at which Gaza is moving toward humanitarian disaster. However, as the discourse continues, a moral equivalence fallacy begins to emerge. Daniel lists three sources of Gaza’s trouble:

“Many of the problems stem from the Hamas takeover of Gaza 10 years ago, Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s recent reduction of electricity to Gaza to pressure its rival Hamas,” Daniel reports.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Undoubtedly, Hamas’ feud with the PA is part of the problem; so are the electricity shortage and the closed crossing to Egypt. But placing these factors on par with Israel’s now ten-year-long blockade ignores the facts—some of which are spelled out in the UN report:

Israel retains full control of all movement of people and goods to and from Gaza by sea, air and land, with the exception of a 12 km strip of border with Egypt…Following the expulsion of the PA by Hamas in the summer of 2007, the Israeli Government declared Gaza “hostile territory” and, again citing security concerns, announced a number of new sanctions and restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land. Many of the restrictions imposed then, are still in place. (Italics added)

It is worth taking a moment to discuss the question of Hamas, which continues to be a scapegoat for Gaza’s ongoing crisis. Hamas’ complicated rivalry with, and appropriation of power from, Fatah and the PA–and its reputation as a terrorist organization–need to be challenged.

Hamas won a democratic election in Gaza and the West Bank (in spite of the US spending $2.3 million to support Fatah and Israeli obstruction), and was promptly discredited by the US and the EU. Israel commenced sanctions only 3 days after the election. These reactions were nothing short of collective punishment by world superpowers, simply because the “wrong” party won. The charge that Hamas is nothing but a terrorist group, and Palestinians elected Hamas leaders to destroy Israel, shows a profound misunderstanding of Hamas and its rise to power.

Neve Gordon explained in this excellent 2006 article that “the organization’s popularity in the Occupied Territories actually stems from its being seen as the voice of Palestinian dignity and the symbol of the defense of Palestinian rights at a time of unprecedented hardship, humiliation, and despair…In other words, Hamas was elected not only because it is considered an alternative to the corrupt Palestinian Authority, but also because Israel created the conditions that made it an indispensable social movement.”

Back to the de-development of Gaza. In his discussion of the Gaza crisis, Daniel also neglects to mention the three assaults by Israel in 2008, 2012, and 2014. The UN report does mention them, but the description is problematic:

In addition to the impact of the violent Hamas takeover and ensuing Israeli measures imposed in 2007, three rounds of armed hostilities between Israel and Hamas – with the most devastating round in 2014 – have dealt repeated blows to the Gazan economy and damaged essential infrastructure.

These words may be technically accurate: yes, Hamas took over Gaza amid violence; yes, Israel imposed “measures” in 2007; yes, there have been three rounds of “armed hostilities”—but the statement is egregiously inequitable. It is absurd to suggest that the Hamas takeover was equally as damaging to Gaza as the three deadly assaults by Israel were. And the portrayal of the hostilities as though between two equal, evenly-matched armies when Israel has the latest weaponry and Gaza is essentially unarmed, is patently false. Here is a more precise description of the lopsided outcome of the hostilities, found further along in the UN report:

The first major round of hostilities broke out on 27 December 2008 and lasted for more than three weeks. During this time, nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis18 were killed and some 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed…The second major escalation of hostilities began on 14 November 2012 and lasted for one week, in which 174 Palestinians, including 107 civilians, and six Israelis, of which three were civilians, were killed, and some 10,000 homes damaged. The latest, and most devastating round of hostilities, took place between 8 July and 26 August 2014. During these 51 days, 2,251 Palestinians, including at least 146 civilians, and 71 Israelis, of whom five were civilians, were killed, and 171,000 homes were damaged.

The death toll after three “rounds of hostilities” was 3,825 Palestinians and 90 Israelis. The total number of homes damaged was 241,000—all Palestinian. In addition, schools, hospitals, and power plants were decimated. This is not a description of the aftermath of “war,” but of blitzkrieg.

The NPR story goes on to mention in passing Israel’s regulation of the border—without acknowledging the seriousness of the closure and how it affects any attempts at reconstruction. He even equates Israel’s meddling with Egyptian actions, although Egypt shares only a 7-mile border vs. Israel’s which is 32 miles long and a much greater object of hostility. Here is the statement:

Israel maintains tight control over the movement of people and goods from all sides of Gaza, aside from the 7-mile-long border Gaza shares with Egypt, which is rarely open.

