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Trump Goes to Israel: Another Settler from the United States?

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald tribune | November 19, 2019

President Donald Trump’s lack of any precision when he speaks or tweets sometimes means that multiple meanings can be construed from what he chooses to say or write. At a private gathering last week in which he was wooing potential Orthodox Jewish donors, he responded to a blessing from a rabbi with what he thought to be a joke. Fighting for his political life in the middle of an impeachment process, he observed that if things do no go well in the United States, he could always move to Israel and run for office, saying “if anything happens here, I’m taking a trip over to Israel. I’ll be prime minister.”

The fund-raiser at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan was arranged by the America First Super PAC. Trump’s son-in-law and principal adviser Jared Kushner and his special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz, both Orthodox Jews, also were in attendance. Numerous Trump supporters were present in the ballroom and began shouting out “Four more years!” when the president rose to speak. Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson offered a blessing, saying “Blessed are you, our Lord, King of the universe, that you have shared of your glory and love and compassion with a human being who maintains the honor of every innocent person and Jew. Thank you, amen.”

The Trump joke appeared to be based on media reports that he enjoys an approval rating of 98% among Jewish voters in Israel, the only country in the world where he has a favorable rating. And he was also presumably referring to the fact that Israel has had two deadlocked elections and may be heading for a third due to the fact that neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor his opponent Benny Gantz seems able to pull  together a governing coalition. Trump quipped in his usual self-serving fashion, “What kind of a system is it over there, right, with Bibi? They’re all fighting and fighting. We have different kinds of fights, but at least we know who the boss is. They keep having elections, and nobody’s elected.”

The president also spent some time affirming his complete support for the Jewish state, citing how it was at that moment defending itself from missile attacks coming from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and Hamas in Gaza. He also recalled for the potential donors his unilateral (and illegal) recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights and his decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program. As expected, the audience cheered.

Also, in a statement that should offend and serve as a wake-up call for all of America’s remaining Arab friends, Trump described how he was able to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He claimed that when he received calls from Arab leaders objecting to the proposed shift, he refused to speak to them, saying to his aides “Just tell them I’m very busy, I’ll call them back. And then I did it, we got it done, it’s done. And then I announced it, and then I went into the office, I made about 25 calls…. I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s done already; there’s nothing I could do about it.’ It’s much easier. I say, ‘I’m sorry, I wish I could have gotten back to you sooner.’”

So, on the surface it was a complete rah-rah evening among friends, saying wonderful things about Israel and dumb things about Arabs while also bringing in $4 million in donations from the Orthodox Jewish businessmen who made up most of the audience. But at the same time, the Trump remark about moving to Israel and being elected prime minister can be construed as having a darker meaning as Israel is, in fact, a settler state that illegally has dispossessed the original residents of the country and replaced them. Foreign Jews can move to Israel and become citizens automatically under the “law of return” but the people who used to live on that land cannot go to their homes. Trump, who joked about moving and becoming Israeli, described in his usual caustic, off-hand fashion the racist reality of the Jewish state.

Donald Trump might not have been in such a humorous mood if he had considered the fact that while he is wildly popular in Israel because he gives the Israeli Jews everything they want, he continues to be mistrusted and not very well received by American Jews, who continue to vote for and provide most of the funding for the Democratic Party. Some Israelis and many American Zionists have even come to the conclusion that Trump is not to be relied upon when he pledges total support for the Jewish state. They point to the recent White House decision to pull out of Syria, which was made in consultation with Turkey, which the Israelis regard as a hostile power, and without any input from Israel. The fact that Trump then reversed himself also has been noted as characteristic of his basic unreliability.

Some Israelis and their think tank associates in the United States have also expressed particular concern over the fact that Trump and Netanyahu, who still heads the interim government, have not even spoken over the phone in weeks. As Trump’s policy making style is best described as impulsive, there is concern that he will make bad decisions from the Israeli perspective. It is often noted that the Administration’s desire to confront Iran appears to have waned and will probably be even less evident as the 2020 election approaches. Some observers have also cited the example of the betrayal of the Kurds, suggesting that Trump might be inclined to abandon Israel and its other allies in the Middle East in the same fashion.

To be sure, Donald Trump has done everything possible to pander to American Zionists and to Israelis and it is clear that he considers Jews to be a group that has to be courted, if only due to their influence over the media and their willingness to donate large sums to political causes. Israeli concerns that he will pull the plug on them are overstated to put it mildly given their control over Congress and the media. As long as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson continues to be willing to donate $100 million to the GOP every two years, the status quo is guaranteed. But there remains a long-term problem due to the fact that American Jews are overwhelmingly politically liberal and they do not like Trump, no matter what he does for Israel. And Adelson is reported to be in poor health. If he dies and the cash flow dies with him, Trump’s view of Israel just might change dramatically.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Takeover of Venezuela’s embassy in Brazil timed to coincide with launch of BRICS summit – Russia

RT | November 13, 2019

The seizure of Venezuela’s embassy in Brasilia was not only an attack on the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, but also an attempt to sow discord between the BRICS member states, Russia’s Deputy FM told RT.

The Wednesday storming on the diplomatic mission by the supporters of US-backed Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido was “planned before and timed that it coincided with the first day of BRICS summit,” Sergey Ryabkov said.

It took place on the same day as the leaders of Russia, China, India and South Africa arrived to the Brazilian capital for the high-profile BRICS summit. Members of the block, which unites the world’s largest emerging economics, have quite different views on the crisis in Venezuela. Moscow and Beijing are backing Maduro as the democratically-elected president, while Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro said he recognized Guaido as Venezuelan leader.

The incident at the embassy shows that those who push for regime change in Caracas will “use and abuse every opportunity to pursue their goals,” the deputy foreign minister said, vowing that Moscow will “disclose the actual intentions of those people.”

The fact that some “unknown persons” were able to make their way into a diplomatic mission “creates questions on how effective the law enforcers in Brazil were,” Ryabkov pointed out.

The Venezuelan opposition supporters remain inside the embassy in Brasilia, with Bolsonaro saying he was looking for ways to restore order without provoking violence.

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | | 2 Comments

The word they won’t use to describe Canada’s role in Haiti

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Molotov cocktail thrown at Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince
By Yves Engler · November 9, 2019

Something you can’t name is very difficult to talk about. Canada’s role in Haiti is a perfect example. Even when the dominant media and mainstream politicians mention the remarkable ongoing revolt or protesters targeting Canada, they fall on their faces in explaining it.

Not one journalist or politician has spoken this truth, easily verified by all sorts of evidence: “Sixteen years ago Ottawa initiated an effort to overthrow Haiti’s elected government and has directly shaped the country’s politics since. Many Haitians are unhappy about the subversion of their sovereignty, undermining of their democracy and resulting impoverishment.”

Last Sunday protesters tried to burn the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince. Voice of America reported, “some protesters successfully set fire to business establishments and attempted to burn down the Canadian Embassy.” A few days earlier protesters threw rocks at the Canadian Embassy and demonstrators have repeatedly speechified against Canadian “imperialism”. In response to the targeting of Canada’s diplomatic representation in the country, Haiti’s puppet government released a statement apologizing to Ottawa and the embassy was closed for a number of days.

Echoing the protesters immediate demand for Jovenel Moïse to go, an open letter was released last Tuesday calling on Justin Trudeau’s government to stop propping up the repressive and corrupt Haitian president. David Suzuki, Roger Waters, Amir Khadir, Maude Barlow, Linda McQuaig, Will Prosper, Tariq Ali, Yann Martel and more than 100 other writers, musicians, activists and professors signed a letter calling on “the Canadian government to stop backing a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president.”

While a number of left media ran the letter, major news outlets failed to publish or report on it. Interestingly, reporters at La Presse, Radio Canada and Le Devoir all expressed interest in covering it but then failed to follow through. A Le Devoir editor’s reaction was particularly shameful since the leftish, highbrow, paper regularly publishes these types of letters. The editor I communicated with said she’d probably run it and when I called back three days later to ask where things were at, she said the format was difficult. When I mentioned its added relevance after protesters attempted to burn the Canadian embassy, which she was aware of, she recommitted to publishing it. Le Devoir did not publish the letter when it was submitted to them, although an article published in their paper two weeks later did mention it.

My impression from interacting with the media on the issue is that they knew the letter deserved attention, particularly the media in Québec that cover Haiti. But, there was discomfort because the letter focused on Canada’s negative role. (The letter is actually quite mild, not even mentioning the 2004 coup, militarization after the earthquake, etc.)

On Thursday Québec’s National Assembly unanimously endorsed a motion put forward by Liberal party foreign affairs critic, Paule Robitaille, declaring “our unreserved solidarity with the Haitian people and their desire to find a stable and secure society.” It urges “support for any peaceful and democratic exit from the crisis coming from Haitian civil society actors.”

In March Québec Solidaire’s international affairs critic Catherine Dorion released a slightly better statement “in solidarity with the Haitian people”. While the left party’s release was a positive step, it also ignored Canada’s diplomatic, financial and policing support to Moise (not to mention Canada’s role in the 2004 coup or Moise’s rise to power). Québec Solidaire deputies refused to sign the open letter calling on “the Canadian government to stop backing a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president.”

Even when media mention protests against Canada, they can’t give a coherent explanation for why they would target the great White North. On Wednesday Radio Canada began a TV clip on the uprising in Haiti by mentioning the targeting of the Canadian embassy and with the image of a protester holding a sign saying: “Fuck USA. Merde la France. Fuck Canada.” The eight-minute interview with Haiti based Québec reporter Etienne Côté-Paluck went downhill from there. As Jean Saint-Vil responded angrily on Facebook, these three countries are not targeted “because of the ‘humanitarian aid’ that the ‘benevolent self-proclaimed friends of Haiti’ bring to the ‘young democracy in difficulty’. This is only racist, paternalistic and imperialist propaganda! They say ‘Fuck Canada’, ‘Shit France’, ‘Fuck USA”’ because they are not blind, dumb or idiots.”

A few days earlier Radio Canada’s Luc Chartrand also mentioned that Canada, France and the US were targeted by protesters when he recently traveled to Haiti. While mentioning those three countries together is an implicit reference to the 2004 coup triumvirate, the interview focused on how it was because they were major donors to Haiti. Yet seconds before Chartrand talked about protesters targeting the Canada-France-US “aid donors” he mentioned a multi-billion dollar Venezuelan aid program (accountability for corruption in the subsidized Venezuelan oil program is an important demand of protesters). So, if they are angry with “aid donors” why aren’t Haitians protesters targeting Venezuela?

Chartrand knows better. Solidarité Québec-Haiti founder Marie Dimanche and I met him before he left for Haiti and I sent Chartrand two critical pieces of information chosen specifically because they couldn’t be dismissed as coming from a radical and are irreconcilable with the ‘benevolent Canada’ silliness pushed by the dominant media. I emailed him a March 15, 2003, L’actualité story by prominent Québec journalist Michel Vastel titled “Haïti mise en tutelle par l’ONU ? Il faut renverser Aristide. Et ce n’est pas l’opposition haïtienne qui le réclame, mais une coalition de pays rassemblée à l’initiative du Canada!” (Haiti under UN trusteeship? We must overthrow Aristide. And it is not the Haitian opposition calling for it, but a coalition of countries gathered at the initiative of Canada!)

Vastel’s article was about a meeting to discuss Haiti’s future that Jean Chretien’s government hosted on January 31 and February 1 2003. No Haitian representative was invited to the meeting where high level U.S., Canadian and French officials discussed overthrowing elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, putting the country under international trusteeship and resurrecting Haiti’s dreaded military. Thirteen months after the Ottawa Initiative meeting, US, French and Canadian troops pushed Aristide out and a quasi-UN trusteeship had begun. The Haitian police were subsequently militarized.

The second piece of information I sent Chartrand was the Canadian Press’ revelation (confirmation) that after the deadly 2010 earthquake, Canadian officials continued their inhumane and antidemocratic course. According to internal government documents the Canadian Press examined a year after the disaster, officials in Ottawa feared a post-earthquake power vacuum could lead to a “popular uprising.” One briefing note marked “secret” explained: “Political fragility has increased the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” The documents also explained the importance of strengthening the Haitian authorities’ ability “to contain the risks of a popular uprising.”

To police Haiti’s traumatized and suffering population 2,050 Canadian troops were deployed alongside 12,000 U.S. soldiers and 1,500 UN troops (8,000 UN soldiers were already there). Even though there was no war, for a period there were more foreign troops in Haiti per square kilometer than in Afghanistan or Iraq (and about as many per capita). Though Ottawa rapidly deployed 2,050 troops officials ignored calls to dispatch this country’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) Teams, which are trained to “locate trapped persons in collapsed structures.”

Of course, these two pieces of information run completely counter to the dominant narrative about Canada’s role in Haiti. In fact, they flip it on its head. But, these two pieces of information — combined with hundreds of stories published by left-wing Canadian and Haitian media — help explain why some might want to burn the Canadian Embassy.

Haiti is the site of the most sustained popular uprising among the many that are currently sweeping the globe. Haitians are revolting against the IMF, racism, imperialism and extreme economic inequality. It’s also a fight against Canadian foreign policy.

The latter battle is the most important one for Canadians. Solidarity activists should highlight Haitians’ rejection of 16 years of Canadian disregard for their democratic rights. And they should not be afraid to use the words that describes this best: Canadian imperialism.

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Lavrov: US’ ‘Deal of Century’ Example of Swapping International Law for Norms Suitable for US

Sputnik – November 1, 2019

MOSCOW – The so-called deal of the century on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict settlement that Washington says it is preparing is an example of how the international law is changed for rules that the United States finds convenient, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“Instead of implementing these [UNSC] resolutions, the United States promises everyone to present some ‘deal of the century,’ which, as you have already understood, will not envision the creation of a full-fledged Palestinian state. This is an example of how international law represented by UNSC resolutions is swapped for rules that the United States has invented and which it finds convenient”, Lavrov said in an interview on TV on Friday.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has for years said it would announce its plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. In July, it released what was characterized as an economic component of the plan — an infrastructure and investment project to support Palestinians.

However, the Palestinian authorities have rejected Washington’s involvement in the settlement of their conflict with Israelis after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City despite the condemnation of the Muslim world and the UN recommendations to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in the city until its legal status is settled.

The UN Security Council has issued multiple resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian settlement. For years, the Arab world remains committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, originally agreed upon at the Beirut Summit back in 2002. The plan has been formed on the basis of the UNSC Resolution of 194.

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Defend International Law’ Petition Demands Norway Impose Sanctions on Israel

Sputnik – November 1, 2019

Dozens of Norway’s leading lawyers believe that Israel violates international law and doesn’t deserve the preferential treatment it currently enjoys.

A group of 44 lawyers, including award-winning luminaries and distinguished professionals such as professor Jan Fridthjof Bernt, have called on Norway to impose sanctions on Israel for its violations of international law.

The petition called “Defend international law” was published by the newspaper Dagsavisen.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and has announced the annexation of the Jordan Valley – without having any major consequences, the petition stressed.

Between March 2018 and September 2019 alone, the lawyers emphasised, 309 Palestinians who have participated in protest marches along the Gaza Strip border were killed. In the past year alone, 56 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces, again without any repercussions, including from Norway. The number of Palestinians who have died at the hands of the state is comparable to the number of murders in the country: 103 people were victims of homicide in 2018, compared with 136 in 2017, according to the local media. For comparison’s sake, police in the US, which is better known for police killings, fatally shot approximately one person for every 19 murder victims in 2017.

“Norwegian authorities and politicians must restore respect for international law and work to ensure that Israel’s long-standing and systematic breaches of international driving rules are met with sanctions”, the petition said.

The authors of the petition stressed that the absence of an international reaction to Israel’s violation of international law, human rights and humanitarian law raises concerns.

“While Israel’s serious and persistent violations are only verbally criticised, other countries that violate international law are exposed to reactions from the international community through concrete actions and sanctions”, the petition said.

On the contrary, Israel is the only country in the world to have been granted a special status in the Norwegian government’s Granavolden platform that allows Oslo to “facilitate enhanced research and development cooperation, trade, tourism and cultural exchange with Israel”.

“This attitude taken by the Norwegian authorities against serious violations of basic humanitarian and international law principles helps legitimise Israel’s policy based on the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land, and the collective punishment of Palestinians on the Gaza Strip,” the petition said.

According to lawyer Kjell Brygfjeld, one of the signatories, the are plenty of sanctions Norway could impose on Israel.

“We are already involved in sanctions against Russia, Venezuela, Iran and a number of other countries. All countries should be treated in the same way and with the same severity for violations of international law. We must not make a difference between those we like and those we do not like,” Brygfjeld told the newspaper Klassekampen.

According to him, the Norwegian government has chosen an opposite strategy, where efforts to boost relations are made despite the fact that some Norwegian residents have been denied entry to Israel.

Earlier this week, Oslo’s newly installed “red-green” City Council led by three left-of-the-centre parties, the Socialist Left, Labour and the Greens, announced it was contemplating a ban on the municipality’s procurement of goods and services from Israeli settlements, which it called “an area occupied in violation of international law”.

However, State Secretary Audun Halvorsen of the Conservative Party said he doesn’t believe sanctions are the way to go. He also stressed that Norway expressed concern over Israeli authorities’ excessive use of force and human rights violations, “when there are grounds for doing so”.

Norway was one of the first nations to recognise Israel in 1949. The stance toward Israel is one of the issues that signals the left-right divide between Norwegian parties. While left-wing parties generally favour Palestine, to the point of being ready to boycott goods and services from what they view as territories occupied by Israel. Right-of-the-centre parties by contrast tend to be more supportive of Israel, with Progress Party leader Siv Jensen being a staunch supporter of Israel.

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s UN envoy says Israel should stop building settlements in West Bank

RT | October 29, 2019

Israel should immediately stop building its settlements and dismantling Palestinian properties on the western bank of the Jordan River, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council’s session devoted to the Middle East.

The diplomat said Monday that Russia was extremely concerned at the analysis of the situation offered by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov. Speaking about the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, he had said the situation now can only be prevented from further degradation, without even mentioning the possibility of any improvement, TASS reports.

Nebenzia said that solutions are evident. “First of all, Israel’s settlement activities and the policy of dismantling the Palestinian property in the West Bank must be stopped.” Both Palestinians and Israelis “must refrain from violence or aggressive and provocative rhetoric,” he added.

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel’s New Moves to airbrush the Occupation

 By Jonathan Cook – The National – October 28, 2019

The United Nations’ independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories issued a damning verdict last week on what he termed “the longest belligerent occupation in the modern world”.

Michael Lynk, a Canadian law professor, told the UN’s human rights council that only urgent international action could prevent Israel’s 52-year occupation of the West Bank transforming into de facto annexation.

He warned of a recent surge in violence against Palestinians from settlers, assisted by the Israeli army, and a record number of demolitions this year of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem – evidence of the ways Israel is further pressuring Palestinians to leave their lands.

He urged an international boycott of all settlement products as a necessary step to put pressure on Israel to change course. He also called on the UN itself to finally publish – as long promised – a database that it has been compiling since 2016 of Israeli and international companies doing business in the illegal settlements and normalising the occupation.

Israel and its supporters have stymied the release, fearing that such a database would bolster the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to end Israel’s impunity.

Lynk sounded the alarm days after Israel’s most venerated judge, Meir Shamgar, died aged 94.

Shamgar was a reminder that the settlers have always been able to rely on the support of public figures from across Israel’s political spectrum. The settlements have always been viewed as a weapon to foil the emergence of a Palestinian state.

Perhaps not surprisingly, most obituaries overlooked the chicanery of Shamgar in building the legal architecture needed to establish the settlements after Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1967.

But in a tweeted tribute, Benjamin Netanyahu, the interim prime minister, noted Shamgar’s contribution to “legislation policy in Judea and Samaria”, using the Israeli government’s term for the West Bank.

It was Shamgar who swept aside the prohibition in international law on Israel as an occupying state, transferring its population into the territories. He thereby created a system of apartheid: illegal Jewish settlers enjoyed privileges under Israeli law while the local Palestinian population had to endure oppressive military orders.

Then, by a legal sleight of hand, Shamgar obscured the ugly reality he had inaugurated. He offered all those residing in the West Bank – Jews and Palestinians alike – access to arbitration from Israel’s supreme court.

It was, of course, an occupier’s form of justice – and a policy that treated the occupied territories as ultimately part of Israel, erasing any border. Ever since, the court has been deeply implicated in every war crime associated with the settlement enterprise.

As Israeli lawyer Michael Sfard noted, Shamgar “legalised almost every draconian measure taken by the defence establishment to crush Palestinian political and military organisations”, including detention without trial, house demolitions, land thefts, curfews and much more. All were needed to preserve the settlements.

Shamgar’s legal innovations – endorsing the systematic abuse of Palestinians and the entrenchment of the occupation – are now being expanded by a new generation of jurists.

Their latest proposal has been described as engineering a “revolution” in the occupation regime. It would let the settlers buy as private property the plots of occupied land their illegal homes currently stand on.

Disingenuously, Israeli officials argue that the policy would end “discrimination” against the settlers. An army legal adviser, Tzvi Mintz, noted recently: “A ban on making real-estate deals based on national origin raises a certain discomfort.”

Approving the privatisation of the settlements is a far more significant move than it might sound.

International law states that an occupier can take action in territories under occupation on only two possible grounds: out of military necessity or to benefit the local population. With the settlements obviously harming local Palestinians by depriving them of land and free movement, Israel disguised its first colonies as military installations.

It went on to seize huge swathes of the West Bank as “state lands” – meaning for Jews only – on the pretext of military needs. Civilians were transferred there with the claim that they bolstered Israel’s national security.

That is why no one has contemplated allowing the settlers to own the land they live on – until now. Instead it is awarded by military authorities, who administer the land on behalf of the Israeli state.

That is bad enough. But now defence ministry officials want to upend the definition in international law of the settlements as a war crime. Israel’s thinking is that, once the settlers become the formal owners of the land they were given illegally, they can be treated as the “local population”.

Israel will argue that the settlers are protected under international law just like the Palestinians. That would provide Israel with a legal pretext to annex the West Bank, saying it benefits the “local” settler population.

And by turning more than 600,000 illegal settlers into landowners, Israel can reinvent the occupation as an insoluble puzzle. Palestinians seeking redress from Israel for the settlements will instead have to fight an endless array of separate claims against individual settlers.

This proposal follows recent moves by Israel to legalise many dozens of so-called outposts, built by existing settlements to steal yet more Palestinian land. As well as violating international law, the outposts fall foul of Israeli law and undertakings made under the Oslo accords not to expand the settlements.

All of this is being done in the context of a highly sympathetic administration in Washington that, it is widely assumed, is preparing to approve annexation of the West Bank as part of a long-postponed peace plan.

The current delay has been caused by Netanyahu’s failure narrowly in two general elections this year to win enough seats to form a settler-led government. Israel might now be heading to a third election.

Officials and the settlers are itching to press ahead with formal annexation of nearly two-thirds of the West Bank. Netanyahu promised annexation in the run-up to both elections. Settler leaders, meanwhile, have praised the new army chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, as sympathetic to their cause.

