Archive | May 29th, 2020

Nazi army bans Adhan, evicts worshipers from Ibrahimi mosque

Nazi occupied Hebron: Nazi forces on Friday banned Adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) at the Ibrahimi mosque in occupied Hebron and prevented worshipers from performing Fajr prayers.

Sheikh Hifzi Abu Sneineh, the general manager of the Ibrahimi mosque, said Nazi forces set up military barriers and intensified their measures on the roads leading to the Ibrahimi Mosque. They also prevented Palestinian worshipers from reaching the mosque and evicted hundreds of them while trying to perform prayers in the courtyards of the mosque.

Abu Sneineh condemned the Nazi measures to empty the mosque of worshipers and open it for the Nazi Jewish settlers.

The Nazi army also broke into the mosque, interrupting the mosque’s Muezzin, Siraj Sharif, and preventing him from Adhan. Nazi soldiers evicted Sharif and held a worshiper for several hours.

Nazi Jewish settler also broke into the mosque and threatened worshipers during Fajr prayer.

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15 Nazi raids into Al Aqsa mosque, 47 bans of Adhan at Ibrahimi mosque during last March

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi army bans Adhan, evicts worshipers from Ibrahimi mosque

Russian news agency close to Putin calls Assad ‘weak and powerless’ in unprecedented criticism

Russian news agency close to Putin calls Assad ‘weak and powerless’ in unprecedented criticism

Assad was characterized as weak and unable to deal with corrupt officials [Getty]

A Russian news agency owned by a businessman close to President Putin has called Syrian dictator Assad ‘weak’ and unable to stop corruption in Syria in a surprising criticism.

A Russian news agency close to President Vladimir Putin has launched an unprecedented and surprising attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian forces have provided critical support to Assad in the Syrian conflict for nearly five years but the Federal News Agency (FAN), which is owned by infamous Russian businessman Yevgeny Pregozhin, took aim at the brutal Syrian dictator in an article published on Wednesday.

The article said that Assad was weak and “did not own the situation” in Syria and that the country’s wealth was being stolen by corrupt officials who “had all power and control over the electricity and industry in the country”.

Yevgeny Pregozhin is a close associate of President Putin and has been called “Putin’s chef” by the Associated Press.

Read also: As Syria’s economy collapses, how much more can people bear?

He made his fortune in the restaurant business and is now involved with a series of well-known Russian companies, including the notorious Internet Research Agency troll farm, accused of interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections and the private security firm Wagner, which has sent Russian mercenaries to Syria, Libya, and Africa.

Cracks in the alliance between Assad and Russia have come to the surface before. Russia is reportedly angry with Assad for violating a ceasefire and attacking rebel-held Idlib province in January 2020, causing Turkey to intervene against Assad. A new ceasefire has been in place since early March.

The Federal News Agency’s criticisms appear to have been prompted by the closure of two gas wells in central Syria by the government of Assad’s prime minister, Imad Khamis. The Russian website said that the “security reasons” offered by Assad’s government for the closure were fake and that the real reason was due to government corruption, with officials wanting to profit from the resulting rise in prices.

It said that Russia had “restored” Syria’s economy but the corruption of Khamis’s government was making it impossible for Russian firms to operate in the country. It also accused Khamis of renegotiating electricity supplies with other countries, such as Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon for his personal benefit, portraying Assad as unwilling or unable to rein in his prime minister.

Russia’s 2015 intervention in the Syrian conflict, which has cost thousands of Syrian lives, is considered to have been a decisive factor in Assad’s continuing rule of Syria. The Russian intervention has taken on a neo-colonial character, with Assad leasing the port of Tartus to Russia for 49 years and Russian companies taking control of the country’s phosphate resources.

Posted in Russia, SyriaComments Off on Russian news agency close to Putin calls Assad ‘weak and powerless’ in unprecedented criticism

How Palestine solidarity became a litmus test in Germany

Germany’s attempt to muzzle thinker and philosopher Achille Mbembe on the grounds of anti-semitism amounts to an extension of Israeli apartheid

By Majed Abu Salama

When it comes to Israeli injustices, the German government is not only “turning a blind eye”, but is also acting as its European modern day saviour.

Over the past few years, Germany has reached a new level of oppressing Palestinian voices while militarising the Israeli army, instead of reflecting upon its broader history and responsibilities toward the massive and ongoing injustice in Palestine.
Germany’s most recent target for the accusation of anti-semitism, is Achille Mbembe – a well-known Cameroonian historian, thinker and philosopher who has dedicated his life to decolonising white Eurocentric discourses, and proposing radical visions for the Global South.

Earlier this month, German conservative FDP politician, Lorenz Deutsch, accused Mbembe of anti-semitism and Holocaust “relativisation”, and demanded that he be disinvited from speaking at the Ruhrtriennale festival, because he has compared South African apartheid to the oppression of Palestinians.

Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life and Against Anti-Semitism, heard the demand and echoed it.

The accusation has shocked academics around the world and raised questions about Germany’s academic freedom in general, and for pro-Palestinian dialogue, specifically.

