Archive | February 15th, 2020

US Pulling Some Combat Troops Out of Africa

By Voice of America 

The United States is starting to change its force posture in Africa, announcing it is bringing home part of an infantry brigade and replacing them with specialized military trainers.

Pentagon officials described the move as “the first of many” that will impact the way the U.S. military operates on the continent, as it shifts its focus from counterterrorism to the great power competition.

In a statement Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Alyssa Farah said the move will help the U.S. “better compete with China and Russia in Africa.”

Farah said the U.S. will start bringing home combat troops with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in the coming weeks.

In their place, the U.S. will be sending members of the Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) to work with forces in what defense officials called “spotlight” countries.

“SFABs are manned, trained and equipped specifically for the train, advise and assist mission,” Farah said in the statement, adding it was a task they could do “more efficiently than conventional units.”

Members of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade previously deployed to Afghanistan to train and advise Afghan security forces.

The move is expected to lower the total number of U.S. forces deployed to Africa, and it comes as Pentagon officials are reviewing plans to reduce the estimated 6,000 U.S. troops in Africa.

The shift also comes as a new U.S. report warns the danger from terrorist groups in Africa is spreading and that many African forces are not ready to take on the terror threat alone.

Still, top defense officials insist whatever changes are made, the U.S. is not going to abandon African allies.

“We’re not walking away,” Major General Roger Cloutier, the commander of U.S. Army-Africa, told Pentagon reporters by phone Wednesday from Vicenza, Italy. “We are still engaged.”

Cloutier said the U.S. is continuing to plan exercises and other training missions with partners across the continent — with 300 planned for this fiscal year alone.

He also said the U.S. is preparing to have 4,000 troops participate in the “African Lion” exercise in late March, joining 5,000 troops from African and allied countries.

“The United States and the U.S. military is still committed to being great partners,” Cloutier said, adding he would emphasize that message during a summit with African militaries later this week in Ethiopia.

Competing with China, Russia
Other U.S. defense officials said Wednesday the decision to send in troops with the Security Force Assistance Brigade actually will make the U.S. a better partner. Its soldiers, they say, are better positioned to establish relationships and to meet the needs of partner nations.

That is something the Pentagon sees as critical as it competes with China and Russia, both of which have made significant investments in Africa, with both troops and resources.

Defense intelligence officials have raised concerns, in particular, about China, which is now offering training and technical assistance in addition to arms and other weapons.

At the same time, top defense officials have suggested U.S. military might could be replaced, in part, with diplomatic efforts, as well as with humanitarian and economic aid.

They also are pushing allied countries to do more in Africa, especially when it comes to combating terror.

“[In terms of] Our European partners, there is room for them to step up in Africa and to do more,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters while on his way to Brussels to meet with NATO allies.

Concerns about U.S. move
There are some signs U.S. allies are willing to help. France, which already had 4,500 troops in Africa, recently announced it is sending another 600 military personnel to the Sahel to increase pressure on the Islamic State terror group’s affiliates in the region.

But during a visit to the Pentagon last month, French Defense Minister Florence Parly cautioned U.S. capabilities in intelligence and surveillance cannot be replaced.

“The U.S. support is critical to our operations,” she said at the time. “Its reduction would severely limit our effectiveness against terrorists.”

Allies like France are not alone in their concerns. The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, while praising the decision to send Security Force Assistance Brigade personnel to Africa, cautioned it alone is not enough.

“The SFAB’s capabilities are well suited for many of AFRICOM’s important missions to train and advise our partners on the continent,” Senator James Inhofe said in a statement Wednesday. “At the same time, the growing security threats in Africa — from terrorism to China and Russia — require additional capabilities that special operations and other troops currently serving there provide.”

Posted in USA, AfricaComments Off on US Pulling Some Combat Troops Out of Africa

Nazi snipers ordered to shoot children

Snipers ordered to shoot children, Israeli general confirms

Ali Abunimah 

Rights and Accountability 

Israeli Brigadier-General (Reserve) Zvika Fogel (Wikipedia)

An Israeli general has confirmed that when snipers stationed along Israel’s boundary with Gaza shoot at children, they are doing so deliberately, under clear and specific orders.

In a radio interview, Brigadier-General (Reserve) Zvika Fogel describes how a sniper identifies the “small body” of a child and is given authorization to shoot.

Fogel’s statements could be used as evidence of intent if Israeli leaders are ever tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.

On Friday, an Israeli sniper shot dead 14-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ayyoub.

The boy, shot in the head east of Jabaliya, was the fourth child among the more than 30 Palestinians killed during the Great March of Return rallies that began in Gaza on 30 March.

More than 1,600 other Palestinians have been shot with live ammunition that has caused what doctors are calling “horrific injuries” likely to leave many of them with permanent disabilities.

Defense for Children@DCIPalestine

Our initial investigation confirms Israeli forces killed 14-year-old Mahmoud Ibrahim Ayoub in Gaza today around 4:30 pm local time. He sustained a gunshot wound to the head & was later pronounced dead at Shifa hospital. #GazaReturnMarch

View image on Twitter

As eyewitnesses and video confirmed, the child Muhammad Ayyoub posed no conceivable danger to heavily armed Israeli occupation forces stationed dozens of meters away behind fences and earthen fortifications on the other side of the Gaza boundary when he was killed.

Even the usually timid United Nations peace process envoy Nickolay Mladenov publicly declared that the slaying was “outrageous.”

Nickolay E. MLADENOV@nmladenov

🔴

It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in #Gaza today help #peace? It doesn’t! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. #Children must be protected from #violence, not exposed to it, not killed! This tragic incident must be investigated.1,6975:35 PM – Apr 20, 2018

Targeting children

On Saturday, Brigadier-General Fogel was interviewed by Ron Nesiel on the Israeli public radio network Kan.

Fogel is the former chief of staff of the Israeli army’s “southern command,” which includes the occupied Gaza Strip.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, drew attention to the interview in a tweet.

Ahmad Tibi@Ahmad_tibi

תת אלוף(מיל) צביקה פוגל ברשת ב כאן: מי שמתקרב לגדר כדי לבדוק למשל אם יש שטחים מתים דינו מוות!
רון נשיאל המראיין : גם אם מדובר בילד לא חמוש? פוגל: כן , גם אם מדובר בילד.1507:19 AM – Apr 21, 2018

recording of the interview is online (it begins at 6:52). The interview was translated for The Electronic Intifada by Dena Shunra and a full transcript follows this article.

The host Ron Nesiel asks Fogel if the Israeli army should “rethink its use of snipers,” and suggests that someone giving orders “lowered the bar for using live fire.”

Fogel adamantly defends the policy, stating: “At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation.”

He adds: “If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …”

“Then his punishment is death?” Nesiel interjects.

“His punishment is death,” the general responds. “As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs.”

Fogel then describes the careful process by which targets – including children – are identified and shot:

“I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder, it goes even higher.”

For “it goes even higher,” Fogel uses a Hebrew idiom also meaning “it costs even more.”

In this chilling statement, in which a general talks about snipers targeting the “small body of a child,” Fogel makes crystal clear that this policy is premeditated and deliberate.

While presenting unarmed Palestinian children as dangerous terrorists worthy of death, Fogel describes the snipers killing them in cold blood as the innocent, vulnerable parties who deserve protection.

“We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up,” he says.

Lethal policy

Fogel’s statements are no aberration but represent Israeli policy.

“Israeli officials made it clear that the open-fire regulations would permit lethal fire at anyone attempting to damage the fence, and even at any person coming within 300 meters of it,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated in a recent analysis of Israel’s illegal targeting of unarmed civilians who pose no threat.

“Nevertheless, all state and military officials have steadfastly refused to cancel the unlawful orders and continue to issue – and justify – them,” B’Tselem added.

B’Tselem has called on individual soldiers to defy such illegal orders.

Following its investigation of the “calculated” killings of unarmed demonstrators on 30 March, the first day of the Great March of Return rallies in Gaza, Human Rights Watch concluded that the lethal crackdown was “planned at [the] highest levels of the Israeli government.”

Two weeks ago, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court issued an unprecedented warning that Israeli leaders may face trial for the killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

Potential defendants would be giving any prosecutor a gift with such open admissions that killing unarmed people in an occupied territory who pose no objective threat is their policy and intent.

The question remains whether anything will finally pierce the shield of impunity that Israel has enjoyed for 70 years.

Full Transcript

Brigadier-General (Res.) Zvika Fogel interviewed on the Yoman Hashevua program of Israel’s Kan radio, 21 April 2018.

Ron Nesiel: Greetings Brigadier General (Res.) Zvika Fogel. Should the IDF [Israeli army] rethink its use of snipers? There’s the impression that maybe someone lowered the bar for using live fire, and this may be the result?

Zvika Fogel: Ron, let’s maybe look at this matter on three levels. At the tactical level that we all love dealing with, the local one, also at the level of values, and with your permission, we will also rise up to the strategic level. At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …

Nesiel: Then, then his punishment is death?

Fogel: His punishment is death. As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs. It is clear to you that if one such person will manage to cross the fence or hide an explosive device there …

Nesiel: But we were taught that live fire is only used when the soldiers face immediate danger.

Fogel: Come, let’s move over to the level of values. Assuming that we understood the tactical level, as we cannot tolerate a crossing of our border or a violation of our border, let’s proceed to the level of values. I am not Ahmad Tibi, I am Zvika Fogel. I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder it goes even higher. The picture is not a pretty picture. But if that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel, then that’s the price. But now, with your permission, let us go up one level and look at the overview. It is clear to you that Hamas is fighting for consciousness at the moment. It is clear to you and to me …

Nesiel: Is it hard for them to do? Aren’t we providing them with sufficient ammunition in this battle?

Fogel: We’re providing them but …

Nesiel: Because it does not do all that well for us, those pictures that are distributed around the world.

Fogel: Look, Ron, we’re even terrible at it. There’s nothing to be done, David always looks better against Goliath. And in this case, we are the Goliath. Not the David. That is entirely clear to me. But let’s look at it at the strategic level: you and I and a large part of the listeners are clear that this will not end up in demonstrations. It is clear to us that Hamas can’t continue to tolerate the fact that its rockets are not managing to hurt us, its tunnels are eroding …

Nesiel: Yes.

Fogel: And it doesn’t have too many suicide bombers who continue to believe the fairytale about the virgins waiting up there. It will drag us into a war. I do not want to be on the side that gets dragged. I want to be on the side that initiates things. I do not want to wait for the moment where it finds a weak spot and attacks me there. If tomorrow morning it gets into a military base or a kibbutz and kills people there and takes prisoners of war or hostages, call it as you like, we’re in a whole new script. I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by. We can’t always take a single picture and put it before the whole world. We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up.

Nesiel: Brigadier-General (Res.) Zvika Fogel, formerly Head of the Southern Command Staff, thank you for your words.

Fogel: May you only hear good news. Thank you.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi snipers ordered to shoot children

Nazi Army Shoot Teen Dead in West Bank Clashes, Palestinians Say

Israeli Troops Shoot Teen Dead in West Bank Clashes, Palestinians Say.

17-year-old killed in West Bank protests against Donald Trump’s Mideast plan, as demonstrations continue a week after the plan’s unveiling

By: Jack Khoury  

An Israeli border policeman is on fire as he is hit with a molotov cocktail thrown by Palestinian demonstrators during a protest in Hebron, in the West Bank, on February 3, 2020. 
An Israeli border policeman is on fire as he is hit with a molotov cocktail thrown by Palestinian demonstrators during a protest in Hebron, in the West Bank, on February 3, 2020.  MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Seventeen-year-old Mohammad Salman Toameh Al-Hadad was shot in the chest with live fire and died after being evacuated to the city hospital, according to the ministry.

According to witnesses, Al-Hadad was wounded during clashes in the neighborhood of Bab al-Zawiyah. Troops fired both live fire and rubber bullets, witnesses said.

Mohammad Salman Toameh Al-Hadad.
Mohammad Salman Toameh Al-Hadad.

The Israeli army said in a statement that Al-Hadad was shot during “a violent riot in the city of Hebron,” after he had thrown Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers. “For several days there have been violent disturbances in the city of Hebron next to the Jewish area with the participation of dozens of Palestinians who are throwing stones, burning tires and throwing firebombs at IDF troops and the security forces,” the military said in a statement. 

The clashes came a week after U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled the White House’s Middle East plan.

Palestinian demonstrators take cover during a protest against Trump's Middle East peace plan, in Hebron in the West Bank, February 2, 2020.
Palestinian demonstrators take cover during a protest against Trump’s Middle East peace plan, in Hebron in the West Bank, February 2, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma

On Monday, a Palestinian was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet during during confrontations with Israeli security forces in Hebron’s Old City. Last week, soldiers shot and severely wounded a 15-year-old Palestinian in the head with a rubber bullet during clashes in the northern West Bank town of Kafr Qaddum, the Red Crescent reported. 

The plan, which was unveiled last week, would foresee the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, but it falls far short of minimal Palestinian demands and would leave sizable chunks of the West Bank in Israeli hands.

It was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed it as “nonsense.” Gulf Arab states also rejected the White House plan as “biased.” While Israeli officials were present for its unveiling, no Palestinian representatives attended.

Netanyahu has said he wants to move forward with plans to annex West Bank territory before Israel’s March 2 election, leading senior U.S. officials, such as Trump aide Jared Kushner, to publically declare Washington would not support such a move.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Army Shoot Teen Dead in West Bank Clashes, Palestinians Say

Palestinian refugees burn Trump pictures, peace deal

Mohammed Zaatari

The Daily Star

Hundreds of Palestinians across Lebanon Wednesday went on strike and held protests against the so-called Middle East peace plan announced by U.S. President Donald Trump a day earlier.  

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Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, Middle EastComments Off on Palestinian refugees burn Trump pictures, peace deal

Trump plan leaves Arabs in dilemma

Stephen Kalin Amina Ismail| Reuters

Arab powers appear to be prioritizing close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.

The plan diverges from previous U.S. policy and a 2002 Arab League-endorsed initiative that offered Israel normal relations in return for an independent Palestinian state and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

Saudi Arabia’s response exemplified the careful balance now required from Gulf Arab monarchies, Egypt and Jordan which rely on U.S. military or financial backing and find themselves aligned with the United States and Israel in confronting Iran.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed appreciation for Trump’s efforts and support for direct peace negotiations under U.S. auspices. At the same time, state media reported that King Salman had called the Palestinian president to reassure him of Riyadh’s unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Egypt and Jordan, which already have peace deals with Israel, as well as Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates used similar language that swung between hope for re-starting talks and caution against abandoning long-held stances.

Despite Palestinians’ rejection of the plan and boycott of Trump over perceived pro-Israel bias, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the UAE – attended the White House gathering in a sign of changing times.

In a bitterly divided Arab world, backing for Palestinians has long been seen as a unifying position but also often a source of internal recriminations over the extent of that support, especially as some states have made independent, pragmatic overtures to historical adversary Israel.

Trump and Netanyahu praised the UAE, Bahraini and Omani ambassadors for attending the White House announcement: “What a sign it portends – I was going to say ‘of the future’ – what a sign it portends of the present,” Netanyahu said to applause.

Critics were less kind, condemning the envoys’ presence as a “shameful” abandonment of the Palestinian cause.

“No government or ruler wants to be seen to sell Palestine so cheaply and hand Netanyahu such a victory and, in fact, end up footing the bill,” said Neil Quilliam, senior research fellow at Britain’s Chatham House think-tank. “At the same time, all states except perhaps Egypt are dependent upon the U.S. and will not risk angering Trump, given his propensity to act like a petulant child.”

Saudi King Salman has previously reassured Arab allies he would not endorse any plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s disputed status or Palestinian refugees’ right of return, amid perceptions Riyadh’s stance was changing under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is close to Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the plan’s main architect.

Palestinian officials say Prince Mohammad, the de facto Saudi ruler, has pressed Abbas in the past to support the Trump plan despite serious concerns. Saudi officials have denied any differences between the king and crown prince.

Prominent Saudi Naif Madkhali, who tweets often in support of the government, blasted the plan: “No and a thousand no’s,” he wrote.

Any change to the consensus on refugees’ right of return to what is now Israel and the Palestinian Territories would reverberate loudest in Jordan, which absorbed more Palestinians than any other country after Israel’s creation in 1948.

Palestinians, which by some estimates now account for more than half of Jordan’s population, hold full citizenship but are marginalized and seen as a political threat by some people of Jordanian descent.

“The biggest risk is to Jordan, where sentiment towards the issue and rising levels of discontent converge,” said Quilliam.

Analysts predicted most Egyptians would reject the plan but not present a problem to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government, which has already cracked down harshly on dissent.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry criticized Arab countries after their generally positive comments on Trump’s plan.

“Following the revelation of details of the American-Israeli conspiracy, it is unacceptable to hide behind ambiguous and murky statements in order to escape confronting this conspiracy,” it said in a statement.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Trump plan leaves Arabs in dilemma

Syria: Advancing towards important Zio-Wahhabi jihadist base in Idlib

Syrian Army battle tanks sweep across East Ghouta near the town of Jisreen (Credit; Syrian MoD).

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is steadily advancing south along the Kafr Halab-Taftanaz Road, as their forces attempt to capture the key town of Taftanaz and its corresponding airbase.

According to a field source from the Syrian Army, their forces captured the town of Ma’arat Al-Na’asan this afternoon, which is one of the last points before Taftanaz, after a fierce battle with the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).

The source said that since the capture of Ma’arat Al-Na’asan, the Syrian Army has consolidated their gains and begun the push south towards Taftanaz.

He would add that the Syrian Army is determined to capture the Taftanaz Airbase because it has become a main hub for HTS and other militant forces in Idlib.

Since the Syrian Army lost the Taftanaz Airbase in early 2013, the militant forces in the Idlib Governorate have used the installation for training purposes and housing their fighters.

The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and their Russian counterparts have targeted this base on several occasions in the past, as it has been also used jihadist command meetings.

It is believed the Turkish military has a presence around the base, but this is likely to affect the Syrian Army very little, as they are determined to retake this installation.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: Advancing towards important Zio-Wahhabi jihadist base in Idlib

UN publishes list of companies with ties to Israeli settlements

IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG  

UN publishes list of companies with ties to Israeli settlements

Israeli authorities construct a new fence around the Israeli settlement of Avnei Hefetz, near Tulkarem, West Bank, January 31, 2017. (Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

The UN has published a list of 112 companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (which are illegal under international law), including Expedia, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Booking.com, and Motorola Solutions

Reposted from Guardian

The UN has published a list of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the US-based TripAdvisor and Airbnb and the British truck and digger maker JCB.

Most of the 112 companies linked to settlements, which are regarded as illegal under international law, were Israeli. The list included 18 international firms, including the London-based online travel agency Opodo and the Netherlands-based Booking.com.

The UN statement made clear the report was not part of a judicial process and the database will have no immediate legal implications for the companies. However, an official list published by a UN agency could lend energy to pro-Palestinian efforts to pressure governments and consumers to take action such as boycotts against businesses linked to the occupation. Read full article

Below are the companies:

1. Afikim Public Transportation Ltd., Israel
2. Airbnb Inc., United States
3. American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd., Israel
4. Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd., Israel
5. Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd., Israel
6. Angel Bakeries, Israel
7. Archivists Ltd., Israel
8. Ariel Properties Group, Israel
9. Ashtrom Industries Ltd., Israel
10. Ashtrom Properties Ltd., Israel
11. Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd., Israel
12. Bank Hapoalim B.M., Israel
13. Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M., Israel
14. Bank of Jerusalem Ltd., Israel
15. Beit Haarchiv Ltd., Israel
16. Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication Corp Ltd., Israel
17. Booking.com B.V., Netherlands
18. C Mer Industries Ltd., Israel
19. Café Café Israel Ltd., Israel
20. Caliber 3, Israel
21. Cellcom Israel Ltd., Israel
22. Cherriessa Ltd., Israel
23. Chish Nofei Israel Ltd., Israel
24. Citadis Israel Ltd., Israel
25. Comasco Ltd., Israel
26. Darban Investments Ltd., Israel
27. Delek Group Ltd., Israel
28. Delta Israel, Israel
29. Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd., Israel
30. Egis Rail, France
31. Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd., Israel
32. Energix Renewable Energies Ltd., Israel
33. EPR Systems Ltd., Israel
34. Extal Ltd., Israel
35. Expedia Group Inc., United States
36. Field Produce Ltd., Israel
37. Field Produce Marketing Ltd., Israel
38. First International Bank of Israel Ltd., Israel
39. Galshan Shvakim Ltd., Israel
40. General Mills Israel Ltd., Israel
41. Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd., Israel
42. Hot Mobile Ltd., Israel
43. Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd., Israel
44. Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd., Israel
45. Israel Discount Bank Ltd., Israel
46. Israel Railways Corporation Ltd., Israel
47. Italek Ltd., Israel
48. JC Bamford Excavators Ltd., United Kingdom
49. Jerusalem Economy Ltd., Israel
50. Kavim Public Transportation Ltd., Israel
51. Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd., Israel
52. Matrix IT Ltd., Israel
53. Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd., Israel
54. Mekorot Water Company Ltd., Israel
55. Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd., Israel
56. Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd., Israel
57. Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd., Israel
58. Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd., Israel
59. Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd., Israel
60. Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd., Israel
61. Municipal Bank Ltd., Israel
62. Naaman Group Ltd., Israel
63. Nof Yam Security Ltd., Israel
64. Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd., Israel
65. Opodo Ltd., United Kingdom
66. Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd., Israel
67. Partner Communications Company Ltd., Israel
68. Paz Oil Company Ltd., Israel
69. Pelegas Ltd., Israel
70. Pelephone Communications Ltd., Israel
71. Proffimat S.R. Ltd., Israel
72. Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd., Israel
73. Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd., Israel
74. Re/Max Israel, Israel
75. Shalgal Food Ltd., Israel
76. Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd., Israel
77. Shufersal Ltd., Israel
78. Sonol Israel Ltd., Israel
79. Superbus Ltd., Israel
80. Supergum Industries 1969 Ltd., Israel
81. Tahal Group International B.V., Netherlands
82. TripAdvisor Inc., United States
83. Twitoplast Ltd., Israel
84. Unikowsky Maoz Ltd., Israel
85. YES, Israel
86. Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd., Israel
87. ZF Development and Construction, Israel
88. ZMH Hammermand Ltd., Israel
89. Zorganika Ltd., Israel
90. Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd., Israel
91. Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd., Israel
92. Alstom S.A., France
93. Altice Europe N.V., Netherlands
94. Amnon Mesilot Ltd., Israel
95. Ashtrom Group Ltd., Israel
96. Booking Holdings Inc., United States
97. Brand Industries Ltd., Israel
98. Delta Galil Industries Ltd., Israel
99. eDreams ODIGEO S.A., Luxembourg
100. Egis S.A., France
101. Electra Ltd., Israel
102. Export Investment Company Ltd., Israel
103. General Mills Inc., United States
104. Hadar Group, Israel
105. Hamat Group Ltd., Israel
106. Indorama Ventures P.C.L., Thailand
107. Kardan N.V., Netherlands
108. Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd., Israel
109. Motorola Solutions Inc., United States
110. Natoon Group, Israel
111. Villar International Ltd., Israel
112. Greenkote P.L.C., United Kingdom


Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, CampaignsComments Off on UN publishes list of companies with ties to Israeli settlements

Rep. Betty McCollum slams AIPAC hate ad

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Rep. Betty McCollum slams AIPAC hate ad

AIPAC’s recent ad attacked Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), who introduced the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, H.R. 2407, a bill prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel.

The Israel lobby took aim at Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-4) and others, calling them “anti-Semitic” and “more sinister than ISIS.” McCollum hit back.

by Kathryn Shihadah

Last week, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) sponsored a Facebook ad claiming that “radicals in the Democratic Party” are promoting anti-Semitism. Blowback from the divisive ad caused the organization to remove the ad and apologize.

The piece declared, “The radicals in the Democratic Party are pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people. America should never abandon its only democratic ally in the Middle East. Sign the letter to Democrats in Congress – don’t abandon Israel!”

AIPAC's Facebook ad calling “radicals” in the Democratic Party "anti-Israel" and “anti-Semitic."
AIPAC’s Facebook ad calling “radicals” in the Democratic Party “anti-Israel” and “anti-Semitic.” (Facebook)

The ad was linked to a petition opposing any reduction in US military aid to Israel – aid which currently stands at $10 million a day, and which contravenes international and US law, as well as American public opinion.

One version of the promotion features photos of Reps. Ilhan OmarRashida Tlaib, and Betty McCollum. Omar and Tlaib have been outspoken in their criticism of Israeli policies and supported the movement to boycott businesses that operate out of illegal Israeli settlements. McCollum authored a bill to stop US military aid to Israel from being used to incarcerate and torture Palestinian children.

In response to the ad, Rep. Betty McCollum released a strongly worded statement:

The decision by AIPAC to use my image in paid Facebook ads weaponizing anti-Semitism to incite followers by attacking me, my colleagues, and my work promoting human rights for Palestinian children detained in Israeli military prisons is hate speech.

But it doesn’t end there. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an AIPAC petition linked to their ads…stated“It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and – maybe more sinister – right here in the U.S. Congress.”

This is not a call to action, it is incitement…

AIPAC wants its followers to believe that my bill, H.R. 2407, to protect Palestinian children from being interrogated, abused, and even tortured in Israeli military prisons is a threat more sinister than ISIS. This is not empty political rhetoric. It is hate speech…

AIPAC’s language is intended to demonize, not elevate a policy debate. Vile attacks such as this may be commonplace in the Trump era, but they should never be normalized. Hate speech is intentionally destructive and dehumanizing, which is why it is used as a weapon by groups with a stake in profiting from oppression.

I will not back down from my commitment to peace, justice, equality, and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis. I want Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all people to be safe, secure, and able to find hope and opportunity – in the U.S., in Israel, and in Palestine.

AIPAC claims to be a bipartisan organization, but its use of hate speech actually makes it a hate group. By weaponizing anti-Semitism and hate to silence debate, AIPAC is taunting Democrats and mocking our core values. I hope Democrats understand what is at stake and take a stand because working to advance peace, human rights, and justice is not sinister – it is righteous.

“Radicals” for President

Another “radical,” and arguably an even bigger threat to Israeli funding, is independent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He has been the target of attack ads by the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and others in an all-out stop-Sanders drive.

Sanders is by far the most outspoken candidate on Israel, making a case for conditioning aid on its compliance with international law, and even suggesting that in the meantime, the money could go to help the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg also expressed a willingness to consider conditional aid – although Buttigieg later backpedaled on his position.

After years of bipartisan support for unconditional aid to Israel – while Israel defies international law and world censure – this change comes not a moment too soon.


Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home. 


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Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Rep. Betty McCollum slams AIPAC hate ad

What Valentine’s Day Means In Gaza, Palestine

IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG

What Valentine’s Day Means In Gaza, Palestine

Hani and his daughter at the beach in Gaza, one of the most beautiful yet most polluted Mediterranean coastlines

Hani Almadhoun’s reflection on Valentine’s Day and what it means for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip

by Hani Almadhoun reposted from UNRWA

If you grew up in Palestine like I did, you knew it was Valentine’s Day season when the best pop songs are released, when everyone on the streets was wearing red, and when all the locally grown roses were nearly sold out. As a little boy, I wasn’t concerned with buying romantic gifts, but I did enjoy the atmosphere and the energy on the streets of Gaza as people took the time to step away from the harsh reality of our surroundings to focus on romance, beauty, and gratitude.

I remember that the weeks around Valentine’s Day were also the time of year when my family’s store would get busier, wives would come by the shop to buy sweet gifts for their husbands, later that day you’d see the same woman’s husband come by to do the same for her. While there was a blockade keeping many goods from coming in, you could not stop international traditions from getting through the border.

Made popular by the arrival of satellite TV in Gaza, Valentine’s Day quickly became a phenomenon. Back then, our family shop sold kitchenware and electronic appliances, and I was responsible for gift wrapping these items. I remember our next-door neighbor, who ran a tailoring shop, converted his business to a flower and chocolate shop when February came around. The bookstore two blocks away from our shops, found its place in the Gazan Valentine’s Day market selling plastic roses, teddy bears, and any other gifts a hopeless romantic in Gaza might wish for.

Fast forward to 2020, the situation in Gaza is quite different than my nostalgic childhood memories. How could a Gazan muster the cash to purchase a romantic gift these days when putting food on the table is a serious daily challenge for more than half the population there? How could that same person keep their family together when they are deep in the cycles of poverty and debt following years of crippling blockade, de-development and a worsening humanitarian crisis? It’s tragic but unsurprising to now see high divorce rates in Gaza with the most common reason for spouses splitting being the inability to support the family due to a lack of resources.

I say this with sadness and real pain, but the same boy in me that used to wrap presents at my family’s shop also believes that love is a powerful force and always finds a way, despite these terrible odds.

Though very difficult, people in Gaza still find creative ways to express their love. Those who can afford to buy small gifts, like roses, strawberries (famous in Gaza), socks, neckties, and any other red-colored items available in the local markets. Restaurants offer Valentine’s Day specials, serving creative dishes or hosting live music performances. Gazans abroad who cannot travel home due to the blockade can now purchase flowers and other gifts remotely and have them delivered by someone local to their loved ones still living there.

The love expressed during this season isn’t solely romantic love between partners. You’ll see kids taking their parents out to a restaurant or cafe on Valentine’s Day and treating them to a small meal or coffee. Even Valentine’s Day “grinches” who look down on those wearing red concede at some point. Every year, without fail, the resilient people of Gaza find ways to recognize the holiday of love in a place that often doesn’t receive much love from the outside world.

Sales might be limited, but people in Palestine, including the Gaza Strip, always find a way to make life worth living. Because in the end, that’s all we can do. Even in the most hopeless of circumstances, I’ve seen love find a way. I’ve seen people attach hope to a holiday that may seem trivial around the world — but to us Palestinians, it’s an opportunity to create a sense of normalcy, to celebrate family, life, and love.

On this Valentine’s Day, I wish to remind you that all people are worthy of celebration and love, including those back home in Palestine, and I encourage you to send your love their way by making Palestine your Valentine. It’ll always be mine.


Hani Almadhoun is UNRWA USA’s new Director of Philanthropy.

Though he now lives in Virginia with his wife and daughters, he grew up in the Gaza Strip. Hani’s father was an UNRWA teacher in Gaza and his family benefited from UNRWA services there, so he can speak firsthand from personal experience about the work UNRWA does and how the Gaza Strip has changed over the past few decades.


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Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on What Valentine’s Day Means In Gaza, Palestine

Biggest jump in world defence spending in 10 years: study

By Agence France-Presse 

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (June 12, 2019) B-52 out of EDW carries ARRW IMV (AGM-183A) asset for its first captive carry flight over Edwards Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Okula)

Global spending on defence rose by four percent in 2019, the largest growth in 10 years, led by big increases from the US and China, a study said Friday.

Beijing’s military modernization program — which includes developing new hard-to-detect hypersonic missiles — is alarming Washington and helping drive US defence spending, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.

The IISS’s annual “Military Balance” report said the increase alone in US spending from 2018 to 2019 — $53.4 billion — was almost as big as Britain’s entire defence budget.

Both China and the US increased spending by 6.6 percent, the report said, while Europe — driven by ongoing concerns about Russia — stepped up by 4.2 percent.

But this growth only brought European defence spending back to levels seen in 2008, before the global financial crisis saw budgets slashed.

European NATO members have been seeking to increase spending to placate President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly accused them of freeloading on the US.

Trump has railed at European allies, particularly Germany, for not living up to a 2014 NATO pledge to spend two percent of GDP on defence.

The mercurial president’s anger over spending has fueled concern about his commitment to the transatlantic alliance, culminating in an explosive 2018 summit where he launched a blistering public attack on Germany in a televised meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, France, Germany, Russia, UKComments Off on Biggest jump in world defence spending in 10 years: study

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