Expectations have soared among the settlers as a result. Their impatience has fuelled a spike in violence, including a spate of recent attacks on Israeli soldiers sent to protect them as the settlers confront and assault Palestinians beginning the annual olive harvest.

Lynk, the UN’s expert, has warned that the international community needs to act swiftly to stop the occupied territories becoming a permanent Israeli settler state. Sadly, there are few signs that foreign governments are listening.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Al-Baghdadi Raid is the US Empire “Creating Reality”

The latest attack on Syria, whatever the truth of it, is an exercise in narrative control

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 28, 2019

Apparently the United States killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi yesterday. US Special Forces allegedly killed the ISIS leader during a raid on a stronghold in Idlib.

As far as we know, this man was already dead. Maybe twice. He reportedly faked his death once as well.

The debate about whether or not Baghdadi was killed by US Special Forces, killed himself with a suicide vest, is still alive or died years ago has raged all day.

Trump says he died like a coward. The Russians maintain they have no data suggesting any attack was carried out at all. But that is far from conclusive.

From a domestic point of view, the purpose of the attack is fairly obvious: Donald Trump has an election coming up, and potential Presidents like nothing more than being seen to be tough. That means taking out some “bad guys”.

Of course, none of that matters.

It doesn’t matter what happened, it doesn’t matter why it happened and it doesn’t matter whether who it (allegedly) happened to was real, or alive… or otherwise.

Because, as always, the problem is not the specifics. It’s the principle and the precedent.

Let’s just assume that – for the first time in its entire existence – the Pentagon is telling the exact truth about both its actions, and the motives for those actions.

Well, then this is still unacceptable.

The United States is publicly claiming the right to carry out military strikes on foreign soil for the purpose of conducting extra-judicial executions.

This is completely illegal.

Syria is a sovereign state. Whatever the motivation for the alleged raid, carrying it out without the cooperation or permission of the legitimate government of Syria was illegal.

al-Baghdadi was (is?) not a US citizen, or an enemy combatant, and has never been convicted of any crime, in any court, by anyone. Whether or not he is alive… he as a right to be alive under the UN Charter of Human Rights.

And we’re all forgetting that.

Just a few weeks ago Trump announced the US was “pulling out” of Syria. Well, we now know what we suspected at the time, that the announcement is meaningless. This “raid” is their way of saying “just kidding!”

ISIS will still be used as they have always been used: as an excuse for the United States to occupy, attack, destabilise and control the Middle East.

Lost in this hubbub about ISIS, and Hollywood theatricals about daring night-raids on enemy compounds, the United States marched soldiers into North-Eastern Syria to “protect” oil fields.

At the end of the day THAT is really what this was about. Not hurting ISIS, or fighting terrorism, or even making Donald look cool to Rust Belt patriots… it was about an Empire acting as they would, and us letting them. It was about narrative control.

Don’t forget the famous quote from Karl Rove:

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

When we argue about the specifics we let those in power control the conversation.

The US broke international law, and claim it as an achievement. They ignore borders and treaties and conventions on a whim, and we are so used to it we’re debating their motives and their effectiveness.

They proclaim loudly that they’re above the law. And, in letting them set that conversation, we agree with them. Even in our outrage.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

Trump Flip-Flops on Syria Withdrawal. Again.

By Ron Paul | October 28, 2019

President Trump is reversing his foreign policy decisions so quickly these days that it almost seems like he overturns himself before making the decision in the first place. Last week he was very clear that the US was pulling its troops out of Syria. “Bringing soldiers home,” he said. “Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”

But then he overturned himself later in the same speech. He said: “We’ve secured the oil and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

Where does President Trump think he gets the legal or moral authority to send US troops to illegally occupy foreign territory and determine what that foreign country can or cannot do with its resources? After eight years of Obama’s disastrous “Assad must go” policy, during which the US provided weapons and training to radicals and terrorists with a half million people killed as a result, President Trump had the opportunity to finally close that dark chapter of US foreign policy so the Syrian people could rebuild their country.

Instead he sat down on Thursday with Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been wrong in every foreign policy position he’s ever taken, and decided to follow Graham’s advice to take Syria’s oil. Even though Trump himself has said many times that ISIS is 100 percent defeated, he claims we must take Syria’s oil to keep it from ISIS.

The real reason the neocons want the US military to occupy Syria’s oil fields is they are still convinced they can overthrow Assad by carving out eastern Syria for the Kurds. They don’t want to keep the oil from ISIS, they want to keep it from the Syrian government. They don’t want the oil revenue to be used to help rebuild the country because they still want to make life more unbearable for the population through sanctions so they will overthrow Assad. They don’t care how many innocent civilians die.

So instead of bringing the troops home like he promised, President Trump has allowed himself to be convinced to actually expand the US presence in eastern Syria! Instead of ending a foolish mission, he’s giving them an even more foolish mission – and sending in more troops and weapons. Instead of removing the approximately 200 troops in that region as promised, Trump is going to add more troops to equal about a thousand. He’s also sending in tanks and other armored vehicles, according to the Pentagon.

If President Trump believes following neocon advice on Syria is going to produce results different than the past eight years of following neocon advice on Syria, he’s naïve or worse. This new mission is going to cost tens of millions of dollars per month and will only serve to inspire the next generation of radicals. Trump is right that the people of the region, including Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey have all the incentive to keep ISIS at bay. So why does he fold like a cheap suit every time the neocons strong-arm him into another dumb foreign policy position?

Copyright © 2019 by RonPaul Institute.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Israel Main Beneficiary of Middle Eastern Crises – Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister

Sputnik – 26.10.2019

BAKU – Israel has been the main beneficiary of the Syrian war and other crises across the Middle East, and Damascus will stand by its sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said on Saturday speaking at the 18h Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku.

“We all know that the first beneficiary of what is happening in Syria and the region is the Israeli occupation that has been going on for decades with no punishment. Not only did Israel occupy the Palestinian territories and Syria’s Golan Heights and parts of Lebanon in addition to its crimes against occupied refugees, but it [Israel] also conducted unprecedented assaults on my country and other countries in the region,” Mekdad said.

In the Syrian politician’s opinion, this situation might lead to “unexpected scenarios and threats to international peace and security.”

“Therefore we reiterate that the terrorist war against Syria and the repeated attacks on its territorial integrity will not make us abandon our struggle based on the international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Mekdad added.

He emphasized that the Golan Heights remains a Syrian territory, and it is not up to the United States to decide who it belongs to.

Israel established military control over the Golan Heights in 1967 and annexed it in 1981, albeit the annexation was never recognised by the United Nations. The Golan Heights is widely seen as an exceptionally important strategic area, chiefly due to the fact that it offers a clear view of both Syria and Israel.

In March, US President Donald Trump declared endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The NAM was established in 1961 to unite developing states that are not part of any collective defence pacts in the interest of any major power. Today, it is the second-largest international organisation after the United Nations with 120 member states. It was formed in the wake of decolonisation processes in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world around the values of independence, equality, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

October 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

Bundestag MPs demand that US troops leave Germany to avoid tensions with Russia

RT | October 25, 2019

German MPs have demanded that the government expel US forces stationed in Germany. MPs argue that their presence only serves the purposes of the US illegal wars in the Middle East and stokes tensions with Moscow.

Lawmakers from the opposition Left Party have tabled a motion calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to immediately stop financing the American military presence in the country and to annul a 1990 treaty allowing US soldiers to be deployed on German soil in the first instance.

“More than 35,000 US soldiers are stationed in Germany, more than in any other European land,” the document, published on the Bundestag’s website, points out, adding that American military bases are used to further Washington’s “policy of war in the Middle East.” The lawmakers particularly expressed their outrage over the fact that the German bases are used “in the continuing illegal practice of targeted US assassinations in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” apparently referring to the American use of strike drones.

The document also states that the continued presence of American forces on German soil leads to nothing but escalation of an already tense situation with regard to relations with Russia. The MPs also denounced any deployment of American troops to bases in Poland and other Central and Eastern European states, saying that such actions cannot be interpreted as anything but “war preparations.”

They also drew attention to the fact that the US troops are being transferred through the territory of the former East Germany, thus violating the spirit of the 1990 ‘2+4’ agreement that facilitated Germany’s reunification on condition that no foreign troops or nuclear weapons would be deployed or stationed there.

A stockpile of 20 US nuclear bombs at the Buehel airbase in western Germany also came in for criticism from the MPs, who found the possibility of these weapons being used by the German Air Forces “in case of emergency” quite disturbing. [The American military] “presence is incompatible with the peace principle enshrined in the constitution.”

The Basic Law, as it is called in Germany, indeed states that “acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional.”

Yet, Berlin apparently is not planning to get rid of the American forces on its soil just yet. The 2020 federal budget shows that the German taxpayer would have to spend €71 million ($78.72 million) on the upkeep of the US and other foreign forces stationed on its territory.

Washington, however, believes this is not enough. In August, two American ambassadors, Georgette Mosbacher in Warsaw and Richard Grenell in Berlin, have hinted that the US was so angry with Berlin not spending enough on defense that it may relocate its forces to neighboring Poland.

“It’s really insulting to expect the US taxpayers to keep paying for over 50,000 Americans in Germany,” Grenell told DPA news agency at that time. The remark sparked quite a stir among German politicians, with Dietmar Bartsch, an MP from the Left Party, saying that American should indeed pull out and take their nukes with them.

Ordinary Germans also do not seem to be particularly scared of the US troops suddenly stripping them of their “protection” as most said that a withdrawal from Germany of American forces would not make them any less secure, according to an August survey.

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Clashes in northeastern Syria put Turkish-Russian Memorandum at risk

By Sarah Abed | October 25, 2019

On Tuesday, exactly two weeks after Ankara launched its cross border military operation “Operation Peace Spring”, in northern Syria east of the Euphrates River, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Sochi for what proved to be a lengthy diplomatic discussion that resulted in an agreement that sets the stage for de-escalating tensions in that region.

The Russian-Turkish memorandum published by the Kremlin covers ten mutually agreed upon points. Many of the same issues that were addressed but not resolved by the United States and Turkey during their recent agreements were mentioned.

The agreement begins with reiterating the importance of maintaining Syria’s political unity and territorial integrity and the protection of Turkey’s national security as well.

Both parties also confirmed their commitment and emphasized their determination to combating all forms of terrorism and to not allow separatist agendas to prosper, this of course is referring to the US-backed Kurdish militia’s and their so-called self-administration policies which are illegitimate.

The importance of the 1998 Adana Agreement which was created as a security pact between Ankara and Damascus and ensures the PKK will not be allowed to regain momentum in Syria and if it does Turkey reserves the right to carry cross border military operations against them. Although Syria never denounced the pact, diplomatic relations during the conflict were severely damaged and after the PKK was squashed it re-emerged as the PYD, and Turkey views the PYD, YPG, and the newest US created rebranding the SDF all to be Syrian offshoots of the PKK.

Wednesday at noon a new deadline for the Kurdish militias to leave with their weapons started, giving them 150 hours to leave from the 30km Turkish-Syrian border. Syrian border guards along with Russian military police will enter to facilitate the removal of YPG members. After the deadline Russian and Turkish patrols will start in a 10km deep area in the west and the east of the area surrounding the area covered by “Operation Peace Spring” except for Qamishli.

In addition to the YPG elements in the previously stated areas, all Kurdish fighters and their weapons must be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat. Measures will be taken to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements.

As for the refugees, joint efforts will be launched to safely and voluntarily return them. Joint monitoring and verification mechanisms will also be established to coordinate and oversee that all parts of this memorandum are effectively implemented.

Both Russia and Turkey will continue to work on finding a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee taking place next week.

The issue of ISIS prisoners was also brought up, and the importance of preventing detainees from escaping.

Turkey is accomplishing its goal of removing Kurdish militias from its border by stating they are a threat to its national security. Regardless, it’s operation and support for terrorist factions is illegal and NATO’s pretentious concern is unavailing.

However, there’s another incentive to discontinuing its cross-border military operation, the US lifted sanctions which were imposed on October 14th and this will drastically improve Turkey’s aching economy.

President Trump was up against bipartisan disapproval for his decision to withdrawal US troops and end military support for the Kurdish factions, and he stood his ground. And lest we forget, America’s number one ally in the region, Israel, is the biggest supporter of separatist Kurdish factions in Iraq and Syria, the independent Kurdistan project is conveniently aligned with the Greater Israel project. Standing up to both Capital Hill and Israel is a bold move.

As for the Israeli-Kurdish relationship, not much has changed since I originally reported on their mutually beneficial dealings a few years ago. Israel’s selfish interests in supporting Kurdish independence remain two-fold, oil and to counter supposed “increased Iranian influence” in the region.

President Trump is trying to end what the Obama administration began with their failed “regime change” efforts in Syria. As Trump mentioned, Washington has wasted 8 Trillion dollars in Middle Eastern wars, which brought forth nothing but death and destruction to the region, killing millions and displacing many more millions of innocent people.

Immediately following his lengthy meeting with Erdogan, Putin spoke with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al Assad who expressed support for the memorandum and confirmed Syrian border guards were ready to work with the Russian military police.

The Kremlin reiterated the need for all illegal foreign military presence to leave Syria. Also, the Syrian government needs to regain control of all the oil facilities in northeastern Syria.

Russia wants a broad dialogue to take place between the Syrian government and the Kurds living in northeastern Syria. The constitutional committee in cooperation with the United Nations will also work towards peaceful political process in Syria.

With the Syrian army establishing 15 observation posts on the Turkish Syrian border east of the Euphrates and the Kurdish militias being forced to move south outside of the “safe zone” and Syrian refugees returning to northern Syria, it’s only a matter of time before the US/Kurdish militias lose their grip on these oil fields. US troops are currently guarding some of them, Trump even insinuated on Thursday that Kurds should move into these oil rich areas.

President Erdogan needs to immediately rein in the so-called Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) militants which consist mostly of Free Syrian Army terrorists and other factions that merged immediately prior to the “Peace Spring Operation”. Even with the ongoing Turkish-Russian “safe zone” agreement in place, the SNA has launched several attacks south and southeast of Ras al-Ayn while attempting to expand their presence in the area.

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment