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Russia Offered to US to Exchange Non-Interference Letters, US Refused – Moscow

Sputnik – 13.12.2017

Russia has proposed to the United States to exchange letters on non-interference in each other’s affairs, but Washington refused, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

According to Maria Zakharova, Russia did not invent anything new, “this is not some kind of revolutionary proposal or some kind of innovation.” She noted that such a principle had already been fixed during the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries on November 16, 1933, at the insistent request of the Americans themselves.

“Washington’s refusal to consider such an offer now once again shows the absolute fakeness of the campaign for accusing Russia of some interference in last year’s elections in the United States,” she added.

Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations of the US special services in trying to influence the elections in the United States, and Dmitry Peskov, the presidential press secretary, called them “absolutely unsubstantiated.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Western leaders misled Gorbachev with promises that NATO wouldn’t expand – released archives

In 1990, Western politicians repeatedly assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand east of Germany’s borders, but broke that promise less than a decade later, say insider archives from both sides of negotiations following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall.

Researchers from the respected George Washington University-based National Security Archive, which specializes in obtaining key declassified information from the government, have put together 30 crucial documents that clearly show several top Western officials vowing to Gorbachev in unison that NATO would not expand eastward. Some of these have been publicly available for several years, others have been revealed as a result of Freedom of Information requests for the study.

Through 1990 as the two Germanies, and the leaders of four World War II victors, the USSR, the US, the UK and France, negotiated a reunification treaty, signed by the six parties in Moscow in September, the capitalist states tried to defuse Moscow’s fears that a reunified state in the heart of Europe would present a threat to the Soviet Union.

In February, George H. W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, assured his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, that in a post-Cold War Europe NATO would no longer be belligerent – “less of a military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability.”

Nonetheless, Baker promised Shevardnadze “iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.” On the same day in Moscow, he famously told the Soviet General Secretary that the alliance would not move “one inch to the east.”

The following day, February 10, 1990, Helmut Kohl, the future chancellor of a united Germany, repeated the same thought to Gorbachev, even as they disagreed on other issues.

“We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people,” Kohl said.

Later that month, talking with Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel, President George H. W. Bush himself said that “we will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying, ‘We win, you lose.’”

“Tell Gorbachev that… I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me,” the US president said, talking to the Czech reformer and former dissident.

The French president, Socialist Francois Mitterand, went further and said that he was not in favor of even a unified Germany joining NATO, something he openly shared with the Soviet leader.

In the end, the Soviets moved their forces out of Germany, and later other eastern European states, without a single hostile incident. Among those going home was KGB officer Vladimir Putin, who was stationed in Dresden between 1985 and 1990.

The promise lasted only until 1997, however, when Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were invited into the alliance. In total, 13 Eastern European states have become NATO members since then.

Gorbachev and subsequently Putin have frequently bemoaned the West’s broken promise, with the latter insisting that it fundamentally undermined the fragile trust between an internationally retreating Russia and an ascendant US.

Nonetheless NATO and top Western officials have continued to claim that there was no promise. None of the assurances of non-expansion were included in any treaty documents, which means they were just that – words.

“NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Personal assurances, from NATO leaders, cannot replace alliance consensus and do not constitute a formal NATO agreement,” the alliance said in its official explainer on its website.

Robert Zoellick, a key negotiator during the reunification talks, has also spoken of the promise as a “misperception,” while former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul has labeled the idea of a reneged promise a “myth” in an interview given last year.

But the weight of evidence now uncovered suggests that these stances are disingenuous at best and duplicitous at worst.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Marwan Barghouthi ordered to solitary confinement after statement on Intifada

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – December 13, 2017

Marwan Barghouthi, member of the Fateh central committee and a prominent Palestinian national leader, was transferred by Israeli prison officials into solitary confinement at Hadarim prison, reported the campaign for his release on Tuesday, 12 December 2017.

The campaign said that “this decision to isolate him comes to prevent him from communicating with his people in the homeland and diaspora at a time when Palestine and the capitals and cities of the world are protesting widely against the decision of U.S. president Donald Trump to declare his country’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation state. This decision to isolate is a form of retaliation for a statement issued by Marwan Barghouthi on the anniversary of the great popular intifada a few days ago.” The statement, issued from Hadarim prison, emphasized the rights of the Palestinian people to return, self-determination and their capital, Jerusalem, and urged the expansion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and international solidarity with Palestine.

Barghouthi has been ordered to solitary confinement on 27 occasions and spent several years in solitary confinement in the past, especially after his imprisonment in April 2002. He was held in solitary confinement in April-May 2017 because of his role in leading a mass hunger strike for 51 days in Israeli prison; he has also been barred from visits by his wife, the lawyer Fadwa Barghouthi, until the end of 2019.

Recently, a French delegation to Palestine, including a number of mayors involved with the campaign to free Barghouthi, was told that its members would be denied access to Palestine for their role in supporting Palestinian prisoners and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The delegation sought to meet with Barghouthi in Hadarim prison.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

70% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign immediately

MEMO | December 13, 2017

Some 70 per cent of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip want President Mahmoud Abbas to resign immediately, according to a new poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research conducted 7-10 December.

The poll, conducted in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the immediate aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, makes grim reading for Abbas, with those demanding his resignation up three points from September.

Abbas’ net satisfaction rating, meanwhile, has dropped one point to minus 35, with just 31 per cent satisfied with his performance, compared to 66 per cent who are dissatisfied.

When asked about who should succeed Abbas, 35 per cent expressed a preference for Marwan Barghouthi, 22 per cent would vote for Ismail Haniyeh, while Mohammad Dahlan attracted the support of just seven per cent of Palestinians (15 per cent in Gaza and one per cent in the West Bank).

With regards to the national unity file, 38 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt are satisfied and 55 per cent are dissatisfied with the performance of the reconciliation government. Fifty per cent are optimistic and 45 per cent are pessimistic about the success of reconciliation; three months ago, optimism stood at 31 per cent and pessimism at 61 per cent.

Some 81 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the civil employees of the former Hamas government, while only 14 per cent do not it to do so. The same number (81 per cent) want the reconciliation government to pay the salaries of the security sector employees of the former Hamas government.

With regards to Abbas’ call for “one government, one gun”, only 22 per cent of those polled support the disbanding of Palestinian factions’ armed wings in the Gaza Strip, and 72 per cent want those armed groups to remain in place.

Regarding Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem, a plurality of Palestinians (45 per cent) believe that “the most appropriate” Palestinian response is to stop all contacts with the US administration, submit a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and resort to an armed intifada.

Twenty-seven per cent want an end to contacts, the submission of a complaint to the ICC, and “non-violent resistance”. Twelve per cent want the Palestinian Authority to simply denounce the US step and stop contacts with the Trump administration, while another 12 per cent want just verbal condemnation.

A plurality of Palestinians (44 per cent) believe armed resistance is the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state, 27 per cent think negotiation is the most effective means, and 23 per cent think non-violent resistance is the most effective. Three months ago, 35 per cent indicated that armed resistance is the answer and 33 per cent sided with negotiation.

While most Palestinians believe the Trump administration will not submit a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, 86 per cent believe that any such plan “will not meet Palestinian need to end occupation and build a state”. Nonetheless, 49 per cent think Abbas might accept the American peace plan if one is indeed submitted to him, while 42 per cent believe he will not accept it.

Regarding “public trust in the roles and positions of major Arab countries in the peace process and the US efforts to develop a regional agreement in the context of Palestinian-Israeli peace”, 82 per cent of Palestinians in the oPt say they do not trust the Saudi role, 75 per cent do not trust the Emirati role, and 70 per cent do not trust the Egyptian role.

 

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Renowned South African university cuts ties with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 13, 2017

PRETORIA – “The Council of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has resolved that TUT will not forge any ties with the State of Israel or any of its organizations and institutions,” TUT spokesman on the issue Professor Rasigan Maharajh told the African News Agency (ANA) during an interview on Wednesday.

A December 7 press release from TUT stated: “As a progressive university in a democratic South Africa, we want to affirm that TUT will not sign any agreements or enter into scientific partnerships until such time that Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The university will not stand back and accept the violations of the Israeli government when it confines the movement of Palestinian children and youth on their own land and restricts their ability to access education through destroying their schools,” added the statement.

South African criticism of Israel is growing, the ANA pointed out.

One of the controversial issues to be discussed at the ANC’s forthcoming 54th National Conference in Gauteng, from December 16 to 20, is the possible downgrading, or even closure, of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“As a constitutional democracy premised on the recognition of human rights, the Republic of South Africa must urgently discuss downgrading the status of its relationship with Israel,” said Maharajh.

TUT’s decision to cut all ties with the Jewish state also comes in the wake of strong condemnation from the South African government, and various political and human rights organizations across the country, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while stating that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

Under international law East Jerusalem is occupied territory and all international embassies have based themselves in Tel Aviv until the final status of Jerusalem is negotiated through talks.

“The announcement by the Trump regime of its intentions to establish its embassy in Jerusalem further escalates tensions,” said Maharajh.

“As guided by the founding President of the post-apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who declared that: ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’, the Republic of South Africa must also condemn the actions of the Trump regime and work harder at fostering solidarity and cooperation with the people of Palestine.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

What does Trump’s Jerusalem decision actually mean?

 US President Donald Trump at the white house, November 28, 2017 [Samuel Corum/Facebook]
By Hassan Ben Imran | MEMO | December 13, 2017

“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past… Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.” So said Donald Trump last week.

With such logical fallacies and ignorance of basic legal facts, as well as the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, the US President decided that it is time for a new “formula” and recognised “Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”. He overlooked the fact that Israel is far from being “like every other sovereign nation.”

No sovereign nation in modern times has ever declared independence following the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population; and no sovereign nation has broken international law concerning Jerusalem in order to annex it and claim the city as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Trump would be totally correct in his assumption had he been talking about any ordinary sovereign nation, but certainly not Israel.

In 1967, Israel completed its occupation of Palestine, including East Jerusalem; it is still the occupying power. Everything that Israel does in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, is done to make the occupation permanent. This colonialism peaked in 1980 when the Knesset (Israeli parliament) amended the Basic Law (5740 – 1980) to annex East Jerusalem and declare that “[t]he complete and united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

With a sense of self-guilt, Israel worked hard to gain international recognition of its “new capital”. Knowing the grave legal and political consequences of such an ill-advised move, even its closest allies refused to acknowledge this “capital”. It was only in 1995 that the US Congress decided (or perhaps was made to decide) to recognise the Israeli annexation, although successive US Presidents have signed a six-monthly waiver to delay the implementation of the Congress decision. Israel had to wait until there was someone like Donald Trump in the White House to make the formal announcement.

The status of Jerusalem under international law

Few cities have received as much international attention as Jerusalem. This has entrenched its status in international law.

Despite the Israeli and now, sadly, the US efforts to change the status of Jerusalem through domestic legislation, media campaigns and diplomacy, several UN resolutions have affirmed and reaffirmed the opposite of what Israel sought. International law is clear on this; no state may claim, exercise or show any aspect of sovereignty over any territory through occupation.

After the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel began a systematic campaign to force out its Palestinian citizens and change its identity, even before formally annexing the territory. This was condemned by all, including the UN Security Council, where the US abstained and did not use its veto power.

In 1971, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 298 “[deploring] the failure of Israel to respect the previous resolutions adopted by the United Nations concerning measures and actions by Israel purporting to affect the status of the City of Jerusalem” and “[Confirming] in the clearest possible terms that all legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to change the status of the City of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties, transfer of populations and legislation aimed at the incorporation of the occupied section, are totally invalid and cannot change that status.”

It was so firm a stance by the Security Council that the US refrained from blocking it. One resolution after another came from the Council, the top decision-making body in the UN structure whose resolutions are meant to be binding on all the member states of the international organisation, reaffirming the same position. The most recent was Resolution 2334 passed in December 2016 rejecting the Israeli measures related to settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, and recognising those measures as grave breaches of international law.

Furthermore, in its Advisory Opinion on the Construction of the Wall in 2004, the International Court of Justice affirmed that East Jerusalem, as a part of the occupied West Bank, is an occupied territory that belongs to the Palestinians who are entitled to self-determination.

The status of East Jerusalem as an occupied Palestinian Territory has been affirmed and upheld by almost all of the UN member states, the exception being Israel, of course, and possibly now the US following Trump’s announcement.

Can Trump change the legal status of Jerusalem?

It is ironic that the only positive aspect of Trump’s decision was that he avoided using the term so loved by the Israelis: “complete and united Jerusalem”. This was used by Israel in its 1980 annexation legislation. This is not entirely reassuring, however, as it could be manipulated given that he mentioned Jerusalem with no further detail in the full knowledge that Israel annexed the eastern sector of the city.

The major risk here is the creation of customary law recognising the “undivided” status. International Customary Law, a source of international law according to the ICJ Statute, has two essential elements which, if fulfilled, may change the legal status of Jerusalem: state practice and opinio juris. As clarified in the North Sea Continental Shelf cases, state practice has to be frequent, repetitive and consistent, as well as being conducted or used by a significant number of states participating (given the size of the international community, the practice does not have to encompass all states or be completely uniform, there just needs to be a significant degree of participation). Opinio juris is the belief that an action was carried out as a legal obligation with the full awareness of its legal consequences, which must be in existence in order for the custom to be regarded as law.

International law is about the agreement of the relevant or involved parties, and the US has been the broker of the Palestine-Israel peace process, making it a directly-involved party. As such, the US seems to fulfil both requirements, state practice and opinio juris. Even so, there has to be a significant number of states following the new US measures in order to be able to contest the current legal status of Jerusalem. The US might be pushed by the pro-Israel Lobby to exert pressure on states relying on its military assistance or financial aid to recognise the new “status quo”. This would certainly embed Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land further and encourage the state to violate international law even more than it does now.

Probable consequences

This would have dire consequences, not only for the peace process, but also the city of Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian population. It would encourage the Israeli authorities to annex more of the occupied Palestinian territories, change their identity and complete the ethnic cleansing of their people. Even the Muslim and Christian religious authorities in Jerusalem might not be safe and could be merged with those of the occupation.

This would be even worse if other countries are forced by circumstances to follow America’s lead on the issue. Countries which depend on US aid or military protection are vulnerable to pressure from the Trump administration.

Moreover, in a worst-case scenario, the weakness of the current Palestinian leadership may lead it to proceed with the peace process under the “new terms” which keep Jerusalem off the negotiation agenda.

What is to be done?

Trump’s dangerous move needs to be met with a serious response from the Palestinians and all those who believe in the justness of their cause. The Palestinian leadership, along with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is the official Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, should take the issue to the UN General Assembly, and file a complaint to the Security Council. There should also be a request through the UN General Assembly for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the new US measures.

Clear resolutions or even statements from intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU, Organisation of Islamic Coordination (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) affirming the status of the city as occupied territory and refusing to accept the US move would halt any possibility for any change in Jerusalem’s legal status. It would also discourage other countries from giving-in to US pressure.

The ICJ has jurisdiction to settle international disputes and adjudicate on contentious issues. Palestine or Jordan may bring the case to the ICJ on the basis that the US has breached international law in a move which has a direct impact on them both. Even if the US refuses to appear before the Court, this would weaken its position.

And within the US itself?

Article VI, Clause II of the US Constitution states that “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land”. Despite the federal government enjoying sovereign immunity according to US law, there are several exceptions that could apply in this case. President Trump is obviously breaching treaties, such as the UN Charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, that are, according to Article VI, Clause II of the Constitution, “a supreme Law of the Land” and so he should be held to account under US law.

In conclusion, Donald Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem is an attack on international law and reinforces the sense that the “law of the jungle” rules in the Middle East. The international community has both the institutions and the tools to ensure the application of international law; it is time for them to be activated.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Zionism In The Light of Jerusalem

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | December 13, 2017

Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an embarrassment. A salutary embarrassment.

It’s a clumsy, all-too-obvious unmasking of decades of bipartisan U.S. policy whose contempt for Palestinians has been cloaked with a smile and a handshake.

As such, it’s an embarrassment for the Zionist political and media elite that prefers to operate behind smiles and handshakes, and not flaunt their power.

It’s an embarrassment to liberal Zionists and “peace process” promoters everywhere—in the American political parties and media, in European conservative and social democrat governments, and in Jewish Zionist organizations. For fifty years, they have laser-focused attention on the post-’67 “occupation,” and done all that they can [nothing concrete], in solidarity with the Israeli Jewish peace movement [dwindling to insignificance in an increasingly fascistic political culture], to end the occupation [ minimize its cost to the Jewish state, ‘cause “no concessions, no withdrawals, no Palestinian state” is already proclaimed Israeli policy].

It’s an embarrassment to the Arab monarchs and the Palestinian Authority functionaries, who for decades have collaborated in the task of subduing Palestinian rage as Israel went about its colonizing project, holding out the promise that the good American Daddy and his kinder, gentler Israeli Jewish progeny would one day reward the Palestinians for their good behavior.

