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Three Pictures from Jerusalem

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

Only Iran, Syria helped Lebanon when it was occupied by Israel

Press TV – May 25, 2017

Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, says when southern Lebanon was occupied by Israel, no country in the world except Iran and Syria helped the country to end occupation.

Nasrallah made the remarks while delivering a speech in commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the liberation of the southern Lebanon from the Israeli occupation.

Addressing the nation from the southern city of Hermel, Nasrallah said resistance has gotten strong enough not to wait for support from the rest of the world or from inside the country or outside.

Lambasting the world’s indifference toward the occupation of Lebanon by Israel, he said when Lebanon was occupied no country in the world, neither the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, nor the Arab League, nor the United Nations or America helped Lebanon.

“Only the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria helped Lebanon against Israeli occupation,” the Hezbollah chief added.

He noted that the only time that resistance was helped against Israel was under former president, Émile Lahoud, parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, and former prime minister, Selim al-Hoss.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah described the close cooperation between Lebanese army troops and Hezbollah fighters as the main reason behind the 2000 victory over the Israeli regime’s aggression and winning back the occupied lands of southern Lebanon.

He stressed that during the occupation, Western countries stood by Tel Aviv throughout the 15 years in which the Lebanese territories were occupied by Israel’s military forces.

He also praised the steadfastness of the Lebanese nation in the face of Israel and foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups.

Riyadh meeting aimed to threaten Iran, resistance

Referring to a recent meeting among leaders of several Muslim countries in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, which was also attended by US President Donald Trump, the Hezbollah chief said anything that was said and decided during the Riyadh meeting would have no effect on the situation in Lebanon, because since the new president has come to office, good consensus has been reached inside the country over a host of issues.

Pointing to participation of an official Lebanese delegation in the Riyadh meeting and that the al-Mustaqbal party had hailed the final statement of the Riyadh summit, he said, “We have reached an understanding in Lebanon to differ over political matters, but follow the same line on economic and security matters.”

He added that the final statement of the Riyadh summit was not acceptable for the resistance movement and it would have no effect on the situation in Lebanon.

Nasrallah also noted that Muslim leaders attending the Riyadh summit had no information whatsoever about the meeting’s final statement, and had emphasized that they will not take heed of the statement.

The Riyadh summit was simply organized in order to glorify US President Donald Trump, the Hezbollah chief said, adding that the meeting sought to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the resistance in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

‘Saudi Arabia is the center of world terrorism’

Taking Saudi rulers to task for inviting Trump to the Riyadh summit, Nasrallah described Trump as the US president, who has disrespected Islam as well as Arab nations the most during his presidential campaigning.

He added that Saudi Arabia simply invited Trump to get his support in the face of rising global criticism of Riyadh’s role in fostering terrorism.

“The entire world knows that Saudi Arabia is behind the spread of terrorist Takfiri ideology,” he said adding that the Saudi-backed terrorists were wreaking havoc across the world and that their damage was not limited to a single country or the Islamic world, but had spread to the Western countries as well.

“Saudi Arabia is the center of world terrorism. It is responsible for the creation and supplying arms and munitions to al-Qaeda, Taliban and Daesh terrorist groups. The kingdom’s Wahhabi ideology is fanning the flames of sectarianism and sedition in the Muslim world,” he said.

Nasrallah slams Bahrain’s “heinous assault” on peaceful protesters

Elsewhere in his remarks, the secretary general of Hezbollah censured Bahrain’s Al Khalifah regime for the brutal crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

He termed the assaults against supporters of the country’s prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim in the northwestern village of Diraz as “heinous,” calling for the immediate release of the 77-year-old cleric, who is the spiritual leader of the country’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.

Riyadh trying to isolate Tehran due to is support for resistance

Turning to Saudi Arabia’s military onslaught against Yemen, Nasrallah hailed the Yemeni nation’s steadfastness, emphasizing that the Riyadh regime is perpetrating crimes against humanity in the impoverished country through starving and slaughtering ordinary people.

The Hezbollah leader underlined that Saudi Arabia was haplessly seeking to isolate Iran, because of its support for anti-Israel resistance movement, including in Yemen.

He added that Saudi officials had paid billions of dollars to US statesmen in this regard forgetting all about the plight of poor Muslims.

Noting that Saudi Arabia’s aggression of Yemen was a clear political and military failure, Nasrallah advised Saudi authorities to put hostility towards Iran aside and engage in negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

He also leveled strident criticism against Arab leaders for their disregard of the important role that Iran is playing against terrorism in the Middle East region.

Nasrallah also dismissed allegations against the Hezbollah resistance movement as “repetitive,” stressing that members of the group were unfazed by ongoing threats and were fully prepared to defend their land, nation and the future of their children.

The Hezbollah chief stressed that the resistance movement in the region was stronger than ever, adding that Daesh terrorists will soon be defeated in both Iraq and Syria.

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hassan Nasrallah on the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners and international hypocrisy

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 2, 2017, on the occasion of the Day of the Wounded

Transcript:

[…] Two words on the general situation (in the Middle East).

The first thing to be said about the general situation in the region concerns the struggle for freedom and dignity that 1500 Palestinian prisoners are leading and… we are today on the 16th day of their hunger strike, with a supportive response from the Palestinian street, inside (occupied Palestine) and outside, towards this movement.

As usual, we naturally support and unite with them, and we announce our firm and total solidarity with this action of jihad and strong resistance by Palestinian prisoners for their legitimate and natural demands. But we want to learn from what is happening there.

In this first point concerning the situation of the region, I have two points.

First, I want to learn the lessons on which we can build a permanent political path. Well, on the opposite side, Israel turns a deaf ear… They are not ready to negotiate or to respond to the demands. The demands of the prisoners are not the liberation of Palestine nor the liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem). The prisoners’ demands concern the natural rights of all prisoners, humanitarian rights. Israel is turning a deaf ear and, as usual, relies on the passing of time, the weariness, and the withdrawal of Palestinian prisoners, hoping that this movement will be nothing but a vain eruption.

Nothing else can be expected of Israel, the usurping, terrorist, occupying enemy. But look at the rest of the world. Look at the rest of the world. Where are the Arab regimes? Where are the Arab peoples? Where is the Union of Arab Countries? Where is the Organization of Islamic States, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation? Where is the world? Where is Europe? Where is the West? Where is the UN? Where’s the Security Council? All those who often get angry at the most trivial stories that happen in this or that place of the world, where are they? We are on the 16th day, and nothing happens in the world, nothing at all.

For the commemoration of the martyr leaders, I stirred up the roses’ pot, when I said that they brought us, the Arab world and the region, to the point where Palestine became the forgotten cause. This is proof.

Today, tell me where the kings and the Arab presidents are. Soon, it will be said that the Sayed (Nasrallah) attacks the kings and Arab presidents. Where are the Arab regimes? Where is the Union of Arab Countries? Where is the serious reaction, where are the real pressures? The pressure on your American friends, the pressure on your European friends?… Where are the organizations for the defense of human rights? Where is the Arab voice? Where are the Arab media? Where are the Arabic TV channels? Where are the Arabian pens?

If this happens, oh my brothers and sisters, if this was happening in a country that was not allied or aligned with the United States, allied or aligned with the West, you would have seen the whole world rise (of indignation) without sitting back. I do not even say whether it was in Iran, Syria or I do not know where. In any country that is not aligned with the United States and the West, which is not subject to their will and diktat, which is not part of their project, you would have seen the Council of Security, the UN, the White House, foreign ministers, human rights organizations and the whole world stand up. Not on the 16th day, from the first hour. And the state or government that refuses to negotiate with these prisoners and respond to their demands would have been accused of aggression, cruelty, inhuman treatment, oppression, torture, tyranny, and so on.

But it is Israel, the spoiled child of the United States, the advanced military base of the West in our region… (So) no!… Let Netanyahu do what he wants. Let him take his ease, he has all his time. No problem. Just as he had absolutely all the time in the world for the wars against Gaza. He has all his time once again, whether it be for the question of prisoners or any other; for the question of colonies or any other.

Well, if we’re trying to collect comparable evidence, whether it’s less than a year ago, or since 2003, in Iraq, since 2003, Takafi terrorist organizations have carried out thousands of suicide operations, not to mention the others operations, and they killed Shiites, Sunnis, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, they did not spare anyone in the Iraqi people. And daily massacres, to the point that car bombs have become a normal and natural daily occurrence in Iraq. And the world (whole) remains silent. And the world knows who supports them, who finances them, who protects them, and who helps them in the media so far: there are Arab channels which, in this battle of Mosul, are with ISIS. They are not with the Iraqi government or the Iraqi forces. And the whole world says nothing of all these helpers, supporters, assistants, media protectors, funders and facilitators (of ISIS). Why? Because the Iraqi people must be subjugated, humiliated, silenced and integrated into this (American) project.

Well, let’s consider Yemen. A few days ago, the UN Secretary-General read a speech of mourning, saying that while we are talking, 50 Yemeni children are dying. Well, the whole world speaks of millions of people threatened by famine in Yemen. While the whole world knows who is besieging Yemen, who bombards Yemen, who starves Yemen. Does anyone dare open his mouth (about it)? Does anyone dare to talk?

And if I begin to describe things as they are, I am told that I jeopardize tourism in Lebanon. If I say what the whole world knows, that Saudi Arabia and its allies are besieging, starving and killing the Yemeni people every day and every night, I am accused of jeopardizing tourism in Lebanon. A simple word of truth (is worth this accusation). But a world that remains silent in the face of millions of people dying of hunger, what does the death of thousands of people killed and bombed mean to him, and hundreds of thousands injured? How could they matter to them? Although the whole world and the UN recognize this situation. Simply because it is Saudi Arabia, the ally of the United States, the West, who pays fortunes, the hundreds of billions of dollars that it pays to the United States. And Trump is coming now to take from them the money they have left.

But as for the poor Yemeni people, they have no money to pay to the United States, they have no money to pay to Trump, they have no money to pay to the British prime minister or to the French President so that they move and say “Enough, we will end the siege, the war and the aggression against Yemen.”

Well, let’s look at Syria. A few days ago, a massacre was perpetrated against the inhabitants of Fou’a and Kafraya who left their besieged towns in the Al-Rachidin district at the entrance to the city of Aleppo. A bloodthirsty suicide bomber came with a van, and attacked the bus convoy. What was in the convoy? 5,000 civilians, an overwhelming majority of civilians, most of whom were women and children. In short, the attack caused hundreds of martyrs, wounded and disappeared. What did the world do? What did it do?roo

In the agreement, the Syrian State and ourselves have guaranteed the safety of the evacuees (of the terrorist enclaves of) Madaya, Zabadani, Biqqin, Sarghaya, Blodan and Borj Blodan, so that they be conveyed to a safe point beyond the city of Aleppo. Imagine that a person (there are no suicide bombers in our camp), by mistake, took a machine gun and fired (on their convoy), or fired a RPG rocket on a bus and killed a certain number of persons. Who would have spared us (his condemnations)? Who would have spared the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the parties that guaranteed this agreement? The Security Council, the US, Trump and the whole world would have entered in a great anger, and may even have launched an air attack (against Syria).

So look at the existing situation, the actual situation. Of course, I do not bring anything new. I only want to confirm a long-established idea, which is confirmed every day, every day, every day, in the face of the people opposing our point of view, whom we would like to see bring us the least evidence, the least element (which confirms their vision).

But when the Khan Sheikhoun event happened and the regime was accused of using chemical weapons, well, guys, do an investigation, but they do not want to do anything, no investigation. My dear friends, who proved that the regime really used chemical weapons? Yes, he did (so they say). Well, what is the proof? No one has any evidence. Well, are these images that have circulated, are they made up or is it the truth? Nobody knows. Well, send a commission of inquiry, for example, Russia, Iran, other countries of the world… Oh, we’re just asking for a commission of inquiry, but the US does not want a commission of inquiry. They do not accept inquiry! We just want to know the truth, in order to condemn the criminal who used chemical weapons, whoever he may be. But they refuse any commission of inquiry.

On the contrary, from the very first moment, Trump and the American administration, as usual, established themselves as Attorney General, Investigator, Judge and Executioner, and they came to strike at Shu’eirat airport, and considered to have achieved a great feat. And congratulations began to be fired from all sides, from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, some Gulf countries, political forces (who said) “Congratulations, God bless you and reward you, give you a fine end And increase your resources.” Is it not what they told them?

Well, on what basis? For the one who is targeted here (Bashar al-Assad) is not a collaborator, a follower or a submissive, they want to subjugate, humiliate and break him. This is the equation.

Today, if we came to any corner of a country not aligned with the USA, and imagine there was a city completely besieged, with hundreds of men and women standing under the sun, day and night, to protect a pure man, a great scholar in Bahrain, His Eminence Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassem, and this for 7 or 8 months, soon a year, in a very severely besieged region. It is a forgotten thing, which does not interest anyone in the world. Because these people are in a subdued, aligned, part of the (American) project, and therefore no pressure will be exerted on the issue. Why would they ask them anything? They will be congratulated instead for the beautiful kohl of their eyes, and will be told “Very well, continue.”

That’s it. It is not necessary that I multiply the examples, I was rather long already, but the conclusion that must be drawn is this: O our brothers, O our sisters, O our people (and we express ourselves with experience, and these examples only confirm the idea, which is ours from the beginning), today if our territory is liberated, if our prisoners in the Israeli jails have returned (there are still files awaitng), if our country is free in the face of Israeli threats, no one has played any role in this, neither the UN Council, the US, the West, the Union of Arab International resolutions or anyone at all.

It is thanks to you alone, the noble people, the Army, the People and the Resistance, the martyrs, the wounded. Today, if Lebanon enjoys freedom, dignity and security, it is thanks to your lofty souls, your wounded bodies, the pure blood of your martyrs, and the blood of your bodies, which was poured on the land of that country and in that region. Only, only, only (thanks to you and no one else).

Do not expect anything from this world, this international community, America and the West, do not expect justice, impartiality, or the recognition of truth. That does not mean we do not ask for it, but we do not expect anything. And in any case, we do not regret that they ignore us, that they do not take the required position and that they exert no pressure (on the oppressors). For basically they are the enemy, so beware of them! The basis of our ills is them. The very people we are asking for positions, declarations and measures are the problem at the first level. As for the others, they are merely instruments, they merely follow, they are merely the pawns of a game of chess which serve the projects of domination of our countries. What do they want, friends? They want to plunder our choices, our resources, our oil, our gas, and now they want to plunder us more. We do not have time to talk about the new American policy: more obvious looting, explicit looting.

It is therefore necessary that we rely on our presence in the squares and fields (of battle), on our strength. What I have always said to you today, all the events and developments that are happening, I repeat to you again: we live in a world of wolves. There is no international law, there is only the law of the jungle. The strong eats the weak. If we are weak, we shall be eaten. If we are stronger, the world will respect us.

When we have a weight on equations and interests… This world seeks interests, it does not seek principles or values. Therefore, our strength is there, our interests are there, and our destiny and our future stop at our strength, our unity, our presence, the endurance of our people, the conscience of our (Islamic) Community.

These are the lessons we must learn from what is happening now. […]

Translation: http://www.sayed7asan.blogspot.fr

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

US boosting Israeli military aid by millions: Netanyahu

Press TV – May 24, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the US has increased its military aid to Tel Aviv by tens of millions of dollars.

“Three days ago, the US added another $75 million to the aid package,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday, without giving a time frame for the money’s arrival.

The announcement comes just days after Netanyahu personally greeted US President Donald Trump on his first visit to Israel.

Trump had arrived from Saudi Arabia where he signed a massive $110 billion arms deal with Riyadh.

Based on a September 2016 agreement, the US will be bankrolling Israel’s military spending to the tune of around $38 billion dollars effective from 2019 for the next 10 years.

Under the deal, Israel will be allowed to upgrade most of its fighter aircraft, improve its ground forces’ mobility and strengthen its missile systems.

Washington has also been providing Israel with $3.1 billion annually since a 2007 agreement with the administration of former President George W. Bush.

In April, Washington approved a proposal to sell Israel more weapons, including naval guns and technical support worth an estimated $440 million.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 3 Comments

Hunger Striking for Palestinian Rights

Take the Salt Water Challenge

Salt

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • May 23, 2017

Marwan Barghouti has stopped drinking water. He started his hunger strike thirty-six days ago, together with 1,500 other Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons. Each day the strikers have been drinking water mixed with salt, the salt needed to keep their electrolytes functioning to stay alive, but their health has reached a critical phase in which they are experiencing vomiting, fainting and loss of vision. Barghouti, who has been in Israeli prisons for 15 years, is wagering with his own life in a bid to obtain better conditions for the 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli detention, most of whom have been imprisoned on faux terrorism related charges by military tribunals that have a 90% conviction rate. Nearly 500 children are among the prisoners, some of whom are only 12 years old, and there are also an estimated 500 Palestinians held in administrative detention, which permits the Israeli authorities to confine them indefinitely without any charges or any trial.

The Israeli authorities describe the hunger strike as a “violation of prison rules.” In the past, they have responded to such protests by bringing in doctors to help restrain and supervise force feeding of the strikers, but the practice proved very controversial among members of the medical profession and has been suspended, though there have been suggestions that “foreign” doctors might be brought in to do the dirty work. So it is to be presumed that the strike will continue until the protesters either win, begin to die or choose to cease and desist.

I have had the pleasure of speaking recently with Marwan’s youngest son Arab, a graduate of St. Mary’s College of California with a master’s degree in financial analysis, who has begun a campaign to publicize his father’s resistance against the Israeli prison authorities. He has been asking supporters to themselves drink salt water as a sign of solidarity with the hunger strikers. Many prominent Palestinians have done so publicly and the practice has become widespread both in Gaza and on the West Bank as well as among activists in Europe and the United States. It is also gaining strength on the social media, most particularly on Facebook, with videos of supporters of the Salt Water Challenge Salt Water Challenge inviting their friends to join the movement. Hunger striking is the ultimate personal statement, a peaceful form of protest that can only be effective if it helps to mobilize other forces to bring about change. With that in mind, the account of the suffering of Marwan Barghouti and his comrades in prison deserves the widest possible dissemination worldwide.

Marwan Barghouti is, not surprisingly, a controversial figure. His resistance to the Israeli occupation of his homeland began early at age 15 when he joined Fatah and eventually went on to co-found the organization’s youth movement. He later assumed leadership of its paramilitary wing Tanzim, though he eventually distanced himself from Fatah due to its corruption and for a short time headed his own reform party. He subsequently rejoined Fatah in 2006 and is now a member of the Palestinian Parliament. He is widely regarded as the most popular of Palestinian leaders even though he is in prison, or perhaps in part because of that.

Barghouti’s biography reads like a work of fiction. One of seven children, his father was a migrant worker. He completed high school while in an Israeli prison, where he learned Hebrew, and then went on to complete a BA in history and political science followed by an MA in international relations, both at the Palestinian Birzeit University. It required 15 years to complete his degrees because he was exiled to Jordan by the Israelis from 1987 to 1994 for his involvement in the First Intifada after being charged with “incitement,” a favorite catch-all phrase frequently used by Israel to indict anyone who is perceived as an opponent or critic when no actual charges can be plausibly supported by evidence.

Marwan Barghouti was indeed prominent in both the First and Second Intifadas due to his undoubtedly correct belief that a powerful Israel had no interest in any peaceful accommodation with the beleaguered Palestinians. He supported sometimes violent resistance and provocations directed at Israeli soldiers and settlers on the West Bank, though he did not consider Israeli citizens inside Israel legitimate targets. In 2002, he was arrested in Ramallah by the Israelis during the Second Intifada and eventually convicted of five counts of murder plus additional charges. He was given the maximum sentence of five cumulative life sentences for the alleged murders plus forty additional years for attempted murder and membership in an illegal organization.

In his trial Barghouti denied everything but refused to defend himself, claiming that the court had no jurisdiction and that he was legitimately resisting the Israeli occupation of his home. No one was able to demonstrate that he had actually killed anyone but the prosecution insisted that he had given the orders to do so. It should be noted that it was a political rather than a criminal event and completely illegal as he was a Palestinian living in Ramallah who was being tried in an Israeli court and sentenced to prison in Israel. The Inter-Parliamentary union subsequently reviewed the case and found that it had violated the accused’s rights and that numerous international legal agreements and norms were contravened.

Since 2002, there have been growing demands for Marwan Barghouti’s release, including from some Israeli politicians and peace groups, based on his relative moderation and desire to see a peaceful transition into a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. He has sometimes been likened to Nelson Mandela as someone who could potentially bring order and justice to an apparently intractable situation. Barghouti is undeniably more popular than either Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah or Ismail Haniya of Hamas. If he were free and an election were held today, he would undoubtedly be elected Palestinian president.

It is important to understand the context of the plight of the Palestinian prisoners to appreciate where Barghouti’s struggle for Palestinian rights derives from. Israel shoots to kill Arab demonstrators, including children, who throw stones. It engages in illegal mass, arbitrary arrests of Palestinians who do not reside in Israel but are nevertheless subject to control by the Israeli military authorities who have a relatively free hand on the West Bank. Once convicted by a military court, which is almost always the case, the prisoners are then held in Israel, a violation of international law, while their homes back in the Palestinian territories are frequently demolished to collectively punish the families. The trip through Israeli security barriers from the West Bank to the prisons requires 20 hours travel each way, leading to a 45 minute visit with a barrier in between so no one can actually see anyone else. A one visit per year limit for anyone over 16 is part of a process intended to further punish the families. Prisoners are routinely tortured by Israel, including the “Palestinian Chair”, an excruciating procedure which was developed by the Israel Defense Force’s interrogators and later taught to Americans and used at Abu Ghraib. Hundreds of Arabs have also been killed while in custody and reports of organ harvesting have surfaced in the international media.

Over the past fifty years, an estimated 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel at one time or another, fully 40% of the adult male population. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers run amok on the West Bank, protected by the police and army as they attack Palestinians at random and systematically destroy their livelihoods. They are rarely arrested and, if they are, they are tried in Israeli civil courts where they are nearly always acquitted. It is a situation that would be unimaginable nearly anywhere else in the world but Israel gets away with it due to a sympathetic Jewish dominated media in the U.S. and lickspittle politicians worldwide who can easily be bought or coerced.

Numerous international laws and the Geneva Conventions have been violated in the horrific treatment of the Palestinians but Israel continues to act with impunity. Israel’s colonial occupation and theft of Palestinian land are illegal and have been frequently condemned by world bodies like the United Nations. The United States agrees that the settlements are illegal, though it avoids the word, but it balks at calling out the brutal Israeli military occupation for what it is. The U.S. has also served as Israel’s protector in the U.N. and elsewhere, meaning that there is no pushback against Israeli actions that is in any way commensurate to the crimes that its government commits.

The current American Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is a virtual echo chamber for Israel’s Foreign Ministry. She sells out U.S. interests to pander to the powerful domestic Israel Lobby which uses its money and political access to corrupt American politicians as well as judicial processes worldwide, as Alison Weir has recently demonstrated with her brilliant analysis of how any criticism of Israel is now being conflated with anti-Semitism and increasingly regarded as a universal “hate crime.”

Israeli apologists like to frame the Palestinian “problem” as a group of unredeemable terrorists who have to be dealt with harshly, a narrative that portrays all Arabs as a threat. But the reality is that Israel has overwhelming power and exercises brutal control over the Palestinian population, which is treated as if it were subhuman. Indeed, many Israelis believe that Arabs are subhuman and deserve to be “ethnically cleansed.” But a people under occupation, even if relatively powerless, has a right to resist under international law, to include the use of violence, which is what the two Intifadas were all about.

One has to hope that Marwan Barghouti succeeds in his resistance and that his son Arab will be able to reach the widest possible audience to publicize what exactly is going on in Israel’s prisons and by extension in its cruel occupation and settlement of what remains of Palestine. And we should not forget other prisoners of conscience like Israeli nuclear whistleblower Moredechai Vanunu, who has yet again had his liberty restricted by the country’s Supreme Court. Israel is an essentially racist police state in spite of its frequent boasts about its alleged democracy but the important message for us Americans is that we have unfortunately served as Benjamin Netanyahu’s enablers. The Palestinians deserve a state of their own and the time has come for the United States to demand that Israel free all political prisoners like Marwan Barghouti and allow that to happen.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Here’s why Saudi Arabia and Israel are allies in all but name

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | May 22, 2017

Those who claim that Israel is opposed to Donald Trump’s now openly warm relations with Saudi Arabia are missing the actual point. On the surface, many assume that Israel and Saudi Arabia have poor relations. Neither country has diplomatic relations with one another, one is a self-styled Jewish state while the other is a Wahhabi Sunni monarchy.

But they both have the same regional goals, they both have the same enemies and both are intellectual anachronisms in a 20th century that has seen the fall of multiple monarchies, the end of traditional European colonialism and the fall of segregated regimes in Africa (Apartheid South Africa and UDI Rhodesia for example).

Israel and Saudi Arabia have always been enemies of secular, Arab nationalist states and federations. Whether an Arab state is Nasserist, Ba’athist, socialist, Marxist-Leninist or in the case of Gaddafi’s Libya a practitioner of the post-Nassierist Third Political Theory: Israel and Saudi Arabia have sought to and in large part have succeeded, with western help, at destroy such states.

Unlike Israel’s Apartheid military state and Saudi Arabia’s human rights free monarchy, the aforementioned Arab styles of government are worthy of the word modern. These are countries which had progressive mixed economies, had secular governments and societies, had full constitutional rights for religious and ethnic minorities, they championed women’s rights and engaged in mass literacy programmes and infrastructural projects. In the case of the Syrian Arab Republic, such things still apply.

Such things still have wide appeal not just in the Arab world but universally. The very charter of the UN subtly implies that such goals are the way forward.

Secular Arab governments have therefore not fallen due to their lack of popularity but they have fallen due to political and military aggression from Israel, monetary blackmail and terrorism funded from and by Saudi Arabia and a combination of all of the above from the United States and her European allies. Useful idiots in the west who claim that groups like the obscurantist and terroristic Muslim Brotherhood represent majoritarian public opinion in secular Arab states are simply worse than useful idiots: they are lying, dangerous idiots.

This is why Syria is a country that Israel and Saudi Arabia are both interested in destroying. Both countries have indeed invested time and money into destroying Syria and thus far they have not been successful.

Syria is the last secular Arab Ba’athist state in the world. Unlike in Israel, minorities have full constitutional rights and unlike in Saudi Arabia, all religions are tolerated. In Syria, women can act, speak and dress as they wish.

Syria’s independence has in the past thwarted Israel’s ambition to annex Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and additional parts of Syria itself (Israel still occupies Syria’s Golan Heights). Syria has also been a true ally of the oppressed Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

Likewise, Syria has hurt Saudi Arabia and fellow backward Gulf state Qatar’s ambitions to expand their petro-empires. Qatar remains desirous to construct a pipeline running through Syria, something Qatar wants done on its terms and its terms alone.

Furthermore, since Saudi Arabia has little to offer the world in terms of culture, Saudi attempts to control and colonise their more educated and worldly Levantine Arabs is done through a combination of bribery and through the use of Salafist terrorist proxies such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.

There is also a psychological element to the mutual warfare which Saudi Arabia and Israel have waged on secular states like Syria.

So long as Syria exists, Saudi Arabia cannot say that there is no alternative to its backward style of government in the Arab world. Of course, others like Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt are secular states (Iraq less so now than at any time since independence), but these states have been wholly compromised through war and in the case of Egypt through political malaise.

Syria remains strongly independent and refuses to surrender its values.

Both countries also seek to destroy Iran. Iran unlike Saudi Arabia and Israel, practices an ethical foreign policy. Far from wanting to export its Islamic Revolution, Iran has been a staunch ally to secular Syria and has been at the forefront of the fight against Salafist terrorism like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Iran has also taken a principled stance on Palestine, whilst most Arab states with the exception of Syria, have long ago given up on the Palestinian cause.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have superficial differences in foreign policy, but their main goals are exactly the same. Both seek to retard the progress of the Arab world and to taint Islam as something it is not.

Saudi Arabia and Israel both want non-Muslims to think of Islam as something representing bombs, female enslavement, physical mutilation and barbarity. Syria has shown the world that real Islam looks a lot like Christianity and frankly a lot more like Christianity than atheistic Europe does in 2017.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are allies in the material and psychological war against secular, modern Arab countries. It is a war which the United States has been fighting on behalf of Riyadh and Tel Aviv for decades.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Riyadh Declaration of Escalated Regional War

By Stephen Lendman | May 22, 2017

On the phony pretext of combating ISIS, the scourge America and its rogue regional allies support, a so-called Riyadh Declaration was agreed to by 55 Muslim countries in the Saudi capital on Sunday.

Claiming it’s “to combat terrorism in all its forms, address its intellectual roots, dry up its sources of funding, and take all necessary measures to prevent and combat terrorist crimes in close cooperation among their states” is a statement of mass deception.

Saudi Arabia, Israel and America’s regional presence constitute the epicenter of regional and global state terrorism – supporting its scourge, not combating it.

The Saudi Press Agency, saying “a global center for countering extremist thought… combating intellectual, media and digital extremism, and promoting coexistence and tolerance among peoples” based in Riyadh would be laughable if the threat posed by Washington, the Saudis and other regional rogue states wasn’t so grave.

Riyadh Declaration signatory countries committed to provide “a reserve force of 34,000 troops” – not “to support operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria when needed,” as claimed.

They’ll partner with Washington’s destructive imperial agenda, a plot to eliminate Syrian and Iranian sovereignty, assuring endless Middle East wars.

Iran was especially singled out, the document saying signatories “confirmed their absolute rejection of the practices of the Iranian regime designed to destabilize the security and stability of the region and the world at large and for its continuing support for terrorism and extremism” – polar opposite Tehran’s agenda.

It’s targeted for its sovereign independence, a nation America doesn’t control, a Saudi rival. Imperial plans call for regime change.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted “Iran – fresh from real elections – attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation (Saudi Arabia). Foreign Policy or simply milking KSA of $480 billion?”

Separately in a London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed news network op-ed, Zarif said Trump “must enter into dialogue with (the Saudis) about ways to prevent terrorists and Takfiris from continuing to fuel the fire in the region and repeating the likes of the September 11 incident by their sponsors in Western countries.”

“(T)he Iranophobia project (was) initiated and promoted by the Zionist regime for years… Iran (seeks) stability in the entire region because it knows that achieving security at home at the expense of insecurity among neighbors is basically impossible.”

Sadly as Zarif knows, US and Saudi policies foster terrorism, using ISIS and likeminded groups to further their imperial agendas.

Trump’s Sunday Muslim world address was an exercise in deception – exposed by longstanding US policies, its endless wars of aggression, and announced deal to sell Riyadh hundreds of billions of dollars worth of powerful weapons over the next decade, entirely for offense, not defense.

Washington’s goal isn’t “stamping out (terrorist) extremism,” as Trump claimed, it’s supporting and encouraging it to further US aims for unchallenged global dominance.

The Riyadh Declaration is part of the scheme to pursue this objective, polar opposite what its signatories claim.

Stephen Lendman can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Iran asks US to stop arming ‘main terror sponsors’

Press TV – May 22, 2017

Iran has urged the US to stop supplying arms to “main sponsors of terrorism” after President Donald Trump clinched a massive military deal with Saudi Arabia on his first visit to the Middle East.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi called on Washington on Monday to abandon its “policy of warmongering, meddling, Iranophobia and sales of dangerous and useless weapons to the main sponsors of terrorism.”

“Unfortunately, under the hostile and aggressive policies of the American statesmen, we are witnessing a renewed strengthening of terrorist groups in the region and miscalculation of the dictatorships which support these groups,” he said.

Qassemi hit out at Trump’s accusations that Iran was funding, arming and training “terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.”

“Once again, by his meddling, repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American president tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia,” the spokesman said.

“It is surprising that Iran is being accused of destabilizing the region by a country which has been an accomplice to the Zionist regime’s crackdown on the oppressed Palestinian nation through all-out arms, financial and intelligence support for decades,” Qassemi said.

In recent years, the US “has been complicit in the massacre of the defenseless Yemeni people through arming certain Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf,” he added.

The official touched on US role in “creating and cultivating Takfiri-terrorist currents, including Daesh” and strongly criticized “deceitful stances, meddlesome statements, and destructive measures” of the new US administration.

Such measures, he said, are aimed at “confronting people’s rule on their destiny in the regional countries and consolidating the position and superiority of the Zionist regime.”

“US support and that of its regional allies for terrorists is so obvious that their escape forward and accusations of terrorism support against others have no buyers,” Qassemi said.

“If financial, arms and intelligence resources of Daesh, Nusra Front and other terrorist groups are cut, they will be finished easily. They resist because these countries’ support for the terrorists continues,” he added.

His remarks came a day after Trump ended his visit to Saudi Arabia where arms deals worth $110 billion were signed.

Qassemi said, “Regional countries, instead of spending billions of dollars from their people’s assets on an illusory American support, had better think about the real stability, welfare, tranquility and peace of their people and spend these exorbitant sums on development and constructive regional cooperation.”

Qassemi deplored that “certain regional countries, instead of depending on the power of their people and regional cooperation capacities, have set heart on the support of big powers.”

Those countries, he said, “are paving the way for vital infrastructures of the regional countries to weaken and collapse, a case in point being the deplorable situation of Yemen and destruction of Syrian infrastructures by Takfiri terrorists.”

Trump’s accusations against Tehran came shortly after Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president.

Qassemi said the US and its allies “should know that Iran, as a democratic, stable and powerful country enjoying popular support, is a harbinger of peace, tranquility and good neighborliness in the region and a front-runner in the global fight against violence and extremism,” and that Tehran would not go off this course with the hostile rhetoric of those countries.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

This week in Palestine: Israeli forces kill three, refuse to negotiate with hunger strikers

This week in Palestine: Israeli forces kill three, refuse to negotiate with hunger strikers

Saba’ Obeid, Mohammad al-Kasaji, and Mohammad Bakr were killed by Israeli forces.
If Americans Knew

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights documents crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories in weekly reports. We summarize their reports and stories from other news agencies with the goal of informing Americans of the ongoing violence that Palestinian families face each day under Israel’s occupation of their ancestral lands. The Israeli government receives $3 billion per year in direct military aid from U.S. taxpayers.

May 11, 2017 – May 17, 2017

West Bank

  • The Israeli military continued its 50-year long military occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank, under which the 2.8 million Palestinians living there are subjected to a different set of laws and treatment than Jewish settlers (numbering 588,000) are.
  • An Israeli sharpshooter shot 22-year-old Saba’ Obeid in the heart at demonstration supporting the Palestinian mass hunger strike, killing him. Israeli soldiers shot other demonstrators with rubber-coated steel bullets and teargas canisters and prevented journalists from entering the area.
  • An Israeli police office killed Jordanian man Mohammad al-Kasaji, 57, in Jerusalem’s Old City after the man reportedly stabbed him. Palestinian sources said the officer is known for assaulting worshipers who come to Al-Aqsa Mosque (a Muslim holy site), including women.
  • Hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails continued their hunger strike, which reached the 4-week mark. Many are now suffering life-threatening conditions, unable to move or stand, are vomiting blood, and and have had their salts confiscated by Israeli prison authorities. Many have been placed in solitary confinement, are being transferred from prison to prison, and are forced to stand to be counted or face severe fines in spite of their deteriorating health. Israeli officials continue to refuse to negotiate with them.
  • Israeli forces attacked demonstrations in support of the Palestinian hunger strikers and wounded 40 Palestinians, 13 of them children. Roughly half of the wounded were shot with live bullets or rubber-coated bullets. Israeli forces also damaged three ambulances.
  • Israeli forces attacked the weekly demonstrations against Israeli’s Separation Wall in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, dispersing the protesters with tear gas and live bullets, and beat some of them.
  • Israeli forces carried out 62 invasions of Palestinian communities, raiding and searching homes, and arrested 79 civilians, 9 of them children. One of those arrested and jailed was 67-year-old academic and writer Ahmad Qatamesh, who already spent 8 years of his life in Israeli jails without any charges or trial. A teenage girl was also arrested after soldiers invaded her family’s home at 2:00 in the morning.
  • Israeli authorities announced they planned to demolish four buildings in a Palestinian neighborhood because they were built too close to Israel’s illegal Apartheid Wall.
  • An Israeli police officer hit a Palestinian child with his vehicle in Jerusalem and fled the scene. In a different incident in the West Bank, a Jewish settler hit a Palestinian man with his vehicle and deserted the scene.
  • Israeli forces uprooted 60 olive trees belonging to a Palestinian man.
  • Israeli forces erected several temporary checkpoints, restricting movement for even more Palestinians. (There are 27 permanent checkpoints and hundreds of physical roadblocks placed by Israeli forces. Palestinians are prohibited from using 41 roads totaling 700 kilometers in the West Bank; only Israelis can travel on them.)

Gaza Strip

  • Israel continued its 10-year illegal land, sea, and air blockade of the Gaza Strip, strictly controlling the movement of all 2 million Palestinians living there.
  • Israeli navy forces killed Mohammad Bakr, a 23-year-old fisherman and married father of two, off the shores of Gaza on the 69th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. The Israeli gunmen chased the boat, opened fire on the four cousins on it, shot Mohammad in the stomach, and ordered his cousins to hand him over before taking him away. He died of his wounds later that day.
  • Israeli navy forces opened fire at fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip most days. They arrested six Gaza fisherman, including two children, confiscated a boat, and damaged another.
  • At 1:00 am, Israeli forces raided and searched the home of Hamas leader Essa al-Jabari, 51, interrogated him, pointed weapons at his wife and daughters, and then arrested him and confiscated his car.
  • Israeli forces continued to prevent most Gazans from entering or exiting the Strip (via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing), allowing less than 2,000 people to travel.
  • Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian patient who was on his way to the West Bank with his mother to receive medical care.
  • Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian agricultural lands near the border.
  • Israeli forces continued to prevent most exports from Gaza, allowing only some produce items, fish and aluminum scraps. There is just one Israeli-controlled crossing (Kerem Shalom) for the movement of goods. Israel’s strict limits continue to severely cripple Gaza’s economy. Israeli officials told the U.S. that their goal is to keep Gaza “on the brink of collapse” and “‘functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

Read the full PCHR report, which also contains daily summaries. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) also publishes a “Protection of Civilians” report on the occupied Palestinian territories every two weeks. Their latest report covers May 2 to May 15.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not Remembering the USS Liberty

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | May 21, 2017

It is safe to assume that when President Donald Trump lands in Israel Monday, he will not have been briefed on the irrefutable evidence that, nearly 50 years ago – on June 8, 1967 – Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, killing 34 U.S. sailors and wounding more than 170 other crew. All of Trump’s predecessors – Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have refused to address the ugly reality and/or covered up the attack on the Liberty.

It is not too late for someone to fill Trump in on this shameful episode, on the chance he may wish to show more courage than former presidents and warn the Israelis that this kind of thing will not be tolerated while he is president.

A new book by Philip Nelson titled: Remember the Liberty: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas, is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand what actually happened to the Liberty and to contemplate the implications.

As I wrote in the book’s Foreword: Even today, scandalously few Americans have heard of the deliberate Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, because the cowardly U.S. political, military, and media establishments have managed to hide what happened.  No one “important” wanted to challenge Israel’s lame “oops-mistake” excuse.  Intercepted Israeli communications show beyond doubt it was no “mistake.”

Chief Petty Officer J.Q. “Tony” Hart, who monitored conversations between then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Sixth Fleet Carrier Division Commander Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, reported McNamara’s instructive reply to Geis, who had protested the order to recall the U.S. warplanes on their way to engage those attacking the Liberty. McNamara: “President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally (sic) over a few sailors.”

The late Adm. Thomas Moorer after interviewing the commanders of the U.S. aircraft carriers America and Saratoga confirmed that McNamara ordered the aircraft back to their carriers. Moorer called it “the most disgraceful act I witnessed in my entire military career.”

Thanks to this book, those who care about such things can learn what actually happened 50 years ago:

(1) On June 8, 1967, Israel attempted to sink the US Navy intelligence collection ship USS Liberty and leave no survivors. The attack came by aircraft and torpedo boat, in full daylight in international waters during the Six-Day Israeli-Arab War;

(2) The U.S. cover-up taught the Israelis that they could literally get away with murder; they killed 34 U.S. sailors (and wounded more than 170 others); and

(3) As part of an unconscionable government cover-up, the Navy threatened to court martial and imprison any survivor who so much as told his wife what had actually happened. (This, incidentally, put steroids to the PTSD suffered by many of the survivors.)

One Stab at Truth

The only investigation worth the name was led by Adm. Moorer, who had been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He led a blue-ribbon, independent commission to examine what happened to the Liberty. Among the findings announced by the commission on October 2003:

Israeli PM Menachem Begin

“…Unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm canisters on the USS Liberty bridge, and fired 30mm cannon and rockets into the ship; survivors estimate 30 or more sorties were flown over the ship by a minimum of 12 attacking Israeli planes. …

“…The torpedo boat attack involved not only the firing of torpedoes, but machine-gunning of Liberty’s firefighters and stretcher-bearers. … The Israeli torpedo boats later returned to machine-gun at close range three of the Liberty’s life rafts that had been lowered into the water by survivors to rescue the most seriously wounded.”

Shortly before he died in February 2004, Adm. Moorer strongly appealed for the truth to be brought out and pointed directly at what he saw as the main obstacle: “I’ve never seen a President … stand up to Israel. … If the American people understood what a grip these people have on our government, they would rise up in arms.” [As quoted by Richard Curtiss in A Changing Image: American Perception of the Arab-Israeli Dispute.]

Echoing Moorer, former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck, who served many years in the Middle East, condemned Washington’s attitude toward Israel as “obsequious, unctuous subservience … at the cost of the lives and morale of our own service members and their families.”

And the Six-Day War? Most Americans believe the Israelis were forced to defend against a military threat from Egypt. Not so, admitted former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin 35 years ago: “In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” [The New York Times quoting an August 1982 Begin speech.]

Adm. Moorer kept asking why our government continues to subordinate American interests to those of Israel. It is THE question.

The War in Syria

Fast forward to the catastrophe that is now Syria. U.S. policy support for illusory “moderate rebels” there – including false-flag chemical attacks blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – can only be fully understood against the mirror of U.S. acquiescence to Israeli objectives.

New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief in 2013, Jodi Rudoren, received an unusually candid response when she asked senior Israeli officials about Israel’s preferred outcome in Syria. In a New York Times article on September 6, 2013, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” Rudoren reported the Israeli view that the best outcome for Syria’s civil war was no outcome:

“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

Obama may have read or been briefed on Rudoren’s article. In any event, last year he told journalist Jeffrey Goldberg how proud he is at having resisted strong pressure from virtually all his advisors to fire cruise missiles on Syria in September 2013. Instead, Obama chose to take advantage of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to get the Syrians to surrender their chemical weapons for destruction, verified by the U.N., aboard a U.S. ship configured for such destruction. President Trump, in contrast, chose to go with his “mad-dog” advisors. It is not yet clear whether he was successfully mousetrapped, or whether he saw the April 4 chemical incident in Syria as an opportunity to “retaliate,” and get a bump in popularity.

There are wider ramifications of rank dishonesty and cover-up, at which Establishment Washington excels. Have we not seen this movie before?  Think Iraq. Once again, the “intelligence” is being “fixed.”

Back to the Liberty, Adm. Moorer is right in saying that, if Americans were told the truth about what happened on June 8, 1967, they might be more discriminating in seeing through Israel’s rhetoric and objectives. Moorer insisted that we owe no less to brave men of the USS Liberty, but also to every man and woman who is asked to wear the uniform of the United States. And he is right about that too.

This book makes a huge contribution toward those worthy ends.

[For more on this topic, see “Navy Vet Honored, Foiled Israeli Attack”; “Still Waiting for USS Liberty’s Truth”; A USS Liberty’s Hero’s Passing”]

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, and was “on duty” when the USS Liberty was attacked.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel, Timeless or most popular, Book Review | , , | 5 Comments

Hamas rejects US president’s description of terror group

Press TV – May 21, 2017

Hamas has roundly dismissed US President Donald Trump’s allegations against the Palestinian resistance movement, stating his description of the anti-Israel group exhibits his “complete bias” in favor of the Israel regime.

“The statements describing Hamas as a terror group are rejected. They are a distortion of the image of our popular resistance and cause, and show full bias towards the Israeli Occupation,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, Arabic-language Safa news agency reported.

He added, “Hamas is a national liberation movement that is legitimately defending the rights of the Palestinian nation and fighting against terrorism.”

“It is the Zionist entity that is practicing mass murder against our people and committing crimes against humanity, particularly the siege of the Gaza Strip, through the support of US officials,” Barhoum pointed out.

The statement came hours after Trump addressed the leaders of 55 Muslim countries in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, and described Hamas as a terror organization.

The Israeli military frequently targets the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls, with civilians being the main victims of such attacks.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The 50-day military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also wounded in the war.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty in the coastal enclave.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Occupation’s Accomplice

By Meghna Sridhar Tripp Zanetis | Jacobin | May 18, 2017

Mass incarceration is a central pillar of Israeli occupation. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are waging a hunger strike to fight it.

On April 17, on the anniversary of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, over 1,500 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons launched a mass hunger strike. A month later, 834 of the prisoners remain on empty stomachs — with several dozens now placed on “close medical watch” by Israeli authorities. The strike has drawn a wave of solidarity among Palestinians and has been met with severe repression by Israeli authorities.

Weeks before the strike erupted, we visited the military courts in the West Bank as a part of a delegation from Stanford Law’s International Human Rights Clinic. Observing the court proceedings drove home how the prison system serves as a core pillar of the occupation — and why the prison strike has attracted so much support among Palestinians.

The prisoners are demanding better conditions: improved access to family visits and phone calls; access to books, newspapers, mail, and educational opportunities; and an end to administrative detention and solitary confinement.

Yet at the heart of their struggle lies a more insidious problem: the sprawling military court system that has stripped them of their dignity and incarcerated over one in three Palestinian men since 1967. Palestinians imprisoned in Israel are sentenced by a court system run by the Israeli military, without any of the safeguards of the Israeli civilian courts. These military courts are predicated on a legal double standard: they only prosecute crimes against Israeli citizens or property; they do not prosecute crimes committed by Israeli settlers living in the Occupied West Bank, or crimes with Palestinian victims.

As strike leader and political prisoner Marwan Barghouti has put it, Israel’s military courts are an “accomplice in the occupation’s crimes.”

Israeli authorities have cracked down swiftly on the hunger strike — not only have they punished those who have protested, but they are also reportedly looking into setting up a separate military hospital to force feed those still on strike. Far-right National Union activists, meanwhile, have organized a barbecue outside the prison, seeking to mock the hungry prisoners with the wafting scents of grilled meat. And Pizza Hut released an advertisement taunting Barghouti to end the strike with a slice of their pizza.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon has said that the Palestinian prisoners are not political prisoners, but “convicted terrorists and murderers” who were “brought to justice.”

Our observations of the military courts — and the statistics — tell a different story. The courts prosecute between five hundred and seven hundred children each year — 79 percent, between 2010 and 2015, for stone throwing, which under the Israeli military’s own classification is only a “public order” offense. This crime generally involves youth throwing stones at military targets so distant that no bodily harm occurs.

Several other offenses that the military courts process are also nonviolent in nature. Incitement — a catch-all crime that could include posting anti-occupation status on Facebook — increasingly appears on the docket. Infiltration — which involves Palestinians illegally entering Israel in order to work, usually as manual laborers — also accounts for a fair share of the men brought before military courts.

There is a good reason that the practice of trying civilians — especially children — in military courts for such a prolonged period of time is unprecedented in an ostensible democracy. International law does allow military courts for civilians in the exceptional case of belligerent occupation. But the international laws governing occupation never contemplated a situation of a fifty-year occupation. And Israel’s military courts prove exactly why.

A staggering 99.74 percent of the cases heard in military court end in conviction: once accused, a Palestinian has little chance of mounting a successful defense. Evidence, especially when it pertains to children, is often the result of coerced confessions — but exclusion motions throwing out such illicitly obtained evidence are rarely successful. The court proceedings are entirely in Hebrew — a language almost all defendants, and most of their lawyers, don’t speak. Translations are often inadequate, or sloppy: we witnessed a translator walk out of the court midway through a proceeding. Most cases are resolved through guilty pleas — because, according to the attorneys we interviewed, defendants and defense lawyers alike are often punished for attempting to take cases to trial.

Palestinian prisoners, in short, are not just faced with harsh prison conditions, in prisons that their families have limited or no access to. They arrive in these facilities after facing a dehumanizing trial in a language that they do not speak, where the presumption of innocence does not apply, and where they face little chance of defending themselves successfully. When they put their bodies on the line with a hunger strike, they are doing so because the system offers them no other option.

That system must fall.

Mass incarceration is a central pillar of Israeli control over the West Bank. Improving prison conditions or adding procedural protections will not solve the problem. Only ending military control over the civilian population will deliver justice to the striking prisoners, as well as the millions suffering daily indignities on the outside.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment