Archive | February 19th, 2014

Leila Khaled: Freedom fighter

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Leila Khaled is a member of the Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She was born on the 9th April 1944 in Haifa, Palestine. She and her family fled to Lebanon during the 1948 Nakba Catastrophe leaving her father behind. At the age of 15, following in the footsteps of her brother, she joined the radical Arab Left Nationalist Movement, originally started in the late 1940’s by George Habash. The Palestinian branch of this movement became the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Khaled came to public attention for her role in a 1969 hijacking of the TWA Flight 840, to publicise Israeli abuse towards Palestinians. On its way from Rome to Athens, they diverted the plane to Damascus. She ordered the pilot to fly over Haifa, so she could see her birth place, which she could not return to. No one was injured, but the aircraft was blown up after hostages had disembarked.

After this, she underwent six plastic surgeries on her nose and chin to conceal her identity and allow her to take part in a future hijacking, and because she did not want to wear the face of an icon.

On September 6th,1970, Laila and Patrick Arguello, a Nicaraguan, attempted the hijack of Israeli El-al flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York as part of the Dawson Field hijackings, a series of almost simultaneous hijackings carried out by the PLFP. The attack was foiled, when Israeli sky marshals killed Arguello before eventually overpowering Khaled. Although she was carrying two hand grenades at the time, Khaled had received very strict instructions not to threaten passengers on the civilian flight.

The pilot diverted the aircraft to Heathrow airport in London, where Khaled was delivered to Ealing police station. On October 1, the British government released her as part of a prisoner exchange. The next year, the PFLP abandoned the tactic of hijacking, although splinter movements would continue to hijack airplanes.

Later Life

Laila developed a fondness for the United Kingdom when her first visitor in jail, an immigration officer, wanted to know why she had arrived in the country without a valid visa. She also developed a relationship with the two policewomen assigned to guard her in Ealing and later corresponded with them.

Khaled continued to return to Britain for speaking engagements until as late as 2002, although she was refused a visa by the British embassy in 2005 to address a meeting at the Féile an Phobail in Belfast, where she was invited as a speaker.

She is now married to the physician Fayez Rashid Hilal, and today lives with their two sons Bader and Bashar in Gaza, Palestine.

She was the subject of a film entitled Leila Khaled, Hijacker. The documentary film “Hijacker – The Life of Leila Khaled,” directed by Palestinian filmmaker, Lina Makboul.

In 2011, Khaled went on a speaking tour in Sweden, including speeches at May Day demonstrations of the Communist Party and the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden.

Why we should remember Laila Khaled?

She fought against Israel to liberate her country, stop the human rights abuses committed against Palestinians on a daily bases and retaliate the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine

Laila Khaled will always be remembered as a freedom fighter against the oppression of her country’s people. She fought against Israel and Imperialism and for the Liberation of Palestine.

Why is Israeli violence different from Palestinian violence?

The Israeli violence is different from the Palestinians violence because the Palestinians are defending themselves against an illegal occupation and are retaliating to the daily crimes and aggression committed by the racist Israeli occupation whereas Israel attacks Palestinian civilians unreasonably in order to illegally control Palestinian land and resources.

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Naziyahu says Iran remains ‘brutal’ and ‘aggressive’

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netanyahu5

PM says field hospital treating Syrians shows ‘true face of Israel’ while casualties are proof of ‘true face’ of Tehran

Times of Israel

As nuclear talks resumed between Iran and the world powers known as the P5+1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Islamic Republic remains aggressive and brutal, and is complicit in the Syrian regime’s murder of its citizens.

“I would like to tell the world, today,” Netanyahu said Tuesday morning during a tour of the Golan Heights, “as the talks between the major powers and Iran are being resumed, that Iran has changed neither its aggressive policy nor its brutal character. Iran is continuing to support the Assad regime which is slaughtering its own people. This is the true face of Iran. The world cannot forget this.”

Netanyahu made his comments at an IDF base where injured Syrians are receiving medical care. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz were on hand as well.

“On the day when talks between the major powers and Iran are being opened in Vienna, it is important that the world sees the pictures from this place, which divides the good that is in the world from the bad,” Netanyahu was quoted in a press release as saying. “The good part is that Israel is saving the lives of those who have been wounded in the daily slaughter that is being perpetrated in Syria. This is the true face of Israel.

“The bad part is that Iran is arming those who are carrying out the slaughter,” he continued. “This is the true face of Iran. All of the children who have been injured, to say nothing of those who have been killed, were injured as a result of Iran’s arming, financing and training the Assad regime in the massacres that it is perpetrating.”

In Early February, Channel 2 News aired footage of a secret Israeli field hospital in the Golan Heights that has treated over 700 Syrians since the war began.

The army hospital, staffed by soldiers in uniform, includes an emergency room, an intensive care unit, an operating room, a mobile laboratory, a pharmacy and an x-ray facility. It treats Syrian patients who cross the border regardless of creed, ethnicity – or with which faction their loyalties lie.

The once-sporadic treatment of Syrian nationals in Israel has, by now, become routine, the report made clear: The wounded cross the border and IDF medical teams deployed in the Golan Heights give them preliminary treatment. Those who are well enough are sent back across the border, and those who require further treatment are evacuated to the military hospital, a field commander at the facility told Channel 2. In this way, the hospital treats about a hundred Syrians per month.

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Lieberman: American Jews face ‘demographic catastrophe’

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strangulation

FM tells US Jewish leaders of imperative to fight assimilation, says he plans to encourage 3.5 million Jews to immigrate

Times of Israel

Jewish continuity, not the Palestinian issue or Iran’s nuclear program, needs to top Israel’s agenda, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday.

Addressing American Jewish leaders at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Liberman said that he plans to devote hundreds of millions of dollars to establish a global network of Jewish schools and bring 3.5 million Jews to Israel within a decade.

“I would like to state my firm belief that the biggest threat to us as Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, regardless of background, is the demographic problem currently facing world Jewry,” Liberman said. “It must become the most pressing issue on the global Jewish agenda. More pressing than the Palestinian negotiations or the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Speaking to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is currently holding its annual Israel Leadership Mission to Israel, the foreign minister quoted a long list of statistics to support his thesis that “the Jews of America are facing nothing less than a demographic catastrophe.”

The recently released Pew survey on American Jewry makes “for pretty depressing reading,” he said. The survey’s findings show a significant rise in those who have little or no Jewish content in their lives, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish, he added.

“It is my strongest belief that the antidote to this rising assimilation, intermarriage and disengagement is education,” Liberman told the American Jewish leaders. “Today, unfortunately, Jewish children are being kept from Jewish classrooms because of the exorbitant and prohibitive costs of Jewish education in the US. It cannot be, it should not be, that a Jewish child will not be able to receive a good Jewish education because of financial reasons. This should be unacceptable to all of us who care for the Jewish future.”

The situation is similar in various Jewish communities across the globe, he said. “If this situation persists, we will lose another six million Jews in a generation or two,” he warned.

The foreign minister noted that 90 percent of the Israeli diplomats he meets abroad send their children to American or international schools, even when there are local Jewish schools, mostly because they are considered better.

“This is unacceptable,” he said. “We need to ensure that Jewish schools will be among the best in the world.”

Liberman then called for the creation of a “global network of Jewish schools that are superior in standard to the American and international school network.” To reach that goal, he said, the Israel government should dedicate $365 million per year, which he hoped Jewish communities in the Diaspora would be willing to match.

“These funds will be found in our budgets; it is just a matter of prioritizing Jewish education above all other issues. This must become the most pressing issue on the global Jewish agenda,” he said. “From my point of view, this is more pressing than any other issue, including the Palestinian negotiations or the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Furthermore, Liberman aims to convince 3.5 million Diaspora Jews to immigrate to Israel over the next 10 years, “so that the Jewish population in Israel will exceed 10 million,” he said. “I know this might sound unrealistic to some, and others will say that it is merely a slogan. However, I say: ‘If you will it, it is no dream.’”

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Cantor cites pre-WWII isolation in pressing for greater U.S. engagement

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JTA

Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, cited the lateness of American actions against the Nazis in critiquing President Obama’s foreign policy.

In a speech Monday to the Virginia Military Institute, Cantor (R-Va.), who is Jewish, described leading a congressional delegation recently to Auschwitz to mark the 69th anniversary of the Nazi death camp’s liberation.

“Standing there as the frigid wind swept through the eerily quiet ruins of the camp, I could not help but regret that American action in World War II came too late to save countless millions of innocent lives,” he said.

“Hitler’s rise and conquest of Europe did not come as a surprise. We must not repeat the same mistake by reducing our preparedness, accepting the notion that we are one of many or ceding global leadership to others.”

Cantor said that “evil and hateful ideologies still exist in the world,” citing as perhaps the most evident Iran’s “determined march” to produce nuclear weapons.

“I can imagine few more destabilizing moments in world history than Iran on the threshold of being a nuclear power,” he said.

Cantor called on the United States to prepare for additional sanctions to counter what he said was the erosion of Iran’s isolation through its participation in international talks aimed at keeping it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“An America that leads is an America that must work to restore the badly eroded international pressure on Tehran,” he said. “We should lay the groundwork now for additional sanctions in the event Iran violates the terms of the interim agreement.”

The Obama administration has said that the removal of a number of sanctions ahead of the talks has not diminished a tough sanctions regime. It has opposed new sanctions while talks are underway, saying that unilateral U.S. sanctions could fracture the international alliance that has nudged Iran to the talks.

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Egypt and Russia strengthen relations to raise US concerns

RUSSIA and Egypt are nearing a $3 billion arms purchase agreement that will be financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Russian daily Vedomosti reported Feb. 14. While Egypt is not completely breaking with the United States, its move to enhance its ties with Moscow shows that Cairo feels it should no longer depend on Washington as its sole powerful ally. This shift in Egypt’s strategic foreign policy stems from the internal disagreement in Washington on how to manage Cairo following the July 3, 2013, coup that has degraded the political and security situation in the world’s largest Arab state. Egypt’s efforts to enhance ties with Russia could enable the Kremlin to make minor gains in extending its geopolitical influence in the Middle East, but the region’s dependence on the United States will not be significantly reduced.

According to the Vedomosti report quoting two unnamed Russian government sources, Cairo and Moscow already have either initialled or signed contracts for Egypt’s purchase of MiG-29 fighters, air and coastal defense systems, Mi-35 attack helicopters, and other smaller arms. The report came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Egyptian army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. During the meeting, Putin remarked, “Mr. Defense Minister, I know that you have decided to run for president. This is a very important decision — to undertake responsibility for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own behalf and on behalf of all Russians I would like to wish you success.”

These words represented Russia’s rejoinder to the United States that it, too, can use elections around the world to its advantage. This is in line with Putin’s September 2013 New York Times op-ed in which he implied that each country would find its own way to democracy. But the Russians are not just trying to get into the election game; they are also using the disconnect between the Obama administration and the al-Sisi regime to their advantage. Though US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has had some 30 phone calls with al-Sisi since the coup, the US-Egyptian relationship remains sour.

A key reason for this is the disagreement within the US administration and the Congress about the need to balance the relationship with the military and nurture the democratic process. There are competing realist points of view. One side argues that the military is the only institution in Egypt that can hold Cairo together and that Egypt’s democratization process has failed and the region is in great turmoil. Therefore, the United States should return to working with Egypt’s armed forces to help the country limp back to some semblance of normalcy.

On the other side are those who believe the Egyptian armed forces on their own are not capable of stabilizing the country. From their perspective, the continuing political unrest and the growing jihadist insurgency will deteriorate under military-imposed order. This camp points to the growing non-Islamist opposition to the military’s dominance of politics, given the splits within the Tamarod movement that organized massive demonstrations and called on the military to oust former President Mohamed Morsi. This faction wants to see a compromise between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood that will resolve the political crisis the jihadists are exploiting.

Ultimately, the United States does not have much choice in the matter and thus has no good options on how to manage the faltering political economy of Egypt. What is worse is that the ambivalence within Washington is fueling mistrust between the United States and Egypt.

The Saudi angle
While this has been developing, Saudi Arabia—which has had its own problems with Washington over the US-Iran rapprochement and over its reluctance to act aggressively against the Syrian regime—has rushed into support Egypt financially.

Working with their Gulf Cooperation Council partners, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the Saudis have poured billions into the coffers of the Egyptian state since the coup. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s underwriting the Egypt-Russia arms deal is only the latest financial commitment from the Saudis and their Gulf allies. It is somewhat odd that while the Saudis and the Russians are at loggerheads over Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime, Riyadh has encouraged Cairo to purchase arms from Moscow.

Paying for weapons that Egypt is trying to purchase from Russia is a way for Saudi Arabia to try and manage the divergence of Riyadh’s and Washington’s interests in the region.

From the Saudi point of view, the United States can no longer manage the region and is pursuing a dangerous policy. The kingdom believes it has no choice but to pursue its own independent policy of trying to deal with the region’s problems. The Egyptians share the Saudi view on US intentions and capabilities regarding the Middle East and thus are working closely with each other. Notably, neither the Egyptians nor the Saudis are radically turning away from the United States; there are no alternatives to the Americans.

Egypt’s geographic challenge
The region’s two major Arab powers will thus continue to cooperate with the United States where they absolutely must. But they believe that they can no longer rely on Washington, as has been the case in recent decades.

It is unclear whether the arms deal will be finalized, but if it is it will underscore Egypt’s ongoing efforts to diversify the pool of suppliers for its defense needs as the country’s armed forces already field weaponry from the United States, France, and Russia—another example of decreasing dependency on Washington.

The persistence of US leverage
While the United States could lose some influence in Egypt, there are major limits to how far Moscow can pull Cairo in its direction. Russia is not a reliable partner for Egypt, and Cairo knows that Moscow is using it as leverage in the struggle brewing in Russia’s near abroad
The Saudis, Russians and Egyptians are all hoping—for different reasons—that this arms deal will upset the United States. Cairo hopes that the prospect of Egypt’s tilting toward Russia will terrify the United States. The Americans will be unimpressed by the Egyptian move to purchase weapons from the Russians because they know that Egypt will not be able to rebuild its military in any reasonable time and certainly not without US help. The United States is also taking into account that the Saudis do not intend to completely alienate Washington and that the Egyptians can only go so far in reducing their dependence on the United States.

Thus, the United States will accommodate Egypt, but Washington will be somewhat inflexible because it believes Cairo is trapped in its relationship Washington. Washington will quietly tell Cairo and Riyadh that if they have other sources of weapons, the United States will review all of its arms sales, since US products are no longer needed for Egyptian security. The United States will try to create panic in Cairo and Riyadh and force them to think they have overplayed their hand.

Washington has already convinced them that it has lost interest in the region, and now it will try to reaffirm this and turn the tables on them.

For their part, the Russians do not expect a major relationship with the Egyptians and are taking the current arrangement only as far as it can go.

Russia also knows it cannot act as an alternative to the United States in the region. It means to create problems for the United States in the Middle East as a way to ensure that there are limits to how far Washington can push into the Russian periphery. The Kremlin is already pursuing this in Syria but is facing challenges on Iran, as evidenced by Tehran’s interest in working with Washington to end sanctions.

Therefore, exploiting the downturn in US ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia is Russia’s way of trying to sustain its bargaining position with the United States.

Republication by The Manila Times of this analysis is with the express permission of Stratfor.

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US, EU paying Ukrainian rioters, protesters

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A protester pictured demonstrating in support of Ukraine

A protester pictured demonstrating in support of Ukraine’s integration in the EU in the center of Kiev on November 23, 2013.
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

A number of confirmations have come in from readers that Washington is fueling the violent protests in Ukraine with our taxpayer dollars. Washington has no money for food stamps or to prevent home foreclosures, but it has plenty of money with which to subvert Ukraine.

One reader wrote: “My wife, who is of Ukrainian nationality, has weekly contact to her parents and friends in Zhytomyr [NW Ukraine]. According to them, most protesters get an average payment of 200-300 grivna, corresponding to about 15-25 euro. As I additionally heard, one of the most active agencies and ‘payment outlets’ on EU side is the German ‘Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’, being closely connected to the CDU, i.e. Mrs. Merkel’s party.”

As I reported on February 12, “Washington Orchestrated Protests Are Destabilizing Ukraine,”Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a rabid Russophobe and neoconservative warmonger, told the National Press Club last December that the US has “invested” $5 billion in organizing a network to achieve US goals in Ukraine in order to give “Ukraine the future it deserves.”  Nuland is the Obama regime official who was caught red-handed naming the members of the Ukrainian government Washington intends to impose on the Ukrainian people once the paid protesters have unseated the current elected and independent government.

What Nuland means by Ukraine’s future under EU overlordship is for Ukraine to be looted like Latvia and Greece and to be used by Washington as a staging ground for US missile bases against Russia.

From the responses I received to my request for confirmations of the information sent to me from Moldova, there is enough evidence that Washington fomented the violent riots for western newspapers and TV channels to investigate. But they haven’t. As we know, the “presstitutes” are enablers of Washington’s crimes and duplicities. However, the US media has reported that the Ukrainian government is paying Ukrainians to rally in favor of the government.

As Karl Marx wrote, money turns everything into a commodity that is bought and sold. I wouldn’t be surprised if some protesters are working both sides of the street.

Of course, not all of the protesters are paid. There are plenty of “gullible dupes” in the streets who think they are protesting Ukraine government corruption. I have heard from several. There is little doubt that the Ukraine government is “corrupt.” What government isn’t? Government corruption is “universal,” but it is easy to go from the frying pan into the fire. Ukrainian protesters seem to think that they can escape corruption by joining the EU. Obviously, these “gullible dupes” are unfamiliar with the report on EU corruption issued February 3 by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. The report says that a business-political nexus of corruption affects all 28 EU member countries and costs the EU economies $162.2 billion per annum. Clearly, Ukrainians will not escape corruption by joining the EU. Indeed, the corruption will be worse.

I have no objection to Ukrainians protesting government corruption. Indeed, such “gullible people” could benefit from the lesson they would learn once their country is in the hands of “corrupt” Brussels and Washington. What I object to is the lack of awareness on the part of the protesters that by permitting themselves to be manipulated by Washington, they are pushing the world toward a dangerous war. I would be surprised if Russia is content to have US military and missile bases in Ukraine.

It was “fools” like Nuland playing the great game that gave us World War I. World War III would be the last war. Washington’s drive to exploit every opportunity to establish its hegemony over the world is driving us all to nuclear war. Like Nuland, a significant percentage of the population of western Ukraine are “Russophobes.” I know the case for Ukrainian dislike of Russia, but Ukrainian emotions fueled with Washington’s money should not direct the course of history. No historians will be left to document how “gullible and witless” Ukrainians set the world up for destruction.

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‘NY Times’ and ‘LA Times’ run op-eds by an AIPAC board member without telling readers

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Annie Robbins and Phil Weiss 

Last month the LA Times ran a cute test on its op-ed page to show that Israel doesn’t practice apartheid, and that Palestinians are treated very well by Israel.

Today the NY Times runs an op-ed saying that Israel gives Palestinians all the water they need, and as the region dries out, Palestinians are going to feel very lucky. Doing damage control after last weeks massive brouhaha pulled by Naftali Bennett (w/his party MKs in tow) during EU president Martin Schulz’s Knesset address? Your guess is as good as ours.

Both pieces are by Seth M. Siegel– a founder of Beanstalk, a brand-licensing agency, and of Sixpoint Partners, an investment bank, the NY Times says. The LA Timesalso mentions Beanstalk, and says Siegel is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Neither the LA Times nor the NY Times tells you that Siegel serves on the national board of AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby organization.

More on that water story:

Siegel, who specializes in extending brands through the strategic and creative development,” has got his work cut out for him cleaning up Israel’s sewage, literally. His New York Times Op-Ed Israeli Water, Mideast Peace?  reads like a love letter for Israeli innovation.

According to Siegel, Palestinians are benefitting from the occupation when it comes to water:

The Palestinians in the West Bank already receive much of their water from Israel’s national water utility and, sovereignty and symbolism aside, neither a two-state solution nor a continuation of the status quo will change that. Given their proximity to Israel, the Palestinians are likely to be among the few Arab winners in the water race.

The West Bank settlement of Ariel sits on a major aquifer, on Palestinian land!

According to Siegel, Israel is “a model” and has “mastered the management of water resources”:

Israel also treats household sewage as a precious resource, reusing more than 80 percent of it for agriculture. In Iran and many Arab countries, sewage is dumped, which can threaten public health by contaminating wells and aquifers.

Iran? Wait a second. Sewage is being dumped in Palestine too– by Israeli settlers.

Here’s a taste of the reality . . . Harvest of excrement: colonists in Occupied Territories pump sewage on to Palestinian farm land.

July 29, 2011 Ein Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah:  State authorities stole private Palestinian land and used it to build a waste facility based on a fictitious permit, for the benefit of the nearby settlement of Ofra.

August 7, 2012, Palestinians say “The bad odor is constant here and nowadays it has become normal to find rodents and insects in this area” because Israeli settlement waste contaminates the environment:

Palestinian children play in a polluted stream contaminated by wastewater from Ariel settlement, Bruqin, West Bank. (Photo: EWASH-OPT)

Palestinian children play in a polluted stream contaminated by wastewater from Ariel settlement, Bruqin, West Bank. (Photo: EWASH-OPT)

 

staring at the smelly polluted water flowing less than 10 meters from the houses of his village located between Salfit and Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank – “It’s not only about the smell. In the village a lot of people suffer from skin diseases, asthmas, and other illnesses.” The waste water stemming from Ariel settlement has played a major role in the contamination of water and in the pollution of the environment in the Salfit area. Due to the concentration of pollutant elements in this zone, many agricultural fields have been destroyed and many animals and plants have been killed. Moreover, many infectious waterborne diseases, like diarrhea, have broken out especially among children.

The inhabitants of Wadi Fukin and Nahalin, south-west of Bethlehem, face the same problems. Surrounded by the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit, these two villages, known for the quality of the agricultural products, are constantly threatened by the flow of waste water coming from the nearby settlement. “Inside Beitar Illit there is a waste water treatment facility but it can’t handle the amount of waste water it receives and as a consequence it overflows reversing untreated waste water onto the agricultural fields” explains Dib Najajrah, a resident of Wadi Fukin. “Moreover, in the last years the settlers have started attacking our crops by deliberately pumping the waste water coming out of the settlement into the cultivated land of Nahalin.”

Nov 18, 2012 Gaza:

an Israeli air strike hit a water distribution truck in Beit Lahia, destroying it completely and killing the driver Suhail Hamada and his son.

“I have approximately two days stock of drinking water and food,” Mahmoud Sa’adallah, 32, resident of Bait Lahia and a father of five says, “we will have no option but to drink the municipal water which is too salty”. Mahmoud doesn’t know how his children are going to survive in the coming days with the lack of basic necessities if the offensive continues. “My brother and neighbors, for whom the vendor was coming, have already started to drink from the tap”.

The vast majority of the residents of the Gaza strip rely on purchasing desalinated water from private vendors as piped water coming from Gaza’s sole source of fresh water, is too contaminated with chemicals. [1]

From last March. Settler sewage destroys agricultural lands. “Local community organizers from Qusin reported abnormally high cancer rates in the village”:

Land in village of Qusin used as garbage dump by settlers
ISM 27 Mar by IWPS — On Wednesday March 27 at 15:00 the village of Qusin organized a tour of a nearby quarry that is regularly used as a garbage dump. The residents of Qusin invited the Minister of the Environment, IWPS and the International Solidarity Movement to inspect the amount of Israeli trash that has accumulated in the recent weeks. The quarry had been partially refilled with dirt and gravel covering the majority of the trash, leaving three large piles of plastic, wood and metal exposed. The effect was that of a large land fill in the middle of a mined industrial zone. The organizers of the visit explained that the toxins from the trash are seeping through the soil into the water sources of the nearby villages, endangering the local residents. Local community organizers from Qusin reported abnormally high cancer rates in the village. Residents of Qusin have started to regularly visit and protest as a community at the dump site.

Also last year, from Sebastia: Sewage flows from the nearby settlement of Shavei Shomron. Palestinians demonstrate against sewage settlers spill onto their land.

Six months before this 2010 video was shot the Israeli Civil Administration tried peddling the claim the flooding of Beit Ummar with raw sewage was the result of an accidental power malfunction from the adjacent illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Etzion.

Destroying farmland and vineyards, contaminating Palestinian drinking water, this is no accident. It’s an ongoing environmental nightmare and certainly not limited to a few the villages, it’s routine.

Siegel:

Because of geography and hydrology, the Palestinians’ water future is closely tied to Israel’s. In just the few years of Hamas control of Gaza, the water supply there has been polluted, and though no solution to its coming water crisis is likely without an Israeli role, Hamas has refused to cooperate with Israel.

Allison Deger adds, the water crisis in Gaza is because Israel bombed the water treatment facilities. Israel may not have a role in fixing the crisis, but it sure did cause it. Oh, but then again, Israel could have a hand in fixing the water crisis.B’tselem writes:

Israel has forbidden the entry of equipment and materials needed to rehabilitate the water and wastewater-treatment systems there. The prohibition has remained despite the recent easing of the siege.

Funny anecdote: in 2006, the same year Israel was bombing Gaza’s water infrastructure, Seth Siegel was going on tour in Israel with magician David Blaine. Maybe that’s why he missed this big chunk of information…?

The Jerusalem Fund: The Water Crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

“Israel’s discriminatory and unfair water policy is illegal under international law to the detriment of the Palestinian’s economy and health.”

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Iran Threatens To Send Forces Into Pakistan

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Iran says it will send forces into Pakistan to free kidnapped border guards if Islamabad does not take measures to secure their release.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was quoted as issuing the warning on February 17.

Fazli’s comments come a week after Jaish-ul Adl, a little-known Sunni Islamist Baluch militant group, published pictures on its Facebook page it said were of the soldiers kidnapped in Iran’s southeast province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry reportedly summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires, demanding that Islamabad “act firmly against the leaders and members of the terrorist group who have fled into Pakistan.”

Jaish-ul Adl said in November 2013 it assassinated a local Iranian prosecutor, and in October it ambushed border guards, killing 14.

 

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The boycott of I$raHell reaches tipping point

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The boycott Israel bell is tolling loud and clear but has it reached the tipping point?

Writing in +972 Magazine, Ami Kaufman argues that, judging by the number and weight of businesses imposing various sanctions on Israel, and by Israeli reactions to them, the tipping point has been reached.

This Economist piece from 8 February has an excellent summary of some of the latest developments, mainly the decision of Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, to blacklist Israel’s Bank Hapoalim due to its involvement in the funding of settlement construction; the decision of the Norwegian Ministry of Finance in January to exclude the Israeli firms Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus from its Government Pension Fund Global; and Dutch water company Vitens decision from December, which provides water to 5.4 million people in the Netherlands, to discontinue all joint ventures with Israel’s national water supplier Mekorot, in protest over the Israeli company’s operations in the West Bank.

The Economist also quickly mentions the Sodastream-Scarlett Johansenn affair – which brought unprecedented scrutiny to the apartheid reality that exists in the West Bank. The Sodastream affair was one of the biggest smacks to the faces against the occupation in recent memory. I personally found my own Facebook feed full of many who were indeed aware of the occupation, but were extremely surprised to find that Israel and its businesses were using the good ol’ colonialist theme of “we’re good for the natives”.

However, since the Economist piece was published, there have been some more developments – and more importantly, Israeli reaction showing real nervousness.

Kaufman quotes the 18 February edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which reported that boycott pressure had caused two foreign bidders to drop out of a tender to build facilities in the ports of Haifa and Ashdod. The paper said:

Royal Boskalis Westminster, a Dutch operator of ports that had submitted a proposal under the name Holland Terminal in the prequalification [PQ] stage last December, dropped out shortly thereafter. More recently, Italy’s Condote de Agua withdrew after passing the prequalification process. The companies that had initially expressed their interest in the PQ stage last April made their decisions to drop out in recent months as boycott pressure on Israel has grown. The deadline for submitting bids was Monday. In addition to the companies that withdrew from bidding, a third company – Jan De Nul from Belgium – only agreed to submit its bid after it was permitted to do so through a company registered in Luxembourg called Ludreco, out of fear of jeopardizing its business in the Arab world.

According to Kaufman, “what has seemed to really agitate Israeli politicians was the decision by Germany’s Deutsche Bank to “flag” Bank Hapoalim as a “morally questionable investment” on Monday [17 February]. Deutsche decided to include Hapoalim on a list of companies whose conduct is ethically questionable, possibly due to its activity in the settlements”.

That decision caused the increasingly unstable Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to screech on Facebook:

I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews. I think that’s an outrage. The founders of the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They’re quite explicit about it. And I think it’s important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They’re classical anti-Semites in modern garb.

As Kaufman says, the effect of BDS on Israel is unprecedented:

I cannot remember a time when I have seen so many Israeli public figures on both sides of the political map so obsessed with Israel’s standing in the world – most of them shivering with fear of global isolation…

With the number and sheer importance of these European firms over the past three months, and seeing as how Europe is Israel’s largest trade partner, combined with knee-jerk Israeli reactions, it is now safe to say that Israel and the occupation have become an economic liability.

Whether this is enough to end Israeli apartheid, we’ll have to wait and see. But what can be said is that 2014 will be remembered as the year BDS reached its tipping point.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, CampaignsComments Off on The boycott of I$raHell reaches tipping point

Russia accuses US diplomats of ‘puppeteering’ Ukraine

NOVANEWS
Kiev, February 17, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)Kiev, February 17, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

A leading Russian Foreign Ministry official has condemned the US State Department attempts to influence the political situation in volatile Ukraine and warned that such behavior could lead to tragic results.

The United States is trying to impose a “Western vector of development” on Ukraine while camouflaging their intent with calls not to obstruct the free choice of the Ukrainian people, Russian news agencies quoted the ministry’s Aleksandr Lukashevich as saying.

The Russian diplomat called such an attitude “puppeteering”, adding that the recent statement by US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf was a typical example. In the statement, the US gave instructions regarding future actions of the Ukrainian government, Lukashevich said. Such instructions included a demand to stop all cases against the participants in the street riots, and to immediately start to form a multi-party technical government, the Russian official stated.

Such US behavior is very well known and it leads to tragic results, the Foreign Ministry representative emphasized.

Lukashevich also said that the US had apparently started “casting” for future places in the technical Ukrainian government, or at least such a conclusion could be made from a telephone conversation by a top US diplomats that had been made public on YouTube. In the clip that appeared on the internet in early February, Washington’s new top diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, is heard saying “f**k the EU” while speaking with the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyat, on how to end the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. The conversation continues with Nuland suggesting that one of Ukrainian opposition leaders, Vitaly Klichko is not fit for government work and should make way for another candidate, Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

As fresh violence erupted on Kiev’s streets on Tuesday the Russian Foreign Ministry issued another statement. It considers the crisis “a direct result of the permissiveness policy exercised by those western politicians and European structures who were from the very beginning turning a blind eye at the aggressive actions of the radical forces in Ukraine.” The ministry added that such an attitude was encouraging the radicals to escalate the violence and further provoke their opponents.

Russian diplomats again called upon the Ukrainian opposition to abandon threats and ultimatums and start a meaningful dialogue with the authorities in order to take the country out of the deep crisis.

Russian politicians have repeatedly called on their foreign colleagues to abstain from interfering in the Ukrainian political crisis. In January the upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament passed separate declarations that called the civil unrest in Kiev an organized campaign aimed at displacing lawfully elected officials. The Russian MPs also warned that the Ukrainian crisis could have grave consequences for the country’s people, statehood and territorial integrity.

President Vladimir Putin also expressed concern about the political situation in Ukraine in late January but assured that Russia would not cancel its help to the Ukrainian economy and people if Ukraine also honors the agreements.

In mid-December the Russian and Ukrainian presidents agreed on a plan under which Russia is buying $15bn of Ukrainian debt in 2-year bonds and also giving Ukraine a $3.5 billion discount on natural gas purchases on behalf of state-owned Gazprom. Ukrainians will pay $268.5 per thousand cubic meters of natural gas instead of $400, a nearly 33 percent discount.

At a recent government conference Putin spoke of the aid plan and told officials that all contracts with Ukraine must be completely fulfilled. However, the President added that Russia would wait for Ukraine to form a new government before starting to execute its obligations.

Posted in USA, Russia, UkraineComments Off on Russia accuses US diplomats of ‘puppeteering’ Ukraine

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