Archive | February 12th, 2018

When Jewish Is Mighty ‘Video’


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This video is part of an extended interview with writer Yossi Gurvitz [ ] – transcribed & translated from Hebrew to English by Dena Shunra

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The Reality Behind “Iranian Drone”


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Shortly before Syria downed an Israeli F16 fighter jet on Saturday, the occupation army claimed that an “Iranian drone” had violated the so-called “Israeli airspace”.

Tel Aviv aimed from this move to say that its strikes on military posts in Syria were just “defensive” or that they come in the context of “retaliation.”

However, the Command of Syria’s Allies dismissed such claims, stressing that the drone which the Zionist regime was talking about was operating over the Syrian airspace.

“Our drone took off from Tifur airport and was carrying out a normal anti-ISIL mission over Syrian Badiyah,” Syria’s Allies Command said in a statement.

“We hail the brave retaliation of Damascus,” the statement said referring to the downing of the Israeli F16.

It also vowed that any new Israeli aggression on Syria “won’t go unanswered.”

The Zionist entity tried since the first moment to justify its aggression on Syria. However, such claims were immediately refuted, in a clear message to the Zionist entity that says: “The era when you can strike Syria without any retaliation has gone!”

And this conclusion falls in line with Israeli daily Haaretz comments soon after the attack.

“Syrian President Bashar Assad has shifted from stage of threats to stage of action after his army regained control of 80% of Syria’s territory,” Haaretz said.

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Scared of my Own Thoughts

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By Craig Murray 

In Doha last week I watched on TV an utterly contemptible speech by Theresa May in which she grasped for ideas to shore up the increasingly eroded Establishment control of the political zeitgeist. Yet more pressure would be put on the social media companies to curtail the circulation of unauthorised truths as “fake news”. Disrespectful questioning of the political class will be a new crime of “intimidation of candidates”. The government would look for new ways to boost the unwanted and failing purveyors of the official line by some potential aid to newspapers and their paid liars.

In short I did not merely disagree with what she was saying, I found it an extraordinary example of Orwellian doublespeak in which she even referenced John Stuart Mill and her commitment to freedom of speech as she outlined plans to restrict it further. I found myself viewing this dull, plodding agent of repression as representing a political philosophy which is completely alien to me.

I had a similar epiphany the week before watching the gathering at Davos. I have often been sceptical of the philosophy and motivation of the neo-liberal elite, but I have never before looked at them and seen them as the enemy. Yet after the super wealthy were rewarded for the financial collapse of 2008, by the largest diversion of ordinary people’s money to the rich in human history, as bailouts and QE, the steady but unspectacular economic growth of the ensuing decade has resulted in no significant real wage increases for the working person across the entire developed world, while the wealth of the 1% has more than doubled. There has been a curious but matching phenomenon whereby even the “third sector” representatives at Davos – the heads of universities and charities or the senior presenters from the BBC, for example – are themselves on over £300,000 a year and completely divorced from the lifestyle of working people, due to the abandonment of their institutions to corporate philosophy.

In short, as with Theresa May, I found myself looking at the inhabitants of Davos with utter contempt, as people whose philosophy and lifestyle I detest.

Then a couple of days ago I watched an uncritical BBC report of alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria based entirely on film provided by the White Helmets, which plainly had zero evidential value. Given that the origins and motivations of the White Helmets are today known to anyone with an internet connection, the continued retailing of this repetitive propaganda is extraordinary. I felt contempt for the BBC journalists who were retailing it. In the last 24 hours Israel has carried out large scale bombing attacks on Syria which are undeniably illegal, and for once has acknowledged them brazenly. There has been very little media reporting of this. In a two sentence report on BBC News as I type, the second sentence was that the attack followed the downing of an Israel fighter, without mentioning that plane was itself illegally attacking Syria. The Israeli statement was given verbatim and no balancing view from Syria was given.

I am not comfortable with thoughts of contempt, disgust or hatred towards anyone. I have always held the view that people are entitled to their political views, and having different views to mine in no way makes you a bad person. I have been known to suggest that anyone who has all the same views as me must be in dubious mental health. I have tried to acknowledge common ground with people where it exists – for example I have always admired David Davis’ commitment to civil liberties. It is not the case that some of my best friends are Tories, but I do have Tory friends.