It’s an embarrassment to those liberals who want to portray Donald Trump as a uniquely evil interloper imposed on American politics by a foreign power, rather than understand him as the product of an American political culture that they helped to create while obtusely refusing to recognize what they were doing.

The only parties who are not embarrassed are the “hard”—that is, intellectually honest and consistent—Zionists in Israel and the United States (many liberal Democrats included) and Donald Trump himself, who is immune to embarrassment.

All this embarrassment provides a fine example of the positive repercussions of the “Trump-effect” that I discussed in a previous essay, which is steadily eroding the thin remaining patina of America’s “soft power” in the world, an essential support of the Euro-American imperialist alliance.

After all, Israel’s relentless Judaization of East Jerusalem, consistent with its long-held declaration of sovereignty over the entire city, was proceeding swimmingly, with only the feeblest occasional murmurs of protest, accompanied by massive countervailing deliveries of arms and money, from the peace-process-loving governments of Europe and America. Trump’s gratuitous, self-aggrandizing gesture, by unmasking that as the de facto acceptance of annexation that it is, only brings unwanted attention to the whole rotten game, and to the hypocrisy of those governments especially.

Good riddance to the pretense! As Noura Erakat says: “Trump has removed the emperor’s clothes to reveal the farce of the peace process…[He] has finally ended the United States’ double-speak and should have ended any faith that the US will deliver Palestinian independence or that Israel is interested in giving up its territorial holdings captured in war.” And Rashid Khalidi: “Trump may have inadvertently cleared the air. He may have smashed a rotten status quo of US ‘peace processing’ that has served only to entrench and legitimize Israel’s military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land for a quarter-century.”

In other words, Trump has suddenly and single-handedly destroyed American’s pose as the “honest broker” in the Middle east and the Solomonic arbiter of world affairs in general, in a way that forces the European and Palestinian political leaders to make an explicit break from what is now declared American policy. For now, of course, that break is rhetorical, but should it remain so—if European and Palestinian leaders do not work a political strategy independent of, and in opposition to, the United States—there will be no denying their capitulation and servility.

Indeed, Europe, in the person of the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, has already laid down the markers for itself: “Germany can no longer simply react to U.S. policy but must establish its own position…even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the U.S. will never be the same.” Even after Trump leaves the White House. This is a recognition that the American regime—not just Trump, but precisely what he is the culmination of—is not a trustworthy and reliable partner for the management of global capitalist stability. This is what Trump is wreaking. And it’s a very good thing.

As excessive and gratuitous as Trump’s Jerusalem announcement was, there is no question that it is the culmination of American politics. It is the perfect example of how Trump is the symptom not the cause of long-festering political rot, the product not the antithesis of American political culture. His recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the fulfillment, exactly as Trump says, of a promise that’s been de rigueur for presidential candidates, and of the demand of a law (Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) passed twenty-two years ago by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress. Just six months ago, the Senate—including Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders—voted 90-0  to demand that Trump “abide by its provisions.” Schumer, who believes he’s on a mission from God to be the guardian of Israel, had last week criticized Trump for his “indecisiveness” about declaring Jerusalem the “undivided capital of Israel” and moving the embassy.

Who can forget the scene at the 2012 Democratic Convention, when an amendment to the platform declaring Jerusalem the Israeli capital was adopted against the clear opposition of the majority? That was shoved down the party’s throat by Obama, who had it shoved down his throat by AIPAC. (It was language Obama had removed from the platform, which AIPAC browbeat him into restoring.) As I discussed in a post at the time, the blithely ignored floor vote was a display of Stalinist party discipline for which Obama was congratulated by an MSNBC roundtable including O’Donnell, Maddow, and Sharpton.

It was Obama, too, who (after becoming first American President to give bunker-buster bombs to Israel. He did that secretly, because he didn’t want it to be known that his really brave and progressive and highly-publicized peace-process demand that Israel stop settlement construction in exchange for such gifts, which Israel of course ignored, was another empty American bluff. And it was Obama who, in 2013, became the first American President to demand that “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.” That was a new, gratuitous and excessive demand at the time, foisted on everyone by Netanyahu and AIPAC because they knew it would be unacceptable to the Palestinians. Obama’s adoption of that requirement, which has become locked into American policy, was no less damaging to the ostensible peace-process, with its infinitely-receding goalpost, than Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and perhaps more contemptuous of the Palestinians. It’s the equivalent of demanding that “Native Americans must recognize that America is a White Man’s state.”

Really. Think about it.

So, whatever the problem is with declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, it’s not Trump’s. It’s America’s. It’s a problem the Democrats share responsibility for, and will not get us out of.

Past Prologue

Let’s name it clearly: It’s America’s problem with Zionism.

After the “You must accept the Jewish State” insult and the “You must accept Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish State” insult, can we dispense with the diversions? Can we recognize that the problem isn’t how many settlers are in which part of which city, or how long and where exactly the wall should be located, or the Green Line or the Blue Line, or, indeed, the “occupation”? Let’s, without any more fear or hesitation, name and critique the fundamental problem: Zionism.

Zionism is a colonialist project. Israel is a colonial-settler state. The fault lies in colonialism—you know, that thing where a group of people, who want the land somebody else is living on, take it. By subjugating, expelling, and/or exterminating the indigenous population. That’s what has to be named and opposed. Every other problem in the context is a derivative of that.

Zionism has the particular distinction of being the last major initiation of a blatant settler-colonial project. It was possible at the end of WWII (1945-8) because racism and ethno-supremacist colonialism were still integral parts of the Western worldview. The great world powers could still blithely dismiss the lives, land, and humanity of an Arab population as dispensable—secondary both to the aspirations of the largely European Jews who formed the Zionist vanguard and to the guilty consciences of European gentiles. It was compensatory colonialism, with the compensation paid by an expendable third(world) people.

In the post-WWII, post-holocaust context, Zionism had the further peculiar distinction of being able to conjure about itself an aura of virtue that effectively occluded the blatant injustice of the colonialism it is. Thanks to the consistent and intensive Zionist influence on Euro-American political, media, and cultural institutions, that aura has enshrouded Zionism for Westerners’ eyes for 69 years, long past colonialism’s sell-by date. That aura of virtue is what makes breaking up with Zionism so hard to do, for so many, to this day.

I’ve discussed more of the history and arguments about this in a previous essay. At this point, there is so much information available from so many channels, including Israeli scholars, that supporters of Israel who are intellectually-honest have a hard time denying that the Zionist conquest of Palestine was colonialist ethnic cleansing, and Israel a colonial state. Liberal Americans know very well that, if such a project were to be proposed today, they would denounce and reject it—no ifs, ands or buts. Today, any person of a modern, secular, liberal cast of mind recognizes the abolition and rejection of colonialism as one of history’s irrefutably progressive milestones, and would see any attempt at colonial conquest as an unacceptable historical crime.

Yet that is exactly what Israel is doing. Israel is exactly that attempt.

“Attempt” is an important word here. Zionists want to think all the nasty work of ethnic cleansing is in the ancient (1948) or at worst early-modern (1967 when liberal Zionists grudgingly acknowledge, colonial aggression was certainly past its sell-by date) past. They present Israel, whatever its nasty origins, as a finished historical product: a liberal democracy filled with juice bars and tech startups—which would be stable and progressive, if only the fanatical Arabs/Muslims would leave it alone.

Indeed, a favorite Zionist argument I’ve heard delivered as if it’s a killing rhetorical blow packed with irrefutable historical realism, is some version of: “So what, you’re a colonizer, too. American Indians!” Gotcha!

It baffles me that anyone thinks that’s an effective argument. Accepting the damning admission that the relationship between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs today is analogous to that between European settlers and Native Americans from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century (and leaving the ethics of that aside), one might start a reply with the following:

Being historically realist and all, we have to recognize that, tragically, over those four centuries, the Native American population was so completely ravaged that it now constitutes less than 1% of the population. If Native Americans were now the majority of the population in North America under white settler control; if they were engaged in a fierce resistance struggle to prevent being expelled or exterminated; if they had the support of hundreds of millions of their neighbors, as well as of populations and governments throughout the world, as well as of an established international ideological and legal framework that forbade and denounced the colonial project the white settlers were still trying to complete (while demanding that everyone recognize America as the White Man’s State)—then you would have a relevant analogy.

Sorry, but the Zionist project, Israel, is not finished. It is quite unfinished and precarious, and Israeli leaders know it.

Back to the Future

This is so because the Palestinians are not defeated and have not surrendered. Too few of them have been exterminated; they have not been expelled far enough away; they have not been thoroughly enough subjugated. The existence and resistance of Palestinians put the lie to the idea that Israel is a stable, finished state and that the dirty work of Zionist colonialism is in the past. As the rallying cry of many Zionists in Israel today has it, they still have to “finish ’48.”

Israel is profoundly insecure. Not because of any external military threat, but because of the presence of the Palestinians. Their defiant presence is an intrinsic threat to the Zionist project. External threats—whether ideological or economic or military, whether from specific countries or from the international community—derive from the presence of the Palestinians and what that implies about the legitimacy of the Zionist project in an anti-colonial, anti-apartheid world.

Every attack on Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria, all the hair-pulling anxiety over Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and where the next war will just have to be, and how many Palestinians can be dispossessed or expelled how quickly before somebody in the world—especially Americans, and most especially American Jews—starts to push back, demonstrates that Israel is an unfinished colonial project that hasn’t quite figured out how to achieve the final submission of its colonial subjects. It was as true in 1999, when Edward Said said it, as it was in 1948, and as it is now: “the contest is as alive as ever.”

Indeed, the famous loaded question “Does Israel have a right to exist?” is posed by Zionists so insistently precisely because it is an unsettled question about the future. It’s not only about past events—whether Zionists back in the day had the right to establish the colonial entity they did, but also about a present, aspirational practice—whether they now have the right to establish the colonial entity they would like to. The question, really—and those hard-core, “finish ‘48” Zionists know it—is: Will Israel exist?

The question is also asking us: “Do you agree that it is right for Zionists to be establishing a colonial-settler Jewish State, ethnic cleansing and all?” Are you going to sign on for that?

Israel will only be finished and stable if it achieves that. One can argue that it’s almost there or that it’s a long way off, but done it ain’t.

That’s why we should take the opportunity that Trump’s latest embarrassment of American policy gives us to exit for good the phony two-state peace-process paradigm, to forthrightly name and reject Zionism and the colonialism it is. We need to go back to the future, to a proposal for a single, if bi-national, secular democratic state, a de-colonized polity in the territory of historic Palestine, where Arabs and Jews can live in peace and equality. Something along the lines of the “secular, democratic state” the PLO called for in 1968 and the “full secular democracy” that Edward Said championed again in 1999.

Love It Loud

To be sure: I am not sanguine about this. The political way forward is not clear.

On the one hand, the exhaustion of the peace process and the Palestinian Authority is now a done deal, as I hope everyone now recognizes. At least as important, the de-legitimization of Zionism, is already well-advanced. Politically and ideologically, the actions and discourse of Israel and its partisans themselves do as much as anything to discredit Zionism. And, despite its being kept in the cultural shadows, more Americans are aware of the problems with the dominant Zionist narrative. The BDS movement is strong and growing. On American campuses today, Zionism is losing the all-important ideological battle, especially in the crucial constituency of young Jewish-Americans, and the effects of that are radiating throughout the culture. The reality of this effect is demonstrated by the increased anxiety among the guardians of Zionism, with their increasing efforts to censor and suppress criticism of Israel, to define anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and to outlaw anti-Zionism and the BDS movement. The arc of history is not bending toward Zionist colonialism.

To wax ironic, Zionism’s fatal weakness may be the effect of its greatest strength—its tenacious entwinement in our political culture, which is hard to overstate. We live in a country where powerful politicians and the wealthy donors who control them proclaim their fealty to Israel; where Israeli officials enjoy veto power over candidates for office down to the level of State Assembly. where the Secretary of State gives a “devoutly Zionist” speech and is still criticized for not being obsequious enough to Israel, where the Vice-President declares “I am a Zionist,” and where a President who was excoriated for avoiding service in the American army can say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Israel, and nobody bats an eyelash.

Really, think about it.

Perhaps most vomit-inducing in the present context, it’s a country where the Congress has just overwhelmingly passed a bill de-funding the Palestinian Authority (except, at Israeli insistence, the PA security forces) if they give any support to any family member of a Palestinian convicted of what Israel calls “terrorism” (and others would call anti-colonial resistance), and at the same time that Congress allows the great charitable organization, The Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), to collect $50 million a night, tax-free to itself and tax-deductible to its donors. All that money is needed, over and above the $3.7+ billion the U.S. gives Israel every year, in order to provide extra-comfortable “well-being facilities” for the beleaguered Israeli “coed infantry units” who have the tough job of dragging Palestinian families from their homes and blowing them up—those families the PA is now forbidden to support. Friends of the IDF galas are hosted in New York by Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and in Los Angeles by Democratic billionaire Haim Saban, and entertained by celebrities like Seal and Israeli-born KISS-er, Gene Simmons (Chaim Witz). Bi-partisanship rocks.

America has become a Zionist country. And it shows. And it’s discomfiting. For the most powerful people and institutions in the United States, Zionism has become a core component of American ideology and politics, married, like nothing else is, to capitalism and imperialism as a co-equal existential imperative.

It’s a peculiar relationship because capitalism and imperialism do not need Zionism, and may even be weakened by it. Zionism is a surplus oppression. The excessiveness and gratuity of Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, which so many people recognize, is only a reflection of the excessiveness and gratuity of Zionism itself, which too many people have for too long taken for granted.

Dragging people from their homes and blowing them up is excessive, an atrocity too far. A partner who is addicted to such behavior will inevitably create trouble for the capitalist-imperialist family, which has enough problems of its own to deal with. It’s the U.S who insists, excessively, on including Zionism in a polyamorous arrangement, and who is, as can be expected in such cases, losing its mind over this misplaced affection, and endangering the core relationship.

This is what the German FM and other members of the European First Wives’ Club see in Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. This is what a lot of people see in all the state-destroying, jihadi-chaos-creating aggression from Iraq to Syria and heading toward Iran—all of which makes no sense until you understand that the American project throughout has been an over-complicated ménage-à-trois: capitalism-imperialism-Zionism.

As Shoshana Bryen says: “The United States military, then, is a Zionist institution.” Bryen is herself a perfect example of the intimate relations between Israel and the American military, having made the rounds as former Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA, the prime meeting spot where Israelis entice senior American officers to see the world as Israel does), and as a lecturer at the National Defense University and the U.S. Army War College.

The hope is that it’s all becoming too obvious and too much—an embarrassment of too many riches for Zionism. It’s why Hillary Clinton’s campaign decided not to highlight—except to donors—her passionate love for Israel: “We shouldn’t have Israel at public events. Especially dem (Democratic) activists…. What about this as a base, and then she can drop in Israel when she’s with donors.” While the donors and elite still swoon, the arc of the Democratic base is bending away from Zionism—and the Zionists know it.

There Is No Time

On the other hand, we have to recognize the persistent weaknesses of the Palestinians, who suffer constant, horrendous, human and material losses every day at the hands of a Zionist colonial machine. Israel, the Jewish State, has already established an apartheid regime, the late stage of colonialism, and has made clear that it is determined to extend that as far and as long as it can, with all necessary force. The illusion that America would do something to stop or reverse this has been finally shattered. Though it’s stance may be changing, thanks to the likes of Trump, and it is a medium- to long-term weak spot for Israel, the “international community” still grants Israel effective impunity.

The Arab countries? Ha! Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Egypt will supply the rope and tie the knot. The staunchest Arab supporters of Palestine—Iraq, Libya, and Syria—just happen to be the countries ravaged by that United States military institution. A weakened Syria and (non-Arab) Iran may give some assistance, but really, nobody’s coming to save the Palestinians.

External support in the way of boycott and sanctions will help also, but significant victories can only come from organized resistance by Palestinians themselves. The Palestinian political leadership which, as Noura Erakat says, “has abandoned confrontation with Israel as a matter of policy” would have to be changed. New leadership would have to emerge that renounces Oslo and forges a militant struggle for equal political and social rights, a multi-level strategy of resistance against colonialism and apartheid. This will be very tough, in a community that’s been ground down for decades by the Israeli-PA security apparatus, and the collaborationist mindset and economic interests that support it.

To be thoroughly frank: though militant non-violent civilian resistance must be the core of struggle, it has to be backed by some kind of armed power. The ANC’s victorious fight against South African apartheid was not confined to “terrorist” Nelson Mandela’s prison cell; his comrades were busy outside. A movement to defeat colonialism and apartheid must demonstrate the capacity not only to take punishment, but also to inflict it, to hurt the forces and institutions imposing Zionist oppression and to disrupt the normalcy of Zionist daily life. Everywhere, enemies of the IDF. No “well-being” respite. No justice, no peace. That is the only way victory over colonialism and apartheid ever has, or ever will be, won.

Since the Zionists’ founding spasm of brutal ethnic cleansing—expelling over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs while killing thousands of others—and since colonialism fell into disgrace, Israel has been constrained to pursue further ethnic cleansing in a fitful series of measures, with levels of brutality adjusted for various international political and ideological exigencies. But it has not ceased to probe those limits. Israel is working very hard to compress political time and make it suddenly possible again to exterminate or expel enough Palestinians (we’re talking at least tens of thousands) to stabilize Israel for most of a century. That’s one of the things Israel’s, and its American patron’s, support of jihadi chaos in the region, as well as its attempt to foment war with Iran, is all about. The fat lady hasn’t sung, but the orchestra is in full swing. The Palestinians don’t have forever to stop the music.

So, there’s no room for false hope or assumptions of inevitable victory. There’s an opportunity now for a successful fight to defeat Zionism, pitched precisely as struggle against colonialism and apartheid, and it must be seized quickly. It is also not impossible for Zionism to defeat the Palestinians in some effectively irreversible way, as it keeps trying to do.

It’s just the case—the practical, utterly realistic political case—that nothing, not a thing, can be gained by trying to revive the zombie two-state peace process that has been killed over and over again by the U.S. and Israel themselves. To seal the deal, Donald Trump just drove a stake through its heart. There is no two-state solution. There is only one state: either the one colonial, apartheid state that’s coalescing now, or the one democratic state of equal rights that justice demands.

For American left allies of Palestine, it’s time, past time, to clearly reject, not just the occupation of Jerusalem or the West Bank, but Zionism tout court.

Back to the future it is. Liberal Zionists like to imagine ’48 is finished in some democratically acceptable way. Militant Zionists know they still have to finish ’48 as ruthlessly as possible. Principled anti-Zionists—that is, principled anti-colonialists—have to work very hard to make sure that ‘48 ends in failure, and that Israel never becomes the finished colonial project it wishes to be.

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This article incorporates parts of an earlier related post: Gaza Calling: It’s the Colonialism, Stupid!

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

OIC recognizes East Jerusalem al-Quds as Palestine’s capital

Press TV – December 13, 2017

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has invited all nations to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Palestine, blasting the United States for disregarding Middle East peace by moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

The 57-member organization issued a communique at the end of an emergency summit on Wednesday, declaring that it would recognize “East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invite all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital.”

The declaration was a direct response to US President Donald Trump days after he referred to the city as the “eternal capital” of Israel.

The OIC rejected and condemned “in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the president of the United States of America in recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel, the occupying power.”

Renouncing Trump’s move as “null and void legally,” the OIC members said the decision was tantamount to “an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people, a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus to extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security.”

The OIC reaffirmed its continued commitment to the so-called two-state solution for ending the years-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some speakers, however, said the US was no longer deemed reliable to mediate any peace deal.

OIC members also said they would hold the US responsible for the consequences of the decision.

The communique also denounced Israel’s actions and policies against the people of Palestine as “colonial” and “racist.”

Trump has tasked the US State Department with making preparations for the relocation of Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Palestinian city.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem al-Quds policy has drawn fierce criticism from the international community, including Washington’s own allies, while triggering demonstrations against the US and Israel worldwide.

As the second-largest inter-governmental body after the United Nations, the OIC was established during a summit in Rabat, Morocco, in 1969, following an arson attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city.

Shortly after the OIC declaration, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hailed Islamic leaders for attending the summit in high capacities, taking an indirect jab at countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which only sent low-level officials.

Saudi Arabia only sent its minister for OIC affairs, while Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry represented Cairo.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Red Cross says life has ‘stopped’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine

Press TV – December 13, 2017

The International Committee of the Red Cross says life has “stopped” in Rakhine state due to the fear of violence, nearly four months after a new wave of crackdown by the government erupted against the persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

The ICRC director of operations, Dominik Stillhart, said Wednesday that tensions between the Muslims and the dominant Buddhist community were preventing Muslim traders from reopening shops and markets.

“The situation in the northern Rakhine has definitely stabilized, there are very sporadic incidents, but tensions are huge between the communities,” Stillhart said after a three-day mission to the remote area. “You get a sense, especially of the two main communities being deeply scared of each other.”

He visited the towns of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in northern Rakhine, where the ICRC, the only aid agency operating in the violence-hit region, is providing food, water and other aid to 150,000 people.

Stillhart said the Red Cross hoped to reach all of the 180,000 Rohingya it estimated remained in the “politically-sensitive” region after more than 600,000 people fled to Bangladesh.

“You travel through the countryside and you really see on both sides of the road villages that are completely destroyed. It just gives you a bit of a sense of the scale of destruction. There is also this pervasive sense of absence.”

“It is as if life has stopped in its tracks, people do not move, markets are closed in Muangdaw town,” Stillhart said.

He said the main problem facing the Muslims was “the very limited possibilities for them to access their own livelihoods like fields, and especially markets and services.”

Late last month, Bangladesh and Myanmar reached a deal to repatriate the Rohingya refugees within several months.

The Red Cross said the returns must be voluntary and safe. “But for now we really don’t see a significant return movement and I’m also not expecting that we will see massive return anytime soon,” Stillhart said. Citing UN figures, he added that nearly 300 Muslims still fled daily.

About 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since late last year, when Myanmar’s soldiers and Buddhist mobs began vicious attacks on the minority Muslims in Rakhine. The crackdown on the Rohingya has intensified since August 25.

All along, government troops and the Buddhist mobs have been killing, raping, and arbitrarily arresting members of the Muslim community. They have also been setting the houses of the Muslims on fire in hundreds of predominantly-Rohingya villages in the northern parts of Rakhine, where nearly all the Rohingya reside.

Myanmar’s government denies full citizenship to the Rohingya, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Dhaka, in turn, regards the desperate refugees as Myanmarese. The Rohingya, however, track their ancestors many generations back in Myanmar.

The UN has already described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world, calling the situation in Rakhine similar to “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Yemen: Saudi Airstrikes Kill Dozens

teleSUR | December 13, 2017

Renewed Saudi airstrikes against Yemen, mainly in the capital city of Sana’a, have resulted in the deaths of dozens of people.

At least 39 people died and 90 others were left injured, Reuters reported. Yemen’s al-Masirah TV reported that at least 51 people died and 80 were left injured.

The airstrikes reportedly targeted Yemen’s military police headquarters in Sana’a’s Shu’ab district. Some of the casualties included prisoners detained at the facility awaiting investigation.

In a separate series of attacks, Saudi planes levelled Yemen’s northwestern district of Sahar. Four civilians were wounded, one of whom later died from injuries. Eleven people were also killed during airstrikes in Maqbanah District of the southwestern province of Ta’izz.

Since the bombing campaign against Yemen began in 2015, the United Kingdom has licensed roughly US$4.2 billion dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to PressTV.

In early June, the U.S. Department of Defense also confirmed a US$750 million military sale to Saudi Arabia. It included U.S. made missiles, bombs, armored personnel carriers, warships, munitions and a “blanket order training program” for Saudi security forces receiving the military equipment both inside and outside the kingdom, Reuters reported.

Amid the bombing and devastation, which has killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than a million to flee their homes, Yemen also faces a severe cholera outbreak that has claimed the lives of at least 2,119 people, according to Alexandre Faite, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Another eight million are on the verge of starvation.

Wolfgang Jamann, head of the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief non-governmental humanitarian agency, described the ongoing crisis in Yemen as being an absolute “shame on humanity.” The United Nations referred to it as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Absolutely Ignored’: US Veterans Who Cleaned Up H-Bomb Accident Seek Benefits

Sputnik – 12.12.2017

Yale Law School students have requested a US court to permit a class-action lawsuit on behalf of US Air Force veterans who responded to the catastrophic 1966 hydrogen bomb accident in the Mediterranean Sea, but who have been denied disability benefits.

The 1966 accident occurred when a USAF B-52 carrying four hydrogen bombs collided with a USAF KC-135 tanker aircraft during a mid-flight refueling exercise. The refueling nozzle hit the fuselage and caused a major explosion seen by another B-52 pilot a mile away. All four airmen on the FC-135 were killed along with three of the four airmen on board the B-52.

The planes were flying a Cold War airborne alert mission dubbed Operation Chrome. The B-52s, which took off from Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina, required two mid-flight refuelings over Spain to complete their mission. The accident, which occurred near southern Spain, caused the B-52 to lose its hold on the four Mk-28 hydrogen bombs it was carrying, sending them plummeting down to Earth. Three landed in the fishing village of Palomares, while a third landed in the ocean and was ultimately recovered following a two-and-a-half month search.

“This class action seeks to compel the VA to acknowledge that veterans at Palomares participated in a radiation risk activity that would make any radiogenic conditions they developed presumptively service connected,” said Derek Mraz, one of the Yale Law School students working on the case.

About 1,600 service members were marshalled to Spain to recover the Mk-28s and contain the radiation released after the weapons’ plutonium detonators exploded, though the nuclear payloads themselves did not go off.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has hitherto denied these veterans disability benefits, even though many of them developed cancer, blood disorders, and heart and lung conditions, according to Military.com.

The motion to allow a class action suit, filed by Yale students on Monday, lists veteran Victor Skaar as the plaintiff and VA Secretary David Shuklin as the defendant.

“It is absolutely ridiculous to see how we have been treated. We’re all hurt. We were ignored, absolutely ignored,” Skaar told the Associated Press.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Congress takes no action on Iran sanctions as deadline passes

Press TV – December 13, 2017

The US Congress misses a deadline to decide on re-imposing anti-Iran sanctions, which were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, with reports saying the lawmakers sought to kick the decision on the issue back to President Donald Trump.

On October 13, Trump refused to certify that the Islamic Republic was complying with the agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under a domestic US law and directed his administration “to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws.”

The US Congress was given until December 12 to decide whether to slap economic sanctions on Tehran anew.

On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a press briefing that the Trump administration “continues to make encouraging progress with Congress to fix the US–Iran deal and address long-term proliferation issues.”

“There was actually no deadline to act by this week as the administration did not ask that Congress to introduce legislation to re-impose JCPOA-related sanctions,” she added.

Micah Johnson, a spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, told ABC News on Monday that “productive discussions” were underway “about the appropriate path forward.”

However, the Congress has so far announced no plans to introduce a resolution to re-impose sanctions. Congressional aides said on Tuesday that the American lawmakers would let the deadline pass without action, Reuters reported.

By doing that, Congress passed the ball back to Trump, who must decide in mid-January if he wants to continue to waive sanctions on Iran.

Trump’s failure to do so would blow apart the deal, a course opposed by European allies, Russia and China, the other parties to the accord.

Eight reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, have so far confirmed Iran’s full commitment to its side of the bargain.

Trump, however, has defied the IAEA reports and warned that he might ultimately “terminate” the Iran deal.

A new poll conducted by the Washington-based Brookings Institution, showed that 70 percent of Americans agree that the JCPOA is beneficial for US interests, while 26 percent disagree.

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.

Under the accord, Iran undertook to apply certain limits to its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

Other parties to the deal, along with the entire international community, have voiced firm support for the JCPOA, warning Washington against attempts at undermining the landmark deal.

Since Trump’s refusal to certify Iran’s compliance, senior European officials have been intensely lobbying Congress to decide against the re-imposition of anti-Iran bans.

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment