Archive | January 29th, 2017

The Constitution in Crisis – The Secret Government

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The Constitution in Crisis – The Secret Government from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

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Why the Fearmongering? Only One Democratic State is Possible in Palestine

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Why the Fearmongering? Only One Democratic State is Possible in Palestine and Israel
By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle 

Long before December 28, when Secretary of State, John Kerry took the podium at the Dean Acheson Auditorium in Washington DC to pontificate on the uncertain future of the two-state solution and the need to save Israel from itself, the subject of a Palestinian state has been paramount.

In fact, unlike common belief, the push to establish a Palestinian and a Jewish state side-by-side goes back years before the passing of United Nations Resolution 181 in November 1947. That infamous resolution had called for the partitioning of Palestine into three entities: a Jewish state, a Palestinian state and an international regime to govern Jerusalem.

A more thorough reading of history can pinpoint multiple references to the Palestinian (or Arab state) between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The idea of two states is western par excellence. No Palestinian party or leader had ever thought that partitioning the holy land was ever an option. Then, such an idea seemed preposterous, partly because, as Ilan Pappe’s Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine shows, “almost all of the cultivated land in Palestine was held by the indigenous population (while) only 5.8% percent was in Jewish ownership in 1947.”

An earlier, but equally important reference to a Palestinian state was made in the Peel Commission, a British commission of inquiry, led by Lord Peel that was sent to Palestine to investigate the reasons behind the popular strike, uprising and later armed rebellion that began in 1936 and lasted for nearly three years.

The “underlying causes of the disturbances” were two, resolved the commission: Palestinian desire for independence, and the “hatred and fear of the establishment of the Jewish national home.” The latter was promised by the British government to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland in 1917 which became known as the ‘Balfour Declaration.’

The Peel Commission recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, which would be incorporated into Transjordan, with enclaves reserved for the British Mandate government.

In the time between that recommendation eighty years ago, and Kerry’s warning that the two-state solution is “in serious jeopardy,” little has been done in terms of practical steps to establish a Palestinian state. Worse, the US has used its veto power in the UN repeatedly to impede the establishment of a Palestinian state, as well as utilizing its political and economic might to intimidate others from recognizing (although symbolically) a Palestinian state. It has further played a key role in funding illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem – all of which rendered the existence of a Palestinian state virtually impossible.

The issue now is: why does the West continue to use the two-state solution as their political parameter for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while, at the same time ensuring that their own prescription for conflict resolution is never to become a reality?

The answer, partly, lies in the fact the two-state solution was never devised for implementation to begin with. Like the ‘peace process’ and other pretenses, it aimed to promote among Palestinians and Arabs the idea that there is a goal worth striving for, despite being unattainable.

But even that goal was itself conditioned on a set of demands that were unrealistic to begin with. Historically, Palestinians had to renounce violence (their armed resistance to Israel’s military occupation), consent to various UN resolutions (even if Israel still reject those resolutions), accept Israel’s ‘right’ to exist as a Jewish state, and so on. That yet-to-be-established Palestinian state was also meant to be demilitarized, divided between the West Bank and Gaza, and excluding most of Occupied East Jerusalem.

Many new ‘creative’ solutions were also offered to alleviate any Israeli fears that the nonexistent Palestinian state, in case of its establishment, never pose a threat to Israel. At times, discussions were afoot about a confederation between Palestine and Jordan, and other times, as in the most recent proposal by the head of Jewish Home Party, Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett, making Gaza a state of its own and annexing to Israel 60 percent of the West Bank.

And when Israel’s allies, frustrated by the rise of the right wing in Israel and the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insist that time is running out for a two-state solution, they express their worries in the form of tough love. Israel’s settlement activity is “increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality,” said Kerry in his major policy speech last month.

Such a reality would force Israel to either compromise on the Jewish identity of the state (as if having religious/ethnic identities of a modern democratic state is a common precondition) or having to contend with being an Apartheid state (as if such reality doesn’t exist anyway.)

