Archive | June 24th, 2017

CONFIRMED: Kurdish forces are now the enemy of Syria

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By Adam Garrie | The Duran

Those who said that Kurdish forces did not mean Syria harm have been proved manifestly incorrect.

Many have long suspected that Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Syria are doing so in pursuit of a uniquely self-interested goal, that of carving out a large autonomous region from legal Syrian territory or otherwise unilaterally proclaiming an independent state on sovereign Syrian soil.

Now, the Kurdish dominated and strongly US backed SDF has confirmed that it will “retaliate” against any incursions of the Syrian Arab Army into what it now considers its territory.

This is proto-annexation in all but name. The only troops who have the ultimate right to move anywhere they want within Syria and attack any and all targets that the government feels are a threat to Syrian security and sovereignty are the forces of the Syrian Arab Army and their allies.

Any ally who acts unilaterally is de-facto no longer an ally but an aggressor and a security risk.

According to SDF spokesperson Talal Selowas,

“Since June 17, 2017, the regime’s forces…have mounted large-scale attacks using planes, artillery, and tanks in regions liberated by our fighters during battles for the city of Tabqa and the Euphrates Dam three months ago”.

Selowas furthermore promised “retaliation” for Syrian troops moving as they see fit In Syria.

The statement from the SDF makes it abundantly clear that they intend to keep the territory they have “liberated”. From the Syrian perspective, an occupational force of Syrian territory which refuses to allow Syria free movement of its forces on its own territory is acting as an aggressor. Any state in the world would view this in the same manner, just ask any US historian of the American Civil War.

As Kurdish forces are now unambiguously American proxies, this development has confirmed once and for all that American mission creep has led to attempts by US proxies to do what ISIS have been doing for years: illegally occupying Syrian territory with the goal of annexation.

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Nazi Mossad secretly aiding Saudi Zio-Wahhabi terrorist

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Nazi has been providing Takfiri terrorists in Syria’s Golan Heights with a steady flow of funds and medical supplies as part of Tel Aviv’s involvement in the bloody conflict, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The paper, citing half a dozen militant commanders and three persons familiar with Nazi thinking, said Nazi regime “secret engagement” in the war aims to install a buffer zone on the Syrian border with elements friendly to Tel Aviv.

The report quoted prominent Zionist journalist and analyst Ehud Ya’ari as saying that Nazi operation in the occupied Golan Heights started under former Nazi minister of military affairs Moshe Ya’alon.

Nazi regime, the Journal said, established a special military unit in 2016 to oversee and coordinate the transfer of aid to militants. According to the report, the aid helps pay salaries of the terrorists and buy weapons and ammunition.

“Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” a spokesman for the militant group Fursan al-Joulan, Moatasem al-Golani, said, adding “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

The commander identified by the nom de guerre Abu Suhayb who leads the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi terrorist group told the Journal that he receives about $5,000 a month from the Nazi Mossad.

Fursan al-Joulan which has approximately 400 militants in Quneitra province situated in the Golan Heights said at least four allied militant groups also receive Nazi aid.

Nazi army seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed terrorist group since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Tel Aviv regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria.

Last April, Syrian officials and locals confiscated a vehicle loaded with Nazi-manufactured weapons bound for Saudi Zio-Wahhbi Daesh terrorists in the Arab country’s southern province of Suwayda. The vehicle was heading to the eastern Badiya desert from eastern Dara’a Province.

Nazi regime has been treating the wounded militants from Syria in its medical centers and hospitals since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011. Syrian sources have frequently reported that after receiving treatment at the Nazi hospitals, the militants return to Syria to continue their acts of sabotage and terror.

Nazi Mossad has spent millions of dollars for the treatment of militants injured in fighting with Syrian government forces, documents from Nazi hospitals have shown.

The Nazi regime has also carried out multiple attacks on Syrian government positions since the militancy erupted in 2011. Damascus says the raids aim to help Zio-Wahhabi Takfiri terrorists group  fighting against government forces.

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Nazi regime revisits Qalqilya expansion plan

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Image of an Nazi military bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home in Qalqilya, West Bank [Apaimages]

Zionist Channel 2 said the ‘Israeli’ government will reconsider a previous decision to allow the expansion of the occupied Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the north of the West Bank.

