Aletho News


“Orderly Default” – Liars lexicon

By David Malone | Golem XIV | June 16, 2011

What is meant by this phrase “orderly default” which is all over the news this morning? It sounds so sensible. I think it is another entry in the liars lexicon.

When the banks and pundits say orderly, they mean orderly for the banks. Not orderly for Greece or the Greeks or the Portuguese or Irish.

Greece is going to default. Everyone finally admits this after denying it vehemently. The simple fact is that the Greek economy is not growing fast enough to have any hope of even keeping pace with their debts and the interest on them. Their debts are accumulating faster than their economy is growing. In fact the Greek economy is hardly growing at all – less than 1% at best.

So the ‘orderly’ plan is to give Greece loans to extend the time before the mathematics of compound interest and a contracting economy catch up with them. In this time the plan is to pay off lumps of the principle by selling organs. Organs of the state; a port here, a phone system there. The fisherman sells his boat and his net to clear his debts. And then what? Well then he is fodder for the wage pool and the loan shark.

But ‘putting off’ the inevitable begs the question – why put it off? Who is benefiting by putting it off? If Greece is going to default why not do it sooner, because in the mean time the Greeks are suffering massive violence to the fabric of their society and for what? Certainly not to avoid default. We already know they are going to. It’s just a question of sooner or later. So why later? Who benefits?

The answer is, the banks. Particularly the banks of France and Germany. They would like default put off in the hope that as time goes by their broader financial circumstances improve so that they would be better able to deal with whatever losses come from an eventual Greek default. Put if off long enough and maybe there won’t be any losses. Which sounds sensible – for the banks. But while the delay buys time, literally, for the Banks to improve their broader situation the exact opposite happens to Greece and the Greek people. The longer they wait to default, the longer they struggle to pay off debts that are crushing them and which they will have to default on eventually, the worse their broader situation gets. So the wait and do it slowly scenario is anything but orderly for the Greek people.

So again, why is this slow, ‘orderly’ torture of Greece being advocated?

I think the answer is that for as long as the ‘orderly default’ plan can be enforced upon the Greeks it provides the banks with the delicious prospect of asset stripping an entire nation.

Because that is exaclty what is going on in Greece . What the ‘orderly’ default provides is a window of opportunity when predatory financial players can strip Greece and in future maybe Portugal and Ireland as well, of everything the banks could never get their hands on in any other circumstance.

If you are a business and you get in trouble you file for bankruptcy protection. That is, you protect your assets from predators while you sort out your debts, defaulting on those you cannot pay, cutting deals to pay some small percentage of each debt and then emerge as a chastened but going concern at the other end. This is precisely what Greece and the Greeks are being denied by their own government. The ‘orderly default’ plan is to keep Greece out of bankruptcy protection, keep them paying, keep the nation in a state of semi-anarchy and panic with seemingly no way out of the mess – except by selling off at fire sale prices whatever their creditors fancy – for as long as possible.

This is very orderly if you are one of the banks. You lose nothing. The tax payers in Greece and in your own nations lose because they pick up the tab of keeping the torture going through endless bail outs. The tax payers are like the torturer’s assistant whose job is to revive the victim with a glass of water, so they can be tortured some more. Bail outs solve nothing for Greece, but do serve admirably for keeping the present ‘open for pillaging’ situation going.

In this defenseless state you can then asset strip the nation for as long as the local government can keep the lid on all-out uprising.

And best of all, at the end of this process, you will have a ruined economy, with impoverished people who will work for nothing, without any labour laws left to protect them – since those pesky things will have been swept aside in the austerity measures – and you will also be the new owners of all the assets the people and their nation once owned.

Not only does that give you a compliant nation and workforce, but having such a cowed and defeated place close to hand will serve wonderfully as a crow bar for uprooting any ‘restrictive’ and ‘inflexible’ labour laws and practices in neighbouring countries. And since that is explicitly what the IMF talked about in their blue print for Europe’s future, it is hard not to see this as at least part of the intention of the ‘orderly default’.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Bahrain’s Dictatorship and the Pentagon

By Jacob G. Hornberger | June 14, 2011

Sometimes it’s good to look at foreign dictatorships to see what the president and the U.S. military have done to our country. Consider, for example, the trial of 20 doctors that is currently taking place in Bahrain.

As most everyone knows, Bahrain is ruled by a brutal dictatorship, just as many other countries in the Middle East are. Bahrain is also besieged by anti-government demonstrations, just as other countries in the Middle East are. Like other dictatorships in the Middle East, Bahrain’s dictatorial regime is using brute force to suppress the protests.