In reality, the accusations are another attempt by German policy makers to manipulate the discourse of anti-semitism in order to distract from their own failures, and scapegoat and attack the Palestinian struggle.

In fact, Mbembe’s scholarship invites everyone to learn from other histories that emerge beyond borders and identities. It interrogates real life lessons from colonialism, enslavement, capitalism, imperialism, South African apartheid, and the segregation of Black and People of Color by Europeans and their descendants.

The German criminalisation of pro-Palestinian voices is a violation of freedom of expression, as well as an outright denial of the Palestinian right to resistance and self-determination. The misplaced accusation of “anti-semitism” is being used to persecute those who speak for the Palestinian right of return, or the call for a one-state solution, and distracts from finding a just peace.

Wielding the “anti-semitism” accusation as a slur not only silences critique of Israeli policies and crimes against humanity in Palestine/Israel, it also manufactures persecution and censorship of the more than 200,000 Palestinians in Germany, as well as solidarity groups inside and outside of Germany.

These practices are an extension of Israeli apartheid, imposing limits and regulating speech about Israel. Germany’s staunch defense of Israel both domestically and at the European Union is putting any intellectual dialogue and critique related to Israeli apartheid and Palestinian rights under siege.

This discrimination is part of a collective punishment that reaches everyone whether they are Palestinian, or Jewish, or from another group. I am one of them. Israeli Zionist influence in Germany is instrumentalised to censor, ban and forbid Palestinians and pro-Palestine organisations from operating in the public sphere.

They twist and fabricate false narratives which portray the Boycott Diverment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as illegitimate, and smear its supporters as being motivated by anti-Jewish hatred, rather than opposition to Israel’s polices of military occupation, land theft for settler-colonialism,regular massacres of civilians and a total system of apartheid over Palestinians.

This influence was instrumental in backing Israel’s hostility regarding the prospect of an ICC investigation into possible war crimes, and forcing a German bank to close the account for Jewish Voices for a Just Peace in the Middle East, a renowned Jewish organisation that advocates for Palestinian rights in Germany.

In another example, Peter Schafer, the former director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum, was forced to quit over a pro-BDS re-tweet, after a huge Israeli campaign to delegitimise him branded him as “anti-Israel”. The tweet was a simple article on the 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who signed a petition opposing the German parliament’s recent motion condemning the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.

These actions are not without precedence. Last year, the US American rapper Talib Kweli had his German tour cancelled because of his support for BDS. Scottish band Young Fathers was disinvited from the Ruhrtriennale festival; the German city of Aachen tried to block US American-Lebabese artist Walid Raad from receiving an award; and the renowned British-Pakistani Novelist Kamila Shamsie was stripped of an award because of her support of the BDS Movement.

On 17 May 2019, the German government’s attempts to limit the pro-Palestine cause reached a new level. A non-binding resolution was declared against the BDS movement, and it has been used since then as a cover to justify excluding critics of Israel in the public sphere, and manufacture a new layer of oppression that strips people of their freedom of conscience. It has become clear that the primary focus of German foreign policy is to protect Israel within Germany and beyond.

According to many Jewish groups and academics worldwide, the BDS movement has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to fighting anti-semitism and all forms of racism and bigotry. Talib Kweli emphasised on Facebook that “by lying and saying that BDS is an anti-semitic movement, the German movement is engaging in Fascism and doing a disservice to the German people.”

Accusing Achille Mbembe of anti-semitism united academics worldwide in their outrage; 377 scholars and artists from more than 30 countries signed a pledge opposing political litmus tests in Germany.

They collectively agreed to decline future invitations to serve on juries, prize committees, or in academic hiring consultations in Germany, if there were “convincing indicators that their decisions may be subject to ideological or political interference or litmus tests.”

Can we consider this a winning moment for the Palestinian cause? Will this contribute to decolonising Germany past and present? Will we Palestinians feel safe to speak up in Germany?

Germany must now seize the opportunity to learn from Mbembe and the Palestinians who try to struggle for an equal future for all, through supporting human rights, and an intersectional, anti-racist movement such as BDS.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GermanyComments Off on How Palestine solidarity became a litmus test in Germany

War, the Economy and Politics in Syria: Broken Links

Aleksandr Aksenenok

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation, RIAC Vice-presiden.

The latest alarming global events, like the coronavirus pandemic, the oil price crash and the slowdown of world economic growth have eclipsed the armed conflicts in the Middle East, which drop off and flare up from time to time. The temporary disappearance of Syria from front page news and new Russia-Turkey agreements on a ceasefire in Idlib are far from comforting. This is merely a tactical pause that should give serious food for thought on Syria’s future in the increasingly unpredictable and rapidly changing

This primarily applies to Syria’s leaders. Judging by everything we see, Damascus is not particularly interested in displaying a far-sighted and flexible approach continuing to look to a military solution with the support of its allies and unconditional financial and economic aid like during the old days of the Soviet-US confrontation in the Middle East. 

For over nine years, longer than the world wars in the previous century, Syria has remained an arena of hostilities, a humanitarian disaster and ethnic and religious strife. It is often difficult to differentiate between the anti-terrorist struggle and violence on the part of the government toward its opponents in that country. Thus, tensions have again escalated in the southwestern regions of Syria (the provinces of Deraa and Quneitra), which have been freed under the agreements with a part of the armed opposition on actually the semi-autonomous local power sharing. “Mysterious” murders, threats and abductions have become more frequent against the backdrop of outrages by Syrian secret services.

The experience of “national reconciliation” at the local level has created a bad precedent, which throws a shadow on Russia that initiated these agreements, incidentally with the participation of the US and Israel.

Syria has de facto been divided into spheres of foreign influence between Russia, Iran, Turkey and the US. The local administration in Afrin and other Turkish-controlled regions in northern Syria have been subordinated by the Turkish authorities in the border province of Hatay. It is operating under Turkish law on finances, investment, personal rights and the status of citizens and is subject to the Islamization of public life. Vast territories to the east of the Euphrates River (the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor) are governed by local councils that represent a mobile Kurdish coalition from among the US-supported “Syrian democratic forces” and some Arab tribes. Albeit limited to 1,500-2,000 troops (our 300 Spartans as the Americans joke) is still periodically rotated and restocked with arms and equipment. 

Despite the tactical successes, achieved mostly with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, the military campaign in Idlib has illustrated the limits of what’s possible. During the war years, the Syrian army sustained big losses in troops and equipment. The strength of the combat capable elite troops, being restored with Russia’s assistance, has also declined. High level statements on the use of force if Turkish and US troops do not leave Syria appear divorced from reality. For its part, Russia has reached the limits of compromise in the Astana format, which allowed Damascus to regain control over its territories in three de-escalation zones in 2017-2019 through force and temporary agreements. The price for this was the creation of a reinforced terrorist hotbed in Idlib and adjacent regions to which “irreconcilable” militants and their families fled from Aleppo, Homs, the suburbs of Damascus, and from the south of Syria. It now comes down to the long-term interests of the two major players in Syria. Russian-Turkish tensions over Idlib last February showed how different they are.

Russia’s resolve to destroy the last bridgehead of international terrorism and support for the Syrian regime that is resisting inevitable reforms have collided with Turkey’s strategic plans to complete the creation of a long buffer zone in the north of Syria, which includes Idlib territory to the north of the M-4 road by using the anti-Assad militants under its control. In doing so, Turkey wants to ensure the security of its borders and gain more room for the relocation of Syrian refugees. This time, temporary agreements between the military and the secret services won’t be enough for reliable stabilization. It is time for Russia and Turkey to seek more meaningful compromises based on a common vision of Syria’s political future. 

The al-Assad government’s understandable and lawful desire to quickly establish sovereignty over the country’s entire territory (it now controls 65-70 percent of it) less than fully commensurate with the military and economic resources of Damascus and its allies and the real situation on the ground. Obviously, the restoration of territorial integrity and the government and legal system is indispensable for the normal functioning of domestic trade and economic ties and transport considerations. The question is how to achieve it. A sustainable settlement is impossible unless the fundamental socio-economic causes of the conflict and the mentality that triggered it are eliminated.

In this context, a choice of priorities is important: should emphasis be placed on exhausting military efforts in the northwestern and eastern areas, which are fraught with the risk of a direct clash with Turkey or the US, or is it better to temporarily keep the status quo with a view to resolving the urgent objectives of postwar development, which are vital for the majority of the people.

Syria has sustained the biggest losses of all the conflicts in the Middle East. From 2011 through 2018, GDP fell by almost two thirds from $55 billion to $22 billion a year. This means that recovery costs (that amount to at least $250 billion) are equal to 12 times the current GDP. According to the World Bank, about 45 percent of housing has been destroyed, including a quarter of it that was razed to the ground. Over half of health facilities and about 40 percent of schools and universities are out of operation.  

Apart from the destruction of physical infrastructure, no less serious consequences are being caused by the damage done to human assets and the economic and social ties by human losses and migration and a death rate that has increased by three times, and not as a result of the hostilities. Since the war, the living standards of 80 percent of the Syrians have dropped below the poverty line, and their life span has decreased by 20 years. Syria is short of doctors and nurses, teachers, technicians and qualified government officials.

The economic challenges now faced by Syria are even more serious than during the active phase of hostilities. It is in the economy that a web of old and new problems has emerged, and this is not just due to the catastrophic destruction during the war or US and European sanctions, although the humanitarian consequences are very sensitive, especially for the majority of the population. In the course of military de-escalation it is becoming increasingly obvious that the regime is reluctant or unable to develop a system of government that can mitigate corruption and crime and go from a military economy to normal trade and economic relations. According to prominent Syrian economists, the central government in Damascus is failing to restore control over economic life in the more remote provinces.

Local “law” continues to prevail even in the government-controlled areas, including kickbacks in trade, transit, transport shipments and humanitarian convoys in favor of a chain consisting of privileged army units, security services, commercial mediators and related loyal big-time entrepreneurs, both those that are traditionally close to the president’s family and those that have become rich during the war.

The war produced centers of influence and shadow organizations that are not interested in a transition to peaceful development although Syrian society, including businesspeople and some government officials, have developed requirements for political reform (“Syria can no longer be what it was before the war”). However, this requirement cannot be expressed openly in an atmosphere of total fear and domination by the secret services. 

The conditions for implementing major economic recovery projects simply don’t exist. Neither Syria, nor a small group of foreign donors are able to cope with this task. The changing global environment is limiting the abilities of Syria’s allies to render the needed financial and economic support. The US, the EU states and the Gulf oil monarchies are making their participation in Syria’s recovery dependent on the demand addressed to Damascus to start the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 political process that provides, inter alia, for the introduction of amendments to the constitution and the holding of “free and fair elections” under UN aegis. The Syrian government isn’t ready for this: “Why take risky steps now that we have won if we didn’t take them under strong military pressure?”
Meanwhile, in the near-term perspective, a destabilization of the socio-political situation in Syria can easily be triggered not just by terrorist actions but by simultaneous and immediate threats like the financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon, a change in global trends in the global raw materials markets, a delayed effect of mounting US sanctions, and the apprehensions surrounding an explosive spread of the coronavirus.

The first alarm sounded in March-April of 2019, when Syria had problems with oil product supplies. This caused a fuel crisis that led to a sharp deterioration in the economic situation for the first time since 2011. Signs of discontent with the actions of the authorities, rampant corruption and questions about the public administration’s low quality also appeared. 

A temporary solution to the problem was found at that time, but the basic issues remain. Before the war, revenues from oil exports were 35 percent of the state budget. With the loss of large oil deposits in the east (al-Omar, al-Tanak, Jafra and Rumeilan), Syria can meet its requirements for oil domestically by 20 percent and for gas by 60-70 percent. Until recently, it made up for the annual supply shortfalls worth of about $3 mostly through importing hydrocarbons from Iran and illicit supplies from Lebanon and Iraq. However, government-related Syrian experts believe that against the backdrop of diving oil prices and mounting sanctions and military pressure on Iran, secure supplies can only be provided with the liberation of oil fields in the east or the replacement of Iranian oil with Russian oil. In the meantime, Russian companies are also threatened by the US’ secondary sanctions.  

The Syrian economy took a big hit by the financial crisis in Lebanon, whose banking sector had always opened a window to the outside world for Syria. About a quarter of deposits in Lebanese banks belong to Syrian business, including government-related companies. The introduction of currency restrictions in Lebanon froze the deals on the import of basic necessities, including grain and the chain of spare part deliveries, and it led to soaring prices. The Syrian pound continued to fall.

The so-called Caesar Act or an additional package of sanctions signed by President Donald Trump on December 20, 2019 presented a serious threat to Syria’s foreign economic ties. Not only does the president have the option to introduce secondary sanctions against government bodies, companies and individuals in third countries for cooperating with Syria, but he is required to. The Act lists specific industries that are part of trade and economic cooperation with Russia, including the oil industry, aviation and air parts supplies, and the construction of facilities for the Syrian government. The Act also opens an opportunity for introducing sanctions against banks that make transactions via the Central Bank of Syria if it is found guilty of money laundering.

The threat of the coronavirus outbreak is among the risks that can aggravate the economic crisis and trigger social upheaval. The government reported the first case of the disease on March 22 but there are no complete official statistics. After this, Syria introduced a quarantine and a curfew. The apprehensions of a worst-case scenario are linked with the fact that the Syrian healthcare system has been undermined by the war, and the country is short of doctors, medications and medical equipment. Moreover, the spread of the epidemic might accelerate due to high population densities in cities and refugee camps. 

The situation in Syria, which is being aggravated by non-military, albeit no less dangerous, challenges, is compelling the Syrian government to properly assess the current risks and draft a long-term strategy with consideration for the fact that the main components of a conflict settlement are closely linked. A new military reality cannot be sustainable without economic reconstruction and the development of a political system that will rest on a truly inclusive approach and international consent. This is particularly important because the next presidential election in 2021 is not far off.

Posted in Russia, SyriaComments Off on War, the Economy and Politics in Syria: Broken Links

AP photojournalist dismissed after PPF complain

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Iyad Hamad was dismissed from his work after a complaint by the Palestinian police.

The Palestinian photojournalist Iyad Hamad said on Wednesday that he was dismissed from his work at the Associated Press (AP) following a complaint by the Zionist puppet Ab-A$$ Police Force (PPF).

Hamad told QNN that the Palestinian government, represented by Prime Minister Muhammad Ishtayyeh and the spokesperson for the government Ibrahim Milhem, had promised to find a solution for his issue after he held a sit-in in front of the headquarter of the Council of Ministers.

“I committed myself to the agreement with the government, so I stopped the sit-in until Eid so that we reach a solution but I was informed today that I am permanently dismissed from my job and that the decision is irreversible”, Hamad told QNN.

He added that the AP office informed him of the decision and that it was taken following a complaint by the Palestinian police.

“For 20 years, I’ve worked in the field amid risks and confrontations and I have been never dismissed from any job.”, he said.

Hamad noted that the Ab-A$$ regime had also complained about him for his job ten years ago.

He added that what the Zionist puppet police is doing is a dangerous and systematic policy that targets journalists and their work.

According to Hamad, the spokesman for the Zionist puppet police, Luai Zreiqat, had complained for AP about him after an online discussion between them.

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Posted in Palestine Affairs, Human Rights, MediaComments Off on AP photojournalist dismissed after PPF complain

Nazi Gastapo kill man, wound another with Down Syndrome in Nabi Saleh

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi Gastapo shot a Palestinian man dead and wounded another man with Down Syndrome in western Ramallah.

Local sources told QNN that Nazi soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle in Wadi Rayya near the village of Nabi Saleh in western Ramallah. The army claimed that the man, named Fadi Samara, was planning to run over them.

WAFA quoted local sources, who said that the Nazi racist soldiers prevented medical teams and journalists from reaching Samara and left him bleeding until he died.

Violent confrontations erupted in the village. Nazi Gastapo used live rounds and tear gas canisters against citizens, wounding a man with Down Syndrome in his leg with a live bullet.

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Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Gastapo kill man, wound another with Down Syndrome in Nabi Saleh

Palestine: Resisting the Nazi annexation

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

“when they demolished it the first time, my wife and children started screaming and crying. Next minute they were pushing soldiers around and challenging them”… Stories of native Palestinians who have no choice but to resist.

 Qassam Muaddi  

For a week now, Palestinians are supposed to be free of all agreements signed with ‘Israel’, according to the Palestinian president’s declarations in response to the occupation state’s announcement of annexing parts of the West Bank, coming July. While this supposed break-up and the accompanying EU and UN warning declarations, once more, show no concrete effects on the ground, Israeli annexation plans do. Occupation authorities have been issuing eviction orders to Palestinians living in the areas threatened of annexation, while settler attacks continue to target Palestinian lands in the West Bank countryside and the Jordan valley.

However, Palestinians in the West Bank don’t seem to be giving in to Israeli annexation anytime soon. Across the West Bank, resistance to the colonization of Palestinian lands takes many form, despite lacking support and material means.

“I have nowhere else to go”

“When the bulldozer touched the roof the first time and brought down the first stones, I felt like a knife went through my heart”. Ramzi Qysiyehh recalls the first time his house and restaurant were demolished for the first time. The 50-year-old Palestinian resident of Beit Jala has lost his home and livelihood to the occupation bulldozers, seven times already. “I inherited the land from my father” explains Ramzi. “I first built my house and my restaurant, there, in 2000. Then in 2012 they told me for the first time that I didn’t have a building permit”.

Ramzi’s land is located in Al Makhrour valley, West of Beit Jala, which is classified area (c) under direct Israeli control. In such areas, today threatened to be annexed by the occupation state, Palestinians are forbidden to build. But ramzi sees the other side of this policy; “They built an entire city in the Har Gilo settlement right in front of me. They even built a tunnel that goes underneath Beit Jala to connect Har Gilo with the settlements on the other side”, he points out, “how come settlers can build here and I don’t?”.

In fact, Al Makhrour area is located right next to the Israeli high way that crosses through Palestinian lands, linking Har Gilo and Israeli settlements in the Bethlehem and Hebron region, to the south, directly with Jerusalem. The Israeli occupation has built the settlers’ southern gate to Jerusalem right through Al Makhrour, and Palestinian families like Ramzi’s, are standing in the way. However, for Ramzi, there is only one fact that counts: “This is my land, my home, I have nowhere else to go”.

Stay, build a life, repeat…

Out of the seven times, Ramzi’s property was demolished, three were in 2019 alone. Ramzi remembers that “when they demolished it the first time, my wife and children started screaming and crying. Next minute they were pushing soldiers around and challenging them”. For most Palestinian families, building a house is a life-time project. Losing it to demolition is a loss from which many can’t recover without help. But according to Ramzi; “watching my family defying the occupation, I realized I had no other choice but to do the same”, he stresses, “There, at that moment in front of the rubble of my house, I decided I was going to build it back, as many times as necessary”.

Al Makhrour restaurant opened again in less than a year. Works weren’t over yet, but as Ramzi explains “customers were waiting for it to reopen. It didn’t take much to get the business back on the track”. But occupation bulldozers came back in 2013 and demolished everything again. “Many people told me it wasn’t worth it”, says Ramzi, “they told me it will get demolished again, that I should stop trying. But I made up my mind. No one can tell me where and how to live” he insists.

After seven demolitions, Ramzi feels “exhausted. I received no help from anyone. I live in a rented house with my family now and try to recover”. However, he remains determined: “If I was to give up, I wouldn’t have put up the fight in the first place” he affirms, “If I’m a thorn in their throats, then better. It’s my land, and nothing else matters”.

Collective action

While some Palestinians like Ramzi Qaysiyeh resist practically alone, others stand in the face of advancing colonization collectively. Always depending on their local, popular ways of organizing and responding to land-grab attempts. It’s the case of Wadi Assik valley, East of Ramallah, where an entire Bedwin community along with surrounding villages, stands in front of eviction, settler activity, and land-grab.

“It was early in the morning when the settlers came and started to take measures and put marks on the ground” says 45-year-old Abu Bashar Kaabnah, a Palestinian resident of the Bedwin community of Wadi Assik. “One of them was giving instructions like he was in charge, so I approached him and asked what were they doing, and he replied that they were new neighbors”.

The Palestinian Bedwin community of Wadi Assik gathers over 200 families, in a valley located between the Eastern hills of Ramallah region. The land, originally owned by families from the Palestinian villages of Ramoun and Deir Dibwan, is a few hundred meters away from the Israeli Allon road, that connects Israeli settlements in the North of the West Bank with Jerusalem. According to Abu Maher, a local social activist in Ramoun, “It’s a very fertile land. In some places the arable soil is 12 meters deep. It contains more than 30 water wells, including Roman wells, some of which have up to 1000 cubic meters capacity”.

Israeli settlement road overlooking a number of houses of the Palestinian Bedwin community at Wadi Assik valley

Everything about Wadi Assik, in addition to it being in area (c) made Israeli attempts to take it a matter of time. When the settlers came, Abu Bashar Kaabnah wasn’t surprised; “since Netanyahu announced that he will annex area (c) next July, we were expecting them” he points out, “the occupation army came to the community in the last week of Ramadan and gave eviction orders to no less than 35 families, plus the school”. The two-rooms barrack school was established three years ago, despite the fact that the occupation had it forbidden it.

Crowd response

“I was at home when I received a call from local youth in town, who told me that there are settlers with bulldozers in Wadi Assik” recalls Abu Maher, “I called the local imam, who started to spread the news from the mosque speakers, calling people to action, while I drove my car straight to the valley”. Abu Bashar recalls that “in less than thirty minutes more than 300 people had gathered here. They came from surrounding villages of Ramoun and Deir Dibwan and from Bedwin communities all over the region”.

The increasing crowd had its effect, according to Abu Maher: “the settlers stopped works immediately and the occupation forces arrived. They were armed to the teeth”. Abu Bashar describes the scene: “They brought gas bomb-throwers fixed on the top of military jeeps, pointed at us, plus dozens of foot-soldiers who showed up above the hill and marched towards our location, but we didn’t move”.

“Show the occupation that Palestinians are not alone”

Four hours later, the crowd dispersed, as the settlers left the place too. “The occupation came and threatened us of using force if we didn’t leave,” says Abu Maher, “it had been several hours that we stopped the settlers from working, we knew the day was over, so we began to leave slowly” he adds. However, Abu Bashar sustains that “this is only the beginning. They will come back and the only way of stopping them is this, all together”.

Abu Bashar Kaabnah, resident of the Palestinian Bedwin comunity of Wadi Assik valley, which Israeli settlers and forces attempt to take over since May 26.

Abu Maher shares the same point of view; “the same night we held a meeting between representatives from Ramoun and Deir Dibwan and agreed to organize mass action to protect the land”, he points out, adding that “We decided to collectively hire a lawyer and make a case at the Israelí court, at the same time we continue to resist on the ground”. From his side, Abu Bashar believes that “if Khan Al Ahmar was able to resist, we can make it too, but only if we hold together”. Abu Maher thinks that the way to do it is clear; “The way we responded spontaneously showed that are ready. We just need to organize it”. Abu Maher takes a deep breath before adding: “we also need the support of everyone in the world, to show the occupation that Palestinians are not alone”.

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Nazi regime trains U.S. police… American minorities and Palestinians suffer

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

As long as U.S. police is trained by an occupation state there will be more George Floyds.

A third night of angry protests has been rocking the United States over the death of George Floyd, who was killed when white racist policemen crushed his neck.

Protests against police brutality have been sweeping cities across the US, including Minneapolis, Denver, New York and Oakland following the killing of the 46-year-old black man, whose death was videotaped.

A white officer handcuffed him and kneeled on his neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe. The officer appeared smiling to the camera while ignoring Floyds appeals.

The heartbreaking scene and brutal behavior, which shocked the world and stirred outrage, seemed, however, normal for African-Americans as well as their brothers in suffering on the other side of the globe, the Palestinian people.

African-Americans know well that being Black means that you’re less human in the eyes of white supremacists and institutional racism. The same applies to Palestinians in their own land; being a native Palestinian means that only the Nazi Jewish regime have the right to decide if you deserve another day to live or not.

But, how could two scenes be that similar although they take place in completely different spots of the world? The answer is simple: joint training exercises by a chronic human rights violator- ‘Israel’.

In August 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice published a report that documented “widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation” within the Baltimore racist Police Department (BPD).

what hasn’t received as much attention is where Baltimore police received training on crowd control, use of force and surveillance: Nazi national police, military and intelligence services.

Baltimore law enforcement officials, along with hundreds of others from FloridaNew Jersey, Pennsylvania, CaliforniaArizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North CarolinaGeorgiaWashington state as well as the DC Capitol police have all traveled to Israel for training. Thousands of others have received training from Nazi officials in the U.S.

The state of Minnesota, where Floyd was killed, trains its police officers in the best that the Nazi regime has to offer in the art of suppression. At least 100 of its law enforcement officers attended a counterterrorism conference with their Nazi counterparts in 2012. Concerns that law enforcement operations could violate civil rights were apparently discussed during the conference.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has documented thousands of law enforcement officials being sent from across the U.S. to the occupation state.

“Participants were schooled in Israeli military approaches to intelligence gathering, border security, checkpoints, and coordination with the media, and met with high-ranking officials in the Israeli police and military, the Shin Bet, and the Ministry of Defense”, according to the “Deadly Exchange” report.

Amnesty International also argued that ‘Israel’ is a “chronic human rights violator” which exports its suppression techniques.

Many of the exchange trips, according to Amnesty International, are taxpayer funded while others are privately funded. Since 2002, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs have paid for police chiefs, assistant chiefs and captains to train in the occupation state and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

The report proved that these exchanges reinforced American law enforcement practices of racial profiling, among other practices such as expanding surveillance and suppressing public protests through use of force.

JVP argues that many of the draconian measures adopted by US law enforcement agencies, including police forces, have been refined through such exchange programmes. The inherent racism of Israeli society, in which every Palestinian is viewed as a potential threat to Israel’s Jewish citizens, is replicated by white law enforcement officers in their views about black Americans, Muslims and other minority groups. In such a mindset, they are turned from citizens with civil and other rights into threats from which white Americans must be protected at any cost.

George Floyd’s killing wasn’t the first and probably will not be the last. “As long as these programs exist,” says Dawn O’Neal of Us Protecting Us, formerly Black Lives Matter Atlanta, “as long as police are sent into war zones to train, there will continue to be Tamir Rices and Trayvon Martins. There will continue to be Kathryn Johnstons.”

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi regime trains U.S. police… American minorities and Palestinians suffer

Nazi Gastapo forces family to demolish house of handicapped mother

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Nazi Gastapo forced the family of Rasmiyyeh Basheer, a 72-year-old handicapped mother, to demolish her house in occupied Jerusalem.

Local sources said the grandson of Rasmiyyeh had to demolish the house, in compliance with the Nazi regime orders.

The family of Rasmiyyeh had built the house 7 years ago specifically to suit her health condition, according to her son. The old lady has been using a wheelchair and suffering from several chronic diseases.

The Nazi Gastapo demolished the 85-meter house, displacing three of Rasmiyyeh’s family in addition to her.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Gastapo forces family to demolish house of handicapped mother

Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus

by ELLEN BROWN

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

When the Dodd Frank Act was passed in 2010, President Obama triumphantly declared, “No more bailouts!” But what the Act actually said was that the next time the banks failed, they would be subject to “bail ins” – the funds of their creditors, including their large depositors, would be tapped to cover their bad loans.

But bail-ins were tried in Europe, and the results were disastrous.

Many economists in the US and Europe argued that the next time the banks failed, they should be nationalized – taken over by the government as public utilities. But that opportunity was lost when, in September 2019 and again in March 2020, Wall Street banks were quietly bailed out from a liquidity crisis in the repo market that could otherwise have bankrupted them. There was no bail-in of private funds, no heated congressional debate, and no public vote. It was all done unilaterally by unelected bureaucrats at the Federal Reserve.

“The justification of private profit,” said President Franklin Roosevelt in a 1938 address, “is private risk.” Banking has now been made virtually risk-free, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States and its people. The American people are therefore entitled to share in the benefits and the profits. Banking needs to be made a public utility.

The Risky Business of Borrowing Short to Lend Long

Individual banks can go bankrupt from too many bad loans, but the crises that can trigger system-wide collapse are “liquidity crises.” Banks “borrow short to lend long.” They borrow from their depositors to make long-term loans or investments while promising the depositors that they can come for their money “on demand.” To pull off this sleight of hand, when the depositors and the borrowers want the money at the same time, the banks have to borrow from somewhere else. If they can’t find lenders on short notice, or if the price of borrowing suddenly becomes prohibitive, the result is a “liquidity crisis.”

Before 1933, when the government stepped in with FDIC deposit insurance, bank panics and bank runs were common. When people suspected a bank was in trouble, they would all rush to withdraw their funds at once, exposing the fact that the banks did not have the money they purported to have. During the Great Depression, more than one-third of all private US banks were closed due to bank runs.

But President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took office in 1933, was skeptical about insuring bank deposits. He warned, “We do not wish to make the United States Government liable for the mistakes and errors of individual banks, and put a premium on unsound banking in the future.” The government had a viable public alternative, a US postal banking system established in 1911. Postal banks became especially popular during the Depression, because they were backed by the US government. But Roosevelt was pressured into signing the 1933 Banking Act, creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that insured private banks with public funds.

Congress, however, was unwilling to insure more than $5,000 per depositor (about $100,000 today), a sum raised temporarily in 2008 and permanently in 2010 to $250,000. That meant large institutional investors (pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds) had nowhere to park the millions of dollars they held between investments. They wanted a place to put their funds that was secure, provided them with some interest, and was liquid like a traditional deposit account, allowing quick withdrawal. They wanted the same “ironclad moneyback guarantee” provided by FDIC deposit insurance, with the ability to get their money back on demand.

It was largely in response to that need that the private repo market evolved. Repo trades, although technically “sales and repurchases” of collateral, are in effect secured short-term loans, usually repayable the next day or in two weeks. Repo replaces the security of deposit insurance with the security of highly liquid collateral, typically Treasury debt or mortgage-backed securities. Although the repo market evolved chiefly to satisfy the needs of the large institutional investors that were its chief lenders, it also served the interests of the banks, since it allowed them to get around the capital requirements imposed by regulators on the conventional banking system. Borrowing from the repo market became so popular that by 2008, it provided half the credit in the country. By 2020, this massive market had a turnover of $1 trillion a day.

Before 2008, banks also borrowed from each other in the fed funds market, allowing the Fed to manipulate interest rates by controlling the fed funds rate. But after 2008, banks were afraid to lend to each other for fear the borrowing banks might be insolvent and might not pay the loans back. Instead the lenders turned to the repo market, where loans were supposedly secured with collateral. The problem was that the collateral could be “rehypothecated,” or used for several loans at once; and by September 2019, the borrower side of the repo market had been taken over by hedge funds, which were notorious for risky rehypothecation. Many large institutional lenders therefore pulled out, driving the cost of borrowing at one point from 2% to 10%.

Rather than letting the banks fail and forcing a bail-in of private creditors’ funds, the Fed quietly stepped in and saved the banks by becoming the “repo lender of last resort.” But the liquidity crunch did not abate, and by March the Fed was making $1 trillion per day available in overnight loans. The central bank was backstopping the whole repo market, including the hedge funds, an untenable situation.

In March 2020, under cover of a national crisis, the Fed therefore flung the doors open to its discount window, where only banks could borrow. Previously, banks were reluctant to apply there because the interest was at a penalty rate and carried a stigma, signaling that the bank must be in distress. But that concern was eliminated when the Fed announced in a March 15 press release that the interest rate had been dropped to 0.25% (virtually zero). The reserve requirement was also eliminated, the capital requirement was relaxed, and all banks in good standing were offered loans of up to 90 days, “renewable on a daily basis.” The loans could be continually rolled over, and no strings were attached to this interest-free money – no obligation to lend to small businesses, reduce credit card rates, or write down underwater mortgages. Even J.P. Morgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, has acknowledged borrowing at the Fed’s discount window for super cheap loans.

The Fed’s scheme worked, and demand for repo loans plummeted. But unlike in Canada, where big banks slashed their credit card interest rates to help relieve borrowers during the COVID-19 crisis, US banks did not share this windfall with the public. Canadian interest rates were cut by half, from 21% to 11%; but US credit card rates dropped in April only by half a percentage point, to 20.15%. The giant Wall Street banks continued to favor their largest clients, doling out CARES Act benefits to them first, emptying the trough before many smaller businesses could drink there.

In 1969, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi nationalized 14 of India’s largest banks, not because they were bankrupt (the usual justification today) but to ensure that credit would be allocated according to planned priorities, including getting banks into rural areas and making cheap financing available to Indian farmers. Congress could do the same today, but the odds are it won’t. As Sen. Dick Durbin said in 2009, “the banks … are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”

Time for the States to Step In

State and local governments could make cheap credit available to their communities, but today they too are second class citizens when it comes to borrowing. Unlike the banks, which can borrow virtually interest-free with no strings attached, states can sell their bonds to the Fed only at market rates of 3% or 4% or more plus a penalty. Why are elected local governments, which are required to serve the public, penalized for shortfalls in their budgets caused by a mandatory shutdown, when private banks that serve private stockholders are not?

States can borrow from the federal unemployment trust fund, as California just did for $348 million, but these loans too must be paid back with interest, and they must be used to cover soaring claims for state unemployment benefits. States remain desperately short of funds to repair holes in their budgets from lost revenues and increased costs due to the shutdown.

States are excellent credit risks – far better than banks would be without the life-support of the federal government. States have a tax base, they aren’t going anywhere, they are legally required to pay their bills, and they are forbidden to file for bankruptcy. Banks are considered better credit risks than states only because their deposits are insured by the federal government and they are gifted with routine bailouts from the Fed, without which they would have collapsed decades ago.

State and local governments with a mandate to serve the public interest deserve to be treated as well as private Wall Street banks that have repeatedly been found guilty of frauds on the public. How can states get parity with the banks? If Congress won’t address that need, states can borrow interest-free at the Fed’s discount window by forming their own publicly-owned banks. For more on that possibility, see my earlier article here.

As Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, create a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” Post-COVID-19, the world will need to explore new models; and publicly-owned banks should be high on the list.

Posted in USAComments Off on Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus

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