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Australia Announces Moving its Embassy to Jerusalem: Is there any Surprise?

By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 18.12.2018

When the current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated the idea that Australia might move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it was widely suggested that this was an attempt to curry favour with the relatively large (12%) Jewish population in the electorate where a by-election was being held.

Following the government’s humiliating defeat in an electorate it had held for more than a century, the idea was expected to die. That possibility was reinforced by the widespread criticism that followed the prime minister’s announcement. That criticism was couched almost solely in terms of the damage such a move would do to Australia’s relationships with its near neighbours such as Indonesia.

Supporters of the Prime Minister also argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would enhance progress in the “two state solution” to the problem between Israel and the Palestinians.

More recently however, the Australian cabinet has approved the idea that the embassy should be moved, but not immediately. The delay was purportedly on cost grounds, financial cost that is, not reputational.

Almost completely missing from news bulletins and mainstream media analysis are the arguably far more important elements in the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem equation.

The first of these is the legal question. In considering that point, regard has to be had to Australia’s professed support for what it terms “the rules based international order.” That term, while widely used, is never clearly defined. In fact, as the experience of recent decades has conclusively shown, it means a western version of the international rules selectively employed to support an American centred hegemonic order.

The term “international law” is now avoided in political discourse, for the very good reason that the actions of the western powers do not sit well with adherence to international law.

The invasions, occupations, and attacks upon Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, among others this century alone make the point. In all of these illegal endeavours Australia has been a willing, indeed eager, participant. This is quite apart from Australia’s own violations of, for example, the Convention on Refugees and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Australian politicians also regard themselves as immune from accountability for participating in illegal wars. Unlike the British and the Dutch for example, there has never been a public inquiry into the lies and illegalities at the base of the Iraq invasion in 2003.

The Australian government has never held a debate on its participation in the Syrian War, even defeating a Green Party motion in 2015 to even debate that decision to join yet another illegal war. What little has been said publically by the relevant Ministers about that war and the reasons for joining it are at best vague and more often untruthful.

It is this disregard for international law that is at the root of the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That decision needs to be put in the context of Australia’s record with regard to the Middle East, and more particularly, as it pertains to the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian and Syrian territories.

From the inception of the Israeli State, the city of Jerusalem was accorded special status. In the Palestine Partition Resolution 181 of 1947, the United Nations General Assembly resolved that “the city of Jerusalem be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

That special status has been reaffirmed in every General Assembly or Security Council resolution on the matter from then until as recently as December 2018. It did not take long for Israel to disregard the special status of Jerusalem. A map showing Israeli and Palestinian territory at the time of partition, and a contemporary map show very different situations, as Israel has persistently encroached upon Palestinian territory to establish Jewish only settlements.

The 1948 war commenced this process in a significant way. The 1967 so-called Six Day War reinforced that process, with Israel capturing East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and other parts of what was supposed to be the basis for a future Palestinian State.

Completely contrary to international law, Israel has continued to occupy the land it acquired through conquest. Judging by its actions and the statements of successive political leaders, up to and including the current Prime Minister Netanyahu, it has no intention of ever relinquishing its hold on the occupied territories.

In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law purporting to extend Israel’s law, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. This was again in defiance of international law. UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) had unanimously confirmed that Israel should withdraw from territories it occupied in the Six Day War.

Following the passage of the Israeli law in 1980, the UN Security Council by 14:0 (with the United States abstaining) condemned Israel’s non-compliance with previous UNSC resolutions; condemned the attempt to change the status of Jerusalem as a violation of international law and therefore null and void; and demanded that the law be immediately rescinded.

While not specifically approving Israel’s blatant disregard for international law, and UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, neither did Australia go out of its way to be critical either.

Politicians in successive governments, either Labor or Liberal, have, with rare exceptions, refrained from criticism of Israel’s actions. If silence implies consent, then from 1947-2018 the overwhelming inference to be drawn is that Australia tacitly at the very least approved Israel’s actions.

In recent years that support has become more overt. In 2014 the government of the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that it had decided to drop the word “occupied” when describing Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem. The then Attorney General George Brandis said that the word “occupied” was “freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful.”

To describe that claim as fatuous would be an understatement.

Australia’s tacit approval of Israel’s unlawful actions has now been made explicit. In a series of votes in late November and early December 2018, Australia was one of 6 countries to vote against a General Assembly resolution demanding an end to Israel’s occupation of the occupied territories; voted against a resolution demanding a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (along with only seven others); and abstained on a further resolution (along with 13 others) with 2 votes against (Israel and the United States) demanding an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan heights.

None of these votes, all of which were carried by overwhelming majorities, were featured in the Australian mainstream media.

The announced decision to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where it would join only the United States and Guatemala, is therefore not a decision that should be seen in isolation. It simply reflects a long-standing tolerance of Israel’s persistent violation of international law.

As noted above, the Australian government also claims that shifting the embassy will facilitate the “peace process:” aimed at a two state solution. Apart from the United States and Israel, Australia must be the only country in the world to make such a claim.

The “two state solution” has been one of the great fallacies and enduring myths of the modern era. It is doubtful if it was ever more than a vain hope, and what little prospect there may have been in 1948 has been shattered by the repeated actions of successive Israeli governments that Australia supports.

A claim that moving the embassy will facilitate the peace process is on a par with Abbott and Brandis hoping to eliminate the word “occupied” from a discussion of Israeli actions in Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights.

The conclusion must be that Australia has no serious interest in the resolution of the Israel/Palestine question. By its public statements and voting record in the United Nations there can now be no question that Australia is firmly in the Israeli camp.

Quite how that accords with the oft-repeated claim of a belief in the “rule of law” and support for the legitimate aspirations of an oppressed people is awaiting an explanation. Given the Australian mainstream media’s complicity in ignoring the reality of Israeli’s daily violation of the rights of the Palestinians, and equal complicity in concealing Australia’s actual voting record in the UN on Israel related questions, it may be a long wait.

Both of the major political parties are equally complicit in refusing to address any of these issues in Parliament. Quite why the politicians and the media take the stance they do is a separate question. A further separate question is why the government seems so determined to proceed in the face of expert advice and widespread opposition on a course of action so manifestly at odds with Australia’s national interest, its security, and its professed beliefs.

