Archive | August 1st, 2012

IT HAPPENED IN JULY

NOVANEWS

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

 

3 July 1919: Syrian Arab Congress (attended by 15 delegates from Palestine)
emphasizes Arab Unity and rejection of colonialism.

July 1920: The World Zionist Organization meeting in London establishes a
new financial arm to raise money called Keren Hayesod.  Since then
donations were collected from Jews around the world to help dispossess the
native Palestinians to transform Palestine to a Jewish state.

13-14 July 1922: General strike throughout Palestine opposing the British
occupation and the Zionist project.

14 July 1920: France demanded that King Faisal in Damascus end conscription
and surrender his garrisons to French troops. He was forced to concede
against the wishes of his people, but the French still betrayed him and
forced him out of Damascus

24 July 1922: The League of Nations voted to approve the British Mandate of
Palestine formalizing complicity of Western powers in the rape of Palestine.

22 July 1946: A Jewish Zionist underground group blow-up the King David
hotel in Jerusalem housing also the British civil administration.  The bomb
killed 28 British, 41 Christians and Muslim Palestinians, 17 Jewish
Palestinians, and 5 others while injuring over 200. This was in a string of
terrorist attacks from underground forces whose leaders later became
Israeli Prime ministers (Shamir, Begin etc).

9 July 1948: Start of Israeli operations labeled Dani and Dekel that broke
the truce and continued the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages and
towns

24 July 48: Ijzim massacre by Zionist forces and the ethnic cleansing of
the village. http://www.palestineremembered.com/Haifa/Ijzim/ (and click on
pictures)

31 July 1951: Israeli High Court of Justice, ordered the Israeli military
to allow the villagers of Iqrith to return to their village.  To this day
this order has not been implemented because Israel did not want to set a
precedent of villagers allowed to return (even if these are technically not
refugees).

July 26, 1956: Despite imperialist and Zionist threats, Egypt nationalized
the Suez Canal.

6 July 1958: Palestinian conferences were held simultaneously in Nazareth
and Akka and were attended by about 120 Palestinians (40 others were placed
under house arrest, preventing their participation). This heralded the
beginning of organized political structures among Palestinians in the 1948
areas after the Nakba.

July 16, 1958: American Marines landed in Lebanon, to begin a string of US
invasions of Arab countries.

July 18, 1958:  Iraqi people overthrow the British installed Hashemite
dynasty

15 July 1963: General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) founded in Jerusalem

July 25, 1967: Israel conducts a census of the occupied territories it just
conquered (WB, Gaza, Golan, Sinai). All people outside (students studying,
those who left because of eh attack, business people, others) are denied
return. 300,000 new refugees were thus created to add to millions created
earlier.

July 1968: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an
El-Al airplane. The new PLO under leadership of Fatah denounced the action.

July 11, 1970: Attempted assassination of Dr. Wadi Haddad, PFLP commander
in Beirut injring his wife and son.

July 23, 1970: President of Egypt Jamal Abdul Nasser accepted the Rogers
proposals for peace in the Middle East.

July 1971: Hashemite monarchy in Jordan drives the last of the Palestinian
guerrilla fighters from Jordan and consolidates its grip on power in this
country, home to the largest population of Palestinian refugees,

July 1971: The first Socialist Republic was declared in Sudan but quickly
crushed by dictators  Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Moamar Qaddafi of Libya.
They restored Numeiry to power and instigated a communist/socialist
witch-hunt in the three countries.

8 July 1972: Famous Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani murdered by an
Israeli car bomb in Beirut

30 July 1973 Aref Al-Aref dies. He is a famous Palestinian leader
(including mayor of Jerusalem) and intellectual

5 July 1974: Palestinian leader in the 1930s, Haj Amin Al-Hussaini died in
Beirut

11 July to 6 August 1975: Hunger strike among Palestinian political
prisoners that heralded significant changes and set a precedent for mass
protest in Israeli jails; a form of popular unarmed resistance among
hundreds of others (see Mazin Qumsiyeh, Popular Resistance in Palestine: A
history of Hope and Empowerment, Pluto Press, 2011)

July 1977, President Jimmy Carter tried to convince the newly elected Likud
leader, Menachem Begin, to freeze settlement activity as part of the peace
agreements with Egypt.  Instead, Begin allocated Ariel Sharon to the task
of drafting a program for accelerated settlement activity.

31 July 1985: The Israeli Knesset amended the Basic Law on elections by
adding that “A list of candidates shall not participate in Knesset
elections if any of the following is expressed or implied in its purpose or
deeds: 1) Denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of
the Jewish people, 2) Denial of the democratic character of the State, 3)
Incitement to racism”.  This effectively bars any party that promotes
changing Israel to a secular and democratic state of its citizens from
running in the elections.

July 1987: Assassination of cartoonist Naji Al Ali (of Handala fame) in
London by the Israeli Mossad.

7 July 1988: First major raid on Beit Sahour because of its tax-revolt
during the intifada

30 July 1988: During the peak of the intifada (uprising of 1987-1991), King
Hussein of Jordan reluctantly ends the “unity” between Jordan and the West
Bank and declares that the PLO is responsible for that territory under
Israeli occupation.

14 July 1992: In the New York Times, Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli Prime Minister
(and terrorist) states: “The Jewish State cannot exist without a special
ideological content.  We cannot exist for long like any other state whose
main interests is to insure the welfare of its citizens.”

July 2000: Camp David Summit brought on by US President Clinton and Israeli
PM Ehud Barak to force Arafat to accept apartheid as a final settlement.

9 July 2004: International Court of Justice rules that the apartheid wall
and Jewish settlements inside the West Bank including in Jerusalem are
illegal per international law and must be dismantled.

9 July 2005: Palestinian Civil Society Call to Action that includes call
for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel

July 2006: Israel war on the civilian population of Lebanon destroying many
villages and damaging infrastructure. US vetoes a UNSC resolution to stop
the aggression (the sole no vote at the Security Council).

July 2010: Israeli government under Netanyahu orders that archives that
were to be declassified after 50 years will remain sealed for another 20
years.  These attempts at hiding dirty secrets including war crimes and
crimes against humanity of Israel’s formative years continue.

July 2010: Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian village in the Jordan
valley (Al-Farasiya), demolish other homes in other towns, and kills and
injures many Palestinians in a familiar ritual of occupation and
colonization done with western (especially US) support.

July 2012: In pre-election maneuvering, US President Obama and the US
congress decides to give more of US taxpayer’s money to Israel and his main
Republican Challenger declares illegally occupied Jerusalem as “capital of
Israel”. Both Republican and Democratic parties to receive each >$100
million in donations from Zionists (a cheap investment considering billions
that go to Israel yearly). Meanwhile Israeli forces cap the month with more
home demolitions and murder of Palestinians.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on IT HAPPENED IN JULY

TALKING ZIONISM

NOVANEWS

by Uri Avnery

“HE TALKS Zionism,” used to be a very derogatory comment when I was young. It meant that some elderly functionary had come to waste our time with a boring speech consisting largely of empty phrases.
That was before the foundation of the State of Israel. Since then, the term Zionism has been elevated to the status of a state ideology, if not state religion. Everything the state does is justified by the use of this word. Some would say that Zionism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

When I visited Prague for the first time, right after the fall of the Communist regime, I was shown a hotel of incredible luxury – chandeliers from France, marble from Italy, rugs from Persia, the lot. I had never seen anything like it before. I was told that the place – or palace – had been reserved for the communist elite.

It’s then and there that I understood the essence of a state ideology. Communist regimes were founded by idealists, imbued with humanist values. They ended as mafia states, in which a corrupt clique of cynics used the communist ideology as justification for privilege, oppression and exploitation.

I don’t like state ideologies. States should not foster ideologies.

THE ONLY people who have an official confirmation that they are sane are those who have been released from psychiatric hospitals. In a similar way, I may be the only person in Israel who has an official confirmation that he is not an anti-Zionist.

It happened this way: when my friends and I founded the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace in 1975, a right-wing organ called us “anti-Zionists”. I didn’t give a damn, but my co-founders insisted on suing them for libel.

Since I had published a book entitled “Israel Without Zionists” a few years earlier, I was called by the defendants as their star witness. They grilled me for many hours on the witness stand on what I meant by this title. In the end the judge asked me to define my attitude towards Zionism in simple words. On the spur of the moment I coined a new term: “Post-Zionism”.

Since then, the term has been expropriated as a synonym for anti-Zionism. But I used it quite literally. As I explained to the judge, my position is that Zionism was a historical movement with its glorious achievements as well as its darker side. One can admire or condemn it, but either way Zionism has come to its logical end with the creation of the State of Israel. Zionism was the scaffolding that made the building of the state possible, but once the house is built, the scaffolding becomes a hindrance and must be removed.

So the judge decided that I am not an anti-Zionist. She ordered the defendants to pay us hefty compensation, which helped us to finance our activities.

I still adhere to that definition.

NOWADAYS, WHEN the term Zionism is used in Israel, it can mean many different things.

For ordinary Jewish Israelis, it means not much more than Israeli patriotism, combined with the dogma that Israel is a “Jewish State”, or the “State of the Jewish People”. These definitions, by themselves, allow for many different interpretations. For the legendary “man or woman in the street” it means that the Jews around the world are a “people”, and that Israel “belongs” to this people, though Jews have no rights in Israel unless they come here and receive citizenship. Of course, the Jews around the world have never been asked to decide whether Israel is their state or not.

From this point on, the definitions go in many different directions.

At the beginning, the dominant Zionist color was red (or at least pink). The Zionist dream was coupled with socialism (not necessarily of the Marxist kind), a movement that built the pre-state Jewish society in Palestine, the all-powerful trade union organization, the kibbutz and much more.

For religious Zionists (unlike the anti-Zionist Orthodox), Zionism was the forerunner of the Messiah, who would surely come if only all of us observed the shabbat. Religious Zionists want Israel to become a state governed by the Halakha, much as Islamists want their states to be governed by the Sharia.

Right-wing Zionists want Zionism to mean a Jewish state in all of historical Palestine, in their parlance “the Whole of Eretz Israel”, with as few non-Jewish inhabitants as possible. This can easily be coupled with religious, and even messianic visions. God Wills It, as He has told them in confidence.

Theodor Herzl, the founder, wanted a liberal, secular state. Martin Buber, the outstanding humanist, called himself a Zionist. So did Albert Einstein. Vladimir Jabotinsky, the idol of right-wing Zionists, believed in a mixture of extreme nationalism, liberalism, capitalism and humanism. Rabbi Meir Kahane, an outright Fascist, was a Zionist. So, of course, are the settlers.

Many fanatical anti-Zionists around the world, including Jewish ones, would like to see Zionism as one monolith, so as to make it easier to hate. So, for the sake of love, do many lovers of Zion, most of whom would not dream of coming and living here.

Altogether, a rather bizarre picture.

TODAY, ZIONISM is firmly in the hands of the extreme Right, a mixture of nationalists, religious fanatics and the settlers, supported by very rich Jews in Israel and outside.

They govern the news, both directly (they own all the TV networks and the newspapers) and metaphorically. Every day, the news contains many items figuring “Zionism”.

For Zionism’s sake, Bedouin in Israel-proper are forcibly displaced from the large stretches of land they have occupied for centuries. For Zionism’s sake, a settler’s college deep in the occupied territories is accorded the status of “university” (by the military governor!), giving new impetus to the international academic boycott on Israel. Hundreds of new buildings in the settlements are being built on private Palestinian land in the name of Zionism. In Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian authority, Israeli troops hunt for Africans without an Israeli immigration permit. Indeed, our Interior Minister, whose only passion seems to be hunting African job-seekers, uses the word Zionism in almost every sentence.

In the name of Zionism, our fanatically right-wing Minister of Education is sending Israeli school children on indoctrination trips to “holy places” in the occupied territory, so as to instill in their consciousness from early on that all the country belongs to them. To strengthen their Zionist convictions they are also sent to Auschwitz.

The settlers claim – not without some justification – that they are the only real Zionists, the rightful heirs of 130 years of Zionist settlement and expansion. This gives them the right to receive huge piles of state funds for their activities, while new taxes are being levied on even the poorest of the poor in Israel, such as another one-percent raise of VAT.

