Archive | December 7th, 2016

Purported international solidarity is devaluating Palestine

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By Ramona Wadi 

Another symbolic international day for Palestinian rights has degenerated into the usual stale observations and recommendations that do little other than try to impart a semblance of balance between the coloniser and the colonised. Perhaps the UN has preferred to remain loyal to the monstrous history it spawned by approving the Partition Plan on 29 November 1947, rather than address its complicity in the dispossession, ethnic cleansing and displacement of the Palestinians.

Departing from a jeopardising premise, Fiji’s Peter Thomson presided over the 71st session of the UN General Assembly and declared that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “fundamental to our efforts to realise the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and to ensure that they are able to enjoy lives of dignity, opportunity, prosperity and equality.” The Palestinian people have endured a history of premeditated killing for decades because the UN upholds obscurity as a priority over the anti-colonial struggle. Peace, therefore, can be eliminated from the convenient rhetoric as it is nothing but a euphemism for oblivion in the context of Israeli colonial violence and international acceptance and complicity.

Not to be outdone, the Head of the EU Delegation to the UN, João Vale de Almeida, presented a summarised version of the perpetual concerns and condemnations, but added a slight variation to the usual rhetoric. The EU, he claimed, is “alarmed by the advancement in the Knesset of the ‘Settlement Regularisation Bill’ which would allow for the ex post ‘legalisation’ of Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank and de facto confiscation of private Palestinian land.” It is mystifying, to say the least, how an international institution that is normally so well-informed can express “alarm” over violations that have occurred blatantly and in a clear, calculated sequence following the original Zionist plan for Greater Israel. There was more likely to be advance knowledge and acquiescence, not alarm, over the proposed legislation.

Almeida made another obfuscating comment regarding Gaza: “Militant activity and the dire situation in Gaza feed general instability and constitute a recipe for renewed conflict.” He provided no context for the Palestinian resistance in Gaza; no mention of how Israel’s Operation Protective Edge destroyed the enclave and displaced Palestinians in a space that is completely besieged. Hamas “and other militant groups” are also urged to stop “the illicit arms build-up.” Presumably the EU, like Israel, wishes there to be a defenceless population that is completely stripped of the right to defend itself against Israel’s state of the art military technology. Almeida’s statement encourages the abuse of Palestinian civilians by Israel whenever it chooses to field test its latest weapons on live targets before marketing them internationally and thus exposing international hypocrisy with regards to alleged support for Palestinian rights.

Perhaps the symbolic commemoration of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” should be scrapped, since the UN, the EU and other international institutions are incapable of articulating the trajectory between the initial and the current colonial violence against Palestinians. All of the futile statements which simply rehash decades of other repetitive rhetoric do not help the Palestinians in any way. Sporting a keffiyeh for the macabre day, which is a backdoor commemoration of the UN Partition Plan as well as purported international solidarity, is humiliating, not a show of support. In the absence of a commitment to support Palestine’s anti-colonial struggle, one can conclude that the international agenda for this “day of support” is to devaluate Palestine and downgrade it even further from a symbolic presence to a passive memory.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Purported international solidarity is devaluating Palestine

The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective

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Center for Constitutional Rights 

While there has been recent criticism of those taking the position that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians, there is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion. Prominent scholars of the international law crime of genocide and human rights authorities take the position that Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian people could constitute a form of genocide. Those policies range from the 1948 mass killing and displacement of Palestinians to a half-century of military occupation and, correspondingly, the discriminatory legal regime governing Palestinians, repeated military assaults on Gaza, and official Israeli statements expressly favoring the elimination of Palestinians.

Genocide is a term that has both sociological and legal meaning. The term genocide was coined in 1944 by a Jewish Polish legal scholar, Raphael Lemkin. For Lemkin, “the term does not necessarily signify mass killings.” He explained:

More often [genocide] refers to a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight. The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion. It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity. When these means fail the machine gun can always be utilized as a last resort. Genocide is directed against a national group as an entity and the attack on individuals is only secondary to the annihilation of the national group to which they belong.[1]

Since Lemkin’s first invocation of the term, it has gained political, social, and legal meaning. For political scientists, historians, and sociologists, genocide is “understood as a major type of collective violence, with a distinctive place in the spectrum of political violence, armed conflict, and war, of which it is usually seen as a part.”[2]

From a legal perspective, genocide, like the crime against humanity of persecution, is an international crime distinguished by the specific intent to discriminate against a group on recognized grounds through a series of acts or omissions often reflected in and achieved through State policies. While different in degree, both genocide and persecution “[reduce] a person to their identification with or membership in a group,” but also “[attack] the group itself.”[3]  Persecution criminalizes the denial of fundamental rights for members of the group, and genocide criminalizes the most extreme stage of discrimination: efforts to actually destroy the group.

According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,[4] genocide includes various acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” as such, including:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.[5]

This definition is reflected in Article 6 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has jurisdiction over crimes occurring on the territory of the State of Palestine since June 13, 2014.[6]

The Genocide Convention was written in the aftermath of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, especially to deter and prevent such horrors in the future and, failing that, to punish those responsible. The Convention thus provided a legal framework that clearly identifies the essence of the crime of genocide, regardless of the political, social, or cultural permutations in which the crime may be attempted or carried out and regardless of the specific qualities, stage, or scale of the genocidal process. The Holocaust set the terms by which a form of general or pervasive violence against a group might be legitimately termed “genocide” as a general sociological concept as it need not “imply a comparison to any other specific case.”[7]

Scholars of genocide have distinguished it as a crime different from other forms of war, killing, violence, discrimination, and repression. “Genocidal action aims not just to contain, control, or subordinate a population, but to shatter and break up its social existence. Thus genocide is defined, not by a particular form of violence, but by general and pervasive violence.”[8] They note that settler colonial regimes are structurally prone to genocide, and may indulge in “genocidal moments” when they become frustrated by the resistance of a colonized or occupied people.[9]

The term “genocide” has been used to describe the mass murder of Armenians by the Ottomans, Stalin’s expulsion of Chechens, Ingush Tartars, and Jews from the U.S.S.R., the removal of Jews and Hungarians from Romania, and Italy’s efforts to clear Slovenes and Croats from the Dalmatian coast.[10] There have been successful prosecutions of individuals for genocide arising out of efforts to destroy the Tutsi population in Rwanda in 1994[11] and Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995.[12]

Numerous prominent human rights authorities, advocates, and scholars have claimed that Israel’s policies and actions with respect to the Palestinian people have amounted to a form of genocide.

Expulsion and Killing of Palestinians in 1948

With respect to the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, there has been a robust scholarly debate about whether the settlement of Jews and the expulsion of Palestinians in Mandate Palestine could be described as genocide. Sociologist Martin Shaw, one of the most distinguished modern scholars of genocide, has written, “We can conclude that pre-war Zionism included the development of an incipiently genocidal mentality towards Arab society.”[13] “Israel entered without an overarching plan, so that its specific genocidal thrusts developed situationally and incrementally, through local as well as national decisions. On this account, this was a partly decentred, networked genocide, developing in interaction with the Palestinian and Arab enemy, in the context of war.”[14]

In 2010, the Journal of Genocide Studies hosted a conversation between Martin Shaw and another prominent scholar of genocide, Omer Bartov, on whether the term “genocide” could be reasonably applied to the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, particularly the expulsion and killing of Arabs in 1948.[15] The two scholars took very different positions on the question, but the journal rejected complaints from some quarters that it was an illegitimate, or worse, a bigoted question to pose and debate at all.[16]

Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, testified in 2013 that “The Palestinians have been the victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”[17] He argued that:

For over the past six and one-half decades, the Israeli government and its predecessors in law – the Zionist agencies, forces, and terrorist gangs – have ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political, religious, economic, and cultural campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, racial, and different religious group (Jews versus Muslims and Christians) constituting the Palestinian people.[18]

Long-Term Military Occupation of Palestinian People

When the international community ratified legal rules that would regulate the actions of occupying powers while also protecting the rights of occupied peoples and nations/states, it was understood that military occupation would be a short-lived necessity attendant to armed conflict, and that occupying forces would be withdrawn at the end of the conflict.[19] Israel’s prolonged belligerent occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza for 50 years far exceeds the kind of occupation that animated the creation of legal rules of occupation contained in international law. Given the seemingly permanent nature of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, some human rights experts, including Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, have warned of an “incremental genocide” of Palestinians and the ultimate destruction of Palestinians as a national group.[20] This “incremental genocide” through the policies and practices that have both sustained and served as the hallmarks of Israel’s occupation is accomplished, they argue, by a normalization of the Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory and the exile or absorption of the national group of people who identify as Palestinian. International law is clear that an occupying power may not annex the people or territory it occupies.[21]

The late human rights lawyer and Center for Constitutional Rights Board President Michael Ratner also charged Israel with committing “incremental genocide” against the Palestinian people: “There’s no doubt again here this is ‘incremental genocide,’ as Ilan Pappé says. It’s been going on for a long time, the killings, the incredibly awful conditions of life, the expulsions that have gone on from Lydda in 1947 and ‘48, when 700 or more villages in Palestine were destroyed, and in the expulsions that continued from that time until today. It’s correct and important to label it for what it is.”[22] He argued further, “I want to emphasize today [that] these killings are part of a broader set of inhuman acts by Israel constituting international crimes, carried out by Israel over many years, going back to at least 1947 and 1948. They include crimes that aren’t talked about that much in the media or the press, the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and apartheid. These crimes can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court and are defined there.”[23]

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a nongovernmental “people’s body” made up of prominent international human rights experts and advocates, convened between November 2010 and September 2014 to investigate the question of human rights violations in the context of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.[24] It took testimony and deliberated specifically on the question of whether Israel may have committed genocide in relation to the Palestinian people. The jury concluded that some Israeli citizens and leaders may have been guilty in several instances of the separate crime of incitement to genocide, which is specified in Article 3(c) of the Genocide Convention. “The cumulative effect of the long-standing regime of collective punishment in Gaza appears to inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group in Gaza. The Tribunal emphasises the potential for a regime of persecution to become genocidal in effect.”[25]

Military Assaults on Gazan Population

With respect to Israel’s most recent military offensive, the so-called “Operation Protective Edge” launched against Gaza in the summer of 2014, prominent human rights authorities expressed concern that the campaign constituted a violation of international humanitarian law as contained in the Geneva Conventions:

  • Amnesty International issued a statement proclaiming “an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation is essential to break the culture of impunity which perpetuates the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The case for such action is made all the more compelling in the light of the ongoing serious violations of international humanitarian law being committed by all parties to the current hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel.”[26]
  • The ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, and the U.N. Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide issued a statement two weeks into the 2014 offensive that they were “disturbed by the flagrant use of hate speech in the social media, particularly against the Palestinian population,” finding that “individuals have disseminated messages that could be dehumanising to the Palestinians and have called for the killing of members of this group,” while “remind[ing] all that incitement to commit atrocity crimes is prohibited under international law.”[27]
  • Al-Haq, the oldest Palestinian Human Rights organization, found that serious violations of international law were committed in the course of the 2014 Israeli offensive against Gaza.[28] Al-Haq, along with other Palestinian human rights organizations the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Al-Mezan, and Aldameer, submitted a legal file to the International Criminal Court urging it to open an investigation and prosecution into the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the course of Israel’s 2014 Gaza offensive.[29] The crimes suggested for prosecution by these human rights organizations include genocide.
  • Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza during the 2014 Israeli military offensive against Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”. [30]
  • Others who have charged that Israel committed genocide during Operation Cast Lead include Bolivian President Evo Morales, who recalled that country’s ambassador from Israel. He stated, “What is happening in Palestine is genocide.”[31]
  • Author and activist Naomi Wolf wrote, “I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust and I know genocide when I see it.”[32]

