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Muslim world angered by Israel election as UN committee chair

Press TV – June 14, 2016

Palestinians along with a group of Muslim countries have lashed out at a UN decision to elect Israel as the chairman of one of its permanent committees for the first time in the history of Israeli occupation.

Danny Danon, Israel’s representative at the United Nations, was elected Monday to head the world body’s Legal Committee also called the Sixth Committee, which oversees issues related to international law.

It is first time that Tel Aviv will head one of the world body’s six permanent committees since joining the United Nations in 1949.

His election, however, elicited angry reactions from Muslim countries, including those in the Arab League and 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The chief Palestinian delegate at the UN, Riyad Mansour, strongly denounced the results of the election, which according to him was “threatening the work of the Sixth Committee.”

Mansour said the Israeli regime has long been “the biggest violator of international law.”

The General Assembly has six standing committees that report to it on several issues, including human rights, decolonization, disarmament, economic and financial issues, as well as the UN budget and legal issues.

Danon was nominated for the position by the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the UN. Israel has been a temporary member of the WEOG since 2000, but joined the group permanently in December 2013.

The chairmanship of assembly is allocated on a rotational basis and is usually confirmed without a vote.

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman, however, reacted angrily to the opponents of Danon’s election.

“We need a United Nations that includes Israel, that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away.”

However, the UN warned Israel of unspecified action over its failure to cooperate with its reporters.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein slammed Tel Aviv for denying UN special rapporteurs access to the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“I must emphasize that non-cooperation by governments will not result in my office remaining silent,” he said.

He said investigators from his office had an important role in providing factual information that could prevent further violence.

Zeid also touched on the issue of the Palestinians held in Israel’s prisons, saying; “Over 400 Palestinian children are currently detained in Israeli prisons.”

He warned that violence could would break out again between Israeli forces and the Palestinian people unless the regime lifts the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas in the world, has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Thug at the UN

By Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | August 25, 2015

The appointment by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation.

As one Israeli analyst noted last week, Danny Danon’s appointment amounts to a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”.

Last year Netanyahu sacked Danon as deputy defence minister, describing him as too “irresponsible” even by the standards of Israel’s usually anarchic politics. Danon had denounced the prime minister for “leftist feebleness” in his handling of Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer.

Danon is a UN official’s worst nightmare. He is a vocal opponent of a two-state solution and has repeatedly called for the annexation of the West Bank.

Back in 2011, days before the UN General Assembly was due to vote on Palestinian statehood, Danon dismissed the forum as irrelevant: “Even if there will be a vote [in favour], it will be a Facebook state.”

On the face of it, Netanyahu’s timing could not be worse. Danon is to represent Israel as the Palestinians are expected to step up efforts at the UN to entrench recognition of their statehood. He will also be a leading spokesman as Israel tries to fend off war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The generally accepted explanation is that Netanyahu’s move is driven by domestic, not diplomatic, calculations. Danon is the Israeli right’s poster boy, one who makes the prime minister look too cautious and conciliatory.

The two faced off for the Likud party leadership last November. Danon lost but Netanyahu doubtless fears, as his party and the Israeli public shift ever rightwards, that his rival’s time is coming.

The posting removes Danon as head of the Likud’s powerful central committee, dispatches him to a distant land, and should provide him with opportunities aplenty to self-harm.

But that is not the whole story. Danon’s appointment reveals something more significant about Israel’s deteriorating relations even with its international supporters.

It is hard nowadays to recall that Israel once took the UN very seriously indeed. It had to.

In the decade following 1948, Abba Eban, the country’s foremost diplomat, sought to carve out international recognition and respectability for Israel at the UN.

Eban often used deceit and misdirection – he is reported to have avowed that “diplomats go abroad to lie for their country”. But he never forgot the importance of creating a façade of moral justification for Israel’s actions, even as it launched wars of aggression in 1956 at Suez and again against Egypt in 1967.

Reality caught up with Israel when the UN adopted a resolution in 1975 equating Israel’s official ideology, Zionism, with racism. The resolution was only revoked 16 years later, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower.

Washington arm-twisted the General Assembly with promises that Israel would engage in a peace process with the Palestinians, culminating a short time later in the Oslo Accords.

But as Oslo slowly unravelled, and Israel’s leaders – not least Netanyahu himself – were exposed as the true rejectionists, Israel was forced on to the back foot again.

Today, the consensus in Israel is not only that the UN is a bastion of anti-Israel prejudice but that it is an incubator of global anti-semitism, much of it supposedly spawned by Arab states. Israel is blameless, so this story goes, but the world has fallen under the haters’ spell.

The parting shot of Danon’s predecessor, Ron Prosor, last week was to accuse yet again a leading UN official, Jordan’s Rima Khalaf, of anti-semitism for pointing out the untold misery caused by Israel’s near-decade blockade of Gaza.

Earlier this year, after stepping down as Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren went further, arguing that the plague of anti-semitism had infected even America’s leading Jewish journalists. Their critical coverage of Israel was proof of self-hatred, he claimed.

The need for such desperate diplomacy has grown as Israel’s moral image has tarnished, even for its allies. But the hectoring and intimidation by seasoned diplomats like Prosor and Oren has produced diminishing returns.

Danon’s posting is part of a discernible pattern of recent appointments by Netanyahu that reflect a growing refusal to engage in any kind of recognisable diplomacy. Confrontation is preferred.

The trend started with Netanyahu’s decision in 2009 to let the thuggish Avigdor Lieberman lead the foreign ministry and Israel’s diplomatic corps.

Notably, Netanyahu picked Ron Dermer, a high-profile partisan of the US Republican party, to replace Oren in 2013. Dermer is widely credited with engineering Netanyahu’s provocative address earlier this year to the US Congress, in an undisguised effort to undermine President Barack Obama’s talks with Iran.

Danon’s appointment, like Dermer’s, indicates the extent to which the Israeli right has abandoned any hope of persuading the international community of the rightness of its cause – or even of working within the rules of statecraft.

Just as Dermer has turned Obama’s White House into a diplomatic battlefield, Danon can be expected to barrack, abuse and alienate fellow ambassadors at the UN in New York.

An Israel that has no place for negotiations or compromise wants only to tell the world that it is wrong and that Israelis don’t care what others think. Danon is the right man for that task.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel uninterested in two state solution on Palestine

By Catherine Shakdam | Press TV | September 26, 2013

Just as US President Barack Obama has been pushing for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian authorities to allegedly find a solution to the region’s most contentious issue, Israeli Deputy Minister for Military Affairs Danny Danon candidly theorized that Tel Aviv should simply annul the Oslo Accords and rethink the entire “Palestinian problem” from a different perspective.

Needless to say, the sheer Zionist nature of Danon’s point of view has incensed pro-Palestinian political activists across the board, whether moderate or radical in their views.

Israel has not only stolen Palestinians’ lands from under their feet, but is looking to delegitimize Palestinians’ rights to self-determination and territorial sovereignty by reneging on the Oslo Accords.

Dannon’s political folly, as some have decided to call it, is actually fast becoming a trend amid pro-Zionists and so-called right wingers.

Earlier this September, a coalition of 16 called on Israei Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to hand out US Secretary of State John Kerry a letter in which they argue the Oslo Accords are no longer historically or politically relevant and that as such, they would like the US to support the complete annulment of such accords. The coalition group also openly called on the US to abandon the idea of a Palestinian state altogether as it does not serve Israel’s interests in the region.

The letter was signed by Danny Danon and Ze’ev Elkin, the Israeli deputy foreign minister, alongside four other deputy ministers and 10 MKs, out of Israel’s 120-member Knesset.

The letter read, “Twenty years have elapsed since the implementation of the wretched Oslo Accords. We call on the Prime Minister to present to the US Secretary of State our unequivocal position that Israel will not return to the Oslo plan, and will not hand over any more regions of the homeland into Palestinian hands.”

In an opinion piece published on September 21, days after Kerry was made aware of such a change of tide, Danon wrote, “Only by officially annulling the Oslo Accords will we have the opportunity to rethink the existing paradigm and hopefully lay the foundations for a more realistic modus vivendi between the Jews and Arabs of this region.”

Danon, who is in essence wording PM Netanyahu’s most inner secret and covert political and ideological dogmas, has argued that Oslo’s failure stems from both the PLO and Palestinian Authority’s failure to recognize Israel as a legitimate state.

Danon said that Palestinians are to blame for decades of political impasse, because they dared refuse to legitimize and condone the horrors which Zionists committed in the name of a religious mirage.

According to Danon, it is such Palestinian intransigence which has led to “the failure of Israel’s attempts to achieve peace with conferences, secret negotiations, unilateral disengagements and joint security patrols.”

Interestingly, the fact that Israel has systematically committed a series of inhumane atrocities against the Palestinian people — unlawful arrest, abuse of power, illegal settlements, torture, religious segregation — never entered Danon’s absurd political equation.

While many Palestinians have expressed strong reservations toward the Oslo Accords, it is only because they do not wish to see negotiations restricted to a pre-set format; the very idea that Palestinians could be denied an independent state has never been a feasible possibility, not one they are willing to contemplate.

1993 Oslo Accords aka the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements defined a framework which the UN hoped would eventually lead to a permanent agreement/peace between Israel and the PLO. Under the accords, the late Yasser Arafat agreed to seek a negotiated settlement based on UNSC Resolution 242, which called for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war, and UNSC Resolution 338.

It is important to note that while the PLO, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, renounced upon signing The Oslo Accords all forms of violence, extending an olive branch to its arch enemy and invader, Israel never reciprocated.

While Arafat declared, “it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement;” Israels’ Zionists carried on with their Judaization and expansion policies.

So, if Israel does not want a two-state solution, what then?

Well, Zionists have argued that Palestinians should simply accept to live under the star of David, under Israel’s institutions and laws and let bygones be bygones.

The logic behind such madness is actually chillingly pragmatic.

The once proud and strong nation of Palestine now stands but a shadow of its former self; broken, fragmented along geographical lines and politics, its voice buried under the rubble of its past.

Six decades of systematic Judaization and targeted abuse have left many Palestinians hungering for peace at all cost, their spirits much too broken to oppose what they now perceive as the inevitable.

After six long decades of careful planning, the Zionists feel secure enough in their position to strike Palestine one last fateful blow and swallow the whole of a nation that once stood over the land they claim to be religiously rightfully theirs.

Hiding behind democratic principles, Danon says it is time for both Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side under one state, one democracy. What he really means is that he wants to dissolve Palestine’s last defenses, erode the remnants of its identity just as Zionists have worked to erase all traces of Islam from al-Quds, just as Zionists have worked to destroy al-Aqsa, Islam’s third most sacred Mosque.

September 26, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Haneen Zoabi and Her Mission

Haneen-Zoabi

By Lawrence Davidson | Opinion Maker | January 4, 2012

Haneen Zoabi is an Arab Israeli member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.  She was elected in 2009 as a member from the Balad Party. Balad is an Arab party that was formed in 1995 with the aim of “struggling to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens.” In the West, this is a perfectly normal goal. But Israel’s Zionist ideology disqualifies it as a “Western” nation. Thus Balad’s aim is in direct opposition to the Zionist idea of Israel as a “Jewish state,” a concept that Ms Zoabi labels “inherently racist.”

Apparently, Haneen Zoabi is fearless.  She actually lives her principles. She has been campaigning loudly and very publicly for full citizenship rights for Israel’s Palestinians. She has also actively opposed Israel’s settlement movement, occupation policies, and its siege of Gaza. That last effort led her to participate in the international flotilla that sought to break the Gaza siege in May of 2010. That was the time Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara in international waters, killing 9 Turkish activists who tried to resist the assault on their ship.

In an outright dictatorship, Ms Zoabi would be in jail or worse. And, given the direction of Israel’s political evolution, that still might be her fate.

However, as of now she is just the worst nightmare of an ethnocentric state, and a government pushing racist policies while trying to pretend it is a democracy. It is a nightmare for the Israel’s Zionist leadership because Zoabi, as a member of the Knesset, insists that if the Israeli Jews won’t allow full citizenship for non-Jews, as a real democracy must, then she is not going to let them pretend anymore. Yet pretense is all that is left of Israel’s international persona. If the “Jewish state” loses the ability to posture as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” the country’s reputation in the world is, as the saying goes, fit for the dust hole.

Think of it this way.  Israel is the nation-state equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s fictional character Dorian Gray.  Gray is a man who never seems to be anything but young, good-looking, and successful. However, hidden away in some closet there is an extraordinarily ugly and frightening portrait of him, and it is this portrait that ages and reflects the meanness and brutality of Gray’s true character. Haneen Zoabi has uncovered such a portrait of Israel and insists on going about showing everyone the state’s real characteristics. She wants the world to see the true picture. That is why the Israeli government is trying to destroy Haneen Zoabi.

The Persecution

The catalyst for the campaign against Zoabi was her presence on the Mavi Marmara in 2010. Not only was she on a ship attempting to bring humanitarian assistance to over 1.6 million Gazans living under an illegal Israeli embargo, but she was also an eyewitness to nine official Israeli acts of murder.

To the acts of collective punishment, the shelling and bombing of civilian neighborhoods, and the seemingly random murder of civilians by Israeli border snipers, can now be added a deadly attack on a civilian vessel in international waters. All of these actions are criminal under international law and they all easily fall into the category of state terrorism. However, in the Kafkaesque world of Zionism, it is Ms Zoabi who became the “terrorist.”

When, on 2 June 2010, she returned to the Knesset following the the Mavi Marmara incident and insisted on bearing witness to Israeli offenses, she was shouted down by her “outraged” fellow members of the Knesset, most of whom saw Zoabi as a traitor. Her efforts to describe what she had seen reduced the Knesset session to “pandemonium.” From that point Ms Zoabi received “hundreds of threats, by letters, by email, by phone call.” In July of 2011, while contesting statements being made by Prime Minister Netanyahu, she was ejected from the Knesset by the chamber’s Speaker who then suspended her from further participation based on a grossly exaggerated charge that she had assaulted one of the chamber’s ushers.

Meanwhile, members of the Prime Minister’s party, Likud, conspired to ban Ms Zoabi from running in the upcoming Israeli elections (scheduled for 22 January 2013). The Knesset’s Ethics Committee voted that Zoabi had violated Article 7A of Israel’s “Basic Law” which states that a candidate for or member of the Knesset, “cannot reject Israel as a Jewish and democratic state…or support armed combat by an enemy state or terror organization against the State of Israel.” Some Israelis claim that the group organizing the flotilla efforts to break the Gaza siege is a terrorist organization, but that is clearly nonsense. On the other hand, there can be little doubt that Ms Zoabi is shouting from the rooftops the blatant fact that “Israel as Jewish and democratic state” reflects a deep and tragic contradiction.

According to such luminaries of the Israeli right as MK Danny Danon, Ms Zoabi has “spit on the state.” She does not belong in the Knesset, according to Danon, “she belongs in Jail.” (Danon is also the politician who had the clever idea of inviting Glenn Beck, an incendiary right-wing American TV talk show personality, to address the Israeli parliament.)

Subsequently, Israel’s supreme court declared the banning of Haneen Zoabi was unconstitutional, but Danon has replied that he and his allies are ready with “plan B.” They will simply have the Knesset change the law so as to prevent future electoral campaigns by anyone like Zoabi.

Conclusion

Politicians with dictatorial leanings instinctively avoid their own reflection. They cannot admit the consequences of their own actions and policies and they cannot tolerate others who publicly expose those consequences. Like Dorian Gray, they restrict the ugly truth to some hidden closet. Yet, eventually, someone like Ms Zoabi comes along and takes up the role of truth-teller.

There is another issue that her efforts bring to light. It is that the interests of the state (understood here as a government) and the interests of the nation (the collective occupants of a country) may not always be the same. Governments most often represent cliques or classes or elites or ideologues, etc. Those in power, ruling in the interest of these smaller constituencies, simply assume that their own parochial interests stand for the “national interest.”

Ms Zoabi is insisting that the Israeli State cease identifying itself with the interest of a single constituency and start representing the interests of the nation as a whole. What this is all about, she says, are “the values, the humanistic, universalistic values of freedom, of equality, of justice.” But there is nothing “universalistic” about Zionism and so, for her efforts, she is castigated and threatened.  Such is the state that Zionism has built.

January 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

African Immigrants in Tel Aviv Attacked by Racist Israeli Mobs

IMEMC | May 28, 2012

Beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Saturday night, mobs of right-wing Jewish Israelis have attacked the neighborhoods of African immigrants in the southern part of the city of Tel Aviv, throwing stones and bottles at residents and looting shops.

According to an eyewitness report by a volunteer with the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Israel, “[a]fter a dose of racial incitement from the Members of Knesset who addressed them, Miri Regev, Danny Danon, Yariv Levin and Michael Ben-Ari, a handful of the protesters went on to attack Africans and stores owned by them in the Hatikva neighborhood. I arrived in the neighborhood with a camera to document what had happened.”

The eyewitness, identified as Elisabeth Tsurkov, said, “I saw a policeman protecting a group of Eritrean refugees after one of the family members was attacked with a glass bottle while carrying his son, who as a result was dropped to the ground…I saw the blood of a Sudanese refugee on the pavement after he was stoned by a group of Israelis chasing him. I saw a shop owned by an Eritrean refugee, which was looted after its storefront was broken.”

The string of attacks comes in the midst of increasing incitement against the non-white Israeli population, including indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel and African immigrants into the country, by Israeli politicians and party leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently stated that the African immigrants, many of whom are refugees from war-torn regions, “threaten Israel’s social fabric”, and called for the implementation of policies that would refuse them services, deny them entry, and force the deportation of many who are living in Israel already.

In Tsurkov’s account of the events of the last few days, she wrote, “Some [of the Israeli attackers] called the refugees ‘cockroaches’, a woman said they should be killed and exterminated because non-Jews should not exist in the land of Israel, another of the residents said the refugees’ heads need to be cut like chickens, others simply thought ‘they should be deported back to Sudan.’ The hatred was also directed at the ‘leftists’ whom the residents blamed for the encroachment of refugees in their neighborhood.”

The Hotline for Migrant Workers called on the Israeli government to take responsibility for the situation of migrant workers in Israel, and allow for a legal process for refugees to be allowed to seek asylum in the Jewish state – a status which is currently denied to non-Jews.

May 28, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Knesset to discuss bill authorising settlers’ seizure of Palestinian land

MEMO | 17 April 2012

Knesset to discuss bill authorising settlers’ seizure of Palestinian landIsrael’s Knesset (parliament) is due to hold a special session on Wednesday to discuss a bill which would authorise Jewish settlers to build on private Palestinian land, especially in the Migron settlement outpost and other such places. All Jewish settlements, “outposts” or not, are illegal under international law. That the Israeli parliament even gives time to debate such a law is a strong indication of the contempt in which it holds international laws and conventions, and the international community at large.

The parliamentary session will take place because MK Danny Danon, of the ruling Likud Party, has been able to collect the signatures of 25 MKs for this purpose; this is required during the parliament’s Passover recess.

The bill drafted by Danon proposes compensation for the Palestinian owners of land where settlements are to be built. This would cover dozens of families as such a law would give legitimacy to many settlement outposts.

The right-wing members of the Knesset are seeking the support for the bill from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has announced his intention to strengthen Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

According to Hebrew media sources, Danon’s efforts follow the Supreme Court decision to cancel an agreement between the Israeli government and the settlers in the Migron outpost which would require them to be re-housed somewhere else. Danon has also been motivated by the decision of Defence Minister Ehud Barak to evict Jewish settlers from a Palestinian house that they seized recently in Hebron.

“The Supreme Court is trying to prevent the government from working,” said Danon, “and we are trying to prevent the evacuation of Jews from their homes. We will not accept another court decision such as the one on Migron and we will not accept an evacuation process such as the one in Hebron.”

Arab MKs expect the Knesset’s summer session to witness a race by right-wing parties in the Knesset for laws supporting settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, including the illegal (even under Israeli law) outposts, especially in light of hints about early parliamentary elections.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Knesset to discuss bill authorising settlers’ seizure of Palestinian land