Archive | February 11th, 2020

Edging World Closer to Nuclear War, Trump Deploys ‘Low Yield’—More ‘Usable’—Atomic Warhead on US Submarine

“An alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.”

by: Julia Conley,

The U.S.S. Tennessee at sea. The Tennessee is believed to have deployed on an operational patrol in late 2019, the first U.S. submarine to deploy with new low-yield W76-2 warhead. (Photo: Gonzalo Alonso/Flickr/cc)

Anti-nuclear campaigners expressed alarm Thursday as the Federation of American Scientists revealed the U.S. has for the first time deployed a “low-yield” nuclear warhead on a submarine that is currently patrolling the Atlantic Ocean.

The USS Tennessee left a port in Georgia last month, and Hans Kristenson of FAS said Wednesday that the submarine is the first U.S. ship to patrol with the W76-2 on board—an occurrence which arms control groups says will make nuclear war more likely.

Tim Wright, treaty coordinator for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), called the news “an alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.”

The ready availability of the warhead on a military ship could cause a shift in thinking about nuclear weapons, with the government treating a nuclear launch as a way to fight wars rather than as a deterrent, nuclear critics say.

The low-yield Trident nuclear warhead was commissioned in 2018 by President Donald Trump.

The warhead has an explosive yield of five kilotons, about a third of the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, which killed 80,000 people instantly and tens of thousands later from radiation exposure.

Compared to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, the effect of the W76-2 “would be very beneficial to a military officer who was going to advise to the president whether we should cross the nuclear threshold,” according to Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at FAS, which learned about the recent deployment from government briefings.

The deployment of the W76-2 came five months after the president exited the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the U.S. and Russia forged in 1987. The withdrawal from the treaty would “put the world at heightened risk of nuclear weapons use and war,” ICAN said at the time.

According to Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the U.S. government claims the Trident is a deterrent against Russia.

As Kristensen wrote in Forbes last year, however, the Russian threat may be exaggerated by the Pentagon.

“It seems like a perfect threat-funding-loop sales pitch: Russia is increasing its non-strategic nuclear weapons that it is more prepared to use first, so give us more money to build new nukes,” wrote Kristensen. “But…in stark contrast with the NPR claim, I hear there’s no significant increase in the total numbers. On the contrary, there has been a significant reduction over the past ten years—the very period the NPR uses as the basis for its threat assessment.”

While Russia’s nuclear threat level is questionable, Trump has said he may direct the use of nuclear weapons to respond to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks” on the U.S., its allies, or “infrastructure.”

On social media, international anti-nuclear groups expressed alarm over the deployment of the Trident warhead.

The presence of the warhead on a patrolling submarine “brings us closer to the threshold of nuclear war,” tweeted the Scottish anti-nuclear campaign Scrap Trident.

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‘Historic Step’: House Votes to Repeal 2002 Iraq AUMF Trump Used to Justify Soleimani Assassination

“Trump’s claim that the 2002 AUMF can authorize his attacks against Iran has no basis in reality, underscoring the need for immediate action.”

by:Jake Johnson,

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) speaks during a “No War With Iran” rally at the U.S. Capitol on January 9, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force, which the Trump administration cited as a legal justification for its assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.

The legislation, sponsored by longtime “war on terror” opponent Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), passed by a vote of 236-166, with 11 Republicans supporting the measure and two Democrats—Reps. Conor Lamb (Penn.) and Jim Cooper (Tenn.)—opposing it.

“For far too long, Congress has been missing in action on matters of war and peace—but today, we took a historic step to reassert our Constitutional authority and stop our endless wars by voting to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF,” Lee said in a statement.

“Make no mistake, the president must seek specific authorization from Congress for any use of force against Iran or any country,” Lee added. “Trump’s claim that the 2002 AUMF can authorize his attacks against Iran has no basis in reality, underscoring the need for immediate action.”

Rep. Barbara Lee@RepBarbaraLee

The 2002 AUMF isn’t needed for any current counterterrorism operations. PERIOD.

This outdated and unnecessary AUMF has been on the books for far too long. It’s past time for Congress to reclaim our constitutional authority on war and peace and #StopEndlessWar!2504:59 PM – Jan 30, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy110 people are talking about this

The House on Thursday also passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) to block any federal funding for military action taken against Iran without congressional approval.

The White House warned on Tuesday that Trump is planning to veto both Democratic measures aimed at curtailing his ability to unilaterally wage war.

Reps. Lee, Khanna, Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) issued a joint statement applauding the passage of the two bills as a recognition that “there is no military solution to our conflicts in the Middle East—only deescalation and diplomacy can lead to peace.”

“President Trump’s reckless decision to assassinate General Soleimani—conducted without the knowledge or approval of Congress—made it clear that we cannot afford to wait to reassert our Constitutional responsibility over war-making,” the Democratic lawmakers said. “These bills are essential to preventing a catastrophic and completely avoidable war with Iran.”

Progressive advocacy group Win Without War tweeted that the two bills, which now head to the Republican-controlled Senate, are a “a massive step forward in Congress taking back the reins in matters of war and peace, both with Trump and with future administrations too.”

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Iraq0 Comments

Calling for Spread of ‘Facts, Not Fear,’ WHO Declares Global Health Emergency as Coronavirus Cases Confirmed in 18 Countries

The World Health Organization warned that restricting movement may have limited benefits for the global population as health officials work to fight the respiratory disease.

by: Julia Conley,

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference following a WHO Emergency committee to discuss whether the Coronavirus, the SARS-like virus, outbreak that began in China constitutes an international health emergency, on January 30, 2020 in Geneva. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid reports that the strain of coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China has now spread to 18 countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Thursday.

WHO held an emergency committee meeting to discuss the respiratory disease, called 2019-nCoV by global health experts, which has spread from person-to-person in at least five countries, including China, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and the United States.

“There are now 98 2019-nCoV cases in 18 countries outside China,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.

“We don’t know what sort of damage this 2019-nCoV virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system. We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility,” he added. “For all of these reasons, I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of 2019-nCoV.”

Following the declaration, countries will be required to follow more stringent disease reporting guidelines. More funding and resources are expected to be released to fight the outbreak.

China has reported more than 7,700 cases of the disease and 170 deaths. So far, there have been no deaths from the disease outside of China.

On Thursday, the first human-to-human transmission case was confirmed in the U.S., where at least six people have been sickened. A man in the Chicago area reportedly contracted the coronavirus from his wife, who had recently returned from Wuhan.

Tedros emphasized that all but seven coronavirus cases outside China have been detected in patients who recently traveled to Wuhan.

On Thursday, Russia closed its 2,600-mile border with China to stop the transmission of the virus.

WHO said at its meeting that while countries should be prepared for containment and isolation of patients with confirmed coronavirus cases, restricting movement may have limited benefits and many drawbacks for the global population.

“Evidence has shown that restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies may be ineffective and may divert resources from other interventions,” the organization said. “Further, restrictions may interrupt needed aid and technical support, may disrupt businesses, and may have negative effects on the economies of countries affected by the emergencies.”

Tedros also praised the Chinese government for its swift detection and reporting of the outbreak.

“We would have seen many more cases outside China by now—and probably deaths—if it were not for the government’s efforts, and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world,” the director-general said.

Ninety-nine percent of the coronavirus cases have been in China, and the disease has a 2% death rate as of Thursday. The number of cases has surpassed the cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that were reported during an outbreak in 2002 and 2003.

Other global health organizations pledged to work in cooperation to help fight the spread of the illness, while health professionals worked to combat the spread of misinformation about coronavirus on social media.

Posted in China, Health0 Comments

‘People, Poor Disabled People in Particular, Are Going to Die’: Trump Takes Axe to Medicaid

“Trump wants to destroy Medicaid while claiming to save it. This fiendish scheme is an Orwellian fable conjured up by the most shameless pack of liars to ever occupy our government.”

by: Jake Johnson,

President Donald Trump acknowledges the audience as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma looks on  at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a plan allowing states to convert federal Medicaid funding into block grants, a longstanding conservative goal that critics warn could have deadly consequences for millions of vulnerable people who rely on the healthcare program as a major source of income.

Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced the so-called “Healthy Adult Opportunity” initiative in a statement claiming the policy will “improve health outcomes and care” for low-income people.

“Trump’s plan will ensure that many working families who are currently covered by Medicaid will face cuts to their services, wait lists for needed care, and the risk of medical debt and bankruptcy from trying to pay for illness.”
—Eagan Kemp, Public Citizen

Progressive advocacy groups warned the plan could do precisely the opposite by giving states a green light to cut Medicaid spending and divert federal funding to other state programs, potentially leaving millions without essential healthcare coverage.

“People, poor disabled people in particular, are going to die,” tweeted Alice Wong, director of the Disability Visibility Project. “Not an exaggeration.”

Urging the public to look beyond the plan’s benign label, Public Citizen healthcare policy advocate Eagan Kemp said President Donald Trump’s “nefarious program is just a Medicaid block grant by another name, and the only opportunity it will provide is to miss out on needed care or go broke trying to get it.”

“Trump’s plan will ensure that many working families who are currently covered by Medicaid will face cuts to their services, wait lists for needed care, and the risk of medical debt and bankruptcy from trying to pay for illness,” Kemp said in a statement. “These further attempts to cut health care are just more evidence that Americans need Medicare for All now to protect their access to care once and for all.”

Public Citizen@Public_Citizen

Today, Trump released his plan to ruthlessly cut Medicaid.

Let’s be clear: Americans will die. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/596338364187602944 …Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrumpI was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.1,2544:23 PM – Jan 30, 2020

The proposal, which is likely to face legal challenges, invites states to apply for a waiver to receive a lump-sum payment from the federal government for Medicaid instead of open-ended matching funds. Right-wing supporters of block-granting Medicaid claim it would give states more “flexibility,” but critics warn the move could limit states’ ability to increase healthcare spending in response to public need.

“Any state taking this offer is engaging in fiscal malpractice,” Eliot Fishman, senior director of health policy with advocacy group Families USA, said in a statement. “Furthermore, the administration is acting lawlessly. None of the statute regarding Medicaid match rates can be waived administratively.”

“We are better than this, and we—the American people—must hold the Trump administration and Republican members of Congress accountable,” said Fishman.

Congressional Democrats joined healthcare advocacy groups in condemning the plan.

“Trump wants to destroy Medicaid while claiming to save it,” tweeted Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.). “This fiendish scheme is an Orwellian fable conjured up by the most shameless pack of liars to ever occupy our government. Never forget Republicans’ goal is to steal healthcare from as many Americans as they can.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, said in a statement that “even after people across the country spoke out and pressed Congress to reject President Trump’s plan to gut Medicaid with his Trumpcare bill, he’s still charging forward with harmful policies that will hurt the many families who rely on Medicaid.”

Posted in USA0 Comments

Intimidating or coercing a civilian population is terrorism. Right?

USA - world's No. 1 terror state
By Stuart Littlewood

So, Donald Trump’s “peace plan” threatening to wipe out the Palestinians’ legitimate rights and reduce them to a fragmented vassal mini-state with restricted freedom and limited self-rule, to be forever at the mercy of their cruel and lawless neighbour, is a terror document. Right?

The US administration uses George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13224, Section 3, to outlaw and crush any individual, any organisation or any nation that gets in its way. It deals with “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten To Commit, or Support Terrorism”. And for this purpose the term ‘‘terrorism’’ means an activity that:

(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended –
(a) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(b) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(c) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.

The joke is that the US itself, and its special buddy Israel, fall straight in. It fits them like a glove. And they can’t see it.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is unhappy with the way the US State Department defines terrorism, pointing out that it only includes “violent acts carried out by non-state actors”. Although the State Department, in its main report, does include “state sponsors of terrorism”, it means only nations that sponsor non-state actors. Nowhere does it address the fact that states commit direct acts of terrorism or the extent to which non-state actors are simply reacting to such terrorism.

With America, it’s always the other guys who are terrorists. “For over a decade, Gaza has been ruled by Hamas, a terror organisation, responsible for the murder and maiming of thousands of Israelis,” says Trump’s land-grab plan.

It adds: “Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza nearly 15 years ago was meant to advance peace. Instead, Hamas, an internationally recognised terrorist group, gained control over the territory, and increased attacks on Israel, including the launching of thousands of rockets… As a result of Hamas’s terror and misrule, the people of Gaza suffer from massive unemployment, widespread poverty, drastic shortages of electricity and potable water, and other problems that threaten to precipitate a wholesale humanitarian crisis.”

The White House and their Tel Aviv puppet-masters still delude themselves that they can fool all the people all the time. But alternative media speaking truth to power are increasingly heard, so fewer people are swallowing their lies. The Trump plan claims the governance structure in Gaza is run by terrorists who provoke confrontations; therefore Israel will only implement its obligations under the Peace Agreement if the Palestinian Authority or some other body acceptable to Israel is in full control of Gaza and Gaza is fully demilitarised. It threatens that Hamas, if it is to play a role in a Palestinian government, must adopt the Quartet principles, which include “unambiguously and explicitly recognising the State of Israel, committing to non-violence, and accepting previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including the disarming of all terrorist groups”. The re’s no similar obligation placed on Israel, no symmetry whatsoever.

At every opportunity Hamas and Hezbollah, legitimate resisters to Israeli aggression, are demonised. It’s a bit rich for any ally of Israel to call Hamas terrorists. It would be very difficult objectively to classify Hamas as a terror government, given the context of decades of brutal military occupation, economic suffocation, ethnic cleansing and denial of human rights at the hands of a lawless intruder. And never mind the fact that Hamas was voted into power in full and fair elections.

In contrast, the state of Israel was founded on terror, which is well documented. Some years ago a colleague sent me a list of terror techniques in the Middle East “first used by Zionists”. They had appeared on several forums with requests for corrections. I’d seen evidence for some, but others were new to me. I mention them here only as claims and invite readers to point out any errors.

  • Bombs in cafés: first used by Zionists in Palestine on 17 March 1937 in Jaffa (actually grenades).
  • Bombs on buses: first used by Zionists in Palestine om 20 August – 26 September 1937
  • Drive-by shootings with automatic weapons: first used by the Irgun Zvai Leumi in 1937-38 and 1947-48 (Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p.681.)
  • Bombs in market places: first used by Zionists on 6 July 1938 in Haifa. (Delayed-action, electrically detonated bombs.)
  • Bombing of a passenger ship: first used by the Zionists in Haifa on 25 November 1940, killing over 200 of their own fellows.
  • Bombing of hotels: first used by Zionists on 22 July 1946 in Jerusalem [the infamous attack by Irgun on the King David Hotel which served as the central offices of the British Mandatory authority of Palestine]. Irgun’s leader, Menachem Begin, went on to become prime minister of Israel.
  • Suitcase bombing: first used by Zionists on 1 October 1946 against the British embassy in Rome.
  • Mining of ambulances: First used by Zionists on 31 October 1946 in Petah Tikvah.
  • Car bombs: first used by Zionists against the British near Jaffa on 5 December 1946.
  • Letter bombs: first used by Zionists in June 1947 against members of the British government, 20 of them.
  • Parcel bombs: first used by Zionists against the British in London on 3 September 1947.
  • Reprisal murder of hostages: first used by Zionists against the British in Netanya area on 29 July 1947.
  • Truck-bombs: first used by Zionists 4 January 1948 in the centre of Jaffa, killing 26.
  • Aircraft hijacking: world-first state hijack by Israeli jets in December 1954 on a Syrian civilian airliner (random seizure of hostages to recover five Israeli spies).
  • Biological warfare: pathogens used by Zionists in 1948, prior to the seizure of Acre, putting typhus into the water supply.
  • Chemical Warfare: nerve gas very likely used by Zionists in February/March 2001 in at least eight attacks in Khan Younis and Gharbi refugee camps (Gaza) and the town of Al-Bireh (West Bank).
  • Nuclear threats made by Zionists, e.g. 2003: “We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under.” (Remarks of Martin Van Creveld, a professor of military history at Israel’s Hebrew University, 1 February 2003.

We can probably add “sofa slaughter” with armed drones. The Israelis use this armchair technique extensively in Gaza, unleashing death and destruction on civilians by remote control at no personal risk to themselves. There are interesting variations too. For example, during the 40-day siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 the Israeli occupation force set up cranes on which were mounted robotic machine guns under video control. According to eye-witnesses eight defenders, including the bell-ringer, were murdered, some by the armchair button-pushers and some by regular snipers.

Banned horror weapons spread terror

There’s also the use, suspected or real, of prohibited weapons to put Palestinians in a state of fear. In July 2006 doctors in Lebanon and Gaza were saying: “We never saw before wounds and corpses like those that arrive in the ward…” The majority of victims were women, children and elders caught in Israeli attacks in the street, in the market place and at home.

What doctors saw led them to believe that a new generation of weapons was being tested. Common to all victims was the lack of visible wounds, but they had serious internal edema and haemorrhage with loss of blood from all orifices. All the bodies had a covering of dark powder, making them look black, but they were not burnt. Clothes and hair were not damaged or burnt.

Electron microscope scans showed the presence of phosphorous, iron and magnesium at below normally detectable levels. Elements that are used as additives to boost the blast of thermobaric (fuel-air energy) bombs and grenades were found on skin samples, but none of these could be seen by instruments normally used in hospitals and emergency wards.

The United States had developed thermobaric bombs and grenades for the war against “terror” in Afghanistan. “All enemy personnel within the effective radius will suffer lethal effects as opposed to the conventional fragmentation round.” These weapons produce a thermobaric overpressure blast and leave no fragments on or in the victims’ bodies, making it all the more difficult to provide proper care for the injured. “This fact already puts them outside established conventions of war, regardless of whether they are used against military or civilians,” say the doctors.

Thermobaric effects are devastating. “Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness. The destruction, death and injury are caused by the blast wave,” says one report.

Another, in Defense Technology, says: “Each tissue type… is compressed, stretched, sheared or disintegrated by overload according to its material properties. Internal organs that contain air (sinuses, ears, lungs and intestines) are particularly vulnerable to blast.”

Is the US sure it hasn’t supplied its bosom-pal Israel with these horrendous items knowing perfectly well they’d use them against women and children packed like sardines in Gaza?

And let’s not forget the assassinations and extra-judicial executions. In the US there’s a presidential prohibition on assassination except in war situations, but if they can conjure up an intelligence “finding” that enables them to label the target a “terrorist”, and claim assassination is an act of self-defence in a war situation, they’re in the clear – as Trump demonstrated when ordering Iran’s Qassem Soleimani killed.

But for Israel there are no such restraints. Assassination became official Israeli policy in 1999. Their preferred method is the air-strike, which is lazy and often messy, as demonstrated in 2002 when Israeli F-16 warplanes bombed the house of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh, the military commander of Hamas, in Gaza City killing not just him but at least 11 other Palestinians, including seven children, and wounding 120 others.

Which brings us back to Trump’s so-called peace deal designed to deny Palestinians their rights and put them in fear for their freedom, security, sovereignty, prosperity, dignity and hopes for nation building – now and forever.

It’s the very model of a vile terror document.

Reaping terror’s reward

Reaping terror’s reward

In “Highlights”

Zionists snuff out free speech at UK universities

Zionists snuff out free speech at UK universities

In “British stooges”

Britain dies of shame...

Britain dies of shame…

In “British stooges”

Posted in USA, Human Rights0 Comments

Gaza’s Health System is Collapsing. Where’s That Headline?

MOHAMMED OMER

A Palestinian doctor treats a child at an UNRWA-run clinic in al-Nusirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Jan. 17, 2018, after the White House froze tens of millions of dollars in contributions. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March/April 2020, pp. 26-27

Gaza on the Ground

By Mohammed Omer

THE CORONAVIRUS is capturing headlines around the world. One headline you’ll never see is that measles—the once common and sometimes deadly highly contagious childhood infection—is making a comeback in Gaza. The viral disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 124 confirmed cases of measles, including two deaths, in the Gaza Strip from Dec. 19, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020. Of those confirmed cases, 49 required hospitalization; 12 were healthcare workers; and 57 had not been vaccinated.

WHO is working along with Gaza hospitals to deliver vaccines to a population of two million Gazans if they have no proof of vaccination or immunity against measles. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines are given to children at the age of 12-to-18 months and again a few months later. Those confirmed cases included 57 unvaccinated infants between 6 months to one-year-olds, as well as 29 people older than 30.

Between 2009 and 2018, 97 percent of Gazans had received both doses of the MMR vaccine and only one Gazan caught the measles from 1986 to 2000. Now, the disease is coming back to densely populated Gaza, causing growing concern that it could go viral if vaccines are not provided immediately.

Nasser Al Omran, 13, was one of many students recently lining up for his measles vaccine in Gaza’s schools. Health authorities in the Gaza Strip began MMR vaccination of all health care workers in four public hospitals where measles cases were admitted and treated. An estimated 900 healthcare workers were vaccinated in December 2019.

The rise in confirmed cases of measles exacerbates a rapidly deteriorating public health situation in the Gaza Strip. The Trump administration’s 2018 decision to cut more than $200 million in aid has drastically affected basic health services, especially in Gaza, where healthcare services have dropped by 90 percent, according to a UNICEF report. Gaza’s infrastructure has been badly damaged by repeated Israeli attacks, and the Strip lacks clean water and nutritional food for all its inhabitants.

A new United Nations report states that more than two million Palestinians in the occupied territories are facing a humanitarian crisis. An estimated $348 million is urgently needed to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable.

COLLAPSING HEALTH SYSTEM

The United Nations has recently launched a 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan aiming to assist 1.5 million people, mostly residents of Gaza, who are already in dire straits.

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, said nearly half of Gaza’s population is unemployed. That figure includes seven out of 10 young people under age 30 who have no jobs. Among them, he said, are more than 400,000 university graduates who cannot find jobs.

Lack of jobs is causing frustration among the youth of Gaza. “I’m losing hope in humanity” says 34-year-old Bilal Abulkhier, who hoped to marry the girl he loves, but her parents want a son-in-law who can earn his living. “My engineering degree is worth nothing,” he adds, as he applies for jobs. Like many, he can neither leave Gaza, nor find a job in Gaza.

McGoldrick said the health system is on the verge of collapse. The situation is compounded by a serious brain-drain of doctors who have left for better-paying jobs abroad. He added that more than 60 percent of households are short of even basic foods. “Living in Gaza is like living a perpetual trauma,” noted the French group, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The U.N. appeal is not receiving the much-needed funds to cope with and to prevent more humanitarian crises. McGoldrick said the largest portion of money from the appeal must first go to food, then clean drinking water and sanitation.

McGoldrick said the appeal is both addressing these needs and restoring dignity to peoples’ lives. Unfortunately, however, the response from donors has not been adequate.

HERBICIDE ON THE FARMLANDS

Human rights organizations have urged Israel to immediately halt renewed aerial herbicide spraying along the Gaza Strip perimeter fence, according to the legal rights center Adalah.

In mid-January Israeli crop dusters flew along the fence “and sprayed chemicals purported to be herbicides.” The spraying was “conducted sporadically for about three and half hours.” Israel has long treated Gaza like a concentration camp, and now sprays its borders like a disease containment camp.

The chemicals reached Palestinian farmlands inside the Gaza Strip, mainly east of Gaza, in North Gaza, and in the Deir Al Balah districts.

Adalah has sent a letter to Israeli officials “with an urgent demand to refrain from conducting further aerial spraying of herbicides inside and near the Gaza Strip, due to the severe damage to crops and the health risks to Gaza residents.”

Israel’s practice of conducting aerial herbicide spraying was first documented in 2014. “Herbicidal chemicals have reached distances as far as 1,200 meters into the Strip in previously documented incidents of spraying,” according to Adalah.

“It is estimated that a total area of 7,620 dunams of arable land in the Gaza Strip has been affected by aerial spraying since 2014, when the first incident of this type was reported,” Adalah noted. “Palestinian farmers have sustained widespread damage to their crops and incurred immense financial losses as a result, which drove some farmers to abandon cultivating fields near the perimeter fence due to the associated risks.”

It is difficult to assess how serious the damage could be to human health, aquifers, and livelihoods of people and animals in the area. Neither is there any authority on the ground to prevent farmers from collecting affected resources.

ISRAEL EASES BLOCKADE

In recent months Israel began quietly allowing thousands of Palestinians to enter from the Gaza Strip to conduct business and work menial jobs. Some 5,000 so-called merchant permits were awarded to Palestinians (who can afford to pay for the paperwork) to work as laborers in construction, agriculture and manufacturing, in return for ending Palestinian border demonstrations. Before the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, more than 26,000 Palestinians crossed into Israel from Gaza for work.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human Rights0 Comments

U.S. Actions Threaten Cultural Sites Beyond Iran

ELENI ZARAS

Remains of Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the ancient Achaemenid Empire built by Darius I in sixth century BC. Persepolis is a well-preserved example of ancient Persian culture. (DOMINIKA ZARZYCKA/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March/April 2020, pp. 31-33

Special Report

By Eleni Zaras

IN A JAN. 4 TWEET President Donald Trump threatened to target 52 Iranian cultural sites, “some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.” What actually came very fast was backlash from all sides, condemning the illegality of such threats.

Despite condemnation from Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as media, museums and scholars, the commander-in-chief stood by his remarks and the following day asked rhetorically, “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.”

Such an attack would be a war crime. Attacking cultural heritage sites violates the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, and the 2017 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347.

On Jan. 6, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned Trump against targeting Iranian cultural sites, saying, “Cultural sites is not hitting them hard; it’s creating more problems. We’re trying to show solidarity with the Iranian people.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also countered Trump’s threats. On Jan. 6, Esper affirmed that the U.S. will follow the law and not attack cultural heritage sites. Without fully backing down from his initial rhetoric, Trump walked back his threat on Jan. 7, saying, “I like to obey the law.”

Indeed, the threats rallied not just the Iranian people, many of whom took to Twitter with the hashtag #IranCulturalSites, but also major museum directors and academics, who normally avoid politics. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, World Monuments Fund, and the Association of Art Museum Curators expressed their concerns in open letters, through press releases and on social media.

Former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Thomas Campbell, issued a long condemnation via Instagram, stating, “We are better than this, in diplomacy, rhetoric and action. Let’s hold high the flame of shared cultural achievements that remind us of our common humanity, across time, geography, faith and politics.”

But are we better than this? Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which will notably host an exhibition of Persian art in the fall, tweeted: “This is a worrying step toward the normalization of cultural destruction as a war aim.”

As Hunt suggests, what is concerning about Trump’s threatening tweets is not just their illegality, but also their long-term consequences and how they fit into broader trends. The devaluation of Iranian culture, history and natural sites dovetails with previous policies, positions and efforts of the Trump administration. The remarks churn up and risk normalizing problematic narratives about Islamic and pre-Islamic art and culture, historically infused with Orientalist and imperialist rhetoric that scholars have fought against for decades.

The Trump administration has not been shy in backing out of international organizations and treaties that protect cultural and natural sites, most notably withdrawing from UNESCO. Domestically, as The Washington Post reported on March 18, 2019, Trump has each year in office proposed “a federal budget that would shutter the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—which supports PBS and NPR—and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.” His repeated attempts to discredit journalists who counter his framing of events also undercuts fact-based reporting and politicizes facts and history.

Before Trump became president, although the U.S. did not directly attack cultural sites, the Iraq War bore witness to incidents of American forces endangering cultural sites. Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, American troops refused to guard the Iraqi National Museum and Archives, until after it was looted of priceless treasures and documents. Americans also set up military bases close to—or even within—historical sites and monuments. The proximity inevitably put the sites at risk, as University of Michigan Professor of Islamic Art History Christiane Gruber points out, referring in particular to the 9th century Malwiya minaret in Samarra. The Malwiya minaret is one of the only spiral minarets in existence and is part of what used to be one of the largest and most important mosques of its time. In the fall of 2004, the American forces occupied the minaret and transformed it into a sniper outpost. Iraqi authorities ordered American troops to vacate the monument in March 2005, but the top tier was still blasted on April 1, 2005 by opposition fighters to prevent future use as a sniper hideout. Undeterred, U.S. troops retook the minaret for military purposes in 2006.

zaras02x840

The Coalition Forces had a base at the Ur archeological site, near an old temple called the Ziggurat dating back to 2100 BC, with the remains of Abraham’s house and 7,000-year-old graves. The American base was a regular target for the insurgents’ mortar attacks. In April 2008, a mortar landed only a few meters from the precious Ziggurat. The heavy tanks and artillery vibrations also shook the foundations of these fragile monuments made of mud. (VERONIQUE DE VIGUERIE/EDIT BY GETTY IMAGES)

The United States military also set up bases on top of ancient cities such as Babylon, causing direct and irreparable damage. A 2009 UNESCO report on Babylon enumerates the damage. Direct destruction by the Americans included, but was not limited to, damage of bricks and animals of the Ishtar Gate and of the Processional Way, leveling, compacting and chemically treating soil, paving of un-excavated archaeological zones, digging of trenches, and filling sandbags with shard-laden soil. In addition to this direct abuse of the site, the vibrations of vehicles and air traffic destabilized structures. While Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein did more than his fair share of damage as well, the American presence proved more destructive and was deemed “a grave encroachment” on the site.

Following criticism of the damage to Babylon in 2006, NBC reported that “Col. John Coleman, former chief of staff for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, told the BBC that if the head of the Iraqi antiquities board wanted an apology, and ‘if it makes him feel good, we can certainly give him one.’ But he also asked: ‘If it wasn’t for our presence, what would the state of those archaeological ruins be?’”

Even today, the U.S. is arguably complicit in the destruction of sites in Yemen which are attacked by the Saudi-led coalition that Americans continue to arm. A 2017 study by Professor Lamya Khalidi of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis reported that, according to official Yemeni lists, of 78 major historical sites damaged as of March 2015, “59 of these have been damaged or destroyed by Saudi coalition bombs (17 in the range of 70- to 100-percent destroyed) despite the coalition having been handed by UNESCO no fly lists of cultural heritage to avoid.” The others were targeted by al-Qaeda, ISIS and opposition Houthi forces.

This accounting does not include additional damage by coalition bombs that targeted UNESCO sites in Sana’a’s old city, the historic city of Zabid and elsewhere—attacks that have damaged hundreds of historic houses, mosques, archaeological sites and even multiple museums. According to Professor Khalidi, “The most flagrant of these bombing campaigns [against museums] was the total destruction of the Dhamar Archaeological Museum, which housed upward of 12,500 objects, not including massive quantities of unregistered archaeological remains stored there by active archaeological field programs. It was pulverized by coalition bombs in May 2015.”

“Tragically,” Khalidi assesses, “much of this damage, notably that from Saudi airstrikes and from demolitions carried out by IS, appears to be intentional. The systemic destruction of the country’s cultural heritage is in effect a targeting of its people and a gradual erasure of their cultural identity.”

Still, the United States, the UK, France and Australia have continued to sell arms, worth billions of dollars, to Saudi Arabia.

The ripple effect of such acts of cultural erasure transforms how we frame and perceive history and cultures. The destruction of pre-Islamic sites reinforces narratives of a rupture between pre-Islamic and Islamic history, which can go as far as purporting that “pre-Islamic heritage is not necessary,” explains Aziz Morfeq who works in Sanaa for the Yemeni arts and culture NGO Basement Cultural Foundation. “Many groups in Yemen,” he starts without naming names, “share common ground with the Saudi way of thinking; it is not important to preserve [pre-Islamic] heritage.” Destroying these sites becomes a swift method of “eliminating problems” in history.

Furthermore, narratives popularized during the 19th century in Western Europe framed Islamic art as non-figural, timeless and decorative, and thus without historical or technical value. Destroying Islamic art and architecture in fact serves to re-enforce racist narratives stipulating that Muslims “cannot be fully human because they don’t produce art,” elucidates Professor Gruber, much of whose work has aimed to undo the assumption that Islamic art does not include figural representation.

What Gruber views as “anxiety inducing” is that “if such sites are destroyed… [it] entrenches such pernicious narratives.” Gruber also underscores that the UNESCO sites in Iran are not limited to architectural monuments, but also include nature preserves, hydraulic systems and other technical “ingenuities” of the human spirit.

“Unfortunately, in the past 10 years,” for her Islamic art survey course, “I have [had] to address destruction and targets and sites of potential weaponization.” Not explaining the militarized and politicized significance they now bear would be denying a new reality and function of these sites. “Buildings are living organisms; they change through time.” The word itself, she notes, is “a ‘building’—it’s a gerund—we shift with them, and they shift with us.”

In the end, Gruber muses that “the silver lining” of these recent events and discussions is that they “reify pressing concerns—not just to preserve art and architecture and archaeology, but also human ingenuity, the animal world, and our planetary futures.”

———————————-

Posted in USA, Iran0 Comments

Will the U.N. Sign Off on a Trumped-Up Peace Deal?

IAN WILLIAMS

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hosts Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Jan. 23, 2020. The meeting was also attended by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer (l) and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (r). (PHOTO COURTESY KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March/April 2020, pp. 14-15

United Nations Report

NETANYAHU AND TRUMP can make deals to the Devil’s content, and the Knesset can claim as much sovereignty as it likes, but in the end, it is the much reviled, toothless United Nations that will have to sign off on it.

As former Secretary General Kofi Annan said, “There is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations.” It is not just Palestine: The U.N. never recognized Indonesia’s claim to East Timor nor has it accepted Moroccan claims to the Western Sahara, which is why maps still demarcate them separately, like the Occupied Territories.

If the Palestinians were indeed to accept such a humiliating and one-sided “deal of the century,” they would have to persuade the U.N. to ratify it. Unsurprisingly to everyone but Donald Trump, however, the Palestinians are in no rush to stampede into doom like the Gadarene Swine who ran into the sea. But then the plan gives no Palestinian access to the Sea of Galilee where the demented hogs drowned.

Antonio Guterres, the current Secretary General, characteristically put in as low-key a rebuff as he could, short of congratulating the U.S. President and Israeli Prime Minister. “The Secretary General has seen the announcement of the United States plan for the Middle East. The position of the United Nations on the two-state solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the Secretariat is bound.

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two states—Israel and Palestine—living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”

That should have been the cue for a vociferous public denunciation of a deal cooked up while excluding the most affected party, but then again neither Lord Balfour nor the Versailles Conference consulted the Palestinians either. In any case, bemused by his own temerity in stating this most minimal position Guterres did not invoke the corpus of U.N. resolutions going back to the founding of Israel, which includes the right to return or compensation for the refugees, Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 lines and recognition of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

These are not archival small print, but at the prescient insistence of the Palestinians these resolutions have been resurrected and restated year after year in the teeth of U.S. and Israeli protests and rejectionism.

In some ways Guterres’ tepid response could be anticipated from his statement on the Soleimani assassination. “My message is simple and clear: Stop escalation. Exercise maximum restraint. Re-start dialogue. Renew international cooperation.” This is simple minded rather than simple, and not at all clear—a list of waffling platitudinous demands without a single specific request, addressed to the universe rather than the country that had just done the deed. He could just as well have admonished, “Be good boys and girls!” Not a hint of reproof for a manifestly illegal act that potentially could have matched the assassination in 1914 of the Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo for consequences, nor even the faintest reminder that there is international law about acts of war and killings on other people’s territories.

So the challenge for both the supporters and the opponents of the deal is to persuade the U.N. members themselves. Israel and the U.S. have to persuade them to eat their own words in the form of 70 years of overwhelmingly passed resolutions at the General Assembly and in the Security Council, not to mention judgments of the International Court of Justice and the U.N. Charter’s own stipulations against the acquisition of territory by military force.

Sadly, although difficult, that is not totally impossible. Israel sings along with the professed scorn of the evangelical chorus against the U.N., but its astute Ambassador Danny Danon knows what he is doing. While Trump has sent semi-detached Israel supporters to represent the U.S. at the U.N., the Israeli ambassador has taken the organization and its members seriously over the years. While the U.S. was pulling out of the organization and leaving the Chinese and others to fill the gap, Danon has been working hard to “normalize” Israeli participation. He has courted smaller members with trips to Israel and, of course, the implied benefit of preferential access to the succession of American U.N. representatives, each of whom has been more unthinkingly pro-Israeli than the previous. This strategy has been very successful compared with the low-key, under-resourced Palestinian response.

Genuine supporters of a Middle East peace should not take for granted the U.N.’s position in the face of world regression in terms of law and rights.

Short of presenting a clone of Mahmoud Abbas at the General Assembly endorsing the deal, the Trumped-up deal is unlikely to win support in the GA, where 138 members explicitly recognize Palestine as a state with sovereignty over the territories in the Green Line boundaries. Many of the others do not accept it is Israeli territory. It is almost inconceivable that any but the usual cabal of atolls and banana republics would support the deal, although there might be a high rate of expedient abstentions from countries that know that the deal is wrong but do not want to risk the wrath of Trump by saying so.

But what about the Security Council? There a simple veto would suffice but looking at the diplomatic lineup, there is more dubiety than there used to be. At one time, Russia and China could have been guaranteed to support the Palestinians and the Arab/Muslim/Nonaligned bloc whether out of principle or reciprocal self-interest. But with Egypt signaling acceptance and the Gulf States standing in attendance on the peace plan debacle, which bloc are we talking about?

Russia and China have been closely engaged with Israel financially and technologically and are likely to be totally pragmatic in their approach, while Emmanuel Macron in France is no Charles de Gaulle where Israel is concerned. In London Trump has a more intellectual clone, Boris Johnson, who is reported as saying the plan “could prove a positive step forward.” His foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, referred to the deal as a “serious proposal” that should be considered. An abstention would possibly be the best that the Palestinians could expect from the UK and maybe even France. Among the temporary members, South Africa, with its long memories of Israeli support for Apartheid, would hold the line, as probably would Indonesia and Tunisia and very likely St. Vincent and the Grenadines. But many of the others, like Germany, Belgium, Estonia and other Europeans, would be under heavy pressure and have been softened up with continuous, strident and spurious allegations of anti-Semitism.

Scouring the news reports just after the announcement, the most succinct dismissal came from Bernie Sanders: “Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent, democratic, economically viable state of their own alongside a secure and democratic state of Israel.

“Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis and Palestinians. It is unacceptable.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Kissing international law goodbye to satisfy Zionist greed

Kissing international law goodbye to satisfy Israeli greed

Boris Zio Johnson
By Stuart Littlewood

“Passionate Zionist” Boris Johnson and his lieutenants speak with forked tongue on Palestinian rights and sovereignty. And the small matter of justice simply isn’t in their playbook.

Palestinian chiefs say that Donald Trump’s so-called peace plan contains 300 violations of international law and they will take it up with the Security Council. That’s nearly two violations per page. Given the document was put together by America and Israel, both lawless and criminal to the core, no one is surprised. It is a brazen expression of criminal intent from start to finish.

In the UK our new foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has shot to prominence. We’re told he spent the summer of 1998 at Birzeit University (in Palestine’s West Bank) working for one of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s chief negotiators on the Oslo peace accords. That doomed-to-fail initiative began in 1993 and created a form of interim governance and the framework for a final treaty by the end of 1998. So, Raab was there at a time when the two sides had been faffing about for five years achieving nothing.

In October 1998 the US, desperate to keep the charade going, convened a summit at Maryland’s Wye River Plantation at which Bill Clinton with Yasser Arafat, Binyamin Netanyahu and senior negotiators produced the Wye River Memorandum. Not that this did much good either. But Raab must have learned a lot about Israeli perversity and intransigence, not to mention America’s shortcomings as an honest broker.

Before entering Parliament Raab joined the Foreign Office and worked at the The Hague bringing war criminals to justice, then became an adviser on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But you wouldn’t think so when looking at his latest performances.

As reported in Jewish News, Raab welcomed Trump’s so-called peace plan, calling it

a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort. A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future. Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.

We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.

His boss, Boris Johnson, said of it: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution. It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.” A fatuous remark if ever there was one because (a) he clearly hadn’t read it carefully, (b) the Palestinians weren’t consulted, and (c) as Jewish News stated, a Palestinian capital would be established on the outskirts of East Jerusalem while most of Jerusalem, including the sublime and ancient walled city (which is officially Palestinian), would remain under Israeli control. That is perhaps the cruellest part of the Zionist swindle.

UK government a “force for good”?

In the Global Britain debate on 3 February Raab pompously declared that “the third pillar of our global Britain will be the UK as an even stronger force for good in the world. Our guiding lights will remain the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law”.

But Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrat) pricked Raab’s pretty balloon, asking:

If the concept of a global Britain is to have any meaning and value, surely it must have respect for human rights and an international rules-based order at its heart. With that in mind, will the foreign secretary reconsider the unqualified support he gave to President Trump last week in respect of the so-called peace plan for Palestine? Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the proposed annexation of the West Bank and at long last support the recognition of a Palestinian state?

Raab replied:

I gently say to the right hon. Gentleman that I do not think he has read the detail of this. Whatever else he may disagree with, the one thing that the plan put forward by the US included was a recognition of and commitment to a two-state solution. We have been absolutely clear that that is the only way in which the conflict can be resolved… Rather than just rejecting the plan, it is important that we try to bring the parties together around the negotiating table. That is the only path to peace and to a two-state solution.

It must be obvious to everyone – except government ministers – that you cannot achieve peace without justice.

I’d have expected Raab, by now, to be extremely sceptical of any two-state solution given the many irreversible facts on the ground that Israel has been allowed to create with impunity. And he would know better than most how many times the sides have come to the table for grotesquely lopsided negotiations and how the Israelis never honour the agreements they make.

Raab won the Clive Parry Prize for International Law while at Cambridge. So, if he’s so wedded to the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law, why are these vital ingredients missing from his recipe for peace? It must be obvious to everyone – except government ministers – that you cannot achieve peace without justice. And justice in the form of UN resolutions and international and humanitarian law has already spoken several times. It waits… and waits… and waits… to be implemented.

Then we had Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister of State for International Development and the Middle East, in answer to a written question:

We have made clear our deep concern about the suggestion that any parts of the occupied Palestinian territories should be annexed… Any declaration of a unilateral border change undermines the rules-based international order and the UN Charter. The UK calls on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law that would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace.

Murrison can’t have been paying attention. Illegal border changes departing from 1947 Partition lines and 1967 lines, annexations and other actions in contempt of international law and the UN Charter have been going on for 70 years simply because none of those pillars of modern civilisation have been enforced where Israel’s concerned. Rules-based international order has been constantly undermined and is now non-existent in the Holy Land.

The question is, what does the UK Government, which is largely responsible for this sorry state of affairs, going to do about it besides mouthing the usual limp-wristed idiocy? Is the Johnson administration happy, in George Orwell’s words, for the US-UK-Israeli boot to stamp on the human face of the Palestinians for ever?

BDS targeted

And as if the Holy Land fiasco wasn’t enough we must put up with crass ministerial utterances on the home front. Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, complains that only 136 of the 343 local authorities in England have agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and insists that all universities and local councils “must adopt” it. If they don’t, and they fail to tackle anti-Semitism, they can expect to lose public funding.

According to the Jewish Chronicle he vowed to take action against universities and “parts of local government” who have become “corrupted” by anti-Semitism. Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: “I will use my position as secretary of state to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity. I expect them to confirm to me when they do so.”

Jenrick qualified as a lawyer, so should respect warnings by top legal opinion (for example, Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson QC) that the IHRA definition is “most unsatisfactory”, has no legal force, and using it to punish could be unlawful. It also undermines Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the UK’s own Human Rights Act 1998.

But Jenrick seems to have aligned himself with sinister moves by Johnson aimed at protecting Israel from the consequences of its countless breaches of international law and crimes against the Palestinians by banning public bodies from imposing their own boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions (BDS). What could any decent administration possibly fear from BDS? It is simply a peaceful response to Israel’s thuggery. It urges non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three perfectly reasonable demands:

  • Ending its unlawful occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall (international law recognises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel).
  • Recognising the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

So how is Boris Johnson proposing to block BDS? Briefing notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which set out his government’s programme, said:

  • We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them.
  • This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK government’s settled policy towards a foreign country. The UK government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbours.

The ban will apply to institutions across the public sector, not just councils, and will cover purchasing, procurement and investment decisions.

Put simply, as long as the occupation is business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel.

Johnson and his underlings just don’t get it. BDS is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing Israel’s illegal occupation. Put simply, as long as the occupation is business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel. Furthermore the foreign policies of successive UK governments have not met with the approval of the British people, and never will, with US-Israel pimps dictating at Westminster.

If the government’s “settled policy” towards Israel was consistent with international law and human rights conventions – as it should be – there’d be no need for BDS campaigns because the UK would already be applying sanctions. Furthermore, the Conservatives’ election manifesto pledged to “ensure that no one is put off from engaging in politics… by threats, harassment or abuse, whether in person or online”. They also promised to champion the rule of law, human rights, free trade, anti-corruption efforts and a rules-based international system – all of which Israel refuses to comply with.

Yet, only last month Jenrick announced to a Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary reception that he would “look forward to the day” when Britain’s embassy in Israel will be “moved to Jerusalem”. And he told the Board of Deputies of British Jews he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS campaigns in the UK. “Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions.” 

By the same token one might ask why the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government is wasting time and taxpayers’ money dabbling in foreign policy and advocating on behalf of a foreign military power? It’s not in his job spec.

Jenrick has an Israeli-born wife and is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel. Before he tries ordering local authorities what to think and do he should have the courtesy to declare these interests. According to the Guardian, he’s an MP who is “on the up”. Heaven help us.

Johnson is expected to hold a Cabinet reshuffle this week. His administration is already top-heavy with Zionists and, as 80 per cent of Conservative MPs are reportedly signed-up Friends of Israel, there’s no shortage of compliant stooge material to fill even more top posts.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UK0 Comments

19 YEARS OF WAR AND NO END IN SIGHT ‘ Video’

ENDLESS WAR & AMERICAN EMPIRE

RETIRED U.S. ARMY COLONEL LAWRENCE WILKERSON

“America exists today to make war.

How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It’s part of who we are.

It’s part of what the American Empire is.”

Posted in USA, C.I.A0 Comments

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