What distinguishes the Bahrain dictatorship from, say, the Libyan or Syrian dictatorships, is that the U.S. government supports the dictatorship in Bahrain while opposing the Libyan and Syrian dictatorships. Thus, not only does U.S. foreign aid flow into the Bahrain dictatorship, the U.S. military also has a major base there.

The Bahrain dictatorship is accusing those 20 doctors of participating in anti-government protests in Bahrain. Guess what type of court the doctors are being tried in. You got it: a military tribunal, just like those employed by the Pentagon at Guantanamo Bay.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that the doctors are accusing Bahrain’s military of torturing them while in custody and forcing confessions out of them — and that the military is denying it.

The tribunal is actually a special national-security court that was established last March as part of the emergency rule that the dictatorship imposed on the country to deal with the anti-government protests. Emergency rule essentially means martial law, with the military wielding the power to protect “national security” by establishing “order and stability” within the country.

Not surprisingly, in previous prosecutions in Bahrain’s national-security court, defendants have been charged with “terrorism.” Moreover, since the trials pertain to “national security,” some of the proceedings have been held in secret.

Sound familiar?

Well, of course it does. All this is familiar ground for Americans, who have seen the Pentagon under both President Bush and President Obama engage in this same sort of conduct.

Consider, for example, the Pentagon’s military tribunals. Are they any different in principle from those employed in Bahrain? Consider also the circumstances under which the Pentagon’s tribunals came into existence — during the emergency known as 9/11.

As in Bahrain, many of the accused have been tortured by U.S. military personnel while in the custody of the military or the CIA. Of course, oftentimes the U.S. military authorities take the same position as their Bahrain counterparts — that they don’t torture and that the defendants are lying.

While the Bahrain dictatorship recently lifted its emergency rule, 11 years after the 9/11 attacks the U.S. military still wields the authority to take the American people (and foreigners) into custody as suspected terrorists in the global war on terrorism — the authority to them with water-boarding, sensory deprivation, and other “harsh-interrogation” techniques — and the authority to hold them indefinitely without trial. Why, the Pentagon and the CIA can now even assassinate Americans whom they label terrorists.

Indeed, about the same time that Bahrain was recently lifting its emergency rule, the U.S. Congress was renewing the USA Patriot Act for another four years. And yesterday, the New York Times reported that the FBI is expanding the authority of its 14,000 agents to monitor the activities of Americans who are even not suspected of breaking the law.

By the way, Bahrain and the United States aren’t the only ones to employ special courts to deal with acts of suspected terrorism. After the Reichstag Fire trials in which some of the accused terrorists were acquitted by the regular German courts, Adolf Hitler established what was known as the “People’s Court,” a special national-security court to deal with cases of terrorism and treason, one in which the chances of any suspected terrorist getting off were virtually nil.

Is it any wonder that the president and the Pentagon continue to partner with and support dictators in the Middle East? I don’t think so. When it comes to emergency dictatorial powers, they have lots in common.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Bahrain’s Dictatorship and the Pentagon

Interview: Mazin Qumsiyeh on popular resistance and breaking the spell of fear

David Cronin – The Electronic Intifada – 16 June 2011

In his latest book Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment, Mazin Qumsiyeh counters the conventional wisdom promoted by the Israeli propaganda machine and the mainstream Western media, which conflates the Palestinian struggle against occupation with “terrorism.” Qumsiyeh, a former professor of genetics who taught at Yale and Duke universities, returned to his native village of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem in the occupied West three years ago. He currently blogs at Popular Resistance. The Electronic Intifada contributor David Cronin interviewed Qumsiyeh about his new book and activism.

David Cronin: You were arrested in May in the West Bank village of al-Walaja. I’ve seen a video on YouTube, in which — a moment before the arrest — you are pleading with Israeli soldiers not to use violence against peaceful protesters. What were the circumstances that led you to make that appeal?

Mazin Qumsiyeh: I saw a group of soldiers run up a hill and grab a young guy and start beating him. They were using pepper spray against his head and mouth, even though he didn’t do anything. I walked a few steps so that I was close to him, then they pushed me down.

The accusation that was leveled against me was that I had participated in an illegal demonstration. But it was the presence of soldiers there that was illegal, not the presence of people in the village of al-Walaja.

DC: What happened after your arrest?

MQ: For 24 hours, I was taken to various detention facilities in different places. It was 24 hours of harassment and without any sleep. That was the biggest part of it. When I finally got to the actual prison [Ofer], the prison itself was not that bad in terms of treatment. They tried to get me to sign a paper saying I was not mistreated. I said: “I’m not signing any papers. Go to hell.”

DC: How many times have you been arrested?

MQ: It depends how you define “arrested.” Israel can hold you for hours and hours, days and days, without [charging] you. I have been arrested [and] charged three times. In terms of detention [I have been held], maybe 10 or 12 times.

It has always been for short periods of two days, things like that. When I get arrested, the Israeli government gets thousands of letters, hundreds of inquiries. Palestinian young people, who don’t have the kind of international network that I have, tend to be mistreated more and can be kept in administrative detention for months.

DC: After living in the United States for 27 years, you returned to Palestine three years ago. Why did you decide to go home?

MQ: It was a question of where I could be the most useful [to the Palestinian struggle]. Up to three years ago, I felt I could be more useful outside Palestine. Then, my feeling was that I could be more useful in Palestine. It was a subjective feeling, rather than an objective or scientific feeling.

DC: In your latest book, you explain how both nonviolent resistance and armed struggle involve sacrifice and that neither is risk-free. You appear, though, to have a preference for nonviolent resistance. Can you explain why?

MQ: Whether one uses armed struggle or nonviolence, the aim has to be to liberate oneself. Nobody engages in these things because they love to do these things. My own personal judgment is that the moral issue must enter into the equation. Of course, other people may have a different judgment. And while I respect their backgrounds, I also respectfully may disagree with the tools used.

DC: You have documented how the history of Palestinian resistance has been overwhelmingly nonviolent. What do you say, then, to those Western journalists who tend to regard Palestinian resistance as synonymous with suicide bombing?

MQ: Every anti-colonial struggle, every uprising has been a mixed bag. In South Africa, there were incidents where blacks engaged in horrific acts as individual human beings. But to characterize the Soweto Uprising by saying it was violent and involved “necklacing” [placing tires around the necks of suspected informers and burning them alive] is wrong and crude and reprehensible. You cannot make such generalizations.

DC: You have argued that Jesus Christ may have been the first Palestinian political martyr. Why do you say that?

MQ: Jesus Christ was born in a land called Palestine. He spoke Aramaic, which predated Arabic. He was certainly killed because of his nonviolent resistance.

DC: What is your message, then, to Christian Zionists?

MQ: They must be reading a different Bible to the one I’m reading. Even the Old Testament says the promise of a good life has to do with a moral position, with obeying God and obeying the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill.”

If you do something horrible, how are you deserving of a piece of land? That is totally a contradiction of the sense of morality and justice, that religion is supposed to be about. Is it Judaism to use white phosphorous on unarmed civilians or to kill hundreds of them?

Christian Zionism is an oxymoron. You cannot be a Zionist and a Christian at the same time, in my humble opinion.

DC: You have called the diplomatic initiative to have the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state this coming September dangerous. Please explain.

MQ: Activists and human rights defenders around the world should be very wary of the so-called September initiative. The idea of recognizing a Palestinian state on 1967 borders is fine if it is accompanied with a declaration recognizing the rights of Palestinians. But there is no mention of rights in the way it is being discussed at the moment.

Nowhere in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does it say that Palestinians have a right to raise a particular flag. But it does say we have the right to free movement, we have the right to land, we have the right to be treated equally.

DC: You have outlined parallels between how the issue of Palestinian statehood is being handled and the behavior of the South African government during the apartheid era. In particular, you have drawn an analogy to the type of Palestinian state now being envisaged with the supposedly self-governing Bantustans that the apartheid government established for blacks in parts of South Africa and South West Africa. Can you summarize those parallels?

MQ: Of course, every historical situation is unique but we do have similarities with apartheid South Africa. South Africa said “we do want to recognize South African Bantustans as states” and even approached the United Nations and said “we recognize the Bantustans as states.” For the same reasons, [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu has said “fine, we can have a Palestinian state under certain conditions.”

What the West might be doing is aiding and abetting the notion of apartheid, putting [the Palestinian] people in Bantustans and saying “we recognize you as a state but without the rights to free movement, resources, land, any basic rights.”

DC: What’s the most shocking thing you have seen?

MQ:: The most shocking thing that one cannot ever get accustomed to is the crude racism, the sense of superiority the Zionists have over us. That is always the root of the problem, the sense that God has chosen them and that they have the rights to the land. From this emanates lots of things: land confiscations, the wall, ill-treatment of prisoners.

DC: What role should people of conscience internationally play in resisting the occupation?

MQ: Obviously, Western governments are colluding with Zionism. They have been partners in this crime against humanity going back to the Sykes-Picot agreement and the Balfour Declaration [early twentieth century decisions by Britain and France on carving up the Middle East and endorsing Zionist colonization, respectively]. And fully-fledged partners, not merely puppets.

Howard Zinn said “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.” So for the public in Australia or America, being neutral means literally colluding with the occupiers. They have to chose: collude with war crimes or get off the train and engage at a human level to correct this.

One of the first duties of activists is to speak truth to power. This is always repeated ad nauseam in the human rights community, so go do it. People need to break the spell of fear. Once they believe in their own hearts they can do things, then nothing is impossible. That is what the Egyptian people taught us in Tahrir Square.


David Cronin’s book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation is published by Pluto Press.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Interview: Mazin Qumsiyeh on popular resistance and breaking the spell of fear

Factchecking Takeyh and Maloney

Moon of Alabama | June 16, 2011

There is another boring anti-Iran OpEd in the New York Times by Ray Takeyh and Suzanne Maloney. As usual it mangles the facts, gives a false diagnosis of the situation and comes up with the wrong policy prescription. “Iran wants nukes, the government there is divided, there is no one to talk to, thus more sanctions (and btw let’s bomb Iran).”

I will not bother to discuss it in detail but want to mark two issues if only to set the record straight.

The authors write:

[Ahmedinejad’s] fall from grace has been fierce and fast. […] The most devastating blow came in May from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who publicly repudiated his hand-picked protégé in a clash over presidential powers.

While there was one of the regular tussles in the Iranian power structures during April and early May since the end of that month the situation has decidedly changed and it is not what the op-ed authors say:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a public endorsement of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday as he looked to resolve a months-long rift among the country’s conservative power elites.”While there are weaknesses and problems … the composition of the executive branch is good and appropriate, and the government is working. The government and parliament must help each other,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in an address to parliament members, later shown on state television.

But a united Iran does not fit the narrative the op-ed authors want to tell, they therefore just ignore the real situation.

Then there is this outright lie:

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s interest in dialogue was not motivated by any appreciation of American civilization or an impulse to reconcile. Rather, the provocative president saw talks as a means of boosting his stature at home and abroad while touting his vision of a strong nuclear-armed Iran.

Sure – like he touted in an interview in October 2005:

“Our religion prohibits us from having nuclear arms and our religious leader has prohibited it from the point of view of religious law. It’s a closed road,” the Khaleej Times quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

or when he touted at the UN summit on April 29 2009:

Allow me, as the elected President of the Iranian people, to outline the other main elements of my country’s initiative regarding the nuclear issue:1. The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates its previously and repeatedly declared position that in accordance with our religious principles, pursuit of nuclear weapons is prohibited. …

or in May 4 2010 at a UN NPT conference:

… the great Iranian nation, does not need the atomic bomb for its advancement and does not regard it as a means for its grandeur and pride.

or in that Larry King interview on September 22 2010

“We are not seeking the bomb. We have no interest in it. And we do not think that it is useful.”

Yes, Ahmedinejad is certainly touting a lot and consistently – AGAINST an Iran with nuclear weapons.

And while we are at it – congrats to Iran for launching its second satellite.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 1 Comment

BBC journalist makes astonishing admission that Greek people have lost faith in mainstream media

Jane Burgermeister | June 16, 2011

From: Greek state starting to lose grip on functions of state, by Paul Mason, BBC

“This is my third blog post in 24 hours from here, and at the risk of repeating myself, I think the level of mismatch between perception and reality within the Eurozone is worrying. Because last year’s protests were mainly leftist; and the strikes mainly token, a pattern of thinking has emerged that dismisses all Greek protest as essentially this.

But a new situation is emerging: Greek people I have spoken to are beginning to express things in terms of nation and sovereignty – and this makes the Greek situation different, for now, to Ireland and Portugal.

While the centre right New Democracy would probably win any snap election, it is hard to find support for pro-austerity politics among ND’s natural support base, the business class. Because austerity for them means getting hammered with a tax bill the like of which they have never dreamed, nor indeed paid.

And I will repeat the point about hostility to the media: it’s not a problem for me and my colleagues to be hounded off demos as “representatives of big capital”, “Zionists”, “scum and police informers” etc. But to get this reaction from almost every demographic – from balaclava kids to pensioners – should be a warning sign to the policymaking elite. The “mainstream” – whether it’s the media, politicians or business people – is beginning to seem illegitimate to large numbers of people.

As one old bloke put it to me, when I said: “Don’t you want us to report what’s happening to you?” – “No.”

He was quite calm and rational as he waved his hand in my face: “It’s too late for that.”

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | 3 Comments

Angeline Jolie goes where no humanitarian group can go.

Penny For Your Thoughts | June 16, 2011

“Mother Teresa” is going to be allowed to visit the alleged displaced Syrians in Turkey!!!
Oh, sorry that is Mother Angelina. ………
Angelina Jolie. The big breasted actress. The “earth mother” to all.

Lights, makeup, camera-ACTION.
Angelina stars in the globalist feature film “Lara Croft: Slave Provider for the Elites”
The UN’s “Goodwill Ambassador”. Sheesh!
Goodwill Ambassador is a nice fancy title, but what it really means is Angelina Jolie is the PR person.
She is public relations for the UN.
You see, Goodwill merely means friendly, helpful or cooperative feelings and/or attitude.
Angelina Jolie is therefore the smiling happy face of the globalist agenda.

Don’t believe me?
Don’t want to believe that Angelina Jolie is the smiling happy face of the globalists?
That she is a tool and nothing more, of the powers that be?

Besides her UN “goodwill ambassador” position, which is a public relations job.
Ms. Jolie is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From the horse’s mouth

“She was honored for her philanthropic work by joining the Council on Foreign Relations. The prestigious think tank officially approved Jolie’s membership nomination.” In 2007.

Isn’t it curious that Turkey won’t let any aid/humanitarian groups into the camps.
But they will allow Angelina Jolie to visit.
What is wrong with that picture boys and girls???

This is a Public Relations stunt!

How is it that this marginal actress will get access to refugee camps that Turkey has blocked all media and humanitarian groups from visiting??
Cameras will be in tow, as Angelina lovingly visits displaced persons.
From who knows where?

This stunt will be spoon fed to the Western audience via every TV/print media outlet
All the entertainment “news” outfits will cover this.
Guaranteeing the message of “bad Syria” will trickle all the way down to the dumbest of the dumb, the people who’s lives revolve around celebrity news.

This news, of Angelina’s visit, confirms my previous post and suspicions that the reporting surrounding the camps in Turkey is suspect. If there was a legitimate humanitarian concern then aid groups would be given access to the camps, not a tool of the globalist elite class, pushing a specific political agenda.

The overthrow of Syria’s government.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on Angeline Jolie goes where no humanitarian group can go.

Senator wants U.S. Navy to help block flotillas to Gaza

By Alex Kane | June 16, 2011

Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois sure is earning the hundreds of thousands of dollars the Israel lobby dumps into his coffers.  In a report based on a recent “fact-finding” trip to the Middle East, Kirk calls for U.S. naval and special operations forces to support Israel in combating the upcoming flotilla to Gaza.

Kirk’s report reads:

The IHH plans to send a second flotilla to breach Israel’s coastal security later this month. To prevent further violence, the United States should:

1) immediately designate the IHH as a terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224, which targets “terrorists, terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, technological, or material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, or acts of terrorism”;

2) make available all necessary special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy to effectively disable flotilla vessels before they can pose a threat to Israeli coastal security or put Israeli lives at risk; and

3) make it clear to Turkish President Erdogan that Turkey will be held accountable for any actions that support or enable the IHH to launch its flotilla.

The flotilla, set to sail to Gaza at the end of this month, aims to nonviolently challenge the Israeli blockade that has suffocated the Gaza Strip.  Kirk’s call for the U.S. Navy to provide “special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy” to stop the flotilla is particularly alarming because a contingent of American citizens will be a part of the flotilla.  Kirk would have no problem, it seems, with the U.S. Navy being deployed against U.S. citizens aiming to break the blockade, which has been termed “collective punishment” by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 4 Comments

Israel plans to forcibly transfer 40,000 Bedouin citizens

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours – The Electronic Intifada – 16 June 2011

A new Israeli proposal that would forcibly transfer more than 40,000 Bedouin citizens into government-planned townships in the Negev (Naqab) desert has raised the ire of Bedouin communities and their supporters, who say that the plan is both discriminatory and ignores the Bedouins’ historic connection to the land.

“[The Israeli government thinks] that the Bedouin are now like enemies, not like citizens or humans. We feel really like criminals,” said Dr. Awad Abu Freih, the spokesperson and resident of al-Araqib, one of approximately 45 so-called unrecognized villages in the Negev.

“Now we are very angry and we reject this plan. We will not accept it. We are working all the time to explain to our communities that this plan is very dangerous, it’s not good for us and not good for the Jews, not good for the state, not good for anybody. It’s very, very stupid; [it’s] a stupid plan,” Abu Freih told The Electronic Intifada.

Prawer Report a continuation of previous displacement schemes

The Prawer Report — named after Ehud Prawer, the Director of Planning Policy in Israeli Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, who headed the committee that wrote it — is an implementation plan of the findings of another Israeli governmental report released in 2008.

Known as the Goldberg Commission, the 2008 report examined the issue of so-called “Bedouin settlement” issues in the Negev. It found that “there is no justification for the state to treat the Bedouin residents in these communities differently from the way it treats the rest of the citizens of the state” and suggested legalizing most the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev so long as the location of these villages didn’t overlap with existing land settlement plans for the benefit of the Jewish population.

Unrecognized Bedouin villages don’t receive basic services from the state, including access to water, electricity, paved roads, education and health care. It is estimated that 90,000 persons — nearly half of the total Bedouin population of the Negev — currently live in unrecognized villages.

Despite its mandate, the Prawer Report veers away from the recommendations of the Goldberg Commission. Instead of promoting recognition, it suggests relocating 40 percent of the Bedouin population presently living in unrecognized villages and moving them into expanded areas of the seven Israeli government-planned Bedouin townships.

These townships, built by the Israeli government in an attempt to concentrate the Bedouin population into specific areas of the Negev, suffer from a serious lack of services and employment opportunities. They are largely viewed as dormitory towns: residents only sleep there and are forced to go outside of the town for nearly everything else they need.

The report states that the Israeli government would offer compensation for only 50 percent of the land the Bedouin currently control and have settled on. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on 2 June that the cost of their displacement is estimated at between six to eight billion Israeli shekels ($1.7 to $2.4 billion USD), including 1.2 billion shekels ($356 million) for economic development in “recognized” Bedouin communities (“Netanyahu’s office promoting plan to relocate 30,000 Bedouin,” 2 June 2011).

“I think that they will go with all their force to implement it. We [will] have to accept it by power. It will be a lot of demolitions and very violent. [There will be] policemen and a lot of actions that the government will do against us. They will attack us,” Abu Freih said.

According to the same report in Haaretz, the amount of compensation Bedouin citizens will receive in exchange for their lands will be reduced as time passes, and “after a five-year period, land which has not been the subject of the claim process will be registered as belonging to the state.”

While Bedouin citizens make up 30 percent of the population in the Negev, they only take up 2 percent of the area’s total land. Further, should all the Bedouins’ land claims be accepted by the state — including the legalization of the currently unrecognized villages and counting the government-planned townships — the Bedouins would control only 5.4 percent of the total land.

An Israeli government vote on the Prawer Report was scheduled for early June yet was postponed due to political pressure from right-wing parties, who argued that the plan gives too much land to the Bedouin. If approved, Israel hopes to implement the Prawer Report within a five-year period.

No consultation with Bedouin citizens

Dr. Thabet Abu Ras is a Professor of Political Geography at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Director of the Naqab Project for Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. He explained that the Prawer Report cannot be implemented for a variety of reasons, including most notably the fact that Bedouin citizens were never consulted.

“Nobody asked the Bedouin what they want, and really the whole Prawer Report is against the desires of the Bedouins. It treats the Bedouins as unequal citizens,” Abu Ras told The Electronic Intifada. “I think the Bedouins have been invisible people in the last sixty years. Unfortunately, they continue to be invisible citizens of the State of Israel after 63 years.”

Abu Ras said that the Prawer Report only is a continuation of existing Israeli policies of forcibly displacing the Bedouins from their lands and moving them into an urban setting. This plan to urbanize the Bedouins began in the early 1960s, and built on the previous transfer of Bedouin populations after the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

“Let us remember that the Bedouins are citizens of the State of Israel and they are supposed to be equal citizens in the State of Israel. I am asking, who can [gain] anything from the frustration of the Bedouins? The Bedouins are very frustrated. There is an issue of mistrust and at the same time, they are saying, ‘We are willing to talk with you. There is enough room for everybody in the Naqab, for Jews as well as Bedouins. The development of the Naqab should not be at our expense,’” he said.

“The way I read Prawer Report,” Abu Ras added, “is that they [will] uproot people from 25 villages, 40,000 to 45,000 people, and push them to the townships.”

Bedouin communities forced into underserved townships

In his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe found that an Israeli ethnic cleansing operation against Bedouin tribes in the Naqab began in the summer of 1948 under then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

“The Negev Bedouin had inhabited the region since the Byzantine period, and had been following their semi-nomadic way of life since at least 1500. There were 90,000 Bedouin in 1948, divided between 96 tribes, already in the process of establishing a land-ownership system, grazing rights and water access,” Pappe writes.

“Jewish troops immediately expelled eleven tribes, while they forced another nineteen into reservations that Israel defined as closed military areas, which meant they were allowed to leave only with a special permit.”

Known as the siyag — literally the “fenced area” — this largely barren, restricted area sat south and east of the town of Beir al-Sabe (now known as Be’er Sheva), and accounted for only 1.5 million dunams of the total area of the Negev region (a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters). In the early 1960s, the Israeli government attempted to urbanize the Bedouin population in the Naqab by building three towns, Tel al-Sabe (Tel Sheva), Rahat and Kseife, in which to concentrate them.

Today, nearly half the Bedouin population in the Negev lives in seven government-planned townships in the northern Negev. These towns lack basic infrastructure, including transportation, schools and employment opportunities, and are the poorest towns in the country.

By comparison, the Israeli government allocated 17 billion shekels ($5 billion) into its “Negev 2015” development plan, which was launched in 2005 and primarily benefits the area’s Jewish residents. The ten-year project, among other things, aims to “strengthen [Jewish] settlement in the Negev” and increase the area’s population by 70 percent, up to 900,000 residents (“Government Launches Negev 2015 Plan Website,” Israeli Prime Minister’s Office website).

According to Dr. Awad Abu Freih, the fact that Bedouin citizens are only offered the option of urbanization — while Jewish citizens can live in many different types of communities — highlights the system of inequality and discrimination that exists in the Negev.

“We feel that this plan will make it very obvious that there [are] two peoples in the Negev. The Jews have recognized villages and they have agricultural villages and kibbutzim, [but the state wants to] take the Bedouin and concentrate them in very, very small cities, closed cities, very poor cities,” Abu Freih said.

“When they destroy our village, they will put Jews in the same place and they will have water, education and everything. This is apartheid. [It’s] very obvious it’s apartheid. It’s a new racism.”

Fighting the Prawer Report

A new umbrella organization called “Recognition Now” has been recently formed to fight for Bedouin land and civil rights in the Negev and coordinate between the various human rights groups and activists working on these issues.

Abu Freih, who acts as the coordinator of this new campaign, explained that Recognition Now’s first priority is educating the various Bedouin tribes and communities about what the Prawer Report really means, and convincing them not to accept it.

“We will be in all the tribes, all the villages and we will call all the world to help us. Maybe we will call the [United Nations] to defend us from the government actions,” said Abu Freih, adding that the international community must get involved to protect Bedouin citizens from the actions and future plans of the Israeli government.

“I want [people] to know that Israel is not a democratic state. It’s very far from that. It’s a very racist state and we know that there’s ethnic cleansing. It’s happening now, it’s not in the history only,” he said. “We want help to defend [ourselves] from the actions of the military and police.”

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Israel plans to forcibly transfer 40,000 Bedouin citizens

Israeli Occupation Authority holds 72-year-old MP in administrative detention

Palestine Information Center – 15/06/2011

RAMALLAH — The Israeli court of Ofer, near Ramallah, ordered the administrative detention of Palestinian MP Ahmed Al-Haj for six months, without any charge.

Ahmed Al-Beitawi, a researcher with the international Tadamun foundation, said that the same court also ordered the administrative custody of lecturer Mustafa Al-Shinawi for four months. Both are to appear in court next Sunday where the verdicts will be pronounced.

Al-Beitawi described the decisions as “illegal” since administrative custody is arbitrary incarceration with no legal justification and with no indictment leveled against the detainee. He added that the Israeli intelligence is the party controlling the period of detention for each detainee.

Both Haj and Shinar were taken from their homes on 7/6/2011 in a campaign of arrests aimed at foiling the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas.

Hamas lawmakers in Nablus denounced the ruling against their colleague, saying that it proved the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had nothing solid against Haj.

They stressed that the Israeli policy of abducting representatives of the people would not succeed in curbing the people’s democratic choice.

The MPs drew the attention to the old age of Haj and his bad health condition, holding the IOA responsible for any harm that comes to him.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Israeli Occupation Authority holds 72-year-old MP in administrative detention

2010 bonanza for Israeli arms sales

Press TV – June 16, 2011

Israel says it has reaped more benefit from its arms sales in 2010, earning more than USD seven billion, despite the worldwide financial crisis.

“Despite the global economic crisis, Israel’s military industries have experienced a period of stability and growth,” said Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Military Affairs, Major General Udi Shani, AFP reported.

However, the report does not provide details about countries that purchase weapons from the Israeli regime or what type of arms are involved in the deals.

Israeli officials attribute the 2010 boost of USD 300 million in arms sales compared to its previous year figures to Tel Aviv’s newly-deployed missile system known as the Iron Dome.

The apparatus has been jointly developed by Israel and the United States and awaits the injection of another billion dollars by Tel Aviv.

In its 2011 budget, Washington also allocates USD 415 million to the procurement, research and development of the missile projects jointly conducted with the Israeli regime, including USD 205 million for the Iron Dome system.

The amount of the US aid for the missile system is on top of the annual USD 3 billion allocated by Washington to Tel Aviv in mostly military grants.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Militarism | Comments Off on 2010 bonanza for Israeli arms sales

Israeli court throws out petition to re-open Hebron road

Ma’an – 16/06/2011

HEBRON — Israel’s High Court threw out a petition seeking the re-opening of a market street in Hebron’s city center, which would have overturned 21 military orders mandating the closure of the area for “security reasons.”

Judge Dorit Beinisch presided over the case, which was submitted in 2004, and ultimately deemed that the security situation in Hebron’s Old City mandated the closures, citing next to zero confrontations in the area between a 700-strong settler population and local residents.

“If you take cars off the roads there will be no accidents,” Director of Hebron’s Rehabilitation Committee Imad Hamdan commented after receiving the news of the dismissal.”

Ash-Shuhada Street, once the main shopping area in the city’s ancient downtown, is now divided down the center with concrete blocks, one side for Palestinian residents who can prove that they live down the street, and the other for settlers who have taken over homes in the area.

Most Palestinians are prohibited from walking on the street, which resembles a ghost town dotted with soldiers who patrol the area.

Justice Beinisch’s decision, handed down on June 6, was a “great disappointment,” Hamdan said.

During the seven years that the petition was before the courts, the restrictions put in place by the Israeli military were reviewed by its Civil Administration.

“Proposals would be made to move one checkpoint a block away, or change the location of a guard tower from the roof of a house,” Hamdan explained, adding that none of the suggested changes would have allowed Palestinians free movement in the area, and were rejected each time.

The 21 military orders, which according to reports from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have closed 440 shops in the area, are renewed by the army every six months.

“This policy led to the economic collapse of the center of Hebron and drove many Palestinians out of the area,” B’Telem said in a report on conditions in the city.

“At the moment, we have no plans to file a new petition,” Hamdan said, “we are heartened that the closure was never made permanent, and hope to continue pushing for better interpretations of the orders, perhaps there will be a political change, and when that chance comes we will take it.”

Settlers occupy a Palestinian home in Hebron [MaanImages/File]

On Tuesday, residents of Ash-Shuhada Street reported a gathering of an estimated 100 settlers, who threw stones and chanted anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian slogans at the homes of four families.

One resident commented that the judge’s decision to dismiss the petition had given the settler community courage to continue harassing local residents.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Israeli court throws out petition to re-open Hebron road

Jewish Colonists Torch Olive Orchards Near Ramallah

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – June 16, 2011

A number of armed extremist Israeli settlers torched on Wednesday at night dozens of olive trees that belong to villagers of Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The trees are located in Palestinian orchards isolated behind the Annexation Wall.

The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements issued a press release on Thursday stating that the torched olives are in the western side of the village, close to the Metatyahu illegal settlement built on orchards illegal annexed from the residents.

The Committee added that Israeli soldiers stationed in the area obstructed the work of local firefighters trying to reach the burning orchards. The orchards became isolated behind the wall and the firefighters were delayed at the Wall gate.

It also stated that dozens of youth gathered near the gate in an attempt to help the firefighters but the army fired gas bombs at them leading to clashes.

The Committee held Israel fully responsible for the attack as the army provides ‘protection’ for the armed settlers instead of stopping their violations and assaults.

On July 9th 2010, the International Court at The Hague ruled that the Israeli Annexation Wall in the West Bank and around occupied East Jerusalem is illegal, and must be removed. It also called for compensating the victims.

The Court said that signatories of the Geneva Convention, including the UK, US, have the responsibility to oblige Israel to uphold the ruling and remove the Wall. Israel ignored the ruling the same way it ignored all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions regarding the Palestinian-Israel and Arab-Israeli conflict.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on Jewish Colonists Torch Olive Orchards Near Ramallah