Archive | February 23rd, 2016

Nazi forces demolish sole school in Bedouin community

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Nazi forces on Sunday demolished a Bedouin school for children in the Abu al-Nuwaar community near the town of al Eizariya in the occupied West Bank, a spokesperson for the Al-Jahalin Bedouin community said.

Atallah al-Jahalin told Ma’an that Nazi forces, accompanied by 30 vehicles and a delegation from Nazi Civil Administration, raided the area and destroyed the sole school in the community.

Residents said Nazi forces told them the school was demolished because concrete structures were forbidden in the area.

Nazi forces also reportedly seized the contents of the school.

Al-Jahalin added that Nazi forces briefly detained two youths who were protesting the demolition, both of whom were released after the demolition.

After the demolition, primary students held a “sit-in” where the school once stood while wearing their uniforms and holding school books in protest.

On Wednesday, the Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory Robert Piper said the number of Palestinians displaced in 2016 is already equivalent to over half of the total number displaced in all of 2015.

Piper called on Nazi regime to immediately halt all demolitions in the occupied West Bank, which he said were in violation of international law.

“Most of the demolitions in the West Bank take place on the spurious legal grounds that Palestinians do not possess building permits,” Piper said.

“But, in Area C, official Israeli figures indicate only 1.5 percent of Palestinian permit applications are approved in any case. So what legal options are left for a law-abiding Palestinian?”

The UN documented 283 homes and other structures destroyed, dismantled, or confiscated between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15.

The measures displaced 404 Palestinians, including 219 children. Another 1,150 Palestinians were also affected after losing structures related to their source of income, according to the UN.

The destruction was focused in 41 locations, many in Palestinian Bedouin or herder communities in Area C, the over 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.

Piper highlighted previous statements by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Israeli zoning and planning policies are “restrictive and highly discriminatory.”

“International law is clear — Palestinians in the West Bank have the right to adequate housing and the right to receive humanitarian assistance,” said Piper.

“As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect these rights,” the UN official said.

Repeated calls by international bodies for Nazi regime to cease the displacement of Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory have done little in the past to stop ongoing demolitions or settlement expansion onto Palestinian land.

The EU earlier this week condemned Nazi policy regarding demolition and settlement expansion that the body said made the possibility for an independent Palestinian state impossible.

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Flatten Beirut: Racist Nazi US professor’s advice for I$raHell

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A George Washington University professor has overtly suggested that Israel should “flatten Beirut” — Lebanon’s capital with around 1 million people — in order to allegedly destroy the missiles of Lebanon-based resistance group Hezbollah.

Professor Amitai Etzioni, the prominent American scholar who teaches international relations — and who has taught at a variety of prestigious US universities, including Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley, and who served as a senior advisor in President Jimmy Carter’s administration — made this proposal in an op-ed in Haaretz, the leading English-language Israeli newspaper.

The newspaper, also known as “The New York Times of Israel” represents the liberal wing of Israel’s increasingly far-right politics.

The author wrote a few op-eds that held blunt and aggressive titles; the latest of which originally used the headline, “Should Israel Flatten Beirut to Destroy Hezbollah’s Missiles?” but then was modified to “Should Israel Consider Using Devastating Weapons against Hezbollah Missiles?”

Etzioni cites Israel’s chief of staff, who claims that most of Hezbollah’s missiles are in private homes, an accusation that Israel alleges against all resistance groups in the region to justify Israel’s attacks on civilian areas. But this claim, according to sources, is to justify any Israeli attack on civilian areas, adding that “it has been proven numerous occasions that there were no weapons in the civilian areas Israel bombed in Gaza for instance.”

Etzioni suggests that there can be many Israeli casualties in case Israeli soldiers take part in raids on the alleged houses, explaining “I asked two American military officers what other options Israel has. They both pointed to Fuel-Air Explosives (FAE). These are bombs that disperse an aerosol cloud of fuel which is ignited by a detonator, producing massive explosions. The resulting rapidly expanding wave flattens all buildings within a considerable range.”

Etzioni concludes his piece implying Israel has no other option but to bomb the city of Beirut. “In this way, one hopes, that there be a greater understanding, if not outright acceptance, of the use of these powerful weapons, given that nothing else will do,” he pointed out.

Such claims are similar to the ones Israel used during its 2006 aggression on Lebanon, in which it justified killing large numbers of civilians and dropping over a million cluster bombs by dubiously claiming innocents were being used as human shields.

The article triggered the fury of several Lebanese authors and activists who know the truth is otherwise. “I’m just speechless. It sounds ISIS-like, just eradicating an entire community of people,” wrote Kareem Chehayeb, a Lebanese journalist and founder and editor of the website Beirut Syndrome.

Also, Belén Fernández published an article responding to Etzioini’s op-ed, titled “No, Israel Should Not Flatten Beirut.” In which she pointed out “that Israel has already flattened large sections of Lebanon, in Beirut and beyond.”

She recalls visiting a young man in a south Lebanon village near the Israeli border who “described the pain in 2006 of encountering detached heads and other body parts belonging to former neighbors, blasted apart by bombs or crushed in collapsed homes.”

Etzioni is considered to be one of the prominent American scholars; he was among the 100 most-cited American intellectuals. He has also served as the president of the American Sociological Association. Etzioni served in the Haganah — the army that formed Israel after violently expelling three-quarters of the indigenous Palestinian population — from 1946 to 1948, and then served in the Israeli military from 1948 to 1950.

Hezbollah, the Islamic Resistance group in Lebanon, on the contrary to the claims of Etzion, does not involve civilians and civilian areas in war. The resistance movement does not justify deliberate attacks on civilian areas in wars and does not overpass ethics of war.

Also today, the same group that has been inscribed on the US and Europe black list is the same group that has been protecting the Syrian civilians and fighting a pre-emptive war to prevent Lebanon from being trapped.

In 2014, an anonymous European intelligence officer had said in an interview with al-Akhbar newspaper that “”Hezbollah is fighting a battle against terrorism on behalf of the world, so it must be supported, at least in this confrontation”.

“I can say today that the resistance fighters are defending Europe,” he added.

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Educating Americans About the Palestinian Nakba

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Image result for Nakba LOGO

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Our friends at the Free Palestine Movement are organizing a North America Nakba Tour to raise the awareness of the Nakba, the Catastrophe of 1948, where over 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes by the Zionists founders of Israel and their affiliated terrorist operations, like the Irgun and the Stern Gang. For background on the Nakba watch the historic, 36 minute, 1950 documentary, Sands of Sorrow. If the tour is coming to your city, be sure to find out more about the specific dates of the events, or volunteer to organize or help fund an event in your area. [Ed.-TEC]
 
 The Free Palestine Movement, International Solidarity Movement-Northern California and
al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition announce the

 North America Nakba Tour, April 5 – June 5, 2016 

The Exiled Palestinians
Palestinians from the Camps in Lebanon
 
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On May 14, 1948, as Zionist leader David Ben Gurion was proclaiming a Jewish state in Palestine, his heavily armed troops seized the ancient Palestinian Arab town of al-Zeeb and drove out most of the inhabitants.  17-year-old Mariam Fathallah was one of them.  She and her young husband, Mohammed Atayah and their families were forced to flee to Lebanon, along with most of the town.  By the end of the year, the 4,000 year old community had been leveled to the ground.  More than half the Arab Palestinians in Palestine were killed or expelled and more than half of the cities, towns and villages of Palestine were made to disappear, a crime that Palestinians call al-Nakba (the Catastrophe).
Mariam, now 85 years old and respectfully known as Umm Akram, has spent the last 68 years in crowded, makeshift refugee camps in Lebanon.  She has raised three generations in the same camps, all waiting to return to their home in Palestine. She has lived through five Israeli invasions of Lebanon, as well as the 1976 Tel al-Zaatar camp massacre that killed more than 2000 of the refugees there.
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Umm Akram wants to talk to you.  So do Amena Ashkar and Hiba Abu Khreibeh, the granddaughters and great granddaughters of Nakba survivors, who also have known no other home than refugee camps.
Umm Akram, Amena and Hiba have a different message from other Palestinians.  They are not living under Israeli occupation. Israel does not allow them to visit their homes, much less live there.  Amena and Hiba have never met an Israeli, and Umm Akram not since 1948. As exiles, they have a different perspective from Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the part of Palestine that became Israel.

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Dissing George Washington for Reagan

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Exclusive: Was Ronald Reagan a greater American leader than George Washington? That is the impression one gets when historic “Washington National Airport” is redubbed “Reagan National.” Are Americans really that anti-historical to have forgotten Washington’s significance, asks Robert Parry on the first President’s 284th birthday.

 

By Robert Parry

Arguably, George Washington was the one indispensible American. He was commander-in-chief during the American Revolution holding the embattled Continental Army together sometimes by his sheer force of will; at another key turning point, he presided at the Constitutional Convention giving the nation its governing framework; he then served as the first President placing his personal stamp of legitimacy on the fragile, young Republic.

While other Founders played important historical roles – John Adams organizing the Revolution, James Madison devising the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton giving substance to the new federal government, etc. – it was Washington whose temperament and stature made the entire experiment work.

President George Washington, who warned against the dangers of a large military and an aggressive foreign policy to the Republic.

President George Washington, who warned against the dangers of a large military and an aggressive foreign policy to the Republic.

Later, other American leaders stepped forward to guide the nation through grave crises, such as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War and Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression and World War II, but Washington was truly the Father of the Country giving the nation life on battlefields up and down the length of the Thirteen Colonies, inside the contentious Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and in the establishment of a truly unified nation by serving two terms as the first President.

Surely, Washington was not a person without flaws and contradictions, but – without him – it is hard to imagine what would have happened to the American colonies in the late 1770s or – assuming that independence was won – to the squabbling states under the ineffectual Articles of Confederation in the 1780s.

At every key turning point in those early years, Washington was there sacrificing for the new nation. He suffered with his troops at Valley Forge; he collaborated with Madison and Hamilton overcoming the national disunion that followed military victory; he agreed to leave his beloved Mount Vernon to serve as the first U.S. President of the United States but then retired after two terms showing that no one person was bigger than “We the People” enshrined in the Constitution’s Preamble.

So, it is fitting that Americans honor this great early leader of the American Republic. But what is odd – and to me troubling – is the ahistorical attitude that essentially expunges Washington’s name from what had been “Washington National Airport” to rename it, in effect, “Reagan National” or simply “Reagan.”

Whatever one thinks of Ronald Reagan – and I rate him one of America’s worst presidents for his profligate fiscal policies, his excessive militarism, his atrocious actions on human rights and his contempt for the Constitution as demonstrated by the Iran-Contra scandal – it is hard to believe that even dyed-in-the-wool Republicans and conservatives would rate Reagan as a greater president than George Washington.

Yet, since Reagan’s name was shoehorned into the airport’s title after Republicans seized control of Congress in 1995 – a change signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton – many U.S. airlines have dropped Washington’s name altogether when referring to what had long been “Washington National Airport.” It’s now referred to commonly as “Reagan National” or “Reagan.”

Bizarre and Confusing

Beyond the bizarre suggestion that Ronald Reagan was a more important historical figure than George Washington, there is the practical concern that many people visiting Washington D.C. find it confusing that its airport, which was once named after Washington (who incidentally lived close by at Mount Vernon), is now identified as “Reagan,” who spent most of his adult life in California and only lived in Washington during his time in the White House (and then only when he wasn’t vacationing back in California).

So, doesn’t it make more sense both historically and practically to again refer to National Airport as “Washington National”? And, even if it is currently politically impossible to restore the traditional name – given how the reversion would infuriate many Republicans – can’t we, as a flying public, demand that the airlines go back to combining Washington and National rather than demeaning America’s Founding Father by dropping him in favor of Ronald Reagan?

Ronald Reagan statue at National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

Ronald Reagan statue at Washington National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

I know my suggestion may be deemed petty by some and quixotic by others, but there is meaning in historical symbolism. That is, after all, why Republicans insisted on elbowing Washington aside in the first place and elevating their recent hero Reagan to such an august position.

But are Americans so historically ignorant that we actually believe that Ronald Reagan was a more important figure in our national existence than George Washington? Do Americans really not know or appreciate how the Republic was created? Are the heroic sacrifices of Washington and his Continental Army so forgotten and disrespected that an actor-turned-politician is given top billing? Do conservatives who call themselves “constitutionalists” have so little regard for Washington and others who crafted the actual Constitution that they relegate them to a subordinate position? Have Republicans forgotten how the Republic got started – and who started it?

Really! Regardless of our political persuasions, don’t we care enough about America’s Founders and America’s Founding to tell the commercial airline companies that it’s not “Reagan National,” it’s “Washington National”!

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Remembering the Palestinian Nakba: The Sands of Sorrow ‘VIDEO’

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Our friends at the Free Palestine Movement (FPM) are organizing a North America Nakba Tour
to raise the awareness of the Nakba, the Catastrophe, of 1948, where over 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes and over 400 of their villages were destroyed by the Zionists founders of Israel and their terrorist operations, like the Irgun and the Stern Gang. For background on the Nakba, please watch this historic documentary, Sands of Sorrow, made in 1950.
Please check FPM‘s website to find out  If the tour is coming to your city and how you can help to educate others about the issue.

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