The Jewish Agency, an offshoot of the World Zionist Organization, is devoting almost all its resources to the settlements.

There is no faction in the Knesset (except the two small Arab factions and the predominantly Arab communist faction, and of course the Orthodox) that does not loudly proclaim its total devotion to Zionism. Indeed, the Zionist Left claims to be truer Zionists than the Right.

WHERE IS all this leading? Ah, there is the rub.

The current staunchly Zionist policy of the State of Israel contains an inherent paradox. It leads to self-destruction.

The policy of our government is based on maintaining the status quo. All of historical Eretz Israel/Palestine under Israeli rule, the West Bank in a state of occupation, its Palestinian inhabitants without national or civil rights.

If, at some point in the future, a right-wing government decides to annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip “officially” (as Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights were annexed long ago – unrecognized by the rest of the world – it will not make any real difference. Most Palestinians are already confined to enclaves resembling the South African Bantustans of bygone days.

In this Greater Israel, Palestinian Arabs will constitute a minority of at least 40%, growing rapidly to 50% and more, making it less and less convincing to call it a “Jewish State”. The “Jewish and Democratic State” will be a thing of the past.

Of course, practically nobody in Israel would dream of according the Arab inhabitants of Greater Israel citizenship and democratic rights. If, perhaps by divine intervention, this were to come about, it would no longer be a “Jewish State”. It would be an “Arab Palestinian state”.

The only way out would be ethnic cleansing on a huge scale. Some of this is already happening discretely in remote areas. For some time now, in the most remote area of the West Bank, on the edge of the desert south of Hebron, the occupation authorities have been trying to remove the entire Arab population. This week, the Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, declared the area a “military firing zone” that must be immediately evacuated. People who remain there risk being shot. Agriculturists may return and work on their land, but only on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, when the army is on leave. Zionism in action.

Currently, some five million Palestinians and six million Jews live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The ethnic cleansing of the country is highly improbable, to say the least. Far more likely is the reality of an apartheid state, in which Jews will soon be a minority. That is not a reality envisioned by the Zionist founding fathers.

The only alternative is peace – Palestine and Israel, side by side. But that is called “post-Zionism”, God forbid.

Our leaders escape this reality by a simple device: they don’t think about it. They don’t talk about it. They prefer to “talk Zionism” – a string of empty phrases.

But sometime in the future the contradictions of Zionism will have to be faced.

Source: http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1343412021/

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Gaza’s Children: Falling Behind – The Effect of the Blockade on Child Health in Gaza

NOVANEWS

The blockade of Gaza: Five years on

Full Report (PDF)


Thursday, June 14, 2012 – 09:13

Gaza’s only fresh water source is now too dangerous to drink and is contaminated with fertiliser and human waste, according to a shocking new report from Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP).

On the fifth anniversary of the blockade, Gaza’s Children: Falling Behind, reveals desperate families are being forced to buy from private sources, not knowing that in most cases this water too is contaminated, often at ten times the safe level.

With 1.7 million people – including more than 800,000 children – crammed into just 365 square kilometers – an area roughly equivalent to the size of the Isle of Wight – Save the Children is concerned about the increasing threat of disease.

“Innocent children are living in inhumane conditions after five years under a blockade. They are now forced to drink dirty and dangerous water that will make them weak and sick. Diarrhoea which is easily treated here in the UK can be a killer in these conditions.” said Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children

Since the blockade started, the number of children under three being treated for watery diarrhoea has doubled. High levels of nitrate – found in faeces and fertiliser – is also linked to some cancers and is a massive risk to pregnant women.

Gaza’s sewage system is also completely broken, much of it destroyed during Operation Cast Lead and treatment plants are overloaded or lack fuel. Open cesspits sit right next to family homes and in just the first two months of this year, three children drowned in open sewers.

Justin Forsyth continued: “Gaza children are living in prison-like conditions, trapped and unable to dream of a better future. We must end the blockade and ramp up immediate projects to provide clean, safe drinking water and sanitation.”

There are only two crossings available for people to leave Gaza and people require select security permits to leave the heavily guarded exit. Crucial equipment needed to repair the sewage and water system remains blocked and on the restricted list of goods allowed in. Just one fifth of the equipment needed has been delivered to date, with the remainder sitting unused in warehouses.

The charity is calling for:

  1. Israel must lift the blockade in its entirety to enable the free movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, including the West Bank and Jerusalem
  2. All planned water and sanitation projects must be implemented immediately and a clear timetable provided by the Israelis for their completion
  3. The International Community, along with relevant authorities must implement long term strategies to improve conditions for children
  4. The Palestinian Authority must facilitate the impartial and rapid material provision and funding of medical supplies and services in Gaza
  5. Donor must ensure that funding is available for long term projects and not just emergency, short term projects

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EU´s Latest Message to Israel: “Do Your Worst Without Fear of Sanctions by Us”

NOVANEWS

The first question the headline begs is this: What is, or rather what could be, Israel’s worst?

In my opinion the short answer is this. In an effort to defuse the demographic time-bomb of occupation and close the Palestine file for ever, Israel resorts to a final round of ethnic cleansing, to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan and other neighbouring Arab states. (What about the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip prison camp? They are left to rot and will suffer the same fate as their West Bank brothers and sisters if they chose to stay and dare to threaten Israel’s security).

Understanding the full extent of the complicity of EU ministers and their governments in Israel’s defiance of international law does not require a lot of effort.

On 5 July, Oxfam released its latest report, On the Brink: The Impact of Settlements on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. Its findings included the following.

“Settlements and related Israeli policies, such as systematic demolitions and restrictions on land and water use, are creating a wretched reality for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley…

Palestinian communities are under threat as settlement expansion and demolitions escalate… Palestinians can use just 6 percent of the land in the Jordan Valley, while Israeli settlers, who account for just 13 percent of the valley’s people, have control over 86 percent of it… Settlements in the Jordan Valley, illegal under international law, have established industrial farms that produce high value crops for sale in markets locally and abroad, and are supported by a range of Israeli government grants and subsidies that facilitate their growth and sustainability… At the same time, the poverty rate for Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley is nearly double that of the rest of the West Bank as many struggle to make a living from farming and animal rearing without adequate access to land.”

The Oxfam report also noted that it’s not only in the Jordan Valley that the pace of Israeli land theft is quickening. 2011 saw a 20 percent rise in new settlement construction across the whole of the occupied West Bank as compared to 2010. Over the same period, the number of Palestinians displaced by demolition doubled, with 60 percent of the demolitions carried out in areas close to settlements.

(To add to their assertion that God gave them the right to plunder Palestinian land, the settlers now have the endorsement of an earthly authority – the Levy Committee. Under the chairmanship of former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, it was set up earlier this year by Prime Minister Netanyahu to establish whether or not outposts constructed by settlers without government authorization were legal. The 89-page report of the Levy Committee ruled that they are “because Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law.” Jonathan Cook described this denial of Israeli occupation as “preposterous”. I go further. I think it is irrefutable proof of a Zionist mindset that is deluded to the point of clinical madness).

The Oxfam report called on the member states of the European Union, Israel’s largest trading partner, “to takeurgent action to press the government of Israel to immediately stop building settlements and end the demolition of Palestinian structures, including homes, animal pens, water cisterns, and solar panels.”

Oxfam’s International Executive Director, Jeremy Hobbs, underlined this call for action with the statement that “World leaders have long been saying the right things but strong words alone are not enough.” (This important comment from Hobbs did not appear in the BBC’s take on the Oxfam report on its web site. I presumed that this omission was an instance of self-censorship by the BBC to avoid hassle from supporters of Israel right or wrong).

Three questions are now in order.

The first is: What are the right things in strong words that EU (and other) leaders have long been saying?

Here are some examples.

Statement by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, 8 June 2012:
“I deplore Israeli Government plans to build over 800 additional settlement housing units as well as the plan to relocate some of the settlers from Ulpana within the occupied Palestinian territory. Settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”
Statement by EU foreign affairs ministers, 14 May 2012: “The EU expresses deep concern about the marked acceleration of settlement construction following the end of the 2010 moratorium…” All 27 foreign ministers unanimously condemned Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, its continuing settlement expansion and the rise of settler violence against Palestinians, which the UN said has leapt by 150% in the past year, largely due to the impunity of Israeli perpetrators. The foreign ministers also warned that Israel policies “threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

Joint statement of ambassadors from Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, December 2011: “The Israeli government’s decision to speed up settlement construction is a wholly negative development. We call on the Israeli government to reverse these steps.”

Statement by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, November 2011: “Settlements on occupied land are illegal. We are very clear about that and have condemned recent decisions to accelerate settlement building, and I condemn them again today.”

US state department, April 2011: “… not only are continued Israeli settlements illegitimate, Israel’s actions run counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations. The building of housing units in East Jerusalem would be detrimental to building good faith between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Statement by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, October 2010: “The Israeli government’s decision to build 2600 new housing units in the settlement of Givat Ha’matos runs against the spirit of the Middle East Quartet declaration and Israel’s roadmap obligations.”

“The Quartet (March 2010) urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001, and to refrain from demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem.”

A week after Jeremy Hobbs called for “urgent action”, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, made the following statement in an interview with Ha-aretz. “The settlement policy is making it difficult to establish a democratic and sustainable Palestinian state which will be able to live in peace with Israel. Besides the great importance which we attach to the legal aspect and to international law, our position is that every policy and development that tries to create facts on the ground and is hindering the establishment of peace is a mistaken policy. That is a clear stance which is unequivocal. The illegal settlements must be brought to an end.
The urgent action Jeremy Hobbs had in mind for the purpose of pressing Israel would require the EU to reassess its relations with the Zionist (not Jewish) state and decide that the time had come to use the leverage the EU has on account of the fact that about 60% of Israel’s trade is with Europe. The EU message to Israel then would be something like this: “If you want to continue enjoying the trade and other benefits of your relationship with us, you must comply with your obligations under international law.” An incremental process of EU pressure on Israel could (and in my view should) start with the banning of produce and products from the illegal Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank.
So much for what could (and should) have been. Now to the second question.

How did the EU actually respond to the call by Hobbs (and others) for urgent action to press Israel to end the building of illegal settlements and be serious about peace?

It decided to reward not punish Israel. At the annual meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels on Tuesday 24 July, the EU confirmed that it was now ready to upgrade trade and diplomatic relations with Israel in more than 60 areas, including migration, energy and agriculture; and that it would remove obstacles impeding Israel’s access to European government-controlled markets and enhance Israel’s co-operation with nine EU agencies, including Europol and the European Space Agency. (The decision in principle to extend EU-Israel co-operation in 60 areas was taken in 2005, but implementation of it was put on hold when Israel went to war with Palestinians of the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008 and was accused of committing war crimes).

I agree 100% and then some with Jonathan Cook’s overall analysis and particular comment. The headline over his article in Counterpunch Was Israel Rewarded… For What? He wrote (my emphasis added):

“The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including US President Barack Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalised human rights groups, UN agencies and even the Israeli courts; and fuelled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country’s Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.

“No wonder, then, that in poll after poll Israel ranks as one of the countries with the most negative influence on international affairs.

“And yet, the lower Israel sinks in public estimation, the more generous Western leaders are in handing out aid and special favours to their wayward ally. The past few days (this comment relates to the EU’s decision) have been particularly shameless.”

The third question is: On the matter of Israel’s policies and actions, what explains the refusal of EU ministers to match their words with deeds?

It’s not enough to say they are hypocrites of the highest order. They are but there’s much more to it than that. How much more was indicated by a senior EU diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity to The Guardian the day before the EU-Israel Association Council meeting. (In its report of what the unnamed diplomat said, The Guardian predicted with precision how the EU was going to reward Israel).

The diplomat told The Guardian that despite private complaints of the inconsistency of chastising Israel with one hand while rewarding it with the other, not one minister was prepared to oppose the extension of EU-Israel co-operation in 60 areas. He (or she?) put it this way:

“I was struck by the fact that a whole range of relations was offered to Israel – at the request of Israel – as if nothing is happening on the ground. Most ministers are too afraid to speak out in case they are singled out as being too critical towards Israel, because, in the end, relations with Israel are on the one hand relations with the Jewish community at large and on the other hand with Washington – nobody wants to have fuss with Washington. So ministers are fine with making political statements but they refrain from taking concrete action.”
That squares with what I have been writing and saying for some years. Almost everybody in public life in the Western world (not just the EU), and actually far beyond, is frightened, even terrified, of offending Zionism too much or at all. And there’s no mystery about why.
Provoking Zionism’s wrath invites, guarantees, a false charge of anti-Semitism, and that can destroy careers.
In my analysis what happened in Brussels on 24 July confirms something else I have been writing and saying for several years. The Zionist state is Israel is a monster beyond control.
And that’s why my next article will be under the headline IS PALESTINE A LOST CAUSE?
I will argue that it is unless… And I will spell out what the unless is.

Source: http://www.alanhart.net/eus-latest-message-to-israel-do-your-worst-without-fear-of-sanction-by-us/#more-1915

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Jonathan Cook: Western Complicity Exposed – IsraHell Rewarded…. For What?

NOVANEWS
Written by: 

Israel has barely put a foot right with the international community since its attack on Gaza more than three years ago provoked global revulsion.

The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including US President Barack Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalised human rights groups, UN agencies and even the Israeli courts; and fuelled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country’s Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.

No wonder, then, that in poll after poll Israel ranks as one of the countries with the most negative influence on international affairs.

And yet, the lower Israel sinks in public estimation, the more generous western leaders are in handing out aid and special favours to their wayward ally. The past few days have been particularly shameless.

It was revealed last week that the European Union had approved a massive upgrade in Israel’s special trading status, strengthening economic ties in dozens of different fields. The decision was a reversal of a freeze imposed in the wake of the Gaza attack of winter 2008.

Amnesty International pointed out that the EU was violating its own commitments in the European Neighbourhood Policy, which requires that, as a preferred trading partner, Israel respect international human rights, democratic
values and its humanitarian obligations.

Equally troubling, the EU is apparently preparing to upend what had looked like an emerging consensus in favour of banning settlement products – the only meaningful punishment the EU has threatened to inflict on Israel.

With some irony, Europe’s turnabout was revealed the same day that Israel announced it was planning to destroy eight villages in the West Bank, expelling their 1,500 Palestinian inhabitants, to make way for a military firing zone. Four more villages are also under threat.

The villagers’ expulsion was further confirmation that Israel is conducting a “forced transfer” of Palestinians, as recent EU reports have warned, from the nearly two-thirds of the West Bank under its control.

Europe’s only real leverage over Israel is economic: business between the two already accounts for about 60 per cent of Israeli trade, worth nearly 30 billion euros. But rather than penalising Israel for repeatedly stomping over the flimsiest prospects for a two-state solution, the EU is handsomely rewarding it.

It is not alone. The United States is also showering economic benefits and military goodies on Israel, in addition to the billions of dollars in aid it hands over every year.

In the past few days alone, President Obama signed a new law greatly expanding military cooperation with Israel and awarded $70 million – on top of an existing $210 million donation – for it to develop the Iron Dome missile defence system; the Pentagon arm-twisted Lockheed Martin into collaborating with Israeli firms in revamping the new F-35 fighter jet; and Congress approved a four-year extension of US loan guarantees to make it cheaper for Israel to borrow money on the international markets.

Meanwhile, Obama’s rival for the presidency, Mitt Romney, has criticised Obama for being too miserly towards Israel. As he stood shoulder to shoulder with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday, Romney issued a press release suggesting that his administration would spend even more US taxpayers’ dollars on Israel’s missile defence system.

All this munificence is coming from the two dominant parties to the Quartet – the international group comprising the US, the EU, the United Nations and Russia. The Quartet’s role is to champion the very two-state solution Israel is striving so strenuously to destroy.

In a further irony, the World Bank issued last week its latest report on the state of the Palestinian economy, concluding that its situation was so dire the Palestinian government-in-waiting, the Palestinian Authority, could not be considered ready for independent statehood. The report noted that the Palestinians were heavily reliant on foreign donors and that local private businesses, agriculture and manufacturing were all in decline.

With feigned obtuseness, the World Bank recommended that the PA increase exports to foreign markets, glossing over the biggest impediment to such trade: the severe restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of people and goods into and out of Palestinian territory.

As the Quartet has grown ever more silent in the face of Israeli transgressions, US politicians have stepped in with cynical manoeuvres to shore up Israel’s intransigence and destroy any hopes of a peaceful solution.

Last week, for example, US lawmakers were reported to have put their names to a congressional resolution recognising the recent report of Israel’s controversial Levy Committee. The report concluded that Israel was not occupying the West Bank and that consequently the settlements there are legal.

The topsy-turvy character of international diplomacy was acknowledged this month by a recently retired British ambassador to the Middle East. Tom Philips, who served in Israel and Saudi Arabia, writes in the latest edition of Prospect magazine that Europe and the US need to use “big carrots and big sticks” if there is to be any hope of reviving the peace process.

But Mr Philips believes the US is “genetically indisposed” to forcing change on Israel. He proposes instead choking off donor money to the PA so as “to put the full weight of the occupation on Israel, a burden I do not think they would be able to endure”.

In another of the rich ironies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it now seems even some diplomats are concluding that the Palestinians will be best served by destroying the fledgling government that was supposed to be the harbinger of their independence.

The real obstacles to peace – Israel, its occupation and western complicity – might then be laid bare for all to see.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi.

 

Source: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/30/israel-rewarded-for-what/

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Who Profits Report: Captive Economy – The Pharmaceutical Industry and the IsraHell Occupation

NOVANEWS
Written by: 

This report describes the involvement of Israeli and multinational pharmaceutical industries in the occupation. As the pharmaceutical industry is a highly globalized arena, the report reveals some of the ways in which Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands offers opportunities to exploit the captive Palestinian market. Concurrently, the report describes the development of a vibrant but struggling Palestinian industry. For the vast majority of the Palestinian population, this situation generates higher prices of basic health products, which is especially troubling in light of the fact that the economic situation continues to deteriorate.
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A new report by Who Profits investigates the involvement of Israeli and multinational pharmaceutical industries in the occupation and the structure of a Palestinian captive market.

The Paris Protocol, which regulates the financial relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, is a significant part of the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Protocol placed Israel and the future Palestinian state under the same taxation envelope. In general, this means that Palestinians continue to depend on Israeli policies, customs laws, and services for the import and export of goods. In the case of the international pharmaceutical industry, this dependency has inflicted strong negative economic effects on the OPT, as will be described in the report.

Moreover, the Israeli Ministry of Health insisted that the import of drugs to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would be allowed only for drugs that are registered in Israel. This decision implied that the neighboring Arab market (with minor exceptions) would be denied to the Palestinian population and pharmaceutical industry. The Palestinian market is thus unable to maintain import or export relations with its closest and most natural markets. Other important pharmaceutical products that have been denied access are the cheap generic drugs manufactured largely in India, China, and the former USSR states. This exclusion stems from the fact that the drugs registered in Israel are mainly imported from the EU, North America and Australia.

As in other cases, economic interests are often disguised as ‘security reasons’. This can be demonstrated in the Palestinian industry’s inability to send drugs in bulk (usually to large pharmacy chains in Europe and North America) via the close-by Ben Gurion Airport. Hence, the goods are shipped through Jordan with a heavy levy of added costs. Uniquely in the case of pharmaceuticals, ‘quality reasons’ are sometimes used in conjunction with economic and political justifications. One such case is the refusal to allow Palestinian pharmaceuticals into occupied East Jerusalem medical institutions – hospitals and pharmacies – and even vaccines given at Palestinian-run schools.

At other times, political and economic reasons are intertwined in the humiliation of an occupied people. This is seen in the demand of Palestinian representatives of large multinational companies to request a ‘non-objection’ letter from their Israeli colleagues in order to receive an import license from the Israeli Ministry of Health. This demand must be met by authorized Palestinian representatives even in the absence of such requirement from their Israeli counterparts.

The situation in Gaza, under strict closure and Israeli control over all products that enter and leave the strip, yields an absurd situation in which drugs – either donations or commercial pharmaceuticals – can enter the Gaza Strip; However, under Israel’s strict ‘security’ regulations, no pharmaceutical can leave the strip. Hence, all expired products are left to the care of the receiving Palestinian health institutions and Gaza Strip’s Palestinian Ministry of Health. This is a heavy burden that requires professional solutions, including toxic waste dump stations and qualified personnel. Moreover, many multinational pharmaceutical companies and NGOs prefer, for various reasons, to send in-kind donations in the form of drugs, some of which approach their expiry date by the time they reach their destination. Despite the good intentions, this tendency leaves the brunt of handling and disposal of huge amounts of bio-chemical waste on the Gaza Strip authorities in one of the most densely populated parts of the world.

The Palestinian pharmaceutical industry suffers from various hindrances. The burden of the annual licensing of imported raw materials (in some cases even per shipment), the costs of back-to-back deliveries to and from the West Bank and from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, the costs of shipping drugs in bulk through Jordan, the exclusion of large Arab markets in nearby countries as well as in Israel, and the inability of the Gazan industry to develop and expand due to the prohibition on export. All these obstacles generate extra costs that harm the development of the Palestinian pharmaceutical industry.

Israeli and multinational companies enjoy the aforementioned situation in several ways. From the four largest, originally-Israeli companies (Teva, Perrigo Israel – formerly Agis, Taro and Dexcel Pharma), to smaller companies (such as Trima), all Israeli companies enjoy easy access to the Palestinian market, free of customs and checkpoint disturbances (e.g. change of trucks at cargo checkpoints). The Israeli manufacturers and agents do not have to amend any of their products in order to sell them in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As a result, Israeli and multinational companies can sell drugs that are not labeled in Arabic to an Arabic speaking population. The multinational pharmaceutical companies, e.g. Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Bayer, to name but a few, meet little to no competition from the cheaper generic drug industry, as a result of the Israeli Ministry of Health  restrictions on drug registration in Israel and the enforcement of these restrictions on the Palestinian market.

Moreover, a differential pricing policy is applied by multinational companies worldwide according to the population’s socio-economic status. This policy, often called “price discrimination”, overlooks the situation in the OPT. According to the Paris Protocol, Israel and the OPT are part of the same economic envelope and the prices of drugs (to OPT representatives) are fixed according to the prices in Israel, which appears in the same category of high income markets as EU countries. This is clearly problematic in light of the fact that the OPT’s major economic parameters, such as GDP and average income, fall far below the figures of that of Europe and even Israel.

In conclusion, despite the proclaimed reciprocity at the introduction of the Paris Protocol, it’s agreed upon economic envelope has, in fact, enhanced the Palestinian market’s dependency on Israel. To date, it is de facto a captive market, held by binding economic agreements, subject to impediments and restrictions imposed by Israel, often in the name of security and quality-control. The Palestinian pharmaceutical industry has limited access to trade in various parts of the world, including the Arab world- it’s immediate market, and suffers from difficulties transferring merchandise from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

All the while, the Israeli industry enjoys international trade, including within the Palestinian market. Large Israeli pharmaceutical companies have expanded into multinational corporations, encompassing worldwide markets; the Palestinians, on the other hand, must deal with the Israeli customs and health regulations in order to import raw materials and end products, or export pharmaceuticals. We therefore wish to offer a detailed description of the roots of the situation and discuss its implications.

Source: http://whoprofits.org/content/captive-economy-pharmaceutical-industy-and-israeli-occupation

Full Report: http://whoprofits.org/sites/default/files/captive_economy_0.pdf

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The Checkpoint – Terror, Power and Cruelty

NOVANEWS

by Oded Na´aman

One morning, when I was about four years old, I proudly announced from the back seat of my family’s car, “Mother, I want you to know that I am the first kid in my whole kindergarten to think inside my head rather than out loud.” The car slowed to a standstill as we waited for the light to change. My mother turned to me, smiled, and said softly, “How do you know you’re the first?”