Israeli Government Statements Targeting Palestinians

Finally, prominent Israeli politicians have publicly called for action against the Palestinian people that unequivocally meets the definition of genocide under the 1948 Convention. For instance, in February 2008, Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defense minister, declared that increasing tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip could bring on themselves what he called a shoah, or holocaust, “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”[33]

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked posted a statement on Facebook in June 2014 claiming that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and called for the destruction of Palestine, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” Her post also called for the killing of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”[34]

In August 2014, Moshe Feiglin, then-deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, called for the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza and offered a detailed plan for shipping Palestinians living in Gaza across the world. Specifically, he envisioned a scenario where the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would find areas on the Sinai border to establish “tent encampments… until relevant emigration destinations are determined.” He further suggested that the IDF would then “exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain.”[35] He subsequently wrote in an op-ed, “After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.”[36] He continued, “Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.”

Conclusion

Prominent human rights advocates and scholars have argued that the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights law, genocide being among them.

Download a PDF of this document here.


[1] Raphael Lemkin, Genocide – A Modern Crime, 4 Free World 39 (1945), available at: http://www.preventgenocide.org/lemkin/freeworld1945.htm (emphasis added).

[2] Martin Shaw, Genocide, Oxford Bibliography, September 30, 2013, available at: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756384/obo-9780199756384-0029.xml.

[3] Helen Brady and Ryan Liss. Historical Origins of International Law Vol. 3, “The Evolution of Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity,”FICHL Publication Series No. 22 (2015) p. 554, available at https://www.fichl.org/fileadmin/fichl/FICHL_PS_22_web.pdf. Notably, “some scholars suggest[ ] that any distinction [between genocide and persecution] has effectively disappeared,” with the two crimes “offer[ing] two different but related visions of the same harm: in short, a crime against the individual as a member of a group (persecution) or a crime against the group itself (genocide).” Id. at 491.

[4] Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260, and entered into force on 12 January 1951, available at: https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf The Genocide Convention has 147 signatories, including the United States, Israel and Palestine.

[5] Genocide Convention, Article II.

[6] Declaration Accepting the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Dec. 31, 2014, available at http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/PIDS/press/Palestine_A_12-3.pdf. On January 6, 2015, the United Nations Secretary General, acting in his capacity as depository for the Rome Statute, accepted Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute. United Nations, Depository Notification, Ref: C.N.13.2015.TREATIES-XVIII.10, 6 Jan. 2015, available at https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2015/CN.13.2015-Eng.pdf. On January 16, 2015, the Prosecutor of the ICC, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, opened a preliminary examination into the situation of Palestine.

[7] Martin Shaw in Martin Shaw & Omer Bartov, The Question Of Genocide In Palestine, 1948: An Exchange Between Martin Shaw And Omer Bartov, 12 Journal of Genocide Research 243, 244 (2010).

[8] Martin Shaw, Palestine In An International Historical Perspective On Genocide, 9 Holy Land Studies 1, 5 (2010).

[9] A. Dirk Moses, An Antipodean Genocide? The Origins Of The Genocidal Moment In The Colonization Of Australia, 2 J. of Genocide Research 89, 90 (2010).

[10] Martin Shaw, Palestine In An International Historical Perspective On Genocide, 9 Holy Land Studies 1, 9 (2010).

[11] See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, ICTR, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/tjug/en/160324_judgement.pdf.

[12] See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić, ICTY, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/tjug/en/160324_judgement.pdf.

[13] Martin Shaw, Palestine In An International Historical Perspective On Genocide, 9 Holy Land Studies 1, 13 (2010), noting the comments of the President of the Zionist Organization Chaim Weizmann’s comment in 1941 “if half a million Arabs could be transferred, two million Jews could be put in their place.”

[14] Id. at 19.

[15] Martin Shaw in Martin Shaw & Omer Bartov, The Question Of Genocide In Palestine, 1948: An Exchange Between Martin Shaw And Omer Bartov, 12 Journal of Genocide Research 243, 244 (2010).

[16] See Gal Beckerman, Top Genocide Scholars Battle Over How To Characterize Israel’s Actions, Forward, February 16, 2011, available at: http://forward.com/news/135484/top-genocide-scholars-battle-over-how-to-character/.

[17] Professor Francis A. Boyle, The Palestinian Genocide by Israel Before

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, August 21-24, 2013, available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2339254.

[18] Id. at 3.

[19] See Geneva Convention III: Articles 1-4; Geneva Convention IV 1907: Section Three – Occupied Territories – Articles 47-56; Geneva Convention IV 1949: Section Three – Occupied Territories – Articles 47-78; Additional Protocols I and II.

[20] Ilan Pappé, A Brief History of Israel’s Incremental Genocide, in ON PALESTINE (Noam Chompsky and Ilan Pappé ed.; Haymarket 2015) pp. 147-154.  See also, Steve Lendman, Israel’s Slow-Motion Genocide in Occupied Palestine, in THE PLIGHT OF THE PALESTINIANS (William A. Cook ed., Palgrave 2010)

[21]  Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”  See also: Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949 Section III, Art. 47, “Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.”

[22] Michael Ratner, UN’s Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide, The Real News, July 27, 2013, available at: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12155.

[23] IdSee also Saree Makdisi, Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (Norton 2010) for the notion of a “slow motion” extension and consolidation of the genocidal aspects of 1948.

[24] Russell Tribunal On Palestine, “About,” http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/about-rtop.

[25] http://www.russfound.org/RToP/RToP.htm.

[26] Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories: The International Criminal Court must investigate war crimes, August 1, 2014 http://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE15/019/2014/en/.

[27] UN, Department of Public Information, Statement by the Special Advisers of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms. Jennifer Welsh, on the Situation in Israel and in the Palestinian Occupied Territory of Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014, available at

www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/pdf/24.07.2014%20Special%20Advisers’%20Statement%20on%20the%20situation%20in%20Israel%20and%20the%20occupied%20Gaza%20strip.pdf.

[28] See, Divide and Conquer: A Legal Analysis of Israel’s 2014 Military Offensive Against the Gaza Strip, 2015, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/publications/publications-index/item/divide-and-conquer.

[29] Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Deliver Submission to the International Criminal Court on Alleged Israeli War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during 2014 Gaza offensive, Nov. 23, 2015, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/targets/international-criminal-court-icc/998-palestinian-human-rights-organisations-deliver-submission-to-the-international-criminal-court-on-alleged-israeli-war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity-during-2014-gaza-offensive.

[30] Zachary Davies Boren, Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’, The Independent, August 24, 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/holocaust-survivors-and-their-descendants-accuse-israel-of-genocide-9687994.html.

[31] Bolivian president: Israel air strikes on Gaza is ‘genocide’, July 16, 2014, http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-07-16/bolivian-president-israel-air-strikes-of-gaza-is-genocide.

[32] Naomi Wolf walked out of synagogue when they had nothing to say about Gaza massacre, July 22, 2014, http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/synagogue-nothing-massacre.html.

[33] Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’, The Guardian, February 29, 2008, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/29/israelandthepalestinians1.

[34] Text of Shaked’s Facebook post (in Hebrew), since deleted, is available here: https://electronicintifada.net/sites/default/files/styles/original_800w/public/2014-07/ayelet-shaked-facebook-post-30-june-2014-genocide.jpg?itok=k5yvVqQp&timestamp=1448949295.

[35] Jill Reilly, Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’, Daily Mail, August 4, 2014, available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715466/Israeli-official-calls-concentration-camps-Gaza-conquest-entire-Gaza-Strip-annihilation-fighting-forces-supporters.html.

[36] Moshe Feiglin, My Outline for a Solution in Gaza, Arutz Sheve, August 15, 2014, available here: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15326#.VCLljPldXTo.

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FIDEL CASTRO’s Letter to President Roosevelt

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Letter from Fidel Castro to FDR, 1940, pgs 2&3 00968_2003_002

I’ve been fascinated by historic letters and correspondence for some time; and I wrote a post covering some of this a while ago.

Letters, particularly communications never meant for public consumption, provide a fascinating insight into significant historic or cultural events, times or figures. They also can help to humanise certain figures – both historic or contemporary – who might otherwise seem like remote, distant characters or one-dimensional archetypes.

There are few world figures who have acquired the stature or aura of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who surely ranks as one of the most famous, divisive and debated world figures of the twentieth century. People have analysed his speeches, his actions, his alliances, over and over again, and come to wildly differing conclusions or opinions. With someone like Castro – particularly if you don’t live in or have any connection to Cuba – the enduring, iconic image of the man is probably more powerful than the nitty-gritty details of the reality.

This is natural, of course: reality is complicated, messy, imprecise, whereas symbols and icons are neat and simple.

Sometimes, when someone becomes so powerful as a symbol of something, it can be difficult to get around the symbol and form a more down-to-earth view. Castro is the perfect example of that, because the symbol of the towering Anti-Imperialist figure who no one could kill has become so enduring and so powerful. It is also impossible to think of Castro without the signature beard and cigar: frankly, we can imagine that he came out of the womb in a cloud of cigar smoke and fully bearded.

But he wasn’t always a big, imposing figure puffing cigars and engaging in grand, anti-imperialist tirades. He was once just a poor, little boy in Cuba. And when he was 12 years old, Fidel Castro wrote a letter to then US President Franklin Roosevelt (source).

In it, the future Cuban Leader and figurehead asked Roosevelt for a $10 dollar bill, claiming he wanted one because he had never seen one before. In the handwritten letter, the young Castro also congratulated the president on his re-election. The letter, written in faltering English, is clearly in the language of a boy and, now preserved in US government archives, is a fascinating relic of the twentieth century. The letter was written in November 1940.

The most amusing part of the short letter is the young Castro offering the American President access to his country’s iron for use in constructing American ships. The child-like offer appears at the end of the letter, in a kind of ‘PS’; ‘If you want iron to make your ships,’ he wrote, ‘I will show to you the bigest (minas) of iron of the land. They are in Mayari Oriente Cuba.’

President Roosevelt apparently didn’t respond to the letter; and he may not have ever even seen it. And whoever did originally see that letter from the random Cuban boy obviously had no conception of who that boy would grow up to be and how it would, at one point, bring America to the brink of destruction in its conflict with the Soviet Union.

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Zio-Nazi nationalists undermine meaning of ‘remembering the Holocaust’

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‘Israeli’ nationalists undermine meaning of ‘remembering the Holocaust’

By Yves Engler ·

Is “remembering the Nazi Holocaust and where anti-Semitism can lead” a good thing? Unfortunately, thanks to people who constantly cite this horrible genocide in order to justify the illegal, immoral and anti-human behaviour of the Israeli state, one must answer, “it depends.”

Drawing attention to the Nazi Holocaust and anti-Semitism in Canada today often reinforces, rather than undermines, oppression and discrimination. This perverse reality was on display at two recent events in Toronto.

At a semi-annual Ryerson Student Union meeting, a Hillel member pushed a resolution calling on the union to promote Holocaust Education Week in conjunction with United Jewish Appeal-Toronto, which marked Israel’s 2014 slaughter in Gaza by adding $2.25 million to its annual aid to that wealthy country. The motion stated, “this week is not in dedication to anti-Zionist propaganda” and called for the week to focus “solely on the education of the Holocaust and not on other genocides.”

Objecting to this brazen attempt to use the decimation of European Jewry to protect an aggressive, apartheid state many students left the meeting. When quorum was lost before the vote, pro-Israel activists cried — wait for it — anti-Semitism.

“Tonight, I experienced true and evil anti-Semitism,” complained Tamar Lyons, vice-president of communications for Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson University, in a social media post republished by B’nai Brith. In it, the Emerson Fellow of StandWithUs, an organization that trains university students to advance Israel’s interests, bemoaned how “a Muslim student ‘goy-splained’ me.”

After the meeting, Lyons linked the purported anti-Jewish incident to the Ryerson Student Union endorsing the BDS movement two years earlier. She told the Canadian Jewish News it was “a direct result of [the] boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and the anti-Israel sentiment that’s so prevalent on campus.”

Taking place on the eve of an Ontario legislature vote to condemn BDS activism, the national director of B’nai Brith jumped on the Ryerson affair.What starts with BDS does not end with BDS,” said Amanda Hohmann. “More often than not, BDS is simply a gateway drug to more blatant forms of anti-Semitism.”

(Yup, take a toke of that leftist–internationalist “pressure Israel to follow international law” bud and soon you’re longing for some Neo-Nazi ‘get-the-Jews’ smack.)

As B’nai Brith hyped the Ryerson affair, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs pushed the Ontario legislature to pass a motion in support of the spurious “Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism” and to reject “the differential treatment of Israel, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

Passed 49 to 5 (with 53 absent), motion sponsor Gila Martow told the legislature: “We would not be here supporting the Ku Klux Klan on our campuses, so why are we allowing [the] BDS movement and other anti-Jewish and anti-Israel organizations to have demonstrations and use our campuses, which are taxpayer-funded?”

In an interview with the Toronto Sun after the vote the Thornhill MPP described BDS as psychological terrorism on the campuses….The motive behind BDS is to hurt the Jewish community by attacking Israel.”

The only MPP who spoke against the motion was the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh. But, even this defender of the right to criticize Israel spent much of his speech talking about how anti-Semitism must be denounced.”

Notwithstanding the anti-Semitism hullabaloo, the BDS vote and Ryerson affair have little to do with combating anti-Jewishness. As is obvious to anybody who thinks about it for a second, comparing internationalist and social justice minded individuals to the KKK will elicit, not lessen, anti-Jewish animus. Similarly, labeling a non-violent movement “psychological terrorism” and writing about “Muslim goy-splaining” isn’t likely to endear Jewish groups to those concerned with Palestinian dispossession and building a just world.

The major Jewish organizations and trained Israeli nationalist activists scream anti-Semitism to protect Israel from censure, of course. But they also do so because few are willing to challenge them on it. As such, the anti-Semitism smears should be seen as a simple assertion of CIJA and B’nai Brith’s political, economic and cultural clout.

Possibly the best placed of any in the world, the Toronto Jewish community faces almost no discernable economic, social or cultural discrimination. Describing it as “the envy of the UJA federation world,” Alan Dershowitz told its 2014 Toronto Major Gifts dinner: “You must never be ashamed to use your power and strength. Never be afraid that people will say, ‘You’re too strong and powerful.’ Jews need power and strength. Without this strength — economically, morally, militarily — we can’t have peace.”

But, UJA-Toronto, CIJA, B’nai Brith, etc. aren’t seeking “peace.” Rather, they’re working to strengthen a Sparta-like, Jewish-supremacist state in the Middle East.

The Ryerson affair and vote at the provincial legislature reflect a Toronto Jewish establishment drunk with its power. But the sober reality of constantly justifying oppression by citing the Holocaust/anti-Semitism is that it undermines the power of that memory and is an insult to all those who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Zio-Nazi nationalists undermine meaning of ‘remembering the Holocaust’

Not business as usual: colonial Nazi settlers in al-Khalil for Jewish festival

NOVANEWS

The Jewish holiday/celebration of Chayei Sarah and the reading of the Torah regarding Sarah took place in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) on 25th and 26th November 2016.

Beginning of Friday hundreds of Nazi Jews from illegal colonial settlements within the West Bank as well as Jews from ‘Israel’ began arriving. It was estimated there may be as many as 1500 coming for their festivities. Huge tents and designated camping areas were set up (some in areas owned by Palestinians). They were also staying with families and friends in the existing illegal settlements here in al-Khalil.

This lot was the play area for the Palestinian elementary and secondary school. Now it's being used for The Sarah event.

This lot was the play area for the Palestinian elementary and secondary school. Now it’s being used for The Sarah event.

This automatically meant more Nazi occupation forces, more border police, much more “security” at checkpoints that Palestinians need to pass through on a regular basis as part of their normal daily routines (going to work, shopping, etc.) It also meant a complete closure of many of the checkpoints, not allowing anyone who was not here for the festival (that is a colonial settler) to go through.

Young soldiers leading the event

Israeli Occupation Forces preparing for the "Settler Tour" with their guns and dogs

Nazi Occupation Forces preparing for the “Nazi Settler Tour” with their guns and dogs

On Saturday “security” was at its peak. Every Saturday afternoon there is a tour of the Palestinian Old City by Jewish Nazi settlers from the illegal settlements. This usually consists of around 20 to 150 settlers. With about as many Nazi occupation force soldiers to “protect” them. This weekend the tour consisted of nearly 2700 settlers. This obviously meant more soldiers, on roof tops, police dogs sniffing out the route before the tour began, soldiers positioned approximately every 50 meters along the entire route and at the beginning and end of the group. Many shop owners closed early for fear of trouble by the settlers parading through the Old City.

Sniffing for bombs on the parade route before it starts.

Sniffing for bombs on the parade route before it starts

Soldiers and settlers parading through the Palestinian market where some shops closed early

Nazi Soldiers and Jewish Nazi settlers parading through the Palestinian market where some shops closed early

Nazi Jewish settlers who participated were singing, dancing, acting provocatively aggressive towards the Palestinians and internationals who were trying to mind their own business or observing the events. There were many “shouts of “welcome to Israel” by the Nazi Jewish settlers as well as “f*ck you’s” and “this is our home not yours, we will never leave” at the Palestinians. An observer witnessed a number of incidents of harassment by the settlers toward anyone who was not Jewish and part of the group.

An obvious "welcome" from one of the settler youth

An obvious “welcome” from one of the Nazi Jewish settler youth

One Palestinian family in the Tel Rumeida area had their home invaded for approximately 10 hours by soldiers who set up observation on the roof and using their bathroom and kitchen as if it were their own place to do as they wished. An international who was invited to the home by the family to observe the goings on was forced to leave after an hour by the soldiers. The family was frightened by these events, but to the best of this writers knowledge there was no real damage done in the home by the soldiers.

An observer witnessed at least two Palestinian youth who were detained by the Nazi occupation forces for one reason or another. A third Palestinian was detained for trying to defend himself after a settler spit on him.

This is life in illegally Nazi Jewish settler occupied al-Khalil. Nazi regime pretty much do as they wish and the Palestinian residents pay the consequences.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Not business as usual: colonial Nazi settlers in al-Khalil for Jewish festival

Kosovo Spent IMF Funds on Pensions for Veterans Now Fighting for Daesh

NOVANEWS
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Over the past two decades, the Kosovar government has spent over $2 billion on payments to former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) paramilitary organization. Kosovo received the money from the United States and the European Union and since 2009 mostly from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Kosovo Liberation Army was formed during the mid-1990s by Kosovo Albanians seeking independence from Serbia and the creation of a monoethnic state. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.

There have been numerous reports of abuses and war crimes committed by KLA members during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, including massacres of civilians, prisons camps, allegations of organ theft etc. A special court in The Hague has been established to investigate those crimes. According to different estimates, currently at least 500 KLA veterans are fighting in the ranks of Daesh in Syria.

“Compared to the entire population of Kosovo, this number is the fifth-largest among other European countries. Many of the KLA veterans fighting for Daesh receive payments from the Kosovar budget which [is] regularly funded by the US, the EU and the IMF,” journalist Brankica Ristic wrote for Sputnik Serbia.

Currently, there are 46,000 KLA veterans in Kosovo. A list was made up to identify those who deserve pensions from the budget. The IMF unveiled €106 million ($113 million) for the initiative.

The first payments were made in 2015. Some 12,000 former KLA members, who fought against the Yugoslavian government and law enforcement agencies in the 1990s, received €170 ($181) each.

However, since that time the number of officially registered veterans has increased fourfold. Pristina had to ask the IMF to unveil more funds. The Kosovar budget for 2017 is €2 billion ($2.1 billion), including money to transform the Kosovo security forces into full-fledged armed forces, which will be funded by the IMF. However, the IMF does not want to give money for pensions for 46,000 KLA veterans. The fund asked Pristina to clarify the number of veterans. The government hopes that if the IMF rejects giving the money the US could do [so]. But the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election has put this into question.

“After the 1999 war Kosovo received $3.8 billion of international aid. According to different sources, between 2000 and 2010 the region received up to $40 billion. Part of this money could have been paid to those fighting now in the ranks of Daesh,” the journalist wrote.

Posted in EuropeComments Off on Kosovo Spent IMF Funds on Pensions for Veterans Now Fighting for Daesh

The Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind

NOVANEWS
By Charles Hugh Smith 

Your crime, as it were, need not be substantiated with evidence; the mere fact you publicly revealed your anti-Establishment thought convicted you.

One of the most remarkable ironies of The Washington Post’s recent evidence-free fabrication of purported “Russian propaganda” websites (including this site) is how closely it mimics the worst excesses of the USSR’s Stalinist era.

Those unfamiliar with the Stalinist era’s excesses will benefit from reading Solzhenitsyn’s three-volume masterpiece The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956The Gulag Archipelago 2 and Gulag Archipelago 3.

One episode is especially relevant to the totalitarian tactics of The Washington Post’s evidence-free accusation. Solzhenitsyn tells the story of one poor fellow who made the mistake of recounting a dream he’d had the previous night to his co-workers.
In his dream, Stalin had come to some harm. In Solzhenitsyn’s account, the fellow was remorseful about the dream.

Alas, mere remorse couldn’t possibly save him. He was promptly arrested for “anti-Soviet thoughts” and given a tenner in the Gulag–a tenner being a ten-year sentence in a Siberian labor camp.

The Washington Post’s accusation is based on a “behavioral analysis”–in other words, publicly sharing “anti-Soviet thoughts”–in our era, the equivalent is sharing anti-Establishment thoughts.

Your crime, as it were, need not be substantiated with evidence; the mere fact you publicly revealed your anti-Establishment thought convicted you.

This is the Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind. We’ll tell you what’s “true” and what is correct to think and believe. Any deviation from the party line is a threat and must be discredited, marginalized or suppressed.

Where is the Post’s hard evidence of Russian ties or Russian influence? There isn’t any–but like Stalin’s henchmen, the Post has no need for evidence: merely going public with an anti-Establishment thought “proves” one’s guilt in the kangaroo court of America’s corporate media (a.k.a. mainstream media or MSM).

While The Washington Post is owned by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the vast majority of what we read, watch and hear is controlled by a handful of corporations loaded with cash and connections to the ruling elite.

This concentration of media control creates the illusion of choice— the same elite-propaganda spin is everywhere you look; our “choice” of “approved” (i.e. corporate) media is roughly the same as that offered the Soviet citizenry in the old USSR.

This is why the billionaire/corporate media is so desperate to discredit the non-corporate media: if an alternative to the corporate media’s elite-propaganda catches on, the corporate media will lose its audience, its advert revenues and a substantial measure of its influence.

The cornered elite-propaganda beast is lashing out, undermining its waning credibility with every attack on an independent free press. As I noted in a recent conversation with Max Keiser, democracy requires the citizenry to sort out who benefits from whatever narrative is being pushed.

That’s what terrifies the elite-propaganda mainstream media: the status quo narrative they’ve spewed for years doesn’t benefit the bottom 95% — rather, it actively impoverishes and disempowers the bottom 95%–and the citizenry is slowly awakening to this reality.

So for goodness sakes, if you have an anti-elitist dream, keep it to yourself or you’ll end up on the ruling elite’s “enemies list.”

The final irony in all this: the real enemy of democracy and freedom of the press is The Washington Post and the rest of the billionaire/corporate media. The only way to escape the Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind is to stop watching their TV channels, turn off their radio stations and stop reading their print/digital propaganda–except of course if you have a taste for dark humor.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on The Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind

Zionist NYT Biased Obituary of Castro

NOVANEWS
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By Matt Peppe | Just The Facts

After Fidel Castro passed away Friday night at 90 years old, the obituaries written about him in the American press typified the U.S. government propaganda used for decades to demonize Castro and obscure the tremendous social and humanitarian advances that the Cuban Revolution was able to achieve in the face of unrelenting interference, subversion and destabilization. None were more over-the-top in their bias than the obituary in the New York Times.

A mere 54 words, the lede paragraph contains an astonishing amount of misinformation and innuendo:

“Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959”

It’s hard to imagine any Western leader being called a “fiery apostle.” The phrase suggests Castro was driven by an irrational, religious mission to undertake revolution, rather than having resorted to armed resistance as a last resort after the possibility of nonviolent opposition through political means was eliminated. In 1952, as Castro was favored to win a seat in the House of Representatives, Fulgencio Batista promptly cancelled the upcoming elections as it became clear he would not be able to hold power in a free and fair vote. Only after this did Castro and others start to organize a guerilla resistance in order to prevent rule by a military dictatorship. Calling him a “fiery apostle of revolution” is reductionist and Manichean.

The second part of the sentence is easily disprovable. The Cold War was well underway and active in the Western Hemisphere long before the Revolution came to power in 1959. Five years earlier, the CIA, at the behest of the United Fruit Company and working in conjunction with Congress and the White House, supported the overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected progressive President Jacobo Arbenz by the Guatemalan military. The reason was summed up by Senator George Smathers of Florida, who was quoted in an article in the CIA’s professional journal, Studies in Intelligence, saying: “In all candor, we must admit that the democratic nations of the Western Hemisphere could not permit the continued existence of a Communist base in Latin America, so close to home.”

Aside from misrepresenting the Cold War timeline, the idea that it was Castro who was responsible for Cold War tensions with the United States is laughable. Castro immediately reached out to the U.S. government after taking power in 1959, and even visited the country four months later. Upon arriving he was stood up by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who decided to play golf instead meeting with Castro. The next year, Eisenhower would cancel the sugar quota Cuba depended on for export revenue, provoking Cuba to exercise its sovereign right to nationalize U.S. properties. In return, the U.S. government prohibited delivery of oil to the island, which led to Cuba seeking oil from the Soviet Union.

“and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader”

It is strange that Castro’s commitment not to compromise on the sovereignty of Cuba and its people would be seen as remarkable enough to draw attention to it so prominently. Imagine a Russian obituary to Ronald Reagan stating that he defied the Soviet Union. Such a statement presumes that the natural state of affairs would be subservience to the dictates of a foreign power. Americans would find this notion absurd.

“bedeviling 11 American presidents”

This is one way of stating that Castro survived more than 600 assassination attempts authorized by multiple U.S. executives and resisted their criminal economic war that sought “to bring about hunger, desperation” and “hardship” and to this day continues to deny food and medicine to children.

“and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war”

A year and a half prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA directed a mercenary invasion of Cuba that failed spectacularly after it was quickly repelled. Understanding that another invasion was imminent, Castro sought nuclear missiles from the Soviet Union because he believed it would possibly be the only deterrent to another U.S. attack. Meanwhile, the United States had nuclear missiles positioned across Eastern Europe at the Soviet Union. When Kennedy protested to the Soviets, Khrushchev offered to withdraw the missiles before they reached Cuba if the U.S. would likewise withdraw its nuclear missiles from Turkey and promise not to invade Cuba. Kennedy said this would “look like a very fair trade” to any “rational man.” Yet, he was still not satisfied and instead of accepting it decided to engage in a game of chicken that could easily have resulted in a nuclear holocaust. To pin responsibility on Fidel Castro for the escalation of this situation is a gross distortion.

“died on Friday. He was 90.”

This I don’t take issue with.

The rest of the obituary is riddled with other inaccuracies and rhetorical flourishes that all predictably echo decades worth of U.S. government propaganda.

The Times claims Castro “ceded much of his power to his younger brother Raúl.” In reality, Fidel resigned his position as the President of State in 2006. He did not personally hand power to his brother in a dictatorial display of nepotism. Raúl was at the time Vice President, having been elected in the process stipulated by the Cuban Constitution. Likewise under the Constitution, as Vice President he assumed the role of the Presidency upon the resignation of the current President. No different than how succession would work in the United States.

The piece goes on to make unfounded claims of Castro’s self-aggrandizement (“he believed himself to be the messiah of his fatherland”) and launch evidence-free smears about his abuse of power (“he wielded power like a tyrant, controlling every aspect of the island’s existence”).

No one in recent history has been the subject of such vitriolic and politically biased propaganda emanating from the U.S. government as Fidel Castro. It is unsurprising that the self-declared paper of record in the U.S. would replicate the same disingenuous rhetoric rather than attempt to objectively assess the life of undoubtedly the most important individual of the 20th century based on documented facts placed in historical context.

Posted in USA, CUBAComments Off on Zionist NYT Biased Obituary of Castro

Despite Rapprochement, Turkey-Russia Relations Remain Uneasy Over Syria

NOVANEWS
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By Salman Rafi Sheikh 

While a year has passed since Turkey shot down a Russian jet in Syria and while a few months have passed since the beginning of rapprochement between both countries that includes co-operation in Syria and co-operation in the field of energy, their bi-lateral ties remain uneasy—a situation that largely owes its existence to the still-lingering disagreement over Syria, particularly the future of Assad, and the dual role Turkey happens to be playing there. On the one hand, it has sent its own troops to supposedly fight the Islamic State, and on the other, there are on the ground proxy groups who are receiving support from Turkey. Therefore, while Turkey has repeatedly said that it “respects” Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, it continues to support these “rebel” groups who are in Syria, first and foremost, to oust the Syrian president and to contain the Syrian Kurds—something that not only is a violation of Syrian sovereignty but also pits Turkey against Syria and Russia in the region.

As such, while Turkey rhetorically respects Syria’s territorial integrity, it has still created a “safe zone” inside Syria, in the name of creating a shield against the Islamic State’s incursions into Turkey, and is pushing for bringing more of the Syrian territory under its direct control—a step that is akin to a de facto territorial disintegration of Syria due to a foreign (Turkish) occupation. Hence, the contention that while Turkey may not actually be seeking to create a permanent “zone” in Syria—something that Turkey and Russia have developed some understanding about —Turkey certainly has not changed its mind towards Assad’s future as Syria’s president (read:  Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu recently acknowledged in an interview that Turkey and Russia have disagreement over Assad’s future). This un-changed position makes Turkey more of a NATO ally, which it is by all means, and less of a partner of Syria and Russia against terrorism.

What the current nature of relationship between Turkey and Russia implies is that it is yet to convert itself into a full-fledged strategic alliance. Although we have seen a lot of progress towards normalization, this normalization is of tactical nature only wherein Russia appears to be an important actor for Turkey to neutralize the prospects of Kurds, who are being continuously supported by the US, establishing their own state i.e., Kurdistan. Besides it, Turkey also sees in Russia an opportunity to counter-balance its relations with the US and EU and send them a signal that it does have other ‘avenues of support.’

That Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia is of tactical nature only is also evident from the fact that this rapprochement and normalization has not so far created any rupture in NATO. This normalization is likely to stay what it actually is i.e., normalization and, as such, least likely to turn into a strategic re-alignment, although earlier signs had shown that it was not an impossibility.

What impedes this transformation is, as stated above, Turkey’s contradictory dual role in Syria, where it is carrying on NATO’s agenda of ousting Assad and where it is also seemingly targeting IS along with Russia and Syria.

What such a position further implies is that Turkey is tapping into both blocks to take advantage of its geographical location and achieve all of its major objectives i.e., oust Assad and roll back Kurds to other side of Euphrates river. While Turkey does aim at both targets, this perusal puts it in a conflicting position vis-à-vis Syria. Some recent incidents strongly indicate the potential of this conflicting position to transform into yet another war.

For instance, the advance by largely Turkmen and Arab rebels backed by Turkey towards al-Bab, the last urban stronghold of Islamic State in the northern Aleppo countryside, potentially pits them against both Kurdish fighters and Syrian government forces, leading to clashes between them.

Al-Bab is of particular strategic importance to Turkey because Kurdish-dominated militias have also been pursuing a campaign to seize it. Ankara is determined to prevent Kurdish forces from joining up cantons they control along the Turkish border. Turkey is backing the Syrian rebels with troops, tanks and artillery, as well as reconnaissance flights along the border.

However, while Turkey is out there to prevent the Kurds from having any territory under their control in Syria, Syria itself is not ready to ‘host’ Turkish troops on its territory. This has created the threat of direct clashes occurring between them. In fact, such incidents have already started to occur.

On last Friday, the Turkish military said that Thursday, November 24, air strike, which killed three of its soldiers, was thought to have been carried out by the Syrian air force. It would be the first time Turkish soldiers have died at the hands of Syrian government forces. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed this attack on Turkish troops in Syria with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday as Turkish-backed rebels pressed an offensive to take the Syrian city of al-Bab, a report from Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency stated.

While no major dispute of diplomatic and military nature has so far been reported developing between Turkey and Russia, this incident unambiguously underlines the fundamental disagreement both have in Syria.

Therefore, it is not energy-co-operation merely that would determine the future of their bi-lateral relations. While co-operation in this field required normalization, which they have already achieved, it is also quite clear today that the transformation of this normalization into a strategic realignment depends upon how smoothly both countries resolve their differences over Syria. In the coming months, the progress of the operation, as well as the battle for Aleppo, will become the decisive points in setting the trajectory of their bilateral relations.

Posted in Russia, TurkeyComments Off on Despite Rapprochement, Turkey-Russia Relations Remain Uneasy Over Syria

Dead In The Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty ‘VIDEO’

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

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During the Six-Day War, Zio-Nazi attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty belonging to its closest ally, the USA. Thirty-four American servicemen were killed in the two-hour assault by Nazi warplanes and torpedo boats. Nazi regime claimed that the whole affair had been a tragic accident based on mistaken identification of the ship. The American government accepted the explanation.

For more than 30 years many people have disbelieved the official explanation but have been unable to rebut it convincingly. Now, Dead in the Water uses startling new evidence to reveal the truth behind the seemingly inexplicable attack. The film combines dramatic reconstruction of the events, with new access to former officers in the US and Israeli armed forces and intelligence services who have decided to give their own version of events.

Interviews include President Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara, former head of the Nazi navy Admiral Shlomo Errell and members of the USS Liberty crew.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Dead In The Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty ‘VIDEO’

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