Archive | January 28th, 2017

Palestinian political factions object to Paris peace conference

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In spite of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority’s endorsement of a peace conference being held in Paris on Sunday, other Palestinian factions were opposed to the premise of the international summit, and said they were not expecting any diplomatic breakthroughs.

Kayid al-Ghoul, a senior leader in the Gaza Strip for the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) told Ma’an on Sunday that he expected the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to turn to the United States to foil any possible outcome, five days ahead of the inauguration of US President-Elect Donald Trump — a vocal supporter of illegal Israeli settlements.

Al-Ghoul told Ma’an that the premise of the conference, which is expected to recommend the resumption of peace negotiations toward a two-state solution, meant “bypassing the right of return and self determination” for Palestinians.

Similarly, Daoud Shihab, a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, described the conference as merely another attempt to resume a peace process “that Israel has already killed and buried, while the international community still refuses to admit that Israel is the main source” of the crisis.

He also warned that Netanyahu’s “terrorist government” could react to the outcome of the conference with more demolitions of Palestinian homes and land confiscations in the occupied territory. Last month, Israel responded to a UN resolution condemning illegal settlements by approving new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem.

A Gaza-based leader within the left-wing Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Talal Abu Tharifa, also warned of a possibility that the conference may create “low standards” regarding Palestinian rights.

He highlighted Israel’s belligerent opposition to any international intervention in the peace process by pointing to how Israel has been outraged over the mere fact the conference was held in the first place.

In his weekly cabinet remarks on Sunday, Netanyahu slammed the Paris conference, calling it “useless.”

“I must say that this conference is among the last twitches of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow’s world will be different — and it is very near,” the Israeli prime minister ominously declared.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the conference, and told French daily Le Figaro on Saturday that he believed the summit could be the last chance to implement the two-state solution, saying that “2017 has to be the year the occupation ends, the year of freedom and justice for the Palestinian people.”

However, an increasing number of Palestinians say the prospect of a two-state reality has become dimmer, amid an a growing extremism among Israel’s right-wing government and public, and a surge in illegal Israeli settlement construction that has now obtained the stamp of approval by US President-elect Donald Trump.

A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

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Jews occupy top positions in Trump’s administration

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Eleven Jews assume top positions in the administration of the new US president Donald Trump, according to an Zionist report published on Friday.

Under the headline “Meet the top Jewish officials in the Trump administration”, the right-wing Zionist newspaper Jerusalem Post introduced the 11 influential Jewish figures working alongside Trump.

However, the newspaper pointed out that Trump won 24% of the Jewish vote.

According to the Paper, the 11 Jewish figures are:

Jared Kushner

Kushner is Trump’s 36-year-old son-in-law and will serve as his senior advisor.

The Paper said that Kushner will not receive a salary and will focus on the Middle East and Israel, partnership with the private sector, and free trade.

It added, “Kushner married Trump’s daughter in 2009 and played an essential role in the president’s election campaign especially in Israel.”

David Friedman

Friedman, who is in his late fifties, has worked for a long time as Trump’s lawyer. He speaks Hebrew and owns a house in al-Talbiya neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Trump announced Friedman US ambassador to Israel.

The Jerusalem Post noted that Friedman “funded and declared support for the Israeli settlements and expressed his doubts about the future of the two-state solution.”

Jason Greenblatt

He is an Orthodox Jew who studied in a religious school in the West Bank in the mid-eighties and did armed guard duty there, according to the newspaper.

Greenblatt is going to serve as special representative for international negotiations with focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the US-Cuba relations, and the US trade agreements with other countries.

Greenblatt told the Israeli Army Radio in November 2016 that Trump “will not impose any solution on Israel” and that “he doesn’t view the Jewish settlements as an obstacle to peace process.”

Steven Mnuchin

Mnuchin, 54, will serve as the US Treasury secretary.

The Paper mentioned that Trump and Mnuchin have been friends for 15 years, and before assuming the financial affairs of Trump’s campaign, Mnuchin served as his advisor.

Stephen Miller

Miller, 31, was named senior adviser for policy.

The Paper pointed out that Miller, who worked previously as a parliamentary assistant, played a vital role in Trump’s campaign by writing speeches.

Carl Icahn

An 80-year-old businessman and investor who is going to serve as special adviser in the regulatory reform issues.

The paper said that he will be working in his capacity as a private citizen not as a federal employee or a special government employee.

Icahn, who is one of the earliest supporters of Trump’s candidacy, is the founder of Icahn, New York-based diversified business companies.

Gary Cohn

Cohn, 56, will head the National Economic Council of the White House.

He occupied senior positions in a number of companies, according to Jerusalem Post.

Boris Epshteyn

Epshteyn is in his mid-thirties. He will work as a special assistant to the president, and also as an assistant communications director for surrogate operations.

Epshteyn, who moved to the United States from Moscow in 1993, is an investment and finance lawyer living in New York. He defended Trump on major TV networks more than 100 times.

David Shulkin

A 57-year-old internist who is going to serve as Minister of Veterans Affairs once the Congress accepts.

He worked as assistant minister for health in the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and held senior positions in hospitals, universities and companies.

Reed Cordish

Cordish is in his early forties and is going to serve as the president’s assistant for intragovernmental and technology initiatives. He will be responsible for the initiatives which require multi-agency collaboration focusing on technological innovation and modernization.

The newspaper said that he is a partner at his family’s real estate and entertainment company in the state of Baltimore.

Avrahm Berkowitz

The 27-year-old Harvard Law School graduate will serve as a special assistant to president Trump and Jared Kushner.

Berkowitz is a friend of Kushner, and after graduating from College, Berkowitz worked for Kushner’s Companies and wrote for his newspaper, the New York Observer.

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Mainstream British Press Propaganda Ramps Up Dangerous War Rhetoric

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By Graham Vanbergen 

The British press are in full hysteria propaganda mode when it comes to demonising our new greatest threat on planet earth; not climate change, a global pandemic, international terrorism, or America’s new foe in the South China Sea – but Russia.

The Telegraph 31/12/16: “Systemic, relentless, predatory’ Russian cyber threat to US power grid exposed as malware found on major electricity company computer.”

The Independent 13/12/16: “Highly probable Russian interfered with Brexit referendum.”

The Express 15/01/17: “Russians forcing RAF to abort missions in Syria by ‘hacking into’ their systems”

The Guardian 14/01/17: “Senior British politicians ‘targeted by Kremlin’ for smear campaigns”

In all of these newspaper reports, and there are plenty more of them, not a single scrap of actual evidence other than hearsay is published. In the case of the Express story, it’s allegations are backed up with the statement “It is entirely feasible that Russia has targeted Tornadoes and Typhoons in this way,” said air defence expert Justin Bronk, of the Royal United Services Institute think-tank.” This is not evidence.

In the case of the Telegraph, this fairy-tail has been 100% debunked as pure propaganda and the original report from the Washington Post ended with a full-on apology by its editor. The Telegraph has printed no such amendment or apology for its totally fictitious article.

The Guardian’s headline is pure misinformation as it’s sole point of evidence is an MP (Chris Bryant), explaining that incumbent Foreign Office ministers could not speak out on the (Russian hacking) issue because of security connotations, and said: “Any minister who goes into the Foreign Office and has responsibility for Russia, they [Moscow] will be, in any shape or form, trying to put together information about them.” As if to strengthen the ‘evidence’, Bryant says he is “absolutely certain that Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Alan Duncan who has the Russia brief, and [Brexit secretary] David Davis will have been absolutely looked at.” This is not evidence.

The funny thing is this; the story may be true and quite probably is, but so what.

In October 2015, Britain’s own spy agency confirmed it was spying on Britain’s MP’s and at the time was given court immunity when challenged. It determined that MPs’ communications were not protected from surveillance by intelligence agencies. This case came about because Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Baroness Jenny Jones and former MP George Galloway, [observed] that revelations from Edward Snowden, showed MPs’ communications were being spied on by GCHQ despite laws protecting them.

Around the same time we learn that a well known paedophile ran a lodge set up by GCHQ for its spies to monitor important political ‘targets’ ie our own MP’s and other public figures.