Kerry warned Israel that it will eventually be left with the option of placing Palestinians “under a permanent military occupation that deprives them of the most basic freedoms,” thus paving the ground for a “separate and unequal” scenario.

Yet while warnings that a two-state solution possibility is disintegrating, few bothered to try to understand the reality from a Palestinian perspective.

For Palestinians, the debate on Israel having to choose between being democratic and Jewish is ludicrous. For them, Israel’s democracy applies fully to its Jewish citizens and no one else, while Palestinians have subsisted for decades behind walls, fences, prisons and besieged enclaves, like the Gaza Strip.

And with two separate laws, rules and realities applying to two separate groups in the same land, Kerry’s ‘separate but unequal’ Apartheid scenario had taken place the moment Israel was established in 1948.

Fed up by the illusions of their own failed leadership, according to a recent poll, two thirds of Palestinians now agree that a two-state solution is not possible. And that margin keeps on growing as fast as the massive illegal settlement enterprise dotting the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

This is not an argument against the two-state solution; for the latter merely existed as a ruse to pacify Palestinians, buy time and demarcate the conflict with a mirage-like political horizon. If the US was indeed keen on a two-state solution, it would have fought vehemently to make it a reality, decades ago.

To say that the two-state solution is now dead is to subscribe to the illusion that it was once alive and possible.

That said, it behooves everyone to understand that co-existence in a one democratic state is not a dark scenario that spells doom for the region.

It is time to abandon unattainable illusions and focus all energies to foster co-existence, based on equality and justice for all.

Indeed, there can be one state between the river and the sea, and that is a democratic state for all of its people, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

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How the WaPo Turned 111 Venezuelan Jewish Emigrants into a Mass Exodus

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By Lucas Koerner 

The international media has long peddled outlandish fake news about Venezuela aimed at presenting the economically-struggling South American democracy as a starvation-ridden communist dictatorship.

Faced with the reality that the elected socialist government of Nicolas Maduro has not been toppled by the highly unpopular opposition despite a severe economic crisis, corporate journalists have grown increasingly desperate for even the scantiest of evidence supporting their narrative of the country’s descent into apocalyptic ruin.

The Washington Post’s Ruth Eglash brings this pernicious race to the bottom to new, awe-inspiring depths.

In an article titled “Venezuelan Jews are moving to Israel to escape deepening poverty”, the Jerusalem-based reporter decries the shocking flight of Venezuelan Jews to Israel.

Just how many Venezuelan Jews constitute this mass exodus?

111, says Eglash, “more than double the number who arrived in 2012.”

Yes, you read right: 111 Venezuelan Jews emigrated to Israel in 2015, just about fifty more than in 2012 when there was no economic crisis and oil prices topped $100 per barrel.

Apparently, Israel is such a popular destination that Venezuelan Jews are packing their bags to move by the dozens.

However, 2016 appears on track to set records. Eglash quotes the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which has reported aiding a whopping 90 Venezuelan Jews emigrate this past year.

Eglash goes on to relay the jarring testimony of Venezuelan Jews who decided to move to Israel. Daniel Ortiz complains, “There was no meat, no sugar, no pasta.”

Indeed Venezuela has been hard hit by a deep economic crisis triggered by the collapse of global oil prices that has seen soaring inflation and chronic shortages, leading thousands to seek work in other countries.

However, the Washington Post correspondent never bothered to interview any of the approximately 9,000 Jews who have decided to remain in their country in spite of the economic difficulties. Not all Venezuelan Jews, she may be shocked to learn, view Israel as a promised land “filled with social innovation and opportunities”.

“I don’t think Israel is a very good option for emigration,” says Jaime Palacios, a Jewish student at Venezuela’s state-run Bolivarian University.

Palacios is a native of the Caracas neighborhood of Petare, which is one of the largest barrios in Latin America.

“There [in Israel] there is no freedom of religion and we see how the Israeli government attacks their Palestinian brothers and maintains constant conflict,” he told Venezuelanalysis, referring to Israel’s military occupation and its repression of the rights of Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

Nonetheless, Eglash insists on the apparently horrifying proportions of Venezuelan Jewish emigration. She notes that “about 50 percent of the 22,000 Jews who lived in the country when Chávez came to power have left,” as if to imply that this outflow was brought on by anti-Semitism that she says was “widespread under Chávez”.

Eglash’s only source for this charge of alleged anti-Semitism against the Chavista government is the Anti-Defamation League, which last year denounced a Venezuelan magazine for printing a cover suggesting that Orthodox Jews were behind illicit currency speculation in the country.

It’s no secret that the Anti-Defamation League has a long track record of dismissing any and all legitimate criticism of Israeli colonialism as “anti-Semitism”.

For example, in a 2014 report titled, “Venezuelan Government Fuels Incendiary Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Environment”, the ADL castigated President Nicolas Maduro– himself of Sephardi origin– for calling the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip “a huge Auschwitz” during the Israeli government’s 50-day assault that left over 2,200 Palestinians dead, including 490 children.

These dubious charges of anti-Semitism were also leveled against late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez over his condemnation of US-sponsored Israeli war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, as well as his government’s geopolitical alliance with Iran.

While anti-Semitism is real in Venezuela, the ADL bases their claims exclusively on the government’s political stance vis-a-vis Israel, rather than seeking testimony from any Jews who may have experienced discrimination in the country.

“In Venezuela, you don’t see a large amount of anti-Semitism, though this isn’t to say that it doesn’t exist. The Jewish community in Venezuela has won the affection of many people,” explains Palacios.

Sadly, voices like Palacios’ are notably missing from the accounts of establishment journalists such as Eglash, whose confirmation bias leads them to systematically privilege the perspectives of upper class Venezuelans, such as 29 year-old Reisy Abramof, who studied for five years at a US university before emigrating to Israel.

Once again we note that basic journalistic standards seem simply not to apply when it comes to Venezuela.

Any story about the South American nation– whether it’s the emigration of several dozen Venezuelan Jews or the government’s confiscation of 4 million toys– is seamlessly woven into a preexisting narrative of the country’s catastrophic, socialism-inflicted collapse.

 The era of post-truth has arrived, and international corporate media– as Glen Greenwald has observed– are its greatest purveyors.

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Government workers enter Damascus water-source area to restore supply after deal with rebels

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The Syrian capital’s crippling water shortage will soon come to an end after rebels allowed engineers to enter a damaged pumping station, according to a regional governor. More than 5 million people have faced dire conditions amid the shortage.

The governor of Damascus Countryside Province, Alaa Ibrahim, told reporters on Friday that the engineers have entered the facilities at Ain al-Fijah in the Wadi Barada area after a deal has been reached for the army to take control of the area.

“We have halted military operations in Ain al-Fijah and started reconciliation with the militias there,” Ibrahim told reporters from an area near the site, as quoted by AFP.

“God willing, the pipe will be fixed within three days… rapid measures will be taken to get water to Damascus tomorrow,” he added.

The governor said that the rebels who refused the deal will be allowed to leave for the rebel-held Idlib province.

“All of Wadi Barada will be secured within hours,” he added. “Water will not be cut off to the city of Damascus again.”

A restoration of the supply would put an end to the devastating shortage which has left more than 5 million people without water for almost two weeks.

The Damascus Water Authority cut the supply in late December, after it said the Barada River – the source of the water – had been contaminated with diesel fuel by militants.

The result has been devastating for residents of Damascus, with shop shelves completely stripped of any trace of water.

Such dire conditions raise concerns about the risks of water-borne diseases, especially among children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told RT, noting that it is delivering water in trucks to schools. Other humanitarian agencies are also on the ground.

But as civilians struggle to obtain clean water, rebels have laid blame on the Syrian government, claiming its bombing campaign has damaged vital infrastructure.

The governor said the Friday agreement is part of a wider deal for rebels to stop fighting in Wadi Barada. The deal would also include the departure of some of them for other insurgent-held areas in the country, and a settlement with others who would remain there, Reuters reported.

Wadi Barada has become the most intense battlefront in the Syrian civil war, with fighting continuing despite the start of a truce brokered by Russia, a Syrian ally, and rebel-backer Turkey in late December.

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US Builds Database of Foreign-Funded NGOs, Other Groups in United States

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The United States is entering the final phase of a multi-year plan to establish a uniform database to track and report on foreign assistance to groups that are active on its territory, the US Department of State announced in a press release on Friday.

The Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR) program was established in 2014 and is being implemented in four phases, the first step being a December 2015 study, with recommendations on how to track and report foreign assistance data.

“Phase Two concluded in September 2016, producing an FADR Data Element Index (Index), which identifies 57 data elements that must be standardized and incorporated into the enterprise-wide data management systems,” the release stated.

The final two phases will establish reporting requirements and a budget for resources needed to develop the database. The release gives no explanation of the term “foreign assistance,” but presumably it involves non-governmental organizations (NGOs), cultural organizations and advocacy groups that receive funding from foreign governments.

The effort comes amid increased criticism of the United States from many countries over operations of the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — and related organizations — which have been accused of promoting a policy of “regime change” by organizing subversive networks and anti-government protests in nations that are at odds with Washington.

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Nazi Police Executed Palestinian Bedouin

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Israeli Border Police Executed Bedouin at Um al Hiran, Doctored Video Footage
By Richard Silverstein 

I wrote a post about the killing of Musa Abu Qilyan in which I presented both the claim of the Border Police that he killed a policeman in a deliberate terror attack; and also presented video which, as I wrote, failed to support the police claims (though it didn’t refute them). Now, Ronnie Barkan has provided a close video analysis of two separate versions of the video, one distributed by the police and another slightly longer one which surfaced on Facebook. Ronnie shows (be patient in watching the various iterations of the video clips he presents) incontrovertibly that the Police video was subtly and slightly edited, both removing the first shot a Border Policeman fired at the car, and also speeding up the video to make the vehicle appear to be going faster than it was. You may read an alternate version, which essentially agrees with Ronnie’s work, at 972.

What does all this mean?  First, that when Abu Alqilyan’s vehicle drove along the road it presented no threat whatsoever to the police personnel. It was driving slowly and deliberately. As it proceeds, a police officer runs toward it firing. Three or four shots are fired. The first shot is fired while the car is driving quite slowly and seemingly under the driver’s control. Only after those shots are fired does the vehicle speed up, lose control and hit another police officer standing near the road. Clearly, the driver had been fatally struck by these bullets before he killed the officer.

In other words, the police acted recklessly and with total disregard even for their own safety. They essentially murdered the Bedouin driver when he posed no threat. After he was incapacitated, his vehicle struck and killed the other officer. He was not intending to harm anyone. Ergo, he was not a terrorist.  It’s certainly possible he was a supporter of the Islamic Movement, but certainly not of ISIS as Israeli Jewish politicians have claimed. Further, being an Islamist is not the same as being a terrorist.

The only possibility I can think of to support the police version is perhaps an officer had tried to stop him at some point before the drone footage began. He may have seemed to defy an order to stop and proceeded on his path, which led the officer to fire. But you can be sure that if such a thing happened, the drone footage authenticating it would’ve been released.

Further, how can a major police action at which physical altercations and protest is expected not secure the perimeter of vehicle and pedestrian traffic? How could the police have allowed any vehicles to approach them as this man did?  Why weren’t there roadblocks preventing access? To me, this appears to be a botched Border Police operation for which they have only themselves to blame.

Finally, this is yet another example of fraud and mendacity on the part of the Israel’s most vicious, brutal and violent police authorities. Not only are Border Police the most racist, they are also the mostly likely to lie and cover up their errors, as they have here. It’s a shameful episode which should be met with skepticism and derision by the Israeli media and the Israeli public. However, Israeli Jews are all too quick to swallow the lies fed to them by authorities. Once they have drunk the Koolaid, counter-evidence like this threatens their equanimity and is usually ignored or dismissed.

In my earlier post I debated the meaning of “terrorism” in the Israeli context and argued that dispossessing the Bedouin as Israel is doing, along with deadly violence like this constitutes state terror. This new evidence confirms there was no terror on the part of the Bedouin at all. The only terror was that of the forces of the State. If I were Israeli, I would hang my head in shame.

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Why are US tech firms suddenly trying to restrict RT’s access to social media?

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On Wednesday RT found its access to Twitter’s official news discovery partner Dataminr stifled, and it was temporarily denied full use of Facebook. These events followed weeks of hysteria about the network in the US.

First up, we need to explain what Dataminr is. It’s an American startup with exclusive access to Twitter’s ‘firehose’ (the full flow of all Tweets in real time), vital to any agency that breaks the news.

While it isn’t hugely significant for casual users, it’s extremely useful for media services, and it appears government intelligence agencies too.

The firehose is also seemingly a valuable resource for anyone looking for illegal activity on Twitter. This is due to how the information can help “explore an individual’s past digital activity on social media and discover an individual’s interconnectivity and interactions with others on social media.”

We know this because a lobbying firm called Beacon Global Strategies told the Danish government about these abilities when pitching a partnership between Copenhagen and the tech company.

RT, along with dozens of other news organizations, has been using Dataminr successfully for some time. Nobody batted an eyelid until a strange Wall Street Journal article last May placed the network center stage in a battle between Twitter and American spies. Headlined “Twitter Picks Russia Over the US,” it suggested that Dataminr was selling information directly to Vladimir Putin, via RT. Meanwhile, it denied CIA operatives access to its platform.
Changing tack

This stance changed five months later, when the startup, which is partially owned by Twitter, agreed to provide an “advanced altering tool” to the FBI. Furthermore, it was at the same time when RT’s relationship with Dataminr suddenly became more confused.

As this network attempted to pay the annual service charge for usage, the tech company insisted they’d prefer monthly payments, as they were “reviewing how we work with government agencies.” While that seemed unusual at the time, the reasons finally became apparent when RT’s access to Dataminr was revoked with immediate effect on Wednesday.

This unfortunate and sad move appears to be a result of the climate of fear that sections of the US press are whipping up around RT and Russian media in general. The preposterous Wall Street Journal article of last May is just one of countless similar diatribes.

Written by Louis Gordon Crovitz, senior enough to have been a former publisher of the paper, it hysterically created the impression that RT was somehow passing on information from Twitter to Russian special services – in other words, baseless, utter nonsense.

Crossed purposes

Just after Dataminr cut off RT, the plot thickened on Thursday when The Verge reported that it wasn’t only Denmark that Beacon had considered collaborating with. They also met officials from Azerbaijan and at least five other embassies over a period of three months. Unlike RT, which used the facility only for news gathering, these pitches were clearly made in ways that suggested it could have been used for surveillance.

While Dataminr has exclusive access to Twitter’s firehose, Facebook has a de facto near-monopoly on the distribution of news these days. Thus, when they blocked RT’s ability to post new links and video from Wednesday night to Thursday evening, it was easy to see the one-two punch to RT’s social media access as more than mere coincidence.

Especially, when RT was accused of breaching terms of service by merely streaming a video purchased under license from the Associated Press; AP confirmed it was entirely legal in a statement to RT. Not just that, but Facebook generated a notice nonsensically alleging that RT’s stream of AP video was infringing on the rights of US state broadcaster Radio Free Europe.

Facebook rectified its error the next day. Where RT’s Dataminr relationship is concerned, it is reasonable to assume the decision to deny service came from high-up in the company – or perhaps even above.

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Some 1,000 People Participated in Anti-NATO Protest in Northeastern Italy

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Sputnik 

VICENZA – About 1,000 protesters participated on Saturday in a demonstration against NATO bases and major infrastructure projects of the local authorities, such as construction of a motorway and a railway for high-speed trains, in the city of Vicenza, located in northeastern Italy.

According to a RIA Novosti correspondent, the march was headed by the No Dal Molin Movement, opposing a US airbase located in the north of the city. The protesters carried a huge banner, saying “Protection of land for the future without military bases.”

“Until the people do not mobilize, until they put pressure on the government to expel the US military from our territory, politicians will do nothing as they are not interested in it. Politicians should be forced to give us an answer, and now they do not want to do this at the moment,” one of the march’s organizers Francesco Pavin told RIA Novosti.

The demonstration was sanctioned by local authorities and was accompanied by a police escort.

There are a total of four NATO bases in the Vicenza area.

During his presidential campaign, US President Donald Trump repeatedly stated that the United States should decrease the support of other NATO member states and protect only those members of the alliance, who “fulfill their obligations” in respect to Washington.

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American boy, 13, trapped in Israel asks Donald Trump to rescue him

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Marianne Azizi writes:

The walls are high, barbed wire surrounds the top. Security is in abundance at the entrance. Cameras are everywhere – inside and outside the institution.

Jericho Dudovich (pictured above with his father), aged 13, has no phone, computer or any contact with the outside world without the permission of management.

His sister, Yamit, is locked up in another facility, medicated over and over again to prevent her from escaping, which she tried to do almost 40 times, nearly drowning on one occasion, in an effort to reach her father.

Yamit Dudovich

Yamit Dudovich

The two children were snatched from school by the Israeli police and social workers almost two years ago under the pretext that their single father was starving them, leaving them without proper clothing and preventing them from going to school. This was a completely falsehood, as evidence by the fact that the police and social workers had snatched the children from a school in which their attendance was high.

Third Grade at school

Adanim is a children’s institution near Beersheba in southern Israel. Jericho is patted down and searched often and randomly to make sure that he does not have a phone hidden somewhere.

Jericho suffers from miaclonic seizures, an extreme form of epilepsy. He was raised by his single father for eight years. He loves his father and wants to go home and live a normal life. But in Israel he is not allowed to express this to a judge – his state-appointed lawyer will never represent his views. Worse still, he is being abused in the institution at which he is being forcibly kept.

Jericho and Yamit were manipulated into believing that their father was dangerous. At the age of 10 and 11, they were denied the right to see their father, and forced to give false testimonies against him.

Jericho is not allowed a phone, a computer or free access to the outside world. His only entitlement is a weekly monitored and recorded phone call. Once he realised the game being played on him and his sister, they were separated, and he hasn’t seen her since.

Owing to his epilepsy, Jericho has been placed in a school for “mentally backward” children, another common practice in Israel. Of the 69 children at the school, Jericho is the only one who is never allowed out to visit his father and elder brother, not able to go to films with his family or do normal things.

He is punished if he speaks out. He wants his sister.

Jericho’s sister is locked in the Lynn Shusterman Institute in Israel, prohibited from having contact with any of her family members, except her mother who lives in the US.

The mother, a registered drug addict, gave the father full custody of the children nine years ago (all documented). She admits to taking cocaine, pot, ecstasy and experimenting with hard drugs. One day she received a call out of the blue from the welfare authorities in Israel, telling her that her children had been kidnapped and abused by the father. She flew to Israel and, in front of a judge, declared that all the allegations made against the father were untrue. But were the children returned? Of course not. The father has never smoked, taken drugs or drank alcohol. He raised his children successfully in the US as a single dad for eight years before arriving in Israel.

A bright child, Jericho is unable to understand why he is locked up in a facility with mentally challenged children. Born and raised in the US, he came with his family to Israel. Jericho’s father believed Israel was the place for his children. He thought it would teach them about life.

It certainly has done that. Less than six months after arriving, Jericho and Yamit were taken from their school by police and social workers and placed in institutions. The school staff immediately wrote letters to express their outrage at the snatching of the children, especially as they had been attending school regularly and were doing well. The school head and staff are incredulous that such an act took place, and still speak out and will continue to do so to anyone they can, in support of the father and the two children.

It has now been over 18 months since they were snatched, and the children are going through hell on earth.

In secret phone calls, Jericho talks to his father about what life is like in the institution. He wants to go home to the US. He has been denied his coming of age ceremony, the bar mitzvah, a gross neglect of his rights.

In the recording below, Jericho talks about the medication given to his sister and how they are erasing her mind. He explains how he was told that his father had come to the institution brandishing a knife and an M16 rifle and shooting at everyone. He talks of how he had been persuaded by the staff into believing that this was true. If it was, the father would have been charged and prosecuted. He didn’t even know about this story until his son told him.

Jericho is disgusted at all the “sick lies”. He describes how his mother gave him up in 2008. Yet all this is ignored by the juvenile court where the voice of the child is unheard.

In the recording, Jericho expresses his love for his dad, and begs to hug and kiss him every day. It is clear that the father and son have a close relationship.He describes the things that are happening to him at Adanim and, previously, at Shusterman, where his sister is currently being held.

The minimum profit made by the institutions for keeping the two children is $10,000 per month.

Jericho describes in detail what life is like behind bars in Adanim. He describes how his sister was beaten by a staff member because she did not want to eat. He describes how they put “stuff” in her food.

Jericho has gone backwards in his schooling and his mental development due to his enclosed environment, and the call is painful to hear – a family divided by lies and unable to be together and leave for the US.

He talks a little to his elder brother, desperate for information about the outside world and what is being done to help him win his freedom. He explains how he was brainwashed and made to say things he did not want to, and begs for forgiveness. He is overwhelmed by his father not being angry with him.

Jericho tells how the institution staff tried to poison him – not to kill him but to erase his memory. They put recording devices into the computer, he says, adding: “I hate it, hate it, hate it.”

He mentions a social worker at the Shusterman Institute called Alisa whom they met at least 20 times a week, sometimes two or three times a day, to brainwash them.

Instead of going to school, Jericho and Yamit were forced to work, raking leaves, washing windows and cleaning the street in 40 degrees Celsius. They told him not to talk about his epilepsy.

Jericho asks: “Can you go to the president… and also to the prime minister? Please, please. I need them, they need to help me, right?” He says he wants to tell the world he wants to go home and that they are not letting him. They won’t let him see his sister or his big brother either.

He says he gives permission to put the message out to everyone. His father promises to do his best.

When Jericho left the Lynn Shusterman Institute, they threw all his clothes away, leaving him with nothing. He talks about needing new things. But his father is not allowed into the building to visit him.

Jericho expresses his fear that when the recording gets out, he will be severely punished.

Jericho’s dad finally asks him to tell the United Nations what he wants. He answers: “I want to go home. They took me almost two years ago; my father raised us, the person who is recording me. My mother is nothing to me, as she abandoned me.”

He repeats that the social workers planned to frame his father. They wanted to put him in a special, closed jail.

The people involved in Jericho’s and Yamit’s kidnapping are currently being named in a lawsuit lodged against them in the US. A case is also being requested in the Supreme Court in Israel to continue the fight for the children’s return.

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Celebrating the Life of Clovis Maksoud (1926–2016)

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By: KHALIL E. JAHSHAN

ON 15 MAY 2016, the Arab-American community lost one of its most prominent and admired members, the renowned diplomat, academic, journalist, and intellectual, Clovis Maksoud. Ambassador Maksoud’s death in Washington from a cerebral hemorrhage was not only mourned in the United States, where he was born in 1926, but also throughout the Arab world, where he enjoyed widespread recognition and respect among political leaders and the general public alike.

Much has been written about Maksoud in the months since his passing at age eighty-nine: the man was a celebrated maverick with a keen political sense. But he was also an original thinker who was frequently unconventional and even contrarian.

Maksoud’s career revolved around three central themes: nonalignment, Arab nationalism, and the cause of Palestine.

Espousing the principles of nonalignment soon after the movement’s official birth in 1961, he quickly became one of its staunchest advocates, particularly in the Arab world, which he strongly believed should never align itself with or against any of the dominant power blocs. He accurately predicted the political potential of the movement and became as enthusiastic about it as its founders, all of whom he knew well and worked with: independent India’s first premier, Jawaharlal Nehru, independent Indonesia’s first head of state, President Sukarno, and Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Maksoud’s name was also synonymous with Arab nationalism, a cause to which he remained committed literally until his dying day. In recent years, nothing frustrated him more than what he saw as the implosion of the movement and the weakening of its impact as Arab politics fell victim to an era of division and sectarian infighting. He refused to accept defeat in this regard and always argued that Arab nationalism still had the potential to rise from its comatose state.

Palestine never left Maksoud: it was part of his DNA at every stage of his career. Some called it an obsession, which he considered a compliment. His diplomatic tenure as Arab League ambassador both at the United Nations and in Washington gave him a unique vantage point from which to understand the complexity of the Palestine problem; it also gave him repeated opportunities to urge Arab and Palestinian leaders to uphold the question of Palestine in the international arena. He was always ready to help but continuously frustrated with Arab leaders’ stale and timid approach and their halfhearted support for Palestine, as he saw it. He was extremely disappointed by the failure of Arab leaders in general, and the Palestinian leadership in particular, to take his Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. XLVI, No. 1 (Autumn 2016), p. 65, ISSN: 0377-919X; electronic ISSN: 1533-8614. © 2016 by the Institute for Palestine Studies.

All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s Reprints and Permissions web page, http://www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints. DOI: 10.1525/jps.2016.46.1.65. Autumn 2016 || 65 Celebrating the Life of Clovis Maksoud (1926–2016) advice and declare Israel “the occupying power” prior to engaging with its government in political negotiations over the occupied Palestinian territories.

Maksoud was unrivaled as a diplomat, prolific as a writer, and both a fine journalist and professor. Few people knew his self-deprecating sense of humor—one of the most effective and surprising weapons in his arsenal—but it endeared him to all those with whom he had close contact. He loved making fun of his own deployment of diplomatic parlance, which he referred to as “semantic acrobatics,” delighting in the fact that a verb had been coined in reference to his verbal prowess: to “Clovisize,” used by both friends and foes alike, was to take a simple topic and use rhetorical flourish and verbal sleight of hand to render it too complicated to understand.

I vividly remember his answer when a reporter asked him whether the Camp David Accords signed by Egypt and Israel in 1978 constituted a violation of the Arab League Charter. Without a moment’s hesitation, Maksoud responded, “The accords did not constitute a violation of the charter, but they were not in harmony with its provisions.” When I confronted him about this later, he retorted with a smile, “I Clovisized it, didn’t I?”

Clovis even joked about his own homely looks. His favorite childhood story related his father’s answer when asked if the newborn baby was cute. “Not necessarily,” he quoted the elder Maksoud as saying, “but he has prestige!” He attributed a similar response to his mother-in-law on their first meeting.

His eloquence and unrelenting dedication to Arab and third-world causes over the past six decades earned Maksoud deep appreciation and goodwill worldwide, and across several generations. While he enjoyed his broad popularity tremendously, he did not take it for granted, and he never let the accolades get in the way of his enthusiasm for Arab unity or the cause of Palestine.

 

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