I was for most of my working life a fully paid up member of the Establishment, and reasonably comfortable with that. Even bad governments do some good. I was a Liberal and fairly well on board with the prescriptions of the party in the time of Charlie Kennedy. I am, I hope, a naturally friendly person and have always considered myself gentle and kind. It is certainly true my political views are driven more by empathy with the suffering than by rigid systems of thought.

I therefore am not comfortable being so stridently opposed to everything that is happening in the UK political mainstream. I am scared by the prospect of being the extremist nutter who mutters on about a worldview entirely at odds with the accepted narrative.

Yet I look at the world with disbelief. I see an economy that gives little opportunity for secure and fulfilling lives to millions of young people. I see the obscene lifestyle of the super rich. And I perceive that, contrary to neo-liberal propaganda, that is not the natural order of things but a direct result of the operation of institutions created by government and their use to channel the flow of wealth to a tiny minority.I marvel at the continuing Ponzi scheme of the UK property market. I see Africa plundered for its commodities and deliberately kept poor.

The panic-inducing correction in the world’s stock markets this week was triggered by news that unemployment was falling rapidly in the USA. That was “bad news” for the markets because it might result in workers getting better pay. There could not be a better illustration of the madness of the system. The world is suffering from a failure of imagination. Corporate ownership structure has developed in certain ways because of social conditions prevailing in the UK and Europe from the 16th century onwards. The development consists of the overlaid accretions of accumulated accidents of history. There is nothing natural or inevitable about current stock market models. The rational alternative – worker ownership of enterprises – is, however, not on any mainstream accepted political agenda.

Jeremy Corbyn and John MacDonnell are doing their best within the awful constraints of the Labour Party they inherited, but their economic proposals are nowhere near the radical change required. In Scotland, the SNP have put in place some commendable but very modest social democratic measures to increase taxes on the wealthy. But the SNP appears to have been seized by crippling timidity on the subject of Independence. There are worrying signs that Sturgeon’s evident lack of serious intent to push for Independence, is finally damping down grassroots activism, including on social media. Meanwhile virtually the entire political class of Europe has united behind the vicious suppression of Catalonia, with peaceful campaigners facing lengthy years as political prisoners. Those events, more than any, crystallise my understanding that a “liberal” political Establishment no longer exists.

In conclusion, either I am barking mad or the world is becoming a much darker place. As the position of the vast majority of people as helots to the super wealthy is further consolidated, the manufacturing of consent by the control of information becomes ever more crucial to the elite. I have never desired to stand outside society barking unheeded warnings. You have probably gathered that the last few months I have been inclined to succumb to the fact that my own life would be more comfortable if I stopped barking. But I shall continue – please feel free to warn me when I get over-bitter.

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Germar Rudolf presents Auschwitz facts ‘Video’


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All kinds of Videos

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Bahrain: A Crime Outside Coverage a human rights report

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A Crime Outside Coverage a human rights report on the grave violations in suppressing the peaceful assembly near the house of Ayatollah Qassim

Four Bahraini human rights organizations, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, and the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, published a report monitoring grave violations in suppressing the Duraz peaceful assembly on May 23, 2017, after the security forces used excessive force to end the gathering, which lasted about a year near the house of the highest religious authority for Shiites in Bahrain, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, in a report entitled: A Crime Outside Coverage.
Yahya al-Hadid, head of the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, said that suppressing the peaceful gathering in Duraz on May 23, 2017 resulted in killing five protesters, injuring more than 100 people, and arresting 286 residents directly after a specific time of an attack, in which security men used shotguns, sound bombs, and tear gas.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said that the security authorities used excessive force indiscriminately and unjustifiably during the attack on the protesters in front of Sheikh Isa Qassim\\\’s house, which resulted in extra-judicial killing of five people, a method that reinforces international statements about Bahrain\\\’s use of force against peaceful protests and sit-ins without regard to any conditions or respect for international conventions and covenants that provide for respecting freedom of peaceful assembly.
The culture of impunity and lack of accountability for perpetrators of violations has played a major role in the continuation and high frequency of abuses committed by the security services in Bahrain, including extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests, particularly the arrests that took place while attacking the protesters in front of the house of Sheikh Isa Qassim. Those arrests amounted to nearly 300 people, including children, some of them were arrested during raids on their houses, and some of them were later released.
Baqer Darwish, head of the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, said that the imposition of house arrest on Ayatollah Qassim by the security authorities – without a judicial order or administrative decision – resulted in a violation of his right to receive the necessary and appropriate treatment according to his wishes, and he was transferred to the hospital after a week of the deterioration of his health. Darwish noted that Sheikh Qassim had restricted access to his medications at the beginning of the house arrest, and the house arrest must be ended after he leaves the hospital to ensure that he receives the necessary medical care. Darwish explained that the security forces fired tear gas heavily and illegally near Sheikh Qassim’s house on November 25, 2017, before his relapse, adding that 56 hate-inciting media materials were monitored on social networking sites after the announcement of the deterioration of Sheikh Isa Qassim\\\’s health on November 26, 2017.
For his part, Sayed Yousif al-Muhafdah, Vice President of Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, said that after the verdict was issued against Sheikh Isa Qassim, more than 80 Shiite clerics were interrogated and at least nine of them were convicted because of exercising freedom of assembly and expression. Al-Muhafdah added that citizens are still being prosecuted and subjected to sectarian persecution due to their participation in the Duraz peaceful assembly, instead of opening an independent investigation by an independent UN commission and subjecting those involved in the violations to legal accountability.
The human rights organizations which issued the report called for opening an urgent investigation into the violations caused by the raid on the peaceful assembly, and supported the call of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for opening an independent investigation by an independent committee and holding those involved accountable. The organizations expected that the human rights crisis in Bahrain will escalate, and at the same time they expressed their concern over measures of double standards, lack of accountability, impunity, undermining political activity, pressuring human rights activists, and granting the security
  authorities comprehensive powers to try and torture citizens solely for exercising their fundamental rights.
To Read Click Here

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Seoul won’t rush to renew joint military drills with US as new intra-Korean summit solidifies


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South Korean President Moon Jae-in reportedly rejected a call from Japan to quickly resume joint US-Korean military drills. Moon has been invited to visit Pyongyang for what may become the first top-level summit in over a decade.

At a bilateral summit on Friday, Moon called on the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to wait before resuming the drills, Yonhap reported, citing a government official. The drills have been paused for the duration of the Winter Olympics, as part of Seoul’s attempt to mend relations with Pyongyang. North Korea considers the drills a major threat to its national security, saying they may be used to conceal a build-up for an invasion.

According to the report, Abe argued that the time to delay exercises scheduled for spring was not right and that Pyongyang had to change its behavior before receiving concessions.

“I understand what Prime Minister Abe said is not to delay South Korea-U.S. military drills until there is progress in the denuclearization of North Korea. But the issue is about our sovereignty and intervention in our domestic affairs,” Moon told the Japanese leader, according to the unnamed official. “The president said it was not appropriate for the prime minister to directly mention the issue.”

North Korea’s successful development last year of a ballistic missile, which is apparently capable of reaching the US mainland, as well as carrying a small thermonuclear device, triggered a major security crisis on the Korean Peninsula. As US President Donald Trump threatened to use military force to destroy Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, a new left-wing government in Seoul took several symbolic steps to deflate the tension, including agreeing to have a joint athletic delegation with North Korea at the Olympics.

This week, Moon received an invitation from his northern counterpart, Kim Jong-un to visit Pyongyang for a top-level summit. If accepted, it would be the first diplomatic event of its kind since 2007, when the government of President Roh Moo-hyun in Seoul attempted to mend relations as part of the Sunshine Policy.

Roh’s successor, Lee Myung-bak, came from the other side of the political spectrum and took a hard line stance on intra-Korean relations, as did President Park Geun-hye, who came from the same conservative camp. After Park was impeached, Moon was elected partially on the promise of reviving the Sunshine Poli

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Nazi state: DNA Tests May Provide Answers on Missing Babies


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Israel: DNA Tests May Provide Answers on Missing Babies
By Jonathan Cook | Al Jazeera

Thousands of Israeli families who have been searching in vain for answers since their babies mysteriously disappeared in the early 1950s – shortly after Israel’s creation – have been thrown a lifeline.

The mystery of the missing children has plagued Israel for decades, with evidence mounting that at least some of the babies were trafficked by hospitals and orphanages – possibly with the connivance of Israeli officials.

Other documents indicate some children may have died during experiments conducted by hospitals without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

The families hope two new initiatives based on DNA testing – including the opening of graves – will reveal whether their children were abducted, as many have long suspected, or died of natural causes, as Israeli officials maintain.

The vast majority of the children – potentially as many as 8,000 – were from Jewish families that had recently immigrated to Israel from Arab countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco.

The Arab Jews, known in Israel as the Mizrahim, have faced well-documented racism and discrimination from Israeli authorities.

Three official inquiries have concluded that most of the babies died, even though many families lack death certificates and were not told where their babies were buried. A number of mothers have told of nurses seizing a healthy baby from their arms, only to inform them shortly afterwards that the baby had died.

Israeli law has also hampered efforts to reunite families by making it nearly impossible for adopted individuals who suspect they were abducted to find out who their biological parents were.

Now the two separate gene-testing initiatives promise to shed light on what happened to the babies.

Stolen babies?

The creation of a DNA database of Mizrahi Jews led to the first breakthroughs recently in matching adopted children to their long-lost families, strengthening suspicions that a significant proportion of babies were given away or sold.

Varda Fox, 67, discovered through a gene test that she had been taken from Yemeni parents in 1950 when she was a few months old. She was sent to an orphanage run by the Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO), a semi-governmental charity, where she was put up for adoption.

Both Fox’s biological parents are now dead. As she was reunited with a surviving sister late last month, she told Israeli media: “I so wanted to meet my mother. It was a lifelong trauma. Tearing an infant from his mother and father causes an internal rupture.”

MyHeritage, the company overseeing the database, said Fox was one of three missing children it had located so far.

Fox’s experiences echo the findings of an investigation in 2016 by Al Jazeera into the missing babies.

It reported on Gil Grunbaum, who discovered by accident in the early 1990s that his parents, who were Holocaust survivors, were not his biological family. A few years later, and over opposition from Israeli officials, he tracked down his original family, Arab Jews who immigrated from Tunisia.

There have been a number of similar cases reported in the Israeli media.

Grunbaum told Al Jazeera: “Thank god for DNA – it is now our best hope of getting to the truth.”

He added: “The hole in the dyke cannot be closed. It will only grow bigger. There is now a huge public demand [in Israel] for information on these missing children.”

Demanding answers

Pressure has been mounting on Israel’s right-wing government to provide answers in what Israelis call the Yemenite Babies Affair. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu relies heavily on support from Mizrahi Jews.

Last summer thousands protested in Jerusalem for more urgent steps from the government to provide answers and reunite families. Organisers have also demanded that the state acknowledge its responsibility for the children’s abduction.

In response, the Israeli parliament recently passed a law allowing the families of missing babies to seek permission to open graves for DNA tests.

The first 17 families received approval to take DNA samples from the disinterred remains late last month.

A small minority of the families who suspect their babies were taken have been notified of the official burial site since a state inquiry, the Kedmi Commission, issued its findings in 2001, said Yael Tzadok, an Israeli journalist and member of the Forum for the Families of the Kidnapped Children, a group helping the families find answers.

“This is an important first step,” she told Al Jazeera. “Now we can check if a grave in the name of a specific child actually contains that child’s remains. We can test whether the state has been telling the truth in these limited number of cases.”

Experts, however, have warned that the DNA tests on the remains may prove inconclusive. Given the long delay, the DNA samples may not be viable.

Tzadok noted in the case of a mass children’s grave in Jerusalem, containing 400 bodies, new corpses were interred above the children’s graves, effectively denying the families any hope of identifying the remains.

She added that some of the children’s burial sites were already known to be bogus. Some 20 years ago, as part of the Kedmi inquiry’s investigation, a handful of graves were opened. There proved to be no correlation between the missing children and the remains found in the graves.

Grunbaum observed: “Even if all the graves we know about are opened and if all the families find their children inside – which is unlikely – that will only be a small fraction of the total. Lots of families will still be no closer to finding answers.”

Baby trade

Some 50,000 Yemeni Jews were airlifted to Israel in the state’s first 18 months alone. They and new Jewish immigrants from Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia and the Balkans were housed in temporary absorption camps for long periods.

Officials have argued that in this chaotic period, with its low standards of hygiene, many babies died of disease. The problem was compounded by medical services that were overwhelmed and failed to keep proper records.

The case of Fox, who was reunited last month with her sister, Ofra Mazor, however, bolsters claims that a significant number of babies were abducted.

According to Mazor, their mother had often spoken of how she was told by the hospital where she gave birth that her baby had died.

A year ago, under public pressure, the government released thousands of documents relating to the three state inquiries that had been scheduled to remain under lock for another 50 years.

The files included testimonies from officials and medical staff indicating a trade in babies had taken place, with some given away or sold to childless European Jews in Israel and abroad.

Last October 83-year-old Shulamit Mallik, who was a child-care worker in an absorption camp in the 1950s, came forward to corroborate those accounts. She told a public meeting that delegations of overseas women visited, and shortly afterwards babies disappeared.

As well as an apparent trade in Mizrahi children, evidence has emerged that hospitals took some of the missing children for medical experiments.

According to documents unclassified last year, George Mendel, head of the Rosh Haayin hospital’s children department, testified to the Kedmi inquiry that he and colleagues performed experiments to determine if Yemeni children had “black blood” – an apparent reference to whether they were racially inferior.

A parliamentary committee found documents indicating some of the studies were paid for by the US National Institutes of Health. Mendel told the inquiry he had heard rumours that documents relating to the experiments were destroyed several years later.

‘Great crime’

The committee also uncovered a letter written in 1950 by a female physician by the name of Rothenberg to a senior official at the Rosh Haayin hospital warning that her colleagues were “murderers” of the children.

Photographs produced by the committee showed Yemenite children, apparently used in the study, with their internal organs marked on their skin.

The parliamentary committee’s chair, Nurit Koren, heavily criticised the Kedmi inquiry for not referring to the experiments in its conclusions. “It is increasingly apparent that the bodies of the children were used for research. … There was a great crime here that was never reported.”

Tzadok said racism was rampant against the Mizrahim among the European Jews who led the government at the time, including Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion. Quotes show him calling the Mizrahim “primitive” and “without a trace of civilisation”.

“The racism came from the very top, making it legitimate in the wider society,” she said. “The general view of the time was that we are taking babies from bad parents to give them to much better parents.”

Tzadok added that the government’s reluctance to come clean in the face of mounting evidence was out of concern for Israel’s “international image”. She said: “Just a few years after the Holocaust, the state that was supposed to offer Jews sanctuary was stealing babies on a racist basis.”

Grunbaum said he suspected economic considerations were behind the government’s reluctance both to be more transparent and to issue an apology.

“They are worried that there will be a flood of compensation claims that could reach billions of dollars if the truth comes out,” he said.

• See related articles here and here

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Bahrain: Zionist regime Committed Nearly 1,000 Abuses in January

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The monarchy of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in Bahrain, committed 995 cases of abuse in January, a new report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) has revealed.

The report, published Saturday, states that 121 people, including six minors, were arbitrarily arrested in house raids. Torture and other violent tactics were used against 18 detainees, including eight minors and four women, in police stations and prisons.

A total of 17 Bahrainis were disappeared last month, many having participated in anti-regime protests, and 77 opposition protesters were given a total of 679 years in prison for taking part in protests or supporting notable dissidents.

The BFHR also cited the continued ban on Friday prayers in the village of Diraz as a human rights violation. Diraz harbors many people who favor a reform of the Zionist monarchy.

Since February 2011, Bahrain has been the scene of near-daily protests against the Zionist Al Khalifah monarchy, with dozens killed. Many notable opposition figures remain imprisoned.

Despite the regime bans, people are preparing for protests and demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising that began

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Nazi Forces Arrest 14 Year-Old Epileptic Palestinian Girl


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Israeli Forces Arrest 14 Year-Old Epileptic Palestinian Girl for Begging, Force Her Alone at Night Into the Gaza Strip
By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune 

The Israeli occupation authorities arrested a 14 year-old epileptic Palestinian girl for begging. As punishment they dumped her in the Gaza Strip where she knew no-one and was cut off from her parents.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports how the girl was arrested as an “illegal alien” in East Jerusalem (Palestinian territory as everyone knows), her cellular telephone confiscated and a lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office appointed to represent her. She was released on bail and taken to the Gaza Strip because it was listed in Israeli records as her father’s place of residence. She told officials at Erez checkpoint on the Gaza border that she didn’t live in Gaza but in the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered her release on bail after her uncle paid 1,500 shekels. The authorities checked with records and found she was registered as a Gaza resident although her mother is registered as a West Bank resident. Her father, on the other hand, is registered as a Gaza resident and is classified as an illegal alien in the West Bank because he didn’t receive an exit permit from the Strip, which he left in 2000. This administrative muddle, which is deliberate and widespread, hardly makes for happy family life in the illegally occupied territories.

Representatives of HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual, who assisted the girl’s family, said she had never been to Gaza. Nonetheless Civil Administration officers instructed the Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to pack the girl off to Gaza despite her protests. Only after being deposited in Gaza did she get her phone back.

A HaMoked lawyer said: “With obtuseness that cannot be justified, nobody bothered to tell the minor where she was or made sure the family knew of her release, as is required in view of her age.”

The Guardian reports that, according to HaMoked, twenty-seven Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank were forcibly sent to Gaza last year…. condemned to be shredded, incinerated or at least deeply traumatised the next time Israel ‘war-tests’ its weaponry on this tight packed open-air prison where the inhabitants have nowhere to run. It was the first time they had heard of someone as young as 14 being sent there.


There’s nothing new about the Israelis’ urge to hurt the most vulnerable. If there’s one thing they are good at its making war on women and children. The self-styled “most moral army in the world” especially loves targeting Palestinian university students. Back in 2009 I wrote about Merna, an honours student in her final year majoring in English. Israeli soldiers frequently rampaged through her Bethlehem refugee camp in the middle of the night, ransacking homes and arbitrarily arresting residents. They took away her family one by one. First her 14-year-old cousin and best friend was shot dead by an Israeli sniper while she sat outside her family home during a curfew.

Next the Israelis arrested her eldest brother, a 22-year-old artist, and imprisoned him for 4 years. Then they came back for Merna’s 18-year-old brother. Not content with that the military came again, this time to take her youngest brother – the ‘baby’ of the family – just 16. These were the circumstances under which Merna had to study.

Israeli military law treats Palestinians as adults as soon as they reach 16, a flagrant violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Israeli youngsters by comparison are regarded as children until 18. Palestinians are dealt with by Israeli military courts, even when it’s a civil matter. These courts ignore international laws and conventions, so there’s no legal protection for individuals under Israeli military occupation.

As detention is based on secret information, which neither the detainees nor their lawyers are allowed to see, it is impossible to mount a proper defence. Besides, the Security Service always finds a phony excuse to keep detainees locked up “in the greater interest of the security of Israel”. Although detainees have the right to review and appeal, they are unable to challenge the evidence and check facts as all information presented to the court is classified.

Despite the horrendous mental stress of it all, Merna determined to carry on with her studies. The most moral army in the world may have robbed her brothers of an education, but she would still fight for hers.

Cruel beyond belief

Dumping students in Gaza to disrupt their studies is nothing new either. Five years earlier the Israelis forcibly removed four Birzeit University students from their studies in the West Bank and illegally sent them back to the Gaza Strip. All four were due to graduate by the end of that academic year. There was an outcry from around the world and the Israeli Army Legal Advisor was bombarded with faxes and letters demanding the students be allowed to return to their studies.

The world’s most moral army agreed that the students might be allowed to return to Birzeit if they signed a guarantee to permanently return to the Gaza Strip after completing their studies. This effectively exposed Israel’s plan to impose a final separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, even though the two are internationally recognized as one integral territory. Under international law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within a single territory, but Israel doesn’t give a damn about international law. The racist regime makes it virtually impossible for Gaza students to reach the eight Palestinian universities in the West Bank. In 1999 some 350 Gaza students were studying at Birzeit. By 2009 there were almost none.

To get to Bethlehem University, or any other, many students have to run the gauntlet of Israeli checkpoints. “Sometimes they take our ID cards and they spend ages writing down all the details, just to make us late,” said one. Students are often made to remove shoes, belt and bags. “It’s like an airport. Many times we are kept waiting outside for up to an hour, rain or shine, they don’t care.” The soldiers attempt to forcibly remove students’ clothes or they swear and shout sexual slurs at female students.

Some tell how they are sexually harassed on their way to university and spend the rest of the day worrying what the Israelis will do to them on their way home. This constant humiliation of course undermines student motivation and concentration.

It was no surprise, then, to hear from Bethlehem University at around that time (2009) that Berlanty Azzam, a 4th year Business Administration student was being held by the Israeli military authorities with the intention of deporting her to Gaza “for trying to complete her studies at Bethlehem University.”

Berlanty, a Christian girl, was originally from Gaza but had lived in the West Bank since 2005 after receiving a travel permit from the military to cross from Gaza to the West Bank. She was detained at the Container checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah after attending a job interview in Ramallah. She too was robbed of her degree at the last minute.

The 21 year-old was due to graduate before Christmas. The most moral army in the world blindfolded and handcuffed her, loaded her into a jeep and drove her from Bethlehem to Gaza, despite assurances by the Israeli Military Legal Advisor’s office that she would not be deported before an attorney from Gisha (an Israeli NGO working to protect Palestinians’ freedom of movement) had the opportunity to petition the Israeli court for her return to classes in Bethlehem.

When they’d crossed the border the world’s most moral army dumped Berlanty late at night and simply told her: “You are in Gaza.”

Berlanty had informed Gisha on her mobile phone before the soldiers confiscated it: “Since 2005, I refrained from visiting my family in Gaza for fear that I would not be permitted to return to my studies in the West Bank,” Now, just two months before graduation, she was arrested and taken to Gaza, with no way to finish her degree.

Bethlehem University was trying to mobilize people from around the world to protest. I contacted the Palestinian ambassador in London, who happens to be a former vice-president of that excellent seat of learning. “Have you contacted the Israeli ambassador for an explanation of this outrage?” I emailed him.

Next day, having heard nothing, I emailed again: “Update… She has been removed to Gaza blindfolded and handcuffed! What is the Embassy doing about this please?” Another 24 hours went by and no response. It wasn’t unusual for the Palestinian embassy to be fast asleep or out to lunch for days on end and no-one covering.

I had simultaneously emailed the Israeli ambassador asking him, please, to make enquiries. “On the face of it, this seems a senseless outrage. The student concerned has, I believe, just started her final year. I wonder what Mr Prosor or Mr Netanyahu would say if the education of their sons and daughters or grandchildren was disrupted in this manner.” Next day, having heard nothing, I sent the same update about Berlanty’s removal to Gaza blindfolded and handcuffed. Another 24 hours… still nothing, not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement from Israel’s press office, which usually responds like lightning to anything with news value.

If this had been a Jewish girl deprived of her university degree and life chances the Israeli embassy would be having hysterics and hurling accusations of religious hatred and anti-semitism. But this was the Jewish state screwing up the young life of a Christian, so that was alright then.

Administrative ‘laws’ designed to foul up every aspect of Palestinian life

Eventually, the Israeli embassy explained that Ms Azzam held a permit to stay in the West Bank back in 2005 and since the permit had expired she’d been living there illegally. “Every Gaza resident who stays in the West Bank requires a permit, failing to do so is a breach of the law. As Ms Azzam has failed to provide a valid permit she was deported back to Gaza.”

The embassy added that if Ms Azzam wished to complete her studies at Bethlehem she should apply for a permit to the relevant authorities (COGAT) in Gaza. But Bethlehem University’s senior management weren’t impressed. According to them 12 students from Gaza had applied to COGAT to attend the University in the previous year and NOT ONE received permission. Did they all pose a security threat to the democratic state of Israel? The Israeli reply simply raised more questions.

To give them their due, the Israelis eventually provided a detailed explanation attempting to unravel the complexities of the ever-changing permit rules and admitting procedural mistakes, but insisted these were not sufficient to justify a different decision.

It was a classic example of how Israel’s administrative ‘laws’ are framed to interfere to the nth degree in Palestinian lives and ride rough-shod over citizens’ rights enshrined in international law, and to disregard its own obligations entirely.

For example, there was no recognition in the Israeli court’s decision that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are one integral territory and under international law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within it. Nor was there the slightest acknowledgement by Israel’s judiciary of the state’s responsibility under the Oslo Agreements to “respect and preserve without obstacles, normal and smooth movement of people, vehicles and goods within the West Bank, and between the West Bank and Gaza Strip”.

While Israel announced its ruling on Berlanty’s fate, its ambassador here was whining about the arrest warrant issued in London against ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes. Livni had overseen Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza in December/January 2008-9, which killed 1400, including a large number of women and children, maimed thousands more and left countless families homeless. Israeli top brass, including Ehud Barak, Livni and retired general Doron Almog, had to cancel engagements in London for fear of being arrested.

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu’s office issued this arrogant statement: “We will not agree to a situation in which [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert, [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak and [opposition leader and former foreign minister] Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the bench. We utterly reject the absurdity that is happening in Britain.”

What’s absurd? If Berlanty, who had committed no crime at all, wasn’t allowed to come and go as she pleased in her own country, Palestine, what made Netanyahu and Israel’s ambassador think that the blood-soaked Livni, and others like her, could come and go as they please in the UK?

The following year the incoming Conservative government, said to comprise 80% pimps for Israel, changed UK laws relating to ‘universal jurisdiction’ to prevent such arrest warrants being issued in future. Under universal jurisdiction all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. There should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

But the British government, to its everlasting shame, has turned the UK into a safe haven for Israeli psychopaths. As a result, we have to endure obscene spectacles like the red carpet love-in between Theresa May and Netanyahu at the Balfour centenary celebrations in London before Christmas.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

How the £1.3 Billion EIB Loan Uses Public Money to Muddy Democracy


How the £1.3 Billion EIB Loan Uses Public Money to Muddy Democracy, the Environment and Climate Change Targets

The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) board granted it’s biggest ever investment this week, a £1.3 billion loan for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). This contentious grant has been attacked by those fighting for democracy and climate justice. KATIE HODGETTS dissects 2018’s most controversial decision…

If you listen carefully on a quiet day, you can hear the gasps of future generations. They are looking back into a distant past where the decisions are being made that will erode any fair or equitable future.

This gasp – shared even today by many of us – reverberated across Europe at 17:50 (CET) on Tuesday when the EIB approved a loan of £1.3 billion (€1.5 billion) of Europeans’ money to fund the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

The TAP will be one part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC); a series of inter-connected gas pipelines that seeks to pump 120 billion cubic meters of Caspian gas from Azerbaijan, across six countries to Europe. The TAP itself is a planned 870km long pipeline running from Greece to Italy, through Albania and the Adriatic Sea, making it just as ambitious as it is controversial.

Fossil fuel dependency

The EIB has succeeded in simultaneously undermining science, the Paris Accord, and democracy, by granting a loan irrespective of last week’s report that the SGC could be as emissions-intensive as coal power. The decision was taken in spite of widespread public resistance and and the contribution to catastrophic climate change.

The TAP has faced a significant public backlash over the years, stalling the loan at many stages. Last year, 4,000 emails from concerned citizens were send during EIB discussions, and this year a viral campaign began to circulate with global citizens campaigning with the slogan, ‘not with my money’.

But beyond the keyboard, there has been resistance on the ground. In Italy, 94 mayors have spoken out against the pipeline. There is widespread concern about the impact of  TAP on water supplies. In Albania and Greece, the pipe will be built directly through farmland.

However, rather than diplomatic discussion, this resistance has been met with militarisation and strong repression, with one Italian community being put on military lock-down. Within civil society, there is a deep feeling that TAP will undermine meaningful democracy.

The decision is at odds with the EU 2030 and 2050 energy and climate objectives. As Colin Roche, extractive industries campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe argues:

“The European Investment Bank is now shamelessly locking Europe into decades of fossil fuel dependency even as the window for fossil fuel use is slamming shut.”

Corruption and torture

“The banks’s biggest ever investment in dangerous fossil fuels undermines the EU’s commitment to climate action when we urgently need to be transitioning to a fossil free future.”

This loan comes after a wave of scientific warning against gas, for example a report released late last year which concluded categorically that if the EU is to deliver a mitigation programme of 2ºC then there can be no new gas infrastructure built. In short, gas is not a bridge to a clean energy future. It is a dead-end.

So why did the EIB grant such a contentious loan? The current line of the EU is that it will support ‘diversification of gas supply to meet future energy demands’. But perhaps we need to consider deeper political motives.

Russia currently provides 30 percent of EU’s natural gas, which has been a source of unease since the country historically halted its gas supply to Ukraine in 2014.

Hence, the EU seeks to ensure its own energy security by diversifying its supply chain away from alleged authoritarian regimes. However, TAP will import gas from Azerbaijan, a country that has never had a free election and is marred by allegations of corruption and torture.

Planning for failure

On top of this, the Azerbaijani Laundromat scandal last year exposed a $2.9 billion fund that was used by Azerbaijan to curry influence, and pay lobbyists, apologists and European politicians. So if the EU wants to diversify its gas supply away from what they decree to be less stable regimes, then perhaps this TAP logic doesn’t quite add up?

Perhaps switching from Russian gas is in fact a geopolitical move to undermine Russian influence? Or perhaps it is profit that is the puppet master of diplomacy? Or perhaps – as is so often the case – the lines between the two become further blurred.

The building of the pipe indicates the high levels of gas supply that Europe predicts for the future. With increased supply, price signals change and gas becomes cheaper. This in turn crowds out investment in gas’s future competitor – renewables.

Gas is not a companion to a renewable energy future, it is competition. The European Union now has €1.5 billion less to invest in renewable energy, pushing forward a decision that will lock us into a high-carbon future.

The the crux of TAP? Enormous sums of public money are being used to fund a programme that will be detrimental to both people and planet, meaning that the EU is actively planning for failure.

Posted in USA0 Comments

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