Back in 1983 Margaret Thatcher used Britain’s latest and most advanced surveillance system named ‘Echelon’ (Read: ECHELON – The Start of Britain’s Modern Day Spying Operations) to Spy on Government Ministers’. It was an American design and the first major state surveillance system using satellite and IT systems to spy worldwide. Indeed Echelon was originally created in the 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies throughout the Cold War by Britain and America. All of this data being shared with America, a foreign government.

America’s NSA monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders in another Snowden leak three years ago. Germany’s Spiegelreported in 2014 that “Documents show Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency has targeted European, German and Israeli politicians for surveillance.” So distrustful of the British that Chancellor Merkel announced a counter-espionage offensive designed to curb mass surveillance conducted by the US NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ.  Today it is reported by IntelNews that the “discord between British and German intelligence services, which began at the same time in 2014, allegedly persists and now constitutes the “biggest rift between the secret services” of the two countries “since World War II”.

Just six months ago we found out that “GCHQ and NSA routinely spy on UK politicians’ e-mails” that included privileged correspondence between parliamentarians and their constituents and before that, internal MI5, MI6 and GCHQ documents reveal routine interception of legally privileged communications. The information obtained was exploited unlawfully to be used by the agencies in the fighting of court cases in which they themselves were involved.

Amazingly, we recently find out just last week that Israeli embassy staff, quite likely Mossad operatives – “are working with senior political activists and politicians in the Conservative and Labour parties to subvert their own parties from within, and skew British foreign policy so that it benefits Israeli, rather than British interests.” And yet, there has been little comment in the British press about foreign infiltration of government minsters by Israel.

If Russia were not spying on our MP’s, they would be the only ones not at it. No-one trusts anyone. Spying is old news and fully expected. We are ALL being spied on nowadays.

The British press are complicit in their reckless rhetoric designed to instill fear into the population with dangerous propaganda that could easily lead to tensions becoming so dangerous that a real ‘hot war’ starts. Whilst America is shielded by continental Europe and the Atlantic ocean, Britain could be used as a pawn to be sacrificed on the international chess-game of winner-takes-all. We have no ‘special-relationship’, there never has been one, and an irresponsible press being a mouthpiece that ramps up the stress between the US/NATO and Russia is absolutely against the interests and national security of Britain.

As Laurence Krauss’s (chair of the board of sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is on the board of the Federation of American Scientists) article last October alarmingly points out – “Trump has said he would consider using nuclear weapons against ISIS and suggested that it would be good for the world if Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia acquired them.” Trump could be one seriously dangerous individual for world peace – who knows!

So much for Trump but as Krauss goes on to say that “In general, during the Obama presidency, we have only deepened our dangerous embrace of nuclear weapons. At the moment, around a thousand nuclear weapons are still on a hair-trigger alert; as they were during the Cold War, they are ready to be launched in minutes in response to a warning of imminent attack.

Who in their right mind would support this lunacy?

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US drone strikes in Yemen, absolutely atrocious

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Press TV 

Separate US drone attacks have killed four people in the southwestern Yemeni province of Bayda. The United States carries out drone attacks in Yemen and several other countries, claiming to be targeting al-Qaeda elements, but, local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks. The drone strikes in Yemen continue alongside the Saudi military aggression against the impoverished conflict-ridden country.

A radio host and political commentator says US drone strikes are “absolutely atrocious,” adding that Washington is directly involved in Yemen’s war when it is “actively dropping bombs” on the war-torn country.

“I do not think a lot of the people in the United States even realize that United States is actually bombing Yemen. They think that the United States is simply supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, but the fact is United States is actually in there bombing people themselves with these drone strikes,”  Max Igan told Press TV in an interview on Sunday.

He noted that it is “pretty outrageous” and “terrible” that the drone strikes are going on at the time of US presidential transition.

The commentator further argued that if US President Donald Trump wants to deescalate the war on terror and try to bring about stability and peace to the Middle East, he should stop the drone strikes.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Igan criticized the Western media for not reporting anything about the war and the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.

“It is one of the most unreported wars that we have seen in modern history. Nobody really realizes what is going on there, we do not hear anything about it on the media … we are not hearing about this war and it is an ongoing human rights catastrophe. There are so many people suffering in Yemen, it is almost impossible to get aid to these people and the arms just keep getting poured in there and the bombs just keep getting dropped and the media is not reporting anything about it,”  he said.

He concluded by saying that there needs to be some sort of an organization in the world that can do something to stop this ongoing onslaught of the Yemeni people.

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One Third Of The Holocaust

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Palestine: the International Community Screws Up Again

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… and so does the Palestinian leader (again)

By Stuart Littlewood 

The Middle East peace conference in Paris was the usual farce with Israel and Palestine, the subjects under discussion, both staying away. Netanyahu called the talks “useless” and Abbas was off opening an embassy in Vatican City and meeting the Pope while 70 nations gathered to take part in another peace pantomime. It ended with a pathetic declaration urging both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution”.

Is this what the much-trumpeted 2-state solution looks like?

Everyone knows Netanyahu and the Israeli regime have never wanted peace. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck. He was bound to treat any peace conference with utmost contempt. And Abbas’s crass absence was not only another slap in the face to all who sympathise with the Palestinians’ plight and to the millions of campaigners who fight for their cause but also another disservice to the Palestinian people.

I call the conference declaration “pathetic” because no-one in the international community, as far as I’m aware, has actually told us what the 2-state solution they keep banging on about will look like – or even what they think it should look like. No-one, that is, since Ehud Barak and his so-called “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22% of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22% and recognise Israel within ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War). Conceding 78% of the land that was originally theirs was an astonishingly big-hearted concession on their part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s “generous offer” demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within the 22% Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “Temporary Israeli Control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control probably indefinitely. The generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian State. What nation in the world would accept that? But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s 2-state solution was cleverly hidden by propaganda spin.

Later, at Taba, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Gush Shalom, yet the Israel lobby’s stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a generous peace on a plate. Is Barak’s crazed vision of the 2-state solution the one the 70 nations have in mind?

Britain’s stance on Palestinian independence has always been nonsensical. I remember former foreign secretary Alistair Burt announcing that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders.”

Where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? And is Israel within them? Where did he think Israel’s capital is? And where did Israel claim it to be? In other words, is Israel where Israel is supposed to be? If not, how could he possibly recognise it let alone align himself with it? “We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements because our position is again very straightforward: We wish to see a two-state solution, a secure and recognized Israel side by side with a viable Palestine, Jerusalem as a joint capital and agreed borders,” Burt said.

Negotiations about illegal settlements? Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity? At around the same time Hillary Clinton had rejected in advance an anticipated Palestinian bill in the UN against unlawful Israeli settlement building. According to her, Israel’s illegal squats could be resolved through “negotiations” between Palestinians and Israelis and to hell with international law. Burt embraced this “solution” instead of enforcing international law and upholding justice, as he should have. He co-operated with the most dishonest peace brokers on the planet to revive discredited, lopsided direct talks. It’s been the same story with every other UK foreign secretary.

Resolution 242, a work of evil

So why, after decades, is the Palestinian homeland still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations have said it shouldn’t be?

And why are the Palestinians being pressured – yet again – to submit to “direct negotiations”, victim versus armed invader haggling and pleading for their freedom?

The answer appears to lie in the hash made of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Here is what it said:

The UN Security Council…

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

  1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories [i..e. Gaza, West Bank including Jerusalem, and Golan Heights belonging to Syria] occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

  1. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
  1. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.

It was adopted unanimously.

Article 2 of the UN Charter states, among other things, that all Members “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and “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”.

Nothing too difficult there for men of integrity and goodwill, one would have thought. But after 49 years nothing has happened to give effect to the Charter’s fine words or to deliver the tiniest semblance of peace, or allow the Palestinians to live in security free from threats or acts of force. Israel still occupies the Holy Land and the Golan Heights with maximum brutality while law and justice, the cornerstones of civilisation, have evaporated.

This dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the deliberate non-use of a certain word, the “the” word which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was purposely omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.

Behind the scenes there was no intention of making Israel withdraw

Arthur J. Goldberg, US Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key drafter of Resolution 242, stated:

There is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words ‘secure and recognized boundaries’ that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.

According to Lord Caradon, then the UK Ambassador to the UN and another key drafter:

The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognised is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognised boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognised…. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary….

He later added:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967… That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, had also helped to draft the resolution. He was on record in 1991 that Resolution 242:

… allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six-Day War – not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable Armistice Demarcation Lines (the ‘Green Line’).

Israel could thus keep the territory it seized as long as the Zionist regime avoided making peace. Even if it did make peace, it could keep some unspecified territory, presumably what it had stolen in terror raids before the 1967 war.

In the meantime Arab leaders had picked up on the fact that the all-important “the” word in relation to territories had been included in other language versions of the draft resolution (e.g. the French document) and it was therefore widely understood to mean that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. Unfortunately, under international law, English is the official language and the English version ruled.

For Israel, Abba Eban said:

As the representative of the United States has said, the boundaries between Israel and her neighbors must be mutually worked out and recognized by the parties themselves as part of the peace-making process. We continue to believe that the States of the region, in direct negotiation with each other, have the sovereign responsibility for shaping their common future. It is the duty of international agencies at the behest of the parties to act in the measure that agreement can be promoted and a mutually accepted settlement can be advanced. We do not believe that Member States have the right to refuse direct negotiation….

Eban seemed to forget that Israel was in breach of international law.

‘Acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible’, right?

So here was Israel, aided by the devious drafters, pressing for direct negotiations as far back as 1967 and sensing that the defenceless and impoverished Palestinians under their heel would be easy meat.

But the Russian, Vasily Kuznetsov, wasn’t fooled.

In the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the ‘withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict’ becomes the first necessary principle for the establishment of a just and lasting peace….  We understand the decision taken to mean the withdrawal of Israel forces from all, and we repeat, all territories belonging to Arab States and seized by Israel following its attack on those States on 5 June 1967.

Kuznetsov dismissed Goldberg’s border-adjustment argument, saying that the clause concerning the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition trumped any consideration for secure boundaries. He argued that the security needs of Israel “cannot serve as a pretext for the maintenance of Israel forces on any part of the Arab territories seized by them as a result of war.”

Your average native English speaker would not have been fooled by the missing word either. To the man on the Clapham omnibus “withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict” plainly means “get the hell out of the territories you occupied in the recent conflict”.

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk writing in 1990 remarked:

We wanted [it] to be left a little vague and subject to future negotiation because we thought the Israeli border along the West Bank could be rationalized; certain anomalies could easily be straightened out with some exchanges of territory, making a more sensible border for all parties…. But we never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war. On that point we and the Israelis to this day remain sharply divided…. I’m not aware of any commitment the United States has made to assist Israel in retaining territories seized in the Six-Day War.

And how had UN members so conveniently forgotten about the Palestinian lands seized and ethnically cleansed before 1967? You know, those important Arab towns and cities and hundreds of villages that had been allocated to a future Palestinian state in the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan but were seized by Jewish terrorist groups and Israel militia while the ink was still drying on the document? Had they also forgotten that the Palestinians were never consulted on the UN’s decision to hand over their lands to aliens mainly from Europe and with no ancestral links to the ancient Holy Land? The borders set down in the 1947 Partition and incorporated into UN Resolution are certainly “recognised” because they were duly voted on and accepted even by the Zionists and their allies, were they not?

As everyone knows, Israel has never declared its borders nor respected the UN-specified borders. It is still hell-bent on thieving lands and resources, so no border is ever secure enough or final. Of course, a Palestinian state, if or when it emerges, is equally entitled to secure borders but the Israeli regime is unlikely to agree. It wants total control. So going down the talks path again and again is fruitless. Borders should be imposed by the proper international bodies and enforced. That has to be the start-point. Adjustments can then be made with mutual consent once Israeli troops are no longer in occupation.

Incidentally, Article 33 of the UN Charter says that parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and security, shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Should the parties fail to settle it by those means Article 37 says they must “refer it to the Security Council. If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate.”

Article 36 declares that “in making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.”

Isn’t the Israeli occupation a legal dispute? How much longer must we wait to see the Charter complied with? Which brings us back to the question: why wasn’t Abbas at the conference batting for Palestine’s freedom and a just solution based on law? His presence would have put Netanyahu on the wrong foot.

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Madeleine Albright supported murder of Muslims

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‘Madeleine Albright supported murder of Muslims, but now wants to register as Muslim!’

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Zionist Madeleine Albright

Former US secretary of state Zionist Madeleine Albright supported the murder of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, but now she wants to register as Muslim, American political analyst Myles Hoenig says.

“Albright, who bragged that the murder of half a million Iraqis, mostly children and other civilians, was worth it in order to take out its president Saddam Hussein, now says she’s willing to register as a Muslim if Trump signs an executive order for the creation of a Muslim database. Can hypocrisy know no shame?” Hoenig asked.

“Where was she when she was laying the groundwork for the murder of Muslims in the Middle East? Where was she for eight years under Obama when he was supporting Takfiri terrorists in Syria and throughout the area? And where was she when her candidate Hillary Clinton was running for office and calling for her to stop her campaign belligerency towards Muslims?” the analyst continued.

Hoenig made the remarks during a phone interview with Press TV on Friday.

Zionist Albright has said she is “ready to register as Muslim” if President Donald Trump moves ahead with a plan to create a database of Muslim Americans.

“I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity,” Albright, the first woman to run the State Department, said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Her comments came amid news of a draft executive order by Trump which would announce a ban on arrivals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Zionist Albright joined thousands of Americans who have pledged to register as Muslim in response to Trump’s proposal on the campaign trail to set up a Muslim registry in the US.

‘A quiet movement in the US’

Hoenig said that there is “a quiet movement in the US to register our protest by registering as Muslims if the orders are given.”

“Others are considering wearing Jewish stars on their overcoats as was done to them by the Nazis. Either approach would be symbolic and a sign of solidarity with not just Muslims, but all minorities, including immigrants, who are, and have been, persecuted by US officials for many, many years,” he added.

“There is a Yiddish word to describe what Albright is proposing: chutzpah. Loosely translated, it is the boy who kills his parents and asks for mercy because he’s an orphan. What Albright is suggesting she would do equals that; the murderer of hundreds of thousands of Muslims now wants to identify as such when her choice for president was not elected,” he stated.

“If Hillary Clinton were the president, we would likely not see such a registration. But we certainly would see more bloodshed in Muslim countries on her orders. Where would Albright be then? the activist asked in his concluding remarks.

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Mayors and Activists Revolt Against Trump’s “Muslim Ban” Executive Order

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By John Knefel

Linda Sarsour, left, and Afaf Nasher, of CAIR-NY, address the crowd at Washington Square Park. (Photo: John Knefel)

Linda Sarsour, left, and Afaf Nasher, of CAIR-NY, address the crowd at Washington Square Park. (Photo: John Knefel).

Ever since November 8, 2016, when Donald Trump was elected, Thania Hussain has gone to nearly every protest organized in New York City. Wednesday night in Washington Square Park was no different. Hussain, an undergraduate student at Fordham University, was one of thousands of people who came to take part in a protest organized by Muslim groups in response to President Donald Trump’s proposed de facto ban on Muslims entering the United States.

“Every time I come out [to protests] I see the same sentiments,” Hussain told me in an interview following the event. “Everyone wants social justice and equality for all. People don’t care if you have a headscarf. It’s wonderful.” She’s not part of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the lead organization that called for the evening’s demonstration. “But I want to be, that’s why I’m here tonight,” she says. “Right now I’m just an undergrad fighting for justice.”

Hussain and the friends who joined her are exactly the kinds of people CAIR, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the more than a half dozen other organizations that cosponsored the rally are trying to engage. “If you are in a movement and you aren’t following a woman of color, you’re in the wrong movement,” Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers behind the Women’s March in Washington, DC, last Saturday, told the assembled crowd. She also warned elected Democrats that if they collaborate with Trump, they will face primaries in 2018. “Keep your eyes on the prize,” she said. “We’re gonna Tea Party them.”

Thania Hussain holds a candle as speakers address the crowd assembled in Washington Square Park. (Photo: John Knefel)

Thania Hussain holds a candle as speakers address the crowd assembled in Washington Square Park. (Photo: John Knefel)

The rally was organized following the news that Donald Trump was imminently preparing to sign an executive order to implement a travel ban that would prevent citizens of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States for at least 30 days. The order also seeks to bar all refugees from entering the country for 120 days and indefinitely bar Syrian refugees. Trump disingenuously denied his order was a Muslim ban in an ABC interview Wednesday night, though he confirmed that he would sign the order shortly.

In addition to expressing fears that Muslims will be targeted, many at the demonstration criticized two executive orders Trump signed Wednesday afternoon that lay the legal foundation for his immigration policy, which promises to be the most explicitly anti-immigrant in recent memory. One order begins the process of expanding a southern border wall, and the other paves the way for a possible ban on federal funds going to sanctuary cities — that is, cities and counties that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws to varying degrees. The order also empowers federal law enforcement to deputize local and state cops to serve as immigration enforcement under a program known as 287(g), which appeared on a wish list circulated by a police advocacy group before Trump’s inauguration. Across the country, mayors of sanctuary cities denied that Trump had the constitutional powers he was attempting to exercise and vowed to oppose him.

It is not unusual for a new administration to issue executive orders — Obama barred torture and called for the closure of Guantánamo in his first days in office — and Trump’s willingness to follow through on his promises suggests his presidency will be every bit as extreme, discriminatory and bigoted as his campaign.

Following the attacks in Paris in 2015, virtually every Republican running in the primary voiced support for some sort of Muslim ban. Trump never let the issue go, though he did morph it into an anodyne-sounding policy called “extreme vetting.” Obfuscatory language aside, the policy will be a Muslim ban in all but name, and could presumably be extended indefinitely — or at least until blocked by a court.

The seven Muslim-majority countries are not named explicitly in the order. Rather, the list is derived from State Department-designated state sponsors of terror and areas the Department of Homeland Security lists as countries of concern. The list could grow, too. The order calls for the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with State and the Director of National Intelligence, to review visa requirements for nationals from non-NATO countries. After that study is complete, countries would have 60 days to provide additional information about their visa applicants or risk being denied entry to the United States.

A waiver included in the order provides further evidence that Trump is targeting Muslims, rather than all people from designated areas. Once the refugee program is resumed after the 120-day period, the Department of Homeland Security is directed to “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” Being a member of a minority — due to religion, ethnicity, sexual identity, or gender expression — is often a factor in determining asylum priority, but in this case, the language is a thinly veiled acknowledgement that Christians from the Middle East will be given preferred refugee status.

Protesters rally in lower Manhattan against Trump’s proposed Muslim ban on Januray 25, 2017. (Photo: John Knefel)

Protesters rally in lower Manhattan against Trump’s proposed Muslim ban on Januray 25, 2017. (Photo: John Knefel)

In a reflection both of the diversity of New York City and the current emphasis on intersectionality in organizing, all of the speakers at Wednesday’s rally emphasized how their struggles, and their emancipation, are inextricably interconnected. Rama Issa-Ibrahim, from the NYC Commission on Human Rights, told the crowd how Trump’s orders will have an immediate impact on her life. “I am Syrian. I am an American. I am an immigrant,” she said. “My father is still in Syria, and I have friends all across Europe. This issue is deeply personal to me.”

In addition to the Muslim and immigration groups who spoke, several members of the New York City council addressed the crowd, promising to keep New York City a sanctuary city even if that means operating without federal funding. “We will not pass a budget that includes federal money if it will kick immigrants out,” said NYC council member Helen Rosenthal. “We are prepared to run this city without federal dollars if that’s what it takes.”

Letitia James, a public advocate for New York City, called on the crowd to stand in opposition to Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policies. “When you see a government that is lawless, you have an obligation to resist,” James told the crowd. “We have to protect those they are coming after.”

Beyond the 2018 primaries and public agitation, the courts are one of the clearest venues through which to oppose Trump. Tarek Ismail, a lawyer with the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) Project at CUNY, provides legal representation for Muslims, Arabs and South Asians who have been spied on or arrested, particularly in a national security or counterterrorism investigation. “We know all too well what it means to be watched,” Ismail told the crowd. “We’ve only been around since 2009, which means we’ve only been here for the Obama administration, and we’ve been busy.” His remark was met with silence. “That might not be popular, but it’s true,” he said.

To close the evening, Afaf Nasher from CAIR-NY, who had been emceeing the event, gave the crowd a final thought. “You are an activist today,” she said. “You are an activist tomorrow when you call your representatives. You can go home tonight and say, ‘Today, I was part of something great’.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Mayors and Activists Revolt Against Trump’s “Muslim Ban” Executive Order

Why Do Some Christians Love To Hate Muslims

NOVANEWS

After communism fell in the Soviet Union,  it’s been known since 1992,  when this cartoon was drawn, that:  Muslims Are The  Official Enemies of Americans.
Over the past 25 years Americans have been conditioned to fear Muslims. Millions of American Christians, who should only fear God, also are taught to to hate and fear Muslims. Several years ago, I received a hateful and untrue email about Muslims from a fellow Christian at my church. It turns out that email had been passed around among a number of other church members and had been floating around the internet for over five years prior. As a result, I wrote this article to challenge my fellow Christians and show support for my Muslim friends.

After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Chuck Carlson, founder of We Hold These Truths, wrote a ground breaking article, Attacking Islam in 1994, that explained how Islam became America’s new enemy.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Why Do Some Christians Love To Hate Muslims

The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine

NOVANEWS

Image result for jerusalem photos

Rana Barakat
Abstract

The British Mandate in Palestine was a time of significant change for the social character and demographic feel of Jerusalem. As it grew into a colonial capital and expanding cosmopolitan city, the city became home to a large number of non-elite Arab Palestinians, specifically the fellahin from the villages of the western corridor, who became central to Jerusalem’s social, political, and economic life. A great deal has been written about Jerusalem’s traditional families and their role in the development of the city as a national Palestinian capital, but not much is known about the contributions of Jerusalem’s Arab residents beyond those families. In seeking to rectify that lacuna, this article focuses on the important historical moment of the Buraq Revolt, demonstrating how the city’s evolution as a hub of mass resistance was driven by unprecedented demographic and social changes, resulting in the emergence of what may be called a “new Jerusalem.”

Appeals to the past are among the commonest of strategies in interpretations of the present. —Edward Said

JERUSALEM HAS ALWAYS BEEN at the center of Palestinian national rhetoric, both as an idea and as a symbol. Within the paradigms of nationalist mythology, historians of the late Ottoman period and the British Mandate era have typically focused on Jerusalem’s traditional elite families and their role in its development as a national capital. Beyond the handful of elite families and religious establishments associated with them, the political, social, and cultural life of Jerusalem’s Arab residents has largely been ignored, lending the city a historical image as a bastion of the status quo and of the establishment. While new literature on Jerusalem’s social history has partly rectified this skewed picture, the history of the city as a space for the more popular politics of change and resistance remains largely unexplored. This article seeks to redress that lacuna: it delves into social and political upheaval in and around Jerusalem during the Mandate period, highlighting the role of the “Jerusalem fellahin,” the British colonial regime’s term for the inhabitants of villages and localities adjoining the city. This study also examines some of the changes in political consciousness that precipitated action against the colonial and settler-colonial regimes to which Palestine was subjected.

This article focuses on a specific moment in modern Palestinian history, the Buraq Revolt, a week of riots and demonstrations in late August 1929 whose extreme and widespread violence left more than 240 people dead and resulted in the injury of several hundred others. As I will argue, the week of disturbances was emblematic of a new and different Jerusalem, one that reflected the changing nature of local Arab politics during the Mandate era. By tracing the evolution of Jerusalem through the 1920s and investigating how demographic and social changes directly contributed to triggering the outbreak of riots on that fateful Friday in August 1929, this study arrives at a more nuanced understanding of the nature of political participation in modern Palestinian history and its changing narratives. In doing so, it highlights those segments of the city’s population whose story was not recorded using traditional historical methods. Delving into a myriad of sources generated by the events of what I refer to as the “Buraq moment” in 1929, I have tried to reinsert these important actors into the drama that they helped to construct.1

Understanding the social context of the riots clearly complicates the traditional reading of the Buraq moment as the brainchild of the Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, which it clearly was not, and as the beginning of a new stage of middle-class bourgeois politics, which it was only in part.2

The material offered up by this critical moment in Jerusalem’s evolution not only allows us a glimpse into the city as a lived political and social space but also affords us a more comprehensive view of what and who constituted a “Jerusalemite.”

The Buraq Revolt and Mandate Jerusalem

On 23 August 1929, a large crowd of Palestinian Arabs left the central compound of Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary,3 roiling with anger. Their frustration was the culmination of weeks of tension and sporadic violent episodes fomented by Zionists at the holy site.4 Expressing their growing frustration with colonial rule, the crowds gathered inside the compound spilled out onto the streets of the city: the riots immediately engulfed other neighborhoods of Jerusalem, spreading to Hebron the next day, and then to other cities and towns throughout Palestine inside of a week.

What historians would later refer to as the Buraq Revolt or Wailing Wall Riots broke out over control and access to one of Jerusalem’s most contested and holiest sites (al-Buraq for Muslims and the Wailing Wall for Jews) but the disturbances quickly grew, becoming a collective and cohesive expression of resistance to British colonial rule and its implicit endorsement of Zionist settler colonialism. This volatile and complicated episode was a watershed moment for both British Mandate rule in Palestine5 and local Palestinian Arab politics. Political tension had been growing among the Arab population of Palestine ever since the imposition of British rule in 1917 but the bloody events of late August 1929 signaled a watershed: in addition to sowing the organizational and rhetorical seeds of mass political mobilization, they contributed to the long-term vision and practice of resistance emblematic of subsequent historical periods, and marked a major turning point in the drift toward armed conflict in Palestine.

In that one week, more than 133 Jews and 116 Arabs were killed, and the ramifications were equally great for the government of Palestine’s entire spectrum of legal, political, and security policy in the ensuing years. While they broke out spontaneously, the riots were the product of dramatic social and economic changes and resulted in increasingly diverse forms of political participation by The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine 8 || Journal of Palestine Studies the local Arab population. The events were not isolated to the few gory days of August 1929, nor were they merely the result of contention over a holy site, as important as that contention may have been.

They were the product of deep-seated frustration and fear regarding the long-term effects of Zionist colonization in Palestine and the future intentions of the British Mandate authorities, reverberated throughout the country, and ushered in a new phase in the Mandate over Palestine. While their precipitating cause was a dramatic and deliberately provocative Zionist demonstration,6 which began at the wall and proceeded through the streets of Jerusalem, the immediate Palestinian reaction quickly evolved into a revolt that signaled a sea change in popular Palestinian politics. The British Mandate period was a time of tumultuous change in Palestine’s economic and political situation, as the British established direct colonial control in coordination with the Zionist settler enterprise that they supported.

The new power structure greatly affected the social character and demographic feel of Jerusalem, which became home to a growing number of non-elite Arab Palestinians. As the city expanded into a colonial cosmopolitan capital, the fellahin from the villages located in Jerusalem’s western corridor—in particular, Lifta, ‘Ayn Karem, al-Malha, and Deir Yassin—were effectively folded into the population of Jerusalem and became central to its social, political, and economic fabric.

By 1929, a little over the end of the first full decade of British rule, Jerusalem had all but absorbed these surrounding localities and the newly incorporated communities not only contributed to the evolution of social relations but also fundamentally changed the politics of the growing metropolis.7

The urbanization of Jerusalem was well under way during the Mandate period following the demise of Ottoman rule.8 The city witnessed a dramatic increase in population as a result of the following factors: the influx of fellahin from the surrounding villages; the arrival of large numbers of Jewish immigrants; improved living conditions that led to lower mortality rates; and Jerusalem’s new function as a colonial capital that attracted bureaucratic and commercial enterprises.9 Population figures point to a distinct Jewish majority in the city, although this must be qualified by the following proviso: by the time of the 1922 census, and certainly by that of 1931, the British had gerrymandered municipal boundaries sufficiently to include every Jewish population concentration (in particular the Zionist settler colonies in the west) and exclude its Arab equivalent (the villages on the periphery) thus giving Jerusalem a distinct—but constructed— Jewish majority.

The villagers/fellahin from such localities as Lifta, Shaykh Badr, al-Tur, Silwan, ‘Ayn Karem, Deir Yassin, Shu‘fat, and al-Malha were considered part of metropolitan Jerusalem’s daytime population but excluded from the overall census count. Conversely, the residents of the new Zionist colonies of Montefiore, Bayit Ha-Karem, Bayit Vegan, Givat Sha’ul, Mekor Haim, Talpiot, and Ramat Rachel were included in the city’s population count, on the basis of official birth registrations.10 Some scholars have argued that if these increasingly suburbanized Arab villages of the periphery had been included in the demographic count of metropolitan Jerusalem, then there would emerge a near parity in numbers between the Jewish and Arab populations of the city.11

The daytime population category also included a large number of new, semipermanent, Arab residents hailing from Hebron. While the British also excluded them from the census figures, these part-time residents had a profound impact on the political and social life of Arab Jerusalem in the 1920s. The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine Autumn 2016 || 9 The Villages of the Western Corridor and the Construction of the Jerusalem Fellah By the end of the first decade of British rule, Jerusalem had expanded enormously, accommodating the new bureaucratic apparatus of the colonial capital, including an expanding middle class of Arab professionals, merchants, and civil servants.12

It was not only a city that housed the acquiescent politics of traditional notable elites; it was also a social and economic center that connected a vast network of surrounding villages and towns and offered educational and market opportunities to a growing number of non-Jerusalemite Arabs from surrounding localities (see fig. 1). The villages and neighborhoods on the western side enjoyed a unique situation within the diverse cosmopolitan city as they found themselves in the path of Zionist colonial expansion, with new Zionist colonies Figure 1. Mandate Jerusalem and its environs. The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine 10 || Journal of Palestine Studies scattered throughout their communities. In addition, the western corridor connected Jerusalem directly with important coastal cities and towns such as Haifa, Jaffa, and Acre, making it critically important in the geostrategic thinking of both the colonial authorities and the Zionist movement.13

By the end of the first decade of Mandate rule, Jerusalem had been transformed and nowhere was the transformation more evident than in the localities of the western corridor. As Salim Tamari has explained, when Jerusalem was made the capital of the country, it attracted and combined a vast array of non-elite populations,14 and its relationship with the villages of what the British administration designated as the city’s subdistrict was transformed.15 Those most affected by this transformation included the villages located inside “the inner rim” of the municipal boundaries and villages in “close proximity” to the city center (five to ten kilometers).16 The villages directly to the west of the city center witnessed some of the greatest changes, because of their strategic location close to the main Jerusalem–Jaffa road and to the expanding Zionist colonies in their immediate vicinity.

Although western Jerusalem was home to the largest portion of the subdistrict’s Jewish population, Arab land ownership and population there were also significant.17 The entire subdistrict of Jerusalem stretched over an area of 1.57 million dunams— 88.4 percent Arab-owned, 2.1 percent Jewish-owned, and 9.5 percent that was classified as public lands.18 In the western sector, 231,446 dunams belonged to Arab villages, 6,897 dunams were Jewish-owned, and 14,629 were public lands.19

This western sector was home to two of the largest Arab villages in the entire subdistrict, namely ‘Ayn Karem and Lifta.20 Located on fertile land, the western villages had historically enjoyed good agricultural returns. Rich soil and a high rainfall differentiated the villages to the west and south of Jerusalem from those on the eastern slopes of the city, where the soil was poorer and semi-arid conditions prevailed. The construction boom that came with British rule further improved economic conditions in these localities, which were already significantly better off than other villages in the subdistrict. Lifta, in particular, represents a prime example of the transformations of the period. By the end of the first full decade of British rule, it had become a vital hub for the growing construction industry.

In addition to its active and lucrative quarry, Upper Lifta’s myriad building projects expanded the village to the extent that it became contiguous with the growing Arab-Jewish suburb of Romema.21 Stretching over a vast area in the western sector of Jerusalem, Lifta enjoyed the benefits of being a prime real estate location in the midst of a serious construction boom.22 An improved transport network further connected inner rim villages to the close proximity ones, both to each other and to the city center. And the four largest in the western corridor—Lifta, ‘Ayn Karem, Deir Yassin, and al-Malha—gradually established relations with the Jewish and mixed neighborhoods that dotted the region, leading to growing economic ties between Deir Yassin and the Zionist colony of Giv’at Shaul, for example.23

This village also benefited from the surrounding construction boom, establishing a stone quarry in 1927 and contributing to the growing ranks of laborers employed by the British administration and the emerging construction industry.24 Although all of the area villages had dealings with local Jewish communities, Lifta was probably the only one that was physically intertwined with the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, particularly Upper Lifta (which was contiguous with Romema, as mentioned earlier).25 As a result, the people of Lifta had substantial contact with the Zionist colonies and Jewish neighborhoods of Giv’at Shaul, The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine Autumn 2016 || 11 Mahne Yehuda, and Mea Sha’rim.26

Thus, while the end of Mandate rule wrought devastation for the vast majority of western Jerusalem’s Arab residents, the early and middle Mandate periods fostered an environment that extended the contemporary definition of a Jerusalemite to include these traditionally non-elite fellahin whose economic and social contributions were integral to the city’s growth and prosperity.27 In spite of this integration, or more likely because of it, the residents of the western villages were central to the disturbances that rocked Jerusalem in August 1929, even though current historiography offers little detailed analysis of their role owing to a dearth of reliable sources. Given the circumstances of their expulsion during the Nakba, most Palestinians left their homes with little or no material that could historically reconstruct their former lives.28 Reliance on British accounts, albeit partial, has its own problems, of course, since narrating the story of a community through the voice of its colonizers is not the preferred method.

But in light of the circumstances, and given the critical role of this population in the revolt, it would leave incomplete the story of this pivotal period to ignore these accounts. The New Political Jerusalemite: The Western Corridor Rumbles in Protest The Jerusalem riots and the outbreak of the Buraq Revolt were the logical culmination of the transformational processes described above. As the boundaries between village and city gradually eroded, the isolation characteristic of village life also receded, allowing for the flourishing of new social, economic, and political relationships.

In the path of some of the most concentrated areas of Zionist settlement, the Palestinian villages in the western corridor found themselves on the front lines, so to speak, at first witnessing settler colonialism, and subsequently resisting it. For their part, the British authorities were well aware of the profound changes under way and realized that these communities posed an impending challenge to their control of the city. Although the forces of the Palestine Police monitored Arab activities throughout Jerusalem during the protests and subsequent riots, their focus centered mostly on villages within the western corridor. A careful reading of British documents produced during the revolt—police reports, personal accounts, and testimony before the Shaw Commission of inquiry into the causes of the riots—uncovers the new dynamic that was under way in Jerusalem.

Friday prayers at Haram al-Sharif, as well as a lively market for food and other goods, attracted large numbers of people from the surrounding towns and villages to the traditional social and economic center of Jerusalem. According to police reports, the situation throughout the evening of 23 August had grown more dangerous as “large bodies of fellahin moved [on Jerusalem].” 29 In his testimony to the Shaw Commission, the official British inquiry into the causes of the Buraq Revolt, Acting Commandant of Police Major Alan Saunders spoke at great length about the trouble he expected whenever crowds of fellahin gathered in a single place, emphasizing that the “nature” of the Palestinian fellah added an element of tension to the situation in the city. Saunders told the commission that very few Jerusalem Arabs—by which he meant the city’s traditional urban elites—carried weapons and that those who caused trouble were mainly mobs “composed of the fellahin and the typical riff-raff of the city.” 30

He further contended that the threat of The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine 12 || Journal of Palestine Studies disturbances in Jerusalem from the actions of the fellahin and of the bedouin population resulted from their points of access to the city. His police force had secured the Old City, he explained, thus muting the level of violence within its walls, but the rapid spread of the disturbances to the new city was due to the outside nature of people motivating the riots, namely the fellahin who came in from surrounding villages and who by this time had become an uncontested extension of the city’s social and political fabric.31

Sir Boyd Merriman, the chief counsel for the Zionist Executive appointed to appear before the commission, asked Saunders numerous questions, specifically about the people of Lifta. In doing so, he urged Saunders to characterize in his words their nature and to describe prior police experience of this particular village. In the succeeding two days of testimony, a slow and purposeful demonization of “the Palestinian fellah” emerged, wherein the people of Lifta were collectively labeled as criminals who acted on their base tendencies—part of broader British as well as Zionist efforts to construct events as the work of inherently criminal elements and to deny the political causes of the riots.

During the ensuing criminal trials of the “insurgents,” in the winter and spring of 1930, this demonization took on its full expression.32 Identifying and naming individuals after a particular village, as a “Liftawi,” for example, without any specific personal details, further dehumanized the vague category of fellah. In the British police’s colonial lexicon, this term referred less to a person’s identity as a peasant, or their relationship to the land, than it did to an indistinguishable group of people deemed incapable of sophisticated political participation and therefore naturally prone to so-called criminal behavior.

Thus, for example, in the week preceding the riots, an individual from Lifta had been involved in a violent incident that resulted in the death of a man from one of Jerusalem’s Jewish colonies. While specific details remain unclear, there was an altercation between a Jewish settler who repeatedly trespassed on the land of a Palestinian Arab from Lifta and the property owner in question.33 For the British police, the incident was further evidence of the villagers’ questionable nature (and by extension serves as further evidence of the derogatory British view of Palestine’s fellahin). But the manner in which the story has been remembered and even memorialized among Palestinians from the area reinforces their own general view of Jerusalem’s fellahin as steadfast in resisting the colonization of their land, and thus a Palestinian national narrative has emerged that privileges the place of the fellahin over that of the traditional elites. The police focused on the people of these villages precisely because they were the core participants in the violence that engulfed Jerusalem.

In addition to describing Lifta as “a place of not very good repute . . . from a Police point of view,” the testimony of various members of the police force also pointed to village natives as major contributors to the events taking place. In the week preceding the outbreak of the Jerusalem riots, the police had sent several officers to Lifta to monitor activities there. In fact, Jerusalem Area Police Officer Aubrey Oswald Less traveled to Lifta a number of times and recalled a growing sense of frustration among the local population.34 On 18 August, Less had gone to the village clubhouse where a meeting of the Young Men’s Muslim Association was taking place, and he heard local men complain about their brutal treatment at the hands of both Jews and police officers in Jerusalem.

When Less returned to the same clubhouse four days later, he noted the residents’ growing rage: “If the Government does not protect us, we shall have to protect The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine Autumn 2016 || 13 ourselves,” he quoted them as saying.35 In hindsight, these sentiments were an ominous warning of what was to come. On the morning of Friday 23 August, Corporal William Charles Black, a Palestine Police Force officer stationed in Jerusalem during the riots, noted in his diary that he had witnessed a group of six hundred to seven hundred Jews being attacked by a group of about one hundred Arabs from Lifta near Jerusalem’s Mahneh Yehuda neighborhood.36

In an attempt to protect the Jews, Black was patrolling the area accompanied by Constable Youthed, and the two came under heavy pistol and rifle fire from Arab attackers located on a rocky patch of land protected by stone walls south of Jaffa Road. Black wrote in his diary entry that he quickly sent for reinforcements from police headquarters and approached a large house that he identified as the source of the fire. Noting that they had at least two rifles and half a dozen or more automatic pistols, he wrote, “The Arabs continued to fire on the Jews but not at me, and a tall well-built Arab who speaks excellent English and whom I believe to be the Mukhtar of Lifta came out and spoke to me . . . the firing ceased and I asked him why he was attacking the Jews and breaking the peace, he told me that he was defending his home and his people.” 37

Calling this “nonsense” (Black’s words), the corporal told the presumed mukhtar that if he could rein in his people, the Jews would be quiet. Black then notes that “the Arabs” resumed firing as soon as he turned his back, advancing further toward where the Jews were hiding, at which point he opened fire and killed at least one man. Soon afterward, reinforcements arrived and were charged with continuously patrolling the Zionist colonies in the area. Protecting these Zionist colonies proved to be a formidable task for the limited British police force, especially on 24 and 25 August, after which additional troops were sent out to secure the Jewish enclaves.

The British held the natives of the local villages, particularly Lifta, responsible for the series of attacks on the colonies as well as for “the trouble” in the center of Jerusalem. Lifta, “as bad a village as there was around Jerusalem,” was blamed for the severest violence witnessed during the riots. In the early afternoon of 23 August, another officer of the Palestine Police Force, Sergeant Alan Sigrist, reported that a group of “400 strong Muslim fellahin . . . shouting and waving swords and knives” tried to break through the police barricade right outside Jaffa Gate in central Jerusalem.38

Sigrist describes how Major James Munro allowed sixty to seventy of them to pass through the police cordon and go up Jaffa Road toward Lifta and says that he was ordered by Munro to follow the Arabs as they proceeded along the main thoroughfare. (In his own testimony to the Shaw Commission, Munro explained that the men were led by a very tall, well-built and well-dressed Arab, a description that was congruent with Corporal Black’s depiction of the mukhtar of Lifta, but since neither man recorded the name of the person in question, his identification remains uncertain). As they proceeded peacefully along Jaffa Road, the men encountered a group of Jews who taunted them verbally, at which point, Sigrist continues, “They fell on the Jews and at the same time with my police I attacked the Arabs and after liberal use of our batons we drove them off.” 39

Sigrist then describes how the police rounded up these “disruptive Arabs of Lifta” and took them to the Russian Compound (the central police station and jail on Jaffa Road). The police paid a number of visits to the village following reports from the surrounding Zionist colonies that Arabs from Lifta were firing on them. In his testimony to the Shaw Commission, Major The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine 14 || Journal of Palestine Studies Munro explained that the police had deployed seven basic patrols (patrol cars with Model-T Ford military tenders) throughout Jerusalem following Friday noon prayers on 23 August, and that he had headed one of these as it followed a group of men from Lifta through the city streets, going on to the village in the early evening to investigate their alleged attacks on Jewish colonies. For his part, Boyd Merriman (chief counsel of the Zionist Executive) claimed that at least four of the people from Lifta had been armed, and that they had displayed their weapons in the demonstration outside Jaffa Gate as well as in the confrontation with the Jewish colonists on their way back to the village.40 Merriman contended to the commission that “trouble-makers” from Lifta were one of the major factors in the spread of violence, initially to the surrounding Zionist colonies, and then to other Palestinian towns and cities.41

These “trouble-makers,” first the fellahin and later the residents of Hebron, whom the British often conflated with one another, were behind the riots. It is noteworthy that all these accounts belie repeated historical claims that the fellahin/rioters were controlled by or acting at the behest of the Mufti of Jerusalem. Rather, given his cooperation with the police, the Mufti was an element of the British security apparatus and not the force behind the riots and the subsequent revolt. From Riots to a National Revolt: Jerusalem Reverberates Within twenty-four hours of the riots breaking out, the Palestine Police were stretched to the limit. In spite of constant patrolling, they were outmaneuvered by the local Arab population who clearly benefited from their intimate knowledge of the landscape.42

In Qalandia (on the eastern side of Jerusalem where the British maintained a small air base), protesting Arabs advanced on the colony of Atarot from the direction of Ramallah. Meanwhile, at the other end of the city’s outskirts, police patrols were kept busy around the colony of Talpiot and by a series of attacks on Mekor Haim where the residents’ consistent complaints brought out the Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force, and Acting Commandant of Police Major Saunders on a reconnaissance mission. Although the officers were not able to intercept an attack, reports of houses being set on fire reached the Russian Compound before their return there. They decided to bring two more armored cars into the arena from Jaffa to assist the overwhelmed police patrols around the colony of Hartuv (built on the land of the Arab village of Artuf). By dawn on 24 August, the spark of the revolt had been lit. The police reported that the tension had significantly appreciated as the “trouble radiated outward and the circumference of the disturbed area increased.” 43

News of the events in and around Jerusalem had spread beyond the city, and the police were helping the inhabitants of the Jewish colonies to evacuate and also awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from Egypt. In an attempt to dislodge large groups of Arabs assembling all along the Jerusalem–Hebron road all through Friday evening and into Saturday afternoon, the British resorted to low-flying sorties of Royal Air Force fighter planes. While the spark of the revolt was lit by the events in and around Jerusalem, the violence quickly spread to other towns and cities, effectively culminating in a national revolt throughout the country.

Using the Jerusalem riots, which sparked the Buraq Revolt, as a prism through which to examine larger cultural and political change enables modern historiography to challenge traditional readings The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine Autumn 2016 || 15 of Jerusalem as a symbol and space of elitist power. Significant elements among the traditional urban leadership neither foresaw nor supported the violent uprising: it was Jerusalem’s non-elite residents who were at the center of an episode that would fundamentally change the relationship between Palestinian Arabs and their British occupiers and contribute to the evolution of Palestinian resistance to colonial domination. About the Author Rana Barakat is assistant professor of history and contemporary Arab studies at Birzeit University in Palestine. Her research interests include the history and historiography of colonialism, nationalism and the culture of resistance.

She is the author of a forthcoming book on the Buraq Revolt and the construction of a history of resistance in Palestine.

ENDNOTES

1 For further explanation of the moment see Rana Barakat, “Thawrat al-Buraq in British Mandate Palestine: Jerusalem, Mass Mobilization and Colonial Politics, 1928–1930” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2007).

2 For a critical analysis of the Mufti’s political role, see Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006). 3

The complex of Muslim places of worship that makes Jerusalem Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina.

4 Khalidi, The Iron Cage, pp. 72–75.

5 Mandate Palestine here refers to the era of formal British rule, both military and civil, in Palestine that began in 1917 and ended with the handover of the Mandate to the United Nations in May 1948.

6 Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), pp. 295–313.

7 Reinforcing the new demographic and political significance of the “Jerusalem fellah,” the growing colonial capital also welcomed what could be described as “Hebron Jerusalemites.” That is, throughout the 1920s, Palestinian Arabs from Hebron (al-Khalil) and its surrounding villages migrated to Jerusalem, either relocating or establishing a second residence there.

8 Justin McCarthy, The Population of Palestine: Population History and Statistics of the Late Ottoman Period and the Mandate (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 67, table A3–5; p. 68, table A3–7.

9 Michael Dumper, The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 60–61.

10 Dumper, The Politics of Jerusalem, p. 62.

11 Michael Hudson, “The Transformation of Jerusalem, 1917–1987,” in Jerusalem in History, ed. K. J. Asali (Northampton, MA: Interlink, 2007), p. 258. Hudson argues that including the population of the peripheral villages would create a far different picture of Mandate Jerusalem. Walid Khalidi has estimated that 1948 population figures for these villages are as follows: Lifta (2,550); al-Malha (1,940); Deir Yassin (610); ‘Ayn Karem (3,180). Walid Khalidi, ed., All that Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948 (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992), pp. 678–79.

12 For an in-depth analysis of the diversity of late Ottoman and Mandate-era Jerusalem, see Salim Tamari, ed., Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and Their Fate in the War (Jerusalem: Institute of Jerusalem Studies & Badil Research Center, 1999).

13 For a complete analysis of the fate of these villages, see Tamari, Jerusalem 1948. In the introduction, Tamari explains how the villages were attacked and destroyed by Zionist forces throughout the The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine 16 || Journal of Palestine Studies winter of 1947 and spring of 1948 to achieve a near complete transfer of their Arab populations. Most of them were subsequently occupied and resettled by Jewish immigrants who came to Israel after the 1948 war.

14 By the end of the Mandate period, Jerusalem was the second-largest city in Palestine (99,320 Jews and 65,010 Christians and Muslims). See Rochelle Davis, “The Growth of the Western Communities, 1917–1948,” in Tamari, Jerusalem 1948, pp. 51–52.

15 Salim Tamari, “The City and Its Hinterland,” in Jerusalem 1948, pp. 74–89.

16 Aziz Dweik, “A Topology of Jerusalem Villages and Their Functions” [in Arabic], Shu’un tanmawiyya 5, no. 2/3 (Winter 1996): pp. 134–36, cited in Tamari, “The City and Its Hinterland,” p. 77. The villages of the inner rim included Issawiyya, al-Tur, Abu Dis, Silwan, and Sur al-Bahir; while the villages categorized as in “close proximity” included Lifta, al-Malha, Qalunya, Qastal, Deir Yassin, Bayt Safafa, al-Walaja, Jura, and ‘Ayn Karem.

17 The term “western Jerusalem” is used in a strictly geographic sense here. The division of Jerusalem into “West” and “East,” West Jerusalem being the Jewish city and East Jerusalem the Arab one, was a consequence of the 1947–48 war and the establishment of the Israeli state and Jordanian control of East Jerusalem.

18 Khalidi, All That Remains, pp. 266–323.

19 Khalidi, All That Remains, pp. 266–323.

20 The populations of these villages, as well as the vast majority of the Arabs in the western sector, were driven from their lands in winter and spring of 1947–48. (See Khalidi, All That Remains, pp. 266–323; as well as Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 49–60; and Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2007), pp. 66–68.

21 Sherif Kana’ana and Lubna Abdul Hadi, Lifta, Destroyed Village Series, monograph no. 12 (Birzeit: Birzeit University Publications, 1991). The boundaries of the village were delineated by Sur al-Bahir and Bayt Safafa to the southeast, al-Tur to the east, Bayt Hanina and Shu‘fat in the northeast, and ‘Ayn Karem and al-Malha to the south/southwest.

22 Families living or owning land in Upper Lifta (as opposed to older structures in Lower Lifta) benefited from the construction boom and the village grew into a main suburb (and virtual extension) of Jerusalem proper. Kana’ana and Abdul Hadi, Lifta, 1991.

23 Sherif Kana’ana and Nihad Zeitawi, Deir Yassin, Destroyed Village Series, monograph no. 4, 2nd ed. (Birzeit: Birzeit University Publications, 1991).

24 This phenomenon gave rise to constant grievances by local Arab laborers over the differential wage rates they received as compared to their local Jewish counterparts (who often received nearly double the regular Arab wages). For more on this see Henry Rosenfeld and Shulamit Carmi, “The Origins of the Process of Proletarianization and Urbanization of Arab Peasants in Palestine,” in Studies of Israeli Society, vol. 1, Migration, Ethnicity, and Community, ed. Ernest Krausz (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1980).

25 Tamari, “The City and Its Hinterland,” in Jerusalem 1948, p. 79. Although the Arab residents of Lifta were driven from their homes in 1948, many of the structures in Upper Lifta remain standing and have been integrated into the expanded suburb of Romema. See Kana’ana and Abdul Hadi, Lifta, p. 29.

26 Lifta was located five kilometers west of Jerusalem. According to Khalidi, Lifta’s population was 2,250 and land ownership was recorded as follows (in dunams): Arab, 7,780; Jewish, 756; public, 207. (All that Remains, pp. 678–79.) Many natives of Lifta also lived in other neighborhoods outside the village proper where they had either bought land or houses or rented property. For example, the village mukhtar (Muhammad al-‘Isa Ihmaydan) owned an impressive manorial residence in the neighboring mixed Arab-Jewish town of Romema while maintaining another home in Lifta. This structure remains standing (it was confiscated after the tumultuous expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from this area in 1947–48) in what is now the heart of West Jerusalem. (Morris has shown The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine Autumn 2016 || 17 that the Haganah, the Irgun, and the Stern Gang repeatedly raided the suburbs of Romema and Lifta during December 1947 and January 1948. According to Morris, “These raids, as was their intention, caused the evacuation of the Arabs of Lifta and Romema.” The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, pp. 49–51.) Although the three-story house has been converted into offices and residential flats, a plaque with the words “Mukhtar of Lifta” remains prominently displayed on the exterior of the structure.

27 In the later stages of 1947 and throughout 1948, Zionist forces conducted thirteen operations for the capture of Jerusalem. As Khalidi has explained, the main objective of the proto-Jewish state was to clear the Jerusalem–Jaffa road for the free movement of Zionist forces from Jerusalem to the heart of the coastal populations; and to empty the area of the western sector of Jerusalem of its Arab Palestinian population to create an exclusively Jewish demographic reality in this gravely important region. See Walid Khalidi, “Plan Dalet,” in From Haven to Conquest, ed. Walid Khalidi (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1987). The text was also reissued as “Special Feature: Plan Dalet Revisited,” in the Journal of Palestine Studies 18, no. 1 (Autumn 1988): pp. 3–51. With the exception of parts of Abu Ghosh and half of Bayt Safafa (split nearly in half in 1949 by the Green Line that divided East Jerusalem from West Jerusalem), the Arab Palestinians throughout the western corridor fled or were expelled as a result of war.

28 Personal accounts, although extremely important, mainly concern the devastating experiences people suffered in 1948. It should be noted that in addition to all that was lost in 1948, for Arab Palestinians this important history of the dynamic changes in the Mandate period was also exposed to attempted erasure by their expulsion.

29 Great Britain, Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August 1929, Minutes of Evidence (London: Colonial Office Publications, 1930), p. 23.

30 Great Britain, Minutes of Evidence, p. 23.

31 The reports reflect the attention paid to finding and disarming fellahin throughout the day— including carrying out searches in Silwan and preventing Arab attacks on Jews in Bayt Safafa. Among the most widely reported attacks were those on various Zionist colonies immediately surrounding Jerusalem; the reports reflect attacks by mobs of armed Arab fellahin from nearby villages. The National Archives (TNA): AIR 20/5996/ff 3−20.

32 For more on the colonial criminalization of this kind of subaltern resistance, see Rana Barakat, “Criminals or Martyrs? Let the Courts Decide! British Colonial Legacy in Palestine and the Criminalization of Resistance” [in Arabic], Omran, the quarterly journal of the Arab Center for Research and Political Studies, no. 6 (Autumn 2013): pp. 55–72. Available in English at Publications, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, 9 March 2014, http://english.dohainstitute.org/ release/e3c59e5b-e961-431d-bde2-9a51293167dd.

33 Although British police and administrative records are not clear on the specifics (colonial sources often ignored the more personal and fine-grained details), it is widely known among Lifta’s former inhabitants and their descendants. The story concerns one of the town’s wealthy landowners (several of whom owned land throughout the Jerusalem area and not just in their own village) who grew so annoyed with a particular Jewish immigrant trespassing on his property that he took matters into his own hands. I heard various versions of the story from several individuals with roots in Lifta and now living in the Jerusalem-Ramallah area and in Amman, Jordan. This version of the incident is the most detailed that was recounted to me, and was obtained from interviews conducted in Jerusalem in November 2005 and October 2008 with Khawlah Abu Ta’a, the granddaughter of the landowner in question. Known as Abu Siam, ‘Abd al-Rahman Siam died in Jordan in 1964, and no one I spoke to had been present during the incident or knew anyone who had been present or had firsthand knowledge of it. The story is remembered as an episode from a time when power was not the exclusive prerogative of non-Arabs and is laced with the everpresent undertones of yearning for life (or imagined versions thereof) before the Nakba. In some sense then, Abu Siam represents the longing of these refugees, and the story must therefore be understood as an evocation and memorialization of the past, rather than as a precise rendition of it. The Jerusalem Fellah: Popular Politics in Mandate-Era Palestine 18 || Journal of Palestine Studies

34 Corporal Black’s testimony, in Great Britain, Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August 1929, Minutes of Evidence, pp. 388–91.

35 Black’s testimony, Minutes of Evidence, p. 390.

36 Exhibit Number 7G, p. 4 (read in Minutes of Evidence, pp. 31–32).

37 Exhibit Number 7G, p. 4 (read in Minutes of Evidence, pp. 31–32).

38 Sigrist’s report, Exhibit Number 7G, quoted and read in the midst of testimony, Minutes of Evidence, pp. 31–32.

39 From the testimony of Major Munro, Minutes of Evidence, pp. 78–79; also Sigrist’s report, Minutes of Evidence, p. 31. In his report, Sigrist was not clear about how many Arabs he and his men killed. Arab victims were rarely recorded by name.

40 Munro, Minutes of Evidence, pp. 78–80.

41 Munro, Minutes of Evidence, pp. 78–80. 42 TNA: AIR 20/5996//ff 23–24. 43 TNA: AIR 20/5996//ff 23–24

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