December 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s Boycott Israel and Its Friends

If you want change, begin to play hardball

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • December 18, 2018

In his recent article “Averting World Conflict with China” Ron Unz has come up with an intriguing suggestion for the Chinese government to turn the tables on the December 1st arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada. Canada detained Mrs. Meng, CFO of the world’s largest telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei, at the request of the United States so she could be extradited to New York to face charges that she and her company had violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The sanctions in question had been imposed unilaterally by Washington and it is widely believed that the Trump Administration is sending a signal that when the ban on purchasing oil from Iran comes into full effect in May there will be no excuses accepted from any country that is unwilling to comply with the U.S. government’s demands. Washington will exercise universal jurisdiction over those who violate its sanctions, meaning that foreign officials and heads of corporations that continue to deal with Iran can be arrested when traveling internationally and will be extradited to be tried in American courts.

There is, of course, a considerable downside to arresting a top executive of a leading foreign corporation from a country that is a major U.S. trading partner and which also, inter alia, holds a considerable portion of the U.S. national debt. Ron Unz has correctly noted the “…extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history.” One might add that Washington’s demands that other nations adhere to its sanctions on third countries opens up a Pandora’s box whereby no traveling executives will be considered safe from legal consequences when they do not adhere to policies being promoted by the United States. Unz cites Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs as describing it as “almost a U.S. declaration of war on China’s business community.” If seizing and extraditing businessmen becomes the new normal those countries most affected will inevitably retaliate in kind. China has already detained two traveling Canadians to pressure Ottawa to release Mrs. Meng. Beijing is also contemplating some immediate retaliatory steps against Washington to include American companies operating in China if she is extradited to the U.S.

Ron Unz has suggested that Beijing might just want to execute a quid pro quo by pulling the licenses of Sheldon Adelson’s casinos operating in Macau, China and shutting them down, thereby eliminating a major source of his revenue. Why go after an Israeli-American casino operator rather than taking steps directly against the U.S. government? The answer is simple. Pressuring Washington is complicated as there are many players involved and unlikely to produce any positive results while Adelson is the prime mover on much of the Trump foreign policy, though one hesitates to refer to it as a policy at all.

Adelson is the world’s leading diaspora Israel-firster and he has the ear of the president of the United States, who reportedly speaks and meets with him regularly. And Adelson uses his considerable financial resources to back up his words of wisdom. He is the fifteenth wealthiest man in America with a reported fortune of $33 billion. He is the number one contributor to the GOP having given $81 million in the last cycle. Admittedly that is chump change to him, but it is more than enough to buy the money hungry and easily corruptible Republicans.

In a certain sense, Adelson has obtained control of the foreign policy of the political party that now controls both the White House and the Senate, and his mission in life is to advance Israeli interests. Among those interests is the continuous punishment of Iran, which does not threaten the United States in any way, through employment of increasingly savage sanctions and threats of violence, which brings us around to the arrest of Meng and the complicity of Adelson in that process. Adelson’s wholly owned talking head National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly had prior knowledge of the Canadian plans and may have actually been complicit in their formulation. Adelson has also been the major force behind moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has also convinced the Administration to stop its criticism of the illegal Israeli settlements on Arab land and has been instrumental in cutting off all humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. He prefers tough love when dealing with the Iranians, advocating dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran as a warning to the Mullahs of what more might be coming if they don’t comply with all the American and Israeli demands.

Meanwhile another Israeli, Haim Saban has performed similar work with the Democrats, contributing $5 million to their coffers, making him the top donor to the party. Saban has said that he is a “one issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

Of course, one might reasonably argue that America’s problem with Jews who are passionately attached to Israel funding and controlling the major political parties is self-generated, that no one should be allowed to fund any political party to such an extent that one obtains control over policies. But that is an argument that will have to be directed at the Supreme Court, which permitted corporations to be treated as persons with its Citizens United ruling, allowing virtually unlimited money to flow into political PACs as a First Amendment right.

The lopsided wag-the-dog relationship with Israel is so dangerous to actual American interests in so many ways that the United States is now approaching a precipice and might soon find itself plummeting to ruin. Israel, not Russia, constantly interferes in the functioning of America’s remaining democracy. Fighting Israel’s wars and protecting it from any criticism have debased the value of being an American citizen and literally impoverished the country under a mountain of debt. The U.S. has been victimized by terrorism, much of which can be traced back to Israeli roots, and Washington is now isolated globally as the United States has become more and more like Israel, a militarized state, politically corrupt and abandoning basic liberties.

How does one right the sinking ship? For starters, the Ron Unz formula for correcting the problem with China provides an excellent roadmap. Israel and its friends do not have a grip on congress, the White House and the media because they are wonderful warm people that others find to be sympathetic. It is difficult even to imagine a scintillating conversation with a malignant toad like Sheldon Adelson. Israel’s ability to corrupt and misdirect is all based on Jewish money, a process in which Zionist oligarchs buy their way to power and access. So the solution is to hit back where it really hurts – boycott Israel and Israeli products and do the same for the companies that are the sources of income for the American Jews who are the principal supporters of the Zionist project.

The United States Congress is currently moving to make it illegal to openly advocate boycotts of Israel or even to inquire about doing so, while 25 states have already also done the same to a greater or lesser extent. Last week a speech therapist in Texas was fired from a job she had held for nine years because she refused to sign an oath affirming that she would not boycott Israel. It is a measure of Jewish power in the U.S. that American politicians choose to provide cover for Israel’s misdeeds even if it means the end of the First Amendment and free speech. But punitive steps intended to intimidate any and all critics of Israel aside, there is no reason why consumers cannot exercise judgement over what they buy and what they are supporting through their spending. If you want to visit Las Vegas, by all means go, but don’t patronize the casinos and hotels owned by Sheldon Adelson, which include The Venetian and Sands Resort.

Democratic party major donor Haim Saban, meanwhile, is a producer of Hollywood children’s entertainment, including the lucrative Power Rangers. You can stop your children from watching his violent programming and tell the network’s advertisers why you are doing so. And then there are businessmen including Bernard Marcus, who is a co-founder of Home Depot and a major supporter of Israel, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. No one really has to spend $1000 to go to a football game, particularly if the owner is a good friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, and if you need something for your home or are seeking entertainment, choose to spend your dollars somewhere else. Readers can do the homework for the businesses and services that they normally patronize. If outspoken advocates for Israel own the company, take your dollars elsewhere.

As it is nearly impossible in the United States to vote for a politician who is in any way critical of Israel, those who are opposed to the terrible damage that the Israelis and their domestic lobby are doing to the U.S. can instead vote with their purchasing power. It does not afford the same pleasure as “throwing the bums out,” but there will be considerable satisfaction in being able to strike back against a powerful lobby that is so hubristic and insensitive to any criticism that it has become completely tone deaf.

Apart from domestic considerations, observers have noted that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians has been worse than apartheid under South Africa yet South Africa was subjected to multiple boycotts and bans on its participation in international fora, to include even sporting competitions. It is past time to do the same to Israel, which has been shooting dead hundreds of unarmed Palestinians for months now without paying any price at all. Boycotting Israel internationally is a good start. It is non-violent and proportionate and it just might be an idea that will spread and finally bring about some payback for what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabal of war criminals have done and continue to do. As the end of 2018 approaches, it would be something to look forward to if 2019 just might turn out to be the year of the international Israel Boycott.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is <a:inform@cnionline.org” title=”mailto:inform@cnionline.org” href=”mailto:inform@cnionline.org”>inform@cnionline.org</a:inform@cnionline.org”>.

December 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli politician calls for PA President to be killed

MEMO | December 17, 2018

A member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, called on Sunday for the President of the Palestinian Authority to have his head “chopped off”. Oren Hazzan MK made the comment about Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his Deputy, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, during a march held by illegal settlers in Jerusalem, Maan News Agency has reported.

Dozens of settlers gathered in and around Jerusalem’s Old City chanting racist slogans against Abbas and calling for him to be killed. In the evening, they gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house and burnt pictures of Abbas. Banners held by the settlers called for the PA leader’s assassination.

“We call for the complete approval of the settlements in Ofra and Amona,” Hazzan declared. Addressing his remarks to government ministers, he added, “We want to go back to Givaat. Stop evading your responsibility. We want to have the head of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and his deputy chopped off. The life of one of our soldiers is equal to the life of 100 terrorists. We want all the terrorists to be executed.”

Many Israeli officials refer to the Palestinians as “terrorists” whether or not they are involved in legitimate resistance activities.

Last week, Israeli settlers carried out attacks and instigated clashes with Palestinians in different areas across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. On most occasions, the heavily armed settlers are protected by Israeli soldiers and police officers when they gather for demonstrations and terrorist attacks on Palestinians and their homes.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Yair Netanyahu, Son of Israeli PM, Gets Brief Ban on Facebook

Palestine Chronicle | December 17, 2018

Facebook has briefly blocked the page of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s son, Yair after he shared previously banned content calling for “all Muslims [to] leave” Israel.

In a message posted Thursday on his Facebook page, after the latest flare-up in violence saw at least five Palestinians and three Israelis, including two soldiers, killed in recent days, Yair Netanyahu had called for the expulsion of Palestinians.

The prime minister’s son wrote: “Do you know where there are no attacks? In Iceland and in Japan where coincidentally there are no Muslims.”

In another post, he wrote that there were only two possible solutions for peace, either “all Jews leave [Israel] or all Muslims leave”.

“I prefer the second option,” added the 27-year-old, who has faced criticism of being a grown man living in the prime minister’s residence despite having no official role and benefitting from a bodyguard, a driver, and other perks.

Facebook deleted Yair Netanyahu’s posts, in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of the two Israeli soldiers.

Yair Netanyahu, who shared a screenshot of the earlier post in violation of Facebook’s community rules, took to Twitter to criticize the social networking giant, calling it a “dictatorship of thought”.

Facebook blocked his account for 24 hours.

Palestinian journalists and activists have long accused social media platforms such as Facebook of double standards regarding the enforcement of their policies, as well as an imbalance in how they deal with censorship in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

Last year, a damning report by The Intercept said that Facebook is deleting content and blocking users at the orders of the Israeli and the US governments.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

What Does Israel ‘Occupy’?

By Blake Alcott | Palestine Chronicle | December 17, 2018

In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?

Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.

When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?

Palestine was a British colony, and all colonies by definition are occupied by the colonial Power. And indeed, when we correctly and routinely call Britain’s successor Israel a ‘settler-colony’ we are not just referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Especially since it is thoroughly supported by pro-Zionist forces outside of historic Palestine, all of Palestine is now a settler-colony and thus occupied from the river to the sea. And if the settler-colonialist paradigm is accurate, all non-indigenous Israelis are ‘settlers’, not just those in the West Bank. If we talk of boycotting ‘settlement goods’, that should mean all Israeli goods.

Does this matter? Yes: If it is only the West Bank and Gaza Strip that are occupied, then the rest of Palestine ‘within the Green Line’, is not occupied, and if it is not occupied, what is it then? It can then only be rightfully controlled by Israel, for if you are not ‘occupying’ a territory, it must be yours. Using the term limited to the 1967 occupation thus implies that the Europeans who colonized Palestine under British protection for thirty years are the rightful owners of the land of Palestine. The basic premise of Zionism is conceded.

That is, withholding the epithet ‘occupation’ from today’s Israel normalizes the Zionist Entity’s presence; it pulls the rug out from underneath Palestinian claims to political rights in Palestine. As Colonial Minister Churchill and High Commissioner Samuel wrote in their pathbreaking 1922 White Paper on the Palestine question, one worldwide outside ethno-religious group is in Palestine “by right and not on sufferance” and thus cannot be an Occupier.

Which Narrative?

Denying implicitly in this way that Israel occupies the lands taken over in 1948 is thus a key part of the Zionist narrative that Jews own Palestine, while the diametrically opposing Palestinian narrative claims that rightful ownership lies with the indigenous inhabitants (whatever their ethnicity or religion). It insists that this is the territorial and historical ‘self’ entitled to realize self-determination in non-partitioned Palestine. If moreover, this political ‘self’ consists of all Palestinians, they are all ‘occupied’, and the logic in calling only West Bank or Gazan land ‘stolen’ undermines the unity of all Palestinians.

We similarly identify Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state, exercising and enacting discriminatory separation not only on the Palestinians in ‘Israel proper’ and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but as well on the 6 or 7 million Palestinians residing outside of Palestine – as Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley argued in their UNESCWA report in 2017. The Green Line upon which the restricted use of the concepts ‘occupation’ and ‘apartheid’ would rely is historically, ethically and emotionally irrelevant.

A third, ‘liberal-Zionist’ narrative also contends that Israel is occupying only what it took over from the Egyptian and Jordanian occupiers in 1967. This diverges from the Jewish-Israeli mainstream in at least admitting it, but it leaves Israel intact – although, sadly, bereft of ‘Judea and Samaria’. This soft Zionism certainly takes comfort in seeing that some Palestinians and many of their supporters join them in granting that the Jewish state is not guilty of occupying the 1948 territories.

The fatal consequence of this limited use of ‘the Occupation’, in whichever camp, is the implication that once Israel quits doing its occupying of 20% of Palestine (and a part of Syria), as far as its relations with its neighbors goes it reverts to a normal, well-behaved state. The use of this central term is thus a litmus test. If limited to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel is normalized.

A common-language Definition

In common parlance, a state is ‘occupying’ territory if, first, a force or a state has come in from outside the territory in question. Second, that force has established military and political hegemony in that territory. Third, this happens against the will of the indigenous inhabitants.

The second and third conditions obtain in the entirety of Palestine. Disputed is only whether Israel was a force that moved into ‘1948’ Palestine from the outside. Or was it somehow already there? Was it by 1948 somehow also ‘indigenous’, in which case the situation should be described not as an ‘occupation’ but as a victory in a civil war – as the Israeli narrative indeed describes it? Even though the European-Jewish community was obviously vastly ‘less indigenous’ than the Palestinians in terms of length and unbrokenness of habitation, perhaps on 15 May 1948 it suddenly became legitimate.

However, left to their own devices after freed from the Ottoman occupation in 1918, the Palestinians would, by the early 1920s, certainly have constituted their state covering all of Palestine – or perhaps a single sovereign Greater Syria would have emerged covering al-sham, i.e. historic Palestine plus today’s Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. But instead, outsiders from and in Britain occupied it.

But were the Jewish Agency and its military arm the Haganah, together renamed ‘Israel’ in May 1948, any different from Britain in terms of coming from the outside? The overwhelming majority of Jews in Palestine as of that date was, after all, very recent European immigrants, and given near-unanimous indigenous opposition based on justified fear of political takeover, a necessary condition for their implantation was thirty years of support by colonial Power Britain. ‘British bayonets’ both fostered Jewish military strength and, especially during the years of the 1936-39 Revolt, crushed Arab military as well as political potential. Without this enablement by Britain and its fellow Powers, the self-described Jewish entity would not have had a shred of a plausible claim to statehood in any part of Palestine at the time of the decisive debates of 1947 leading to the Partition Resolution of the UN General Assembly (Resolution 181).

In other words, the most realistic picture of the forces taking over Palestine is of a British/European-Jewish amalgam functioning during three entire decades. It is one occupation, an overlapping transfer of power from protector to protected.

By the way, even the usurped 55% of Palestine recommended for the “Jewish State” by the General Assembly majority had a slight indigenous non-Jewish majority of 509,780 to 499,020 if the 105,000 Bedouins living there were counted, a fact that strengthens the notion of an outside occupier rejected by a majority.

What about the territory conquered during 1948 over and above that 55% granted by the outsiders at the UN, amounting to about half the area it granted to the “Arab State”? Certainly, by any criterion, it is ‘occupied’ – taken by force without even a pretense of legitimacy. It is thus especially egregious to exclude it from the term OPT, the more so as it included the almost-totally indigenous Galilee.

To be consistent and coherent, there is thus no way around terming the whole territory ‘within’ the 1949 armistice line ‘occupied’. As Uri Davis wrote in 1972 in the Journal of Palestine Studies, he “first had to come to grips with the fact that, essentially, the right-wing Zionist contention that there was no essential difference between the colonization of Tel Aviv and Jaffa prior to and immediately after 1948, and the colonization of Hebron in 1967, was correct.”

Examples of the Problem

The Quakers in Britain recently decided to quit supporting the “occupation… now in its 51st year”, thus dating this “illegal occupation” from 1967 only. The other 80% is thus not occupied and of necessity ‘legal’, under legitimate Israeli control. In consequence, since it is this 51-year occupation that motivates the Quakers, they will cease boycotting Israeli goods when the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is ended, whatever the fate of the other Palestinians. This results from distinguishing between a boycott of ‘settlement-complicit’ goods and the blanket boycott of Israel that would target the source of the problem and be a true successor to the blanket boycott of South Africa which brought down Apartheid.

Another example is the discourse of the large US-based organization which starting in 2001 called itself the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation”. It fought for most Palestinian rights, but as its name suggested most strongly against the occupation of the 1967-occupied areas. Perhaps aware that having ‘Israeli Occupation’ in its title lent implicit recognition to Israel’s permanency, in 2016 it changed its name to “US Campaign for Palestinian Rights”. However, its “common principles” and “Factsheet” still make it clear that the term “military occupation” refers only to what Israel took over in 1967, for conceptually it treats the refugees and the “Palestinian citizens of Israel” separately. Its use of “settlements” refers likewise consistently only to the West Bank.

Part and parcel of this narrative, moreover, is this US Campaign’s support for “all relevant UN resolutions”. This must include the soft-Zionist position of Security Council Resolution 242 which cements the Green Line and the Jewish state on one side of it. The group is also careful to criticize only “Israel’s policies and practices”, not its right to be in Palestine in the first place. Finally, its reference to the “illegal West Bank colonies” implies that the earlier Jewish Agency/Israeli colonization of the bulk of Palestine was legal.

A final example of an ‘occupation’ narrative leaving room for an Israel legitimately present in Palestine is an article in Haaretz on 29 November 2018 by Gideon Levy entitled “Why I am obsessed with Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians”. Said occupation is again that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its main victims, to be sure, are “the Palestinians”, but it also “harms” an Israel worth saving because of its “crucial impact on our daily lives and on the image of this country.”

Referring to Israel’s culture-loyalty, nation-state, nakba, citizenship, and anti-BDS laws Levy even claims that “In the absence of the occupation, all these laws would be redundant.” I interpret this to mean that for him Israel’s worst crime is its treatment of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – a view certain to disappoint the roughly three-quarters of Palestinians living in Israel or outside of Palestine.

Counter-arguments

I have challenged various speakers on their restricted use of the term. The most common answer is that one can’t apply it to all of Palestine because by that logic California – or all of North America, or Australia – would be ‘occupied’.

My first reaction was ‘So what? So be it. If it’s true, deal with it.’ But more deeply, or unconsciously, this answer takes the indigenous conquered less seriously than they deserve, for how could any Native American say anything but Yes, Europeans moved in, took over and occupied their lands? If meant as an assertion that the world’s settler-colonies are somehow legitimate, this is not post-Zionism but simply Zionism.

Another answer is that ‘occupation’ is a specific term in international law and should not be watered down by broader use. But to the extent the term is defined at all in international law, it is not useful for a political discussion; it is only a backdrop for humanitarian rules for treating occupied people in armed conflicts between states.

And in general, terms such as ‘occupation’ which function perfectly well in common and historical language should not be co-opted for specialist purposes. In fact, routinely using the term ‘illegal’ to characterize the 1967 occupation and the ‘settlements’ there – as does even the BDS Movement – doesn’t just imply that the rest is legal, but detracts from more important ethical and political dimensions.

A third answer is that we should not use our terms in ways that regard Palestinians as one polity because this erases the Green Line. The division of Palestine gives (a limited number of) Palestinians leverage at international institutions and courts to plead within the mainstream narrative as political, if not military, equals. The danger of this ‘parity pitfall’ cannot be covered here, but it definitely belongs to the liberal-Zionist narrative that the Israeli state of the two-state solution is rightful.

Israel’s Illegitimacy

The basic, fatal effect of co-opting the Arabic term ‘occupation’ for the 1967 territories only is its implication that a non-occupying, non-Palestinian ethnic state is in legitimate, or at least acceptable, ownership of the rest. This is not compatible with Palestinian self-determination, liberation of the Land, right of return, or anti-Zionism.

In terms of the fashionable ‘rights-based approach’, it is likewise not compatible with all the rights of all the Palestinians because it normalizes the Zionist premise that, ethically, at least in part of Palestine indigenous wishes can be ignored. If this premise is rejected, on the other hand, the Zionist Entity is occupying all of Palestine.

We often advise ourselves to watch our words carefully. Israel spends millions to tailor certain words to serve its goals – ‘right to exist’, ‘return’, ‘democratic and Jewish’, and ‘anti-semitism’ being a few examples – and those in solidarity with Palestine should take a page out of that approach and ask whether the word ‘occupation’ is not worth utmost care.

Both logically and in the context of actively arguing for Palestinian self-determination, joining the Zionist narrative or even just indulging in ambiguity serve no purpose. The time is ripe to say that, if Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, it is not right that Israel occupies it.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Truth is stranger than fiction: 3 days in the West Bank

A protester holds a placard as she stands next to Israeli soldiers during a protest against Israeli settlements in West Bank city on December 27, 2014. (Reuters)
By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | December 17, 2018

Elderly women, families, children, and of course young men in the occupied Palestinian territories are regularly treated with brutality by Israeli forces. International laws are in place to protect vulnerable populations, but Israel ignores such laws – and gets away with it. Simple, common decency ought to elicit restraint on the part of the occupier, but does not.

These very brief stories are snapshots of Israeli cruelty between December 15 and 17, 3 days out of the 50+ years of violent occupation which the United States endorses and supports to the tune of over $10 million a day.

Israeli forces detained a groom and about 20 wedding guests, and summoned others for interrogation. The charge: “taking part in a wedding during which flags of the Hamas movement were waved and terrorists were hailed.”

This incident violated the universal human rights to privacy and self-expression.


Israeli forces with military bulldozers raided the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the middle of the night on Saturday. They took over the Abu Hmeid home, claiming that the family’s son had killed an Israeli soldier during a raid of the camp last June. Islam Abu Hmeid is in prison awaiting trial. Hundreds of soldiers forcefully evacuated sleeping neighbors before wiring the building and demolishing it as a “deterrent” to Palestinians who may be tempted to resist the oppressive occupation.

This incident broke the international law against collective punishment and bypassed the right to a fair trial for the accused. (The Geneva Conventions use the words “the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”)


An 86-year-old Palestinian woman died of a heart attack on Saturday evening after Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from reaching her. They reportedly delayed the ambulance for around 8 minutes, for no apparent reason.

This incident involved a breach of international law which states that an occupying force must ensure the provision of medical care for the occupied population.


A group of illegal Israeli settlers infiltrated a Palestinian town Saturday evening. Palestinians guarding the town stopped them. Dozens of Israeli soldiers then appeared, firing live and rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the Palestinians who were defending their town, wounding 23. During the clash, the settlers were able to escape.

This incident contravened the universal human right to security of person and the laws of occupation regarding maintenance of public order and safety and the ban on transfer of civilian population into occupied territory.


In Hebron, Israeli soldiers fired 21 tear gas rounds outside 3 schools and into 2 schoolyards during school hours. International observers report that there was no provocation at the time. Last month 238 tear gas rounds and 51 concussion grenades were fired in this neighborhood.

This incident was a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and several of the laws of occupation.


An 80-year-old, chronically ill woman was arrested as she waited outside an Israeli prison to visit her son. She was taken to an unknown destination. No reason was given for the arrest.

This incident violated international humanitarian law, in which the elderly should “enjoy protection from abusive behavior” during conflict.


On Sunday, an Israeli court sentenced the mother of a Palestinian, who was killed by the army last year, to 11 months in prison for “incitement on social media.” She has been in prison since last August. Her son was shot in 2017 during a protest and bled to death while the Israeli army prevented Palestinian medics from approaching him.

These incidents infringed on the universal human rights to self-expression, protection of the right to life, liberty and security of person in peaceful assemblies, and the right of an occupied population to medical care.


And on and on it goes. Here are headlines from just a few other incidents reported between December 15th and 17th:

Israeli Naval Forces Wound Fisherman, Arrest 4 Others and Detain Fishing Boats

Israeli Soldiers Ram Two Palestinians With Jeep, Abduct One, Near Ramallah

Israeli Soldiers Shoot A Palestinian While Driving Near Ramallah

Illegal Israeli Colonists Attack School Near Nablus

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Thirteen Palestinians In West Bank

Army Abducts Seven Palestinians, Including A Blind Man, In Ramallah

Soldiers Abduct Three Children, 13-16 years old, In Hebron

The world – especially America – needs to wake up to this ongoing travesty.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites

Photo Source Flisadam Pointer | CC BY 2.0
By Susan Abulhawa | CounterPunch | December 17, 2018

Temple University’s administration announced the unsurprising news that it has found no grounds to punish or investigate Professor Marc Lamont Hill for his speech at the United Nations on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Yet, the university’s Board of Trustees felt compelled, nonetheless, to issue a statement further maligning Dr Hill, albeit indirectly this time, by quoting the slanderous language of others against him.

Remarkably, the Board’s statement implicitly acknowledges there was nothing inherently offensive in Dr Hill’s speech. Rather, the university’s objection lies in the way “many regard[ed]” it and how it was “widely perceived” or “broadly criticized.” In essence, the university was unable to reasonably rebuke what was ultimately a call for justice and freedom for the Palestinian people, the colonized indigenous nation that has continuously inhabited the land between the River Jordan and Mediterranean Sea for millennia. It is therefore stunning and unprecedented that a university would hold its professor responsible not for his words, but for the ways in which others interpret them.

It is also worth noting that no such statement was issued by the Board of Trustees following the exposure of Temple journalism professor Francesca Viola, who admitted to posting conspiracy theories against Muslims and immigrants. Among other things, her anonymous account posted the word “scum” under a photo of Muslims praying and called to “get rid of them.”

It beggars the imagination to consider why Temple’s Board of Trustees would ignore the abhorrent and overtly racists posts in the account of one professor, while exceeding its mandate in order to rebuke an avowedly anti-racist professor, not for the content of his speech, but for the ways in which that speech was received.

In the second paragraph of the statement, Temple’s Board attempts to divest Dr. Hill from his professional position and identity as a scholar and intellectual using wording crafted to deny his right to academic freedom. The claim that Dr. Hill was speaking as a private citizen and therefore his words simply fall under the purview of the First Amendment belies the reality that his speech as a Temple faculty member is fully protected under the principles of academic freedom. In fact, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is explicit that “freedom of extramural utterance is a constitutive part of the American conception of academic freedom, and the AAUP has investigated and censured many institutions for dismissing faculty members over their extramural utterances.”

The unprincipled way in which members of Temple’s Board have berated and threatened an African American professor for criticizing Israel’s Jim Crow apartheid, while turning a blind eye to the egregious oppression faced by Palestinian students and scholars every day, a reality Dr. Hill described in his U.N. speech, is reprehensible. Comments by individuals on the Board of Trustees, the collective statement by the Board and their failure to defend academic freedom are a testament to the alarmingly corrosive power that defenders of Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid exert on the academy.

In a Philadelphia oped, Stephen Cozen, a member of Temple’s Board, proclaimed himself an authority on anti-Semitism before describing Hill’s words as “hate speech.” For good measure, he cast that disparaging net onto TAUP (Temple Association of University Professors), describing them “an association of folks who promote intersectionality, a practice which has fostered anti-Semitism from the left as well as the right.”

Ironically, the true anti-Semitism lies in conflating a 6000-year old faith with a contemporary settler-colonial nation-state that explicitly apportions human rights based on one’s religion. Indeed, it is anti-Semitic, and patently false, to assume that all Jews are of one mind that reflexively takes offense at criticism of Israel.

Marc Lamont Hill’s call for Palestinian freedom from the river to the sea upholds the the noble tenets of justice relevant to all monotheistic religions. It is also an acknowledgement of the basic historic truth that we Palestinians are not merely some miscellaneous Arabs clustered in the West Bank and Gaza, but a native and ancient nation that also comes from Akka, Haifa, Yafa, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Galilee and all parts of Historic Palestine. This fact, which Israel has long sought to erase, is what Israel’s defenders find objectionable. But it is a fact nonetheless.

Susan Abulhawa is a bestselling novelist and essayist. Her new novel, The Blue Between Sky and Water, was released this year and simultaneously published in multiple languages, including German.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas school pathologist files lawsuit after being denied work for refusing to sign pro-Israel oath

RT | December 17, 2018

A Texas elementary school speech pathologist has filed a federal lawsuit after her school district refused to renew her contract unless she signed a pro-Israel oath.

Bahia Amawi has worked for the Pflugerville Independent School District since 2009 on a contract basis. Each year when it came to the time to renew her contract, the school district did so. Amawi always signed the correct documents, and had another year of guaranteed employment.

But this year, in August, there was a new addition to the contract papers. That addition was an oath which Amawi was being asked to sign, promising that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and will refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israel-controlled territory.”

That was a problem for Amawi, who, along with her family, refrains from buying goods from Israeli companies in support of the global boycott to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

But aside from that, Amawi noted that the very fact that this was the only oath she was being asked to sign – and it was to do with Israel – was extremely strange.

“It’s baffling that they can throw this down our throats, and decide to protect another country’s economy versus protecting our constitutional rights,” Amawi, who was born in Austria and is of Palestinian descent, told The Intercept.

She said it was entirely out of the question to sign such an oath, as it would not only be doing Palestinians a disservice, but also Americans.

“I couldn’t in good conscience do that. If I did, I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust…but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully,” said Amawi, who has lived in America for the last 30 years and is a US citizen.

Additionally, the disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired students of Pflugerville Independent School District are also losing out. Those who speak Arabic are at a particular disadvantage, as Amawi says she is the only certified child’s speech pathologist in the district that speaks the language.

Amawi’s attorney has filed a lawsuit, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

The oath was produced under a pro-Israel Texas state law enacted on May 2, 2017, which bans state agencies from working with contractors who boycott Israel. When the bill was signed into law by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, he said that “any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.”

The law is incredibly far-reaching, and meant that some Hurricane Harvey victims were told they could only receive state disaster relief if they signed the same kind of pro-Israel oath. The author of the bill, State Rep. Phil King, later said that its application to hurricane assistance was a “misunderstanding.”

However, Texas isn’t alone in requiring its contractors not to boycott Israel. A total of 26 states have enacted such laws, and similar bills are pending in 13 other states.

The state laws come as the Trump administration has repeatedly expressed its steadfast support for Israel, opting to recognize Jerusalem as the country’s capital last year. The move led to global protests and condemnation from other UN member states.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Americans are waking up to Israel’s brutal and discriminatory tactics

With opinion now evenly split between those who favour a one or two-state solution, many in the US are turning their attention to the systemic inequities faced by Palestinians

By Jonathon Cook | The National | December 17, 2018

Two years of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu as a Middle East peacemaking team appear to be having a transformative effect – and in ways that will please neither of them.

The American public is now evenly split between those who want a two-state solution and those who prefer a single state, shared by Israelis and Palestinians, according to a survey published last week by the University of Maryland.

And if a Palestinian state is off the table – as a growing number of analysts of the region conclude, given Israel’s intransigence and the endless postponement of Mr Trump’s peace plan – then support for one state rises steeply, to nearly two-thirds of Americans.

But Mr Netanyahu cannot take comfort from the thought that ordinary Americans share his vision of a single state of Greater Israel. Respondents demand a one-state solution guaranteeing Israelis and Palestinians equal rights.

By contrast, only 17 per cent of Americans expressing a view – presumably Christian evangelicals and hardline Jewish advocates for Israel – prefer the approach of Israel’s governing parties: either to continue the occupation or annex Palestinian areas without offering the inhabitants citizenship.

All of this is occurring even though US politicians and the media express no support for a one-state solution. In fact, quite the reverse.

The movement to boycott Israel, known as BDS, is growing on US campuses, but vilified by Washington officials, who claim its goal is to end Israel as a Jewish state by bringing about a single state, in which all inhabitants would be equal. The US Congress is even considering legislation to outlaw boycott activism.

And last month CNN sacked its commentator Marc Lamont Hill for using a speech at the United Nations to advocate a one-state solution – a position endorsed by 35 per cent of the US public.

There is every reason to assume that, over time, these figures will swing even more sharply against Mr Netanyahu’s Greater Israel plans and against Washington’s claims to be an honest broker.

Among younger Americans, support for one state climbs to 42 per cent. That makes it easily the most popular outcome among this age group for a Middle East peace deal.

In another sign of how far removed Washington is from the American public, 40 per cent of respondents want the US to impose sanctions to stop Israel expanding its settlements on Palestinian territory. In short, they support the most severe penalty on the BDS platform.

And who is chiefly to blame for Washington’s unresponsiveness? Some 38 per cent say that Israel has “too much influence” on US politics.

That is a view almost reflexively cited by Israel lobbyists as evidence of anti-semitism. And yet a similar proportion of US Jews share concerns about Israel’s meddling.

In part, the survey’s findings should be understood as a logical reaction to the Oslo peace process. Backed by the US for the past quarter-century, it has failed to produce any benefits for the Palestinians.

But the findings signify more. Oslo’s interminable talks over two states have provided Israel with an alibi to seize more Palestinian land for its illegal settlements.

Under cover of an Oslo “consensus”, Israel has transferred ever-larger numbers of Jews into the occupied territories, thereby making a peaceful resolution of the conflict near impossible. According to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, that is a war crime.

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the court in The Hague, warned this month that she was close to finishing a preliminary inquiry needed before she can decide whether to investigate Israel for war crimes, including the settlements.

The reality, however, is that the ICC has been dragging out the inquiry to avoid arriving at a decision that would inevitably provoke a backlash from the White House. Nonetheless, the facts are staring the court in the face.

Israel’s logic – and proof that it is in gross violation of international law – were fully on display this week. The Israeli army locked down the Ramallah, the effective and supposedly self-governing capital of occupied Palestine, as “punishment” after two Israeli soldiers were shot dead outside the city.

The Netanyahu government also approved yet another splurge of settlement-building, again supposedly in “retaliation” for a recent upsurge in Palestinian attacks.

But Israel and its western allies know only too well that settlements and Palestinian violence are intrinsically linked. One leads to the other.

Palestinians directly experience the settlements’ land grabs as Israeli state-sanctioned violence. Their communities are ever more tightly ghettoised, their movements more narrowly policed to maintain the settlers’ privileges.

If Palestinians resist such restrictions or their own displacement, if they assert their rights and their dignity, clashes with soldiers or settlers are inescapable. Violence is inbuilt into Israel’s settlement project.

Israel has constructed a perfect, self-rationalising system in the occupied territories. It inflicts war crimes on Palestinians, who then weakly lash out, justifying yet more Israeli war crimes as Israel flaunts its victimhood, all to a soundtrack of western consolation.

The hypocrisy is becoming ever harder to hide, and the cognitive dissonance ever harder for western publics to stomach.

In Israel itself, institutionalised racism against the country’s large minority of Palestinian citizens – a fifth of the population – is being entrenched in full view.

Last week Natalie Portman, an American-Israeli actor, voiced her disgust at what she termed the “racist” nation-state basic law, legislation passed in the summer that formally classifies Israel’s Palestinian population as inferior.

Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s grown-up son, voiced a sentiment widely popular in Israel last week when he wrote on Facebook that he wished “All the Muslims [sic] leave the land of Israel”. He was referring to Greater Israel – a territorial area that does not distinguish between Israel and the occupied territories.

In fact, Israel’s Jim Crow-style policies – segregation of the type once inflicted on African-Americans in the US – is becoming ever more overt.

Last month the Jewish city of Afula banned Palestinian citizens from entering its main public park while vowing it wanted to “preserve its Jewish character”. A court case last week showed that a major Israeli construction firm has systematically blocked Palestinian citizens from buying houses near Jews. And the parliament is expanding a law to prevent Palestinian citizens from living on most of Israel’s land.

A bill to reverse this trend, committing Israel instead to “equal political rights amongst all its citizens”, was drummed out of the parliament last week by an overwhelming majority of legislators.

Americans, like other westerners, are waking up to this ugly reality. A growing number understand that it is time for a new, single state model, one that ends Israel’s treatment of Jews as separate from and superior to Palestinians, and instead offers freedom and equality for all.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

New Israeli bill banning Palestine flag in protests

Palestine Information Center – December 16, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to discuss a new bill imposing a one-year prison sentence on individuals who raise Palestinian flags during demonstrations, according to Haaretz.

Drafted by MK Anat Berko, the bill stipulates that any gathering of at least of three people raising the flag of a state or an entity that is not friend with Israel or that prevents the raising of the flag of Israel will be considered illegal. Anyone who participates in a prohibited gathering would be subjected to up to a year in prison.

The bill defines the states that are not friends with Israel as the “states who do not recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Berko, in her justification, wrote that Israel is a democratic state which allows its citizens to protest against different issues; however, the new bill draws a red line between the legal protest and the protest where the flags of the countries that do not recognize Israel are raised.

December 16, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestine: Two schools evacuated as Israeli gunman open fires outside

MEMO | December 16, 2018

An Israeli settler opened fire on Sunday outside two schools in the West Bank, as other settlers rampaged through the street under the protection of Israeli forces, reports Wafa News Agency. The schools are at the entrance to the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, to the south of Nablus in the West Bank.

The shooting terrified the students and teachers of the two schools, and were forced to leave the schools to a safe haven.

Ibrahim Emran, the principal at one of the schools, told Wafa that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar attacked the school under the protection of the Israeli military, and that one of the settlers shot a bullet in the air to terrify the students. Emran said the school was forced to evacuate its students to keep them safe.

He added that the settlers also attacked civilian homes near the school, while soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs, prompting clashes between soldiers and local citizens.

Israeli sources claimed that the firing came in a response to a stoning attack on settlers’ vehicles passing at route 60, just near the entrance to the village where the schools are located.

December 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Operation “Northern Shield” at the Israeli-Lebanese Border: Why Hassan Nasrallah Remains Silent

By Sayed Hasan | Resistance News, Unfiltered | December 16, 2018

The operation “Northern Shield” was launched with great fanfare by the Israeli occupier on December 4, allegedly aimed at “exposing and neutralizing the cross-border attack tunnels that Hezbollah dug from Lebanon to Israel”. Indeed, the Lebanese Resistance has repeatedly promised to no longer be on a defensive position in case of aggression or war, and carry the fighting inside occupied Palestine, or even to liberate Galilee. Spokesmen of the Israeli government ostensibly congratulated themselves on what they presented as thwarting the plans of the dreaded Hassan Nasrallah.

Israeli propaganda and its docile Western media relays presented the operation as a large-scale military offensive that would strike a huge blow to the Party of God, as if the Zionist entity had entered Lebanese territory (or was about to do so), whether on land or underground. A speech by the Hezbollah Secretary General was announced for the same day by the Israeli and Western media, which would have seemed to confirm the importance of the Israeli operation. And given Hezbollah’s silence, it was ultimately said that this silence was due to the shock in which the Lebanese Resistance found itself after this surprise operation that would have ruined its most secret plans.

But what is it all really about? First and foremost, it is ridiculous to equate drilling and excavation work taking place inside occupied Palestine, and not encroaching in any way on Lebanese territory, with some kind of offensive, or even a military operation. Heavy construction, earthworks and fortification work on the northern border of Israel have been conducted by the IDF since 2015, with the aim of creating a Maginot-kind line of defense against Hezbollah (to emphasize its anachronistic character, Al-Manar nicknamed it The Wall of Illusion).

If the Israeli and Western media refrained from any mediatization on this subject, it is because these works of engineering did not serve the propaganda of Israel, underlining on the contrary its weakness: the Zionist entity is indeed cornered to a defensive position for the first time in its existence. But Hezbollah itself has clearly boasted about this upheaval, notably by organizing a media tour in April 2017 to expose the Israeli measures to the world. The promise of February 16, 2011, in which Hassan Nasrallah announced to his fighters that they must be ready to receive, one day, the order to liberate Galilee, has indeed been taken very seriously by Israel. Even more so after the war in Syria, where Hezbollah has acquired and demonstrated its offensive capabilities by liberating vast areas of territory from the presence of ISIS, leading battles that, by their nature, extent and deployed personnel and weapons, are no longer guerrilla warfare. Hezbollah’s offensive capabilities have never been based on the existence of tunnels, as evidenced already by the cross-border capture of Israeli soldiers in July 2006, and are now more similar to operations launched by conventional armies, as Hassan Nasrallah pointed out in an interview on August 19, 2016:

When Hezbollah intervenes in the war in Syria, and fights as a very large formation, and with very different armaments, or as part of a very large formation with various armaments, and participates in major and very extensive offensive operations, when he manages to repel armed men (ISIS terrorists), who are not normal combatants, especially foreigners, fighters of such a level (of commitment, ready to die), when Hezbollah expels them from very large geographical areas, it means that Hezbollah gains an offensive experience, a vast experience of liberation of territory through continuous and direct military operations, and not through guerrilla warfare. And Hezbollah did not have such experience before the war in Syria.

This is where Israel is frightened and terrified. Because what Hezbollah does in Syria, if a war is launched against it, it will do it in Galilee. […] If Hezbollah emerged from the (2006) July war as a regional power, it will emerge from this war (in Syria) as a true military power representing a force capable to liberate (huge) territories not only through guerrilla warfare, but even in a war that looks much more like the classic wars (between national armies).

Hezbollah is not Hamas, and believing that their strategies and tactics are the same while their abilities and experiences are immeasurable is both an illusion and a hoax to which, of course, Hassan Nasrallah did not deign reply.

Why was this show-operation launched now? Netanyahu, who is altogether Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health, is more discredited than ever in Israel, because of the recent military failure against Gaza –after which his Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman resigned, almost taking down his government–, and of his innumerable legal probes, which led the Israeli police to ask, at the beginning of December, his indictment as well as that of his wife in an umpteenth corruption case. The Israeli opposition, from the first days, openly expressed doubts as to the true goals of the Operation “Northern Shield”, as did Tzipi Livni, who denounced the overdramatization of this operation:

We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines. We are talking about engineering activity within the sovereign territory of the state of Israel. Netanyahu is blowing the incident out of proportion. He made a defensive engineering event into a dramatic military operation. This was done for one of two reasons — either the Prime Minister is himself panicking, or he wants to sow panic to justify his actions both in delaying elections and abandoning the residents of southern Israel [against the rockets of Gaza].

But we must not rely on the Western media to bring to our knowledge this easily accessible data. For them, only the official Israeli propaganda is worthy of credit.

More weak than ever, Netanyahu wants to present himself as a strong man against Hezbollah, but the operation launched against alleged tunnels, a preposterous maneuver to divert the attention of the Israeli press and public opinion, reveals only the powerlessness of Israel against the Party of God. Hezbollah is well aware that Netanyahu will not dare to launch a war of aggression against Lebanon, and that against Hezbollah, Israel has no other recourse than Washington’s sanctions and its own appeals to international institutions –these same institutions and laws trampled on by Tel Aviv for decades– to condemn the alleged violations of Israeli sovereignty by Hezbollah –while Israel continues to violate Lebanese airspace daily– and take action against him.

In the face of such childishness –the Israeli army is more likely to find Digletts and other underground Pokemon than operational tunnels of Hezbollah–, Hassan Nasrallah was wary not to provide any fuel to Netanyahu’s show: any speech on his part would have added credibility to this hyped pseudo-operation. Hezbollah media and Lebanese civilians took care of responding, widely ridiculing the operation, mocking Israel on social media, and picnicking with family on the border to taunt Israeli soldiers on the war footing.

A clip called “We’ll meet up in Haifa”, subtitled in Hebrew, was directed by a Lebanese artist, parodying an Israeli song. Hezbollah fighters can be seen reaching Haifa by tunnel, and spying on Netanyahu in his own home.

For its part, Hezbollah’s war media published a picture of Israeli troops taken from behind, inside Israeli territory, while they were facing the Lebanese border, thus proving that even when the enemy is on high alert, its territory remains easily accessible.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/images7/hizbbehindlines.jpg

Moreover, Hezbollah fighters have stolen two FN MAG machine guns under the noses of Israeli soldiers (the Israeli media have widely reported this theft), weapons that will certainly reappear in their hands at the most opportune moment to humiliate the Israeli army and its government.

And on December 12, Hezbollah released this video subtitled in Hebrew and recalling the reality of the situation: it is Israel that fears Hezbollah and takes all measures to guard against it, not the other way around.

It is unlikely that the confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah will turn into war in the near future. But psychological warfare continues to rage, and the electronic battalions of Hassan Nasrallah demonstrate day after day their superiority.

December 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 2 Comments