I was speechless. With one brief question, she had made the world a stranger to me and made me a stranger in my own world. She unveiled a universe of goings-on, a whole new brand of human activity that everyone I knew—the friends I played with, my sisters, even my parents—was engaged in, which I could have no access to. I sat on the staircase that day in kindergarten, observing the other kids play. Using my recently acquired skill, I wondered silently, with unmistakable trepidation, “Who knows what they are thinking?”

I soon regained my trust and grew up believing in the people around me. I knew there were dangers, but I felt certain I was not alone and therefore not helpless in facing them.

Fourteen years after my big kindergarten discovery, I was conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). At the West Bank checkpoints, the terror of other minds took over again. It occupied my soul.

• • •

PART 1: Job Description

As you stand at the checkpoint, you must constantly consider the various ways in which you may be attacked: Where are they going to come from? What will their strategy be? Is that child as innocent as he seems, or is he smuggling a weapon? Is that ambulance really rushing a woman to the hospital to give birth, or are there enemies hiding inside? Is that old man harmless, or is he deliberately diverting your attention from something that is happening behind your back? You have to get into their minds. They are creative, and they have already exploited our naivety and good will in the past. They can come up with anything, and you have to come up with it first.

These are the instructions soldiers receive before beginning their principle combat mission in the IDF: enforcement of military rule in the West Bank.

In the West Bank, the IDF is directed neither to conquer enemy territory nor to prevent an enemy from conquest. It is engaged in “low intensity conflict,” a phrase that encapsulates the indecisiveness of occupation. The enemy—the foreign people the military is charged with subduing—is within a territory that is already under the military’s control. Since the military occupies the land on which the enemy resides, it cannot conquer the enemy’s land any more than it already has. And insofar as the enemy has no land, it has no political independence, no real capacity for civic life. It is therefore impossible for Israel—logically impossible—to “go to war” with the Palestinians in the West Bank: Palestinian individuals may suffer to a greater or lesser degree, but the Palestinian people, as a people, cannot be further defeated.

At the same time, West Bank Palestinians are foreign to Israel. They are not Israeli citizens, and Israeli civil law does not apply to them. Israeli martial law—the law that, at least in principle, guides and constrains the IDF—also is not a law for the Palestinians, although it does affect their lives in profound ways. Law does not govern the relations between the State of Israel and Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. Unlike citizens, who obey the police not only because they are powerful but also because they are authoritative, Palestinians obey the orders of the IDF only because it is powerful. Military laws in the West Bank therefore are not laws at all, but merely what the legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart called “orders backed by threats”: the source and limit of their authority depends on the source and limit of particular threats.

We make them feel like we’re watching their every move and anticipating their every action.

Thus when a Palestinian disobeys Israel’s orders in the West Bank, the disobedience is, by its very occurrence, a lapse of occupation. All disobedience must be eliminated for the IDF to have firm control of the land and its people. Brute force cannot eliminate the possibility of Palestinian resistance, but, as long as resistance is possible, the military, whose only tool is brute force, cannot rest. Occupation, it might then be said, is about fighting the war before it begins, constantly postponing the next burst of resistance.

The idea is to demonstrate presence (le’hafgin nohehut), commanders tell their soldiers. We make them feel like we’re watching their every move and anticipating their every action. This is the occupier’s solution to the problem of preventing everything everywhere: the army has to make Palestinians believe that nothing escapes Israel’s fist. The soldiers demonstrate presence in order to make Palestinians fear that they are present even when they are not. Thus, the Israeli army’s unofficial yet unavoidable tactic is to instill constant fear through arbitrary acts of force.

The IDF demonstrates presence in a variety of ways. It peppers the West Bank with observation posts, foot patrols, Jeeps, Humvees, and tanks. It conducts random raids on houses and random inspections of cars and pedestrians. It enforces a curfew. However, the IDF’s most prominent and most notorious form of presence is the checkpoint.

Checkpoints and barriers line the pre-1967 border, but most are within the West Bank: between villages, on the outskirts of cities, on deserted mountain roads. Checkpoints may be in noticeable and strategic spots, or where they are least expected. Some are permanent and heavily staffed, while others are temporary and consist of only three soldiers and two stop signs. Some are unmanned barriers. As of last September, there were 522 checkpoints and barriers in the West Bank, according to the United Nations.

Officially, the checkpoints’ mission is to regulate the coming and going of Palestinians. Depending on the checkpoint, a Palestinian may need to present a permit in order to pass or may be allowed to pass after inspection even without a permit.

But the checkpoints’ primary mission is to demonstrate presence, to exhibit the army’s constant surveillance and its overwhelming force. Because the checkpoints are pervasive and involve intense interaction with the civilian population, they have become the clearest expression of the IDF’s dual message to West Bank Palestinians: you cannot hide and you cannot fight; Israel is both omnipresent and omnipotent.

• • •

“Soldiers should always obey orders and regulations,” the colonel says, opening his weekly talk to a hall filled with hundreds of rookies. He paces back and forth on the stage. His heavy army boots on the wooden floor measure the pause between his sentences.

“However,” he continues, coming to a halt, facing his audience and raising his finger in the air, “you must always use your clear-headed judgment (shikul-da’at). One can never know what they’ll try next. Orders and regulations are sacred but they cannot cover all possible scenarios. You must use your judgment to decide in any given case if it is an exception to the rule. There’s nothing as valuable as a soldier’s clear-headed judgment.”

The soldiers seated in the hall probably don’t give any special weight to this last instruction. First, dramatic announcements about the soldiers’ various responsibilities—to their nation, family, fellow soldiers, superiors—are common during basic training and with time lose their force. Second, in contrast to many pointless directives they have gotten so far, the clear headed–judgment order just sounds like common sense: How can orders and regulations cover all possible scenarios?

Only at the checkpoint will these soldiers appreciate the significance of clear-headed judgment. In testimony to Breaking the Silence—an organization run by Israeli veterans who collect anonymous testimonies of fellow soldiers, and the source of all soldiers’ statements here—one soldier who served in a Hebron checkpoint explains:

When someone suddenly says ‘No’ to you, what do you mean no? Where do you draw the chutzpah from, to say no to me? Forget for a moment that I actually think that all those Jews [who settled in the West Bank] are mad, and I actually want peace and believe we should leave the territories, how dare you say no to me? I am the Law! I am the Law here!

The soldier does not only have authority to make exceptions; the soldier has a responsibility to make exceptions. At the checkpoint, omnipotence is the power to create orders, not merely the power to enforce them. When a soldier’s order is defied, it is he, his judgment, that is defied, not merely a rule that he represents. Disobedience, therefore, is always personal at the checkpoint. So are the punishments that follow. A wrong move by a Palestinian can mean the difference between getting to work, school, or home to one’s family, and being humiliated, detained, or physically assaulted. It can mean the difference between waiting in the sun for a couple of hours and getting killed.

But there is more: the soldier’s responsibility to interpret any given case as an exception to the rule is part of the IDF’s general strategy to undermine its own patterns and regularities. The army doesn’t want Palestinians to be able to foresee what might get them through the checkpoint quickly and safely. The clear headed–judgment clause indirectly prevents exploitable patterns of behavior from emerging.

Any Palestinian’s action might induce a punishment. She may have done the same thing countless times in the past, but the next time she does it, in apparently identical circumstances, even in front of the same soldiers, it might be ruled an exception. One soldier reports being told by a patrol commander that at a checkpoint


you can do whatever you want, whatever you feel like doing. If you feel there’s a problem with what [a Palestinian has] done, if you feel something’s wrong, even the slightest thing, you can detain him for as long as you want.

Another soldier says, “There’s no such thing as a ‘proper checkpoint’ [because] you can’t run a checkpoint properly.”

There is then no normative notion of disobedience at the checkpoint, no proper way for Palestinians to act. The only way for Palestinians to anticipate the soldier’s next order is to try, at every moment, to anticipate the soldier’s next thought. Is he irritated? Is he complaisant? Is he looking for action? Is he feeling lonely and hoping for a friendly conversation? Does he want to be amused? Is he in a hurry? Is he filled with grief and anger? The soldier’s mental state is the Palestinian’s most urgent concern: it is a matter of life and death. As one soldier testifies, “I can assure you there’s tremendous frustration building up, it’s really scary. I would take it all out on someone.” Another tells of Palestinians who were stripped of their IDs and cell phones, beaten to a pulp, and detained for twelve hours for speaking on the phones suspiciously. A wrong action at the checkpoint is an action that causes a soldier to deliver punishment—that is, harm. To avoid disobedience, Palestinians at checkpoints need constantly to consider and reconsider what might get them punished.

The circumstances instill in soldiers and Palestinians an intense interest in each other’s minds. This same interest subverts their capacity to recognize each other. There can be neither truth telling nor lying at the checkpoint. No obligations, no gestures, no smiles, and no insults. There can be neither respect nor disrespect, neither shame nor honor. Palestinians will say and do whatever they think is most likely to get them through the checkpoint. Soldiers will say and do whatever keeps the Palestinians scared enough to do nothing but obey:

You yell at them in a kind of Arabic-Hebrew: ‘Get back.’ And they don’t pay attention. So you start to raise your weapon as if you are really going to do something with it, and everyone there are women and children and they start to cry, and they are also yelling, and it’s hot and you feel like in another second you’re going to spray them with bullets.

The myriad of human mental states matters only insofar as it can kill. There is no room for personhood where avoiding—or, rather, postponing—death is the only constant.

How can human beings actually do a job that requires maintaining one’s physical presence at the expense of what Rousseau calls one’s “moral presence”? How does this stark trade-off unfold?

• • •

PART 2: On the Job

A significant number of soldiers have no problem meeting the “job requirement.” They may come from violent backgrounds. Arbitrariness and the threat of extreme hostility are not new to them; that they finally have the upper hand strikes them as unusual. These soldiers’ behavior on duty is often appealed to in Israeli public discourse as evidence for their aggressive nature, lack of morals, and inability to become productive members of civilized society. But since arbitrary use of force is the essence of the checkpoint, accusing these soldiers of being violent is akin to accusing them of following the orders of their superiors, whose civility is, presumably, intact.

Among soldiers who join the army believing that the use of force should be accounted for, and that infliction of harm should be justified according to principle, the loss of Rousseau’s moral presence can be harder to endure. Some share a mode of thought that has been recounted and confirmed in numerous testimonies, and that I describe here.

Disobedience is always personal at the checkpoint. So are the punishments that follow.

The true nature of the soldier’s mission usually dawns upon him shortly after he arrives on the scene. He might be told, as I was in one of my first shifts, to close a checkpoint for some reason or other. A Palestinian child comes by and asks to pass on his way home from school. When the child discovers the checkpoint is closed and he cannot get home, he begins to cry. Recalling the freedom and responsibility to exercise his clear-headed judgment, the soldier decides to let the child through. A while later, ten crying children come by. They all heard about a new way to pass through the checkpoint even when it is officially closed.

At this point, facing the crying children, the soldier realizes he made a mistake—not because these children are dangerous, but because he cannot afford to be fooled by ten-year-olds, or by anyone, for that matter. There cannot be an efficient way to pass through his checkpoint. Any such way may be used against him, against his mission. He cannot tell harmless ten-year-olds from ten-year-olds who were sent to trick him. Everyone should know that at his checkpoint it is up to him and him alone to decide what will be their fate.

The soldier realizes he should not act on empathy since empathy can be manipulated. But can he suppress this natural sentiment? It takes time. The next time a similar situation occurs he does not let the child pass. Instead he smiles at him or tries to make him laugh. These are also signs of weakness. His lenience toward children, if it becomes known, may be used against him. He realizes this when families start encouraging their children to soften him up so they will pass through more quickly. If the harmless Palestinians manipulate him, so can the harmful ones. He makes a further effort to suppress his empathy.

But if sentiments such as empathy are not proper guides for his clear-headed judgment, which are? Strictly following orders leads to failure as well. He was ordered to use his clear-headed judgment to recognize cases to which the orders do not apply. How should he recognize such cases? Any rule for recognizing exceptions will have to be assigned a higher-order rule by which to recognize its own exceptions. This seems to lead to an infinite regress. The soldier gradually realizes that he cannot but fail his mission: the rules and orders he has to guide him are conditional on his judgment, which cannot be guided by any rule. His judgment is bound to be vacuous.