The UN report describes more fully the impact the closure is having on efforts to rebuild over the last three years. This is not just “tight control”—it is crippling restriction on building materials and other critical supplies:

[Restrictions] imposed on the Strip continue to significantly impact the daily lives of Gaza’s inhabitants and the efforts of the international community to implement humanitarian and development projects. Israel considers many materials needed for these projects to be ‘dual-use’ and posing security concerns, thus subjecting them to severe import restrictions. These include construction materials, raw material for the productive sectors, including wood and pesticides, medical equipment and water pumps necessary to deal with seasonal flooding.

It is worth noting that Israeli limitation of imports included (in 2010, and is mostly still in place) wood for construction, cement, iron, tarps (for roofs on huts), fishing rods, farm animals, many spare parts for farming equipment, notebooks, pens, pencils, and toys.

The NPR report then moves on to the topic of water:

By the end of 2017, the U.N. projects Gaza’s only water aquifer will be depleted. The damage could be irreversible by 2020 due to salt water entering the aquifer. That would be “catastrophic,” the report says, and the “living and health conditions of the people of Gaza can only further deteriorate, exposing the population to water-borne illnesses, and other threats.”

The U.N. had previously said that the aquifer would be depleted by 2016, earlier than the current projection. Piper says this small piece of positive news is more akin to “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than really having much to celebrate.”

This is objectively true—although the image of “deck chairs on the Titanic” makes the Gaza situation sound more like a movie trailer than a humanitarian crisis. Let’s add some detail from the UN report to shed light on the reality:

Access to safe drinking water in Gaza through the public water network plummeted [after 2000]…As a result, reliance on water tanks, containers and bottled water rose from 1.4% to 89.6%…Having to rely on water trucking comes at a high cost on consumers, as trucked water is 15-20 times more expensive than water from the network. This particularly impacts the most vulnerable who are often poor and unemployed and do not have access to piped network water. Trucked water is also unregulated and unreliable in terms of quality.

This gives us a clearer picture of not only the expense but also the continued risk posed as the public water network becomes unusable. People of Gaza pay a premium for water that may or may not be safe.

Israel has an obligation to the people of Gaza which should be part of any conversation about the crisis. A number of prominent human rights organizations have determined that whether Gaza is considered occupied, in armed conflict with Israel, or under Israel’s control, international law demands that Israel solve the water crisis. 

NPR then moves on to waste water, describing the nightmare scenario that is happening today:

At the same time, the amount of poorly treated sewage dumped into the sea is increasing, now equivalent to 43 Olympic size pools daily. That is expected to increase by almost 10 percent by 2020, which could have “significant environmental consequences,” the report warns.

The U.N. says new water treatment facilities need to be constructed to address the water crisis. However, Israel is limiting imports on many of the materials needed for construction because it says they could be used for military purposes.

Electricity is another critical need in Gaza. The NPR report continues:

And any future new [sewage treatment] plants would require a steady electrical supply, which at the moment is highly uncertain.

In fact, “an 11-year-old child has not experienced more than 12 hours of electricity in a single day in his/her lifetime,” according to the report. It says that in the most pessimistic 2020 estimate, only 25 percent of Gaza’s electricity demand would be met.

The economy of Gaza, its employment figures, and health care provisions are also notable. NPR reports:

The economy in Gaza has significantly declined in the last decade, with per capita GDP decreasing by 5.3 percent between 2006 and 2016. The report describes Gaza’s economic trajectory as “de-development,” even as the occupied West Bank has seen 48.5 percent growth in per capita GDP between 2006 and 2016.

Gaza’s unemployment rate is at more than 40 percent, according to the latest figures. It’s particularly severe for 20-24 year olds, at 60.3 percent, and for women, at 64.4 percent.

The number of doctors, nurses and hospital beds has also not been able to keep pace with the growing population. The report says, “while the population has doubled since 2000, the number of functioning primary health care clinics has decreased from 56 to 49.”

Given these “unacceptable” conditions, Piper acknowledges that for some, Gaza would already be deemed unlivable. “For many of us, we’d say that threshold is well and truly passed,” he said. “How do you manage in these sorts of conditions?”

In the report, Piper states: “It is profoundly unjust and inhuman to put Gaza’s civilians through such an ordeal.” He calls them “the victims of various policies by many different actors.”

When there is a victim, there is also a perpetrator. Gaza’s often goes almost unnamed. We must not forget who it is or rest until the humanitarian crisis is averted. 

But at least NPR reported on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, unlike most other mainstream news organizations, including the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.


 

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment