Aletho News


Rachel Maddow, Rand Paul and Israel

By Michael Arria | CounterPunch | August 6, 2014

The beef between Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has been going on for four years now. It was famously kicked off during Paul’s Senate campaign when Maddow began grilling him about his position on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul’s strict devotion to the free-market had led him to the conclusion that, maybe, some of its business regulations were unjust. “Libertarians are like that,” wrote, the late, Alexander Cockburn, at the time. “On some big and important things they’re admirable and staunch. Many of them, on some big and important things, are rancid.” Later, in the same piece, Cockburn explained the allure of Maddow’s takedown, “It’s the easiest thing in the world for a grandstanding liberal to push a libertarian into a corner…Lib­erals love grandstanding about what are, in practice, dis­tractions. You think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is going to come up for review in the US Senate?

MSNBC remains intrigued by the story, as evidenced by Paul’s recent appearance on The Cycle, where co-host Ari Melber recently asked if his views on the Act had evolved. “What I would say to be fair to myself, because I like to be fair to myself, is that I’ve always been in favor of the Civil Rights Act,” claimed Paul. “People need to get over themselves writing all this stuff that I’ve changed my mind on the Civil Rights Act. Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it? Yeah, and I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act, and you’re some terrible racist. And I take great objection to that, because, in Congress, I think there is nobody else trying harder to get people back their voting rights, to get people back and make the criminal justice system fair. So I take great offense to people who want to portray me as something that I’m not.”

Paul makes some valid points here, although there’s a wider issue: do the policies he advocates address the systemic issues of economic racism? This question is, probably, worth debating on a show like Maddow’s, but she fired back in a different vein.

“You cannot base a presidential campaign on something that is not true about [himself] or try to cover up something that you have said now that you don’t like the way that sounds,” Maddow explained in a rant about Paul’s MSNBC comments. “Nobody expects you to be perfect, but nobody expects you to be a petulant person who lies and is constantly threatening imagined adversaries about it,” she concluded.

This is pretty blatant for Maddow criticism, as she generally likes to attack GOP politicians in a much more jovial manner. It’s clear that she has a real problem with Paul and, perhaps, believes he supports racist policies. This is actually true, but Maddow doesn’t have to travel back fifty years to find them. She need look no further than a recent National Review op-ed in which Paul criticized the Obama administration for not being sufficiently pro-Israel. “I think it is clear by now: Israel has shown remarkable restraint. It possesses a military with clear superiority over that of its Palestinian neighbors, yet it does not respond to threat after threat, provocation after provocation, with the type of force that would decisively end their conflict.”

This “remarkable restraint” has shocked the world, for the past few weeks, as over 1,900 Palestinians have been killed; most of them civilians and many of them children. The backdrop of this brutal attack is an illegal occupation and a system of segregation that many, throughout the world, view as apartheid. Maddow’s producer, Steve Benen, criticized Paul, via MSNBC blog post, for flip-flopping on the subject of Israel. In 2011, Paul actually made a number of comments suggesting that the US cut aid to Israel. “The senator could take this opportunity to explain how and why his position has changed,” wrote Benen. “Maybe he could say he’s learned more about foreign policy over the last few years and this knowledge has caused him to reevaluate some of his previous positions.”

To Benen’s mind, Paul’s flip-flop is the crucial issue, not his indefensible position. This, naturally, begs the question: does Rachel Maddow refuse to criticize Paul’s stance on Israel because she agrees with him?


Michael Arria is the author of the new CounterPunch book, Medium Blue: The Politics of MSNBC.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

10-year-old child shot in chest with live ammunition

International Solidarity Movement | August 6, 2014

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In al-Khalil (Hebron) on Sunday August 3rd, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was walking to his home near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba when the Israeli military shot him in the chest with live ammunition.

The following day, ISM volunteers went to visit the young boy in al-Mezan hospital. The young boy was in critical condition, and although doctors were able to save his life, the bullet remains in his left lung, as it is too dangerous to remove it.

His father told the ISM volunteers that a relative of the boy witnessed the shooting and that it had been a man in a soldiers’ uniform that shot him, without any visible motive. His father also pointed out that even if there had been a motive, such as if the boy would have been throwing stones, nothing could have justified this shot, which was clearly aimed at the heart of this 10-year-old child.

A funeral for a soldier that died in Gaza was held in the Tel Rumeida area of al-Khalil between 1 AM and 3 AM last Sunday evening. The area was under heavy military presence, shop owners were forced to close down their shops early and Palestinians living in the area received orders stay in their homes and turn the lights off. Doctors at al-Mezan hospital have reported that in recent weeks there has been an increase in the number of bullet wounds resulting from live ammunition. Many of these wounds have been in the chest and abdomen, seemingly aimed to kill.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will there be accountability for Brits fighting in Israel?

By Shazia Arshad | MEMO | August 6, 2014

The Israeli army is currently waging a cold blooded campaign against the Gaza Strip, the third of its kind in less than six years. As thousands of Palestinians are killed and injured by Israeli forces, attention is slowly but surely turning towards those who are committing some of the most cruel and gruesome acts of war.

After Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009) there were attempts to use universal jurisdiction to bring about the arrest of senior Israeli officials visiting the UK who were accused of war crimes. Although the laws on universal jurisdiction were changed by the current British government, inevitably the spotlight remains on the illegality of the IDFs actions during the course of war.

During this war, however, the spotlight has shone upon a slightly different element, those British nationals who are serving in the IDF. In recent months there has been much scrutiny of British nationals who have left the UK for Syria. A letter to the Home Secretary and MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell, highlighted that 20 British nationals have had their citizenship withdrawn as a result of their activities in Syria. Media reports have suggested that hundreds of British nationals were going to Syria to take part in activities against Assad as the civil war in Syria continues to rage on some three years later. As these reports filtered out, the British government voiced concerns that upon their return these British nationals would be radicalised and become involved in extremism. This is not the first time that government officials have linked foreign affairs to extremism in the UK, but almost exclusively the conversations about extremism in the UK have consistently focused on the Muslim community.

Yet what these conversations have missed is another potential force for radicalisation. This has been missed because this radicalisation will not be of Muslims by Muslims nor at the hand of Muslims; in short it is because that spell happens in Israel.

The IDF do not actively recruit foreign nationals in the UK, yet despite this figures from Channel 4 News suggest that at least 100 Brits are currently active in the Israeli army. The Israeli army do not provide figures for the number of foreign recruits they currently have and whilst British MPs have quizzed the government on this, ministers have been unable to report back on the exact numbers. Indeed, when Lord Ahmed of Rotherham asked the then minister about this in 2009, the minister reported that this information would only be available from the Israeli government.

However, back in 2010 the Independent newspaper reported that a new organisation, Aish Malach, had been established to help foreign nationals enlist in the army. Most can join through a programme known as Mahal, which allows a person who is Jewish or of Jewish ancestry to join the army; they need not be a citizen of Israel in order to do so.

With or without structured recruitment programmes young British Jewish recruits are keen to sign up to the IDF. When the Guardian covered this in 2006, they spoke to a British recruit who said that he was joining, along with other recruits, to show his love and support for Israel. And it seems according to one report in the New Statesman that this indoctrination into support for the IDF starts early, with 16 and 17 year-olds joining the Marva programme, which echoes the training of the IDF soldiers in order to encourage the young participants to empathise with the army. These young British recruits are encouraged to join by youth groups such as the RSY Netzer and the Federation of Zionist Youth. Many of these participants did go on to join the IDF.

Whilst many of these recruits do go on to take Israeli citizenship with many becoming dual nationals, this is not the case for all recruits. Some recruits choose not to take on citizenship and remain British nationals only. Whether or not they have citizenship, these foreign recruits take on a full role in the army and serve in the same way as any other recruit in the IDF. And this inevitably means that they will take part in those same actions which the British public have watched unfold in Gaza over recent weeks resulting in the death of nearly 2,000 Palestinians.

The current conflict in Gaza has undoubtedly seen a breach of international law and it would be no stretch of the imagination to assume that war crimes had not been committed. As Palestinian officials met with International Criminal Court prosecutors, a group of senior British lawyers wrote to the ICC urging them to investigate noting that the ICC had a duty to do so given the UN’s recognition of Palestine. And if Israel is found guilty of war crimes at the ICC, then it follows that Israeli officials would have to be held to account over their actions. And under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Britain would have a duty to ensure that it plays its role in ensuring that justice is served.

With British nationals active in the IDF, there is no doubt that some of these recruits will have taken part in the current campaign in Gaza. As Foreign Office Minister, Lord Malloch Brown, noted after Operation Cast Lead: “anybody who has broken the fourth protocol of the Geneva Convention deserves to meet justice in some court or another.” The minister also said that it would not be right to draw a distinction between “British nationals and others”. Should British nationals return to the UK having partaken in such crimes it should be inevitable that justice would follow. In reality, it is unlikely that any such action would be taken by British courts against British IDF soldiers.

Whilst there have been no moves to prevent Brits enlisting in the IDF, there is a law which states it is an offence for a British national to enlist in a foreign army and should they do so it would be an offence “punishable by fine and imprisonment.” The law however has been barely used and became almost redundant when British nationals left the UK to join the struggles during the Spanish civil war. With no laws to effectively prevent Brits joining the IDF, British nationals remain vulnerable to arrest – if they choose to leave the country and take up arms with the Israeli army, who have been killing and wounding civilians in Gaza they are culpable of committing crimes against a besieged civilian population, almost certainly illegal under international law.

Britain has always been troubled by its role in the Middle East and the effect of its foreign policy on communities at home in the UK. When the current government launched its report into British nationals fighting in Syria, the focus was on how to prevent radicalisation of the Muslim communities in the UK. Those Brits arrested after returning from Syria have been accused of partaking in terrorist activity, but those Brits in the IDF are no less guilty of that. The only difference being that the the Israeli army’s actions are state sanctioned and as of yet have not been condemned by the British government.

When British Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi resigned she noted that the UK needs to end its complicity by looking to bring about an arms embargo. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg went on to call for a suspension of arms export licenses within hours of Warsi’s resignation, but if the UK is to fully end its complicity in Israeli war crimes, it needs to look closely at the actions of its citizens who are taking part in the IDFs assault of the Palestinian people.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia to ban all US agricultural products, EU fruit & vegetable imports – watchdog

RT | August 6, 2014

Moscow plans to ban all US agricultural products, including poultry, as well as EU fruit and vegetable imports in response to Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, according to the country’s agricultural watchdog.

All agricultural goods produced in the US and imported into Russia will be halted for one year, the assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Aleksey Alekseenko, told RIA Novosti.

The list of banned products will be published on Thursday, he added.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Gaza’s children will not forget

By Roqayah Chamseddine | Al-Akhbar | August 6, 2014

374259_Israeli-war-on-GazaAs Israel withdraws its ground forces from Gaza “to defensive positions” outside the Gaza Strip there are already obscene calls for Israel to re-engage so that Israel may “finish the job” and “go all the way” by demilitarizing Gaza, purging the 360 sq. km strip of its native Arab inhabitants and reoccupying it. Nearly 1,900 Palestinians have been killed and at least 500,000, who are already refugees, have been internally displaced once more as a result of 29 days of implacable Israeli attacks. Parts of Gaza have been emptied, with entire neighborhoods eradicated as though they had never existed. From space the Gaza Strip was captured veiled in black, with Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment glowing bright — the widespread pockets of shelling luminous amongst the darkness, like blazing sulfur. If this is what was witnessed from space imagine what horrors the people of Gaza will see on earth as the dust settles.

Citizens of Gaza’s southern town of Khuza’a who fled unwavering bombing campaigns describe harrowing scenes of bodies lining the streets, children being kept in ice cream freezers as morgues could no longer accommodate the dead, and tell of being deliberately targeted by Israel, some narrowly escaping with their lives.

In one incident, reported by 15-year-old Akram al-Najjar to Human Rights Watch, after Israeli soldiers found more than 100 people huddled together in one house, they were all forced out: “The first one to walk out of the house was Shahid al-Najjar. He had his hands up, but the soldiers shot him. He was shot in the jaw and badly injured, but he survived. Two of the people in the house spoke Hebrew and asked the soldiers why they shot him, and the soldiers said that the rest of the men had to take our clothes off before we walked out.”

In another eye-witness account in Khuza’a, the Israeli military had trapped at least 32 people in a home and then prevented the Red Cross from evacuating them before then shelling the area. After they moved to a neighbor’s house they sought refuge in the basement where they found families already inside. “By that point we were 120 people, 10 men and the rest women and children,” Kamel al-Najjar told Human Rights Watch. After dawn, without warning, Israel struck the house, killing three people and wounding 15 others.

The toll this war had on Gaza’s children has been “catastrophic” according to the United Nations. At least 429 children have been killed in this latest Israeli onslaught, and those who have not been buried have had their innocence entombed, another casualty in this war against all things daring to live and resist in Gaza. “I watched the missile falling on my home. My home burned. It burned all my toys, clothes and my room. I think I will not survive,” a nine-year-old girl from Rafah told a UNRWA counselor.

Gaza’s children were robbed of hundreds of blissful mornings, from witnessing the sun rising to kiss the earth as they sit restless, listening to the reassuring pulse of their parents’ voices, tasting the sugar of happiness from their smiles. Some will no longer feel their mother’s soothing arms rock them still into the night, nor see the inspiring glimmer of hope, like constellations, dancing in their father’s eyes, nor will they hear stories told by their grandparents of golden sunsets in Palestine bleeding into mornings — and when the homes are rebuilt there will be corners of emptiness inside that had once been filled to the brim with the laughter of a sibling or cousin, as they sat amongst flat bread and plates of labneh, za’atar and olive oil.

Israel has forced the children of Gaza to lay flowers atop headstones, and watch helplessly as coffins that are filled with not only their most beloved family members, teachers, neighbors, and friends but also their most treasured memories, lullabies, lessons learned and those that will never come, descend into the belly of the earth. Their lips will memorize and form prayers for the dead and the stars that defied the siege, that flickered freely high above them, will be snatched from their skies. In so many interviews after countless attacks we hear Palestinians, both young and old, say: “Israel has stolen everything beautiful in our lives,” and Israel’s barbarity continues to reaffirm this sentiment.

Yet despite the blood soaking the dirt beneath the feet of mourners, despite this cataclysmic butchery and theft, Palestinians continue to resist. Israel has attempted with all of its militaristic might to remove not only the Palestinian will to resist but to extract Gaza, the land and the identity, from the Palestinian character as a whole, by way of the siege — but it is a part of Palestine as much as one’s heart is a part of the body.

Gaza is Palestine. So long as a single voice remains in Gaza calling for resistance, for an end to the siege and the greater occupation, come what may, Israel will answer for the destruction of villages, the arbitrary detention of children, the normalization of indefinite detention without charge or trial for political prisoners, the detainment of asylum seekers, the racism that has become part and parcel of the occupation. Israel will answer for its culture of impunity.

The children of Gaza will not forget the people and the land that Israel has snatched from them and so long as a single flag stands amongst the rubble, so long as a single voice cries for justice, despite the sounds of drones buzzing up above, the people of Palestine shall endure.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Sydney based Lebanese-American journalist and commentator. She tweets @roqchams and writes ‘Letters From the Underground.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel ‘withholding information’ about Gaza detainees


Israeli soldiers hold Palestinians in Gaza on July 24, 2014
Ma’an – 06/08/2014

RAMALLAH – The Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said Wednesday that it has not received information about Palestinians detained in Gaza during Israel’s offensive.

“The occupation army, during its current aggression on the Gaza Strip, has detained dozens of Palestinians and taken them to unknown locations,” Minister of Prisoner’s Affairs Shawqi al-Ayasa said in a statement.

Al-Ayasa said the ministry was yet to receive crucial information about the prisoners, including their ID numbers, locations, and conditions.

The fact that Israel has withheld the information is worrying, al-Ayasa said, adding that there were “growing fears that some of the prisoners have been executed.”

He called on international organizations, specifically the International Committee of the Red Cross, to intercede to obtain the information on the ministry’s behalf.

Al-Ayasa also requested that families in Gaza who suspect their relatives have been detained contact the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs.

The ministry said in a statement Sunday that more than 200 Palestinians had been detained in Gaza while Israeli forces were on the ground, but that some of them had been released.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an that Israeli forces had arrested 159 Palestinians in Gaza who were “actively doing terrorist attacks.” The prisoners were transferred to the Shin Bet intelligence agency for questioning, she said.

The spokeswoman did not have information regarding how many of those Palestinians were still being held, and did not comment on allegations that Israel was withholding information about the prisoners from the prisoner’s ministry.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

More than 70 per cent of Gazans have no drinking water

MEMO | August 6, 2014

Palestinian children store waterHead of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) Shaddad Attili said on Tuesday that the Gaza Strip is suffering a severe shortage of clean drinking water, calling the water situation “disastrous” after heavy Israeli attacks on the network of water pipes.

Speaking to Anadolu news agency, Attili said that 70 percent of the water pipelines have been damaged and that the 1.8 million Gazans are surviving on only 30 percent of the Strip’s capacity.

He went on to say that the water from some of the wells along the Strip was mixed with sewage. In addition 50 per cent of the sewage was pouring into the sea without being filtered because of the damage to the pipelines.

Gaza is one of the world’s most densely populated areas, where around 1.8 million people live in 360km2.

The PWA previously condemned Israeli plans to establish a security area 3km along the Gaza Strip. The PWA said this area, 36 percent of the Gaza strip, includes most of the resources for drinking water.

The PWA called upon the international community to intervene in order to prevent this and to allow chloride, which is used to sterilise drinking water, into the Strip. They also called for fuel to be allowed in to run water wells.

According to the statement, the Gaza Strip is in an urgent need of large tankers to distribute drinking water to urgently fulfil the needs of its residents.

During the war, the Palestinian housing and work ministry said that Israel had destroyed 25 percent of the infrastructure. Executive manager of the Palestinian Telecom Company said that 85 percent of wired and wireless telephone facilities were destroyed.

Israel killed 1,875 Palestinians, including 426 children and 255 women, and wounded 9,893; more than half of them are children and women, according to the ministry of health. 10,606 homes were destroyed, including 1,724 that were completely destroyed. It attacked 132 mosques; 42 of them were completely destroyed. Six universities and 188 schools, as well as 19 banks and exchange offices were directly attacked.

More than 315 factories, 27 public services facilities and 52 fishing boats were also destroyed.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Embedded Reporter Says Israel Targeted Guided Missile at UNWRA School, Killing 15 Civilians

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | August 5, 2014

An Israeli reporter for Maariv, Aviram Zino, has been embedded with an Israeli unit during the current invasion. Noam R writes in his Israeli political blog about Zino’s fawning enthusiastic response to being given the chance of a lifetime to be a reporter in the middle of the “action.” His reporting comes across as cheerleading rather than objective journalism. But in spite of himself, Zino reveals a damning fact that impeaches the Israeli’s credibility regarding its denial of deliberately targeting UN buildings housing Palestinian civilian refugees.

Zino reports that the unit commander, Nadav, ordered the firing of a $100,000 Tamuz (aka Spike) heat-seeking anti-tank missile on a UNWRA school in Beit Hanoun on July 24th:

Nadav tried to clarify what means were available to him.  A survey of the field shows clearly fire coming from an UNWRA school in the center of Gaza. The order is given and a Tammuz missile is fired at the school.  The commanding general, who arrives later for a press conference, says in response: “This is yet another example of Hamas’ cynical use of civilian structures for the purposes of terror.”

It’s a bit aggravating since the unit tried from the beginning of the Operation to do minimal damage, as best as possible, to the “uninvolved” [military jargon for “civilians”].

15 Palestinian civilians died from this missile and 150 were injured.  As Noam R points out in his blog post, this is the first eyewitness, definitive evidence that Israel deliberately ordered a lethal guided-weapon (not indiscriminate artillery fire) to be fired at a civilian building in Gaza knowing there were unarmed non-combatants inside who would be killed.

Two things to point out about this report. Clearly, Zino didn’t see firing from the school. He trusted the unit commander’s word that such fire had been confirmed. But by whom and how is not mentioned. Second, the commander speaking at the press conference only notes the attack by Israel on the school without explaining how it justified killing civilians. Zino, in the closing sentence, admits explicitly that the attack was both disproportional and knowingly attacked civilians. As Sara Lee Whitson says in the paragraph below: that “is a war crime.”

In fact, Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson spoke about Israel’s responsibility to Gaza’s civilian population:

…The…presence of… civilians despite a warning to flee cannot be ignored when attacks are carried out, as Israeli forces have done previously.

“Warning families to flee fighting doesn’t make them fair targets just because they’re unable to do so, and deliberately attacking them is a war crime,” Whitson said.

In other words, you may not attack a civilian target containing unarmed civilians using heavy lethal weapons, even if you believe there are armed fighters engaged in combat operations against you. The safety of civilians trumps any desire to eliminate the armed threat, if there is one. This is reinforced by the fact that the Israel never presents any proof of its claims that armed fighters are firing from such structures and didn’t do so in this particular case.

There is yet another instance of serious Israeli prevarication. Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Lerner told AP 900 Palestinian fighters had been killed during the war. Yet Israel itself only two days before had put that number at 300. When asked why it jumped so much, AP characterized his response:

Lerner said the figure of 900 militants killed was an approximation, based on reporting from individual Israeli units, but provided no further detail.

In other words, “900″ is nothing more than the old Vietcong “body count” released by the U.S. army to persuade the press it was killing gooks and winning the war. The truth turned out to be quite different, as it will be in Gaza as well.

Palestinian and UN reports place the number of dead fighters at 20% of the overall total, which is 1,900. That would mean that 380 militants were killed. My own Israeli source reports more candid Israeli claims that 500 fighters have been killed. Certainly, the final number will be somewhere between 380-500, but nowhere near Lerner’s prevaricating claim of 900.

My Operation Protective Edge debrief yesterday argued that while both sides had gotten bloody noses, Hamas, simply by remaining standing, had gotten the better of Israel. Sheera Frenkel interviewed soldiers leaving Gaza and they uniformly told her they believed both that their objectives hadn’t been clear going into Gaza, and now that the Operation had ended, they hadn’t “gotten the job done.” Meaning, don’t believe the PR-bloviating you’ll hear from Benny Gantz and Bibi Netanyahu saying that Hamas had been dealt a mortal blow, that Israel had achieved all its objectives, etc. None of that happened. … Full article

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Gaza industrial sector hit hard as 134 factories destroyed

Ma’an – 06/08/2014

GAZA CITY – At least 134 factories were destroyed during Israel’s four-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian industrial union said Wednesday, causing severe damage to an already fragile industrial sector.

The union of Palestinian industries said that most factories stopped operations for over 30 days, with reported losses of at least $70 million.

Over 30,000 workers were made redundant due to the closures.

“The Israeli war machine deliberately destroyed the infrastructure of the Palestinian national economy by targeting factories which posed no security threat to the occupation,” the union said.

The industrial sector had already suffered major damage during previous Israeli military offenses in Gaza in 2012 and 2008.

The ongoing Israeli blockade has also severely limited the productivity of the industrial sector since it was imposed eight years ago, forcing factories to close or fire workers to remain in operation.

“Israel shouldn’t be rewarded for this aggression, and so Israeli products should be boycotted both locally and internationally,” the union added.

Deputy PA economy minister Taysir Amro said the 29-day war had caused total damage of up to $6 billion dollars.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

US objects Palestinian bid to International Criminal Court

MEMO | August 6, 2014

Spokesperson of the US Department of State Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that her country objects to the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to try Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Commenting at a daily press briefing in Washington on what she called “reports of a push for an ICC investigation”, she said: “Our view is that we continue to strongly oppose unilateral actions that seek to circumvent or prejudge the very outcomes that can only be negotiated.”

She continued: “We’ve been very clear that, while we’ve expressed concerns when we’ve had them, there is – the only realistic path for realising Palestinian aspirations of statehood is through direct negotiations between the parties.”

Earlier on the same day, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said he is optimistic that the latest ceasefire in Gaza will hold, even as Palestinians renewed efforts to bring Israel before the ICC.

“We expect the ceasefire to expand into another 72 hours and beyond,” Al-Malki told reporters at a press conference at The Hague, where he met the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.

“We have heard that Israel has really committed itself to withdrawing… but it really depends on Israel and the seriousness of the Israeli side,” Al-Malki said.

He also openly expressed that the Palestinian Authority is planning to bring Israel to the ICC over the massacres carried out in the Gaza Strip during the last four weeks.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reports of Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine border groundless – Moscow

RT | August 6, 2014

Moscow slammed NATO and Pentagon claims that Russia is amassing military near the border with Ukraine calling them unsubstantiated, according to a statement made by a Ministry of Defense spokesman.

“In Russia’s Ministry of Defense such statements only raise sympathy for the speakers of the Pentagon, the US State Department and NATO. It seems the people are serious, but they have to constantly improvise during their speeches to somehow add seriousness to their statements,” said Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry Major General, on Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, told reporters on Tuesday that Russia has at least 10,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.

Following this, on Wednesday, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu stated that Russia has already amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on the border.

Konashenkov said that “we would like to explain to the Pentagon and NATO officials that it is impossible to perform such a manoeuver with thousands of soldiers with weapons and military equipment in such a short time, all the more to keep it secret from OSCE observers now in the region.”

In late July, the OSCE deployed sixteen observers to two border-crossings in Russia – Gukovo and Donetsk, following a request to the organization by the Russian government.

The regular “tales” of Russian troops amassing near the border with Ukraine are reminiscent “of an auction selling soap bubbles, where the main goal is to set the price higher before the bubble bursts.”

This is the reason Pentagon and NATO figures vary so much, he explained.

Russia has conducted a series of war games since the start of the crisis in Ukraine. The latest five-day military exercise started on Monday in Russia’s south at the Ashuluk test site near Astrakhan, more than 700 kilometers away from the Ukrainian conflict zone.

The tests were scheduled last year, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

The Major General pointed out that the representatives of the US and NATO, which have been inspecting the border under the ‘Open Skies’ mission, “consistently cannot find” any evidence of a military build-up.

“At the same time, a grouping of 25,000 Ukrainian military forces leading military actions near the border with Russia, for some reason, does not cause any concern in Europe or the United States.”

Earlier, Russia’s Defense Ministry accused the US of releasing “fake” satellite images allegedly proving Russia had shelled Ukraine territory. The images were posted by the US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt on his Twitter account on July 27. Moscow said that because of “extremely low resolution” and “due to the absence of any attribution to the exact area” the images’ “authenticity is impossible to prove.”

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

UN: ‘Scared of the way Kiev conducts military operation in E. Ukraine’


RT | August 6, 2014

The UN has expressed its major concern over the plight of the eastern Ukrainian territories and their soaring numbers of refugees. There are 118,000 internally displaced people, and 740,000 have fled to Russia during the crisis.

“What we are scared about is the way the military operations are conducted. What will happen if we have intense fighting inside the big urban centers of Lugansk and Donetsk? Fighting in highly intensified urban areas could lead to massive exodus and massive destruction,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Vincent Cochetel stated on Tuesday.

Almost 4 million people live in a region that has been the hardest-hit by violence, and “face imminent security threats from the fighting,” which has also led to massive damage to infrastructure and the interruption of power and water supplies, John Ging, the head of UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated.

Donetsk and Lugansk are home to 1.5 million people, and the water supply there has diminished to being only available for a few hours a day. Medical supplies also dangerously low.

Another major concern is that around 70 percent of medics have fled the area.

Currently, 118,000 internally displaced people are registered in Ukraine, with 87 percent of them having fled the east of the country, according to UN data. Over 1,000 people are reportedly leaving the conflict zone each day.

Those numbers can’t be viewed as comprehensive, as “many Ukrainians left their homes without officially registering with the Ukrainian authorities or not addressing them directly.”

740,000 refugees have arrived in Russia since the beginning of this year, according to Russian and UN estimates.

At least 1,367 people, civilians and military, have been killed and 4,087 people wounded by fighting in eastern Ukraine since mid-April.

Ging drew attention to the issue of civilian evacuation from areas affected by the military conflict.

Humanitarian corridors are “open for several hours each day, but these are regularly blocked by combatants, and the evacuation of people through these channels is impeded.”

The UN also demanded that Kiev stops taking customs fees from the humanitarian aid that arrives in the country, and also simplify UN employees’ access into Ukraine.

Moreover, “a unified system is necessary to register the internally displaced persons, a system that will allow to fully analyze and understand the people’s needs,” Ging stated.

“Humanitarian aid should be free of customs payments. Apart from that, it is necessary to accelerate the process of signing and ratifying the agreement between the UN and the government about the simplification of the entry to the country for humanitarian workers and the import of loads,” the official added.

The key component of UN plans to provide humanitarian aid is preparation for the winter when freezing temperatures will prevail.

“We need to assure that all the necessary efforts are taken to address the consequences of the coming winter – which is expected to be severe – for the forcibly displaced people,” Ging stressed.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment