Archive | March, 2016

Are Saudis Zio-Wahhabi buying Zionist drones?

NOVANEWS

Image result for SAUDI ISRAELI FLAG

Saudi Zio-wahhabi announced that it is building a drone plant in cooperation with South Africa, but a well-known Saudi Zio-Wahhabi defense analyst claimed this is a guise to hide the clandestine purchases of aircraft from I$raHell.

The analyst, who calls himself “Mujtahid” has been leaking exclusive information about the royal family of Saudi Zio-Wahhabi on Twitter since the early 2000s. He challenged the official report released by the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Defense Ministry this week, which stated the kingdom would build a drone factory in collaboration with South Africa.

“The report aims to hide the fact that Saudi Arabia intends to purchase drones from Israel via South Africa,”  he said.

“Saudi Arabia buys Israeli drones through South Africa. These drones later arrive from South Africa, dismantled, to Saudi Arabia, where they are assembled,”  Mujtahid added, describing the mechanism developed to carry out the Nazi-Saudi Zio-Wahhabi deal.

He went on to accuse Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Defense Minister and, according to some experts, the country’s second most powerful person, of serving Nazi interest by purchasing drones from the Jewish state.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi has been trying for years to strengthen its armed forces with drone capabilities. In 2010, General Atomics, the US producer of the Predator drone family, announced it had acquired export licenses for a number of Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Zio-Wahhabi. Export to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi has so far failed to materialize, even though a similar deal with the United Arab Emirates was approved by the US Congress in 2015.

As supplies from its primary arms supplier were hanging in limbo, Riyadh was reportedly looking for alternative sellers of the technology. In 2013, reports said Saudi Zio-Wahhabi would be buying reconnaissance drones from the South African arms manufacturer Denel Dynamics. Last year, some reports said both the Saudis and the Emirates had managed to buy ground attack drones from China for their stalling Yemeni campaign.

Nazi is one of the world’s leading producers of drones, but selling the technology to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi would be politically disastrous, as public opinion in both Nazi and the Arab nation would be strongly against such a deal.

The two countries were said to have some military cooperation in their mutual rivalry with regional competitor Iran. Some reports suggested Nazi regime and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi had discussed the possibility of an Nazi attack through Saudi Zio-Wahhabi airspace against Iranian nuclear sites amid the tense negotiation for a nuclear deal between Tehran and six leading world powers.

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PALMYRA of the Centuries: The History, the Fall & the Restoration

NOVANEWS

 

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“Every person has two homelands,” the French archaeologist Andre Parrot once commented ; “His own and Syria”.
T.E Lawrence (of Arabia), who spent a great deal of time exploring Syria, wrote specifically of Palmyra; “Nothing in this scorching, desolate land could be so refreshing”.
It might also have been Lawrence who labelled Palmyra (or the ‘City of Palms’) as the ‘Venice of the Sands’; an appellation that continues to this day.

The Syrian Army’s recapturing of the historic city ends the so-called Islamic State’s control of the area since May last year. The horror story of ISIL’s control of Palmyra – which has included the destruction of a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Palmyra alone has six) – will itself one day be regarded as part of Palmyra (and world) history; a particularly dark chapter in the long history of Palmyra that goes back at least 2,000 years.

The famous British diplomat, spy, adventuress and Arab expert, Gertrude Bell recorded her visit to Palmyra in 1900;“I wonder if the wide world presents a more singular landscape”, describing the site and its “mass of columns ranged into long avenues, grouped into temples, lying broken on the sand or pointing one long solitary finger to Heaven”.

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Gertrude Bell (portrayed by Nicole Kidman in Queen of the Desert  and by Gillian Barge in 1992’s  Lawrence After Arabia), a friend and contemporary of T.E Lawrence, is credited with having played a major role in the formation of modern Iraq (and founded Baghdad’s Archaeological Museum). She put Palmyra on a par with the ruins of Petra (now in modern-day Jordan, but then part of the same territory).

Lawrence, who played his own part in helping shape the modern Middle East, shared Gertrude Bell’s feelings. His words are inscribed on a plaque in Palmyra; “Nothing in this scorching, desolate land,” he wrote, “could be so refreshing”.

The writer Agatha Christie appeared to have been mesmerised by Palmyra, judging by her recollection of it; “It is lovely and fantastic and unbelievable, with all the theatrical implausibility of a dream. It isn’t – it can’t be – real.”

Palmyra, like many ancient world sites, has its own myths surrounding it.

According to Hebrew scriptures, King Solomon was the founder of Palmyra; later Islamic legends attribute Palmyra’s founding to the supernatural ‘Jinn’ who are believed (according to the tradition) to have worked for Solomon. Both are more mythology than historical fact, though Palmyra’s true, historic origin remains obscured in the mists of history. Palmyra is claimed to have entered recorded history in around 2000 BC in the Bronze Age.

The name “Palmyra” is said to have appeared during the early first century AD, in the Roman works of Pliny the Elder. Pilgrims and merchants from all over the Near East came to or passed through Palmyra. Thriving as an oasis along the ancient caravan route between Damascus and the Euphrates, Palmyra’s engineers constructed complex aqueducts and reservoirs, and a vast temple complex easily equal to Athens.

The historic figure most associated with Palmyra was Queen Zenobia, who was born in 240 AD and claimed descent from Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra. According to Edward Gibbon, she spoke four languages, was famed for her chastity, and was “esteemed the most lovely as well as the most heroic of her sex”.

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‘Zenobia’s Last Look on Palmyra’, 1888. Artist: Schmalz, Herbert Gustave (1856-1935).

With the status of being a semi-independent monarchy, Palmyra was nevertheless a Roman colony. Zenobia was guided by the philosopher Cassius Longinus (not the Gaius Cassius Longinus who whispered in the ears of Marcus Brutus, nor the Cassius Longinus who supposedly participated in the crucifixion of Jesus) into declaring independence from Rome and engaging in war, Queen Zenobia even seized control of Egypt and reinvented herself as Queen of the East in true Cleopatra style. The Emperor Aurelian saw no choice but to march on Palmyra, twice defeating Zenobia’s forces. The Queen, according to legend, tried to flee on camel but was captured, and Palmyra surrendered. The Queen of Palmyra, like many other vanquished enemies of the empire before her, was paraded through Rome in chains.

Her ultimate fate is obscured to history. However, according to some accounts, Aurelian was so impressed with her character that he granted her freedom and even gave her a villa in Tivoli, where she supposedly married a senator and may have gone on to live out her days comfortably as a Roman.

But that wasn’t where Palmyra’s problems with Rome ended. In 273 AD, when citizens again rebelled against the empire and slaughtered a Roman garrison, Aurelian returned and this time laid waste to Palmyra. The temples were gutted and the city was left in ruin.

Palmyra didn’t recover from that event; and the ruin left by Aurelian’s forces remained the state Palmyra was essentially in for the many centuries to follow. At the time Gibbon was writing, Palmyra was more or less abandoned and only some 40 families or so were reported to be living in mud huts within the court of an ancient temple.

Daniel Johnson wrote a particular good account of Palmyra’s history for Standpoint Mag last October. The rediscoveryof Palmyra in the broad sense took a very long time, a key point being the publication in 1753 of what British antiquarian Robert Wood had experienced in his travels. Wood, who would later be the under-secretary of state toPitt the Elder, published ‘The Ruins of Palmyra’, which did a great deal to revive the ancient city’s fame and stature across the Western world, along with the engravings and evocative drawings (example below) by Giovanni Batista Borra.

Temple of Bel (or Temple of the Sun), Palmyra, seen from the north corner of the court, 1751

Temple of Bel (or Temple of the Sun), seen from the north corner of the court, 1751 – Giovanni Batista Borra.

Palmyran influence was thus able to echo centuries beyond its time, particularly when such influential figures as T.E Lawrence and Gertrude Bell were writing about it in late nineteenth/early-twentieth century. Some suggest that in the United States (newly independent at the time of Robert Wood’s work), Thomas Jefferson used the Palmyran Temple of the Sun as inspiration for the east portico of the Capitol Building in Washington (the eagle of the Great Seal may also be inspired by Palmyra).

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The Islamic State’s occupation of Palmyra has sparked outrage around the world, amid fears that wanton destruction of historic and cultural landmarks would occur just as they had in Mosul and parts of Iraq.

Syrian military forces, who have in the last few days retaken the city from the jihadists, have in fact expressed great relief and surprise that the damage to Palmyra – though significant – hasn’t been nearly as bad as they had imagined.

The multi-national extremist group has looted or destroyed some of Palmyra’s most important sites and artifacts, including the Temple of Bel and the Arch of Triumph. But it has also left many of the sites intact. The Temple of Bel or Baal was regarded as the most important historic temple site in the Middle East after Baalbeck in Lebanon. In early July, ISIL also destroyed the 1,900-year-old “Lion of Al-Lat” statue.

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The Lion of Al-lāt (first century AD) no longer exists – destroyed by ISIL/Daesh.

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Interior, Baal-Shamin Temple: No Longer Exists – destroyed by ISIL/Daesh. Photo credit: Jerzy Strzelecki.

Curiously, in May 2015, Abu Laith al-Saoudy, representing ISIL’s military commander in Palmyra, had pledged not to damage the city’s historic buildings but to only destroy what were deemed as idolatrous statues. “Concerning the historic city, we will preserve it and it will not be harmed, God willing,” he had said. “What we will do is break the idols that the infidels used to worship. The historic buildings will not be touched and we will not bring bulldozers to destroy them like some people think”.

Despite the fact that they appear to have broken this pledge in some instances, it’s worth noting that the Temple of Bel or ‘Baal’ would’ve been seen very much as an object of past paganism or ‘idol worship’ and, in the minds of ISIL members, an affront to a puritanical view of the ‘one, true God’. Such destruction has of course gone on throughout history, involving various religions and cultures.

On the other hand, ISIL also destroyed the Roman Arch of Triumph last October, which had no religious significance, and there have been a number of other acts of destruction, including ancient tombs.

However, before the ISIL takeover of the territory in 2015, prior Muslim Arab control of the city had never resulted in any damage or any hostility towards the monuments. In fact, under the Ummayad caliphate, part of the Temple of Bel had even been used as a mosque; over the centuries, Muslim and Christian occupiers adapted some of the ancient sites to act as churches or mosques, but never sought to destroy or erase any of the ancient sites.

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An early 20th century view of Palmyra, Tadmor Old Village.

Tim Whitmarsh, a professor of Greek culture at the University of Cambridge, suggested that it was Palmyra’s nature as a symbol of multi-cultural and inter-faith synthesis that represented everything the ISIL mindset is opposed to. He wrote in The Guardian last August; ‘Palmyra is not just a spectacular archaeological site, beautifully preserved, excavated and curated. It also offers antiquity’s best counterexample to Isis’s fascistic mono-culturalism. The ancient city’s prosperity arose thanks to its citizens’ ability to trade with everyone, to integrate new populations, to take on board diverse cultural influences, to worship many gods without conflict’.

When not motivated by simple religious puritanism, ISIL’s barbaric motives in damaging or destroying historic sites may also be simply to get massive publicity worldwide, cause outrage and seem incredibly powerful.

ISIL has also used the ancient sites in Palmyra as the setting for executions of Syrian Army soldiers and others. Most distressing of all, and more so than the destruction of the Temple of Baal or Arch of Triumph, was the brutal execution last year of 82 year-old scholar Khaled el-Asaad (see more). The Palmyra expert was interrogated for over a month by the militants, who wanted to know where a number of priceless antiquities were being hidden. Sick social media posts later showed the mutilated remains of Professor Asaad, with his severed head on the floor between his feet. His body was taken to one of Palmyra’s archaeological sites and hung from one of the ancient Roman columns for everyone to observe.

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The late Professor Khaled el-Asaad, beheaded by ISIL/Daesh in 2015.

The restoration of Palmyra to government control is a massive victory, both strategically and psychologically; even foreign critics or opponents of the Assad government have been forced to admit this is an important moment – and one only made possible by Russia’s military intervention on the side of the Syrian state.

Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, welcomed the operation and the expected liberation of the city of Palmyra,saying; ‘I welcome the liberation of the Palmyra archaeological site, martyr city inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list, which carries the memory of the Syrian people, and the values of cultural diversity, tolerance and openness that have made this region a cradle of civilization’.

Talk in recent days has naturally turned towards how Palmyra’s damaged or destroyed sites might be restored for future generations, with even London’s Mayor Boris Johnson suggesting British experts should lend their skills to helping Syria with the rebuilding.

However, Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology, has taken a different, more cautious view of this. He says that Palmyra could be rebuilt to look at least superficially like the original. But he adds: “I think that would be wrong. Isis will one day be history. Palmyra will be its permanent lesson, about the darkness into which oppression, ignorance and corruption can sink. To over-restore the ruins would be to create a fiction, denying the tragedy and devaluing what had genuinely survived.”

It is certainly an interesting position to contemplate. Mr Pitts’ suggestion may in fact resonate somewhat with the idea of restoring Palmyra in a virtual sense rather than a physical one. On 21st October 2015, Creative Commons started an online repository of three-dimensional images published into the public domain to digitally reconstruct Palmyra (see more: http://www.newpalmyra.org/).

Meanwhile, the Syrian military said it would also use the reclamation of Palmyra as the staging ground for a further campaign to expel the ISIL militants from their ‘capital’ in the hijacked city of Raqqa.

It is worth considering, however, that as ISIL loses its territory (and in the case of Palmyra, possibly its access to lucrative artifacts), the organisation may turn instead to more attacks on Western and other targets. There are also fears that as the Syrian Army continues to push ISIL out of Syrian cities and towns, the defenseless territory of post-Gaddafi Libya may see more and more ISIL jihadists pouring in to Sirte, Tripoli and other cities now under extremist control. In fact, Sirte is already being labelled the ‘new ISIS capital’; and indeed there have already been major concerns expressed that Libyan historic/cultural sites and artifacts (such as the stunning Leptis Magna) may fall victim to the jihadist philistines just as Palmyra did.

On December 11th, ISIL militants invading Libya announced that they had captured the ancient Roman city of Sabratha, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. The dangers to Libya – a country left vulnerable and lawless by an illegal NATO/Western military intervention – may be about to increase.

But for Palmyra, at least this particularly grim chapter in its long history may now be over.

See more: The Destruction of the Cultural/Historic Heritage of IRAQ & SYRIA…
See more: ‘The Tragic Story of Sirte: From Proud Libya to ISIL/Extremist Caliphate…

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A Zionist definition of Anti-Semitism

NOVANEWS

The problem of antisemitism continues to be a serious one. One issue is the absence of an agreed international definition of antisemitism.

As attacks across Europe and more broadly demonstrate, the problem of anti-Semitism continues to be a serious one. The UK works closely with our international partners to tackle anti-Semitism, and for this reason, the Government has recently supported the publication of a British Best Practice Guide to tackling anti-Semitism, available online here.

Anti-Semitism continues to affect communities around the UK. The most recent Community Security Trust report recorded 924 individual incidents during the course of 2015. The Government is committed to ensuring that British people of all faiths and ethnicities can live without fear of abuse or attack.

One issue identified by international partners, is the absence of an agreed international definition of antisemitism.

In the UK we use this definition of hate crime in general:

Hate crimes and incidents are taken to mean any crime or incident where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised.

The UK Government’s overall policy is that it is up to the victim to determine whether a crime against them was motivated by any particular characteristics. This builds trust in the police among minority communities, and allows flexibility in our response.

However, for those seeking a definition of Anti-Semitism, the UK’s College of Policing does include a working definition of Anti-Semitism in their guidance to police forces in the UK. The full guidance is available from their website here and the definition is reproduced in full here:

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of Anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of Anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Examples of the ways in which Anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic Anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as Anti-Semitic. Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of Anti-Semitic materials in some countries).

Criminal acts are Anti-Semitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Anti-Semitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

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International Injustice: the Conviction of Radovan Karadzic

NOVANEWS

Image result for Radovan Karadzic CARTOON

By Diana Johnstone 

Last Thursday, news reports were largely devoted to the March 22 Brussels terror bombings and the US primary campaigns. And so little attention was paid to the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for (former) Yugoslavia (ICTY) finding Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic guilty of every crime it could come up with, including “genocide”. It was a “ho-hum” bit of news.  Karadzic had already been convicted by the media of every possible crime, and nobody ever imagined that he would be declared innocent by the single-issue court set up in The Hague essentially to judge the Serb side in the 1990s civil wars that tore apart the once independent country of Yugoslavia.

Although it bears the UN stamp of approval, thanks to the influence of the Western powers, ICTY is essentially a NATO tribunal, with proceedings in English according to a jurisprudence invented as it goes along. Its international judges are vetted by Washington officials. The presiding judge in the Karadzic case was a South Korean, O-Gon Kwon, selected surely less for his grasp of ethnic subtleties in the Balkans than for the fact that he holds a degree from Harvard Law School. Of the other two judges on the panel, one was British and the other was a retired judge from Trinidad and Tobago.

As is the habit with the ICTY, the non-jury trial dragged on for years – seven and a half years to be precise. Horror stories heavily laced with hearsay, denials, more or less far fetched interpretations end up “drowning the fish” as the saying goes. A proper trial would narrow the charges to facts which can clearly be proved or not proved, but these sprawling proceedings defy any notion of relevance. Nobody who has not devoted a lifetime to following these proceedings can tell what real evidence supports the final judgment. The media stayed away from the marathon, and only showed up to report the inevitable “guilty” verdict condemning the bad guy. The verdict reads a bit like, “they said, he said, and we believe them not him.”

There was a civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina from April 1992 to December 1995. Wars are terrible things, civil wars especially.  Let us agree with David Swanson that “War is a crime”. But this was a civil war, with three armed parties to the conflict, plus outside interference. The “crime” was not one-sided.

Muslim False Flags

The most amazing passage in the rambling verdict by Judge O-Gon Kwan consists of these throw-away lines:

“With respect to the Accused’s argument that the Bosnian Muslim side targeted its own civilians, the Chamber accepts that the Bosnian Muslim side was intent on provoking the international community to act on its behalf and, as a result, at times, engaged in targeting UN personnel in the city or opening fire on territory under its control in order to lay blame on the Bosnian Serbs.”

This is quite extraordinary. The ICTY judges are actually acknowledging that the Bosnian Muslim side engaged in “false flag” operations, not only targeting UN personnel but actually “opening fire on territory under its control”. Except that that should read, “opening fire on Johnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450civilians under its control”. UN peace keeping officers have insisted for years that the notorious Sarajevo “marketplace massacres”, which were blamed on the Serbs and used to gain condemnation of the Serbs in the United Nations, were actually carried out by the Muslim side in order to gain international support.

This is extremely treacherous behavior. The Muslim side was, as stated, “intent on provoking the international community to act on its behalf”, and it succeeded!  The ICTY is living proof of that success: a tribunal set up to punish Serbs. But there has been no move to expose and put on trial Muslim leaders responsible for their false flag operations.

The Judge quickly brushed this off: “However, the evidence indicates that the occasions on which this happened pale in significance when compared to the evidence relating to [Bosnian Serb] fire on the city” (Sarajevo).

How can such deceitful attacks “pale in significance” when they cast doubt precisely on the extent of Bosnian Serb “fire on the city”?

The “Joint Criminal Enterprise” Label

ICTY’s main judicial trick is to have imported from US criminal justice the concept of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE)”, used originally as a means to indict gangsters.  The trick is to identify the side we are against as a JCE, which makes it possible to accuse anyone on that side of being a member of the JCE. The JCE institutionalizes guilt by association. Note that in Yugoslavia, there was never any law against Joint Criminal Enterprises, and so the application is purely retroactive.

Bosnia-Herzegovina was a state (called “republic”) within Yugoslavia based on joint rule by three official peoples: Muslims, Serbs and Croats. Any major decision was supposed to have the consent of all three.  After Slovenia and Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia, the Muslims and Croats of Bosnia voted to secede from Yugoslavia, but this was opposed by Bosnian Serbs who claimed it was unconstitutional. The European Union devised a compromise that would allow each of the three people self-rule in its own territory. However, the Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegovic, was encouraged by the United States to renege on the compromise deal, in the hope that Muslims, as the largest group, could control the whole territory. War thus broke out in April 1992.

Now, if you asked the Bosnian Serbs what their war aims were, they would answer that they wanted to preserve the independence of Serb territory within Bosnia rather than become a minority in a State ruled by the Muslim majority. Psychiatrist Radovan Karadzic was the elected President of the Bosnian Serb territory, “Republika Srpska”. However, according to ICTY the objective of the Serbian mini-republic was to “permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Serb-claimed territory … through the crimes charged”, described as the “Overarching Joint Criminal Enterprise”, leading to several subsidiary JCEs. Certainly, such expulsions took place, but they were rather the means to the end of securing the Bosnian Serb State rather than its overarching objective. The problem here is not that such crimes did not take place – they did – but that they were part of an “overarching civil war” with crimes committed by the forces of all three sides.

If anything is a “joint criminal enterprise”, I should think that plotting and carrying out false flag operations should qualify.  ICTY does not seem interested in that.  The Muslims are the good guys, even though some of the Muslim fighters were quite ruthless foreign Islamists, with ties to Osama bin Laden.

One of the subsidiary JCEs attributed to Karadzic was the fact that between late May and mid-June of 1995, Bosnian Serb troops fended off threatened NATO air strikes by taking some 200 UN peacekeepers and military observers hostage. It is hard to see why this temporary defensive move, which caused no physical harm, is more of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise” than the fact of having “targeted UN personnel”, as the Muslim side did.

The final JCE in the Karadzic verdict was of course the July 1995 massacre of prisoners by Bosnian forces after capturing the town of Srebrenica. That is the basis of conviction for “genocide”. The Karadzic conviction rests essentially on two other ICTY trials: the currently ongoing ICTY trial of Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladic, who led the capture of Srebrenica, and the twelve-year-old judgment in the trial of Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic.

The Karadzic verdict pretty much summarizes the case against General Mladic, leaving little doubt where that trial is heading. Karadzic was a political, not a military leader, who persistently claims that he neither ordered nor approved the massacres and indeed knew nothing about them. Many well informed Western and Muslim witnesses testify to the fact that the Serb takeover was the unexpected result of finding the town undefended. This makes the claim that this was a well planned crime highly doubtful. The conclusion that Karadzic was aware of what was happening is inferred from telephone calls. In the final stages of the war, it seems unlikely that the Bosnian Serb political leader would compromise his cause by calling on his troops to massacre prisoners. One can only speculate as to what “a jury of peers” would have concluded. ICTY’s constant bias (it refused to investigate NATO bombing of civilian targets in Serbia in 1999, and acquitted notorious anti-Serb Bosnian and Kosovo Albanian killers) drastically reduces its credibility.

What exactly happened around Srebrenica in 1995 remains disputed. But the major remaining controversy does not concern the numbers of victims or who is responsible. The major remaining controversy is whether or not Srebrenica truly qualifies as “genocide”. That claim owes its legal basis solely to the 2004 ICTY judgment in the Krstic case, subsequently echoed (but never investigated) by the International Court of Justice.

“Procreative Implications”

That judgment was very strange. The conclusion of “genocide” depended solely on the “expert” opinion of a sociologist. It was echoed again in the Karadzic case. ICTY reiterated its earlier judgment that the “killings demonstrate a clear intent to kill every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica. Noting that killing every able-bodied male of a group results in severe procreative implications that may lead to the group’s extinction, the Chamber finds that the only reasonable inference is that members of the Bosnian Serb Forces orchestrating this operation intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica as such.”
In other words, even though women and children were spared, Srebrenica was a unique genocide, due to the “severe procreative implications” of a lack of men. The ICTY concluded that “the members of the Srebrenica JCE… intended to kill all the able-bodied Bosnian Muslim males, which intent in the circumstances is tantamount to the intent to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.” Thus genocide in one small town.

This judgment is widely accepted without being critically examined. Since wars have traditionally involved deliberately killing men on the enemy side, with this definition, “genocide” comes close to being synonymous with war.

In fact, not all Srebrenica men were massacred; some have lived to be witnesses blaming the Bosnian Muslim leadership for luring the Serbs into a moral trap. Moreover, there were many Muslim soldiers temporarily stationed in Srebrenica who were not natives of the town, and thus their tragic fate had nothing to do with destroying the future of the town.

Never mind. ICTY did its job. Karadzic, aged 70, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. As if to make a point, the verdict was announced on the 17th anniversary of the start of NATO bombing of what was left of Yugoslavia, in order to detach Kosovo from Serbia. Just a reminder that it’s not enough for the Serbs to lose the war, they must be criminalized as well.

The verdict is political and its effects are political. First of all, it helps dim the prospects of future peace and reconciliation in the Balkans. Serbs readily admit that war crimes were committed when Bosnian Serb forces killed prisoners in Srebrenica. If Muslims had to face the fact that crimes were also committed by men fighting on their side, this could be a basis for the two peoples to deplore the past and seek a better future together.

As it is, the Muslims are encouraged to see themselves as pure victims, while the Serbs feel resentment at the constant double standards.  Muslim groups constantly stress that no verdict can possibly assuage their suffering – an attitude that actually feeds international anti-Western sentiment among Muslims, even though the immediate result is to maintain the Yugoslav successor states as mutually hostile satellites of NATO.

The other political result is to remind the world that if you get into a fight with the United States and NATO, you will not only lose, but will be treated as a common criminal. The US-led NATO war machine is always innocent, its adversaries are always guilty. The Roman Empire led the leaders it defeated into slavery. The United States Empire puts them in jail.

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Colombia and ELN Rebels to Begin Formal Peace Talks

NOVANEWS

Image result for ELN Rebels LOGO

teleSUR 

The Colombian government announced the launch of formal peace talks on Wednesday with the country’s second-largest rebel group the National Liberation Army or ELN. The announcement takes place after the guerrilla group freed two hostages to meet a government condition for the start of formal peace talks.

During a joint press conference Wednesday, the Colombian government’s top delegate for the ongoing FARC peace talks, Frank Pearl, outlined the key aspects of negotiation between the ELN and the Colombian government, which will include six major points: participation of society, peace through democracy, transformations necessary for peace, victims rights, the end of the armed conflict, and the implementation and signature of the agreement.

Pearl also confirmed that Cuba, Norway, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador will act as guarantor countries.

Meanwhile, moving forward, the ELN commander Antonio Garcia promised to communicate on all future progress made during the talks and vowed “to create a favorable environment for peace.”

Shortly after the press conference, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos delievered a statmenent in which he emphasized the importance of the peace talks with the ELN, stating, “We have to finish this conflict in order to construct peace in our country.”

During his speech, the Colombian President likened the talks to the ongoing negations between the government and the FARC, saying that, “the objective is the same, which is to eliminate violence.”

The announcement marks a new stage in peace negotiations as the government also closes in on a deal with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.

Leading up to the joint press conference, ELN officials thanked the Venezuelan government via Twitter for their role in the Colombian peace process.

“We would like to thank the Venezuelan people for their unconditional support in helping us get to this point.”

Meanwhile, the regional integration bloc, UNASUR, also issued its support in a statement saying, “The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR ) welcomes this agreement, which was made possible in part due to the participation of several regional governments.”

The Foreign Ministry of Ecuador also praised the news, expressing its “profound satisfaction” regarding the recent announcement.

The government and the ELN had been in preliminary talks for more than two years, but had failed to begin formal negotiations until today.

Colombia has seen armed conflict between the state, paramilitaries, crime syndicates and revolutionary left-wing groups such as the FARC and the Marxist-Leninist ELN since the 1960s.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Colombia and ELN Rebels to Begin Formal Peace Talks

US Responsibility for Widespread Palmyra Destruction

NOVANEWS
Image result for palmyra photos
By Stephen Lendman 

Washington bears full responsibility for ISIS capturing UNESCO World Heritage site Palmyra last May, causing widespread destruction and looting of precious artifacts, plundered from other sites in the country.

Russian air power helped Syrian ground forces liberate the city after weeks of heavy fighting, the most important strategic victory since Obama launched naked aggression in March 2011, using ISIS and other imported death squads as imperial foot soldiers, a major turning point in the war achieved.

Syrian presidential advisor Bouthiana Shaaban said throughout months of America’s air campaign, begun illegally in September 2014, together with coalition partners Britain, France and others, it “didn’t lift a finger” to prevent Palmyra’s fall.

It “pretended to fight terrorism” while helping ISIS fighters take the ancient city, knowing widespread destruction and looting would follow, priceless artifacts lost forever, ending up in private collections.

Washington and its rogue allies could have prevented what happened. Instead of conducting airstrikes against advancing ISIS fighters, it supported them, its war on terrorism an utter hoax.

Its war on Iraq destroyed the cradle of civilization. It was complicit in the looting of precious artifacts from its National Museum in Baghdad.

Its head, Dony George, said looters knew what they wanted, including the priceless 5,000-year-old vase of Warka.

British Museum’s John Curtis called its theft “like stealing the Mona Lisa.” Occupying US authorities did nothing to stop it.

They let ISIS plunder and destroy ancient sites in the country, including Hatra.

UNESCO called its destruction “a turning point in (its) appalling strategy of cultural cleansing…a direct attack against the history of Islamic Arab cities.”

Stealing Iraqi antiquities from museums and archeological sites began after America’s 1991 Gulf War. Iraq’s National Library was looted, centuries old Korans and irreplaceable historical documents stolen.

Wealthy collectors profited hugely, aided and abetted by Washington. The cradle of civilization and many of its treasures no longer exist.

During and after Obama’s naked aggression on Libya, it was looted and destroyed the same way, its historical artifacts stolen, ancient Roman Empire era city Leptis Magna and Phoenician trading post Sabratha terror-bombed.

America bears full responsibility for the looting and destruction of Syria, many of its priceless artifacts now in private collections, its historical heritage systematically plundered.

Wherever America shows up, mass slaughter, destruction, as well as looting national resources and priceless artifacts follow – a longstanding despicable legacy, continuing with no end in sight.

 

Stephen Lendman:

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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Austerity gathers pace in schizophrenic South Africa

NOVANEWS

Image result for Austerity LOGO

The unprecedented contagion of what President Zuma has called ‘gossip and rumour’ around his inner circle threatens the internal stability of the Pretoria regime. The loyalty of many key individuals is being tested. Indeed the ANC’s schizophrenia was amplified recently Zuma himself finally agreed to repay some of the $16 million spent on upgrading his rural palace, Nkandla.

A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria’s political elite, splitting even those who operated tightly together in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts now underway, in a confrontation between the country’s two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. That battle began more than a decade ago, when Mbeki fired Zuma as Deputy President in 2005 after a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.

The revival of the duel comes at a very tense time here, what with student, worker and community protests having intensified last month after the December-January summer break. Repeated currency crashes have left a 30% decline in value over the past year, so the country’s financiers and upper-middle class commentariat are nearly universally applauding Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for maintaining low-grade austerity. The economic threat to this faction is a ‘junk’ label by international credit rating agencies, one which appears imminent and will lead to faster capital flight.

But Gordhan was himself under growing political threat, becoming visibly furious with Zuma’s top police and tax authorities last week, as his parliamentary Budget Speech preparations were interrupted by allegations he once set up a ‘rogue unit’ to spy on Zuma, during the time Gordhan ran the tax agency. The ruling party appears split down the middle with durable loyalty to Zuma, on the one hand, balanced against fear that Gordhan’s misfortunes will reverberate chaotically across the sickly economy on the other.

To make matters even muddier, Zuma – formerly head of the African National Congress (ANC) spy unit during the liberation struggle when Gordhan was amongst his most loyal cohort working from Durban – was transcripts of tapped phone calls between Mbeki’s main crime investigator, Leonard McCarthy, and Bulelani Ngcuka, who was a former prosecutor and the husband of Mbeki’s then Deputy President.

Though it is unclear how much Mbeki knew and endorsed, the two apparently arranged the timing of earlier attacks on Zuma to coincide with Mbeki’s ambition to serve a third term as ANC leader in late 2007. Mbeki’s failure to win support for that bid (as Zuma replaced him in a decisive election) led, by September 2008, to Mbeki’s sacking as state president nine months before his term was due to end. The firing was done in a fit of collective rage by the ANC National Executive just after a Durban judge affirmed that Zuma was being victimised in a political conspiracy.

The main conspirator, McCarthy, was – without any apparent due diligence investigation at the time – quickly moved from Pretoria to Washington in 2008, to become World Bank Vice President: Integrity (sic), with the assistance of Mbeki ally, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel. As McCarthy put it, he needed a makeover to appear ‘squeaky clean.’ He wasn’t, a fact that we are continually reminded of, while the World Bank continues to employ McCarthy on sensitive investigations.

Meanwhile back in South Africa, corruption was spreading like wildfire, and in one futile effort to douse an obvious source, illegal cigarette smuggling, local tax authorities ran foul of Zuma’s spies the recent attack on Gordhan, who before becoming finance minister initially in 2009, was the chief tax commissioner.

The unprecedented contagion of what Zuma last week called ‘gossip and rumour’ around his inner circle threatens the internal stability of the Pretoria regime. The loyalty of many key individuals is being tested. Indeed the ANC’s schizophrenia was amplified two weeks prior to Gordhan’s Budget Speech when, just before his State of the Nation Address on February 11, Zuma himself finally agreed to repay some of the $16 million in state subsidies that were spent on upgrading his rural palace, Nkandla. This about-turn occurred after Zuma compelled ANC parliamentarians to support him when he had refused to ‘pay back the money!’, as opposition politicians long demanded.

While society tried to steady its political feet on this SA Titanic, the economic ship also continued to list dangerously, what with world financial markets roiling the currency and ever-worsening GDP statistics fueling capital flight. In spite of bending over backwards to meet financial markets’ demands for a lower budget deficit (he promised it will be just 2.4% of GDP by 2018, down from 3.8%), Gordhan was the poverty line.

Worse is to come, what with South Africa’s foreign debt having doubled to $145 billion since 2009, with debt/GDP levels at mid-1980s levels. As a result of that worsening vulnerability, the men who really yank Gordhan’s chain work for Standard&Poors, Fitch and Moodys credit rating agencies, and financiers such as New York-based Goldman Sachs. The latter bank helped raid the South African currency on January 11, sending it down 9% to R17.99/$ in just 13 minutes of flash-crash speculation, shortly after 7.3% deficit/GDP rise that year. The agency actually raised South Africa’s credit rating from BBB+ to A-. (With similar wild abandon, Moody’s also on their victims – instead of defunding the POP and replacing it with skilled peace-broking units. But on the other hand, Gordhan slashed $500 million in overall spending on defence, public order and safety services from the 2018 spending projections made by his predecessor.

But it was when Gordhan bragged of the state’s most active spending that leaders of my residential community grew furious. After living on Durban’s seaside Bluff neighbourhood for many years, the highlight of Budget Day for me was reviewing the carnage with the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance in a long strategy session two hours after Gordhan finished speaking. In the basement of a shabby community hall that Gordhan himself once frequented when he was a Durban activist, as rusty fans blew back the city’s humid air at us, two dozen hardened activists of all races, classes, genders and ages mulled over his generosity towards the parastatal corporation Transnet and other behemoths within the local port-petrochemical complex – the activists’ sworn enemies.

Gordhan would not be the first politician accused of pandering to the construction mafia by turning a blind eye to repeated collusion and racist rerouting of the oft-exploding pipeline that doubles petrol-pumping capacity to Johannesburg from the Engen and Shell/BP plants at Africa’s largest refining complex, sandwiching the Indian suburb of Merebank, whose Settlers Primary School has an asthma rate that was not long ago measured at 52%, the world’s highest. Last month’s cost estimate dubious) commitment to fighting climate change. He continued, “We need to accelerate infrastructure investment in the period ahead. So we must broaden the range and scope of our co-funding partnerships with private sector investors.”

Worst of all, in terms of violating both climate and economic commonsense, Gordhan bragged about Transnet’s financing of the top priority Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission project: the rail-to-ship transfer of 18 billion tonnes of coal in coming decades, dragged over mountains new heavy-duty railroads. That Waterburg-Richards Bay rail line – also costing upwards of $20 billion – may have looked profitable in 2008 with coal at $170/tonne, but now the price is $50/tonne. Yet the project trundles on, fertilising the northern areas of the country – including an area not far from Nkandla – with white elephant manure.

Further south in Durban, Toyota boss Johan van Zyl (whose plant – Africa’s largest – is adjacent to the old airport site) complained of frustrating delays in getting $7 billion Dig Out Port up and running back in 2012: “If return on investment is the line of thinking we may never see the infrastructure.” Similarly, amidst rumours of a two-year Dig Out Port delay last December, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Zeph Ndlovu world-leading class struggle.

And this tearing of the social fabric by one faction of the ruling party, backed by the country’s core bourgeois interests and petit-bourgeois cheerleaders, makes the overall split between Gordhan’s technocrats and Zuma’s populists all the less appealing. Some might be tempted to hope that both factions succeed – in ripping each other’s power bases to shreds.

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What motivates US policy toward I$raHell?

NOVANEWS

Hillary Clinton kowtows to Israel

By Lawrence Davidson
Richard Falk

In early March Professor Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, wrote an essay explaining that American foreign policy generated by Democratic Party presidents has been much to blame for the disastrous fate of the Palestinians.

The Democrats have allowed themselves to be suborned by Zionist special interests for reasons we will explore below. It is Democratic officials who also verbally attack any American who stands up for the rights of Palestinians, and do so, if anything, more strongly than their Republican competitors.

Falk worked tirelessly from 2008 to 2014 to bring about justice for the Palestinian people – something that, if achieved, would have raised the esteem of both the UN and the US among millions of Arabs. Officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama, including national security advisor Susan Rice and current US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, repaid Falk for his efforts with insulting ad hominem attacks.

For instance, Power celebrated Falk’s departure from his post by asserting that, “his publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the UN’s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council. The United States welcomes Mr Falk’s departure, which is long overdue.”

It is to be noted that at no time did Professor Falk issue a report, or even make a public statement, that was not based on documented fact and a clear understanding of international law. One suspects that Ambassador Power knew this to be so and that her vitriol against Falk was the act of an amoral political agent of an amoral government.

Professor Falk sees much of the US government’s policy in the Middle East as a consequence of a State Department long populated by Zionists along with the power and influence of an Israeli-directed bloc of special interests. President Obama’s own efforts at Middle East policy formulation began, according to Falk, with the rhetorical assertion that the United States is “different because we adhere to the rule of law and act in accord with our values in foreign policy.” Yet this claim has always been false, and very quickly the president’s words lost meaning as lobby pressure bent policy (with the singular exception of the Iran nuclear deal) to the will of the Zionist cause.

Hillary Clinton

Watching the distressing kowtowing this past week to that same lobby by Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has proven Richard Falk undeniably correct.

In her speech to the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an organisation which, in truth, functions in the US as the agent of a foreign power (Israel), Clinton proclaimed the following:

  • That as president she will take the US-Israeli relationship “to the next level”, which entails lavishing on that state most of America’s latest defensive and offensive weaponry and the negotiating of yet another defence treaty – a “10-year defence memorandum of understanding”.
  • This is allegedly necessary because, Israel “faces three evolving threats: Iran’s continued aggression, a rising tide of extremism across a wide arc of instability and the growing effort to delegitimise Israel on the world stage”. Here she refers to the boycott or BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. These threats make “the US-Israel alliance more indispensable than ever”. Juan Cole’s rebuttal of Clinton’s assertions is particularly good. He points out that when the situation is looked at soberly, Israel has no conventional security threats, including from Iran, that necessitates billions of dollars of American weapons and a binding defence memorandum. Cole accurately points out that the “rising tide of extremism” is, to a good extent, a function of the US invasion of Iraq (which both Clinton and the Israelis supported), and the dissolution of Syria (which has become a national security goal of Israel). Finally, by describing BDS as a movement that must be suppressed, she is endangering US constitutional rights.
  • Clinton extols the US-Israel alliance as one of “shared values”. She describes Israel as “a bastion of liberty”. This is de rigueurpropaganda and, for the Palestinians, has no convincing connection to reality. Clinton then qualifies her dubious assertion by asking, “will we, as Americans and as Israelis, stay true to the shared democratic values that have always been at the heart of our relationship”? She is no doubt including “America” in this question as a reference to the problematic behaviour of Donald Trump and his supporters. However, her question, as it applies to Israel, has already been answered.

Gideon Levy

The well-known Israeli journalist Gideon Levy was in Washington DC last week and had an interview with Max Blumenthal. In it he warned of just how far Israel has drifted from “democratic values” as well as how complicit American liberals, such as Hillary Clinton, are in the process of Israeli moral and political corruption.

Levy tells us that

American liberals should know… that they are supporting the first sign of fascism in Israel. I don’t call it yet fascism, but [the] first signs [are] very clear… And America keeps financing it. This should be known and should be recognised by any American, mainly the liberals, who care where their taxpayer money goes, and so much of it.

I mean, there is no source of hope right now. There’s no alternative to Netanyahu… The atmosphere, as I said, is becoming less and less tolerant, and the standing of democracy is minimal and many times very twisted.

Levy then takes particular aim at the substantial, if unofficial, US support for Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

Occupation is American values? Occupation serves the American interest? Doesn’t America see that it pays a hell of a price for this automatic and blind support of Israel and of the occupation project? Is it reasonable that, in the 21st century, the United States will finance an apartheid regime in the occupied territories? All those questions should be raised.

Levy is by no means alone at raising the alarm about where Zionism has led Israeli society. For a more detailed treatment of the intolerance and nascent fascism showing its face, the reader can take a look at Israeli Professor David Schulman’s Israel: The Broken Silence, a review of six exposes on Israeli society and behaviour. This has just been published in the 7 April 2016 edition of New York Review of Books. Schulman concludes that “The far right in Israel very readily opts for totalitarian modes of thinking and acting, and it’s not clear who is left to stop it.” It certainly will not be Hillary Clinton.

Conclusion

Who raises objections to the consequences of US complicity in Israel’s political disaster? People such as Richard Falk and Gideon Levy do and thereby keep alive some semblance of rational discourse about the place of democratic values in US foreign policy formulation. However, despite their rhetoric, liberal politicians like Hillary Clinton have clearly abandoned those values when it comes to any reference to Israel and its behaviour.

What this means is that the substance of Clinton’s speech at the AIPAC convention was mere propaganda – an effort to rationalise, or perhaps simply to cover up, deeper and more base motives. Therefore, if supporting “shared democratic values” is not what motivates Clinton’s kowtowing, what does? The answer is naked political opportunism.

Here is the formula: (1) American politics runs on domestically garnered money, and lots of it: running for office, just about any office from dog catcher to president, requires constant financial solicitation; (2) special interests, be they economic concerns, professional organisations, or ideologically motivated groups are a major source of these funds; (3) in exchange for their largesse, such interests require political support for their causes. Here enters, among others, the Zionists, whose deep pockets, ability to shape media messages, and rally voters, both Jewish and Christian, are well known. An alliance with the Zionists is politically profitable while incurring their anger is sometimes politically fatal.

Of course, such an alliance means the abandonment of any objective or even rational consideration of US policy toward Israel and much of the rest of the Middle East. And indeed, the national interest relating to this increasingly dangerous part of the world has long ago been tossed overboard. It has been replaced by the parochial interests of wealthy, well-organised and influential ideologues.

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Land Day: Palestinian anti-colonial struggle against land confiscation, for freedom and liberation

NOVANEWS

land-day

samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | March 30, 2016

30 March 2016 marks the 40th Land Day, a day of Palestinian struggle against settler colonialism and celebration of the connection of the Palestinian people to the land that continues despite expropriation and dispossession. The day marks the anniversary of the mass upsurge inside Occupied Palestine ’48 on 30 March 1976, in response to an Israeli state attempt to confiscate over 20,000 dunums of land from Palestinians in the Galilee; like today, Israeli “citizenship” has never spared Palestinians from land confiscation and dispossession on their soil.

land-day-3Thousands of Palestinians in ’48, those with Israeli citizenship imposed upon them by the state, who remained on the land after 80% of Palestinians were expelled in the Nakba, rose up with a general strike and mass popular protests in the most visible resistance to the Israeli state and its policies of dispossession since the Nakba. They were met with massive state violence, and the killing of six Palestinians – Kheir Mohammad Salim Yasin, Khadija Qasem Shawahneh, Raja Hussein Abu Rayya, Khader Eid Mahmoud Khalayleh, Muhsin Hasan Said Taha and Raafat Ali Al-Zheiri – by the Israeli army as they marched to defend their land.

Just as Palestinians in ’48 face state violence, land confiscation, and the racist policies of Zionism, they also confront imprisonment, arrests and repression. There are currently 75 Palestinian “security” prisoners from Occupied Palestine ’48, housed with fellow Palestinians and facing the same restrictions and denial of rights. Karim Younis, the longest-imprisoned Palestinian prisoner, is from Occupied Palestine ’48 as is his cousin Maher; indeed, six of the seven Palestinian prisoners imprisoned over 30 years for their role in the Palestinian resistance are from Occupied Palestine ’48: Karim and Maher Younis, Walid Daqqa, Rushdi Abu Mukh, Ibrahim Abu Mukh and Ibrahim Bayadseh. Palestinian theater Al-Midan in Haifa was subjected to state scrutiny, repression and denial of funds for its exhibition of Palestinian culture, which included the theatrical performace of a short story by Daqqa.

Karim Younis
Karim Younis

They have been consistently denied release in both prisoner exchanges with the Palestinian resistance and in Oslo-negotiations-based prisoner releases, as the Israeli state attempts to separate them as “Israeli citizens” from their fellow Palestinian prisoners in releases and labels them a domestic matter. At the same time, they are housed with fellow Palestinian prisoners, denied family visits, forced to see family only through glass, and held in solitary confinement while Israeli “criminal” prisoners – and even the rare Israeli Jewish prisoner held as a “security” prisoner for extreme-right violence – are granted temporary releases, their sentences limited and lowered, and allowed lengthy family visits, furloughs, and conjugal visits.

Palestinian prisoners from Occupied Palestine ’48 include the long-time prisoners held since the 1980s as well as Lena Jarbouni, the longest-serving woman Palestinian prisoner; Ameer Makhoul, the imprisoned director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations; and Asmaa Hamdan, the 19-year-old Palestinian woman ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial for sending a text message to her family.

Lina Jarbouni
Lina Jarbouni

The roots of the Israeli military system currently imposed upon Palestinians in the West Bank were derived from British colonial military orders imposed on Palestine – and then on the martial law imposed on Palestinians in occupied Palestine ’48 until 1966, used to undermine all attempts of Palestinians organizing inside their occupied homeland to organize and defend their land.

For example, the Al-Ard movement, which was composed of Palestinians in ’48, founded in 1958, was outlawed in 1964; its very name highlighted the centrality of the land and the struggle to preserve of its Palestinian and Arab identity. The criminalization of the movement only reinforced the defense of the land as central to a movement of indigenous people struggling to defend “the imprisoned land” from colonization.

Cultural resistance was critical for the Palestinians of ’48. Describing the growth of resistance poetry, Ghassan Kanafani wrote, “Many popular poets were put in prison or confined under severe restrictions. And as the trend of popular poetry grew and expanded, the occupying forces extended their tyrannical, measures, killed some poets and prohibited all Arab gatherings. Such measures could not anyhow uproot this trend of resistance but rather kept it dormant for almost five years to burst anew with intense force and vitality.” Poets like Samih al-Qasim and Mahmoud Darwish were imprisoned; the resistance poetry of the prison became a major contribution of the Palestinians of ’48 to Palestinian culture.

Palestinian organizations were outlawed while Palestinians were denied freedom of movement, speech and association; at the same time, the confiscation of Palestinian land continued in an ongoing Nakba; by 1993, over 80% of lands under the control of Palestinians after the Nakba in Israel were confiscated. Palestinians in ’48 were, and are, an integral part of the modern Palestinian revolution as well as fellow victims of Israel’s repression and racist violence.

Palestinians in ’48 are at the center of organizing Palestinian support for all prisoners; as most Palestinian prisoners are held within the 1948 occupied areas, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Palestinian political leaders and activists engage in visits, demonstrations outside prisons, and campaigns of support. The Palestinian movement in ’48 has played a critical role in supporting, publicizing and defending Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli hospitals, including Mohammed al-Qeeq, Khader Adnan, Mohammed Allan and many others.

land-day-6Today, 40 years later, Palestinians throughout occupied Palestine continue to resist and confront settlement expansion, land confiscation, racism, Zionism and apartheid. From the expansion of settlements, to the destruction of villages and the confiscation of land, to the ban on Palestinian agricultural products entering Jerusalem, to new racist laws proposed daily atop a racist foundation, the Israeli state continues – and is intensifying – its policy of attempting to sever the Palestinian people from the land of Palestine.

Land Day is a day of anti-colonial struggle for all Palestinians: for Palestinian prisoners, struggling for freedom in their homeland; for Palestinians in ’48, struggling against apartheid, racism, and dispossession; for Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, struggling against ethnic cleansing, occupation, home demolitions, land confiscation and settlement construction; for Palestinians in Gaza, struggling against siege and the occupation of the skies, seas and borders; for Palestinians in exile and diaspora everywhere, struggling for the right of return and the liberation of the land of Palestine. It is also an international day of anti-colonial struggle that salutes the struggles of indigenous people in North America, Australia, New Zealand and everywhere confronting settler colonialism, genocide and racism, and the liberation movements everywhere confronting imperialism and exploitation of land, people and resources.

As the extreme-right Zionist government of Netanyahu, Ayelet Shaked, Naftali Bennet, Miri Regev, Moshe Ya’alon, Gilad Erdan, Uri Ariel and their compatriots intensify the repression of Palestinians in ’48 and throughout Palestine, it is critical more than ever to intensify our efforts to defend the Palestinian people and Palestinian land, including the campaign to free all Palestinian prisoners. The international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions, and the Palestinian call that has inspired and led that campaign, highlights the struggle of Palestinians in ’48 for justice and equality as central to Palestinian freedom and justice in Palestine. On the 40th Land Day, we must escalate global boycott and BDS campaigns and the international isolation of Israel – and the corporations, like G4S, that profit from its oppression and racism.

The occupation of Palestinian land is the central facet of the settler colonial Zionist project in Palestine; Land Day marks the unity of the Palestinian land, people, and cause, everywhere inside and outside Palestine, for defending and liberating the land and people of Palestine.

Historical References:

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Less than 5% of new flats built in Palestinian areas in I$raHell last year

NOVANEWS

Image result for NAZI LOGO CARTOON

Palestinian residents in the occupied 1948 received only 4.6 per cent of the newly built apartments during 2015, a reported issued yesterday revealed. The report, which was issued by the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in ‘Israel’ Adalah, said that it monitored government bidding for building new apartments in 2015 and found that the Nazi regime is adopting “racial” policies in this regard and it resulted in a “severe residential crisis” in Arab villages and cities in the Nazi state.

According to the report, which was prepared by the Lawyer Mohamed Bassam from Adalah, the overwhelming majority of land and houses marketed during the year were specified for Jewish communities.

Statistics showed that the Arab residents in .’Israel’ only had 4.6 per cent of the marketed houses during 2015; however, Arabs make up 20 per cent of the ‘Israeli’ population.

Only 2.5 per cent of the apartments marketed with discounted prices were available to Arabs.

Regarding the number of bids for industrial zones, the report showed that the Arab cities and villages received only two of 20, and five out of 42 bids to establish commercial zones.

Adalah warned in its report that a solution for the residential crisis of the Palestinian community in ‘Israel’ will never be achieved unless ‘Israel’ reforms the historical “deep racial” plans adopted against Arabs.

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