The plan would see 14,000 new apartments built on 2,500 dunams (2.5 square kilometres) in Nazi-controlled Area C surrounding the city and would potentially double the city’s population from 50,000 to 110,000.

Nazi Prime Minister’s Office said the plan was proposed during the visit of US President Donald Trump to the region in May.

Qalqilya, which is surrounded by illegal Jewish Nazi illegal settlements, is overcrowded.

Channel 2 reported that the plan has stirred widespread controversy in Tel Aviv, especially among settlers who claimed it would “harm the settlers’ quality of life and security”.

The area owned by the people of Qalqilya is classified as Area C under the Oslo agreement signed between the Nazi regime and Arafat in 1992. Under this classification, the land is under Nazi security and administrative control.

Read: Nazi regime to approve 2,500 new settlement units in occupied West Bank

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The Legitimacy of Family Compensation for Palestinians Killed, Injured, and Imprisoned

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The Legitimacy of Family Compensation for Palestinians Killed, Injured, and Imprisoned

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew 

JTA reports on what would seem to be a no-brainer: a bill requiring that aid money to the PA be withheld if the PA continues its Martyrs Fund or “pay to slay” policy. Of course nothing is quite as simple as meets the eye.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top Senate Democrats said they were closer to signing on to a Republican-backed bill that would slash aid to the Palestinian Authority if it did not stop subsidizing Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israel. [Ed. note: Info on bill is here]

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told attendants at the Orthodox Union’s annual Washington action day on Thursday that he would support the Taylor Force Act or legislation similar to it if the Trump administration is unable to get the Palestinian Authority to stop the payments. [Ed. note: Senator Schumer is a major advocate for Israel; see video.]

“Abbas has to stop making payments to terrorists and their families, and all elected officials should call them out,”  Schumer said.

Also edging closer to endorsing the legislation was Senator Ben Cardin, top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The United States now gives the Palestinian Authority about $500 million in annual aid. The bill, which was introduced by Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, would only leave the portion for security assistance — about $60 million in 2013. Cruz also attended the Orthodox Union event.

“We’re going to find a way to pass the Taylor Force Act,” Senator Cardin said, suggesting that he wanted changes to the bill before he could fully endorse it. The measure was named for the American killed in a 2016 stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.

The Taylor Force Bill  “prohibits certain assistance…from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza” unless the State Department is satisfied that the PA is working to end violence against US and Israeli citizens, is publicly condemning such acts and cooperating in investigating them, and has “terminated payments for acts of terrorism.” (Here is a list of cosponsors of the bill.)

If the bill becomes law, the US may withhold 88% of aid to the Palestinian Authority until it complies.

Economics of occupation

Israel has also withheld money from the PA in the past—tax revenues that are collected by Israel but that actually belong to the Palestinians, about $125 million per month. For example, funds were held back by Israel in November 2012 as a punishment for the UN vote which brought de facto recognition of Palestine’s statehood, and again in January 2015 as a penalty for Palestine’s application to join the ICC.

The transfers are an important revenue source for the cash-strapped Palestinian government.

Palestinians already suffer economically from the hardship of a brutal fifty-year occupation. According to a study by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, agriculture and industry have suffered huge losses. One reason is the inaccessibility of “Area C,” which accounts for over 60% of West Bank land (66% of its grazing land) and is off-limits to Palestinians. The report estimates that “the occupation of Area C costs the Palestinian economy the equivalent of 35% OF GDP.”

Gaza is also barred from half of its farmland and 85% of its fishery resources. Over 2.5 million productive trees have been vandalized or uprooted since 1967; 82% of Palestinian groundwater has been confiscated by Israel, and must be bought back by Palestinians at inflated prices.

Even tourism has been “annexed”: Israel has “rebranded” popular West Bank sites as being in the “Holy Land,” obscuring their Palestinian identity. Israeli tour guides control most visitors, making it easy to take a day trip to Bethlehem, but then stay in an Israeli hotel.

Adding to its many economic advantages, Israel garners $10 million a day in aid from the United States, compared to the $500 million per year that Palestine receives now and is in danger of losing.

Israel uses its huge aid budget to finance the occupation and fight wars with Gaza—both of which are illegal according to international law and condemned by almost every country in the world. Its assaults on women and children, as well as noncombatant men, is well documented. For example, the Middle East Children’s Alliance reported that “1,518 Palestinian children were killed by Israel’s occupation forces from the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000 up to April 2013… meanwhile the number of children injured by the Israelis since the start of the Second Intifada against Israel’s occupation has now reached 6,000. That number means that one Palestinian child was killed by Israel every 3 days for almost 13 years.”

However, Israeli leaders argue that the “hate-filled climate” against Israel was created not by occupation and war, but by “fiery speeches” by Palestinian leaders and “venomous” Facebook posts.

Compensation in the event of death or injury

Payment to the family of a service member killed or injured in the line of duty is a common practice. In America, for example, families receive a one-time payment to help surviving members deal with financial hardships connected with the loss of their loved one. This “death gratuity” is currently $100K.

Israel too has a compensation program for families of IDF soldiers killed or injured in the line of duty.

Because the Palestinian Territories are forbidden from having armed forces, their resistance against the occupation is carried out by civilians. In the event of their death, injury, or imprisonment their families face the same type of struggles that any service member’s family would face, and the Palestinian Authority provides for them through the so-called “Martyrs Fund.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to withhold revenue from the PA until the fund is dismantled, as he considers these payments “an incentive for murder.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, leading sponsor of the Taylor Force bill, fails to make the connection between the US and Israeli compensation programs and the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, declaring that “the practice is inconsistent with American values, inconsistent with peace, and inconsistent with decency.”

Not a reward for violence

Nasser Tarayreh, whose son was killed after stabbing an Israeli girl, explains, “I don’t think anyone is willing to sacrifice his life for money. And for us as a family, all the money in the world won’t replace my son.” In fact, the money would be needed to provide shelter soon, as their home was scheduled for demolition—an Israeli practice in retribution against the families of attackers. Nasser will receive $350 a month from the Martyr’s Fund.

Many “martyrs” were not killers or attackers, but were themselves killed while walking to school, participating in a peaceful demonstration, or sleeping in their beds. If they died as a result of Israel’s brutality, they bear the title of martyr.

The fund also compensates families of prisoners and detainees. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network reported that “the Israeli occupation arrested 6,440 Palestinians in 2016, including 1,332 children and 164 women,” in addition to members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and journalists.

The fund had a budget of $170 million in 2016 and makes monthly payments to about 35,000 Palestinian families. Qadora Fares, who works with the system, explains, “This is a kind of social protection for the family. The children of the prisoners and martyrs and wounded have the right to go to schools, hospitals and get food.”

Fox News reported that the Washington Post strongly condemned the support of victims’ families in the Palestinian resistance. Fox quoted the WP as saying, “The PA is running a bounty system. Payments to terrorists and their families are enshrined in Palestinian law, provided for in the PA budget, and indirectly supported by foreign aid…incentivizing the murder of civilians is barbarism…”

It should be noted that this quote is not from a WP journalist, but part of an opinion piece by Israel partisan Thane Rosenbaum. Ironically, Rosenbaum authored Payback: The Case for Revenge, a book presenting the theory that “if the law won’t set things right, which it so often fails to do, then it’s ok, indeed moral, for us to do so ourselves”—a theory with which many Palestinians would, to Rosenbaum’s dismay, agree. Rosenbaum has elsewhere implied that a child whose father works for Hamas is actually a target by association, and that therefore it is morally acceptable to kill children.

Daniel Larison of the American Conservative said in his review of Payback, “Rosenbaum’s argument is extremely similar to the justifications that terrorist groups use when they target civilians in their own attacks…It is very important to reject this logic no matter where it comes from or whose cause in a conflict it is being used to advance, because this is the logic that has been used to justify countless atrocities down through the years.”

Origin of violence

In an interview for the Institute for Palestine Studies, Palestinian psychiatrist Eyad al Sarraj explained that many Palestinians who turn to violence have themselves witnessed great violence perpetrated on their families. “During the first intifada, studies showed that 55 percent of the children had witnessed their fathers being humiliated or beaten by Israeli soldiers.

“The psychological impact of this is stunning. The father, normally the authority figure, comes to be seen as somebody who is helpless, who can’t even protect himself–let alone his children. So children became more militant, more violent… The militant ones believe that if they die as suicide fighters in the struggle for justice, they are conquering defeat and death itself.” Sarraj continued, “they wouldn’t turn their bodies into bombs if they had F-16s, Apache helicopters, tanks, or a tiny fraction of the weapons Israel gets from the United States.”

Sarraj describes violence as a manifestation of a deep-seated issue: “Suicide bombings and all these forms of violence–I’m talking as a doctor here–are only the symptoms, the reaction to this chronic and systematic process of humiliating people in effort to destroy their hope and dignity. That is the illness, and unless it is resolved and treated, there will be more and more symptoms of the pathology.”

Sarraj expressed deep opposition to Palestinian violence, but distinguished between the martyrs and their families: “As a Palestinian, as an Arab, as a Muslim, and as a human being, I feel obliged to support them. I cannot leave their children in poverty–I have to do what I can to leave them some hope and dignity.”

The face of the Fund

One story that illustrates both the tragedy that qualifies Palestinians for the Martyrs Fund and the experience that produces even more martyrs, is that of Abu Jameh. At dinnertime on July 20th 2014, Israeli planes bombed an apartment building in Gaza, killing 24 members of a family—a woman, her son, four of her daughters-in-law, and 18 of her grandchildren. One member of Hamas was also present for the meal. Abu Jameh who survived but was injured, lost his pregnant wife and six of his seven children. He reflected, “there is nothing left. It is the end for us,” and added later, “I will marry again four times, and I will have 10 sons with each wife, and they will all be in the resistance.”

Emmanuel Nahshon, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman got it wrong when he stated, “Terror has become a comfortable business for families.”

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Trump Turns Back the Clock With Cold War Cuba U-Turn

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By Ron Paul 

Nostalgia seems to be very popular in Washington. While the neocons and Democratic Party hard-liners have succeeded in bringing back the Cold War with Russia, it looks like President Trump is determined to take us back to a replay of the Bay of Pigs!

In Miami on Friday, the president announced that he was slamming the door on one of President Obama’s few foreign policy successes: easing 50 years of US sanctions on Cuba. The nostalgia was so strong at Trump’s Friday speech that he even announced participants in the CIA’s disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in the audience!

President Trump said Friday that his new policy would be nothing short of “regime change” for Cuba. No easing of US sanctions on Cuba, he said, “until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.”

Yes, this is the same Donald Trump who declared as president-elect in December that his incoming Administration would “pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments.” Now, in another flip-flop toward the neocons, President Trump is pursuing regime change in Cuba on the pretext of human rights violations.

While the Cuban government may not have a spotless record when it comes to human rights, this is the same President Trump who just weeks ago heaped praise on perhaps the world’s worst human rights abuser, Saudi Arabia. There, he even participated in a bizarre ceremony to open a global anti-extremism center in the home of state-sponsored extremism!

While President Trump is not overturning all of President Obama’s Cuba policy reforms – the US Embassy will remain open – he will roll back the liberalization of travel restrictions and make it very difficult for American firms to do business in Cuba. Certainly foreign competitors of US construction and travel companies are thrilled by this new policy, as it keeps American businesses out of the market. How many Americans will be put out of work by this foolish political stunt?

There is a very big irony here. President Trump says that Cuba’s bad human rights record justifies a return to Cuba sanctions and travel prohibitions. But the US government preventing Americans from traveling and spending their own money wherever they wish is itself a violation of basic human rights. Historically it has been only the most totalitarian of regimes that prevent their citizens from traveling abroad. Think of East Germany, the Soviet Union, and North Korea. The US is not at war with Cuba. There is no reason to keep Americans from going where they please.

President Trump’s shift back to the bad old days on Cuba will not have the desired effect of liberalizing that country’s political environment. If it did not work for fifty years why does Trump think it will suddenly work today? If anything, a hardening of US policy on Cuba will prevent reforms and empower those who warned that the US could not be trusted as an honest partner. The neocons increasingly have President Trump’s ear, even though he was elected on promises to ignore their constant calls for war and conflict. How many more flip-flops before his supporters no longer recognize him?

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Largest Nazi Public Transportation Company Loses Netherlands Contract

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Largest Nazi Public Transportation Company Loses Netherlands Contract Worth 190 Million Euros Following Campaign by BDS Activists
Image result for Egged Israel Transport CARTOON

Last month, Egged Bus Systems (EBS), a subsidiary of Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society, Israel’s largest public transportation operator, lost a bid for a decade-long contract to run public transportation in the North-Holland region of the Netherlands, which includes the country’s capital, Amsterdam. This contract was valued at 19.1 million euros a year, with a total worth of 190.1 million euros.

Egged Bus Systems lost this lucrative bid after Dutch BDS activists launched a campaign charging its Israeli parent company with facilitating grave violations of Palestinian human rights and international humanitarian law.

Specifically, Egged Cooperative operates Jewish-only buses to and between almost all of Israel’s illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the militarily occupied West Bank, including remote outposts and East Jerusalem.

Egged buses traveling on Israeli settlement bus routes bar access to Palestinians. They use an extensive network of roads built to seamlessly connect illegal settlements on both sides of the illegal Israeli separation Wall to cities within present-day Israel.

The company thus supports and profits from a racist, segregated bus system that actively facilitates the maintenance and expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements, which are themselves considered war crimes under international law.

A spokesperson for DocP, a coalition of Dutch BDS activists for Palestinian rights, said,

We are very happy with this result, with the fact that our regional government rejected Egged’s bid to run North-Holland’s public transportation system.

People can now step into a bus in Amsterdam without helping pay for Israeli apartheid buses that discriminate against Palestinians. Without helping normalize coming and going from Tel Aviv to illegal Jewish-only settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

There is nothing normal about the daily oppression faced by Palestinians, and I’m heartened that our Dutch BDS campaigns are growing in popular support and showing results.

Riya Hassan, Europe’s campaigns officer for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) said:

Congratulations to all the activists, organizations and collectives in the Netherlands who successfully built on their earlier BDS campaigns to exclude from their communities a powerful Israeli transportation company that profits from segregated busing, segregated roads and segregated Israeli settlements illegally built on stolen Palestinian land.

You have helped ensure that the regional council of North-Holland adheres to its own obligations under international law by not aiding and abetting Israel’s serious violations of Palestinian rights.

Egged Cooperative has also been accused of putting its Palestinian drivers in harm’s way, and not doing enough to protect them from violent Israeli extremists. In 2014, 100 Palestinian Egged bus drivers resigned fearing attacks by Israeli settlers and after Palestinian Jerusalem-line bus driver Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni was found dead and hanging in an Egged bus.

Egged Bus Systems was one of four companies bidding for the lucrative public transportation contract in the Netherlands. The winning company Connexxion, a Dutch public transportation company, will provide buses and run public transportation in North-Holland for the next 10-years, beginning in July 2018.

Connexxion is itself owned by Veolia, a French corporate giant which was complicit in the Israeli occupation until an extensive BDS campaign cost it tenders around the world estimated to be worth over $20 billion, causing it to exit the Israeli market. Veolia and Connexxion have ended their complicity with Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights, but have yet to pay reparations to the Palestinian communities they harmed, and campaigners are still demanding that they do so.

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UN rejects Nazi regime claims of Hezbollah operating under cover of NGO

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The picture released on June 22, 2017 shows an installation of the Lebanese environmental NGO Green Without Borders which Nazi regime alleges to be used by Hezbollah fighters.

The United Nations has dismissed Jewish Nazi regime accusations that Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement is setting up observation posts on the border under the guise of an environmental NGO.

Earlier this week, the Nazi military published photographs and footage showing what it claimed to be Hezbollah observation posts established on behalf of “Green Without Borders” near the frontier with the occupied territories.

Nazi Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon sent a letter of protest to the UN Security Council, denouncing the alleged “dangerous provocation” and accusing Hezbollah of carrying out undercover reconnaissance activities.

The council should “demand that the government of Lebanon dismantle these observation posts immediately, and prevent any future activity of Hezbollah and its affiliates in southern Lebanon, particularly near the Blue Line,” he said, referring to the UN-drawn boundary between Lebanon and the occupied lands.

On Friday, however, UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko rejected Tel Aviv’s allegation against Hezbollah and said that members of Green Without Borders had only planted trees in the area over the past years.

She stressed that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) “has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of [Security Council] Resolution 1701,”  passed at the end of the 33-day Israeli war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

UNIFIL remains in contact with the Lebanese armed forces on monitoring the border to ensure there are no violations “and to avoid any misunderstandings or tensions that could endanger the cessation of hostilities.”

The 33-day Nazi Holocaust, which killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, ended on August 14, 2006, after a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect.

Since then, UNIFIL has also been charged with monitoring the cessation of hostilities.

Nazi regime claims come while it frequently violates Resolution 1701 by invading Lebanon’s airspace.

The Lebanese army and Hezbollah have on numerous occasions reported border breaches by Nazi troops attempting to install espionage devices and tracking equipment in Lebanese territory.

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ISRAHELL IS BECOMING A FASCIST STATE

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‘ISRAEL IS BECOMING A FASCIST STATE, US CAN’T SAVE THE DAY’

Opposition leader Nazi Isaac Herzog doesn’t think the American efforts to revive the peace talks will bear fruit and warns that ‘Israel’ is slowly slipping into fascism.
CAN HE keep his grip? Labor Party and Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog speaks to the Conference of Pr

CAN HE keep his grip? Labor Party and Zionist Union head Nazi Isaac Herzog speaks to the Conference of Presidents organization in Jerusalem in May 2015.. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman Issac Herzog warned on Saturday that ‘Israel’ was headed toward fascism and that its fate as a democracy was at stake.

“We are going through a process of fascistization of the Israeli politics,”  Nazi Herzog warned while speaking at a cultural event in central ‘Israel’. “Whoever is wary of the country’s fate and would like to prevent the fascistization has to support the transition into one big and moderate political bloc in order to change this trend,” he said.

“We have to change the regime in order to save the Israeli democracy from the fascistization that is threatening it,” Nazi Herzog continued.

The opposition leader explained that the current government was “threatening artists, Supreme Court judges and threatening and firing journalists.” He also noted that media outlets were being shut down and that “now the academics and the professors are also being threatened and are afraid to open their mouths.”

Nazi Herzog charged that the current government headed by the Likud party was slowly clamping down on the country’s arts and culture scene and trampling over basic democratic rights such as freedom of speech. “This is how the country is deteriorating to rock bottom,” he added.

The Zionist Union leader was also pessimistic about the country’s future alongside its neighbors. Speaking about recent US efforts to revive peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Herzog said that “there is a true concern that the American effort will fail. This means that we could be dragged into a regional conflict.”

Herzog then reiterated his own alternative solution to the conflict. “I suggest as a middle stage to establish a Palestinian state according to temporary borders, plus parts of the Area C territories, which would include Gaza that would be under the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, without addressing the core issues.”

“This,” he continued, “would take five to ten years and in the meantime we will act [to promote] economic growth, and fight incitement to terror.”

Speaking further about his vision, Nazi Herzog said that such a plan would “create a reality of a state, an horizon of hope for the younger generation of the two peoples instead of reaching a state of stagnation.”

Nazi Isaac Herzog at the JPost Annual Conference 2017

Isaac Herzog at the JPost Annual Conference 2017

Nazi Herzog concluded by saying that certain voices within the coalition were pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into preserving the current state of affairs. “Bennett and Shaked are paralyzing Netanyahu and he lies. [These are] political interests that are ruining the country, and only [by] joining forces we can change that.”

Nazi Herzog was taking a stab at Nazi Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Nazi Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The latter came under fire earlier this week when he spoke favorably about a draft of an academy ethics code that would ban professors from expressing their political opinions in class.

It also suggested that that units would be established on campuses to enforce the ban, and students could complain to them about violations. The code would also forbid academic institutions from cooperating with NGOs that are politically affiliated.

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Palestine: Another Desperate Cry for Help

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By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald tribune 

The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) has just issued a final plea for help in the form of an open letter to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement. It is signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and can be read in full here.

The problem is well known to everyone who’s paying attention. The letter recaps for us: “We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba [Palestinian ‘catastrophe’] and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

“A hundred years later and there is still no justice! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule…. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.”

The letter harks back to the Amman Call of 2007. “We are concerned that ten years later the situation is worse…. the Amman Call did not achieve its goal of a just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?”

Concern is also expressed at Israel’s “systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance” (by which they mean BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions), and on their partners worldwide who use BDS to persuade Israel to end the occupation.

“While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.”

So now they ask us to do the following:

1. Call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and the UN ESCWA report which said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. They are concerned that States and churches continue dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily deaths. Churches united to end apartheid in South Africa, the WCC playing a pivotal role, and they are expected to do the same again in Palestine

2. Unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and demand the UK asks forgiveness and compensates the Palestinian people for their losses. Unfortunately Zionist stooges in high places, like Theresa May, have said they will be celebrating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and inviting Mr Netanyahu along for the fun.

3. Take the strongest possible stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and favours one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant.

4. Take a stand against religious extremism and any attempt to create a religious state in Palestine or the region.

5. Challenge our religious dialogue partners, and withdraw from the partnership if they won’t condemn the occupation.

6. Encourage church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities using Palestinian travel agencies, not Israeli.

7. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, defend the Palestinians’ right to resist non-violently, and support economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation.  Go further and include sport, cultural and academic measures until Israel complies with international law and UN resolutions.

8. Create lobby groups in defence of Palestinian Christians.

9. Urgently create a strategy within the WCC, like the programme “To Combat Racism”, to co-ordinate lobbying, advocacy and other activities aimed at achieving justice and peace and maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians.

“We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call,” says the NCCOP.

Their message ends with these ominous words: “Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.”

As I’m writing news has come in of a legal victory against the UK Government for trying to stifle BDS. The Government recently issued guidance to stop divestment campaigns against Israeli and international firms implicated in Israel’s violations of international law, and to protect the UK’s defence industry. Pension holders, for example, could have been forced into investing in companies complicit in human rights abuses contrary to their conscience and beliefs.

Thanks to action by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the court held that the Government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and defence policy.  Parts of the guidance are now held to be unlawful and no longer applicable local government in their pension decisions.

Other last-gasp appeals

The Amman Call mentioned earlier was issued exactly ten years ago at the WCC’s International Peace Conference “Churches together for Peace and Justice in the Middle East” held in Amman, Jordan. It contained a number of imperatives.

  • Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It is time for action.
  • The Churches are part of the conflict, because they cannot remain silent while there is still suffering.
  • There is no military solution to the conflict, UN resolutions are the basis for peace and the Geneva conventions are applicable to the rights and responsibilities of the affected people.
  • Palestinians have the right of self-determination and the right of return.
  • Jerusalem must be an open, accessible, inclusive and shared city for the two peoples and three religions.
  • Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, and constitute an obstacle to peace, and Israel’s “Separation Barrier” is a grave breach of international law and must be removed.

The Kairos Document of 2009 called itself a “cry of hope in the absence of all hope”. They said they had “reached a dead end” in the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the decision-makers “content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it”. The faithful were asking: What is the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? “The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the Church.”

Kairos told the international community to stop practising “double standards” and start implementing international resolutions. “Selective application of international law threatens to leave us vulnerable to a law of the jungle. It legitimizes the claims by certain armed groups and states that the international community only understands the logic of force.” So Kairos was calling for a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel – not as a revenge tactic but action to reach a just and definitive peace.

It also urged churches to revisit the fundamentalist positions that support the evil policies imposed on the Palestinian people, and to stop providing theological cover for the injustices they suffer.

Local action

These heart-rending pleas are all very well but churches are hard to mobilise. Some have flirted with BDS but only after much internal wrangling. Others have allowed themselves to be put off by interference from their interfaith partners.

What can we ordinary mortals do?

Well, I pop into churches randomly and ask what links they have with the Holy Land. They usually stare at me in blank amazement and an awkward silence follows. I therefore recommend a national campaign to visit all churches throughout the land and ask that same question. Shame them.

But you never quite know when you’re up against the ‘enemy within’ – the Christian Zionist. Many readers will remember The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in 2006.

It says among other things:

  • We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message.
  • We reject the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States [add the UK] that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
  • We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that support these policies as they promote racial exclusivity and perpetual war.
  • We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
  • We call upon all people to reject Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
  • We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation.
  • And, of course, Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. Don’t anyone forget that.

Memorise it.

Did you ever hear any of the 26 Church of England bishops sitting in the House of Lords roundly condemn the British government’s unshakable support for the rogue regime in Israel that’s causing all this misery? No, they’re scared to death of ruffling the feathers of their ‘inter-faith dialogue’ partners and being branded antisemitic. And yes, the Church does have its fearless heroes but they are few and far between and not always tolerated. The Anglican Church by and large doesn’t give a damn about their brethren in the Holy Land or the military jackboot on their necks. And, by extension, they don’t give a four-x whether, in another 10 years, there will be any Christians left in the place where Christianity was born. No, maybe they will care, but by then it will be too late.

If I had my way every clergyman and every political leader calling him/herself a Christian would have the Jerusalem Declaration tattooed on their rump.

I’d like to invite some of them to spend a week with priests in the front line in Jenin, Nablus or Hebron for a real taste of life under brutal Israeli occupation; then queue for hours at daybreak with Palestinian workers in the obscene human holding pens at the Bethlehem checkpoint as they struggle to get to work… and home again; then watch Israeli bulldozers evict Palestinian families and destroy their homes for no good reason; then join Gaza fishermen as they try to earn a living while getting shot at in their own waters by Israeli gunboats; then stay with a Gaza family in the rubble, experience living with only 2 hours’ electricity a day, with the kids going to school in shifts and studying by candlelight; then sit down with Hamas ministers to learn what it’s like running this tiny, overcrowded enclave after 10 years of cruel blockade; then visit Gaza’s hospitals to see first-hand the crisis in medical equipment and spares; then watch the groups of young, uniformed Israeli gunslingers swaggering through the Old City of Jerusalem making that beautiful place so ugly….

The opportunities to learn the nasty truth about today’s Holy Land are endless.

And when they return home…. who knows, they might just feel pricked to do something about it. At least they could ensure every parish in England twins itself with a parish in the West Bank to offer solidarity and provide moral and material support.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: Another Desperate Cry for Help

US faces historic setback in the Middle East

NOVANEWS
Image result for USA Middle East CARTOON
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

The bloc of four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia that imposed an embargo against Qatar on June 5 has finally presented their charter of demands. An AP dispatch, lists the 13 demands. The most striking demands include Doha reducing ties with Iran, severing relationships with Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, closing a Turkish military base in the country, and shuttering state broadcaster Al Jazeera and several news outlets.

Interestingly, Qatar is also expected to “consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.” All this means that abject, unconditional capitulation by Qatar only will satisfy its ‘big brothers’ – nothing less. By the way, there is also a timeline to comply – within the next 10 days – or else the demands get ratcheted up.

To my mind, Qatar will have no difficulty to see this is nothing short of a thinly-veiled push for ‘regime change’. The regime’s response can only be that these Arab bigwigs can go and hang themselves.

What happens next? Simply put, the (Sunni) Muslim Middle East is about to split and the historic schism will have profound consequences for regional and international security.

Make no mistake, this latest development also signifies a slap on the face for the Trump administration. Only last Tuesday, US state department warned Saudi Arabia to resolve the standoff without any further delay lest direct US intervention became necessary, doubting the stance taken by Riyadh (which is widely regarded as carrying the imprimatur of the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) and showing broad empathy with Qatar (where the US Central Command is headquartered.) Curiously, the US spokesperson also had alluded to Saudi Arabia’s past involvement in terrorism “whether it’s through terror financing or other means”.

Evidently, Saudi pride has been touched to the quick and Riyadh has taken exception to the US censuring. Without doubt, these demands are a show of defiance at Washington, too. This is all now going to become a protracted crisis in all likelihood, which will seriously debilitate the US’ regional strategies – unless of course Qatar crawls on its knees — and weaken its war against the ISIS.

To be sure, Turkey will take great exception to the Saudi demand that its so-called military base in Doha should be shut down unceremoniously. President Recep Erdogan will see this demand as an intolerable affront to Ottoman legacy. The VOA reported on Thursday that Turkey has been moving food and troops to Qatar in a big way.

Quite obviously, the crux of the matter is that the virus of Arab Spring is hibernating in Qatar and it threatens to become an epidemic someday again, threatening the autocratic regimes in the Middle East. Only Turkey, Iran and Israel are immune to the virus of democratic empowerment. Evidently, Al Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood are driving the sheikhs crazy in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain and threaten the military dictatorship in Egypt.

The credibility of the US on the ‘Arab Street’ is now irreparably damaged. For President Donald Trump all this becomes a big political embarrassment domestically. (Bloomberg ) It remains to be seen how the US can afford to sustain its belligerent posturing in Syria and Iraq much longer without any regional allies from the Arab world.

The Trump administration’s containment strategy against Iran seems destined to collapse even before its launch and Trump’s pet project of the ‘Arab NATO’ looks a macabre joke. Can the US ever restore its hegemony over the Muslim Middle East? Doubtful. A big slice of modern history of the western hegemony over Arabs is breaking away and drifting toward the horizon. To be sure, Russians are coming!

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on US faces historic setback in the Middle East

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