The soldier constantly treats people as innocent although as far as he can tell they might be conspiring against him; he constantly intimidates people who arouse his suspicion although they might, for all he knows, be innocent. There are no principles or rules to help him tell a terrorist from a harmless citizen: everything he does is groundless and he knows it. One soldier tells of a taxi driver who kept passing through his checkpoint to drive wounded children to the hospital. On his way back, the driver always had paying passengers in the back seat. When the soldiers at the checkpoint noticed the “trick” they stopped letting him through. From then on, the wounded kids had to wait at the checkpoint until an ambulance came to pick them up. The soldier explains:


If you let everyone through who comes with a kid and a fractured arm, you’ll be letting terrorists through before you know it. They have no inhibitions. They’ll stop at nothing.

All the malevolent people he might have let through his checkpoint; all the innocent people who have suffered because of him. He goes on, unable to deliberate about the things he’s done, which cause more pain than he has ever witnessed.

• • •

Philosophers Sidney Morgenbesser and Edna Ullmann-Margalit distinguish between choosing and picking. We choose between competing alternatives when we believe there is a difference that renders one preferable to the other. We pick between alternatives when we are indifferent to the distinctions between them.

Ullmann-Margalit and Morgenbesser make a further distinction between two kinds of picking situations. There are picking situations proper, where the picker does not believe there is a relevant difference between the options—for example, picking among cans of Campbell’s tomato soup on a supermarket shelf. And there are picking situations by default, in which the picker believes there is a relevant—even crucial—difference between the options but is prevented from recognizing it. For example, a game show contestant faces two identical boxes, one of which contains $1,000 dollars while the other contains nothing.

Due to the clear headed–judgment clause, there is no principled way to distinguish among Palestinians who attempt to pass through the checkpoint. The checkpoint, therefore, falls short of a choosing situation. But the soldiers might regard their situation as either a picking situation proper (where there are no actual differences among the people they encounter) or a picking situation by default (where the differences, though significant, are inaccessible).

A soldier at the checkpoint might not care which particular Palestinian will experience his demonstration of force and therefore will not find it troubling to pick. Think again of the proper-picking supermarket experience: you just grab a can of Campbell’s tomato soup from the shelf. You do not care which can of Campbell’s tomato soup it will turn out to be. In the case of the soldier, he must be indifferent not only to the suffering of innocent Palestinians whom he might treat as dangerous suspects, but also to the suffering of innocent Israelis who might be harmed if he fails to suspect malevolent passers-by.

The checkpoint soldier who believes that there is an important difference between treating someone as a dangerous suspect or as an innocent civilian—and that he is prevented from acting on this belief—must pick by default. He is like the game show contestant who wants the box with the $1,000 rather than the empty box, but all he can do is pick a box and hope the consequences of his action will correspond to his wishes.

The game show case and the checkpoint differ, however, in a crucial way: in the game show case, the tension dissolves as the consequences are revealed; at the checkpoint, the soldier rarely learns whether his actions have saved lives or burdened them. Thus the tension quickly accumulates as the soldier picks by default hundreds of times every eight-hour shift. Most of the soldier’s actions have severe moral implications—he knows this much. But he remains ignorant of them. The tension becomes unbearable, indeed, unfathomable.

When someone laughed authentically at the checkpoint, I silenced them right away.

To be sure, as soldiers arrive at the checkpoint, they might care about the difference between innocent and hostile Palestinians very much or not at all. However, the more often soldiers pick, the larger is the pressure toward moral indifference.

That the soldier’s power exceeds any rule does not render him powerful but, rather, destroys him. Being “above the law” drains the soldier of his defining principles. At times, he might feel he is passively witnessing the person he has become: his hands, signaling arbitrarily “go ahead,” “wait over there,” “shut up,” “show me this,” “show me that”; his voice uttering words: “I don’t care, your permit has expired,” “have a good day,” “where do you think you’re going?”

Some time will pass before it will occur to him that by failing to distinguish between the hostile and the innocent he might not only be failing his mission to defend his country but also failing values and sentiments that he was raised to uphold and act upon. But how can that be, he asks himself, if all along he had every intention of doing what is right? He was determined to defend his country while remaining humane and observing his moral compass. How could he have failed so miserably in both?

Consider this account by a soldier who believes Israel should withdraw from the territories:

I was at a checkpoint, a temporary one, a so-called strangulation checkpoint, it was a very small checkpoint, very intimate, four soldiers, no commanding officer, no protection worthy of the name, a true moonlighting job, blocking the entrance to a village. From one side a line of cars wanting to get out, and from the other side a line of cars wanting to pass, a huge line, and suddenly you have a mighty force at the tip of your fingers, as if playing a computer game. I stand there like this, pointing at someone, gesturing to you to do this or that, and you do this or that, the car starts, moves toward me, halts beside me. The next car follows, you signal, it stops. You start playing with them, like a computer game. You come here, you go there, like this. You barely move, you make them obey the tip of your finger. It’s a mighty feeling. It’s something you don’t experience elsewhere. You know it’s because you have a weapon, you know it’s because you are a soldier, you know all this, but it’s addictive. When I realized this . . . I checked in with myself to see what had happened to me. That’s it. . . . Suddenly, I notice that I’m getting addicted to controlling people.

Even if the soldier is failing to act on his values, he still has them. He decides not to succumb to indifference, not to let his moral sentiments wear off. He must not grow accustomed to the unnecessary suffering he is bound to inflict with his arbitrary exercise of power. He holds on to guilt as a drowning man holds on to a log of wood.

But there is nothing left to hold on to. As resolute as he is to feel guilty, guilt makes no sense to him anymore. Either he is inflicting unnecessary harm on innocent people, in which case he should stop rather than merely feel guilty, or he is doing what he ought to do to save lives, in which case he is not guilty of anything. By now guilt is mere hypocrisy; it is ridiculous. As time goes by he causes more and more suffering and has more to feel guilty for, but his guilt refuses to amplify correspondingly; he can no longer feel the distinctive moral shock he felt when he first arrived at the checkpoint. But can he be morally obligated to do what he is doing? Can terror be his calling?

He can run away, desert, disappear into the mountains, flee the country. (These alternatives used to drift through my mind in the quiet hours of my long night shifts.) But he knows what will happen then. Some other soldier will take his place. Someone who may be brutal and who will cause even more unnecessary suffering. His desertion will itself be harmful. On the other hand, it seems preposterous to suggest that this is what he should do—that inflicting immense and unnecessary harm on innocent people is, in fact, good.

Threats. All day and all night he generates threats: he threatens people in order to extinguish their will. He does not know what their wills actually consist in. He can feel, by now, that part of them wishes he were dead. “If you didn’t have [your weapon], and if your fellow soldiers weren’t beside you, they would jump on you,” one soldier testifies, “beat the shit out of you, and stab you to death.” He imagines them charging his checkpoint by the hundreds: carpenters, doctors, teachers, farmers, mothers, uncles, children, grandparents, and lovers. How could so many people, people who look him in the eye every day, want him dead? How do the Palestinians see him? He does not recognize his own gaze reflected back at him from the windows of the cars he inspects or confiscates. He is no longer his own person.

Now that guilt is impossible, the soldier realizes that part of him is dying. The soldier starts to think that he is the real victim in all this, especially since no one understands that he is bound to fail, that his power makes him helpless. No one knows that since arriving here he has not made a single choice. Sure, the Palestinians are helpless too, but it is easy to see that they are victims, he tells himself. He, the soldier, is a powerful nobody—that is his tragedy.

Anger accumulates. Palestinians come up to him, one after the other, all day long, begging him to let them pass. Telling him they need to get to their schools, universities, hospitals, jobs; they need food; they want to see their children, their parents; they need to get to their funerals and weddings, to give birth. But how the hell should he know? Why do they think he has any clue as to whether they can pass through his checkpoint? He cannot tell the difference between them; they all act the same, the way terrified people act.

• • •

He tries to resist this thought: he knows they are not all the same. They are individual human beings, he tells himself. I’ll show them I see them as such, he decides. He tries to be polite and respectful at the checkpoint. To give the children candies, to tell some jokes once in a while. They are still the same. There is not a sign of individuality in them. When I was serving, I tried to tell them bad jokes, to see if they would react differently when the jokes were not funny. They did not. They laughed just as hard. They laughed as hard as they thought I wanted them to; they could not care less about the quality of my jokes.

When, once in a while, someone laughed authentically at the checkpoint, I silenced them right away. A soldier cannot afford to have dozens of Palestinians who stand in endless lines act as they feel; they might feel like attacking him. It was I all along: I extinguished their laughter, and I was the cause of their uniformity.

Soldiers’ attempts to appeal to the individuality of Palestinians they encounter take different forms. Here is another example. In 2001 the Jalame checkpoint, located on the northern part of the pre-1967 border, was manned by a squad from the Golani Infantry Brigade. The soldiers required vehicles to stop fifteen meters away from the inspection point, where they stood. There were stop signs, but when there were no vehicles at the inspection point many drivers saw no reason to stop at the sign and came right up to the soldiers. This was considered a security threat: the soldiers needed to be ready for the vehicles that approached them.

In December a squad from the Artillery Corps was sent to replace the Golani soldiers. During the brief time that both groups served there, the Golani soldiers explained that they usually threw stun grenades at cars that failed to wait for their signal. This, the Golani soldiers felt, was an efficient way to make it clear to the locals that the stop sign should be obeyed in all circumstances. Stun grenades look like live grenades and make as much noise but hardly cause any harm. Drivers of vehicles who disobeyed the stop sign suddenly saw a grenade being thrown at them, not knowing it to be only a stun grenade. Once they experienced the horror of facing sudden and certain death, they would never cross the fifteen-meter line without a direct order again.

My friends and I, in the arriving squad, found this procedure excessively violent and ruthless. We attributed it to the “lack of values” of the Golani soldiers and decided to achieve the same effect by “educating” the locals. Whenever a vehicle crossed the stop sign without a direct order, we would punish the driver, ordering him to drive back and forth a few times, from the inspection point to the stop sign.

The new educational punishment was not effective. More and more cars came right up to the inspection point without waiting at the stop sign. The new routine was not working because it assumed that, by punishing wrongdoers, we would not only waste the drivers’ time but also hurt their pride. The punishment did not work because Palestinians who passed through the checkpoint treated the back-and-forth routine the same way they treated the stun grenade routine: as an expected consequence of their actions that they should take into account next time they drove through. There was nothing more to it.

We thought we could substitute the “insult” of punishment for the “injury” of stun grenades. Humiliation, we decided, would be the price of disobedience. But the very existence of the checkpoint had already deprived those who passed through it of their dignity. Being held at gunpoint made survival their sole concern. They had been stripped of their self-respect long before they were ordered to pointlessly drive back and forth. We did not realize that there was nothing more for us to humiliate.

It is not that the Palestinians who passed through Jalame checkpoint refused to acknowledge our superiority. On the contrary, the Palestinians made a huge effort to concede to anything asked of them. But they could not conceive of us as people to be acknowledged. As in the case of the bad jokes, Palestinians do not react to the soldiers themselves but to predictions of what they might do next. The absence of principled use of force at the checkpoint undermines the possibility of authority. As efficacious as the soldier at the checkpoint might be, Palestinians will never see him as powerful. Like Hegel’s slave master, soldiers in checkpoints might want the Palestinians’ acknowledgement, but all they can get is their conformity.

• •

Eventually the soldier’s own power no longer excites him; the lack of it alarms him. Someone must acknowledge the soldier’s power for him to feel powerful. The Palestinians’ obedience can no longer confirm his superiority on its own, but confirmation may come from those who witness his power: his fellow soldiers.

Thus emerges the true meaning of re’ut, the Hebrew for “camaraderie.” The gaze of his comrades validates the soldier’s power, makes it his power and thereby confirms his existence, his self. Consequently, punishments become a spectacle. The soldier demonstrates his power for his fellow soldiers to see: while he can only pick which Palestinians to punish, he may choose which punishment to exercise. Creative punishments are esteemed and discussed among soldiers.

 

 

Figure 1 / Breaking the Silence

 

Figure 2 / Breaking the Silence
The soldier in the two photographs here [Figures 1 & 2] collected dozens of photographs of himself with Palestinians he detained at checkpoints. (He contributed the photographs to a 2004 Breaking the Silence exhibit on the realities of Israel’s military rule.) In most of the images, the detainees are blindfolded. It seems clear that, in the first scene, the soldier was not hoping to gain the detainees’ recognition of his superiority. Rather, he was hoping to gain the recognition of his intended audience of fellow soldiers. Furthermore, the question of these men’s innocence did not cross his mind. He was morally indifferent to his picks.

The second photograph, in which the same soldier appears, might raise some doubts about my analysis of the checkpoint: Why can’t the checkpoint be lovely once in a while? There seems to be no cruelty in this picture. Everyone is smiling. This photograph suggests that even at the checkpoint, Israeli soldiers and Palestinian families can transcend their differences and communicate their common humanity.

But this is not friendliness in the picture: the stares are opaque and the smiles are vacuous. The soldiers, desperately acting out, wanting to be seen, doing whatever they can to find content in themselves, decide to take a picture with a Palestinian family that happens to be at the checkpoint. The members of the family are anxious to pass through the checkpoint safely and quickly. To do that, they are willing to obey the soldiers’ whims. They are certainly willing to pose for the camera.

So the family smiles obediently, their smiles of fear and distress; the soldiers smile mindlessly, their smiles of those who have given up on what they once knew to be themselves.

Source:http://www.bostonreview.net/BR37.4/oded_naaman_israeli_defense_forces_palestinians_occupation.php

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ZIONIST ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH GAZA REALITIES

NOVANEWS

by Eva Bartlett

Two weeks ago, while Beit Zatoun hosted “A Child’s View from Gaza,” a series of drawings made by Palestinian school children in Gaza, I spoke to a small audience about the lives of Palestinians, particularly children, in occupied Palestine, occupied Gaza under siege.

Anyone who knows of Gaza under the Israeli-led siege and closures since 2006 (or as Amira Hass argues, a steadily worsening closure since the ’90s) knows that Palestinians in Gaza have been rendered destitute, 80% of whom are food aid-dependent.

In brief, the various factors contributing to this manufactured poverty are:
–“Israel’s” closing of Palestinian borders to exports (formerly Gaza’s Palestinians exported fruits to European markets, clothes, furniture and edible goods to occupied West Bank, “Israeli” and neighbouring Arab countries’ markets, to name some of the exports now halted)
–“Israel’s” closing of Palestinian borders to workers who formerly worked in Israel doing construction, agricultural labour and other menial jobs (“Israel” now imports Thai and other Asian workers to do these tasks). When I interviewed the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza, a representative made it clear that in the ’80s and ’90s, “Israeli” authorities had encouraged and given permits to Palestinians from Gaza to work in “Israel” as labourers, rendering a significant portion of Gaza’s Palestinians dependent on this outside work.
–“Israel’s” repeated bombing of Gaza’s infrastructure, including the destruction of hundreds of businesses, farms, factories
–“Israel’s” long-time ban on importing parts and goods needed to repair or replace said bombed businesses, factories, farms. Israeli authorities even ban the import of fertilizers, livestock and most goods needed by farmers, fishers and factory owners. (see Amira Hass’ article from 2009)

–the daily “Israeli” army attacks (shooting, shelling, murdering, injuring, and abducting) of Palestinian fishers,farmers, labourers and residents on and near the sea and in border regions even up to and over 2km from the Green Line border between Gaza and “Israel”. Not allowing Palestinian farmers and fishers to work as they have for generations obviously impacts on their ability to produce vegetables and grains for consumption or sale, or catch fish for consumption or sale. This obviously impacts on the farmers’ and fishers’ destitution themselves and that of greater Gaza, the 80% or more who cannot afford to buy imported foods and meats. (seethe Guardian’s interview with Palestinian fishers and see Defence for Children International’s report on IOF attacks on Gaza children working in border areas http://www.dci-palestine.org/sites/default/files/ua_4_10_children_of_the_gravel_update_17_jan__2012.pdf ).
–“Israel’s” abduction of fishers, workers, even medics near Green Line borders. Without bread-winners, families fall into further destitution.
These are just some of the factors that contribute to the gross manufactured, preventable poverty existing in Gaza.

These are not merely my observations but facts backed by reports from the UN, from numerous international NGOs, from respected observers like Richard Falk, from people with hands-on experience like Dr. Mads Gilbert who was present in Gaza during the 2008-2009 Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. He noted in April 2012: “I’m sad to say from my visit to Gaza earlier this year, the situation is now more dire than ever. The Israeli siege effectively prohibits the rebuilding of Gaza — the import of concrete, of window panes, the availability of travel for medical care for the population.” And in a June 2012 interview, Dr. Gilbert said:

As a result of the Israeli siege, there has been widespread development of anemia among children and women due to malnutrition as a result of siege and poverty. Stunting, where a child is more than two standard deviations shorter than what it should be, is sharply on the rise. In 2006, around 13.5 percent of children were stunted. In 2009, 31.4 percent under age two were stunted.

In other words, every third child is less developed than he or she should be. And stunting does not only affect growth. It also affects brain development and the ability to learn. This is a direct consequence of malnutrition. Remember, this is not caused by drought or natural disasters, but a deliberate, man-made lack of food and water, imposed, planned, and executed in the most detailed way by the Israeli government. They even calculate how many calories to let in to Gaza to avoid outright starvation but to “just” cause malnutrition since that goes under the radar of human rights abuses.”

Save the Children, in June 2012, noted: “Innocent children are living in inhumane conditions after five years under a blockade. They are now forced to drink dirty and dangerous water that will make them weak and sick. Diarrhoea which is easily treated here in the UK can be a killer in these conditions. Gaza children are living in prison-like conditions, trapped and unable to dream of a better future. We must end the blockade and ramp up immediate projects to provide clean, safe drinking water and sanitation.”

In the same June report, Medical Aid for Palestine noted: “Since the blockade started, the number of children under three being treated for watery diarrhoea has doubled. High levels of nitrate – found in faeces and fertiliser – is also linked to some cancers and is a massive risk to pregnant women.

Gaza’s sewage system is also completely broken, much of it destroyed during Operation Cast Lead and treatment plants are overloaded or lack fuel. Open cesspits sit right next to family homes and in just the first two months of this year, three children drowned in open sewers.”

The UN in June 2012 reported: “The blockade of Gaza, now entering its sixth year, has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of the 1.6 million Palestinians who reside there. More than 80 per cent of families are dependent on humanitarian aid, and Gaza remains subject to severe restrictions on imports, exports and the movement of people, by land, air and sea.

This amounts to a collective punishment of all those living in Gaza and is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law.

While some steps have been taken to ease its impact, it is vital that the blockade be lifted immediately, so that essential services and infrastructure can be maintained. The opportunity to develop a sustainable economy would also reduce dependence on humanitarian assistance.”

Yet, a Zionist antagonist who attended my presentation chose, not surprisingly, to not only twist the facts and ignore reality, but also to slander myself and anyone who spoke out on Palestine at the event, not only slandering our words but also belittling our appearances.

While the latter means absolutely nothing to me –and I would not stoop to articulate his own appearance –it just goes to show that, as so often happens with Zionists who try to detract from what a pro-justice speaker or writer says, they have nothing to cling to except dirty tricks, tabloidesque comments, and bigotry.

The Zionist spectator inferred that the Palestinian tendency towards large families was the cause of the manufactured destitution in Gaza, overlooking the historical truth that large families fared just fine before being occupied, expelled, brutalized, murdered, maimed and oppressed by the Zionists. Under a fair and functioning economy, the large families actually pitched in and contributed to the livelihood of the family, brothers living under one roof and helping one another out. In Gaza today, while the family unit continues to be tight and supportive, the lack of work is the real factor in the manufactured poverty.

Author and senior Harvard research scholar Sara Roy wrote:

Gaza is an example of a society that has been deliberately reduced to a state of abject destitution, its once productive population transformed into one of aid-dependent paupers.

Gaza’s subjection began long before Israel’s recent war against it. The Israeli occupation — now largely forgotten or denied by the international community — has devastated Gaza’s economy and people, especially since 2006. Although economic restrictions actually increased before Hamas’ electoral victory in January 2006, the deepened sanction regime and siege subsequently imposed by Israel and the international community, and later intensified in June 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza, has all but destroyed the local economy.
In Gaza today, there is no private sector to speak of and no industry. Eighty percent of Gaza’s agricultural crops were destroyed and Israel continues to snipe at farmers attempting to plant and tend fields near the well-fenced and patrolled border. Most productive activity has been extinguished.

In contrast to his attempt to portray Palestinians as hating Jews more than loving children, what I talked about was the great love Palestinians have for their children, foreigners, and life, and the surprising lack of hatred towards Jews despite all that Palestinians have been put through at the hands of Zionist oppressors.

It is interesting that he did not broach the subject of the 2008-2009 massacre of Gaza, of which there is ample evidence of “Israeli” war crimes (see, for example, the Guardian’s documentary on “Israeli” attacks on medical workers and rescuers). Again, when confronted with undeniable facts, Zionists tend to avoid these facts and hit below the belt.

He referred to Palestinian rockets as many Zionists will, not actually addressing the near lull in rocket fire from Gaza (see Ben White’s January 2012 article), nor the root cause of such home-made rocket fire, nor the continuous “Israeli” bombings of Gaza which before and since the 2008-2009 massacre of Gaza have continued to kill Palestinian civilians including children. (see: UN: Israeli Forces Killed 2,300 in Gaza Under Blockade and 16 Palestinians, Including 4 Children, Killed In One Week)

He accused me of promoting violent resistance, when in fact I stated that Palestinians have the right to armed resistance against the occupation, under international law. On a side note, it is interesting how some will criticize armed resistance (Palestinian or Lebanese) against Zionist oppressors, but applaud Western-backed and funded “resistance” against the Syrian regime. Contradictions in standards, hypocrisy. (see Michel Chossudovsky’s online interactive I-Book Reader, SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?)

Nor did he speak of the children who had drawn the drawings exhibited and their very real traumas from the many “Israeli” attacks on Gaza, drone warfare, and sonic booms. (see Samouni Street, an animated video produced largely by the very children attacked and whose drawings are on display). He did not dispute the issues of gross malnutrition and stunting in Gaza’s children, a result of years of manufactured poverty, nor the catastrophic demise of the water and sanitation system in Gaza, also products of “Israeli” bombings and the siege which bans parts and materials needed for repair and maintenance of the infrastructure.

An Electronic Intifada report, nearly one year after the winter 2008-2009 massacre of Gaza, laid out the various causes of trauma in Gaza, including before the massacre from other “Israeli” army assaults and violence:

Dr. Evan Kanter, a UW School of Medicine professor and the current president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, delivered a somber talk describing the mental health situation among Gaza’s population. The numbers he cited described a staggering level of psychological trauma.

Dr. Kanter described studies that revealed 62 percent of Gaza’s inhabitants reported having a family member injured or killed, 67 percent saw injured or dead strangers and 83 percent had witnessed shootings.
According to Dr. Kanter, in a study of high school-aged children from southern refugee camps in Rafah and Khan Younis, 69 percent of the children showed symptoms of PTSD, 40 percent showed signs of moderate or severe depression, and a staggering 95 percent exhibited severe anxiety. Meanwhile, 75 percent showed limited or no ability to cope with their trauma. All of this was before the last Israeli invasion.

Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, head of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and whom Dr. Kanter described as a “medical hero” working under seemingly impossible conditions, has produced “some of the best research in the world on the impact of war on civilian populations.” In a 2002 interview he said that 54 percent of children in Gaza had symptoms of PTSD, along with 30 percent of adults. The hardest hit were young ones who had their homes bulldozed or who lost loved ones like their mothers, he said. Again, these figures were obtained well before conditions dramatically deteriorated.

Gaza’s population is overwhelmingly young. About 45 percent of the population are 14 years old or younger and roughly 60 percent are 19 years and younger. The long-term effects of constant violence and PTSD on such a young population are incalculable.

A recent study by international researchers and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme entitled “War on Gaza survey study” reveals more worrying figures. Of a representative sample of children in Gaza, more than 95 percent experienced artillery shelling in their area or sonic booms of low-flying jets. Moreover, 94 percent recalled seeing mutilated corpses on TV and 93 percent witnessed the effects of aerial bombardments on the ground. More than 70 percent of children in Gaza said they lacked water, food and electricity during the most recent attacks, and a similar percentage said they had to flee to safety during the recent attacks.

In addition, 98.7 percent of the traumatized children reported that they did not feel safe in their homes. More than 95 percent of the children felt that they were unable to protect themselves or their family members, causing a feeling of utter powerlessness that is compounded by a sense of loss over unfulfilled lives.

The outlook for children in Gaza suffering from these symptoms is not optimistic. Whereas soldiers who experience traumatic events in a war zone can return home to relative calm and seek treatment, the people of Gaza continue to be held in what one Israeli human rights group labeled the “largest prison on Earth”— a methodically “de-developed” island isolated from the rest of the world.

His comments and name really bear little mention, and likely get little readership, but because he does outright lie about Palestinian reality, I’m addressing it. As always, I say: Go to Palestine and witness for yourself; draw your own conclusions on what you see in occupied Palestine, not what you read in Zionist tabloid media.

 

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian who in her work with ISM (International Solidarity Movement) has seen Gaza and its children as perhaps few westerners have. She arrived a month before Operation Cast Lead was launched with all its horrific consequences and saw first-hand the victims, 313 of whom were children. Eva spent a total of 2 years in Gaza living with families in urban and rural areas, in refugee camps, by the sea, and near the “green line” with Israel. She has a unique vantage point and a gift for sharing her experiences and insights.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on ZIONIST ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH GAZA REALITIES

Flipping The Script: The Western Media’s Syria Propaganda Is Falling Apart

NOVANEWS

What is written in the press is lies. What is hidden in plain view is the truth.

By Saman Mohammadi

July 31, 2012 Information Clearing House — Do you remember this guy, Jason Russell? He was the frontman for the short-lived and over-hyped “Kony 2012” propaganda campaign that exploited young people’s emotions to popularize a U.S. military invasion of Uganda. After his lies were exposed on the Internet he had a shocking meltdown in public. He ran around naked near traffic lights, smashed his fists on the pavement, and screamed bizarrely. The heavy spirit of Madness conquered his weak will.

The day before his freakish breakdown Russell was idolized in the mainstream press as a saint on a mission to save the children of Africa. His war propaganda documentary about the deceased CIA contractor Joseph Kony became hugely popular on Facebook and other social media outlets. But as soon as his mask came down and his craziness was captured by cameras, the media vultures forgot about his crusade and quickly moved on to the next hot story.

The new story that captured the corrupt Western media’s attention was Syria. The conflict was heating up, and the “international community” was being pressed to take action against the country. “Assad is killing his own people,” they said, without offering any evidence. “This is the next domino to fall in the Arab Spring, the rebels must be supported and Assad has to step down,” so went the propaganda. And yadda yadda. The media’s insane lies were repeated for months. Major media channels were engaged in non-stop propaganda warfare to destroy the independent Syrian state and reduce Syrians to slavery.

But then something remarkable and unexpected happened. Some Western journalists began telling the truth about the origins of the conflict, the true motives behind the West’s anti-Syria propaganda, and the nature of the unpopular Syrian opposition.

The spell was broken.

In June, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that the infamous Houla massacre was committed not by Assad’s forces, as it was claimed by the Western media at first, but by the NATO-backed terrorist opposition.

The official narrative about the Syrian conflict fell apart at that point. The moral case for overthrowing Assad was lost because it was based on total lies. The naked aggression by NATO’s barbaric pawns against Syrian civilians was clear to see for anyone who was paying attention.

II. The Global Alternative Media Rises: End of Mainstream Propaganda

The establishment media no longer has a monopoly on reality. Official lies are challenged, buried truths are dug up, and objective reality is preserved. The magician’s tricks have been revealed by spoilers in the crowd. The global alternative media is rising and it is an engine of peace, liberation, understanding, and sanity.

Even mainstream media figures are forced to admit that they have been lying to the world about nearly everything and that their warmongering views are not mainstream. They are losing their control over the minds of the masses, and like Russell of the Kony 2012 stunt, they are also losing control of their own minds.

In fact, establishment journalists have already gone crazy and lost their grip on reality. Their world is falling down around them and their temporary power is disappearing by the day. Truth is too strong a force. The establishment media is going against the gravity of reality and it is losing the battle.

But not everybody in the Western media has lost their heads and hearts. There are still some respectable and honourable journalists around who place the facts of history above the lies of governments. The writer “b” of MoA writes:

“There seems to be slight turn in the western media coverage of Syria. Here in Germany the press has now more reports showing the “rebels” as what they really are: traveling jihadists and foreign paid rabble. Commentators on the news websites are now mostly highly critical about the usual propaganda pieces and the German government policy of supporting the SNC. There also seems to be a slight shift in international media.”

Whereas in the recent past the Western establishment media was all-powerful and its official narratives were unquestioningly accepted by the general public, today its legitimacy is rapidly collapsing and it is failing to make people believe in government lies.

Young consumers of news are looking to the rising global independent media to get the facts about critical issues and conflicts. In the process, their worldview is changing and their government-made beliefs are dying.

The truth about Syria, like the truth about 9/11, can be suppressed for the time being but it cannot be erased from the record of history.

Tony Cartalucci says that Western propaganda against Syria has gotten too out of control and as a result it is falling to pieces. The tangled lies are being exposed before their usefulness can be exploited. Here is an excerpt from Cartalucci’s article,“US Treasury: Al Qaeda Runs Syrian “Rebellion”

“Now, it appears that the West’s Arab “foreign legion,” Al Qaeda, is about to suffer an unprecedented defeat – not at the hands of Western anti-terrorism forces, but at the hands of Syrian troops in the city of Aleppo. In a desperate effort to prevent this, the West is employing a series of desperate strategies ranging from portraying the trapped foreign-fighters committing atrocities inside Aleppo as “pending a certain massacre,” to using the very presence of these foreign-fighters as evidence “Al Qaeada” is operating in Syria and must be “stopped” by Western intervention.

It is essential to understand that, as empires have always done, the monolithic corporate-financier interests of the West seek regional hegemony as a step toward global domination, and will say and do anything in order to achieve it. As resistance increases, the West’s lies become more difficult to sell, the consistency of their propaganda overtly crumbling. The West, in nearly a single breath, has now claimed FSA fighters are both “Al Qaeda” that need to be eliminated, while also impeding a “massacre” by Syrian forces if something isn’t done to save them.

When US President Obama referred to the “depths of depravity regarding Syrian security operations in Aleppo, he and his script writers do so with the belief that Americans, and the world, are ignorant and disinterested in the truth, and will gladly allow Western foreign policy to once again prey on their emotions and good intentions to sell yet another destructive, self-serving military intervention.”

It is strange to hear that Washington is at war with Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and, at the same time, it is an ally of Al-Qaeda in Syria. Only one of these two things can be true. Washington is either at war with Al-Qaeda or it is not.

Washington’s sense of logic is funny and twisted, but it is not unique. That’s the way of the world. Throughout history, empires first conquer the truth, reality, and human consciousness, and then move their way to resource-rich lands.

The power of an empire is dependent on the cult beliefs and cult personalities that are created to justify its brutal rule at home and abroad.

It is a sign of hope for the world and for the collective life of mankind when the sovereignty of truth overcomes an empire of death, in whatever age in human history.

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The Syrian Intelligence War: A Tale of Two Security Headquarters

NOVANEWS

There is much more to the conflict in Syria than meets the eye. Syria is currently the scene of a cold war between the US, NATO, Israel, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on one side and Russia, China, Iran, and the Resistance Bloc on the other hand. Amidst the fighting between the Syrian government and anti-government forces, an intense intelligence war has also been taking place.

Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundes Nachrichtendienst (BND, Federal Intelligence Service), has been pointing its finger at Al-Qaeda for the bombings in Syria. This, however, has the effect of hiding and detracting the role that the intelligence services of the US and its allies have played. By crediting Al-Qaeda, the Bundes Nachrichtendienst is helping get Washington and its allies off the hook. Albeit Al-Qaeda is far more than just a US intelligence asset, the organization and label of Al-Qaeda is a catch-all term that is used to camouflage the operations of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other affiliated intelligence services.

Syrian intellectuals and scientists have also been reportedly assassinated in Damascus. Like in Iraq and Iran, it is probably the work of Israel’s Mossad and part of Tel Aviv’s policy of crippling scientific and technological advancement in enemy states. Informed sources in Washington have already clarified that Israel is helping the Free Syrian Army and actively participating in the intelligence war against Syria. An unnamed US official has confirmed to David Ignatius that both the CIA and Mossad are involved in Syria. [1] In his own words: “Scores of Israeli intelligence officers are also operating along Syria’s border, though they are keeping a low profile.” [2] A Qatari defector in Venezuela has also been reported to have divulged that the Qataris have been outsourced intelligence work against Syria by the CIA and Mossad.

The Bombing of the Syrian National Security Headquarters and its Crisis Unit in Damascus

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the bombing of the Syrian National Security Headquarters in the northwest Damascene neighbourhood of Al-Rawda on July 18, 2012. Very little is actually known about what happened exactly. Moreover, Syrian television and media did not show scenes of the explosion as people have become accustomed to. This may be due to the security-based nature of the bombing location.

Key members of Syria’s security and military command structure, Dawoud Rajiha, Assef Shawkat, and Hassan Turkmani, were all killed on July 18. Rajiha was the Syrian defence minister, deputy prime minister, and deputy commander-in-chief of the Syrian Armed Forces. Assef Shawkat was the Syrian deputy defence minister and the husband of Bashar Al-Assad’s older sister Bushra. Hassan Turkmani was the Syrian assistant vice-president, head of Syria’s crisis management operations, and the army general that was formerly minister of defence from 2004 to 2009. Hisham Ikhtiyar (Bakhtiar/Bakhtyar), the chief of the Syrian National Security Bureau, who was also hurt by the bombing, would also die from the injuries he sustained two days later on July 20. These men all formed what was called the Crisis Unit.

A moment should also be taken to note that the biographic background of these dead high-ranking Syrian officials disproves the allegations that the Syrian government is an Alawite regime. While Skawkat was an Alawite, Raijha was a Greek Orthodox Christian, Ikhtiyar a Sunni Muslim, and Turkmani was both an ethnic Turkoman and Sunni Muslim.

The Killing of Crisis Unit Members was executed by a Foreign Intelligence Service

Saudi sources have taken the opportunity to report that the Syrian officials were killed by Maher Al-Assad, the commander of the Syrian Republican Guard and President Al-Assad’s younger brother, because of a rift between them that saw the general’s supporting a political solution over a combative solution. [3] Pakistani sources, claiming to be receiving direct reports from the perpetrators of the July 18 bombing, contradicted the report by saying Maher Al-Assad was also a target and wounded during the attack. [4] The Pakistani source published the following:

 

“Everyone came in time, but Maher Al-Assad did not show up. Two men responsible for the mission waited for some time and pressed the remote control button as the dreaded general took his seat,” the [Syrian Free Army] source said.

“Our men filmed the video from a safe distance which would be made public at an appropriate time,” he revealed to this correspondent [that is, Naveed Ahmad]. One of the two daredevils was an employee of the government and worked in the very office the device was planted while the other was an outsider, according to the [Syrian Free Army] source.

[…]

The [Free Syrian Army] sources said Maher had brought his best friend Ghassan Bilal to the meeting as well. Maher al-Assad, who was never seen in the funeral of the key security aides assassinated in the attack, was in fact severely injured and according to a source de-capacitated. [5]

What the Pakistani source discloses is unreliable for several reasons. One of them is that the credibility of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is extremely questionable. The Free Syrian Army has an undeniable track-record for shoddy propaganda and lying. Syria has also rejected claims about the Free Syrian Army’s involvement and the assertions that the bomb was remote-controlled. Lebanon’s Al-Manar, which is Hezbollah’s media network, has reported that there were two bombs and the first was actually dismantled by Assef Shawkat before the second one exploded.

This was actually the second attempt to kill this gathering of Syrian military, security, and intelligence officials. The out of control Free Syrian Army, whose reign of terror has seen brutal and senseless attacks on the civilian population and various acts of lawlessness and terrorism, had claimed on May 20 to have murdered these same Syrian officials earlier, as well as Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar and Baath Party leader Mohammad Saeed Bkheitan. [6] The claims of the Free Syrian Army turned out to be false the first time as the alleged assassinated Syrian officials appeared on television and denied the SFA’s claims. This time, however, there was no immediate credit taken and there was silence about the murders.

The Free Syrian Army was most probably bypassed by the US and its allies for this targeted attack. Instead of outsourcing the attack to the Free Syrian Army, the operation was probably directly conducted either by the intelligence agency of a NATO or GCC state or a consortium of intelligence agencies trying to topple the Syrian government.

A Damascene Operation Ajax

The attack on the Syrian National Security Headquarters in Al-Rawda was a carefully coordinated event that was synchronized with the assault on Damascus by the various armed groups operating under the umbrella and banner of the Free Syrian Army. It is clear that the US and its allies more or less used the same playbook of tactics in Damascus that were used in 2011 to topple the Jamahiriya government in Tripoli. Both are modern reincarnations of the infamous Operation Ajax, which was an intelligence operation launched in 1953 by the US and British governments to topple the democratic government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossageh in Iran. Washington and London installed a brutal and repressive dictatorship under Mohammed-Reza Shah in place of Dr. Mossadegh’s government and Iran was transformed from a constitutional monarchy into a de facto absolute monarchy.

The aim of the attack on high-ranking Syrian officials, especially important figures from the military and security apparatus that has been the backbone of the Syrian regime, was two-pronged. The attack’s aim was to cripple Syria’s command structure with the objective of disorganizing resistance to anti-government forces and creating internal panic within the hierarchy of the Syrian government and military. This psychological blow was supposed to lead to fear, defections, and betrayal as anti-government forces attacked the gates of the Syrian capital.

The mainstream media, in terms of what scholar Edward Said called “image making” experts, also played a supportive role in the US-sponsored siege of Damascus. [7] Securing a monopoly over information and air waves has also been a part of the intelligence war and a goal of the US and its allies. This is why the signals of Syrian broadcasters have been banned from the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) and Nilesat satellite feeds. This is aimed at preventing Syria from countering the claims of the US and its allies and proxies. By the same token the US and the EU are also trying to cut and block Iranian stations, which are challenging the accounts of the mainstream media in NATO and GCC states. This is also the reason why the US and British media very decidedly condemned the Iranian, Russian, and Chinese medias in their news coverage of the Syrian crisis, which challenge the tide of misinformation from the declining networks of CNN, Fox News, France 24, and Al Jazeera. [8]

Like the original Operation Ajax in 1953, in which the state-run British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) took part, the mainstream media broadcasts from NATO and GCC states have been synchronized to shape the events on the ground. The media war intensified when the anti-government forces launched their attack of Damascus. The aim was to fuel panic and fear with the hope of getting the Syrian government and the Syrian military to scatter and lose hope instead of facing the anti-government forces. The ultimate objectives are to demoralize the Syrian population and to weaken the Syrian government’s domestic support.

The media outlets of NATO and GCC states insinuated that President Assad and his family fled Damascus to Latakia and would seek asylum in the Russian Federation. [9] Again, the aims were to cause panic and both the governments in Syria and Russia rejected the false claims. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Assad was “not even thinking about” fleeing to Russia. [10] This was a repeat of British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s 2011 lie that Muammar Qaddafi had fled from Libya to Venezuela. [11] This behaviour also falls into line with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s false claim that Vladimir Putin had told him that President Assad had to step down. [12]

A New Saudi Intelligence Boss: Return of Prince “Bandar Bush”

Shortly after the bombing of the Syrian National Security Headquarters, a July 19 royal decree was enacted in Riyadh to replace Prince Muqrin (Mogren) bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud with Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud as the director-general of the external intelligence agency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al-Istikhbarat Al-Amah (General Intelligence).

Since 2005, Prince Bandar has been the secretary-general of the Saudi Arabian National Security Council, but his new appointment has made heads turn and is being used to infer that Saudi Arabia has a far more aggressive foreign policy. What the appointment reflects is that Saudi Arabia is fully in the service of the US in its intelligence wars against Syria and Iran and that Washington’s men in Riyadh have a firm grip over Saudi Arabia’s intelligence, security, and military apparatus. In the words of the Saudi pundit Jamal Khashoggi and the chief of the Bahrain-based Al-Arab network: “Bandar is quite aggressive, not at all like a typical cautious Saudi diplomat. If the aim is to bring Bashar down quick and fast, he will have a free hand to do what he thinks necessary.” [13]

Prince Bandar, the son of the deceased Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, has been one of the central figures in creating Al-Qaeda and manipulating militant groups as geo-political tools for Washington since the Cold War. He was the Saudi ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005. He has been a key figure in the intelligence war in Lebanon against Hezbollah and its allies and involved in exporting Fatah Al-Islam to Lebanon in an attempt to help the Hariri family fight Hezbollah and the March 8 Alliance.

Because he was the Saudi ambassador to Washington, he became the key figure in Saudi-US relations and developed close ties to the Bush family, which earned him the name “Bandar Bush.” It has been reported that the relationship was so close that the US Secret Service was part of his security detail. Moreover, he has had a long history with Robert Gates, starting from when Gates was a member of the CIA and helping mobilize fighters in Afghanistan against the Soviets. [14]

In 2009, Bandar may have attempted to launch a silent coup in Saudi Arabia to impose his father, Crown Prince Sultan, as the new absolute monarch of Saudi Arabia. He was not seen for several years and may have been in some form of confinement. Things changed, however, in 2011 with the Arab Spring; Prince Bandar, Washington’s man, was seen in public again.

Bandar may also be a key figure in Saudi negotiations with Pakistan to purchase nuclear bombs. [15] United Press International writes:

“As Iran becomes more dangerous and the United States becomes more reluctant to engage in military missions overseas, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may find that renewed military and nuclear cooperation is the best way to secure their interests,” observed Christopher Clary and Mara E. Karlin, former [Pentagon] policy advisers on South Asia and the Middle East. [16]

The picture that UPI depicts actually is misleading. If anyone is pushing the Saudis to acquire nuclear weapons, it is Washington. The US has also been heavily arming the Saudi regime and the GCC for the same reasons. One dimension of the US strategy is clear: Washington aims to create multiple and ongoing contained conflicts in the Middle East to bleed the region and keep it immobilized. Like the Israelis, the US wants perpetual civil war in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and even Turkey. By being duped into burning its bridges with Syria, the Turkish government has laid the foundations for the destabilization of the Turkish republic.

A Tale of Two Security Headquarters

Days after the appointment of Prince Bandar and the attack of the Syrian Crisis Unit an attack on General Intelligence’s Headquarters in Riyadh was reported by Yemen’s Al-Fajr Press and then widely quoted by the Iranian media. The blast is reported to have killed Banadar’s number two man, the deputy director-general of Saudi external intelligence, while he was entering the building. Rumours are also circulating that Bandar may have been hurt or killed. Saudi Arabia has remained silent over the issue.

The blast in Riyadh is no mere coincidence. It is a retaliatory response to the blast in the Syrian National Security Headquarters. The chances that the Syrians executed the operation while all their energies are being spent on fighting against the US-directed siege on their country are marginal, but still possible. This is speculation, but it is most likely that one of Syria’s friends and allies retaliated against the Saudis for their involvement in the attack on the Crisis Unit in Damascus.

A remote-controlled bomb was also discovered in front of a Yemenese Intelligence building in Aden on July 22, 2012. [17] The event came shortly after a Yemenese intelligence officer died after a targeted attack in the province of Bayda. [18] What this means is a matter of speculation, but what is clear is that the intelligence apparatus of Arab states are being targeted. There is a full-out intelligence war in the Middle East and there are probably cross-cutting alliances.

The Bush Jr. Administration’s “Redirection” Policy is Manifest under Obama

In Yemen, the national military has successfully been fractured and divided, which is exactly what Washington, DC and its NATO and GCC allies want to replicate in Syria. Regime change is not their only goal, the destruction and balkanization of the Syrian Arab Republic is. They want sectarianism and balkanization to take root in Syria and across the Middle East. To paraphrase, when the so-called spiritual leaders of the Syrian Free Army and anti-government forces begin saying that “Israel and the Sunnis are allies against the Shias” or that “all Alawites must be exterminated,” it is clear that the end goal is to regionally divide and conquer the peoples of the Middle East by pitting them against one another.

This is part of the Middle East policy that the Bush Jr. White House called the “redirection” in 2007: “The ‘redirection,’ as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.” [19] Robert Gates, Bandar’s old comrade, was brought into the Pentagon to oversee this “redirection” and retained by Barak Obama, who’s “A New Beginning” Speech in Cairo is an extension of this policy. The New Yorker is worth quoting about what the “redirection” policy began to implement: “[Washington] has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” [20]

Regardless of the political position that one takes about President Assad and his government, what has to be emphasized is that the governments of the US, UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are not involving themselves under the cover of the so-called “international community” on the basis of concern for the Syrian people and their well being. Because of them the words “protester” and “activist” have been hijacked by anti-government militias and foreign intelligence services. Humanitarianism and human rights are not the motive for US involvement. This is a fairy-tale for the naïve. Geo-political opportunism is at play and all the parties involved have blood on their hands at the expense of the Syrian people.

NOTES

1. David Ignatius, “Looking for a Syrian endgame,” The Washington Post, July 18, 2012.
2. Ibid.
3. Ali Bluwi, “Role of Russia and Iran in Syrian crisis,” Arab News, July 28, 2012.
4. Naveed Ahmad, “Failing Damascus, Aleppo campaigns expose lack of military expertise,”The News, July 27, 212.
5. 
Ibid.
6. “Syria: Damascus clashes prompt claims of high-level assassinations – Sunday 20 May,”The Guardian, May 20, 2012.
7. Edward W. Said, Orientalism, 25th anniversary ed. (NYC: Vintage Books, 1979), p.307.
8. “Chinese, Iranian press alone back UN Syria veto,” British Broadcasting Corporation News, February 6, 2012; Robert Mackey, “Crisis in Syria Looks Very Different on Satellite Channels Owned by Russia and Iran,” The Lede (The New York Times), February 10, 2012.
9. Damien McElroy, “Syria: Bashar al-Assad ‘flees to Latakia,’” The Daily Telegraph, July 19, 2012; Khaled Yacoub Owei,” Syrian President Assad in Latakia: opposition sources,” eds. Samia Nakhoul and Diana Abdallah, Reuters, July 19, 2012; Loveday Morris, “Hunt for Assad is on amid claims of wife Asma’s exit to Russia,” The Independent, July 20, 2012.
10. “Russia says ‘not thinking about’ asylum for Assad,” Reuters, July 28, 2012.
11. “Hague: some information Gaddafi on way to Venezuela,” Reuters, February 21, 2011.
12. “Putin no longer backs Syria’s Assad – Cameron,” Reuters, June 19, 2012; “Lavrov Denies Russia ‘Changed Stance’ on Syria,” Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti), June 21, 2012.
13. Angus McDowall, “Saudi Prince Bandar: a flamboyant, hawkish spy chief,” ed. Mark Heinrich, Reuters, July 20, 2012.
14. In fact, one of the reasons that Robert Gates, who was the defence secretary of the Bush Jr. Administration, was kept by the Obama Administration is tied to Washington’s objectives to remobilize the militant brigades against Arab societies.
15. “Saudis ‘mull buying nukes from Pakistan,’” United Press International, July 25, 2012.
16. 
Ibid.
17. Mohammed Mukhashaf and Rania El Gamal, “Yemen defuses bomb at Aden intelligence building,” ed. Tim Pearce, Reuters, July 23, 2012.
18. “Yemen intelligence officer shot dead: ministry,” Agence France-Presse, July 21, 2012.
19. Seymour Hersh, “The Redirection,” The New Yorker, vol. 83, no. 2 (March 5, 2007): p.54.
20. Ibid.

 

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